Tae be yersel and tae mak that worth bein
Nae harder job to mortals has been gien

So wrote the Scots poet Hugh MacDiarmid. To be yourself and to make that worth being…

But just as Keith Richards has called Mick Jagger ‘a nice bunch of guys’, I’d suggest much the same could be said of most people.

Here are some pieces I have written – past and present – that give clues to my own assortment of interests and selves. More importantly, they show what a big, deep cultural pond this small Piscean finds himself swimming around in.

From Confinement

Hello and welcome back to my blog. I’m painfully aware how long ago I last wrote. It was on 28 November 2019 to be precise, and few people’s worlds now look the same as they did back then. By way of an update on my own activities, I reproduce below part of an article...

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The Ballad of Syd & Morgan – Update 8

You wait for months for an update, then two come along at once. This time, a British music magazine, Shindig!, ran an appreciative review of the novel. Like a number of other reviews, it mentions how suitable the story would be for a stage adaptation, and some moves...

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The Ballad of Syd & Morgan – Update 7

Apologies for leaving so long a gap between Updates 6 & 7. Earlier this year a splendid US music magazine called Ugly Things ran a pleasing review of the novel, and also got in touch with me via Propolis Books to ask some questions about how the book both came...

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Syd Speaks Again!

One of the many and varied pleasures of having The Ballad of Syd & Morgan out there in the world comes from hearing how its readers have subsequently returned to the works of Syd Barrett and E M Forster which inspired it – or in some cases are now hearing and...

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My Top Twenty Singles Of All Time

Prompted by a very old friend to compile a personal ‘Top Twenty’  during a recent email exchange, my brief to myself was to select 20 singles as a kind of desert island collection. The songs not only have to have been singles, they must ideally have been experienced...

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Fathers and Sons

In an interesting feature on the Syd Barrett website, 'produced and authorised by the Barrett family to remember Syd', people write short reflections on individual songs by the great man. I was delighted to be asked by the family to choose a song, then write my own...

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PS to Ballad Update 6

For those who for perfectly-understandable reasons don't pay a subscription to the Times Empire, and so can't read my full TLS review (see yesterday's post) here is a photo of the whole thing.

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The Ballad of Syd & Morgan (Update 6)

It has been said (by me) that when Henry Layte launches a Propolis book, it stays launched. I am confident this will prove to be the case with my own novel, now that Syd & Morgan’s fourth and final launch event has been and gone. I had no clear idea how the...

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The Ballad of Syd & Morgan Update 5 CORRECTION!

A sentence in my previous post reads: "The link can be found in this copy of a bulletin from the Book Hive website, written in the inimitable style of Mr Henry Layte". Inimitably enough, Henry has since been in touch to point out, "Indeed my writing style on that...

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