Monthly Archives: January 2013


Had an interesting dream last night, during my 13 hour sleep. I dreamt that I was on a space cruise in the distant future – much like the space cruise in The Fifth Element, in fact, very much like it. I was with my wife and we had a floating space dog (bit like a Border Terrier but in a space suit).

On the space cruise, I entered into a Poetry competition – something I have never done in real life. The poetry we were competing with was not written down on paper – it was directly beamed from the mind of the poet so that the reader’ experienced the poem just how the poet meant it to be experienced. Sort of projecting their dreams directly into the readers mind. It was a battle of emotions, from sheer wonderment to profound melancholy. It really was the most fantastic dream.

When I woke up from it, it made me think. How can poets compete (outside of slams)? Yunno, submitting written work in the hope that it will be deemed suitable to win a cash prize. After this dream it seems incredibly facile. That is all poetry competitions are – competitions to see who can have the best dream and impress the judge with it.

I did not become the space cruise poet laureate.

I do not have anything against verse – I used to host Poems, Prose & Pints – I am a published poet. But it is the idea of submitting written work, something you cherish and have spent hours deliberating over, to be judged by someone that has not experienced the same emotion. I suppose this is the sign of great verse – letting the reader experience the emotion of the poet. But why judge it?

I had a fantastic time in my Space cruise dream, but it means very little to anyone else. I had a great time writing poetry, but it means very little to anyone else.<


In the middle of something ….

text-align: justify;”>… founding a record label to be exact. When it fleshes out I will be the first to tell you all about it. Any-hoo, what have you been upto? I have not slept for 36 hours and no longer know the difference between right and wrong. It may be 7pm but I am off to bed ………

That is the problem of having a bet to see who can blog 365 days / year – you end up writing just for the sake of writing.<

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The Ghost Of Newby Hall

The Church of Christ the Consoler is a Victorian Gothic Revival church built in the Early English style by William Burges. It is located in the grounds of Newby Hall at Skelton-on-Ure, in North Yorkshire, England. Burges was commissioned by George Robinson, 1st Marquess of Ripon, to build it as a tribute to the Marquess’ brother-in-law, Frederick Vyner. The church is a Grade I listed building as of 6 March 1967, and was vested in the Churches Conservation Trust on 14 December 1991.

Frederick Vyner was taken prisoner by Greek brigands in the neighborhood of Athens April 11th 1870 and murdered by them April 21st.” A significant ransom had been demanded, and in part collected, before his murder. Frederick’s mother, Lady Mary Vyner determined that the unused funds would be used to construct a memorial church on her Yorkshire estate, his sister, Lady Ripon, embarking on an identical project, building St Mary’s Church on her estate at Studley Royal. Burges obtained the commissions for both churches in 1870, perhaps because of the connection between his greatest patron, John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute, and Vyner, who had been friends at Oxford.

The construction of the Church of Christ the Consoler began in 1871 and the church was complete by 1876. The exterior is constructed of grey Catraig stone, with Morcar stone for the mouldings and is in an Early English style. The interior is faced with white limestone and exceptionally rich, with members of Burges’ favourite team, Thomas Nicholls and Lonsdale, contributing. It is particularly interesting as representing an architectural move from Burges’ favourite Early French style to an English inspiration. Pevsner describes it thus: Of determined originality, the impression is one of great opulence, even if of a somewhat elephantine calibre.

Currently, my Dad farms for the owners of Newby Hall – The Compton’s. Whilst living with my folks I used to take great solice in going to Christ The Consoler Church in the grounds of Newby Hall, near where we live (about 10 minutes walk).

When I visited a friend in Boroughbridge, he showed me a book of curios and told me that the book had inspired him – it had inspired him to go Ghost hunting at that very church.


This photo was taken in the early 1960s by Reverend K.F. Lord. He snapped a shot of the alter in his Church at Newby in North Yorkshire, England. Though he saw no one when the photo was made, the phantom on the right appeared in the devloped print.


I Got To Interview My Hero

I wrote the following interview for the up and coming music video outfit, Sektion Red – they allowed me to put it on my own blog too. J-Zen is one of my musical heroes and it was an absolute privilege to talk to him –

J-Zen is a French producer who has been fascinated by the world of soul, jazz, funk, and world music since his record-collector father offered him his first LP at the age of seven. From then on, he developed an insatiable appetite for music — any kind of music — and transformed that inspiration into his own genre-defying brand of songcraft. This eclecticism can be easily heard in the young producers compositions. At the age of 12, he learned to play bass guitar before discovering Rza, DJ Premier and Jay Dee. These artists proved to be a revelation.

His originals mixes and musical knowledge allowed him the honor to open for some of the greatest in the game: Jazzy Jeff, DJ Premier, and Pharoahe Monch to name a few. In 2004 he got a Mpc200xl and decided to create his own vision of Hip Hop: a mix of samples (soul, jazz, rock), fat beats, and heavy basslines.

So, you have a new album out, Padwork. It reminds me of DJ Shadows Pre-emptive Strike’. How do you feel about that comparison?

Thanks for the comparison, I’m honored that you even mention my name and Shadow’s in the same sentence! But honestly I’m far from touching Shadow’s work, he’s one of the best

Where do you draw your influences from?

I grew up listening to hip hop, Rza, Primo, Pete Rock, Dilla but I also have a Rock background, I love King Crimson, Pink Floyd…

Your work is sample heavy – did you grow up with these sampled tracks in the background of your childhood? Or, were they found sounds once you left home?

My dad was a record collector, he taught me the love of music but also love of the object himself, I’m still collecting but the essential part of my collection is from my dad

How is it working with a small independent label?

It’s great! The roles are really well defined, the label is taking care of the business side and all I have to do is focus on my music, create. Of course is not always easy but it fits me better

What are the scale of your ambitions in music?

My ambition is to always do what I want to do musically, no boundaries! Doing what I feel, it’s basically what I did until now. I’m realistic about the music business right now and I know I won’t make millions but as long as people love my music and I can do few shows, I’m good

You have released digitally and on vinyl – would you say that hip-hop is keeping vinyl alive?

Definitely! Even when the vinyl sales were really low, hip hop labels kept on releasing vinyl. I would say dj’s and music lovers are keeping vinyl alive to be exact

Moving away from Padwork. Most of my friends now own a copy of Sextape. I am all for female emancipation, but I am also a fan of the ridiculous 1970’s porn films that you sampled in Sextape. Does porn have a place in beat tape culture – and, if so, which 1970’s porn films would you recommend?

Honestly I’m not the biggest specialist in 70’s porn, I collected my samples via streaming, all I can remember is beautiful background music and a lot of hair and moustache! Everything can be inspiring is what I tried to prove with the sextape

What is the hip-hop scene in France like at the minute, especially in your home town? I, for one, have to travel to get to any good gigs – what about you?

I used to live in Rennes there’s a lot of mc’s and producers but not a lot of shows except the festival of my label, now I’m living in Paris, the hip hop scene is amazing here, I made a lot of connections.

I have fond memories of MC Solaar blowing up around 10 years ago in the UK – who do you look up to both in France and internationally?

The biggest French producers in my opinion are 20 Syl and Onra, they’ve been releasing quality music for years and now they achieve to get the recognition of the public. Internationally, I really dig Tall Black Guy’s and Suff Daddy’s work

Who do you dream of working with?

Doing a collab album with Kankick would be dope or working with Common

The first track I bought that you had made was GOD MUSIC (feat. Georgia Anne Muldrow & Declaime) which, had lyrics on it. Why, and how often, do you get an MC to guest on your tracks – will this change?

Sometimes when I produce a track, I can imagine who I’d like to sing on it. Having a mc on a track allows it to go higher, combining his touch and mine

What are your plans, musically for 2013? Tours, gigs, releases?

More music with mc’s and singers and my live beatmaking show”

J-Zen has once again redefined the shape of the French underground with his latest release, Padwork – available now. For J-Zen’s back catalogue, please click here.<