Saturday, 23 July 2011


The beauty of this man's teaching and presence is that he conveys, immaculately and lovingly, the sheer unimportance of our concerns.  Our concerns stem from fearful thought, past thought.  He invites us to consciously stay in this present moment, where the Divine quietly and eternally resides.  Beyond concept, beyond mind, lies ineffable bliss. And when one has turned towards that bliss, away from the addiction of our stories and dramas, then (seemingly paradoxically) things start to flow with more ease.  

I guess this is what Jesus meant, in his prayer, when he said, "Thy will be done...."  

My heart is full of gratitude and praise for this man's presence on the earth at this time!  Here is a quotation from the book, Enlightenment: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - A New Translation and Commentary, by MSI.

"Praise is the primary response of an evolving soul to the glory and wonder of the perfection of the Universe.  Praise is also the primary means of rising beyond the Waking State.  With praise alone, one can completely erase all self-destructive beliefs and internal programmes .... praise is like magic, it washes the soul with gratitude and love.... Praise is easy to develop .... simply by deciding to appreciate rather than criticise or condemn.  Life is easy to change ..."  

Maybe Mooji would ask one to go beyond even that.  He would say, 

"There is only That."

Here is compassion and grace incarnate:

Om shanti!

Monday, 4 July 2011


Sam (far left) and Tin (second from right) with beautiful French students

Today, my son Sam and Jan Akkerman's nemesis, our most dear friend Tin, went to Cheltenham to offer some free hugs!

As Secretary of our village's Parochial Church Council, I felt it was my duty to report this activity (done on behalf of God, who couldn't be there in person, and who asked us to represent him by proxy), at our meeting tonight.  I am uncertain as to whether it will be minuted or not.  

In fact, the reason I told the Council was that I had been extremely moved by our vicar's monthly letter in our parish magazine.

In concluding his letter, Reverend Woodger wrote:

"... if we want to find God, we do not have to look far; he is all around us, in everything, but never closer than in the people he has given us to love."

Gorgeous, huh?

See the slideshow, set to Michael Jackson's beautiful "Heal the World", that Sam made this evening.  

We hope you enjoy it, and that it might inspire you to do the same!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011


Here's a good game to play if you and your children are bored and aimless during the school holidays.

It was invented almost by accident.  Read on.

"Dearest Miss Marion

I think you would have laughed the other night.  Sam wanted to play Scrabble, and so we did.  At a certain point, early on in the game, I inserted a word, meaningless in itself, and understood only by Sam and I.  Tanois.  From there, we used our letters to make words that were unknown, but we had to quickly come up with meanings that were authoritative and likely.  Here is a selection from Sam:

Tinib - a fruit found in the Atlas mountains of Morocco

Yowt - the milk of the Gazelle, in Africa

Wec - a barkless tree, found in Madagascar

Djonnut - a poltergeist found in Arabic countries

Bartm - something found on the point of a pyramid

Hakenee - a poisonous berry found on the banks of the Nile

Some others, from me:

Carnid - a sociable vegetarian

Ultog - slightly out of fashion

Dlesh - a collective term for the varied colours seen in a sunset

Af - the first letter of the Atlantean alphabet

Erst - a butler's cloth

Hempry - Texan dialect for 'Emperor' (viz. Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, circa 1867) (one must say it in a cracked, old voice, nostalgically, perhaps creaking on yer ole rockin chair)

Nagex - a drug, used as an antidote to the sting of the Puffer fish

I don't know why we thought about you, and wished you were there, but we did.

Love, Cheryl" 

I received this reply.

"Today I flemmed a gazelle and phut Tinib with Yowt.  I took magnogentum intellio pills durned to perplixicate between Hakenee and Tinib.  Imagine my pbrim when I spilt the Yowt on a Bartm.......OH..........PHLENGIEFOSTOSTERUS GLIMP.....

My springum octed when I saw a Djonnut on the Bartm sucking Yowt from a Ultog Erst......Eeeeeeh........TNANI GODLIM FROUT.......

I tanged the Djonnut in Hempry with quavering antipolosh and blit the Djonnut into a Wec.  It was Spiflik, toto toto Spiflik.

Tomorrow I stemp a Nagex from a Hirst that has swallowed an Af.


Or Af an Af, doesn't need to be a whole Af does it......perhaps Mistress Cheryl could enlighten on this point."

"Miss Marion
I believe it is always rather risky dividing (or, indeed, multiplying) the Af. 

I highly recommend leaving the Af intact, and, if possible, putting it in a room by itself, preferably under a gidj.

Now, I understand that many would say,  "How is it possible for this woman to recommend putting an Af under a gidj?"  After all, since time immemorial, seekers after the truth have foolishly passed under the gidj, always with ill effects.  Perhaps enlightenment eluded them, but can this be blamed on the gidj?  I hardly think so.

But on a more optimistic note, I wonder whether you have heard in your outpost that the Vatican has made the act of beckant punishable by ex-communication?  It's true.  What will we do with our gloves now?

And on the subject of the church, I hear that Hildegard of Bingen suffered woemfec like many of the other sisters of her order.  Did Julian of Norwich suffer in the same way?  And Teresa of Avila?   Perhaps Yowt might have been the answer?  Sad that those magnogentum intellio pills weren't available then.  No wonder them nuns was perplixicated, if you are anything to go by!

I am totally astonished that you had the wherewithall to blit that Djonnut into a Wec.  And you tanged it in Hempry first?  My God.  My mother always ground up a few dried langrati (if she could get them) and then popped them in boiling oil.  That way, no-one got hurt.

But, look, I realise I have left the frojr on, and izolga is billowing out and filling the kitchen.  Looks like I've burnt the potato farles, and Lord knows what I'll give the boys for their breakfast now.  Certainly ain't got no Yowt since that Djonnut got in. Luckily I didn't have a Ultog like you did, although I did have the one Erst.  It didn't seem interested in that, luckily.

Perhaps I'll give the boys that for their breakfast, although Lord knows what I'll be having.  I don't like Erst.  It gives me a Therst."

As you can see, you don't have to stick to the original word meanings. And imagine the high standard of essay that could result in English class.

I think this should really prepare your children for their eager return to school.

Sam and Miss Marion

Friday, 10 June 2011


Thanks to the generosity of the owner of La Attica, Clive, and the manager of Nelson's Diner, Shelly, Sam has now completed his music video for 'Route 66'. He used a really fine backing track, and added two or three guitar tracks of his own. This was then synchronised with the video he made this week.  Click below for the cool result:

I think it rocks!

Thursday, 9 June 2011


Rumi is, rightly, celebrated as a bringer of Sufi wisdom to our collective doorsteps.  Hafiz, maybe, is less well known.  I have a delicious yellow book called The Gift, which is full of Hafiz's poems as translated by Daniel Ladinsky. Here is one called:


Just show you God's menu?
Hell, we are all
Starving -



Through the street

Throwing rocks through windows,
Using my own head to ring
Great bells,

Pulling out my hair,
Tearing off my clothes,

Tying everything I own
To a stick,
And setting it on

What else can Hafiz do tonight
To celebrate the madness,
The joy,

Of seeing God

Hafiz lived at around the same time as Chaucer, and his work became known in the West largely through Goethe and subsequent translations by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Daniel Ladinsky has, as far as I know, published two other volumes of Hafiz's poetry in translation, The Subject Tonight is Love and I Heard God Laughing.

Thursday, 2 June 2011


Nat King Cole recorded this number in 1946! What a quartet!

I remember hearing George Benson singing Nature Boy and being utterly entranced.

And now take a look at Nat doing it!

No wonder I believe in a beneficent God!

Tuesday, 31 May 2011


I was fifteen when Focus blasted its insane way into my young life.  'Moving Waves' sent me to places too numerous and personal to even name.

Late last autumn, I was with my son at the home of his good friend, the wild and wonderful Matty. Matty's friend, a handsome young Jehovah's Witness, was there too, and this friend suddenly said,

"Hey, guys, you must see this..."

And he had YouTube blazing out with Hocus Pocus before you could even take a breath. He was so pleased to be showing us such a weird and revolutionary thing!  I loftily said,

"Young man, that guitarist is the great Jan Akkerman!"  I drew the name seamlessly from my bag of lost memories.  "I was listening to this before you ....etc."

Home again, I had YouTube do its magic and discovered that Jan Akkerman has been doing some stupendous things since then!

I also discovered that he was to tour the UK soon! God, how good life can be!   I booked, immediately, and seven long months later, on 1 May 2011, together with my man and my friend Tin (she of The CD Collection), floated blissfully down the M4, across the bridge and into Welsh Wales.  Oh, historic date!

The Globe, Cardiff, looked rough.  It looked the sort of place that you might enter, never to emerge again

We didn't care! 

Inside, we found smiling bouncers.  We breathed in fragrant smoke from joss sticks glowing in dark and intricate corners.  Up purple staircases we went, under great Moroccan lanterns and past psychadelic art never before dreamt of, and into the music bit!  There, huge Babylonian pillars in a North African casbah, and a stage all set and ready for The Jan Akkerman Band!  You could see Jan's Les Paul waiting there in its case. It was excitement enough just to see it.  And a nice Fender bass just waiting for Wilbrand Meischke to grab it by the neck and shake it into life.  Coen Molenaar's great pile of keyboards looked oh so promising.  Marijn van den Berg's drums looked good too.  They proved to be good and loud.

Jan arrived on stage all of a sudden and picked up that Les Paul.  An excited "You're a legend, Akkerman!" from the back drew laughter and some self-deprecating remarks from the Dutchman. Something to do with age making anyone a legend eventually.  Then, it began.

But I can't tell you what it was like because I went into a realm that simply cannot be named or described.  That's what sublime music does to one, I guess.  So take a look at these links, and see what you think.

I can just say that Tin did go up to the sound man in the interval and asked him to turn it down a bit.  Does that tell you anything?

I wish this was my photograph

Wilbrand Meischke, who was standing nearby, rather ironically recommended earplugs.

I give thanks to God for music and the musicians who bring that music to us. Hallelujah baby!

Monday, 30 May 2011


Wishful Thinking are a brilliant band.  They have a wide-ranging set, performing numbers from the 1950s to the present day.  Johnny B Goode to Mayhem!  They are all consummate musicians.  Creative and funny.  Professional and tight.

Sam performed two numbers with Wishful Thinking last night at a Bank Holiday bash at The Seven Tuns in Chedworth.  Things were pretty wild!  Here is a link to his video of "Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor Doctor).

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Pontiac Silver Streak

The incredibly kind proprietors of La Attica, the Latin-American dance studio of choice in Cirencester, opened their garage today.  Inside - a black 1950s Pontiac Silver Streak.

It rumbles, and growls, and rules the road.

Out in the courtyard, Sam and I began our work on his music video for 'Route 66'.  The Pontiac officiated.  It was beautiful.

Have a look at La Attica's website!   Even if you're not into dancing, the website itself is a feast for the eye.

Monday, 23 May 2011


The 'Free Hugs' movement was inspired by the desire of Juan Mann (pseudonym understood by saying it aloud!) to bring love to his brothers and sisters by performing 'random acts of kindness'.  His own loneliness at the time brought an empathetic wish to ease the possible loneliness of others.

Interestingly, when I first spotted the chaps offering free hugs in Trafalgar Square in London, I felt a little bit hesitant. All my trust and intimacy issues raised their wary heads.  What, a hug from a STRANGER?  I'm not too sure ....

It is possible that this dear man was feeling the same.  But he went ahead and did it anyway.  And so did this one.

The chap in the background looks a bit bemused by the whole thing!  But the word RANDOM speaks volumes, I think.  It implies that kindness is being offered totally unconditionally.  No conditions whatsoever.  That certainly made me consider this: am I kind only when it is easy?  Do my conditioned ideas about justice and morality make me hold back sometimes?

Here is a link to a video about random acts of kindness.

I hope you enjoy it.  Oh, and here is a quote from the Dalai Lama's Twitter:

"The aim of spiritual practice is to become the friend of all beings, concerned about them and ready and able to help them."


Offical website:
Twitter: @

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Sam Cordery and Stray Cat Strut

I was listening to Stray Cat Strut this evening; that fine number from 1981 by Stray Cats.  I was twenty-three then, and I remember a crazy summer of freedom and such laughter.  When I mentioned this song to my son, Sam, he played it and immediately fell in love with it.  So much so that he has made a rather a fine video of himself, playing the guitar accompaniment to a very good backing track.   Click here to see it!

His details:
Twitter:  @

Two cool cats

Stevie Ray Vaughan

This man inspired countless musicians to reach higher.  He passionately encouraged people addicted to drugs and alcohol to reach deeper.  His death in an helicopter crash, after four clean years, seemed too tragic.  But our understanding does not go deep enough, oftentimes, and I somehow suspect he is still around, encouraging and inspiring those who want to know.

Not long before he died, he recorded an album with his brother, Jimmie Vaughan.  It was called 'Family Style'.  The track, 'Tick Tock' is good to hear.  Here are the words.

One night while sleeping in my bed I had a beautiful dream
That all the people of the world got together on the same wavelength
And began helping one another
Now in this dream, universal love was the theme of the day
Peace and understanding and it happened this way

The sick and the hungry, had smiles on their faces
The tired and the homeless had family all around
Streets and the cities were all beautiful places
And the walls came tumblin' down

People of the world, all had it together
Had it together for the boys and the girls
And the children of the world look forward to a future

Remember, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock people
Time's tickin' away
Remember that, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock people
Time's tickin' away

I had a vision of blue skies from sea to shining sea
All the trees in the forest stood strong tall again
Everything was clean and pretty and safe for you and me
The worst of enemies became the best of friends

People of the world, all had it together
Had it together for the boys and the girls
Children of the world look forward to a future

Remember, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock people
Time's tickin' away
Remember that, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock people
Time's tickin' away

Remember that, remember that
Remember that, remember that

People of the world all had it together
Had it together for the boys and the girls
Children of the world look forward to a future

Remember, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock people
Time's tickin' away
Remember that, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock people
Time's tickin' away .....

Here is a link for the video that was made after Stevie died.

First you see Jimmie.  Then Stevie's gentle vocals begin.

My son's passion for music led us to SRV.  Just to possess some images of him, I took some screenshots.  Some have resulted in some painterly, even pastel, effects.

Saturday, 21 May 2011


Here is a video in which David Hamilton PhD explains why smiling is contagious.

And here's a nice one to make you feel good.

PS  If you happen to recognise yourself, I hope you will enjoy being shown illustrating the power of smiles.  Please let me know if you would like me to take it down, and I will sadly do so!