Monthly Archives: October 2007


Recently I discovered a piece of classical piano music that I had been trying to find for almost 30 years — Gnossienne No. 1 by Erik Satie.

I first heard the piece when it was used for the soundtrack of James Burke’s excellent 1978 BBC documentary series, Connections, and I’ve been trying to track it down ever since. Although I’ve heard it on several occasions in the 29 years that have elapsed since the show aired, I wasn’t able to discover its identity until Lori Ann played it to me recently. I’d never even heard of Erik Satie until then.

Buying the CD on Amazon, however, proved more difficult than I’d anticipated. There were many different Erik Satie CD’s, all with slightly different combinations of essentially the same pieces, and all by different pianists. I spent a long time reading the reviews, which tended to consist of strong but widely-divergent views on which were the best interpretations.

In the end, I bought one of the more expensive CD’s with one of the cheesiest titles — After the Rain…The Soft Sounds of Erik Satie, performed by Pascal Roge — because the reviews seemed to suggest that it contained only Satie’s better, more atmospheric and melancholy works, that Roge’s performance was among the best, and that the recording was of a high quality.

Anyway, I like it very much, particularly the first part of the disc, and have played it quite often over the last couple of months. Check out the preview of Gnossienne No. 1:

And thanks to Lori Ann for ending my 29-year search!

The Sweeney

I just finished watching the first season of a Brit TV cop show called The Sweeney, that I used to watch years ago with my Dad when I was a kid. It’s available on DVD from Netflix.

The name of the show derives from Cockney rhyming slang; “Sweeney” is a contraction of “Sweeney Todd,” which was Cockney rhyming slang for the Flying Squad, an armed rapid-response division of London’s Metropolitan Police set up to combat the upsurge of violent armed crime in London during the seventies.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that, in addition to providing a greater than expected nostalgia hit, the show had actually aged very well; although the acting from some of the supporting characters (especially some of the villains) was often a bit dodgy, the scripts and production are generally solid, and the acting of the three main characters — John Thaw as Detective Inspector Jack Regan, Dennis Waterman as Sergeant George Carter and Garfield Morgan as Detective Chief Inspector Frank Haskins — is excellent.

The original titles (the first opening and closing titles in this compilation video) are still for me some of the most memorable TV cop show titles ever; I still love the way that the opening titles are exciting and action-packed, whereas the closing titles are slower and more moody:

Another reason that I loved The Sweeney as a kid was the tyre-squealing car chases — the bad guys would invariably drive an old Jag, whereas The Sweeney always drove a Ford Granada. This had extra resonance for me as a child, because my Dad had several Ford Granada company cars at the same time the show was airing.

Here’s another video of an archetypical Sweeney car chase from the first series (from an episode called Stoppo Driver):

“Shut it!”

Wedding Pictures

I’ve uploaded lots of wedding pictures to my Flickr account (I’ve been temporarily upgraded to Flickr Pro, as compensation for the demise of Yahoo! Photos).

Here are links to the three sets:

Here’s a sample image from each wedding:

This is me with Jonas & Melissa on the night before their wedding in San Francisco.

This is my little sister Vicki and her husband Steve in Sheffield.

Stuart & Becky at the Queen’s Chapel in Savoy Hill, London

Wedding Frenzy!

I’m in the midst of a wedding frenzy at the moment… Last weekend, I flew to San Francisco for a couple of nights for Melissa & Jonas’ wedding, which was a lot of fun — plus it was great to see most of my SF friends again.

Tonight I’m flying to the UK overnight, less than two days after getting back from SF, for two MORE weddings! My little sister Vicki is marrying her partner Steve on Thursday in Sheffield, and then I’m back down to London for Stuart & Becky’s wedding next Saturday.

That’s 3 weddings in 8 days, and about 13,500 air miles in total!