This January

Landscape, 2 January 2018
I took this photograph on 2 January 2018 in the rural surroundings that inspire my work. It is summer in South Africa from November to February and the fields are awaiting the rain.

I returned to Twitter after a month-long hiatus.

Previously, I had a list of blocked words the length of my arm as people found increasingly more innovative ways to moral grandstand. The artistic community feels compelled to comment on political and social issues in the most petulant manner imaginable on a platform wholly unsuited for productive conversations on such matters. This counterproductive behaviour detracts from an artist’s work and has become a blight on the artistic landscape. For this reason, I follow no one—it eliminates unnecessary unpleasantness whilst I continue to follow artists where it matters: their shopping carts.

I spoke to the first artist for the Lonely Swallow label.

I was introduced to the music of Affan, an unsigned neo-classical composer from London, six months ago. He contacted me long before I had any thoughts of launching a label. Earlier this month, I approached him about making Origins, his forthcoming and first EP, the inaugural release of the Lonely Swallow label. His improvisational style is exemplified by this composition for the piano titled “Origin II”:

I started working on new poetry.

Last year, I composed a number of poetic sketches inspired by my rural surroundings. This month, I started refining them. The first sketch, “The Sunbird”, was written at the end of May in 2017 and the last, “The Bush Shrike”, at the beginning of this month—both have since been completed. The poems are my latest attempt at extolling the beauty of nature in verse. I have long thought about releasing a small publication of poetry and these verses could work as a collection, but it is too soon to decide on how they will ultimately be presented—for now, I shall focus on completing them.

Piano & Coffee Co. wrote about the Forgotten Fields album.

Blake Parker of Piano & Coffee Co. wrote a thoughtful review of my most recent album—an experiment in expressing poetic themes in ambient music. There is nothing more fascinating to a creator than seeing their work through someone else’s eyes and this review summarises the self-titled album, beautifully:

“The themes of Forgotten Fields deal with memory as an emotional catalyst.”

Mentioned in this post:

@forgottenfield (Twitter)
Affan (Soundcloud)
Lonely Swallow (Official Website)
“The Sunbird” Poem (Blog Post)
Piano & Coffee Co. (Album Review)

The Embarrassing Beginnings​ of a Poem

Malachite Sunbird
One of a number of beautiful Malachite Sunbirds that live in the garden.

Start Rough

It is amusing to see how a poem begins, the messy and awkward struggle to express a thought in verse. These are the embarrassing beginnings of “The Sunbird”, a poem I wrote whilst watching a sunbird in the garden, last year.

It began as a rough draft in a notebook:

“The Sunbird” poem began as two verses scribbled in a notebook.

This recording was made after I wrote the first draft—if you listen closely, you can hear the sunbird chirping in the background:

Stay Rough

I then started developing it further:

A screenshot of the second draft of “The Sunbird”.

I shall eventually​ develop this into a complete poem.

Lonely Swallow

I would like to share the name I have chosen for the label: Lonely Swallow. The swallow has become a major theme in my work and I have come to see it as both a metaphor for the Artist and a personification of the Muse. Things are slowly coming together and I hope to announce Artists, soon.

Lonely Swallow Logo

The image of the “lonely swallow” is taken from the second verse of the thematic poem of the Forgotten Fields album—a poem with its origins in the verse I wrote for The Zephyr and the Swallow. My work is inspired by my rural surroundings, something I wanted to honour when naming the label.

Forgotten Fields Poem, Verse Two
The Zephyr and the Swallow EP Poem