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July 14th, 2014

Another music post! I love when things like this happen!

I noticed @edgarwright tweeted this afternoon about a new album, available to preview now via free stream.

Having given it a listen, I’m impressed – it’s full of subtle poppy grooves, with lots of sequenced synth goodness. To double my excitement, it’s a collaboration between two artists who feature in my favourite film of all time, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.


Dan the Automator (@dantheautomator) provides the slick backing to Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s (@M_E_Winstead) relaxed, easy vocals, reminiscent of Sophie Ellis-Bextor, with a little Lana del Ray thrown in.

This is how the promo site describes it, why not have a listen before it disappears:

Musician/producer Dan Nakamura (aka Dan The Automator) is known for his work with Gorillaz, Kool Keith, Handsome Boy Modeling School and others. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is an actress (Scott Pilgrim vs The World, Sky High) and also a singer. The two met on a film set, bonding over a shared passion for 60s French pop. Fluxblog confirms the album “sounds like French and Brazilian pop from the mid-20th century,” while UK blog Dots And Dashes describes a “kooky pseudo-travelogue centered around their shared penchant for the Swinging 60s, Winstead’s blase sighs complemented by the Automator’s keen ear for swoonsome yet louche retrospective soundscaping.”


Stream source: hypem
Preorder: iTunes

No Devotion

July 1st, 2014

This is really cool.

I’m so pleased to finally hear what has become of the remaining members of Lostprophets, left hanging after the terrible revelations about the (now defunct) band’s lead singer, Ian Watkins. Aside from the disgust felt towards the actions of the singer, I immediately felt a regret, a sorrow for the rest of the band, who were instantly and unceremoniously discharged of not only their ‘rockstar’ statuses, but also their jobs.

Harshly uprooted from their settled lives and careers, their own notions of trust and betrayal tested beyond measure, there was never going to be an ending in which everything could simply go back to where it was before.

So out of the ashes, here is this new band, or old group with a new singer, and a totally new sound. It’s not the Lostprophets sound of old, but how could it be?

Have a listen to the single below – see what you think. I wish the guys all the best after what they’ve been through.

Article source: Kerrang
See also – interview with Watkins’ ex: The Mirror


June 30th, 2014

This week has been a productive week. Having recently started using Lightroom to process my photos I’ve had to work out and adapt to a new workflow, which has obviously taken a bit of time, as well as trying to work through an ever-increasing backlog of photos.

This is no bad thing – just after the wedding I purchased a second camera, going for something much smaller than my DSLR so that I can carry it with me more often. This means lots more photos, so somehow I need to find the time to get through them!

Nevertheless, as I said, this week has been productive, and I have managed to get through a bunch. Head over to my flickr if you want to get a sneak preview, but I will, of course, be posting them here in due course. For now, here are a couple!

AIM/Pedal for Pounds

June 1st, 2014

Last Tuesday I had the privilege of attending an event at Compton Acres, hosted by AIM Community Bournemouth, which included a musical performance from my good friend David Ashley.

The atmosphere was beautifully chilled out, with the always welcomed opportunity of sharing a relaxed drink with great company. Before the entertainment added to this calm aura, a couple of inspiring fellows shared with us their cause.

Tim Evans and Alastair Jones, two lovely gents, had stopped in as part of their mission – 1000km on two wheels (each) in 9 days – and this to raise awareness of the important work carried out by the charities they were representing, Worth Unlimited and Frontier Youth Trust. Pedal for Pounds is a worthy cause, aiming to raise the hopes of young people who have been written off to society – but still have huge potential awaiting release. Head to their Facebook page to find out more, and do consider donating.

Anyway, here is a selection of photos, taken on my superb new compact camera. Check out the Forest:JungleCollective page over at mixcloud to hear some of Dave’s stuff, the two podcasts recorded at this event will be uploaded there in the coming weeks.

Soaking up the atmosphere

Mr David Ashley, host for the evening

Alastair Jones, Frontier Youth Trust

Tim Evans, Worth Unlimited

Dave hard at work

Put the needle on the record when the drumbeat goes like…

Tycho – amazing record

Minor adjustments



May 30th, 2014

Yes, it’s been a quiet few months on Sticks and Stones, ain’t nobody denying that.

In my defense, I am now married…

On 10 May I married my lovely wife Naomi – we had a fantastic day followed by a very relaxing honeymoon in Egypt.

In other news (because you’re so interested in my life), here is a little taste of what’s coming on the site – albeit dependent on the amount of time I have to process it all…

Keep an eye out – or open, at least, because out sounds painful.

P.S. A massive thank you to Olly Knight for our photography, I’m sure you’ll see a little more soon!

Worship God UK 2014

March 14th, 2014

Last week I attended the first annual (hopefully!) Worship God UK conference in Bath, run by Sovereign Grace and hosted by Grace Church Bristol.

It was a really great time, meeting lots of new people, most of them faithfully serving their churches in worship teams. The main theme of the conference was ‘Called to be Faithful’ with great teaching on being faithful in different ways. A standout talk was ‘Faithful to Receive’, which highlighted how a key part of our identity as Christians is that we are those who have ‘received’ and therefore anything we give, or do is very much a response to what God has first done for us, primarily in the death and resurrection of Jesus.

So there was a lot of great biblical teaching on worship, but there was also some great practical teaching too. There was a great seminar on acoustic guitar skills with Patrick Anderson, a songwriting workshop with Stuart Townend and Steve and Vicci Cook, and a session on musical arrangement led by Devon Kauflin and his band. The standout seminar for myself was ‘Making room for the Spirit in leading worship’ which was very practical, but also very moving. Bob Kauflin led us in an improvised musical response to scripture, sung meditation on Psalm 100.

The times of sung worship were great, with different groups leading the music each day, and doing so in a way which was not only a pleasure to be a part of in terms of musical quality, but also so helpful in encouraging real, heartfelt response to God’s truth, in worshipping Him with mind, heart and body.

So much more that could be said, but I’ll leave it there for now. Below are a couple of photos from the conference, there are more on my flickr (click to view). The other bonus from the conference is that it was held in such a beautiful city, and I’ll be posting some of the photos that I took around Bath in the coming weeks.

One of the music teams at #wguk14

Bob Kauflin about to giveaway one of many books

Stuart Townend reading from the Bible during a time of sung worship

The Bath Forum, this year’s venue

Matt Searle with Megan Baird

Bob interviewing another showcased songwriter, Simon Brading, with Lou Fellingham

The speakers’ q&a panel at the end of the conference

Fair Play Mate

March 12th, 2014

This is nice, some fair play in football – not something we see often. And the other players clearly appreciate it and thank the ones that owned up.

Fair play lads.

Got some new photos coming soon. Peel. Your. Eyes.


February 17th, 2014

Tonight I’m at Monty’s Lounge in Pokesdown for the first, hopefully of many, Espresso Session.

It’s an evening of chilled music, both mixed and performance, hosted by the wonderful Dave Ashley, who will be familiar to regular readers.

Here are a couple of photos to give you a taster of the atmosphere, head down to the next one on March 24th.

Proper Food

February 10th, 2014

Today was a chance to work in a slightly different environment – a 5-star hotel near Highcliffe called Chewton Glen.

I’m working on an event with Tom Kerridge, owner of the only pub in the world to have two Michelin stars. The hotel here is beautiful, with grounds that go on for a long, long way, but the real treat today was to get a little taste of Tom’s food.

He cooked a massive hunk of beef, with triple cooked chips and hollandaise sauce – a little better than the ‘cup-a-soup’ I usually have in my lunch break!

Better go now as the show’s about I go live again, I’ll leave you with a couple of pics from the day (apologies for quality, shot on phone. Ouch.).

Poem: Control

January 18th, 2014

I wrote this poem this evening for a friend. It draws on my experience of depression, and the helplessness you feel, blinding you to the truth that even when everything seems chaotic, you can overcome what you’re going through, even if only in the tiniest of ways.


I know you feel
your life is chaos
out of

You probably don’t realise
How much
Strain you are under
The extent of your hurt

The unease is inexplicable
The problem so intangible
The feelings inconsistent
The causes deep in the unknown

Guilt lines each sunrise, knowing
Those you love are hurting, feeling
As helpless as you feel
Pulling them closer only to push them

The days roll on,
No changes.
Still frustration breeds and spirals
Empty platitudes serving only to
Increase the guilt,
The loneliness,
The need to be understood.

Let this sound not like one of those
Everything’s gonna be fine lines of prose
The truth is far from what you feel
The hope you lack is out there, real.

As helpless as you feel
You can make a difference, you can
Take control.

Start small, get bigger, work at
Living. Don’t worry about tomorrow,
Focus on today. Do what
You can.
You can.
It feels like you can’t.
But you can.

If you’d like to read more of my poetry you can find it here.