Monday, 10 September 2012

Mapping Holiday Horror

I love maps. They are such versatile and expressive mediums, conveying the wit, interests and persuasions of the map maker as much as they do the places that are charted. Be they informative or in the case below, imaginary, what is included and what is left out of a map conspire to form a very individual document of the real or imagined world. Since map making first began these worlds of imagination and understanding have morphed, as in the early Christian maps depicting foul beasts at the far flung corners of the world. Unchartered territory assumed to be inhabited by terrible, merciless monsters. Or details based on the embellished tales of weary seamen. Furnished from half truths and miscomprehension. The fear of the unknown. Maps also allow the viewer to travel without moving, satisfying the mind's yearning for exploration.

Got turned on to this map of holiday hell by Tom Gauld whilst perusing a fantastic map blog run by Frank Jacobs called Strange Maps.

Another recommended read for the fan of imaginary map embellishments is the Atlas Of Remote Islands by Judith Schalansky. A beautifully crafted book that pairs accurate topographical maps of remote islands around the world with fictitious stories relating to these slivers of land. It provides a wonderful synthesis of fact obscured by fiction, geography haunted by flights of fancy and weird creatures stalking extant, impenetrable land masses. David Profumo provides a fitting review of the book here

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Make Everything OK

For instances in time when things might need squaring up a bit:

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Pointer Sisters 'Hypnotized'

Pointer Sisters 'Hypnotized'

Hello stranger. It's been waaaay too long since the last post on this mutha. Spurred back in to action by this particular gem from the Pointer Sisters, on a funky space rock tip. A really awesome groove to this one. Littered with stylish guitar inflections, nonsensical but beautifully executed lyrics about Hypnosis and UFOs and eerie synth drifts inhabiting the background. Nice one ladies.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Catch The Pigeon

There are tales of all shapes and sizes when it comes to fishing. The notional salt cellar is often close to hand when hearing tales recounted from the banks. This freak occurrence needs no pinches of seasoning and fortunately I had my brother stood beside me as a co-witness.

In what was no more than maybe twelve seconds of action, the noise appeared first. A subtle swish from behind my left ear as I cast the rod forward and the spinner looped over the river towards the far bank. Momentarily this noise developed into a grey blur in my peripheral vision, becoming like a broad and confident brush stroke and was then a pigeon surging down the tree-lined river Teme, perhaps 20 feet above the surface. In what can only be described as slowed-down-motion I became aware of the converging trajectories of spinner and bird and then like a surreal, computerised war game, tiny missile connected with unintentional target. The short, muted thud of contact rapidly segued into a frenetic swish as the monofilament of my spinning reel left through the eye holes of the rod at untold speed. The rod tip became subservient to the birds direction downstream. Pigeon on! 
The feathered fish continued arrow straight down the river and as quickly as it had connected with the treble hook on the Mepps Aglia size 3, had stripped my entire reel to the amateur triple granny knot that secured the end of the line to the barrel, with bale arm still cocked for casting. Then like some old pillow, sporting multiple holes and given a vigorous plumping - a small explosion of feathers appeared and the line went slack. Miraculously the granny knots had held. The pigeon cartwheeled down towards the surface, before somehow regaining its balance prior to impact with the water and flew onwards, no doubt as confused and dumbfounded as we were. I looked to my brother and the expression on his face. “Fuuuuuurking hell, did you see that!”

Friday, 21 October 2011

Now that's what I call a soup, vol.1

Manly interpretation of soup. Raargghh!

Super-spiced Parsnip soup with parsley, parmesan and chorizo.

Tame the vegetables into chunks with a knife. Show them whose boss. Fry the carrot, onion and celery in a little oil and butter, add the parsnips after a few minutes then introduce all the other ingredients and let them socialize. Pour in the stock, turn up the heat and cook on a gentle simmer for about the time it takes to have a not-tooooo-leisurely bath.

Fry pieces of chorizo in a pan and meanwhile blitz the soup. Season with s&p, transfer to bowls and sprinkle with parsley, grated parmesan and the chorizo pieces with a little of the oil to the lend the dish a bit of swagger. A solid lunch

Vegetable or chicken stock - 2 pints
1 decent onion
1 stick celery
1 proper carrot
5-6 adult-sized parsnips
ground cumin 1tbsp
ground coriander 1tbsp
ground turmeric 1 tsp
2-3 red chillies, or as many as you think you need

optional extras:
sweet potato (for a silkier consistency - ooh)
more chilli?

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Swamp Bait

Record collecting heavyweights Godsy & Zeus AKA Gareth 'Cherrystones' Godard and Joel 'Quiet Village' Martin adopt two more aliases as Junior 'Sugarcreek' Kincaid & Dwight 'Crawdaddy' Pickens in this foray into the murky backwaters of Bayou country. It's not often I've forked out for a mixtape in recent times but this one has been worth the punt and some. The gumbo-thick selection takes in the likes of Link Wray, Ten Years After and Travis Wammack in a heady and heavy seventies rock jamdown bound to get bourbon corks squeaking, humidity levels rising and gators writhing.

The CD is limited to 200 copies for the world, so if it sounds like your kind of trip, get your skates on to secure a copy over at the Sounds Of The Universe website, its worth every penny.

Get a taste of the bait below with Link Wray's 'Tail Dragger' which features on the mix:

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Beautiful Swimmers

Here's more yearning for the summer. 'Big Coast' got released on a chunky twelve inch by the Future Times label in 2010. A contender for my tune of the year, this is some glorious dubbed out '80s Baywatch action. Whoever does the videos for these folks deserves a massive high five (check the video for 'Oh Yea' too)

Friday, 18 February 2011

Full Noon

A mix of tunes recently put together whilst dreaming of long hot summer days. Introduction courtesy of Rod McKuen and San Sebastian Strings. For more information on tracks etc. contact

You can stream the mix using the player above, or download it here in high quality 320kb MP3

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Heartworn Highways

Anyone with a passing interest in Southern rock, country and bluegrass of the mid-seventies should watch Heartworn Highways if they haven't done so already. Amongst disarmingly intimate footage of reknowned artists like Townes Van Zandt and Steve Young, the real hero that emerges for me is one Larry Jon Wilson. He appears in the second scene working on a song called 'Ohoopee River Bottomland' and his soulful barritone, laidback style and all-round geniality really shine above the rest of the film. See below for that scene:

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Electric Eden

Just finished this enthralling read by Rob Young called Electric Eden - Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music, which charts the meandering development of the folk music canon in Britain over the last hundred years or so. The book has enjoyed almost unanimous critical acclaim and you can pick up a copy in all good bookshops. Young's painstakingly well-researched tome will have you seeking out the music and musicians considered within on a page-by-page basis.

Young manages to successfully weave the development of Blighty's indigenous folk narrative into the prevailing social, cultural and political climates of the time. Although his own overtly socialist political stance threatens to take over at times, his knack for vivid descriptions of the sonic palette and enthusiasm for the folk continuum, more than make up for it.

For a taste of the artists covered within, pay a visit to the Seek Music website, where music writer Ian Preece has compiled a mix inspired by the book, that takes in the likes of Davey Graham, Shirley Collins, Fairport Convention and Ewen Macoll.

Friday, 21 January 2011

DIY Classical Music

If like me your knowledge of classical music is on a par with an understanding of advanced neuroscience, here's a cute and accessible little introduction through the back door from the leftfield, courtesy of the ever-enlightening Mississippi Records' tape series. It features a selection of scratchy compositions from the likes of avant-garde composer Erik Satie, street musician 'The Viking Of 6th Avenue' Moondog and Maureen Tucker from The Velvet Underground.

Download 'Classical Music For And By The People' here.

For more Mississippi Mixtapes, covering all kinds of obscure music from early doo wop and rhythm 'n blues to Jamaican soul and African oddities visit the Root Blog here.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Beatles graph of authorship

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Hairpiece or Herpes?

From the makers of Bacon Or Beercan? comes the next logical step in misheard foreign phrasing of English words amusement.

The Dream Syndicate

All Aboard!

An intriguing tour bus spotted in a car park near a dormant volcano in Japan, 2007.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Twilight Circus Mix

To belatedly kick things off on the Vurshon blog, here's an 80 minute mix of digi-dub from outer space featuring Twilight Circus Dub Soundsystem and complimentary selections. Link & tracklist below...

Twilight Circus Dub Mix MP3


The I-Tones - ‘Top Line Special’
Twilight Circus Dub Soundsystem - ‘Carousel’
Forest Swods - ‘Rattling Cage’
Twilight Circus Dub Soundsystem - ‘Bord’
Dubclash - ‘Space Station’
Twilight Circus Dub Soundsystem - ‘Electric Africa’
Twilight Circus Dub Soundsystem - ‘Horsie’
Twilight Circus Dub Soundsystem - ‘East Of Memphis’
Systemwide - ‘People Of The Book’ (Swayzak remix)
Dub Specialists - ‘Hold The Wah’
Twilight Circus Dub Soundsystem - ‘Rolling Thunder’
Twilight Circus Dub Soundsystem - ‘The Ride’
Twilight Circus Dub Soundsystem - ‘Binshaker Dubplate’
Zenzile Dub - ‘Funky Delhi’
High Tone - ‘Echo-Logik’
Glen Brown & King Tubby - ‘Lambsbread Dub’ (Leftfield’s Half Past Dub mix)
Strategy - ‘Dunes Dub’
Jack Dangers meets Dubloner - ‘Turn Left For Jabilaya’
Mike Stott - ‘Modern Love 2’
Twilight Circus Dub Soundsystem - ‘Oats’

Ryan Moore is the Netherlands-based multi-instrumentalist and echo warrior behind Twilight Circus and has been producing his own unique take on the dub canon for nearly two decades now. As well as releasing a slew of great albums and compilations of dubplates featuring ethereal keys and the trademark Twilight sonic palette, Moore has also released some mighty good soundsystem singles featuring contributions from heavyweights like The Disciples, Big Youth and Brother Culture. Check the Twilight Circus website for a full discography and links to buy stuff. This mix (hopefully) showcases the wide breadth of his sound intermingled with other digital oddities of a somewhat other-wordly nature, from the French adventures of High Tone and Zenzile Dub, through UK players like The I-Tones and Dub Specialists to the claustrophobic experiments of Forest Swords and Strategy.