Wednesday 24 July 2013


Playing this year's Two Thousand Trees Festival
I’ve always been a sucker for a good harmony and the Cadbury Sisters have the most wonderful harmonies I’ve heard in a long time. I first saw them when we were both appearing at the Wychwood Festival last year. They sounded sublime, enthusiastic and alive. There was such energy and verve in their performance. I decided there and then that these women were going places.

Jess, Mary and Lucy really are sisters. You can tell that they have sung together for a long time when you hear the ease with which their voices combine into those glorious harmonies. And the quality of the song writing! That alone would make them worth listening to.

I have followed their career through their ep releases. Barefoot, the latest is excellent. I have watched their progress up the bills of festivals and was lucky enough to be on at Lechlade festival with them.

 In the intervening year their performance skills had grown even stronger. There was an assured feel to their set at Lechlade and they were superb, just the thing for a sunny afternoon. They stole the show.

I have been trying to link to a lovely video but cannot due to some technical reason beyond my limited abilities-here's a link. It's worth a look/listen.

I am delighted that they agreed to an interview.

Your harmonies are beautiful. Have you always sang together?
Thank you. Yes we have always sang together since we could talk! We were those children who had to be told to stop singing round the dinner table!

Last year when I saw you at Wychwood you mentioned  your Laura Marling moment-that relisation that you could write songs. Can you tell us about that?
I don't know if you've heard Marling's song New Romantic, but that song was the one that just made her so relatable to us as young women. She was fresh and her songs were so simple in a way but also very deep and intelligent. We started covering her songs for fun basically, and then that inspired us to start writing our own lyrics and songs.

Who influenced you when you were starting out?
Artist wise - obviously Laura Marling and some other artists such as Ryan Adams, Bright Eyes, Simon and Garfunkel are amazing too. But we were also really encouraged and supported by the Cheltenham music scene at the start. We played open mic nights and got to know the people who ran them and they were so lovely and really cared about us.

Barefoot: the latest ep
Tell us about your writing process? Where do the songs come from? How autobiographical are the songs?
Our writing process has evolved a lot over the last few years. Nowadays we tend to form ideas and lyrics on our own and then bring those ideas to the other two where we then finish the song with all it's harmonies and instrumentation. Sometimes we will just be having a jam and a song will come out of it, we love it when that happens!

It feels like there is a steadily building momentum around the group, I have noted that you have climbed higher up the listings over the year-have you got a grand strategy? Do you know where you want to be and by when?
At the moment we are just trying to write the best songs we can, and then we will record them for a release… possibly a full length album. We have had a great summer of festivals which has really made us fall more in love with performing than before - so really we just want to continue writing better songs, playing great shows and meeting more people along the way! 

If you were me what question would you ask you?
What’s a band you listen to that we wouldn’t expect?
Jess – Eels
Mary – Of Montreal
Lucy – Bo Ningen

What's in the pipeline?
A new release and playing more gigs all over the UK.

If you were a song what would it be and why?
We would be Young Hearts Run Free by Candi Staton. It’s such a great song with a really bold message. To listen to it you would think it was a happy-clappy love song but it’s actually an anti-love song. It’s great. We use it as a wake up song on long journeys to and from gigs!

Interesting choice-it’s a great song. Thank you.

You can catch the Cadbury Sisters at:

Nozstock: 26.7.13

Feildview: 1.8.13

Lakefest: 8.8.13

Mosley Folk Festival: 30.8.13

You can also follow them on Twitter.

Monday 22 July 2013


Yesterday I went to Tolpuddle for the annual march and festival. You may know the story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs who were arrested under a corrupt government and transported to Australia for simply joining a union. In the years following the Napoleonic Wars the government of this country was brutal, exploitative and only interested in those with money. Sound familiar?

Every year the TUC holds a festival to celebrate the people's victory  over the tyrannical government. On the Sunday afternoon there is always a march. I decided to share with you some of the beautiful banners of the different trade unions. The title comes from Milton and is in its entirety:

Under the spreading ensigns moving nigh, in slow but firm battalion.

It seems to sum up for me the solidarity, dignity and power of working people. Especially when you compare it to those in elected office at the moment.

 I should warn you there are a lot of photographs!

Lastly Tolpuddle would not be Tolpuddle without a closing set from Billy Bragg.


My brother Peter died on this day in 2006. Most of the time it doesn’t seem that long, though some days it feels longer. He had been there for all of my life and it was so shocking when he died. I had thought he was a constant, like the sun, the seasons, the day itself. He left a huge space in people’s lives. He was so full of energy and fun. One of my earliest memories is Peter making a kite out of brown paper and bamboo. I remember being amazed that anyone could do anything so clever. That said he was a very modest man, down to earth but with much compassion.

It’s difficult for me to find the words I want to express what I want to say. 

Here are the words my sister has composed:


A million times I’ve needed you, a million tears I’ve cried.
If love could have saved you, Peter, you never would have died.
Things I feels most deeply, are the hardest things to say,
My darling Peter I loved you in a very special way.
If I could have one final wish, a dream that could come true,
It would be with all my heart for yesterday and you.
Miss and love you always
Your Loving Wife, Dorothy.

We miss you Peter.

Thursday 18 July 2013

Max Ryan: A View from the Air.

Gorilla Island.
©Max Ryan. Not to be used without permission.
I am really pleased to be able to share with you the amazing work of Max Ryan. I don't really have to say much more do I? What incredibly beautiful photographs. Trust me the book is even better. I fell in love with it when some friends gave me a copy the other week. I was entranced by the painterly construction and knew I had to share this jewel of a book with a larger audience. 

Castle Hurst Spit
©Max Ryan. Not to be used without permission.

Where did you get the idea for the book from?

Almost two years ago I was taking some photos of Westbury White Horse, it was about 5 in the morning, I was trying to climb up on the fence to gain some height for the shot! I was trying not to fall off the fence when in the distance I could see something moving towards was pretty scary, until I realised it was just a flock of sheep heading my way. I decided to give up on trying to sit on the fence, so sat and watched the sheep for a while, it was then that I decided to investigate getting some height, as the fence was just not doing it!

My mother paid for my first flight! I have a pretty serious fear of heights and generally hate flying! So it was either going to be a success or a complete waste of time. Strangely, after the initial weirdness of flying in a helicopter, I just loved it.

Although its fairly noisy up there, with the door off! it's so very peaceful, it is just an amazing experience to see life from up high. It's clean and stress free!

I always have a route mapped out before flying, generally these include obvious landmarks but while on route, if I spot something I get it!

©Max Ryan. Not to be used without permission.

How many flying hours were needed to get the photographs?
I have clocked up roughly eight and a half hours flying time. (For 'Bird's Eye View' flying in a Robinson 22 & 44)The book has taken me the best part of a year and a half to design and print.

Where can people buy the book?
The book is available so far for £13.00 in; Seed by Design & Hunting Raven Books, both in Frome. Good Buy Books & Oldfield Park Books, both in Bath. White HorseBookshop, Marlborough & Bailey Hill Bookshop, Castle Cary & EdingtonFarm Shop.

I imagine that there are many technical difficulties to overcome when photographing from the air?
Technical difficulties.......not really, it's tiring and sometimes cold!

What's in the pipeline?
My next plan, apart from spending more time getting 'Bird's Eye View' out there, is to perhaps go for Dorset, Devon & Cornwall. (Not yet tho!)

If you were a book what book would you be and why?
Not sure what book I would be....The Giant Wasp Sandwich, think because I am not keen on Wasps.....I am sure you were looking for a deeper response!

I had no expectations. Thanks Max.

Friday 12 July 2013


I have had a busy couple of weeks. I have phoned in my last two posts from far away, such has been my circumstances. I do want to briefly mention the Chagall exhibition at Tate Liverpool-fantastic! It’s always fun to take a trip down the pool and the Chagall exhibition makes it even more so. There is something universal in the art of Chagall, it really sings to me.

I also heard an amazing young musician- more hopefully of HIM in the near future. Here’s a taster to be going on with.

Last week I was in the south of France visiting friends and I spent a day in Bordeaux where I was much taken with an exhibition by the great Catalan artist Jaume Plensa. I only managed to see a couple of his pieces as they were scattered about the city.

Prior to this the only example of his work I had seen was in St. Helens, where a head rises out of the wood to commemorate the triumphs of the miners at Bold Colliery. I have passed that many times in wonder.

Bordeaux is a very sympathetic setting for Jaume’s work. There is a dream-like aspect to the juxtaposition of living city and the scale of Jaume’s vision. What do you think?

Here’s a poem I wrote while I was further south visiting friends. I am not sure it’s complete yet.

We tumble into the warm night,
across the grass and wait
for the timed sheets of light
to count down and be gone.
Then I taste the blackness,
there are no shooting stars,
just this magnificent slow turn
of constellations I cannot name.

I am small but delighted to be alive.

That’s about it for this week. I think I may be posting an interview about a book of amazing aerial photographs on Tuesday. Finger’s crossed that the cd with the photographs reaches me in time.

Have a good week.