Journal Thoughts

The Net . . the good, the bad and the DIRTY (Lorenz) . . . .

Yes: the Internet is wonderful …. or, rather it can be. We can use it to keep in touch with friends, family, (and  some who are both) at the click of a rodent, sending greetings, news and trivia the world over. It’s a wonderful means of communication . . or is it? Is it possibly only a marvellous way of broadcasting? i.e one-way communication.

Maybe BECAUSE it is so easy to send a message, people appreciate less the fact that you have sent one! I think in the ‘old days’ (which must be some time ago… letter writing had already diminished a great deal by the time I was a kid) if someone sent you a letter you would reply in a leisurely manner whilst noting the contents of the letter and responding appropriately. With e-mail, there seems to be a greater likelihood (in my experience) to simply think ‘oh, there’s a message from so and so….’ and leave it at that. Even with ‘important’ messages about work etc. there is still a tendency to ‘firefight’ messages- deal quickly with the part of it that is easy and quick to do and ignore the rest of it. …which, of course, given the door handle syndrome, is likely to contain the most important elements towards the end… the door-handle for those of you not familiar with the expression- is that situation where you go to visit somebody in their office and only mention the real reason for the visit as your are actually leaving the room whilst actually holding the door handle  . . for a quick escape, maybe ‘. . . and by the way, John, you’re fired…..’

BUT the Internet CAN be great. I’ve started and maintained friendships with many musicians in Italy via the internet. Max,  Aldo and Marcello in Sicily, Enzo, and Walking Trees and many other friends in Calabria and my dear friend ‘Dirty’ Lorenz Zadro in Verona. Lorenz and I have  just confirmed a series of three concerts in the Verona area at the beginning of April. We met on My Space and this is the third year we have performed together like this. So over the internet, I’ll send him a set list, mp3’s of new songs I’ve written with the chords:- I’ll turn up we’ll do a couple of hours rehearsal with the band Lorenz on guitar, Matteo Vallicella – bass, and Giacomo Aio – drums . . and the scene is set for three days of music and fun. How good is that?!! A presto ragazzi! Non vedo l’ora! So if you live in the Verona area, come and say hello! Rowland Jones and the True Blues Band 2-3-4 April 2011.

When I think about it, the internet has enabled me to do lots of things from my rural retreat! I recorded music for a film shot in California working with a production team with whom I never even had one conversation- that one ended up in The Cannes Short Film Festival. Shortly after the Verona trip, we’re off to Maastricht for the launch of a book  of Dutch poetry; my contribution of a dozen sketches was all done via the internet. You  can’t knock that sort of technology, can you?

Journal Language Thoughts

Why extremists should be shot?! Or How Kryptonite is Superman’s Achilles Heel

Yes: it’s a joke . . . extremists . . . must be shot . . yes it’s irony . .or post irony  . . or non-irony (or does that mean ‘This garment is made of crimplene  and need only be steamed to retain its shape….)

Anyway, the extremists I’m talking about today are those who dismiss things out of hand without a single thought.  A while ago I wrote a post about a discussion between myself and an American friend concerning a promotional leaflet he was translating. I said ‘You mean that it’s full of superfluous superlatives?’: He said ‘It’s just bullshit’. To me, the latter is simply dismissive, whereas my description was referring to a specific element of structure (and pleasantly alliterative, I thought) I might also think it was ‘bullshit’ but this was not the point I was making. I was refering to the tendency of the beautifully florid Italian language which when translated literally into English invariably contains too many superfluous superlatives. Furthermore,  I do not use the word ‘bullshit’ as to me it falls into that totally dismissive element of language which I abhor. ‘Utter rubbish’ This sucks’ ‘It’s bullshit’ etc. which I’m afraid is endemic on the internet. (Maybe shooting might be a little harsh but certainly a ‘stiff talking to’ is called for . . . )

The reason that this sprang to mind again was that last night, whilst suffering from a viral infection and extreme self-pity, I watched three films based on Marvel Comics which I thoroughly enjoyed. Now I have intelligent and educated friends (that’s one group not two . . ) who dismiss this type of thing as rubbish, stupid stories etc. etc. My thought is this: what is the difference between these (apart from the technology) and  Greek and Roman legends? Or Shakespearian Theatre?

People again often dismiss all modern films as being simply ‘special effects’, not like the good old days. Surely if Cecil B Demille had those CGI techniques available he would have used them? It’s all just story telling with the available technology. Made for public consumption? Most of the Sherlock Holmes Stories were originally published in The Strand magazine, which was made up of a mix factual and fictional stories, very much for public consumption

The story themselves are more often than not moral tales, based on love & sex,  honour, devotion and revenge. Yes they are often gory: but stories have always contained gore: beheadings incest,  adventures involving bloody battles with merciless foreign soldiers or bizarre creatures etc etc.. the only difference is that there is less  left to the imagination as what was considered shocking before is now tame.  However the history of the media is full of these escalations in level. The ‘kissing in the waves’ scene in From here to Eternity was considered as noteworthy and risque at the time!

And then there’s major weakness of the hero, and that’s why Kryptonite is Superman’s Achilles heel!!

So guys, all I ask is this: try to think before dismissing anything out of hand whether it’s a film genre, a form of literature, a new way of looking at something or new recipe. . just think about it . . . . or else I’m sending Elektra around (and I don’t mean daughter of King Agamemnon and Queen Clytemnestra)

And you KNOW what that means . . .

Journal Language Thoughts

They’re so stubborn . . . .

Journal Language Music Sketching Thoughts

Stylish Blogger Award!

I’ve just been awarded this by Dolly over at Journal Addict. Thanks to Dolly.

So now I have to share 7 things about myself.

1. ITALY I live in Italy which I fell in love with in 1988 when I first went to Milan. I moved from Manchester to village of about 850 people, where I live in a cantina, which was built in 14th century ap.

2. MUSIC I began playing the guitar more than forty years ago and I still love it:.I have performed my ‘contaminated blues’ throughout Italy, playing at many major festivals such as Trasimeno Blues, Tropea Blues and Etna Blues. I have only done one gig in ‘English’ since 2006- and that was a private party in a bookshop in Paris. I recorded music for short that was featured at Cannes Short Film Festival in 2009 and wrote a song for documentary that was nominated for a BAFTA in 2010.

3. WALES – I was born in Gorseinon hospital just outside Swansea. My wife was born Lesley Jones, my mother was born Mary Jones, and Lesley’s mother is called Mary Jones. One of my great grandfathers John ap Caradoc Jones ran The Globe – a pub in Swansea, but also conducted classical music concerts somewhere in North America during the 1860’s(?) One of the other great grandfathers was called Moses.

4.JOURNALS I started to keep a journal in 2003, using it for ranting, writing and scribbling(see below). 2009 my work is featured monthly in the Maastricht based arts paper ‘Zuiderlucht’. 2010 Amsterdam based publisher invites me to contribute a book to their collection. It is published in October 2010. Subsequently I am asked to produce illustrations for a book of Dutch poetry which is being launched in April 2011. I am also close to completing ‘My imaginary Lives’ described by my editor as ‘a graphic novel for the 21st century’ – a lot to live up to 🙂

5. DRAWING I always wanted to draw, but at school in the 50/60 you were classified as those who could and those who couldn’t I couldn’t. Leap forward to 2004 when Paul Nolan drags me kicking and screaming to a life-drawing class. I’m hooked and it becomes of regular routine together with keeping a journal.

6. PHOTOGRAPHY I started taking photographs when I was about 8 with a KODAK 44A which I still have in its original box! Self taught, I have taken photographs professionally mainly for audio-visual presentations, and finally in 2001 returned to university and was awarded a Masters degree in Photography.

7. CATS I love cats, and most of all Archie, my Bengal.  He is beautiful, intelligent and funny. He is elegant like a wild animal, a ferocious hunter, but also loves company and accompanies us to the bar and the pizzeria where he will wait patiently outside while we eat!

So now I pass the stylish blogger award on to three people

Pete Scully at

Pegoleg at Ramblings

Don at

Journal Sketching


I am a luggage junkie: I have many bags of different sizes: this is a small cheap bag I bought in Siena. Just before going to Bratislava I decided I could deal with this holding a Moleskine,  a Pilot G-Tec and a pencil. The day before we left, the hooks on the strap snapped………

PS please ignore the date as I appear to have not yet drawn this……