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Tuesday, 27 July 2021

The Prescription is Music: Entrain Your Brain

 The Prescription is Music: Entrain Your Brain

By Darlene Koldenhoven, M.M.V., B.M.Ed., iLs-APP, NLP, GRAMMY®, Indie Music Hall of Fame


Entrainment is basically how music works as medicine. Our brains are neuroplastic, meaning, they have the capacity to change no matter our age. Neurons can be entrained by a variety of nonelectrical stimuli such as light and sound and this sensory stimulation can radically alter the frequency of our brain waves, to the extent that strobe lights and some music can cause seizures in persons with a hyperexcitable brain. Entrainment can clearly be measured on an EEG graph but I hope we all have personally experienced entrainment by moving to a beat of a song, for example. Indeed, when musicians/singers make music together, the brain waves of the participants begin to entrain with one another. We know that singing can rest the mind and singers entrain together to make beautiful music when singing in a group. Musicans’ and singers’ dominant neuronal firing rates synchronize. We musicians may call this, “getting into the groove.” So not only were the musicians in the experiment run by psychologist Ulman Lindenberger in 2009 playing together in an ensemble, the coordinated ensembles of the neurons within each player’s brain were playing together with the ensembles of neurons in their fellow musicians’ brains! I personally have experienced this entrainment many times, especially singing in several a capella vocal groups with no conductor. After a short while, everyone knows when and where to breathe and how to phrase together without one conscious effort to explain it to each other, in a rehearsal for example. We just know! We keep ourselves “open” to each other.

Rhythms of neuronal activity correspond to mental states. When asleep, the brain fires at 1-3 Hz. Awake and calm focus is about 12-15 Hz, worry and anxiety increases to 20Hz. Within the brain are multiple “conductors” generating the timing of these rhythms. Neurofeedback devices can train the brain’s off-rhythms how to control them. This is not sound therapy but training the brain’s clock by learning to listen to and react to sounds so that a person is on-beat can be transformative.1

The HeartMath Institute has a very effective type of biofeedback device called Inner Balance, along with certain tools and techniques such as timing the breath while taping into positive thoughts and emotions that can help calm a person, increase resilience and experience more heart coherence. It also can be used to open the gates to intense levels of musical entrainment, allowing musicians to perform with each other at a much deeper level; so much so that audiences can easily perceive the difference in research done by Pianist Dr. Kathleen Riley, Ph.D. who calls it musical coherence.

 


Many brain disorders are caused when the brain loses its rhythm and fires in an offbeat way. This is where music therapy is promising for these conditions. In the July 25, 2021 episode of American television’s “CBS Sunday Morning” a young man, with severe brain damage due to toxic heroin use, could hear (and feel) everything! While everyone thought he was in comatose state, in reality he just couldn’t respond to the sound. As part of his recovery, to assist with learning how to walk again, a music therapist walked backwards in front of him, playing her guitar with punctuated rhythmical beats to prompt moving of each foot. This is a type of entrainment.

In his book “The Brain’s Way of Healing,” Psychiatrist Dr. Norman Doidge, M.D. devotes an entire Chapter to discuss Dr. Alfred Tomatis’s research and methods of a type of sonic therapy Tomatis called audio-psycho-phonology (APP) or ear-brain-voice. Due to limited space here, I highly recommend reading Chapter 8 for a very inclusive overview of how the Tomatis methods work and can help with brain, body, and vocal function. I would say this is a similar but much more intense type of musical entrainment to train the brain, than general music therapy. In describing Tomatis’s work, Dr. Doidge says, “This was music medicine: using sound energy to form a bridge into the brain, to speak its language.”2 Dyslexia, autism, slow learning, ADD, ADHD, PTSD, sensory processing disorders and much more are helped through this pleasant type of sonic therapy. Tomatis’s methods are like going to the gym for the two muscles of the middle ear which regulate the timing of the impulses going into the brain. 

In the July 4, 2021 issue of the Los Angeles Times I read a tragic article about Afgan rubab makers and musicians. In a stark contrast to variety of ways we use music, personally I have a deep compassion for musicians who are stifled, such as what is happening right now in Afganistan where the Taliban is taking over and banning ALL music, even classical Afgan music and musical instruments like they did in 1996. It is hard to understand why the Taliban would consider any and all music haram, or forbidden. I can’t imagine what it must be like to live in a world without music when one is capable of hearing it and knowing what we know now about the healing music can bring. The Taliban says music is like drinking alcohol. But I say music is the medicine we all need to bring us together and heal the human existence.

1,2 “The Brain’s Way of Healing,” Norman Doidge, M.D., ©2015 Viking Penguin (USA)


Darlene Koldenhoven, M.M.V, B.M.Ed, NLP, iLs-APP certifications, Grammy Winner & 3-time nominee, Indie Music Hall of Fame Inductee, #4 Billboard charting artist. Recording artist with several multi-award winning, #1 New Age albums, some played in hospitals and hospices worldwide. Author, “Tune Your Voice: Singing and Your Mind’s Musical Ear.” International speaker and workshop facilitator on music education and sonic therapy. Private practice in voice and sonic therapy; in person or remotely. More info at DarleneKoldenhoven.com, ListeningMatrix.com, TuneYourVoice.net, WellnessVoiceWorkshop.com.


©2021 Darlene Koldenhoven. All rights reserved.

 


Friday, 9 July 2021

Respect by Rosie Hamilton McGinty

 



Respect by Rosie Hamilton McGinty


How to Earn Respect of Others

We all want respect in our personal lives and in our professional lives as well. We want to be appreciated for the work we do and to get proper recognition for our contributions. When our colleagues respect us, they take us more seriously and view us as professionals who get things done in the right way while applying professional standards and ethics. If you want to be respected by everyone you come into contact with at home or in the workplace you must learn to do these things listed below consistently. These qualities show who you are and the values you uphold as an individual.

1.    Be Independent and don't always wait for direction from others. You are capable of

doing things for yourself. It starts with confidence and just one bold step. Do it and believe in yourself.

 

2.    Always keep the promises you make. There is nothing worse in life than a person who promises to do something and then doesn’t keep their promise. You become labelled as ‘unreliable’.

 

3.    Stop apologising. Be proud of who you are as an individual, your specific talents and skills, and don’t feel inferior to anyone. Yes, do apologise for being late for a meeting that’s shows respect for yourself and the other person.

 

4.    Don't waste other people's time. With our very busy lifestyles and schedules, no one likes people who complain all the time. Unless you have something constructive to offer someone try and not waste people’s valuable time. If you can do this it says a lot about you and the respect you have for yourself and others and their time.

 

5.    Stop gossiping. People who enjoy gossiping about others shows a lot more about them than the people they are gossiping about. Research shows that people who gossip the most have very high levels of anxiety. They are generally not particularly popular because they cannot be trusted.

 

6.    Stop being too nice. People who are too nice can become ‘door mats’, allowing people to walk all over them and even take advantage of their good nature. Start setting boundaries for what is and what is not acceptable to you in all your relationships.

 

7.    Cultivate Humility. Spend time listening to others and show you genuinely care about them, their life and their concerns. Humility is the quality of having a modest or low view of one's importance.

Respect for others also involves asking more questions and remain open to new ideas. People really do not like ‘know it alls’. People will respect you less because they feel you don’t value them, their ideas or input. It’s best to show people that you are open to learn and are prepared to change and think differently. In today’s society your ability to ask questions is truly valued, and this will ensure greater respect from others which we all desire.

Until next time,

Rosie

rosie@awinningattitude.com

www.awinningattitude.com




Sunday, 4 July 2021

Summer Haze by Emma Thacker

 


Summer Haze

The summer sun brings its warming smiles.
Scented Rose petal love and walks for miles.
A summer garden's sensual gifts,
Sees bees hop from flower to flower,
Working in shifts.

Fuchsias dance in the breeze,
Like tiny delicate ballerina girls,
As beautiful as diamonds,
As precious as pearls.

Even the buttercups and daisies,
Sprout through the forest of grass,
Watching every moment pass,
With smiles on their determined faces,
For they appear in many places.

And while I sit here in this garden in July,
Watching as the world goes by,
The birds my orchestra,
The flowers my show,
I wish all days could pass so beautifully slow.

I breathe in lavender scented air.
I sit and dream without a care,
For while I am here nothing gets in the way.
Nothing can ruin this summer day.

For now it is just the birds and the trees,
The scented air,
The caring breeze.
For now it is just the flowers and me,
On this summer day,
Sat under my tree.

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Stonehenge a poem by Emma Thacker

 


Stonehenge

 

Rays of golden sunlight,

Burn the memory of rain.

Merlin’s breath creeps forward,

Across the Salisbury Plain.

The warming light grows stronger,

On this magical summer morn,

To brush the long-gone footsteps,

Druid born.

The land it drinks the silence,

Before the crowds amass.

One halcyon moment beckons,

Future? Present? Past?

All as one in this tribal beat.

As the sun cuts through the bluestone,

Shadows dancing silently,

In the growing morning heat.

 

Sarsen and shadow,

Secrets to bestow,

Myth and magic,

Poetic, enigmatic.

 

The only living witness,

Rises higher in the sky,

Unable to speak her tale,

To agree or to deny.

Still, she shines on regardless,

Peering through the sandstone door,

As the footsteps of long-gone magic,

Echo to the grassy floor.

So as the golden sunlight,

Welcomes the hanging stones again,

And Merlin’s breath has vanished,

Across the Salisbury Plain,

The day begins anew,

As it did five thousand years hence,

With the sun.

The Witness,

And shadows,

That lay history to rest.

 

 

 written by Emma Thacker, hear Emma reading the poem to music here: https://youtu.be/j2UPwqRCQRA


Thursday, 13 May 2021

Is Music Worth Anything Now? by Andy Rogers

 

I love music – I always have. Remember that old song by John Miles? “Music was my first love”…  “To live without my music would be impossible to do”… that could have been written by me.  From the time when my dad gave me a copy of “With the Beatles” back in 1963 right up to the present day I love having a new album .. A whole new batch of songs to explore. Maybe it will be fantastic, maybe not (!) but that moment where you hold the artwork in your hand just before that first play is still addictive.

But the sad thing is this. At the age of 65 I seem to have become a musical dinosaur. Part of a dying breed of people who a) listen to albums all through and b) are actually willing to PAY for the music they listen to.

It’s the Spotify effect. You can get as much music as you want for nothing. No need to buy any albums or singles any more, just log on, type the artist name and there you are. Great. Unless you are the artist of course! If you’re lucky you might eventually get some miniscule amount in royalties dribble into your account but don’t hold your breath and certainly don’t rely on it to make a living. If you actually DO want a personal copy well just get yourself one of the many mp3 converter programs and steal the track from You-tube. Pay 99p for a track? Are you mad? The sound quality will be rubbish but you’re only playing it through a tinny speaker on your phone anyway!!

All very sad. And while I’m stood on this soapbox think about this: When this generation gets a little bit older what music will they remember and cherish with those special memories? Where is their “Sergeant Pepper”? Their “Dark Side of the moon”? Their “Rumours”? The sad truth is this. Kids now just do not buy music. They don’t buy singles (oh, they listen to them as I say, but they don’t BUY them) and they most definitely do NOT buy albums. My lads (both in their 30s now) couldn’t tell me the last time they bought an album. They don’t even want them for birthday or Christmas presents. They just wouldn’t play them.

Try going into an “entertainment” shop like The HMV Store that sells CDs, DVDs, games etc and by the time you’d got past the racks of games for X-box, PlayStation etc and discovered the last few racks of CDs that are lurking in the darkest corner of the shop you will find that, apart from one or two other sad looking people in their 50s or older, you’ll be pretty much on your own. Anyone younger than that will be back at the front of the store having gone into the store for some game or other, a Star Wars Plushie or a new pair of Bluetooth headphones. What they are not there to do is buy music.

Unbelievably (and this is a true story) during the run-up to the last pre-Covid Christmas I was browsing the CDs in the HMV store in Solihull (now closed down of course) when two teenage girls came up to me, looking lost. “Excuse me” one said, “Sorry to be a nuisance but how do you do this?” “How do you do what?” I asked... “How do you buy a CD?” they asked(!)... The concept of finding the artist by looking alphabetically then paying for it at the till was an alien concept. I knew then the days of the record store were numbered.

So that, I think, sadly is that. Music as hard copies... from cylinders to 78 records then through Vinyl onto CD is as good as dead. Personally I will be very sad when it finally happens. I love browsing in HMV or whatever CD shop is left (there aren’t many now are there?). I like to see the new releases... or survey the digital remasters of old favourites. I’ve always been able to spend too much time (and money!) in Music stores … but not, it seems, for very much longer. I’m going to miss that. A lot.

I'm a fan of the little details… where and when was it recorded? Who produced it? Who exactly is on vocals and who’s that playing that fantastic guitar solo? Oh and while I’m at it, it’s good to have the lyrics too!  Try finding that on Spotify!

So to sum up – and to return to the heading - IS music worth anything now? Well of course it is, it can soothe, calm, energize, and take you up (or down) and above all it is a source of all your greatest memories.  The trouble is, unless you are a very big name artist you are never going to make a living with making music. We live in an era of disposable music, people don’t buy it so it has no real value. Tunes come and go so quickly that nobody has time to associate them with any special memories. Nobody over 20 will be able tell you who is in the singles chart this week, that’s a fact.

No-one of this generation is going to have the chance to look back in twenty years time and say “Ah yes! I remember buying this album – what a great year that was”.  And that’s a shame, don’t you think? 




Thursday, 6 May 2021

The Moonlight Adventure by Emma Thacker

 



The clock struck three,

 As the moon shone down.

 Drifting colours,

 Blinking in and out of existence.

 Swirls of darkness,

Pushing me further down the rabbit hole…

And nothing…nothing at all!

So long, yet no time at all,

As I fall.

One breath so fast, and here,

Here I lay,

But where is HERE?

Is it night or day?

The past, the present all combined,

Leaves questions floating in my mind,

Yet soon they vanish like bubbles in the breeze.

Where am I going?

Tell me please.

I find a door, I must go through,

Drawn inside, floating along as if my feet had no meaning or existence in this realm.

Drawn into a familiar place.

Before me waits a familiar face.

How long has it been since I have seen you?

Since I have felt your warmth?

Yet here you are!

Here you stand.

I don’t understand…

How can this be?

What more can I see?

As I reach for you and envelop myself in your loving arms,

All of time and space becomes meaningless.

The room fades into the emerald emptiness of a field in summer.

Sunflowers tower above me,

The yellow sea,

Stretching into infinity.

Marshmallow clouds toasted by the grapefruit sun,

Bring a smile to my face as I wander on.

I wonder…

The madness so ordinary,

So seemingly clear,

I leap and bound into next year.

See the world as it should really be,

I feel it looking back at me,

Yet it all falls away again,

Time, memories, images, pain.

Things that once were,

Things that will never be,

Things that make no sense,

Things I try not to see,

Things right now confronting me.

As I fall.

Into nowhere and nothing at all,

Like Alice by the riverbank with tales so tall.

Drifting colours,

Swirls of darkness,

Pulling me back to reality for evermore,

As the moon shone down,

And the clock struck four…


Thursday, 15 April 2021

The Life and Legacy of Duke Ellington by Alice Ayvazian

 


The Life and Legacy of Duke Ellington

by Alice Ayvazian 

Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington is considered as one of the key figures in Jazz history whose band and compositions shaped and influenced the musical genre in a profound manner, producing a huge body of work which includes original compositions within popular culture, as well as film scores, musicals, sacred music and suites.

Born in April 29 1899 in Washington D.C., Ellington grew up quite comfortably since his father, James Edward Ellington, was employed as a butler at the White House. At the tender age of seven, he gained access to musical instruments which intrigued him towards his early musical steps. Piano lessons followed from Marietta Clinkscales, which led to even a greater desire to dedicate and pursue a future and a career in music. His friends started calling him ‘Duke’, a nickname which would become his staple, due to his well manners and sense of style, virtues which were instilled to him mainly by his mother, Daisy (Kennedy) Ellington.

Young Duke started listening to ragtime and was greatly influenced by that style of music at first before entering the swing era. He attentively started to imitate other piano players, especially Willie “the Lion” Smith and James P. Johnson, thus slowly crafting his skills. From 1917 and onwards, he started performing around cafes and bars in Washington D.C. As time went by, he fully immersed himself in performing and established his own group ‘The Duke’s Serenaders’ and later on ‘The Washingtonians’. He later moved to Harlem, New York to be part of the Harlem Renaissance; a period of revival within the African American community concerning the arts and overall culture during the 1920s and ‘30s.

In 1927 a great opportunity appeared for Ellington and his group to start performing at the famed Cotton Club, since King Oliver, a well-known jazz cornet player, bandleader and Louis Armstrong’s mentor, had denied the offer of booking his own group. Thus, Ellington took on the engagement for the following three years with a series of very successful shows which mixed music with vaudeville, comedy and other dance numbers. Through the course of those years, he became very well known throughout the country, partly due to radio broadcasts recorded directly from the bandstand.

By 1933 the Great Depression had caused major damage within the music industry in the United States. Therefore, Ellington took his orchestra overseas since they had a major following in many other countries as well. Some of his well-known players were trumpeter Cootie Williams, cornetist Rex Steward, and saxophonist Johnny Hodges. Some years later saxophonist Ben Webster would join as well. The band’s tours would continue for more than 4 decades where they would perform all around the world. He first started working with Billy Strayhorn, a young arranger and composer, in 1939 and started a joint collaboration which yielded many hits. Out of the many now-regarded standards that were composed throughout the years of touring, are ‘Mood Indigo’, ‘It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing’, ‘Sophisticated Lady’, ‘I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart’, ‘Caravan’, ‘Take The A Train’, ‘Satin Doll’, ‘Cotton Tail’, ‘Solitude’ and many more.  

In the 1940s and 50s he started composing a series of suites, through an idea he had of creating Jazz pieces within classical forms. That body of work yielded, ‘Black, Brown and Beige’ (1943), ‘Liberian Suite’ (1947), ‘ Drum Is A Woman’ (1956), ‘Far East Suite’ (1964) and ‘Togo Brava Suite’ (1971). He continued creating his compositions and participating in performances for as long as he could, until he succumbed to illness in 1974 and died from pneumonia and lung cancer.

Ellington’s musical legacy as a pianist, composer and Jazz orchestra leader, is a timeless contribution to American music, which has transcended to various audiences around the world. His love for his craft of composition and performing made him into a legend within the Jazz world with a career that spanned more than half a century.

“If jazz means anything, it is freedom of expression”. – Duke Ellington


Sunday, 11 April 2021

The changing face of internet radio and the death of the chat room! By Steve Sheppard

 

The changing face of internet radio and the death of the chat room!

By

Steve Sheppard

 

What was once seen as a gimmick, perhaps in the same way as CB radio, Internet Radio has now gone from a train spotter’s paradise, to a multi-platformed broadcast service worldwide, what was once seen as a little fun, a chance to be a pirate radio station, or an opportunity to invent the most crass and vulgar shows, has now developed into a truly serious business that unless you know your stuff, you will be gone in less than 60 seconds.


BBC Sport Steve

 

However back in the day internet radio was at times a lot of fun, but until 2004 I’d never heard of it, during the 90’s I spent most of my time on sports reporting live at events with the B.B.C., we were still not using the internet much at all in the late 90s either, and by the time we have all got past the rather uneventful millennium bug, I was then working for commercial radio on FM an experience that has nothing to do with music, but where cash is king!

I must be one of the few presenters who also had a show on the old AM wave band, which was to the say interesting, but the inevitable happened, one of the fellow DJ’s at the station mentioned to me that at night he lurked in the dark shadows of the evening, creeping through dank alleyways and for 90 minutes became a pirate radio DJ! I asked for more details, and I blame him for this whole internet radio journey, which started for me in 2004 and on to this day.

It all seemed rather nerdish when I arrived at this station, it was owned by two very odd individuals and housed in an industrial estate for small businesses, which I guess gave it a strange form of credibility; later I would go onto find out that they had none at all, oh and no license, not a single legit thing that would make them legal in any aspect.

It was that time that I became infected with the technology called a chat room, a place where people could come into at any time it was open, to leave your messages and suggestions for tracks to be played, and if you could get passed the perverts, the spam links to grow your penis to a mile long, and copious amounts of porn sites, it strangely worked.


By 2005 I worked by day as a postman, at weekends for the BBC, during the afternoons as the weather and travel presenter for a commercial radio station, and at night, I would slip into my anorak and become, internet radio man, this was exciting, I could e-mail all of my 11 friends and 7 of them would turn up in the chat room for 90 minutes of music I wanted to play, which was amazing as on commercial radio at that time the computer choose for you and Motorhead back to back with the Spice girls never worked.

There were some fun times it has to be said, but as it was largely unregulated, those who would never get a job on local or national radio, now had a voice and the vulgarity and vile language was so bad, that at times, the radio authority would phone the studio to complain, which I found strange as this station was illegal, but never once did they ever turn up to check them out, but here I was  playing the music I wanted to get heard, and I was getting a large following even back then, but let’s get back to the seedy world of chat rooms and the internet stations.

Apart from my own, QBR as they were (they now no longer exist, which is no surprise as they were run so badly that at times, they wouldn’t even bother to turn up to the studio to open it), I have never graced another internet based station. I have broadcast via the net for various BBC stations but that is under the regulation of the same body for the main stations output.

So the chat room and emails were at that time, they way of generating listeners, word of mouth and the occasionally lucky listener who had been surfing the internet would be your audience. I stuck it for some 3 years or so until I was asked to open up my first spiritual radio station, at that time called Southern Spiritual Radio, with reflection that was a huge mistake, as listeners expected to tune into pastor Steve from the deep south, laying his healing hands of his brothers and sisters from his shack in Alabama, not hear some British guy talking about Reiki, Shamanism and healing Crystals.


A salutary lesson in getting your brand right, this was now 2008 and the internet was the place to be, lot of stations were springing up, but most others were amateurs and lacked the professional training of myself, but the chat room was now at its height, although this station was not mine, I was appointed station manager, we now had a radio station with a working website and an abundant chat room. Unlike today, then you could judge your shows listeners by how many people were in the chat room, one I may add that was purpose built and on the front of the website.

By 2010 the owners closed the station and I opened up my first business online which would at that time be called One World Radio, due to my contacts over the years it didn’t take us long to establish the following again, and soon I was hitting 5000 listeners a month, now note, even in this short time of 2 years, chat rooms were on the wobble, MSN had closed their groups and the Behemoth of what was now known as social media, and Facebook was on the rise.


But, let’s just give a fading tip of the hat to MySpace which was huge back then. Chat rooms, were a way of meeting up with your friends, listeners and even the musicians all in one place, and apart from those wishing to indulge in cybersex and other such bizarre dirty rain-coat menageries, were now largely on the wane, so much so, that the website company we use, and still do, Moonfruit, really couldn’t be bothered to compete anymore and simply stopped the function themselves, and farmed it out to other companies if you wished to have one, so communicating with your listeners was fast becoming a changing operation.

Interestingly enough, one has to stand back when talking about chat and chat rooms; I remember working for BBC Surrey once and asked how the listener figures were for last week’s show, and he said something that made me think to this day, “Last week it was a bit quiet Steve, we only had 25 thousand listening” for him that was light, for me, for a 30 minute show, 25 thousand was beyond huge, so that many people wanted to listen to me for half an hour and not turn off, wow, so it indeed it is all a matter of perspective, and what you want to get out of the experience of being a radio presenter.

One World Music started in 2013, we had developed away from the static servers like Ice Cast etc. and chose Mixlr, a service you could literally transport anywhere, and we trialled this before moving to Cyprus. During one whole month in 2014, we broadcasted using Mixlr from our new home, easy. By now social media had pretty much removed the need for a chat room, so much so that we tried to invent one on Facebook, which for a while was pretty successful, but internet radio had changed so much by then, that swimming in the small pond was no longer an option, and the best way to communicate with your audience was your output. A good example with my falling out of love with chat rooms was that I found myself conducting one a few years back for one of my shows, and found myself virtually typing my entire broadcasted audio onto a Facebook chat room, a complete waste of time and frustrating as well.

So now we see the arrival of podcasts, thanks to PRS our licensing company, they called me one day to ask me about my stations license and to see if I had the correct one, during the conversation they informed me about this sparkling new world of keeping everything on a cloud, now this actually started for us back in 2013, and as a company Mixcloud did me a big favour, as until then I would be only able to keep 10 podcasts up on my website, now thanks to this cloud kingdom it was virtually limitless, and sure enough it has worked brilliantly for years now. I have a feeling we have somewhere in the region of 4000 shows you can access on our podcast service as of today, and it is constantly growing.

So we now had Mixlr as our portable server to the world, if we wished to use it they also had their own purpose built chat room, and Mixcloud had its own purpose built forum for every show uploaded, social media had exploded, but so had the APP world of the internet, this was now the latest big thing, what was once thought of as a hard thing to communicate with your end listener, is now a virtual impossibility not to do so, which is a nice thing for us at OWMR as 98% of them are lovely people.

So we stand above the coffin now, and look at the casket marked chat room, I do think we banged the last nail into the most eager of woods, by changing to our all singing and dancing responsive website, and inventing the 6 hour constant live play of all shows on OWMR, listeners now can now not only choose how to listen, but where and when they wish as well, for example, those who wish to find me online during the week, can do so by logging onto and listening to the shows on the first of our of 6 daily broadcasts on Cyprus time, you will find me there listening, but now we have arrived at a very interesting juncture in intent radio and chat, as most stations in 2020 just stream endless ice cold streams of music, with no real soul.

The personality has gone out of radio, I’m now also a musician and I adore it when I get one of my tracks played and they mention my name on LIVE RADIO, oh yeah baby, massage my ego, there, you missed a spot, ah yes, that’s better, but seriously we broadcast live warm content and include real people to do it. I once listened to a station locally who tried to broadcast a show with chat, and playing his music from Spotify, let’s just say it was a little embarrassing. Imagine “So let’s go to our next track, this is Queen and We Will Rock You” big build up and big silence as we hear “And we will be with Freddie and the boys as soon as my Spotify stops spinning in circles, wait, oh, almost there” You get my point, though things have changed, the skill set of being organized and professional hasn’t.

So internet radio is now a technologically driven industry, which at our age how we keep up with it is a miracle all of its own, but we love what we do and I hope it shows. Gone are the days of emailing your mates and basing your shows popularity on how many people roll up in a chat room; only recently in fact last week this happened, Tuesdays is our main stream rock and pop day, and let’s say that we were just short of 1000 listeners for 3 live shows that evening, but with hardly anyone chatting in our Facebook group, and this is where we enter the last phase of this never ending story, as there are now so many platforms out there now on social media, allowing us to all pick and choose our favourites, the biggest growth I have seen for us is Instagram, Facebook is now just another fish in an already overcrowded pool, and perhaps one day someone will go the same way as MySpace again, into the void of irrelevance.

The one thing that is certain in life is change, we can all testify to that; while Chrissie and I are not getting any younger, I have a feeling we will still be around in the once murky old world of the internet for a few years yet, and instead of sitting up till the wee small hours talking in a chat room, I now enjoy waking up each morning and answering all the messages and e-mails I have got from listeners regarding my show, so the moral of the story is, make technology work for you, never become a slave to it!


Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Through the Trees by Emma Thacker

 


Through the Trees by Emma Thacker

 

The warmth of sunlight

Melting like butter on my winter worn skin,

New yet comfortably familiar

Like a glow from within.

Blossom by blue,

All so new,

Branches waving,

Buds bursting through.

A call to awaken from tree to tree,

As the birds look around and feel what I see

As I walk on my way 

Through the trees.

 

Before long the spaces between skeletal branches

Will be filled with green upon green,

The arc of those budding fingers 

Reaching for the blue,

Reaching out to the warmth and hope 

Of life itself.

Leaving behind the darkened crisp shades 

Of all their yesterdays.

I crunch them beneath my feet.

The past feeding the new, 

Green on blue,

Sounds unseen,

So pristine.

As I wind my way

Through the trees.

 

I breathe in to fill my soul 

With the newness, the hope.

Memories of woodland dreams

Dance playfully through my very consciousness. 

Scents remembered as dreams become reality,

The slumber of winter soul's shut down

Finally ceasing.

Smiles and music,

Droning planes, 

Insence and wine,

Time repeating time,

As I sit on a fallen tree,

On my way 

Through the trees.

 

The golden glow of sun on outstretched fingers

Reaching for life in the cloudless sky,

Striped white by the trails of journeys above

As life outside just passes on by.

The breeze intensifies like a warming hug,

Washing away the clouds of yesterday,

Washing away the tears,

Hope for the futre

Understanding the past, the fears,

Reaching for the cloudless sky

Green all around as birds fly on by.

Smiles and music,

Blue upon green,

Memories of all the happiness I have ever seen.

Nature's power blown on the breeze,

As I finish my walk,

My walk through the trees.