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As always, the last few days have been busy, one way or another, but I've managed to squeeze in a break from my studio now and again.

On Tuesday Emiko and I decided to have an 'Art Day Out' and drove over to The Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The weather was warm and sunny so I put the top down on the car so we could enjoy the air. Not sure how healthy the air was on the journey to Wakefield though as we were travelling on the motorway which was busy with trucks and vans churning out various flavours of noxious fumes. Still, once we got out of the city and headed through the pleasant countryside hills to the Sculpture Park, life seemed sweeter.

We ate lunch in the cafe there and walked to the memorial bench of my late brother Ian. His inscription is getting a bit worn and faded now but that may be simply a result of my failing eyesight, or either that plus a combination of winter weather.

Sitting on Ian's memorial bench always gives me great cause for reflection. Quite a bit younger than myself when he died, I feel a great sense of a life that should have flowered much longer. As the years pass a deeper sense of melancholy and longing prevails in my heart. Ian would have joked about this, of course, always being someone who appeared not to dwell too much on these things. He always had a sense of humour about the absurdities of life and tended to shrug the darker things off, though I think they lurked beneath the facade and, in some ways, perhaps contributed to the lack of physical care that ultimately aided his passing. Not that I can claim any superiority in that department.

Ian worked at the Sculpture Park for several years, at first as a part time young employee in the Park's original shop, then moving up the ladder until he had a position in the office. The office space was originally in a small, old, single story building, just behind where the Visitor Centre building is now. The Visitor Centre was not yet constructed when Ian worked there and I'm sure he'd be amazed at the way the Park has developed in the ensuing years. But every time I walk up the curving slope to Ian's memorial bench, I pass that old building where he had his office, and I remember the many times I went to visit him there.

Usually I would visit Ian at his office at lunch time and we'd drive to 'The Station' pub, not far from the Sculpture Park. Other times we'd go to 'The Old Post Office' between Bretton and the M1 motorway. Those lunches with Ian were always fun, lots of laughter and love. I was so happy to spend time with my brother. How I miss him...

After Emi and I left the Sculpture Park on Tuesday, we drove to the Hepworth Gallery and looked at the ceramics exhibition, then we drove to my mother's home and spent a little time with her before driving back to our own home. All in all, an enjoyable day out.

Now I'm starting to put together a list of potential 'jazzy' tracks for the 'Stylus' album. Not a running order at this stage, just a list of possible inclusions.

Looks like it will be hard to choose which tracks will make the final album as, so far I've listed 34 tracks and still have more to add.

Somehow I hadn't realised just how many pieces of music I'd made that could fit the 'jazz tinted' genre. I've also got three brand new tracks to add that no-one has heard yet.

These are titled: 'Woozy,' 'Science-Fiction Serenade,' and 'We Dare To Dream.'

Obviously, a download album can contain as many tracks as necessary, there's no physical limit because there is no physical disc. But putting everything out at once would present listeners with far too much information to take in at one sitting so I have two options.

1: Be very ruthless and choose only 12 or maybe 14 tracks at most.

2: Release all the tracks as a series, (three albums,) but not simultaneously.

Anyway, once I've completed making a list of all track possibilities, the next task will be to listen carefully to them and attempt to put an interesting running order together. No small job this with so much to choose from.

Have been tempted by another guitar. An 'ISANA BLACK PEARL.' It's a German archtop guitar finished in black with just one floating pickup. It's a re-issue of a guitar that Elvis Presley was photographed with when he was in the Army and stationed in Germany. The Elvis connection is interesting but not the reason for my interest. I simply like the look of the thing. It's not particularly cheap though and I'll have to think about selling one of my guitars if I'm to buy it, more to appease Emiko rather than anything else as she thinks, (quite rightly,) that I have more than enough guitars.

What to do? Which of my guitars can I bring myself to sell? Or maybe I should just forget it.

Ok, it's switch off time.


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Beautiful words about Ian's involvement with YSP there, Bill, and a lovely comment from Eric in response. I'm transported right back to the first visit that my wife Sharlotte and I made to the park, a few years ago now. We asked at the shop where Ian's memorial bench was, and the lady behind the counter directed us towards it, commenting about Ian "... 'e were a lovely lad!". We found Ian's bench, paid our respects to him, and enjoyed a lovely couple of hours walking round the park. It's a truly special place. Precious memories like that are all the more poignant now, as I lost my darling Sharlotte to cancer last year, so in my own way …


Eric Tilley
Eric Tilley
May 23, 2019

First, a big 'ol HUG from the L.A. Ordinary idiots for you, Emiko and Ian! He will always be missed and thank you so much for sharing your day with us. It's good to hear you're getting out and about and not just slaving away for your adoring fans. That being said, might I suggest that if you can't get a good price for the guitar you decide to part with for the new one, you should put it up on your Facebook page or even Ebay for a good, old fashioned auction! Notify us here when you do, and possibly raise enough for more than one or at least one and a nice weekend getaway with Emiko! Perhaps someone…

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