Books. Read and unread. Stacks of them. I’m no book hoarder, but you could perhaps ascribe a mild case of bibliomania to me. Since September, the wood-panelled independent bookshop on the school run has been nibbling away at my wallet and my conscience as I casually ship home the weight of a small child in books through the tunnels of the Underground! Alas, the hours I get to read purely for pleasure are few and far between and, aside from a nightly Enid Blyton requisite, I prioritise the literature relating to my compositional research. As a result, I end up offloading these new acquisitions onto the ever growing to-read pile!

To my delight, I recently discovered that this sort of behaviour is not uncommon and that the Japanese have a name for it: tsundoku! In fact, the practice of feeding books to your shelves is perhaps best seen from a comedic side, as illustrated by the many Nipponese caricatures online. In that light the named practice gently forgives the hoggish desire to possess winsome paper publications, and leaves tsundokuists worldwide reassured that they merely suffer from the condition du jour, a possible consequence of our world turning too fast! Immediately, I brush off the bad conscience and ignore the staring pressures that effuse from the barbican of uncracked spines on the floor. After all, the unread wealth of this antilibrary, as Umberto Eco would have called it, makes in fact for a perfectly insulating wall of upcycled trees brimming with food for thought, questions, answers and future inspiration.

While I wait for a more propitious moment to sit down with one of these unread titles, please join me on Tuesday, 7th March at 19.30 for A Certain Sense of Order, a new operatic work based on the poetry of Anne Sexton and created in collaboration with Naomi Woo and Sasha Amaya of Tick Tock Theatre. We’ll be presenting the fruit of a four-day lab, an exploration of the relationship between movement and sound together with singers/performers Rebecca Cuddy and Rosie Middleton. The Rough for Opera scratch night is hosted by Second Movement and Tête-à-Tête at the Cockpit Theatre and features an exciting triple bill! Read more about our ideas on The Cambridge Student site. Tickets and details here.

On Saturday 11th March I will be performing live on Resonance FM between midday and 1.30 GMT with French For Cartridge for The Hello Goodbye Show! It will be a chance to hear us perform live versions of the recently released album THE GOLDEN HOUR. Tune in, wherever you are in the world!

Over the last few weeks French For Cartridge have come together with friends, family and strangers to hold Golden Hour Listening Parties in all sorts of locations. It’s been incredibly inspiring and we are delighted that the music is spreading, literally from person to person, as more people participate and feel enthused to host their own event. Reports of spectacular golden hour skies from the North Chain to the French Alps across the Moselle and up to the river Elbe all the way to Taipei have been gladly received!

Here are the next dates for golden hour rendez-vous hosted by us! Please get in touch at info[at]frenchforcartridge.com if you would like to attend. All welcome! Just bring headphones!


Date Place Geographical Coordinates Time
04.03.17 London ROOFTOP 51°51’97” 17.15 GMT
18.03.17 London ROOFTOP 51°51’97” 17.15 GMT
31.03 17 Helsinki WATERSIDE 60°09’15.0″N 24°57’23.9″E 17.15 GMT
09.04.17 Duinbergen BEACH 51°20’46.8″N 3°16’08.0″E 17.15 GMT
29.04.17 London ROOFTOP 51°30’26.5″N 0°05’57.6″W 17.15 GMT

If you would like to host your own listening party, all you need is to pick a place, invite a few friends and arrive with a headphone splitter and a portable device that plays music (phone/iPad/mp3player etc). At the time of the golden hour (roughly an hour after sunrise or before sunset) participants plug their headphones into the one device which plays back our recording. You can then enjoy 20 minutes of quiet time spent in a shared bubble, watching the skies change and pondering life. Do send us a snapshot of the aureate skies that day! In return we are happy to provide you with headphone splitters if you let us know in advance!

If you supported our Pledge campaign a while back, we hope you have been enjoying the result! The album will still be waiting for you to download in your Pledge account, should you not have had a chance to get to it yet. Don’t hesitate to contact me in case you have trouble finding it! The last pre-orderd items will also be sent off this week!

The GOLDEN HOUR is now available on iTUNES !


A room reshuffle presents an opportunity to organise the bookshelves afresh. There are creative ways to set up your shelves that make by author/title/publisher-systems seem old hat! Monochromatic patterns and rainbow style will get you far on Instagram, but you might need the help of Curious George when you are actually searching for a title. A literary snob would go as far as to display only well-thumbed Penguin Classics and use airport novels as a coffee table for coffee table books. Our library is more of a mix of arranging styles with a separation between the to-read and to-read-again shelves. Happily I display my stash of tsundoku as I look forward to the time spent with each of these books and, why not, my next visit to the bookshop of course!

’til next time,