Iain Cameron's Diary
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2005-05-14 - 1:02 a.m.
We seem to have landed a new piece of work - it will be difficult but the opportunities for the firm will be good. I am not the figure-head on this, thank-goodness. But I have done this sort of thing before and I know it will be a roller-coaster. But in political terms itís a good thing to be doing - a position that fits with a new govt looking for new things that people will like.
Paul mailed about the Davy Graham- Gilbert Isbin - Mark Pavey gig at Shepherds Bush on 15 July. Gilbert mailed about amazing unknown composer-jazzer from the 60s.
I have discovered Packwood House. South east of Birmingham there is a prosperous area and the villages there tend to have fancy names - like Catherine de Barnes and Knowle. If you go due South from Knowle you have to cross the watershed between the river system flowing into the Trent and the one flowing into the Severn.
Further to the east that watershed loops south - the Knights Templarsí place at Temple Balsall is a key feature on this southward loop - but then the watershed swings northwest - in the direction of Knowle.
Coming up from the south, both the Stratford Canal and the Grand Union need to get over the watershed.They do it at the same place - called the Lapworth junction - and there is a short connecting canal there. They obviously chose the lowest point on the watershed to make the crossing. I am beginning to think that this low point marks a place where a river once flowed through from north to south - when the terrain was different.
Just above that canal junction is Packwood House - an Elizabethan house. It looks to me as if it is rather like Sissinghurst - which is in Kent. The Sackville-Wests took over Siss - I think just after the FWW and made it their own. Packwood House has some astonishing yew topiary - quite stunning. More broadly I think this is part of a general move to the periphery on the part of an aesthetic class in England after the FWW. That would include Garsington. It might even include Graves moving out to the Balearics.
Packwood is very powerfully aligned - as far as I can see it is the west end of an east west alignment which goes through Kenilworth, Honiley and Stone Leigh - I can find 7 points on the line.
There is another house from the same period quite close - which has a moat and priest holes. This one is not aligned as far as I can work out. The line in question - the Stone Leigh - Packwood one - goes to the north of Tanworth. Tanworth is on the south side of the watershed - but just across the valley as far as I can work out is the watershed and from there the rivers flow north.
Further up the watershed to the east is Meriden which is believed to be the centre of England - they say Lady Godiva was born here. I had a look on the net at the equivalent point in Germany - Wevelsburg - which I have visited and which has some pretty odd history.
More exchanges with Gilbert about a very interesting character called Robert Cosford who was both an assistant to Benjamin Britten and did arrangements for Pentangle. Also a message to the Sorabji archive about Emile Spira (Webern pupil) and John Ogdon - member of the Manchester circle.
Also some initial work on a possible project with Toyota - which could be very exciting.
I knocked out another AV piece - this time dhorn ensemble to the fore with guitar commenting.
Good quote about Dylan sent by Laurence - T Waits on the range of possible meanings. Paul is nagging me to get Miss M vid - woman of heart and mind.
Prof of Pop at Surrey who is big on 4s is called Moore. He edited the much better Cambs guide to Blues and Soul. BBC ought to vary the versions of You Send Me to include Arethaís which has astonishing piano lifting it to a higher plane - also a III chord substitution which lifts it. Was she taught this trick by B Preston who was organist in her dadís church. Franklin Avenue in Detroit is named after her father.
There is a high plane on the watershed - the next level up from Lapworth - around 120m - quite extensive - big enough for Honiley airfield. The southward loop of the Blythe and the northward loop of the Kenilworth lake system define that plane as a ridge at one point but as you move further west it spreads out into a big area - the western limit is the valley used by the Stratford canal to get from Lapworth to Stratford. The Grand Union has now alternative but to climb up to the plane from the Avon valley - and thatís why there is the big flight of locks at Hatton. It probably makes sense to consider this area in terms of terraces - like the Thames Valley - where you get planes at different levels - Clapham Common is one. Another higher plane is represented by the hill that separates Brixton from Dulwich and parts of Richmond Park.
The Toyota stuff involves the use of a new standard (Nov 2004) in a new way - described by some academics at Exeter a few months previously.