Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A blessed New Year to you all... when it comes

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Olly and I would like to wish all our family and friends a blessed NEW YEAR (when it comes). We are grateful for all the love, support and community that we have... physically or remotely via Facebook, Twitter, this ol' nanolog and all the other things we are involved in... and we give thanks.

We tak our cup o' kindness and raise it to you all... and, most importantly, to God in humble gratitude for all His blessings.

May 2009 be a year filled with infinite possibilities where you discover your place in the Missio Dei.


T & O

A reward for my patronage...

50p off a coffee everyday from Friday, 2nd January to Thursday, 29th January 2009. Sweet!!! Thanks Starbucks... it is appreciated!

Oh and I thought this was interesting...
...Starbucks is a victim of its own success. In the US, at least, its shops alerted people to the possibility if not the reality of excellent coffee. Starbucks did not put neighbourhood shops out of business. Their number increased by 70 per cent between 2000 and 2005.

The Specialty Coffee Association of America reports that in 2006 there were 15,500 independent coffee shops in the US, while Starbucks had 8,800 outlets. Starbucks offered fairly good but not superb coffee, allowing independent stores to concentrate on higher quality.
Robert Thurston quoted on PSFK

I like that thought. There is room for the indies as well as the big players.

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Top Ten 2008 :: From five to one...

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Number 5 - Saturdays = Youth by M83

I am a huge fan of M83 and a wasn't disappointed by this album... it is a cross section of 80's electropop that is uplifting, entertaining and inspiring. Its almost like a mix tape that takes different sounds and genres to create something unique. I love it.

Number 4 - Unknown Language by the inventors of aircraft

The 17th release from the Serein netlabel got under my skin and stayed there. It became an ambient go-to album for times when I needed something soothing, chilled and ambient while reading and snoozing (or snoozing after reading). That said... this isn't aural wallpaper but something precious... something truly beautiful.

Number 3 - Rosebud by Winona

Craig Armstrong's group project with Scott Fraser is a stroke of genius... that is greater than the sum of the parts. This is what I said a while back:
Their work is a body of breathtaking electropop goodness with the kind of dazzling keyboard work that instantly attracted me to Armstrong's work.

Lucy Pullin's vocals are excellent... very fitting and in character with the retro-futuristic soundscapes. A sound complemented with the seductive French of Laurence Ashley.

I won't pick out any one song as being better than the others... it has the old-fashioned vibe of an album... one that you listen to the whole of... rather than individual singles. One that is consistently great.
An awesome album... completely missed by the media and one that brings me great joy.

Number 2 - Viva la vida by Coldplay

All the Coldplay "haters" have missed an awesome album here, imho. Possibly their best work to date... all thanks to Brian Eno who has produced a first class album (and EP). Laying aside the accusations from the guitar geek's guitarist of pinching tunage... this is an amazing album... full of great individual songs that work on their own and as part of the bigger "whole". It is varied, imaginative, big, powerful and poignant... a worthy addition to the canon of popular music. My Dayna loves it... my Olly loves it... and that makes me love it all the more.

Number 1 - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust by Sigur Ros

This album deserves its place. It is truly fantastic. A treat for the ears via your "MP3 player of choice" or live... and it was their live performance that sealed this album for me. This is what I said about it:
Its warmer and rawer than their previous studio albums... with greater feeling... making it more accessible. Tracks like Festival and Ára bátur are awesome... and in keeping with their "sound".
It is the fact that this album doesn't rely on Amiina but the four members of the band that makes it so special... it has an immediacy about it that still astounds me. The variety of sound is inspiring - the opener "Gobbledigook" is a jaunty wall of sound whereas the next track "Inni mer syngur vitleysingur" is more melodic and in keeping with their earlier sound albeit with the wall of sound aesthetic that defines the album. Each track is unique and precious in its own right. Brilliant... and, imho, the best album of 2008.

Oh and the album has the cheekiest cover too.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mrs M's new haircut RAWKS!!!

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Top Ten 2008 :: From ten to six...

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Here's the countdown of my favourite albums of 2008 :: from ten to six...

Number 10 - Third by Portishead

This album was worth the wait. An album filled to the brim with sonically challenging ideas and truly progressive focus. This is what I said about it previously...
It is sonically dense... with a deepness about it that demands your attention. Its not as sample orientated and that's a blessing... this isn't a rehashing of Dummy but something new and intriguing. The standout track for me, so far, is the opener :: Silence :: which builds with a hypnotic rhythm and a density of sound that is surprising for a "commercial" release.
The band approach works. Love it.

Number 9 - Peaceful the world lays me down by Noah and the Whale

Picked this album up in a post-Administration Woolies while off out for the day in Fife with my beloved. The CD became part of that day... and is linked to those fab memories. As I said previously...
This album is awesome. Some new folk music with beautifully uplifting lyrics and a stonking good-time vibe.
It is a good-time album... enhanced by the backing vocals of Laura Marling. This album gives me hope for modern pop music.

Number 8 - Tonight it shows by Cantaloup

This album is available for free download from Aerotone... and when you listen to it you will marvel as I did that this is a netlabel release. It is awesome! As I said...
Another fantastic download from Aerotone that is one of the best albums that I have heard this year. Impressive electronic ambience with some delicate acoustic guitars and ethereal vocals Eva Paul. Truly brilliant!
It has a beauty that just gob-smacks me every time I listen to it. Essential.

Number 7 - Dear Science by TV on the Radio

I purchased this album recently for £3 from on a whim. It was getting some big praise and I was curious. I am SO glad I picked it up. It leapfrogged 32 albums that I had enjoyed to land in 7th place. I can't get enough of it. It has a fresh complexity of sound that is so engaging and enthralling... it is addictive... I want to listen to this album to hear something new... as well as to appreciate the variety of sound. I am glad this album is on my iPhone and iPod.

Number 6 - Fleet Foxes

There is something about this album... something beautiful... something special... that makes it an essential listen. I'm not sure if its the Americana vibe or the Beach-Boys-esque vocal harmonies... but it is an excellent album and one worthy of a high placing in my top ten. It reminds me of a thrift store tee-shirt... it has a worn and soft feel but still feels fresh and new... if that makes sense? Lovely.

Five to go... will post on them tomorrow.

Oh and please appreciate this is all said as/in my humble opinion. I am not a music critic but a lover of music... I am not trying to "sell" you anything but to recommend music that stirs my soul. If you don't get it... then no worries. But I do get these albums and am enriched because of them.

Tubby Tuesday :: Graphing my progress...

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Tubby Tuesday :: Week 12...

OK... so I've put on 3lbs. Lack of exercise coupled with some nice food / snacks over the last wee while. Ah well... knowledge is power... I know what I have to do and I will do it. This is only a temporary blip.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Top Ten 2008 (Runners Up)

The following 29 albums made my life that wee bit sweeter in 2008 and will, no doubt about it, continue to impress me in the days, months and years to come...

Top Row - (from left to right)
  • 50:50 An Earth Monkey Productions Compilation - Various Artists *
  • Batman :: The Dark Knight OST - Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard
  • Little Dreamer - Beth Rowley ^
  • Narrow Stairs - Death Cab For Cutie ^
  • Nothing To Undo : Nothing To Redo - Dep *
  • Do You Like Rock Music? - British Sea Power ^
Middle Row - (from left to right)
  • The Seldom Seen Kid - Elbow ^
  • Made In The Dark - Hot Chip ^
  • hydrophobia - entertainment for the braindead *
  • Sunday At Devil Dirt - Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan ^
  • Sleep Through The Static - Jack Johnson ^
  • Pastoral Pioneer - Koen Park *
Bottom Row - (from left to right)
  • Alas, I Cannot Swim - Laura Marling
  • Oracular Spectacular - MGMT ^
  • The Mystery Of Spyglass Hill - Pandacetamol *
  • Jukebox - Cat Power ^
  • Consolers Of The Lonely - The Raconteurs ^
  • The Bewildering Light - So Elated

Top Row - (from left to right)
  • Intelligent Toys vol. 5 - Various Artists *
  • Youth Novels - Lykke Li
  • In Silico - Pendulum
  • The Slip and Ghosts - Nine Inch Nails
  • 19 - Adele ^
Bottom Row - (from left to right)
  • Fordlandia - Johann Johannsson
  • Santogold
  • Ladyhawke
  • Friendly Fires
  • Seventh Heaven - Goldfrapp ^
29 albums:
  • 6 netlabel releases (marked with a "*"),
  • 12 borrowed from my local library (marked with a "^") and
  • 11 bought (1 was an actual CD... the other 10 were downloads from iTunes, Amazon or NoiseTrade).
29 rather eclectic... kind of leftfield albums. A mix of bleeding edge electronica, raw rock and blues, Americana, jazzy vocals, classical soundscapes, delicate folk and an eclectic electropopunk vibe.

Its been a good year for music... and all the artists above deserve recognition for their quality of creative expression.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wishing you a Merry CHRISTmas...

CHRISTmas Greetings

Its time to celebrate... the birth of a child... a birth for us!

As we all get caught up in the activity of this festive period... please do not lose the action: A child born for us... God coming to this world and living with us... pitching His tent with our tents... becoming part of history... becoming part of our story... so as to enable us to become part of His story.

CHRISTmas is a time for family... for friends... for presence as well as presents.

We have time to reflect and time to dream... we have time for remberance and time for forgiveness... because we can dare to hope! All because of the birth of a child.

We have light in the darkness... we can see clearly now... the shadows that surround us have left. All because of the birth of a child.

We can rejoice... we can raise our voices and sing... we can celebrate life to its fullest. All because of the birth of a child.

To all my dear family and friends... to all the people who have journeyed with me... physically... via Twitter or this ol' nanolog... I thank you!

I thank you for your participation in my life. You know who you are.

To everyone who reads this... I hope you have a blessed CHRISTmas in its fullest... a time of rest and recharing filled with love and rejoicing... a time of meaningful merriment. All because of the birth of a child.

Merry CHRISTmas to one and all!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Top Albums of 2008 :: An introduction...

Its about that time of the year... where I acknowledge the best albums of 2008.

Over the next few days I will narrow down the 28 albums shown above to a "top ten" and then, ultimately, the top album of this year.

This is all subjective... of course... and I would welcome your input / comments.

I have added the two Nine Inch Nails albums for consideration... thanks to Adam for reminding me... they bring the total to 30.

My current iPhone wallpaper...

Original available here :: part of the Kitsune Noir's desktop wallpaper project by Gary Gao

Picture posted with LifeCast... words added later.

When in Motherwell... Scoff's Coffee House

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Flickr Pic :: In the sunshine...

In the sunshine..., originally uploaded by Headphonaught.

Took some pics this morning at Strathclyde Park... its such an awesome place with a great treasure trove of visual treats.

The rest of the photos are here - check them out.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Flickr Pic :: Evelyn and I

Thomas (me) and Evelyn, originally uploaded by Headphonaught.

Another day... another Christmas lunch with work. That's the benefit of a matrix structure - line and project - this was my line... the Business Analysts.

More pics here.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

And in his name all oppression shall cease...

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
O Holy Night

I love the 3rd verse of O Holy Night. I have posted on it before. It always moves me.

I have, however, been drawn to the phrase
/..and in his name all oppression shall cease../
Is it because of the oppression done in the name of Jesus... and the oppression that continues to be done in the name of Jesus?

I am pretty liberal in my outlook... and I don't apologise for that. I think there is an irony in Christian people singing the first two verses of this song and then condemning their neighbour... for their perceived failings in their neighbour's lifestyle choices.

I think we need to be very careful here... and critically take stock of our lives. Do we live lives of love that reflect the Light of the World.. or do we live disjointedly... believing one thing and living a whole other way..?

Think about it. Love and living a life of love is not optional... it is commanded of us! We can not and should not choose to only love the people we agree with or whose lifestyles are in sync with ours. If we do then we continue to oppress the very people we are called to love.

We love because God first loved us... or have we forgotten this?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

This is cool :: Urban Spam

Food for thought.

Maybe its time to fight back? But how can we fight back against this... if we are part of the problem?

Do we stop consuming? If so, how?

We are no longer self-sufficient. I don't know about you... but I can not build a cabin or make the kind of things Charles Ingalls can. His day is gone. I don't have the skill set required to barter my time for something in return. I must work to pay the bills. I must consume.

What's more... how come I reject this kind of spam and yet happily sign up for emails / tweets from companies I support?

Choice. Its spam if we do not choose to receive it. If we do not accept it.

So how do we reject it? How do we fight back when we ourselves are walking billboards for the stuff we like?

I don't know. Any ideas?

Pics from my first Christmas lunch... of 2008

John and Thomas (me), originally uploaded by Headphonaught.

For more pics go here

Flickr Pic :: Olly

Olly, originally uploaded by Headphonaught.

Monday, December 15, 2008

This is cool :: Damien Lopez :: A History of Game Controllers

Damien Lopez : A History of Game Controllers (thanks to

I thought this was cool...
This is a collection of small multiples of game controllers of the main gaming systems from the past 25 years, spanning from the Atari 2600 to the Nintendo Wii. The images have been normalized, and the hands are all approximately the same size as each other, and thus the controllers all to scale.
OK... quick quiz... what did you / do you have? This is what we (as in the Mathie family) have had and still have:
  • Sega Master System
  • Sega Genesis aka Megadrive
  • Sony Playstation
  • Sony Playstation 2
  • Wii
  • Nintendo Gameboy
  • Nintendo Gameboy Colour
  • Nintendo Gameboy Advance
  • Nintendo GBA SP
  • Sony Playstation Portable
  • Nintendo DS Lite
That's a lot of money... a lot of time... and a lot of fun. Beats watching TV though!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I Love Starbucks' CHRISTmas Blend

I am loving Starbucks' Christmas Blend coffee... because it is made with my favourite ever beans - Old Brown Java:
...Some estates age a portion of their coffee for up to three years. During this time, the coffee is "monsooned", by exposing it to warm, moist air during the rainy season. As they age, the beans turn from green to light brown, and the flavor gains strength while losing acidity. These aged coffees are called Old Government, Old Brown or Old Java.
Its a shame the blend will be gone after Christmas... just like Gingerbread Lattes. Ah well... one more thing to look forward to next year.

I love Old Brown Java because it reminds me of Olly. Before we were married I used to go through to Hamilton at the weekends. I would meet her for lunch on a Saturday (she was working in Woolworths) and we would eat at a local coffeehouse. It was there that I fell in love with Old Brown. I had fallen in love with Olly a long time before!

What's your favourite bean (or leaf)... and why?

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This is cool :: Memiary for iPhone...

memiary is a simple wee app... designed to help you remember 5 things you did in a given day. The iPhone app syncs with the web app... and there is Twitter integration where you follow @memiary and "dm" them when you want to add to your daily list.

I like it... because my memory is shot. As such, its well worth 59p... albeit... you could just write stuff down in a journal or something.

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Flickr Pic :: Between the ash and the grass...

Inspiration from Stephen Fry...

I the previous post I wrote this...
...we need to consider DIVERSIFICATION not DIVISION. We need to stop competing and start apprecitating what is around us. Emergents appreciating the church/ church apprecitating emergents etc.
I found Stephen Fry's tweet's this afternoon inspirational in a similar manner to what Brian had said previously. Interesting.

Picture posted with LifeCast... thoughts came later.

Brian McLaren in Glasgow...

Brian McLaren (stereo image) (PixUp)

I've been mulling over hearing Brian McLaren in Glasgow over the last week and have finally had the time to post on it.

First off... it was awesome to meet-up before hand with the disparate group of vagabonds I call friends. Stewart Cutler, Jay Thomas and Ian Emery turned up for a coffee and a blether... so to did Neal and his sweet wife Judith (who I kept calling Edith). We had a lovely banter going. Real warmth. Please read Stewart and Neal's blogposts in conjunction with this... for a more rounded review.

Secondly... my dad came through to hear Brian. I am amazed by my dad's willingness to embrace Brian's teaching. Both my mum and dad come from the Brethren tradition... and Brian's teaching / writing can be a bit leftfield at times. I think my dad has the right approach... judge the man by first hand experience - he has read Brian's books and came to hear him - and has nothing but praise for Brian. I wish more people from the old school were like my dad - people who value Jesus before denominations... people who judge a person by what they've read/heard and not what their pastor/officer/leader/pal thinks.

Thirdly... Brian was exactly how I envisaged him... and he spoke in a patient, gentle and thoughtful manner. He is demonised by some people and yet everything he said centred on Jesus and his love/support/connection/identification with both Jesus and his bride... the church. How he hasn't cracked under the pressure from all the criticism from the Pharisitical right... I just don't know... but then I can appreciate he is a man of deep faith following the mission of God... and, well... God's got his back.

So here's my notes/thoughts...
  • Jesus didn't come to start a new religion.
  • He came to start something else... something He called "THE KINGDOM OF GOD"
  • In His day... this was an electric phrase... something provocative, contemporary, political and intense.
  • However, today it is an anachronism... suggesting knights and round tables.
  • It also infers domination and a lack of freedom.
  • In the New Testament, the Apostles used new metaphors...
  • John speaks of "ETERNAL LIFE" or better translated "LIFE OF THE AGES" which was in contrast to life in this present age.
  • Emphasis on a new way of life.
  • Paul spoke of "THE EMBODIMENT OF CHRIST" as well as "GOD'S FAMILY".
  • Brian then went on to ask how Jesus would speak of the Kingdom today...
  1. Maybe He would talk of "THE DREAM OF GOD" like the Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jnr spoke of? The idea is the "WISH" or "DESIRE" of God rather than His "WILL" via His dominant control.
  2. Or would He speak of "THE PEACEFUL REVOLUTION OF GOD". The idea being that this world is overrun by a dangerous and violent regime that must be changed through revolution... but a new kind of revolution. The Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jnr said something along the lines of "you can kill a killer but in doing so you reinforce killing". This revolution must be peaceful and must be one that incorporates men and women, the rich and the poor, the in and the out etc.
  3. Would Jesus speak of "THE MISSION OF GOD" aka MISSIO DEI? Where we seek to participate in God's mission... and get behind what He wants. This turns the idea of "recruitment" on its head. Consider the Fishermen Disciples - they went from Fishermen to Fishers of Men... who they were didn't change... but their mission did.
  4. How about "THE PARTY OF GOD" as in a Birthday Party (not a Political Party). A joyful celebration that is open to everyone... full of justice, peace and joy in the Spirit.
  5. Or "THE NETWORK OF GOD"? The interconnectedness of life... as recently brought to the fore by web2.0 apps etc. Where new information that the mainstream media isn't interested in continues to be disseminated.
  6. Maybe Jesus would talk of "THE DANCE OF GOD". Early Christians spoke of the dance of God as a means to describe the Trinity. The idea is that a dance is dynamic... continually moving... choreographed... where people are invited to dance. Sin, in this idea, is where we are out of step with the dance and keep messing up the moves.
  7. What about "THE SACRED ECOSYSTEM OF GOD"? Where the picture is formed of the cosmos/the planet is alignment... the food chain for example... dynamic... continually moving... adapting... where Humans are out of the system and need to be reintegrated.
  8. Similar to (7) is "GOD'S NEW PLANET"... in which John considered in Revelation... A new Heaven and a new Earth.
  9. Another idea, taken from the Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jnr, is "THE BELOVED COMMUNITY OF GOD"...
  10. or "GOD'S NEW LOVE ECONOMY" where we have an ethic of responsibility rather than greed.
  11. Lastly, what about "THE INSURGENCY OF GOD" or "THE UN-TERROR NETWORK OF GOD" where cells plot goodness... where planes filled with kindness are flown into towers of greed.
  • After this... the question was raised as to how we embody / live this in our communities... how do we carry this goodness into our worlds?
  • Brian then went on to talk about the new emergence... and spoke of the desparate need for love, respect and patience for those not on our "wavelength".
  • He spoke of the world continually existing in three stages: (1) pre-modern, (2) modern and (3) post-modern or emerging. What is "emerging" now will be "modern" at some point in the future... it will become the norm and something new will appear.
  • As such, with regards to the church aka the Body of Christ aka the Bride, we need to consider DIVERSIFICATION not DIVISION. We need to stop competing and start apprecitating what is around us. Emergents appreciating the church/ church apprecitating emergents etc.
  • We also need to consider flexibility in mission... and determine the purpose of the church as being to train people up to act as agents of change. People who are taught the dance steps... who can reach out to others to invite them to the dance. Dancers who spread God's rhythm and joy.
After a break where I caught up with my pal Chris Goan and a tall chap called Jo... there was a Q&A session. Brian sat with a pastor called Andy, a PHD called Gwen and a lecturer called Doug for some questions/discussion with the floor.

I never grabbed notes because I was too busy following the discussion/interaction of the panel. Neal did, however, and I would recommend you check his scribbles out.

I do hope to get the individual panelists onto the podcast... because their thoughts/answers demonstrated people with extraordinary stories worth sharing... watch this space.

All in... it was an awesome evening... topped off by a fab blether with Stewart and my dad on the way home.

Thank you Brian! You are an inspiration to us all. I just wish I could have said that to you in person... instead of shaking your handing and going all shy like a wee girly meeting her Boyband idol. Keep going.

Oh and... Emmsy was there too. Read what she had to say.

An update on Cousin Silas

I love out-of-the-blue emails from old friends... on Friday night I received a wee email from my fave ambient music producer Cousin Silas (pictured above).

A while back he did an exclusive selection of tracks for me to listen to. I absolutely loved them and hoped to hear them out sometime via Earth Monkey or Earthrid. Turns out I am not the only person who raves about his work...

The writer Jesus Olmo is a big fan. Cousin Silas produced another exclusive mix for him and there is a possibility that Olmo might use it in a video installation next year sometime.

I would be so stoked if he did. I think Cousin Silas' music is truly beautiful. It is atmospheric with a picturesque nature about it... that conjures up mental images from within the soundscapes. He is definitely up there as one of my go-to musicians when I need some ambient distraction. I want him to get the recognition his music deserves... and hope this installation thing to be one means of him achieving this.

Some of the tracks that he let me hear have a new direction... more sequenced... that take his music in a new directions giving it a wider reach... more Vangelis and Tangerine Dream... which I find really exciting to listen to.

I asked him about this... and anyother new material he has in the pipeline...

He has 4 or 5 tracks ready for stillstream - the ambient internet radio station - as well as some tracks being shaped for another Earth Monkey release (possibly under the "ltd" banner) and some tracks nearing completion with Kevin Busby at Earthrid.

Personally, I can't wait. Thanks for the email Silas ol' buddy.

If you like ambient electronic music then please check out his work on Earth Monkey or Earthrid.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

New Tunes for Advent...

A couple of albums that bring a new dimension to Advent...

First off... we have 8bit Jesus by Dr Octoroc - 9 carols reinterpreted into short bursts of 8bit computer music and given away as a free download. Ideal for ringtones and fillers within your seasonal mixtapes... these tunes capture the essence of the carol in a specific game style. For example... Jingle Bells is done in a Super Mario Bros style.

Another album that's worth checking out is Divine by The Violet Burning. Never heard of the band before... but really appreciate their take on classic carols... and their kind gift of this album as a free download. Edgy rock with an independent mindset. Well worth checking out.

Thanks to my tweeple (JD & Teressa) for the heads-up to these albums.

Flickr pic :: Olly reading...

Olly reading..., originally uploaded by Headphonaught.


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