Thursday, 22 September 2016

Autumnal Equinox

"Storm - a violent disturbance of the atmosphere"....Overture is installed for Hengistbury Headlines, Inside Out Dorset Festival 2016 

the autumnal equinox brings strong tidal surges

Monday, 12 September 2016

gale  hurricane  tempest  deluge  outbreak  outburst  surge  upsurge  squall

Thursday, 4 August 2016

A Deluge, Leonardo da Vinci (1517-18)

'Almost 500 years ago, and within a year or two of his death, the original Renaissance man sketched an apocalyptic tempest. With a fragment of black chalk, Da Vinci sensitively traced the lineaments of environmental disaster. 
"The ruins of the high buildings...will throw up a great dust, rising like smoke or wreathed clouds against the falling rain," he wrote, eerily pre-empting a scene we are all too aware of in the 21st century.'
Leonardo da Vinci Nottingham, Robert Clark, Guardian Guide (30 July - 5 August 2016) 

Monday, 11 July 2016

Disaster Film

"The golden age of the disaster film began in 1970 with the release of Airport...While not exclusively focused on a disaster, in this case, an airplane crippled by the explosion of a bomb, the film established the blueprint of multiple plotlines acted out by an all-star cast"

"Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Volcanoes, name it."
 IMDb list of Natural Disaster Movies/Series

Wednesday, 6 July 2016


Kinetic Wind Chimes, Aunt Meg's House, Evan Lewis for the film Twister, 1996 (USA) dir Jan de Bont


Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The Hurricane, dir John Ford (1937)
Academy Award for Best Sound Mixing

Monday, 20 June 2016

Storms on Film

Deluge (1933) dir Felix E. Feist
one of the first extreme weather disaster movies

Monday, 13 June 2016

...another windy day

Graffitti, Hengistbury Head Remote Radio Station, June 2016

Remote Radio

Wednesday, 8 June 2016


"...severe winter storms would bring storm surges and exceptionally high tides."
Doggerland, The Attacking Ocean, Brian Fagan (2013)

Monday, 6 June 2016

Storm Surge

1953 East Coast Flood

Storm Surge, 1953

"What is a storm surge?
A storm surge is possibly one of the most dramatic weather events for the east coast. These are caused when deep depressions track east from the Atlantic, passing close to the north of Scotland. As the depressions move across the ocean the lower pressure ccauses the sea level to rise - for each 1 hPa drop in pressure sea levels rise by up to 1cm - and the winds push the surface waters of the sea forward, a motion known as 'wind drift'.

On reaching the relatively shallow North Sea this water is forced southwards, eventually causing a pile up of water in the south. This is because the water cannot escape through the narrow Dover Strait and the English Channel and so gets trapped in the southern North Sea. The effect is enhanced by the strong northerly winds experienced on the rear flank of the depression as it continues eastwards"
Met Office website

Storm Event - 31st January 1953 - The worst national peacetime disaster to hit the UK 


Monday, 30 May 2016

Cover: Detail from England's Great Loss (1703), engraving, The Storm (Penguin Classics) Paperback, 2005

"The Storm (1704) is a pioneering work of journalism and science reporting by British author Daniel Defoe. It has been called the first substantial work of modern journalism, the first detailed account of a hurricane in Britain.. It relates the events of a week-long storm that hit London starting on 24 November and reaching its height on the night of 26/27 November 1703."

"For Defoe, bankrupt and just released from prison for seditious writings, the storm struck during one of his bleakest moments."
The Storm (Penguin Classics) Paperback, 2005, by Daniel Defoe (author), Richard Hamblyn (author)

"Defoe always liked to introduce the sound of multiple voices on the page, just as he liked to introduce the complexity of multiple points of view, and one of the technical distinctions of The Storm is the way in which these effects are used to suggest the crowded simultaneity of the events it describes. As Paula R. Backsheider has pointed out, 'The Storm has sections that show simultaneous events vertically and horizontally; in one moment we may know events in a single house, in adjacent houses, in several parts of town, and in neighboring towns. The book locates events so closely together that the sequence seems to be a single event, each discrete part so integral to the whole that it is indistinguishable from the whole except in memory.'* 
...the action of The Storm is concentrated...into a single night of destruction and its aftermath. This is what gives the book such a powerful sense of immediacy and crisis, and, as the picture of a shared catastrophe unfolds before us, Defoe has us listen not only to the sounds of the high wind rising but also to the voices of the eyewitnesses, who clamour for a chance to add their stories and words to the account."
The Storm (Penguin Classics) Paperback, 2005, by Daniel Defoe (author), Richard Hamblyn (author)
*Paula R. Backscheider, Daniel Defoe: Ambition & Innovation (Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky, 1986), pp. 86-87 

Monday, 23 May 2016

The Great Storm, 1703

Known as the Great Storm of 1703, and described by [Daniel] Defoe as "The Greatest, the Longest in Duration, the widest in Extent, of all the Tempests and Storms that History gives any Account of since the Beginning of Time."

The GREAT STORM coincided with an increase in English journalism and was the first weather event to be a news story on a national scale. Special issue broadsheets were produced detailing damage to property and stories of people who had been killed.

The Great Storm of 1703 was a destructive extratropical cyclone that struck central and southern England on 26 November (7 December in today’s calendar), 1703. High winds caused 2,000 chimney stacks to collapse in London, and winds damaged New Forest, which lost 4,000 oaks. Ships were blown hundreds of miles off-course, and over 1,000 seamen died on the Goodwin Sands alone. News bulletins of casualties and damage were sold all over England – a novelty at that time. The Church of England declared that the storm was God’s vengeance for the sins of the nation. Daniel Defoe thought it was a divine punishment for poor performance against Catholic armies in the War of the Spanish Succession.

Monday, 16 May 2016

A Sailor's Table of Degrees

'The Storm' (1704), Daniel Defoe

'Great storm in the Downs' by Frederick Whymper

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean—roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks the earth with ruin—his control
Stops with the shore. 
'Child Harold's Pilgrimage', Lord Byron, (publ. bet 1812 & 1818)

Monday, 2 May 2016

In Solitude This Fear is Lived

"In solitude this fear is lived" [2011] For amplified voice, orchestra and "sonic atmosphere". Premiere: March 4, 2011 By American Composers Orchestra, Zankel Hall/Carnegie Hall, NYC.

"If you could live with only one piece of art, what would it be?
Agnes Martin’s minimalist works from the early to mid-1960s. I have a beautiful, well-worn and well-used catalogue from her exhibition ‘KUNSTRAUM München, 20. November – 22. Dezember 1973’ that I look at often. It sits on a shelf in my studio along with a number of art books that are important to me.
In 2011, I realized a long-held dream of composing an orches-tral work inspired by these drawings. For in solitude this fear is lived, I placed the musicians of the American Composers Orchestra around and in the audi-ence, immersing the spectators in the centre of the orchestra to create my ‘sound painting’, beginning with a wash of wind sounds (prepping the ‘canvas’), then creating the ‘drawing’ one note, one stroke, one sound gesture at a time until the living ‘painting’ was completed, breathing and soaring over the audience. It has been played only once. I would love to have it played again."
Frieze Questionnaire: Joan La Barbara (March 2016)

Monday, 25 April 2016


sound: extract from 'The Last Picture Show', dir Peter Bogdanovich (1971)

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

"Persistence of Memory", Joan La Barbara (2012)

Persistence of Memory Live in MaerzMusik Berliner Festspiele from Aleksandar Kostic on Vimeo.

"My composition juxtaposed sounds of cataclysmic events, remembered, captured, re-created by instruments, voice and samplers: car crashes, avalanches, severe weather, the crack in the space-time continuum."
Questionnaire: Joan La Barbara, Frieze (March 2016)  

Monday, 4 April 2016


On storm-struck deck, wind sirens caterwaul;
With each tilt, shock and shudder, our blunt ship
Cleaves forward into fury; dark as anger,
Waves wallop, assaulting the stubborn hull.
Flayed by spray, we take the challenge up,
Grip the rail, squint ahead, and wonder how much longer

Such force can last;
from Channel Crossing, Sylvia Plath
  sound extract from 'Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas (2013), dir. Arnaud des Pallieres 

Monday, 28 March 2016



'HengistburyHead, The Coast: An Environmental Education Resource', Peter Hawes, publ. Hengistbury Head Centre (1998)

Monday, 21 March 2016


'Hengistbury Head, The Coast: An Environmental Education Resource', Peter Hawes, publ. Hengistbury Head Centre (1998)

Monday, 14 March 2016

Six Years

Hengistbury Head Ironstone Quarry
A small ironstone quarry mine that is located at Hengistbury Head. The mine was in use between 1848 and 1854 and consisted of the mine/quarry area, spoil heaps and a harbour for the transportation of the ore. The quarry area of the site has since been flooded to provide a wildlife sanctuary and the remaining spoil heaps are covered in scrubland. The area is scheduled and is classed as an area of Special Scientific Interest.
from Historic England 

The Quarry Pool is now a significant part of the nature reserve features of the Head. While it was very acidic in the early years, since 1990 it has allowed the growth of a significant number of plant and insect species, as well as mallard and little grebe. The insects provide valuable food for migrating sand martins and swallows.
Wikipedia: Hengistbury Head

Photo: Steve Maskell, Quarry Pool, Hengistbury Head

Monday, 7 March 2016

Old Hampshire Mapped

--PD-self--File-Map of Hengistbury Head by Isaac Taylor 1759.jpg

"Hengistbury Head as shown in Isaac Taylor's Map of Hampshire, 1759. After the counties were redesignated in 1974, the site has been considered part of Dorset. The isolated building near the centre of the image (labelled "Summer House") is the thatched barn still at the Head. The barn forms part of the new visitor centre."
Wikipedia: Hengistbury Head

Monday, 22 February 2016

Monday, 8 February 2016

The Naming of Storms

The Met Office and Met Éireann, the Irish Met Service are running a pilot project to name wind storms.
Over the past few winters the naming of wind storms that affected Ireland and the United Kingdom (such as the 'St Jude's day storm') has shown the benefits of establishing a protocol for the naming of mid-latitude storms. As storms which move in from the Atlantic often have their biggest impacts across Ireland, the Met Office is working in partnership with Met Éireann on this project.
The naming of storms using a single authoritative system should aid the communication of approaching severe weather through media partners and other government agencies. In this way the public will be better placed to keep themselves, their property and businesses safe.
UK Storm Centre, Met Office website

Monday, 1 February 2016

The State of the UK Climate

The state of the UK climate (Met Office website, publ. September 2015) shows that 2014 was the fourth wettest year on record for the UK; 7 out of the 10 wettest years for the UK have occurred since 1998 as well as a number of significant weather events.

Some climate change predictions indicate we will experience a significant increase in average rainfall and frequency of extreme weather patterns.

State of the UK Climate

Monday, 25 January 2016


noun: overture; plural noun: overtures
  1. 1.
    an orchestral piece at the beginning of an opera, play, etc.

    "the overture to Mozart's ‘Don Giovanni’"

    synonyms:prelude, introduction, opening, introductory movement, voluntary;

    "the overture to Don Giovanni"
    • an independent orchestral composition in one movement.

      "Tchaikovsky's ‘1812 Overture’"
  2. 2.
    an introduction to something more substantial.

    "the talks were no more than an overture to a long debate"

    synonyms:preliminary, prelude, curtain-raiser, introduction, lead-in, precursor, forerunner, harbinger, herald, start, beginning;

    "the talks were no more than the overture to a long debate"
  3. 3.
    an approach or proposal made to someone with the aim of opening negotiations or establishing a relationship.

    "he began making overtures to British merchant banks"

    synonyms:opening move, conciliatory move, move, approach, advances, feeler, signal, proposal, proposition, pass, offer, tender, suggestion

    "the enemy were making peace overtures"
late Middle English (in the sense ‘aperture’): from Old French, from Latin apertura ‘aperture’.
'Google definition'