Askew & Askance

The name was suggested by Askew’s bakery in Crickhowell. How satisfactory it would be, I thought, to have a shop run by a partnership of Askew and Askance. It would probably only suit one of those exclusive oddities shops that proliferate in places like Hay and Brighton, which tend to tail off a bit and become like Reggie Perrin’s Grot shops before long.

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All songs written and performed by Jon Moncrieff © 2012




  1. MindUnwind – I need to update the name on SoundCloud as I find that in using MindWind I was not being as creative and original as I had hoped. MindUnwind is more suited anyway. I made a YouTube video here.
  2. The Ludlum Nomenclature – Having written a song about those dark trans-european thrillers, I was looking for a name, and found a lot of material discussing Robert Ludlum’s book naming technique. He seemed generally to be considered a bit formulaic in this department, forgivable I say given his prolific output. The title is therefore more of a homage than a parody. Really must read one of his books one of these fine days.
  3. Sneak & Spy, Peek & Pry – Those vile and unpleasant people who if they carried telescopes and binoculars would be described as Peeping Toms and locked up, but because they carry cameras and sell the images they sneak and steal are referred to as “Gentlemen of the Press”.
  4. A Near Life Experience – Undergoing an out of body experience, or a near death experience with the approaching white light and beckoning lady in white. The world with its constant strife and unpleasantness may seem an unattractive place to return to, for some. I made a YouTube video here.
  5. Assault on Facility 89 – A secret Government facility buried deep in an out of the way place. Secret research, staff sworn to secrecy. Armed guards patrolling. Something sets off the alarms. Cue guards over-communicating with no information, helicopters and confusion.
  6. Sideslip – In my pre-teens, to be a Lightning pilot was the best job I could imagine. It would still do if anyone’s offering. I’ve made a YouTube video here.
  7. aLife2.0 Beta – Starting a new life. (In software development terms, Beta testing is when all the functionality and design of the final product is finished and set and only bug fixing remains.) I made a YouTube video here.
  8. Summer Morn – Early on a summer morning when you have the world to yourself. I made a Mozilla Popcorn Maker project here.
  9. Not drowning, waving – A song about a mother’s love. Ever changing, ever constant.
  10. Echolalia – I saw a TV documentary about this fascinating condition some years ago. Some of the subjects were husband and wife, some twins. In most cases one of the pair would speak and the other would echo, sometimes only half a second or so behind. In the most interesting case, a pair of identical twins would swap roles as speaker and repeater on a seemingly random basis, then both pause until the next surge. I made a Mozilla Popcorn Maker project here.
  11. Ibsen’s dramatic method – The title is pinched from a book I saw in Hay. The song is about those dramas, particularly Ibsen’s of the late Victorian period which dwelt upon the repressed anger, disappointment and regret for missed opportunities that lay beneath the facade of orderly manners and propriety.
  12. The Matter of Britain – The “Matter of Britain” or “Matter of England” is all the collected stuff of Arthurian legend. I made a Mozilla Popcorn Maker project here.
  13. Cantre’r Gwaelod – A sunken land off the west coast of Wales, often referred to in myths and legends and sometimes called the Welsh Atlantis. The earliest reference is in the Black Book of Carmarthen (Welsh: Llyfr Du Caerfyrddin), thought to be the earliest surviving manuscript written entirely or substantially in Welsh. Written in around 1250 in which the land is referred to as Maes Gwyddno (English: the Plain of Gwyddno). In this version, the land was lost to floods when a well-maiden named Mererid neglected her duties and allowed the well to overflow. (Source: Wikipedia)
  14. Running Stitch – A song about running (Until you get a stitch). I uploaded this to the Infinite Jukebox here, where you can play with it if you wish.
  15. DoubleBach – The second movement of J. S. Bach’s Double Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1043 played not on two violins but on a church organ, a tuba, a flute and a trumpet (Not to mention a rotary vibraphone).
  16. HopeHe who has health, has hope; and he who has hope, has everything.” Thomas Carlyle
  17. Midwinter’s Eve – The pagan ‘Yule’ and the old beginning of the new year, when days finally start to get longer again. Cause for celebration.