Your Tuesday playlist: curated by Gearbox Records

Brew a pot of coffee and tune in to a blend of jazz, blues and hard bop in this playlist curated specially for Ernest, by Gearbox Records

Man Like GP, by Binker and Moses
From the album Dem Ones GB1530

Saxophonist Binker Golding and drummer Moses Boyd are two young Londoners currently playing in Zara McFarlane’s band and creating a storm with their debut recording as a duo. Gilles Peterson calls them “the new generation of UK impro jazz musicians”.

Heart is a Lotus, by Michael Garrick Sextet with Don Rendell and Ian Carr
From the album Prelude to Heart is a Lotus GB1517

Heart is a Lotus is the celebrated pianist and composer’s previously unreleased 1968 BBC Maida Vale Studio recording, featuring some of the finest British jazz musicians of the era including trumpeter Carr and saxophonist Rendell. 

In The Old Days, by Kate Tempest (Brand New Ancients edit)
From the album Brand New Ancients GB1527

Listen to poet Kate Tempest’s acclaimed stage show, which toured to sold out venues in the UK and New York. Brand New Ancients captures her unique blend of street poetry, rap and storytelling and won her the prestigious Ted Hughes Prize for innovation in poetry.

The Gentle Rain, by the Tubby Hayes Quartet
From the album The Syndicate: Live at the Hopbine 1968 Vol. 1 GB1532

This previously unavailable live performance was recorded at the legendary Hopbine in North Wembley. It reveals Hayes’ new quartet, which featured the spectacular Dublin-born guitarist Louis Stewart and 22-year-old drummer Spike Wells.

A Beautiful Friendship, by Mark Murphy
From the album A Beautiful Friendship: Remembering Shirley Horn GB1515

Mark Murphy is one of the great voices of jazz and an icon for all modern jazz vocalists. This 2012 recording celebrates his close friend Shirley Horn with four of her trademark songs reinterpreted in his inimitable style.

Soft Soap Flakes Kill, by Michael Horovitz accompanied by Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon and Paul Weller
From the album Bankbusted Nuclear Detergent Blues GB1520

Michael Horovitz’s Bankbusted Nuclear Detergent Blues is an effervescent improvisatory poem-sequence written for Paul Weller. On this 2013 studio recording Horovitz is accompanied by Weller, Graham Coxon and Damon Albarn. 

This is a sponsored blog post, created in collaboration with Gearbox Records. For more information on partnerships and joining our directory, please email

British bird beaks

Whether used for impressing a mate, cracking open nuts or proclaiming territory, bird beaks are a prime example of how anatomy has evolved to be completely fit for purpose. Here we look at the beaks of British and migratory birds, and their unique specialisations for survival


Puffin, Fratercula arctica
Its bill has earned it the nickname 'clown of the sea', but once breeding season is over, the puffin sheds its characteristic bill, leaving a duller, smaller one behind.

Avocet, Recurvirostra avosetta
Emblem of the RSPB, this black and white wader employs a sweeping action with its long, thin upturned bill to stir up small invertebrates to the water’s surface, then it uses its beak like tweezers to pluck out its prey.

Crossbill, Loxia curvirostra 
To break into larch or pine cones, crossbills have evolved powerful bills with crossed tips, which prise off the woody scales of each cone to extract a seed.

Hawfinch, Coccothraustes coccothraustes  
Its bill exerts 68kg of force per square inch – enough to sever a human finger and crack open a cherry stone with one swipe.

Great spotted woodpecker, Dendrocopos major 
To sound its territory, a woodpecker uses its beak to strike wood 15 times a second with force equal to a human hitting a wall face-first at 20 miles an hour.

Spoonbill, Platalea leucorodia
These elegant water waders use their long, spatulate, partly-open bills to swing from side to side in the water, stirring up mud and debris. When insects and small fish touch the side of its bill, it snaps shut, trapping the prey inside.

Illustrations by Ruth Allen. As well as an illustrator, Ruth is a writer and mountaineer. Her work is available to buy through her website where she also blogs about her outdoor adventures. She is currently writing a book about mountains.

Ernest x KEEN footwear

Introducing an intrepid competition with KEEN footwear: win a pair of UNEEK sandals plus a two-year subscription to Ernest Journal by sharing photos of your unique adventures on Instagram and Twitter over the next four weeks.

We're thrilled to partner up with KEEN footwear on a rather adventurous competition to support the launch of UNEEK, a hybrid sandal made with just two cords and a sole and designed to mould perfectly to your feet.

You have two chances to win!

1) Just for fun, we sent three Ernest writers into the wilds with a pair of UNEEK sandals but can you guess where they are? This week, The Girl Outdoors took her sandals to a popular Welsh beauty spot, often quoted as one of Britain’s favourite views, but can you tell us where? There’s a free copy of Ernest up for grabs for the first correct answer written as a comment on our Instagram feed.

2) And now for the big one: to win a pair of UNEEK sandals and a two-year subscription to Ernest Journal, share a photo of your feet exploring the world with the hashtag #UNEEKAdventure on Instagram or Twitter. We will share our favourites on the Ernest feed and choose a winner at random each week for the next month. Deadline: midnight 25 August.

For more about KEEN and their new UNEEK sandals, read our interview in the Ernest directory.

See our terms and conditions.

Diableries: stereoscopic adventures in hell

When Pierre Adolphe Hennetier created 3-D photographs of clay model demons in 1860, little did he realise they would continue to enthrall and beguile audiences over a century later. In this short extract from print issue three, Dr Brian May explores the story behind The Infernal Library, in which Satan stores his collection of human souls.

What kind of library is it that opens at midnight and in which skulls sorted by sins are standing in rows where books should be?  There are a few books indeed (the spine of one of them bears the word ‘Mort’ – Death) but the artist has made it obvious that what ‘readers’ come to consult here is not bound volumes, but skulls.  

Shelves for only four of the Seven Deadly Sins (Sloth, Greed, Pride and Gluttony) appear here. Presumably the rest are on the walls behind us. Satan is holding one of these heads in his hands, and rather like Hamlet, is weighing it, and perhaps wondering what went on in that skull before it was divested of its contents. It’s an “Alas, poor Yorick” moment but Satan has a different slant – because, of course, he has a whole collection of these skulls, and this is where he keeps them all neatly categorised. We have to remember that in these diableries, skeletons represent souls, so Satan is revelling in his collection of stolen essences of humans. Habert may have had the ‘science’ of phrenology in mind, too – supposedly a way of determining human traits by feeling the bumps on people’s heads.  

Two pages welcome visitors while an assistant fetches the skulls they have called for by climbing up a stepladder. There are two ‘readers’, both wearing the robe and pointed hat adorned with cabalistic patterns one usually associates with wizards or astrologers. The female scholar is looking up at some interesting specimen on a shelf, while her male counterpart is being shown in. He is wearing a mask, as though it were important not to be recognised when walking into this very unusual library.  

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This is an extract from Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell by Brian May, Denis Pellerin and Paula Fleming, published by the London Stereoscopic Company. The book comes with an OWL stereoscopic viewer, designed by Brian May, for the reader to view the 180 diablerie scenes in 3-D.

Read the full feature in Ernest Journal print issue three, which also features the science of terrariums, wild men mythology, the psychology of board games, prehistoric cooking techniques and a man who cooks on hotel room appliances.


Scrambled egg in a hotel kettle

Having toured as a comic for two decades, George Egg has grown tired of mediocre and overpriced hotel food. In an act of inventiveness, George has taught himself how to cook an array of meals using hotel room appliances. Here is his unique take on a classic breakfast dish, for which you will require a travel kettle and an iron

Photo: Jean-Luc Brouard

Photo: Jean-Luc Brouard

Once you’ve cooked eggs this way you won’t go back to using a saucepan, even if you’re not in a hotel. I promise you.


1 ciabatta roll
2 eggs
2 portions of butter
Salt and pepper
A stout freezer bag

  1. Put the kettle on. Set the iron to ‘linens’.
  2. Crack your eggs into the freezer bag, add some salt and pepper and one of the portions of butter and then massage the mixture from the outside through the bag until it’s well combined.
  3. Cut the ciabatta roll into three or four slices (about 1.5cm thick), butter them on both sides and arrange them in a row before resting the hot iron on top and leaving them to toast. Check every now and then and when they’re browned enough, turn them over and toast the other side.
  4. Meanwhile lower the bottom of the bag into the kettle and re-boil it, periodically removing the bag and massaging the contents. Check it frequently and as soon as it’s cooked as you like it take it out of the heat. Finally, add another ½ portion of butter for extra creaminess. The beauty of this method is the gentle heat –  the chances of overcooked rubbery eggs is greatly reduced.
  5. Place the toasted ciabatta slices onto a plate and spoon over the creamy egg before sprinkling with a little more black pepper. You’ll find most hotels provide on request a disposable razor free of charge, so use that to shave a little parmesan over the top.
George Egg.jpg

George Egg is a stand-up comedian who has cooked in hotel rooms all over the world and documented his exploits on YouTube viral Hotel Survival, a video that spawned his one-man show George Egg: Anarchist Cook




You can discover more of George's hotel room recipes (including sea bass cooked in a bathroom sink and pancakes griddled on a hot iron) in the third print edition of Ernest Journal.

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