I’m supposed to be writing CD reviews today, but the CDs in question are stuck in the post strike backlog. So are at least three pay cheques. So was my “urgent” blood test last week (btw, if people die because their tests, results and appointment letters are snarled up in the strike, can their relatives sue Royal Mail? Someone should think about that…).

Therefore we have to improvise a little. So, by way of improvisation, here is an introduction to my friend Sebastian Scotney, founder of the superb LondonJazz blog. If I can be permittted a little quasi-maternal pride over a former investment analyst, Sebastian came along to one of my workshops called ‘Kick-Start Your Writing’ and launched his blog in response. Now he tells me that he was so thoroughly kick-started that he’s been invited to blog on jazz for the Telegraph. Here’s his review of this weekend’s Worshipful Company of Musicians’ Young Jazz Musician Competition at Ronnie Scott’s.

And, unrelated, pianophiles should start queuing now outside the Wigmore Hall for Imogen Cooper’s birthday recital tonight. The doyenne of British pianists is turning 60 (I can’t believe this! I still think of her as about 36) and will be performing a completely gorgeous programme of German romantic music – Mendelssohn, Schubert, and Mr and Mrs Schumann – with some favourite colleagues: baritone Wolfgang Holzmair, tenor Mark Padmore, cellist Sonia Wieder-Atherton and pianist Paul Lewis. Look out for her next Schubert album, out on the Avie label in late October.

Underrated: Abroad

The ravenous longing for the infinite possibilities of “otherwhere”

The king of cakes

"Yuletide revels were designed to see you through the dark days — and how dark they seem today"