Thursday, 1 February 2018

I knew our music would allure him…

Sometime during last weekend, I came downstairs to find The Good Lady Bard transfixed by a recording of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue on Classic FM – a piece much discussed (and played) in this household (as on this blog): especially the difference (on the soloist’s part, at least) between good and bad performances.

This was neither. In a nutshell, it was astonishing – the composure and control of the pianist far excelling any previous experience of this work (and with orchestral accompanists of the same impressive calibre). As TGLB said: even amongst all the virtuoso passages, and the swagger, the performer “sounds like they have all the time in the world”; adding that “they seem so relaxed: as if this is well within their capabilities; that they’re not being stretched, at all…” – and I had to agree. All those dense notes; and what could have been a struggle (or a muddle) rendered crisp, and yet remarkably heartfelt. Whoever was playing was at the top of their superlative game… – but this was not a version either of us had encountered before. I laughingly remarked that, in the more lyrical sections, it reminded me of either Martin Roscoe or Peter Donohoe playing Mozart; however, I was not aware – having listened to many (extremely different) recordings, whilst carrying out research (for the two concerts linked to, above) – of either of them having recorded this.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Look, Ma! No wires…!

I know it’s a little late in the month for an epiphany; but – despite its tardiness in not only time, and some other dimensions – Tuesday morning was the occasion for a rather remarkable and personal one.

I have written on here, before, about my struggles with increasing deafness: particularly my hard-won aural relationship with music and theatre. I have also detailed how – in the process of enabling these acts; of wringing out every single gram of what is left of my hearing… – I have begun to morph into something of a cyborg.

Until Tuesday, all of my efforts had been based around maximizing the amount of sound entering my head through my ears: either via my hearing aids, or with various combinations of headphones and amplification. My latest (and longest-lasting) setup (sans hearing aids) – after much experimentation; and taking into account the recommendations and experiences of those also ‘deaf’ – consists of a pair of AudioMX AX‑05 circumnaural headphones, plugged into a FiiO K5 desktop headphone amplifier: into which itself was slotted FiiO’s Alpen 2 DAC and headphone amplifier (which could therefore also be used on its own outside the house); and into which (finally) was piped (or, rather, cabled) the sound from my iPhone (on which I keep all my Apple Music playlists).

Saturday, 23 December 2017

He knew how to keep Christmas well…

There never was such a goose. Bob said he didn’t believe there ever was such a goose cooked. Its tenderness and flavour, size and cheapness, were the themes of universal admiration. Eked out by apple sauce and mashed potatoes, it was a sufficient dinner for the whole family; indeed, as Mrs Cratchit said with great delight (surveying one small atom of a bone upon the dish), they hadn’t ate it all at last! Yet everyone had had enough, and the youngest Cratchits, in particular, were steeped in sage and onion to the eyebrows!
– Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol

Three months ago, I wrote about my inchoate struggle with food allergies. And then went perfunctorily wheesht… – especially concerning the related battles I ended up fighting as my former fine fettle fell away….

Friday, 8 December 2017

A man’s whole life can be changed by one book…

Dear Ta-Nehisi

I am truly sorry. I did not know. (And had not searched, researched, or inquired.) I did not know the burden you have always worn – and still wear. I did not know what – or how; or why – your eyes bear witness; your mind carries; your heart feels. And I apologize for being afraid – lost in the humid canyons of Richmond, Virginia – when I did not know what it was to fear.

But you loaned me your eyes; shared fragments of your soul with me. And, perhaps, I began to understand. A little, anyways. Thus, even if I make mistakes in doing so, I had to reach out to thank you – as well as apologize. To say thank you for the streams of tears; the laughed recognition of the similar and the dissimilar; the sympathy and empathy. (It is not hard to make me cry, to feel; but this was something fresh, which filled me anew.)

Saturday, 2 December 2017

My colours are as red…

It was as if they were precisely as I had left them: serene shapes bathed in blazing sodium – a tinge flattering of the redwings, particularly as they settled; although the companion fieldfares and thrushes likewise glowed with the radiance painting the village’s warmed brick chimneys (some, like ours, wisped with telltale drifts of light smoke). But now the sunken sun shone westwards – not from the west – although my suspicion was the same: that, perched as high in the skyclad oak as its topmost thin fingers would hold, these returning travellers were relishing this tepid coloration; were making the most of the new winter’s protective evanescent light, of its ebbing eight-hour span.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Anniversary (a)musings…

Just a little set of amuse-bouches – of hastily-scribbled, reasonably relevant, limericks… – to celebrate four years of blogging! (Photo courtesy of the wonderful people at Dr C P Grey Opticians.)

Read ’em and weep

The Bard of the village of Tysoe
Did wonder and worry just why so
     Few views were logged
     Of the words he had blogged
The paucity making him cry so

Hot off the press

There once was a brilliant Bard
Who typed so exceedingly hard
     That his fingers were numb
     (As was his poor bum)
And the keyboard he hammered was charred

Did Cicero say anything?

The Orchestra’s Writer-in-Residence
Loves using his words to set precedence
     With notes so unique
     They could well be in Greek
Ή ακόμα και για τους γούνιους ελέφαντες

Monday, 13 November 2017

“This section does not make sense as drafted…”

I’m sorry so little is happening on this blog at the moment: but serious issues with my health mean that other things must take priority. However, if you’re interested in the progress (or otherwise) of the “Pre-consultation draft” of the Neighbourhood Development Plan, I’d like to point you to Stratford-on-Avon District Council’s gritty response – from 31 July 2017. It may not be quite as detailed as mine – but it certainly is pithy! Thanks to Duke Senior, as always, for the heads-up!