rhythmaning: (violin)
The house I have been living in for the last week in the far north of Britain, as far as you can go, has an electric cooker.

I haven't used an electric cooker for many years. I understand why this house has one - there is no gas supply in the island (ironic since it is surrounded by the gas fields of the North Sea); electricity cables cross over from the  neighbouring island, and thence to the main island of the archipelago, and there are a lot of rotors churning out wind power, too.

My mother had a fear of gas, stemming, I think, from the war and accidents with gas. In her youth, gas was made from coal - coal gas - which had smelt bad and was stored in large tanks - telescopic gasometers, the skeletons of which can be seen in many towns and cities. Every so often these would blow up. Or the cookers would blow up. And people would put their heads in the ovens and asphixiate themselves, gas being heavier than air so it would push the air out.

DSCN3173



My mother had a fear of gas all her life, and all the homes she had used only electricity. I grew up learning to cook on an electric cooker, slow to heat and slow to cool. You couldn't tell if the rings were on it not, unless they were very hot, in which case they would glow orange and angry. But it was easy to leave on and hard to clean.

And hard to control.

Even as a schoolboy, the use of electricity didn't make a lot of sense to me. To take one form of energy and transform it to another didn't seem right - power stations (and any type of transformer - particularly the internal combustion engine) are inefficient. Using electricity as a source of energy, derived from coal (mostly back then) or gas (natural gas, odour-free, less toxic, and not derived from coal but initially as a by-product of oil production, from the 1970s), meant losing energy when you could have had all the power of the original, seemed wasteful.

But my mother - and her parents, whom she may have caught this from - had the gas removed from the houses she lived in. And she really didn't like gas at all. Perhaps because electricity was advertised as the fuel of the future. "The white heat of technology."

Whereas I have never liked electric cookers.

(My mother also thought electricity sockets had to be switched off if nothing was plugged into them, to stop the electricity leaking out. But I never knew if she were serious or not.)
rhythmaning: (Default)
Hunting for half-forgotten photos of an old friend – and clearly long-lost, since I couldn’t find them – I came across these photos taken at gigs a while back. Over thirty years, to be precise.

I now take pictures at jazz gigs; back then, I wasn’t such a jazz fan (though I did dig up some negatives from jazz gigs, too – they’ll wait for another time!). Instead I took my camera – a large, heavy Zenit E, the first SLR I owned – to rock gigs. I thought I had more pictures of rock gigs from my teens – I only found four gigs.

These were my favourite pictures.

Motorhead 2

Motorhead 4 v2

Motorhead 3 scan 2 v2
Motorhead, the Roundhouse, London. 1977.

Wilko 4 Wilko 10

Wilko 5 Wilko 9

Wilko Johnson’s Solid Senders (watched by Lemmy), the Marquee, London. May 1978.

Hawkwind 2-11 scan 2 Hawkwind 1-13

Hawkwind, the Roundhouse, London. 1977.

rhythmaning: (violin)
This time last weekend, I was sitting around nervous, waiting for things to happen. I looked at Twitter; [livejournal.com profile] frankie_cap broadcast that she was earwormed by Tom Lehrer's song about the atomic table.

For a reason that I can't fathom, this got me thinking of the song Dry Bones by Fred Waring & The Pennsylvanians - only as it appeared in the tv programme The Signing Detective. Or as it might have appeared - because in my head, it was being sung by the schoolteacher.

I know she sang After You've Gone - a scary, nightmaring witch of a woman, terrifying her pupils. And that Dry Bones - in the series - was sung by Joanne Whalley as a nurse with a chorus of medical students and some nifty vibraphone work on a skeleton.

But what came into my head was the schoolteacher singing Dry Bones. And the image stuck there.

Later in the day, I saw the schoolteacher for real: the actress Janet Henfrey was the main speaker at the memorial celebration organised at my mother's college. And she played the nightmarish teacher in the Signing Detective.

This is very, very strange.
rhythmaning: (violin)
This time last weekend, I was sitting around nervous, waiting for things to happen. I looked at Twitter; [livejournal.com profile] frankie_cap broadcast that she was earwormed by Tom Lehrer's song about the atomic table.

For a reason that I can't fathom, this got me thinking of the song Dry Bones by Fred Waring & The Pennsylvanians - only as it appeared in the tv programme The Signing Detective. Or as it might have appeared - because in my head, it was being sung by the schoolteacher.

I know she sang After You've Gone - a scary, nightmaring witch of a woman, terrifying her pupils. And that Dry Bones - in the series - was sung by Joanne Whalley as a nurse with a chorus of medical students and some nifty vibraphone work on a skeleton.

But what came into my head was the schoolteacher singing Dry Bones. And the image stuck there.

Later in the day, I saw the schoolteacher for real: the actress Janet Henfrey was the main speaker at the memorial celebration organised at my mother's college. And she played the nightmarish teacher in the Signing Detective.

This is very, very strange.

Remember.

Jan. 27th, 2009 10:57 am
rhythmaning: (Armed Forces)
Today is Holocaust Memorial Day.

I was talking to a friend about the holocaust at the weekend, and we discussed how important it was to remember.

I have nothing else to say: except that we must rembember.

Remember.

Jan. 27th, 2009 10:57 am
rhythmaning: (Armed Forces)
Today is Holocaust Memorial Day.

I was talking to a friend about the holocaust at the weekend, and we discussed how important it was to remember.

I have nothing else to say: except that we must rembember.

Ritual

Jan. 9th, 2009 06:50 pm
rhythmaning: (violin)
Last weekend, I started this year’s diary by moving all the addresses from the old one into the new one; some people don’t get copied across, dropping out after a while of silence.

Except last year I hadn’t done this: I was in a funny mood at the beginning of the new year, and I hadn’t started my diary as usual. I did have a diary, I just never copied the names from the previous year. This did mean that when I needed the names – which I did a lot in the autumn - I had to go into my old diary. A bit like that year not properly closing.

I also go through the pages and make sure any useful information I have scribbled down during the year is kept. It also serves to review the year – informally. It really was quite strange. Indeed, it has been a strange couple of years, all in all.

Ritual

Jan. 9th, 2009 06:50 pm
rhythmaning: (violin)
Last weekend, I started this year’s diary by moving all the addresses from the old one into the new one; some people don’t get copied across, dropping out after a while of silence.

Except last year I hadn’t done this: I was in a funny mood at the beginning of the new year, and I hadn’t started my diary as usual. I did have a diary, I just never copied the names from the previous year. This did mean that when I needed the names – which I did a lot in the autumn - I had to go into my old diary. A bit like that year not properly closing.

I also go through the pages and make sure any useful information I have scribbled down during the year is kept. It also serves to review the year – informally. It really was quite strange. Indeed, it has been a strange couple of years, all in all.
rhythmaning: (violin)
So there I am, browsing in Fopp again. I have no idea how I got there.

My eye is caught by a box set. “Original recordings from the Manticore vaults.” And one of those recordings is of the second ever rock concert I went to: Emerson Lake & Palmer at Hammersmith Odeon, 27 November [erm…] 1972.
...If we make it we can all sit back and laugh... )
rhythmaning: (violin)
So there I am, browsing in Fopp again. I have no idea how I got there.

My eye is caught by a box set. “Original recordings from the Manticore vaults.” And one of those recordings is of the second ever rock concert I went to: Emerson Lake & Palmer at Hammersmith Odeon, 27 November [erm…] 1972.
...If we make it we can all sit back and laugh... )

Cold Feet

Dec. 3rd, 2008 03:47 pm
rhythmaning: (christmas)
It is cold; I don’t think the temperature has risen above freezing since Saturday, like much of the country. Yesterday, I was caught in a snow shower in Princes St – large flakes swirling around the merry-go-round, ferris wheel and slide.

Sunday night and Monday, wrapped up in bed, my feet were freezing, so cold they kept me awake.

So yesterday, I went shopping for a new duvet.

And last night, my feet were very comfortable indeed.

* * *

It feels like we will be in for a cold winter; and I was thinking about previous winters. When I first moved back to Edinburgh, fourteen years ago, the Water of Leith froze over at Christmas: the falls in Dean Village were solid ice, a waterfall of icicles. It was very beautiful – but cold.

And in January 1982, I was in Oxford, which was for one night the coldest place in the UK. The temperature fell to -17°C. There was ice on the inside of the windows of my bedroom. Going outside to go to the pub, my hair froze – my breath rising from my mouth condensed on my hair, and froze it so it cracked when my fingers rubbed it. My hair was longer then.

I think I’d like another cold winter, for a change.

Cold Feet

Dec. 3rd, 2008 03:47 pm
rhythmaning: (christmas)
It is cold; I don’t think the temperature has risen above freezing since Saturday, like much of the country. Yesterday, I was caught in a snow shower in Princes St – large flakes swirling around the merry-go-round, ferris wheel and slide.

Sunday night and Monday, wrapped up in bed, my feet were freezing, so cold they kept me awake.

So yesterday, I went shopping for a new duvet.

And last night, my feet were very comfortable indeed.

* * *

It feels like we will be in for a cold winter; and I was thinking about previous winters. When I first moved back to Edinburgh, fourteen years ago, the Water of Leith froze over at Christmas: the falls in Dean Village were solid ice, a waterfall of icicles. It was very beautiful – but cold.

And in January 1982, I was in Oxford, which was for one night the coldest place in the UK. The temperature fell to -17°C. There was ice on the inside of the windows of my bedroom. Going outside to go to the pub, my hair froze – my breath rising from my mouth condensed on my hair, and froze it so it cracked when my fingers rubbed it. My hair was longer then.

I think I’d like another cold winter, for a change.
rhythmaning: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] andrewducker linked to an article on the BBC website about Ray Morrissey, who, according to the article, has been to over 5,000 gig in 35 years. (Actually, that works out at just over one a month, so they may have got their numbers wrong, but let's skip over that.) Ray kept notes of each gig he went to; and he has put them all online in an accessible, searchable form.

This is a goldmine. He started going to gigs in 1973 (so I beat him by a year! Ha!), and he went to lots of the same gigs I went to. And lots I wish I had gone to!

Magic!

I'm going to be lost there for ages!
rhythmaning: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] andrewducker linked to an article on the BBC website about Ray Morrissey, who, according to the article, has been to over 5,000 gig in 35 years. (Actually, that works out at just over one a month, so they may have got their numbers wrong, but let's skip over that.) Ray kept notes of each gig he went to; and he has put them all online in an accessible, searchable form.

This is a goldmine. He started going to gigs in 1973 (so I beat him by a year! Ha!), and he went to lots of the same gigs I went to. And lots I wish I had gone to!

Magic!

I'm going to be lost there for ages!
rhythmaning: (on the beat)
I found the drawing Quentin Blake drew for me. It wasn't where I thought it was; I thought it had been on its own sheet of paper, when in fact it was in my old autograph book. One of Blake's characters was called Patrick, and that is what he dedicated to me.

1003a



This was at the Puffin Show - probably about 1974 or so. At another Puffin Show - I worked there annually between 1974 and 1979 or 80 - I took a picture of Blake sketching on an overhead projector.

1005



Read more... )
rhythmaning: (on the beat)
I found the drawing Quentin Blake drew for me. It wasn't where I thought it was; I thought it had been on its own sheet of paper, when in fact it was in my old autograph book. One of Blake's characters was called Patrick, and that is what he dedicated to me.

1003a



This was at the Puffin Show - probably about 1974 or so. At another Puffin Show - I worked there annually between 1974 and 1979 or 80 - I took a picture of Blake sketching on an overhead projector.

1005



Read more... )
rhythmaning: (sunset)
Before catching the train back to Edinburgh, I went off to Tate Britain. Mostly, I wanted to see Martin Creed’s Work No. 850, but whilst there I thought I’d catch the Bacon retrospective and see the works shortlisted for the Turner Prize, too; and make the use of my new Tate membership…

DSC_0087 DSC_0031



I was expecting to really dislike Work No. 850, if only because it is not what I would normally consider “art”: it basically consists of people running through the main hall of Tate Britain. One after another. Not painting; not sculpture; not even an unmade bed: but people in running gear, running through an otherwise empty gallery?
Read more... )
rhythmaning: (sunset)
Before catching the train back to Edinburgh, I went off to Tate Britain. Mostly, I wanted to see Martin Creed’s Work No. 850, but whilst there I thought I’d catch the Bacon retrospective and see the works shortlisted for the Turner Prize, too; and make the use of my new Tate membership…

DSC_0087 DSC_0031



I was expecting to really dislike Work No. 850, if only because it is not what I would normally consider “art”: it basically consists of people running through the main hall of Tate Britain. One after another. Not painting; not sculpture; not even an unmade bed: but people in running gear, running through an otherwise empty gallery?
Read more... )
rhythmaning: (cat)
My mother left piles of paper. I mean, piles of paper: paper that belonged to my grandfather, who died in 1985; paper that belonged to my father, who died in 1988; paper that belonged to my grandmother, who died in 1990; and paper that belonged to my mother.

She seems to have kept everything. We have found rates demands going back to the mid-1960s; phone bills from the mid-1970s; electricity bills; bank statements on long closed accounts with long closed banks; cheque book stubs going back thirty years; business receipts going back twenty years or more.

A lot of paper.

Some of it was sorted and orderly, but a lot of it seemed in no obvious order – papers from completely different periods sat together.

Most of it was of no interest – phone bills, bank statements, electricity bills – I threw them out (keeping only the most recent). I appear to be a chucker – I want rid of most things; my brother prefers to keep much more, in case it might be of interest. (I take the view that unless there is a clear use or interest, it should go: otherwise it will just sit in a box, forgotten in an attic, until someone else has to throw it out.) My mother, clearly, was a hoarder. The things she kept are, at times, fascinating: she stored some files in the vegetable rack of an old fridge; she kept old envelops and old bits of cardboard, in case they might one day be useful. (She grew up during the second world war and lived through years of rationing, so perhaps keeping things for a time when they would become valuable made sense.)

I don’t find it easy to sort through all this paper. Most of it is boring: another phone bill! Another electricity bill! (No gas bills: my mother didn’t like gas, being almost pathologically scared of it: again, I think this dates back to growing up in a time when catastrophic gas explosions were common, and gas leaks asphyxiated families as they slept.)

Amongst the boring pieces of paper, though, are some fascinating jewels: there is a strange balance between tedium and deep distraction, as something interesting grabs me and I sit and read, and suddenly time has passed. Many of them bring back memories – strong recollections of my childhood and youth.
Read more... )
rhythmaning: (cat)
My mother left piles of paper. I mean, piles of paper: paper that belonged to my grandfather, who died in 1985; paper that belonged to my father, who died in 1988; paper that belonged to my grandmother, who died in 1990; and paper that belonged to my mother.

She seems to have kept everything. We have found rates demands going back to the mid-1960s; phone bills from the mid-1970s; electricity bills; bank statements on long closed accounts with long closed banks; cheque book stubs going back thirty years; business receipts going back twenty years or more.

A lot of paper.

Some of it was sorted and orderly, but a lot of it seemed in no obvious order – papers from completely different periods sat together.

Most of it was of no interest – phone bills, bank statements, electricity bills – I threw them out (keeping only the most recent). I appear to be a chucker – I want rid of most things; my brother prefers to keep much more, in case it might be of interest. (I take the view that unless there is a clear use or interest, it should go: otherwise it will just sit in a box, forgotten in an attic, until someone else has to throw it out.) My mother, clearly, was a hoarder. The things she kept are, at times, fascinating: she stored some files in the vegetable rack of an old fridge; she kept old envelops and old bits of cardboard, in case they might one day be useful. (She grew up during the second world war and lived through years of rationing, so perhaps keeping things for a time when they would become valuable made sense.)

I don’t find it easy to sort through all this paper. Most of it is boring: another phone bill! Another electricity bill! (No gas bills: my mother didn’t like gas, being almost pathologically scared of it: again, I think this dates back to growing up in a time when catastrophic gas explosions were common, and gas leaks asphyxiated families as they slept.)

Amongst the boring pieces of paper, though, are some fascinating jewels: there is a strange balance between tedium and deep distraction, as something interesting grabs me and I sit and read, and suddenly time has passed. Many of them bring back memories – strong recollections of my childhood and youth.
Read more... )

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