Saturday, November 8, 2008

Beresford Greene Speaks (Ninth fit)....


Aren't you glad to have a nice hobby that costs you so little? When the hard times bite there will be a revival in blues songs and you'll be well placed & in vogue again (at last) with your material. Isn't it nice when you amuse or otherwise entertain the other folk? So gratifying to know that your life is not completely wasted on Corrie & Eastenders?
There doesn't seem to be any contentious club issues on which I can feed this week. So maybe I could raise one or two. Would you like the club to start on time? What about the heating? Or the issue of bringing ones own drinks. The "Title" to songs & material. Then the business of gender-pronoun substitution and the singing of material intended for that other gender. Then there's always Ken Hobbs of course. Not only that but where is he?

As I write it isn't yet clear where this BBC saga will end, but my sub-title is also my best guess. I have some rough notes that I had intended to try & weave into our own club situation. Here they are: - What price entertainment? - fashion & development - tradition - pushing the envelope - going that little bit further like explorers, mountaineers, car racers, - the rewards & penalties of risk - whatever you can get away with - proportion & scale - attention seeking show offs - timing - instant gratification of urges.
I feel reluctantly aware that Ross & Brand had some right to expect strong editorial cover that they didn't get. I wonder if any of that was due to internal jealousy at the BBC. That they can be brash, tasteless, immature, lewd, rude as well as truly witty is a part of what they are and what you get if you choose to consume their product. They are apt to be loose cannons, a generation on, but not dissimilar to Spike Milligan in his own time.
In some small way we have similar decisions to make even within our Folk Club. {Berry take a special note}. A little bit of Rock & Roll maybe, but not at every turn. Some banter, but in good taste & never misdirected. It isn't everyone that wants it, deserves it, or can take it. One needs to be very sober, very controlled, very sensitive to the moment, and such comedy is never easy. I suspect one could say, rather more musically, that it's all a question of scale, meter & tempo. Never a laugh at any price. Don't mention the money!
{Dwoss & Bwanned type joke. I may yet be doing a live version of this joke sometime soon}.

A musician friend recently told me about something that I expect you already know. You didn't! Nevermind, I will reiterate. Apparently, in order for one to get proficient in any activity involving cognitive or perceptual-motor skills, such as cooking, sewing, driving, or more pertinently, playing a musical instrument, it will take you 10,000 hours. More explicitly, at the rate of nearly 3 hrs / day over 10 years. I was left wondering if this applies to walking & talking, running & jumping, but I don't think so. It has to be reasonably complex. OK so you think bad language should be included - eh!
Did you see the recent Jeff Beck concert, (and other guitarist extracts), on TV recently? For my money he needn't have bothered! If that was all guitar playing amounted to I would never have been attracted to it. There that's honest. No definable structure, much all in one key, it seemed to be a collection of "noises." What else is music then if not a collection of "noises" - eh? How long have you got? !0,000 hours?

Now ye who are "inteeligent" help me out here. Well not necessarily "intelligent", just know a lot. Is it not the case that the IQ index is weighted in accord with ones age? Aren't we really trying to measure the absorption factor of the human brain? I have dismal aquisitional abilities. I just never seem to learn song-words for example. My internal filofax has some recall but it takes forever to get it in there, and just as long to retrieve it. For many years I accepted that I was just a bit thick.
However, this bland acceptance of such a mantle merely serves the purposes of those who invented it in the first place, so I didn't like it. My reprieve came when I stumbled across the long named weird disability that the French call the "IDIOT SAVANT." {Also Williams syndrome}. This is a person who, just like Dustin Hoffman in the film Rain Man, has advanced ability in certain areas of the brain, at the same time as being very impaired in other parts. {Remind you of anybody?}.
They seem to have come to prominence towards the end of the nineteenth century for their use, in travelling fairs, as musicians or demonstrators of rapid mental arithmetic. This has given way now to other weird abilities, most notably, calendar feats & complex art of the drawing kind. To be able to jump the queue as it were, in a musical ability sense, it would be an advantage to be autistic - yeah? Let me not hear then, anymore smartarses deride me for reading my words, or otherwise messing up. Is that clear? Do try to remember that! As an aside, I can't help but wonder as it were, (bear with me), if there is any connection here that would explain why words once learnt, are sometimes rendered with so little feeling.

I was reading the BLOG of St Anley the incandescent when I encountered the following phrase: - "Let's face it, who uses magnetic tape these days?" Whilst we all divert to the latest in technology, there might be a few pitfalls. No-one knows much about the longevity of the CD/DVD. In fact some say that they are unlikely to survive for many years, being so sensitive to light & temperature. Often intolerant of even the slightest scratch, these discs (note the "c" in there denotes NON -magnetic), have absolutely huge amounts of laser inscribed dots & dashes. These are so tiny that they scarcely exist and are definitely not robust. In the case of music & video, our systems can withstand the odd missing bits, but data files are not tolerant at all. It could yet prove to be that magnetic media is actually the best bet. Perhaps tape is second best to any kind of disk/disc, since it is impossible to search for an item quickly. This is the advantage of a disk/disc. (Note the 'k' in there means magnetic).
St Anley then goes on about his admiration for someone who can play a Grand Piano & a keyboard at the same time. I honestly didn't know that when I attempted to play a harmonica & a keyboard together at the club on Friday (24thOct). I made the elementary mistake of playing two different tunes. Now if you really wanted to do that I'll bet you couldn't!
There are so many ways that information can be imparted to a CD/DVD. Just consider the segmented concentric rings (tracks) that are used by a PC to store & retrieve data. Then there is the spiral track used for the players, be they audio or video. It starts in the middle & winds outwards. I've got an old 78 record that is just like that. I have! Then we have to decide which way up to put the "1's" & "0's" (-R & +R). It's a nightmare of different software packages and that's why so many CD/DVD's won't transfer between different players or PC's.
In a final fury of BLOG exasperation, St Anly resorts to uncharacteristic swearing. He uses one of my own favourites. He claims title to it during the period of its use. I find nearly all swear-words well worth retaining; indeed I will do so now despite the temptation.

Brenda & I have colds. We didn't feel very musical and sat around shivering a bit as we watched boring TV. I started to scan the free digital channels and managed to catch a little programme on the History channel about Dr Beeching and the railways. A bit "blokey" I suppose but there were bits of old cine showing the steam trains, and then the subject diverted to what had become of the old railway stations and country routes. Many are lost forever, demolished to make way for "progress" in the shape of industrial units and houses. There are, however, some remarkable renovations. Some have been fully restored then to be used by the enthusiasts who run such novelties as the IOW & Bluebell railways. What took our eye were those stations which have been converted to domestic residences. There they live with a mock locomotive outside the Stationmaster's door, situated on just 50 foot of rail with flowers growing out of its funnel.
The programme finished up in a bridleway that was once a single track railway, and as the camera drew back and the closing credits began to roll, a dilapidated old signal came into view. I began to think how long it must have been since whence it last operated, even allowing myself to dream of how effective it would be as an ending shot should it do so. Rather like a piece of music in suspension, awaiting a resolve. I had given it up when, would you believe, it moved! Was that done just for me? My smile turned into a spontaneous tear.

I'm old enough to recall the immediate aftermath of WW2. I had a grandma who could recollect so much more from that & other wars. A woman that had given uncles, brothers and a son to the various campaigns, she was rather baffled by it in my humble opinion. It left her with no space for trivial argument. She would remain quiet, and if possible move on or away from conflict. She was a wise & kindly woman. How lucky my age-group have been. I feel guilty enough without the realisation that I have wasted, (& still do waste), much of that legacy on trivia.
Let us give thanks to those who died so needlessly on the battlefields, in the air and at sea. Let us also remember who it was that sent them there. The politicians. I just won't vote for that lot at Westminster. I will try to learn the Shaker hymn "Lay Me Low" proposed by Colin for our club meet on the 14thNov. Please join me.



P.S. Whatever happened to all the money


St. Anley said...

So, Berry reads the blog of St. Anley! (Note spelling, please.) Said saint is flattered, and gives permission for all readers to contest his totally unsubsantiated assertions.

Be advised, 'Damn' is not a swear-word, simply an expletive, unlike that cheap pun beginning with 'f' in the video download. St. A. will not be watching that again. (Actually he had to view it several times to find the humour.)Nor will he partake of Miller-Lite ever again.

If it hadn't been for that, I would love Berry to bits.

St. Anley said...

I have just received, and responded to, an email from Berry.

Poor Berry: he is having difficulty posting comments into BLOGs because of apparently missing 'hypertext markup language' (HTML) tags (<> and the like.) That's a foreign language that I am disinclined to learn.

Can anyone out there help him? Wouldn't we all find Berry's comments enlightening in this tedium called 'life'?

This is beyond my expertise. St. Anley only does light bulbs!

I hereby launch the 'Berry in Need' campaign!

(Not an HTML code in sight on this comment.)