Monday, December 31, 2007

Out into the new space of a New Year

And here's a photograph from lorissa shepstone to go with that thought!
Happy and a safe New Year!

Seeking a team vicar

Graham writes:
We are looking for an outgoing and adventurous person to come and join us in our close knit staff team. You should enjoy working with others and not be afraid of change.

The job spec is available from here. Applications welcome :-) but not to me...

And back again..

Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
In Belgium/Luxembourg on the return journey of the 1975 European trip. Photos of the complete trip are now in a set on flickr, though I might add a few more!
The van became unwell when we got to Calais and had to be pushed on and off the hovercraft!


Cobweb - a cat we had for around 6 months - he disappeared shortly after we had him done.. perched on a tiny monitor which Beth is using to play a game on a ZX Spectrum when you used to have to load games from a cassette drive..
Photo taken from another slide scan.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Be afraid!

Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
At least those of you who recognise this photo, there are more to come!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Say ahhhhh!
Been given a slide scanner for Christmas and an initial play gives this picture taken back in 1983 of our then cats Perdita and Thisbe (they were found under a wall). I need to make sure the slides are a little cleaner!
I'm also having problems getting the Veho scanner to work with various flavours of Linux so this was done using XP (grrr)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Christmas (again)

I'll leave you with this rendition of Holy Night. (Wicked grin!) Do listen to the end - I have heard it before but hadn't seen it linked before tonight, I believe it is a joke and the singer is capable of better.

Cat in the Manger

Didn't know this poem of U A Fanthorpe

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Projecting outwards..

Happy Christmas - the above title was prompted by an interesting talk at last night's carol service - what we project outwards (and what we see - and object to in others) is all too often a function of what's inside. May you project peace and joy this Christmas. The talk is now available on Graham's site as an mp3/wav download.

That conversion

(well reception actually), thanks to Mad Priest, this is the latest news

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Among the Gypsies

Via plep come these photos from Stacia Spragg, of life among the gypsies in Bulgaria.
As in Blagoevgrad, most Gypsies nationwide live in ghettos on the outskirts of the city, comprised of poorly constructed houses lacking running water. Residents often do not have access to sanitation or other public services. Gypsy children are mostly placed in schools for Bulgarians with learning disabilities, where the emphasis is on learning low-skill trades, dooming them to perpetuate the poverty cycle.

Click at the top of the essay for the photos - here's one

Christmas letter

Most of this is already on here by searching back though the year, but here is the annual round robin letter - at least I hope it's there - the new router prevents me from checking that url as the file is on my home network and I've not yet found how to work my way around it!
Note to self - use ps2pdf rather than's pdf conversion tool - it bloats the output something horrid. Looks like there's an on line version of ps2pdf here - if you're not sure how to get a ps(postScript file) then 'print as file' will usually get you there!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

More bad taste

But not Christmas presents this time. Via r.m.c.r and Alex Ross comes this set of LP covers. Unfortunately I remember seeing most of these - I don't think I bought any though!

Two links

one tecchie (and very funny and sad tooo) from the Daily WTF and - a day late - I got around to reading this account of a funeral - make sure you pick up your tissues on the way over.
And, by the way, firefox 3 beta2 is now out and looking even more splendid, though it does give CSS issues with the latest version of work's new website (in development).
(at this rate I'm going to have more posts in December than there are days in the month..)


or schizoid or something!? I thought my current lastfm top artists ought to be preserved!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Double reeds are offensive

From today's Guardian
The BBC was forced into a very public U-turn yesterday over a decision to censor the perennial Christmas hit Fairytale of New York. Radio 1 had bleeped out the word "faggott" from the duet between Pogues frontman, Shane MacGowan, and the late singer Kirsty MacColl, saying the term could be offensive to listeners.

Bassoons are far too rude for Radio 1 listeners...and as for tenor-oons.

Railway Reading

Just completed Jeanette Winterson's The Stone Gods - I thought it was great fun and definitely on form, though it bears somewhat of a debt (IMHO) to Douglas Adams - there's an interesting conjunction. The Asylum has some interesting comments. I also was stuck by this bit
She stood like a lighthouse, like a pulsar, and I was a radio telescope that caught the signal. There she is, a star the size of a city, pulsing through the universe with burned-out energy. I know you’re there, I know where you are, I can track you because we are the same stuff.

I see there's someone from Jodrell Bank referenced in the acknowledgments - must contact my source there.

Heading towards Christmas

.. an early morning picture as we get towards the shortest day. It should also keep the folk who end up here when searching for Arighi Bianchi happy!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007


:-) - nailed it!

Modern Music

When Christians talk about modern music they generally mean the Carpenters
- Lucy Winkett from the Inclusive Church conference - recommended listening, as an mp3 is downloadable via the link. Lots more (more) thought provoking stuff though not so reducible to a quick quote.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cold morning. White sky.

An account of Stockhausen's funeral. Radio 3's here and now programme last night was a tribute (a late change) and is accessible for the next 7 days.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Advent calendars

.. getting a bit late now but here's a small one -
The rectangular Advent calendar measures 8.4µm by 12.4µm and is etched onto a semi-conducting gallium arsenide wafer coated with Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) - used to make Perspex.


Following this post - shouldn't have bragged - I see the figures are now back to IE 50% and Firefox 40% - probably due to my circulating the Christmas 'do' link around work..

Friday, December 14, 2007

USB Wine

Wine! - in French but not difficult! Thanks to Lindsay Marshall's Bifurcated Rivets

On xkcd this week...

xkcd - A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language - By Randall Munroe:
we have a complicated pedestrian crossing by the offices, maybe we should see if we can identify our visitors?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A familiar corner

After noticing an update of a facebook friend, I see that Tom Körner has his own facebook fan club - which I can't join as I don't have the right email address...he was my director of studies 30+ years ago at Cambridge - don't think I was very good though I've been making up for it by doing lots of numerical analysis type applications over the past 15 years. I read his 'The Pleasures of Counting' (quite) a few years ago and I must see about giving it a re-read (so it is recommended, by me anyway!). His web page - on the other hand - I don't think it has changed since I first saw it back in the late 1990's!
There appears to be a more recent book`Why Was The Computer Invented When It Was?' - well more recent than the web-page..2002

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Browser percentages

Looking at the very select (!) stats on accesses to this blog the browser percentages have finally come right!

Very pleasing! Yes, you are being observed - but if you think the internet is anonymous, you've not been paying attention!
I am excluding accesses from my own IP address for when I read my own blog(!), but as I do sometimes blog about Linux/FSF/Firefox I suppose that does bias the stats.

A couple of links

First this on lightning farms as a source of electricity.
And this off the Stockhausen site cartoon page

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The TNEI Christmas do

Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
Yes that's orange jelly and blue (bubblegum) ice-cream. This was the Nawaab Restaurant so no gentle alcohol but serious blue.

More serious photos are here

software complexity

Well it is complex but somehow I don't think this is the right way of measuring it!

Market Place

Market Place
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
A deserted Macclesfield market place caught on my way to work this week with the Christmas tree

Flash! Bang!

Been off net (at least at home) for 36 hours due to the router dying - its death throes tripped the electricity circuits twice before it wouldn't come on again and I then identified the culprit. Trying a Lantech router from aria - a swift walk over yesterday's lunchtime. Currently having problems getting it to forward http requests to this machine - so my web server (link to the right of this) may be impossible to get to at the moment. Also it appears to stop working when I boot up a machine (the one that is directly connected to its inbuilt switch rather than via a hub). Will see whether I'm misconfiguring it or whether there's a fault.. At least I am now able to download all the spam that was waiting for me!

A time to dream

From Ivan Hewett's obituary of him in the Guardian
Those ideas are strenuous, boldly speculative, and high-minded in a way that doesn't really suit our more cautious age; but when the time to explore and dream comes again, Stockhausen's music will be waiting for it.

Pliable has a fairly discursive life summary here, I remember taking part in a back stage invasion at a Stockhausen conducted concert in the Queen Elizabeth Hall back in 1973(?). I wonder whether his death means that some of the Stockhausen discography will become available in the shops again? (it wasn't the shops fault!)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Don't ask

The Guardian reports that a number of ex US military generals have called for the scrapping of the 'Don't ask, don't tell' policy over gays in the military. It reports that there is still opposition amongst the serving military and this quote from the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Peter Pace caught my eye
I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is OK to be immoral in any way

they must have pretty high entry qualifications in the US military...certainly no remarried divorcees, let alone any other malefactors!

Sleeping with cats

Want kitten...but maybe not!


I've been trying firefox 3 - the first beta - and it looks pretty good, it even fixes this bug, and seems to be less of memory hog. It got installed elsewhere too after an upgrade on that machine from 2.0.4 to 2.0.11 caused firefox to crash on startup...I suspect something in a profile.. but I upgraded to 3.0b and that runs fine.


Hat tip to Pam for this link - wonderful...

Better than I thought...

via Niles (though I got the html wrong when editing this entry...)

My Architect

I was meaning to mention our visit to the silk screen (our local cinema club) to see My Architect, two weeks ago now. I wasn't over keen on going to see it, no doubt therapeutic for the son, but an evening watching a film about an architect I hadn't heard of?? I found myself gradually drawn into the story of Louis Kahn with his unconventional living arrangments (multiple households), the son telling the story was the child of one of his colleagues - he seemed to treat the female ones as a bit of a harem and the film told of the son's visits to the father's buildings and of his meetings with his half sisters.
For me it started to take life when there was an interview with a Philadelphia ex-councillor who explained why Kahn didn't get a job - and wonderfully betrayed himself in the process! Kahn eventually died at a railway station near bankrupt but the son's last visit to Bangla Desh and the Capitol meaning where a local explained, in tears, how much Kahn's commitment meant to them was for me the moment that made the evening out worthwhile. Well worth seeing.
This blog has this quote
In one of the interview[s] about Louis Kahn, an Architect said, In Jewish Mysticism: God can only be known through His Works. ... thus the work of any Jewish Artists can be considered as the work of God. When you see Louis enjoying his silence with his finger on his lips looking at the light, you know as if he was connecting with something. You can not be impatient.

Musings from a New York architect are here

Thursday, November 29, 2007

St Sebastian pin-cushion etc.

Yes it's the time of year for the Ship of Fools bad taste Christmas presents - cartoons by Taffy - not for all of them alas - maybe he's too busy Rural Deaning

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It is reality that is at fault

Grin - thanks to Geoff for this - I should really add Jesus and Mo to my daily cartoon check but it is just getting too long...

Not the pony club

Boggle, amazing what you find as a result of reading Ship of Fools - beware the linked material is probably not suitable for young persons!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Golden Wedding

Golden Wedding
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
Lunch today with my parents-in-law to celebrate their Golden Wedding at the Wizard at Alderley Edge
. Their website has too much information as MSWord docs for my taste(!) but the meal was good. See here for the Flickr set of photos.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Read this if you don't follow the register, the auction has - of course - now been removed

The train now leaving...

is two years late. From
this BBC travel page
last updated 27th Nov 2005 - I really was looking for train news when I found this via google!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Two musical obituaries

In nearly adjacent days last week, first William Waterhouse bassoon player and then Sebastian Bell flautist and co founder of the London Sinfonietta. Two artists whose work I greatly admired.
On Bell the obit says
..when faced with an uncharacteristic bout of performance nerves, he took up powerboat racing which, he said, scared him witless, thereby increasing his understanding of fear and nerves and his control of them. In 1983 he came fourth in the national marine power boat championship series.


Go, see

Monday, November 19, 2007

Off by one

Looks like lastfm can't count..

though it seems to have now rectified itself - maybe it only happens the first time you go over five? Note the 'see my 0 other groups' in the left hand panel.

squire and horse

squire and horse
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
To Sussex over the weekend and dinner at the Squire and Horse at Bury. I thought I blogged about my last visit there, but at the moment I can't find it... A very nice cassoulet and I thought the pub was quieter than it deserved to me. Bit tricky negotiating wheelchairs outside in the dark though!
Some of the staff were making plans for a night out in Worthing for Sunday (Worthing???), I hope Worthing survived!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


And while we're on the subject of food advertising, Geoff Coupe points me to this Biscuit of the week - especially for my Serbian readers!


Originally uploaded by fflparis
After a link here, was directed to this picture. There are longer and more outrageous versions of the ad findable from the comments on the first daily motion version.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Cold morning

Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
Looking over the car park on my way down to the station. Later saw a bright mock sun from the train - but getting a photo is a little more tricky!

.. probably the Devils of Loudun..?

N.C. Baptists set to cast out Charlotte church and there was I getting my hopes up and it's church politics

I swallowed a dictionary...

Following from Geoff Coupe's pointer

That's extremely alarming, must be my somewhat gnomic (oops!) utterances (oops again!)

Sunday, November 11, 2007


I'm tempted to submit this error to Worse than Failure

you'll see that I've clicked the 'details' button for extra information, if I don't click that I get something pretty similar!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Someone is 50!

From a recent BATS meeting


Spotted in Sainsbury's this afternoon

unfortunately the boxes look as if they've been printed correctly!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Vienna thief snatches hundreds of obscure avant-garde music CDs
A thief single-mindedly stole between 800 and 1,000 CDs by the Italian avant-garde composer Luigi Nono (1924-1990) from the warehouse of a Vienna music distributor, police said Thursday
I looked around Manchester's HMV for some Nono CD's yesterday without success - maybe this explains it (but I doubt it)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Where is that squirrel?

There's a grey squirrel in one of these gardens

gave us a great deal of amusement over Sunday lunch - unfortunately(? it was grey) they didn't quite catch it.

Don't ask me to employ you

I scored 3/10 at this (via Niles) - or rather don't ask me to screen applicants! My son scored 9/10...

Saturday, November 03, 2007


This appeared in my email

and was nearly enough to persuade me not to use them again... (edited for grammar :-))

Friday, November 02, 2007


A bit late now, but do read this, still trying to find an English version of this on a news site - though there are plenty of German links to the tale!


One of the buildings at the deserted gold-mine at Rodalquilar had an English label on it.

I assume this happened when the mine was part of a set of a film, this site leads me to expect it might be The Reckoning but looking at the plot (set in 1300's England) I somehow doubt the presence of Guard Blocks! Can anyone identify this?
Also in Rodalquilar the one food shop - Lola's - was frequently closed during normal opening hours whenever the elderly proprietress found something more interesting to do. The owner of Jardín de los Sueños - a German - said without blinking - just go into Rodalquilar and ask for Lola.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

More Almeria pictures

Some pictures taken by some people doing the same inntravel walk on the same week as us are here. I like the fact that we both took pictures of the same plant emerging from the rocks in the huge scree on the way down to San Pedro.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fountains of smtp

Following on from this, I've had a sudden need to go up to Newcastle (upon T) tomorrow as there's a mailbot loose somewhere on the network spewing spam everywhere and my job is to find and exterminate it! I hope it isn't reading this... as it has caused our email server to be blacklisted thus stopping outgoing mail from leaving the server - the server inspects the email discovers it's from a blacklisted site - itself! - and won't proceed further!

I am NOT young, cute and furry!

.. with adorable eyes - well not all of those! I've no idea what even makes google images think that might be so. Do I have grounds for a defamation action? Looking at the google analytics stats there are some disappointed web searchers - unless they scroll down a bit.
See the first hit in the above link - at least as of today and I suppose this posting might keep it there a bit longer ;-)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Independent on the Cabo de Gata walk

From someone else who did a rather similar walk to us
San José from the cliffs looks like a time-share prospectus pasted upon the surface of Mars; the ranks of white houses, resplendent marina and palm-lined promenade are incongruous in this kiln of sun-scorched hills. Where the track ought to be is a descent over rocky outcrops between the new villas. Mostly deserted, their owners' provenance is uncertain, though some do have garden gnomes.

Beach-level, San José is a northern European's Spanish fantasy come true. It looks fresh; the original fishing village - official population still 175 - is somewhere under the cement. It has, we admit, a certain unreal charm - a sanitised south where you might safely bring children - but whatever is it doing in a desert natural park? At a promenade café, people stare at our backpacks as if we are aliens.

I knew there was a reason why I bought and read the first volume of JG Ballard's collected short stories on this trip, all those bleached and deserted villas! Though we didn't go into San José at all....but we didn't see any illegal immigrants

Bambi gunned down(old news!)

Via Andrew Brown, my attention has been drawn to this obituary in the Independent of Sammy Duddy:
Sammy Duddy was a colourful Belfast character who combined membership of one of the city's most lethal paramilitary groups with a career as "Samantha", a highly suggestive drag act.
On one occasion, Duddy's home was attacked with a pipe bomb, while on another shots were fired into it. While he was uninjured, his pet chihuahua, Bambi, was hit by gunfire and died.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fountains of Home

Slightly unexpectedly I'm working from home today. We had a new central heating boiler installed this week (Tuesday). Last night I turned on the (dual fuel) cooker for the first time since and was greeted with a fountain of water emerging from the gas jet! Workmen appearing to unscramble the pipes later today...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

John Cage

I spent some time at the Jardín de los Sueños reading John Cage's Silence - last read it in the (19!)60's, I bought it on a (the) trip to the US in 2000 but hadn't yet got around to the re-read. It seemed in retrospect a rather appropriate book to read there, sitting in their Zen's an animation - beware if you don't like flashing things...

Almeria album

The album is now up (discussion about the state of the webserver snipped)

.. home webserver as usual. I thought the JAlbum Nature skin might be nice though I'm wondering if it is too flowery.
I have some more pictures I want to comment on but thought I'd get the intensive stuff done!

Monday, October 22, 2007

New anti-crime measure

Absolutely loony disguise yourself as a drinks dispenser - found on the ship of fools forum

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Helpless laughter

pinched via Niles

Blood Wedding

We paid a visit to Cortijo el Fraile, the scene of the tragic events that inspired Lorca's Blood Wedding. Here are two photos, one of the farm, and the other of the chapel which is part of the farm.

Couldn't get inside so the picture was taken though a hole in the door...
A very isolated spot, one can understand the isolation that led to the events of the horrific tale.

Lawrence of Arabia a plastic mac. The beach at Monsul has apparently been used as a setting for Lawrence of Arabia

When we passed by - hastily - on Friday, I don't think there were many film crews around (not even the fashion shoot that was using our hotel)

unfortunately there was no ice around (from the ISIRTA 8th series)

From the Garden of Dreams to a Fistful of Dollars

We stayed at these two places this last week, the first in Rodalquilar - Jardín de los Sueños - the Garden of Dreams

Then in San Jose, at a hotel which was in part of A Fistful of Dollars (I hope I have the right one! - it is see this site)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Spanish kittens!

We've been away on an Inntravel arranged walking tour to Almeria

This photo was taken at the ever so slightly hippyish San Pedro
More photos and accounts will no doubt follow but this evening I have a talk for tomorrow's service bearing down on me! For some reason (well a few reasons) the last verse of the Old Testament reading attacts
The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip

(Genesis 32:3-31) or should that be hip-py?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Windows on the cathedral

A quick shot of Newcastle cathedral through the windows of our new offices: taken on a day visit to sort out some computer issues! The local staff now get the bells rather than police sirens to accompany their work.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Eccentric cartography

Some wonderfully strange maps. I rather like this one, I was set there by jeev.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Someone is getting confused

and it is probably me! Here is the weather forecast for Almeria off the Le Monde Website, and here is another weather forecast for Almeria off the Le Monde website. About 5C between the two forecasts every day, the hotter one has constant storms and the cooler one no storms - maybe it is the other end of the province?

Spiritual experiences

Via the Ship of Fools forum comes this quote from Ned Sherrin's obituary in the Telegraph

He believed in God, but "avoided" spiritual experiences by regular attendance at church, turning up before the Communion, but after the Peace. He remained unconcerned about the Bible's strictures on homosexuality, noting that the Good Book also forbids the eating of shellfish and pork. He was an energetic campaigner for Aids charities.

Not sure whether it was the time he arrived or his church attendance that was there to avoid spiritual experience. Well worth reading the rest of the obit - that was the penultimate paragraph. The Guardian one is quite fun too, inevitably they have different stories...

This web page has been tangoed!

Well it suppose it's pretty, I was looking for Sarah Walker's 'Shakespeare's kingdom' with Mervyn Horder's wonderful tango version of Under the Greenwood Tree and could only get at this page using the google cache. I suppose I need a screenshot in case it is a firefox/stylesheet issue:

Weekend press

On an Overgrown Path has this quote from the Guardian letters page:
I asked Roger Wright, head of Radio 3, a few years ago why the BBC didn't broadcast more new music. We get too many complaining letters was his reply

Then there's Rowan Williams on the right wing American loonies:
When people talk about further destabilisation of the region - and you read some American political advisers speaking of action against Syria and Iran - I can only say that I regard that as criminal, ignorant and potentially murderous folly
should make his next meeting with Nazir-Ali fun!

Arighi Bianchi

I've fallen a bit behind with my 'on the way to work pictures' so here are two firstly Arighi Bianchi covered in scaffolding - if you pass through Macc by train you'll see the shop - rather conspicuous from the railway.
and then yesterday felt like the first really autumny day
-looking over the local carpark(!) towards the hills.

Harvest supper

To St Michael's last night for their harvest supper and barn dance (interrupted by a quick trip out for a piano lesson). Barn dance done by the lifeboat band - with considerable panache (IMHO) - recommended. Sorry about the blurry picture! Had to make a swift exit shortly after this as a young lad had managed to pour orange juice all over the seat of the chair I was sitting on (at least I hope it was that!) and I didn't notice until too late!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Icons? What icons?

Following an open invite from A Blogspate, here's a screenshot:

don't think I've done a screenshot before on this blog. This is Mandriva 2007 and blackbox - I don't like stuff cluttering up the desktop - as you see!
The instructions say -
A. Upon receiving this tag, immediately perform a screen capture of your desktop. It is best that no icons be deleted before the screen capture so as to add to the element of fun.

You can do a screen capture by:

[1] Going to your desktop and pressing the Print Scrn key (located on the right side of the F12 key).

[2] Open a graphics program (like Picture Manager, Paint, or Photoshop) and do a Paste (CTRL + V).

[3] If you wish, you can “edit” the image, before saving it.

[4] Or use screen capture from The Gimp

For MAC users: Press [ Apple] [ Ctrl ] [ Shift ] and [ 3 ]

B. Post the picture in your blog. You can also give a short explanation on the look of your desktop just below it if you want. You can explain why you preferred such look or why is it full of icons. Things like that.

C. Tag five of your friends and ask them to give you a Free View of their desktop as well.

.. and (later) look at the uptime on this machine - at the bottom of the gkrellm monitor

Monday, October 01, 2007

BATS protection league

I've blogged here occasionally on our book group BATS for which the main blog is here - though it needs a bit of dusting off. Due to Cheshire wanting to save money it looks as if we - and a fair number of other book groups are going to have to do things rather differently and I've just set up a blog to publicise things and see if we can get things going as to a way forward. If you live in Cheshire and are affected by this please visit and comment on the entry on the new blog!

Sunday, September 30, 2007


Stephen Fry on Dan Doodah (gosh the title on that website!) is well worth a read - but you've probably already done that!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Current piano work

Currently looking at the Schubert Ländler D790 - easy to think of Ländler as rum-ti-tum two lots of 8 bars that Schubert might have churned out on a boozy evening - but these have buckets full of subtlety (sorry!). Beautiful harmonic touches in no 1, I think no 2 prefigures Wagner with its horrendously difficult piano (that's the volume indication) octaves, no 3 is pure Schumann - if Schumann hadn't seen this before writing Papillons one would want to know why! Then the extraordinary no 5 with its long held slowly resolving dissonances - reminds me of Sibelius with brass chords and a slow changing melody.
So much musical wonder hiding away there - I have a ancient vinyl recording of Brendel performing these but must find a cd while I continue to polish my own performance.

Mrs Senzatalento goes to a concert

Well to hear Gaydar (err Gardar) Cortez (is he really called that?), at the Barbican. Read the review!

Upgrading Mandriva

This month I decided to upgrade my work laptop from 2007 to 2007.1 of Mandriva before the 2008 gets released in November! Attempted to upgrade but for some reason the upgraded system still thought it was 2007.0 and when applying updates it attempted to get the updates for that version. So swiftly cutting my losses - needing to get work done! - I went for a fresh install.
Overall I'm pretty happy -
  • the version of the kernel that came with 2007 had a bug that meant the machine (an HP nx6325) tended to overheat - so I fixed the BIOS that that the fan was running when a mains supply was attached, this bug has now been eliminated and the temperature stays around 55 rather than zooming up to 75 when running a hefty compile!
  • The fresh version displayed a bug with the graphics with a large corrupt cursor on my second monitor installing the ati drivers.
  • Our application which gets the machine id sometimes was getting 0 in 2007 for licensing, so far hasn't misbehaved - previously I was having to relicence the application every few days.
My only bugbear is the wireless networking - I eventually got this working a few days ago - I use it at home but not at work - however it keeps locking the machine up! As I wrote on alt.os.linux.mandriva:
I was using 2007 with which ndiswrapper worked well for my home wireless connection on a HP nx6325 however with 2007.1

I initially tried using the builtin driver, couldn't get that to work - getting messages something like 'unable to find bcm43xx driver' so I went back to using ndiswrapper, the instance with 2007.1 didn't seem to work so - after a bit of googling and seeing comments on the
ndiswrapper with 2007.1 - I've installed 1.47 from the tar download (getting rid of the rpm first).
If I'm very careful this - the wireless connection - works for me (having blacklisted bcm43xx) however it appears that if anything is attempting to use a network connection when the wireless is in - I think - an unconnected or initialising state the machine locks up and
the only way out is the power button :-(

Typically I'll see this by doing
modprobe ndiswrapper
... for the moment I've commented out the reference to ndiswrapper in
modprobe.conf ... and the system immediately locks.

I'm using 2.6.17-15mdv and have installed bcmwl5 for ndiswrapper to use.

Anyone seen these symptoms and have a solution?

Henze and Nono

Hat tip to Geoff Coupe who points me to an article on Henze's new opera Phaedra, very thought provoking:
Nowadays it's enough for Henze when he sits there like that to direct his gaze to the five telegraph wires behind the old wall in order to imagine twelve-tone series in these airy staves. "More and more I would see an E-flat, an F, a C-sharp…" And certain complex polyphonic passages, he says, "I didn't need to check on the piano, they were simply right.
I spent some of yesterday listening to Henze's oratio 'The Raft of the Medusa...
And in today's Guardian is an article on another Italian composer (Henze was German but has lived in Italy for 50 years) Luigi Nono:
Hans Werner Henze, whose second symphony was first performed in the same concert, recalls that Nono's Variations hit their first audience "hard, so hard that they whistled as if in pain". The evocation of Schoenberg may have been part of the problem. Schoenberg's Op 41 is a setting of Byron's "Ode to Napoleon", and when Schoenberg wrote the piece in 1944, he conceived it as a protest against totalitarian tyranny. Nono wanted to align his own work with both the atonal modernism pioneered by Schoenberg and the political sentiments of the ode, but his music has none of Schoenberg's romantic rhetoric. To an audience for whom Schoenberg's music - banned in Germany throughout the second world war - was difficult enough, the generation gap between old and new modernists must have appeared painfully wide.
I don't know that work and am not sure whether the BBC is broadcasting any of the current Nono festival - I hope it's going to be recorded for a future broadcast but I won't hold my breath!
Both Henze and Nono distinctly composers of the left!

Against the tide

From Peter Selby's Face to Faith in today's Guardian:
The context of that early-1970s article is of ordinands in the US, many of whom had to work out their vocation when the choice was between ordination and going to Vietnam. If you have never been faced with such a choice, you do well to reflect on what kind of understanding of truth and of the justice of God such a context will engender. I do not notice many in my church understanding this aspect of the American inheritance, let alone giving credit to those who have resisted a culture dominated by religiously motivated and justified war-making. We may discuss whether calling an openly gay person as a bishop was right or wrong; but we should not do so without noticing that history and that context, and certainly not without thinking twice before the language of exclusion and ultimatum becomes our chosen vocabulary; right or wrong, the most controversial decisions of the Episcopal Church are part of a resistance to a culture that has taken us over too.

but go and read the whole thing.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Imaginary Landscapes

Giornale Nuovo has pictures from a recent Érik Desmazières exhibition -in Vevey - go and have a look!. Unfortunately the exhibition is over - and I need to be in work tomorrow!

That's how to do it!

Fabio Armiliato singing Nessun Dorma:

bit of early applause but you can understand why..via Opera Chic.
Eat your heart out Mr Potts! - I've nothing against amateurs as long as you realise they are amateurs.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

From the spam bin

Personal Message No. 2474186176 - well that's a lot closer to being uncountable!. Spamassassin scored it at 15.1


The SIlk Screen was showing Tsotsi on Wednesday, nearly didn't go - too much on - but glad I did, beautifully photographed and a gripping narrative. Manipulative? maybe but sometimes plots have to grab you by the throat. Official site - I wasn't aware that it was adapted from a novel. Strongly recommended!
Then on Thursday to the Bridgewater hall for a Halle concert (50 years to the day from Sibelius' death) so they have the rather atypical Valse Triste and Violin Concerto, I wasn't at all keen on the first half, everything seemed to drag, but then came the second half - Rachmaninov 2nd symphony - was rather dreading this after the laboured performances in the first half but it was taken at a thrilling pace, don't think I'd ever heard it live, Still conductors who stop beating and conduct by twitching their shoulders drive me up the wall! Guardian gave it 5 stars but their review doesn't appear to be on the web site yet. Concert is repeated on Sunday...

I've now spotted it (the Guardian review)

Where countless == more than one

(probably). From the Bridgewater hall publicity:

The iconic performer Engelbert Humperdinck has defined romance for countless generations and this year he celebrates a milestone with the 40th anniversary of his first international hit, Release Me.

Online here

Monday, September 17, 2007


This was sent to someone at work. (couldn't get the embed copy to work..). .. Later .. no doubt OCICBW would point out that the hooded garment looks slightly papal but I would never do such a thing...

Unintentional humour dept

From the Macclesfield Community news after the news that the MP for Macclesfield may be facing a challenge from a gay Labour candidate (there doesn't appear to be a Community News web site), Sir Nicholas says:
I have a very progressive young outlook on life

then goto
Sorry! Something's gone wrong.
Nicholas Winterton MP has told us not to deliver any messages from the constituents of Macclesfield. Instead you can try contacting them via the Parliament website. There you will get a phone number, a postal address, and for some MPs a way to contact them by email.

so off to the Parliament website and this page tells you that he has no email address. I won't mention his 'progressive' political views!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

ahhhh and grrrrrr

Via Alex Foster comes a kitten eating melon (get it the right way around)
And The Gay Bar reports that boing-boing (need to restart reading this!)says
The latest iPods have a cryptographic "checksum" in their song databases that prevents third-party applications from synching with the portable music players. This means that iPods can no longer be used with operating systems where iTunes doesn't exist -- like Linux, where gtkpod and Amarok are common free tools used by iPod owners to load their players.

Me being a Linux (and an amarok user) but not yet an iPod owner (I think that's now 'not ever')

Book cafe

From tonight's talk came this quote from Harare's Book Cafe
music [and poetry] gives a voice that maybe can push the boundaries a little bit
I think the sermon tonight was on poetry and dissent!
And (much later) you can hear it here, the notes - in Word format (offstage hissing!) - are here


And from the same local historical site go here, for a delightfully silly cartoon. Do stay to the end!


with prayers/good thoughts/wishes (as appropriate) our neighbour, Sue, in intensive care after a lorry ploughed into her car on the motorway...likely to be in hospital for some considerable time


From here:
Can nothing be done in the present stupid deadlock with regard to the tram service between Ashton and Stalybridge? Twice to-day have I been unfortunate enough to be turned out of the “ha’penny” trams at the park gates in the pouring rain and compelled to tramp to my destination, with the chagrin of seeing the Stalybridge tramlines outside my house in full working order and no trams running.

Stalybridge people are compelled to go to Ashton for business purposes, and whilst recognising the clever move of the Ashton committee in inconveniencing the public in the hope of bringing the joint committee to their knees, I must emphatically protest against the stupid policy of “grab” which is being shown in this unreasonable dispute. If the two bodies cannot agree, why on earth cannot they go to arbitration?

We all know that railway passengers exist for the convenience of the railway officials and railway shareholders, but it is a pity to find the notion creeping into tramway management also, and that such a splendid service of trams should be disorganised and so much money wasted (Ashton cannot work its ha’penny trams at a profit) on account of the fads of our “men of light and leading” on the Town Councils is disgusting indeed.

Let some of these clever gentlemen wait until next November, and they will hear a few things.
Yours, &c, THOMPSON CROSS, 13th June, 1904

Ah yes, the delights of separate bus companies...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Chester and Jacob

Off to Chester on Thursday for the Changing Attitude Chester's (yes the blog looks a mess, needs tidy up!) meeting with Trevor Dennis (Chester Cathedral's vice dean) talking on 'The God Who Cannot Reject. Trevor was typically deeply thought out, sparky and provocative.
Started with Cain/Abel, Isaac/Ishmael, Esau/Jacob which rather showed the converse but then moved to the New Testament and the Prodigal Son (quoted Kenneth Bailey's Jacob the Prodigal) his thesis being that the parable leans heavily on this story and ends up by subverting it as far as the Jewish audience would have been concerned.
Suggested that Jesus ended it at 'every I have is yours' so in this case the elder son was accepted and not rejected in preference to the youngest (as with the Genesis stories)
The New Testament contains even more violent language about God than the Old

... should have taken notes...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Early morning cat

a cat very close to the station this morning

But who's paying the bill?

Music Zone went under at the start of the Summer but from our local branch it looks as if the last one out wasn't too bothered about who was in charge of the electricity bill!
(need to look at that shaky hand...)

Monday, September 10, 2007

She only wants to play valses..

I spent some of my holiday (re-)reading Firbank - I acquired the complete novels when the local library sold them off - camp? ever so slightly! Another graduate of Trinity Hall - also as Anthony Powell has it - 'he was interred in the doctrinally inappropriate, but romantically incomparable Protestant cemetery' (in Rome). And I was taken by this piece:
She only wants to play valses!
"She hardly sounds to be ambitious"
"It depends; measured by Scriabin's Quasi-Valse, or the Valse in A flat major, she may have quite intricate idylls..."
Mrs. Thoroughfare simmered. "I do so love his Étrangeté"

having recently worked on some Scriabin - who was only very recently dead when Valmouth was written (1919).
In the latest bout I read 'Caprice', 'Valmouth', 'The Flower beneath the Foot' and 'Concerning the Eccentricities of Cardinal Pirelli' - a samey after four but wonderfully frivolous and interesting biographical sketch is here..
Some years later, when Siegfried Sassoon pressed him for his views on literature and art, the only thing Firbank could find to say was, “I adore italics, don’t you?”.

Way, way back in a frivolous mood I used a Firbank quote as a .sig
The blessed St Bathilde who by dint of skipping changed sex and became a man

.. Valmouth

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Two links

Dave Walker gets another direct hit.
And the latest xkcd appealed a lot!

But if I don't have a well?

phone number blurred...


Sometimes the evening light is better...

Brunswick hill again

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


BATS is the name of our reading group...and here's Chris our leader (is there a word for a chief BAT?) trying some reading glasses at the start of this month's meeting - she'd forgotten hers - note how her dress beautifully matches the furnishings!

We discussed Paul Coelho's the Alchemist - I was one of the few who wasn't keen, a little of such books goes a long way (IMHO)!

Wires in the morning

At last a clear morning when walking down...

Friday, August 31, 2007

Should be ashamed of myself

but I only need another 6ft for a thoroughly evil score...

at kittencannon. I found this game via swfblag. Not seen this before though I remember similar things!

Nice conjunction

Not sure that I'd noticed this before:

if you get too many S&M supplies your waters may well be green...with a possible need to attend a clinic.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Brunswick Hill

And from slightly further back on the way down to the station:

we have the more scenic view. It's a lot easier down than going back home!