Monday, August 31, 2009

it's a good system

Some grey bloke has a totally unbiased view of the NHS:

a little balance for transatlantic readers.

Must tidy up

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
after re-creating this blog...

Sunday, August 30, 2009


An electrifying performance of Pirate Jenny by Hildegard Knef - from The Threepenny Opera (Brecht Weill)

Not over keen on the band arrangment, but the singer...

What shall it profit a man?

Nothing but profit:
The only reliable, durable, and perpetual guarantor of independence is profit.
from James Murdoch's lecture last week. I'm old fashioned enough to believe that the society which takes that as its motto has nothing left to learn of devaluation!
(whilst I'm on media big cheeses!)

Berlusconi complains that the foreign press isn't under his command

Don't think I've linked to this yet - while Mr B contines to try to crack the whip over his muzzled press.
Let's see whether the video works - doesn't appear to cooperate in blogger preview..

no still can't see it - can anyone using (spit!) Internet Explorer see anything?
(I can see it now - I don't know why it wasn't appearing before!)
Let me add the questions (to Berlusconi) here:
  1. Mr. Prime Minister, when did you first have the chance to meet Noemi Letizia? How many times did you meet her and where? Have you frequented other minors and do you still do so?
  2. What is the reason that forced you to not tell the truth for two months, instead giving four different versions of your acquaintance with Noemi before making two belated admissions?
  3. Don’t you find it a serious matter, for Italian democracy and for your leadership, that you repaid the girls that call you “papi” (daddy) with candidatures and promises of political responsibilities?
  4. You stayed with a prostitute the night of November 4, 2008 and, according to judicial investigations dozens of “call girls” have been taken to your residences. Were you aware that they were prostitutes? If not, are you able to guarantee that those encounters haven’t made you vulnerable, which is to say subject to blackmail, as demonstrated by the recordings of Patrizia D'Addario and the photos of Barbara Montereale?
  5. Has it ever happened that "official government flights" without you aboard were used to take female party guests to your residences?
  6. Can you say without fear of contradiction that the people you keep company with haven’t caused prejudice to affairs of State? Can you reassure the country and our allies that no female guest of yours possess arms of blackmail that diminish your political independence, domestic and international?
  7. Your conduct contradicts your policies: would you still be able today to attend a Family Day demonstration or sign a law punishing the customer of a prostitute?
  8. Do you still consider yourself eligible for the office of President of the Republic? If not, do you think that a person that common opinion considers unfit for the Quirinale presidential palace can fulfil his duties as Prime Minister?
  9. You have spoken of a "subversive plan" that threatens you. Can you guarantee not having used and not wanting to use intelligence and the police force against witnesses, magistrates and journalists?
  10. In light of what has emerged in the last two months, what, Mr. Prime Minister, is your state of health?

Mutterings - 30 August

This week's free word associations from Unconscious mutterings are:
  1. Spinning :: top
  2. Impasse :: gulf
  3. Gravy :: browning
  4. You are :: tired
  5. September :: song (Weill)
  6. Divulge :: telling secrets
  7. Training :: camp
  8. Crap! :: Rubbish!
  9. Results :: GCSE
  10. Shutting down :: -now (Unix speak)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Poem for Saturday

From Luke Jackson's Crystalline Lifetime:
Commercialist Truths

Blinded by everyday life,
Trapped in our routines.
The world dissolves around us,
Leaving us only the truth.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Thanks to Mad Priest for this priceless piece of Nicky Gumbel errr. wisdom:
I'm absolutely astonished that anyone would go to a church and not be welcomed because of their sexual orientation,
(originally from the Guardian)
You should be astonished, St Nick.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cheese curry?

No, I don't understand it either! Pointed to this by Lindsay Marshall

Cloudy Dawn

Cloudy Dawn
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
Another from the walk to the station. I don't think I've ever walked along the parapet overlooking Arighi Bianchi at the back of the council offices before.

Flawed people

If you've not already read it, go and read Nick Baines on Ted Kennedy:
Wherever we look, world-changers are flawed human beings. We should just get used to it. Perfection just is not out there. Kennedy’s legacy will now be picked over and his weaknesses shredded for public entertainment. His politics will be regarded by his enemies as forgettable or useless simply on the grounds of his personal flaws. And that will be convenient, if ridiculously stupid.

Perhaps the death of Kennedy might compel us to drop our sanctimonious guff and consider afresh the amazing mixture of raw humanity that, without excusing bad behaviour, at least understands that it doesn’t automatically cancel out the good stuff that emerges from the same source.
I shall try to keep my sanctimonious guff in check when a certain ex-priminister pops her clogs.
Whoops, that should be prime mininster - I'm saying nothing - forefox 3.5 has stopped indicating (possible) spelling errors, if it still did that I would, of course, have instantly spotted it!
(no, don't try correcting spelling errors - as the preceding sentence shows you always make it worse)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Exceedingly short memories?

Marcia Segelstein at One News Now wishes to complain that liberals (all of them?) think of conservatives as evil while conservatives would never do such a thing in return:
I have long thought that one of the striking differences between liberals and conservatives is this: liberals believe conservatives are evil, while conservatives believe liberals are wrong.
Now what were (and are) many conservatives saying about the current US health care proposals and their proposers? Wrong, evil or both? And never a mention of the 40+ million who are currently outside that system.

In need of inspiration

The composters
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
For some reason which entirely escapes me the new compost bins remind me rather of a certain schismatic American bishop. But if I call one John-David what am I going to call the others?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

on the way to the station

on way to the station
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
Another photo of Sparrow Park in the early morning. I had my eyes on the mill in the background and the sky and didn't notice the interesting details in the foreground!

Teaser Tuesday - 25 August

Teaser Tuesday

The rules are:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) 'teaser' sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title and author of the book that you’re getting your 'teaser' from .. that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you've given!
Those who follow me on Facebook will have seen this one already, it's not random but I can't resist re-quoting it (in full this time!)
Lately she had noticed that joints, instead of making her giggly as they used to, turned her paranoid. To keep this effect under control Fabiana had drunk half a bottle of limoncello.
and here's a real random quote from the same book:
He started searching for the keys on the bed of the torrent. He let go with one hand and the river pushed him under.
He drank a lot of water which tasted of earth.
These two are from Ammaniti's The Crossroads (in Italian Come dio comanda - what God commands) - by the author of 'I'm not Scared. Yes it is sordid and you probably wouldn't want to lend it to a maiden aunt but it is funny, absorbing and totally gripping. As the review I've linked to says:
a deal of sex and a vast amount of violence
very, very visual but I'm not sure that it could be made into a film - well, not one that shows in mainstream cinemas. I've just finished (the section of this book) called 'The Night' - reading it as I walked out of the station towards home(!) and about to start 'After'

Monday, August 24, 2009

Especially for Greenbelt

From the, as usual, spot on ASBO Jesus

Maybe, next year, I shall make Greenbelt (if I'm well enough...)

Get some better customers!

(isn't there some quote like that in Peter Grimes?)

Just been completing a (seemingly interminable) survey from a certain well known supermarket was was greatly amused as to how they'd implement this request, bouncers on the doors?
(Ah yes, the quote I had in mind was `Auntie find yourself some new relations')

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Political committment

Was searching though oldish copies of the Church Times and found this picture The Orator of the Strike by Emilio Longoni (not Lognoni as they have it).
Committed and pointing out you, yes you, to be committed too!
Divisionism, arguably the most significant art movement in late-19th-century Italy, was spurred by a desire to make art an instrument of social change

More on the Divisionists here

Mutterings - 23 August

This week's free word associations from Unconscious mutterings are:
  1. Disguised :: masked
  2. Big wheel :: London
  3. Irritating :: itch
  4. Care :: loving
  5. Grandpa :: glasses
  6. Shooting :: stick
  7. Sunglasses :: folding
  8. Stampede :: herd
  9. Painstakingly :: care
  10. Terrible position :: chess

Watch where you're going!

Thanks to Jeff for passing on this link.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Telling the truth about the NHS

A avaaz petition trying to educate American legislators about the NHS in their own health debate - go and sign it - there's currently over 90.000 names! (drawn to my attention by Mad Priest)
And an unrelated link about dreams after eating cheese fromBishop Alan - what dreams do you get after eating Stinking Bishop I wonder? (no imputation about that blogger's hygiene or attitudes!)
(Alas the shop in Macclesfield which used to sell Stinking Bishop has long gone)

now with grass and sheds

Looks like the garden remodelling is more or less complete. Bit of a contrast to the state before with thanks to Hans! Just need to keep off the grass for the moment so space for entertainment is a bit limited. We will hope for some good late autumn weather! More photos of various stages of the changes are here

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - 18 August

Teaser Tuesday

The rules are:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) 'teaser' sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title and author of the book that you’re getting your 'teaser' from .. that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you've given!
But this was not a day for parking violations, the cardinal sin of suburbia in which everyone happily indulged, along with bouncing cheques and credit card overruns. Double-parking, like adultery and alcoholism, was a vital part of the social glue that kept the suburbs healthy
J G Ballards dark vision (does he have any other sort!) of 21st century shopping - Kingdom Come - it may be based around London but strong echoes of a certain Trafford shopping centre.

David Isitt

Kings Chapel
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
From the Diocese of Ely Website

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of The Revd Canon David Isitt. Canon Isitt who was 81 passed away unexpectedly on Monday 10th August.

Canon Isitt had long term connections with Ely Diocese having served as Chaplain at King’s College Cambridge, incumbent at Harlton and Haslingfield, Assistant Chaplain at Trinity Hall Cambridge, Chaplain of St Edmund King and Martyr Cambridge, Chaplain at Fitzwilliam College Cambridge and until his death was in receipt of the Bishop’s Permission to Officiate in the Ely Diocese.

Canon Isitt leaves a widow Verity.

A funeral service will be held on the 26th August, 2.30pm at St Andrew & St Mary Granchester.
I shall remember David's contact with me with much gratitude (and I'm sure many others will too).
For his enthousiasm for many things, his making himself and his musicianship available, his sense of humour, those pianos, his down-to earth faith and spirituality encouraging growth in those he chaplained, that megaphone and the red wine - cheap but who cared when the music being made was such fun!
Not forgotten!
And then there's his love and knowledge of that building (I knew him at Trinity Hall but he was willing to cross boundaries!)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mutterings - 17 August

A bit late this - I've been away!
This week's free word associations from Unconscious mutterings are:
  1. Delayed :: too right it is!
  2. Irresponsible :: driver
  3. Stupendous :: view
  4. Barcelona :: waiter
  5. Solution :: dissolve
  6. Simplify :: an equation
  7. Crumble :: plum
  8. Podcast :: listen
  9. Conversation :: listen
  10. Homepage :: the web

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Liner notes - then and now

Well I mean liner notes vs LP back of the sleeve notes. I'm in the midst of copying some of my old LPs to digital using a Denon DP 200 direct to mp3 (yes I know, non-free lossy formats!). Just this evening I've copied some Lutosławski (cond Rowicki), Brahms (clarinet quartet with Keith Puddy and the Gabrieli) and the Debussy sonatas (various performers ) and looking at the notes, there is no word about the performers (apart from their names)!
How things have changed, the balance has swung to the other extreme (far too far), but it is an interesting to view the notes with all the emphasis on the works with the performers almost incidental.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - 11 August

Teaser Tuesday

The rules are:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) 'teaser' sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title and author of the book that you’re getting your 'teaser' from .. that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you've given!
Three rows each of potatoes, turnips, globe artichokes, carrots and what might be celeriac. Jay seeded marigolds between the rows of potatoes to eliminate beetles and lemon balm around the carrots for the slugs.
.. no, not a gardening book but more of Joanne Harris's Blackberry Wine.
I'va also nearly completed this:
Just like gold and silver, brown does not belong to the classic color spectrum. Still it is one of the most expressive and richly nuanced colors.
Another deceptive extract - the book has a great spiritual depth - Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert - The Enneagram A Christian Perspective (try to ignore the broken https security certificate on the link!).


from the usual place for cat material.
If this gets around we'll need locks on the kitchen cupboards!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Les Noces

The last two minutes of this piece are, for me, one of the classic moments of 20C music (maybe of any era) I'll have it at my funeral - if they can find space for the 4 pianos!
Awaiting the performance of Les Noces at the Proms in a few minutes..
I've just upgraded to Firefox 3.5 and mostly it is far more responsive, I used to have all kinds of problems with YouTube and it feels a lot better (I do see some very slow scrolling on just one site which has lots of radio buttons. I don't know if that's a contribution?). Otherwise I'm very glad I upgraded.

Mutterings - 9 August

This week's free word associations from Unconscious mutterings are:
  1. Death :: loss, resurrection
  2. Identified :: body
  3. Saturday :: Sunday
  4. Dumped :: recycled, lover
  5. Division :: joy
  6. Stilted :: tired
  7. Crimes :: of passion
  8. Stumped :: cricket
  9. Future :: perfect
  10. Team :: player

(fixed subject!)

Saturday, August 08, 2009


A panorama from the hotel balcony in Engelberg
Joins between photos are still a bit ropy not sure why photos are different sizes, didn't touch the zoom!

Friday, August 07, 2009

David Drew

The obituary for David Drew appeared in the Guardian this week.
No job description, whether musicologist, critic, cultural historian, publisher or editor quite fits David Drew, who has died aged 78. He was successively and simultaneously all these things. But most remarkable, even unique, is the way all these activities relate to a single ambitious undertaking: he wished to diagnose and correct the received opinions and sloppy judgments about the classical music of the 20th century and its makers that came from both commercial and political pressure.
written by Alexander Goehr. I remember Radio 3 programmes based on Drew's work from the 1970's items which introduced me to the work of Kurt Weill and Hans Eisler, programmes for which I am still grateful

Here's a link to Lenya (Weill's widow) singing Surabaya Johhny (unfortunately embedding is disabled)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - 4 August

Teaser Tuesday

The rules are:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) 'teaser' sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title and author of the book that you’re getting your 'teaser' from .. that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you've given!
Their laughter was infectious, reckless, a call to arms. Château-Chalon muttered stolid disapproval, but in that raucous carnival atmosphere his voice sounded like envy.
Joanne Harris' Blackberry Wine I'm sure this is going to be grossly indulgent but probably enjoyable!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Maggi (and others) on Rowan

Maggi on Rowan's letter on the latest Anglican travails:
(quoting Jane Shaw on The Episcopal Church):
" not going grey in the pews. It is a Church that has young people engaged and involved at all levels. It is, therefore, a Church that will thrive and grow into the future — and that cannot necessarily be said of other Churches in the West. And those young people have an enormous passion for mission..."...Whether you agree with the covenant or not, ++Rowan is to be applauded for making a sincere attempt to move forward in an impossible situation. But we shouldn't just leave it to "the people in charge" - ordinary people who are concerned about the future of the Church should not assume they can do nothing. We all need to think and pray and speak up in an attempt to help create a solution that works.
Nick Baines reflections on her words are also worth a read.

Mutterings - 2 August

This week's free word associations from Unconscious mutterings are:
  1. Memo :: Note
  2. Copy :: replicate
  3. Office :: work
  4. Stapler :: thump
  5. Paycheck :: yesterday
  6. Watercooler :: coffee!
  7. Desk :: discomfort
  8. Human :: being
  9. Resort :: busy
  10. Boss :: uncertainty