Monday, September 25, 2006

Cycling is bad for your health

They don't tell you about this sort of thing... Yesterday I had an all-day rehearsal, the first for Kensington Symphony Orchestra's 50th birthday concert (tickets available here). And to my surprise, I had enormous difficulty with my bowing - my muscles have obviously all been strained in the wrong way riding my bike and not practising over the summer, and I can't get any force into the bow at all, in fact by the end of the day I was having trouble even holding it. I hope this will rectify itself over the next few days with plenty of practice. There's a lesson for you here, kids!

This afternoon I went to see Children of Men, an excellent, visceral yet thoughtful sci-fi thriller that I heartily recommend to you.

Saturday I cycled down to the Warehouse to see a couple of the BMIC's Finnissy weekend concerts celebrating Michael Finnissy's 60th birthday. It was a great pleasure to hear his music, and to catch up with Michael, who looks very chipper, and as ever is a delight and a gentleman.

While I'm in the business of telling you what to do, if you haven't yet discovered Bryan Talbot's masterful comic The Tale of One Bad Rat, you really should do everything in your power to track down a copy of this deeply moving story, I really can't praise it enough, it's one of the most moving things you'll ever read.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Bless me Father, for I have sinned...



I'm a very, very bad man. I hid a penis in someone's leaving card.

Let me explain. First, you need to know that at the office in which I work, we've developed a tradition of making cards for birthdays, leavings etc rather than buying some crappy shop one. It's a good tradition that more offices should adopt.

Secondly, you need to know that the person who left my office today is someone I dislike. I'm not often one to dismiss anyone totally, I like to try and see the good in people on the whole, but this particular individual is an arrogant, stupid, lazy little shit.

(In my humble opinion, of course.)

The card you see above was not conceived by me, but as I'm one of those at work with a moderate sense of design and drawing ability, I often get asked to realise others' concepts. In this case, the idea was a pair of wings (symbolising the leaver's taking flight into greater things), and, as a later addition, a figure like one of those you get in old maps with an old man representing the winds.

So I cut out some wings, and drew the old man. But my evil streak took over, and I drew the wing outline in a certain way. If you've studied art beyond a very basic level, you may be familiar with the concept of negative space, where the outline of the supposed object in the picture actually conceals another. Now, look between the wings at the shape produced by them. Can you tell what it is yet?

I'm slightly disappointed, but also relieved, that apparently no-one spotted this. But fuck it, that's what I think of that little tosser, and I'm immensely glad he's gone.

Of course, once you see the cock, it raises all sorts of questions about what the bearded chap's doing. But that's another story.

fragments of other people's lives, #1

Overheard at Liverpool Street Station:

Man on phone: "So she said, y'know, I don't pay her enough attention an' that... so I started, y'know, calling her sexy an' that..."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

John Drummond

John Drummond died last week. He was the man who, as Director of the Proms, commissioned Harrison Birtwistle for the Last Night, which caused quite a kerfuffle at the time. They played a bit of the piece in question, "Panic" on the Today programme to introduce their article about him, and very exciting it sounds too, brash and entirely Birtwistlian, while also showing a surprising affinity with hard bop. It's hard to imagine anyone daring to put something like that in that smug, tired occasion these days.

There's a mention of the BBC Music Library in the Telegraph's obituary that was sent to me (you can read the whole thing here), which sums up a lot of what's wrong with the BBC for me:

"The appointment proved difficult from the start. He found "an air of palpable hostility'' from some of the producers and soon found himself in conflict with Ian MacIntyre, Controller of Radio 3. He also found that the BBC governors had little interest in music. One of them asked him why the BBC needed its music library: "I thought musicians played from memory."

Sadly, such ignorance is still prevalent, we are under the rule of idiots. Unfortunately there are fewer and fewer people like Sir John prepared to stand up and attack this kind of nonsense.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Welcome to the world

James Thomas Nagle, born 12.48 a.m. 8th September 2006, 8lbs. Pity the poor little sod, he's got me as an uncle.

Diary pieces are on hiatus, as I'm preoccupied with the viola piece I'm writing, however here are a couple of things I scribbled at lunch this week, one a distorted memory of Mendelssohn, the other a little play on my new nephew's name.