Tuesday, February 14, 2006

My Valentine
Although I think that actually I come somewhere after two Moto Guzzis, a Ducati and a Royal Enfield in the Motorcyclist's affections, occasionally he surpasses all expectations. As I said on DrJoolz's blog, today I was brought a heart-shaped pastry in bed with morning tea today and a Valentine's card with a Motorcyclist- written poem (and then later we had another chocolate heart-shaped cake, and a chocolate heart lolly appeared too). I am allowed to quote it (the poem):
'I will not count the days-
they are too few.
And man does not understand
The space of time he's in.
What matters most is one
More day with you.
No hour glass counts time
The way we do.'

So here he is, the romantic that he is, on a balcony overlooking the Sea of Galilee last Easter. Wish I could write poetry like that.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


Spem in Alium

Spem in Alium is a 40-part motet by Thomas Tallis. For those of you who do not know about such things- and I did not till very recently- that means that there are 40 different 'voices' in eight choirs of at least five singers each. I spent yesterday at a workshop run by the Lincoln Early Music Festival where we learned the piece and then performed it in the evening in Lincoln Cathedral's retrochoir. At this site you can hear a rather tinkly electronic version without the words but the score you can see while it is playing shows you how the parts come in and out. We stood in a huge semi-circle to sing it so the sound went round the circle and back which was cool and would have been even better had we sung it better! (We also sang Archbishop Parker's Psalter which is included- or a bit of it- in the BBC site about Tallis. And- to explain the picture- we also had some music on crumhorns and recorders by Bergamasca who are members of the LIncoln Early Music set. ) If you want to hear it properly then Naxos now do a surround-sound DVD of Spem, an interesting mix of new technology and very early music!

Spem in Alium was very hard- at lunchtime I wanted to give up and go home- but I persevered and with the support of the friends I went with and the help of the other very generous altos in choir 1 I got through it without making too much of a mess. It was interesting to be in a situation of being a frustrated learner and to feel so useless and to reflect on whether the workshop was too hard or the teaching style not right (probably a bit of both) and of course great to come out the other side. Also it reminded me of how utterly something like this takes me away from all everyday concerns as I can only think about the music. No multi-tasking in this situation!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Two sites you have to visit
First, for those infected by the four things meme, there is a very interesting alternate version here, courtesy of Dr Rob:

And second, I was going to post about an online version of Rock Paper Scissors but it is a blocked site on our network. But while looking for it I found this site and you must go there, it is really funny I think though maybe not in the best possible taste.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


And yes, that is what I did last week. We had a very good time in New York then a very interesting time in South Carolina. This was my first ever time in the US so it was particularly interesting. I really liked New York- with the exception of Newark Airport, of which more in a later post. Like Mary Plain we looked at the Statue of Liberty:

We did it from the Staten Island ferry so my pictures are not that good technically- through dirty glass- but we did it as the sun went down so the skies were amazing. I just loved all the architecture and the detail in the brickwork and want to go back to take lots of pictures (I was there for work with a colleague and didn't feel I could really hang out taking too many pictures as a result). We also went here which is an amazing shop, and I bought this there which was in the Guardian magazine a few weeks back and yet is not available over here, it seems. I could have bought it mail order/online but it felt v cool to find a stockist in NY and get it while I was there.. (it also saved $11 postage!) .. very global-local though I do acknowledge the pollution factor of flying and would not have flown there just for the Teasticks!

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