IT purchase of the year? A wooden lectern from Waterstones for £20. Advancing years and the remnants of a whiplash injury have made me increasingly conscious of posture at the computer. This fetching desktop lectern eliminates the strain of looking down at music, text etc. It also keeps the book open at the right page – worth every penny. A few people have mentioned that they are very handy when cooking, but I favour the traditional spatula.
I recently heard a very informative article on self harm on Radio 4’s All In The Mind. This is a problem about which I knew next to nothing and was surprised by some of the facts – particularly that it affects 1 in 10 girls and 1 in 5 boys. The article also features a reading from the diary of a sufferer (which contains description content that some people may find disturbing).
The article is remains available for “listen again” until it is over-written when the next broadcast goes out on Tuesday at 21:30.
If you forward-wind to 16 minutes into the programme, you’ll get straight to the article. The previous two items covered in this week’s edition covered the findings of MRI scans of the brains of psychopaths and New Year’s Resolutions.
Like many instructors who teach in primary schools, I visit two on the same day. Fitting everything can be tight when one takes into account Continue reading Happy New Year!
Having been tagged by David Gilmour, below are my five things:
- I spent a year in prison. Every Wednesday evening 7.00 – 9.00 teaching guitar in Saughton. What struck me about the prisoners was how calm they all seemed and how kind they were to one another. When my time was up, I never returned. I hope the same is true of those I met there.
- I have punched more people in class than I can remember. Fortunately, for my continuing employment in East Lothian, all punches take place in the Five Winds School of Tai Chi Chuan, in Meadowbank Stadium, where I have trained for 15 years and taught for 10.
- Aside from teaching, the job I have most experience of is green-keeping (6 x 9-week summers at Winterfield Golf Course, Dunbar when I was a student). Despite such exposure to the game, I have never struck a golf ball – although one has hit me. That explains everything.
- My favourite game is chess and I always have 20 – 30 correspondence games going online at any one time. I seem to get no better at it, but the beauty of the geometry and variations keeps me hooked. Ironically, in my first ever live tournament at the age of 43, I was beaten by a wizard called Jamie Hook (who was in P7 at the time) in around 18 minutes. I’m relieved to say that he seems to be a rising star. Watch Kasparov having a similar experience here.
- According to his obituary in the Western Reader (in 1937) my maternal great-grandfather, Frank Mooney, worked for Celtic Football Club – on the charity side and with the boys club. If you want to test whether talent can miss out a generation, just pass me the ball.
Recently I received the latest rates for arrangers from The British Music Writers’ Council – a branch of The Musicians’ Union. The going rate is £3.65 per bar. Out of interest, I added up all the bars arranged for this year’s school projects so far – 5 pieces weighing in at a total of 388 bars – and the fee comes to £1,416.20 (not including parts for individual players – for which add another few hundred quid).
Of course, nobody really expects cash for these extras – book tokens will be fine, thanks.
“The atmosphere of the theatre is my oxygen.” Plácido Domingo (1941 – )
You’d be surprised how much of a surprise it can be when instructors hear the fruits of one another’s work at concerts. How can this be? I would describe the instructors in East Lothian as a close-knit, affectionate family. Yet, we hear very little of each other’s work in the course of a normal working day. Continue reading Beyond These Walls
When I talk to class teachers they occasionally ask or second guess about elements of the instructor’s life. The range covers the solipsistic assumption that we are part-time – right through to very insightful observations. One thing which rarely comes up, however, is that Continue reading The Long Game
Reading and commenting on recent posts on copyright and the existence, or not, of true originality had me wondering whether anyone musician could lay claim to creation as opposed to synthesis of existing ideas and material. No sooner had this itch registered than I was lent a video on the life and work of Continue reading A Thirst For Originality
Con Gestion – with interrupted flow, agitatedly
I listened keenly to the news last week when the latest thoughts on congestion charging were aired. While I don’t imagine that, for example, the back roads to North Berwick will feature in the plans – the A1 might.
The charge quoted was 80p per km. The first comparable figure which springs to mind is Continue reading Musical Terms
“Clocks slay time… time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.” William Faulkner (1897 – 1962)
I awoke yesterday to the news that children in our country are being poisoned by junk culture. This referred to a letter sent to the Telegraph by Baroness Susan Greenfield (Director of the Royal Institute and Professor of Pharmacology), author Michael Morpurgo and 109 others. Junk food, a test-driven curriculum and a general lack of time feature among the problems described. Depression and concentration problems are two of the symptoms. Rather than simply complaining, the purpose of the letter is to spark interest in a national debate on childcare in the 21st century. Continue reading Honey, I Depressed The Kids