Posts Tagged With: music

Hungry Birds – The Movie

HB Frame.JPG

The bird feeder at Denmark Farm attracts all sorts of avian visitors, hungry for peanuts and a natter with their mates. Here is a time lapse movie, shot over five and a half hours and compressed to just under four minutes so that you can see how fast those peanuts disappear! And watch for a few non-blue tit arrivals too!


Categories: birds, camera, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Wednesday Space

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Wednesdays’ don’t fare well in song lyrics. The best they can hope for is Freddie Mercury bicycling in their evening*; the worst must surely be Robert Smith who plans for either a broken heart or a heart attack** (he clearly isn’t a fan of Tuesday either).

Even Paul Simon decided that early on a Wednesday morning was the perfect time to ponder the recklessness of his youth and the fact he had just robbed an off-licence***.

My Wednesdays are far less eventful, and thank goodness. There are too many hills for bicycling, my heart is perfectly fine thank you very much, and I think the nearest off-licence is about twenty miles away, and possibly located in 1996. No, I choose to come here – my “office” at Denmark farm – to work on the two books I am currently writing.

Out the window there are birds squabbling over the peanuts in the bird feeder. I have a camera set up taking a picture every 15 seconds. After a few hours, I will retrieve it and put together a time lapse movie of bird shenanigans. Meanwhile, I am in an old mansion in a Scottish forest in 2083, about to fool my main character into thinking he has found his grail – a tin of baked beans.

And even better, someone has just brought me a cup of coffee.

What’s with Wednesdays? They’re great!


* I go out to work on Monday morning
Tuesday I go off to honeymoon
I’ll be back again before it’s time for sunny-down,
I’ll be lazing on a Sunday afternoon
Bicycling on every Wednesday evening
Thursday I go waltzing to the zoo (Lazing on  a Sunday Afternoon, Queen)

** Tuesday Wednesday break my heart (Friday I’m in Love, The Cure)

*** My life seems unreal,
My crime an illusion,
A scene badly written
In which I must play.
Yet I know as I gaze
At my young love beside me,
The morning is just a few hours away. (Wednesday Morning 3 a.m.)

Categories: Auguste, Writing | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

Heads you…


For my birthday last year I received “Under the Dome” and “11.22.63”, both by Stephen King but neither actually from him (he never remembers my birthday but that’s OK because, given he doesn’t know I exist, it would be creepy, even by his standards, if he did). Now both these books are a thousand pages plus and I needed to do exercises to build up my arm muscles so I could hold the book when reading it. I polished off “Under the Dome” (what the hell was the TV series based on? I gave up after series one.) in a couple of months and, after a suitable period of relaxation for my biceps to recover, manfully* started on “11.22.63”.

In it, the character refers, more than once, to the idea that “life turns on a dime”. Today, I stumbled across a real-life example of this.

The guitarist, Tommy Allup, died on the 11th of January 2017. He was 85 and you probably don’t know his name – I didn’t recognise it, but he was considered one of the best rockabilly guitarists ever. Once he had established himself, he started to play with famous American musicians and tour with them.

On one tour, he flipped a coin to decide whether he travelled through vicious snow and ice storms in the Mid-West on the tour bus or in an aeroplane. He lost the bet and took the bus.

His mode of transport was decided on the flip of a coin. The winner, musician Richie Valens, took the seat on the plane, along with Buddy Holly.

The plane crashed shortly after take-off.

It was the day that Don McLean later called “the day the music died”.

For some, life really does “turn on a dime”.


* As manfully as it gets for someone who gets tired from holding a paperback.

Categories: News, Superstition, Universe | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Curse of the Ninth

I am still researching odds and ends for the second part of my novel. If I had been writing it thirty years ago, I imagine I would be in some reference library somewhere with a very clear idea of what I should be looking up and in which volumes to search. I imagine that I would be far more focused than I am these days.

The internet, home broadband and no particular deadline all add up to both a blessing and a curse. In fact, the blessing and the curse are almost the same thing. You can surf and daydream simultaneously, streaming the endless data at your fingertips into your brain. You can daystream. You bounce from your original idea to something so unconnected that, after a few minutes, you can no longer remember what it was you were looking for. Although, in my case, that may be due to my age too.

In the course of daystreaming, I came across this urban(e) myth:

Classical composers who write nine symphonies never complete their tenth before dying.

Proof? Beethoven. Mahler. Er, no-one else really.

In fact, there are lots of arguments about a number of others, centred around when a symphony is actually a symphony or whether works not actually called symphonies can be counted. I can imagine that some of these debates have ended in fisticuffs, probably between musicians of an orchestra in the car park after the gig, with the violin section all pulling their Second Violin away from some recalcitrant flutist yelling “He’s not worth it! He doesn’t know the difference between andante and andantino!”

But orchestral bruisers in the car park aside, the way Humans see patterns where there are none is quite amazing. There is a Jim Carrey film, called “The Number 23” I think, where he sees the number 23 everywhere and becomes convinceed that there is some kind of conspiracy on a huge scale. Similarly, some composers avoided writing their ninth symphone for fear of the curse descending before they finished their tenth. Of course, there are very few in fact that did that – there must be hundreds of composers of symphonies and only a handful have ever reported being a bit careful as they approached the fateful milestone.

Yesterday I went to see the Olympic Torch as it passed my way on its journey through Wales. Ten minutes before it arrived in my little town, the sky turned from azure blue to a mirky black and started to drizzle. Not enough to give the plants a decent watering but just enough to gently soak the waiting throng. The flame passed and as it left the city limits (as it were), the sky cleared and the sun came back out. This was the first time it had rained on the torch. And the superstitious significance of this event? It was the ninth day of the torch relay.

Now admittedly, the world wasn’t robbed of some fine genius of a composer and as far as I know, no-one of any profession lost their life as a result of the rain but it starts to make you think. What other nine-related events are there, thus proving the curse is real after all?

The best known curse of all is that of Tutankhamen. Apart from the fact that the curse was made up by a novelist* and fed by a media frenzy, pretty much everyone who entered the tomb lived reasonably long times. Howard Carter died in 1939, Lord Caernarvon’s daughter died aged 79, Dr Derry, who carried out the first autopsy of the mummy of Tut, died in 1969 and Richard Bethell, Carter’s personal secretary, died in 1929. So no curse there then and certainly no nines involved. Phew!

Well, I guess if you look for these sorts of things, you find them, as with many things in life.

Am I worried that this is my ninth post? Well, if there isn’t a tenth, you’ll know I was.


* You just can’t trust them, can you?

Categories: BATDIG, General silliness, Superstition, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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