Sunday, 18 November 2012

Vidovic plays Walton

Thank you John Hayes of Robert Frost's Banjo for drawing my attention to this. I really like this piece by Walton and this -by Ana Vidovic- is a quite special performance of it:

Saturday, 3 November 2012

I know this is a bit silly, but...

...I can't resist sharing it. I was idling away my time the other day thinking about brains. I was thinking how the associations my brain is capable of were far more interesting than a search engine could achieve. I might have less information in my brain than exists on the internet (do I? Now I type it I'm not sure) but my brain's search tools can throw up all sorts of associations way beyond the abilities of an internet search engine. Moreover, my brain's search engines usually operate outside my conscious control.

Both brain and internet have their strengths. I can wonder what sort of music I feel like listening to. My brain can reflect on all the genres I'm aware of and express a preference for one. The internet could throw up a genre I was previously unaware of. My brain could suggest I search the net for something new or even pick up an instrument and invent a new genre.The internet will only do what I ask it.

Thinking along these lines, it occurred to me that although the internet can't reproduce a search akin to my subconscious associations, my brain could attempt a crude search along the lines of an internet search engine - a "brain google" if you like. Take a word -any word- at random, let your mind freewheel and see what memories are associated with the word. This is not at all like the traditional psychoanalytical word association - it really is a matter of trawing one's memories for ones where the word might prove useful. For example, I tried it using the word "over". These were the first four "hits":

1. Cricket at St Chad's school. The score board was also a shed where the scorers sat. My mum had knitted me a white cricket jersey.

2. A game we played at school called OWZAT! You played it with polyhedral dice. It was simply a random game of cricket. One die told you what the batsman scored off each ball. The other die told you if the ball was a wide, etc. One self-explanatory facet simple said OWZAT! Owzat! was a serious pursuit played with proper cricket scoring books.

3. Amateur radio. Over, funnily enough, is not a word people use. More likely to say "Back to you, old man". (Seriously).

4. Playing cricket for the ASLEF cricket team, which I did in my 20s. I didn't work for ASLEF, but had a friend who did. Their office-workers were keen cricketters but could't quite raise a team without a few players from outside. Me, I'm a lousy cricketter. I once had to bowl the last two overs of a match against Kent NUM. To my amazement, I took a wicket - the only one I ever took in my brief cricketting career.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Good Morning, Good Morning...

This is not my favourite time of year. However, it's also one of my busiest. Somehow I have to charge up my batteries until I feel dynamic and irrepressible. I've taken to throwing back the living room curtains as soon as I get up, breathing in deeply and making the most of that pale blue glow that passes for morning and...

Salutation to the Dawn

Listen to the Salutation of the Dawn! 
Look to this day! For it is life, the very Life of Life. 
In its brief course lie all the varieties and realities of your existence:
The bliss of growth, the glory of action, The splendor of beauty.

For yesterday is but a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision; 
But to-day well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every to-morrow a vision of hope. 
Look well therefore to this day! Such is the Salutation of the Dawn. 

This hymn from the Rig Veda must have been posted on the internet many times. It probably clings magnetically to the doors of a million refrigerators. And why not.