words


Right, I’m going to do it.

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Short break there while our singer had a holiday. 

Back to it this evening, in the practice studio, which is working well for us soundwise. They have a good drum kit (the marque evades me, but I have the drummer’s assurances), a chunky vocal rig. I am playing through a Laney Linebacker head and Marshall cabinet, which combi offers a good deal of trebly reverberous hoof, with a lovely plummy sound in the middle also. Delighted when the singer called it plummy tonight, as I had been thinking that precise word. Syncety sync!

 We have no bassist, but this is prompting some positive rearrangements. We probably do need to get “something else” in: there are definite gaps in the sound, but with the singer getting room to manoeuvre our melodies have improved, and she’s started to pick out bass and other fill patterns on the piano in the room.

Tonight we rattled out the bones of a new song, a bit country-ish, some sort of First Aid Kit, Dr Hook and Dolly Parton jam, with a good deal of that trebly reverb of which I spake. 

Speaking of, this side of awesome came to my attention in the last week:

Great, though, isn’t it? So if we could siphon off just a soupçon of this soulful slink… Only, everything we’re doing has to clock in under three minutes, or we cut something out. That’s probably our most enjoyable bit at rehearsals right now. 

Treating the songs mean, keepin’ ’em keen.

Further to a previous Rock Notes post, it occurred to me that the correct frame of reference for the slightly aggrieved London hardcase calling for Thompson was, of course, Spiny Norman:

DINSDALE!

DINSDALE!

It then occurred further that the Netflix pilot would only succeed with the casting of Emma Thompson:

emma-thompson

So yeah, Emma Thompson plays Emma Thomsen, a successful Scandinavian crime novelist, who spends the series battling the attentions of a giant animated hedgehog, Spiny Normal (n.b. hilarious British comedy reference/anxiety of inference gag). Spiny Normal is trying to get her to front a crime procedural he has written about hedgehogs. He thinks she needs a comeback vehicle, which of course she does not, being the successful Scandinavian crime novelist rather than the British actress.

Thomsen has to resolve this mysterious collision of worlds, aided/hindered by her patronus, Thomson the cat. Thomson knows how to contact everyone in the multiverse but is perpetually popping off for a pee.

thomson-local

Thomson would probably have to be voiced by John Thomson (Jazz Club).

…I have actually got up to about Episode 4, if anyone’s interested in bunging me a few quid.

This article at Observer on much of modern writing being steaming cow chips struck a couple of jarring chords.

I teach English, and am acutely conscious of the “five paragraph”, teaching to the exam, model of writing training the article talks about. It’s so pervasive though. And there’s such little time – “pig weighing” – and such high expectations of “getting the right grades”…  The utopian dream of being an inspirational teacher bucking the system is being constantly disturbed by the realpolitik of Target Grades, MiDyIS data (however that’s capitalised) and other five year plan impossibilities.

As the article suggests, few people devote time to reading any more. My students are all dedicated, but there are so many other things demanding their attention, formulae to be learned. While I love and enthuse about “English” – words and that – it most often feels like it’s a struggle against people who can do spreadsheets.

The five parts of this passage are in the wrong order. What is the correct order?

A. Fortunately, he does not have to convert raw scores to quotients.

B. Tonight, the teacher is marking reading tests.

C. Not only that, but the mark scheme runs to 32 pages also.

D. Each answer is multiple choice, and the sheets have been photocopied so it’s quite hard to make out the answers.

E. He is thinking about drinking gin on a school night.

Answers are available on the Scorer/Profiler CD-ROM, but we won’t tell you whereabouts.

This time, the orange streetlight loomed large in the foreground. With an irritated click of the tongue, Bryan took two steps to the right. 

Right, he thought. 

The overgrown privet now shaded the lamp on its post, but a cloud had appeared along the top of the moon, occluding the upper half. Across the garden Jean, crouching in the shadows, shifted on her haunches.

“How much longer now, Bry?”

“Just a minute love.” Bryan paused, willing the clouds south west with a wave of his hand. Not much cop, he mumbled. 

“What was that, Bry?”

“I said, wrong f stop.” Stalling. “Here we go.” Mercifully, the cloud scudded off, revealing the huge orb of the full moon. “Right, now!” Jean rose slowly from her position by the bay and, as Bryan clicked, she stood with her arms aloft, the brilliant white of the moon illuminating her. 
A few moments passed.

“Well, have you done?”

“What? Oh, yes, sorry love.” Bryan, flustered, fiddling with the dial on the camera, started towards where Jean’s dressing gown hung from a branch on the bay. A fresh cloud scudded over the moon. In the sudden dark, he clouted his foot on the low fence around the lavender bed and with a grunt hit the turf.

“Bry? Y’daft beggar.”

“I’m alright, love… Hang on.” As the moon emerged, Jean watched Bryan heave himself to his hands and knees, groping about for his glasses, which sat askew on his moonlit scalp.

 She stifled a giggle and reached for her dressing gown. Pulling it on and fishing her spectacles from the pocket, she started over to help.

The full moon shone down.

School night, one eye on the live scores. 

Leeds won, finally. (Extended cheering)

Alongside Score Centre, this evening it’s been mostly Duolingo, a language acquisition app acquisition, and my current favourite pastime. Где парк? Вот парк.

I’ll get on to ‘jumpers for goalposts’ later.

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