Saturday, 3 November 2012

A-Z of Music - L

Halfway then.
For L I've gone with one of the most famous composers of all time, Franz Liszt.
Franz Ritter von Liszt (October 22, 1811 – July 31, 1886) was a 19th-century Hungarian composer, pianist, conductor and teacher, renowned in Europe during the nineteenth century for his virtuosic skill as a pianist.
He led an eventful life, being the consort at various times, of a princess and a countess, and at one point retiring to a monastery, where he took lesser orders.
Despite this, his music flourished. Best known for his piano works, my choice for this week comes from amongst these.
This is the Liebestraum (Love's Dream) No.3. I've actually got this as the ring tone on my 'phone! Here it is played by the wonderful Artur Rubinstein in 1954. One of my favourite performances of this beautiful, soothing music:

Now - the lighter end of the spectrum. Although not technically the best band in the world, I love watching the Levellers live. They are undoubtedly one of the best bands I've ever seen live. They're a great favourite with bikers, and often play at big biker events like the Rock&Blues custom show, where they were selected to play by popular choice, coming ahead in the polls of such groups as Motorhead and ZZ Top!
Penning all of their own material, their songs often have a strong protest theme, or take a political stance. Anarchists (in the true meaning of the word) and environmentalists, they are deep thinkers and strong personalities, but their music retains a high level of musicality, Mark's voice is strong, Jon's fiddle playing is techinically brilliant, and Jeremy's hair is long! What more do you want?

Because they are so good on stage, I've deliberately looked for a live show video. This is 'Barrel of a Gun' filmed at Wychwood in 2010. The song is a protest at the shooting of 3 IRA members by the SAS in Gibraltar. Although they were undoubtedly preparing a bomb explosion, at the time of the killings, they were not in possession of any explosives. McCann was shot five times, Farrell eight times, and Savage between 16 and 18 times. All three were subsequently found to be unarmed, and without any kind of remote trigger.

No matter what country
Under the sun
You can't mete justice
From the barrel of a gun

And So.......Toward Winter

It's getting colder. The nights are getting longer.

Well, except my bikes don't think so. Both of them still show British Summer Time. The reason? I'm getting as bad as a man. I haven't read the handbooks, and I can't work out how to alter the time settings on either of them. Oh well, I suppose I'll have to get the books out and read up on it.

So, what's new? I took my usual jaunt to the annual NFL match at Wembley last Sunday. It was such a lousy game (Patriots beat the Rams 45-7) that I almost resent the exorbitant price of the ticket. I say almost, because, despite the terrible game, the atmosphere is just so uplifting and joyous, and Wembley is such a great stadium. It's also nice to get the chance to spend a day with my son and his beautiful wife. Days like that are few and far between at the moment.

Also new is my bathroom. Yes, finally got rid of the old one, installed when the house was built in the 60s, and got a nice new shiny one. The building firm have done a marvellous job, even if they did paint the walls totally the wrong colour! I chose a soft, creamy yellow - and they decided to paint it blue! They did say they'd redo it of course, but having seen the finished bathroom, and the way the blue complements the floor covering, I've decided I actually rather like it!

It wasn't an easy life whilst they were doing it though. They literally gutted it - right back to the brickwork and floor joists. They very thoughtfully put down carpet protectors throughout the house, but absolutely everything is covered in a thick layer of just - despite having been hoovered twice since they finished! And trying to sleep when you're on nights, with a jolly workman singing at the top of his voice, is not easy!

Won't be many more days this year when I feel inclined to go for a ride just because I can, but I'm determined to get at least a couple more in before the Winter hardens the ground and softens my resolve. I treated Jack to a pretty new windscreen a couple of days ago, and hopefully he'll get treated to one or two extras for Christmas to pretty him up ready for next year.  I'd also like to get a couple of runs out where I can take pictures with my new camera. I've not had much chance to use it yet.

What else..........ah yes, the American Presidential elections are upon us once again. I've not discussed it with my daughter-in-law, Brooke. We sort of have a tacit agreement that politics and religion are not generally discussed. That way, we don't fall out with each other ;) I assume though, being a Mormon, she will vote for Mitt Romney. Maybe I assume wrongly, I don't know. I know Obama has not been the best president ever, but in my opinion, he's not exactly been the worst either, and I do think he's probably still the lesser of two evils. Some of Romney's statements have done little less than horrify me. And Obama's reaction to the terrible destruction caused by SuperStorm Sandy, were 1000% better than George W's reaction to Hurricane Katrina and the terrible plight of the people of New Orleans.

And so, update on my various hobbies. As far as the genealogy is going, I'm still trying to piece together my father's family, and it's proving to be a nightmare. As well as being one of the largest families in Lancashire, they have some given names that propagate throughout the different lines and generations. I've lost count of how many Johns I've got married to Marys! The good thing to come out of this whole project though, is that I've re-established contact with the branch of my family that emigrated to Canada when I was very young, and I have a whole raft of previously unknown cousins and other various assorted relatives.

My jewellery shop is ticking along. I'm not pushing it too much yet, as I don't have time to keep making stuff for it, but it's very comforting to know that it is there, already established, for when I retire, or if I fall prey to redundancy. I've been spending a lot of time learning and practising new techniques, and expanding my horizons. There's absolutely loads of tutorials on websites, blogs and YouTube, so I've not needed to invest in many expensive books and so on. Which, of course,means I've got more money to spend on beads, doesn't it? ;) As one of my suppliers has it, 'money can't buy happiness, but it can buy beads'!

Anyway, enough drivel, I must get on with some work. Or perhaps, instead, I'll do the next episode of the A-Z..............