Saturday, April 06, 2013
Many years ago when computers were dangerous and new, I was given an Oric 1 in return for some work I did. This slab of plastic and mysterious, magical innards had a rudimentary sound chip which allowed me to program in notes and actually to play several notes at once. The very first piece of music I put in was a Crab Canon by Bach which had the brilliant time-saving property of being the same when played backwards or forwards and hence meant only half the amount of data input. I don't have the recording I made of it or even the Oric but I have been able to create a new version which you can listen to here. It's not long. Go on. I know you want to.
Friday, March 22, 2013
Usefully I'd legislate myself away he says,
Borne on the red wind to my oblivion,
But he is a deep sea fish, all teeth and rot,
A compound fury concealed in doggerel,
Barely holding back the spit and fleck,
Of rage and half-concealed despair,
We fail him with our lack of intellect,
One word in three or two above us,
And he berates obscenely, all our errors,
How we fail to understand the world,
Our place in it to serve just ourselves,
And now we are in the next war,
Unarmed with wit and cool obscurity,
One side victorious in Martin’s war,
The other trained in ill-formed invective,
Built on the containment of emotion,
And here I walk the narrow line myself,
Versed in biofeedback slowing hearts,
To limit tremors in the bolts I loose,
Secretly aching for that killer blow,
The froth-corrupted injury of silence,
That staggers; that shuts him up for good,
A word or two as a billion hollow points,
Launched late in this oh-so civil war,
At seven tonight we win, we break the news,
Of victory, the climb to sunlit uplands,
We can predict it perfectly, to a moment,
The fall of the last soldiers, posed on hills,
And left and right stand hand-in-hand,
Awaiting approbation that must surely come,
Citations, mentions in despatches, medals,
Glinting in the bloody light of evening,
But there are dead fonts now, empty op-eds,
The raw, unfollowed critic’s training course,
Swinging in the winds of change and spite,
It’s all one-sided now and in the name of balance,
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they vapourised Syme, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
Is there anything else on Radio 4 at the moment? George Orwell and Sylvia Plath seem to have taken over and I'm expecting one or both of them to be guest editor on Today sometime next week. Not a complaint of course apart from the time it's going to take to listen to it all once it's off the PVR and on a device somewhere.
Sunday, February 03, 2013
I didn't know but my dad had this picture of my great-great uncle - Albert Farar Gatliff, a general in The Royal Marines and a bearer of The Unknown Warrior in 1920. I've been trying to find him in this film ...
... but the picture was taken 20 years previously. Dad also has his swagger stick.
However, none of this is as important as another discovery prompted by discussions with members of The Gatliff Trust who were at my aunt's funeral. They asked me if I knew what happened to my grandfather's brother - my great uncle. We knew he died in 1914 though his date of birth would have made him 15 at death, a very young age for any combatant. However a few fuzzy google queries actually turned up that he was a Royal Navy Cadet and he died during surgery at Dartmouth. So John Caulfeild Wolseley Gatliff has been belatedly added to the Commonwealth War Graves Commision list of casualties - one of the youngest ever.
Saturday, February 02, 2013
My wife has pointed out almost every day for the last week that I have not blogged since September. Well here we are again. Sadly this hiatus has been because my wonderful aunt, Elizabeth Noel Gatliff, died on Boxing day. She was 86 and had a life of excitement and joy that most of us can only dream of. I'm posting this picture of her in the crowds on VE day which is how she should be remembered - with spirit and laughter. She was a nurse and health visitor for many years, working in Canada and Australia and visiting every part of the world without fear or anxiety. She did not see any divisions in the world, only people and believed that everyone could be better off basically by having a bit of respect and by giving up a bit of oneself to others. I am comforted that she died peacefully in the Horton Hospital in Banbury because she had campaigned with many other people to keep services from being moved from there to Oxford for the sake of saving a few pounds. I was touched and overwhelmed by the number of people who came to her funeral and I can only hope that I managed to convey the colour and excitement of her life in the tribute I wrote.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
|SCARTS in Transit Yesterday|
Finally we have binned the SCARTS. Like tinsel, the sharp edges of these connectors have always put my teeth on edge and at last they have all been replaced by HDMI cables and another of my anxieties is put to rest. Eventually the cables themselves will be superseded by Wireless-Fireless and then all I have to worry about is the gradual erosion of my DNA by invisible rays. And don't start me on warp drive and teleporting - all this Higgs-Boson excitement has opened up yet another wave of invisible things to worry about. I am not mad yet.