Monday, October 16, 2017

Tomboy Jo

There's an age-old adage, "There's more than one way to skin a cat" and that is very true when it comes into many aspects connected with age regression and the life that goes with it so I usually counsel an acceptance that there's no one magically right way to go about it.
This is especially true on the little/middle girl side where sometimes it might seem we're all frilly dresses with lashings of lace but there was a girl, very famous one who was a heroine of mine who went a whole 180 degrees the other way
 "George" from the Famous Five series actually was Georgina a girl who was very much a Tomboy, taking the lead and liking to wear less feminine girls attire to the point she did wear schoolboys shorts (although most modern versions remove this essential aspect of the storylines).
You could say she was rebelling about gender roles  and what was scene as suitable attire for girls and actually there is a fair bit of her in me that does wear shorts that aren't super pink and with curvy piping outside of my love of dresses.

I do wear the above navy tailored 'boys' shorts with my girls attire as that girl which is at times more practical and yet also does tie in with liking to present as a middle/little

l also have this black pair bought from a famous school wear supplier in the UK who does stock them in wide range of sizes. They do look very smart on me with nothing looking  tight on me  and the side pockets are helpful.
They aren't the sort of traditional grey lined shorts of yore having more in common with longer cargo type shorts but being more formal and made from stain resistant teflon like most school skirts and trousers are.
This while not necessary pleasing traditionalists who want them al a Angus Young this does mean it is possible to wear them amongst the 'muggles' with socks that don't scream out 'adult schoolchild' on the prowl as indeed I do in my neighbourhood with no one batting an eyelid.
This Saturday for instance I wore them with my Hello Kitty long sleeve t shirt and white frilly ankle socks outdoors walking as it was fairly warm for time of year which is pretty Tomboy.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Fall 2017

It won't be that long before the clocks go back, the last weekend in this month if I remember it right and n matter where you are in the UK, something is happening all around you that's pretty magical.

Playtime for me involves time out of doors, no not sitting in the garden with the Chromebook, actually going a bit further and without the all pervasive internet, walking, throwing sticks in the woods and fields here.

It's the fall and the more your outside the more you'll see although for many years I loved observing it on the inter-urban commute to work through the bus windows, wherever I work if possible I'd go into parks and gardens not just for peace and quiet but to watch it all change.

Depending on the species, the rate of which the leaves change colour and even fall off varies which used to intrigue me as a child making my way to Church around harvest time where the pavements glistened in the low sun carpeted by leaves.

Sometimes things get a bit nutty and it isn't Zee Zee's fault although his relations have something to with it as around now, you'll see the squirrels about gathering nuts to bury them and below it appears they've arranged everything that naturally fell making a  beautiful natural collage 
It's great to be out, eyes peeled to everything happening in nature.

Friday, October 6, 2017

R.I.P Tom Petty



It was announced late Monday night UK time, that Tom Petty, one of America's greatest songwriters and singers had died on what had been a pretty dark day for the Las Vegas shooting with its 59+ dead and the violence in Catalonia by Spanish Police in response to an illegal poll.
This was the formal announcement as issued on the day:

On this blog we have reviewed some of his albums not least his final one, 2016's Mudcrutch2 that surprised and enthralled us as someone who was sixty-six years still had the vitality to pull off as much as 2014's Hypnotic Eye did with its social and political observations did two years before.
Tom goes way back to '76/7 with me with the release of "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers" a 30 odd minute much needed straightahead roots rock that garnered attention in New Wave's spiritual home, Great Britain, which presented the opportunity to develop the live act and then 'sell back' to the States that bought You're Gonna Get it and its 45's I Need To Know and Listen To Her Heart.
If I was to pick just one of his albums outside of 1994's Greatest Hits, I'd pick Damn The Torpedos, his 1979 release which in so many ways encapsulated his simple but effective way of reducing down complex ideas to the most commercial while not losing the 'message'.
The best known examples from that album  are "Refugee", "Don't Do Me Like That" and "Here Comes My Girl", all hit 45's.
Tom was a member of the Travelin' Wilbury's a 'super group' with former beatle George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne of England's Electric Light Orchestra that blended the talents into a very much 'Americana' feel best exemplified by the mainly Canadian band, The Band but being contemporary too selling well beyond each members own audience.
It is hard to put across what Tom meant to us: At a human level he was very genuine, reflective, free from the ego grabbing "me,me,me" that the so many in the music business have. 
Musically he straddled that gap between so-called 'Classic Rock' and 'Indie Alternative' in a way another of my music loves, Bruce Springsteen never quite pulled off  even if he did do the long epic song well.
'Refugee' was a song whose theme spoke to me as a disabled person battling not be defined by events, unable or unwilling to move on.
Writing this has been emotionally exhausting cos Tom meant so much almost on a par with David Bowie.
Rest In Peace, Tom.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Classical sacd round up part two

It's almost the end of the month so I thought I'd post an update on my collection of classical music Super Audio cds which all can be played on regular cd players too.
One thing you have to recognize is because the format is so much capable of more natural sound doesn't mean you'll ditch any or all your existing recordings as there always two elements involved: the performance and the sound.
Ever since the days of the lp record that elusive balance of the two is what as collectors of recordings we've looking for and there exists from those early mono taped performances from the early nineteen-fifties to the turn of this decade many excellent performances that may not be on sacd and some where for technical reasons they may be little point in issuing them.
This said there are increasing numbers of  excellent recordings from the analogue tape era being freshly mastered and new recordings critically acclaimed so you may be able to 'upgrade' which is where we start.

For a good while I had been looking for a great fairly modern recording of Bartok's ground breaking Concerto For Orchestra which I remember well as a handed down Mercury mono lp record when I was in my early teens where I spied this.
It's reissue of the original Quadraphonic (surround sound) lps from the Deutsche Grammophon catalogue of the nineteen-seventies that only got issued in Japan but whose stereo mixes were issued in North America and Europe that were much admired.
 Arriving only toward the end of last week is a acclaimed recording of Schubert's String Quintet in C Major D 956 from 2011 by the much loved Tokyo String Quartet who have performed in North America and Europe.

Schubert's "The Trout" quintet has been a favourite of mine for a long while and recently I bought this excellent modern recording which will go with my regular cd sets of string quartets and symphonies by him.
This one can be filed under 'filling a hole' as in the years of building my classical music collection I hadn't gotten around to getting a complete set of Beethoven's String Quartets and this set of recordings from 2005 through 2008 is one of the best recorded.
I was able to get this 8 sacd set in stone mint condition used for half the regular price which made it quite bargain.

Mozart and I got back a long time, to the period I often borrowed pre-recorded tapes from the municipal library and most of my Mozart colection goes back to around 1991 on cd buying the many discs in the Mozart Masterpieces set.
Included in that was the debut recording of a then 14 year old Anne-Sophie Mutter with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra with its then larger than life conductor, Herbert von Karajan of the 3rd and 5th Violin Concertos to which I had added two slightly later recordings on EMI by her of numbers 1, 2 and 4.
This set recorded in 2011 by PentaTone records is widely regarded as one of the finest coming with the very best sound available and even features a dvd where you see Julia rehearsing.
x

Monday, September 25, 2017

R.I.P Marmalade

On Thursday September 21 at 8.30 AM, Marmalade, president of the seventh North Staffs Tom Cat Club died as I stroked him having been brought in by neighbours found seriously ill on the sidewalk fur covered in dark soil and with black coloured berry in his mouth.
There was little indication to suggest being struck by an automobile as while conscious but with severe breathing difficulties, he didn't yelp while carried or when stroked from face to tail.
He arrived around 2013 from nowhere with his eccentric ways like wanting to be served on a floor table, wanting to bring his own food in like mice to eat in front of the gas fire and going out for all night cat parties at their Tom Cat Club.
He also hacked in to this blog and GT to broadcast his thoughts on things most noticeably on the British General Election  with his feline take on matters.
I'm too upset to say anymore crying right now but I misses him so.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Best Bat in the School

Between watching the anime I talked about last week I have been reading a book in the St Brides/Maudsley series by Dorita Fairlie Bruce I started earlier on but with a twist.
This isn't a regular 'series' book so much as a compilation of a series of short stories originally published for various Girls Own publications such as yearly annuals she wrote and one which is more of a long short novel which is the main feature  and all involve the characters of we met in the St Brides boarding school  and Maudsley day school although there is sufficient information to make sense of the story if you hadn't.
The main feature, The Best Bat in the School, is set at Maudsley with Nancy, Phyllis, Lois, Charity and the gang and how measures the school adopted to deal with a severe outbreak of Scarlet Fever in the district-placing restrictions on the school girls movements lead  to resent and a girl disobeying them.
The focus of the story is on the cricket match between Maudsley and Larkiston which I'll be honest and say is not a game I have a clue about and the role Lois and Charity have as the girls in charge of making the teams selection.
The issue is Lois saw a girl who go to the theatre breaching the restrictions and feels by putting their own enjoyment over others respect for school rules should be dropped.
What unfolds is the lesson set out by the authoress  around  how a misunderstanding (which girl and why) leads to a condemnation of that particular girl unjustly, how that impacts on the relationships of all the girls bring various people under suspicion and puts into jeopardy the schools honour in the competition which with interventions by Charity working out the actual situation, they do win. 
It is I feel having read it, a very important lesson well told in  this story
Victoria Vixtrix is set at St Brides around a girl who badly needs to win a scholarship to go to University to complete her education when her family are through no fault of their own facing poverty.
We meet again Winifred Arrowsmith, disabled wheelchair user to use modern terms as I was for part of my childhood, crippled by polio, showing clear signs that the more regular, less pitied interaction has developed  into one more sympathetic, just one of the girls
A strength I feel of her work is both her clear understanding of social disadvantage such as poverty, the impact of illness and disability on family welfare and the emphasis on moral education which may perhaps to some today seem a little old-fashioned but one I wholly subscribe to so we better serve ourselves and others.
There is more to us than physical and intellectual abilities and needs.

Monday, September 11, 2017

When Marnie was there

Recently I was going through my collection of videos and dvds, sorting out a few I didn't really need when I saw an anime a friend had suggested I might like a short while back and the copy I ordered a few weeks ago arrived.

Based on the novel by Joan G Richardson, it's about a twelve year old girl called Anna  who believes she is sat outside of a invisible magic circle to which most people belong and she shuts herself away from everyone around of her hating herself.
Anna has Asthma and concerned for her health, Anna's mother has decided the best thing to do is to send her to a sleepy town in rural Hokkaido by the sea for the fresh air.
Dreaming her days away amongst the marshes Anna finds herself drawn to an enigmatic house on the cliff, sitting on the edge.
She discovers there, Marnie a girl full of spirit who appears from nowhere and soon the pair become inseparable.
Marnie one evening makes a heartfelt request to Anna saying "Promise me something - that we'll remain a secret, forever."
Anna soon begins to wonder about the girl and her past,feeling compelled to investigate the truth about her and the start to take turns asking each other questions about themselves.
As in time Anna is more and more immersed in Marnie's world she begins to learn about  family, relationships and kindness.

Although this anime is in part sad, I feel the very real strength of it is the message of love, of self sacrifice and coming to terms with your past.
 
*Some comments on blog layout*
As you may of noticed if you are viewing this via a traditional laptop computer rather than a smartphone or tablet computer, the layout may look different this is because of two things, one I am unifying the layouts between this blog and certain others, for improved legibility and ease of finding things such as pages.
The second is technical which is the template width across the board for all three are now set at 1100 px where originally they were set at 860px because way back in the mid 2000's computer monitors had such smaller resolutions that also were square shaped and today most are at least 1366x768px or better widescreen.
It put simply looks less squashed up and cluttered with Honey Senpai now on the footer matching what has become the middles journal footer.
The original Blogger 'Classic templates were limited to 860px but I changed the templates to newer ones a year or two ago.