On TV quiz shows one frequently see old people explaining that now they are retired there is so much to do they wonder how they ever found time to go to work. Despite my best intentions to spend my retirement catching up with all the stuff I have never really got to grips with – half understood software, half learnt programming languages, books that were purchased but never read etc. – the torrent of new stuff continues to overwhelm. I should draw a line and say no more… but
And then I am about to throw out the sourdough starter I started a few days ago when the weather was warm but abandoned when the weather turned colder – my home is not warm enough ordinarily to sustain the beast, but, I think, ‘it does smell like a good starter’, so I gave it a feed and a drink and it has been bubbling away all day; so the weekend will be spent cultivating some bread.
Finally (after 25? years) got around to seeing if the dusty old record player still works. It does!
Apparently you connect it to something called Analog In these days. Alas my record collection is somewhat reduced from thousands to just four – which would have been four too many if it had not worked. This is a Thorens TD 321. It replaced a Garrard 301. I cannot recall what happened to the 301 – perhaps it just died from exhaustion. But I do still have the manual and test sheet.
The 301 replaced a Garrard SP 25 which had served well during my teens.
While I can appreciate the charm of old (and new) gramophone records I don’t think I will be in a hurry to acquire anymore anytime soon. Today’s streaming services are perfectly fine. There is a lot of nonsense talked about the pleasure of listening to music pressed into a plastic disc but I am not buying it. If there never had been any vinyl records and someone came up with the idea today would anyone be saying “What a great idea!” or , after they stopped laughing, would they point out that the discs are easily damaged, bulky, heavy, difficult to store etc.?
For the record: The pictured disc is The Mothers Of Invention‘s Cruising With Ruben & The Jets on the Verve label which, in the UK, was distributed by Polydor in the mid 70’s as opposed to the original 60’s issue which had been distributed by EMI – there was a time when this stuff was interesting and important.
To the ever-growing list of names of people that have been so familiar (almost as if we actually knew them) but are now no more we must add John Conway. Many who dabbled with programming on old computers will have implemented a version of Conway’s Game of Life which determined if a cell should live or die by following a set of rules:
Any live cell with two or three live neighbours survives.
Any dead cell with three live neighbours becomes a live cell.
All other live cells die in the next generation. Similarly, all other dead cells stay dead.
There is a version implemented within the wonderful Xynthesizr which allows for some random generative noise. We add a few cells, which live or die by the rules, and then let it evolve by itself – never quite reaching a stable state.
Intrigued one turned to the Interwebs to find out more….
Nancy Dupree was a music teacher in New York in the 1960s. Seeing that the children had no interest in the official bland and boring curriculum she encouraged them to start writing their own songs related to their lives while introducing them to the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone et.al…
They produced enough songs to record a whole album which they called Ghetto Reality. Encountering Moses Asch she badgered him into releasing the album on his Folkways Records label.
She was eventually sacked from the teaching job, ostensibly for refusing to wear the required high heels, and was alarmed to see the school call the police to remove the children protesting about her departure.
She subsequently worked in various jobs, made recordings of her poetry, associated with the Black Panthers, wrote a play and died of leukaemia at the age of 44.