Friday, December 18, 2009

Reminder ...

For any immediate future, after 717 posts over more than three years here, Malcolm Redfellow has taken his trade to Wordpress.

So redirect to:

His latest over there include:
  • a piece on a 16th-century ancestor, Sir Jacques Granado;
  • a mediatation on Tory tide timetables; and
coming up
  • thoughts on Belgian beers to die for.

Meanwhile, a thought for the coming holiday season:

Bah! Humbug!
Sphere: Related Content

Friday, December 11, 2009

Losing the wheels ... and the will

Yesterday's Guardian Technology supplement did a timely review of the 100 essential websites. Yeah, yeah: the old stand-by when copy is short. But still ...

There was this:
Blogger Fast way to start blogging; training wheels for Wordpress.
Which, in a way, struck a chord with Malcolm (left).

He has become increasingly frustrated by running two parallel blogs: here on Blogger with Malcolm Redfellow's World Service and there on Wordpress with Malcolm Redfellow's Home Service. Increasingly it has come to be an itch analogous to the chicken-pox in Sheldon Harnick's acerbic The Ballad of the Shape of Things:
They say he died from the chicken pox,
In part I must agree: one chick too many had he!
Malcolm prefers the archly-innocent version Blossom Dearie did at Ronnie Scott's club. She also did it for her 1979 Needlepoint Magic album (and if you can find one of those, bank it).

Whitney Lyon Balliett, who had tenure as jazz critic at the New Yorker for some forty years, wrote of Blossom's voice:
without a microphone it would not reach the second floor of a doll's house
The better-known rendering by the Kingston Trio, more burlesque travesty than Blossom's cabaret chanson, is on a YouTube clip:

Onward, Malcolm! To the point!

So perhaps the time has come to switch off the lights, let it all rest, and go away.

Let's admit that Malcolm Redfellow's World Service has served its purpose. It kept the oul' fella out of mischief, and the Alzheimer's at bay for the last three years. It started as a political/historical stream of consciousness, and lapsed into unconscious tics of incidental semi-thoughts.

So, until some future time,
  • when he has something to say,
  • when he re-fits the wheels,
  • and his voice reaches the second floor of the long-term Lady in his Life's doll's-house,
And finally ...

Thank you for that rendition, Ms von Kappelhoff.

Thank you, the handful who occasionally visit here, for your time and trouble.

Good bye. Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Can one have too much of a good thing?

Why ask that of someone, as Malcolm was, born in the War years? Who remembers raiding his moneybox that day in February 1953 when sweets came off-the-rations?

In its own small way, the younger generation experience the rationing problem with their iPods.

No matter which model one has, all the way up the the 160GB Classic, there is a finite limit to storage. Which means making choices. The problem achieves cataclysmic crisis time with the Lady in Malcolm's life and her natty, minuscule Shuffle.

So, of Malcolm's several iPods (Weeuw ... there's posh!), the 32GB iPod touch, though not the biggest capacity, is the current favourite, not because of size, but simply through its general utility.

Currently it is carrying just over 5000 tracks and about 500 photographs. Since it, and the 80GB Classic are the back-ups for iPhoto when the Lady in his Life and Malcolm are on the move, that means it's pruning time. Another prompt comes when he found that, somehow when he uploaded 765MB and nine hours of Miles Davis's Complete Prestige Recordings, ripped @ 192 kbps, he must have over-written Sketches of Spain. That is, of course, unacceptable; and must be remedied instantly. There's only about 4GB spare, but Malcolm has this thing about excess: it's Brazilian time, ladies!

At first it's easy; how many variants of those Willie Nelson standards does a man need? Did Malcolm really upload all that ABBA pap? And that's not the worst (about which, least said the better).

Around this point the process of elimination slows down. Hey! here's Jackie Brenston and Rocket 88! We haven't cranked that one for a while ... and then we pause to stack it up against, say, Bernard Allison's and Nappy Brown's or the Alexis Korner versions.

YouTube offer a version, which (despite the "original" claim) seems later than, and different from the 1951 original:

The Bettie Page clips are a gratuitous addition. Moreover, to claim that this is "the first rock'n'roll song" invites a deluge of disagreement. A "fuzzy" tenor-sax does not a genre make.

At this point Malcolm realises he has a whole playlist of road-songs and car-songs. Malcolm scanned a score or more Cadillac titles, not including the Austin Lounge Lizards' The Car Hank Died In:

Poor sound quality: find the album, Creatures From The Black Saloon.
That would count as the nadir of bad taste — nothing wrong with that, says Malcolm — had Dave Allan Coe, complete with girlie chorus, not also been represented (a recommendation from our American Cousin, Colorado Zach):
Well, I was drunk the day my Mom got outta prison.
And I went to pick her up in the rain.
But, before I could get to the station in my pickup truck
She got runned over by a damned old train.
But to stick with the Caddy motif:

Then there are nearly as many GTOs and Chevys as there were Caddy songs: they include one worthwhile gem — Junior Brown putting a little overdue life into the Beach Boys' 409 (the B-side of the dismal Surfin' Safari of 1962):

That's before he hit on another favourite: Kathy Mattea's striding attack on Gillian Welch's 455 Rocket, "biggest block alive", which in a way brings him full circle:

Malcolm apologises for that version; the original is blocked in his region.
It goes without saying that anything by or from Gillian Welch is sacrosanct, and not for removing.

However, a stack of '70s and '80s stuff goes straight to the bin, no problem: Phil Collins, large swathes of other pretentious stuff.

With Sketches of Spain (is it jazz? who cares?) and a few other goodies onto the iPod Touch, and so to bed ...

Sphere: Related Content

Friday, December 4, 2009

Being put in your place

No: Malcolm has not been idle these last few days.
All in all, it had been a good week ...
... until the New York Times published its list of 100 Notable Books of 2009.

And Malcolm had to recognise he had hit a new, all-time low ...

Just one fiftieth of the list.

For the record they are:
  • Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall (O.K., O.K. — it's still the Lady's side of the bed. But the spirit is willing, y'know);
  • Richard J. Evans's The Third Reich at War, which was not to be hurried, and has been a constant companion and friend for at least the last ten days.
As for the rest ...


However, Malcolm has to hand a small pile of the following:
  • To finish the floor;
  • Three weeks to go before daughters and their spawn decide what Dad/Grandad would really like for Christmas,
  • including an extended Eurostar weekend among the Belgians.
No rest for the wicked. Sphere: Related Content
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