Tag Archives: Random thoughts

Xerxes the viola – a music fact-chain

  • The theme music to “Eastenders” (a BBC soap opera on UK TV) is based on an old Hungarian folk song, “Barka macskák történik a sajt” which, literally translated, means “pussy cats are made of cheese”.
  • The famous BBC Maida Vale Studios were, until 1938, a Barnsley Corporation Slipper Baths. Arnold Pelmet (later Lord Pelmet, of Dado), anticipating the formation of the British Broadcasting Corporation by several decades, and the need for studios in Maida Vale by even longer, had the slipper baths dismantled and moved to London in 1887. Listeners to early BBC transmissions from the studios could often hear the splashing of dedicated bathers, who continued to make the journey from Yorkshire for their weekly ablutions, until the bathing areas were drained, following complaints from the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
  • George Orwell referred to Barnsley’s many slipper baths in his book, “The Road to Wigan Pier”. George Orwell (real name, Anthony Lynmouth Blair), wrote many songs, most of which were awful, although “Look out Mrs, I’ve got my clothes pegs!” enjoyed a brief popularity between the wars. George’s writing, however, inspired many songs, including “Sex Crime (1984)”, by the Eurythmics and “Aspidistras Can’t Really Fly”, by Non-existent But Spoilsports Nonetheless.
  • ‘Eurythmics’ is an anagram of “Cue my shirt”, the title of a popular radio programme, broadcast by the BBC during the Second World War. It starred Jimmy Clitheroe, as a seventy-three year-old schoolboy, whose shirt performed in amateur dramatic productions, in the fictitious village of Henley-on-Thames. Sadly, for those keen on developing the concept of fact-loops (see ‘Fact chain’ below), “Cue my shirt” wasn’t broadcast from the Maida Vale Studios.
  • The Dave Stewart, who recorded a cover version of the Lesley Gore hit, “It’s My Party” with Barbara Gaskin, is a completely different person to the Dave Stewart with the same name, who formed the Eurythmics with Scottish diva, Annie Lennox. The identical names came about as a result of a mix-up at an agency, which specialized in providing stage names for up and coming pop stars in the 1980s; Call yourself Dave Stewart Ltd. has since gone out of business. In an ironic coincidence, both Dave Stewarts were christened Max Xerxes.
  • ‘Xerxes’ is a good name for a viola.

Fact-chain:

A ‘fact-chain’ is a list of facts, each of which contains an element from the previous fact in the list, apart from the first fact, which, because it’s the first one, can’t have a preceding fact. Of course, you could say that each fact contains an element, which is featured in the following fact, but then you’d have a similar problem with the last fact in the list. One solution to this would be to ensure that the last fact in the list contains an element, which is featured in the first fact, but would that really be a ‘fact-chain’, or a ‘fact-loop’? Also, although the author isn’t aware of the term ‘fact-chain’ being used in this context before writing this post, it doesn’t necessarily follow that he is the originator of the term. Why have I switched to referring to myself in the third person?  Oh, I’ve stopped now.

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Swiss cheese and pickled eggs

I ran for a bus this morning. It didn’t ask me to, but I thought it would appreciate it. It didn’t. Later on, after much pondering I concluded that the reason for this is that:

a) Buses are inanimate and incapable of even the most basic reflex action, let alone independent thought or reason.
b) They don’t like me.

After this early set-back, my day took a turn for the worse. I discovered I’d run out of Gruyere, apparently as a result of having eaten it previously. I find consuming Gruyere a remarkably uplifting experience and often break out in a grin at the mere thought of it. Imagine my mood, having anticipated the ultimate in cheesy delight, only to be disappointed. I would have consoled myself with fish, chips, peas and a pickled egg, but had neither the time nor the gastric capacity. Although the aforementioned FCP&PE is my favourite meal, bar none, it isn’t something I can eat that often, requiring twenty-four hours of fasting in advance and a minimum of one hour on the couch afterwards, doing very little other than digesting.

Tomorrow I’ll go and buy some more Gruyere. I’ll leave in good time, so I don’t have to run for the bus. I’ll saunter up to it, effecting complete nonchalance and taking care not to make direct eye contact with it. I’ll return home later, elated by my cheese acquisition and emboldened by the fact that, at least once, the bus ran for me and not vice-versa.

The power of dressing gowns

So, it’s Sunday morning and I’m in my dressing gown. Why is it called a ‘dressing gown’? I don’t wear it when I’m getting dressed; I take it off first. Perhaps it’s a contraction of something like ‘addressing gown’.

“I addressed the large and unruly crowd, my un-amplified voice carrying to the back, thanks to the excellent acoustic qualities of the House of Lords’ principal lavatory. My ultimate authority was assured by my choice of blue paisley silk ‘dressing gown. The mass acquiesced and the day was saved.”

Mind your head!

Eventually something will hit it. Be ready for that eventuality. A skateboard helmet is light, but surprisingly sturdy. Being of open-face design, it doesn’t get in the way of eating, drinking, licking postage stamps etc. and can be decorated with small herbs; I favour the chive.

I’m sure there are spiders living behind my noticeboard. I can hear them whispering to each other and giggling at each other’s arachnid quips. I wonder if they post their own notices on the back of the board, which they consider to be the front? If so, perhaps they have discussions about the human they suspect lives on the back of their noticeboard, commenting on the fact that they’re sure they can hear the occasional, unmistakable sound of a chive falling from his skateboard helmet.

Loose stitching

Well, it had to happen. The stitching has looked dodgy for a while now and this afternoon it finally came loose. I’m not sure I can be bothered to fix it, plus I’ve a feeling I’ve run out of that coloured thread. Still, perhaps it gives it a bit bit of a grungy look, if that’s not too passé.

I’m contemplating going out with a painted on red vest this evening. I have a picture in my mind of me, resplendent in said vest, holding court in a nearby hostelry, not needing to strain the grey cells too much, thanks to the thrall in which my painted on red vest will hold people.