Saturday, July 14

You know, I think it's interesting how much difference a few years can make. Last night I was at a special concert and party for ex-members of my orchestra, and a friend remarked to me about how all the various pubs he goes to are gradually being taken over by young 'uns:

"There's the Moby, where you went when you were underage. Then there's the Ringers, where you went when you were just old enough, and finally there's the Black Horse - the classic pub - which you go to when the shine's worn off the Ringers."

I nodded, and ventured the opinion that the 'Ringers' had in fact changed its clientele demographic to a younger, more illegal, age (I didn't say so in as many words, of course) based on what I saw there at the last New Year's Eve celebrations.

So we were variously lamenting the fact that time passes and how there even seemed to be young kids at the Black Horse now, etc etc. And then the interval during the concert finished and I went back up to my seat.

Now, this concert was a special concert. Ex-members had been invited to join in with the orchestra with their old instruments and play some of the more familiar and memorable pieces we've done in the past (read as: so you won't need to have a rehearsal). I was a bit wary of doing this; in fact, I was extremely wary since I haven't touched my violin in about a year; not that I have any objection to playing the violin, it's just that I never seem to have had the time to get around to joining an orchestra or chamber group at university.

Anyway, most of the ex-members who turned up to the concert brought their instruments along, although only a few played in the first half. In the second half, a few more played, and I have to admit that I did regret not bringing along my violin as I listened to some of the pieces (at other points I was quite relieved that I didn't bring it along since I wouldn't have had the first clue of how to play along - not, of course, that that situation has ever cropped up while I was a full member of the orchestra...)

It probably sounds a little trite, but I was sitting up above the orchestra at the back of the hall and the distance rang home the realisation that I won't be playing with my old orchestra ever again. I have to admit it felt strange. Perhaps what I meant to say there was sad.

So there was a party after the concert and incredibly, against time-honoured orchestra tradition, they were not selling copious amounts of alcohol to the 99% of the orchestra who were underaged. This frankly shocked me, doubly so because for the first time in such a party, I was of a legal age to buy drinks. I was even more irritated after I ran to an off-licence following a tip-off from a friend, and it closed just before I got there.

Of course, it was good to meet up with some of my friends from the orchestra and have a chat, but I wasn't really in the party spirit and in any case I had another party to go to that night. Unfortunately, when the strains of 'Macarena' blasted across the hall, I realised despondently that it'd be a long, long time before I would get a lift to that second party as the driver and her friend (both lovers of cheese in music) disappeared off to do some jiving. My last shreds of hope that we'd get a quick exit were dashed when the DJ (evidently skilled at these dance-floor-filling matters) played 'Time Warp' and 'It's raining men' afterwards, among other songs of that ilk*.

Well, eventually we got to the second party which was a bit more of a raucous affair but people had already passed from the running-around-and-drinking-and-shouting stage to the chilled-out-and-slumped-in-front-of-TV stage.

[*It's not as if I'm a music snob or anything but you won't catch me dancing along to this sort of stuff unless I've had at least one drink, and preferably so has everyone else]

And now something to cheer you up - a great story about police officers helping ducklings.

/ forum / 03:05 pm GMT

Thursday, July 12

Books I've read recently:

(from the SF Masterworks series)
Forever War by Joe Haldeman
Pavane by Keith Roberts
Gateway by Frederick Pohl

Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds

Books I'm currently reading:

The Centauri Device* by M. John Harrison
How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker

[* This book is good. It's funny. Unfortunately, it possesses a special kind of property that makes it completely incomprehensible to my brain (and probably my brain alone) so that as soon as I read about ten pages, I fall asleep. Thus, it's a great bedtime book]

Things I've been doing

Cleaning up my email inbox
Putting the final touches to my Mars map
Writing umpteen thousand words for my Guide of the AI movie game
Filling out forms
Playing unhealthy amounts of Tetrinet (multiplayer Tetris. According to something I read in this month's Edge, some studies show that playing Tetris can increase your IQ - and that's the story I'm sticking by!)

Yesterday evening I walked up to the hill where I take all of my sunset photos and noticed that every single path was completely overgrown - in fact, I couldn't even get to my favourite spot since there were too many bushes in the way. It's interesting how much a place can change in three months.

/ forum / 03:53 pm GMT

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