search for tag 'Memories' requested

Mahler 1

2020-01-23 21:39:20 - by alisonw Personal Memories

That could have been one of the great performances of Mahler's First Symphony on BBC Radio 3 just now, as played by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. But it wasn't, not due to the occasional duff notes from the musicians (which were quite lovable actually) but because of the excessive level of audience participation. The coughs and bangs just kept on coming, and we'll not mention the sprinkling of applause after the first movement...

I can still remember the first time I heard the piece: I was attending the Albert Hall Proms, doing the full season in fact, and believing that I didn't like Mahler I'd moved during the interval to the back of the Arena to lie down, close my eyes, and wait for the end of the evening's concert. Instead I discovered an extraordinary visual experience, with jousting, galloping horsemen, villagers dancing around maypoles, and an inn by a crossroads with a cairn of skulls. I was so taken by the music that the following day I bought on LPs Mahler's first through fifth symphonies and the next day the sixth through tenth. Well I say 'tenth' but of course that is Das Lied von der Erde, but there is the incomplete tenth so I suppose I bought one through eleven.

Seems the RLP are undertaking a cycle this year so hopefully Radio Three will carry them all. But less of the audience please!

Proud moments

2019-12-28 02:11:18 - by alisonw Personal Memories

A friend on FB asked Friday morning what things are people proud of doing. It's not how I tend to think about things, but I then realised there was something.

Back in the early 90s I was appointed Chief Electrician at the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff. That's the person in charge of the lighting and sound department, btw.

So the venue said it was signed up to the union agreement but they'd been illegally stopping the staff from joining, which I only found out when one of the stage crew commented about their excessive hours.

Within an hour of my handing out membership forms I was called to the venue director's office and asked to resign (which I wanted to do anyway as I found I didn't like Cardiff much). I negotiated a 'leave immediately' fee equal to two months' salary (which was how long I'd been there), said my goodbyes, and departed. By the time I'd got back to my nearby digs to collect my stuff my partner had come down from London and we went off to Edinburgh for the weekend.

The following week I went to the BECTU (union) head office, chatted to Gerry with all the details, and he sorted it all out. The Sherman became a properly unionised house and I went back to London — a great result all around!


2019-12-25 22:49:38 - by alisonw Personal Memories

Back in the mists of time I was Chief Electrician (in charge of lighting and sound) at the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff. One day we had loads of kids in and were giving classes as part of a Duke of Edinburgh award scheme.

I'd just been demonstrating how a gobo – a thin sheet of metal which when placed in front of a spotlight projects a design onto the set via cutouts in the metal – when I went to change the design and unthinkingly took hold of it with my left hand.

Unsurprisingly it was excessively hot and burnt two fingers and my thumb, in fact the design (the New York skyline) got embossed onto them. I yelped and stuck my hand under the cold tap, except... just at that moment Prince Edward walked in, representing the Duke. Thankfully I could shake hands with my right hand and three minutes later plunge my left hand back in cold water again.

The embossing was still visible on two fingertips over a month later.

I really don't write enough any more

2012-05-09 11:23:00 - by alisonw Personal Travel Memories

or rather I tweet so much that I rarely engage in long-form (or longer-form, anyway) writing any more.

Apart from the occasional blog entries on my three 'real life' blogs and even they don't really get much love and the RedSox one is about two weeks behind.

But anyway …

I went off to Holland last week with a group of people, some of whom I already knew, some I knew of, and some I'd not the faintest idea about. Initially I'd said yes to going when I first saw the plans about the trip because I'd heard too late about last year's excursion and thought it would be fun to go this year. After signing up I then realised I probably couldn't afford it, but in the end that got sorted and last Wednesday it was off to St Pancras 'International' for a eurostar to Brussels, and then on to Rotterdam and points slightly north. Or at least it would have been if the train from Belgium hadn't been cancelled and delayed us by an hour until the next service. At one point the previous night I'd even be pondering whether to just intentionally miss the train as I was getting a bit panicked about sharing space with so many people with no 'escape' options.

Basically it was a bunch (around 25) of geeks going to stay in a hostel-like place. We even transported our own wifi equipment to install for the duration! A number of side-trips were made during the stay, including a day in Amsterdam (I bought a couple of new toys!) and one day we used the centre's three-person canoes to go up the canals and into the town of Delft - about two miles or so, including under some *very* low bridges. I like canoeing/kayaking as it is about upper body strength (which I'm ok at) rather than legs/lower, which I'm really not.

This was great on the way there - just over half the group were in the canoes, the rest walked - and we found a place to eat and drink in the main market square. But coming back I managed to drop my stick in the canal while getting into my canoe. Followed a few moments later by falling in myself.

The tourists and locals on the banks of the canal (not to say the other geeks) thought this was highly amusing as I disappeared (fully clothed) under the water and, to be fair, so did I. Though it took some assistance to get me out the water and into a canoe. In fact, although I had been a bit too cold earlier, now that I and my clothes were soaked through I was actually feeling warmer; the 'wet suit' effect I suppose.

Annoyingly, trying to get out the canoe back at the centre I managed to slip in *again* so where I'd started to dry off on the journey back I was promptly wet through again! Thankfully the hot showers were 20 seconds away...

Thankfully, I was pretty 'up' much of the week (too much, in some ways) but nobody tried to kill me so it ended up quite a fun trip and I might even go again next year.

In brief …