Monthly Archives: December 2009

Why are dusters yellow?

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Here’s something to mull over before the year goes out. Why are dusters yellow? And why has it never occurred to me to wonder why until now? It seems I’m not the only one who’s puzzled. The Guardian featured this … Continue reading

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Snow and rainmates

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Since installing some site-stats software on my blog, I’ve been able to see how and why people end up at my site: by checking out the stats page, I can see what magical collection of search terms someone put into … Continue reading

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Musical surprises #25: A bit of Tooting history

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Happy Christmas! Today’s revelation is not strictly a musical surprise, except that it vaguely concerns me and I’m a musician. But it’s quite surprising all the same, and I love this bit of my family’s part in Tooting history. I … Continue reading

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Musical surprises #24: What Rumanian dances sound like without the Bartók

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I love Bartók’s Rumanian Dances, and indeed, I’ve just recorded them with the violinist Gillon Cameron on the album  After Class 2. But I was gobsmacked when I heard my favourite band, the Romanian Taraf de Haïdouks playing them as … Continue reading

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Musical surprises #23: Vauxhall, Strauss & Tchaikovsky

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Although the light and popular dance rhythms of Johann Strauss II seem a sociocultural world away from the ‘classical’ Tchaikovsky, they’re not. It’s our own snobbery that obscures the connections in the music, for what is Tchaikovsky most famous for … Continue reading

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Musical surprises #22: There’s a psychopomp in my barcarole

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Next time you get to a slow bit of a ballet where there’s something a bit wafty and barcarole-ish in 6/8, look out for a psychopomp. A psychopomp, explains the scholar Rodney Edgecombe in a fascinating article ‘can be either … Continue reading

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