Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Second Question of the Day

The answer to the second question of the day: what inventions would you take back to Roman times if you had the chance, is as follows.

Remember they had no electricity so most of our stuff would be useless, but here are some things I think would work.  Bicycles - they might be a bit rough, particularly in the tire department, but they had some pretty good engineers and also jewelers who could make the chain.  Then there would be wind boards.  Just think of a regiment of centurions sailing across the Mediterranean on windsurfers! 

I think we know a lot about hygiene which would be worth passing on.  The propeller would no doubt ease the efforts of all those galley slaves and finally, make the Olympic games licensed and take a cut of the concessions!  The last one was from a business friend of mine.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Leslie Nielson

I was very sorry to hear that the comedic actor, Leslie Nielson, had just died.  I had occasion to meet him once.  It was quite momentous.

I was traveling back from Chicago to Los Angeles and the plane stopped at Denver where we had some sort of A/C problem.  As a frequent flyer with Continental in those days, I was sitting up front and although everybody was made to stay in their seats we privileged few were allowed to sample the wares of the Pub, which Continental had in those days just behind the first class section.  It was here that I met the actor, and I'm afraid we discovered a weakness for drink in each other.  We took full advantage of the delay and subsequent opportunities on the flight back to L.A.

We were still hard at it by the time the wheels touched down at LAX and when I arrived home, where my mother-in-law was visiting, she said to Yvonne: "Does he always come home in that condition?"

Design

Earlier in the month, I stated that I was going to change the design of the blog once a month.  Well, having looked at the options I've decided to do this less often and make it once per season.  I don't know about you, but once I've become used to the way a periodical looks I rather resent the publishers changing it.  So as I am most anxious not to cause any resentment here, it's going to be four times a year rather than 12.

I have heard from a number of you that leaving a comment on a particular post is not easy.  From a cursory look it seems that if you click on the orange word "Comment" a new page pops up and you can then write your comment.  I'll try and do this myself via Yvonne's computer and see how tough it is, and report later.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday's Column - Motorcycling

Sunday's column was about the joys of motorcycling and the fact that last month was my 18th anniversary of indulging in this occupation.  I've already covered the subject in a previous blog post so there is no need to go over old ground.

These are pictures of my spare motorcycle.  It's a 1975 Yamaha 650, and it's under wraps in the garage.  I haven't ridden it for about six years but I know it's there and it is waiting for when I can't heft the big Harley.

I took the pictures against some inspired graffiti in Santa Monica years ago.You can read the entire column at http://www.sbsun.com/trevorstravels/ci_16725242

Music Track for Nov 29th

After last's weeks Lady Ga Ga, it's not a hard leap to put on Amy Winehouse for today.  I'm sure she's had some problems but nonetheless selecting drugs and bad behavior can't have done a lot for her career or her life.  It seems such a shame that when someone has a voice that can belt out the blues like she can that there has to be bagage to lug around.

So if you can put the difficulties behind you this is one of her best songs and videos.  Back to Black.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1evzhSast8

Friday, November 26, 2010

Devil Winds

I keep thinking we've dodged the fire season up here this year.  But Mother Nature likes to play games with  us and the evil devil winds were blowing hard again last weekend.  Is there no end to them?

Known as the Santa Ana's, their name is more likely to be a derivation of Vientas de Satan or winds of Satan - Satana's.  But as we have a city here in Orange County called Santa Ana it's become the pronunciation.  So Santa Anas they are.

The fact is that normally at a very warm time of the year, usually in the autumn, the winds blow back to front - i.e. from the east to the west rather than from the Pacific.  After long hot summers these winds dry things even more and fan flames that crop up.  The winds also seem to drive certain people crazy, and that includes arsonists.  But the winds this year are late and coming from the cold interior so maybe we can escape after all.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I would just like to wish all my dear American friends the very best Thanksgiving!


Don't eat too much!

Snow Ploughing

Long ago I read a very amusing article about a fellow who had moved to Minnesota.  He began a long ranging feud with the man who drove the snow plough,  No matter how hard he tried he could not stop him from piling up a huge berm across his drive.  Now I live in a ski resort, and we do have storms through, and they leave snow behind them, and the drive has to be cleared.  And we have drivers of snow ploughs, who seem to delight in leaving a huge berm across the driveway, usually just after we've cleared it.  He is known in the family as "That Bastard!"  Believe me there is nothing more irksome than having to dig out a three feet pile of ice, snow and other debris that these snow ploughs can leave behind them.

We had a storm come through over the weekend and it left about five or six inches on the ground,  I brought out my newly serviced snow plough and cleared the driveway - just as That Bastard came around the corner with his huge machine.  I went to the edge of the drive to make some sort of protest, not that it's ever worked before.  But as he reached me, he pulled a lever and a big metal guard came down to protect the opening of the drive from the plough; he lifted it up again as he went along and I almost became misty eyed.  Ain't technology wonderful!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

No Smoking!

Today is National Smoke Out Day; or in other words No Smoking!  I shall abide by the strong advice and not light up, but that's easy for me as I haven't indulged in the wicked weed since my last "fag" on December 31st 1982.  It was a wonderful day for me as I had been seriously addicted for the better part of 30 years.

I first lit up when I was 15; a friend and I spent our pocket money on a packet of ten Red and Whites - a brand that has long been absent from tobacconist's shelves.  We took our illicit wares to Cassiobury Park in Watford and smoked two each.  We then divided up the rest for the week.  This practise was repeated for a long time.  I liked smoking and tried everything - cigarettes (fags!) pipes and cigars.  I didn't care that it was bad for you, but slowly the evidence was so overwhelming that it gnawed at me and I had to stop. 

Funnily enough all the men in my family smoked, but none of the women did.  And none of them was effected by the habit, including my great grandfather who died at aged 94.  The doctor said if he hadn't smoked he would have lived a lot longer - Good Grief!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

First Question of the Day

Last week I mentioned two questions that were interesting to pose at dinner parties.  The first is which two people - one alive and one dead - would you most like to have dinner with?  The other is what inventions would you take back to Roman times if  you had the chance.

Here is my answer to the first question - the next one I'll reveal next week.

The two people I would most like to have dinner with are The Queen, and also Hitler.  The former has been on the throne since 1952 (crowned in 1953) and her knowledge of recent history must be enormous.  Just think of the people she's met.  I also quite like corgis.  I'd have to write down a list of questions beforehand so I didn't forget anything.

As for Hitler, well I'd just like to ask him: What the hell were you thinking?

What are your two candidates?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sunday's Column - Sturges Theater

Sunday's column was about the second theater that we have in the city of San Bernardino.  I was surprised that we had two as the city has declined dreadfully over the last couple of decades.  It all went pear-shaped after the closure of the Norton Air Base in the nineties.

The Sturges Theater Built in 1926
The Sturges Theater is located close to the California Theater of the Performing Arts and I had images of brawling thespians after long Saturday night shows.  The Blue Man Group versus Forever Plaid (A tribute to the guy groups of the fifties!)  The producer I met however told me that all was peaceful with both institutions.  You can read the entire column at  http://www.sbsun.com/trevorstravels

Perhaps with two such places putting on live theater, it will help the city to once again claim some growth.

Music Track for Nov 22nd Lady Ga Ga

I have to admit I like Lady Ga Ga.  This is probably her most famous track - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrO4YZeyl0I  I do have to wonder however what you would talk about on a dinner date.  There is an annoying little ad at the start of the video and the video is pretty bizarre.  But her voice is wonderful.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wedding Bells

The U.S. news is full of the engagement of William and Kate.  It's almost as if they borrow the English Royals when they have the need of a bit of pomp and circumstance.  I tried hard to avoid it all when Charles and Diana were married - I was in the UK at that time and had no idea I would be living in California within the year.  Naturally it was impossible to ignore and I saw bits of the ceremony and aftermath on TV.

Now we have the next generation - they seem nice young people.  They also make Charles and Camilla look extremely stodgy by comparison.  I think Charles needs to leave off the hand made clothes and try a couple of off-the-shelf jobs.

Maybe it's time for the U.S. to get their own royalty as they seem so obsessed with the House of Windsor.  I always thought Teddy Kennedy would have made a first class king - he had the appetites, and it would have given him a decent job at last.  But he's gone now.  How about Bill Clinton - he'd look good in ermine.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pacific Standard Time

Considering that I did all that flying around the world, and also back and forth across the U.S.A. for so many years, I'm rather appalled at my inability to adjust to a slight time change of one hour.

Yes, it's that annoying clocks-go-back-an-hour time of the year.  It also is the precursor of winter, but I can deal with that in a place that has 300 days of sunshine a year.

I used to come off flights and go straight to the office the next day and stamp out a few fires.  Granted I used to feel a little groggy, but I was quite functionable.  But this stupid one hour stuff has me awake even earlier than most old men; and I find myself slinking out of the bedroom well before 6, leaving S.W.M.B.O. still sleeping.  Then the computer beckons earlier than usual.  No wonder I'm exhausted by 9:00 p.m.!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Being Grateful

I heard a talk radio host the other day saying how few people he talked to were grateful for their lives.  I have to say it made me think.  Unless you live in Haiti, or some of the more unfortunate parts of the Islamic world, it seems to me that we should all realize that we are damned lucky to be where we are.

And yet, it appears that many people don't accept that they are extremely fortunate.  It is not long ago in the scheme of things that life was pretty awful.  When I hear complaints that things were better years ago, I immediately remember one of my visits on behalf of Trevor's Travels to the Medical Museum in Riverside.

Now a visit there will give you pause.  I don't think any of us would like to endure the medical procedures of even a few years ago.  So if you're having problems thinking about why you should be grateful, you could begin by being glad you don't ever have to visit a mid-19th century surgeon.  Leather apron, coarse instruments, and a bucket to dip the knife into.  (Refer to the Civil War for more details on that time.)  With Thanksgiving looming perhaps we should all compile a lists of things we are thankful for.  Starting of course, with living here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Questions

I have a friend who likes to pose a "Question of the Day" to her staff.  She finds it difficult to come up with new ones, and asked me for any I might have.  She says the sex ones are the best, but I try to leave that area alone.  So I fell back on the two questions that I think are interesting ones to pose at dinner parties.  These are they:

If you could have dinner with two people, one alive and one dead, who would they be?  And, what modern inventions would you take back to Roman times if you were transported back there.  Remember there was no electricy!

I've known of these two questions for quite a long time, and next week and the week after I'll reveal my personal answers.  I'd be very interested to hear your choices.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday's Column - Olvera Street

This Sunday's column was about Olvera Street.  Right in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, this little piece of Mexico is about as genuine as you can get.  I went there to buy a small leather bag for the back of the Harley and as usual had no problems finding the ideal piece at a very reasonable price.
Mariachi Musicians Tuning up for the Days Performance

The original name of the city was El Pueblo de Nuestra SeƱora la Reina de Los Angeles sobre el Rio Porciuncula and I'm glad we don't have to struggle with that everytime we give our destination.

Olvera sits on a slight rise and it was because of the flooding of the Rio Porciuncula that caused its new location.

In the center of the street is the site of the oldest original building in L.A.  It was the country home of Don Avila and a wander around it will give you a good sense of how life was lived when the city first began.  Returning outside, with the smell of the food and the sound of the music you really feel that you are in Mexico.  While there I even had my first taste of Horchata, which is a very sweet concoction of a rice drink.  Quite nice.

Music Track for Nov 15th

One of the comments on the You Tube site for this says that a friend put this music on the writer's alarm.  When it went off he thought the day of judgement had arrived.  As it's Dies Irae or Day of Wrath, it's not surprising.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pW1Uc-grcMs&feature=related

If you know what it's like to get goose bumps listening to music then this should do it for you.  It only last a very short 2 minutes.  It's from Verdi's Requem. George Solti.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Carnival Splendid

And so we welcome back to US shores the Carnival Splendid.  It has been a brutal event for the 4,500 passengers who found themselves adrift on the Pacific having endured a fire in the engine room.  For four days they were without hot water, electricity, refrigeration and most importantly toilets.  It must have been a pretty nasty experience.  Ships' toilets work very similarly to aircrafts' and need electricity to effect the suction, or nothing works at all.

I had a small problem on board a Holland America cruise a few years back. Our side of the ship lost the toilets for about a day.  Now, with unlimited food and a sporting attitude towards adult beverages, the loss of one's toilet is a wicked burden to bear.  We could spot one of our lot anywhere on the ship.  They had a sort of superabundant look in their eyes and they seemed to be endlessly scouting for the location of the few public facilities available on board.  They never have enough of those and they put them in hard to find places.  Our lot were often found well into the voyage scanning their little schematic maps of the ship's lay-out - we all knew what they were searching for.

I could no doubt put up with the Spam sandwiches, which is what the Splendid's crew were able to prepare, even cold showers, but the loss of the facilities would be the very worst.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nice Animal

I notice that my blog has become rather wordy so far this week.  So here is a nice animal to look at - another one from my trip to Wildhaven Ranch.
This is Jill Webster holding "Wolfie" a redtailed hawk.  He has a very sharp beak.

Mr. Know-it-all

From time to time you run into what my mother used to call a Mr. Know-it-all.  They are usually spouting off about everything and they are always correct in their opinions.  They are in fact very annoying to those of us blessed with only the average amount of information.

When they are truly upsetting I have a method to cause them to at least pause.  It is to remind them that as far as history books are concerned the last man on earth to know everything was Desiderius Erasmus.  Now this fellow was born in Rotterdam and was deemed to know everything in the world as it existed back in the 15th and 16th centuries.  He knew all the languages (civilized), all the mathematics, all the philosophy, theology, and in fact everything.  He knew the lot.  He died in Basel, Switzerland at age 70 in July, 1536.

However from time to time some obnoxious person arrives who seems to think they have taken over Erasmus' place.  I usually mention this to them and that is mostly the end of Mr. Know-it-all!  To find out more about Erasmus click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desiderius_Erasmus

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Memorial Day

I'm sure that back in England last Sunday was Memorial Day or perhaps it will be next Sunday.  It used to be a pretty big deal when I was growing up with the sovereign placing a wreath at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.  As the armistice for the first world war ended hostilities at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month so one minute's silence was preserved throughout the land.

For a few weeks prior to this event volunteers are out and about selling cloth poppies to mark the carnage that occurred on "Flanders Fields," the site of all the trenches.  I remember once in a fit of naughtiness telling a lady vendor that I wouldn't buy one as it would only encourage them to do it again.  She was rather offended.

The following lines were always said at the services held around the country, and although they were originally written for those who died in WWI, they are as well said for all our fallen.  Veterans Day here is on Thursday, the eleventh of the eleventh.

They shall not grow old as we who are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn,
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We shall remember them, we shall remember them.

Tea Party

A number of people overseas have asked me what this tea party thing is all about. Without wanting to alienate too many of my audience, here is an effort to define the phenomenon. Firstly, I am not a member of this movement as I have an aversion to wearing funny hats and carrying placards around. I also don’t know the words to most of the American patriotic songs that are needed at their events.

Basically the tea party is a loose affiliation of people who are fed up with the ruling class in all its forms. They want to return to the simpler days of Mom and apple pie. They are suspicious of the growing intrusion of big government into every aspect of life and they hate paying taxes to prop up programs with which they disagree. Mostly they are scared to death of the massive debt we have built up and they feel impotent in the decisions being made in Washington. Most of these people have been asleep for years, believing that the representatives they have elected will do a good job, but no longer. Admiral Yamamoto said after bombing Pearl Harbor: “I fear we have awoken a sleeping giant, and filled him with a terrible resolve."  Maybe Obama, Pelosi and Reed are saying something like that too.   Socialism is best snuck up on a population and not rammed down it's throat.

A friend kindly sent this to me from the Financial Times.  It's quite a long article but explains in detail a lot more about the tea party than I can cover here. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/88143c46-e1e1-11df-b18d-00144feabdc0.html

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Zenyatta

I'm not a real fan of horse racing - the mathematics of the odds are well outside my poor numerical abilities.  However I do like horses very much; they are magnificent animals.  But every so often a racehorse comes along that catches the imagination.

S.W.M.B.O. of course is well up in equine matters and drew my attention to Zenyatta long before she took the headlines.  Therefore we were well ensconced in front of the TV before the off at Churchill Downs on Saturday.

We watched as Zenyatta came down to the paddock doing her funny little dance, and sticking her tongue out along with her front legs.  There was no doubt of her special personality.

As they left the gate, as usual the mare came out dead last.  She remained in the back for most of the race but then hit her stride and began to move up the field.  She was gaining on the leader over the last 200 yards, but her jockey had maybe left the challenge a little too late.  She needed the course to  be 1.26 miles rather than 1.25 and she would have won handily.  Such a shame, but her record is 19 and 1 as she heads to retirement.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sunday's Column - Redlands U

Redlands University
This Sunday's column was about the art gallery at Redlands University.  It's quite a small place and it's called Peppers, after Tom Pepper who donated sufficient funds to start the place.  Most of the art displayed is extremely modern and when I went there, all the exhibits were from the faculty itself.

I am of the generation that didn't usually go to university.  Unless you were entering academia, the law, or medicine, and none of those were in my future.  So I'm always a little inhibited when I go on the campus of a fine seat of learning.  Redlands is one such place and a great opportunity for the lucky students who learn there.  Their Web site is http://www.redlands.edu/


Music Track - Moulin Rouge Nov 8th

I have to admit that I have never entered a brothel in my long life.  I guess the opportunity never turned up, and I suspect that my present opportunites are diminishing daily! Now after the oddness of last week's Webern piece, here is total reversal.  Behind the stage here is the sort of brothel I would like to go to if the chance ever came my way. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQa7SvVCdZk&list=QL&playnext=1   Offenbach wrote music for the Moulin Rouge called Gaitee Parisiene, but it was never like this!

Oh, I've never spent a night in jail either; I'm starting to think I've led a sheltered life.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

In Memoriam

I am sorry to report the death of Kevin Danelson.  He had a heart attack while he was working in Texas.  He was a long time resident of Big Bear, but traveled extensively throughout the U.S. in the music business.  He was also a strong supporter of this blog.

It's always a shock to lose one of the permanent residents here, and particularly as he was only 43.

R.I.P. Kevin.

I regret that I have no information as to where to send flowers and tributes.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Swimmer

"Can those dogs swim?" I've often been asked.  Now the truth is they come from a line of hunting animals.  No, don't laugh!  Poodles were actually bred as water hunting dogs, and their name comes from a German word meaning "Splashing about in water."  We have taken Frankie and Johnny swimming a couple of times and they weren't that good at it, keeping upright and just sort of splashing with their front paws.
Frankie (L) and Johnny (R)

Frankie after the dunking

Well, we took them out for a last motor around the lake before the boat comes out to be wrapped for the winter next week.  On the return leg, Yvonne said: "Did you hear that splash?  Where's Frankie?"  A quick inventory of the boat showed we were one short in the passenger department.  A look to stern showed his little black head bobbing up and down.  By the time I had turned the boat round at full revs, he had flattened out and found his groove.  He had rejected the disappearing boat as his goal and taken a good bearing on the closest route to the shore - about 100 yards away.  He was going like a champion.  I cruised up to his port side and pulled his little sodden 23-pound body over the side.  His tail never stopped wagging as his anxious mistress toweled him dry.

So the answer to the previous question is Yes.  Well, Frankie can, and damned well at that.  I had a word with him later that evening to find out why he jumped off the back, but he refused to tell me.  I wonder if he told Johnny later on.

Animals

I went on an assignment the other day to look at some really wonderful animals.  They are at Woodhaven Ranch which is in Cedar Glen.  I will be doing a post on the entire trip in the future when the article is published, but in the meantime here is a shot of a splendid Lexus, a bobcat.


Lexus likes mice, but really prefers chicks.  He starts from the head end, which is the way I like them too.  Isn't nature marvellous!

November the Fifth

Remember, Remember, the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.

Today is a special anniversary.  In America, fireworks are used to mark independence, and back in the UK they're only used once a year as well, apart from royal weddings and coronations, which don't come along too often.  But today as with every November 5th, we rekindle the English visceral love of violence, and it's done with lots of explosions.  I believe the practise of having bonfires in everyone's garden has changed to the safer version of communal fires to avoid the annual problem of children losing fingers and eyes.  The history of the event however is of some interest.

Back in 1605 as the clock turned midnight to become November 5th, a search was made of the House of Parliament.  One, Guy Fawkes, was found sitting among 36 barrels of gunpowder  - enough to blow the place sky high at the official opening the next day.  Many in the UK had tired of the intrusion of King James's government; high taxes, over-regulation, and... well you know the problem.  Unfortunately the UK had not yet developed the ballot box idea sufficiently to throw the bums out; blowing them up was the next best thing.  Guy was given a pretty decent introduction to the enforced interrogation methods of the day - namely the rack - and gave up his fellow dozen conspirators.

So every year we have celebrated the event with bonfires and fireworks.  We even put an effigy of poor old Guy on top of the fire and get quite excited when he flares up.  All to the accompaniment of fireworks, of course.  So much more fun than just plain old independence.  I rather miss it.  You can read the entire history of the event at Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunpowder_Plot

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Prop 19

I thought long and hard about proposition 19 (The legalisation and government control of marijuana) before I voted against it.  Mostly my philosophy in life is to leave people alone - except the really crazy ones, and they should be locked up, of course.  But for the rest of us, I think there is too much meddling in our affairs and we should be left alone, particularly if we want to smoke the odd "doobie."

I do have some other commercial thoughts on this matter however.  So far the marketing of marijuana seems to be doing quite well.  Most people seem to know how to get hold of the stuff and there is an excellent distribution network in place.  Now why would we want to hand all this private enterprise over to the government to run.  And what about all the current small businessmen involved in the process.  Heck, we even had a terrific farm up here in the mountains that was doing really well growing it until the Feds flew in in helicopters and destroyed it all.  Finally of course, if dope becomes legal, what's going to happen to all those correction officers entrusted with looking after their temporary guests. No, let's keep the government out of it.  It seems to be doing well on its own.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day

Today, Americans go to the polls.  It’s a pretty big deal as all elections should be.  It’s what it known as the “mid-term elections,” which means it’s midway through the current presidential term.  It’s the time when representatives for the “House” are elected – every two years, and half the100 senators – every six years.  It is always considered to be a referendum on the current president’s policies.  It’s no surprise that these policies are not popular as this is a center right country and the president and current majority are well to the left. 

I don’t remember a time when there has been so much energy injected into the debate, but we are all battle weary of the process.  Huge amounts of money – more than ever before – have been spent trying to persuade us to vote for particular candidates.  Every TV program is interjected with fierce rhetoric and most of us grab the remote for the mute button at every chance.  Well, today we get to pull the lever; punch holes, or draw little lines on our ballots.  Tomorrow is a different day, Thank God!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Armstrong's

Sunday's column was devoted to Armstrong's Gallery in Pomona.  It specializes in ceramics and that's a branch of art I am least knowledgable about.  The manager there however, Cynthia Madrigal, explained quite a lot to me and I left this small establishment a lot better off because of her.
Cynthia Madrigal, Manager of Armstrong's in Pomona

This week I'm including this hot link http://lang.sbsun.com/audio/travel/armstrong.mp3 to let you go directly to the weekly podcast that accompany's each column.  It's about 2 1/2 minutes long and gives a different aspect.  Alternatively you can read the column in full at www.sbsun.com/trevorstravels

New Design

In order to keep myself awake, it's time to put a new design on the blog - it's autumnal.  Also a new profile photo.  I hope you like it as it includes S.W.M.B.O. (She Who Must Be Obeyed!)  In setting us up for the shot, I had to lug the 800 pound Harley around an uneven field to catch the colors behind.  This did not improve my knees!  But one does what one does for one's audience!

MUSIC TRACK - Webern

This week's Music Track is perhaps the most "off-the-wall" piece I've selected so far, and some explanation is needed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOnFKLvonQw

I grew up with all types of changes to the normal culture like modern art and music.  Rock and Roll was a part of that.  This track is off in a totally different direction.  It's Five Pieces for Orchestra by Anton Webern, written in 1911.  It's a true example of atonal music and it doesn't attract a huge audience.  I went to a number of avant garde performances in the sixties and found the experiences quite exhilerating.  Occasionally I still listen to poor old Webern or even his contemporaries Schoenberg and Alban Berg.

I say poor old Webern because he came to a sad end.  He was shot by an American soldier when he stepped out of his cabin in the woods in 1945.  Not wanting to disturb his grandchildren, he had gone out to smoke a cigar and the flame attracted the shot.  The shooter was filled with remorse and he died ten years later of alcoholism.  But as they say, the music lives on.  It is odd stuff and I'd appreciate your comments.  Could you ever learn to love it?