Category Archives: Music not sung or played by me

This includes music videos made for other people’s songs where I’m not singing, or recordings I made of performances, etc.

Snippets from various performers (South Africa Series 5/10)


Playout date: 19 November 2006
Camera: Fuji Finepix
Post Production: Windows Movie Maker – slight use
Location: Cape Town conference centre near the Arabella
Other people featured: Conference goers, performers
Genre: Conference
Music used: Several performances by Cape Town groups
Languages used: English
Animals featured: None

If there’s one thing I miss about the old firm’s conferences it is the amount of music and entertainment they laid on. The ones done by my current group are a bit more low key in that regard. Here’s an example of what the opening ceremony of the Cape Town conference looked like.

 

On the Waterfront at Cape Town (South Africa Series 2/10)


Playout date: 12 November 2006
Camera: Fuji Finepix
Post Production: Windows Movie Maker – slight use
Location: Cape Town, South Africa, Victoria and Albert Waterfront
Other people featured: Performers on the waterfront
Genre: Walking with camera
Music used: “This could be heaven for everyone” by Queen – Karaoke version
Languages used: English with some singing in a Bantu language
Animals featured: Red wing starlings Onychognathus morio

This series, possibly beginning with this one, even though it is the 102nd video uploaded to YouTube, marks a certain development in the way I presented the video material. The cutting in of background music, the use of a common intro for series, the gallery shots with background music. This is an early prototype of about 2 or 3 hundred similarly style films from travel to different places. It’s not exactly the mode I settled into, but it’s well on the way there.

One thing I quite like about this one looking back is the attempt to use music in the backing track together with the ambient noises, like the drums of the waterfront performers here on the Victoria and Albert Waterfront in Cape Town. I have great memories of this place and would be happy to go to Cape Town again if ever I get the chance.

 

Apart from anything else, there were friendships made there which gave me a lot of value in my life. Just that alone, even if it had been nothing like the paradise it was, would have been well worth the trip.

To Elena – the woman I love


Playout date: 2 November 2006
Camera: Fuji Finepix
Post Production: Windows Movie Maker – heavy use
Location: Various
Other people featured: My wife, Elena
Genre: Gallery type (based on photographs)
Music used: Okoldovana, ocharovana’ by St Petersburg. Aka “Dragotsennaya ty moya zhenshchina”.
Languages used: Russian
Animals featured: None

This was my 100th video, and so I wanted to mark it out in a special way, and nothing is more special to me than my wife, and therefore it was a natural thing to do to dedicate this film to her, and to show my viewers a few of the photos I’ve taken of her over the years.

The music playing in the background is one of my wife’s favourite Russian songs, by the group Sankt Peterburg. The song’s title “Dragotsennaya Ty moya zhenshchina” . This means my precious woman, so I thought it was appropriate.

This is a gallery type video intended to showcase photography, but some of these shots were done by friends.

Three Dimensional Prague Walk


What this is, is the second of about four or five Prague vlog videos all taken on a walk the same evening. It carries on from the film A Summer Prague which you’ll find in the Travel and Places category – Czech Republic on this blog.  This part starts in the Andel area where I’m looking for something to eat, and then start to walk home, and notice that a lot of the advertising on the sides of the streets as well as the reliefs of the buildings in the area seem to have a 3D motif, such as the U Buldoka sculptured pub sign.  It is all in great light and in HD, with a selection of nice background tracks, as in this case, and some effects too now and again. This gives you some of the essence of Prague in the summer.

No music in the sound track of this one, but some more nice music is coming up in later parts of the walk…

 

In the Eastern Forest


Playout date: 3 October 2006
Camera: Fuji Finepix
Post Production: Windows Movie Maker – medium use
Location: Primorskiy Kray, Russia
Other people featured: Various Foresters
Genre: Environmental
Music used: Solovenko Ukrainian Songs
Languages used: Russian, Ukrainian
Animals featured: Not many other than the ladybirds on the video, but this is the domain of
the Siberian Tiger, black bear and snow leopard. Numerous unusual forest
plants are also seen in the gallery

It’s a long story how I came to be here, and in fact I can’t go into details at it involves work – I ended up auditing the forestry operators of a territory larger than Greater London. The climate was hard and the Mosquitos were hard. I was working for China, and they needed an English speaker who knew Due Diligence and knows Russian, and they received recommendations that I was the man for the job.

Well, it took all summer five years ago, and I still have the Mosquito bites. The gallery shots show in places the anti mosquito suit they managed to bite through. suffice it to say they are simply not in the same league as the European ones.

This is one of my earliest “gallery style” films showcasing photographs and I haven’t really got the style right, they are flashing through too quickly and they’re not fading into each other as I started doing when I got the hang of it.

But still some of the photos are not too bad though I say so myself and worth a few additional comments – the foresters were very friendly folk, we spend a great few days with people that live a very close to nature way in the forest in conditions that most of us would find wearing. These are not the kind of parks you get in Europe. They are logging and replanting in forests that are being cultivated effectively for the first time. This sort of forest in Europe exists only in any size in Bialoweza, where the bison are. The fauna here is very varied, but it’s not common to see them. When I went behind a tree to go to the toilet at one point, I saw a Siberian chipmunk,  or “burunduk” – but when I told the woodsmen about it they said that when I go off to have a leak I’d better let them know so that they can cover with a rifle, because it’s when they do what I just did that they come across other “stripey animals” but ones who are more inclined to attack us than the burunduk are!

We saw cedar nut trees and manchurian nut, and those strange grape like things that you see in the woodsman’s hand – to get them he swung out over a fifty-foot drop on a tree branch, as agile as a monkey. Also you’ll see the huge ladybirds that they had there, you can see one that landed on me – they are so pick that when they land on you it feels like someone’s flicked you with their finger.

The tipped over lorry full of logs you can see in one photo there goes to show how tough the terrain is there – they basically dig their roads out as they woork the forest.

Don’t miss also near the end the home-made fitness area they made for themselves from various machine parts. It showed their skill in making do.

Concert for Polish Grandparents


One of my Polish viewers who now lives in the UK didn’t believe that concerts on Grandma and Granda‘s day (near the end of January) are marked with concerts all over Poland, as she didn’t remember any from her school days.

The fact is that this piece of Polish charm was actually imported from the United States during the 1980s! It seems like the typical piece of socialism hangover, but the funny thing about Poland in the eyes of an Englishman is that a lot of things which we are tempted at first glance to write off to the Communist era actually has a completely different explanation.

That’s why you still see May holidays, Red plaques by buildings, military parades all over the place, grandparents’ day concerts and the habit of putting the water in the cup in restaurants without the bag – which I always assumed to be an East Europeanism until I got precisely the same in the States. Some of these things which the British would wave off as Sovietisms actually come from a totally different direction.

Frédéric Chopin

If Freddy Chopper had really liked Warsaw, nobody was stopping him staying! As it was he left even despite the fact that Konstancja was there. That's how desparate he was to go...

ANYWAY, this was Sophie’s first ever piano recital in front of a hall full of people. We thought she was going to be given a proper piano and not this joke of an instrument. Notice also how the music teacher doesn’t give any credit for the talents of the piano playing kids to their teachers (Sophie’s teacher is sitting with Irina and me in the audience cringing with the amateurishness of it all) as naturally there is nothing of the sort available in the State curriculum. The appalling song at the end about Warsaw being Chopin‘s city (which he dreamed of nothing but escaping, despite his liking for one girl there) which has been shoved out at kids in all the Warsaw schools just as a recorded karoke piece – although the sheet music is available on the internet just in case any Warsaw school music teacher can actually read musical notation.  Some pieces were played by the music teacher not on the tape recorder, that fine baroque instrument, but on a guitar of which 1 of the 6 strings was absent and I think she knew a good 4 or 5 different chords.

I didn’t write all of this in the YT description and discussion, I’ve saved it for here as I like to give you a separate perspective on here, or why would you come? The videos are all on YT and some of you have already watched them once.

Please add your thoughts on musical education in schools, including answering the poll on what the government policy should be.

 

A Summer Prague


What this is is the first of about four or five Prague vlog videos all taken on a walk the same evening. One colleague took me back to Prague from outside in his car – we had been doing a due diligence out towards  the West – and I got out a while away from the centre so as to give myself the opportunity for a walk in the lovely weather. I came into the Andel area by tram, which is the part you see here, and then in the forthcoming instalments you’ll see how I walked home from Andel. And it is all in great light and in HD, with a selection of nice background tracks, as in this case, and some effects too now and again. This gives you some of the essence of Prague in the summer.

Yom Kippur 2010


This is a Reformed Judaism service, in full. It would not have been permitted to record in an Orthodox setting. It’s the Friday Night Yom Kippur service in the Warsaw Beit.

In order to protect the privacy of worshippers, the image is obscured.

These tunes and prayers are hundreds and sometimes thousands of years old, unchanged, enjoy.

Don’t miss the enlightening explanations and sermons by the Rabbis. They tell a few fine stories in this service!

Kafkaesque! (CUV)


Kafka, Franz: Der Prozeß. Roman. Berlin: Die S...

He liked hard-back notebooks too, did our Franz.

Here we have, in nice HD coding, a walk around in Prague, showing some of the flavour of the experience of being in the Czech Republic – including this very strange thing that happened to me last Spring.

Here, in the city of Kafka, I was seriously summoned to court without being informed why. Just like Joseph K in ‘Der Prozess‘ or ‘The Trial’ by Kafka. You really couldn’t make it up.

I don’t want to talk about the facts of what the case turned out to be, (especially as one party of it graces some films of mine on YT, which will also be shown here) but to my relief I only actually needed to be a witness. I have no wrongdoing as such on my conscience, but I have been known to sack people, and they get given more rights than I do when it comes to court, even if there’s no earthly justice in it. But this wasn’t even someone I had sacked. Because I didn’t know that, I had to go to the expense of a decent lawyer who naturally deserved to be paid for his appearance despite not in the end having a decisive role. But in the end I didn’t get annoyed about it, as it was something truly Kafkaesque in the city of Kafka which I’ll be able to remember and joke about for the rest of my life.

I also talk a little bit about learning Japanese and the kitsch for sale to tourists in Prague.

I thought I’d spice things up with a poll! Remember this is not the number of cases you’ve seen – you may have been more than once. Count is as number of days you’ve ever had to turn up. Don’t count it if you went along just for entertainment.

DND – End of January


Shōgun (novel)

Image via Wikipedia

OK, I got to the end of January making a post each day so at least one month of the resolution has been achieved.

However, instead of driving views, the regular postings seem to be actually diminishing the daily views, and my stats have actually shown less in January than they did in December, in the time before daily posts.

Is the readership telling me that less is more? By all means let’s have your comments on whether you welcome the Postaday challenge being followed by this vlog, whether you’d prefer less width but more quality, or whether you don’t care either way.

I wanted to say just a couple more things to you today as we come to the end of January. Firstly, this is the month in which I have piloted a couple of new ideas, mainly ones that I planned to do, some that came along unplanned and I will just re-write my plan to include them as I would have done if I had known about them earlier.

One planned thing I piloted was to listen to the Michel Thomas Method Greek Course, which I have nearly completed 6 CDs of.  It is very good, as have been all of the new courses made by MT acolytes.

One unplanned thing was that I discovered the website http://www.readthekanji.com – it is a very well constructed staged repetition system including all the cards and materials and all the research done, really the ultimate resource for learning Japanese and once you get the hang of it very addictive. I am seeing how far you can go with the free sample – it’s given me a good twenty hours’ worth of drilling so far, and I don’t think I’m even a half way through what you can get on the free trial so that seems very fair – I already made up my mind to buy a proper annual sub as they really do deserve it, but in the mean time I just wanted to see what happens if you just keep going until the JLPT 4 vocab is all at 100%.

It seems to be fairly close to Ebbinghaus compliant as far as the repetition algorithm is concerned. I’m not sure if there is a bit of supermemo style code in there or not.

So I am quite happy to admit that it is a good alternative to the gold list method for Japanese. The only advantage that the Goldlist might have here is that you don’t get your hand in, you type Romaji and the Java interface magically turns all the answers into Hiragana. Sometimes you have to watch out to make a double n for “n”, and care needs to be taken over some of the bya, cha, etc characters (the ones with the small soft vowel following) as the way I was expecting to write them different from the way the programme accepts them, but you can always see the right answer if you get it wrong the once.

So January seems to be a good month for piloting. Now is the last day and after three months of not using my car I also got it back today and paid a huge amount for the repair. But I will need to drive it tomorrow, and I needed to get it working.

So I’ll pilot my own car, as well.

I also started reading Shogun this month, which tells the story of a pilot they called Pilot, or anjin-san, as they could not pronounce “Blackthorne“.

And “Lost” final series started to show on Polish TV – all in all a month full of pilots.

So it reminds me of the song by the group Pilot about January, from way back in 1975:

When I was 11 years of age, I thought that the lyrics “January, sick and tired, you’ve been hanging on me” was all about how this dingiest month of the year seemed to go on forever.

Now that I am old I assume that the lyrics refer to a woman, but I still don’t fully understand whet the poet is getting at.

I think I’ll stick with my initial interpretation.

January is now nearly over, and a good thing too.  The days will be getting longer day by day and there are only four weeks of February to go until it’s March.

February and March are both quite capable of delivering challenging conditions in Poland, but we will have to see how we fare. November gave us one of the earliest starts to a really tough winter, so we are now I’d say just over half way there. We have to just grit our teeth and work hard and not notice, and soon Spring will be here. I’ll be able to go and use my terrace again and the pleasant days will be here again.

And I have to use every opportunity to walk and lose weight, which was the idea of not repairing the car in the first place, but now I have places to go that aren’t well served by trains.

Let’s see how it develops. Please give me feedback on whether to keep up with the daily postings.

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