Archive for the ‘Fun stuff’ category

Maserati 3500 GT

September 20, 2012

Spotted in Winchelsea (of all places) last week.  Registered in Belgium (of all places…)

This has instantly gone to very near the top of my own personal ranking of Most Beautiful Cars of All Time (see my previous posts — What’s the Most Beautiful Car of All Time and Most Beautiful… Part 2 )

Didn’t get a close look, but it appears to be a Maserati 3500 GT .

Breathtaking.

Hastings humour

June 9, 2012

There’s an extremely silly bus shelter at Warrior Square, St Leonards — Lottie gamely volunteering for the ‘does my bum look big in this?’ treatment!

‘The foreign gentleman executes an air upon the Grand Piano’

June 4, 2012

Image

This is a scan of a rather faded print that hangs above my piano – found on a stall at Cambridge Market for 10p (‘Nice picture;  two bob?’) among a pile of Victorian generals, circa 1971.  Having just written an essay on Liszt (for Philip Radcliffe), I knew at once who it was.

The mount is labelled ‘London, Richard Bentley, 1843’.  The print was included in ‘Bentley’s Miscellany’ of 1848, but I suspect it was a Punch cartoon first.

The scrawly signature is not, as I first thought, ‘F Liszt’, but ‘J Leech’ – John Leech, prolific and well-known Punch cartoonist.

So… was Liszt in London in 1843?  Any thoughts on whose salon this might be (if not entirely fictional)?

Cracked_dot_com

March 6, 2012

Another great and completely crazy website!
http://www.cracked.com/

(compare my other favourites:  Oddee, The Onion, Engrish, Pictures of Walls…)

2011 in review

January 1, 2012

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,000 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Facel Vega HK500 — again

September 18, 2011

Here’s the Facel Vega I spotted on the M25 in July — as promised in my previous post on the subject (and following on from my earlier posts on The Most Beautiful Cars of All Time  and The Most Beautiful Cars… Part 2).

Beautiful!  Do you recognise yourself?  Would be interesting to hear from you.  There are evidently a lot of Facel Vegas lurking in the UK!  I have yet to see one at a Classic Car Show, but perhaps we don’t go to the right ones 🙂

Does sung English need subtitles??

May 4, 2011

Definitive answer to the Great Debate…

Bouncing Tosca — urban myth?

January 17, 2011

Anyone who works in opera dreads the moment when a non-operatic person says ‘I know a good story…’ and it always turns out to be the one about the time when Tosca did her suicide leap from the battlements at the end of Puccini’s opera, only to reappear to the audience’s sight as she bounced up again on a trampoline.

This is re-told in so many books of musical and operatic anecdotes, without attribution, that one naturally assumes it is an urban legend (along with the elephants falling through the stage in Aïda, or that awful pidgin-English synopsis of Carmen).

However… the other day, I met a distinguished gentleman (while waiting for the long-delayed start of the dress rehearsal of The Barber of Seville at the Royal Opera House – but that’s another story).  He started telling me his Tosca story, and my heart sank… until he said he had actually been there.  Heaven knows when it was – 1950s, I’d guess – but it was at the Vienna State Opera, the Tosca in question was soprano Ljuba Welitsch (‘not a small lady’) and the conductor was Herbert von Karajan (‘who was not at all amused’).  Whether it was a natural bounce or some disaffected person had substituted a trampoline for the regular pile of mattresses, history does not relate.

So now you know.  Next time someone starts telling you the old Tosca story, you can say, ‘Yes, I know.  It was…’

2010 in review

January 4, 2011

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 7,700 times in 2010. That’s about 19 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 17 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 118 posts. There were 24 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 11mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was April 23rd with 193 views. The most popular post that day was a poem for St George’s Day by Brian Patten.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were en.wordpress.com, facebook.com, reedrage.co.uk, jonathanburton.co.uk, and mail.yahoo.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for renault floride, facel vega hk 500, e type, facel vega, and st george’s day poems.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

a poem for St George’s Day by Brian Patten April 2008
4 comments

2

What’s the most beautiful car of all time? November 2007
6 comments

3

The Most Beautiful Car of All Time (Part 2) March 2008
2 comments

4

King’s Theatre, Southsea July 2008
2 comments

5

Subtitles and Surtitles August 2007

Giffords Circus

September 5, 2010

 

Just been to see Giffords Circus (in a field outside Cirencester) — as part of Diana’s dad’s belated Father’s Day present!  (Thank you, Ellis.)  Also turned out to be Diana’s ex-husband’s birthday (Pete got a cheer and a rousing chorus) so in all we were a family party of 12 — in a very small Big Top!

Giffords was founded ten years ago by Toti and Nell Gifford who had worked with Yasmine Smart — granddaughter of the famous Billy Smart — and realised that the UK  lacked the kind of traditional circus performances that are still spectacularly successful on the continent.  So they decided — from their base on a Gloucestershire Farm — to set up their own traditional but miniature circus, touring Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Oxordshire with their amazing show.  Every season’s show is on a diferent theme:  this year was ‘Yasmine — the Musical’, telling the story of Yasmine Smart’s life (and love affair with horses) in the style of a vaguely 1940s musical show.

We arrived amid a bustle of adults and children, with a genuine fairground organ (mounted on a genuine old Ford truck) churning out popular tunes;  a fleet of gleaming and impeccably maintained vehicles, all finished in ‘Pullman’ cream and maroon, surrounded an impossibly dinky ‘Big’ Top into which several hundred of us squeezed.  Before the show started, at 2.30, we were treated to various warm-up routines including an extraordinary audience-participation clapping routine led and choreographed entirely without words by the amazing mime artist Olivier Taquin.

There was a (more…)