Sunday, 30 October 2011

zombie womb music

An interesting and rather busy week.  A half term break often lends itself to some late morning lie-ins and possibly a trip away.  However, this week seems to have been a very busy one.

We started the week - I'm using the term loosely here, I mean since last Friday when we broke up - with the Songwriter Circle mentioned previously.  Saturday was a lazy-ish day with some vague shopping and a quiet night. On Sunday we took the aforesaid wardrobe down to Southampton.  We had a great couple of days down that neck of the woods including a visit to the National Motor Museum.  I honestly don't think I've ever been there before.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I have a (very) vague notion that I may have visited it in my youth but it is obviously a different place now to whatever it was like all those years ago. And I have nobody to ask if that was the case.  It probably wasn't that expensive then, either. Why is Heritage Britain so damned expensive?

Nowadays there are the Top Gear and James Bond, er, "Experiences" to enjoy - or is that "enjoy"? The few Bond cars were okay but disappointing and the TG stuff was quite amusing but actually, seeing Bluebird was far more exciting.  Learning about the AA (no not that one) was educational too.  I hadn't realised that they were set up to alert drivers to police speed traps and if they DIDN'T salute, there was a speed trap ahead.  Probably everyone else knew that already but it seems to have passed me by.

This reminds me of a story about the first visit to Britain by Carl Perkins, he of the blue suede footwear. Evidentally an increasingly agitated CP began to hassle everyone about the AA as in, "do you actually have the AA here in this little country?" Eventually someone told him to stop worrying as anytime there was a problem or he got into difficulties, the AA could be contacted via roadside phone boxes and they would appear as soon as possible to help out.  "Boy," CP exclaimed, "you sure know how to look after your alcoholics over here."

Anyway, after we'd been around the pleasures of the National Car Museum, we thought a quick trip on the monorail would be fun.  We queued up and eventually entered the little green overhead train - as there were four of us, we seemed to be left to take over the whole compartment. As we passed over the estate I became aware of a strange noise which I assumed to be an attempt at playing a soundtrack to the trip - a simulation of a steam train perhaps? Why, I couldn't fathom as we were thirty feet in the air.  But no, it wasn't that.  All I could hazard a guess at is a sort of what I referred to at the time as "zombie womb music" - I really have no idea why they would play such a weird soundtrack.  It was a sort of scratchy low screaming with occasional, well, monkey noises thrown in. If there's anyone out there who could enlighten me as to what it may have been (or been for) I would be mildly interested.

After all that excitement we came home to spend a few days sorting out what we laughingly refer to as the spare room.  Given no-one has been able to get in there (certainly not to sleep) for many years, it's certainly a bit of a misnomer.  Well, after a few trips to the tip and charity shops, we seem to have made a lot of headway there.  Well, you can get into the room now.

During this I finally managed to tackle a large box of cds that I have been meaning to deal with for a few years now.  You know the stuff, cds by artists you'd be too embarrassed to tell anyone you owned and ones you look at and think, "what the hell did I buy that for?"  I spent a pleasurable hour typing the barcodes into the computer on a site called Music Magpie which I heartily recommend to you if you need to assuage your guilt over crap you've collected over the years and desperately need to get rid of. It's all free - they'll collect or it's freepost - and then they send you a cheque.  I should get one for about £112 believe it or not.  We'll see.  I am reminded of a Frankie Howard film where he's thrown into gaol and the prisoner next door (through a thick wall) asks him what he got for his dinner.  Frankie replies that he only got bread - the prisoner tells him that he had got gravy too.  Would he like it if he dipped Frankie's bread into the gravy?  Of course an excited Frankie says yes and just then a brick in the wall moves back.  Mr Howard puts his bread into the hole in high expectation and excitement only for the bread to disappear and the brick is put back in place . . .

Oh well, we'll see. They have been highly recommended as a website and I'm sure it'll be fine.

The Nutshell - evidently 102 people once crowded into it!
Several parties this weekend - a friend has just retired and we went to his sixtieth do and we had to go to a "wedding party" this afternoon.  Nothing exciting but at least we were able to talk to our neighbours which needs doing every so often.  However, Friday evening we went to the new Apex Theatre in Bury St Edmunds to see June Tabor and the Oysterband.  A sublime evening musically.  Interestingly, the first person I bumped into was the former head of the previous school I taught at some ten years ago.  We also bumped into one of our neighbours in a Tapas bar (don't ask).  What are the chances of that?  About the same as bumping into a former associate in the middle of nowhere, Utah.  We managed that too a few years ago.  Also we went into the self-styled "smallest pub in Britain" which was crowded.  About six of us I think.  The other pubs that contest this claim have outside seating.  As The Nutshell is in the centre of Bury St Edmunds, there's no outside seating - well, the pavement, I suppose.  Actually, the beer was a bit crap - Greene King IPA.  As it's brewed in the town I suppoose that makes sense.  They should get some Adnams in there.  Shake things up a bit.

I've just finished reading The Story of English by Philip Gooden which was an excellent (and easy) read.  I thought it was about time I knew a bit about what I teach.

So, back to the interactive whiteboard face tomorrow.  I would like to think it will be for a rest but somehow I think it'll be anything but that.  I have a feeling that the Academy is only just starting to flex its muscles . . . there may be trouble ahead . . .

Next weekend we'll be down in the Brecon Beacons for a bit of walking so it's all very exciting down here on the East coast.  I've decided that I need to get back to the music now that I've updated about how exciting my life is (cf irony). 

Something a bit more interesting than zombie womb music, though.


Mike C. said...

"Zombie Woof" music, surely?

I think that AA speed trap thing is a bit of an urban myth -- it may have been the original motivation, but by the time they'd got themselves kitted out in khaki uniforms and yellow sidecars the traps must have been long gone.

The Brecons are great at this time of year, but do remember the clocks have gone back... (or take a torch). And try not to alarm or step on the SAS trainees hiding in ditches.


Dave Leeke said...

Hi Mike, the AA info is part of a display at the Museum. It may have been blown out of proportion a bit but this is from the AA's website:

1905 - A group of motoring enthusiasts met at the Trocadero restaurant in London's West End on 29 June to form the Automobile Association (the AA) – a body initially intended to help motorists avoid police speed traps.

However, they don't make much of the court case that caused the non-salute to be seenn as the warning. This was part of the display at the museum.

The Brecons will probably be rather cold I guess but we agreed to it ages ago. I'll certainly take a headtorch and now I'll be worrying about stepping on savage SAS trainees in hiding. Hopefully they won't be armed with real bullets.


Mike C. said...

The wannabe SAS guys are the ones with no laces in their boots. Just shout "He's over here!" and leg it...