School's in

Sunday, 2 July 2006 22:00
strange_complex: (Snape writing)
The summer school began officially this evening, with a faculty meeting for us tutors, followed by an opening dinner for all. This took place in St. John's college hall, with faculty members sitting on high table, and the rest of the hall completely packed out with students. With welcoming speeches, wide-eyed newcomers, and a healthy scattering of the sort of eccentric academics that I think only Britain can really produce, it all had a rather Potteresque feel to it. And I certainly enjoyed the thrill of eating at St. John's high table in an official academic capacity - even if only temporarily.

Now things are really kicking off, I'm feeling quite whipped up in it all. The students are all American, mainly from Rhodes College, Memphis and Sewanee, Tennessee. Those I've met so far all seem very keen - mainly in a freshly-scrubbed, jacket-and-tie sort of way, but I was pleased to spot one young lady with purple hair and all dressed in black at dinner! I hope she is on my course.

Meanwhile, my colleagues all seem very nice so far, although I do stand out a bit by being blatantly the youngest, and also the only one who hasn't taught on the programme before. Still, we had an interesting conversation about drag over dinner, which took in Bugs Bunny, Lily Savage, Vesta Tilley, Benny Hill and that 'yeah-but-no-but' girl from Little Britain. Got to be a good start.

Should I choose to, I can go on an almost infinite number of pre-paid trips and excursions over the next few weeks, taking in plays at both Stratford and the Globe, early cathedrals, Cotswold villages and even a weekend excursion to Ghent and Bruges complete with choral concert! How much I'll get involved in that side I'm not quite sure yet, since too much of it will very quickly soak up the small amounts of free time I still have left to do my own things and, y'know, actually see my friends a bit before I move away from Oxford. But I'll probably be tempted along for a few of them. And I'll certainly be attending the swanky black-tie dinner they're having on Tuesday to mark the Fourth of July. Time to get out my big purple ball-skirt, I think. :)
strange_complex: (Alessandro Moreschi)
Well, I didn't expect to be woken by the soaring, silvery tones of Alessandro Moreschi this morning. But I was, thanks to a feature on the 'Handel and the Castrati' exhibition which opens tomorrow at Handel's house in London. My normal alarm time of 7:45 woke me perfectly in time to hear Nicholas Clapton, the curator of the exhibition, being interviewed about it by Rebecca Jones. And when she asked him how we can know what the castrati sounded like, I silently cheered, knowing full well what had to come next.

Clapton does need a clip round the ear for saying very emphatically, "We are fortunate to have one recording of one castrato..." in response to this. As the man who, literally, wrote the book on Moreschi*, he knows a lot better than this, and obviously meant "We are fortunate to have one [set of] recording[s]..." But why couldn't he have said that? I weep for the thousands of people who now freshly believe, as I did for so long, that this means exactly and precisely one song.

Still, the recording they chose to illustrate the point was well-selected: the Bach-Gounod Ave Maria: and some of the best, most heart-rendingly beautiful snippets from it, too. To be sure, it was the old OPAL remastering of it, not the infinitely superior Truesound one*. But, nonetheless, definitely Moreschi at his stomach-punching best.

The feature can still be heard, of course, via Listen Again: select the relevant bit, which is actually listed at 7:40, or else go to it directly (you'll need RealOne Player).

As if that wasn't enough to make me sit up in bed, it was followed five minutes later with the news that a a new contraceptive pill is being put through clinical trials which it's hoped will greatly reduce the risk of breast cancer and thrombosis associated with current pills, and completely stop periods! It could have all sorts of other nasty side-effects, of course, but that's what clinical trials are there to find out. If it makes it to being released on the market, I'm there!

And then, when I got up and checked my post, I discovered that my sample of 'Pure Purple' perfume had arrived! Hooray! They didn't send the girl from the ad, but they did send a nice postcard of her, so I can't complain.

All in all, then, this has to count already as a pretty good day!

--------------
* Both book and recording have been on my mental 'To Blog' list for months. I have a lot to say about both, and I will get round to it. But my own book comes first!

Purple joy

Sunday, 12 June 2005 01:00
strange_complex: (Megara flowers)
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] damien_mocata and his digital camera, I can now show off the big puffy skirt I got at the Rusty Zip a few weeks ago. These pictures were taken after we went to see Dracula on May 28th.

Big puffy purple joy under here )
strange_complex: (Urbs Roma)
      
latin is love
(lingua latina amor est)
brought to you by the isLove Generator


Yes, I did add the translation in the second line myself: seemed kinda appropriate. Perhaps even nicer would have been 'latina lingua amoris est': 'Latin is the language of love'. :)

Unfortunately, though, the rather lovely purple 'rainbow' banner it generated for me doesn't display itself, and I haven't been able to see them when other people have done this meme either. I looked at the code and can't see a good reason for this: it works by creating a table of 6 cells, each containing a non-breaking space, and with the background colour in each cell set to a different shade of purple, which seems sensible to me, and did work on the isLove Generator page. Anyone know what's going on? Are my journal's colour settings over-riding it? Can anyone else see it, for that metter?

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