The Buffonery Continues…

A couple of weeks ago you might remember Trump’s crack team of legal eagles paying $3 million for a partial recount in Wisconsin.

Given that Biden had around 20,000 more votes in the initial count, it seemed a lost cause…. but hot on heels of the total landscaping fiasco (a highlight of the year) they had nothing to lose!

The recount came in and was certified yesterday.

The result?

There was a swing of 87 votes….to, you guessed it, Joe Biden. Yes, predictably, given the shambles that is Trump’s legal team, the recount increased their losing margin — at a cost of 34,000 dollars per vote. Good work guys.

This is hilarious of course but you can’t help but spare a thought for the people who donated their hard earned money to fund Trump’s tantrum.

His team are now asking the Wisconsin supreme court to strip around 200,000 Wisconsin voters of their mail-in vote. Whatever next?!

More legal highlights as they come to hand!

Ampeg SVT: The Sound of ‘Get Yer Ya-Yas Out’

The sound of rock guitar reached its pinnacle in the Stones’ concerts of ‘69, a sound that was immortalised in the live album: ‘Get yer ya-yas out’.

The amp that produced the classic tones was the Ampeg SVT.

Ampeg Heritage 50th Anniversary SVT 300-Watt Tube Bass ...

The Stones had intended to use British Hiwatt amps, but they were damaged en route to the states. Ian Stewart was a fan of Ampeg so contacted them regarding replacements. Now at that time Ampeg had just designed prototypes of the SVT which were unveiled at NAMM ‘69. They were built to be ‘the biggest nastiest bass amplifier the world had ever seen’ according to one of the designers, Roger Cox.

The thing was they weren’t quite ‘the finished product’ — particularly as a guitar amp. Ampeg rushed some prototypes to the Stones but in rehearsal they regularly blew up. They continued to malfunction in concert, so The Stones were ‘essentially beta testing the Ampeg SVT live on the road’. Ampeg sent two technicians to travel with the band through the tour, and they managed to keep the amps running by switching SVTs out just before they were about to melt down —interesting, as that was exactly how they sounded!

Keith commented years later: ‘For a while Ampeg had some really good stuff. And they were delivering on time. But it was the same with Dan Armstrong guitar. As they got bigger, the quality of the material went down.’

And just how did they sound?

How do you play The Who’s 1921?

A few months back, I had The Who’s ‘Tommy’ on high rotation. It’s an album I’ve loved since the 90s and was my first introduction to the mighty Who.

The Who - Tommy Lyrics and Tracklist | Genius

1921 has always been my favourite track of the album (certainly in the minority!) but one thing I noticed when playing the online tabs of the song was that certain parts didn’t sound quite right, particularly the pre-chorus.

This lead to an exhaustive online search of available transcriptions and footage of Pete playing the song. Compared to other Who tracks that there’s not much to be found, certainly no decent ‘how to play’ videos that are usually everywhere. So I decided to make one. Think it gets pretty close to the original recording.

The song’s first line… “got a feeling 21’s going to be a good year”...is suitably hopeful, so dust off the guitar and give this track a go!

A Song for Sunday with Pink Floyd

After more than 20 years without playing live together, it was quite a shock when the original members of Pink Floyd were persuaded to perform at Live 8 in 2005.

You can see tangible joy on stage during the short, 20-minute concert. It was a terrific occasion that many thought would never happen. The version of Comfortably numb below, was the last song that they would ever play together. The fact that they were at their majestic best throughout, made the show all the more poignant:

Quote of Day

“Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here,””

Stephanos Bibas on behalf of a three-judge panel

Truth has become such a rare commodity that when you hear it spoken, it’s like a revelation! So it was today when the all-republican court of appeals panel of judges issued an unambiguous rejection of Trump’s election challenge in Pennsylvania. Wonder if Trump now regrets nominating Bibas to the Court of Appeals back in 2017…

And for those who missed it, let’s not forget the Headline of week (year?!) a few days back….

LAME-DUCK PRESIDENT PARDONS TURKEY….almost too good!

Lame-duck president pardons turkey, Trump breaks post ...

Perpetua: The Font of Piranesi

The last note in Susanna Clarke’s excellent Piranesi is one on the typeface of the book—which isn’t something you see often (or ever?).

Final page of Piranesi…

As Clarke mentions, Perpetua is the work of Eric Gill, who went on to create the popular Gill Sans in 1932. Looking into fonts reminded me of a book I hadn’t got around to reading yet: “Just my Type.”

A quick look for Eric Gill in the book, outlined his contributions to typesetting before revealing some fairly extreme sexual deviance that won’t be mentioned here (woof, woof…).

So…. here’s another look at Perpetua, this time on a New Zealand concert programme from 1962:

Book 46: Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris

On finishing my first David Sedaris book, Naked, a few weeks ago, I started on another. ‘Me Talk Pretty One Day’ is another collection of short humorous essays based on the author’s autobiographical adventures— this time mostly based on experiences living in France.

This was an entertaining read although for me, it didn’t reach for the comic heights of the best stories in Naked. There’s still plenty to enjoy here if Sedaris’s humour is your thing and the consistency of his writing is again of the highest quality. For me these stories are a welcome counterpoint to the crazy times we find ourselves as they add some much needed humour to the days.

These stories lend themselves to audio rather than the written word, so as before I listened on scribd with the author narrating, as only he can. This time, a few of the essays were recordings of live performances, which I found to interfere slightly with the consistency of the collection but it was interesting to see how his delivery changed when performing to a crowd.

In short —another fine collection of amusing, well-written stories. The man has this format absolutely down, so I’ll continue slowly working my way through his back catalogue.

Here’s a taste from Me Talk Pretty One Day:

“For the first twenty years of my life, I rocked myself to sleep. It was a harmless enough hobby, but eventually, I had to give it up. Throughout the next twenty-two years I lay still and discovered that after a few minutes I could drop off with no problem. Follow seven beers with a couple of scotches and a thimble of good marijuana, and it’s funny how sleep just sort of comes on its own. Often I never even made it to the bed. I’d squat down to pet the cat and wake up on the floor eight hours later, having lost a perfectly good excuse to change my clothes. I’m now told that this is not called “going to sleep” but rather “passing out,” a phrase that carries a distinct hint of judgment.”

David Sendaris – Me Talk Pretty One Day

Recommended.

Kindle Deal of the Day: The Madness of Crowds

If Douglas Murray’s recently released ‘The Madness of Crowds’ was of interest, now is the time to grab it. Amazon has the Kindle Edition flying out the doors at $1.99 today. The book is an important and timely read given the conflict and division that seems to be worsening over time. I paid about $20 USD for the hard cover and feel it was money well spent, for $2 it’s a super deal —even I bought a digital copy at that price! There are a few general impressions from last week’s post here.

Book 45: The Samurai’s Garden – Gail Tsukiyama

“Beauty exists where you least expect to find it.” 

The Samurai’s Garden – Gail Tsukiyama

Gail Tsukiyama’s The Samurai’s Garden is a gentle, quietly moving story of a young Chinese artist who is sent to the family’s summer home in a coastal Japanese village to recuperate after contracting a serious illness.

The novel centres on the relationship between the young man and the elderly Japanese caretaker of the house. As the young man regains his strength, he forms a strong bond with the old man and slowly comes to appreciate the beauty of the world that surrounds them. Several other important relationships give the plot complexity as the story develops.

I actually bought this book for Muky — as a lover of art, nature and Japan I thought she might enjoy it. In the end, she read it in one sitting commenting: “It was like sitting in a beautiful Japanese garden, breathing in the smell of cypress trees… all the while knowing that there was a hot meal, and green tea waiting inside the house.” This is an uncomplicated read that doesn’t ask too much of the reader but there’s a serene, zen quality to the writing that struck a chord with both of us.

For lovers of Japan, this is a highly recommended read.

“The garden is a world filled with secrets. Slowly, I see more each day. The black pines twist and turn to form graceful shapes, while the moss is a carpet of green that invites you to sit by the pond. Even the stone lanterns, which dimly light the way at night, allow you to see only so much.” 

The Samurai’s Garden – Gail Tsukiyama

The Strange Sounds of Ice

Sometimes a well-timed youtube recommendation hits the mark — and so it was with this video of ice being dropped down a 90-meter bore hole. The sound of a block of ice travelling down a narrow passage and then hitting the bottom, are curiously unpredictable and interesting:

A further search for the acoustic properties of ice revealed more. Apparently there’s a group of skaters who look for thin black ice, which is essentially new ice, to skate upon. These sheets of thin ice produce a soundtrack of strange and unusual sounds. I found this video rather relaxing, in spite of the fact the ice looked to be on the verge of giving way the whole time….