Posts Tagged ‘music’

Harvest time, Creole Belle and Jersey Boys film

August 23, 2014

It’s late August in the south east of Scotland and that means it’s harvest time. Over the summer, I have watched the barley, wheat and oats turn from green to beige/yellow in the fields and the heads of the crops grow. Now sees the onset of the large combine harvesters which waddle into the fields clumsily and then launch a series of destructive sweeps along the field, taking out sections one by one, and where you had barley gently swaying in the wind, now there is only bare stubble. Most farmers seem to have abandoned any aesthetic sense of what a post harvest field should look like, and immediately take away the newly born bales. The field is suddenly vacant of its previously active life and the stubble gives it a shocked look. Where the farmers do leave the bales in the fields, you have a newly installed art exhibition – of round bales apparently placed haphazardly across the newly shorn crop. This is an iconic view of late summer, as there is something very peaceful about the bales resting in the field and – who knows? – perhaps in the night’s dark, when no-one is around, they unravel themselves and stretch out casually, before curling up again pre-dawn. The photos below show a combine harvester at work and bales, which appeared only yesterday, in a field about 3 miles out of Dunbar.

Combine harvester

Combine harvester in the evening

 Combine harvester in the evening

Combine harvester in the evening

Bales in a post-harvest field

Bales in a post-harvest field

Tightly bound bale

Tightly bound bale

I’ve just finished reading James Lee Burke’s novel Creole Belle. I’ve read a good number of Burke’s novels over the years and this novel shows Burke’s love for his city of New Orleans and the bayou nearby, as well as his anger at threats to that environment. This time, the background for the criminal action in an intriguing story, is the BP oil spill which threatened many livelihoods. Burke does get rather over wistful in the final chapter – the Epilogue – but the book is full of well wrought characters, including the hero Dave Robicheaux, his well meaning but violent pal Clete Purcel and Gretchen Horowitz who is trying to escape from working for the mob. You can hear an interview with James Lee Burke (scroll down for Creole Belle)  by Kacey Kowars. If you haven’t tried this novelist as yet, it’s time you did.

We went up to The Filmhouse in Edinburgh to see the Clint Eastwood directed Jersey Boys. Now, I’m not one for musicals and would not have gone to see the stage show of this film, which is about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. However, a film directed by Clint Eastwood is usually worth going to see. My wife loved the film – the music and the story of the group’s formation, connections with the mob and eventual break up. While I liked the music and while the film was an entertainment on a wet Thursday afternoon in Edinburgh, some parts were hard going and some of the dialogue fairly wooden. So, a mixed bag for me and certainly not the film by which Eastwood will be remembered as a director.

 

Advertisements

Refraction, sunset and Bill Wyman and the Rhythm Kings

July 31, 2014

We were having a meal outside the other night, on a warm and clear evening. The sea was calm and the sun was still quite high in the sky at 9pm. From our house, you can see the Isle of May (aka May Island) and at first, we had a normal view of the island in the distance – it’s 12.7 miles (21K)away. We then noticed that the island was changing shape. This was due to refraction which distorts the image. At first, the lighthouse on the top of the island turned into a column, then the island seemed to split into two, with 2 columns in between each layer. Finally, the island took on the shape of an anvil. All this happened slowly over about an hour and a half and my wife and I and our 3 visiting relatives were fascinated. My brother in law, who is a former ship’s captain, once told me that refraction caused him to see a ship coming toward his ship upside down. Photo 1 shows the Isle of May in normal view during the day.

Isle of May - normal view

Isle of May – normal view

Photo 2 ( this was the best image I could get) shows the first effect of refraction.

 

Isle of May refraction

Isle of May refraction

Photo 3 shows the island changing to an anvil shape.

Isle of May refraction

Isle of May refraction

That same evening, there was a glorious sunset over Dunbar and in Photo 4, you can see the refractory effect on the setting sun and, in Photo 5, the changes in the colour of the sky. So, it turned out to be a very entertaining evening, watching the refraction on the Isle of May close up through my x25 magnification scope, seeing the constantly changing colours of the sunset, and enjoying some very tasty Coonawarra wine.

Sunset with refracted sun

Sunset with refracted sun

Sunset over Dunbar

Sunset over Dunbar

 

On Sunday, I went to the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh with another brother in law, to see Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings ably supported by the energetic 69 year old Maggie Bell’s Band. The theatre was packed by women and men of a certain age and it turned into a very enjoyable and entertaining evening. The Rhythm Kings, fronted by ex Rolling Stone Bill Wyman, were a 9 piece band with 2 energetic saxophonists, a piano/keyboard player, a drummer, 4 guitarists and a powerful vocalist Beverley Skeete. The band played rock and roll, the blues, soul, rockabilly and Americana, and were given a standing ovation at the end. A Youtube search will provide many good (if legally suspect?) examples of the band and Skeete’s vocals. The Rhythm Kings change the line up constantly and if you get the chance to see them, don’t pass it up.

Craning day, cycle route and Ben Waters, and Bert’s Bar

April 13, 2013

This morning, I walked along to Dunbar Harbour to see the biannual craning day. In the spring, the yachts are craned into the harbour and in the autumn, they are craned out, as the high tides in winter could cause damage. Organised by Dunbar Sailing Club, craning is an elaborate process of fixing straps to the yacht, rapidly painting over the gap left by the supports, holding the yacht with ropes at either end, and steering the yacht over the harbour. Photos 1-3 below show the spectacle.

Out on my bike yesterday, for a 27 mile (44K) ride and a fairly hilly route after the first 5 miles, to Cockburnspath (pronounced Coburnspath or Co’path), up the Abbey St Bathans road, up the hill to Oldhamstocks, then another hill as you leave the hamlet, on to Innerwick and then up a big hill to The Brunt farm, then (thankfully) down Starvation Brae (Photo 4) and back home against a cold east wind. On the bike, I was listening to, amongst others, Ben Waters’ Boogie 4 Stu. Waters is a fabulous piano player in the boogie woogie style and he features heavily on the alblum. There are also tracks featuring Mick Jagger singing Bob Dylan’s Watching the river flow and the final track is Ian Stewart (to whom the album is a tribute) sings a great version of Bring it on home.

On Tuesday, my pal Roger and I had our monthly meet up and we’ve been trying out food and beer in a range of pubs in Edinburgh. We started in Teuchters for lunch and some excellent Timothy Taylor Landlord beer. Across the road is Bert’s Bar where we had the tasty April Theses. This bar has several exhibits relating to the law on the walls, as well as account books from the pub dating back to the 1940s, so it’s an unusual bar and well worth a visit, although I’d avoid days when there are rugby internationals in Edinburgh.

Craning day in Dunbar harbour

Craning day in Dunbar harbour

The yacht is strapped up and ready to lift.

 

Craning day in Dunbar harbour

Craning day in Dunbar harbour

Swinging the yacht over the harbourside

Craning day in Dunbar harbour

Craning day in Dunbar harbour

Lowering the yacht into the water

 

Looking down Starvation Brae

Looking down Starvation Brae

Weekly photo challenge – music

April 3, 2013

Here are my suggestions for the Weekly Challenge – see Sue’s website for more. The first one is not a great photo technically, with the sunspot in the middle but the contrast between the piper’s kilted uniform and what he’s playing was striking. The 2nd photo was taken in Florence, where this man used to serenade the world from the window of his flat. He graciously agreed to have his photo taken.

Piper with unusual instrument

Piper with unusual instrument

Florentine accordionist