As if things weren’t bad enough

Now there’s Trump. At least it’s an excuse for some R.E.M. on the blog:

They did some quite freaky videos back in the day. The dog is nice, though.

Choral society

I have joined another choir! It is on my day of rest, so in theory I should have enough energy to go to it, although this hasn’t been the case every week so far.But I have managed to get to a few rehearsals. We’re doing Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, which I haven’t sung before, and Vivaldi’s Gloria, which I have. It is fun and challenging. The conductor is fun and not scary (yes, it is possible for a conductor to be fun and scary). I had to do my ‘voice test’ the other night. This wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be, mainly because I singing with another person and not entirely on my own. Despite the fact that I couldn’t pick out and sing the lower of two notes played together on the piano (I’m sure I could do this once – what’s happened?), which was a bit embarrassing, I have not been thrown out of the choir. Also, I am definitely an alto. Hooray!

Singing makes me happy

I hadn’t been to Other Choir (as opposed to Choir) for absolutely ages. I gave it up for a while because I didn’t enjoy it anymore and then I was on maternity leave, but now I can (thanks to the generosity of my mum and husband who look after B while I’m not there) go to rehearsals again. There is a new (to me) conductor and I’d heard good things from library colleagues who also belong to the choir. They weren’t wrong! We sang two songs I really like, Linden Lea and Down to the River to Pray and they were mostly right in the middle of my range – notes I can actually sing! Hooray! Also, there are lovely harmonies in both pieces. Singing is definitely one of the things that makes me happiest, but I’m glad I didn’t actually cry with joy otherwise it might have been a bit embarrassing…

World of Noise

World of Noise cover

I got this CD free with a copy of Q magazine in 1995 (issue no. Q104, May 1995). I was 17. I remember playing it constantly, although I often skipped a couple of tracks (Sinead O’Connor, Strangelove). This CD introduced me to such delights as Crowded House, Mazzy Star and Bob Seger, meagre knowledge that was enhanced by listening to Bob Harris’ late night show every Saturday night (but was still pretty poor compared to some of my contemporaries I suspect). Then, at some point, I lost the CD. Probably when I finished university or maybe before I left home – I have a feeling I gave a load of CDs to my brother. Anyway, there are some great songs on it, so I tried to find it and asked my brother if he still had it, to no avail. In the end, I had a look on eBay to see if there was a copy for sale, and indeed there was, for not very much at all, so I bought it.

Here is the track list (is that the right word?):
World of Noise tracks

I still can’t decide what my favourite song on the album is. I think at the time it was probably

or perhaps

or even

depending on what sort of mood I was in.

It’s nice to have the CD ‘back’. I will be adding it to my mp3 player ready for when I go back to work next month. I did my commute for the first time in a while on Tuesday and I was reminded of why a music player is an essential piece of equipment for train journeys (for me, anyway)!

Songs for motherhood

Despite the somewhat grandiose title of this post, I just wanted to make a note of these two songs that were playing a lot on the radio around the time of Babymouse’s birth, and which struck a chord (excuse the pun) with me then, and still do now in my ongoing journey through the delights and stuggles of parenthood.

I put ‘motherhood’ in the title because the first song is specifically special to me, not to Mr C as well – mainly because he wasn’t listening to as much radio as me (the Tune In Radio app on my mobile was a godsend when I was in hospital, especially at night and when I was spending lots of hours expressing milk, which would have been even more of a lonely and boring time otherwise). Also, I didn’t really share this song with him at the time because, well, it is a bit soppy. I did tell him about it but I’m not sure I ever made him listen to it. Anyway, the song is ‘How Long Will I Love You’, the Ellie Goulding version (the original was by The Waterboys, in case you’re interested). When I listen to it I think of Babymouse.


The next song is one Mr C and I have both adopted as Babymouse’s anthem. It suits her, we think.

Also, tiger mothers and all that. Not that I am one, but I think being a mother has given me a bit more confidence, mainly because I don’t have much choice if I want to look after Babymouse as well as I possibly can. I can’t be a mouse anymore. We’ll see how that goes… 🙂

“A choir is a beautiful thing”

This is a quotation from Paloma, a 12-year-old girl, one of the narrators of The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery:

Every time, it’s a miracle. Here are all these people, full of heartache or hatred or desire, and we all have our troubles and the school year is filled with vulgarity and triviality and consequence, and there are all these teachers and kids of every shape and size, and there’s this life we’re struggling through full of shouting and tears and laughter and fights and break-ups and dashed hopes and unexpected luck – it all disappears, just like that, when the choir begins to sing. Everyday life vanishes into song, you are suddenly overcome with a feeling of brotherhood, of deep solidarity, even love, and it diffuses the ugliness of everyday life into a spirit of perfect communion.

We have two choir concerts this week. I don’t think we’re likely to reach the dizzy height of choral singing described above, but I hope we, and the audience, enjoy ourselves anyway.

The mystery of Anna Charlier’s piano music

I wrote this post for my other blog, but I thought it might be of interest to people who read this blog as well.

Lilian's library life

I found one of Anna Charlier’s music scores last year when I was cataloguing a whole collection of scores that had been donated by the music department. On Friday, discovered another one, which must have been in the library a  long time judging from its barcode and the state of its catalogue record – I found it when I was checking for records that needed tidying up.

But, you may well ask, who is Anna Charlier and why do we have some of her piano scores? Anna Charlier was most famous for being the fiancee of Nils Strindberg, a Swedish photographer who was part of an ill-fated hot-air balloon expedition to try to reach the North Pole in 1897. According to Wikipedia (which I know isn’t always the best source, but it has the most information about Anna I could find at the moment) Anna played the piano and…

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