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Old Men's Music: (We'€™re Gonna Change The World)

Way back in the day there was a book published – I forget its name and author – that had photographs of rock/pop stars of the 1960s (or early 70s) appearing above a line from a song lyric that was vaguely appropriate. This was an attempt of sorts to sum up the late 1960s zeitgeist.

The image/line combination that most struck me – it has remained in my mind all those years – was the last one in the book.

The line was, “Hope I die before I get old,” from, of course, The Who’s My Generation.

And the star whose image it illustrated?

Frank Sinatra.

That sentiment is doubly ironic now that The Rolling Stones have celebrated 50 years in “the business” and The Who themselves continue to tour. Not their fault, of course, that the line was used in such a way. It did reflect though the disregard – even contempt – in which “old men’s music” was held by the generation that grew up in the long shadow of World War 2; a generation whose 1960s efforts were partly an attempt to shuffle off the stifling shackles of that conflict and define a future for themselves. In Britain too there was the nagging sense of loss that the disappearance of the Empire caused – something no-one, quite rightly, gives a stuff about now.

I could never understand Sinatra’s appeal myself. I still can’t. The man could not hold a note. He always, always, sang flat and could ruin a song’s rhythm and meaning by eccentric phrasing.

One of the purveyors of old men’s music, indeed he was said to be Sinatra’s favourite other singer, was Matt Monro. Matt Monro was an English singer who made his name in the 1950s and 60s before moving to the US, from where, because his wife was homesick he later came back

Monro was one of the first singers to perform a Bond movie theme in From Russia With Love and also had a biggish hit with another song from a film, Born Free. A couple of years ago I happened to catch a TV documentary about his life and came to a deeper appreciation of his gifts as a singer. His voice has a crystal clarity with great diction and he can carry a note, or a phrase, seemingly effortlessly. The good lady heard him on the radio recently and wondered when he actually took a breath!

His image in the 60s though was deeply uncool; early LPs merely had his photo and a list of some songs as a cover design, a practice pop and rock abandoned even before the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper. I would not normally have listened to him at the time. There was one song he performed, however, which really stuck with me.

It was released in 1970 and more or less topped and tailed that attitude of the 1960s I described earlier, that intuition of something different (which, naturally enough, never came to pass; it never does.)

The song was called We’re Gonna Change The World and considering who sang it was quite a counter-intuitive choice to be put out as a single.

Judge for yourselves.

Matt Monro: We’re Gonna Change The World

Kirkcaldy's Art Deco Heritage 17. Sheriff Court Lamp Shades

Stunning Art Deco style lamp shades in Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court building. Caught in the late November evening earlier today.

Art Deco Lamp Shades

Rocket Science Edited by Ian Sales

Mutation Press, 2012, 314p

 Rocket Science cover

Rocket Science is an anthology of short SF stories all with realistic settings which take account of known science. The stories are interweaved with five non-fiction pieces about the tensions of an impending rocket launch, the terraforming of Mars, the severe drawbacks of space suits, radiation hazards in space and a short history of waveriders.

There are multiple quotes from the Apollo programme or wider space endeavour, “Houston, we’ve got a problem,” “magnificent desolation,” “not because they are easy” and despite being a British publication are quite often written or spelled in Usian (apnea rather than apnoea.)

Given the collection’s remit to reflect the limitations on space exploration both Hohman transfer orbits and the effects of radiation in space gain frequent mentions. If you had not known about these before you would have no excuse after reading Rocket Science.

The fiction varies in style from the serious to the lighthearted – sometimes almost to the wistful. Capsule (ahem) reviews follow.

Tell Me A Story by Leigh Kimmel
A child’s story about The Astronaut and the Man in the Moon resonates nostalgically through human progress from Moon bases to Mars settlements out to the Kuiper Belt.

Fisher’s Gambit by Stephen Gaskell.
A lone prospector in the Kuiper Belt enters into a bargain that will make his fortune. But what is the nature of his benefactor?

Final Orbit by Nigel Brown
The US is retiring from space and the International Space Station is being sold off and broken up in the full glare of internet access. Their astronauts plan a last act of defiance. This is written from a US point of view. A British angle on a story such as this (I have thought of a similar scenario) would most likely lead to a more muted dénouement.

Incarnation by Craig Pay
“Soul shards” set into the skull allow reincarnation after death. A father has fled to Titan after his already reincarnated daughter kills herself. His wife pursues him with a sample of their daughter’s blood desperate to reincarnate her a second time. An affecting tale well told.

Dancing on the Red Planet by Berit Ellingsen
The first humans to land on Mars plan to celebrate not with a small step but by dancing…. This is a story which is slight but warmly human and affirmative.

Pathfinders by Martin McGrath
An isolated scientific community – apparently in Antarctica (and all of whom seem to be male) – has its communication from Earth Control cut. Tensions result. This is reminiscent of the editor’s “Adrift on the Sea of Rains” but with no Wunderwaffe.

A Biosphere Ends by Stephen Palmer
A Chinese-Korean mission to Mars experiences degradation in its closed environment. Later an AI investigates the failure. This story is unusual in that the information dumps are boxed off and in a different type-face.

Slipping Sideways by Carmelo Rafala
A man whose lover has killed herself is told by her husband that the Large Hadron Collider has allowed parallel universes to coexist.

Conquistadors by Iain Cairns
A company wishing to mine asteroids is faced with a Greenpeace type protest.

Going, Boldly by Helen Jackson
A holodeck style games software developer is sent abroad to learn the details of different animals’ movements to incorporate them into the latest game as preparation for an interstellar colony drive. Has some humorous moments.

Why Barnaby Isn’t Aboard the ISS Today by Gary Cuba
A klutz ends up on the International Space Station by accident. Told not to “screw the pooch” he can think of nothing else. Inconsequential, but mildly amusing.

Not Because They Are Easy by Sam S Kepfield
The US Moon landing in 1969 is pre-empted by the Soviet Union. Four years later their “landing” is revealed as a hoax. Subsequent history unfolds rather differently than it did in our universe. (Though, for me, Nixon as a redeemed President is far too hard to swallow.)

The Taking of IOSA 2083 by C J Paget
A group attempts to hijack an asteroid habitat in order to escape a failing colony. What they find on it shades from SF into horror – like a reversal of John Wyndham’s short story Survival.

The Brave Little Cockroach Goes To Mars by Simon McCaffrey
A US Mars mission cobbled together on shoestring to forestall Chinese, Russian and European efforts to reach the Red Planet first has a stowaway….

Sea of Maternity by Deborah Walker
An inhabitant of a lunar colony, fixated on her work and with a complicated private life find sout what is really important to her.

The New Tenant by Dr Philip Edward Kaldon
The International Space Station is sold off to a small company which struggles to make a success of its plans.

Dreaming at Baikonur by Sean Martin
More or less a chronicle of the tribulations of the father of the Soviet Space Programme, Sergei Korolev, but in fictional form.

Studley Royal Water Garden, Yorkshire

The Water Garden adjoins Fountains Abbey which I posted about yesterday. It’s a shortish walk from the Abbey to the Water Garden following the river; which looks canalised, a prelude to the artificiality of the Water Garden itself. (There is a paved path if you prefer not to walk on the grass.)

A Waterchannel leading to Studley Royal Water Garden

This is a stitch to show the trees and water along the way.

Trees and Water Panorama, Studley Royal Water Garden

There are several neo-classical buildings in the Water Garden. This is the Temple of Fame.

Temple of Fame, Studley Royal Water Garden

This is the Rustic Bridge.

Rustic Bridge, Studley Royal Water Garden

Again, a few more photos are on my flickr.

Dogs Teaching Chemistry

Just because.

Thanks to my son for pointing me in the direction of the first of these two videos.

Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire

On the day we went to Ripon we had visited Fountains Abbey earlier.

Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire

Note the party of schoolchildren dressed as monks to the left here.

Fountains Abbey 2


Fountains Abbey 4
Fountains Abbey 3

Internal view and a cloister.

Fountains Abbey 6

Nice waterfall on the walk to Studley Royal Water Garden (see link above.)

The monks built out over the river which is bridged at at least four points (one of which held the toilet block – I wouldn’t have liked to live down river of that!)

Bridge at Fountains Abbey

A few more photos of Fountains Abbey and its grounds are on my flickr.

Dunfermline Athletic 4-0 Dumbarton

SFL Div 1, East End Park, 24/11/12

I was going to say no complaints, but…. see below.

I was going to say the better team won but… the faster, stronger, fitter team won. Does that make them better? I suppose it does. They were in the Premier last season after all and we were in Div 2.

We were okay for a while; even forcing their keeper to make more saves than Stephen Grindlay had up till their first goal. I was in line and thought Josh Falkingham was offside but he was also totally unmarked. The game was then effectively all over.

I shouldn’t have said to GordyBrow when the teams were announced that they hadn’t given Josh Falkingham’s full name. He replied, “I suppose that’s ‘diver’ followed by something rude.” I said, “Yes.”

The second goal was a joke. James Creaney failed to cut out a ball to the winger and then the cross wasn’t collected by Grindlay – he’s always been terrible for spilling low crosses – and came off Andy Graham’s leg to screw towards the line. He just failed to clear it before it crossed. Exactly the sort of thing that happens to you when you’re way adrift at the bottom of the league.

So here’s the complaint. In the second half I’d thought it was Falkingham who ran through one on one with Stephen Grindlay, pushed the ball past him and fell down. From where I was it certainly looked a dive. Falkingham is famous for it. It turns out it was Joe Cardle who couldn’t stay on his feet. Whoever, the ref gave the penalty and showed Grindlay a red card to boot. Down to ten men and a penalty to come…

I say again; when a penalty is given, in what sense has a goal scoring opportunity been prevented? A penalty and a red card and a goal is a triple punishment. Too many times does something like this spoil a game. It didn’t affect the outcome here, Dunfermline were always going to win, but often it can.

Jim Lister was withdrawn to allow Jamie Ewings to face the pen which he almost got to. 3-0 down with ten men against the joint league leaders was only going to end one way.

Curiously we played better after that. Onebrow opined Dunfermline had stopped playing. But we were left cruelly exposed whenever we sallied upfield.

Their fourth was a peach. Due to the man shortage Joe Cardle was one on one on Nicky Devlin with no extra cover, duly took it past him and curled a beauty behind Jamie Ewings into the corner.

It seems we don’t have the personnel to compete effectively against the better teams in this division. (And the not so good teams too?) There was a litany of weak challenges, hurried touches, misplaced passes and stretched interceptions. The players appear shorn of confidence, not wanting to take time on the ball. Chris Turner was an exception to this last, as was Steven McDougall when he came on (but like at Cowdenbeath he carried it too far and was crowded out.)

Ian Murray’s got a big job on.

Ripon Cathedral

I posted a few photos of Art Deco in Ripon a few weeks ago.

Ripon’s landmark building is of course its cathedral, almost impossible to photograph without street furniture in the way.

Ripon Cathedral

Inside, in a side chapel, there was an altar with this highly geometric altar cloth which I considered to be in the Art Deco style.

Side Altar, Ripon Cathedral

Reelin’ In The Years 60: The Only Living Boy in New York

This only just creeps in as it was a January 1970 release, on the Bridge Over Troubled Water LP.

Never a single, to my mind this is the best song on the album; better even than the title track. The choral effect given by the multi-tracking of the duo’s voices is sublime.

Simon and Garfunkel: The Only Living Boy in New York

New Manager

The club has appointed 31 year old Ian Murray as player-manager.

I’m not sure what to make of this to be honest. He has no managerial experience and I would have thought experience is exactly what we need right now. On the other hand he is young, liable to be enthusiastic, and can fill in for us at the back – though his legs may be gone. Perhaps the board was thinking of a Div 2 campaign next season….

I see Ian’s Wiki entry has already been updated to mention his status as manager, even though he won’t take charge of the team till the Cup game with Hamilton a week on Saturday.

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