Apologies for being a little bit quiet lately – I was taking some holiday, a break from the big smoke, a few days in the country. And it was marvellous.
I love staying with the Rents. It means leisurely breakfasts, interesting days out and in this instance, tickets to Jack Gibbons’ Farewell Piano Party in Oxford. This piano extravaganza was absolutely brilliant and Jack’s hands moved with such speed that sometimes it felt as though someone had hit the fast forward button.
As usual I got a seat on the keyboard side so that when the music was out of my frequency I could still see what was going on and this worked very well. One of his own compositions that he played was called Music Box and this was so high I could only hear the left hand. But by watching his right hand, I at least had some idea about what the melody was doing.
Even more impressively, the second half of the concert was by request of the audience. So in the interval, people could put what they wanted to hear on a slip of paper into a top hat.
Given Jack's Gershwin background, there was a lot of this but there was also an incredible piece by Alkan, a French composer who Liszt was said to have claimed was the only person who could make him nervous when present at his concerts.
And if I had to play a piece by Alkan, I would be nervous, too. It was insanely fast, but incredibly melodic. I loved it.
Anyway, another thing I did when I was home was take advantage of the Wi-Fi and go free app shopping for my iPhone.
Recently there are several apps on my phone that have stopped being so good, so I wanted to search for decent alternatives.
One in particular is Pocket Lyrics – an app that you play your iPod through and it displays the lyrics, which is fabulous, if like me, you can't hear them.
But recently, this app has not been finding the lyrics to songs I've downloaded. It's most annoying.
However, to replace it, I have found TuneWiki a fabulous and free app that not only displays the lyrics of the song playing, but also highlights the line being sung – amazing as my deafness has taken away the clarity of speech – and it even translates the words into any other language. I'm not kidding you, there is literally a list of every language in existence. So last night I listened to a Spanish song I liked, but read along in English!
I cannot recommend this app enough, and best of all, it's free!
And that’s it for my first post of this four-day week. After yesterday’s spring (end-of-summer) clearout in my little flat, I feel as though the close of summer and the start of September is a time of resolutions.
So here are mine – I’m going back to blogging every day, I’m going to make do and mend, I’m not going to dwell on the past and every day I’m going to make sure any negative thoughts I have are replaced with positive ones.
What are your new season resolutions?