Friday, 24 November 2017

Reflections on the death of David Cassidy

It was announced Wednesday, the child actor and singer, David Cassidy died from complications following hospitalization late last weekend
He played the role of Keith Partridge  a teen boy of the touring headed by their Mother who was played by Shirley Jones in the must see tv series of the early 1970's that we all watched and talked about as juniors back then. Indeed I had to go visit friends as we weren't allowed at home to watch commercial tv in order to see the show on the pretext it was a play date.

The series was massive in North America and given its construct being but a few years on from The Monkees, the series gave birth to hit 45's and albums which are still adored by many of our generation as terrific pop songs.

David left the show pursuing a career in popular music having a good number of hit 45's and albums of which this, Daydreamer from the Dreams Are Nuthin' More Than Wishes album was a favourite of mine from 1973

Like a number of artists of this era following a change in music tastes he took time out before resuming in 1985 with the  Romance album  issued by Arista and resuming concert tours. It was sad he had to give up performing in 2014 due to dementia.
David was a part of our lives as kids back then the adorable boy next door who could sing and act whose life we followed in Jackie magazine and elsewhere.
Let's be glad for what he gave us and for the opportunities he was able to take advantage of furthering his craft.
Rest in peace, David.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

That Boarding School Girl Updates

Hello. I first put in an appearance here in 2015 telling you about updates on this  blog and while it isn't as dramatic as it was back then, I can tell you this blogs owner has been working her socks off upgrading the layouts and pictures of many posts because this blog is kind of old.
As well the 'Littles Blog' just turned 800 posts so that had a big tidying up too!
When it first started in 2006 before I was born, it looked very much like this just gaining the Topic Index although for the first four years the template colour was dark blue with the text in orange and we had that lovely banner but the link coding for that got messed up so soon it had to be changed.

There I am first time around!
We had to change the top bit but otherwise it was the same keeping that manga bit at the blog footer. If you look closely you can see how the area for the text with pictures has improved then to now which was one reason some older entries needed changing cos the pictures on some were really tiny and others were blurred.
Of course now That Boarding School Girl who loves me has changed the title cos it better suits her and what this blog always was meant to be, so now with these improvements you'll have the best old entries you ever could get!

Friday, 17 November 2017

Education progress.

This week the Church of England that apart from being an Established religion of Anglican Christianity here in the UK is a substantial provider of both primary and secondary education though its schools that are open to all, made a pronouncement around gender equality in a set of guidance issued to Heads and others running them.
In it it was clearly established that a culture of humiliation, intimidation and ridicule was not to be accepted within school for children with gender identity issues or  have differing forms of sexuality  from the mainstream was not going to be tolerated.
This covered staff but also from other children in the classroom.
In this the issue of childhood exploration of roles and identities through play such as dress up was addressed by saying a boy who wishes to wear a Tutu or a Girl who wishes to dress in attire associated with boys roles  would be accepted without anyone saying "Don't be silly, pick something else" or with any acceptance of the same from that childs peers.
Some in the UK media read that as saying ordinarily in a class a boy might wear a Tutu but this wasn't about uniform so much as play and exploration of roles through it.
What was made very plain is in so far as presenting as either non-binary or in a gender different to that assigned goes, this is to be accepted and a child would be permitted to wear school uniform from with the range that in their opinion best suits them as that child.
In other words uniform was to be upheld but in a form allowing expression of a child's gender identity. Something socially liberal but fairly traditional sorts like me would agree with and indeed would of willing engaged with had it been an option for us at that time in our childhood.
While I'm not an Anglican I find much within this I can agree with as we do not send children into school to be intimidated or humiliated for just being the gender and sexuality they truly are. 

Friday, 10 November 2017

Politicians not getting it!

It seems to me there's a sign missing outside UK Politics and it should read "Welcome to the madhouse".
Honestly you'd think people who spend a lot of their time studying and taking various forms of office to get into National politics by being Members of the House of Commons, the Lords or a member of a devolved UK National Assembly or Parliament might of picked up a few ideas about what it requires to hold a senior post.
Evidently in the instance of one Priti Patal Mp International Development Secretary the idea that you might need to tell people such as your department, the Foreign Secretary, a senior Civil Servant or heavens above even the Prime Minister you are meeting senior people including the Prime Minister of another country for talks seemingly didn't exist in the way many of us would not of held talks with other parts of the companies we worked for never mind competitors without clearing it.
Equally having been caught out, verbally chastised by the Prime Minister and upon being told pretty much to declare what talks you had held with who you'd of thought she'd of disclosed but no we don't and then these other talks come to light.
Honestly, who could not say the Prime Minister hand on heart  did the only thing open to her to deal with a person who would not tell the whole truth and make it plain if she didn't resign she would be sacked?
All pretense of personal integrity went the minute she chose not to tell the whole truth to Prime Minister May, quite rightly she has to pay the price for her actions and Penny Mordaunt has been appointed to take the position.
Damian Green's position as First Secretary to the State is a different matter that seems to caught in a three ring circus between an investigator who maintains pornography was found on his computer, his successor who says not and Mr Green himself. 
Somewhere down the line there must be a record of when the computer was taken in to examine its hard drive together with any external memory used and what was actually found and if there were any pornography on it was it seen to be legal as regardless of personal opinions, some clearly is being permitted to be bought and viewed.
That one will resolve itself in time.
There are ongoing scandals concerning sexual harassment, assault and abuse of power between certain Members of Parliament and people who do things such as research or admin for them as presently the individual member recruits and pays his or her own and there's no proper grievance procedures.
This really needs to change and there should be a proper recruitment system with pay and independent means of complaining in place so people feel free to talk about anything that they are unhappy with.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Alpha by Asia is now on SACD

Followers of the other blog tm will be aware I actually won't be around when I normally post but away on one of my middle/little weekends away so as I'll be through the door at about Twenty past Seven tomorrow morning which is why the post is today.
That's so I can get the links posted out.
In the past I have written a bit on both blogs about speciality remastered editions of albums and today I will return to an artist I last wrote about here on June 16 2010 which is a mighty long time ago and before we worked through what this blog was about.
Asia, the group were a supergroup formed musicians associated with deeply unpopular at the time progressive rock bands of the nineteen-seventies and comprised of Carl Palmer of Emerson Lake and Palmer, John Wetton from King Crimson, Steve Howe and Geoff Downes from Yes.
In 1982 they issued the album Asia yielding hit 45's in the form of Only Time Will Tell and Heat Of The Moment that was re-issued on 24 Gold cd in 2010 and reviewed here: Asia 24kt AF Gold cd

After touring to great acclaim with Asia, the band booked time in the studio to record the follow up Alpha which was released as I well recall in July of 1983 with the lead off 45 being the opening cut, Don't Cry with non album b side Daylight making the US Billboard top ten.
Single and album art was by Roger Dean.
A second 45 was issued The Smile Has Left Your Eye but while the album sold well, it didn't sell nearly as well as the debut did plus in some circles the highly produced heavily synthesizer lead production garnered criticism. The repercussion of all of this was John Wetton was edged out of the group.
Personally I put more score on the reverb heavy production which even on the lp version I bought cut using the true master tapes and pressed in the Netherlands was for the time loud and unrelenting. As well while the first lp side wasn't as immediately grabbing the quality of the songs is certainly quite high not least in My Own Time (I'll Do What I Want)
The original cd issues of this were no where near as satisfactory as the lp where the remastered version sandwiched with bonus tracks on Anthologia - the 20th anniversary Geffen Years compilation  were even louder!
On September 15th 2017, Audio Fidelity issued a sacd also playable on regular cd remastered version mastered by Kevin Gray which while not perfect (only remixing it could cure some of the issues) offers better bass extension and improved dynamics.
In my opinion at last we have a listenable version for regular and super audio cd players of this ignored album.  

Friday, 27 October 2017

Copland redux

For as long as I recall classical music played a major part in my life from handed down records, broadcasts listened to an concerts attended that over the decades has lead to collection of favourites by various composers.
Parts of this have been mentioned on That Boarding School Girl over the years as I moved from buying performances on lp records and cassettes to now standard Compact Disc and High Definition download
Chunks of my collection are in one respect time periods where I picked what I could as my interests were piqued remaining without being reassessed in the light of newer recordings and improved mastering of older ones.
Aaron Copland is one of America's greatest composers, period, someone who had the art of getting a lot in without losing touch with American home spun idioms and relative simplicity.
It was around Nineteen-Ninety that got to hear across a weekday broadcasting slot the majority of his compositions in an excellent BBC Radio Three "This Mornings Composer" series of programs much of which served as my 'template' for collecting recordings of them around that era.
The mainstays in that era were Copland's own recordings for Columbia (now Sony Classical) records that in 1991 were compiled into three cd box sets.
I bought two at the time as they had the bulk of the works I wanted even if the early sixties sound left a little to be desired but that other set sounded poor so I never got it or its content

Following getting the Super Audio Player (see the middle/littles blog) I started this process of reassessment as its reproduction of regular cds  exceeded my previous players looking replacing by better sounding and sometimes played versions of which last months Mozart entry was one example.
There precious few recordings of Copland's Clarinet concerto or of Dance Panels and I had formed the view for my purposes, the two Sony Classical boxes I bought in the early nineteen-nineties would benefit from being replaced and this would be a good start point adding two works and replacing my original of 1925's "Music for the Theatre"
Leonard Slatkin is one the best leading conductors and advocates of Copland's music and he recorded for RCA a series of works featuring the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra well compiled of which this adds the not often heard Organ Symphony with Simon Preston and two other symphonies in modern wide ranging digital sound.
Copland mastered the art of writing film music that both didn't get in the way of the screen action and equally wasn't just soundtrack fodder, capable of being appreciated in its own right.
This disc featured the Red Pony, Music for Movies a arrangement of film music in the forms of a suite, Our Town and seldom recorded Prairie Journal (Music for Radio)which was broadcast on the radio.

This disc featured his Third Symphony and Music for a Great City which benefits from a modern recording.

Naxos had an excellent series of discs covering American Composers and I own most of the Samuel Barber titles but this one appealed as these main two works were in the third box I never bought although I've always loved The Tender Land suite written around life on a Southern Farm during the nineteen-thirties, his Piano Concerto and two collections of American Songs originally intended for piano and voice but transcribed here for orchestra and chorus.
I just love singing along to "I Bought Me a Cat".

Friday, 20 October 2017

Thoughts around learning

There's nothing quite so stereotypical British as national panics best talked over tea and a common one is around educational standards although it could be argued part of this reflects the debate around learning and retaining facts over looking things up and following a process.
My feelings are more that you do need a knowledge base so you know  8 x 8 is 64 and The Great Fire of London did take place in 1666 so you can both know off the bat if something is 'wrong' and work efficiently. It is hard to progress when you haven't mastered the basics as like a good number of dyslexic people I know only to well which was a reason I ended up resuming studying a while ago.
Much of this chart from a UK national newspaper is familiar in that what I was expected in my class when I was educated strongly aligned with that common during in the 1950's and following reforms, changed.  My feeling is what happened has been less is required to be known and over a longer period which shows up when international comparisons are made.
It's hard to believe that in that time children are less capable of learning even if we are more enlightened around the things that can making learning more harder for some and prepared to assist more.
It may be how we teach that needs to be addressed apart from having the kind of classroom I had when the teacher just walked in with the texts needed, you got up to greet them and from that point on you were expected to sit still and pay attention rather than dealing with messing about with cellphones and the like.