Thursday, 29 September 2016

The Girls of St. Brides

Reading is a passion of mine and it is not uncommon for authors  to write a whole series of stories that are self contained and over time start again which does make it hard pick a series to work ones way through.
In the instance of Dorita Fairlie Bruce, she actually wrote five whole series so I've cherry picked this the start of the St. Brides/Maudlsey series to work my way through.
 Originally written in nineteen twenty-three and long out of print, this introduces to Island School of St. Brides on Inchmore far away from industrial west coast of Scotland and introduces us to its main characters although it obviously was not conceived as part of the "Nancy at St.Brides" seires at the outset as Nancy doesn't make an appearance!
One strong point of this book is the inclusion of a disabled girl, Winifred who was disabled in early childhood and uses a wheelchair which is very rare for the period and how it touches on the idea of intergration, talking about the sense of isolation and lack of acceptance showing how in this school and through the friendship with Morag, she emerges becoming very much a part of the school community.
Integrated education is as I know from direct personal experience as a disabled girl is still controversial and indeed for a period many did not have what would be recognized as a (appropriate) academic education.
Because it was written in nineteen twenty-three, Dorita does use the term "Cripple" to describe Winifrid which would jar many today but we need to remember that it's from the German term "Krupil" and one of the meanings of that word is "lame" which medically speaking is true as her limbs are indeed just that as are mine. It also is the case cripple don't acquire the common abusive undertones it did in the nineteen fifties and sixties as did "spastic" both of which went on unofficial blacklists of terms not to be used from the late seventies onward but Dorita in fairness uses cripple with sensitivity.
I wouldn't damn a person for a choice of word when used correctly and moreover the content clearly is progressive.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Elton John on vinyl

A good few years back, going back the last dying days of my original laptop I did post something about my collection of Elton John cds and his "To Be Continued..." box set of 1990 of which my copy is Canadian.
During a period in the late 1980's through early 90's much of my original vinyl and tape collection of his got converted into cds some of which are specialty gold re-masters of better than regular cd quality.
Feeling the need as I got back into vinyl for some of this prolific singer/songwriters output in that form, I decided to add a couple of well chosen compilations.
 My original copy of this the 1974 Greatest Hits album was the MCA edition that had a different track selection but it was an album much played growing up and to which I have the DCC gold remaster that over twenty years on still stands out.
What's on it ten essential tracks including such vignettes as Crocodile Rock, Candle in the Wind and plaintive Border Song.
I got the UK lp which sounds like he's almost in your room singing.
 That compilation was followed up three years later by another that because he had just switch labels required some cross-label licensing that has caused issues with the US cd edition since to the point I remade the selection digitally.
The strength of this compilation was it housed on lp form a number of non album 45's such as Pinball Wizard, Philadelphia Freedom and Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds and his Rocket Records duet Don't Go Breaking My Heart with Kiki Dee which was a British #1.
I decided to get the UK version as it sounded better and between both volumes of Greatest Hits I was only missing one song, Levon, and that didn't matter so much.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Keeping your records clean

As anyone who reads this blog knows music is a big thing with me not least having a actual record collection so I thought I'd post something connected with it.
Anyone who has records know like a cd,  they can get a bit dirty but while you only normally tell if a cd is dirty if say it skips, with a record you may hear crackles or a rustling sound even if it looks clean because while surface may be, the groove the music is stored in, isn't.
So it isn't long before you start looking at how to clean it, often scratching ones head as you see anything that looks like a automobile windscreen wiper to big machines costing several hundred pounds being offered that proper to do it
I have tried many ways to do it, sometimes mixing my own cleaning mixture up but there's a simple kit that just does it and it's inexpensive cos you provide the elbow grease!
The Vinyl Revival cleaning kit available on Amazon and Ebay provides all you actually need in simple box.
You get two spray bottles available in different quantities one being the active cleaning solution that you spray on to the disc and wipe on, the other is a spray to rinse that off taking the dirt and dust away together with any trace of the cleaner, wiping it dry.
Between two to four sprays of each work out fine.
The cleaner doesn't contain any alcohol so doesn't dry or risk damaging through frequent use your records vinyl.
It comes with two cloths, although you buy spares easily, the green one is for putting your record on and the blue one has even thinner micropores for spreading the cleaner and applying after rising it off.
I find this very effective, using it to cure the rustling noise between tracks on my recently acquired Abandoned Luncheonette lp from the early nineteen-seventies leaving sounding quieter than some new records!