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Read through my latest blog posts and feel free to comment on them if you like.

 

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The Guitar Gently Cheers

Posted on 24th May, 2022

Such a time: a fifteen-minute bicycle ride from Hove to Brighton's Chapel Royal for a lunchtime concert of Latin-American guitar music played by Graham Anthony Devine. As the concert began, the rain fell - and stopped afterwards. His playing had worked a miracle. What's more, his aside makes me eager to find Barrios's own recordings - made upon metal parts with metal strings a century ago.

 

There is so much wonderful chamber music here in Hove and Brighton. An hour of it makes such a difference to one's day.

A NEW (OLD) CURSE

Posted on 23rd May, 2022

I have been looking again at Robert Graves's 1926 essay Lars Porsena (later revised) about the history of swearing (something with which he was familiar from trenchant voices in the Great War). He cites Middleton and Rowley's play A Fair Quarrel, written a year after Shalespeare's death.

 

We could revive this great dismissal of those out of our favour: "you rusty piece of Martlemas bacon, away!"

 

It is followed by the innuendo of "may thy roll rot, and thy pudding drop in pieces, being sophisticated with filthy urine".

 

Matter for another day, the etymology of "sophisticated".

STREAMING

Posted on 23rd May, 2022

Signs are that audiences for this are waning. How often is there something to which one wants to devote the time - many seasons, each of a dozen episodes ot more? I prefer to rent films on disc through the post from Cinema Paradiso. It has a huge catalogue - all manner of films.

A NEW THEATRE IN HOVE

Posted on 22nd May, 2022

"Maybe you're no longer a human." So an Alexa-like voice informs the hapless man who finds himself in a future where we are ruled by robots. Such is the premise of a new play called, awkwardly, 0.0031% 9Plastic and Chicken Bones). Produced by Give or Take Theatre, the author and actor go unnamed as, during this hour, the question is ventilated "can humans govern themselves?" The stage is littered with plastic bottles and a discarded cellphone, an office chair. This interrupted monologue is rich, a feat of memory, so much so that one might not be able to take it all in at a sitting.

 

That said, it is a pleasing place to sit. Hove has lacked theatrical spaces, and this is the welcome arrive of plays in the room above the Poets' Corner pub on Montgomery Street (among the beers are three types of Harveys). It has always been difficult to discover what is on at the Brighton Fringe - and this year is no different: the truncated booklet is as difficult to navigate as the website.  One hopes, though, that this venue continues beyond the Fringe, The neighbourhood is full of people who would relish a stroll to it. The coming week sees the arrival of Bleep, about a junior doctir who joins an into-the-wild trail - one infers that it is one of those "bonding exercises" which prove to be anything but.

An Intrepid Cat

Posted on 12th May, 2022

A cat is in the habit of visiting me. Say so myself, he enjoys the talk and music. I do not feed him as he has a home for that. He seems to enjoy it here.

 

The other day a neighbour told me that he ran some dozen feet up one of the elm trees on the sidewalk after some pigeons returned to it. She stood by it, and wondered if she would have to summon the Fire Brigade. As it was, the cat realised that the pigeons were out of reach, and he slithered back down the bark as though nothing had happened.

 

Cate are sanguine.

New Directions in Tailoring

Posted on 13th August, 2020

 

 

I am busy at work upon scaffolding to paint the front of my house.

 

So why did I resemble the other day a Michelin Man who has a copy of Vogue and a glass of beer aloft?

 

It is me there, if not sporting my usual stylish attire. To paint a house - in elegant shorts - is akin to surgery. Preparatory work takes time, increasingly so; each advance requires a step back (not literally, vertigo is bad enough), and contending with a revealed problem that, if unrectifed, would spoilt the eventual effect.

 

All of this brings into play - continual stretching and crouching - parts of the body that had not previously made themselves felt. The sweat even seems to creep into the brain as one juggles with these myriad matters while the scraper comes to resemble a scalpel. “Nurse, more primer!”

 

A friend was well aware of this, and suggested I experiment with a self-massage device to ease current aches, and be ready for the work ahead.

 

These have been around a number of years, and were bought mainly to ease medical conditions, in particular to push lymph lumps around the body to quell their lingering in one spot and causing such places as the ankles to swell painfully. That condition cannot be cured but this device eases it.

 

Meanwhile, the device has become a part of beauty salons for general purposes (and one imagines that it will be all the more so in these mask-wearing corvid times).

 

And so it was that I wriggled horizontally into the ribbed outfit - a high-tech wetsuit, perhaps - which, when zipped up, reached my chest. This is linked by a tube to a bedside pump which - variously programmable by time, condition and pressure - pushes air into the suit. Somehow or other, it begin at one's ankles and works northwards without fear or favour - medical neutrality - of what it finds along the way.

 

Chest reached, it deflates; and the process begins again. To reach out and increase the pressure means that the device duly presses one's body from beneath as well. All the while, there is a gurgle redolent of an iron-lung machine, and yet - unlike those attached for years to such a thing - one finds a measure of peace descend.

 

Thoughts of scaffolding and sandpaper evaporated, Sleep even beckoned - and then I jolted forwards to pick up a notebook and write “murder scenario”.

 

 

 

In The Summer Swelter

Posted on 25th June, 2020

Another hot day in Hove. I stay inside during the day, and venture seawards later. Some of the time I have added to this site, which evolves; and will gain more naviagation methods. As you can perhaps see, I have added a section about Words, and one of stories inspired by this town. You can also find my on-the-hoof thoughts @chrishawtree on Twitter.

First Steps - and Paddles

Posted on 20th June, 2020

Early days. Here is a first blog entry as this new site evolves, and, in due course, it will have drop-down menus to separate posts rather than their appearing in a scroll. Technology presents different challenges from writing, and leaves one eager to take to the sea in a newly-arrived kayak (more on that anon).