woolymonkey: (singe a la licorne)

A bit harsh on bassoons and leaves out the strings.  OK, shamelessly biased and obviously written by a brass player which may explain why it was squirrelmonkey who spotted it.  But does have some points.  I'd change Gandalf to cello and Aragorn to violin.
woolymonkey: (singe a la licorne)
Message from Cambridge Youth Opera (featuring Spider as bass chorus)...

If you are around the Grand Arcade this afternoon, we will be performing Amahl and the Night Visitors twice, sometime around 1pm and then again at 3pm. Please come and support your friends!
There is also a performance in St Augustine's Church on Richmond Rd on 08 December at 6pm. This will be a much calmer way to enjoy the whole show! There is no charge for this performance, though there will be a retiring collection at the end.
The small cast have done wonders in a very short time and it promises to be a lovely show.
woolymonkey: (singe a la licorne)
Have just found and ordered a set like the ones he had before from here.  These are what Action on Hearing Loss used to sell before they switched supplier.  A bit pricey due to ordering from US, but really not too bad as they do free international postage :)  So the problem is pretty much solved now though I'm always happy to gather knowledge for another time if anyone has suggestions, especially on feasibility of assembling custom headphones. If that something we could do ourselves with a bit of kit - Spider being good with wiring and hands?

Please can anyone help me buy or build something so Spider can listen to music happily?

Read more... )
Does anyone know of somewhere I could still buy the old version with a hook and a proper earbud that goes inside his ear?

Or would it be possible to modify the ones from Action by replacing the flat earpiece with an earbud from another set of headphones?

I'm willing to buy several headphones or pay extra for work as it means a lot to him. He loves music and he liked the old headset so much it almost made up for being deaf in one ear. Not having it any more is making him sad.
woolymonkey: (singe a la licorne)
Cambridge Youth Opera presents The Magic Flute | Cambridge Junction

If this is half as good as last year's Dido it will be very good.  Monkey boys are in the chorus - and in the dragon.

We have tickets for Thursday with the grandmonkeys.  I wouldn't mind seeing it on two nights to keep someone company.
woolymonkey: (singe a la licorne)
I see no reason to celebrate the death of a senile old lady.

I would love to celebrate the death of Thatcherism, as opposed to Thatcher, but we've had a decade of a Labour party too scared to challenge the notion that profit is the only value worth measuring, and now Cameron (and Wossname) taxing bedrooms, privatising the NHS and destroying equal oppportunity in education while giving tax cuts to the rich.

Yes, I've been listening to Elvis Costello

but I don't care if this or Ding Dong or bloody Justin Bieber gets to number 1.  What would that change if we don't have politicians willing to stand up and say that some things are worth paying tax to fund, and voters willing to elect them?

The witch cast a long shadow and we are still living in it.
(Though I suppose it's bleakly cheering that at least Iain Banks gets to outlive her.)
woolymonkey: (singe a la licorne)
New, better recording of squirrelmonkey's song, Years Don't Show, by Quantum Suicide.  You can hear the bass now.  Still with a stand-in drummer, but he knows the song this time.
woolymonkey: (guitar chimp)
Here is a Squirrel's band playing a song wot he wrote.  I had no I idea he and his friends were American.
(You may have to install soundcloud, which is harmless and free.)
woolymonkey: (guitar chimp)
Yesterday Spidermonkey cycled off to Long Road College with his beloved violin in his pannier.  I don't know why he put it in the pannier because he normally wears it on his back.  I think there was a problem with the straps.  Anyway, when he got as far as King's Parade, he noticed that the pannier was gone and so was the violin!

Cue several hours of Spider, Musique and Wooly all variously backtracking, searching, asking, phoning, wailing and gnashing teeth.  Until I phoned Cambridge Strings, the shop it came from. Someone called Rob had already contacted them about a violin he'd seen fall off a bike, that had one of their labels in the case.  It took a while to make contact, but Rob is a truly wonderful person who didn't even want a reward (though he got some champagne).  He just wanted to give the violin back to its owner.  Incredibly, the violin is absolutely fine.

We have no idea exactly what went wrong.  The panniers are normally brilliant.  They're not really big enough to hold a violin safely, but that doesn't explain it as the violin didn't fall out. We are going to get Spider a new case with better straps and be very, very, very careful.

Thank you Rob!  You are a wonderful person!

In other news, Squirrel is either rehearsing or performing Little Shop of Horrors until 10pm every night this week, so don't expect to see much of the monkey family before the weekend.
woolymonkey: (singe a la licorne)
Thanks to the 2nd antibiotics, I'm now recovered from both the kidney infection and the backlog of work that built up as a result.

So I can update you on my cats, and possibly even on my children...

Leicester is much perkier, indeed perky enough to be pretty fed up with his tiger cage.  He's taken to scritching the blankets into a pile and generally fidgeting around.  He still doesn't want to put weight on the bad leg, partly because it must be still sore, but mostly because the muscles are so wasted that it doesn't actually bear weight.  He has a full range of movement in it when he's just waving it in the air though, and he's allowed to come out of the cage as long as he sits on laps like a good kitty and doesn't try to run or jump, so we sit and do his leg excercises together.  Any day now the vet will give him the all clear to try a little very gentle standing and walking.

He and Humbug went through an odd spell where they would stand close together with all the body language saying 'We is friends' except that Humbug would hiss.  He'd still act friendly and Leicester wouldn't react, but Humbug would hiss quietly.  This has stopped now.  We think it was all about Humbug insisting that he gets to be Chief Cat now that he's doing all the work and Leicester is helpless.   Apparently Leicester agrees because he's started neatly burying his poo, something he wouldn't have been seen dead doing before: he always left it proudly on a mound of litter.  Sometimes Humbug would come and bury it for him.  But he says Humbug is only Acting Chief Cat.  It's a temporary arrangement.  Got that?

Spider is enjoying geeky A levels at Long Road and getting to work with real glass blowers for his Medical Research Council artwork.  (It's weird and complicated.).  He'll also be singing at West Road in the first part of this.  Come and listen if you think you're hard enough.  We'll all be there.

Squirrel has managed to get himself onto an extra GCSE course and also joined the band for the latest Monkey Federation Academies musical, Little Shop of Horrors.  He's the trumpet so you'll hear him. Even if you're not going to the show.
woolymonkey: (guitar chimp)
Help please!  The Monkey Academies Federation Orchestra are playing Harry Potter tunes at the school arts event.  That much we've known for a while.  But now the music teacher has decided they should do it in 'wizardy clothes'.  Performances are Wed and Thur of next week and they're supposed to have the costumes ready for a rehearsal TOMORROW.  Morning.  At 9am.

Bugger tomorrow morning, but does anyone have anything we could use for Wed and Thur please?  We can probably collect it from you if you're in Cambridge, or you could drop it at either work or school (Regent St or Parkside).

I'm not expecting you to have the full Dumbledore tucked away in the loft, or lend it out if you did, but anything remotely suitable would be very much appreciated as we chucked out all our dressing up stuff in the move.  A cheapo halloween pointy hat or an academic gown would be perfect. 

Anything?  Please?
woolymonkey: (Default)
Yesterday we walked to Girton in the snow to view a house, and fell in love with it.

Today, monkey boys boarded a coach in the snow and drove off to terrorise entertain Parisians for a week with the Monkey Federation Academies Orchestra and Choir. This includes a day at Disneyland singing Happy Songs in One-Part Harmony (i.e. everyone sings pretty much the same thing but not in the same octave). Monkey boys will be in the row of scowling basses at the back. On Wednesday, which is forecast to be -15C in Paris. Luckily they are not brass monkeys, even the brass-playing one. Does anyone know if Disneyland is likely to close rides in that weather? Because if they have to sing Happy Songs without a rollercoaster ride to make up for it, there is going to be trouble...

And big grown-up monkeys put an offer on the house! There is another interested party, but not a cash buyer this time. The vendor wants to move to Scotland fast, so it seems we are now in a race of time rather than money. Where we were planning to put the Monkey House on the market after half term, we are now putting it on today! I have 24 hours to redecorate Squirrel's room and tidy up our clutter. Oh, and it's a heavy marking week. So don't expect to see any monkeys for a while. (Unless, of course, we loose this house too and it all goes quiet again...)

woolymonkey: (guitar chimp)
Depending on how you feel about Christmas music arranged for mixed ability orchestra, you'll want to either seek out or avoid Lion Yard between 12.40 and 1.20 on Sunday, specifically the bridge outside New Look where the Monkey Academies Federation Orchestra will be playing to open the festive shopping season.

I'll definitely be there, or at a coffee stand in earshot, if only to watch Spider sightread. What with Dido and sixth form college open evenings, he's been to exactly 0 school orchestra rehearsals.

Connaisseurs of monkey orchestral manoeuvres will be wondering how much notice we had of this performance. Were we give the date
A) this morning?
B) over a month ago?
C) yesterday?
D) when we happened to see a poster advertising the event?

The correct answer is... )

For a more organised, more musical, and generally superior listening experience, you could catch the monkeyboys singing with Cantiamo! at St Giles' church, Castle Hill, Sunday evening at 7.00.

Oh, and I think you need an invite for this one (which I don't have), but if you're at the Mayor's Reception at the new Botanic Garden building, you can hear monkeys singing with Cantiamo! tonight.


Nov. 4th, 2011 12:31 pm
woolymonkey: (keyboard)
Anyone want to see Purcell's Dido and Aeneas performed by Cambridge Youth Opera (monkey boys in the chorus!) on Mon or Tue evening at St Mary's School?
I shall be going with [livejournal.com profile] tamaranth on Monday. [livejournal.com profile] musique_monkey and assembled grandmonkeys will be there on Tuesday. Tickets of the door or prebooked by me if you can let me know by tomorrow.

Other than that, I shall be out of circulation. It's marking time again so, of course, I have an urgent translation. Brown hare poplutation fluctuations in the Federal Republic of Germany, since you don't ask.

And Spider has a crazily busy week next week--Dido is just the start. He has 3 separate subjects of GCSE exams on Thursday, in different locations! Plus a 6th form open evening and two (simultaneous) revision workshops, not that he'll have a chance to get to those, but it's the thought that counts...
woolymonkey: (keyboard)
Sorry not to be around much. That fungal ear infection is proving bloody hard to shift. After yet another GP appointment, I'm on systemic fungicide--more Gardener's World than ER--and hoping this'll be the one that kills it. Meanwhile work is gathering business as my courses get started. Must remember to wipe the shiny ointment off my face before I go and teach tonight.

Squirrel is busy busy busy with late rehearsals and now performances of Oliver every night this week. He's home just long enough to eat something at 4.30. After that he's locked in the Mumford theatre--no food allowed, only water--until after 10pm.

Spider and I went to see An Inspector Calls at the Arts Theatre last night, just the 2 of us partly because of Oliver and mostly because tickets ain't cheap. I wasn't expecting to enjoy it all that much, just going really because it seemed only fair that Spider should have a chance to see his one of his GCSE texts performed and see what live theatre on an actual stage is like. It was great! Really inventive and appropriate set design and fantastic performances that made me think again about Priestly's characters. (I'd dismissed them as 2D ciphers, which they are up to a point, but clearly there's scope to bring out different aspects to them.) If you're in Cambridge, I really recommend seeing this. It's on until Saturday and seemed to have a few seats free. I overheard some Arts regulars saying it was the best thing they'd seen there in years.

ETA. I recommend Oliver! too, obviously, but I know it's completely sold out.
woolymonkey: (spidermonkey)
It's been a good week for Spider. The highlight was when a lady from the Medical Research Council rang yesterday, asking to speak to him. I did wonder briefly if it was for experimental purposes, but it turned out to be about their Imagining the Brain art competition. He's won joint first prize!
And they want to talk to him about doing a 3 week stint as artist in residence! If he does, it sounds as though it wouldn't be until summer 2012--much better all round because he'll have more time after GCSEs, and he'll be 16.
The website I linked to doesn't have this year's results yet, but you can see entries from previous years there, and the brief for 2011.

The combination of art and science really suited him, and he put a lot of time and effort into his entry.  Here's a pic that doesn't do it justice.

It's a sculpture of a microtubule in a neuron disintegrating due to Alzheimer's. I'm not sure if you can see, but there are little photos of memories on the bits of microtubule, and the base of the box has a blobby (impasto, I'm told) image of an Alzheimer's plaque.  (The pan scourers are tau proteins, I think, or are they something else?)

I love it! Our kitchen was full of heavy body gel, boxes, polystyrene balls, wire, and Early Learning Centre poster paint for weeks, but it was well worth it.
I'm sorry the photo isn't better, but it was the best we could manage. There should be a much better one on the competition website, along with an embarrassed-looking spider, after the photo shoot in September. I'll link when it's there.

As if that wasn't enough, earlier in the week, he got his new violin--long promised if he passed his Grade 5 and still wanted to to carry on, but it wasn't easy to choose it, so took a while.  For the interested, he decided on a new Sandner and a carbon-fibre bow, both from Cambridge Strings, who are fantastic.

AND he got an A for his latest English assessment, on Shakespeare sonnets! Thank you again, everyone who sent thoughts about whether 'loved' rhymes with 'proved'. It doesn't directly boost his English Language grade, which is the one we're worried about, but it's great to see what he can do now he has help for his dyslexia and an English teacher who actually teaches English!

Speaking of English teachers, the cherry on top was a last week of term where normal lessons were replaced by a choice of sports--if you're spider, that's climbing and paintballing. Spider got to be captain of one of the paintball teams, while the opposing team was captained by...

...his old English teacher! (The one who confused him, made him feel useless, and then lost everyone's coursework. Seriously, I know teachers; I used to be one. I don't expect the impossible, but this woman is outstandingly, dramatically hopeless, and maddening with it.*)

Guess who won :)
By a mile :) :) :)

In fact, Ms Crappyteacher is as bad at paint ball as she is at English, and too stupid to recognise this and delegate to kids. So spider got to shoot her dead several times over. He wasn't the only one (see 'lost coursework') above: Ms C was the clear winner of the paint magnet award. Spider obviously found it all very cathartic. He was grinning all over his face, and that was before the A, the violin or the art prize!

* E.g. "It isn't lost because I know it's in the folder.  I just don't know where the folder is."
woolymonkey: (guitar chimp)
That lunchtime music thing featuring Squirrelmonkey and Musique_monkey: now with added Spidermonkey playing gypsy violin!  All three monkey boys in one free gig--how can you resist? 

Framing shop news.
1. Spider looks very grown up standing behind a counter. [livejournal.com profile] bugshaw  snuck a look too and can confirm this.
2. Mondays are quiet. The only big spender was the tattooed bloke ordering a massive gold frame for his A1 size portrait of... Adolf Hitler. Yes, really. At least, I think so. Unless someone is pulling someone's leg, which is always a possibility...
woolymonkey: (spidermonkey)
This is a good week if you want to see/hear monkeys doing stuff.  Put another way, those who'd rather avoid monkey encounters will need to work a little harder than usual.  

For five days only, starting today, Spidermonkey is on work experience at Cambridge Framing Centre. Cambridge people with unframed artworks, you know where to take them.  (While he was there for his interview in March, somebody came in with an original Picasso bullfight picture that had never been framed. I don't suppose it's like that every day though.)

At 12 on Wednesday on Castle Mound, Squirrelmonkey will be playing a solo trumpet fanfare to open Music on the Mound and raise money for Parkinson's disease research and support. I'll be there in the audience with a picnic if anyone wants to join me--probably just for the first bit as Squirrel will need to rush back to school for rehearsals of the Year 7-8 production of Godspell. (The performance of that should be around lunchtime on Friday at Parkside school. Ask me on Thursday if you're interested.)

After a phone call from the County Music organiser, it looks as though Music on the Mound will also feature the talents of [livejournal.com profile] musique_monkey on accordion duetting with Squirrel (programme tbc when they've found something they can both play).  
woolymonkey: (guitar chimp)

Play the first movement so that flies drop dead in mid-air and the audience leaves the hall out of sheer boredom.
---Shostakovich's instructions for his fifteenth string quartet., probably not that hard to follow, and one of many reasons the piece is never set for Associated Board Grade exams.

Yes folks, it's week 18 again on AA100.  I'm marking essays.

EITHER Irish Nationalism and the Invention of Tradition (about which I know exactly as much as is covered in the course materials)
OR Musical Tradition in the String Quartets of Shostakovich (about which I know even less)

Candidates should not attempt to answer both questions or write on more than one side of the paper at a time.

Video stars

Feb. 4th, 2011 12:04 pm
woolymonkey: (guitar chimp)
Spidermonkey is off school with the flu. So to embarrass him cheer him up, here's a video of his old band, Late Start.

They reformed by special invitation for two days in September so the Creative Arts and Media Diploma class could make videos of them. Spider wishes to make it clear that he is in no way responsible for the visuals, and that includes the wig. For those who don't know him well, he's the tall guitarist and this was before the great haircut.

There's another one too: Down in the Ground.
woolymonkey: (Default)
Well that'll teach me to make flippant posts about vengeful dead poets.

Unfortunate events behind the cut )


woolymonkey: (Default)

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