Category Archives: everyday writing

Desert Island thoughts

I occasionally listen to episodes of Desert Island Discs from the extensive archive (available as a podcast). It’s fascinating to hear the people who were at the forefront of culture when I was growing up. At the stage of life I’m at it’s bewildering to try and engage with actual contemporary culture, so the relatively calmer pace of things portrayed through the amiable chats on Desert Island Discs is appealing.

This morning I listened to interviews with Tom Lehrer and Ronnie Scott. Both of them, when pressed to select just one of their eight chosen discs, chose classical music. Lehrer took a duet from Richard Strauss’s ‘Der Rosenkavalier’ and Scott took the opening of Maurice Ravel’s ‘Daphnis et Chloe’. Isn’t that interesting?

Another thing that Ronnie Scott said was in explaining that he hadn’t included any of the big names of saxophone — Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins — as he could hear a lot of their influence in the sax players of the time. As an example he includes a recording by Charles McPherson. He does select John Coltrane’s beautiful rendition of ‘In A Sentimental Mood’, accompanied by Duke Ellington on piano. (It’s a great arrangement…I must transcribe the piano part.)

Tonight I’m off into town to listen to my friend Jennifer McMahon singing with a trio, which should be really good!

Getting back into the habit

A while ago I heard Liz Moody taking on a podcast and one of the things she mentioned was cold showers. If I’ve tried this in the past it’s always been rather unpleasant and I’ve struggled to “get it” and have therefore given up as soon as I’ve begun. Liz’s slight twist on it is that she has her shower as normal and then, at the end, she turns the water as cold as possible and finishes with a cold blast.

It’s meant to be good for your hair and she also mentioned that concentrating the water on the back of your neck promotes the production of brown fat, which is apparently a good thing. It being the Easter holidays, I decided to just give it a go as my regular, school-centred routine was suspended. She said just do a few seconds at first and gradually build it up. Also, crucially, she said to do it for 28 days before deciding if it had worked or not.

Well, I’m still at it! Four months later. It’s just part of my shower routine now. I’m disappointed when I’m staying somewhere and the shower doesn’t go particularly cold.

I’m going to try the same with my blog. My long neglected blog. I’m just going to write a bit every day. Let’s see if this habit will stick, too…