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Showing posts from April, 2021

MAGIC MOMENTS [293]

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Allow me to take a moment of your time to tell you that, once upon a time, a “moment” was an actual, measurable period of time, equivalent to one minute, thirty seconds.   From the eighth to the thirteenth century, at a time when people still relied on sundials to tell the time, the writings of the Venerable Bede detailed how hours were broken into four points, named “puncta,” and each of those were made of ten “momenta,” from the Latin for “moving,” as in the word “momentum.” These divisions were made in order to complete various calculations, particularly in astronomy, but would not have been used by the wider public, whose main indicators of time remained sunrise, sunset, and church bells.   This usage fell out of favour when the advent of mechanical clocks in the thirteenth century standardised the length of an hour, no longer reliant on the sun. Counting up to sixty was present in ancient civilisations even before the Babylonians, but it was the Iranian scholar Al-Biruni, in aroun

EVERYONE YOU SEE IS FULL OF LIFE [292]

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The words “breakfast television” conjure a picture of two people, one man and one woman, sitting on a sofa in front of a coffee table, in what looks like the viewers’ own living room, talking about the news, introducing topical items and interviewing celebrities, with no item lasting long enough to distract people from starting their day.     This is not so much drawing up a stereotype as taking an average: all breakfast shows on British television since 1983, when the BBC’s “Breakfast Time” became Europe’s first TV breakfast show, include these elements in some way, and despite experimentation with these elements, like Channel 4’s anarchic “The Big Breakfast,” this average is pretty much the only format that has worked.   The show most representing this format was the first to be named “Good Morning Britain,” airing on ITV from 1983 to 1992, and was produced by TV-am, which had won the licence created to provide breakfast television on the network. It is best remembered as a lightweig

I’M AN ORDINARY MAN [291]

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Original 1985 release - the orange tint is to indicate the energy of the music   I have been attempting to write a song, an entry for a competition, and I decided to write what I know: it is titled “Nostalgia’s Gonna Get You,” and crams in as many nostalgic references I can while still rhyming – Stephen Sondheim once said you should not leave half-rhymes in your songs, at the danger of giving your audience a fraction of a second of doubt. I also add in lines like, “if hauntology is your pathology,” and “if your kind of place is a liminal space.” For someone who has never properly attempted to write a song before, the result most definitely sounds like only I wrote it. Naturally, the musical arrangement needed to be based in the 1980s. To that end, I used a Yamaha Reface DX, with its “LegendEP” preset evoking their DX7’s famous “Piano 1” sound, and constructed a drum track using sampled sounds from a LinnDrum machine, most famously used by Prince on the “1999” and “Purple Rain” albums –

RETURN TO SENDER, ADDRESS UNKNOWN [290]

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Here was the idea I had: After nearly five year s, I had reached the conclusion that I could use a website address that was shorter than www.dancingwiththegatekeepers.com, ideally one that used my name. This was compounded when, after describing what I wrote to someone at work, I had to write out the site address for them, instead of confirming what top-level domain followed my name, whether it was .com, .co.uk or .net. I could also do with getting some business cards printed, but that can follow later. For the record, this is not because I am phasing out “Dancing with the Gatekeepers” from my site – if something like that comes to you in a dream, you use it, and you keep it.   Here is where we are now:   I am now the owner of the address leighspence.net - entering this into your web browser will redirect you to www.dancingwiththegatekeepers.com. I chose the top-level domain .net, one of the first such domains to be introduced on 1 st  January 1985, because of the hard T sound making i