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The Titfield Thunderbolt Hue and Cry Whisky Galore The Man in The White Suit Previous Previous Next Next
The Titfield Thunderbolt
Heisenberg might have stayed here
qatsi
Marketing gave us their re-branding presentation today. They really didn't attempt much justification for the exercise, phrases such as "we've got some money" and "our branding looks very 90s" were about as strong as it got.

So white is the new black; and something called "light blue" is in, although no, marketing couldn't tell us what the RGB values were for this important colour. The fact that there were only images for half the product suite and no though at all to the fact that there was more than changing the splash screen in making the product look less dated hadn't occured to them.

And because our stated ambition is now Global DominationTM, we have to use US English. There was, almost, a riot. I have no problem with Americans using it if they must, though it grates when I have to read its more egregious examples, but I'm darned if I have to split infinitives myself. Fortunately as a developer I'm not expected to have any ability to express myself in written English anyway, so I shall claim a blind side to my skills in writing in the American style. And if we really are targetting Global DominationTM then we should be writing in Chinese.

I have heard that I am now on marketing's radar - presumably so that they can keep a safe distance away, which works for me. I've spent the last five years being told not to do things the best way, or even the right way, and now I'm being told not to write in my own language. And they wonder why my motivation is low and my sarcasm is high.
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qatsi
Book Review: Beethoven - the Music and the Life, by Lewis Lockwood
It must be difficult to write a biography of someone such as Beethoven. Hasn't it all been written already? Is there really anything more to say? Apart from the occasional rediscovery of works and artefacts, there doesn't seem much scope for truly original thought or revelation.

Fortunately, I haven't read every previous text on Beethoven, so this problem does not matter. Lockwood's book is engaging and interesting. The book covers the biographical basics, though particularly in his later years this aspect becomes thinner and is overtaken by discussion of the music. There are two downsides to this. Firstly, his ambition stated in the preface is to provide a book that is balanced between Beethoven's life and works. Secondly, allegedly not to intimidate the reader, examples in musical score are omitted from the book and accessible on the publisher's website instead. The departure on the first point is bearable as it's a fine balancing act to tread. I suspect that the reasons for the second may be more financial: music scores are expensive to print because of the low density per page. Frankly, the depth of some of the musical discussion is sufficient that it should intimidate readers who can't read music scores anyway. Unfortunately, it is not typical to read the book whilst sat at the computer, so these web footnote examples are of very limited practical use.

During Radio 3's "Beethoven experience" last year I noted the number of minor and unremarkable works Beethoven wrote (in contrast, the "Bach Christmas" was much more consistent in its quality). Lockwood's book offers the explanation that Beethoven was a musical hoarder: nothing was ever completely discarded in case it became useful later on, and many trivial pieces were dashed off for friends or as compensatory freebies for the late arrival of promised works. This also explains the occasional out-of-sequence opus numbers given to works published much later than they were written and the many without opus number, which Beethoven regarded as lesser works.

When Lockwood discusses music with which I am familiar, what he has to say is interesting, but I admit that when the music is not familiar, it is easy to lose momentum. This is not a criticism of the book but should be considered as an incentive to become more familiar with Beethoven's string quartets and the Missa solemnis.

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Current Music: Beethoven - "Rasumovsky" quartets

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