SENSE OF WORDS.
There's a sea of thoughts crashing on the ether we call the Internet, and I'm here trying to shape them into sense. The net result, of course, is that sense is probably the very last thing they become.
It started like this.
In the beginning was a computer, old before its time, creaking with geriatric chips bubbling under the surface, and I found MySpace on it.
To start with I loved it. MySpace, that is. I wrote stuff: stories, opinions, poems, whatever took my fancy, and posted it – and slowly a wonderful group of Internet friends gathered around my first tentative thoughts.
One of them was Dorothy.
The progression was simple.
Thoughts by me, in words, little sagas in which I rather suspect desolation figured prominently. Comments by her. More words, more comments.
Telephone calls. Long telephone calls. Here's the picture: me lying on my settee watching the television in the evening and she in her home many miles away watching the same programme. Conversation. Getting to know: getting to understand. Getting to appreciate. Meeting in Newark (UK). (Half-way town, me going from mine and she from hers, rain, umbrellas, lots of laughs).
Then falling (dared I say?) in love. At our ages. Silly. Ridiculous. But I did and do love her like never before. Getting married, me to her and she to me – and now, five years on, perfection.
Meanwhile MySpace withered and became an ancient gnarled thing trying to be young with hip music and a hipper corporate identity. No room for Donovan or Dylan there, then. No room for me any more.
Gather – a smaller blogging site that runs at snail's pace but presented my stuff well enough for me.
And that's about it.
I love thoughts. I love words. I love interaction. I love being one with the great big Ether in which seas of thoughts crash and every so often a bit of sense comes washing onto the crinkled sands of life.
And I'm here.
The thing is, the big question: will I stay? I dunno. It's up to the ether, I guess.
© Peter Rogerson 01.05.13
MAKING SENSE OF WORDS.
It's some time since I lasted posted anything on MySpace, but as the other site I use is getting increasingly difficult to both access and use I might return "home" like a recalcitrant prodigal.
This is my favourite mechanical gramophone, bought after my famous collection was started!
For me, it all started many years ago at a boot sale when I spent not very much on a record player.
I had a few 45s and LPs and I thought it would be nice to have something to play them on, especially something that cost not very much. But when I got it home and examined it more closely I discovered that, though electric, it was only capable of playing records of one speed (or a close variant of that speed): 78 rpm.
I had no 78 rpm records. Do you remember them? Before vinyl, they were pressed into brittle and easily damaged shellac, so despite the vast quantities that were created between the turn of the twentieth century and 1960 when production finally ceased, relatively few have survived.
Their longevity as records wasn't enhanced by a children's television programme that encouraged creative little ones to heat them up and bend them into fruit bowls. Mummy, the presenters (probably) said, would love a black shellac fruit bowl! They don't get taught things like that these days because of health and safety concerns, so any surviving 78 rpm records may have a chance of surviving intact and playable a little longer.
Since then I have accumulated quite a pile of old 78s and a couple of proper wind-up machines to play them on!
Anyway, that's when it all started.
What, you may ask, was "it all"?
Well, I do have a fair sized collection of 1950s 78s, having pompously decided to collect the "soundtrack of my childhood" and subsequently created a list of all UK top 40 records since the charts began in 1953. It was a big year, was 1953: the present queen had her coronation, I had my tenth birthday – and the charts were established. Three fairly significant events there, and no mistake!
But as my collection of 78s grew and finding new ones was becoming unbelievably difficult without paying through the nose for them, I got diverted.
What is it in a man who is approaching that famous "certain age" that makes him take an undue interest in time?
This is possibly my best mechanical watch and I really ought to wear it more often.
To start with it was watches. You can buy brand new watches, the quartz variety, for almost nothing and they are astoundingly accurate, but the second hand turns round in monotonous one-second jerks. You can visit flea markets and so on and, if you're lucky, buy a fifty or sixty year old mechanical (ie wind up) watch for not much more, and its second hand will be of the gentle sweep variety though the chances of it being anywhere near as accurate as the cheap quartz watches you (if you are anything like me) have accumulated in indecent quantities are approaching zero. There are, indeed, scores of watches out there and you forget, for the moment, that you only have one left wrist and consequently hardly need a tin filled with watches-in-waiting.
But that's to start with.
It doesn't take long for you to discover the rich variety of clocks that abound, and before we moved to a tiny home a year ago Dorothy and I had accumulated far too many. She was tolerant, I was obsessive. I guess I still am, and if her tolerance gets stretched too far I remind her that it was she who bought the cuckoo clock when we were in the Black forest a few years ago.
There can be few things more loveable than mechanical clocks that actually keep an approximation of the correct time, chime resonantly every hour and tick without deviation for eight days at the time. And they invariably have wonderful time-enhanced wooden cases: nothing plastic, nothing tacky or cheap.
This lovely oak-cased clock (circa 1940) was actually bought by me from a clock enthusiast who uses the tea-room of the Sibsey Trader Windmill as a show-room for his collection of clocks.
And this is the very windmill with the tea room off-picture, to the right.
All night long in this little house the cuckoo makes its spirited hourly call from just outside the bedroom door, a magnificent 31 day clock (inexpensive, probably made yesterday in the Far East) dongs its echo from the porch and elsewhere, out of earshot, an oak-cased wall clock replies, unheard but none-the-less stentorian.
That's time, that is: our lives, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock.
It's good to know that it's being measured.
© Peter Rogerson 03.01.13
Current mood:loved........LIGHTS IN THE SKIESThe moon on a puddleis shiny and whitewhilst my brain in a muddleis never quite right.
The sun like a dragonbreathes fire from the skieswhilst ale in a flagonturns truth into lies.
The stars in the night skyparade in the darkwhilst awaiting the light sky -and brutal and stark.
The clouds up above usobscure all that lightwhilst a lover may love usthroughout the black night.
And moist lips may kiss us,fingers fumbling and all,and no-one will miss us,no-one will call.
© Peter Rogerson 16.04.10
Current mood:amused........ANTIQUE DOZING
Over the past few years I've become obsessed by the many antiques programmes that abound on television, particularly on the BBC. It all started with the Antiques Roadshow in which people take their treasures to a team of experts and expectantly wait for them to be told they're worth millions. Most aren't, of course, and most never even make it to the television screen. They're anonymous pieces of tat that their owners over-value in financial terms, but maybe under-value in personal terms. I mean, if a particular pot has been in the family for five generations and can be traced back for well over a century and a half of standing in the same cupboard in the same house then it's just got to have a huge personal value even if the expert says it's worth less than the price of a pint of best bitter.
I don't know what it is about antiques except they're a concrete, tactile connection with the past. When I was a boy we didn't have many possessions because we were hardly the wealthiest family on the block, but there were two things I remember with genuine affection, two wonderful, wooden things, that I'd love to buy back if I came upon their like again.
There's the clock that stood, throughout my childhood and until my mother died, on the mantelpiece. It was wooden, probably didn't cost the Earth though to was better than the clocks in other kids' houses, and it chimed the hour and each quarter using the world famous Westminster chime. It had a square face and I've told times many how I disgraced myself by trying to clean it only to partially obliterate part of the number five and the little lines that marked the minutes next to that number, and tried to repaint them from a tin of black enamel paint. My wiggly lines probably still exist somewhere on the planet! It was a marvellous clock and it needed winding up once a week. Since I have reached this certain age I've been looking at clocks that might be from the same production line as that old treasure, and have bought one that is vaguely like it, only it only bongs on the hour (with the relevant number of bongs), and on the half hour with a single bong. So it's not exactly the same even though it does share the face that I remember.
Then there's the radiogram. It consisted of a gramophone with cabinet for records, with a separate radio on top making the whole thing, from floor to top, taller than I was even when I was twelve (I think), and that was a darned good radio capable of picking up all kind of stations, even on short wave. It used a length of bell wire for an aerial, I remember, one that was tucked into the little groove along the top a picture rail that ran round the room about a foot from the ceiling. The gramophone part was almost obsolete when it was made, only playing 78 rpm records and having a pick-up that was truly heavy, using the same kind of steel needles required by earlier wind-up models. But back in the forties when my parents bought it there was only the one speed of record and provided you changed the needle regularly the records retained their clarity. I say it was bought in the forties because the radio had a “magic eye”, a valve that glowed brighter if it was tuned into a station properly, and I do believe that device was a wartime development. Anyway, if I were to chance on the identical radiogram and if Dorothy had her back turned for a moment – and if I could afford it – I'd buy it even in the knowledge that everything's going to be digital soon and it would stop working, and anyway it's fifty years since the last 78 rpm record was pressed, so that's another redundancy. But I'm unlikely to find one. The one in our front room was the only one I ever saw.
But I was writing about the Antiques Roadshow, and neither clock nor radiogram are what you'd technically call antiques. They may be collectable, but they've got to be around for quite a while longer before they'd enter the category of antiques. But the Antiques Roadshow isn't the only kid on the block, so to speak.
There's Flog It, another BBC programme in which members of the public take their treasures along to be valued, and this time the experts' valuations are put to the test because the treasures are taken to a real auction and sold. Unlike the Antiques Roadshow, though, Flog It rarely hosts truly valuable treasures. But it is fascinating seeing the way commonplace objects from not so long ago have accrued unbelievable value compared with what they cost when they were new. Take the name Clarice Cliff, for instance – a talented designer of pots and ceramics in the earlier part of the twentieth century. I'm not so keen on most of her stuff, but it is in demand and can command silly prices at auction.
And there are other programmes on the television that revolve around antiques and collectables. The competition element in Bargain Hunt combined with the eccentricity of its hugely knowledgeable presenter can be fascinating.
All that I have written so far is a general introduction to what I planned to be my big question: if I am so fascinated by these programmes, and if the subject so interests me, why is it that I invariably find myself dozing off and snoozing through many of them? I do, you know. In particular the Antiques Roadshow. They'd have to repeat a single programme half a dozen times in order to guarantee me a fair chance of seeing all of it!
© Peter Rogerson 16.04.10