Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Flash Compline: 9.45pm, Wednesday 30-11-11.

There will be a Flash Compline service at 9.45pm on Wednesday, 30th November, outside St James Garlickhythe, near Mansion House Tube station. Here is a map.

Music: We will use this setting of Compline. I will have a small number of spare copies, which you can purchase from me for £2 if you want to keep them, or borrow if you don't. Don't worry if you aren't a confident singer -- follow along with the text and see what you can pick up. Everyone is welcome. If we don't have enough confident singers we can always say the liturgy instead.

This setting uses the words from Common Worship Traditional Language Compline. Various smartphone apps for this exist and it is available from the C of E website here on the day, if you're worried we won't have enough music or you'd rather just use the words.


Friday, 25 November 2011

Please can I keep it? It followed me home...

I was feeling a little unfocused and restless yesterday so decided to go for a walk after lunch.

I wandered past the charity shop on Leytonstone High Road, as I sometimes do, and decided to have a peek inside.

I came home with a musical instrument. This is why I shouldn't be allowed out of the house unsupervised...

At first glance, it just looks like a box.

A box with strange protrusions and fittings, mind, but a box all the same.

But this is what happens when you get it open!

The "lid" goes all the way vertical...

...then folds backward. Release the little metal tab at the top...

...and you get a bellows!

The bellows are operated with one hand while the other plays the 3/4-size keys.

I don't have enough hands to play and pump and hold the camera.

Brother James's Air by artsyhonker

From what the internet tells me, this is a very simple portable harmonium. More complicated ones have drone stops which, when activated, sound a drone note constantly, and some also have couplers or even separate sets of reeds to give various different textures.

I'm quite pleased with this: I finally have a keyboard instrument that can play more than one note at once which fits on my bicycle. The fact that it doesn't require electricity is an added bonus. I think it will be really good for folk music and some bits of community music, and it suits me a lot better than trying to learn the guitar would (though that is still on the wishlist). But to be honest, I probably would have bought it anyway; I have a soft spot for weird and wonderful instruments, even if they're not all that practical.

There are a few very low and very high notes where the tuning is a bit of an issue, and I'm wondering exactly what is involved in maintenance of an instrument like this. It looks like flathead screwdrivers are required for taking it apart, but I haven't done more than give it a superficial dusting.

(Some of the alignment is messed up in this post, but to fix it I would have to re-upload all of those pictures, so I'm not going to. Sorry. It's staying crooked.)

Thursday, 17 November 2011

St Andrew's Carol Service

This service will draw on a mix of Advent and Christmas repertoire, including the Advent Prose and Berlioz's Shepherd's Farewell, as well as a West Gallery carol and traditional hymns.

There will also be a rehearsal at 3.30pm on 11th December. All are welcome to join the choir. If you can't make all the rehearsals but would still like to take part, please speak to me.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Stuck in the middle with You

Various folks have blogged on David Cameron's favourite Bible passage, and the comments that this is the "central message" of the Bible. I did enjoy Archdruid Eileen's viewpoint.

I suppose it isn't a definitive answer, but apparently someone asked Jesus what the central message of the Bible is. Or at least, the greatest commandment.

I shouldn't like to argue.