Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Getting closer to the birds

This photo of the BBs’ binoculars evokes several parables but they won't be recorded here. Parables are so smug. What the binoculars represent is a middle-class tendency towards higher technology and reckless expenditure.

The Praktica pair (8 x 21) in the centre are quite small, a gift from Mrs BB to help explore France before we bought the house there. On the left, the Pentax (10 x 24) were a gift from me to Mrs BB also for use in France. Twitching was in full flow when I bought the RSPB (10 x 42), having just stopped short of going the whole hog with Leica. Two factors worked against Leica: half an hour’s comparison left me incapable of detecting optical values twice those of the RSPB which were half the price. Also, the hideous Bill Oddie uses Leica.

The figures rating binoculars are confusing and subjective. The initial figure represents magnification but is something of a chimera. Going much beyond 10 means "binoc-shake" is so predominant the binoculars are unusable. The second figure is the light-gathering ability (42 is quite high) and thus the clarity of the image. It was this that proved impossible to assess between the RSPB and the Leica. In fact the RSPB have allowed me to stare straight into the eye – perhaps even the brain – of a teal.

“THE REST IS NOISE” By the time it gets on to atonalism and beyond it's hilarious. This is the period when composers made music (sounds?) out of anything, provided it wasn’t tonal (ie, tuneful). Pierre Boulez bullied and fell out with everyone and now does a good job conducting other’s (tonal!) stuff - Wagner in particular. Atonalism moved on to minimalism and goodness knows what. One quote: “The tenuous situation of classical music in America was (for Partch) not a deficit but an advantage. In one essay he wrote, ‘There is thank God, a large segment of our population that never heard of J. S Bach.’” Sheer fun.

Novel progress 21/1/10. Ch. 12: 2389 words. Chs. 1 - 11: 48,792 words. Comments: Just broached the idea on which the whole novel was based.