The Herman's Hermits concert at the Birchmere Friday night was great! Peter Noone's voice still sounds good - he's still a tenor. He doesn't sound too different than he did in the Sixties... and he does a lot of talking during his show, a lot of it was pretty funny. At one point an audience member loaned him one of his old Lps, which had a big shot of his head as he was in 1965, so he paraded around on stage holding it up to his face while singing. His sense of himself, his added weight and his age (61) was rather endearing. We all age. If you're in the rock business, trying to conceal the fact is foolish.
Yes, the crowd was middle aged. How middle-aged? Cari was in the restroom at one point and heard a couple of women talking about their skin cancer. Another chimed in about having brain cancer, and so Cari mentioned once having breast cancer. That's how middle-aged the crowd was. Cari and I were among the younger cohort in the Birchmere that night.
And yes, there was a crowd. At first we thought we'd be getting there way early, showing up an hour and fifteen minutes before showtime. Wrong! The place was almost filled by the time we arrived. We got decent seats, however, and got a good view of the stage and performers.
I learned that there are nine hits that HH had that I recognized; not a bad career. So I got on itunes and bought a retrospective CD.
The other thing I did over the weekend is play with my new iPod. We had bought it for my son's wedding background music a couple of years ago, and he sent it to me as a Father's Day present. (He now uses his iPhone.) So I've been jamming my mp3s onto it - what fun! iTunes is clunky, but it's an excellent organization tool; I now fully understand the folder structures, something I've been wrestling with on mp3 players for years. I'm now making sense of all those mp3s I've collected over the years, and am configuring my iPod just so, with the right album designations, photos and so on. You know how guys used to obsess over their record collections, putting them in a certain order? (I always did that.) The iPod is the 21st Century manifestation of that.
It's a common sentiment from people who own iPods, but I'm surprised and pleased that I can find and play one song in a huge collection of music in a matter of seconds - amazing.
Mine has 80 GB of drive space, so I won't be filling it very quickly (unless I decide to load a bunch of Top Gear episodes onto it.) It's a far cry from the little Samsung 1 GB mp3 player I've been using for the past few years...
Over the weekend we also bought a new teak bench for our front porch. We had a cheap pine one from IKEA that I smashed into smithereens by sitting on it on an uneven lawn surface last year. I missed my front porch bench - one of the things I like to do is sit there at night and feel the evening breezes, watch the feral cats wander around and listen to the sounds of the evening (including, of course, the occasional train). So last night I did it while listening to Julie London sing, "How Long has this Been Going On?" a small ensemble torch song masterpiece. It's recorded in mono, but recorded very well - it sounds like she's in the room. (Or in your head, if you're listening to it with headphones.) But don't take my word for it - listen to it!
Ahhh... Julie London. A better torch singer never lived.
I mentioned that my son Ethan and I did the Civil War reenactment at New Market last month. He wanted a photo of himself in uniform using his iPhone - he submitted it and it got used in engadget.com, here. I like the caption, "Are you telling me I'm not eligible for an upgrade until 1865!?" - Ha!
I'm halfway through "Quincunx." It's okay, but it isn't quite the book I had hoped it would be, an Umberto Eco style mystery like "the Name of the Rose" or "Foucault's Pendelum." It's essentially a Dickens knock off. I was concerning pitching it and not investing any more time on it, but I'm rather interested to see how our young protagonist overcomes all his hurdles and challenges.
I also watched "Fellini - Satyricon" (1969) over the weekend, which is to say that I tried to watch it. I found it pretty slow going and sort of blew through it in fast forward. Roger Ebert called it a masterpiece. (Well, he did in 1970. In 2001 he wrote, "Today I'm not so sure it's a masterpiece, except as an expression of the let-it-all-hang-out spirit of the 1970 world that we both then occupied." Give the man some credit for honesty.) Anyway, I call it boring. Yes! Despite all that gore and sex. I suppose it would help if I read some of the Petronius that "inspired" it, but I seem to want to spend my Classics time reading Greeks rather than Romans. I liked Fellini's "La Strada" (1954), "Il Bidone" (1955) and "Nights of Cabiria" (1957). As I didn't like Satyricon, "Juliet of the Spirits" (1965) and couldn't sit through "8 1/2" (1963), I guess I can say I much prefer early Fellini to later Fellini. So at least I know that much.
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