Wulf's Webden

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Wednesday 17 December 2014
by Wulf

Disappointingly Good

Hunting through the library the other day, my eye was caught by a Patricia Cornwell novel, All That Remains, that boasted the cover blurb “Cornwell still does it better than anyone else” (Daily Mail). I used to eagerly seek out her books about Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta but found that the series became increasingly overblown as she tried to up the ante. The pursuit of justice, peppered with some science, was left behind and when I decided that Scarpetta had jumped the shark, I started to ignore the rows of Cornwell novels.

Was it possible that she was back on form? It was a free library, a small book and the back cover synoposis and first couple of pages seemed promising so I took a punt and have to say that I’ve been enjoying it. The cast of leading characters was familiar but seemed to have settled down into a more comfortable maturity – Scapetta’s sidekick, Marino, was even described as beginning to look old – and I pressed on as the mystery unravelled.

However, a few things were nagging away at my mind. How comes niece Lucy was still at school? I thought she’d shaved her head and was jumping out of helicopters as super-spy with a sideline in computer genius? My memory may be fuzzy on that point but I got another jolt when I questioned why Kay Scarpetta would be using a pay phone when lost in the countryside rather than at least trying her cell phone. Detective neurons kicked in and I checked the inside cover where I discovered that the book was originally published in 1992; I was reading the 2014 reprint of the 2010 reissue. D’oh!

On the positive side, I haven’t read this one before and it’s good. I might even be tempted to check out one of the more recent books in the series. It is just a shame that it is probably a buried treasure rather than a whole fresh seam of gold to mine.

Tuesday 16 December 2014
by Wulf

Past it

That was a busy weekend but I think I’m now almost over the Christmas preparation hump – a couple of packages dispatched, cards beginning to flow out and the last of the presents at least on order and expected imminently. So now I can turn my mind to some music activities over the next few days and then, possibly, even rest at the weekend!

Friday 12 December 2014
by Wulf

Darkest Peru

Thanks to a kind gift, Jane and I recently got some vouchers that will allow us to go to a couple of cinema shows. Today we saw Paddington, which I would happily classify under amazing. I think there was a TV series of Michael Bond’s stories on when I was growing up but the tale of the bear from Darkest Peru arriving in London and joining the Brown family was certainly part of my cultural heritage. Paul King’s adaptation could have been twee, childish or any number of derogatory adjectives but I came away deeply impressed.

It is humourous: “Mr Brown, are you putting those earbrushes in your mouth? That’s disgusting!” says Paddington after a a disagreement from the night before. It is beautiful: Paddington sees a black and white film of his relatives in Peru and is transported into a technicolour moment of memory of halcyon days. It also manages to be surprisingly profound; I can’t imagine that the pro-immigration message puts it on UKIP’s list of top family DVDs from 2014 but, given that everything we watch influences our views, I think this is one to see.

I’m still in two minds about whether the big screen cinema experience hasĀ  a future when home entertainment has evolved so much but would have no qualms about recommending this excellent film for your viewing at the earliest possible opportunity.

Thursday 11 December 2014
by Wulf

A Short History of… Bass!

Thanks to Benjamin’s Bass Guitar Blog, I came across this amazing video this morning:

Running at about eight minutes long, it would be fascinating if the history of bass playing from the viola da gamba to modern masters was composed of sound clips with a narrative. What lifts this one up several more notches is that it is a contiguous performance, with the bassist leading the way from piece to piece and even instrument to instrument. Possibly there was some splicing together of different takes and you can’t tell how many tries they had at getting it right but it gets the thumbs up from me.

Go learn your history!

Wednesday 10 December 2014
by Wulf


I’ve recently started a postgraduate course on data management with the Open University and the first deadline loomed up surprisingly fast! That’s why I missed a couple of days blogging last week – I had some more pressing writing to turn my mind to. The official deadline is noon tomorrow but I think I’ve polished the work as much as I can, with formatting, references and all the supporting information hopefully correctly in place.

I’ve still got three more assignments to do for the course but I think that, for the next one, I’ll try drafting each section as a revision exercise when I finish the relevant week of study. I would like to finish early, have time to reflect and still not cut it too fine.

Anyway, one down…

Tuesday 9 December 2014
by Wulf

All a-quiver

It was the first outing tonight for my new double bass case for a String Project rehearsal. It worked well: I slightly miss the central side handle but it has enough other handles to grab onto and I’m sure I’ll get used to it. I also discovered a hidden bonus – inside the long bow pocket is an extra padded case to give additional protection. My bow isn’t fantastic but I’m glad of some extra help to look after it.

At the same time I got the case I also got what is known as a bow quiver. This is a long leather pouch that ties onto the front of the bass and gives somewhere to put the bow when not using it. Often there only a short rest to switch from pizzicato to arco but this makes it a lot easier. It also removes the tension that I was feeling coming up to transition as I don’t have to look for rests or open string notes where I can pick up the bow and then struggle to keep playing with it until it comes into play.

So, I think a couple of worthwhile investments to support my hobby.

Monday 8 December 2014
by Wulf

As you expected

As you probably expected the last bit of yesterday’s post was purely frivolous; there was no late night knock on the door. The rest still adds up though.