Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Shoes, boots, lines and Shadowlands


At the beginning of March I wrote about buying a pair of shoes online and the peculiarities of some websites in terms of what they will allow and what they won't. The shoes are fine, though they're taking a bit more wearing in than I expected. Still they should also last a good deal longer than shoes that wear in within days. And there's a slight squeak to the right one, which I can't see any good reason for. Still, people know I'm coming!

Just saw the boot in the picture advertised online - it costs a good deal more than my shoes cost, and I really don't have a use for such a boot (or even a pair of them); at least I haven't so far planned on going tramping in my retirement...

The boot is something called a Lowa Banff Pro (I thought it was Iowa until I looked properly); apparently they're made in Germany, although the site I found them on is in Vermont. These boots will stand up to pretty much everything, although the site notes that they haven't been tested for 'wildlands firefighting.' Well, there you go, you can't have everything.

Anyway, I actually began this post with the intention of mentioning the little digital dictaphone we bought a couple of weeks back, mainly because we wanted to have something that would record accompaniments for the singers who come for lessons at my house (I don't give them the lessons - I just play for them). The singing teacher (and also another one for whom I record accompaniments) have for years used increasingly doddery cassette players for this purpose, but these are giving up the ghost, and it's also getting hard to find new cassettes.

The dictaphone records beautifully, though it doesn't play back music quite so well (speech is fine). However, when you play the music through the computer, the sound is good. My aim was to record the accompaniments here at home and send them to the people needing them. They could then play them off the computer or burn them to a CD.

Slightly to my surprise this has caused a little frazzlement amongst the teachers and singers. I would have thought digital recorders were pretty old hat by now, but seemingly not amongst this group (except one, who already has his own). Anyway, it's a matter of training the people in the 'new' technology, and seeing how it works. It must be superior to a creaky cassette player that tends to make everything sound under pitch because it's running slightly slow.

I've found another purpose for the digital recorder too: I've recorded my lines and cues for the play I'm rehearsing at the moment, and, while it makes me work hard and stretches my poor brain, it's effective. The cues keep coming and I have to keep being ready!

I've mentioned before that the play is Shadowlands. It's the story of C S Lewis' meeting with Joy Gresham, how they fell in love, and how she died before their marriage was more than a few years old. Anthony Hopkins starred in a (to my mind, inferior) movie version of the play, but prior to that there was a superb TV version starring Josh Ackland and Claire Bloom.

I've got the latter on videotape, but the video player dislikes our TV set (or perhaps it's the DVD player it dislikes) and has refused to come to the party in the last year or so. One of these days, before videos vanish completely from civilisation, I'll try and get the copy transferred to disc. By which time, no doubt, some other technology will have come along and made both of them redundant!
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