Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The sound of music

When I turned the transistor radio on in my bathroom this morning (I listen to the radio when I am having a shower and when driving which seems, when I think about it slightly odd - why not at other times?), I was not met with the usual selection of hits from the 80's, 90's and Noughties (a far cry from my regular diet of James Naughtie (sp?) and Co. on the Today Programme which greeted me in the mornings when we were living in the UK) but by classical music.

This usually means one of two things in Dubai, either you have accidentally re-tuned the radio or someone related to the ruling family has died. In this case it was one of Sheikh Khalifa's brothers and his passing - as is usual in this part of the world - is being marked by a period of mourning - 3 days in this case.

This generally means that there is no popular music on the radio and most forms of entertainment will be suspended (and on previous occasions Schools and public offices are closed although that does not seem to be the case this time). I also seem to recall that the period of mourning is also "dry" which I suspect may make the team drinks and dinner arranged for tomorrow evening in honour of a visiting colleague a rather subdued affair although we are still awaiting final confirmation that only soft drinks will be available at licensed establishments.

In any event, given the somewhat sombre music in the radio during my drive home I put on some CDs, one of which turned out to be one of the recordings that my Father had made earlier this year of him playing some of his favourite pieces. I had forgotten that I had kept this in the car (pretty much the only piece of readily accessible music equipment in our household that plays CDs) and so had a very enjoyable trip down memory lane of some of the tunes Dad played in the local pubs around Penge when in his early 20's (so around the mid-1950's). The songs are mainly taken from the musicals and form part of a wider exercise (which involved the purchase of some surprisingly small but remarkably effective recording equipment and the enlisting of the technical expertise of his friend John) to record Dad playing a selection of his favourite piano pieces divided in to various genres - popular songs from the musicals and from the 1920's to 1960's, classical music, jazz/ragtime, hymns etc. He is visiting us next week so hopefully he will have found the time to record a couple more CDs - the project has been put on hold recently as he is putting together a history of his local bowls club to mark its centenary but we have been promised further updates.

I am also pleased to report that a replacement panellist has been located for tomorrow morning's presentation so sighs of relief all round (see yesterday's post for details)!

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