The FOMM alt-Christmas playlist

The first thing you’ll notice about my carefully curated alt-Christmas playlist is the absence of Six White Boomers and The 12 Days of Christmas. I’ll walk out of the room if someone starts on that tedious epic. I was intending to write a Grinch-like piece this week, but instead decided to share my eclectic view of the world through an alt-Christmas playlist. What set me off on this tangent, dear reader, was making visits to…

Continue reading

The autoharp, recorders and other rites of spring

As today is ostensibly the first day of Spring, I am cleaning up the music room, starting with a dusty old autoharp. Honestly, I don’t remember where I got it from, I can’t tune it and don’t know how to play the autoharp in the first place. Yet it sits in the bottom of the cupboard, gathering cobwebs. Occasional bursts of enthusiasm about learning to play the instrument have all faded away. Like morning dew,…

Continue reading

One drink too many

The smell of Scotch makes me want to puke. That’s an astonishing thing for a Scot to say. Let’s call it a physical memory; traces of a bender with no recollections to go with the nauseating smell. Our State of Origin friends gathered on Wednesday for food, wine, conviviality and (as it turned out), a fairly subdued evening as our team was soundly beaten. I’d forgotten to get some sparking mineral water or what we…

Continue reading

A white Christmas for some

Composer Irving Berlin had a habit of staying up all night, writing songs. According to Mark Steyn’s A Song for the Season, Berlin summonsed his secretary one morning in 1940 saying: ‘Grab your pen and take down this song. I just wrote the best song I’ve ever written — heck, I just wrote the best song that anybody’s ever written!’ That tune was White Christmas, which if you think about it, must have been a challenging…

Continue reading