Monday, September 26, 2016

The return of the original Famous Five

This edition, composed on the JoBook is part of a restoration theme I touched on on Friday being linked in part to getting back in touch with some people I was close to a few years who may have some different reasons for their interest than I but is a place where I can discuss that side of reading that for me is rooted as much part with my past and present child-like sense of being as much as a love of reading, my difficulties with reading aside.
Enid Blyton was as no doubt for many of us in the British Commonwealth the author we were introduced by schools and parents keen for us to reading something other than comics and preferable to the big threat of our era, the TV in the corner which was feared for turning us into passive unthinking consumers.
She wrote for all ages although there was a age-range guide for each series so we'd start with something like Noddy or Mr Twiddle which I loved and move through to a series like Malory Towers and the Famous Five to the very top end Junior Fiction and the cusp of Young Adult Fiction and adult fiction often tied to what we studied for English Literature around our mid teens.
I'm revisiting the Famous Five series after talking about them in 2012 mainly because of they way chunks of the situations around the lives of George, Dick, Julian, Anne and Timmy the dog have been altered dramatically that they no long ring true even if the basics of the plot remain.
What I'm in process of doing is replacing these somewhat altered versions with originals from the 1950 and 60's in hardback form.
Although much of the adventure and the sense of being young are universal across each era's children inevitably it is set in the past with it starting in 1942 and ending in 1963 so as amazing as it may sound one thing is they used a different currency and with it a different sense the value of things. 
This was one of the first things to be changed following the UK adopting decimalization in 1971 was references to money and strangely enough the decision by one paperback publisher to put all the children in Jeans even though that wasn't what was worn back then  plus ignores a common theme in the novels which is how 'George' rejects femininity as expressed in dresses and ribbons in preference to the shorts of boys and boyish pursuits.
At a stroke a big part of her gender role rebellion is diminished by removing the contrast to that societies norms.

My start point in revisiting the series begins where I first met them in chronological childhood  and that's with the first three novels that were put in an omnibus edition which to be honest is how most likely I'd of been given these novels and so I got a 1964 copy of "The Famous Five Big Book".
That contains the very first story Five on a Treasure Island that sets very much the scene introducing us not just to the Island and the children but also to their families and the social order within it, not least that the adults are the Authority Figures and that the children are spanked (and expect to be) which was the norm back then.
More recent editions remove that completely and attempt to suggest a more negotiated form of parenting that simply wasn't the case and what the children  who read the stories originally would not of recognized because the lives of Julian, George, Anne and Dick where very much like theirs in that way!
Some of the copies I have do have their original dust jackets, some of which are like this - a little the worse for wear although I used transparent tape to repair a few tears on this one - that are enjoyable to look at although because so many got lost or badly damaged copies with them tend to at a premium regardless of the actual condition of the book itself.
For me then while I love the dust jackets, it's the original text and the illustrations by Elaine Soper that have never been surpassed that are the reasons why I'm replacing the other set and enjoying re-reading the stories as they were originally written as I identified with them as that child.
I don't appreciate having my memories messed with.

Famous Five 21 book set (Joanne is reading for pleasure)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Teenbeat XIIII - Elton on vinyl

A good few years back, going back the last dying days of my original laptop I did post something about my collection of Elton John cds and his "To Be Continued..." box set of 1990 of which my copy is Canadian.
During a period in the late 1980's through early 90's much of my original vinyl and tape collection of his got converted into cds some of which are specialty gold re-masters of better than regular cd quality.
Feeling the need as I got back into vinyl for some of this prolific singer/songwriters output in that form, I decided to add a couple of well chosen compilations.
 My original copy of this the 1974 Greatest Hits album was the MCA edition that had a different track selection but it was an album much played growing up and to which I have the DCC gold remaster that over twenty years on still stands out.
What's on it ten essential tracks including such vignettes as Crocodile Rock, Candle in the Wind and plaintive Border Song.
I got the UK lp which sounds like he's almost in your room singing.
 That compilation was followed up three years later by another that because he had just switch labels required some cross-label licensing that has caused issues with the US cd edition since to the point I remade the selection digitally.
The strength of this compilation was it housed on lp form a number of non album 45's such as Pinball Wizard, Philadelphia Freedom and Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds and his Rocket Records duet Don't Go Breaking My Heart with Kiki Dee which was a British #1.
I decided to get the UK version as it sounded better and between both volumes of Greatest Hits I was only missing one song, Levon, and that didn't matter so much.

Previous posts:
Rocket Man Part One
Rocket Man Part Two

Monday, September 19, 2016

Socializing and behaviour

Sometimes where you're thinking about how in any given situation we react around each other whither or not it's at home, at work or even say online in a forum it's as well to remember contrary what is often asserted, not everybody involved is in state of permanent fully realized maturity.
While to me and a good number of my closest friends we know we are not and fully see the child within come out in good ways and sometimes not so good ways such as getting stroppy or otherwise appearing rude because as littles this is what we know it what we also see is others who may not identify as we do but exhibiting similar behaviour.
Sometimes it helps if you visualize in such situation say men who might may appear to be so disgusted by the notion of being swept away by emotions as boys in their short pants they feel the need to act up to push away your emotionally driven drama seeing it as a weakness rather than engaging with it working through it to a resolution.
They're repelling something they can't cope with and that to them threatens their rumbustious sense of being, bringing to the surface their 'must hide' insecurities.
It isn't just men who may act like that so might anxious and insecure women and that can aid us in understanding them.
I think when you do see that, it can lead you to toward having a more tolerant view of obnoxious behaviour because we can now see they are still growing and developing feeling able to let more as much as we and they need to work on them.
Sometimes it appears to me, that's the problem, we see people as being "mature" we impose standards on them that they are bound to fail at when they like us are a work in progress in need of appropriate guidance and correction.

Friday, September 16, 2016


With quite a bit of activity since Friday, you may of wondered what might  of been going on here but on Friday I noted there seemed to be a flash sale on at Amazon and something got me interested
I had been talking about about technology in a less point scoring way with my BFF who uses her smartphone a lot and well as most of you know I don't use one them having a regular long lasting cellphone and a portable music player for sound, preferring to be switched off when I'm out.
I had seen and have sometimes contemplated owning a tablet but aren't very co-ordinated so swiping might be an issue and I prefer a keyboard as much as just being able to turn it on and do something appeals.
There have been a few attempts to mix small form computers with a  keyboard from  Netbooks around 2008 to about 2011, optional keyboards for tablets to so called 2 in 1 'transformer' tablets with snap off detachable keyboards.
This was on offer for five blue notes and free shipping.
It is what is called a Chromebook which in a lot of ways are a cross between the functions of a Tablet but with a keyboard and thanks to working remotely by the internet can do things like basic editing of pictures, handle documents and emails as well as use internet sites such as Facebook.
The thing they don't do is play massive games, use the iTunes store or copy music from cd but to be honest most of us use our computers through browsers 90% of the time.
You do things like writing documents using apps just like a tablet or smart phone but you get a bigger screen which is more suited to watching say a movie online.
This happens because it uses a form of Linux running through the Chrome browser to control its functions and that runs very quickly  on a less powerful processor, making the battery last around 14 hours maximum and not get too hot to touch.
This Lenovo N22 is really intended for Junior and Junior high schoolers used often in education which kind of clinched it for because it is simple to use and robust matching my needs so you could say it's the perfect JoBook.
The screen is a unspectacular 1366 x 768 but common on small laptops being an improvement on the 1080 x 600 of my older notebook which helps using most site layouts showing more without using the cursor which has a lovely bold black pointer.
There wasn't much to do upon opening it beyond confirming it had a UK layout keyboard and that I speak English, you just log onto your network (and the Wifi is really fast) and enter you Google Account which if you've use things like GMail, Blogger and GooglePlus you'll have anyway and you're away.
I manually imported my bookmarks from Pale Moon to Chrome (and you only can use Chrome as a browser on it).
It has 2 USB 3.0 sockets, a HDMI connector  for a monitor, a headphone jack and SD Card holder because as supplied it only has 32gb but you can add up to 64gb and then  there's cloud storage too.
Google Chrome looks after updating itself for you without the seven hundredth update keeping you up all night and shockingly can be used after 10 seconds and switches off after about 3 seconds which makes it ideal for checking your emails or social media accounts.
For what I want it for, it's ideal.

Monday, September 12, 2016

A somethings extra post

After a couple of music centred posts  after a weekend of studying we have something different!

Wee Malkey, one of the Highland heroes of Shougal McDougal hops, skips and jumps over the stream to make an appearance all the way from Inverness this week from upstairs to see you all. I've no idea what happened to his bagpipes. Mebbe they were taking way for medical examination or something???
I got 90% on my English this weekend and have a class excercise involving doing some research into Thanksgiving Day and just why it's marked so much even in the modern age.
I also got from Mom some lovely just above the ankle pink soft woollen slippers just in time for the fall and winter which are much appreciated.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Cleaning time

Funny kind of a day yesterday with lots of showers  and intermittent sun so I didn't get outdoors which wasn't my idea of fun at all but there was something I decided to do outside of a bit of colouring.
Anyone who has records know like a cd,  they can get a bit dirty but while you only normally tell if a cd is dirty if say it skips, with a record you may hear crackles or a rustling sound even if it looks clean because while surface may be, the groove the music is stored in, isn't.
So it isn't long before you start looking at how to clean it, often scratching ones head as you see anything that looks like a automobile windscreen wiper to big machines costing several hundred pounds being offered that proper to do it
I have tried many ways to do it, sometimes mixing my own cleaning mixture up but there's a simple kit that just does it and it's inexpensive cos you provide the elbow grease!
The Vinyl Revival cleaning kit available on Amazon and Ebay provides all you actually need in simple box.
You get two spray bottles available in different quantities one being the active cleaning solution that you spray on to the disc and wipe on, the other is a spray to rinse that off taking the dirt and dust away together with any trace of the cleaner, wiping it dry.
Between two to four sprays of each work out fine.
The cleaner doesn't contain any alcohol so doesn't dry or risk damaging through frequent use your records vinyl.
It comes with two cloths, although you buy spares easily, the green one is for putting your record on and the blue one has even thinner micropores for spreading the cleaner and applying after rising it off.
I find this very effective, using it to cure the rustling noise between tracks on my recently acquired Abandoned Luncheonette lp from the early nineteen-seventies leaving sounding quieter than some new records!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Teen Beat XIII - Hall and Oates

One thing here I do talk about is about music and what is termed "Blue-eyed soul", soul as performed by 'white' people is something I've always liked as much as I find categorizing music by race of  its artists and performers disagreeable as a blind friend of mine said once "How'd you tell by listening anyway?" and like Jay Kay of funksters Jamiroiquai put it when questioned why he should perform in a black style got pretty angry, I object strongly to being racially stereotyped too.
Getting back to the subject, one of most popular and  best artists in this genre for much of the 70's and 80's were Hall and Oates who originate from Philadelphia in the state of Pennsylvania  and like much of my music collection what were my  lp records and tapes by them became shiny new compact discs.
As I'm getting back to playing more vinyl for enjoyment, I was looking for a good compilation covering those essential singles as Sara Smile, Private Eyes, I Can't Go For That and Out Of Touch and a few minor hits.
One obvious starting point was 1983's Rock 'n' Soul Part 1 but that's short at 47 odd minutes and features a live recording of Wait For Me rather than the single.
This set coming on originally on cd seemed to fit the bill and as issued on double lp by RCA Legacy this year was available new quite cheaply so I bought that.
 This covers everything including the Say It Isn't So and Adult Education  45's from Rock 'n' Soul part 1 and three 45's from 1984's Big Bam Boom album.
This new European pressed lp sounds really good and is very quiet.
 For licensing reasons that compilation album has nothing from their short early 70's period on Atlantic records not least the hit 45 She's Gone so to fill the gap I picked up used the original UK lp version of 1974's Abandoned Luncheonette album that mixes more country influences with then then prevalent PhillySoul as in She's Gone which sold well on reissue in 1976

l did get on super audio cd playable on regular players Rock and Soul Part 1 which does sound much better than the original cd ever did and transferred it to my Fiio music player.