Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Weird and wonderful stuff!

In the Italian conversation class today we talked, among other things, about the kind of music we don't like. It's too easy if you do the question the other way around. So we had disgust at over-sentimental songs, a thorough dislike of modern classical dissonant music and, in the case of our lively teacher, a horror of what sounded like "jets" but turned out to be really just the Italian pronunciation of "jazz". Another lady and I shared the strong belief that rap should not be called music. I know all the arguments about the protest messages included in the best rap music (if it's not an oxymoron to talk about good rap music, let alone the best rap music!) but what I usually hear at top volume from stationary cars at traffic lights is NOT any kind of political or sociological protest; it's just noise. 

Looking up stuff to do with rap, I discovered that the word itself was used back in the 16th century to mean talk. It must have fallen out of use but reappeared among Afro-American youth in the 1960s, again the mean talk or communicate. So when they needed to communicate a message, they had a word: rap. I also learned the word "turntablism", which is the art of "scratching" records to produce that weird sound beloved of certain kinds of DJs. 

Phil and I decided to have a bottle of wine with our evening meal (coincidentally hearing reports in the radio about the Health Minister warning about cancer risks!). On the label I read this: 

"An intense full bodied Australian red wine with enticing flavours of cassis, mint and eucalyptus." 

I am afraid my reaction is probably not printable but it was something about that being a load of nonsense. If I wanted blackcurrant (cassis - even more pretentious that an Australian wine producer had to put it in French when there is a perfectly good English name for the fruit) I would open my jar of jam. Or possibly have some French liqueur. I'm blowed if I could taste it. It seems like good red grape stuff to me. As for mint and eucalyptus - I really don't want my wine to taste like cough sweets! 

The description went on: 

"A touch of oak has added texture to the tannin and refreshing acidity to this persistent and highly appealing wine." 

Why do they put this stuff on labels? 

It was a nice wine, very fruity and so on but really had none of the flavours claimed on the label. I wonder if I can take it back and ask for compensation! 

It was suggested that you should/could drink it with "a wide choice of dishes from sausage and mash to crispy aromatic duck". If I were to eat sausage and mash, even really good sausages like the Cumberland variety, I'm not sure I would be drinking wine. Too pretentious altogether! 

And then how pretentious is having your picture taken with celebrities? I "follow" Leonard Cohen on Facebook. Not a stalker, I simply see occasional posts relating to Mr Cohen, a singer I much admire. Today there was the story of a lady in Los Angeles who was driving along the road when she spotted an old chap in a cap and a suit strolling along: Leonard Cohen. She stopped her car, got out and approached him to confirm that it really was the singer/songwriter. "Are you Leonard Cohen?" she asked. "I used to be," he replied. Almost a line from a song. So she had her photo taken as she gave him a kiss on the cheek. How nice! 

In London it seems they have bicycle paramedics. Presumably they can weave through the traffic more easily to administer first aid. One of these was waiting for an ambulance to arrive to take her patient to hospital when they spotted David Beckham. He also spotted them, moved off and returned with hot drinks for the paramedic and her patient. So she took a selfie with her patient and David Beckham. 

Not all the rich and famous are bad. Some of them have a nicer side, if you are in the right place at the right time to discover it and take a selfie. 

And finally a man and his son took a selfie while out for a walk and found that a grinning horse had got in on the act. They entered the picture in a selfie competition and won a £2000 holiday. The owner of the horse is now claiming the right to a share in the prize, especially as no-one asked permission to,publish a photo of the horse! 

Sometimes people take things to a level of weird that is truly beyond me!

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