27 August 2009

Back to the Chorus

Last night was the RSNO Chorus’s first rehearsal of the new season, and I was there for the first time in over a year. I had to take some time off for health reasons, but thanks to a specialist physiotherapist at my local hospital I am once again well enough to cope with some strenuous singing. It was good to be back and catch up with folk I haven’t seen for a while.

The Chorus programme for the coming season certainly looks interesting. We will be performing Rachmaninov’s The Bells in November; then there are the the usual Christmas concerts and the New Year performance of Messiah (this year conducted by Roy Goodman); Fauré’s Requiem in January (at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam); and we conclude the season with Britten’s War Requiem at the end of March.

20 August 2009

Idealist lives (and Linux may be the future)

The most commented about entries on this blog seem to be the ones about the venerable database program Idealist (see After Idealist and Idealist: an update). Just the other day, Reg Kennedy commented that he is happily using a 15-year-old version of the program on a Linux system (Ubuntu with Wine, to be precise).

As it happens, I have experimented with Idealist on Linux myself and found that it works – though not perfectly – with Linux Mint 6 and a trial version of Crossover Linux. The experiment was enlightening but not satisfying enough to make me abandon Windows in favour of Linux . . . yet. However, in the past three months, in the course of ‘updating’ Windows XP, Microsoft have changed my browser homepage from BBC to MSN (more than once), installed a Firefox add-on without my permission, and changed the update settings from ‘ask me’ to ‘install automatically’. Much more of this and I am more likely to switch to Linux than look at Windows 7.

18 August 2009

All quiet on the virtual front

It has been more than a month since I added anything to this blog. My excuses? I have been working (amongst other things on a nightmarish project – a very large multi-author academic text including foreign contributions which in the end had to be sent back for retranslation, contributions from academics who are either too busy or too important to respond to queries from mere editors, and – oh, by the way – ‘we’d like to add another chapter to it’ . . . the saga continueth!); I have been away on retreat (a few days of quiet reflection at Alnmouth Friary); and I have been madly revising the novel (spurred on by the vague possibility that an agent might be interested in it).