Full Circle does Bollywood

Posted by jerry on June 28th, 2007 — Posted in Journal

It’s true! An Australian band playing Irsh music will be playing at the Bollywood-Link multicultural festival on Saturday 🙂

We shall be at the Bankstown Town Hall and its immediate surrounds in Sydney for a day and evening of music and dancing. Also playing are Mothers of Intention and Nasheli Rakkasa.


You might even see us in a Bollywood movie coming to your screens down the track a little.

An untold story

Set in 1700 – 1800s, Forgiveness & Forgotten, tells of British travel across the Indian and Pacific Oceans, it is a story of kidnapping, recruitment and about the false promise of a new way of life for the Indian people of Fiji. It uncovers the real story of the struggle by native and Island people in those days, that is today almost forgotten!

This will be a Bollywood/Colonial Australian movie full of intrigue and struggle – and maybe a few Hindu gods too!

Anyhow it promises to be a great weekend – come and see us play!


The missing app from Google Apps

Posted by jerry on June 25th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, Music, New media, Technology

Google Apps has brought Office software (docs and spreadsheets) into Web 2.0 with its browser-based editing suites. And Picasa offers photo editing and sharing. SecondLife has 3D modelling tools. Even YouTube has online video editing software, but there is still a gap.

We seem to live in such a visual society that the audio side is deeply neglected – Where is the YouTube or Picasa for musicians or podcasters? Surely the soundtrack to our lives is just as important as the visual!

Sure there are free downloadable software (such as Audacity, MutliTrackStudio, Anvil Studio and GarageBand which comes with the new Macs) for specific platforms for sound editing, but the current crop is neither browser-based nor platform-indpendent.

As the 3D web takes off I can see increasing demand for people to be able to record music, and ambient soundscapes for SecondLife and to be able to stream those sounds straight into these virtual worlds.

So here is my challenge to Google – how about developing the browser-based GarageBand [tm] for the masses?


Boulton and Watt beam engine – the museum experience

Posted by jerry on June 23rd, 2007 — Posted in Journal, Steam, Technology

In London recently I visited one of my favourite haunts – the London Science Museum, where they have an excellent collection of steam engines, among other things. On a previous visit I managed to coincide with a live steam day when they had several of the engines operating under steam.

One of the most impressive of these is the Boulton and Watt rotative engine – a beam engine of substantial proportions.

Boulton and Watt engine

On that day I was spellbound by the awesome ‘breathy’ sound of the engine and the impressive sight of the huge flywheel spun up to around 300 revolutions per minute. The sensation of speed and fury was palpable – a really immersive way to come to grips with the impact these engines would have made on a public unused to artificial power on such a scale.

I was disappointed on the most recent visit to find that there was no sign these engines had been recently operated under steam, so they were relegated to static displays that most people hurried past to get to other parts of the museum. Even the reorganisation into themes – which may be fine for a half-hour glance at the highlights – meant there wasn’t a good sense of how these machines evolved from fairly basic low-pressure engines to highly sophisticated efficient and high-power engines that drove the industrial revolution until well into the middle of last century.

Mine hauling engine

While museum practice has changed markedly over the past decade, and mostly for the better, I certainly hope that future museum-goers will have the opportunity to see these machines in action so the sights are enriched by the sounds of the great beam engine – or the almost silence of the huge red mine lifting engine.

In the meantime – Australia’s Powerhouse Museum in Sydney actually has the world’s oldest Boulton and Watt rotative engine – built in 1785 and used for 102 years in the Whitbread Brewery in London.

Here is the engine in operation

Moments of timeless pleasure :-)

Posted by jerry on June 21st, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media

Moments of timeless pleasure. That’s the slogan on the treasure trove of Ghirardelli chocolate that leapt unannounced from an otherwise nondescript package that arrived today 🙂

You might recall that aaaages ago, new media researcher Angela Thomas ran a competition to work out her destination in June. The clues emerged day by day like breadcrumbs until with a bit of detective work I managed to solve the puzzle. And today came the prize – and what a prize! I was expecting perhaps a square or two, but Sharon squealed with delight as she saw what emerged from the package

Ghirardelli chocolate

This is my favourite – dark chocolate (think LOTS of antioxidants 😉 and the wonderful sample bag of the range of Ghirardelli chocolates – all the way from San Francisco.

Angela – this is wonderful – Thank you, and a big hug from us both 🙂


Travel fiddles

Posted by jerry on June 21st, 2007 — Posted in Journal, Music, Travel

Travel fiddles are not new. Dancing masters of the 17th century needed a portable instrument that could be played in homes in order to teach dancing to young ladies and gentlemen. So the problem of portability has always been an issue. In these days of air travel, a compact travel instrument is a useful item. There are several modern ‘backpackers’ guitars and mandolins, and very few backpackers fiddles or violins.

When at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London I not only paid homage to the hardanger fiddle on which mine is based, but found these delightful instruments that might well serve as the basis for a decent backpacker violin.

The first were a couple of ‘pochette’ fiddles – designed to fit both fiddle and bow into a small leather tube which could be easily carried or placed in a deep pocket in one’s coat.

pochette violin

The bow appears to be about one quarter size.

And this one

pochette violin

But possibly the most practical and one I am tempted to model is this one – more box-like and closer to modern backpacker mandolins

pochette violin

Something like this with a half-size bow could well fit into a carry-on bag – ideal for those jet-lagged late nights in hotel rooms – a nice quiet instrument to play a few tunes on

Now this bears further thought!