Friday, 16 January, 2015
If you’re familiar with the music of the Beatles, then you’ll of course be conversant with the distinctive opening of their 1964 track, “A Hard Day’s Night”. But just what note, or chord, is being played there? While in fact a team effort, there has been much conjecture over the decades as to the tones that make up the intro.
The central question is simple: What is it? That is, what notes are played and who is playing them? Many versions have been suggested. In his massive Beatles book, The Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles, Dominic Pedler collects twenty one educated guesses from various sources and devotes over 40 pages to discussion, including his own theory. It is not difficult to produce a chord that is close – strumming a guitar without fretting produces a similar sound. It’s close. But close is not exact, right? So, what is it really?
Beatles, history, music
Thursday, 15 January, 2015
It may come as a surprise, but the world is not teetering on the brink of collapse, even if many of the headlines from the last twelve months seemed to suggest as much:
As troubling as the recent headlines have been, these lamentations need a second look. It’s hard to believe we are in greater danger today than we were during the two world wars, or during other perils such as the periodic nuclear confrontations during the Cold War, the numerous conflicts in Africa and Asia that each claimed millions of lives, or the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq that threatened to choke the flow of oil through the Persian Gulf and cripple the world’s economy.
Ok, so, the world may not be about to end anytime soon, but would you go so far as to call last year, twenty-fourteen, one of the best years in history? That seems like a big call, but who knows, maybe not?
current affairs, history, trends
Tuesday, 13 January, 2015
Happy New Year, and welcome to twenty-fifteen. I hope the holiday break, if you had one that is, was relaxing and enjoyable. Before charging headlong however into the next twelve months, let’s pause for a minute shall we, and reflect on our place in time, fifteen percent of the way into the twenty-first century.
From here, familiar movies such as Wayne’s World, Silence of the Lambs, and Home Alone, were released closer to the 1969 Moon landing than they were to today.
Meanwhile, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Field of Dreams, and Back to the Future Part II, a title I watched again over the break by the way, were showing in cinemas closer to John F. Kennedy’s time as US President, than they are to the present.
But enough of that, I think. The new year may not have flying cars, hover boards, ready to wear self-drying clothes, or hydratable pizzas, but I dare say there are one or two 1980s style cafes out there somewhere… not that you’d find me anywhere near them. Whatever, here’s hoping twenty-fifteen is a good one.
history, humour, movies
Friday, 19 December, 2014
When I think of eighties music, I think of… eighties music, and then find something else to give thought to. “Purple Rain”, by US musician Prince however says a lot about how much of the music of the time could have been. In my humble opinion that is. Like the track or not though, its back story is fascinating:
The stage is dark. A chord rings out. It’s an unusual chord – a B flat suspended 2 with a D in the bass. A year from this night, the sound of that chord will be enough to drive audiences into hysteria. But right now, in this club, the crowd of 1,500 or so people listen quietly, because it’s the first time they are hearing the song that the chord introduces.
history, music, Prince
Thursday, 18 December, 2014
As you would expect, works by Kanye West, Radiohead, Mary J. Blige, Dr. Dre, Nirvana, Micheal Jackson, The Ramones, Kraftwerk, Carole King, Miles Davis, The Byrds, Loretta Lynn, The Mothers of Invention, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Ray Charles, and Woody Guthrie, are listed among the forty most groundbreaking albums of all time.
albums, history, music
Thursday, 18 December, 2014
The flat white, a coffee brew that’s kind of like a latte, and also a cappuccino but with less froth and an absence of sprinkled chocolate, is apparently taking hold in the US. I can’t say I’m a flat white fan, hence the surely crude description I offered of it, but if the drink is amassing a following elsewhere in the world that can’t be a bad thing.
But in the States, where cappuccino foam became wetter, not dryer and stiffer, we never found the need for such a drink. Still, Americans have a yen for adopting trends from the Commonwealth. From wetting the parched gullets of Aussies and Kiwis, the flat white eventually made its way to the hip and posh cafes of London, and has been migrating to the U.S. over the last couple years, as everyone from New York to the New York Times to the New York Post to Vogue began declaring it their new favorite coffee drink.
What I didn’t know however is that there appears to some dispute between Australian and New Zealand baristas as to who devised the brew. We’ve been here before though haven’t we? When it comes to frothing up certain diary products, the two countries seem to find themselves at loggerheads. Why is that?
coffee, history, trends
Thursday, 11 December, 2014
disassociated.com takes its origins in what now seems a primordial desire of mine to be a web designer. That I had no knowledge, or for that matter, experience, in the field was irrelevant, a mere detail. I made it, for a time, but soon realised I was really looking for a way to publish online, rather than build online.
Still, it all remains a reminder to me that anything is possible, should you set your mind to it.
Anyway, for those who came in late, a brief history of web design for designers, by Sandijs Ruluks, will take you through some of the milestones, and major developments, in the field that is web design.
history, technology, web-design
Thursday, 27 November, 2014
The people of the Indus Valley Civilization, or the Harappan Civilization, located in the region where India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are today, three to five thousand years ago, lived for near on two thousand years without taking up armed conflict, or going to war with themselves or their neighbours…
Archaeologists have long wondered whether the Harappan civilization could actually have thrived for roughly 2,000 years without any major wars or leadership cults. Obviously people had conflicts, sometimes with deadly results – graves reveal ample skull injuries caused by blows to the head. But there is no evidence that any Harappan city was ever burned, besieged by an army, or taken over by force from within. Sifting through the archaeological layers of these cities, scientists find no layers of ash that would suggest the city had been burned down, and no signs of mass destruction. There are no enormous caches of weapons, and not even any art representing warfare.
I think we could learn a thing or two from these people, don’t you?
archaeology, history, warfare
Wednesday, 26 November, 2014
Harold Holt was Australia’s seventeenth Prime Minister until he disappeared, presumed drowned, on 17 December 1967, while swimming at Cheviot Beach, south of Melbourne, across Port Phillip Bay. Despite one of the largest ever search operations in Australian history, no sign was ever found of him.
He is but one person on a long list of people who have vanished under mysterious circumstances over the centuries. In some cases it was eventually learned what became of some people, but the fate of many remains unknown.
Australia, crime, history
Thursday, 13 November, 2014
It’s been twenty-five years since the Berlin Wall, the brick and mortar barrier that divided the German city of Berlin into East and West sections, during the height of the Cold War, was torn down. To mark the occasion, In Focus has assembled a collection of photos documenting the wall’s three decade history.
Berlin, history, photography