Monday 22 January 2024

In and out and in and out

She's here!  With a pretty, pearly red complexion she's only a cheap model but I'm finding my way around her buttons and the slinky way she moves.  All I have to do is to unpop her leather straps and with my fingers in all the right places, give her a good squeeze and, ooh, she makes the sweetest (and loudest!) sounds...  

Oh, I know, everything about a squeezebox screams innuendo and that's just fine by me.  I love her! I love my little concertina. I itch to play, make music and embrace her bellows; oops, there we go again.  But don't you think there is something very sexy about the whole accordion family (in the right hands)?  

The rewarding thing about this new hobby is that it's not hard to make some half-decent noises (dependent on your point of view...) in spite of lack of experience.  Single notes, scales, simple chords too - even on their own those chords can sound delicious.  It's firing up parts of my brain which haven't been in use since primary school when learning to play the theme tune from 'The Wombles' on the recorder with its chewed mouthpiece, the taste of wet wood on my tongue, trying not to dribble.  I think the concertina is actually much more pleasurable to dabble on, even though it's a big challenge to my grey matter in trying to remember (on this one anyway, the Anglo concertina) that you get different notes on moving in and out.  But I definitely want - need! - the mental exercise, and an instrument you can play without smudging your lipstick or getting splinters in your tongue is definitely a bonus too.

Evidence suggests that it can improve cognitive strength, memory, motor skills and co-ordination, reduce stress, etc., plus I was reading an article the other week which mentioned how it can help creativity.

"There is something about enabling yourself to try things and not have expectations about what you will produce," said 2019 Turner Prize winner Helen Cammock, who is now having trumpet lessons.  Anne Ryan, an Irish artist who works in paint, ceramics and sculpture, took up tap dancng for similar reasons and said, "I'm crap at it but I come out glowing and feeling like I have spread a little bit of love..."

I know I'm crap at this too, but the glowing feeling is happening.  After a couple of ten-minute sessions a day with the bedroom door shut (is there no end to this double entendre?)  I feel motivated and de-stressed.  Unfortunately, especially given this modest instrument's quite shocking volume, I doubt the neighbours feel the same (more like distressed) but give it time (sorry, neighbours).  If I can keep it up I'd like to be able to play along to something different, oh I don't know what - Bowie, Clash, Small Faces....obscure '60s psych perhaps?!  Just what the world needs, some bad concertina covers... 

But I'm enjoying it. And if anyone here knows how to play a 20-button Anglo concertina and can share some tips, they'd be most welcome; I'm sure the neighbours would agree.

At Martin's suggestion last time:

The Who: Squeeze Box

(Top photo shows 1920s actress Winifred Westover)

Sunday 7 January 2024

In stitches, part two

Well, it's been a very long time coming but on this dull January day the moment is right for me to bestow upon you some more fine fashion tips from the pile of old knitting magazines which had me oohing and ahhing for all the wrong reasons a few years ago.

If your life is a little short of levity at the moment, I can honestly recommend a quick browse through the pages of some 1960s editions of 'Pins and Needles' for some mindless therapy.  

Of course exercise is also good therapy - one hour of high intensity knitting in an unheated room burns up 174 and a half calories (... don't check that...) -  but it turns out there's an easier way to shed a few post-Christmas pounds (and heat the room at the same time with the flush from your cheeks): try holding embarrassingly awkward poses for a family photoshoot wearing only your newly created woolly sports undies...

You can read whatever you like into this one... (and click to enlarge).  Promises, promises.

And if only life were this simple... hmm... 

"Start something exciting?"  Only as long as you also know how to cast off, as he's looking a bit shifty to me.

There's nothing remotely patronising in the tone of these ads, oh no

But I fear that after a lifetime of knitting for my husband I could end up looking like this...

...much to the horror of everyone else, including Tom Jones (as if giant daffodils weren't scary enough)

But the knitting isn't limited to golf jackets and nightmare dolls - why not crochet a bowl?  Or, to put it more aptly, why crochet a bowl?

Ditto the above...

Happy New Year!
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