Archive for the ‘ Meta – about this blog ’ Category

New chapters

I start my new job tomorrow.

“I start my new job tomorrow.”

Six words, none of them complex.  The sentence as a whole probably isn’t all that earth-shattering, either, even if you put it in quotation marks.  But it is a momentous thing for me to write, and it brings distinctly mixed feelings.

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NaBloPoMo Scorecard

Well, I did it. I really did it.  I didn’t think I’d manage it, to be honest, but I have succeeded in posting once every day for the past month.  I have received some kind comments from folks who have been following the November marathon, some of them commenting on the blog, and some mentioning it in that strange thing known as the real world.  But since blogging is such an intensely self-centred activity, what do I think about it?  I’m rather pleased, actually.  Pleased that I managed to remember to post each day, but also pleased that most of the posts had something to say, rather than blogging for the sake of it.  I did have a few posts that obeyed the letter rather than the spirit of the thing, but for the most part I managed to write something which I’d like to think is worth reading.

The post I am most pleased with is about why I think Footloose is a good show, but I still feel there is more that could be said on the subject.  My review of Kiss of the Spider Woman attracted the most hits, largely due to someone involved posting a link on Facebook – naturally, people want to know what strangers wrote about them!  And the most discussion was generated by my musings on getting Christmas cake in a packet.  In retrospect, I think I may have been a little harsh on that one.  My most-used category was ‘Ramblings’, with ‘Theatre’ coming a close second – this probably says a lot about the ways in which being required to post every day caused me to deviate a little from the intended focus of the blog.  A better showing from ‘Library’ would have been nice…

Before I started on this glorious blogging adventure, I listed some topics I intended to cover over the 30 days, so let’s look back at that list and see how things turned out :


So there are still a few possible blog entries floating around my mental space.  These ideas have been joined by thoughts on ‘Carefully Taught’, Pal Joey and songs where people claim not to be in love with somebody.  It will (or maybe won’t) be interesting to see which of these materialise, and in what order!

I won’t be continuing to blog daily (not least because I will be away from the internet for at least a few days over Christmas, which is a scary thought), but I’m glad I did.  I’d like to think I’ll blog, or write in some form, more often in the future as well.  I’ve rather enjoyed NaBloPoMo 2010 and I hope my readers have as well.

[Obligatory British P.S. – it is snowing, and that makes me very happy.]

Reviewing Rodgers – 0: The Beginning

A new series for the new year, stemming from an idea that has been percolating for some time. Richard Rodgers, famous as both …and Hart and …and Hammerstein, left behind a rich legacy of songs and shows, some of which endure, while others fade quietly away. My intention, at least once a month, is to focus on one aspect of his work at a time, including each of his eleven collaborations with Oscar Hammerstein II from Oklahoma! in 1943 to The Sound of Music in 1959. Individual songs, shows, films, themes, whatever seems apt or interesting and in no particular order.

Rodgers helped to redefine musical theatre with landmark shows such as On Your Toes, Pal Joey, Oklahoma! and Carousel, each of which contained innovations which pushed the genre in new directions. He also wrote the music for some of the most enduring songs of the twentieth century – ‘Blue Moon’, ‘My Funny Valentine’, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, ‘Oh, What a Beautiful Morning’, ‘Have You Met Miss Jones?’ and dozens more. Perhaps most importantly, he’s a composer that I admire, with a body of work which I (mostly) enjoy very much, spanning some sixty years between his first and last published songs. He’s also a composer who is very much on my mind at present, as I immerse myself in his music prior to playing him on stage.  A love of Richard Rodgers may hardly be original (though perhaps slightly unusual in one who has not quite turned 30), but one thing I hope to demonstrate along the way is that he could be surprisingly unconventional, given that we now associate his most famous musicals with a sort of safe, middle-class theatricality.

And so this post is only a beginning, a signal that there is more to come. But the beginning is, as I’m sure we all know, a very good place to start.

Hey, old friend…

Well, it seems I need to blow the dust off the Singing Librarian, doesn’t it?  So very many weeks have passed since my last blog entry, and although much has happened, the world of the wonderful web knows nothing of it.  There are an assortment of reasons for the deathly silence that has hung around this little corner of cyber-space, chief among them my house move.  We didn’t have enough live power sockets to run my PC at first, and then it objected to having been neglected and went on strike.  I got it back from the lovely computer fixing people today, fought the urge to hug and kiss it, and have now got it up and running in my new room which is so very close to the city’s majestic cathedral.

This last weekend was a particularly busy one and should furnish me with sufficient material for at least three blog posts, I should think.  But first I shall return to that ‘To Do List’ which I wrote back in the mists of time.

Answer Reed’s questions.  I did that in the very next post, which allowed me to feel as though the completion of my list was a very real possibility.

Move house.  I did that too,  just over two weeks ago, and it’s wonderful to be here.  OK, so we still lack functioning lights in the kitchen, we have more loose floorboards than you could shake a whole bundle of sticks at, the television aerial cabling hasn’t been done and the hot water likes to take its time in the morning, but it’s wonderful.  It’s our house, big and old with a strange and new bit at the back.  We can see the cathedral from the front windows, and the cat has enjoyed a couple of wonderful adventures exploring the world beneath the floorboards on two different floors.  The four human inhabitants of the building have refrained from physical violence thus far as well (apart from the authorised use of force against stud walls and rubbish plastering jobs), which is encouraging.

Read.  Another mission accomplished.  Wonderful.  Both the accomplishment and the books.  I enjoyed all three of the books mentioned and would commend them to others.  I am now obsessively checking to see when the normal paperbacks of the sequels to The Lies of Locke Lamora and The Night Watch will appear.  I am tempted by the current trade paperback editions, but that would look untidy on my shelves, which just wouldn’t do.  In order of reading, my one sentence reviews.  The Moonstone is a masterpiece of plotting with some very funny characters, even if some of the details of the ending can be seen coming from a very long way off.  The Lies of Locke Lamora does an incredible job of world-building with an intriguing setting, and another exciting plot, though I felt the violence was sometimes more than a tad gratuitous.  The Night Watch is utterly compelling in its reinvention of the supernatural, combining it with elements of the police procedural and espionage thriller.  My most recent read was The Alchemist, which I can sum up in two words: don’t bother.  It is short, though.

Sing.  Ah.  Well.  I did start to learn both ‘King of the World’ and ‘Serenade’ and can do chunks of them sans sheet music, but I haven’t completed the task and I didn’t even start on the other two. 

Relax.  I actually feel very relaxed most of the time these days, actually, which makes a pleasant change.  The Library of Doom tends to rob me of the relaxation, but it soon comes back.  And this without fulfilling my promise to self.  I never did manage a day in the country or by the sea, though I did go on a remarkably pleasant walk around Bishopsbourne in a ludicrously picturesque bit of the county.

So there we go.  The Singing Librarian is alive and capable of stringing sentences together.  He did reasonably well at his summer ‘To Do List’ as well.  Who knows, another blog entry or two may appear by the end of the month as well!

Questions are asked and answered

There is a meme going around, as I’m sure you’ll have noticed, where bloggers interview one another, and end up giving really quite interesting (or in my case, really quite long) answers.  I think the beauty of this meme is in the nature of who is doing the interviewing.  It’s not people that the bloggers know in their day to day life, who would most likely be fishing for particular bits of information that they already know.  It’s also not people completely disconnected from them, who would end up asking entirely generic questions.  These are people who know their interviewees through the blogosphere, a curious form of social interaction which is simultaneously very open and very reserved, as each word can be chosen, pondered and held back.  All of us leave a whole number of gaps in the narrative of our lives as we blog away, and many of the questions and answers I’ve seen have been filling in some of these gaps, which the blog authors may have been entirely unaware of.

So the meme has been floating around, and I’ve seen it whiz through the periphery of  both the comics blogosphere and the theatre blogosphere, and now it has entered the realm of the blogs that I read more regularly.  I finally decided to be brave and ask for some questions following the questions that Aphra posed to Reed.  Reed, or possibly her ever-present Editor, posed five questions, and warned me that they “are all prompted by the fact I am a NOSY woman”.   As a result, this is probably one of my longest posts ever.  If you really don’t want to know about the real Singing Librarian, look away now and come back in a few days when I start wittering about something less personal.

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What you do is not who you are

My blogging identity is a handle I’ve used on a few other sites.  The Singing Librarian.  Recently, however, a real-life friend who knows of this blog commented that they didn’t think the handle really summed me up, that they wouldn’t think of me in those terms.  So I wondered.  And pondered.  And sat on the thought for a while.  Is the Singing Librarian really who I am?

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I’m Still Here

…is a rather marvellous song from Stephen Sondheim’s score for Follies, but it’s also my roundabout way of apologising for not posting anything for over a month.  I’ve got several posts in the pipeline, but none are fully formed.  At some point soon, you’ll be thrilled to get my musings on the noble art of classification, on the removal of clothes on stage and on musicals that won the Pulitzer Prize.

I could lay the blame for the lack of blogging activity almost anywhere, but I shall simply say ‘sorry’ and ‘will try harder’.

The Singing Librarian’s 2006

Well, that’s it.  Just a few more hours of this year left to go, so it must be time to sum it all up, take a look back and prepare for 2007, whatever it may bring. This has been quite a year for the Singing Librarian, so I thought I’d share ten of the things that have made the last twelve months so interesting for me.

Changing the library.  During the year, the Library of Doom has gone through a number of changes in the way we work, meaning changes of responsibility, working hours and working relationships.  Some of it has been good, some of it bad, but it has been most interesting.  The changes will continue as we look towards a new building in 2009 with many further challenges to offer, not least moving several hundred thousand books to a new place.

Being Gerald in Me and My Girl.  2006 brought me my first principal role in a show since I left school in 1997, and it was a corker.  I achieved more with my performance than I believed I could.  I pushed myself in acting, singing, dancing and general stagecraft.  I made some friends.  I lost a lot of weight.  I showed everyone how to panic, and I covered up my extreme nerves every second I was up there on the stage.  I felt anxious, excited, nervous, elated and numb in no particular order.  And I finally managed to enjoy a performance just in time for it to come to an end.

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Normal service will be resumed shortly

It has been very quiet around here recently. Sorry about that.  The ‘singing’ part of life has been rather, shall we say….interesting over the last few days, and is going to remain so for a while.  It would be deeply inappropriate to use this forum to go into it, so I’ll just say that Kiss Me, Kate is no longer on my horizon and that I’m rather hoping a full night’s sleep is on the horizon.  That’s as much as I’m prepared to say, and (now this is where I pull out that trusty over-the-glasses stare that librarians do so well) that goes for the comments section of this post as well!

I fully intend to bounce back into blogging life with my usual mildly interesting and sometimes nearly amusing posts.  Soon.  Very soon.  I’ve got some ramblings about Rodgers and Hammerstein to share, for a start.  I’m sure that’s got you salivating!

Adventures in ontology

A number of recent events have come together to force me to write a post on the subject of ontology.  Firstly, there’s the ongoing debate about the classification of the stuff in the solar system, which has been fascinating to observe.  Secondly, there’s the terrifying fact that I’m about to begin my librarianship qualifications, which will immerse me yet deeper in the murky world of cataloguing.  And finally, I came across a link to an article called Ontology is Overrated, which caused my thinking on the subject to step up a gear.

But what is ontology?  Continue reading

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