When I was a lad I was known as a bit of a gadget boy...in truth my quest for the best sounding music on whatever I was listening to did mean I spent an undue amount of time and money on bits of kit. The need for kit is something that The Boy is replicating...I hope he learns quicker than me, that it's not the kit that makes for a rewarding experience. However, sometimes it does make a worthwhile difference. With the advent of iPod players, mobile phones, it's been easy to carry around vast quantities of music. In theory that's a good. But I've found that the impact has been to lessen my interest. Too often, train or tube journeys that should have been filled with my favourite tunes are occupied by the sound purely of the rattling carriage. But a couple of weeks ago, I bought a gadget that has transformed things.:
This is a digital-analogue converter and headphone amplifier...about the same size as a mobile phone. When I plug it in, the music is transformed. I hear instruments that I've never heard before, the music has a clarity that is mind-blowing, the positioning of instruments is phenomenal. Headphones that I thought were poor are suddenly reproducing music with an excellence and musicality that is a revelation. I have rediscovered music that has long since been forgotten. Once again I am genuinely excited about listening to music. Yes, I am genuinely excited.
This weekend we headed to Exeter...perhaps a little rashly given the flood waters that are rising across the south and west. As it was a long journey we decided to let the train take the strain rather than forage on with the Jeep. Foolish mistake. As we headed further west, we could see more and more flood water. In many places it was impossible to know where rivers ended and 'land' started...boats appeared to be moored in the middle of lakes. Horses, cattle and sheep were in places wading knee deep in floodwaters, telegraph poles and electricity pylons rose out of great seas of browny sludgy waters.
Eventually we ground to a halt outside Yeovil.To their credit, Network Rail organised coaches within an hour or so and we were able to reach Exeter in time to see The Cat in August: Osage County.
This is a very powerful and troubling play about a dysfunctional family...and a broader comment on the state of American society. It is a play that in the wrong hands would be tedious and expose all the flaws of any amateur drama group. But, and given the standing ovation, I'm not biased when I say it was truly outstanding. Superb, heartfelt and pacey performances complemented by a fabulous set kept us on the edge of our seats throughout. No wonder there were oohs and aaahs as each new piece of dysfunctionality was revealed...the characters were completely believable. I was indeed very, very proud indeed of The Cat and totally in awe of her fellow cast members...I am sure that some if not all have very successful futures ahead of them on the stage if that is the route they decide to follow. I'm sorry you can't go to see it as the short run has finished, but I gather there is a pale imitation doing the rounds of the cinemas as a plan B.