Break In London

  • 22 August 2012, 10:41

This week I am in London. I managed to get tickets that only came to about £35 there and back. This is impressive given that Dundee is not (yet) one of the cities that benefits from being in the subsidised zone. Although I am going off on a tangent, this is actually an issue I am quite interested in. MSP Jenny Marra has been trying to get subsidised fares to and from Dundee, as other cities currently have. You can read the full article here, but I have not seen any updates on the subject as yet. I plan to write to Ms Marra and express my support.

Anyway! I am staying with my boyfriend who, as a graduate, has moved down recently for his new job. I have been meeting up with some other people I know in London as well, during the days that he is working. I saw my cousins and gran (she was visiting her new great grandson!) for a picnic on Saturday. That day was probably the hottest so far.

On a beautiful day that I stopped off in Hammersmith on the way back from town.

I know it’s very British to talk about the weather, but it has been stunning, and I can’t get over the consistency of the warm sunshine! I am so used to Dundee’s hottest temperatures meaning that you don’t have to wear a jumper for most of the day. Even at night in London it is warm enough to wander around in a T shirt and shorts! I am thoroughly enjoying it and I am glad that I don’t have to leave for another few days!

I also arranged to meet a girl that I had met in America about 6 years ago (she was the daughter of a friend of my uncle, who lives over there) as she is now studying in London (at the Royal Academy of Music). It was amazing and slightly surreal to meet up with her as I have not seen her since we met in America! Now she is in the UK and we still get along brilliantly despite being very out of touch and not knowing each other properly to start with! That day was fun, as we went for lunch, a bit of an explore and she showed me round her university building!
It is a very beautiful, old building. It has some more modern parts but I think that they have managed to integrate them well as they do not seem out of place. The one thing that I find a little upsetting is that they are getting a new organ (paid for by Elton John!) but the design chosen for it is just horrible. I believe it was the patrons that chose the design (but it could have been a different group of supporters, so don’t hold me to that). The design is fine until you get to the geometric bits of colour that, though they look as if the aim is to modernise the entire look, seem only to cheapen it, In my opinion, anyway.

Example of the style that the organ is designed in

I am not a huge fan of retro designs with bright colours dotted around so I suppose I am biased. On the left is an example of what style I am talking about.

I think that what I dislike about the style is that the colours seem bright but are often slightly muted which makes me feel a bit downhearted. I really don’t think that that is the intention of art and designs like this, but it’s just how I feel. I will try to work out why this is, though I think that it is mainly the effect of the brightest colours having been dulled down.

The organ will be good though. As far as the sound goes. It is being custom made for the Academy and I don’t even want to know how much it cost! I plan to go down next Summer as that is when my friend will be doing a recital (She is training to be an opera singer – how awesome is that!) and so perhaps I will be able to hear the organ properly then!

While I was at the Royal Academy of Music, I briefly visited their museum. I did not look around at much of it, but my attention was caught by the collection of horns that were on display.

A picture I took at the R.A.M. museum of the collection of old and modern horns that they had.

I wont go into the specifics as I have deviated enough throughout this post, but I do love horns! This is because I used to play the horn (well, I fully intend to again but I have a feeling this wont be possible until I have left Uni or no longer share flats, whichever comes first) and I loved it. The beautiful clear sound it produces, the parts composed for it and the amazing way that you must combine embouchure, air pressure and valves to create the desired note and effect. I started the horn because I was inspired by this Flanders and Swann song which is to the tune of Mozart’s Rondo from the Fourth Horn Concerto. I could express my love for this instrument all day so instead I will leave you with the advice to listen to Mozart’s horn concertos (they are a great way to start listening to and enjoying horn music) and to visit the museum at R.A.M.
I would also recommend listening to any horn music played by Dennis Brain as he was a beautiful player!

I hope you enjoy!

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