A very flexible performance, Mr Preston

Op. 25, No.11 in A minor: Known as the Winter Wind. One of the most turbulent of the set, it asks for tremendous hand malleability. (David Dubal). NB Chopin didn't give the etudes any of their titles.

Previously, Chopin in Bold As Love:
the Polish connection strikes again

From Chopin's diary, on the crushing of the Warsaw uprising, 1830 version: the message that announces the death of the Bold As Love I, from the makers of ivan/lara, the doomspell of all doomspells


  "...'twas Christmas Eve
        in the drunktank...


On the steps of the sanctuary:

I never knew you were religious, Dave...' said Mrs Brown. 'I'm not, I just like Norman churches. The quiet. Maybe it's some kind of place where suffering is over...'

The north wind sighed. The immemorial peace was an illusion, there was blood on these stones...


    Researching "China"
The Froth On A Daydream way.

Rayne Kruger's All Under Heaven was the first book I read on my China burn. I bought it, then feared it was a piece of fluff, Rayne Kruger who he? What's all these Robin Hood and Princes in the Tower type fairystories doing in here? Later I realised that this is a great book. TheRunning dog is no more legends were exactly what I needed. A feeling for the organism, for the memories (however loosely pinned to fact) that make up a nation's sense of self.

the original running dog blog is no more

Diffugere Nives
...The ice-talons set harder in the land. No twitter of finch or linnet was heard in the Burrows, for those which remained were dead. Even the crows died of starvation. The only noises in the frore air were of saws and axes and hammers, men's voices, the glassy sweep of the wind in blackened thistles, the cries of lambs and ewes...
                        Tarka the Otter

Golden Age of Children's Literature Strand

Henry Williamson's passionate conviction that Germany and England should never go to war again became a committment to Oswald Mosley's fascism. His later life was both difficult and tainted, but Tarka is his masterpiece. Nature, cruel and beautiful, used to be immortal, we used to be ephemeral. Now it's the other way round. A tiger is vulnerable. Trees, rivers, mountains, they vanish beyond recall.
Can the seasons renew the earth? How much will it hurt?

Zhi Lu Wei Ma

Calling a dEER A Horse

Zhao Gao, the eunuch Minister, called a deer a horse to see how many of the officials of the court of Qin would dare to disagree...

When our rulers us tell us global warming is no threat, it's the economy that matters, stupid. When they tell nuclear power is cool and it was a great idea to attack Iraq, it's not hypocrisy, and it's not politics. Politics is dead when arbitrary power rules, and the content of the lies we have to swallow barely matters. What matters to the rulers of this world is that we swallow. Lick up every drop.

Zhi Lu Wei Ma

The constellation of Scorpio (as viewed from the UK) moves along it the southern horizon through the summer. Antares, Watcher of the West, the red supergiant, sits at the junction of the scorpion's head and thorax. Interesting fact: it's five hundred light years away, a potential supernova, and from our perspective that could happen any time now. Which would be quite a show. Anti-Mars, rival of Mars, rather like Mars? Take your pick. One of the easiest individual stars to spot, not least because the Scorpion actually looks like a scorpion. Also known as the opposite of Orion, because Antares rules the summer heavens as Orion rules the winter; and they're supposed never to be in the sky at the same time...

All you ever wanted to know about Neutrino Telescopy

Traditionally, the military had a very low social status in China, "Good iron is not made into nails, a good man does not become a soldier". This image changed dramatically during the revolutionary war period...
Stefan Landsberger.

Many more charming red propaganda posters here

In general the world must unite when it has been long divided...

I read The Romance Of The Three Kingdoms when we were living in Singapore, long ago. Maybe the translation I had didn't do it any favours: I thought it was mostly very dull and don't remember much, except for the wily general who was also a magician and ace at fireworks, sort of Chinese Gandalf ... Judging by the copious web-presence of this mediaeval prose epic I was dead right to have made that connection. (See also Dynasty Warriors). The Tolkien of Asia. Play the game, buy the teeshirt.