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David Helfgott

Back in October 2009 BFF and I went on one of our epic expeditions. This time we traveled to Vienna to attend the David Helfgott concert at the Mozart Hall of the Concert House – front row too!

Some of you may recognise his name, he was the subject of the Oscar winning film Shine in 1996. David, an Australian born concert pianist, son of Polish-Jewish immigrants, developed a schizoaffective disorder during his time in London at the Royal College of Music. He returned to Perth where, after numerous treatment methods, was a rehearsal pianist for the Australian Opera and part time pianist at a wine bar.

His performance style has often been criticised as “reducing music to a rubble of notes”, but he does have a completely innocent, child like rapture and charm that comes through the emotion of the pieces he plays. His disorder maybe unpredictable and mannerisms unusual but he truly just wants to bring joy to all. He brings back the ethos that classical music is for all, not just the black tie, exclusive, regimentally trained few.

David is incredibly tactile, and verbal with his little mantras. After the show he hugged us plentifully and uttered “Be happy today, we must be happy”. My endearing memory as he was part way down the stairs from the dressing room was to scurry back to me declaring “Just one more” as he hugged and kissed us both again.

Vienna itself is a stunningly beautiful city, we wandered around the grounds of Belvedere Palace, once home to the Austrian Royal Family, including Frank Ferdinand whose assassination sparked the outbreak of World War One. The Palace itself an art gallery where we saw art by Gustav Klimt, Claude Monet, Jacques Louis David, although the quiet was rather disturbed by my wheelchair’s slight squeak and the creak of the parquet flooring. The marble room with its six foot tall fire places and tromploy ceilings was something to be marvelled.

Wandering the streets through the stunning architecture, beautiful buildings with incredible tableaux, discovering alabaster white statues or fountains at every corner. The sound of horses hooves echoing through the narrow streets made everything so atmospheric. Seeing the famous Lipizzaner horses in their stables. The food of the coffee houses, all the wood panelling, mirrors and crystal chandeliers.

A completely enchanting experience.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2021 in Music, people

 

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Suddenly I’m popular!

In my role as international sex symbol and awesome influencer (I saw that smirk!) I am not immune from receiving numerous offers of untold riches and adulation from the social media masses – let’s get real here people, I barely get messages from people I actually honestly know.

I can go days and weeks without receiving a message via a social media message app, usually because my nearest and dearest message me via one medium. So to suddenly get a number of messages saying hi, let’s hook up, nice to meet you, let’s chat, you sound like someone like me – I really do roll my eyes so far back in my head I can see my butt crack.

These attempts do amuse me. Really, you like my profile, it’s bland, uninformative and unhuman. You think my pictures look hot, well I’m not ‘in’ any of the public pictures, my avatar was generated yonks ago, it’s a caricature. Others are either witty sarcastic memes or cats.

Today I received a message from a supposed cabinet minister of UAE, yet he is completely devoid of any punctuation skills. Hmmm, do other languages not have commas and full stops? He called me ‘Dear’, really am I a dear, that’s what a grey haired granny says to her grandchild. It’s a doddery word.

Then I received one from a USA Air Force base person, who thought we had lots in common after reading all my profile had to say about me. I’m no Lycra clad gym bunny with curve and muscles, like her photo, not to mention the twenty year age gap.

I have often wondered what my profile says, what do people (genuine people, not the phishing, bot, scammer kind) deduce about me from what is there? How can I see my public profile as if I were a stranger?

Maybe it is just my cynical superstitious nature that has me going “WotEva” as I hit the block button.

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2021 in General, Life, people, Uncategorized

 

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Brett “Cosmo” Thorngren

Yesterday I was stunned to receive a message that Brett had died a few days before. I came across his Sister on social media who had, with heart wrenching emotion, live streamed her appreciation at the messages, texts and calls she had received. It was palpable how raw the devastation is as she vented her sorrow, anger and tears about what had occurred and caused such a life affecting, changing set of circumstances.

Across the past couple of decades Cosmo was a character that had crossed my on-line path as he often worked with a mutual friend. Brett was an energetic, vivacious drummer, song writer and composer, music mixer and producer, who had learnt his craft from some incredible names, Tommy Lee and Alex Van Halen. He’d learnt so much from his epic music producer father Eric Thorngren, as well as his talented maternal grandfather and great uncles, the Cosimo Trio. He was a cornerstone of the electronic dance music in Miami in its early days and always had several music projects on the go.

We ‘met’ directly when I had contacted him for permission to host a music video of the group Lisbon, which had included our mutual friend Stephen Gibb. As conversation over time continued I helped him source links and info that was already around the internet in order to put together a more detailed biography as he was beginning to put his vast catalogue of work on streaming sites.

As part of this project, I did the same for the Cosimo Trio and he generously shared some lovely atmospheric photos, bill fliers and letters of their career through the 1940/50 big band era.

When I had told him of my Big Sis situ (at the time she had just been diagnosed with brain tumours) he wanted me to stop my researching for him but I said no, it gave me a few minutes of escape. After Big Sis died he sent me a number of unreleased music tracks as he thought they would comfort me or distract me in my grief – he was right.

Often he would record a message to send as he wasn’t an expert typist and in one of them he told me he was going to a school where he was teaching youngsters drumming. The uplifting pride in his voice as he recounted the joy in these tiny faces as they realised they created something themselves was tangible.

Together we had worked hard to create a Wikipedia page about his work in the music industry. He had shared a great deal of information with me and I had found numerous online links from papers, publications and websites confirming the stated facts – sadly the wiki-warriors kept rejecting the sources and deleting the technical effort in coding the page. But it can be found if you search hard enough. Brett had hoped to do a couple of interviews about upcoming music but the pandemic broke and everything stopped.

I will miss his “Hey how you doing?” emails.

I cannot imagine the pain his mother, partner and siblings are feeling. My heart breaks at how they are trying to help his two young boys (3 and 5 years old) understand about Daddy.

Brett has scattered his music and his talent across the internet, reaching a global audience. His generosity of soul and energetic spirit stay with all those who spent the briefest of moments with him.


I am determined to have the biography published somewhere, so here it is.

Brett “Cosmo” Thorngren is an American Music Producer, singer, drummer, CEO of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Records (who have released over 300 tracks) and songwriter.

Early life

Born 25 December 1974 in Cortland New York, son of Eric “ET” Thorngren, maternal grandson of Salvatore Cosimo of the Cosmo Trio. Brett relocated to Miami Florida in the early 1990’s.

Music career

Along with Paul Isaac (vocals), Gerson (guitar), Ari Eisenstein (bass) and Brett (drums) formed Muse around 1992 in Miami, Florida. Their self-titled debut album was released in May 1995 by independent label Velocity Records. Tiring of the lack of quality live music venues in Miami the band decided to relocate, initially to Atlanta, Georgia. The follow up album “Arcana” was released 18 May 1997 by Atlantic Records.

In 1999, Brett left Muse to join (Astralwerks Records) recording artists, Metrodub, getting back to his Miami DJ roots, he was back out on the road touring with Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, and FatBoy Slim. Performing under the name Cosmo, he became a resident DJ at Liquid, Bar Room, Chili Peppers and Level. 

In early 2000 Brett with Gil Bitton formed the side project Lisbon recording a number of tracks with a view to releasing. Contract obligations with record companies meant they were shelved. The tracks were remastered and made available to purchase and stream online from mid December 2019.

Brett wrote and produced a handful of dance records, some released internationally, on various labels (Universal, Filtered, Neo Records). At this point in his career Brett was able to work on his skills as a music producer and engineer, producing various indie rock bands. He worked as Barry Gibb’s (Bee Gees) personal engineer on several projects, including the 2004 Guilty Too, Barbra Streisand’s album which earned him a gold record.

In 2005 Brett mastered Kirk Windstein’s Crowbar studio album Lifesblood For The Downtrodden.

In July 2007 Arctic Tale documentary released an official soundtrack album, which included the track “Underworld”, written and recorded by Barry Gibb, Stephen Gibb and Ashley Gibb, which credited Brett as Engineer.

In 2010 Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Records was incorporated in Miami Florida providing an independent record label releasing in excess off 300 tracks for local artists via BeatPort, SoundCloud and other online music streaming services.

When Kendra Erika was buzzing around the club dance scene in Miami she went into Brett’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang studios and recorded a 5 track digital EP titled Hostage.

Never far from his DJ roots, performing under the stage name Cosmo, Brett often been part of the Ultra Music Festival line up, appearing at Oasis from Noon to 1pm Saturday 25 March 2017.

In 2019 Brett mixed and mastered Alpha Cat’s studio album “Thatched Roof Glass House”.

Former member of Metrodub (Astralwerks Records), Skreamerz and Thrillers.

#BrettThorngren #CosmoThorngren

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2021 in people

 

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Fictional Truth

It is a rare thing these days to have a moment where you are caught and actually laugh out loud. Well it is for me. There may be times when a quick witted quip or a punchy sarcastic one liner raises a chuckle, or a jovial intake of breath ala Dr Sheldon Cooper but an actual physical laugh rarely emits.

Yesterday as I was crocheting a row or two on the next blanket creation I had started a kids animated movie ‘SpyCat’. I enjoy the simplicity of these films and the insight into the oddities of human behaviour that can make you think. Plus they’re just cute, untaxing entertainment. The premise is straightforward, a much pampered indoor house cat who spends her days watching tv ends up outside, meets up with a street wise, much unloved resentful dog. They and their friends must solve a mystery into a spate of burglaries.

The to and fro between Marnie the cat and Elvis the dog was endearing, a kin to put upon elder brother and innocent younger sister type bickering. There is a point where their different backgrounds and experiences causes a squabbling discussion and when Marnie shouted her line, I physically laughed out loud, almost dropped my stitch!

I know all about reality, I’ve seen it in tv!

It struck me because I could hear it being shouted and hurled by kids and teens at their parents, that the “reality” shows that pervade our screens are being eagerly, greedily, devoured by young impressionable minds as truth.

A few months ago a carer told me of a conversation she had with one of her pupils (She teaches 5-6 year olds). The child had asked why a class member from Africa was not starving and had flies all over his face. Teacher was quite perplexed by the statement, it turned out that child spends a lot of time at Granny’s who must watch a lot of a certain tv channel whose adverts are those asking for donations, such as WaterAid, Save The Children, Red Cross etc. All these adverts show extreme poverty and starvation, innocent dark faces with numerous fat flies watching across their sunken cheeks and swollen through malnutrition bellies. These adverts were planting the impression that ‘Africa’ is a dried earth desert of nothingness with lions, elephants and children dying without water and food.

As adults we may not realise to what extent this shinny screen has on young minds, the misinformation formed and clung to as fact. As the world becomes more dependent on screens, the lines between fact and fiction, truth and engineered entertainment, reality and structured realism. More and more there is the notion “It must be true, I read it on the internet”

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2021 in Films, General

 

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Where’s The Catch??

Now I’m a suspicious old cynic, even on a good day. I am wary of anything that preports to be ‘quick’, ‘easy’ or ‘simple’. Offers that scream savings must be combed through for the slightly hidden, mildly expensive add one or the exclusion clauses. I’m sure it’s as a result of being picked on by people one moment and quietly befriend by them later when I was at school. But I am baffled…..stumped…..blind even to this. I just cannot see the catch.

Sky is my broadband and phone provider, I don’t have them for television because I cannot have a dish on my property. Like with all these things it is part of a fixed term contract and my eighteen month contract is due to expire.

As a ‘valued customer’ they emailed me to let me know the contract was up for renewal and whether I would like to resubscribe for another eighteen months and what it would cost using the same package I currently have. It also detailed what it would cost if I do nothing and let the contract expire.

Do I want a new contract at £27 per month (£10 set up + £8pm discount) ….. or ….. no contract at £25 per month (£5pm discount)

Where is the catch ….. if I ‘do nothing’ somehow it’s £2 a month cheaper ….. my suspicion alarm is going mad, wee-warr-woo-ing at mega decibel level, with flashing lights visible to Mars ….. how can that be?

This will require very, very, very careful watching and considering.

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2021 in General, Tech

 

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Mondrian

Laying in bed (if you remember I am quite partial to a spot of clinomania) I was pondering, musing, lightly conjuring ideas for the next cat blanket. I had made a few with two tone squares and was in the process of finishing the sixteen different colour squares blanket, as ever when you’re not really thinking about something an idea usually pops and a pattern began to form.

Hmm, wasn’t there an artist who black lined rectangles and squares, coloured with white, red, yellow and royal blue? Hmm, must google when I arise to settle my curiosity. Google did infact confirm that I was thinking Mondrian.

Rummaging through the stash I had what I needed, except for the white and blue, the other modern deity Amazon handled that and this I became a creative little hooker.

Of course, my brain didn’t stop there! As I was attaching the various shapes another nugget of wonder began, how to tweak the cat toy patterns and style them in the colours too.

The result is pictured above.

I have reached a conclusion after this artistic endeavour

  • I hate using black
  • I hate tucking ends
  • I hate sewing bits together
  • The next blanket will be an ordinary, single colour, back and forth one ….ish …..kinda …..maybe with a sliiight adjustment.

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2021 in General, Pets, Projects

 

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The Curious Twenty Pence

A wee tale for you, dear reader, to enjoy and ponder over.

To set the scene :: my kitchen is a small galley style, fridge-sink-washing machine-cupboard-oven-two cupboards, so not exactly expansive nor easy to over look anything. The flooring is a dark charcoal colour, lovely but shows every crumb and dust spec like a flashing neon light. The window at the fridge end is where the furry bunch pop in and out as their little paws desire. Across a few days I have had the same carer diligently tending to my needs, so she knew what was where as only she had been in there and she’s a tidy observant person. I had asked her to strip my bed and the discarded sheet, duvet cover and two pillow cases were loaded into the machine to be washed and dried (same machine does both).

The next morning carer had fed both cats, made my munchables and coffee, wiped the counter tops and left everything clean and straight. she returned for the next visit and had taken my plate and mug to the kitchen sink and put the cat’s trays in to soak too. After getting me from the bathroom to the lounge she returned and emptied the machine to drape the dry but would benefit from a slight airing bedding over the airer. As always she comes into the kitchen and asks if there is anything else that needs doing, getting, checking etc, then after writing the care book goes back into the kitchen to dispose of gloves and apron. I heard her make an exclamation but thought she was talking to the cat.

She came through holding a bright shiny twenty pence piece! That had been lying in front of the washing machine.

How curious…. how had it got there and not been noticed before! Whose was it as neither of us handle coins!!

There are a couple of possibilities…..

  • Fallen from another’s pocket and not been noticed
  • Somehow I’d been sleeping with a coin in the bedding
  • Was the tooth fairy leaving a deposit
  • Did #NotMyCat leave a tip for breakfast service
 
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Posted by on August 23, 2021 in Life, people

 

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Sound Of Metal

The premise of this movie seems straightforward – Ruben is a metal drummer, he and his girlfriend drive around the States in their rv, gigging in numerous backstreet venues, scratching together a ramshackle living. But then in a short space of time he looses his hearing and all stability is lost.

However, after watching this film, which is cleverly put together, there are numerous tricks used that you don’t realise until afterwards, and then you notice that the film has much more deeper levels of philosophical notions.

When we have a sudden debilitating or life changing health issue we want to be fixed, to get back to our “normal”. Ruben wants cochlea implants so he can get back to drumming and life on the road with Lou, where he is comfortable in his known world and the demons and temptations of his pre-Lou life will not invade. But that’s impossible, the clarity of hearing with any aid is not the same as natural hearing, it brings with it difficulties of its own.

Once Ruben is told of his problem, you are taken through how much we rely on ambient sound, how simple things like telephone calls, a conversation with a friend, communicating with a stranger are stressful, frustrating. The initial denial that this new situation is not ‘forever’. Ruben is taken to a deaf community facility, where everyone signs, there are no phones, no use of computers, total submersion in silent life. Here the director uses a clever trick, the sign language is not subtitled, we the viewer like Ruben are unable to understand what is being said around him. But as he learns to use sign and communicate and read people around him, so we get subtitled and find we’ve become more involved, more emotionally invested in his journey.

It’s interesting too, to see the deaf community reaction to these implants. Many deaf communities call them a ‘cure’, a refusal to embrace deafness as a lifestyle and not a disability or something of shame, people with implants are often shunned from such communities. But isn’t a hearing aid/implant the same as a prosthetic to the amputee? A tool, an aid, to be used when needed! Hmm, interesting notion.

Ruben is determined to get the implants, to leave the community, despite the calmness, the inclusion and friendship, the place and purpose he discovers, and return to Lou and music. When he gets that chance, is it all that it is expected to be, that what’s best for the two of them, or does Ruben need to find that inner place of stillness.

My common niggle with films of this nature is how you get the notion of time, maybe I didn’t pick up on the changes of the seasons on the trees to get that sense that we are passing through the months. I don’t recall scenes with things like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Independence Day, Graduation Day celebrations going on, being in the U.K. snow on the ground could be anytime, it’s snowed in June before now.

I recommend watching this film, it’s moving, telling, heart tugging, rarely amusing, but so insightful.

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2021 in Films, Review

 

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Tale of two bookings

Last week I had two differing experiences with making bookings.

Pre-Covid I would have a mobile beautician visit to do a pedicure. It’s a more thorough job than an chiropodist, cheaper too and I get nice twinkly toes at the end. Now that we are coming out of lockdown I contacted my lady to see if she was back to visiting again but CoVid had forced her into alternative employment. A Facebook post brought a few recommendations and one of those messaged me. After a brief chat I asked when she could fit me in “Thursday good for you?” 😬 absolutely, I was expecting a three to four week wait!

This was quickly followed by a phone call from my GP surgery. “Your GP would like a telephone consultation”, hmm a bit random. I asked what it was in connection with, it’s not the first time they’ve muddled me with someone else, “Erm, I’m not sure” 🙄 sheesh. I wondered whether it’s the pneumonia vaccine my NeuroRehab consultant has been trying to get me for the past two years. “Could it be about the Pneumovac?” Again the voice at the other end was vague and dithery as she clickerty clacked her keyboard. She asked if I would prefer morning or afternoon, I requested afternoon because of carer timings, I then asked how soon it would likely be, “Oh we are looking at about three to four weeks” 😲. Good job it’s nothing worryingly urgent then.

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2021 in General, Life

 

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Deuce it out

Deuce it out
‘She’s always like this when Wimbledon ends.’

Phew, wasn’t that exhausting, thrilling, nail biting and oh so….polite.

I am rather partial to a spot of tennis, so the Wimbledon fortnight is a couple of weeks where I know I will be entertained and manage a stitch project or two. This year it was welcoming to see and hear the crowds getting behind the players, the commentators banter bouncing as artistically as the balls across the court. Thanks to the multitude of BBC options I had plenty to choose from. Merrily from late morn til late evening I could get behind the under dog, admire the resilience of the known and marvel at the prowess of the new blood breaking through.

After the happenings of Sunday night, I also delighted in the behaviour of the crowd. No slurs, no drunken stupidity, no offensive language, no brawling, no scrapping, no abuse. What is it about the mob mentality of football fans that turns the sensible into unabashed vile thugs …. but that’s a while other subject.

While watching the tennis, I was able to complete a round cat blanket and even tackled a new stitch style for the edging.

When Wimbledon concludes I am often left feeling flat. Not as flat as when BFF flies home but adrift, so a mini project commission was tackled Monday. I had been flicking through some photos, looking for something specific, when one of my carers asked “What was that?” Cat Butt Coasters I replied. I had made some for a friend in the USA.

She was so amused that I said I would make some for her. Diving into my stash I searched for a suitable shade of butt to centre the grey and black cat coloured yarn,

The other distraction …. #NotMyCat, who enters for breakfast, leaves for a constitutional, then returns to commandeer my lap to snooze upon, my hands to fuss him and brush him until my next carer arrives.

Round these parts we’ve entered sticky season, when the heat and humidity rises, helped by menopausal hot flashes, equals sticky body parts. Not something many have to deal with but when trying to slide ones naked butt to and fro, it does matter. Even cotton sheets latch to clammy skin and nights are spent throwing off and retrieving the light weight duvet.

It wasn’t always this way….was it…..Or am I getting properly into ‘old’ (don’t answer that).

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2021 in General, Life, Projects

 

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