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LilyPond project boilerplate for music engraving

I was digging around the web for old folk songs this morning and came across Chumbawumba’s English Rebel Songs 1381–1984, was particularly taken by “The World Upside Down”. I wanted to try arranging it but didn’t want to just duplicate and Frankenstein the last score I was working on, so I finally sat down and made a boilerplate.

LilyPond project boilerplate

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cold water didn’t hurt my ears (~1992–2000)

light blue stucco
navy blue shutters
kitchen window like a fishbowl, or a porthole
one floor, mostly

mom splitting her knee open on the brick stairs up to the front door

pots & pans band

dad’s lime green motorcycle, briefly

agapanthus & jade plants
bougainvillea
the scariest palm tree

garage always full, but never the car

where did mom keep her drawing board?

huge glass sliding door at the back
games through the wicker rocking chair
cinder blocks and chain link

ice plant covering the hill to the creek behind the house

sliding closet doors, the paint would stick

neighbors with the scary Halloween ghost
Zeke & Aileen, and the toys they made for us

white painted brick surrounding the fireplace that we rarely used

– – –

blue stucco and blue shutters again,
but this time with white wrought iron
two floors now
wisteria taking over at the back

parents’ brass bed frame, with ceramic decorations on the spindles

mom and her study, wooden artboard and captain’s chair
endless stacks of continuous form paper
tins of colored pencils, meticulously organized by hue
AOL and computer games

the oven that went baroom

Sega Genesis behind the couch
Brett was way better

possom in the wood pile under the lemon and lime trees

the water main broke, water gushing down the street
jumping over the water to get to school

Mr. and Mrs. Redlitz next door
the not-so-nice lady on the other side
Teddy & Dmitri

games barefoot on the berm
until I stepped on a bee, and dog poo
Cassiopeia, Pleiades, Big & Little Dippers

Pleiades was mine, my little tornado

people jumped off that cliff sometimes, but we didn’t hear much about it; probably on purpose

falling about 5 feet on to my back on the rocks after trying to climb the cliff instead of using the path
I was lucky, it was one of the first times I really felt lucky
it could have been so much further
the grass at the top felt incredible

there’s an edible plant that grows on the cliffs and tastes sour, dewy and pink
and mustard, and fennel

owls, sometimes; gulls, always

still dream about walking down the storm drain, through the rocks and down to the bay
not sure it’s possible

we were always told to keep well back from the cliff edge, it could be soft even when it’s been dry
it was usually dry

the road leading to a friend’s house near the school fell in to the sea not long before we moved away
the rollercoaster road near the best tidepools was always changing
we didn’t go there often

countless tadpoles in the storm drain
one day we weren’t allowed to play in the storm drain
it didn’t seem like anything had changed in the little tadpole pools

never once saw the green flash

running my fingers through the sand just after the wave recedes, feeling millions of sandcrabs

mile swims around the buoys
mile runs in blistering, soft sand
Neil, a first crush
his real name is Donald
he was the only faster swimmer

a ray in the shallow water, briefly, before I can show anyone
a vivid purple jellyfish
dolphins in the bay, rarely

don’t dive in head first, always wade out and check the levels first
how to brace someone’s neck if you’re waiting for first aid
don’t touch a seal, it’s probably sick
don’t step on kelp bulbs barefoot, there might be something sharp inside
don’t step on the black “rocks”, they’re chunks of hot tar

cold water didn’t hurt my ears


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I’m on the bandwagon

Just published a privacy policy. The styles don’t really support multi-level headings right now, that will have to come later.

It’s probably overkill to have such a long privacy policy for a personal website, but it felt like a useful exercise. I like the fact that an essential part of GDPR is that these policies have to be readable and easy to understand. That makes them both a policy and an educational opportunity. A lot of people don’t really know why they need to be careful with their data or how to do that and honestly, that’s fair enough. Data privacy has been under-appreciated for a long time. If we talk about it enough though, and be patient with one another, that can improve.

There are downsides to the GDPR hullabaloo though… so many people are applying quick, artificial fixes. Pop-ups, spammy-looking emails saying “please re-register!” that themselves feel like spam… It all feels a little web 1.0 at the moment. There’s a real fine line between being considerate and useful vs being shouty and in the way of day-to-day life on the web. There’s no quick fix really, it takes time and care to look long and hard at this stuff.

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🌈 + beata viscera iridis at the Royal Academy

Rainbows + Beata Viscera Iridis performed by Musarc at the Royal Academy, May 2018

Musarc performed Rainbows + Beata viscera iridis on the Burlington Gardens staircase at the Royal Academy on Saturday 19 May 2018 as part of the RA’s 250 birthday celebrations.

Rainbows is devised by artist Sarah Kate Wilson, and Beata viscera iridis is a simple arrangement of a medieval conductus by myself and architect Toby O’Connor. This is, I believe, the third staging of these pieces together.

A few of the performances at the RA had a lower key than usual. An interesting register to work with, the energy is very different. The clip here includes the introduction and the beginning of the conductus.

Photo by Justine Trickett. Recording courtesy Sam Belinfante.

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Rehearsing Rainbows

Early last year, Sarah Kate Wilson approached Musarc with a concept for a performance involving coloured mirrors. Around the same time, Toby O’Connor and I were mulling over ways of working with Beata Viscera, a conductus by medieval composer Pérotin. These experiments blended well and in April 2017, Musarc opened and closed the 3rd Do Disturb festival at Palais De Tokyo with Rainbows + Beata viscera iridis. Watch a video documenting Musarc’s various PDT performances on musarc.org. These pieces were performed again as part of MK Gallery’s 2017 CityFest and at Rochester Square’s Open Day on 24 June 2017.

Musarc rehearsing Rainbows

Musarc rehearsing Rainbows + Beata viscera iridis at Central House just before the building was sold by London Met Uni.

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Tiny pat on the back

The e-newsletters we made for Penguin Classics got a mention in a recent newsletter from The Better Email [✉ ∞]. Made me smile. Here are a few newsletters from the Penguin Random House team that I particularly like.