Brushes with Culture

This is a space where I can reflect on the many fascinating things that I experience. Some of the things I brush with are Culture with a capital C. Others are just intriguing moments. Sometimes I am brushing with these moments in a hurry. This is a chance to relive those moments in tranquility. These are the stories I tell myself in those quieter moments.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

One's Garden's Strange Things

Two new items have appeared in the garden since Thursday night. I have a shrewd idea that they were neither blown in (like much of the cellophane degenerating - but not fast enough - in the flowerbed) or brought by the foxes (like that turquoise soft-toy dinosaur that progressed round the lawn a couple of years ago). They are two clapped out speakers of an ancient model: one with flapping black gauze, the other with frontage intact.

They follow an old-fashioned stereo system which lasted about three weeks and a large monitor and CPU that lay against the gate to the back garden in such a way that I was worried it had been dropped by burglars. (I have something similar somewhere in the house.) No, it was another almost-antique electrical present.

I'd think someone was dumping in my garden were it not for the fact that eventually they go away again. And, again, I don't think the wind or the foxes can be liable for their removal even though both also often take away what they have brought in.

This traffic through my garden is fascinating, of course. But the single most arresting movement of matter is currently in the hands of a small but exquisite wren. I've seen a wren in early Spring for three years now. It arrived the year my Dad died and I am of the opinion that his soul inhabits the little thing. That aside, this year the wren is building a nest in the ivy. I hardly dare breathe for fear of startling it. It sits about a yard away from the kitchen window while it assesses whether it is safe to approach its construction site. Then it takes its mouthful of fluff, flies off and comes back without it.

Ah, Spring, with all its many gifts...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sing-Song Reversing

In Bangalore, reversing vehicles sound like ringing phones. Not sufficient to beeep, beeep, beeep like the forklift trucks 'operating in store now'... or large lorries doing intricate manoeuvres in colder climes, there are songs and symphonies out there polluting the city. Goodness, we heard 'Fur Elise' and 'Happy Birthday' among others.

A question begged is whether you choose your tune and can change it. Or do you buy your car knowing that you are going to be saddled with Mozart in monophone for the whole life of it? When I say ringtones, that's the old-fashioned kind that still sound tinny when pumped out the back of a Landrover. I suppose they could get all poly about it but if it blended into the environment it might cease to be effective. Because, whereas with a phone it's the owner who needs alerting and they are trained to listen for a particular call, with reversing cars it's everyone except the owner that's being notified. So a nice tune that has very little nuisance value probably doesn't quite cut it.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Ironically Juicy

I'm typing one-handed, which sounds dodgy and is. The dodginess reflects the connections when you plug in power at the India Habitat Centre (parrots fly around the eaves and nice flowers and fish abound so it's a good spot) . They spark and fly and are distinctly unstable. The conference is called Juice (the link will appear when my other hand's free). Having wiggled the power so that my plug is now recharging the laptop and not just resting in a socket, I'm part of the circuit and every time the laptop touches my knee, it stings.

The Juice in question is Food Fuel and Meaning - how to cut our dependence on fuel; how to lessen our carbon emissions. Clusters of people have gathered round the sockets here and this four-way adapter appeared at lunchtime. Earlier, my need to network led me out of the conference hall and down to another socket where I could wedge a chair but that meant missing the very conference I was here to hear. Funny how fast one-hand typing can get when you know the keyboard... Funny what lengths one will go to to find power...

Juice. If I survive the electricity, it's back to some interesting connections in actuality and people who are doing things that are important to the project that brought me here.

NB. Photographing one-handed is also dodgy, as can be seen from the pics...