Saturday, December 09, 2017

New Life!

Praise be!  Behold, my telephone hath been restored unto me!

The language used for that last sentence fits the sense of renewed faith that comes with being plugged into whatever electronic systems I have been missing over the Days of Isolation through which I have had to live.  And please do not say that the 38 euro thing that I bought to ‘tide me over’ did anything so much.  To be fair I am astonished by just how much such a cheap phone was able to accomplish, but it wasn’t my faithful old Yotaphone.

It was given back to me this morning; some sort of chip having been replaced and it is now in full working order.  Except . . . .

Except, while the phone works, some things are missing.  Like all the apps that I added and the photos stored (I assumed) somewhere or other on the sim or in the cloud, somewhere, anywhere.

It’s a bit like beginning to walk again.  You progress step by step.  You have your basic phone and a lot of space on the main page where lots of little icons used to lurk.  Some of the replacements were easy to decide on: Reverso (my translation app); The Guardian (once a Guardian reader always a Guardian reader); Radio 4 (to question the need for this one argues that you wouldn’t understand the answer and that you were a poltroon); WhatsApp (people send things and they expect me to read them, and I do try, honestly!).  Other apps will be found when I need them, or to put it in the way that Toni described it, “You’ll get them when you find they aren’t there!”  Which is almost philosophical and probably counts for a lot of the time spent on computers as we try and find what isn’t there.

In the bad old days (I now understand that means anything over 5 years ago), no, the really bad old days when there was no internet, no wi-fi and virtually not on-board memory, you really did have to search for things that you thought that you had done, but you had made a tiny mistake in the file name or file type or where you put it and it was well and truly gone.  Like the books in the British Library that I was told had a shelf number as their identifying place in the system, which meant that if a book was replaced incorrectly then there was a real chance that it would never be found again, except by pure chance!  Sometimes it felt with early computers that, whatever we were told about the cold logic of our machines, they were actually motivated by a malevolent maliciousness that works ceaselessly against us.

So with my revived phone.  It felt as if things had been intentionally hidden.  For example the photographs I had taken.  On the photo app on the phone there were no ‘taken’ photographs, all the photos had gone.  Somewhere.  And, sure enough, over the next few hours, I found a photo, and then a whole slew of photos emerge from the electronic mists and retake their places.  They are there, but I don’t seem to be able to access them from the camera.  That too will change, I’m sure.

And, a I’ve been typing, I have realized that there is another app that I can’t do without, that of Kindle.  This is the app that uses the second face of my phone, so that I can read easily in black and white, and in the sunshine too.  And even as I type it is syncing my information and all my books are now only a touch away!

Everyone should go through the trauma of ‘losing’ their phone, if only for the delight and satisfaction in ‘restoring’ a life!

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Life without the phone

I am determined to be happy.  And why not?  There is much to be happy about.  Today has been cold, but bright and fine.  The sea has looked particularly uninviting in a positively attractive and sparkling way and lunch was good.  But as I sit here and type I know that lurking in my left hand jeans’ pocket is a new mobile phone.

Normally those last three words would be a cause of guilty jubilation for me as yet another gadget asks to be plugged into a power source.  But not this time.

Resultado de imagen de yotaphone 2
My ‘reserve’ Yotaphone 2 (I am still the only person I know who has even heard of this make) has given up the ghost and I have had to take it to be assessed and repaired.  I know that I am not the only person with a Yotaphone 2 in Castelldefels because some guy (it was from a male changing room locked locker) stole it from me, but I have yet to see anyone else with one, or should I say with what used to be mine!  My ‘reserve’ Yotaphone 2 is my third (the second went into the pool and was never the same again) and I keep on buying them because they are the only phones to have two faces: the normal screen you get with every phone and a second back screen which acts like a Kindle screen so that you can read in sunlight.

There are rumours and even ‘reviews’ of a fabled Yotaphone 3, but unless you live in China or possibly Russia such a thing remains the stuff of legend.  Even the Yotaphone 2 is now ‘discontinued’ in the bargain on-line bucket store from which I bought the last one.  I was left without a phone.

Now the last thing that I use my phone for is to phone.  Indeed the first time I had a call on the thing I had no idea how to answer it and had to wait for it to stop ringing, see who phoned me and then phone them back.  Obviously I learned how to answer the thing, but it still remained a niche activity for me.

I use my phone to read.  I read The Guardian every day and do the quick Guardian crossword first thing with my cup of morning tea.  This ‘quick’ crossword has taken me as little as 4-and-a-bit minutes to do (my very best time) and as long as utter-shame-for-an-ex-English-teacher sort of time, but it has become a sort of ritual and I quite like worrying my way to some odd words and then questioning the definition that was given as a clue to justify my tardiness.

I also read books on the phone.  I have got used to the screen size and it doesn’t worry me - as long as the reading matter is engrossing.  I find that I prefer reading non-fiction on the phone rather than literature because I think that the pace to take in factual information is slower than the rush of narrative.

Imagen relacionada
My Spanish/English go-to dictionary is on my phone.  I use the Reverso phone app which is quick, informative and free.  I use the camera on the phone, but not half as much as I want to.  I enjoy photography, but rarely take the time to improve my skills.  And then there is the Internet and all the niggling little pieces of information that one used to ignore because one couldn’t be bothered to go to the dusty volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, or in the case of my family The Children’s Britannica or the big Chambers Encyclopaedia.  Now, in seconds information and answers are available with little effort.  Although, of course the fact that the Web gives us so much so quickly is an absolute delight, there is little sense of achievement.  There is no selection of what might be the right volume, no turning pages, no reference to indices, no remembering an almost forgotten volume in which there might be a reference, no combing contents, no . . . OK, let’s face it, much of the process of ‘looking something up’ was boring, frustrating and very often futile, because even when you got the information and read about it at length in an encyclopaedia, that information was usually way out of date.  Now, there is a different level of frustration.

Take my trying to find a new old Yotaphone 2.  I have (electronically) bounced around the world going from site to site, following up references and suggestions, sticking and pasting leads into search engines in the hope that I can get to where I want to go.  And, just like the books, I go from page to page, flitting from lead to lead.  I find myself distracted: three clicks and I am engrossed in something which has nothing to do with what I started out my search for.  I wrench myself back and go on a roller coaster of emotion as what I am searching for seems tantalizingly near and then electronically crumbles away into the same old dead ends.

And this was taken away from me with the death of my phone.  After a day (even with the liberal application of laptop) I was having withdrawal symptoms.  My absent phone was a like a phantom limb.  I couldn’t stand it.

So now I am the ‘proud’ owner of a Qubo.

Resultado de imagen de qubo phone
This is a phone that can be hidden in the palm of my hand.  It has a screen the size of a large stamp and looks like something that I would not have bought all those years ago when mobile phones looked like that.  I showed it to the family as they had come for lunch and to see the Fayre that had taken over the centre of Castelldefels and they burst into horrified laughter and then expressed concern about my atavistic taste!

But I am impressed by what this 38-euro phone can actually do.  It has internet (though I don’t know how to get on it), a camera, a torch, plays music (none there), holds my contacts, oh and makes telephone calls.  I am not going to be reading books on the thing, but that is not why I bought it, and I don’t think that its internal memory is exactly large enough to take more than a pamphlet.  I have taken three photos and they seem to be somewhere inside the machine.  I am not sure how many more images can be stored, but I am hoping that my repaired phone will be returned to me so that I won’t have to find out.

Shop!  Please phone my landline and tell me that my link to the world has been restored!

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Why do I listen to the news?

Today is the Day of the Constitution.  And a Bank Holiday.

Horrifically, we get to see our “government” – the worthless bunch of right wing self seeking members of the minority government of the most corrupt party in Western Europe all standing together, smirking at a population that did not vote for them to be the government but, due to the ineptitude of the opposition political parties has allowed this ‘criminal’ bunch to stay in power, to force our President into exile, to imprison our political leaders, to invoke 155 and all of this from a party with 9% support in Catalonia that has assumed control of our country.  And you have to say that vast sentence in one breath to get the full effect!

And now on television, Ana Pastor the president of Congress, is making a speech in which key words like “liberty”, “democracy”, “justice”, “rights”, “tolerance”, “dialogue” are being used that, for this ‘government’ have a very specific meaning which does not even come close to anything that I understand the words to mean. 

Listening to the national Spanish government reminds me of my time in a student strike in Swansea University when I was part of a delegation which met with members of the governing body of the University.  The Chair of the university Council that we met was Ifor Davies, trade union supported Labour MP for Gower, and it became clear that the words and concepts that I was using to put forward the student case were also being owned by Ifor Davies, but it rapidly became clear that a common vocabulary did not mean common beliefs. 

There is nothing more frustrating to hear your words used against you by someone who wilfully redefines their meaning poles away from an understanding that should be common to you both. 

But Ivor Davies was an established, institutional ‘Socialist’ in a safe Labour seat and he was never going to be on the side of radical change, and it was my first ‘real life’ experience of, “the devil can cite scripture for his purpose” approach to political debate.  In spite of this happening decades ago, I still find that approach hurtful and distasteful.  And I hear it every day as soon as a member of the Spanish National Minority Government opens its mouth.

I can’t even turn to the UK news to add a moment of tranquillity as the Conservative Brexit convulsions continue to make my country an international laughing stock. If I understood the extract of the news on Radio 4 correctly the government has not undertaken a study of the financial implications of Brexit on British Industry!  

If that is correct, then the government and especially the Minister for Brexit have been criminally incompetent; if they have done studies (surely, they must have) and they are deliberately keeping yet more compromising information about the disaster that Brexit is going to be from the general public then they should resign.  En mass, and now!

Though, finding out that the minority Conservative government is unprepared is par for the course given the generally clueless mess that the Conservatives (“lower than vermin”) have made of the whole Brexit fiasco so far.

I thought about that after the last Brexit disaster but two (or was it three) when the unprepossessing leader of the troglodytic DUP (the dim but intense girl you wouldn’t have wanted to have been put next to in school) Arlene Foster phoned up the zombified misfiring robot that masquerades as our Prime Minister and peremptorily informed her that she had to stop talking to those nasty Europeans.  And the very next day the throwback Tories rose like the scum they are and mouthed their inane platitudes.

It was seeing in The Guardian a photo montage of the main Tory Brexiteers applauding the stance of Foster (Ian Duncan Smith, Redwood, Lawson, Rees-Mogg etc) I was reminded of the line up of The Munsters or The Addams Family, the same freakish look but without the family charm of The Munsters or the moral clarity of The Addams Family.

Why is it that we have to tolerate these startling failures (IDS for the state of social services and care of the disabled; Redwood for his ‘singing’ of the Welsh National Anthem among other things; Lawson for his singing as the pound plunged; Rees-Mogg for existing) pontificating about an appalling situation that they have consciously helped produce.  Based on what they have already done, what the hell do they know about how to make the situation in the United Kingdom any better?

I need to watch a film or go to the opera again or listen to music or read a book and convince myself that there is intellectual life out there that is not tainted by political idiocy.  And Trump is now moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem!  Each day brings more bad news than can be easily consumed in a twenty-four hour period!

We must make the days longer!

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

"Tristan und Isolde" is a really good opera. Who knew!

When I first saw the programme for the present opera season in the Liceu my heart sank: Tristan and Isolde was a feature.  The opera famous for length and nothing much happening on stage was set to be my early Christmas 'present' in musical terms.  And yes, I am being ironic.

I had approached the evening with increasing dread, trying to explain to Toni just what hard work some operas could be.  His response was, “Why go?”  To which my (unsatisfactory) response was, “Have you seen the cost of the tickets!”

So, I took my place yesterday, having remembered to turn up an hour earlier for the 7 pm (rather than the 8 pm start for normal length operas) with something of a heavy heart.  I sank into my aisle stall seat and waited for oblivion or ecstasy to take me!

In the event neither did. 

The opening prelude played by the orchestra of the Liceu was beautiful with measured and detailed playing which gave an accurate indication of the performance throughout this long opera.  In many ways the orchestra, Orquestra Simfònic i de Gran Theatre del Liceu was the true star of the evening as the reading of the music by the director Josep Pons was such that I was able to appreciate details that, in spite of previous hearings, I had never truly appreciated before.

The first appearance of Isolde (Iréne Theorin) demonstrated the assurance that she brought to the role throughout the evening.  Each nuance in the changing relationship of the two main characters was easily captured by her voice which retained richness of tone and assurance no matter whether she was singing piano or fortissimo.  The same could not be said for her Tristan (Stefan Vinke) where, the first time that we see them both together on the deck of the ship taking them to Cornwall, he appeared uneasy in his movement on stage and the quality of his voice felt a little rough to me.  Vinke did, however come into his own in the second act where the mixture of power and delicacy seemed to fit the register of his voice more happily, and he, after all, managed to sing through a role that would have ripped lighter voices to pieces with its demands.  His voice was something that I warmed to throughout the evening and, while I never felt that he matched his Isolde in terms of sheer quality, he was a noble partner.

Resultado de imagen de tristan und isolde Opera de Lyon
Our first glimpse of the set was of something quite minimal with a strip of film of waves at the back of the stage suggesting the sea.  However, during the first act a giant ovoid shape was gradually lowered.  At first it reminded me of a giant spider’s egg sac, something holding a disturbing element of life within itself, but later a photographic realization of the surface of the moon was projected onto the shape and perhaps the idea of lifelessness and the link with the supernatural was suggested - though the realism of the moon surface markings suggested another interpretation.

Resultado de imagen de tristan und isolde Opera de Lyon
In the second act the giant ovoid had been turned around and looked like the shell of a massive Easter egg.  Inside the curve of this egg were doorways, one of which, sited at the top of the egg had a curving staircase down to the stage level.  It looked interesting and was made more so by the use of projections on the convex surface.  For the long love duet the outlines of two trees were shown each growing branches into the other eventually filling the space.  Projections of fire were used effectively and a clichéd but exciting destruction sequence as the projections seemed to show the destruction of the edifice.

Although the set was simple, it had an epic grandeur and although it only vaguely suggested Marke’s castle it had a majestic elegance and gave a fitting setting for the performance of Albert Dohmen playing Marke, King of Cornwall.  His voice was rich and full and he played the role with a tired dignity that added pathos to the story without making it mawkish.

Sarah Connolly was an amazing Brangäne who sang superbly through her time on stage and moved with a professional assurance which gave a dramatic unity to the narrative, as did the other sung characters - this was an ensemble piece.

Resultado de imagen de tristan und isolde Opera de Lyon
The final act had the ovoid turned so that its concave side was facing the audience.  A small ramp let up to a circular hole cut in the side that acted as a lookout for the anticipated ship bringing Isolde to her wounded lover.  Although massively there the set never intruded, it gave a setting, allowed action became almost a character in the action, but one that allowed the glory to go to the singers.  A beautifully judged use of something that could have been mere intrusion.

The final moments of the opera had dry ice smoke pouring through the hole in the set and settling on the bodies of the lovers, while shafts of light blazed through to the glorious sound of the music.  You might say that it was a little over the top, but how else to you adequately end an evening that was performed so well of an opera so awesome as this?

So, I liked it.

Much to my amazement.  I still think that there is an orchestral symphonic poem or even symphony that I might like to hear based on judicious selection of the music in this opera.  And, yes, I know that I am showing my essential uncouthness by suggesting that some of the music might be surplus to requirements and that it might benefit by some cutting.  But perhaps this is just another stage in my appreciation of the music and it might suggest that there is still some way to go before I am a true Wagnerite!

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Surprise yourself!

You are never too old for a first time.

I suppose I should let that opening line just rest, alone. Let the sense of it be found in the individual sensibility of the invidual reading it. But that is not my way. Where there is an introduction there is writing!

The first, ‘first’ of the last few days was with food. I pride myself on being my mother’s son as far as things culinary go. She was prepared to try virtually anything, up to and including cheese that had to be stunned with a hammer before it could be eaten. Her love of pungent cheese I have come to understand, but one food stuff that she enjoyed, I still find difficult: tripe.

That last word is not a comment, it is a food stuff. The stomach lining of cows. It looks revolting and tastes worse. My mother cooked it in chunks with onions in milk and water and kept saying how delicious it was while my father and I looked on in horror. Neither of us was ever tempted to try what looked like surgical waste.

In Spain tripe is called callos, and in Madrid it is the signature tapa of the city (Catalans might say ‘exactly!’) and can be found in sandwiches even. Usually, however, callos are served as bits in a sauce.

As my mother’s son I felt that the time had arrived for me to try and break another frontier and try them. In the past there was the occasion where four of us visited Madrid and decided to try the signature tapa only to find when the thing actually arrived three of my companions refused even to try the dish. And I gave up after a few mouthfuls.

So, in theory, I was open to try callos again, but not go out of my way to order them. Luckily the number of times that callos features on a menu del dia in these parts is limited and so my theoretical indulging could remain hypothetical rather than real. Until the inevitable happened and callos appeared on a menu and I decided the time had come – and there would be another two courses to take the taste away (to say nothing of the wine) if I didn’t like them.

They were served with chickpeas (gabanzos) small chunks of chorizo and unidentifiable bits of fat-wrapped pig bone all in a sauce.

I took my first taste with a certain amount of trepidation and a half empty spoon and, even with the rather slimily textured slide of the first piece of tripe down my questioning throat, I realized that my genetic background was going to allow me to (even) ‘enjoy’ this first course and, as the last of the pictures in this little series will prove, I managed to finish my dish – with the exception of the inedible parts that were only there for flavouring. Job well done.

Though to be entirely frank, the other starter choices on any future menu del dia will have to be startling awful before I chose callos again, but I have eaten them and with what could be describe as something approaching relish. And if that sounds like fairly qualified approbation, well, it is.

The second first, so to speak, comes by virtue of accompanying a friend to the local Chinese supermarket for sundries. I went there for nothing and came out with three glass jars, an illuminated rose tree, a set of bubble multi coloured lights and, my first, an illuminated star.

Now I have bought illuminated stars at this time of the year before as I am a great believer in the pure vulgarity of the decorative holiday season of Christmas. I am not a fan of those who produce tastefully decorated homes by restricting the colour palette to two primary colours or just black and white or any variation thereof. Excess is never enough in my opinion.

So, this star is for putting in the window. I know that Cardiff is the home of the illuminated house and garden near the roundabout where over-kill Christmas Lights is given its concrete (if you can say that about light) manifestation – but I was never a fan. But am now. If only with a single multi-coloured, flashing piece of vulgarity. And I love it!

Imagen relacionadaOur part of Castelldefels is hardly enthusiastic about Christmas decorations, and even the municipality is, shall we say, undemonstrative on our particular part of the beach. You have to look long and hard to see any signs of Christmas here. But not now, thanks to the power of LED lights our single star blazes out jollifying the whole of our section of the street!

The star is in the kitchen window facing the road and is at first floor level. On the ground floor you can see through to the back garden, the front part of which is filled with various forms of solar light, so coming back home at night can be a fairly shocking, though intensely satisfying experience, at least to me a confirmed light lover!

Resultado de imagen de tristan and isolde cartoon
Tomorrow back to the Liceu and the long haul of Tristan. Although I am the first to admit the beauty of some of the music in this piece, I do find it difficult to regard it as anything but an ordeal. It starts an hour earlier than normal and we still probably won’t get out before midnight!

Perhaps, this will be the occasion when I really get why this opera is regarded as being as transformative as it is in the history of music.

I am reminded of a production of Tristan I saw years ago. It was beautifully sung, but I found it dramatically dead and the staging was minimalistic to the point of utter boredom. Indeed at one point in one the performances that I attended I counted the number of people in the dress circle because it was more interesting than what was happening on stage. During the interval one of my friends fell on a bottle of wine while slipping down stairs (don’t ask) and I volunteered to take her to casualty and miss the rest of the opera. Such selflessness! 

So I have history with this piece.

However, I approach this performance with hope and a reasonably open mind, strong in the faith that I have a more spacious and comfortable seat than I used to have a few years ago when I watched opera from the Upper Levels!

The real trick is to survive rush hour traffic, get to the Opera House with enough time to wash the driving out of your mind and allow the music to fill it!

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Do not die Seneca!

Every music goer has his or her own story of ‘The Supressed Cough’ or perhaps a description of when the supressed cough came out, and the consequent feeling that the entire audience was glaring in your direction wanting to rip you to pieces for ruining their favourite passage in the piece.

The Death of SenecaMy moment came towards the end of the first half of The Coronation of Poppea in the Liceu last night during the death of Seneca.  This is one of my favourite parts in the opera and I would have preferred to have enjoyed it in tranquillity, rather than while wondering which of us was going to die first, Seneca with his vein slitting or me trying to keep in a cough that was bursting its way to the surface like magma from a volcanic explosion.

Things were not helped by the fact that the orchestra was in keeping with the ‘early’ nature of the music with sparse and delicate orchestration and so there was rarely sound sufficient to mask any “audience participation”.  I found that I could not breathe properly and had to take tiny bird-like sips of air so that I didn’t activate the full cough that any reasonable breath would have guaranteed. 

Somehow or other I managed to keep the cough under control, though to the people sitting behind me there must have been some strange writhing to observe before black-out and merciful release.

I will spare you the phlegmy details of that luxuriant cough, but the relief did not make up for the previous minutes where the sonic restrictions imposed on an audience member trying to be considerate had appreciably limited my life expectancy.  Not coughing I felt, was my Sydney Carton moment, “It is a far, far better thing I do etc.”  Admittedly I was not taken to the guillotine, but I did die a little death during the struggle for silence!

Apart from that, what was the performance like?

Well, this production of The Coronation of Poppea (1642) by Claudio Monteverdi was a concert version so there is no dramatic production, scenery and costumes to speak of, though the singers made the most of their score-bound, music stand limited opportunities – but the major action was through the music and the voices, as it should be.

One of those who defied the limitations of a concert performance and who had a great stage presence was Filippo Mineccia, a counter-tenor singing Ottone.  He had a beautifully modulated voice and, while it lacked power, it was expressive and touching.

The key roles of Nerone (David DQ Lee – counter-tenor) and Poppea (Sabrina Puértolas) were central to the drama.  Puértolas brought more raw sexuality and sensuality to her singing than I have heard in this role, while the oafish, self-satisfied vulgarity that Lee brought to the character of Nerone was a counterpoint to and at the same time a development of the characteristics inherent in the character of Poppea.  I would have to describe Lee’s voice as a Helden-counter-tenor, it had a throaty fullness that could, and did fill the Liceu and gave a real masculinity to the role.  This was a voice that could easily be imperial and the contrast with the more delicate voice of Mineccia gave a dynamic to the drama of the interactions of the characters.

Maite Beaumont sang Ottavia and produced a version of the Lament that I have not heard bettered in any live performance that I have been to.  Her voice was point perfect and the pathos that she injected in her song of loss was astonishing.  She showed herself to be dramatically and vocally versatile in singing through a whole range of passions, and each one of them convincing.  For me, her voice was the stand out performance of the evening.

Luigi De Donato as Seneca was magisterial and his vocal range was strong in every register the music asked him to hit.  A rich and full voice that seemed to relish the challenges in the role.

There was some doubling in the roles so that, if you were not sure about the narrative, you could be confused as a character you had just heard being one person suddenly transmogrified into another, but the music led you surely and with voices of this quality who cares if you are kept guessing!

The role of Arnalta was taken by Krystian Adam, and he made the most of the opportunities that it offered especially in the lullaby, a real moment of pathos in the power struggles going on in the imperial court.

Drusilla was sung with intelligence and grace by Verrónica Cangemi, while Franciso Fernández Rueda sang his variety of roles with competence and musical precision as did Cyril Auvity.

The scoring of the piece allows the music director a fairly free hand in how it is presented.  I have heard productions of The Coronation of Poppea which have been accompanied by what sounded like the 101 strings of Mantovani in lusciously Romantic music and I’ve also heard ‘authentic’ productions where I have failed to recognize any of the instruments in the orchestra.  This version led by Jean-Christophe Spinosi was a little more conventional.  The orchestra (Ensemble Matheus) resources were limited, with recognizable strings, continuo, harpsichord, lute, harp and what looked like a dulcimer.

I have to admit that I was a little disconcerted by the sounds in the opening of the opera, by what I took to be roughness from the wind section, there was also a certain scrappiness from some of the strings – but as the piece progressed so I became more immersed in Spinosi’s approach.

You could say that Spinosi was less of a conductor and more of an actor in the piece as he sat, stood, clapped, stamped, smiled and encouraged.  He was not afraid to go for dissonance in the name of drama, but at the same time, he was more than prepared to manufacture musical moments of tremulous delicacy.

When, at the end of the production and for the curtain call, everyone, singers, director and the entire orchestra came to take a bow in a line together, it seemed like a fitting accolade for what was an ensemble piece realized by individual virtuosi!


This is being typed on my MacBook Air now that the battery has been replaced.  I was informed by the Apple Centre that I went to that they would have problems finding a battery because my machine was ‘vintage’!  Vintage!  I asked how this was possible and I was told that Apple describes as ‘Vintage’ any machine over five years old, and that specific parts would cease to be readily available.  If this is true then it is a truly disgraceful example of forced obsolescence.  However, in spite of the machinations of Apple, they did manage to get a replacement battery and installed it in double quick time for which I am grateful.

And what a joy this machine is to use, I am now remembering! 

It turns out that I do not want a two-in-one tablet and laptop; I do not want a larger screen; I do want a ‘proper’ keyboard layout; I do not need the extra memory that I thought I did.  In short, I should have stuck with what I already had, instead of which I spent a lot of money on a ‘better’ machine that I do not like using.  Ah well, hoist by my own gadgets.

I have to admit that coming back to a small, light and stylish machine like my MacBook Air is an absolute delight: yes, it is overpriced and it doesn’t have the specs that many cheaper machines boast, but it does have an illuminated symbol on the front cover and it still looks as slick as it did when I bought it.  All those Vintage years ago!