Category Archives: blue funks

Time to Select Reverse

Jack finally gets a Wednesday blog post up on time – – –

Back in the 1990s I was working as a middle manager in a local Scottish community college. I was head of construction crafts, and that department was fairly low in the pecking order. So I decided to find a focus for us that would boost our profile.

I had been interested in environmental topics for a while and did some research. That resulted in a series of projects funded by the EU and with partners all over Europe. The college senior management supported me and I traveled regularly from Belgium to Denmark and Germany and Italy and even eventually to Romania and Vietnam.

earth image

But I worried continually that I wasn’t always producing the educational outcomes that I had promised. It was many years later that I discovered that these were never the expected outcomes in the first place. It was always just about getting people from different countries and cultures to interact and talk to each other!

This brings me to the real point –

I discovered a few weeks ago that my hard-won US Citizenship can be arbitrarily taken from me at the drop of a hat and the whim of a faceless bureaucrat. This seems to mirror what’s going on in Britain right now as well. Not just there but all over the world there seems to be a resurgence of the fear of ‘the other’.

Of course I don’t expect to be deported any time soon. I’m not black or Hispanic. Not Mexican or Muslim. Not Catholic or Italian. Not Irish or Chinese. I’m a white guy from Scotland – – –

So come on folks. It’s time to put all this nonsense behind us. We inhabit a tiny dot in the universe and we need to look after each other – and that tiny dot too!

“There are some oddities in the perspective with which we see the world. The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be, but we have done various things over intellectual history to slowly correct some of our misapprehensions.” – Douglas Adams

 

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Filed under between books, Big Stone Gap, blue funks, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

Not Fade Away – – –

Jack’s Wednesday post reverts again to default Thursday – tsk, tsk – – –

Long lost and broken tape.

Back in 1997 just before Wendy and I married we visited my Mum and recorded her memories. She was almost ninety years old by then and although she was beginning to fail a bit her long term memory was still good.

I had tried a few times to record her stories but she always dried up as soon as the microphone appeared. However Wendy was an experienced folklorist with lots of skill in putting people at ease in these kind of situations.

So we ended up with almost an hour of wonderful stories about her early life, my early life, her father and grandfather and much more.

Dad - RAF

Bill – my Dad

Mum

Alice – my Mom

Just a few days ago my niece asked about the tape and coincidentally I had just found it again. So I went to copy it onto my computer and archive it more safely. To my horror I found that at some point in the past the tape had broken. I was mortified and full of guilt!

Out came the tiny screwdriver and apart came the cassette. After hours of painstaking work and endless attempts to re-thread the now repaired tape through the various wheels and gates it finally went together again. But would it work and had I done everything correctly?

I knew that it only had to play once but would it?

I plucked up courage, booted up the computer, opened the program, then hit play on the cassette machine. There was nothing but a hiss! I took out the cassette and it had survived OK. The only thing was to fast forward to the end and turn it over, but would it handle that without breaking again?

It did survive and I turned it and hit play – and out came Mum’s voice as if she was right there in the room!

It seems we only recorded one side and put the label on the other side. The break, instead of being near the beginning was actually at the end, so nothing was lost. But the odd thing is that the start clearly leads from a previous tape, so there’s another one I need to find now.

I’m pleased to say that the recording is not only on the computer but also up in my DropBox in the sky, and as soon as I find that other cassette it will go there as well. I just hope I don’t have to use that wee screwdriver again!

The moral? Get these fragile cassettes digitized and saved safely or you will regret it!

 

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Filed under between books, blue funks, crafting, folklore and ethnography, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, Scotland, Uncategorized, Wendy Welch