More creature stuff. Earlier this evening, I spoke on the phone with friends, exchanging Christmas greetings. The teenage daughter of the family is about to do Grade 8 piano or some such unimaginably precocious thing, and one of the piano pieces she’s doing is by Aaron Copland, entitled The Cat and the Mouse. The idea is that it’s the noise that happens when a cat chases a mouse over a piano keyboard. Never heard of this piece until today. For me, Copland is those cheerful orchestral pieces that everyone knows, like Rodeo and Appalachian Spring. I played a YouTube video of it, done by a kid, and I have to say that to me it just sounded like a fun piece of music.
But here’s a ten year old girl playing it at a Lang Lang master class, back in 2010. She certainly seemed to relate to it. Maybe the mere idea of it being a cat and a mouse running about on a keyboard was enough to get her going. So good is this Kate Lee that I found myself digressing into wondering what she is doing now. I could find nothing of hers since 2017, when she played the first movement of the Ravel Piano Concerto with her school orchestra, than whom she was decidedly better. Presumably she’s studying piano at some music college now, keeping her head down. With Lang Lang on her side, if that is still how it is, she should do well. But then again, how many more oriental piano prodigies are there out there?
Looking forward to hearing the friends’ daughter play this piece.
I photoed this photo way back in 2004, at Twickenham railway station:
And ever since, although as sporting photos go it’s nothing special, I’ve always been rather fond of it. It conjures up a world of fandom and fellowship, because if any other Falcons fan sees this guy, for instance on a train from Twickenham to Newcastle, he’s going to know he’s met a soulmate, and they’re going to have plenty to talk about. Nothing transforms public transport quite like sports fans embarking on it en masse, because sports fans, unlike regular travellers, all communicate with each other. This can be annoying, but it is certainly different.
I did some digging concerning the recent form of the Newcastle Falcons, and it turns out it’s been rather good. They got relegated from the Premiership at the end of the season before last, but bounced back in style. It was decided that they should be promoted by a committee, but since the Falcons had won fifteen out of fifteen games down there in Nearly The Premier Division and were heading for victory before Covid abolished the last few games of the season, they surely deserved their instant reinstatement.
Confirmation that they deserved to be back to the Prem came in the form of the Falcons winning all their three games so far. So they’re now eighteen for eighteen. Only the mighty Exeter Chiefs are now above them, with three stonking wins compared to the three close wins that the Falcons have got.
All this falconry is because it’s Friday and that’s my day for non-human creatures of every sort. Humans have a habit of calling their sports teams after animals and insects and fishes and whatnot. In the Premier League, the members of whom you can see at the other end of the above link, there’s the Newcastle Falcons, the Bristol Bears, Sale Sharks, Leicester Tigers, and of course there’s Wasps. Gloucester just call themselves Gloucester but there’s a big old red lion on the shield they promote themselves with.
Such creaturely ruminations aside, the one big fact that all rugby civilians should be aware of is who the most famous Newcastle Falcon has so far been. It’s this guy.
Starting with a new recording of Carnival of the Animals. Saint-Saëns at his harmonious and melodious best. It’s the Kanneh-Mason clan, with additions. Sheku, as of now the most celebrated of this much celebrated classical family, has his big cello moment with the Swan.
Relatedly, “i” reports that the way animals communicate is evolving so that it remains audible above the din made by humans.
Most significantly of all, when it comes to the ever changing relationship between animals and humans, Singapore becomes the first country to approve the sale of lab-grown meat. See also this earlier posting here, about steps in that same direction in Israel.
On the left, I lined it up with the twin towers of the Abbey. And on the right we are looking back up Victoria Street. On the right, the cranes that are finishing the building of The Broadway.
Around the base of this memorial are four lions, which all look like this:
At least, I presume they are lions. I am no sort of expert on how lions look. But I know that there are other lion statues in London, such as the ones in Trafalgar Square, and such as the one at the south end of Westminster Bridge, which have faces on them that look quite different from the above lion. They have heads that are a completely different shape to this Crimea lion, which to my never-seen-a-real-lion-in-my-life-or-not-that-I-recall eye, look more like some brand of monkey, or even like a dog.
I photoed these photos last Wednesday, and I have yet to recover from that expedition, having been suffering lately from aches and pains which this walk was supposed to help but didn’t. Now that Lockdown has locked down again, I’ll probably be showing photos from that day here for about the next month, on and off. There have already been this and these. So expect more, but not today.
But, look who else joined in, as shown in the bottom right of this screen capture:
The cat made its first appearance in this interview at about 9:23.
What this illustrates is that cats who have been well treated by humans typically enjoy human company. When humans are doing things, cats often like to be part of it. Their anti-social reputation is rather undeserved, I think. Basically, they are not as insanely desirous of human company as most dogs are. By that standard nobody, cat or human, can possibly win any sociability contest. But by any reasonable standard, cats, provided, as I say, that they have been well treated by their human companions, are very ready to be companionable with humans.
How do Dark Horses feel about cats? Does this cat appear regularly on these podcasts? Does it boost traffic? I can’t be the only one who has commented on this feline participation.
My favourite cat, Oscar, is the cat housed and maintained by GodDaughter2’s family, down in the south of France. Search for Oscar on the left there, and you’ll encounter several other postings featuring Oscar, as well as postings that refer to such persons as Oscar Wilde.
Here, from GD2’s Dad, is the latest Oscar photo. This is him, yawning:
I like that. The lighting has gone a bit wrong at the top, but I don’t care about that and nor should you.
As I told GD2D earlier in the week, I meant to post this yesterday, Friday being my day for such postings, but yesterday was a bit fraught, what with life and everything happening, and I forgot.
Rules are important. Without rules, society descends into chaos and civilisation itself collapses. And we’d none of us want that, would we? So I do realise that putting a cat photo up on a Saturday is not good. But it’s Oscar, and if I were to wait until next Friday I might forget again, and I don’t want that. Best to get this done. That way, it’s done.
The government will try to say that the continuing absence of Armageddon, which is what will be the next chapter in this story, proves that Lockdown has worked and is working. They’ve been marching down the High Street in weird robes and banging big drums to keep the elephant away, and look, no elephant! It’s working! It worked! No. There never was an elephant. A mouse, yes, maybe even a big old rat. But no elephant.
However, I must correct this. They have not, as it turns out, been marching down the High Street in weird robes and banging big drums, to keep the elephant away. I now learn that what they have been doing is blowing a tiger horn, to keep the tigers away.