I'm maybe a little bit sad that steampunk wasn't invented when I was a teenager. Professor Elemental is a very minor Brighton celebrity who never fails to cheer me up. I hope to meet him one day. I read an interview with him in which he explained that he loves Brighton because "you can walk around dressed as a Victorian explorer without being beaten up". He also revealed that he buys his pith helmets in bulk from a supplier in the USA, because he keeps losing them. His wife and small children crop up in his videos quite often.
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My 3-year-old daughter discovered this on the shelf today. It's a souvenir I brought back from a school trip to the Soviet Union in 1989. Inside she found a mysterious black, glossy disc, which, to my chagrin, she unwrapped and brought to me immediately in her sweaty little hands. "What's this?" she enquired, earnestly, holding it up to me. So, I told her that it was a record. "What's that?" she pressed. How was I going to explain this? I thought maybe I should tell her it was a kind of CD, but then a warning vision floated into my mind of her trying to fold a vinyl album of Soviet anthems into the slot of our DVD player.
"It's mine" I told her. "Leave it alone."
I'm so used to being uncatered for by the music industry that I get quite emotional when it produces something that I actually love. I'm so grateful that for only £22.98 an entire orchestra and 14 professional singers have seen fit to perform long-lost Offenbach pieces for me for over two and half hours in glorious digital.
Amongst this collection is a terribly sad and beautiful funeral song for a dead pet parrot called Vert-Vert, and a piece which requires two of the singers to assume strong Alsatian accents.
I'm quite into this bloke's music at the moment. He was a waltz-smith and bitter rival of Strauss; the Strauss brothers actually sued him once. They took their orchestra on tour to America but quite a few of their musicians quit because they didn't want to go. Ziehrer rehired them and advertised his orchestra as 'the former Strauss orchestra'. Haha. Hence the legal action.