F 1 D 0 - 2003 01 26 at 1145

Loudspeakers: Every man with a weapon must rush to the streets 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A43667-2003Jan25.html

I'm not in agreement with this article, really. The
author, Molly Moore, makes it seem like the bad government
is ganging up again on the poor defenseless people who
live there.

I'm thinking that this is a place where the
defenseless people all have a few automatic
weapons in the basement, waiting for some 
announcement, like the one quoted above, to
summon the people to fight.

I used to wonder about this. Why oh why
would people get their children to throw
rocks at an armed tank?  Have they lost
all hope, and figure why not? Or is this
a way to provoke a fight, so that they can
feel justified about spending food money
on amunition?

I found that article when checking out

http://news.google.com

Who knows what will be there when you go see it. It 
is the luck of the draw. And I wanted to read some
articles at http://www.upi.com
but their site was down. In fact, I couldn't even
get DNS (name service, conversion from something
dot com to a number like 161.58.83.22) for their
servers. Oh well. Wait a few minutes, and the
news isn't even fresh from there anyway.

Last night was Burns Night. Robbie Burns was remembered
at Old Fort William and at a supper of the Scottish
Country Dancers of Thunder Bay. 

Fort William is the old name of this city, or
at least a southern portion of it. The side I
live on is Port Arthur. I find the towns very
different, even though they've been amalgamated.

In fact, there are two other towns too. Current
River, and West Fort. Ooops, also Murillo, and
Kakabeka Falls.

I regress. 

OLD Fort William is a place of Historical Reenactment.

In the winter, they have trouble attracting
crowds. This has been a music festival week.

Dave Y was conscripted as a volunteer to play
there, and so he drafted me.  But that was fine.

We played for a crowd of other performers. Dave
warned me about that. You know a performance is
valuable when (level 1) other people on the show
listen to you, (level 2) strangers come to listen
to you, and don't have to pay extra just show up,
(level 3) strangers pay to come listen to you.

They had 10 Scottish dancers making a lot of banging
sounds with their feet to recorded music. That was
fine. Then a few people, scottish dancers, took up
playing penny whistle and cello for some Robbie Burns
songs. 

Excellent, it was our turn. But I got a good look
at the audience. This was a crowd where all we should
do is Simply Practice. Not perform. 

There was a sound system. At the very instant when
we are no longer tuning up, and ready to start our
material, the furnace comes on. It is a strange furnace,
because I think it is hybrid. It burns wood and also
natural gas. 

The problem was the electronic portion
of the furnace control made very loud 
popping and scratching in the speakers.

The amplifier they used was crackling
so very loudly, we had to go acoustic. But wait! My
electronic piano needs amplification. I brought my
small speakers, and they do well. But I wanted to use
the amp and speakers for the room, since it was already
set up. Sigh. Also, if I'm singing, I don't want to have
to yell. 

Time For Plan B.

When we can stand the nonstop crackle, we play a piano
and banjo song. I like the banjo. Dave's is a G instrument,
and we did songs in G that I may have otherwise done in
F or even D. No worries, with the exception of my voice,
I like to play in almost any easy key. So A is fine, G is
fine too, but A flat isn't so fine.

The piano isn't an ideal instrument for playing a melody.
I'm used to making simple chords witht the right hand.
These don't wander as freely as recorder, whistle and
fiddle. So I chose fiddle for playing Lime Hill.

I might not be a strong fiddler, but something about
having an audience made it all worthwhile. I felt my
adrenalin pick up, and that makes the instrument sing.

So our set went well.

Robbie Burns dinner at the church was ... interesting.
Way too organized for me.

We had to stand for official toasts, including an Ode
to the Haggis. Long speeches. 

I'm still not sure about this question, which was
answered at length. "Why do we celebrate Robbie
Burns night?"

"We don't have a Shakespeare Day. ... We celebrate
this day because Burns was One Of Us."

Really? 

I don't mind the concept, but it felt funny to nearly
worship someone who wrote songs and poetry. 

So folks arrived at 630pm, and the program started
with a piper leading the head table in. After that
our evening was handled like a catered event. Thank
you goes to the Girl Scout Pathfinders. 

I was hoping for a lot of dancing. That started at
1030pm.  For many people, that was far too late.

But we as a group were primarily scottish dancers,
so it was nice to see the hall filled with four 
sets of four couples each. Many people were happy
just waiting on the sidelines too. 

Not a surprise, actually.

Many of the dancers brought their partners, who
don't dance, or only do it rarely. 

I experienced a Dance Card for my first time.

I'm not sure whether I think it is a good idea
or not. I don't want to miss **any** dances.

And I think I'm a meanie because I'll snatch
a partner for the next dance while I'm still
warm from the one we just finished. 

The dance card encourages people to find all
of their partners before we leave the supper
table! 

My complaint with it is very thin, mind you. 
There is no question: You make a date, the
name is Right There, next to the dance. 

Also, when that system is in place, I tried
to find partners the old fashioned way. Just
walking up and asking people.  It wasn't
effective. I didn't think I'd ever hear these
words in real life:

"I'm sorry, my dance card is full."

That's all I know.