Twenty-first Century Schizoid Man

With apologies to King Crimson…………

This old fogey has dipped a toe into the 21st Century. I downloaded the Spotify app yesterday. Streaming has arrived in Sai Kung. If you have not come across Spotify before it is a Swedish company that offers music (free if you don’t mind the ads) on a streamed basis. That is you don’t download it or store it. You simply log on, click and it plays. The artist gets a tiny royalty and the listener has access to a virtually unlimited collection of music. I am listening to the “Blues radio” as I write and Strange Brew by Cream has just come on. Can’t be bad. If you want to listen ad free and on mobile devices then you do need to pay. In HK it is HK$48 per month. Not much more than a Starbucks ‘coffee’ I guess. Is vinyl dead? I don’t know. I must look in the wardrobe. I certainly have a cardboard packing case full of LPs that has not been opened in 20 years. No idea what condition the records are in. It just travels with me wherever I go. Just in case. CDs? Well yes there are plenty of those in the house. I have half a dozen in the car but never listen to them. I always listen to the BBC World Service. I have an iPod. It contains hundreds of recordings of bird songs and calls. Streaming is new to me. I am notoriously resistant to new-fangled stuff but Spotify has been around a while, just not in HK. I had heard good reports and this week they added Hong Kong to the countries in which you can access it. So far so good. Now playing: Sloe Gin, Joe Bonamassa.

Yesterday was Mrs. Ha’s birthday. Tempting though it was to go birding I decided that was not a smart move so I took her to Caprice, our favourite restaurant. It is part of The Four Seasons hotel in HK. The atmosphere is relaxed, the food superb, the staff provide perfect service and atmosphere and, here’s the good bit, it is not outrageously expensive if you don’t drink alcohol. It is where we go to treat ourselves. Very fine it was too.

I posted Mrs. Ha’s birthday portrait on FB – the B&W version. Here is a smaller version:



And here are two more black and whites…….. shots from the birding trip on Tuesday:

Terek Sandpiper

Terek Sandpiper

Dowitchers in monochrome

Dowitchers in monochrome

I have a portrait of a Greenshank in similar pose to the Terek, taken a couple of years ago. It must be a standard wader anti-rain, must have a sleep with one eye open, just in case, position.

Sadly (or not) I have to work this afternoon. Mrs. Ha is out looking for something called a clutch bag (for the wedding). It is probably called a clutch bag because that is what the husband does when he sees the price tag – he clutches his heart.

Time to make coffee. Until next time. Don’t just sit there, Spotify.

19 thoughts on “Twenty-first Century Schizoid Man

  1. Do hope Mrs Ha’s foray to seek out a clutch bag is successful and that you don’t suffer a coronary at the price tag. These pictures are all stunning, especially the one of your Mrs. Absolutely wonderful, what a beautiful lady.

    I’m a bit slow on the uptake for Spotify so you are light years ahead of me on that one. My old man’s conversant with it though. I’m more of a Youtube girl – the only problem with that is half the time I can’t actually remember the song titles – I know the tune but I can’t remember who sang them or what they are called. Possibly should have kept that to myself, bit un cool to admit it! Where has the Empress’s pride gone?

  2. Strange Brew. Wonderful. I might have heard of that. More savvy people than me do occasionally tell me about Good Things which I look at and then promptly forget about.

    Vinyl is not dead. It is alive and kicking in my home. 45s, 33s and one of those in the middle ones (Burl Ives – the record is in the middle, not him, although I recollect he did have some middle about him).

    Cassettes are not dead either although my sony walkman is as A Very Annoying Partner has a habit of throwing out MY things if he considers them no longer of any use. It wasn’t working very well but it was tolerable. Not used for music however but for Spanish Linguaphone tapes.

    I still have a radio/cassette machina but the cassette bit isn’t its best function. When I risk having to broddle out the cassette because the eject fails, I do sometimes play the best of clapton/cream or whatever the cassette is called.

    Mrs Ha is quite gorgeous. As is the sandpiper. I would hire you for my 50th BD shoot, but that’s long gone, so it will have to be the 60th now. You have a few years notice.

    • Ah Rough Seas, I would never be brave enough to take in such a nerve wracking engagement. The portraits were just for fun.

      Can you still get needles for the record player? I guess so as vinyl seems to be making a modest comeback. Cassettes were good and I had a machine for repairing them. I could splice a mean tape in my day. I have some Italian tapes but nothing to play them on. Sad.

      I will convey to Mrs Ha the view of her gorgeousness. She will be chuffed to bits. Thank you.

      • Yeah, I’ve never liked being photographed. I’m about the only person that can take an ok photo of me ๐Ÿ˜€

        I don’t know about the needles, but I’ve always taken great care of my records and the styluses/styli? We had a bang and olufsen shop briefly in Gib but it was clearly to dear as it disappeared after a year or two. Should have asked for some new ones back then. But anyway, the current one seems to do an ok job, although I’m sure I may have a spare. somewhere.

        There is something rather nice about another woman commenting on a photo. I remember being surprised when a university friend said a few years back how lovely my grad photo was.

      • Well it is a good photo. I don’t think I had one. If I had I would have thrown it away once both parents had died. I am not photogenic. I try avoid being photographed at all costs. Your profile pic also looks very relaxed. That’s the bit I don’t do – relaxed. Or smiling. Not good for you. Much rather take photos.

        B&O make good kit but silly prices. A bit like Leica.

  3. You should have saved Shirley’s picture for last because with her first there might as well be no other pictures. ๐Ÿ™‚ It is a lovely portrait.

    Well….the Sandpiper is nice too. Although I do have my feet firmly established in the 21st century at this point, I think I will remain with YouTube for the time being. FB seems a leap of faith and I am not sure about the apps yet.

  4. Very entertaining read this am Andrew, i will have to give Spotify a try although I already use Tunein Radio. One of your “peeps” mentioned the inability to recall song names so I am suggesting Shazam, an app that can recognize a song in a bar or two(not the drinking establishment kind although could be handy after a drink or two). Happy belated BD to the missus.

    • Thanks Barry, for the birthday greetings and the app tips. I also use Tunein. I’m not sure what the differences are but so far I use TuneIn mainly for pure Internet radio.

  5. You don’t engage in that Chinese practice of carrying your lady’s bag for her then? Something so simple that used to irritate me about China.

    • I carry Mrs. Ha’s bag if she finds it heavy but not as a routine. Most Chinese now use a pull along suitcase as they pursue their passion for shopping.

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