Sunday, October 29, 2006

History Matters - the nation blogs

I just put this into the History Matters blog. They want to know what everyone was doing on 17 October. What they did for work, for play, and what they were reading. You've got two days to put your own diary in...
In the 1840s, the saxophone was invented. So was the concertina. Both have had a varied history since then, but have had little to do with each other.

I could claim to have brought them together at Ronnie Scott's jazz club in London on 17 October, but I'd be lying.

The truth is that, as midnight struck, I was at the cloakroom, checking in a concertina I can't actually play, before hearing a performance by saxophonist Branford Marsalis - who certainly can play. I had the concertina for a Morris dance practice earlier on.

After the show I cycled home, past Trafalgar Squre and the Houses of Parliament, to Brixton. I read a little - a Patrick O Brian novel, about Nelson's Navy - and slept for three hours.

I work as a tech journalist, and on 17 October, I was covering the Smartphone Show at Excel. It was a long cycle ride there, but a nice route - I went through New Cross, past my old school, past the Hawksmoor church and the Cutty Sark at Greenwich, and under the Foot Tunnel. the tunnel is 100 years old, and I used to go through daily to my first ever job in 1977. Cycling is still forbidden, and people still scoot their bikes through it, as if that's not really cycling.

At the conference, the president of Symbian told a lot of press and industry that we are on the verge of a whole new world, that will be brought about by mobile phoens that can do email, web and video conferencing. They'll be more important than the PC he said and will wipe out world hunger (well he more or less said that).

History will no doubt be the judge.

Back home, I had tea with my family. I have three daughters and usually see more of them in a day than I am tonight.

I went to a book group. We'd been reading Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer. None of us were very impressed. I think the book is over-rated because of its role in reversing censorship. As history, as a landmark, it's interesting, as writing it's interesting, but dated. There are plenty of better books out there.

The group consists of seven men, all with children, and all living within a mile of each other. We've been meeting for two years. We don't go very deeply into the books; we drink wine and talk.

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