Love for my Parrot, a confession.
#21
(09-03-2020, 01:58 AM)Tom Wrote: And I thought it was crazy to measure your accordion tuning in cents.  Seems my old Hohner's musette was at least a Euro, if not a farthing.

Tom,

The thing about island culture is you generally don't care what is happening in the next street. We were all brought up thinking that everything we had and did was superior to anything that existed elsewhere, and if you never look out the window you won't even notice your house is floating down the river. Nobody bothers to learn other languages, as after all, English is spoken everywhere, isn't it? Even in countries where there are more than 20 different recognised languages your average Brit will just speak English in whatever dialect he/she has, and expect to be immediately understood by all. 

In Europe most countries use Hertz to measure accordion tuning, although we use cents in the UK (I think).

It's difficult to convert exactly between Hertz and cents for we Brits, because one of them is an international vehicle hire company with bases in so many countries we haven't heard of, and one is a unit of currency we are not familiar with. 

At least if the Martians ever land on Earth it won't be in the UK, as nobody could be bothered to learn their language or how many Zogs equalled a pound!
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#22
Hi Guys,

At the age of 8 or 9, I was promoted to the position of "Ink Monitor." This involved topping up all the inkwells during breaks, and it was a much coveted role. Our ink pens were basically sticks with a nib stuck on the end, which would have to be dipped in the inkwell every couple of words.

In those days there was less emphasis on literacy as all our teachers carried a strap, and the Headmaster and Deputy Headmaster employed a cane as a teaching aid. Believe me, pupils were far more diligent in my day, and even the dumb ones made an effort in order to avoid corporal punishment.

We could all rattle through our times-tables with consummate ease, and had a thorough knowledge of Inches, Feet, Yards, Fathoms, Furlongs & Miles.

You know what they say: "Nostalgia isn't what it used to be."

Kind Regards,

Stephen.
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#23
(09-03-2020, 11:48 AM)Stephen Hawkins Wrote: Hi Guys,

At the age of 8 or 9, I was promoted to the position of "Ink Monitor."  This involved topping up all the inkwells during breaks, and it was a much coveted role.  Our ink pens were basically sticks with a nib stuck on the end, which would have to be dipped in the inkwell every couple of words.  

In those days there was less emphasis on literacy as all our teachers carried a strap, and the Headmaster and Deputy Headmaster employed a cane as a teaching aid.  Believe me, pupils were far more diligent in my day, and even the dumb ones made an effort in order to avoid corporal punishment.

We could all rattle through our times-tables with consummate ease, and had a thorough knowledge of Inches, Feet, Yards, Fathoms, Furlongs & Miles.  

You know what they say:  "Nostalgia isn't what it used to be."

Kind Regards,

Stephen.

Stephen,

I'm younger than you and we weren't allowed to use ink until we were about 10. We still had easels with pieces of slate to write with for the first couple of years, and if the teacher couldn't read what we had written we received a belting or two with a leather tawse. We soon got the hang of it!

After that we moved onto pencils (on a recent invention called paper), and I think we only used ink during our last year at primary school. I remember one kid failed to use his blotting paper correctly and the headmaster belted him whilst he was still sitting at his desk. The leather belt hit his china inkwell, which shattered. A shard of the inkwell punctured the headmaster's wrist and an artery went. Off he went to hospital by ambulance and we got the rest of the day off. 

At secondary school our woodworking skills were improved by the teacher belting anybody who sawed or planed their piece of timber past the pencil guideline. They never used canes in Scottish schools. We sawed them all up into little pieces!  

Our female Latin teacher decided that larger males like myself would benefit from receiving corporal punishment from a male colleague, and I was once sent for the appropriate punishment for falling asleep in class. I was to receive six of the best, but failed to knock on my executioner's door, so earned a bonus of another three. They weren't allowed to give us more than 6 at a time, so I had to go back for the rest on the following day. I felt obliged to let the teacher's car tyres down for the effort he put into belting me, and fortunately I was never caught. When my mother saw the mess my hands and wrists were in from two days' consecutive belting, she hit me over the back with my grandfather's walking stick, as I must surely have deserved everything I got. 

I suppose nostalgia has different meanings for some of us. There were still one or two incorrigible types, but most of us were quick learners. Mind you, it must have affected my memory, as I now cannot remember the amount of times I received corporal punishment.
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#24
Having been educated in the dusk twilight of Empire, I was obliged to become familiar with both the peculiarities of pre decimal sterling coinage and imperial measurements.  £1/12/6 was instantly converted to £1.625 for calculations of compound interest, tax rates etc.  In Chemistry and Physics our school laboratories were recently decked out with shiny new instruments and balances calibrated in grams and centimetres.  If I remember correctly there were some which were calibrated in both.  Even so, I still remember atmospheric pressure as being standardised at 14lbs/sq.inch.  God knows what it is in Newtons per square centimetre, I certainly don’t.  All school sports were measured in yards, feet and inches, even fractions of an inch for the high jump.  Farthings had ceased to be legal tender, but the old copper penny was ubiquitous.  Large, heavy, and given to abrading holes in pockets if carried in sufficient numbers.  Some pennies still in circulation were known as “bun pennies” as they were minted in the early years of Victoria’s reign, when her portrait on the obverse showed her with her hair in a bun.  Ha’pennies had a sailing ship on the reverse.  Occasionally you might find old silver threepenny, sixpenny and shilling coins which were struck before cupronickel became the standard.  As the currency devalued and the price of silver increased these were said to be more valuable for their material than their face value.

Decimalisation of the currency proved an interesting exercise for the elderly.  I remember a shoe repair shop in Camberwell where, some years after decimalisation, the old boy owner and his middle-aged son were constantly quoting prices and vociferously disputing whether the numbers were new money or old money.  I believe the MkIII Cortina was built between Dagenham and the German plant in, I think, Cologne.  Each factory used their own native measurement systems, resulting in the inevitable rounding errors causing poor fits.  There was a story that rear windows tended to part company with the cars at speed.

Thank goodness we are (mostly) standardised on A=440Hz.  Although I hear 442 is a new proposal.
Elderly teenager still experimenting with music of all descriptions.  I may not please anyone else, but I’m long past caring about that.
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#25
(09-03-2020, 01:38 PM)Chrisrayner Wrote: Having been educated in the dusk twilight of Empire, I was obliged to become familiar with both the peculiarities of pre decimal sterling coinage and imperial measurements.  £1/12/6 was instantly converted to £1.625 for calculations of compound interest, tax rates etc.  In Chemistry and Physics our school laboratories were recently decked out with shiny new instruments and balances calibrated in grams and centimetres.  If I remember correctly there were some which were calibrated in both.  Even so, I still remember atmospheric pressure as being standardised at 14lbs/sq.inch.  God knows what it is in Newtons per square centimetre, I certainly don’t.  All school sports were measured in yards, feet and inches, even fractions of an inch for the high jump.  Farthings had ceased to be legal tender, but the old copper penny was ubiquitous.  Large, heavy, and given to abrading holes in pockets if carried in sufficient numbers.  Some pennies still in circulation were known as “bun pennies” as they were minted in the early years of Victoria’s reign, when her portrait on the obverse showed her with her hair in a bun.  Ha’pennies had a sailing ship on the reverse.  Occasionally you might find old silver threepenny, sixpenny and shilling coins which were struck before cupronickel became the standard.  As the currency devalued and the price of silver increased these were said to be more valuable for their material than their face value.

Decimalisation of the currency proved an interesting exercise for the elderly.  I remember a shoe repair shop in Camberwell where, some years after decimalisation, the old boy owner and his middle-aged son were constantly quoting prices and vociferously disputing whether the numbers were new money or old money.  I believe the MkIII Cortina was built between Dagenham and the German plant in, I think, Cologne.  Each factory used their own native measurement systems, resulting in the inevitable rounding errors causing poor fits.  There was a story that rear windows tended to part company with the cars at speed.

Thank goodness we are (mostly) standardised on A=440Hz.  Although I hear 442 is a new proposal.

Yes Chris, I can relate to most of what you say, although I left school at 15 to pursue an academic career as a builders' "boy labourer", as times were hard at home. That occupation was eventually outlawed by the powers that be, as we were afforded about the same protection at work as chimney sweeps' lads. "Go and sweep the snow off that roof so that the plumbers can work on it. Don't worry about slipping on the ice and falling off the roof, as you'll only do it once!"

In the very health conscious days when I was a youngster my grandmother used to wrap old silver threepenny pieces in greaseproof paper and put them into the big fruit dumplings she made for Xmas and New Year. We had to give them back to her as they were no longer in circulation, but they were supposed to bring you luck (if you never swallowed them). 

A lot of Irish currency was in circulation in the west of Scotland, and thousands of pounds worth of Irish coins regularly changed hands in place of sterling. Anybody who had acquired an Irish coin or two merely passed them on. Even after decimalisation the same situation prevailed, but once Ireland started to use the Euro in 1999 the game was up. 

France has had 442Hz for decades, along with a handful of other European countries, including Italy, so anything accordion wise from there that is factory tuned to 440Hz is usually for export. I've heard of different regions in France specifying their own "diapason", and some members resident in France have reported 446Hz. 

If you ever try and play along with Spanish or Russian players, their instruments will most likely be 443Hz. 

Given the fact that even the most experienced tuners cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, the whole thing is a lottery, especially when three voice musette is involved. I had a French LMM box retuned in Scotland two years ago, and the tuner advised me that without a tuning chart for the americain 8 cent tuning I had asked for, he would have to guess what some of the sharp tuned notes would be higher up the keyboard. He made a good job of the tuning, but it does get a bit ropey higher up.  

He knew the box was 442Hz, which apparently complicated his task considerably. The only French tuning he had experience of was 4 cent swing, but I already had a box like that and wanted something with a little more bite.
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#26
(09-03-2020, 01:58 AM)Tom Wrote: And I thought it was crazy to measure your accordion tuning in cents.  Seems my old Hohner's musette was at least a Euro, if not a farthing.

If the tuning was paid in cents (one cent for each cent of deviation to fix) a tuner would not be making a living. When an accordion has on average roughly around 500 reeds to tune (41 x 8 + 12 x 10 = 448) and each reed is off by 5 cents on average tuning an accordion would cost just 25 euro... A Parrot may not be average though, so tuning it may cost more...
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#27
You're right, Paul. And really, it's an art, so should be valued even more. Maybe 2 farthings per reed.....
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#28
(10-03-2020, 02:05 PM)Tom Wrote: You're right, Paul.  And really, it's an art, so should be valued even more.  Maybe 2 farthings per reed.....

Tom,

The UK is full of buried forgeries of Roman Denarii coins, possession of which amounted to high treason, so anybody who realised they had them tended to dispose of them rather quickly. They are still regularly dug up in gardens (back yards) and when they have been identified as plated fakes they are either thrown away or retained as objects of curiosity. In contrast to that the amount of hoarded genuine coins that turn up rather infrequently are often priceless. 

The early Roman accordion tuners in Britain went out of business after only a few years, when it was discovered that the wandering minstrels of the day always paid them with the dud coins they collected whilst busking. This was particularly bad in the area north of Hadrian's Wall, which is now Scotland.  

In an effort get their own back on those despicable Scotti, when they started shipping accordions back here in the 20th century, the ones they sent to Scotland had deliberately off tuned reeds in them as retribution for what had happened in earlier times. 

However, most Scotti accordion players became fond of the tuning and still order such off tuned instruments today, for much real Denarii.

Most of our "Romans" were actually soldiers from Batavia (modern Belgium and The Netherlands), which area had been previously conquered by the Romans. We were too far away from Rome for them to send valuable soldiers from there. The armour they had to wear made parachuting difficult, so they just sent troops from neighbouring countries to save Denarii. 

So we ended up with fake Romans, fake coins, freezing cold public baths, Latin that we have to learn in school, and roads that could only accommodate one chariot travelling in each direction. Now they're even sending us fake accordions with Roman sounding names. 

In truth we got a raw deal from those Romans, and it was only a matter of time before we plucked up the courage to tell them to shove it and leave the EU. 

That is my (fortunately much abridged) unofficial account of the Romans in Britain, but I can't find a publisher who will touch it.
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#29
(11-03-2020, 08:51 AM)maugein96 Wrote:
(10-03-2020, 02:05 PM)Tom Wrote: You're right, Paul.  And really, it's an art, so should be valued even more.  Maybe 2 farthings per reed.....

Tom,

The UK is full of buried forgeries of Roman Denarii coins, possession of which amounted to high treason, so anybody who realised they had them tended to dispose of them rather quickly. They are still regularly dug up in gardens (back yards) and when they have been identified as plated fakes they are either thrown away or retained as objects of curiosity. In contrast to that the amount of hoarded genuine coins that turn up rather infrequently are often priceless. 

The early Roman accordion tuners in Britain went out of business after only a few years, when it was discovered that the wandering minstrels of the day always paid them with the dud coins they collected whilst busking. This was particularly bad in the area north of Hadrian's Wall, which is now Scotland.  

In an effort get their own back on those despicable Scotti, when they started shipping accordions back here in the 20th century, the ones they sent to Scotland had deliberately off tuned reeds in them as retribution for what had happened in earlier times. 

However, most Scotti accordion players became fond of the tuning and still order such off tuned instruments today, for much real Denarii.

Most of our "Romans" were actually soldiers from Batavia (modern Belgium and The Netherlands), which area had been previously conquered by the Romans. We were too far away from Rome for them to send valuable soldiers from there. The armour they had to wear made parachuting difficult, so they just sent troops from neighbouring countries to save Denarii. 

So we ended up with fake Romans, fake coins, freezing cold public baths, Latin that we have to learn in school, and roads that could only accommodate one chariot travelling in each direction. Now they're even sending us fake accordions with Roman sounding names. 

In truth we got a raw deal from those Romans, and it was only a matter of time before we plucked up the courage to tell them to shove it and leave the EU. 

That is my (fortunately much abridged) unofficial account of the Romans in Britain, but I can't find a publisher who will touch it.

<MontyPython>Don’t forget the roads....  And the sewers.</MontyPython>
Elderly teenager still experimenting with music of all descriptions.  I may not please anyone else, but I’m long past caring about that.
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#30
Well, the Romans came here to the US a little later, and everyone had to play tarantellas until they were finally overcome by the Godfather theme and Lady of Spain. Most of the buried treasures are derived from the propensity of the women to wear their gold jewelry to the beach in grand fashion.
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#31
(11-03-2020, 02:13 PM)Tom Wrote: Well, the Romans came here to the US a little later, and everyone had to play tarantellas until they were finally overcome by the Godfather theme and Lady of Spain.  Most of the buried treasures are derived from the propensity of the women to wear their gold jewelry to the beach in grand fashion.

Tom,

The UK has had a significant Italian population (currently about 700,000) since the 19th century, and they tend to be spread out all over the country. One exception is the town of Bedford, just north of London, where 14,000 of the town's population of 100,000 are Italian. 

Most of them probably came here from the south of the peninsula (before the country named Italy was created) to work in the industrial areas. 

They don't seem to maintain such a high profile here as the movies suggest they do in the US, although there were quite a few pro Italian accordionists in Scotland in the 50s and 60s. Tony Capaldi immediately springs to mind, but there were others. 

Tony was born in Italy but his family brought him to Scotland as a baby. He ran a café in the Parkhead area of Glasgow, where my father's family lived for a time, but later became a pro player in a trio, known as Bob Smith's Ideal Band. They tended to concentrate on European works rather than the local Scottish accordion tunes, although he was very competent on those. You couldn't be a pro player in Scotland unless you could play Scottish Country dance music, regardless of where you were born. 

Tony was unusual (in Scotland) as he played a 4 row C system CBA. I tried to find a clip of him playing, but the only one I could find on You Tube was of awful sound quality, and never did justice to Tony, who was a Scottish and World champion player. I can remember listening to records of him playing, but sadly don't know much else about him.
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#32
Probably the most famous Italian (-American) here was Dick Contino, whom I saw a couple times in Milwaukee towards the end of his career, very impressive.
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#33
(12-03-2020, 03:14 PM)Tom Wrote: Probably the most famous Italian (-American) here was Dick Contino, whom I saw a couple times in Milwaukee towards the end of his career, very impressive.

The same Tony Capaldi is commemorated in this Glasgow "folk" song by Matt McGinn. The Capaldis were as famous for their ice cream as Tony was for his accordion. 

McGinn was from a very poor background but became a teacher and poet. He cultivated a weird sort of semi-posh Glasgow accent. The rolling "r" that predominates in his diction is from a few generations before his time, unless he was attempting to copy the Italian version of the Glasgow accent. Modern Glaswegians have almost lost the ability to trill the "r" as McGinn does in the song. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XKTgBjtsy4&t=77s

The seaside still with the Zavaroni name on the advert is in the town of Rothesay on the island of Bute. Lena Zavaroni, whose family ran an Italian café in that town, was a successful Scottish singer and recording artiste, but sadly she died at the age of about 36 in 1999, after a long illness. Oddly enough, my father's cousin ran a pub in the next town, Port Bannatyne, for some years. Maybe we followed Italians around Scotland, as ice cream junkies? 

Zavaroni's icea da cream was excellent. 

One of Dick Contino's accordions ended up in Brazil and was sold by Luis Gomes, a dealer there. 

Here it is complete with the name "DICK" in place of the logo:-

Luis is a great player when he sticks to Brazilian music, but clearly this wasn't his best tune! He maybe caught a reflection of the logo in the mirror!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ccu5yR0pYZE
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