This Christmas was probably one of the most relaxing ones I have had in many years, despite the traveling it encompassed. From the 25th of December until the 28th, my parents got their share of me and from the 29th of December until the 1st of January, Stuttgart had to put up with me for New Year’s Eve.
Yes, I left a considerable – but manageable – amount of work lying around for a little too long, but I also made sure before the Christmas holidays to get as much out of the way as possible. Besides, nobody is paying for extra hours I invest during Christmas holidays, so …I don’t … anymore.
As is customary around here, I took a complete break from online life for a full two-week run and this “Weekly Digest” series is missing an issue or two because of this much-needed time away from all the distraction.
So, a week isn’t really a week around my place, but you already knew that, I guess.
01) Mozart 225
This year started off with a real blast here, the new 200-CD Mozart edition which was released in 2016. If you had even a passing interest in this boxed set, you were and are probably aware of the price hoops this release has jumped through. It’s the type of boxed set one has to pounce on at the lowest price which, as is often the case, might not be the lowest price the next day, week or even year. If you managed to get hold of it for around 200 Euro or less, you lucked out, if not … the quality is astounding enough to merit the premium price the set fetches every other day when it isn’t discounted somewhere on this planet for about 5 minutes or so.
I don’t know how many websites practically stumbled over themselves reporting that this boxed set was the bestselling CD of 2016, which, of course, is utter nonsense, but in sheer numbers of CDs moved it did develop a pretty hefty momentum. The key word here is “hefty”, simply because you really need a wheelbarrow to move the box around. 200 CDs, 240 hours of music, 600 performers and ensembles, 60 orchestras, 5 hours of new recordings, plus alternative versions, legendary and historic performances, not one but two solid hardcover books (in different languages, so be careful where you order what), etc. If you happen to be anal about this kind of set, as most collectors who bought it are, you won’t have a shelf to hold this behemoth and you probably won’t have the physique to handle it either. In fact, you are probably still wondering where to put it and how to display (and actually use/benefit from) it.
Still, it’s perhaps the boxed set to get at the moment and I have absolutely no idea if a) it will drop below 180 Euro or so again, b) if it will be reprinted or repackaged (it’s limited, but so were other limited boxed sets that turned out to be far from limited when the labels discovered they could fill their pockets and make a killing), or if it might be c) reshuffled or added onto to make it even more “complete” than “complete“. To this kind of set all the usual boxed set disclaimers apply, especially because the people who put it together had several Christmases in 2016 when they noticed how many units were torn from their manufacturing plants.
If you’re on the fence about this boxed set and have, for example, bought into the outrageously priced limited edition of “Pink Floyd : The Early Years“, rest assured that this one is better in every respect, especially musically. But, I guess, you needn’t worry because you apparently have more than enough cash to spare.
02) Write Monkey?
No, I’m not, but I found a piece of software (for Windows) by that name which got me hooked so fast that it has started to overlay everything I do on my PC. It’s one of the many available “distraction-free” writing apps, but this one happens to be the first one of many that I have tried out that actually does what I want it to do. It blocks out everything if you run it in full-screen mode, which you should, and a simple right-click menu will put a trillion options at your fingertip(s). Within 24 hours of giving it a spin, it has become the #1 app of 2017 already. Every word I have written since I installed it was run through “Write Monkey” first. It looks like it’s here to stay.
Just before Christmas, I announced that I would do a David Bowie and ch-ch-change things around here. As it turns out, things aren’t as easy as I thought they might be. They never really are. Switching to https:// is a pain in the neck and consists of a trillion steps, all of which might or might not entail major website failures, integrating a CDN (“content delivery network“) is equally daunting, and fixing a trillion broken links which accumulated on this site is about as pleasant as chewing around on tin foil while in root canal surgery. As I am wont to do, I shelved many of these jobs for later, simply because the reading required already took up 99% of my spare time. Things used to be so much simpler.
04) Dead Daisies?
I don’t even know how I came across them and I have no idea who came up with that band name, but I have been enjoying their albums quite a bit these past few weeks. Call it hard rock, call it classic rock; I’d call it party rock and be done with it. The band has changed members more often than a supermodel changes clothes, but one thing is clear: these guys (no gals in sight) are excellent musicians and they know all those little ditties that get my motor running ready to go. They aren’t original in any real sense of the word and if you know your way around rock, hard rock and classic rock, you’ll immediately notice a bunch of props and elements that are mixed here in a way that is, yes, conservative (and mostly good). The Dead Daisies just play good entertaining rock. It’s mostly loud, but not overly so, and it’s melodic (often a bit too polished for my taste) and groovy enough to help me air out my place. As you know, I’m a person who might ditch any music whatsoever within the blink of an eye if I don’t like the vocals but both Jon Stevens (up until 2015) and Bernard Fowler (2015 onwards) are pretty damn solid. And they have some really cool riffs to work with as well. Stream’em into your house at some point and check’em out … to give your body a workout, not your brain.
Some images to accompany the above …
Nothing more to say at the moment. Things are in the works, some have been shelved … and life goes on. Right now I have to go outside to sweep the sidewalk. Because we’ve had snow for the first time since, uhm, 1846, I have to make sure people don’t break their necks on my watch. That would be too expensive even though my insurance, I think, covers four fatal accidents.
I’m trying to avoid the fifth one.