There’s an interesting TED driven debate here examining the emotional effect of music. It’s powerful stuff but unfortunately when you have lost more than half your natural hearing it’s quite difficult to relate to some of the comment and sentiment.
As my hearing has continued to decline in recent years I have lost more and more music. Pieces of classical music that I enjoyed 5, 10, even 15 years ago have increasingly lost their attraction. They become unrecognisable as more and more layers of the music drop away and don’t sound anything like you remember them.
There reaches a point where pumping the sound into your ears at higher and higher volume removes all the subtleness of the music and the type of basic digital hearing aid provided by the NHS does not provide the quality of sound to compensate, making even the heaviest music sound harsh and uncomfortable.
For me, the net result is my musical tastes have retreated to mainly punk and heavy rock that I enjoyed in my youth where quality and subtlety of sound makes very little difference to the end result.
This week I took delivery of a set of new hearing technology the price of which equates to a sparkling new 500cc motorbike – hmmm…. The aids themselves are so small and light they hardly tip the scales at a miniscule 2 grammes each. This is at least 4 times lighter than my old aids and when you wear these things 16 hours a day, every gramme makes a difference. In terms of quality difference I’d say the sound produced by these high-tech little units is at least a factor of 10 better than standard NHS issue.
What then, set the tears rolling down my cheeks? Thinking how much 4 grammes of equipment can cost? Thinking how else that money could be spent? Read more…
Today we celebrated my Dad’s 80th Birthday at an event organised at Furzey Gardens at Minstead in the New Forest.
Dad spent his early career as commercial artist for the original Selwood company (the plant hire and pump people) and helped design the gallery at Furzey back in the 1970s when the gardens and Minstead Lodge were acquired by the Selwood family.
It seemed a very fitting venue for celebrating his life and work to date and I was delighted when Tim Selwood offered me use of the Gardens and Furzey House for this private event outside of the official opening season. It was fascinating to re-visit a place I remember from childhood outings and also to learn more about the excellent work the Furzey Charitable Trust and Minstead Training project do for those with learning disabilities.
As part of the birthday event I created a small exhibition of Dad’s work from over the years which include a number of paintings he has produced during the last ten years that have rarely been seen outside of the family home. Thanks to my brother’s diligent efforts on a scanner and the masterful photography and album production of Ben Goode, we have captured a selection of Dad’s work digitally that we remember being created over the years.
I have added the output of some of these efforts to a portfolio website to accompany the event and to give exposure to some of the lovely paintings beyond the walls of the family home – http://www.brianhoskins.org.uk/
Thanks again to all those who helped make this a delightful, fun and memorable afternoon and I very much hope to be organising a follow-up event in 10 years time. If Dad has just enough of the family genes that enabled my 98 year old Aunt to attend the event and regale me with tales of how she used tour around the New Forest pubs on a motorbike (as I used to do in my youth) then hopefully I will be writing a similar post in 2022!
I had a real surprise this week when communicating with an old school friend. He had some pictures I never even knew existed that were taken coming up to 30 years ago.
They are of a space shuttle model that I carved out of balsa wood, painted and then stuffed with parts of dismantled fireworks. It is then apparent from the photographs that we built a metal gantry out of Meccano to hold the shuttle in position and launched it from a friend’s back garden on Friday 12th November 1982 – (which incidentally was the day after the real shuttle programme’s first operational flight when Columbia carried four astronauts and deployed a satellite for the first time)
If I remember rightly, I had created a secondary fuse mechanism that would ignite after take-off which was then designed to blast open the payload doors and release a parachute to enable the shuttle to float back to the ground.