Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Snow, Skewers and Solomon


According to the Cypriot news, Britain is in chaos as the worst snow since the 70s fell today. We've even had some where I am. Schools and airports were closed and those of my colleagues who live in more rural areas left work at lunchtime in the hope of getting home okay.

By way of rubbing it in, they went on to give tomorrow's weather forecast for Cyprus, where they are expecting highs of 20 C (68F) on the coast tomorrow.

Skewers (σμίλες)

Yesterday whilst watching the Aimilia Show, I learnt a new word - σμίλα. I couldn't find this in a Greek dictionary, but it was in my Cypriot one, which said it's a knitting needle. Actually, in the report they were talking about a kebab skewer which a wannabe thief attempted to use to rob his local bank. He really should have gone a bit further away from home - to the next village, even. Despite the fact that he was wearing a mask, someone in the bank recognised his voice and addressed him by his Christian name, at which point he ran away. As the police spokesman pointed out, a kebab skewer can be a nasty weapon. Though if it was me I'd use my deadly fountain pen.

Warning: Do Not Place in Mouth


Solomon Cutner (1902 - 1988) was a British pianist. He's unusual in that he was known simply by his first name, Solomon. This was 70 years before Beyonce had the same idea.

He was a child prodigy who (unlike many) became a great musician in adulthood. Sadly his career was cut short in his 50s when he started to have problems with one of his arms. His doctors said he was working too hard, but a few months later he suffered a major stroke and they realised that he'd probably had several mini-strokes beforehand. He stopped performing, but continued to teach, living well into his 80s.

Apparently in his performing days he used to practice by playing extremely slowly - so slowly that it was difficult to recognise what he was playing, and one of his pupils onced asked him about this. Solomon said that he often went past the Royal College of Music and heard the students playing scales incredibly quickly. "At the College they're all practising for important things such as exams and diplomas. But me, I'm just practising for the Albert Hall!".

I picked up some CDs of his Beethoven recordings years ago on special offer, and I knew when I first listened to them that they were something special, even though I'm not exactly an expert. I'd certainly rather listen to them than Beyonce...


Bee said...

My grandparents' weather has been in the low forties which they are unable to handle since their houses are not made for cold weather. In all my years going to their part of Mexico it has never gotten lower than 60. :o(

Jean Knee said...

it's in the low forties here and going to be in the twenties tomorrow.

this just ain't right

I never realized skewers could be a deadly weapon. those kebobs looked good

Anndi said...

I may complain about the cold, the snow, the ice throughout all of winter (and anything really). But there are days when I do feel lucky that we have all the seasons and know how to handle them.

Many an unsuspecting patron has skewered themselves in the eye or up the nose with kebabs. I wonder if they're on the banned list at the airport...

The video was quite lovely to listen to.

VE said...

Didn't Nostradomis beat them both to the punch with that single name thing?

Kat said...

Snow day, snow day... I wish we had snow days here like American school kids. The weather's expected to get even worse over the weekend. Don't know whether or not to look forward to all that predicted snow.

Yeah, your deadly fountain pen.. LOL James Bond has nothing on you and your pen

Brian o vretanos said...


Let's hope things warm up again soon...

Jean Knee:

At least you'll be able to turn your air conditioning off, for once ;-)


Sometimes what's on the skewers is just as detrimental to your health.


Yes, and Michaelangelo, and before all of them Adam and Eve. However, I was thinking about recording artists - Did Nostril Features predict You Tube, I wonder?


I thought that they had the snow days taken out of their summer holiday, or is that just in some states? Because I walk to work, I have to excuse not to attend.

Alina Escalante said...

Solomon's playing is sublime!
He's got this energy in his fingers, and he caresses the piano while he plays. You can tell he really was in love with what he did.