The Empty Nest: album and launch

As we approach the end of 2021, I have a pretty good idea of what my top ten albums of the year will be, for my now traditional What I’ve Been Listening To post. And one of them is an album I want to write much more about than will reasonably fit into one of the brief entries in that post. Hence today’s post:

The eagle-eyed among you will spot that this album is by my wife Fiona. That has everything to do with why I know about it at all, but absolutely nothing to do with why I love it so deeply.

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They didn’t think it through #3: Stargazer

The climactic track of Rainbow’s swords-and-sorcery metal masterpiece Rising (1976), Stargazer tells the tale of a sorcerer whose slaves build a tower so they can watch him fly from it — only to see him not so much fly as plummet.

In the free-form coda that ends the song, Ronnie James Dio cries out:

I see a rainbow rising
Look up, on the horizon

Now here is the problem. Even if we accept the dubious proposition that rainbows rise (I suppose they might do so as the sun sinks) and even accepting the notion of a rainbow on the horizon (something you only see when the sun is unusually high in the sky), even then you would not look up to see a rainbow rising on the horizon. You would look horizontally.

So the song should say:

I see a rainbow rising
Look horizontally, to the horizon

They just didn’t think it through.

A rainbow surrounding our home

Yesterday we had an amazingly clear rainbow. And it happened at just the right time of day (4:20pm) that the sun was in just the right place that I was able to step back from the house and frame it entirely within the rainbow. Here it is, straight off the phone, with absolutely no retouching:

These are dark, dark time. But at the risk of sounding like Movie-Sam trying to encourage Movie-Frodo with greetings-card sentiments that Tolkien would never, ever have written, it does help every now and then to see something like this, almost supernaturally beautiful.

Testing with Jest: how to mock an import used by the module you’re testing

I am writing a Jest/RTL test for a React component that invokes another component. I want to mock that second component so I can have it do things like invoking callbacks that the first component passes to it.

But there is nothing specific to React about this requirement: it comes up for non-React modules, too. I have an approach that I have shown to work using trivial modules and I want to document it here for myself and anyone else who finds it useful.

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I AM A SITH

SITH DICRIPTION

I, Darth trilon am a Sith.

A Sith is a Jedi who has found the true sorce to powor.

A siths primary hand weapen is a Light Saber like a Jedi.

Unlike a Jedi we are evil.

A Jedi Trusts justice and their own puny uce of the force.

A Sith uses fear as powor.

We use our puneshments to feed our force abilaties.

The Jedi only use their own force powor when they have to.

They say they seek wizdom, not powor.

why do they have their powor when they

don’t want it?

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A conservatory on the cheap

Fiona and I both love the sunshine, and it’s something you don’t necessarily get a lot of in Britain. We’ve often thought that if we had the money we’d love to add a conservatory (“sunroom” for you Americans) to the house — but we never have had the money and doubt we ever will. Plus who needs all the upheaval and disruption?

Then one day it occurred to us that a conservatory is basically just a greenhouse with a sofa in it — so why not get a greenhouse and put a sofa in it? And that is exactly what we’ve done. I woke on the morning of Saturday 24th April, looked at Facebook Marketplace, and found that someone was selling a greenhouse for £2 provided we could come and collect it that day. The listing said it was missing some panes of glass, but obviously it was bargain. So I woke Fiona up and we drove 30 miles to Cheltenham, thinking it would take half an hour or so to take the greenhouse apart and load it into the car.

The greenhouse in its old location, part-way through being disassembled on a very hot day. Our vendor, who was already not getting a great deal, provided drinks including some very good beer (Adnam’s Ghost Ship).
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An accidentally sensational pizza

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What I’ve been reading lately, part 41

Emma — Jane Austen

I usually think of this as my second favourite Austen (after Pride and Prejudice, naturally), but on my re-read of all six, I found to my surprise that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had Sense and Sensibility. Perhaps it’s partly because I had overdosed on screen adaptations recently: the Kate Beckinsale and Gwynneth Paltrow versions from 1996, the 2020 film with Anya Taylor-Joy, and the 2009 Romola Garai TV series. I really enjoyed all of them, but I guess having seen four rather different perspectives on the novel, the novel itself didn’t really have much more to show me.

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Hands up who enjoys feeling old!

Have I got good news for you!

First: the following albums, released in 1983, are as close to WWII as to the present day:

  • Billy Joel: An Innocent Man
  • Police: Synchronicity
  • Marillion: Script for a Jester’s Tear
  • U2: War
  • Genesis: Genesis
  • David Bowie: Let’s Dance
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Metal Jester: the full story

Three years ago, I posted about an early 1990s heavy metal band, Metal Jester, whose singer Richard Whitbread had also been our singer in Anne Heap of Frogs. Since then, I’ve heard from Simon, the lead guitarist, as well as Martyn, who at one point auditioned to be the bassist. Simon sent me a bunch more material, and, well, here it is!

Artwork for demo tape: see below for the actual songs.
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