Thursday, September 21, 2006

Not only music...

Are all professional music buyers/reviewers obsessed with the day job? It might sometimes seem that way but there is at least one exception! This comes from the buyers blog sent out as e-mail on 21 September 2006; while the rest of his colleagues were waxing lyrical over their latest purchases Richard Austin had his mind set focussed on the natural world…

Richard Austin - UK Office Friday 15 September 2006
The Tangled Web We Weave..: Just outside the 'Old Folks Home' at Esprit Towers [AKA 'The Shed'], where we aged team members sit whiling away our twilight years was recently discovered a sacred plant - WILD HOPS !!!

This, as you will know, can be magically transformed into the medicinal beverage known the world over as 'BEER' - A secret known only to certain alchemical adepts who live in strange temples known as 'Breweries'.

In our ancient land, we prefer our beer dark, room temperature and with a healthy scattering of beak & twig in the silt at the bottom. Less advanced nations [or so I've heard] actually have theirs COLD, YELLOW & with BUBBLES in it!! Unbelievable, I know.

It would seem that our sacred Hop Plant is also the happy home to four Garden Spiders [Araneus diadematus], which I've affectionately named "One", "Two", "Three" & "Four".

Three appears to be the least successful as I've never actually seen him/her eating anything. One & Two are the engineers & have built incredible webs spanning from the plant up to the side of the building. Four is the opportunist, with it's web lurking in the space between that of One & Two, ready to snare any unfortunate flying thingy that thinks it's got away with it.
Every morning they do whatever spiders do as the equivalent of 'Yawn-Stretch-Make Coffee-Feed Cat', then set about repairing their orb webs & restoring them to the previous days magnificence. Then they sit there, slap bang in the middle & wait.
These amazing little creatures not only have developed an automatic sticky on / sticky off system for making their webs [which are actually stronger, lighter & more flexible than steel], but have turned patience into an art form!
An inspiration for these IT driven times.

This is absolutely brilliant escapism and if music can’t induce that feeling then what is it for?

The connection between hops, beer and music isn’t exactly a revelation: the reasons why hops [Humulus lupulus] are so vital in beer are many and varied. Viewed from a chemical, pharmacological and phytogenetic basis it is actually very interesting plant indeed and the genus Humulus is one of two generally recognised in the plant ‘family' Cannabidaceae: the other being the genus Cannabis. If I were you I would stick to the beer... (and not just to remain legal). Not all that is natural is good: coniine (hemlock) and strychnine are generally rapid acting, and often fatal, natural plant products!
This is a female of the species Araneus diadematus, The 'Garden' or 'Cross' spider. A truly fearsome creature at most about 15mm long. The biggest threat she poses is that she might regard potential suitors as a "free lunch date" - quite literally!

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