Frame dependent

My rather shaky understanding of Einstein’s work suggests that relativity does away with the idea of time being universal, instead when things happen depends on the location and motion of the observer. Indeed, the sequence of two events which happen in different places may appear different to different observers: and no observer has a priviledged position and can claim to be more “right” than another.  It should be noted that such “confusion” can only occur if the two events are too far apart for light from one to reach the other before it happens: in this situation, causality is king and our classical idea that A happened before B is correct.

Why, you might wonder, is he demonstrating his profound ignorance of the abstruse details of special relativity?  All I can say is that it seemed like a good idea when I formulated the high concept behind this post, however, the research needed to write the opening paragraph is causing me to have second thoughts.  Still, having started I will continue with the idea of time being somewhat frame dependent: never let it be said that the author is a quitter.

I have, for much of 2017, limited my live music excursions to the spheres of folk, jazz and the poorly-named “world” music (I continue to await a performance of extra-terrestrial music).  Not by design, these just happen to have been the gigs that have come up when I’ve been availale to attend.  These genres, in my locale at least, seem to attract an audience of the youthful and middle-aged.  On one occasion, I was the sole representative of the latter category which did render me a tad self-conscious.  I relied on the fact that I was young-at-heart or, failing that, at least soft-in-the-head.

Last night, I cycled up to Turner Sims for some classical piano repertoire performed by Paul Lewis.  Here those not of pensionable age were very much in the minority (though I’d reckon our chances to come out on top were good, had a brawl broken out), which shouldn’t have been a surprise to me but the contrast with the audience of other musical genres was stark.  I’d moved from the oldest quartile to the most youthful decile: despite myself having aged several hours since my previous gig.  I was transformed from old codger to young whippersnapper in an instant.  I do worry about the sustainability of classical music given that most of its audience has more of the grave than of gravy (to paraphrase one E Scrooge) about it.  Should the “industry” be offering discount tickets to those of us in middle-age, to ensure a continuing supply of the newly ancient into the future?  Or have we been bypassed while they pander to the young?

I’ll admit that despite the new frame of reference I hadn’t entirely shaken off the dust of ages.  While marvelling at Mr Lewis’ phalangeal dexterity, I still had time to worry that his chosen shirt looked to be a real pain to iron.  Vertical pleats are no friend to the amateur wielder of the iron: perhaps he has staff or a single use policy?

Anyway, despite my relative youth, I have managed to deduce how to buy quiet throat sweets and even how to open noisy sweets without creating a disturbance (you do it in advance, rather than waiting for a musical passage marked pp) and that use of velcro fastenings in the concert hall is contra-indicated (buttons are your friend).  Sadly, many of those 20+ years my senior still seem to harbour the illusion that slowly opening plastic wrapped sweets or tearing velcro apart over a five minute period is silent, rather than oddly redolent of the dragging of fingernails across a blackboard.  I know the hearing undergoes threshold shift as we age, but I thought that affected higher frequencies: I suppose I will be able report on the truth of this in a few years time…

While I seem to be sticking the metaphorical boot into some senior citizens, I should describe the one regular experience which most gets the adrenaline (or epinephrine, if you prefer) flowing and my blood pumping.  After such a concert, my bike ride home takes me down the road on which most of the elderly have parked their cars.  As a result, it is a white-knuckle ride past doors being suddenly opened, unannounced reversing and abrupt pulling out by those for which the mirror (in all its incarnations) seems to have lost it appeal.  It can only be matched, for sheer terror, by returning home on the bike as the nearby catholic girls’ school discharges its students.  I am assuming that when it comes to the confessional booth, the tariff in Our Fathers or Hail Marys is pretty low for parental dangerous parking and driving.  As a consequence of the low cost of absolution, I make every effort not to place my mortal coil in the spiritual firing line as the bell tolls for the end of the day’s final lesson (lest it also toll for me!).

Of course, my views on these matters are subject to change (without notice) as time continues to takes its toll on my already limited faculties (or in the far less likely event of a Damascene conversion and acquistion of direct descendants).

Feel free to continue the lunacy...

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