Cricket starts

Oct. 18th, 2017 20:38
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Posted by Mary

Eight weeks since soccer season finished up means: cricket time!

Cricket is not the sport of the new Australian baby boom. The local soccer club had two U7 teams just from V’s school alone, and had something like twenty U7 teams altogether. Next year it will compete in ten distinct U8 skill divisions against similarly massive nearby clubs. The cricket club is fielding a perfectly respectable three U8 teams in total; V’s team comprises eight children from eight different schools. This means that cricket is not run like a machine the way the soccer needs to be, and we got the date of the first game two weeks out, the draw two days out, and uniforms on the day of the first match.

At this age, they don’t get dismissed. If they get out, the batters just swap ends. (In U9s, the fielding side would also get four runs per dismissal.) They face an exactly equal number of deliveries (13 balls, oddly), and rotate the entire field around one fielding position once an over. So while it’s all good for the children’s well-roundedness, the umpiring seems to be a real pain.

V’s enjoyed meeting all the new kids at training and their first game. Unlike in his soccer team, V does not really stand out as a cricketer, which is fine. (However, given the comparative unpopularity of the sport, probably every single kid on that team really wants to be there.) He needs to work on having a legal bowling motion some time or other. He’s an attentive fielder and he’s breathtakingly decisive and clear about signalling to his partner whether or not he intends to run, that one he has all sorted out.




All match photos.

2017 soccer season

Oct. 17th, 2017 21:22
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Posted by Mary

It wrapped up in mid-August.

End of the season

A few highlights:



Hot pursuit


His goal scoring ability didn’t survive the introduction of goal keepers in the second half of the season (it went from five a side to seven a side), especially since he very badly wants to be a goal keeper himself. His real skill is being everywhere, always, the ultimate mid-fielder, but he’s not too impressed with the idea. His team didn’t really “get” positions in any case, that may be coming in a year or so.

He worked really hard to stop taking losing as badly as he did at the beginning of the season and came a long way, long enough to be indignant when other players refused to shake hands with him.

I’m curious about where V will go from here. His best friends are all on the same AFL team and his career plans have recently expanded from dancer, DJ, soccer player, and cricket player to dancer, DJ, soccer player, cricket player, and AFL player. But he chose to do soccer and cricket camps these last holidays and is keen to try out for U8s Division 1 winter soccer in just a few months. If he gets in (20 players out of around 160 potentially trying out are chosen) that will be the real deal; two trainings each week with development coaches, camps, all sorts of things. If not, I wonder if he’ll have a tough choice between soccer and AFL.

Romeo Foxtrot

Oct. 16th, 2017 20:49
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Posted by Alex Ross


Chapter 14 of Wagnerism, addressing Wagner on film, is nearly done. We give thanks for John Milius and Francis Ford Coppola. One more remains: Chapter 15, The Wound.

The Rest Is Noise was published ten years ago today. Deepest thanks to all those who read the book and responded to it.

Hidden costs

Oct. 16th, 2017 21:22
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Posted by Mary

Doesn’t this series of photos just speak volumes about wholesome outdoor exercise and cheerful preschoolers?




It was actually, if you’ll forgive me, hell on wheels. We took V to a birthday party across the city and decided that rather than go home, we’d chill out with A at the nearby bike track. But we circled for fifteen minutes in the car trying to find a park and I eventually dropped Andrew and A off so I could keep circling, and by the time I parked and found them, she was in a hella grumpy and clingy mood and Andrew was stuck with miserable company. We got her food, she was grumpy about it. She went and played grumpily in the playground and grumped at other kids. We grumped at each other.

And then, being A, about 90 minutes into this tale of woe, she suddenly lit up like a Christmas tree and asked if she could go “wacing” on the “wace twack”. Well, yes, since that’s why we brought you here, yes you can. And then she zoomed around in triumph like she had one over us, forbidding us to come anywhere near her and her victory lap.

And of course, then we had to leave five minutes later.

Spoke too soon

Oct. 14th, 2017 21:04
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Posted by Mary

We really hoped A was done with her hair-pulling. She left it for several months, and it was pretty substantial by July and August. By August, we noticed two things. One was that her hair is pretty curly, which came as a surprise to pretty much everyone. The other was that there was a line of baldness growing on the right side. Was it just a strong part? Or another round of hair-pulling?

By the end of the month it was pretty clear it was hair-pulling, especially after our trip to the snow where she spent her time with a fist wrapped in her hair for much of the car trip. The baldness has gradually grown since and now looks like this:

Throwing sticks in the creek

The actual times when we find her pulling it have got less again, but the bald patch keeps growing. Presumably she’ll eventually stop again, as she has twice before, but we obviously don’t know if it will be before or after she renders herself completely bald once more.


Oct. 14th, 2017 16:47
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Posted by Alex Ross


New publications of interest.

Bethany Beardslee and Minna Proctor, I Sang the Unsingable: My Life in Twentieth-Century Music (Boydell and Brewer)

Celia Applegate, The Necessity of Music: Variations on a German Theme (University of Toronto Press)

Ijoma Mangold, Das deutsche Krokodil: Meine Geschichte (Rowohlt)

Music & Literature No. 8: Éric Chevillard, Unsuk Chin, Mark Turner

Oxford Keynotes: Annegret Fauser on Appalachian Spring, Tim Carter on Carousel, Kevin Karnes on Tubula Rasa, Alexander Rehding on Beethoven's Ninth, Walter Frisch on "Over the Rainbow"

A Nightafternight playlist

Oct. 14th, 2017 15:20
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Posted by Alex Ross


New and recent releases of interest.

— Nicholas Deyoe, Finally, the cylindrical voids tapping along, 1560, Lied/Lied, Immer wieder, Lullaby 6 "for Duane"; WasteLAnd, Ashley Walters, Aperture Duo, Batya MacAdam-Somer, Stephanie Aston (Populist)

Sweet Anxiety: Ashley Walters plays music of Deyoe, Berio, Schweinitz, Wadada Leo Smith, Andrew McIntosh (Populist)

— Mozart, Requiem; René Jacobs conducting the IAS Kammerchor and Freiburger Barockorchester, with Sophie Karthäuser, Marie-Claude Chappuis, Maximilian Schmitt, Johannes Weisser (Harmonia Mundi, Nov. 3)

— Sciarrino, Complete Works for Violin and Viola; Marco Fusi (Stradivarius)

Passage: works of Trapani, Iannotta, Yukiko Watanabe, Magdaleno, Filidei; Longleash (New Focus)

— Sibelius, Piano Music; Leif Ove Andsnes (Sony)

— Wadada Leo Smith, Solo Reflections and Meditations on Monk (TUM)

Crazy Girl Crazy: Berio, Sequenza III; Berg, Lulu Suite, Gershwin, Girl Crazy Suite; Barbara Hannigan singing and conducting the Ludwig Orchestra (Alpha)

Junior scientists

Oct. 13th, 2017 21:02
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Posted by Mary

V is always heartbreakingly touched when we agree to go into his school for a parents-invited event, since we never volunteer for reading group, or indeed hang around for the daily 9am all-school announcements. (I don’t remember this being a thing when I was at school, but at both V’s schools so far, many parents stay in the grounds for the all-school gathering and announcements in the morning.) He even went to Andrew in order to ask him to ask me to come to the Education Week Open Day.

The planned activity was watching the children do a science experiment, aka mixing something up after first guessing what they were making.

V was diagnosed as long-sighted during winter, but rarely wears his reading glasses ­— which he loves and was thrilled to receive — at home. So I hadn’t seen his serious student look in action before the classroom visit.

Science workbook

Experimental hypothesis

They were mixing up playdough, it emerged. V was hoping for biscuits, not yet knowing what a literally heart-stopping amount of salt and the lack of an oven forbodes.


It’s always a bit hard to tell how much of the herding in the classroom is extra due to the excitement of having the parents. There was a fair bit of herding at any rate. There was also a moment of remembering my own childhood when everyone (well, the Girl Guides) assumed that I’d already learned most common cooking and sewing terms, when V’s teacher told them to knead their dough. I’m not sure V had ever heard the verb before, but I got him and his lab partners going on a good knead rhythm.


Adventure playgrounds

Oct. 12th, 2017 20:45
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Posted by Mary

Having hauled my kids to seemingly every adventure playground in the state, I have a declaration: no one writing 2010s editorials about kids these days gets to talk about their soft cornered candy coloured playgrounds designed for risk-averse three year olds.

My editorial position: as someone who was caught between the rusty tetanus-and-lead-paint remnants of 1960s play equipment and the conservative beginnings of candyland, I’m extremely jealous of kids these days.



Round and round


Oct. 12th, 2017 13:06
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Posted by Alex Ross


"A kind of Schengen zone of scholarship now exists among historians and musicologists, where people cross disciplinary borders without hindrance yet remain conscious of differences in language, custom, knowledge, and ways of going about their work."

— Celia Applegate, The Necessity of Music: Variations on a German Theme (University of Toronto Press)


Oct. 11th, 2017 20:46
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Posted by Mary

Since my parents still live near the town where I spent most of my late childhood, I’m fairly immune to the weird echoes of seeing my children reliving my childhood.

Not so though of where my grandparents lived, which before this year I last visited for their funerals in 2000 and 2005, coming up on half a lifetime ago. That’s a recipe for being thrown straight back into childhood.

Here’s Monk Park, regarded as the mystery park because sometimes we, armed with supervisory adults and all, couldn’t find it, to the point of at times being sceptical it existed. (Hint: look behind the water tower.)

Monk Park

Learning to ride.


The play equipment may be better, but the cricket nets are exactly the same, and somehow, unlike everything else from my childhood when I revisit it, it is larger than I remember. Too large for walking home, apparently.


MacArthur 2017

Oct. 11th, 2017 02:21
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Posted by Alex Ross


I'm elated to see that this year's slate of MacArthur Fellows includes Yuval Sharon and Tyshawn Sorey. I wrote about Sharon's staggering, city-spanning creation Hopscotch for The New Yorker in 2015. It remains one of the most remarkable things I have ever seen. Sharon's production of Annie Gosfield's The War of the Worlds is eagerly awaited at the LA Phil in November; next summer, he will become the first American to direct at Bayreuth. As for Sorey, I spent much of the summer listening to, and thinking about, his majestic, elusive work. I first wrote about The Inner Spectrum of Variables and then became bewitched by his latest album, Verisimilitude (scroll down here). In a diseased culture, marvels still unfold.


Oct. 10th, 2017 21:23
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Posted by Mary

We went to visit my aunt and cousin in July, and my aunt mentioned she was hoping that the children just… wouldn’t notice the treehouse in the front yard.

Yeah, that didn’t happen:



But that’s no surprise. The real surprise was that A was immediately into it:



We decided not to let her climb all the way up into it, less because we were worried she’d fall and more that she wouldn’t be able to get back down and we’d have to go up and get her. (It’s a solid four or five metres up.)


Which meant she and V did an end run around us. I found them there by themselves, with A making a solid attempt to reach it under V’s instruction, which he was very unfortunately giving by dangling a hammer out of the treehouse and pointing out her next hold to her, at risk the whole time of dropping the hammer straight down onto her head. So that was nixed too.

Next time A!


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