Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Full Flight of The Fiddle

Capercaillie by HighlanderImages

This is Charlie McKerron, the fiddle player of Capercaillie, in full flight playing "Inexile" at a concert played in Kuala Lumpur in May 2008. Capercaillie is a folk band from Scotland formed by Donald Shaw and Karen Matheson and who play a contemporary mix of celtic, gaelic and folk music.

The group originates from Argyll, a region of western Scotland and is named after the Western Capercaillie, Tetrao urogallus, a bird native to Scotland. Their 1992 EP, A Prince Among Islands, was the first Scottish Gaelic-language record to reach the Top 40 of the UK Singles Chart, peaking at #39. Another of their singles, "Dark Alan (Ailein duinn)" reached #65 in the same listing in June 1995. The band recorded its first album, Cascade, in 1984. The albums Secret People (1993) reached #40, and To the Moon (1995) peaked at #41 in the UK Albums Chart.

They have adapted traditional Gaelic songs and music using modern production techniques, and often mix musical forms, such as "Cosich A' Ruin", which combined traditional lyrics with drum and bass.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Royal Scotsman

The Royal Scotsman is a Scottish luxury charter train run by Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. The train is composed of nine cars; two dining cars, five state cars, one crew car, and one observation car. The two dining cars are named 'Victory' and 'Raven' with seating for sixteen and twenty people respectively.
Originally launched in May 1985, the train, in its current form, dates from May 1990. The owners put together a set of carriages (all rather different), which were rented in and called The Royal Scotsman, launching in the Spring of 1985. The carriage leases ran for five years and it was a success – the train won the Queen's Award for Export. 

After the initial five-year period elapsed, the decision was taken to purchase outright a different set of carriages, designed to the owners specifications. Working with designer James Park, ten Pullman carriages were subsequently bought and transformed with all the interior woodwork made to specification by a specialist woodworking company in Bournemouth and shipped to the construction site and installed. This second rake of carriages replaced the first in May 1990. The new rake incorporated many improvements – each cabin now had its own private facilities, steam heating was replaced by electric heating, seating for all at the same time in the Observation and Dining Cars and capacity moved from twenty-eight to thirty-two. In 1997, the capacity was further increased from thirty-two to thirty-six.  

The running order of The Royal Scotsman carriages is: Observation Car with verandah viewing platform; Dining Car Number One (Raven); Dining Car Number Two (Victory); State Car number one, two, three, four and five; and a Service Car. The sequence is in running order from the rear so guests can best enjoy the passing countryside.

At one end of the train is perhaps the most distinctive vehicle, the open-ended Observation Car, converted from the Pullman kitchen car, Snipe. Originally built in 1960 by the Metropolitan-Cammell Carriage and Wagon Company, it entered service in 1961 as a First Class kitchen car. In 1989, the car was bought from its private owner, Michael Bailiss, and converted it to its current luxury configuration, able to comfortably hold all thirty-six guests at any time.

Adjacent to this is Dining Car Number One, which is still referred to by its former Pullman car name, Raven. Colin Angell, a firm of cabinet makers from Evesham, Worcestershire, won the contract to transform a 1962 second-class Pullman carriage into Raven, with a capacity for twenty guests.

Next in the formation is Dining Car Number Two, known as Victory and so called since it was built in 1945. Victory was built as a London & North Eastern Railway Director's Saloon and acquired from Sir Bill McAlpine. The transformation was completed in a number of weeks - from its bright orange curtains and brushed aluminium fittings to wood panelling, inlaid with intricate marquetry, mahogany veneer cupboards and specially made dining chairs and tables – not to mention a state of the art modern kitchen. Eight marquetry panels with intricate designs of thistles, flowing ribbons and butterflies line the walls and an inlaid frieze of several different woods runs on into the corridors. Victory can accommodate up to sixteen guests, ensuring all guests can dine at the same sitting, across the two dining cars.

The five State Sleeping Cars follow. These cars, like the Verandah car, were originally built as Pullman Cars in 1960 by the Metropolitan-Cammell Carriage and Wagon Company.

The sleeping cars provide fourteen twin, two double and four single State Cabins, beautifully fitted out in rich marquetry. All cabins have fixed, lower beds, dressing table, full-length wardrobe, individually controlled heating, cooling ceiling fans, opening windows and cabin service call button. Each cabin has its own private facilities with shower, wash-basin and toilet and a constant supply of hot water.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Volcanic Vegetables

The rich volcanic soil on the banks of Lake Batur in Bali beneath the active volcano, Gunung Batur, provides a rich and fertile base for the growth of local vegetables. As you drive round the lake you can see many local farmers in the vegetable fields tending to their crops.

One of the best and most simple meals I had was right here in the middle of the vegetable fields where a small restaurant served up local rice along with fresh vegetables from the fields and fish caught from the lake .... washed down with the local Bintang beer of course!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

St. Heinrich Church, Beckenried

This is the St. Heinrich Church in Beckenried on the banks of  Lake Lucerne in Switzerland. Beckenried is a municipality in the canton of Nidwalden in Switzerland. The first settlers in what would become Beckried were from Alamanni tribes that moved into the area over 2000 years ago. During the Middle Ages the region was part of extensive estates that were shared between Engelberg Abbey, Murbach-Lucerne and Steinen, Switzerland. The two tower houses in the village (named: Retschrieden and Isenringen) were built in the 13th century for two local, influential families. In 1262 the village is mentioned in an agreement over a nearby pasture. In 1314 it is mentioned as Beggenriet.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


The Chapel Bridge (German: Kapellbrücke) is a covered wooden footbridge spanning diagonally across the Reuss River in the city of Lucerne in central Switzerland. Named after the nearby St. Peter's Chapel, the bridge is unique since it contains a number of interior paintings dating back to the 17th century, although many of them were destroyed along with most of the centuries old bridge in a 1993 fire. Subsequently restored, the Kapellbrücke is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe, as well as the world's oldest surviving truss bridge. It serves as the city's symbol and as one of Switzerland's main tourist attractions.

Lucerne is a city in north-central Switzerland, in the German-speaking portion of that country. Lucerne is the capital of the Canton of Lucerne and the capital of the district of the same name. With a population of about 76,200 people, Lucerne is the most populous city in Central Switzerland, and a nexus of transportation, telecommunications, and government of this region. The city's metropolitan area consists of 17 cities and towns located in three different cantons with an overall population of about 250,000 people.
Due to its location on the shore of Lake Lucerne (der Vierwaldstättersee), within sight of Mount Pilatus and Rigi in the Swiss Alps, Lucerne has long been a destination for tourists. One of the city's famous landmarks is the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), a wooden bridge first erected in the 14th century. Lucerne was voted the fifth most popular tourism destination in the world in 2010 by Tripadvisor.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Tavern

The Tavern Bar in the Aryaduta Hotel, Jakarta used to be a real hot-spot but as you can see from this i-phone panoramic shot the place is now very quiet. It was famous for it's pub food, particularly the hot-stone steaks and the resident band who were invariably from Philippines. With all the new hot-spots in Jakarta it looks like the crowd has moved on leaving The Tavern more spacious but with little atmosphere now.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Bridge Over The Inn

Innsbruck is the capital city of the federal state of Tyrol in western Austria. It is located in the Inn Valley at the junction with the Wipptal (Sill River), which provides access to the Brenner Pass, some 30 km (18.6 mi) south of Innsbruck. Located in the broad valley between high mountains, the Nordkette (Hafelekar, 2,334 metres or 7,657 feet in the north, Patscherkofel (2,246 m or 7,369 ft) and Serles (2,718 m or 8,917 ft) in the south. It is an internationally renowned winter sports centre, and hosted the 1964 and1976 Winter Olympics as well as the 1984 and 1988 Winter Paralympics. It is to host the 1st Winter Youth Olympics in 2012. The word bruck comes from the German word Brücke meaning "bridge" which leads to "the bridge over the Inn".

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

When The Jungle Takes Over

Jungle Sounds Cambodia by HighlanderImages

Ta Prohm  is the modern name of a temple at Angkor, built in the Bayon style largely in the late 12th and early 13th centuries and originally called Rajavihara (in Khmer). Located approximately one kilometre east of Angkor Thom and on the southern edge of the East Baray near Tonle Bati, it was founded by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII as a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Ta Prohm has been left in much the same condition in which it was found: the photogenic and atmospheric combination of trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle surroundings have made it one of Angkor's most popular temples with visitors.

The design of Ta Prohm is that of a typical "flat" Khmer temple (as opposed to a temple-pyramid or temple-mountain, the inner levels of which are higher than the outer). Five rectangular enclosing walls surround a central sanctuary. Like most Khmer temples, Ta Prohm is oriented to the east, so the temple proper is set back to the west along an elongated east-west axis.

The outer wall of 1000 by 650 metres encloses an area of 650,000 square metres that at one time would have been the site of a substantial town, but that is now largely forested. An inscription at Ta Phrom indicates that that 12,460 people serviced this temple.

There are entrance gopuras at each of the cardinal points, although access today is now only possible from the east and west. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dragon Guardians

Wat Chiya Mangalaram is a Thai Buddhist temple and was built in 1845, making it one of the oldest temple in Penang... The main attraction of the wat is the reclining Buddha statue which was built in 1957... It stretches 33m long and 10m high making it the largest in Malaysia and the third largest in the world... The temple entrance is guarded by a few colourful statutes of mythical creatures, including two seven-headed serpents while two beautiful dragons “guarded” the two side entrances... Within the walls of the wat are drawings of the life story of the Buddha designed and sculptured by Thai skill articians... There are about 30,000 Buddha images inside the wat and also iconography of ancient Buddha and Bodhisatta images of various types from many Buddhist countries including Cambodia, China, Japan, Laos, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Beluna Cafe

Beluna Cafe is located in Kitzbuhel, Austria. Kitzbühel is a small medieval town in TyrolAustria, situated on the Kitzbüheler Ache river. It has a population of 8,204 (as at 1 Jan 2010) and is the administrative centre of the district (BezirkKitzbühel. The town is situated in the Kitzbühel Alps about 100 kilometres (62 mi) east of the state capital of Innsbruck and is a ski resort of international renown.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mussoorie Methodist Church

This is the central Methodist Church in Mussoorie, India. Mussoorie is a city and a municipal board in the Dehradun District of the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand. It is located about 35 km from the state capital of Dehradun and 290 km north from the national capital of New Delhi. This hill station, situated in the foothills of the Garhwal Himalayan ranges, is also known as the Queen of the Hills. The adjoining town of Landour, which includes a military cantonment, is considered part of 'greater Mussoorie', as are the townships of Barlowganj and Jharipani.

Tanah Lot

This is a slightly different view of the famous Tanah Lot temple in Bali. Tanah Lot means "Land [sic: in the] Sea" in Balinese language Located in Tabanan, about 20 km from Denpasar, the temple sits on a large offshore rock which has been shaped continuously over the years by the ocean tide.
Tanah Lot is claimed to be the work of the 15th century priest Nirartha. During his travels along the south coast he saw the rock-island's beautiful setting and rested there. Some fishermen saw him, and bought him gifts. Nirartha then spent the night on the little island. Later he spoke to the fishermen and told them to build a shrine on the rock for he felt it to be a holy place to worship the Balinese sea gods.
The Tanah Lot temple was built and has been a part of Balinese mythology for centuries. The temple is one of seven sea temples around the Balinese coast. Each of the sea temples were established within eyesight of the next to form a chain along the south-western coast. However, the temple had significant Hindu influence.
At the base of the rocky island, poisonous sea snakes are believed to guard the temple from evil spirits and intruders. A giant snake purportedly protects the temple, which was created from Nirata’s scarf when he established the island.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pest Repellant

It's iPhone Friday and here is a brief snap I took in a local Japanese store close to us where almost everything for sale is RM5.00. It is a treasure trove of useful (an not so useful) Japanese gadgets, and is an interesting visit just to see what bizarre things you can find. I particularly liked this section of the store which had an away of animal repellants including flies, mice, rats, centipedes, cats, dogs, ants, slugs, and snakes. So if you have a problem with any of these animals .... then you now know where to go.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Chinese Door

This lovely old Chinese door is located at the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion (or Blue Mansion) in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia. This heritage building has been beautifully restored revealing intricate details of workmanship and attention to detail in the design of the architecture.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Train Travel in Japan

Japan Train Sounds 3 by HighlanderImages

Travelling by train in Japan is a joy. It's so organized, clean and efficient with the trains running usually to the second. This is a typical train station with large information boards detailing all the train arrival and departure times. It can be somewhat intimidating though given that most of the signage is in Japanese characters.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Boats 'n Bicycles

Life in Amsterdam, Holland revolves around the canals. It's a easy way to travel around the city and as you can see many people live on canal boats moored in the canal. So unlike many other European cities which are choked full of cars and motorbikes here you find boats and bicycles which is certainly much more environmentally friendly and also a lot more peaceful.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Wat Chaiyamangalaram

The Wat Chaiyamangalaram temple in Georgetown, Penang, is the largest Thai Buddhist Temple in Penang and is famous for its 33 meter long reclining Buddha, one of the world's longest. The temple was built on a piece of land given by Queen Victoria to four women trustees as a gesture of goodwill to boost trading relations with Thailand.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Abbotshall Parish Church

Abbotshall Parish church is in my home town of Kirkcaldy in Scotland and contains some graves of my distant family. Around the middle of the seventeenth century it was decided that a new church was needed to ease the pressure on the Old Kirk in Kirkcaldy, and thus the parish of Abbotshall was created. The land was on the Abbotshall Estate which was owned at the time by Sir Andrew Ramsay, and became a Burgh of Barony. The first church is said to have been built in 1679, although there is a reused date stone from 1674 on the present church. There is no record of the appearance of the church before it was rebuilt in 1788, and the rebuild is the church which stands today. In 1876 the parish was absorbed into the Burgh of Kirkcaldy. There is a graveyard containing some good examples of historic gravestones and a mort house.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Free Bird

Outside this Buddhist temple in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia were a large number of cages with birds which puzzled me. Apparently as I later found out people who are devout Buddhists usually free fishes and birds on their birthdays or when they are seriously ill, believing that this meritorious act will prolong their lives. This belief may have originated from a story in the Buddhist scripture.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Today's i-phone image of KLCC Park is taken from the mid level (Floor 41) of Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on a rather cloudy and hazy day. The park was designed by Roberto Burle Marx. It is said that it was the last work undertaken by the Brazilian architect. When the park was designed, the aim was to "leave the world a little more sensitive and a little more educated to the importance of nature".

The park was designed to showcase a heritage of tropical greenery by integrating man's creation with nature. The park itself contrasts as a calm environment in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city. The park features many combinations of man-made design such as cements, water features and also natural features such as trees, shrubs, stones and wood. Elements of shape and topography were created to give an illusion of space. The combination of trees, shrubs and sculptures were arranged to provide color and form to the park.

Conservation and bio-diversity was a major influence in the creation of the park. 23 of the mature and rarer specimens were saved from the old Selangor Turf Club and transplanted into the park grounds. 1900 indigenous trees and 66 species of palms were planted in the park to promote bio-diversity. The trees were deliberately selected to attract local and migratory birds.

A man made lake was built in the middle of the park, directly in front of Suria KLCC mall and Petronas Twin Towers towards the middle of the park. A 43 meter elevated bridge that cut across the lake provides a vantage view of the park and the twin towers.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Retro Garage in Penang

Georgetown in Penang, Malaysia has wonderful collection of heritage style buildings, some which have been renovated and are now used as restaurants or hotels. This wonderful period garage (converted into a night club!) in the centre of the town exhibits a wonderful retro style architecture taking you back to the early days of motoring.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Spanish Flamenco

Flamenco by HighlanderImages

 A visit to Spain would not be complete without a performance of the vibrant Flamenco dance and one of the most authentic and traditional places to witness this is at Tablao Flamenco Cordobes in Barcelona. The combination of live music and spectacular dancing is a memorable experience.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Sunrise School Days

This little guy in class seemed to be very positive about answering the teacher's question, the girl not so positive. This was shot in a classroom of the Sunrise Children's Village Orphanage in Siem Reap, Cambodia where the children were taught Khmer, dance, maths, computer skills, and music.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Strathspey Railway

The line was opened on 1 July 1863 between Dufftown and Abernethy (later Nethy Bridge). It was extended to meet up with the Inverness and Perth Junction Railway (later the Highland Railway) at Boat of Garten on 1 August 1866. The Strathspey Railway actually met the Highland line at Tullochgorum, some 3 miles north of Boat of Garten, but the two lines ran parallel until reaching Boat, the physical junction being to the south of Boat of Garten station. The same year, 1866, saw the Strathspey Railway become part of the larger Great North of Scotland Railway (GNSR).
The railway served the numerous distilleries that operated in the Spey Valley, many of these distilleries having their own small tank engines, or 'pugs' as they were known.
In 1923, the railway became part of the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) and through passenger services were advertised from Boat of Garten to the South via Aberdeen. The line became part of British Railways in 1948 and many cost-saving measures were considered, including the introduction of diesel rail buses in the late 1950s.
The Strathspey line closed to passengers on 11 October 1965, the same date as the closure of the Highland line between Aviemore and Forres. Grantown on Spey, which had previously been served by two separate stations, was now left without any rail connection.

Goods traffic lingered on for a further three years, mostly the whisky trains, until this too ceased on 4 November 1968. The track was lifted the following year. The short section between Aberlour and Dufftown remained open for goods traffic until the end of 1971.
Although the two stations at either end of the line are open, serving two heritage railways, (the Keith and Dufftown Railway at Dufftown and the (second) Strathspey Railway at Boat of Garten on the Highland Railway's Aviemore to Forres route), no part of the original Strathspey Railway has been preserved. However, the section between Ballindalloch and Craigellachie has now been converted into part of the Speyside Way, which runs between Ballindalloch and Spey Bay.
Many of the railway's attractive stone-built station buildings still exist today; some have been converted for private usage, while others are near derelict. The former station building at Aberlour has been converted into a tearoom and visitor centre. Two of the three bridges over the Spey still survive: the joint road/rail cast-iron arch bridge at Carron and the impressive lattice girder bridge at Ballindalloch, the latter is now a Category A listed building.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Burgos Cathedral

The Burgos Cathedral (Spanish: Catedral de Burgos) is a Gothic-style Roman Catholic cathedral in Burgos, Spain. It is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is famous for its vast size and unique architecture. Its construction began in 1221, and was in use nine years later, although work continued on and off for two hundred years. It was primarily influenced by the French Gothic style.
It had very important modifications in the 15th and 16th centuries (spires of the principal façade, Chapel of the Constable, cimborio of the transept: these elements of advanced Gothic give the cathedral its distinguished profile). The last works of importance (the sacristy or the Chapel of Saint Thecla) occurred during the 18th century, the century in which the Gothic statuary of the doors of the principal façade was also transformed.
At the beginning of the 20th century, some semidetached construction to the cathedral was eliminated, such as the Archepiscopal Palace and the upper floor of the cloister. The style of the cathedral is Gothic, although it has inside some Renaissance and Baroque decorations.
In the cathedral, works of extraordinary artists are kept, such as the architects and sculptors of the Colonia family (Juan, Simón and Francisco), the sculptors Gil de Siloé, Felipe Vigarnyor Juan de Anchieta, the sculptor and architect Diego de Siloé, the grillworker Cristóbal de Andino or the painter Sebastiano del Piombo ("Holy Family On A Voyage"), among many others.
The cathedral was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on October 31, 1984. It is the only Spanish cathedral that has this distinction independently, without being joined to the historic center of a city (as in Salamanca, Santiago de Compostela, Ávila, Córdoba, Toledo, Alcalá de Henares or Cuenca) or in union with others buildings, as in Seville.
The principal façade was inspired by the pure French Gothic style of the cathedrals of Paris and of Reims. It consists of three bays topped by two lateral square towers. The steep spires of German influence were added in the 15th century and are the work of Juan de Colonia.
Some elements of great interest within of the cathedral are the 'Papamoscas' (Flycatcher), an articulated statue which opens its mouth upon the sounding of the bells every hour, the Romanesque sepulchre of Mudarra, the vengeful stepbrother of the death of the seven princes de Lara (brought to the cathedral from its original location in the Monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza due to its abandonment by alienation), the carved chairs of the choir, the sepulchre of the Bishop Mauricio, the tomb of El Cid and his wife Doña Jimena, the letter of security of El Cid and his chest.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Afternoon Nap

This trishaw rider in Penang is taking the opportunity for a quick snooze.

There are about 200 trishaw in Penang which are mostly scattered around Georgetown area. Penang trishaw comes in many names, Rickshaw, trishaw, taxicab or locally referred to as beca.
The modern beca in Penang is a pedal-powered trishaw rather than one that’s pulled by runners. It ferries tourists through narrow lanes, offering them a closer view of the neighbourhood in an unhurried manner. The nostalgic feeling sitting on top of the three wheeled beca does indeed an unforgettable experience. Besides the novelty of traveling in this open-fronted three wheeled vehicle, trishaw allows visitor the opportunity of visit the sights at a more leisurely pace and stopping at any point to 
snap picture or to buy souvenir.
Beca riders are equipped with information about the interesting sights along the tourism route that they took, thanks to the state government initiative in providing training and the re-branding effort which includes beatification on the current old beca. This will makes a visitor's ride more interesting and at the same time raise the image of Penang trishaw riders which are one of the frontlines in making foreign tourist stay in Penang enjoyable.
The price of using a beca in Penang varies from about RM 15 to about RM 30 per hour. Try to negotiate for the best price before using this service. Some tour agent or hotels provide a package tour which includes sightseeing on trishaw with lunch or dinner included. The package tour cost about USD 35 to USD 45 and lasts about 2 to 3 hours.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Pacific Place Panorama

The i-phone is now a very powerful mobile device for photography. .... yes it's i-Phone Friday again! Alongside the camera there are now many many apps that can assist you to edit and post-process the picture. This photograph was taken using an app called 360 which obviously allows you to take panoramas and stitch these in phone .... something that would have taken a very powerful computer and an expensive software application to execute a few years ago.

This image (or group of individual images) was taken at Pacific Place Shopping Centre in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

National Archives of Hungary

To go and visit the National Archives of Hungary (Magyar Országos Levéltár in Hungarian) which is situated in a building in Budapest sounds rather dull but in fact the building is beautiful as can be seen here with this stunningly detailed ceiling and unique curved arches.
The Archives' remarkable collections include medieval charters (the oldest charter dates back to 1109, and the collection consists of almost 100,000 records), plans and maps (approximately 50,000 pieces of records), archives of central government offices of (early) modern times, and archives of prominent Hungarian families (Eszterházy, Széchenyi, Festetics, Bethlen, Nádasdy). Documents of post-1867 ministries and other government organs may arouse the interest of those who are keen on the near past. Nowadays, the Archives stores 73 kilometres of records and 64 million images of microfilms. The National Archives does not only preserve the historic sources, but it provides the processing and the accessibility of records for scientific researchers and the great public as well.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Musical Saw Live in Budapest

R09 0013 by HighlanderImages

Today's "SoundCloud" recording was made at a traditional old restaurant in Budapest, Hungary where a local group of musicians entertained the diners. The highlight was this song highlighting the Musical Saw playing soloist.

Though some consider the Musical Saw an American folk musical instrument believed to have gotten its start somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains in the 19th century, the origins of the musical saw are actually not confined to one country. Some sources state the saw was invented in Argentina, or Russia. Most of what we know today is about Europe, but it is believed that saws were played in all continents without the people knowing of other people doing so in other places. Carpenters and lumberjacks all over the world discovered that their tool could make sounds, thus, no country can really claim ownership over the invention of making music with a saw. Saw playing probably started at the end of the 17th century, when saws were mass produced with pliable steel blades.

The pioneers who couldn't afford bringing musical instruments with them to America brought tools for building houses, etc. Thus saw playing became popular in the USA at a time when there weren't other instruments easily available. During the 19th century (and probably before) many priests played the saw during church services. Later, the saw became a staple of Vaudeville shows.

The saw is generally played seated with the handle squeezed between the legs, and the far end held with one hand. It is generally played with the teeth facing the body. In the early 20th century the Musical Saw began to get very popular in America and Europe as well. It is also known as the Singing Saw, as it produces a very pure ethereal tone, and can sound similar to a woman's high singing voice.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Arthur in New York

This large billboard advertising the movie Arthur dominated this part of the New York skyline as viewed from the High Line Park in the Meatpacking District. The High Line is a 1-mile (1.6 km) New York City linear park built on a 1.45-mile (2.33 km) section of the former elevated freight railroad spur called the West Side Line, which runs along the lower west side of Manhattan; it has been redesigned and planted as an aerial greenway. The High Line Park currently runs from Gansevoort Street, one block below West 12th Street, in the Meatpacking District, up to 30th Street, through the neighborhood of Chelsea to the West Side Yard, near the Javits Convention Center. The recycling of the railway into an urban park has spurred real estate development in the neighborhoods which lie along the line.