Category Archives: Pictures

Masters in Conversation – the Hitchock Truffaut tapes

I am not sure that there has ever been a book about film quite like François Truffaut’s interviews with Alfred Hitchcock. Two masters discuss the craft of cinema. Truffaut listens carefully and gets Hitchcock to provide full disclosure of what he thinks is needed to make a film tick.
I have had the book for a long time but I have only just discovered that you can listen to the tapes online or download them here.
If you don’t speak French don’t worry. Wait for the introduction to end and you will hear Truffaut being translated into English and Hitchcock answering in English.

Old Shanghai and Three Places in New England

olive seller

Cantonese Olive Seller

In old Shanghai, not only could one find all kinds of delicacies on the streets but the countless vendors all had their own special local colour. The ones from Shandong sold steamed buns, those from Northern Jiangsu “tiger paws” and “sesame seed rolls”,  the locals plied sugar plums and the Cantonese olives and water chestnut flour cakes or linggao. Of all these hawkers the ones which stood out most were the olive sellers. They wore a big bag across their shoulders, which in itself was nothing special, but on the other hand the Erhu they played was very peculiar. Why? The belly of the instrument was twice as big as normal Erhu. It was made from a petrol can. Because of this, the seller could not get any complex sounds out of his instrument but only a KANG KANG LI KE KANG KANG sound. The monotonous music was certainly not easy on the ears, but it had a distinct flavour of the Yue country. Read more…

Settetto buffo di sette gatti


I can’t find where the original of this picture comes from. I suppose the instrument must be a gattoforte, because it must be pinching their tails or something not too pleasant, so there is no way they are yowling softly, which means it is definitely not a gattopiano  I think someone should compose a piece to go with it, using some sampled cat sounds. In the meantime, since we don’t have a septet yet, while five cats sit on the sidelines, here is a recording of Rossini’s Cat Duet  (Duetto  buffo di due gatti) performed by Victoria de los Angeles and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf .

Children Brand Children



It’s true that the fireworks the Children Brand children are playing with look like sparklers. But there still seems to be a bit of a discrepancy between what the wording on the label says (Do not hold in hand after lighting) and what the picture  is suggesting. I suppose that if you are a Children Brand child and live inside the label then there is really no way you can read what is written on the outside of the label. I sometimes wonder whether I too have instructions which I can’t read just out of sight beneath the floor.