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In this weeks action packed blog I will be sharing with you some of the exciting things that have taken place in the last couple of days at Sunset Rocks (Cape Town) including canoeing into the sunset, teenagers frolicking off the rocks and some stunning shots of the full moon setting over Africa. I will also introduce you to different ways English and German urine technologists are improving society by making good use of our wee-wee (yes peeing for society!). Finally this week I have completed another of my modern interpretations of Baroque masterpieces so prepare to be uplifted by Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus from the Messiah.
Let’s start with the week’s excitement on Sunset Rocks.
Regular visitors to my blog will remember last week’s pictures of the whales playing in the ocean around the rocks in front of my pad near Cape Town (and if you missed it the link is here).
Well these very same rocks that are frequented by huge mega whales that sometimes leap out of the water (see more of my pics here) provided the setting for a couple of canoeists this week who decided to pop-by on their way to Sandy Bay beach. Not only did they paddle straight past the whale’s playground but they also did it just as the sun was setting. This gave me an opportunity, with a rather strong lens, to capture the event from my balcony as I enjoyed my sundowner aperitif. The following pictures have been selected from my archive of this stunning event. Please click on any of the pics to see the high definition version.
Now for those frolicking teenagers
Clearly a canoe is not going to provide you with much protection if a mega whale decides to surface just at the moment you sail past. You will therefore appreciate that I was a little surprised to see a couple of teenagers paddling to the rocks on their surf boards. I was even more surprised when I saw what this boy and girl had in mind once they landed on the rock.
They took it in turns jumping off the largest of these huge rocks into the very cold Western Cape ocean (one jumped while the other paddled round to wait for their partner to splash into the sea). Only one of them had a wet suit! Once again all this took place as the sun was starting to set – proving once again that sunset is a magic time at Sunset Rocks. Here are a selection of my pics capturing this brave sporting enterprise – Oh to be young (and this fit)!
and the moon set?
I am sure you noticed that we had a full moon this week. If you are a photographer you will know that moon shots are not always the easiest. This is compounded by moon sets tending to be very early in the morning when some of us struggle to get out of bed (apologies to any of my African neighbours who spotted the naked Englishman clicking away on his balcony before the sun rose – dressing, and breakfast came later). So without further preamble here are some of the photos I took of the full moon as it set over Sunset Rocks this week (next time I must remember to get the tripod out!).
Moving on to what the scientists have been doing with wee-wee
Germans and Brits have very different approaches when it comes to using urine in ways that will benefit society. The German approach is being field tested in Hamburg’s red-light district (the Reeperbahn or St. Pauli district). Their innovation involves spraying tourists with urine if they decide to misbehave themselves in public. Rather than go into too much sordid detail in this blog I have prepared a special report on the development which you can read using the link here (but be warned – it includes a video of tourists misbehaving themselves in the red-light district).
The British approach is somewhat different. Under research leader Ioannis Ieropoulos, students and staff at the University of Bristol together with Oxfam, have developed a new toilet which includes a microbial energy generating cell. This cell breaks down the urine which is in wee-wee and uses the energy released to generate electricity. This power can then be used for lighting or, for example, to recharge cell phones. Oxfam is interested because these special toilets (€830 per unit including construction) can be used in refugee camps to provide a constant source of electricity. According to the handout describing the invention ladies in some countries run the risk of being raped if they go to the toilet at night – by using these new toilets to power lighting their security should be improved.
At the moment the British invention is being tested under the urinal at a student bar in an English university. The activity of the power generating cells in converting wee-wee to useful energy can be seen in action using an on-site CCTV monitor – providing students with a visual incentive to drink more and pee for a good cause (German reading visitors can read an article about this here).
Two countries with two very different approaches to ‘recycling’ wee.
And now Hallelujah!
Hallelujah – Yes it is nearly the end of this week’s blog. Since arriving at my Cape Town pad about 10 days ago I have been busy working on another of my baroque musical interpretations. Regular visitors to the blog will already be familiar with my interpretations of Vivaldi and Bach (you can see the videos and read about the pieces using the link here). Well now it is the turn of Handel.
In addition to taking photographs of fun on the rocks and reviewing the latest scientific developments in urine technology I have been busy rearranging 21 pages from the original score of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus from the Messiah. This was necessary so that it could be performed as part of the TRANSFORMATES 變 Music Project. In my interpretation I have tried to preserve much of the original instrumentation (Oboes, Bassoons, Trumpets, Timpani and four string components) but have ‘reinterpreted’ the vocal parts. If you listen to the performance you will hear the different voices but you will not hear the words. I have used the voices as musical instruments and tried to create sounds which blend with the baroque instruments but are quite different to what we normally hear when we listen to this piece. The original notes are preserved – they are just presented with a different musical ‘texture’.
You can find out more about this piece of music and its history from my dedicated blog article here. As always I welcome any feedback or recommendations for further musical exploits. Here is the video:
You can find out more about the activities of the TRANSFORMATES 變 Music Project by visiting the dedicated website here. When I get a moment I will add a blog to that site with more information about my interpretation of the Hallelujah Chorus.
That’s it for this update. Have a great week ahead and remember if you do go jumping off rocks into the ocean – double check there are no large mammals swimming in the water before you leap.