Friday, 8 August 2014

Blaugust 8, 2014 - Disco Inferno

So the guy came around to fix up the firebox today. After a couple of hours of replacing fire bricks, fiddling with the flue, adding some extra heat shielding and generally getting everything else up to spec, I now have a delightful roaring inferno contained in a metal box in my lounge room. With a couple of good pieces of wood, the house is the warmest it has been in many months.

Conveniently the property agent sent around a guy to check over all of the smoke alarms, checking that they hadn't passed their use-by date. Depending on the model, they can degrade over five or ten or twenty years, so a couple needed replacing. Good timing.

The fire box I have here is a Nectre, either a Mk1 or Mk2 and I'm too lazy to figure out which. The opening is nice and wide to easily get decent-sized logs in, and it has a secondary adjustable air intake on the bottom of the door which makes getting a good flame going an absolute breeze.

There is something delightfully primal about creating a wood fire. Every part of the process, from collecting and cutting the wood, swinging a block splitter, arranging kindling and other starting material, lighting a match, the crackle, the roar the flush of heat, the scent of wood smoke, the hiss of any remaining moisture evaporating rapidly... It is an extremely satisfying process.

With the ceiling fan in the lounge moving hot air through the house, warmth is collecting in the bathroom. This is fantastic because the wooden cupboard and the window frame were getting mouldy. Hopefully the bathroom can fully dry out for the first time this Winter and put a stop to that.

My next challenge in keeping warm will be to keep my supply of wood topped up. I likely have enough for the month, but I should really get some more to season for next year. Fortunately for me there is plenty of deadfall at work that I can collect freely, as it reduces the fuel load. Unfortunately for me, my chainsaw stopped working in the middle of a job the other day. I'll need to take it apart and figure out what has gone wrong, and see if I can fix it.

I very much hope it is something simple, as my alternatives are to pay someone else to fix it, buy a new one, or give myself a great upper-body workout using handsaws and axes. Knowing me, I'll likely choose the latter option by default, until sometime down the track the allure of something vastly more powerful than my old chainsaw, something shiny and orange and new, catches me when I have some spare money. I'm a sucker for fancy gear.

Inevitably, getting a good fire going had me thinking of The Trammps' classic tune 'Disco Inferno' all day, "Burn baby, burn!" running through my head ad nauseum. Disco is a wonderful genre, and I think young people should appreciate it more than they do. The rhythm! The neon lights! The flares! The hair! Magic. And the dancing!

Just about the only time I will ever get up and dance is when I put on a little disco in the privacy of my own home, where there is absolutely no chance whatsoever that anyone will ever bear witness to the otherwordly horror of my awkward flailing. Here are a few of my top disco picks!

For 'fun' disco, think Boney M. Tracks like 'Rasputin', 'Daddy Cool', and 'Ma Baker', will all have you singing along gleefully in no time.

If you want to feel extra positive, Earth Wind and Fire are the way to go. My picks from their catalogue are 'Fantasy', 'September', and 'Boogie Wonderland', great tracks for shaking that booty.

Speaking of which, I would be remiss not to mention KC and the Sunshine Band. Their classics 'Get Down Tonight', 'That's the Way (I Like It)', and of course '(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty' are among the best.

Chic, anchored by Nile Rodgers' superb guitar work and creative genius, gives us 'Le Freak' and 'Good Times', both of which will surely get their hooks right into your soul and get you moving like a marionette.

It is worth taking a detour into the more conceptual stuff of Giorgio Moroder, one of the godfathers of disco. I'll let you explore his work for yourself for the most part, but will link some of his work later. Daft Punk's wonderful tribute, 'Giorgio by Moroder', is educational and well worth a listen.

The Bee Gees made some important contributions with their excellent and iconic soundtrack to the movie Saturday Night Fever, classics like 'Stayin' Alive' and 'You Should Be Dancing'.

Speaking of Daft Punk, their recent forays, 'Get Lucky', and especially, 'Lose Yourself To Dance', are excellent examples of a modern take on disco. Both prominently feature Nile Rodgers and his hair; two of the genre's real mainstays.

I'll close with a piece by the divine Donna Summer, which also happens to be that example of Giorgio Moroder's masterful production work I promised. In this seventeen minute version, the supremely sexual Miss Summer makes orgasmic noises into the microphone just for you in her classic track, 'Love To Love You Baby'. Stay groovy.

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