27 June, 2009

The Yumcha Diaries: 27/06/09

The Yumcha Diaries: 27/06/09

This is the first article under this title, which shall occasionally chronicle some thoughts triggered by the day, and perhaps some harmless tidbits gathered at "JC's Letterbox" yumcha.

More often than not, the most important things we learn about friends, and people in general, come from the little things. A little preference here, a bit of insistence here; all that contributes to the man and our appreciation of him.

The day was a stormy one, coming just after the typhoon had landed barely hours ago. The restaurant was deserted at first. Glancing out of the windows, the veil put on the building across the street during refurbishing was waving rhythmically, and one had the illusion that rain was really beating down on Central.

Off-peak Central is one of the glories of HK. Here is virtually the only place in HK where you can encounter a little history while getting to your rendez-vous. You can find the new and the old, the Chinese and the Western, mingling like they have always had for the past centuries. I particularly love rainy Central. There is depth missing in most other places; I am easily re-assured that there is a sanctuary just around the corner. On this day, it was the restaurant.

I have always loved rainy days, and typhoons. I think I inherited that from my father, who would gear up for typhoon by stocking some dried-shrimps and peanuts. The dried-shrimps would be softened by soaking for a little while in warm water, then immersed in soy sauce (Shanghai style). During the height of the storm, he would enjoy a little wine with the snacks, and those moments have forever been embedded on my memory.

For some nicely moody pictures of Central, which include some rainy days, I stumbled across this very nice photo Blog. This is from a person who does not regard himself as a photographer (unlike many of our hifi-folks) yet who produces pictures with content, ones that speak with love. Yes, this is my Central.

Our friend trazom joined us. There were not too many people and I actually got to ask trazom some questions.

Q. How did you get into classical music?
A. I bought some LPs, like Pictures and 1812, when I first got hifi. When I acquired my current setup (TACT) a friend said to me why not listen to some classical, and I gave it a try

Q. And then you loved it. What was the piece that did it for you?
A. A recording of Mozart violin concerto by Heifetz. The recording was actually not good, but then I said to myself, such beautiful sound from such a poor recording!

As simple as that. I then recounted my journey. With the money I got working as a busboy (waiter's assistant) I bought my first really low-fi. I started by listening to radio and soon fell in love with some pieces. Sibelius violin concerto (Stern) and Tchaikovsky 4th symphony (Bernstein). That was my baptism.

whlee asked whether anyone really listen to 1812. I really don't know, but I used to, a lot, in my early days. The better the system got, the less I listened to it. Maybe 7.1 is a good day to re-visit it? What about you?

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