My last-minute impulsive decision to insert a clip from The Student Prince into the previous blog post reminded me of Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture, so I’m making the rest of you listen to it as well:
And, for those of you who would like some background, here’s the description, copied and pasted verbatim from the YouTube description:
This is Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80 (Akademische Festouvertüre), a much lighter counterpart to his Tragic Overture. He composed it in 1880 when he received an honourary doctorate from the University of Breslau (now Wroclaw), as a musical show of gratitude. The music is very light-hearted, warm and humorous, but Brahms uses the occasion as a tour-de-force in contrapuntal symphonic writing. The orchestra whisks through several pulsing, boisterous melodies, which Brahms described as a “potpourri of student drinking songs,” subtly mocking the academic institution for which he composed the piece. [Towards the end] the orchestra erupts into a joyous rendition of “Gaudeamus igitur” (“So let us rejoice,” a.k.a. “On the shortness of life”), a popular Latin graduation hymn which was originally a beer-drinking song.
The recording is by Sir Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The images are of Solti, Brahms, the University of Wroclaw, and the beautiful old city of Wroclaw, Poland.
Those who know me know that I enjoy a good drink every now and then. Those who have the misfortune of living with me experience this all the time (and then, they decide to bring out the Penalty Shot at a whim, but that’s going off on a bit of a tangent for this post). I blame my Rhodesian heritage: back in that long-lost culture, having a daily glass of wine, typically when returning from a hard day’s work, was considered the norm. (My mother frequently cites this as the reason for Rhodesia having far less of a drinking problem than South Africa, because people there were “taught to drink responsibly”. Or at least, it was that way in the 1970s… well before my time though.)
That kind of still lives on: some office environments find that the occasional drink at work stimulates social interaction, and can actually result in some decent ideas and brainstorming being thrown around. (It does depend on the working environment: informal ones, such as your typical IT company, would do just fine with this, but don’t try this in the manufacturing sector, the petrochemical sector, or — worst of all — in government.) This is actually one reason why there’s usually beer supplied at our company-wide meetings and catch-up sessions (the other reason is that it’s the only way to entice the Development Department to actually attend these). In fact, some places are taking this a step further and are offering free wine to customers on Fridays, though, as much as I would like to take them up on their offer, boutique stores are not my kind of thing — and I will reach though my laptop and slap the first person who suggests that “that’s how guys roll in the Cape”! (The other reason involves someone who I sadly parted ways with somewhat acrimoniously, but of that, I will say no more.)
But that’s not what prompted this blog post. What did prompt it was this morning’s run to the Vida in the office park for my morning cappuccino. For the first time after their recent renovations, I noticed this:
Yes, that is indeed beer on tap.
And no, absolutely no idea why I didn’t notice it earlier — I guess I’m still half-asleep whenever I wander into there. (No, you may NOT ask me how I negotiate the R27 every morning, because apart from heading through there after the majority of the traffic, I honestly can’t give you an answer to that!)
Perfect for your typical developer. Now, the challenge: how to keep this particular one functioning at the Ballmer Peak…
(Mandatory disclaimer: there is a difference between drinking responsibly and drinking irresponsibly, and the latter is definitely not condoned within this context. If you don’t know said difference, rather don’t try to find it in the first place.)