World Piano Day
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Classical pianos have 88 keys (52 white keys and 36 black), hence World Piano Day falls on the 88th day of the year – the 29th of March (unless it's a leap year in which case you're a day late). No matter what the date, this enchanting instrument is worthy of celebration.
So, in honour of World Piano Day, we've compiled a list of observations and insights about this majestic instrument.
- The piano is a bit like a long-term relationship. At first, everything is exciting and new, but as time goes on, you start to realise just how much hard work it takes to keep the magic alive.
- A piano tuner is like a magician. They can take a creaky old piano and turn it into a beautiful, harmonious instrument. It's like they have a secret potion that they sprinkle on the keys.
- The piano is the only instrument that can make you feel like a genius one minute and a complete novice the next. One minute you're playing Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata flawlessly, and the next you're struggling to remember which key is which.
- There's something about the sound of a piano that just makes you want to dance. Whether it's a slow, melancholic melody or an upbeat, jazzy tune, you can't help but tap your feet and sway your hips.
- Learning to play the piano is a bit like learning a new language. You have to learn the vocabulary (notes), the grammar (rhythm), and the syntax (musicality) before you can start to speak fluently.
- The piano is like a puzzle that you have to solve. Each note is a piece, and when you put them all together, you create a masterpiece. The only difference is that you can never truly finish the puzzle because there's always a way to make it better.
- The piano is the ultimate multitasking instrument. You have to use both hands and both feet, and you have to read music while playing. It's like a full-body workout for your brain.
Whether you're a seasoned pro or a curious beginner, take some time today to appreciate the beauty and complexity of this incredible instrument. And who knows, maybe today is the day you'll finally master that tricky Rachmaninoff piece you've been working on. But if not, you can always console yourself, not with a Grand Piano but a Grand Cosmopolitan.
The anniversary of the first London Marathon
According to legend, the original marathon was run in Ancient Greece, when a soldier named Pheidippides allegedly raced some 40-odd kilometres (25 miles) in the high summer heat to deliver the news of victory at the Battle of Marathon.
Today, however, marks the anniversary of the first-ever London Marathon, in 1981, when, inspired by the New York Marathon, 6,747 nervous runners gathered in the English capital to compete. The race has grown in popularity since then with more than 40,000 people running the 26.2-mile (42.2km) route through London's streets.
You have to be 18 to enter, but there's no cutoff age - the oldest person to complete the marathon was 93 year-old Fauja Singh - puts us all to shame. We'll spare you the equally staggering statists on how many millions of pints of urine have been deposited in the 950 toilets around the marathon course over the years...as well as how many tons of petroleum jelly have been rubbed on the athletes' chapped groins, nipples and toes.
With a welter of participants in fancy dress raising money for charity by racing as whoopee cushions, camels, giant bananas and more, the London Marathon can be a scramble, so why not celebrate this anniversary with a London Scramble or a delicious London Calling?
We are also celebrating teleportation
Apologies if you missed this one at the time, but on this day in 1993 one of our favourite light reading magazines, Physical Review Letters, published an article showing that teleportation was actually possible. Albeit only of quantum particles, and only theoretically.
It took another five years before the world's first known example of teleportation occurred, when scientists in California teleported a photon three feet, sending it from one side of a lab bench to the other without crossing "any physical medium" in between. In 2010, Chinese scientists moved some particles, all of them unimaginably tiny, as far as 16km.
Unfortunately, the original particle is destroyed and then reappears, so, when we do get to the point of teleportation, you won't be able to come back and have a chat with yourself. We are toasting mad scientists everywhere, and anyone who understands quantum physics, with a Charles Schumann creation, the Sweet Science.
It's also the anniversary of Scott's last diary entry
100 years ago today, snowbound in a tent without fuel, food or water, the polar explorer Robert Falcon Scott wrote his last diary entry:
"Since the 21st we have had a continuous gale from W.S.W. and S.W. We had fuel to make two cups of tea apiece and bare food for two days on the 20th. Every day we have been ready to start for our depot 11 miles away, but outside the door of the tent it remains a scene of whirling drift. I do not think we can hope for any better things now. We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker, of course, and the end cannot be far. It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. Last entry. For God's sake look after our people."
We are toasting this brave Englishman, who reached the South Pole and died only 11 miles from fuel and food soon after writing this last note, with a The Scott.
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