I learned something new and relearned something old this past weekend.
The something old is a fact that I'd forgotten: Freddie Mercury lived in Montreux, Switzerland in the last years of his life and even owned a recording studio there. Apparently he used to say "If you want peace of mind, come to Montreux." There's been a statue of him by the lakefront since 1996 and there's a Freddie Mercury Memorial Day held there every September. We'll have to visit!
The new-to-me fact is that the Deep Purple classic Smoke on the Water is all about Lake Geneva!
Usually I'm really good with hearing and memorising lyrics, but you know how sometimes you think you know a song so well that you actually don't pay much attention to it? Yea, that. I mean, the opening lines to the song are "We all came out to Montreux, on the Lake Geneva shoreline, to make records with a mobile, we didn't have much time."
I'd never paid attention before! Here's the Wikipedia story:
"...on 4 December 1971 Deep Purple had set up camp in Montreux, Switzerland, to record an album using a mobile recording studio (rented from the Rolling Stones and known as the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio -- referred to as the 'Rolling truck Stones thing' and 'a mobile' in the song lyrics) at the entertainment complex that was part of the Montreux Casino (referred to as 'the gambling house' in the song lyric).
On the eve of the recording session a Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention concert was held in the casino's theatre. In the middle of Don Preston's synthesizer solo on 'King Kong', the place suddenly caught fire when somebody in the audience fired a flare gun into the rattan covered ceiling, as mentioned in the 'some stupid with a flare gun' line. ...
The 'smoke on the water' that became the title of the song ... referred to the smoke from the fire spreading over Lake Geneva from the burning casino as the members of Deep Purple watched the fire from their hotel. The 'Funky Claude' running in and out is referring to Claude Nobs, the director of the Montreux Jazz Festival who helped some of the audience escape the fire."
All this Geneva talk reminds me of the A to Z Challenge, so I thought I'd share a few more photos with you all.
Jet d'Eau close up - those ducks don't seem to mind the shower
View of the other side of the lake
The Jet d'Eau looks a lot smaller from a distance
On a really clear day you can see the snowy white tip of Mont Blanc
Lovely lakefront restaurant in Bellevue, about twenty minutes up the shore from Geneva
You can still see the Jet d'Eau from here!
Sunflowers in Meyrin, close to the border with France
As for ROW80, I'm halfway through one of my goals - typing up the latest batch of Alfred Russel Wallace letters.
This set includes letters from his son, who left England to work in the United States in 1897. It's fascinating reading about his day-to-day jobs as a telegraph line and pole repairman out along the Colorado railway tracks. I had no idea that British people at the tail end of the Victorian era called their parents Pa and Ma, and referred to adults as grown-ups -- but apparently the latter comes from Austen and Dickens!
What fun facts have you learned this week?
Hope everyone's easily meeting their writing goals!