Lose Yourself in Delft’s World Famous Pottery and Painting

Lose Yourself in Delft’s World Famous Pottery and Painting

One thing is for certain: there is nothing in the world quite like Dutch art and craftsmanship. It’s no wonder, then, that Delft, a 750-year-old town, is so famous for its painting and pottery, which is why it makes the perfect final stop on the tour aboard Panache when you’re barging in Holland.
When you lay your eyes on Delft’s historic streets and picturesque canals, you’ll understand why so many great painters and crafters were inspired to recreate them in their masterpieces. The town gave its name to the Delft School, which saw artists such as Pieter de Hoogh, Carel Fabritius and Nicolaes Maes pass through its doors. But perhaps the town’s most famous son was Johannes Vermeer, whose paintings can be found all over the world.

 

Johannes Vermeer

Vermeer’s paintings offer an extraordinary glimpse into what life was like for the people of Delft in the seventeenth century. While Vermeer’s greatest creation is widely considered to be the Girl with a Pearl Earring, it is also awe-inspiring to see the scenery that inspired his portrayals of everyday life firsthand.

Potter About Delft’s History

The Netherlands’ history is rich with arts and culture, and Delft’s is no different. The local pottery industry reaches back more than three centuries to the country’s prosperous trade relationship with China. The activities of the Dutch East India Trading Company brought valuable Chinese porcelain back to Dutch shores, which sparked a love affair with the craft.

However, trading fell off with the death of the Wanli Emperor in 1620. Dutch potters began to experiment with techniques that would imitate the highly desirable porcelain. They developed thin earthenware that they first covered with a white glaze, followed by a clear one. The beautiful blue surfaces that were produced looked similar to Chinese porcelain, and the brilliant colour came to be known as ‘Delft blue’.

A huge disaster in the town resulted in the decline of the brewing industry, but strengthened that of local pottery. In 1654, The Thunderclap, a gunpowder explosion that destroyed large parts of the town and killed and wounded many people, meant that potters were able to take advantage of the breweries that had been left empty to expand their factories and output.

Over the next 100 years, the Delft pottery grew and grew to the legacy it still holds today. On your visit, be sure to stop by the Royal Delft Pottery, which is the town’s last remaining earthenware factory. Here potters lovingly handcraft everything you see. Why not take home the perfect memento of your time barging in Holland?

Final Stop

For all of these reasons and many more, Delft is the ideal final destination on board Panache. There is arguably no better way to experience the local heritage and culture than by barging in Holland.

Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK’s most respected provider of luxury all-inclusive barge holidays. If you’re looking for a unique holiday experience, European Waterways can take you barging in Holland, France, Italy and other wonderful destinations in Europe. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.

For the Fearless: Via Ferrata in the Daring Dolomites

For the Fearless: Via Ferrata in the Daring Dolomites

Safety harnesses, a network of steel cables, security ladders and climbing insurance are all necessary for you to be able to reach the summit. Even seasoned mountain climbers find these peaks challenging – and you’re going further yet! You’d better believe the panoramic, jaw-dropping views from the top will be worth all the sweating (from both exertion and adrenaline…).
Trekking through the Dolomites is anything but a walk in the park. Renowned for its towering peaks, north-eastern Italy’s mountain range crests at over 3000m regularly. Easily recognisable thanks to its limestone spires which grace the pages of any adventure mag worth its salt, it doesn’t take an expert eye to realise this mountain range is for serious thrill-seekers.

 

Via Ferrata is The Answer

Via Ferrata offers the chance to access some of the world’s most imposing summits. Austro-Hungarian and Italian armies created these trails during WWI for the purpose of transporting supplies and soldiers through previously inaccessible regions. And now you can mirror their movements!

Nowadays the routes are in peak condition thanks to the efforts of the Club Alpino Italiano (CAI), who maintain and equip the via ferrata paths.

For a mountain climbing experience with the ultimate edge, try one of the following routes.

5 Day Flying Visit

If time isn’t on your side, don’t worry. Make a round-trip from Cortina d’Ampezzo for a 5-day adrenaline-fuelled getaway. You’ll get a flavour of different via ferrata every day, and in the evenings you can sample the flavours of the local Cortinian cuisine. The culture here is great fun too, and you’ll have the added bonus of enjoying the mountain rifugio vibes.

Sella Massif: Hiking and the Via Ferrata

Does the epic metal trail tempt you, but you’re also an avid hiker? Not a problem! The Sella Massif offers the best of both worlds. 5-day excursions from the Alta Badia are organised regularly, combining hiking with via ferrata for the ultimate dare-devil trip to the Dolomites!

Val di Fassa Region

Do you have more time to play with? Then let the Val di Fassa be your playground! An 8-day itinerary will let you really get to grips with this region’s mountains and trails. The greener stages of the route can be traversed on foot while the steep rocks littering the mountain are to be tackled by ladders and iron steps.

At the end of your trek you’ll have some envy-provoking Instagrams, rock-hard calves and a wealth of epic anecdotes to share.

Don’t Forget!

Make sure you have the necessary climbing insurance before you set out on this path. Get a quick quote that covers you for all of your adventures this year with great annual climbing insurance, or opt for a single cover if this foray through the Via Feratta is enough adrenaline-fuelled fun for now!

Author Plate

Ethan Bailey is an experienced adventure traveller and insurance expert with the team at Let’s Go Insure. Ethan’s passion is to inspire his clients to go just that little bit further, deeper and higher on their travels and his expertise in providing the ideal insurance cover allows them to do just that. If you’re looking for the best climbing insurance Let’s Go works with the most experienced underwriters, intermediaries and insurers to offer a range of competitive insurance without compromising on cover.

Safe as Houses at Home

Safe as Houses at Home

Residential alarm systems in Wilmington, DE, are an excellent addition to any home. Every homeowner and every parent takes home security very seriously, and one of the easiest and most reliable ways to keep your home safe and secure is with a 24/7 monitoring and security system. With protection from theft, home invasion, fire or other acts of devastation, you can forgo worrying about your family or home’s safety, because you’ll know that you have certified professionals keeping a constant watch on your residence. With quick response times, direct notification, and communication with authorities and video monitoring, there’s no need for you to worry about what is or isn’t happening at home.

How It Works

 

What does a security system include? Commonly, they’ll include a control keypad. The control keypad is used for basic controls and for individualized access. Typically, each person will have their own code, but you can also use the control keypad for quick notifications or emergencies. It communicates directly with your security company. A backup alarm battery can keep the system going in the case of a power outage, and obviously you’ll have sensors for your doors, windows and motion detection. A security system isn’t really a security system without proper sensors and monitors. You’ve surely seen the yard signs and window decals that are typically included, and you may have heard alarm sirens before. All of these are standards features and should be included with any basic home security system.

A comprehensive security system can and should go beyond the basics. There are many residential alarm systems in Wilmington, DE, that go above and beyond these standard features. With fire alarms and life safety monitoring, you’ll have added levels of safety. Some systems also include video monitoring and remote accessible controls. Modern home security systems have come a long way, and they can have many extra features and mobile accessibility. Today, your family and your home can be more secure and safer than ever before.

Introduce Students to the Most Beautiful Places on Earth

Introduce Students to the Most Beautiful Places on Earth

For children of all ages, the opportunity to enter the fantasy world filled with the fun of the “happiest places on earth” is fascinating. The Disneyland® Paris school trip offers a hard-to-match experience of fun, but for teachers charged with the organization, it can be influenced by the logistical challenges of a passionate 30 youngsters at one of the busiest amusement parks in the world. Introduce Students to the Most Beautiful Places on Earth
Make Most of the magic moments

As one of the most visited tourist parks on the planet, this is not just a matter of counting the heads of students, transporting them across the Straits and directing them toward attractions. Disneyland® Paris school trips require planning and thought when things go well and every member of the group has time in their lives.

Understand the Group as Individual

Along with the standard information collected on the consent form, understanding the child as an individual is very important. This includes not only medical data on epilepsy, asthma or motion sickness, but also causes problems such as fear of darkness or altitude, and vertigo. With this knowledge, it is easier to identify rides or attractions that do not fit. Introduce Students to the Most Beautiful Places on Earth

Planning is Paramount

One of the most valuable tools for those responsible for planning schedules is the interactive map, which can be downloaded from Park’s website. Its functionality allows the bird’s eye view from the layout to determine the location of the facility, and filters to narrow the attractions of age and interests accordingly to save time.

Know the layout

Understanding the basic thematic layout of the Park is very important. Each of the five areas has unique nuances, and how long is allocated to each will depend entirely on the needs and desires of the group.

• Main Street: The first meeting through a revolving door takes visitors and drops them straight to the United States of the nineteenth century. This is where the Disney Magic parade takes place and that is also the point of departure of the steam train.

• Frontierland: Wild West lives in Frontierland; from a trip of Thunder Mountain that stops by heart, to the gentle sensation of paddling around a large man-made lake.

• Adventureland: Is there a living child who is not fascinated by stories of pirates and adventurers in and off the high shore? Adventureland wait!

• Fantasyland: For the younger group, the miracle of the Princess Bedroom is the beginning of all these fantasy fantasies.

• Discoveryland: As for older pupils, discovering the world of lasers and futuristic space travels is exciting and even thrilling!

Visiting Walt Disney Studios® Park is another highlight for the group. It houses not only for the many cinematographic and animation technologies that are fascinating, but also for the fastest and most thrilling ride in the National Park: Rock-n-Roller Coaster.

The perfect accommodation is Vital

When children are involved, choosing the right accommodation is essential. Important points to look for are accessibility to this site (with a free shuttle bus to take the kids to and from the Park), and interesting themes to ensure the magic survives even after the end of the day.

There are several more popular visits than the Disneyland® Paris school trip. Committing to an early-focused action plan within the organization will ensure that the experience is the same as teacher fulfillment as well. Introduce Students to the Most Beautiful Places on Earth

John Gardiner is Managing Director of The School Travel Company, a tour operator specializing in Disneyland Paris school trips and educational tours for school and youth groups to England, Europe and beyond. As a father and avid traveler, John is keen to provide students with a valuable and exciting learning experience outside the classroom. By sharing expert advice with teachers, he allows them to inspire their students and continue their studies into life. Introduce Students to the Most Beautiful Places on Earth

Go with Snow: Plan a Successful Ski School Trip

Go with Snow: Plan a Successful Ski School Trip

A successful school ski trip does not just happen. Every teacher who takes on the task knows that it takes planning and commitment to make sure everyone has a good time with snow! Success lies in the shoulders of those charged with the organization and, in order to make the schedule run smoothly and also offer an interesting prospect, the devil is very clear in the details.
Experts recommend early and systematic approaches to facilitate the logistics of school ski trips, to ensure that the slippery slope of the organization is navigable with ease. Go with Snow: Plan a Successful Ski School Trip

Setting a Budget

Setting a budget is very important to create a travel plan framework, and almost all other aspects depend on it. Working backwards is a very easy way to determine the right budget: how many parents or guardians are in a position to spend time on their child’s journey? This of course will depend on the demographic and water catchment areas of the school, but has a realistic figure to work in the most accurate way of managing costs from the start. Once the budget is set, it’s also a good idea to consult a Senior Leadership Team as they may be able to share valuable past experiences and suggestions. Go with Snow: Plan a Successful Ski School Trip

Get Students Involved

Involving students in the early stages of planning is a sure way to generate enthusiasm, but keeping them in the lead until departure can be a challenge in itself. Keep up-to-date with the conditions and facilities of the resort (both above and beyond the snow), show local videos and pictures, create regular social media posts during countdown (if any school guidelines), or make a PowerPoint presentation to give a detailed description of the resort and activities. And go heavy on the fun aspect!

Keep Everyone in the Circle

As registrations start rolling, it is very important that students, colleagues, parents or guardians are kept informed. Nightlife hosting information is an excellent tactic to ensure the lines of communication are opened, as well as the right moment to show presentations and travel.

Help list

It is undeniable that planning a school ski trip is a time-consuming exercise even for the most organized teacher; Signing up for help from a dedicated tour operator is one way to make life easier. Not only can they ease the pressure by making practical use of travel, transportation and accommodation, they also have the skills and resources to manage budget and administration tasks.

John Gardiner is Managing Director of The School Travel Company, a tour operator specializing in school ski trips and educational tours for school and youth groups to the UK, Europe and beyond. As a father and avid traveler, John is keen to provide students with a valuable and exciting learning experience outside the classroom. By sharing expert advice with teachers, he allows them to inspire their students and continue their studies into life. Go with Snow: Plan a Successful Ski School Trip

Life on Galapagos: The Invertebrates

Life on Galapagos: The Invertebrates

 

The unique flora and fauna of the Galapagos Archipelago attract nature lovers from all over the world to explore the region. The best way to do it is on a Galapagos wildlife cruise, which affords participants the opportunity to experience the astounding diversity of the island’s habitats and encounter a wide range of animals.
The mammals, reptiles, birds and marine animals of the archipelago are fairly well known by visitors, and many of the high-profile species can be seen on a Galapagos wildlife cruise. Surprisingly, though, the largest group of organisms is often overlooked.

 

The Invertebrates

Invertebrates have no backbone and are officially classified as animals that “neither possess nor develop a vertebral column”. They include insects, spiders, snails, worms, centipedes and many others. Like all the wildlife, this group had to arrive at the islands either on the ocean currents, with birds, or attached to vegetation or driftwood washed up on the shoreline.

The terrestrial invertebrates exist in every habitat and account for around 51% of the archipelago’s total biodiversity. While they may be small in size, they are absolutely crucial to the delicate balance of the ecosystem. Not only do they act as pollinators, they contribute to the formation of soils by recycling organic matter, and they also feature as an important link in the food chain as part of the diet for birds and small mammals.

The marine invertebrates include the molluscs, sponges, annelids (segmented marine worms), cnidarians (including corals), echinoderms (sea cucumbers and urchins) and many others.

Unique and Imbalanced

While many are still identical to their ancestors on the South American mainland, due to the remoteness of the region and the diversity of habitat just as many have adapted in order to survive. It’s estimated that around 52% of them are endemic. This means that some groups are represented in greater proportion than others, so they are considered to be “imbalanced”.

It is not known exactly how many invertebrate species are found throughout the archipelago, although in 2001 the number was estimated to be well over 2,000 (just for terrestrial ones), with the insects the most diverse and numerous. Some of the insects that may be seen on a Galapagos wildlife cruise include butterflies, dragonflies, moths, wasps, grasshoppers, spiders and flies.

Giant Snails and Colourful Crabs

The giant land snails are a distinctive group comprising around 60 species. They are similar to Darwin’s Finches in that they appear to have made specific adaptations to survive in particular habitats.

While most invertebrates don’t enjoy the glamorous status of some of the mammals and reptiles seen on a Galapagos wildlife cruise, one certainly attracts attention. The delightfully skittish Sally Lightfoot Crab can be seen scurrying between rocks on the shoreline, and its vibrant red and blue shell makes it a favourite with nature lovers.

While at first glance this group may not be as impressive as the Giant Tortoise or have the character of the quirky Blue-footed Booby, they are no less interesting and just as important to maintaining the status quo of archipelago’s ecosystem.

Home Relocation: The Pros and Cons of DIY Moves

Home Relocation: The Pros and Cons of DIY Moves

There are many tasks that people have to accomplish in their lives. Some of these tasks are quite simple and do not require serious preparation, while others are very responsible and crucial. Moving includes the second kind of task, because this is the decision, which can change your life forever. If you have ever planned a home relocation, then it should not, perhaps, be explained how complicated and frightening the preparation process is. If you have not faced any difficulties in the move, but will soon move to a new location, you’ll be happy to know as much as you can about this transfer process. In this article, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the DIY movement. This is because many people can not decide whether it is better to cope with their own relocation or hire a professional driver to help them.
Pros and Cons of DIY Moves

Home Relocation: The Pros and Cons of DIY Moves

Before making a decision, it makes sense to analyze the pros and cons of the DIY movement first. If you feel that this option has more losses, you will be able to find a professional moving company like www.usmajormoving.com before it’s too late. Some of the most obvious advantages of this choice include:

Cost

It goes without saying that DIY movements are cheaper than hiring professional drivers. You do not have to pay for moving company services. You just need to buy packaging materials, arrange transportation and other related things.

Schedule

No need to worry about packing and preparing to move, because you’re planning the whole process. You do not have to rely on the mover and in haste, trying to set things right on time.

Control

When you plan and organize your own steps, you have control over each step. By packing up the items and making all your own decisions, you’ll be able to know where they are and what tasks still need to be done. This is very important for the responsible person, who is accustomed to controlling everything that happens in their life.

Security Home Relocation: The Pros and Cons of DIY Moves

As far as there are many mobile companies offering their services online and offline, it is not easy to say which of them is truly trustworthy. You do not have to worry about the security aspect, as you move on your own. Correspondingly, your money and possessions are also not at risk.

Speaking of the disadvantages of the DIY movement, they also exist. The most extensive of them include the following:

Stress and Complexity

One of the reasons for hiring professional drivers is the too much hassle associated with the transfer process. There are so many tasks to be completed on time that it is difficult for an inexperienced person to control everything. As a result, people feel stressed and confused, because they do not know what to do.

Physical strength

Moving implies lifting, carrying and transporting heavy objects. Obviously, people who are unfamiliar with this and have no friends or relatives, who can help them, may find this task too complicated. Lack of physical strength can result in injury and trauma.

Lack of experience

If you are not involved in the mobile industry, you run the risk of unpredictable situations. The professional movers are aware of this problem and try their best efforts to avoid it. They also know how to pack things properly to prevent their loss and damage and they can provide you with valuable information and recommendations on how to make you trouble free and comfortable.

Error

People, who do not know all the difficulties and problems in the relocation process, are at risk of making a lot of mistakes. They can easily ignore the things that are known by the professional movers. This can ultimately lead to unpredictable costs and situations that may negatively impact the relocation process.

Now that you are aware of all the pros and cons of the DIY movement, it’s up to you to analyze the info you get and draw conclusions. To adopt the right decision, think about the options, which will be more convenient, save time and comfort. This is very important, in terms of planning and organizing a step.

Humboldt Current: blood from the Galapagos Islands

Humboldt Current: blood from the Galapagos Islands

The uniqueness of life on the Galapagos Islands is well documented and, for nature lovers, a visit to this region can be an inspiring and life-changing experience. For those who embark on the Galapagos wildlife voyage, understanding the reasons behind its extreme diversity can contribute to a deeper appreciation of this remarkable part of the world.
Natural phenomena Humboldt Current: blood from the Galapagos Islands

There is one natural phenomenon that can take great credit for the abundance and diversity of marine and terrestrial animals in the archipelago. The cool Humboldt now comes from Antarctica, driven by strong winds to flow to the west coast of South America and push the cool waters toward the path through the Galapagos Islands. It brings with it the nutrients it collects from dead and rotten objects on the seafloor, and when mixed with the warm Southern Equatorial currents, these nutrients rise from deep to maintain the plankton that form the basis of the food chain on the island. .

This current affects every aspect of life, both on land and around the ocean.

Water Temperature: Some people who visit Galapagos wildlife voyage are stunned by the cold water temperature, due to the Humboldt current. June to December is when the ocean is the coldest, because these months are marked by rising currents. From November to May, the flow is still there, but significantly weaker, allowing warmer waters to reach the islands. Humboldt Current: blood from the Galapagos Islands

Weather Pattern: The current is also responsible for two different seasons experienced in the archipelago: cool winters and warmer monsoon seasons. In the dry months (from June to October), strong trade winds cause currents to rise. Because the waters around the island are cooler, less evaporation, and therefore fewer rain clouds are formed. While Galapagos wildlife cruises can be enjoyed at any time of the year, two seasons can offer a very different experience.

Wild Animals: Even beyond these remote islands, Humboldt’s presence can be felt and credited as “the world’s most productive sea eco system” – responsible for 20% of the world’s amazing marine catch. Every single species – reptiles, mammals, birds, invertebrates or marine – on every single island, including the surrounding waters, is influenced by and dependent on this strong current. Nutrient waters that are brought directly or indirectly provide a source of food that supports large wildlife populations. Humboldt Current: blood from the Galapagos Islands

El Niño Effect

Current current effects may be most clearly visible when nonexistent. During a weather phenomenon known as El Niño, it is attenuated by warmer winds and decreases in air pressure. During these times, which occur cyclically every two to seven years, there is a marked decrease in the activity of local wildlife breeding. There are much fewer fish, and therefore a very large source of food in the archipelago, resulting in large numbers of animals starving to death.

The complex and definitive role played by these cold ocean currents in maintaining the rich biodiversity of the islands is an interesting aspect of one of the most interesting places on the planet. Humboldt Current: blood from the Galapagos Islands

Author Plate

Marissa Ellis-Snow is a freelance writer with special interests in the Galapagos Islands. For those interested in the Galapagos wildlife voyage, Marissa recommends travel plans organized by Naturetrek, which has brought its unforgettable sightings of the various species in one of the most spectacular areas on Earth.

Let Loose in Les Menuires: A Pub Crawl to (Hopefully) Remember

Let Loose in Les Menuires: A Pub Crawl to (Hopefully) Remember

Ski holidays aren’t just about zipping down slopes and eating fondue (although both are essential components). Equally important is the nightlife: going to bars, meeting new people and letting your hair down. In Les Menuires there are plenty of opportunities for a boogie, but with so many bars and pubs to choose from its hard to pick just one. I think it was for this very reason that pub crawls were invented. Thankfully for you, Les Menuires has a classic route. so put on your dancing shoes and get going.
Start at Crazy Bar

 

Pub crawls can often get off to a slow start… not at the Crazy Bar. As its name suggests, there is no room for slouching in this alpine pub with early happy hours starting between 4pm and 6pm. The bar is located in the La Croisette area of Les Menuires and gets very busy during happy hours as skiers and snowboarders make the most of the cut-price cocktails.

Le Tilbury

Also in the La Croisette area, Le Tilbury is a favourite destination for skiers and locals. With a pine wood interior and plenty of offers on spirits and beers, Le Tilbury is a welcome chance to have a breather after a heavy start to the crawl.

L’Oisans

L’Oisans has built a reputation for its great cocktails. With plenty of classics as well as cocktails you won’t have seen anywhere else, you are bound to find one you like. If cocktails are not your thing, there is also a great selection of international beers to choose from. Located in La Croisette, it is easy to find and hard to go wrong.

Le Leeberty

Leeberty, égalité, fraternité, right? In the spirit of La France get in a round of jaegerbombs and report to the dance floor. Le Leeberty is best enjoyed later on in the bar crawl when it gets busy and everyone is in the party mood. Playing Euro pop hits, the great selection of DJs and high-quality sound system is bound to get you moving. You can find Le Leeberty in Les Bruyeres, just down the road from the other bars. The trip is definitely worth the effort.

Finish at Piano Bar Le Kube

A cosy little bar until 10pm, Le Kube is frequented by skiers looking for a less busy après scene. After 10pm, however, the atmosphere changes with live music and DJ sets bringing partygoing crowds flooding in. One the swankiest bars in the La Croisette area, it’s a great place to finish off your night with and sing and dance, and maybe even a kiss if you’re lucky.

Have Fun and Stay Protected

With all that fun on and off the slopes, it’s always worth investing in winter sports travel insurance. Whether you overstretch yourself on the skis or in the bars – we have all done both, let’s be honest – winter sports travel insurance will keep you covered and ease any holiday headaches. At InsureMore we offer comprehensive low-cost travel insurance with single and multi-trip options. So don’t fret when you are on holiday, go out and have fun – we’ve got you covered.

Almanac: The “Father of Streamlining”

Almanac: The “Father of Streamlining”

And now a page from our “Sunday Morning” Almanac: November 5, 1893, 124 years ago today – Day One for the man called “The Father of Streamlining.”

For that was the day Raymond Loewy was born in Paris.

An award-winning model airplane designer while still a boy, Loewy moved to the United States after World War I, and went to work.

He transformed the railroad locomotive and the Greyhound bus. He designed modern sewing machines and popcorn machines … and filled his home with his own creations.
Book excerpt: Art Garfunkel’s “What Is It All but Luminous”
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In this excerpt from his new memoir, “What Is It All But Luminous: Notes From an Underground Man” (Knopf), singer Art Garfunkel writes of his early fascination with radio, rock ‘n’ roll, and a fellow classmate named Paul Simon .

Watch Rita Braver’s interview with Art Garfunkel on CBS ‘”Sunday Morning” November 5!

KNOPF
On Saturday mornings, in 1953, in Keds sneakers, white on white, I took my basketball to P.S. 164. We played half-court ball, three on three. Or else I listened to Martin Block’s Make-Believe Ballroom on the radio. I loved to chart the top thirty songs. It was the numbers that got me. I kept meticulous lists – when a new singer like Tony Bennett came onto the charts with “Rags to Riches.” I watched the record jump from, say, # 23 to # 14 in a week. The mathematics of the jumps went to my sense of fun. I was commercially aware through the Hit Parade, as well as involved in the music. Johnny Ray’s “Cry,” the Crewcuts’ “Sha-boom,” Roy Hamilton ballads, “Unchained Melody” reached me. Soon the Everly Brothers would take me for The Big Ride.

As I entered Parsons Junior High where the tough kids are, Paul Simon became my one and only friend. We saw each other’s uniqueness. We smoked our first cigarettes. We have retreated from all other kids. And we laughed. I opened my school desk one day in 1954 and saw a note from Ira Green to a friend: “Listen to the radio tonight, I have a dedication to you.” I was aware that Alan Freed had taken this subversive music from Cleveland to New York City. He read dedications from teenage lovers before playing “Earth Angel,” “Sincerely.” When he played Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally,” he left the studio mic open enough to hear him pounding a stack of telephone books to the backbeat. This was no Martin Block.

Maybe I was in the land of payola, of “back alley enterprise” and pill-head disc jockeying, but what I was was that Alan Freed loved us kids to dance, romance, and fall in love, and the music would send us. It sent me for life. It was rhythm and blues. It was black. It was from New Orleans, Chicago, Philadelphia. It was dirty music (read sexual). One night Alan Freed called it “rock ‘n’ roll.” Hip was born for me. Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis. Bobby Freeman asked, “Do you want dance, squeeze and hug me all through the night?” and you knew she did.

I was captured. So was Paul. We followed WINS radio. Paul bought a guitar. We used my father’s wire recorder, then Paul’s Webcor tape machine. Holding rehearsals in our basements, we were little perfectionists. We put sound on sound (stacking two layers of our singing). With the courage to listen and cringe about how not right it was yet, we are going to record.

We were guitar-based little rockers. Paul had the guitar. We wrote streamlined harmonies whose intervals were thirds, as I learned it from the Andrews Sisters to Don and Phil and floated it over Paul’s chugging hammering-on-guitar technique. It was bluesy, it was rockabilly, it was rock ‘n’ roll. We took “woo-bop-a-loo-chi-ba” from Gene Vincent’s “Be-bop-a-lula.” We stole Buddy Holly’s country flavor (“Oh Boy”), the Everlys’ harmony (“Wake Up Little Susie”). Paul took Elvis’s everything (“Mystery Train”). As Paul drove the rhythm, I brought us into a vocal blend. We were the closest of chums, making out with our girls across the basement floor. We showed each other our versions of masturbation (mine used a hand). “The Girl for Me” was the first song we wrote – innocent, a pathetic “Earth Angel.” In junior high we added Stu Kutcher and Angel and Ida Pellagrini.

All the while, I did a lot of homework, the shy kid’s retreat. My geometry page was a model of perfection. Anything worth doing is worth doing extraordinarily well – why not best in the world?

Excerpted from “What Is It All but Luminous” by Art Garfunkel. Copyright © 2017 by Art Garfunkel. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Industrial designer Raymond Loewy transformed locomotives, automobiles and household appliances into objects of unparalleled beauty. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
On the CBS show “Person to Person” in 1956, Loewy described his design philosophy: “I felt it was my duty to try to do whatever I could to introduce a little bea