The Yellow Doggerel Something, formerly the Yellow Doggerel Democrat, also known as Steve Bates, is a work in progress. So is this page.
Born in the post-W.W.II baby boom, I am now of retirement age, and in this economy I am effectively retired. For 41 years I worked as one or another sort of computer programmer or software architect. For the last 20 of those years, I was self-employed, mostly successfully until the Bush 43 economy pulled the rug from under me. Near the end of those mostly happy 20 years, I became disabled, largely as a side effect of diabetes. Now my personal mobility is limited: I wear a huge boot on one foot in order to walk, and even so, I have to use a walker most of the time. Recently (late 2010, early 2011) I have reacquired the ability to drive short distances, using my good foot and a hand control.
My music career ran simultaneously with my computer career…
I began professional performance of 17th and 18th-century music in a group called Musica Viva Houston, directed by the late lamented Dr. Dorothy Hagan, who was in a way my musical mentor, and was on the faculty at University of St. Thomas – Houston.
For some years, I too was associated with University of St. Thomas – Houston on the adjunct faculty, teaching recorder (the musical instrument) and occasionally collegium musicum, and performing with the faculty early music ensemble, Aquinas Ensemble. In this same period, I worked with many of the same people under the direction of Robert B. Lynn, often performing for the local Bach Society of Christ the King Lutheran Church or the Houston Harpsichord Society (later Houston Early Music). Dr. Lynn was also my harpsichord teacher.
For about a decade I worked in an ensemble called The Broken Consort, which was not precisely a Morley broken consort, but shared the same idea: a mixed consort of instruments (i.e., instruments not all of one kind) playing “broken music” (i.e., music with highly ornate decorations in very small, fast notes, often improvised on the spot). The colorful Isabelle Ganz directed this group, which ultimately spent a summer teaching and performing at an institute in Graz, Austria.
In 1980 I was among the founding members of Houston Baroque Ensemble, the first early music ensemble in Houston to mount a full subscription season produced entirely with local musicians. HBE continued to perform through about 1989, by which time many of its members had gone on to very respectable careers in the U.S. and Europe. For three years, I was effectively manager of this group, carrying the awkward title Concert Coordinator.
When HBE folded, I continued for a few years with Aquinas Ensemble, primarily on recorder but also serving as continuo harpsichordist (our real harpsichordist needed an occasional break!) or 2nd baroque flute.
Quite independent of all that jazz early music is my blogging activity, originally under the name Yellow Doggerel Democrat because of all the rude, rough, sometimes obscene political poetry I wrote, and eventually, when I left the Democratic Party in exasperation a couple of years ago, the Yellow Something Something (by analogy to the Moose County Something in Lilian Jackson Braun’s Cat Who… series). And that brings us to today. I still never, ever, ever, ever vote for a Republican (which I call “Republan” by analogy to their “Democrat Party” slur).