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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: Music

Friday January 31 2014

I have my favourite bloggers.  Mick Hartley, 6k and David Thompson being my most regular visitees.  Two of these three (see those two links) often put up clips of their favourite bits of music, which I pretty much always ignore.  Often, when confronted by other people’s favourite musical snippets, I already have music playing, on my separate music box which is nothing to do with my computer and which therefore works when I most need it, which is when my computer is not working.

I tend not to do stick up bits of my favourite sort of music, which is classical.  Partly I’m lazy and am not very clever about putting up Youtube clips here.  But I could put up lots of links (one follows below) to classical stuff.  But, I tend not to.  There are enough reasons for people to strike this blog off their weekly-read list or whatever, without me putting them off even more with bits of classical music.

Now, first off, I have no problem with bloggers posting whatever they like.  Their gaff their rules.  I put whatever I like (as in like to put) here, and they can put whatever they like to put at their places.  But, am I the only one who almost always ignores music at other people’s blogs?  Most of us like lots of random bits of pop music, old and new.  In my case, there’s also a ton of classical classics I like a lot, and others also have their favourite genres that they know all about, adore some of and like a huge proportion of. 

I mention this because, entirely for my own selfish reasons, I particularly want to be able to remind myself of this clip of someone called Yulianna Avdeeva playing Chopin, particularly well to my ear.  And maybe that’s it.  Bloggers use their blogs as personal filing cabinets, just as I do.  They put up bits of music because they want always to be able to get hold of that bit quickly, and now they know they can.  The readers can just wait for the next posting, and pick up where they left off.  (That link, by the way, is to a bit of classical music at a blog that specialises in classical music.  Quite often I do play the clips she features, because her kind of music is my kind of music.  What I’m on about here is musical clips at blogs which are mostly about non-musical things.)

I think another point being made with these bits of music is the point I make with my occasional Friday cat blogging, which is that a lot of the appeal of blogging in particular and life in general is pure enjoyment.  And music, perhaps more than any other art, and especially when no words are involved or in the case of the more upbeat and silly pop tracks, is all about pure enjoyment.

By the way, when I started writing this, I thought that David Thompson also featured occasional pop snippets.  So I went looking for his latest pop snippet, but found that actually he does not do this, or not lately, hence no link to any music at his blog in the second sentence of this posting.  But I did find this talk, by Greg Lukianoff, about the growing menace of the I-Am-Offended industry on American campuses.  Quite long, but recommended.

SInce I started on this posting, Mick Hartley stuck up another pop clip.  Again, I have not listened, and probably won’t ever.

Monday January 06 2014

Taken on Christmas Day:

image

What I like about the crane is that, in this photo, it looks rather sinister, more like a tower in a Nazi prison camp in a war film than a regular crane.  It’s the barbed wire square, about half way up that does it, I think.  Plus, the slightly spooky light.  It doesn’t look like actual getting dark light.  It looks like getting dark light in a movie.  Blue instead of grey, in other words.  Cameras turn everything blue if given any opportunity, unless they are black and white and nothing else allowed cameras.

Of course, this effect would be greatly enhanced if the plane was not so obviously a very post-WW2 jet.  It should be a plane like the one in the opening credits of Where Eagles Dare, one of my most favourite movie sequences, because of the visuals and because of Ron Goodwin’s music.  In my opinion, nothing else in this movie is as good as this opening.

See also this earlier photo here, also of a big crane and a small plane.  I found out about this earlier posting when I tried to load the above photo with the name “Crane+Plane”, but was told that this photo title was already taken.

Tuesday December 24 2013

I like this, from David Byrne:

I’m not saying that the artist doesn’t put their feelings into it, or any part of their biography, but that there’s a lot of constraints and considerations and templates that they work with – unconscious decisions or constraints put upon them that guide what they’re going to do.

Otherwise, why didn’t people in the 14th century start writing full-blown operas with giant orchestras and whatever?  These things just weren’t available to them. Our imaginations are constrained by all these other things — which is a good thing. There’s kind of a process of evolution that goes on where the creative part of you adapts to whatever circumstances are available to you. And if you decide you want to make pop songs, or whatever, there’s a format. You can push the boundaries pretty far, but it’s still a recognized thing. And if you’re going to do something at Lincoln Center, there’s a pretty prescribed set of things you are going to do. You can push that form, but kind of from inside the genre. So I guess I’m saying that a lot of creative decisions are kind of made for us, and the trick is then working creatively within those constraints.

Happy is the artist whose inner inclinations happen to fit perfectly with the artistic forms he is offered, with audiences as they are - or as he can easily make them.

And, happy is the artist whose artistic wishes are in alignment with his artistic talents.

It is constantly said that “if Mozart had been alive today” he would have done this or that, and in all cases: a lot.  But maybe he would have done nothing.  Maybe he would have turned away from music-making nowadays in disgust and contempt, or maybe just frustration that it could not be what he wanted it to be.  We can never know.

Tuesday November 26 2013

Referred to by a Radio 3 announcer, this afternoon:

If Music is a Place - then Jazz is the City, Folk is the Wilderness, Rock is the Road, Classical is a Temple.

I heard it, googled it, and was able to copy-and-paste it from here.

Saturday November 23 2013

Marc Sidwell, who just happens to be my next Brian’s Last Friday speaker, certainly has a way with words:

Like the space in an Elizabethan court masque that the performers left for the courtiers themselves to step forward and take part, today everyone needs to work out how to create a stage on which the constellation of divas formerly known as the audience will strike their own pose.

That’s to be found under this headline:

The Long View: Bob Dylan and the selfie: The world’s now a stage and we’re all performing

And under this photo:

image

Are yes, selfies.  Says Sidwell, re this new word:

Even as I cling to my old-fashioned desire to take photographs of the things that I see, “selfie” – the new nickname for a photographic self-portrait – has been declared Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year, following a 17,000 per cent increase in usage year-on-year.

I have been long been studying this phenomenon.  We may not have had the word “selfie” in 2007, but there were already many, many people doing selfies:

image

That being one of my all time favourites from my selfies archive.

LATER: Incoming from Michael Jennings:

image

Taken, says Michael, on a ferry between Greece and Albania in July.

Tuesday May 01 2012

Indeed.

And I just bumped into a video of American actress and entertainer Victoria Jackson singing a song called exactly that.

What’s so cunning is it starts off like she’s sending up all the unthinkably dimwitted people who are so unthinkingly dimwitted as to believe such an unthinkably dimwitted thing.

And then the evidence starts piling up.  Good grief.  Victoria Jackson actually means it.  And she has a case.

Also, she’s so quiet, and gentle, and apologetic about it.  She is not strident.  She is just very, very surprised about it.  And surprised that so many others can’t seem to see it.

Friday May 27 2011

Yes, time for a link dump, of things I have cluttering up my screen but which I don’t want to just delete and totally forget about.

John Buchanan, on the left here, looks nothing like Christopher Martin-Jenkins, but he does look a lot like Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Don’t know about EMPs but that’s a great pylon picture.

Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage LendingNew York Times, September 30th, 1999.  Steven A. Holmes is entitled to say: I told you so. 

Defeat for lefties in Spain, and in India.  The Guardian tries to pass off the Indian electoral upheavals as triumphs for feminism.  No, they’re defeats for a bunch of corrupt lefties.

Another big multilingual sign, which I obviously got to when concocting this.

Since it’s Friday: Project Acoustic Kitty: how the CIA failed at using cats as spies.  After many confusions, caused by the cat not doing as it was told (and who could possibly have seen that coming?):

The first mission took place in a park near the Soviet embassy, where the cat was tasked with eavesdropping on two men. A CIA reconnaissance van across the street released the operative, who took a few steps towards her foes and was immediately run over by a taxi.

And finally, just when you think you’ve seen and heard everything, Hugh Laurie sings the blues.

Thursday May 19 2011

This guy sounds pretty good.

Until 1989, Rick Perry was a conservative Democrat. He switched parties as, like many Democrats including Ronald Reagan and Phil Gramm, he saw that party moving farther and farther to the left. Under Perry’s decade as governor, hundreds of Texas Democrats have followed his lead and become Republicans. As a former Democrat, Perry can speak to that swath of his former party that has become disenchanted with their party as President Obama has taken it even farther to the left, in a way that few Republicans can. He can also speak well and credibly to all wings of the national GOP, from the fiscal cons to the social cons to the libertarian set.

I particularly like it that he has previously been a member of the other camp.  This will, like Bryan Preston says, make him very good at communicating to potential swing voters in the other camp.

This sounds good too:

The Republican faithful are currently disenchanted with the entire crop of candidates. None of the current crop seem to be able to take on President Obama and force him to defend his record. Rick Perry has been running against Obama for two years, and has established himself as one the president’s most forceful critics.

For now I’ll stick with my original pick for President, Gary Johnson, because Gary Johnson is (unless he has already jacked it in and I didn’t notice) actually officially running for President, while this Rick Perry character is still at the will-he-won’t-he stage.

I had been fearing that the Republicans would field a snatch-defeat-from-the-jaws-of-victory candidate, both ideologically disastrous (i.e. not a guy I’m even totally sure I even want to beat Obama) and politically disastrous (i.e. he might not beat Obama).  But now I am starting to Hope that things may, come election time, Change.

So, what’s been happening with the Johnson campaign lately?  Well, it’s not been boring:

Willie Nelson, who formed the Teapot Party, is now backing Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson, who is a longtime advocate of legalizing marijuana. For posterity, in 2008, Nelson gave his support to Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinich.

As libertarian propaganda this is great.  As winning politics, it may not be quite so perfect.

A potential challenger for Gary Not-Obama
From a strange airplane propeller to the strange strings of a double bass
Alex Ross on Hollywood film scores
Questions concerning the death of copyright protection on downloaded MP3s
An after-echo of the creation of the world - Burgon recycles Milhaud
In other news …
God is killing cinemas!
Alex Ross on Sibelius
On Bernstein – and Previn
SwivelCam
Dream magic that spoilt the magic
“… the idea is to remain ignorant of how dumb you look …”
Nigel Kennedy’s amazing Elgar
Cisco – fuck off and die
Me talking about the great twentieth century musical divide
Here it is Merry Christmas
A talk and a photo
A John Lewis cat and a John Lewis DAB radio
Lebrecht daily?
He likes it - but does he understand it?
iPods as the new CDs
The future of music
Other people’s photos (2): New architecture in Hamburg
Back to the future with the virtuoso violinists
Me and Alex talking Gilbert and Sullivan
What next for the virtuoso violinists? - Simon Hewitt Jones has some answers
More G&S - and some strange Times errors
USB rubberized roll-up piano
The Pirates opens in New York
Billion Monkeys photograph things!
The world now needs bad taste iPod docks
Pro-am music video
Singing Frenchmen in stripey T-shirts
Alex is too busy - Sting records Dowland songs
Debussy denounces Massenet but Puccini follows him
What it was only better
I don’t know the score
Thoughts after watching Abbado’s Lucerne Resurrection Symphony
Gay marriage
SOS from the 606