Categories
anthropomorphism music

surd rime

Here’s a couple of tracks from the new neureille album surd rime. I meant to do a lot more with it but sadly I’ve not felt that I had enough time and space to do all those things such as…

Promotion, distribution, dissemination, application, phosphorence, stability, strata

In particular I was supposed to organise an album launch party that could have been a starting place a building block foundation or something of that sort. Instead just 2 tracks from the thing. 2 bits of stuff which I can no longer judge. That’s how it should be I suppose.

Firstly Caspian Gates which is a potted history of Alexander the Great (356-323 BC). It doesn’t tell you a great deal about him sorry about that. But if you’re interested it’s fairly easy to find out. One of the interesting things about the Caspian Gates – the gates that is and not the song – is that nobody is sure exactly where they are geographically or at least where the mythological site of the gates is.

Caspian Gates

And the other song is called Love On A Moving Platform which is a song about moving platforms and love. Adolf Hitler had a dream about leading his country. It came true. So not all dreams that come true are good things. Surely some are but possibly not.

Love On A Moving Platform

If you’d like to buy either of these tracks or indeed the whole album or other albums come to that you can do so by going to the Buy Stuff page which is on the menu at the top of the page. I can’t say fairer than that can I?

The 2 songs feature as well as myself Paul Wigens on drums Mike Mulholland on bass guitar Rosalind Moreno-Parra and Jane Thomason on backing vocals.Thanks again to all those musicians and the fantastic work they put in with very little direction from myself.

Categories
literature

Reading list

Since 1983 I’ve been keeping track of the books I have read. I can’t remember why I started doing it, but it’s a useful exercise for me for a number of reasons which I don’t intend to divulge at present. As it’s nearly the end of 2012 I thought I would reveal this year’s details with a few appropriate or possibly inappropriate comments.

Wintersol,  Eric Thacker & Anthony Earnshaw (II)

The II in brackets indicates that this is a 2nd reading. Actually in this case it might be more than 2 since I’ve had the book for a long time, or there again it might have been the 1st time I read the whole book through in 1 go. The principal reason for this re-read was to write something here in the Nonsense category.

Red Room,   August Strindberg

I’m a big fan of Strindberg‘s dramas since I saw a student production of Miss Julie back in about 1973, but I’d never read any of his novels. I’m not sure exactly what I think about this book which I downloaded from the Gutenberg Project. I’m inclined to think that Strindberg is a better dramatist than he is a novelist but I will definitely try some of his other novels before being sure about that.

St Joan,    Bernard Shaw (II)

Can’t remember why I re-read this one perhaps I just happened to notice my old Tauchnitz Edition on the bookshelf and thought I needed some Shavian dialectic in my headspace. It relates to the item above in that Strindberg was one of the biggest influences on Shaw’s work. For me it’s not one of his great plays but there again I’ve never seen it staged so can’t properly assess it. Nice fence this isn’t it?

Great Works of Jewish Fantasy,   Ed. Joachim Neugroschel (II)

This is the Picador edition which I bought pretty much when it came out in 1978. I have therefore put this down as a re-read. The story is that actually I lost the book and that was probably before I’d finished reading it – I think I may have left it on a train.

The King of the Pirates,     Daniel Defoe

Another Gutenberg download – this is a fairly authentic (in my opinion) imagination of the real life of a pirate in the 17th century. Defoe defies definition.

Beefheart: Through The Eyes of Magic,     John French

John (Drumbo) French is not a great writer and he often comes over as naive not just when he was in his early 20s but also later when he was writing the book, but this is well worth reading if you’re interested in creativity, the act of creation etc. You have to know a bit about the music and its place in the history of music. After reading it I wrote a song which I called ‘fore done because I thought if ever I needed a pun it was then.

Excavating Kafka,      James Hawes

I cannot recommend this book which I read as part of a lengthy delve into the world of Franz Kafka. Strindberg’s novel & Neugroschel’s Great Works of Jewish Fantasy both were read in relation to or inspired by Kafka’s Diaries which I actually started to read last year but in effect they took up much of 2012. Similarly with the Kropotkin, the Goethe and the Canetti below.

The Hole,    NF Simpson
A Resounding Tinkle,   NF Simpson
The Form,   NF Simpson

3 short plays I read for another of my Nonsense category posts.

Pullman Car Hiawatha,   Thornton Wilder
The Long Christmas Dinner,   Thornton Wilder
The Happy Journey,   Thornton Wilder

Having found the short plays section in the library I also read these 3. I think maybe 2013 will be a The Eighth Day re-reading year. I hope so.

Memoirs of a Revolutionist,    Peter Kropotkin

See here for more about this.

Angelica Lost And Found,   Russell Hoban

The last book of the great writer who died last year. You can club together the last 8 or 9 of his novels together (sometimes known as the London novels) and while they are not necessarily of the calibre to be called great literature I find them engaging and inspiring as a blueprint for creating a work of art which is also a reflection of a life.

To The Wedding,   John Berger

My first introduction to John Berger was in 1972 when his tv series ways of seeing changed the way I thought about things. But for some reason this is the 1st novel of his that I’ve read. It’s short, very powerful and the last few pages are incredibly moving. And yet still I have not rushed out to seek more of his novels – strange?

The Marlboroughs,   Christopher Hibbert

I bought this 2nd hand as something to take away on a journey. I’ve already read Hibbert’s life of Samuel Johnson so I knew he could write a decent book. It’s a pretty interesting story. As a practitioner of war, Marlborough was probably no worse than Alexander the Great when you take into account the challenges of the age. Julius Caesar would enjoy the sordid details of how you finance, equip and keep motivated an army in the late 17th early 18th centuries.

Agents and Patients,    Anthony Powell (II)

Another 2nd hand purchase that I couldn’t resist because of its classic design and evocative Osbert Lancaster cover.

Thomas Mann – A Life,    Donald Prater

Covered here.

Wilhelm Meister,    Johann Wolfgang Goethe

Actually I’ve only read about 10 chapters of this and then there has been a hiatus of several months, but I do intend to read it and will probably have to begin again at the beginning, or at least skip through it as a reminder.

Memoirs of Hadrian,    Marguerite Yourcenar

Wow. I think I just found this in a 2nd hand bookshop and it completely bouleversed me. It’s brilliant. Now I want to visit Mount Desert Island in Maine.

The Razor’s Edge ,   W. Somerset Maugham (II)

I approached this with trepidation because it was a life-changing book for me back in 1968 or 1969 when I first read it. I believe my mother bought it for me as she knew I enjoyed all the short stories in The World Over collection. Recently reading the Isherwood Diaries I have been reminded of the book again. Maugham consulted Isherwood and probably Heard and Huxley as well to get some of the material he used in writing the book.

Alfred the Great ,  Asser et al (II)

Actually this is on the list but I think I basically got the book down from the shelf and had some brilliant idea about something I was going to do related to it but I can’t remember now what on earth that was. I’m definitely going to re-read it soon though.

Coltrane – the story of a sound,    Ben Ratliff

I’d love to read a full, well-written biography of Coltrane. Probably something like that exists, but this is not it. Nevertheless it’s a decent read and provides much healthy food for thought.

Last Journals,    David Livingstone

As recommended by Sun Ra.

The Sacred & Profane Love Machine,     Iris Murdoch (II)

Iris published 26 novels. I have read most of them twice and some more than that. I don’t rate this as one of her best. Ok so you want to know which ones do I think are her best? Fair enough. Under The Net;A Severed Head;The Unicorn;The Black Prince;The Sea, The Sea;The Good Apprentice and The Message To The Planet. I may be prepared to add more to that list on further re-readings.

Kafka’s Other Trial,    Elias Canetti

Funny that Iris Murdoch should end up next to Elias Canetti. This is a very short book but is probably one of the highlights of the vast domain of Kafka criticism. Maybe best to just stick to this one and the 2 Walter Benjamin essays.

Catlin’s Indians,    George Catlin

I was excited about finding this book in the Oxfam shop at the top of Park Street in Bristol and paid £8.99 for it. One of the things that really interests me is the clash between primitive societies and more developed ones. The writing isn’t brilliant and I’m not sure about the art, but it’s still a fascinating document.

Travelling Light,     Tove Jansson

Awww, she’s so great! I just want to put her on a pedestal.

Liberation (Diaries 70-83),    Christopher Isherwood

How to live. How to die. Above all – how to write.

Stuart England,    JP Kenyon

I haven’t finished this one yet. I’m just past the disastrous campaign against the Scots and heading pell-mell towards Rebellion, Civil War and Regicide. This is part of the Pelican History of England series – a recent 5th addition I have of the series of 9. Only about a 3rd of the way through – it’s an interesting age, but this is assuredly not one of the best volumes of the series. Ok so you want to know which ones do I think are the best? Well tough I’m not going to say right now.

Voices of Time, Eduardo Galeano

The only living creative writer (he’s 72) I really care about. For me he’s an all time great, I love his work. I’ve just started this so can’t really comment. I don’t think I’ll be disappointed.

Categories
quotations

Gutenberg 3

A few days ago I was just reading the passage below, probably late at night and thought it was so good that I had to make it the first of a new set of quotations from Gutenberg-downloaded texts as I have in the past see short list following.

Now this is the bit I was reading and then I’ve selected some more excerpts – I hope they’re ok for you. If not, catch you next time round.

David LivingstoneLast Journals

_29th October, 1866._–We marched westwards to Makosa’s village, and
could not go further, as the next stage is long and through an
ill-peopled country. The morning was lovely, the whole country bathed
in bright sunlight, and not a breath of air disturbed the smoke as it
slowly curled up from the heaps of burning weeds, which the native
agriculturist wisely destroys. The people generally were busy hoeing
in the cool of the day. One old man in a village where we rested had
trained the little hair he had left into a tail, which, well plastered
with fat, he had bent on itself and laid flat on his crown; another
was carefully paring a stick for stirring the porridge, and others
were enjoying the cool shade of the wild fig-trees which are always
planted at villages. It is a sacred tree all over Africa and India,
and the tender roots which drop down towards the ground are used as
medicine–a universal remedy. Can it be a tradition of its being like
the tree of life, which Archbishop Whately conjectures may have been
used in Paradise to render man immortal? One kind of fig-tree is often
seen hacked all over to get the sap, which is used as bird-lime;
bark-cloth is made of it too. I like to see the men weaving or
spinning, or reclining under these glorious canopies, as much as I
love to see our more civilized people lolling on their sofas or
ottomans.

What can I say? The humanity of the man bleeds through with every sentence. Only his wife and his children could possibly be allowed to criticise him.

The Memoirs of Saint-Simon

The Memoirs of M. de la Rochefoucauld appeared. They contained certain atrocious and false statements against my father, who so severely resented the calumny, that he seized a pen, and wrote upon the margin of the book, “The author has told a lie.” Not content with this, he went to the bookseller, whom he discovered with some difficulty, for the book was not sold publicly at first. He asked to see all the copies of the work, prayed, promised, threatened, and at last succeeded in obtaining them. Then he took a pen and wrote in all of them the same marginal note. The astonishment of the
bookseller may be imagined. He was not long in letting M. de la Rochefoucauld know what had happened to his books: it may well be believed that he also was astonished. This affair made great noise. My father, having truth on his side, wished to obtain public satisfaction from M. de la Rochefoucauld. Friends, however, interposed, and the matter was allowed to drop. But M. de la Rochefoucauld never pardoned my father; so true it is that we less easily forget the injuries we inflict than those that we receive.

I wonder if there are any of those books left in existence and if so how much they are worth.

Plutarch – life of Alexander

About this time, Kalanus, who had for some days been suffering from some internal disorder, begged that a funeral pile might be erected for him. He rode up to it on horseback, said a prayer, poured a libation for himself and cut off a lock of his own hair, as is usual at a sacrifice, and then, mounting the pile, shook hands with those Macedonians who were present, bidding them be of good cheer that day, and drink deep at the king’s table. He added, that he himself should shortly see the king at Babylon. Having spoken thus he lay down and covered himself over. He did not move when the fire reached him, but remained in the same posture until he was consumed, thus sacrificing himself to the gods after the manner of the Indian philosophers. Many years afterwards another Indian, a friend of Cæsar, did the like in the city of Athens; and at the present day his sepulchre is shown under the name of “the Indian’s tomb.”

LXX. After Alexander left the funeral pyre, he invited many of his friends and chief officers to dinner, and offered a prize to the man who could drink most unmixed wine. Promachus, who won it, drank as much as four choes. He was presented with a golden crown worth a talent, and lived only three days afterwards. Of the others, Chares, the historian, tells us that forty-one died of an extreme cold that came upon them in their drunkenness.

For some reason I always go for these tales of alcoholic excess. Perhaps, as a very nice woman who I have never met pointed out to me this week “the universe is trying to tell (me) something”. Meanwhile I knock back another sip of neat vodka. Still I’m balancing it up with organic apple, ginger, almonds and dried apricots. Could be worse.

Cowboy Songs and other Frontier Ballads

JERRY, GO ILE THAT CAR

Come all ye railroad section men an’ listen to my song,

It is of Larry O’Sullivan who now is dead and gone.

For twinty years a section boss, he niver hired a tar—

Oh, it’s “j’int ahead and cinter back,

An’ Jerry, go ile that car!”

For twinty years a section boss, he niver hired a tar,

But it’s “j’int ahead an cinter back,

An’ Jerry, go ile that car-r-r!”

For twinty years a section boss, he worked upon the track,

And be it to his cred-i-it he niver had a wrack.

For he kept every j’int right up to the p’int wid the tap of the tampin-bar-r-r;

And while the byes was a-swimmin’ up the ties,

It’s “Jerry, wud yez ile that car-r-r!”

God rest ye, Larry O’Sullivan, to me ye were kind and good;

Ye always made the section men go out and chop me wood;

An’fetch me wather from the well an’chop me kindlin’ fine;

And any man that wouldn’t lind a hand, ’twas Larry give him his Time.

And ivery Sunday morni-i-ing unto the gang he’d say:

”Me byes, prepare—yez be aware the ould lady goes to church the day.

Now, I want ivery man to pump the best he can, for the distance it is far-r-r;

An’ we have to get in ahead of number tin—

So, Jerry, go an’ ile that car-r-r!”

‘Twas in November in the winter time and the ground all covered wid snow,

“Come put the hand-car-r-r on the track an’ over the section go!”

Wid his big soger coat buttoned up to his t’roat, all weathers he would dare—

An’ it’s “Paddy Mack, will yez walk the track,

An’ Jerry, go an’ ile that car-r-r!”

“Give my respects to the roadmas-ther,” poor Larry he did cry,
”
An lave me up that I may see the ould hand-car before I die.

Come, j’int ahead an’ cinter back,

An’ Jerry, go an’ ile that car-r-r!”

Then lay the spike maul upon his chist, the gauge, and the ould claw-bar-r-r,

And while the byes do be fillin’ up his grave,

”Oh, Jerry, go an’ ile that car-r-r!”

Just a few ideas on this subject. Comes out of ballad tradition – see Scandinavian/Viking traditions – Icelandic because it was isolated and allowed to hang over till the era of the written word. New technologies and industries, in this case the railroad, brought new linguistic possibilities. I particularly like the last verse with its spike maul and its ould claw-bar-r-r.

This is where the books are

Last Journals of Livingstone

Memoirs of Saint-Simon
Plutarch’s Lives Volume III
Cowboy Songs