Saturday, 31 December 2016

The Last Post

Well, not the last ever post........

Just the last post of 2016......

And as this has been a year of  great sadness at much passing, let the title stand!

I heard The Last Post played on the bugle at St Anne's Church in Soho on Remembrance Sunday in November this year.

And with the help of Father Simon, and my friends from The French House Players (a group of professional actors who drink in that very fine establishment just across Dean Street from the church and who gather to perform rehearsed readings for charitable causes....), we read the entire list of names on the Parish War Memorial out loud just before the Two Minutes Silence.

This was the first time this has been done in living memory.

It seemed to me very apt in the centenary year of the carnage and slaughter on the Somme that this should be so.

The desperately sad, poignant and elegaic sound of the bugle has long since died away.

It seems to me important that, as the embers of the old year burn down, all those we left behind us in 2016 should also be commemorated.

And with their own, less martial, music...........

"Comes now the Spring thou shalt not see,

Alas!

We have sore miss of thee......."

www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-38418802

So what to play for them?

We'll start with this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6X2Nvx--k1U

Now that, in my humble opinion , is truly beautiful.

What soul would not wish to waft heavenward accompanied by such as that?

Well...........

I can see Lemmy Kilmister, Rick Parfitt, Glenn Frey and quite a few other rock and rollers finding it a little less than sufficient unto the day......

So this is for them:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pI1ZUohNYS8

But this one is for Carrie Fisher: the saddest, for me, of all the losses we have sustained in this fell, fell year..........

I would say "Goodnight, Sweet Princess," but I know you hated that soubriquet.......

But "May flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest" anyway.........

And as you were both made crazy by a talent so bright it burned you, I'll let Miss Shepherd have the final word...... via Horowitz........ (the original Youtube clip from "The Lady in the Van" is no longer available.)


X





Monday, 19 December 2016

All that is Light, all that is Music, and 'All the Angels'.......

C. S. Lewis once described Heaven as 'that place where there is only light, and all that is not music is silence'.....

I think it's in 'The Pilgrim's Regress', but I could be wrong........

He is much out of fashion these days. Beyond the 'Narnia' books, his writing is largely ignored.

I think this is a shame.

Though I am far ( very, very very far indeed) from being an Evangelical....... (there, the very word made my skin creep.....) like Lewis, I am even further from Hugh Trevor-Roper:

www.spectator.co.uk/2006/07/the-voltaire-of-st-aldates/

(For the record, H T-R was a daft old ponce who allowed his ego to intervene with his critical faculties to such an extent that when he was presented with the laughable 'Hitler Diaries', a work of obvious fiction so transparent they make Monty Python's 'The Life of Brian' look like a long lost Book of  The New Testament, he cost The Sunday Times the thick end of a quarter of a million quid......In 1985. When that was a sum of money, not the price of a studio flat in in one of London's less salubrious postcodes......)

https://www.theguardian.com › World › Germany

So, as the inimitable Molesworth would have it, "Yah boo sucks to Lord Dacre......."

'So, er, what was all that about?' you may well be asking.....

I suppose that it's about this: I may not agree with Lewis on everything, but we are still on the same side.

And I won't have him traduced.

Or ignored.

Whatever.

Let us consider once more 'that place where there is only light, and all that is not music is silence'.....

It can be tricky, this one.......:

www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-38340648

Makes you think, doesn't it?

Where was the light?

Where was the silence?

Subsumed by Hell itself, I think......

And yet Zuzana Ruzickova endures.

And so does the harpsichord.

And so does the music of Bach.

Perhaps "The light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not"..

And perhaps in that light we find Heaven itself......?

Perhaps......

Anyway, last night at the theatre.......

I went to see 'All the Angels" at The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in London.

www.whatsonstage.com/.../reviews/all-the-angels-handel-sam-wanamaker_42452.htm...

Light.

Music.

Silence.

Applause........

It is an utterly wonderful , life-affirming piece of theatre.

Please go, if you can.

At least twice.

And take heart!!






Thursday, 1 December 2016

It would seem that I am not alone..........

The blog posts of this year have been uniformly negative.

I've had to deal with the loss of some of our greats in theatre, music, and entertainment.

Politically, things have just gone absolutely all to Hell.

These two girls just sum it all up.

You will have to cut and paste this link as I can't make it work just by clicking it.

 But please DON'T  DO THIS unless you have a very relaxed attitude to extreme profanity.

(Dad, I'd scroll back and have another look at the Kingfishers. This one isn't for you. X)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yv_rl3MYKA



Sunday, 27 November 2016

Nature notes....

The recent activity on this blog has been predicated largely by my growing sense of despair at the direction this country seems to be heading..... (out of Europe), and the direction The United States of America seems to be heading..... (to Hell).

A vicious, puerile, ignorant, badly educated, racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic agenda is on the rise.........

Bad Moon.........

It is perhaps a little overdue, but timely, to remind myself that while my ability to affect any of these events or alter any of their courses is negligible, some things are immutable.

Viz:
Photo taken yesterday morning by Jackie, through the cat-flap, while this one perched on our neighbour's cratch cover.






Jackie's photo again. This is Swan, (of our local breeding pair Flanders and Swan), on dawn patrol.






Mine this time. Max telephoto lens from the back deck towards the lock caught this fisherman unawares.







Dawn: Summer.









Dawn:late Winter early Spring...... ish......










Summer: local showers........









Layered sky.....









Sunset.









Supermoon










Jackie/Sunset Photobomb











A feather from The Dove of Peace, anointed by an Angel's tear, drifts slowly by and away...........













Beyond the Blue Horizon (By Michael Nesmith)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8f5a5nXnfk



So there you go: twelve photos. Twelve months. Shitty year..........

But all the above were taken from Pippin's deck or hatches (with the obvious exception of the last, which features the eponymous Widebeam in the background.)

Nature will instruct us.

No matter how bad we try to make it, Nature will always offer us consolation.

There is beauty yet, for all that we do that is ugliness............

Take heart!


Thursday, 24 November 2016

Stop Press!!!! Nigel Farage says something true!!!!

A quote from Our Nige, soon to be Our Man in Washington, it seems,,,,,,,
"For those of you who aren't particularly happy with what happened in 2016, I've got some really bad news for you - it's going to get a bloody sight worse next year."
He said this at a reception at London's Ritz Hotel hosted by millionaire Arron Banks to celebrate Nige's contribution to the Brexit victory.
Apparently, people cheered........
Well, whatever you think of him or his politics, there is absolutely no doubt that he has got this one absolutely right.
Proof, then, if ever it is needed, that even the most callow, self-serving and mendacious must, on some occasions, speak sooth.........
God help us all.............  


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Today, I am, after a long while, once again proud of my country........

This is supposed to be a boaters blog.

It hasn't had very much to do with boating for quite some time.

But then, murdered Labour MP Jo Cox lived on a boat, and I don't think that fact defined her every utterance either.

Today, Thomas Mair has been sentenced to life imprisonment for her murder.

I have just read the Judge's comments on the BBC website:

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38076755

Thank you, Mr Justice Wilkie.

The so called Alt-Right, the Neo-Nazis, those with the nerve to call themselves 'nationalists' (and thereby 'patriots') will not win in this country.

Not this day.

To be a Patriot is to love your country.

To be a Nationalist is to hate your neighbours.

And were we not taught to love our neighbours as ourselves?..................

Let us do so then, in spite of, and in every respect, to truly spite, all of those who would bring hatred to their neighbour.


Tuesday, 22 November 2016

In which I discover I have much in common with The Big Yin and The Big Apple............

First, a word from BBC news website:

www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38019788

Now, a word from one of my favourite Scotsmen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRStOmd3weE

And I am happy to report that, as of 18:35 hrs GMT, no more of my teeth have fallen out in disgust at The Donald's impending presidency......


Monday, 21 November 2016

On taking delight in an entirely new garden......

Well, new to me, at any rate.

The garden is the canon of music that I am now experiencing thanks to switching radio stations from BBC Radio 2 to Radio 3.

And I am a delighted child running around in it.

I am unable to name all the flowers that so enchant with their colours, form and scent.

I do not have the knowledge.

But sometimes, ignorance really is bliss.

Today I heard "Variations on a theme by Chopin " by Federico Mompou performed by Javier Negrin.

I've never heard of him, but the sound is of roses against a limestone wall, dew-bedecked in the dawn's early light.

It can still be heard by going to the Radio Three website and looking for Johnathan Swain's "Sunday Morning" programme.

It will be there for 29 days from today.

I think you'll like it.........

Now, all this pre-occupation with beauty and music while the world slides rudderless toward the abyss may seem a little fey: Nero and his fiddle while Rome burns........

Perhaps the true use of a blog should be to protest against this: call out, loud and proud, against the ascendant darkness. Muster the troops; paint the banners; Marchons! Marchons!

Perhaps........

But what I'm seeking to do here is not merely distract us from our dread of the horrors to come.

Let us shout at the tops of our voices as the foundations of walls are dug and lists of names are made, while, in the marshaling yards, the trains of cattle trucks are assembled.

It may not do one scintilla of good, but we owe it to those who come after us to say that we tried.......

No, for now, it is of the utmost importance to share what is beautiful, the better that we might appreciate it, and above all, protect it.

There is precedent for this: during World War Two in London, Dame Myrah Hess gave lunchtime piano recitals. People who had never heard or cared for this sort of music before came in droves.

When stood upon the shore of the lake of the night, who would not wish to turn toward the light of great writing, music, art and culture.

Make no mistake, much will be destroyed in the next four years. many people will be hurt. Some will die because of the things that will be done.

But we must hold fast to that which is good, that which is beautiful, that which is kind and honourable and decent.

And let's share.

If anyone's got a favourite piece of music, leave a comment, perhaps with a link to it, so we can all have a listen.

For now, I'll leave you with this: It's on the Private Passions page of the Radio 3 website. It's the overture and Act Three Aria from Scott Joplin's little known opera "Treemonisha" sung by Willard White and played by the orchestra of the Houston Grand Opera.

Had we but known it, it's also a warning.........


Thursday, 17 November 2016

More tinkling of ivories

Thankfully the titular ivory tinkling is not that of more teeth falling out........

One's disgust at certain election results can only go so far, you know.....

(And may I suggest that the more immediately bewildered scroll back a couple of posts...it may begin to make sense.....sort of.....)

No, the ivories being tinkled tonight were those of a Concert Grand piano, live from The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester.

I was driving home from work at The Hole Making Shop (late shift:10:00 a.m. - 20:00) and on the radio I heard the most magnificent rendition of Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.5 in E flat major, courtesy of BBC Radio Three, The Halle Orchestra conducted by Andrew Manze, and Martin Helmchen at the piano.

It was bloody marvelous!

Of course, this seemingly sudden foray into the highbrow may come as a surprise to some of you.

It is all Chris Evans's fault.

Unable to stand him and his Radio Two breakfast show any longer, I re-tuned to Radio Three.

I took my time settling in, but after a while couldn't understand why I'd ever listened to anything else. (Actually, that can be readily answered in two words: Terry Wogan......late, great and much lamented, which I suppose is five more words.....)

So now, instead of a media multi-millionaire exhorting me to 'give what I can' to BBC Children In Need, I have acquired unlimited access to sublime music.

That sounds like a win/win.......

See if you can catch this evening's performance on Listen Again on the BBC website.

You've got 29 days from today left to listen......

Live from the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
The HallĂ© is conducted by Andrew Manze in a programme which begins on the storm-tossed oceans of Wagner's Flying Dutchman and ends in a work which became an emblem for the Finnish people.
Presented by Stuart Flinders


If not, google it and find a version of it on You Tube, or buy a C.D. or even a record (remember them?)

And as you listen, and are transported beyond the tiresome drudgery of these uncertain, dangerous and above all, thoroughly interesting times, remember that Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pol Pot, and even Imelda Marcos didn't succeed in killing this music.

Bashir Assad hasn't.

Putin hasn't.

Isis haven't.

And Boris Johnson can't spell it.

And most importantly, whatever The Donald's presidency does inflict upon this poor benighted world, he won't kill this music either.

Take heart.

X



Wednesday, 16 November 2016

A positive spin on extraction.......

I'll bet that gets the anti-fracking brigade flocking to this blog.

Shame really, as this post has absolutely nothing to do with fracking..........

Nope.

But at least it'll get the numbers up.

(This is a good thing, as my worldwide audience had shrunk to a select 25 or so page views over the last twenty-four hours.

I reckon I'd get that if I left the computer on, let China walk over the key board, then posted the result..........

Of course, the real worry there is that none of you would notice..........)

Anyway.......

Today, I had an appointment at the dentist.

(Jackie always suggests I get the two-thirty appointment. I always point out that our dentist is South African, not Chinese, so the joke, such as it is, doesn't really work.....)

Yep, my toof had been hurtee since a week ago Sunday when an errant bit of dried fruit in the breakfast muesli caused the dreaded 'whoops, dearie, that was expensive' sensation in the mouth.

I thought I'd maybe dropped a filling in one of the back nine which has had a lot of work over the years.

My dentist was sad to relate that the poor old tooth had split from top to bottom, was beginning to show signs of infection, and the only remedy was the titular extraction.

So out it came, in lots of broken pieces, accompanied by a sound track that included your usual cartoon DIY noises, (drilling, sawing, hammer and chisel etc), and, at one point, what sounded like a fairly hefty dry wood branch being snapped in two.....

Of course, I was up to my ears in lignocaine at the time, so never felt so much as a twinge.

This happy state of affairs changed rapidly as the drugs wore off, however,,,,,,,,

I have spent the late morning, afternoon and early evening in the kind of pain you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.

Paracetamol was the only analgesic on offer, as aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like Ibuprofen inhibit platelet function . They are of no use if you are, or have been, bleeding.....

I have news for you. Paracetamol is okay for your ordinary-everyday-run-of-the-mill kind of pain, but doesn't even get close to touching the serious post-dental "ouch" that throbs white in your gums in time with your heartbeat.

Thankfully, it is on the ebb now, so I've got off the sofa, (where I have had a not terribly enjoyable or constructive time chiefly spent alternately whimpering and dribbling) and decided to share this with the world..........

(Well, "a problem shared is a problem halved", or more accurately, "you can't beat a good whinge"........ )

I was tempted at first to reprise the link to "Little Shop of Horrors" that I used a few posts back to illustrate exactly what kind of 'hole the American dentist Walter Palmer is for shooting that beautiful lion.

On reflection, I thought it a bit unfair on my dentist, who is a lovely chap who not only did a really good job, but also probably has qualms about swatting flies, never mind the senseless slaughter of magnificent creatures......

So we'll give that one a miss......

No, what I want to do is continue the theme of the previous couple of posts and see if we can pin the blame for my misfortunes today, (like the tail in the children's game), on the Donkey that the majority of the Great American Public have just voted in  as President.

Where's Alastair Campbell when you need him, eh?

The link between The Donald and my teeth starting to fall out may seem a little tenuous, but I'm sure it's there.

Suggestions on the usual electronic post card please.




Tuesday, 15 November 2016

After the Bad Moon Rises........

Odd that so soon after the election of Donald J Trump to The White House (and my previous post with the link to Creedance Clearwater Revival's rather apt song............), we should see a moon rise indeed, bigger, brighter and badder than it's been since 1948....

Is someone trying to tell us something?

Enough with the portents of doom!

Another great singer and songwriter has gone:

R.I.P. Leonard Cohen.

I've tried to set up a link to the You-tube clip from America's Saturday Night Live television show featuring the comedienne Kate McKinnon.

Here she opens the show by paying tribute to Leonard Cohen and simultaneously offering us, through her version of Hillary Clinton, something like a little hope.

Sadly, the link doesn't work.

I blame The Donald......

See if you can view it by Googling "Kate Mckinnon opens SNL as Hillary Clinton covers Leonard Cohen."


Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Twitter and Facebook considered........

I don't Tweet.

I'm not on Facebook.

And, these days, I very rarely blog.

Neither do any of the people who's blogs I follow, much.......

Is this because in the last couple of years, blogging has fallen out of fashion, as the world of the Twitterati and the Facebookers has risen to an unprecedented ascendancy?

Or are our collective attention spans now so foreshortened by the needful brevity of Tweeting and the almost Pitman-like shorthand of Facebook, that any attempted literacy supplied by the Blog-o-sphere overloads the cerebellum to the point that the only way to deal with it is to ignore it?

Is the diminution of language assured?

Are we doomed to the abbreviated world of email and Text-Speak?

(UR sooooo R8)

Things have come to a pretty pass if so..........

A couple of nights ago, discussing this with Jackie over a nice glass of Vino Rosso Puglia Appassimento and a very agreeable Reblochon cheese, I defined Facebook/Twitter thus:

"It induces a morbid fascination of terrible power for the mindless wittering of people we hardly know, concerning things about which we do not care, communicated in language we barely understand".

I was rather pleased with this.

Jackie replied that I was a silly old fart.......

Plus ca change....

But really, does anyone else out there actually write letters anymore?

I have written two so far this year: yes, in old fashioned black ink on white note-paper in cursive script.

And I posted them. First class stamps and everything......

I even received a reply to one of them in like kind. (The other recipient is excused: both his parents are gravely ill.....)

A letter is an immensely valuable thing possessed of true power: in the architectural sweep of lines on a page, we imbue it with meaning beyond words.

I think a hand-written letter can contain the fullest expression of what is on the heart, in the mind and, without doubt, part of the very soul of the writer.

No wonder it's gone out of fashion...........

Now, here's the challenge:

Pick up a pen.

Apply it to some paper.

Write to someone.

Post it, snail-mail.

Old skool style.

You may well be amazed.

:-)




Sunday, 10 July 2016

I'm not sure this is a terribly good idea..........

Up to 650 British troops are to be deployed to Poland and Estonia to "reassure" these countries and"deter Russia from any further aggression" according to current Defence Secretary Michael Fallon.

650?

The last time we sent 600-odd men against aggressive Russians was in 1854.

I don't remember it ending spectacularly well........

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charge_of_the_Light_Brigade

God Speed, lads.  

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Interesting Times............

It is an ancient Chinese Curse:

"May you live in interesting times".

We certainly are doing that.

I do not wish to add to the ordure in the latrine trench of public opinion that is Facebook, Twitter and the greater blog-o-sphere with any of my own.

Instead, I offer only this, from Lindsay Anderson's "Oh lucky Man" of 1973.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRc3S9-F5TY

Says it all, and in quite a few European languages..........

Monday, 14 March 2016

A Day Out with The Alvis Owner Club.

Now, like Groucho Marx, I've often felt I shouldn't be seeking to join any club that would have me as a member........

But the Alvis Owner Club has decided it would......

On Saturday I was whisked from The Parish to a village in Darkest Suffolk to participate in the A.O.C. East Anglian Section Workshop Day.

This was my ride:

My friend Roger's Alvis Speed Twenty-Five.
Cool, eh?


I saw this


And this

And this

And this

And this


Well, what can I say: it's a rough old life..........

And speaking of 'rough', and 'old', there's more than a fleeting chance my TA14 will be joining them before long!

:-)

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Now we are in March......

Okay.

January was crap.

Too many of our greats died.

I know, I know..... we all must....

And yet they are missed.

But now we are out of February and into March......

The "First Day Of Spring"....

So let's look to the future.

Have you heard of a band called 'Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats'?

I think they are pretty good........

In 1979, when I was a callow youth of a mere fifteen summers, I first heard the opening bass chords and drum beats of 'Walking on the Moon' by The Police.

Kids, if you weren't there, and didn't hear, nay FEEL, that cleansing, strange, NEW sound, then you will never get how important it was...... not important in the history of popular music, but important then, then, uniquely then......

Please. please don't listen to it on shitty little speakers.

It needs WATTS.................

And amps, (preferably valve....).......

And Ohms........

And a long, cool, dark moment to hear it in.....

Hearing it was short-hairs-on-the-back-of-the-neck-goosebumps-shivering......

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPwMdZOlPo8 Artist: The Police

Okay, the video is of it's time, (i.e. pants....), but the sound, The SOUND!!!!!!!!!!

So this spring, it's good to relate that after a winter of loss and despair, I've had a very similar moment.

I've been aware of Mr Rateliff and his band for a while.

It took their appearance on Jo Wiley's show on Radio Two this evening to make me realise exactly how good they are......

The few songs that they were allowed to play, (while Ms Wiley simpered and gushed and naffed and patronised and couldn't wait for it to be over so she could tell you all about tomorrow's show which was clearly going to be much more brilliant), were as superb as Wiley was embarrassing.

So they were pretty damn good.

But John Peel must be spinning in his grave.................

There are lots of internet clips of them, their rather over-produced and a little too slick version of S.O.B that you'll find on VEVO being a not brilliant example.....

For the In-Your-Face-Double-Bad-Maximum-Tingle, you need this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_pqOJt7gE8

In the words of the poet, Ba-Ba-Ra-Ra-Coo-Coo-Da-Da........!

In the words of my beloved father, Trevor Witts ( 88 years old 29/03/16.............. and said in a way that implies disapproval while secretly loving it.......)

"That's Hooligan music, my boy!

:-)






Monday, 1 February 2016

The end of January.

I don't know about you, but I am absolutely exhausted.

We have lost so much wonderful talent this fatal January.

Musicians.

Actors.

And now, Terry Wogan.

During the spring of 2009, I emailed his Breakfast show with a silly skit about cars backfiring. This had been prompted by a story line in "Eastenders": one of the characters had been shot, another was heard to remark they thought it was 'just a car backfiring'. This caused much ribaldry on the show along the lines of 'when was the last time you heard a car backfire?'

I emailed the show roughly thus (I didn't save the original: I'm not that sad, though I wish I had, now.......)

RE: Cars Backfiring

I'll have you know I had a spot of bother getting the car started the other day. The old starter motor was whirring away but to no avail. So I opened the bonnet, cleaned the plugs, checked the points and rotor arm, charged the battery up a bit, and finally swung the thing into life with the starting handle.

Backfire?

My ears are still ringing........

The car in question is a 1948 Alvis TA14.

It was customary to use a pseudonym when emailing the show, so I entered it under the name Rusty O'Heap...........

Best I could do...... :-)

I wasn't half surprised and, needless to say, delighted, when those familiar tones read it out verbatim!

This started a bit of a run of emails to the show.

It was great fun.

Rusty wrote in complaining about 'our esteemed chancellor' conning the togs into scrapping perfectly good cars (a measly £2000 quid to scrap the old Alvis? Over my dead body!) while the 'current Mrs O'Heap' got confused over which old crock she was getting rid of under the deal (turns out she thought she could keep the Alvis and replace me!).

By a happy accident, I emailed this in on his wedding anniversary. It closed the show.

Everyone knows Sir Terry was virtually synonymous with Children in Need.

At the 2009 Alvis Owner Club End of Season Meeting in the Coach and Horses in Mayfair, I got everyone who wanted to participate to buy a Wogan style pseudonym for a fiver, all proceeds to the Charity. Thus, we had such club notables as Lorelei Kandling, Truly Warne-Mainbaring, and Lou Stappets ( you get the idea from these few examples.....) signing a card which we enclosed with a cheque for about £100, I think.

I posted this off to the show with a framed replica white Five Pound note.

One of the threads on the show was that of the old Shakespearian actor, Chuffer Dandridge, who was still looking for the old white fiver he'd lost while on tour in the 1950's. Rusty had previously emailed the show in high excitement to say he'd found it down the back of the rear seats of the Alvis while looking for some change to purchase a packet of 10 Players Weights........( I know it's Chuffer's, it's signed on the back C. Dandridge Esq, Mrs MaCavity's Hygienic Digs for Thespians, Catford).

All this warm-hearted whimsy was great fun and it was lovely to hear it acknowledged on the show.

And now the broadcasting phenomenon that was Sir Terry Wogan is no more.

If you were a listener, you felt like he was speaking only to you, and he was your friend.

Goodbye my friend, and thanks for the warmth, the laughter, and all the good fun in your company.


Friday, 22 January 2016

And another left........

That's the title of a chapter from Dornford Yates' "The Courts of Idleness", a bitter-sweet and elegaic volume of short stories about the era that ended in the cataclysm of The Great War.......

Worth a read if you can find a copy. I have a feeling it's long out of print. But Yates writes beautifully, even if he's dismissed now as a purveyor of sub-Bulldog Drummond spy stories or sub-Wodehousian yarns with his 'Berry' series.

Ian 'Lemmy' Kilmister might have approved: perhaps surprisingly, he was, by all accounts, a great fan of Wodehouse..........

For this fell January continues to cut a swathe through the talent that delighted and amazed us though the seventies, eighties and nineties.

Dale Griffin, drummer with Mott the Hoople and Glenn Frey of the Eagles will, in Yates' words, 'haunt the Courts no more'.........

You might find my pre-occupation with these sad passings a rather morbid topic to choose after so long an absence from blogging.

Perhaps it is.

Those of us in our fifties and sixties, who were around when the music of Bowie, Mott the Hoople, The Eagles, and Motorhead was brand spanking new, are having to face up to the fact that with the death of these musicians, our youth, though long fled, has truly become history.

And that in little more than the blink of an eye, we shall be history too.......

It takes some facing up to........

In the meantime, I'd like to share the following clips. It's the usual left-field mix of oddness, but is my little tribute to those who have left the stage this January and will haunt the Courts of Idleness no more. (You'll have to cut and paste into your browser as I'm too thick to make a link work.......)

Some cheesy Swedish vibe is goin' down in Groovetown, but I think it's important to say "Thankyou" all the same.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dcbw4IEY5w

Now who can deny the central premise of this? David, Glenn, Ian, and Dale......... We didn't know what we had until now......

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlNZN94_u-s

This one's really out there: I think he came third in the 1973 Eurovision Song Contest with this.

You're about to see why....... though I still think Cliff was robbed!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otWLDkKC-VY

Yes....... The music WILL never end......

Power to you all, you boys who played rock and roll, and made our lives so sweet, and power to you, though we never met, my lovely, lovely friends.

X

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

The Time of Endings

I suppose any time is a Time of Endings......

It just depends on where you are standing in relation to the beginnings.......

So, callow youth of this day, hearken ye unto the musings of this old codger, nay, indulge him with a hearing.......

For soon, so soon, time's fleet foot will have marched the seemingly impossible distance between your "now", at your Absolute Beginning, and will have taken you right to the very threshold of your "then", that far-off, nebulous, theoretical-seeming door marked 'Exit'............

I speak as one who knows only too well he is standing if not in the doorway itself, then much closer to the approach to it than is in all conscience comfortable.

And I wish to clap, whoop, cheer and applaud those who pass through it before me.

David Bowie is dead.

No-one born after a certain date will have any idea of how influential he really was.

No, really.......

Consider.

I watched him on TV as Ziggy Stardust in the early Seventies. My parents were watching with me. They had lived through World War Two. Of my grandparents, then living, two were Edwardians and one was a Victorian..............

Imagine then, their reaction to Ziggy.

"Slack-jawed disbelief" doesn't even get close.........

Ian Kilmister is dead.

If ever there was a life lived at full throttle, all the way to eleven, maximum overdrive, then his was that life.

Ed Stewart is dead.

As far from being a pop/art/acting/style-icon or fully flipped-out sex and drugs and rock and roller as it is to imagine, yet dear in the memories still of those of us who were Children of the Seventies.

And I will cheer and whoop and holler to the skies for them all.

As one ages, time appears to accelerate. The years go by much faster, it seems.

I have considered why this is so: when we are twenty, a year is one twentieth of our lives. At sixty, one twentieth of our lives is three years. So what took a year when you're twenty lasts only four months when you're sixty.......

Thus, do we and our little lights accelerate ever the more quickly toward the heart of the BlackStar?

And vanish into a naked singularity?

If so, let us be kind, and comfort each other while we may.

And be not afraid of The Dark.