Music Banter

Go Back   Music Banter > Community Center > Media
Register Blogging Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
Welcome to Music Banter Forum! Make sure to register - it's free and very quick! You have to register before you can post and participate in our discussions with over 70,000 other registered members. After you create your free account, you will be able to customize many options, you will have the full access to over 1,100,000 posts.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-15-2017, 12:42 PM   #11 (permalink)
Remember the underscore
 
Pet_Sounds's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: The other side
Posts: 2,324
Default

This, perhaps, is not quite in line with the intention of this thread, since the music is not mentioned in a book, but I'll post it regardless. I've been reading Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, in which a young man is inspired to commit murder because he believes in the idea of the Übermensch. The idea also inspired this song, and since it's one of my favourites, I can't get it out of my head:



I'm not a prophet or a stone age man
I'm just a mortal with potential of a superman
I'm living on...
__________________
Everybody's dying just to get the disease
Pet_Sounds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2017, 07:29 AM   #12 (permalink)
...here to hear...
 
Lisnaholic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: He lives on Love Street
Posts: 3,733
Default

Thanks for posting, P_S Someone else's contribution here is very welcome, because I hadn't intended this thread to be a monologue.

Hunky Dory is by a long lead my favourite Bowie album, so I was interested to hear about a connection to Crime and Punishment. I read that book years ago, though struggled a bit to finish it as I recall. What a pity for this thread that Dostoevsky never mentions David Bowie !

I love the singing and style of Quicksand, though to me the lyrics have always been a puzzle - slightly clearer now that you mention Bowie's übermensch inspiration. And on the topic of those lyrics, about a year ago, I finally worked out what this line was about:-

If I don't explain what you need to know, you can tell me all about it on the next Bardo

On the original album-insert lyric sheet, that "Bardo" is spelt with a capital, which made me assume it was a misprint for (Brigitte) Bardot and was just one more inexplicable line from Bowie. Turns out, though, that "bardo" is a buddhist term for the period between one incarnation and the next, so Bowie was sailing right over my head with my schoolboy's conjecture about this legendary beauty:-



Well, my apologies if you knew that already, and sure, any loose links between books and music would be welcome here.
__________________
"Am I enjoying this moment? I know of it and perhaps that is enough." - Sybille Bedford, 1953
Lisnaholic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2017, 02:40 PM   #13 (permalink)
Remember the underscore
 
Pet_Sounds's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: The other side
Posts: 2,324
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisnaholic View Post
Thanks for posting, P_S Someone else's contribution here is very welcome, because I hadn't intended this thread to be a monologue.

Hunky Dory is by a long lead my favourite Bowie album, so I was interested to hear about a connection to Crime and Punishment. I read that book years ago, though struggled a bit to finish it as I recall. What a pity for this thread that Dostoevsky never mentions David Bowie !

I love the singing and style of Quicksand, though to me the lyrics have always been a puzzle - slightly clearer now that you mention Bowie's übermensch inspiration. And on the topic of those lyrics, about a year ago, I finally worked out what this line was about:-

If I don't explain what you need to know, you can tell me all about it on the next Bardo

On the original album-insert lyric sheet, that "Bardo" is spelt with a capital, which made me assume it was a misprint for (Brigitte) Bardot and was just one more inexplicable line from Bowie. Turns out, though, that "bardo" is a buddhist term for the period between one incarnation and the next, so Bowie was sailing right over my head with my schoolboy's conjecture about this legendary beauty:-



Well, my apologies if you knew that already, and sure, any loose links between books and music would be welcome here.
So THAT'S what it means! I also thought it was referring to Brigitte Bardot as well. Very cool.
__________________
Everybody's dying just to get the disease
Pet_Sounds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2017, 04:24 PM   #14 (permalink)
...here to hear...
 
Lisnaholic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: He lives on Love Street
Posts: 3,733
Default

In England, Joan Didion first rose to obscurity when a book of hers with an eye-catching title was published in the sixties. Slouching Towards Bethlehem is a slice of social reporting about "things falling apart" in California, with JD getting her title from a gloomy poem by W.B.Yeats about anarchy and world chaos - a poem that deflates the hope of redemption by a Second Coming of the Messiah with its ominous concluding question:-
Quote:
"And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"
More recently, JD has written a book with a simpler title, Miami, in which she carefully picks apart the social fabric of that city with her usual perceptive, slightly off-beat style. She mentions the Cuban National anthem being played at a ceremony at the Martyrs of Girón monument in downtown Miami. Has anyone heard it before? I get the impression that in Miami it's played almost as often as its American counterpart:-



My Verdict: This version at least has some lighter musical trills, but can't entirely escape the ponderous marching dullness that afflicts all national anthems afaik.

JD's book also teaches me that Coconut Grove is a wealthy residential district of Miami, so here´s the song John Sebastian wrote about the place; a song from the album "Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful" that lifted my spirits when I was a shivering schoolboy, enduring the interminable cold of London winters but yearning for somewhere warm and sunny :-



My verdict: Like his more famous Daydream, this song sounds quite simple but is very effective at putting you in a relaxed mood. Is it good music? Who cares? My critical faculties have been completely disarmed by a mixture of nostalgia and JB's palpably good vibes.
__________________
"Am I enjoying this moment? I know of it and perhaps that is enough." - Sybille Bedford, 1953

Last edited by Lisnaholic; 04-30-2017 at 04:31 PM.
Lisnaholic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-24-2017, 08:59 AM   #15 (permalink)
...here to hear...
 
Lisnaholic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: He lives on Love Street
Posts: 3,733
Default

The great virtue of writing is, of course, its ability to transport you to a time and place you can never otherwise visit. Planet earth and human history is pretty big and I found myself transported to a rather obscure corner of it by Inga Clendinnen's memoir, Tiger's Eye. May I do for you what she did for me? Invite you to imagine her hometown, Geelong, a coastal town in New South Wales, as it was in the 1940s:-



In this setting she introduces us to her father, who she used to follow around devotedly when she was a child of about eight. He was a bee-keeper who of necessity had to chase his bees wherever they should go when they decided to swarm. This would entail tramping rough-shod through other people's gardens as he kept his eye on the sky:-

Quote:
"He would climb over back fences, with the householders anxiously peering out of windows, especially if they hadn't noticed the swarm bouncing along in the sky. If he happened to see them peeping, my father would tip his hat to them and point heavenwards, which did not seem to reassure them much."
What a likeable guy he sounds! In fact his carefree attitude hid something sombre; he was leading an unambitious life after surviving the trauma of Flanders' trenches in the First World War. Perhaps that's where he first heard the song that Inga mentions:-
Quote:
"... and all the way home he would sing snatches of his only song: Where the Mountains of Mourne Sweep Down to the Sea."


My Verdict: A little slow for my liking perhaps, but the words are clever; the format of the letter home, the glitter of London and the homesickness for the "dark Mourne" are all done very well. Also, to know that this was the favourite song of a long-dead Australian beekeeper makes me listen to it with extra sympathy. Thinking about it, speeding the song up wouldn't do justice to its atmosphere of nostalgia and yearning. Good call, Don McLean!
__________________
"Am I enjoying this moment? I know of it and perhaps that is enough." - Sybille Bedford, 1953

Last edited by Lisnaholic; 06-24-2017 at 09:11 AM.
Lisnaholic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2017, 04:33 PM   #16 (permalink)
...here to hear...
 
Lisnaholic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: He lives on Love Street
Posts: 3,733
Default

Eye-witness accounts are often fascinating simply because of the immediacy of having a person telling it like they saw it. It's the literary equivalent of a stranger in a bar who suddenly confides to you some memorable events in his life. Travel books, memoirs and of course autobiographies all fall into this "I was there" category, as does Paul Riekhoff's book, Chasing Ghosts.

Paul Riekhoff was there, as a Lieutenant in the US infantry, when his platoon were stationed in Baghdad for a year. The year being 2003, Paul was literally on the front line during the US occupation of Iraq and the capture of Saddam Hussein. On a daily basis he and his men were patrolling a city of violent chaos, which he likened to Mogadishu in BlackHawk Down. That comparison gives some general background to this scene, which serves as a respite from the catalogue of snipers, explosives and terrified Iraqis that the soldiers were otherwise facing:-

Quote:
"A local Iraqi had set up an Internet café where soldiers could get e-mail maybe once a week. We prayed for good news, baby pictures, spam, ridiculous forwards, and porn clips from home. Ten PCs were circled around a small TV that played an Egyptian music video channel. The bizarre video for the Darkness song "I believe in a Thing Called Love" blared constantly."


Paul R's opinion: "There was something especially weird about watching a retro eighties heavy metal singer with long hair and spandex pants while I sat in Iraq wearing camouflage waiting for the Hotmail home page to download at a snail's pace."
My opinion: After Paul R's description, I was pleased to hear that it wasn't that heavy metal after all. I liked the guy's falsetto vocals and the sense of humour with which the video was made. If anything, it reminded me a little of Sparks' This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us - and like the Sparks' song, this one is ok but doesn't particularly speak to me in any way.
__________________
"Am I enjoying this moment? I know of it and perhaps that is enough." - Sybille Bedford, 1953
Lisnaholic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2017, 05:59 PM   #17 (permalink)
...here to hear...
 
Lisnaholic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: He lives on Love Street
Posts: 3,733
Default

John Fowles' second novel The Magus made a huge impression on me when I read it as a teenager. Now I'm rereading the account of protagonist Nicholas Urfe, specifically as he spends his second weekend as a guest of the mysterious Mr. Conchis. The scene is the private villa on Phraxos, overlooking the Aegean, where so much of the action takes place:-

Quote:
I sat in his music room and listened to him play the D minor English suite. Conchis seemed to me to play as if there was no barrier between him and the music; no need to "interpret", to please an audience, to satisfy some inner vanity. He played as I suppose Bach himself would have played -I think at a rather slower tempo than most modern pianists and harpsichordists, though with no loss of rhythm or shape. I sat in the cool shuttered room and watched the slightly bowed bald head behind the shining black harpsichord. I heard the driving onwardness of Bach, the endless progressions.


My Verdict: Placed within the fascinating story that unfolds around Mr.Conchis, and given that rather exalted description, I had hoped this piece of music might be better. In my own crass opinion, it's an irritating and shrill display of proficiency for the sake of proficiency. Instead of driving onwards, I feel it to be going round in circles, destination: nowhere. To be fair though, I've only posted a 3-minute bit of a 30-min piece, and some of the slower parts don't sound too bad.

I wonder if old man Conchis played the entire thirty mins, as Nicholas sat in respectful silence? And incidentally, isn't there sometimes an embarrassing pause to be filled when you have just been granted a personal performance by a musician? Has anyone else ever found that? Clapping is a bit weird, so you have to say something, but what? Let's see what Nicholas came up with after his half-hour endurance test:-

Quote:
Conchis had finished, was watching me.
"You make words seem shabby things."
"Bach does"
"And you."
He grimaced, but I could see he was not unpleased, though he tried to hide it by marching me off to give his vegetables their evening watering.
"You make words shabby things." Hmm, not exactly the best line in the book - in fact, possibly one of the weakest in a book that is in other respects a tour de force of intellectual mystery.
__________________
"Am I enjoying this moment? I know of it and perhaps that is enough." - Sybille Bedford, 1953
Lisnaholic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2019, 07:59 AM   #18 (permalink)
...here to hear...
 
Lisnaholic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: He lives on Love Street
Posts: 3,733
Default

An elite band of journalists are remembered by name for decades, and, in my experience, they are usually Americans: Mark Twain, Hunter S. Thompson, Woodward and Bernstein. Not in that pantheon, however, is Joseph Mitchell, despite being American and despite being called (by Newsday) ”the best reporter ever to write for The New Yorker.”

I was lucky enough, though, to come across a compendium of his collected articles, Up In The Old Hotel and have been enjoying his detailed, local reporting on a forgotten back-alley of US culture: the world of New York’s Bowery district in the 1940s. It’s a curious world of urban hardship, bars, and eccentrics from another era. Mazie, for instance, sold tickets from a small theatre's box-office booth but after work, “in the nickel-a-drink saloons and in the all night restaurants which specialize in pig-snouts and cabbage” she is well known for her generosity to down-and-outs. Captain Charley, is a “a relentless and indiscriminate collector” who opened his own one-man Private Museum for Intelligent People in a cluttered basement (admission 15 cents). I hope those two examples give some idea of the strange, long-gone underworld that JM describes in his forty-plus articles, each of which reads more like a short story than normal journalism.

This post is about the night in 1939 that JM went to a dance hall in Harlem which was hosting a "Trinidad Carnival Committee Picnic.” That’s where he met, drank with and listened to Wilmoth Houdini and his Krazy Kat Band. After a drink, JM reports:-

Quote:
Houndini went behind the bar and got a spoon and a square green gin bottle. He showed the bottle to me."I brought her from Trinidad", he said. "I beat out many a tune on her. I can make her palpitate. I call her Ol' Square Face." The bottle was one third full of water.
Houdini returned to the [musicians'] enclosure and got up on his chair. He began a rhythmic, tantalizing beat with the bottle and spoon. Soon he was making more noise than all the other musicians, and began to sing.
In fact he began to sing this song, specifically mentioned by JM and luckily available on Youtube too:-



Thanks to JM’s meticulous reporting, we even know how this music went down when delivered live: ”Only the old women along the wall listened to the words. The men and women on the crowded dance floor minded their own business. Occasionally one of the expertly wanton dancers would shudder and let out a loud moan, and then all the others would laugh uproariously and scream, “Hold tight!” or “Please, sister!” “

My verdict: I like this track mostly for its old-time obscurity, so I wouldn’t particularly enjoy the song if it wasn’t for that genuine crackly texture to the recording. Calypso has a kind of immediate, spontaneous charm which probably works well live, but as it's difficult to conjure up the giddy atmosphere of a Trinidad Picnic in the privacy of my own home, I probably won't bother to listen again.
But here's another song by Wilmoth Houdini which I enjoyed much more, thanks to the backing singers and to the fact that you can hear ringing out clearly what I truly hope is Wilmoth's bottle and spoon: Ol' Square Face herself, a gin bottle from Trinidad and from 80 years ago that we can still hear today. Now that is the magic of modern recording technology!

__________________
"Am I enjoying this moment? I know of it and perhaps that is enough." - Sybille Bedford, 1953

Last edited by Lisnaholic; 12-29-2019 at 08:31 AM.
Lisnaholic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2019, 08:07 AM   #19 (permalink)
Zum Henker Defätist!!
 
The Batlord's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Beating GNR at DDR and keying Axl's new car
Posts: 45,046
Default

I think Houdini was dead before 1939, dude.
__________________
CHINA IS CAPITALIST
The Batlord is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2019, 08:47 AM   #20 (permalink)
...here to hear...
 
Lisnaholic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: He lives on Love Street
Posts: 3,733
Default

^ haha! ten out of ten for getting your Houdini's in the right chronological order!

The other Houdini:

Quote:
Harry Houdini (/huːˈdiːni/; born Erik Weisz, later Ehrich Weiss or Harry Weiss; March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926) -Wikipedia
This Houdini:

Quote:
A few years ago he left Trinidad and worked his way to New York as a greaser on a freighter. He lives in a furnished room on West 114th Street, in lower Harlem, where there is a large settlement of immigrants from trinidad. His passport name is Edgar Leon Sinclair; in Harlem he is called Mr. Houdini. He took the name from a movie serial he saw in 1916, in which Houdini, the magician, was featured. - Up In The Old Hotel
I wonder if there's a Houdini out there who was actually born with the name instead of adopting it as an adult.
__________________
"Am I enjoying this moment? I know of it and perhaps that is enough." - Sybille Bedford, 1953
Lisnaholic is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads



© 2003-2021 Advameg, Inc.