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Old 05-29-2021, 08:37 AM   #31 (permalink)
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I can recommend Joseph Piercy’s book, The Story of English. At 180-odd pages, he has kept his historical overview short enough to stay interesting throughout, and either he or his publishers have given it the enticing subtitle: “How an Obscure Dialect Became the World’s Most-Spoken Language.” From Celts to Romans to a section titled "The Great Vowel Shift" it looks at how English developed and spread, ending up with the language seen on MB: lol, gr8 and milf.

Among the must-mention literature (Beowulf, Chaucer, Shakespeare, etc.) John Milton turns up. As I'm sure we all know , he wrote in Early Modern English, in the 1650s:

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John Milton: King of the Metal Heads
Although undoubtedly a huge influence on the Romantic movement, and particularly the work of poets such as Percy Bysshe Shelly and William Blake, one area of popular culture where Milton’s work has found a surprising resonance is with purveyors of heavy rock music. Over a dozen different heavy metal bands from various parts of the world have written songs inspired by Paradise Lost, including the British band, Cradle of Filth, whose concept album, Damnation and a Day is inspired by Milton’s epic poem.
Here are the two opening tracks of Damnation and a Day, an album with an hour and a quarter running time, so CoF can’t be faulted for effort, which, to judge from the second video is true of their live performances too:-



My opinion: Heavy metal is too noisy and insistent for my liking, so I was pleasantly surprised by the first part of "A Bruise Apon The Silent Moon" - that is until I realized that it was building into a piece of OTT musical drama which I also didn’t like. On the next track we have the barrage of guitars that I expected from this genre, together with the routinely “evil” voice that goes with. Nothing here that encourages me to continue listening, so no analysis of how their lyrics relate to the original poem, I'm afraid.
In fairness to the band I should mention that this is rated (allmusic.com) as one of their weaker albums – although actually, they seem to have quite a few weaker albums. Sorry guys!
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Old 07-14-2021, 12:38 PM   #32 (permalink)
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J.D.Salinger has a special place in modern literature. Who else is so famous for one book and for being so reclusive? That’s why I can totally recommend Ian Hamilton’s attempt to puncture the myth, In Search of J.D, Salinger. To do justice to it, I’ll quote what they say on the back cover: “… a sophisticated exploration of JDS’s life and writing and a sustained debate about the nature of literary biography, it’s ethical legitimacy..” The book’s title is very accurate: it’s not just about JDS, but is also about the detective-work that Hamilton did to write it, and how he ended up fighting JDS in court, wrestling with ethical questions about research and “fair use”.
As for the JDS content, this was new to me:
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It was in 1948 that [JDS] had his first direct authorial dealings with the movie industry. Darryl Zanuck bought the screen rights of “Uncle Wiggily in Conneticut” and, in 1949, turned it into a weepie of the year called My Foolish Heart. The movie was a big success. Its theme song won an Oscar and is still a nightclub standard.
Hamilton goes on to say that “the film was a travesty, even by Hollywood standards….the shamelessly lachrymose screenplay is barely polite to the original.” If any reader of The Catcher In The Rye wonders why Holden Caulfield rants so bitterly against Hollywood phonies – well, look no further than the treatment given to JDS's short story a year or so previously.

This version of My Foolish Heart from 1955 has the advantage of giving Ethel Ennis her MB debut, afaik:-



My verdict: I’d like to say, “Let’s have a round of applause for Ethel!” because she does a great job with the singing, but personally I find this kind of languid rumination about love all but unbearable. And perhaps not entirely by chance, it’s a mood that reminds me of those old movies: the sophisticated, sentimental couple leaving the dance floor for the verandah, where they revel in (or agonise about) their relationship, blowing their cigarette smoke into the night air with oh such casual elegance.
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Old 07-25-2021, 04:46 PM   #33 (permalink)
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However passionately we might issue death threats to each other in the Beatles vs Beach Boys threads, one thing's for sure: music isn't actually a matter of life and death for us.

Sadly, it could become so in Nazi-occupied Poland. Thomas Keneally's Schindler's List is a kind of novelized history based on 50 survivors' interviews that TK collected in 1980/81. For the pedantically minded, his book is catalogued as fiction, though it's full of facts and accounts that are uncontested afaik.

One anecdote is about 16-year-old Haubenstock, who "had been heard singing Volga, Volga and other banned Russian songs with the intention, according to his death sentence, of winning the Ukranian guards over to Bolshevism." (At the time, Ukranian guards, like other police/army units were implementing orders coming, ultimately, from Berlin.)
It's hard to read the details of how this innocent boy, after begging for his life, was shot by SS officer Amon Goeth, the camp commander made infamous by Spielberg's excellent movie.



My Opinion: A robust, moving song, clearly full of pride and yearning for the Volga region: a classic, apparently, of Russian folk music. If it sounds familiar, that may be because it was turned into "The Carnival Is Over" by Tom Springfield of The Seekers.
Good song, and R.I.P. poor Haubenstock (1927- 1943), shot for taking solace in music.
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Old 07-25-2021, 04:53 PM   #34 (permalink)
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16-year-old communist with 16 pound balls.
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There is only one bright spot and that is the growing habit of disgruntled men of dynamiting factories and power-stations; I hope that, encouraged now as ‘patriotism’, may remain a habit! But it won’t do any good, if it is not universal.
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Old 11-22-2021, 08:39 AM   #35 (permalink)
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16-year-old communist with 16 pound balls.
Yeah, thanks for the comment, Batlord, but quite possibly he was neither a communist nor brave: just a scared 16-year-old kid trying to keep his courage up by singing a song from his childhood.
_______________________________________________

David Aaronovitch, author of Voodoo Histories devotes one chapter to the mysterious death of Hilda Murrell in 1984. Entitled "A Very British Plot", the chapter describes the murder of this 78-year-old expert on roses who lived alone in a Shropshire suburb. Conspiracies abound because of the strange circumstances of her death and the fact that she was actively engaged in anti-nuclear activities. Did she die because she interrupted a clumsy search of her house by British Security Forces? That's what many think, including, presumably the band Attaco Decente:

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Her posthumous celebrity came quickly. The year 1985 saw two books published about her murder......a novel....three years later the band Attaco Decente recorded a song about her murder entitled "The Rose Grower".
Maybe it hit the charts in Shropshire, but I don't think the song has had much impact elsewhere. I've certainly never heard of it until today:



My opinion: Just based on the band name, I was expecting a completely different genre, so the gentle plucking of the intro came as an agreeable surprise. Some nice flute in the song too, but a "story song" stands or falls by the way it tells its story.
The vocals strike me as a bit weak, failing to deliver on the anger inherent in the lines "they abducted her, knifed her to death" or "we will get the bastards" In fact, the topic of the song makes the flute interlude sound a little inappropriate, and the line "Roses growers beware" is right on the edge of laughable imo.
In all, this is a very British song about a very British plot: despite the violence of her death, the song seems at pains not to offend, reluctant to intrude on the gentle rural harmony that has been the norm of Shropshire life for hundreds of years I suspect.
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