Saturday, June 30, 2007
a New York Times visit to O'Connor's home in Milledgeville, Ga, also birthplace of Oliver Hardy...
Posted by Peter at 7:45 AM
Friday, June 29, 2007
He hangs hangers in a
cupboard left to right
the wind chime's
soft memory gonging
across his neck,
Chico Hamilton style—
a handswidth or two more or less, unstrapping
the braces, snapping brasses
hinged ruler with oil, rarely looking up,
even at those shivers of bleached
green leaf piercings
where other people move
through the light more or less as he does
but rarely with that quadrant over-the-shoulder-
narrating parrot or hummingbird
or offshore bee would follow so close
knowing neither right nor left
nor above nor below
at the end of a pineal stalk
like the third eye of realism
squinting through the low cloud.
Posted by Peter at 4:03 PM
The Electronic Spirit of Erik Satie
"The presence and guidance of Satie's spirit was never more felt than in the programming and playing of the Moog synthesizer. All the wave forms, modulation mixes, oscillations and permutations have never been duplicated since, and the Moog player, who was entirely unfamiliar with the instrument at the time, has no recollection of having done the album whatsoever!!!!!!!"
Posted by Peter at 9:30 AM
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
"Cantaria is a library of 'bardic' folk songs, mostly from Ireland, Scotland, and England, intended to be an educational tool for propagating the living song tradition through passing on folk songs (old and new) in a medium where far-flung singers can share songs as easily as if we were all circled up around a fire. So, come join us; there is always room for one more singer and always time for one more song.
Cantaria is unique among lyric web sites because almost every song in our archive has an accompanying MP3 format recording of the song being performed. The library currently contains lyrics for over 251 songs, contributed by a variety of singers, including Andy Irvine and Andy M Stewart. See What's New for recently added songs."
Posted by Peter at 10:46 PM
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
William Empson on Pascal's Wager from Frank Kermode's review of "Against the Christians", the second volume of John Haffenden's vast & very enjoyable biography--
"He argued, while more or less inventing the mathematics of Probability, that since the penalties for disbelief in Christianity are infinitely horrible and enduring, therefore, if there is any probability, however tiny (but finite) that the assertions of religion are true, a reasonable man will endure any degree of pain and shame on earth (since this is known beforehand to be finite) on the mere chance that the assertions are true. The answer is political, not mathematical; this argument makes Pascal the slave of any person, professing any doctrine, who has the impudence to tell him a sufficiently extravagant lie. A man ought therefore to reject such a calculation; and I feel there has been a strange and unpleasant moral collapse during my own lifetime, because so many of our present literary mentors not only accept it but talk as if that was a moral thing to do. Clearly, if you have reduced morality to keeping the taboos imposed by an infinite malignity, you can have no sense of personal honour or of the public good."
Posted by Peter at 2:42 PM
the joys of ECM records...
"In his biography of Jarrett, Ian Carr explains that the pianist spent much of the gig vamping, just waiting for the others to come in. In this vacancy, Carr claims, can be heard the imminent disintegration of the group. Well, I was happy to wait indefinitely, the longer the better in fact, because the infinitely prolonged suspense makes the climactic reintegration of the group—with just five minutes of the second side left to run—all the more intense. And the waiting, in any case, never felt like waiting; it felt like being where you wanted to be, never wanting to leave, but still curious to know who else might turn up, what else might happen. I never have this feeling when the Jarrett-Peacock-DeJohnette trio play standards, but I get it every moment when they play those surging, tidal originals: "Sun Prayer," "Dancing," "Endless," "Lifeline," "Desert Sun," "The Cure." Except that's not quite true, because the greatest moments of all occur when a standard turns into a Jarrett original, when "I Fall in Love Too Easily" smoulders into "The Fire Within" (on the fourth CD of At the Blue Note). These transitions express in miniature the larger contribution of ECM to musical history, as the accumulated riches of a tradition give way to something that lies beyond it, new, but waiting to be discovered. At the risk of projecting a listener's response onto the music's creators, it seems to me that an unspoken assumption underwrites many of the most successful ECM recordings: namely, that by the late twentieth century you could only make jazz if you were simultaneously trying to find a way out of it..."
Posted by Peter at 9:04 AM
The Dark Side of the Gilded Age
"The concentration of wealth is not quite at the Gilded Age chasm, but we’re getting there. Back then Americans could not imagine a fairer society; inequality was continuous with the unequal past. Today we can remember a fairer past—the New Deal era from the 1940s to 1970 saw real family incomes double, high marginal tax rates on the rich, and unions representing more than a third of the private-sector workforce. Memory is a radical organ in today’s America. Between 1950 and 1970 for every additional dollar earned by the bottom 90 percent of the income distribution, the top .01 percent earned $162. Today, the top .01 percent earn $18,000. Gilded Age Americans lived before equality. We live after equality. Outrage over business rule and the un-American concentration of wealth and power spurred the early twentieth-century reform movement known as Progressivism. Corporate contributions to political campaigns were outlawed. Monopolies were broken up. Progressive income and inheritance taxes were passed. Will history repeat itself? The Gilded Age has repeated itself; why not the Progressive Era? That should be the question decided by the 2008 election..."
Posted by Peter at 8:42 AM