MCMLVII

the next episode of the rock ‘n’ roll years covers 1957. i’ve put together a list of some of the classic films of that year. the choice is fairly arbitrary and it could well be that i haven’t actually seen some of those that i’ve listed. only one of them i think is mentioned in the programme. it’s not difficult to guess which. i only have dvds for 3 of them. at least i think i have. if i don’t have them now i once had. you can have a look through and guess which those are.

1957
director title
akira kurosawa throne of blood
ingmar bergman the seventh seal
david lean the bridge on the river kwai
richard thorpe jailhouse rock
john sturges gunfight at the ok corral
stanley donen funny face
delmer daves 3:10 to yuma
sidney lumet 12 angry men
lewis gilbert the admirable crichton
jack arnold the incredible shrinking man
charles chaplin a king in new york
federico fellini nights of cabiria
otto preminger saint joan
george cukor wild is the wind
luchino visconti white nights
yasujirō ozu tokyo twilight

ok i’ll put you out of your misery though if you knew me well and knew your films you might have got that. it’s the kurosawa the bergman and the fellini. 3:10 to yuma i remember watching with my brother on tv it was a great film. i haven’t watched the remake to be frank i’d rather see the original again which i don’t think i’ve seen since that time on tv which was probably back in the 60s.

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tri

Earlier this year I wrote in a post that I was determined to write a song in Esperanto before the end of the year. I haven’t done so yet, but I’ve gone a certain way along the path in recording another improvisation in which I make heavy use of numbers 1 to 10 in the said language and I’ve given it an Esperanto title. I mentioned a couple of months earlier that I was reading a certain book by Mr Wells and the Esperanto language does feature to a certain extent in the book where it is used as a symbol of a posited future where peace is a possibility.

Also enveloped within the music-scape is the traditional song Scarborough Fair. I will be performing on Saturday at Lance and Libby Cross’s wedding anniversary party which will be a pleasure. My good friend Ant Noel and I will be running it in an open mic style. Including ourselves there should be also appearing Jane Thomason, Franny McGirr, Dan Ashby, Everton Hartley, Rosalind Moreno-Parra and probably some others. Whether I will get round to doing something like this piece is not definite. All I know for sure is that I will be playing my song Wishing Well at some point because it’s a particular favourite of Lance’s.

Then on Monday I’m supporting Jane for her album launch. For that occasion I will be doing a set accompanying Rosie with me and Everton on guitar. The 1st song on Jane’s new album was written after seeing a gig Rosie and I did last December just before Christmas at a tango milonga. I’m so pleased she did that it’s beautiful as is the whole album.

Here’s the latest improvisation. It’s the 3rd in a series and it’s a bit over 20 minutes long. Everything was recorded live.

estas nenio

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The Newcomers Part 1

About 15 years ago somebody my next door neighbour I think lent me a VHS tape which contained the 3 episodes of a documentary set in Bristol in the early 60s. It was directed by John Boorman who was working for the BBC at the time. Having 2 VHS machines I took a copy for myself then nearly a decade later I transferred it to DVD and decided to put it up on youtube in a series of episodes each about 10 minutes long. It took me a number of years to get the whole thing done. There was a particularly long gap about half way through when I thought that hardly anybody seemed interested and it was too much trouble to sort it out but I persevered and eventually many people thanked me for doing it and I even corresponded a bit with one of the grandchildren of the 2 main protagonists of the documentary. So when I decided to drop out of youtube I was a bit sorry that it would be no longer available for those who were glad of the opportunity to view it.

I’ve no idea if anyone has reinstated it on any social network video sharing platform but it seemed a good idea for me to host it on my own website. Nowadays it’s more practical to place films of some length on the web so I’m going to post it in the 3 original episodes. Here is episode 1 and I think it is possibly the best of the 3.

Please note that because it’s about 49 minutes long it may take a little while to load.

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Back to 1956

You can find this now on Youtube, I don’t know if my version is better but here it is anyway I hope you like it. I have most of this series from the 80s and I will try to work my way through it. For me it starts a couple of years after I was born so it is pertinently particularly poignant for it is the story of what was happening during my life and when it gets to the 60s sometimes it still seems a bit of a shock when you go through it all. It was impossible to make sense of it then and is maybe even more impossible to make sense of later.

One thing that is clear in this first episode of the series is how white-centric the early popular breakthrough of the music was although it was essentially the elements of black American music that made the whole thing so exciting to people. It’s not until near the end of the episode that the first black artist (Little Richard) features and the division between the all black band and the well-dressed white couples who make up the audience shows clearly that a crossover between the two worlds could not possibly be depicted on a popular film.

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there is no coming conflagration?

i like the way in my cd collection that my music nestles between different artists depending on which name i categorise myself under. with neureille i’m there between meshell ndegeocello and nico which seems pretty cool and then with robert vasey i snuggle between sharon van etten and ralph vaughan williams. so if i have to come up with another band name i’ll go for moling. that’s not too bad really. it’s easier to pronounce than my current effort,

one of the things i learnt today is that ralph vaughan williams set a number of verses by walt whitman to music dona nobis pacem for example. i also learnt that rvw fought during world war 1 having initially enlisted as a private/stretcher-bearer although he was old enough to have got dispensation. i’m reading 2 books at the moment 1 about ww1 which is hg wells’ mr britling sees it through which i’ve read before and is a good way of getting in to the mindset of what it was actually like back then and then there’s william t vollman’s book europe central which is reaching back to ww2 from the future but wtv is good at doing that.

if you look at certain factors leading up to 1914 and similarly to 1939 then both of these events seem inevitable. but at the time it was easy to have an optimistic faith in human progress that was unable to believe in the latent possibilities of horror. hopefully we’re not right now just entering a phase like that. all the 60 years of my life it’s seemed like it could happen pretty much just any time.

having also just finished reading philip k dick’s the man in the high castle which is about what would have happened if the axis powers had won ww2, i hope that this is not an omen but if it does happen then you read it first here, or if not i wrote it first here.

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Improvisation Number Dway

Here’s another this time shorter improvisation.

Window Pain

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Improvisation

Here is a live recorded session with something I’ve been experimenting with for a little while where I use a loop pedal to loop on vocals as well as guitar. It’s early days and it needs a bit more work and in particular I need to get out to some open mic nights and play it live here and there.

There’s about 12 and a half minutes of improvised jiggly bits firstly a version of a piece of mine which is called beech trunk for reasons which I have documented earlier (the film may have to be re-filmed). And then I capped that off with a spontaneous piece in D (carrying on in that vein) which I shall call On A Sunday Soon because that’s the only meaningful/recognisable lyric in the inclusion. Occasionally cars drive past outside and they add ambient textures of drive-past determination.

I am going to Brazil in a few days time and will try to bring some things back to share with those of you who are prepared for that sort of article.

There’s a fair bit of clapping/slapping in the recording which is my foot on the pedal of the loop pedal. I could do that quieter but I like to make it clear what’s happening to emphasise the live and spontaneous nature of the performance.

Improvisation

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is may a merry month?

I’m being very slow about the restoration of my videos but one that called out to be done was one which is called may which was found on a post dated March 14th 2012. I’ve restored it to the post and am duplicating here too as it’s more fitted to a May post. I thought of it for I was walking past the very spot earlier today where I filmed it. The scene was much quieter than is shown in the film. I think when I filmed it, it was much warmer, maybe it was later in the month.

I’ve got a pile of videos I want to put up just need to get a production line working. If I can get another 2 up before the end of May then I will be doing well with all the other things I have to do this month.

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one plus one

my first post youtube step towards moving image representation begins here with a bbc archive clip of jean-luc godard which is the item i was in the process of trying to upload when the whole thing changed for me. the first in my efforts to temper ubiquity with freedom. this wouldn’t actually have been particularly the first choice if i’d thought about it but circumstances have decided in its primary purpose and who am i to gainsay that? there is a revolutionary emphasis that fits here.

i will try to go back through all the old posts and substitute youtube embedding or links with pure video of a simple html code embedment. but this may take a while especially as i possibly don’t have any of the original any longer in which case some may have disappeared forever which is i always think more beautiful anyway.

there is a bit of the rolling stones but i’m not intending to make much of that it’s not very long. there’s an another annoying interpolation from george melly (see my post on pasolini’s medea which is one of those videos i’m talking about in the previous paragraph). it comes right at the start. godard is not one of my favourite film directors but i think you’ve got to respect him for what he gave to film style and also to the concept of film as dialectic.

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the people vs youtube

I’ve just deleted my entire youtube and google account which has wiped out some 7 or 8 years’ worth of work and a whole load of videos a lot of which had a lot of hits. Not that my own stuff was particularly popular, I didn’t have any video that I’d made which had more than 1,000 views. The most was about 890 or so. But some of the videos had thousands upon thousands of views and there was stuff that a lot of people appreciated over the years. It’s sad but youtube have pissed me off so much that I couldn’t take any more. I don’t know what this means, but sometimes it’s nice to be so destructive. Google has instantly wiped everything and within a few short minutes their search engine has eliminated the links that would have been there mere moments ago. Probably some other search engines will try to cling on to the past.

Basically it has become some sort of totaliarianism which relates to a lot of the ability to manipulate the masses which is the dark side of the world wide web, moving nearer and nearer to the concept of Big Brother whereby we are forced into conforming to the set pattern.

The only alternative I can contemplate at the moment is to gradually restore my videos within this blog screening the films myself. It won’t have the reach that the ubiquity of youtube has provided but it will be clean and more and more that becomes more important to me than the broader audience.

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