Triumph of the West 1

When I was a boy I read something about the ancient Romans which made a tremendous impression upon me. Here in Rome they used to hold ceremonies which they called triumphs… For them a triumph was a celebration held when a victorious general came back from the wars. On his return from his campaign they would put him in a chariot put a wreath of victory on his brows and then draw him through the streets in honour to the Capitol where the senate would receive him… But the Romans were a cautious and superstitious people and to avert the malice of the gods and to remind their general just who he was they put somebody else in the chariot too, a slave. From time to time the slave would lean forward and say to the general “Remember, remember thou too are human”.

Near the start of his masterly television essay on certain aspects of the history of the last 3,000 years the historian John M Roberts speaks these words. One can’t help thinking that his reference to this historical detail and his personalisation of it suggest that he, as a historian, is reminding himself of his lack of omniscience. His work is the next best thing to omniscience as suggested in AJP Taylor’s review of Roberts’ History of the World

It is unbelievably accurate in its facts and almost incontestable in its judgements.

This 1st episode (again I will admit now that I don’t have a complete set) really stands by itself as being the argument in a nutshell. The series is in classical essay form with the introduction stating all that is going to follow in brief then subsequently the deeper analysis in largely chronological sequence and finally the reiteration of the main message and if there is to be any futurology it should happen at this point too. I can’t remember whether there is or not but I expect it’s there.

There’s a lot of very powerful archive footage – only short snippets for obvious budgetary reasons and in most cases that’s all you need to keep the flow of the narrative going. It’s about 50 minutes long, the opening and closing credits are a bit clipped and at 160Mb it may take a short moment to load.

Posted in quotations, triumph of the west | Tagged , | Leave a comment

brasil 2015

last year i mentioned that i was going to brazil and that i would post something relevant afterwards. it’s taken a long time mainly because the source material i brought back was very limited. a lot of the time i didn’t want to take my camera around with me as it’s an old-fashioned digital still camera that allows you to take short videos about 1.30 maximum length. well eventually we had a reunion night last week and so at the last minute i downloaded the scraps of footage i’d brought back and cobbled them together. there’s a dark middle section which is just from the window of the flat where i was staying and i cut a lot of that bit out although maybe i’ll do a remix sometime with more of that in.

the opening shots are from a football tournament we participated in on june 22nd 2014 and there is some better quality footage of this event which was shown on norwegian tv and that’s below.

Posted in football | Tagged | Leave a comment

When I Was 4

Here’s the next year of the Rock And Roll Years series. I better confess now that I don’t have all of these. In fact I’m missing some of the ones that I would most like to have in particular those that cover the period when British bands first made their extraordinary impact. In addition some of the episodes I have aren’t complete. This one pretty much is except I’m missing the closing credits. I’m sure you can live without those. In fact you can probably live without the final act. I would hope so anyway.

For 1957 I went through some of the films released that year. This time I’m going to cover some of the albums released in the year in question. I’m taking my information from the 1958 albums category page in wikipedia. Not a definitive list no doubt but an interesting and thorough enough work in progress. My aim is to concentrate on those albums which I have in vinyl. I’m sure I could dig through my collection and find albums missing from the list in my collection, but I must say I would be happy to get hold of any of the albums that are covered in the list, pretty expensive items some of them must be.

Firstly there are 2 great Miles Davis albums, Milestones and Porgy and Bess. I’m discounting 1958 Miles because that shouldn’t be on the page as it wasn’t released in 1958.

Then Miles crops up again on the brilliant Cannonball Adderley album Somethin’ Else.

None of those 3 do I have on original releases from the 50s, but the next 2 I do.

Art Blakey‘s Jazz Messengers With Thelonious Monk. The title sort of says it all. The other musicians playing on the session are Bill Hardman on trumpet, Johnny Griffin on tenor saxophone and Jimmy “Spanky” DeBrest on double bass.

Finally there is The Modern Jazz Quartet at Music Inn Volume 2 which has Sonny Rollins as guest artist. My copy of this is not pristine, there’s a chunk of the front cover missing. Anyway this one shouldn’t really be there because although recorded in 1958 it wasn’t released until 1959. Well I suppose the whole premise is rather arbitrary. Really does it matter?

Just enjoy the programme.

Posted in jazz, news, rock n roll years, vinyl | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

American Civil War Reprise

This follows from my recent post of February 8th…

Sherman’s memoirs are the subjects and facts of history as it happened – the affair of generals and presidents although lesser mortals are recorded and considered also. But please allow me to record some views from more of a social history angle. I do so in the form of quotations from a book containing the writings of Walt Whitman who valiantly worked in the army hospitals looking after war casualties. Here are a few quotations which convey the reality of what I consider to be the first modern war. Modern in terms of use of technology and of public relations. A war that created a nation/society that still rules us in terms of power of suggestion – some weird mixture of Silicon Valley and Hollywood.

FIFTY HOURS LEFT WOUNDED ON THE FIELD
Here is a case of a soldier I found among the crowded cots in the Patent-office. He likes to have some one to talk to, and we will listen to him. He got badly hit in his leg and side at Fredericksburgh that eventful Saturday, 13th of December. He lay the succeeding two days and nights helpless on the field, between the city and those grim terraces of batteries; his company and regiment had been compell’d to leave him to his fate. To make matters worse, it happen’d he lay with his head slightly down hill, and could not help himself. At the end of some fifty hours he was brought off, with other wounded, under a flag of truce. I ask him how the rebels treated him as he lay during those two days and nights within reach of them—whether they came to him—whether they abused him? He answers that several of the rebels, soldiers and others, came to him at one time and another. A couple of them, who were together, spoke roughly and sarcastically, but nothing worse. One middle-aged man, however, who seem’d to be moving around the field, among the dead and wounded, for benevolent purposes, came to him in a way he will never forget; treated our soldier kindly, bound up his wounds, cheer’d him, gave him a couple of biscuits and a drink of whiskey and water; asked him if he could eat some beef. This good secesh, however, did not change our soldier’s position, for it might have caused the blood to burst from the wounds, clotted and stagnated. Our soldier is from Pennsylvania; has had a pretty severe time; the wounds proved to be bad ones. But he retains a good heart, and is at present on the gain. (It is not uncommon for the men to remain on the field this way, one, two, or even four or five days.)

Wednesday, February 4th.—Visited Armory-square hospital, went pretty thoroughly through wards E and D. Supplied paper and envelopes to all who wish’d—as usual, found plenty of men who needed those articles. Wrote letters. Saw and talk’d with two or three members of the Brooklyn 14th regt. A poor fellow in ward D, with a fearful wound in a fearful condition, was having some loose splinters of bone taken from the neighborhood of the wound. The operation was long, and one of great pain—yet, after it was well commenced, the soldier bore it in silence. He sat up, propp’d—was much wasted—had lain a long time quiet in one position (not for days only but weeks,) a bloodless, brown-skinn’d face, with eyes full of determination—belong’d to a New York regiment. There was an unusual cluster of surgeons, medical cadets, nurses, &c., around his bed—I thought the whole thing was done with tenderness, and done well. In one case, the wife sat by the side of her husband, his sickness typhoid fever, pretty bad. In another, by the side of her son, a mother—she told me she had seven children, and this was the youngest. (A fine, kind, healthy, gentle mother, good-looking, not very old, with a cap on her head, and dress’d like home—what a charm it gave to the whole ward.) I liked the woman nurse in ward E—I noticed how she sat a long time by a poor fellow who just had, that morning, in addition to his other sickness, bad hemorrhage—she gently assisted him, reliev’d him of the blood, holding a cloth to his mouth, as he coughed it up—he was so weak he could only just turn his head over on the pillow.

May ’63.—As I write this, the wounded have begun to arrive from Hooker’s command from bloody Chancellorsville. I was down among the first arrivals. The men in charge told me the bad cases were yet to come. If that is so I pity them, for these are bad enough. You ought to see the scene of the wounded arriving at the landing here at the foot of Sixth street, at night. Two boat loads came about half-past seven last night. A little after eight it rain’d a long and violent shower. The pale, helpless soldiers had been debark’d, and lay around on the wharf and neighborhood anywhere. The rain was, probably, grateful to them; at any rate they were exposed to it. The few torches light up the spectacle. All around—on the wharf, on the ground, out on side places—the men are lying on blankets, old quilts, &c., with bloody rags bound round heads, arms, and legs. The attendants are few, and at night few outsiders also—only a few hard-work’d transportation men and drivers. (The wounded are getting to be common, and people grow callous.) The men, whatever their condition, lie there, and patiently wait till their turn comes to be taken up. Near by, the ambulances are now arriving in clusters, and one after another is call’d to back up and take its load. Extreme cases are sent off on stretchers. The men generally make little or no ado, whatever their sufferings. A few groans that cannot be suppress’d, and occasionally a scream of pain as they lift a man into the ambulance. To-day, as I write, hundreds more are expected, and to-morrow and the next day more, and so on for many days. Quite often they arrive at the rate of 1000 a day.

Oh you who philosophize…

Posted in angels, literature, quotations | Tagged , | Leave a comment

1863 A Sherman To Be

I’m in the middle of reading William Tecumseh Sherman‘s Memoirs Volume 1 and it put me in mind of the cards we used to get as kids in the early 60s. I think they were from bubblegum packets. They were pretty brutal pictures and it seems amazing now that something like that could be given away with sweets, though they were educational in a growing up sort of way. There was another series about a Martian invasion. I particularly remember one of the pictures being of a boy watching in horror as his dog is burnt to death by the raygun of a Martian.

Some time ago I found some of the American Civil War pictures on the internet and thanks to whoever put those up. I’ve selected a few of the images to show you what I’m talking about. Look away if you’re squeamish.

civilwar1

civilwar2

civilwar3

civilwar4

civilwar5

Sherman’s account does not dwell on such lurid details. Commanding officers cannot afford to be squeamish. For him it was a job that had to be done and his only interest was to make sure that it was done as well as he possibly could. Here is an excerpt from his account of the battle of Shiloh.

Then arose the severest musketry-fire I ever heard, and lasted some
twenty minutes, when this splendid regiment had to fall back. This
green point of timber is about five hundred yards east of Shiloh
meeting-home, and it was evident here was to be the struggle. The
enemy could also be seen forming his lines to the south. General
McClernand sending to me for artillery, I detached to him the three
guns of Wood’s battery, with which he speedily drove them back,
and, seeing some others to the rear, I sent one of my staff to
bring them forward, when, by almost providential decree, they
proved to be two twenty-four pound howitzers belonging to
McAlister’s battery, and served as well as guns ever could be.

This was about 2 p.m. The enemy had one battery close by Shiloh,
and another near the Hamburg road, both pouring grape and canister
upon any column of troops that advanced upon the green point of
water-oaks. Willich’s regiment had been repulsed, but a whole
brigade of McCook’s division advanced beautifully, deployed, and
entered this dreaded wood. I ordered my second brigade (then
commanded by Colonel T. Kilby Smith, Colonel Smart being wounded)
to form on its right, and my fourth brigade, Colonel Buckland, on
its right; all to advance abreast with this Kentucky brigade before
mentioned, which I afterward found to be Rousseau’s brigade of
McCook’s division. I gave personal direction to the twenty-four
pounder guns, whose well-directed fire first silenced the enemy’s
guns to the left, and afterward at the Shiloh meeting-house.

Rousseau’s brigade moved in splendid order steadily to the front,
sweeping every thing before it, and at 4 p.m. we stood upon the
ground of our original front line; and the enemy was in full
retreat.

Posted in fire, quotations | Tagged | Comments Off on 1863 A Sherman To Be

Newcomers part 3

The last episode of The Newcomers ties it all up and ends with a birth. It’s shorter than the first 2 episodes and comes in at just over 40 minutes. The ending I have is a bit abrupt but I’m not sure what you could have followed it by anyway. Ultimately it’s all I’ve got and if there was any more only time will tell as far as I’m concerned. Sorry I can’t be bothered to capture any stills and add them to this post, sheer laziness on my part. It’s not that I don’t care, I’m just tired that’s all. Too many bortsch parties.

Anyway after about 40 or so seconds into the film there’s some good shots from the top of Clifton Heights which at that time must have been under construction. See here for a bit about the history of that building. Nothing much has changed in those 50 years except for the vehicles.

At 7:12 the advert on the bus reads

Butlins Minehead Open-Day Visits

And at 12:10 you can watch a man with a cigarette terrify a child so that she disappears outside a telephone kiosk that is there no longer.

At 25:34 some of the newspaper headlines read

BRITISH CLUB IN CYPRUS WRECKED

OLD TIN BEEF STARTED TYPHOID

and then immediately afterwards a woman with 7 dogs only one of which is on a lead walk across a street. Ah those were different times. I like to think that back then the ladies all studied the rules of verse and the poets rolled their eyes.

Posted in film | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

gig on saturday 17th january

it’s been a while since i put up a poster for a gig. it’s not that i haven’t been doing any gigs i just haven’t really worked too hard at either producing posters or even if i’ve done that posting them on the internet. but rosie’s sent me this one tonight and so i thought i’d represent it for the good of the community because this is a good cause gig. i’ll say no more. i will be playing with rosalind moreno-parra. she will be singing, i’ll play guitar and carola hengstenberg will play violin. it works pretty well. carola’s only been playing improvised music for the last 6-8 months but she’s a very accomplished violinist with a beautiful tone and actually she’s a natural improviser as it turns out – very good ear and sense of melody – so if you can make it to see us (about 9pm i believe though i can’t guarantee that’s right – from experience these multi-act events can be chaotic) it will not be in vain.
winterstock2

Posted in gigs, music | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Bendicule

Here’s something I recorded on Christmas Day this year. A 5 minute guitar improvisation looped. It’s my final comment on the year but tells us nothing new.

Play

I happen to be reading a book Lives of Roman Christian Women at the moment. For my seasonal offering this year here is the prayer of a remarkable woman, Macrina, which comes from the day of her death in about 380 CE.

You O Lord have freed us from the fear of death
You have made the end of this life to be the beginning of our true life.
You allow our bodies to rest for a time in sleep and wake us up again at the last trumpet.
You have given in trust to the earth our earthly bodies which you have shaped with your own hand.
You have restored what you have given, transforming what is mortal and shapeless in us by means of immortality and beauty.
You have redeemed us from the curse of the law and from sin, becoming both for us.
You have crushed the heads of the dragon which seized us in its jaws, dragging us through the yawning gulf of disobedience.
You have prepared the way for the resurrection, smashing down the gates of hell, and have destroyed the one who had power over death.
You have given as a token to those who fear you the sign of the holy cross so that we can destroy the enemy and bring stability to our lives.
God eternal, at whom I threw myself from the moment I left my mother’s womb.
You whom my soul has loved with all its strength, you to whom I dedicated my flesh and my soul from my youth until this moment, give me as companion a bright angel who will take me by the hand and lead me to the place of refreshment where flows the water of repose in the bosom of the holy fathers.
You have cut through the flame of the fiery sword and allowed the man who was crucified with you and who threw himself on your mercy to enter paradise.
Remember me, too, in your kingdom when I am crucified with you, I who out of fear of you have nailed down my flesh and have feared your judgements.
Do not let the terrifying chasm separate me from your chosen ones.
Do not let the jealous one block my way.
Do not let my sin be revealed before your eyes, if I have sinned in word or deed or thought, led astray by the weakness of my nature.
You who have power on earth to forgive sins, forgive me so that I may draw breath.
Grant that I may come into your presence when I shed my body and that my soul, holy and without blemish, will be received into your hands like incense before your face.

Posted in angels, music, quotations | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Newcomers Part 2

The 2nd episode of The Newcomers is again well worth a watch for a number of reasons. One of the main of which for me is the ability to see the streets I wander round today as they looked 50 years ago. The sequence that starts at 1:20 passes at 1:33 the house where I live. If you pause there a small boy is just going past the house at that point. The milkman is about to deliver. As the car drives along the road there are a total of 5 cars parked outside houses. Any time of the day now that you drove down there now there would be over a hundred. For a couple of minutes the camera takes us past the streets that I walk sometimes of an evening. Here’s a still which shows one viewpoint where I often pause to look over to Dundry hill and ponder on the distance and the weather fronts that usually come up that way. Once I took tripod and camera and filmed at night for quite a long time. I believe a moon was involved. Sadly I’ve never found and looked at that footage. This is one of the sightings of the building that I currently work in. In fact I spend a frustratingly large number of hours there at the present.

n2_1

And here’s a distant glance of another house I once lived at which is in the film at 7:39. That was between the years 1999 to 2001. You hope all your years are good some better than others you might hope I think those were good years in retrospect.

n2_2

The other sequence that grabs me most in this episode starts at 34:25 and is a panoramic sweep taken from the topmost point of The Paragon which pans right to left from Clifton Suspension Bridge to Clifton Wood again passing the place I work which is pictured below. Now I come to think of it, it does certainly look like a prison. Well originally it was a prison for dried tobacco leaves I suppose, but let’s face it they weren’t sentient enough to know that it was prison, life had already lost its savour. I can get to that though. You know there are different types of reality and sometimes the paler, blander ones are fundamentally better.

n2_3

The final quarter of the episode features heavily the building I worked in before the current one and there’s a still of that below. Actually they’re both pretty decent places to work in. They’re both historical buildings which counts for something to me. You get that element of history that doesn’t come with a modern building unless it’s a top design modern building.

n2_4

And finally here’s the episode itself – it’s nearly 50 minutes long.

Posted in film | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

surd rime

Here’s a couple of tracks from the new neureille album surd rime. I meant to do a lot more with it but sadly I’ve not felt that I had enough time and space to do all those things such as…

Promotion, distribution, dissemination, application, phosphorence, stability, strata

In particular I was supposed to organise an album launch party that could have been a starting place a building block foundation or something of that sort. Instead just 2 tracks from the thing. 2 bits of stuff which I can no longer judge. That’s how it should be I suppose.

Firstly Caspian Gates which is a potted history of Alexander the Great (356-323 BC). It doesn’t tell you a great deal about him sorry about that. But if you’re interested it’s fairly easy to find out. One of the interesting things about the Caspian Gates – the gates that is and not the song – is that nobody is sure exactly where they are geographically or at least where the mythological site of the gates is.

Caspian Gates

And the other song is called Love On A Moving Platform which is a song about moving platforms and love. Adolf Hitler had a dream about leading his country. It came true. So not all dreams that come true are good things. Surely some are but possibly not.

Love On A Moving Platform

If you’d like to buy either of these tracks or indeed the whole album or other albums come to that you can do so by going to the Buy Stuff page which is on the menu at the top of the page. I can’t say fairer than that can I?

The 2 songs feature as well as myself Paul Wigens on drums Mike Mulholland on bass guitar Rosalind Moreno-Parra and Jane Thomason on backing vocals.Thanks again to all those musicians and the fantastic work they put in with very little direction from myself.

Posted in anthropomorphism, music | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment