Monday, June 15, 2015
George Ezra (above) is a Brit from Bristol, and is a singer with a voice that seems weathered and worn by far more years than its owner has lived. He is 22. You can hear it and see him in the music video for his top ten song 'Budapest',
I can't get my head around the fact that someone born in 1993 is today 22 years old!
Continuing in a vein musically, I recently started listening to some Anton Bruckner symphonies, prompted by nothing more mundane than talking to someone one day about the south Bronx, and what a horrible stretch of road the Bruckner Expressway is...
At his most heavy-handed, Bruckner may make you feel like you are a helpless passenger in a small, flimsy car, as enormous juggernauts bear down on your tail at hysterical speeds, on the Bruckner Expressway; if you are screaming, no one can hear you, because of the deafening roar of pistons, gasoline, sparks, shocks, thundering wheels...
I was most surprised in listening to Bruckner again, that many themes came up that I would have almost certainly have said were the work of Mahler.
And I also did not know until today that a Bruckner symphony which he did not think was coherent enough, has been designated his Symphony # 0... For what it's worth, here are the opening bars...:
Monday, June 08, 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Irish voters on May 22nd voted yes to extend the right to marry to same sex couples, by a two-to-one majority.
Several people contacted me to show their approval, to say "isn't that progressive?" and so on. But I had to point out that the referendum was held in the Irish Republic. I am from Northern Ireland, which is a separate jurisdiction. There are two Irelands on the island:
If that doesn't clear things up, the Guardian put it like this:
After Friday’s historic referendum, in which the Irish Republic’s voters endorsed same-sex marriage by 2-1, Northern Ireland remains the last country in western Europe where LGBT couples are barred from getting married.
So there! Had they been voting in the referendum on Friday, it's likely that a majority of voters in Northern Ireland would have voted no.
Monday, May 25, 2015
Thursday, May 14, 2015
On the shores of Chesapeake Bay lie many fine fishing ports and sleepy harbors, but none so misfortunate as …Onancock. What an albatross to drag with one into the wider, tittering and scornful world! It's bad enough that cock is involgved, but Onan as well — Onan of course, being in one origin, the Old Testament figure who, well, hmm, became very dead after displeasing God with an act that some (the Catholic Church, for example) equated with masturbation, but more accurately, seems to have been coitus interruptus...
Anyway, in an age when no one reads, perhaps it's safe enough to admit to coming from Onancock, without provoking snickering. If you're an... Onancockian? Onancockette? Onancockney*?? you can look at the above map and think "others are less fortunate than I..."
For no reason at all, this made me think of the story of the man on the train that was passing through a station in Scotland. The traveler, wondering if this station was his destination, leaned out of a window and querulously called out to someone on the platform, "Leatherhead?" and the someone roared back: "Bum face!"
* Onancocker? Onancockist? Onancockman/woman? Onancockerel? Onancockonian?!
Wednesday, May 06, 2015
James Garner died yesterday. He was a one of those tall, dark, strong, square-jawed Hollywood actors whom we've all seen, but whose performances were all the more memorable for the complex vulnerabilities he allowed to show through that tough exterior.
I saw one of his best, quirkiest performances late last year: Mister Buddwing (1966). The above still shows the stammering Garner, afflicted with amnesia, meeting Angela Lansbury playing a louche woman. The movie is a gem, filmed in black and white, and the plot keeps twisting to the very last scene.
Friday, April 24, 2015
My, look how authentically real his cigarette smoke is!
What happened was: someone with a marker had tagged or graffitied the above poster. Then a less-than-zealous subway cleaning person had hit the graffiti with a solvent, but only to smear and obscure... When I came along, it was still wet, so I swirled it into a cloud of smoke.
Friday, April 17, 2015
Mercedes House is a hot new residential property in Hell's Kitchen. The building has a series of terraces on the diagonal part of what would look like a visit from Zorro if seen from a helicopter or plane: a huge inverted 'Z'.
Why didn't the architect go all the way and make the building in the shape of the tri-pointed logo of its namesake car seller next door? Musing on this, but finding no answers, last night I walked around and peered in the windows of Mercedes of Manhattan, a majestic folly to the magnificence of fast, beautiful, cars.
Seeing that discreet little 'V12' made me want to run inside, open the hood, and then watch and listen while someone turned the ignition key, pressed the starter, or perhaps it's best expressed as turned it on...
Then I had to go, but not before noticing that the car's companion, also in black, had its own little silver letters and numbers, but slightly longer: V12 TURBO
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Friday, April 10, 2015
This is Sarah Grand. Who? I hear all two and a half of my readers crying out, thirsting to know more about this largely forgotten Irish feminist and writer.
Sarah Grand was born Frances Elizabeth Bellenden Clarke, in Donaghadee, County Down. She was married at 16,to a man 21 years her senior. Her experience of marriage, from her own teenage immaturity through childbirth and ultimately sexual estrangement from her bizarre husband, as well as what she learned from him during his career as a military doctor about sexually transmitted infections, led to her most successful novel, The Heavenly Twins, in 1893.
She changed her name to Sarah Grand, she toured the U.S., and here is why I put 'meow!' as my headline.
A copy of The Heavenly Twins rests in the New York Public Library: it is a copy once owned by Mark Twain. As he turned the pages, America's first and greatest funny man grew increasingly frustrated with la grande Grand, and scribbled copious notes in the margins, culminating with the comment: "A cat could do better literature than this."