English Music

A land without music? Parry, Holst and Elgar to you, Schmitz Of all the wounding things that foreigners have said about the English people, it is hard to think of an insult more savage than that directed at this country in 1904. They have called us perfidious. They have called us a nation of shopkeepers. They have said that we are in love with our nannies. Nowadays they tell us that we are the fattest, drunkest people in Europe, and that our children leave primary school with the vaguest understanding of reading and writing. At all these barbs, we just take a deep breath. But when a German critic called Oscar Adolf Hermann Schmitz composed a dithyramb of abuse of the English cultural scene, just over 100 years ago, he included a jibe from which we have never really recovered. It stung. It made us blink like puppies suddenly kicked, and until now we have never had the nerve to fire back at Schmitz -- because we have a terrible feeling that he may have been on to something. England, he said, is Das Land Ohne Musik. Since this is nowadays -- thanks to Labour's abolition of modern languages -- a land without German, I will translate. England is the country without music, said Schmitz, and in his verdict on our attainments he was, for a German, quite mild. In the 1840s, the German poet Heinrich Heine had been on a tour of England, and had soaked up quite a lot of the early Victorian cultural scene: the wife crunching something out on the upright piano, the chap in whiskers yodelling over her shoulder. advertisementTeufel! said the German. Mein Gott! "These people have no ear either for rhythm or music and their unnatural passion for piano playing and singing is all the more repulsive. Nothing on Earth is more terrible than English music," said the shell-shocked aesthete, "except English painting." And how have we reacted to these teutonic assaults, my friends? I am afraid we have responded with more or less complete acquiescence. We cough. We shuffle and we hang our heads. We look at the world's top composers, the real megastars, and in the first rank we see nothing but Germans or Austrians: Bach, Beethoven, Mozart. And when we get on to the second rank we find Wagner, Haydn, Rachmaninov, Shostakovitch, Mahler, Brahms, Verdi, Puccini, Mendelssohn and so on (extend the list as you like). Where are our lads? What was going on in this country from about 1700 to 1900? There may have been plenty of Thomas Hardy-style scraping of fiddles and stamping of feet, and there may have been plenty of peasant lasses hitching up their skirts and dancing round the barn. But where is it now? How much of it has been recorded and how many original English compositions, dating from that period could you expect to find in a record store in Berlin? It seems there was one chap called Thomas Linley, who died prematurely, in a boating accident, in 1777, and whose death was keenly lamented by Mozart. But it is stretching things to blame boating accidents for our failure to produce a first-rank composer from the entire romantic or classical period. In our despair we turn to the deep socio-economic explanations. Perhaps it was our usual vice of snobbery; perhaps the English did not esteem the composers of music in the way they were esteemed on the Continent. Perhaps our monarchs spent too much time hunting or rogering to think it worth sponsoring the creation of great art. Or perhaps we were simply too good at literature (where, of course, we have a series of heavyweight champs), and too blessed in our freedom of expression, so that artistic temperaments did not feel the necessity to sublimate their feelings in music or painting. It sounds like a feeble excuse, doesn't it? Whatever the cause, we have tended to acknowledge the dreadful truth of Schmitz's insult, and in 1964 the critic Colin Wilson said that "much English music has the insipid flavour of a BBC variety orchestra playing an arrangement of a nursery rhyme". English music has been the subject of reflexive embarrassment, like Morris dancing. We associate it instinctively with corduroy-jacketed professors in sandals, their spectacles fixed with Sellotape, descanting madrigals before Sunday lunch. For children of my generation, the idea of great English composers was about as plausible as the idea of great English tennis players or the great English Austin Allegro. And as soon as you put it like that, you start to wonder whether we are, in fact, falling prey to the characteristic English vice, and doing ourselves down. Because at the very moment that Schmitz was composing his insult, English music was on the verge of an extraordinary inflorescence, an explosion of talent that we have tended to forget -- precisely because it is English. Parry and Vaughan Williams were founding the Royal College of Music, and leading British composers away from the German tendency, and there are many who would say that, for the rest of the 20th century, we left the Germans standing. This week in Dorchester on Thames, in the ancient and beautiful abbey with its perfect acoustics, I humbly invite you listen to the works of Vaughan Williams and Elgar and Holst, Britten and WH Reed, Algernon Ashton, Gerald Finzi and many others. There will be the BBC concert orchestra, Julian Lloyd Webber, and above all there will be the chance to test for yourselves the truth of what Schmitz had to say. Now I must be frank with you. I am just the president of this English Music Festival, the first and quite possibly the last of its kind. I cannot vouch for the genius of all the pieces you may hear. Though I love music, and though I passionately want more music in schools, and more hymns, I should confess that I once failed Grade One piano. I leave it to my colleague Simon Heffer, who raves about this stuff, and above all I hope to leave it to you to judge. But my proposition is that England overtook Germany, in music, at almost the moment Schmitz spoke; and even if you don't go for Vaughan Williams, let me end with a knock-down argument. What would you rather take from the 20th century: the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, or Nina Hagen's 99 Red Balloons? Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Schmitz.

204 thoughts on “English Music”

  1. There were two blokes walking down the street. One was a composer. The other hadn’t any money either.

    A change from Iraq, thank God. Yes Boris, you’re absolutely right – our Victorian composers knocked spots off those from the European jukeboxes of Germany and Austria. But I hate to say it, as we moved into the 20th century it was the French who were at the cutting edge. Some of the most glorious and inventive (at its time) music ever written came from the pens of Debussy, Milhaud, Poulenc, Messaien, Saint-Saens, Ravel, Fauré et al – and my top faves, Duruflé and Langlais.

    Then came Charles Aznavour. Oh dear. Merde.

  2. Well you can keep the Stones, actually.

    Hey, why has nobody thought of this: maybe the Germans were drowning all the English composers! Aha! Let Mozart weep; Salieri was probably just hoping it would put him off his game.

    And really, why must musical glory be considered a zero-sum game? If the English composers were great, well good for them. I, for one, don’t care who they were better than, nor to whom they were inferior. I’m an absolutist. I just want to know if they’re better than that godawful crap you people came out with in the early 20th Century.

  3. By the way, was that a joke or a typo? Nina Hagen‘s version of 99 Red Balloons would have been unmissable! As it is, Nena’s version sold several million copies, even though the original (in German) was better. An early lesson in how a pretty video can sell a song.

  4. I winced a bit at second tier Wagner and is Bach really up there with Mozart and Beethoven? I wouldn’t know ( and I passed grade six)
    I have to be honest and admit that this isn’t one of the finest of the Borisian genre. Recently the Gerrymandering article and the reply on the Chef scandal have been the highlights. On the other hand it slips down like crème caramel and I like the subject because in the end ,we are best . Elgar pulls off a last minute equaliser you might say.
    I have seen the repeats of the Ken Russell docu-drama and I think its the cello Concerto which accompanies a boy tearing across the Malvern Hills on his horse. I occasionally listen to the opening sequence on a Jacqueline du Pré recording and it always gives me goosebumps . You have to book a long time in advance for the Elgar at the Proms and we are justifiably proud of him.
    Thank you Boris for pointing the world domination of literature this “little England” has achieved, all on its own. We also invented modern democracy, trade unions, civil law , newspapers , football ( all good games in fact) and let us not forget our sweets. In France when you want a sherbet dib dab they try to palm you off with some awful creamy pastry; ugh. Why then do we need to ally ourselves so closely with our inferiors over the channel? Hmmmm?
    And annuver fing…
    Why is Boris being so nice to Hefferlump ? He was absolutely vile reviewing the Biography and made some exceedingly unpleasant personal remarks .I like Heeferlump`s writing but personally ,he is an odious mean spirited ugly dwarf who shines and polishes his resentment in a gloomy cave somewhere . Wagner would have been able to write a great opera of about the jealousy of the foul breathed dwarf for the handsome flaxen haired aryan hero whose popularity he cannot understand or emulate.

  5. Complaining about the opinions of someone of whom most of us have never heard, uttered before any of us were born. Yes, this is the stuff of Conservative values.
    The only person who shared your views on English music was Mr Ken Russell, in a program on the BBC some years ago.
    He was a wild-haired eccentric, with erudite but controversial views. Widely seen as a loose cannon.
    Obviously a different person. Unless, that is, you can get Glenda Jackson to utter the immortal lines “Oh my God, Gerald, shall I die?”.

  6. Newmania – “he is an odious mean spirited ugly dwarf who shines and polishes his resentment in a gloomy cave somewhere” oh you mean he’s a columnist. Yes Boris is the exception to every rule isn’t he?

    And Bach is most definately up there with the greats. Mind you I’ve always been into maths and beautiful music. Combine the two and I’m fascinated!

  7. I sat through a program billed as “Early English Music” which turned out to be two hours of the poems of Virginia Woolf sung to an increasingly bizarre set of cadences beginning with the tarantella and ending, if memory serves, with an empty house and what appeared to be an epileptic fit from the soloist. I could hardly blame her; felt much the same, myself.

  8. Well, newmania, the only way to get an earworm out of your brain is to replace it with another one that is equally irritating, so try this. Although if you find the idea of Kirk and Spock getting it on to be shocking, you may NEVER get this one out of your head.

  9. I like columnists ,but as I am pretending to work I cannot play the antidote.99 red balloons..tum tee tum tee…Lord save me from this purgatory

  10. William Schwenk Gilbert (now there’s a fine old Anglo Saxon name to ponder) bet you lot of columnists wish you could write stuff like what he did, part of a duo don’tyouknow.

    Sorry Boris,dont fink that Sullivan geezer could do your machinations justice.

  11. We are currently beating the Germans 5-1 in the Eurovision Song Contest.

    If we allow them to aunschluss with Austria it’s 5-2 to the UK.

    Then let them have the Czech Republic and the score remains 5-2.

    We could event let this new, more powerful Germany join forces with Italy and we still remain 5-4 in front.

  12. If one was to lower oneself to consider Messrs Lennon & McCartney or other popular musicians whose work shows musical complexity Brits would lead the field.

    You could make a very good case for American lyricists like Cole Porter having provided the mark to which others must aim during the early part of the twentieth century but I think, after the rise of the Beatles & the complete triumph of advertisers image in the US, we were ahead there too.

  13. This is totally off-topic, and we all have a healthy loathing of going off-topic, I know, but can anyone tell me why, when googling the words “Hello Cthulhu” one gets this article about Boris mowing down a Frenchman as a result?

    Did the Frenchman not have the Elder Sign on him or something? What are Boris’ plans this Walpurgis?

  14. If you attach a few million Canadians to a few million internet terminals I guess sooner or later one of them will google the words ‘Hello Cthulhu’, but who here wouldn’t have bet that raincoaster would be the one to do it.

  15. raincoaster 6.24, what the blue blazes has that got to do with Boris’s Rendition of ” I’m the very model of a modern Major General” from Gilbert & Sullivans “Sound of Music” at the English Music Festival. not

  16. Do you have any idea how long I wait between Cthulhu references? I’ve been saving these puppies up for years.

    It’s okay, I’ll sign off now.

    PS: bottled water. But I did have two of them, neat.

  17. raincoaster 7.32. Dunno! have you tried contacting Dan Brown, you might finish up wealthy, nice link though.

    “draco dormiens nunquam tittilandus”

  18. As some day it may happen that a victim must be found,
    I’ve got a little list–I’ve got a little list
    Of society offenders who might well be underground,
    And who never would be missed–who never would be missed!
    There’s the pestilential nuisances who write for autographs–
    All people who have flabby hands and irritating laughs–
    All children who are up in dates, and floor you with ’em flat–
    All persons who in shaking hands, shake hands with you like _that_–
    And all third persons who on spoiling tete-a-tetes insist–
    They’d none of ’em be missed–they’d none of ’em be missed!

    He’s got ’em on the list–he’s got ’em on the list;
    And they’ll none of ’em be missed–they’ll none of
    ’em be missed.

  19. I used to be in little band and we played “Shipbuilding “. I always thought it was Elvis Costello covering Tom Waits but no and au contraire.The only decent song Patty Smith ever did “Because the night” is a Bruce Springsteen song. My favourite Stranglers track was a cover of Burt Baccarach and Hal David`s , Walk on by. Originality is clearly over rated (and the lyricist gets little credit )
    I believe Lennon and Mc Cartney are now usually McCartney and Lennon . He is becoming a very silly old man is he not , Sir Paul. I doubt it will ever be Sullivan and Gilbert though.
    John Peel used to trail the best song ever to be played later in the show on one occasion it was “Great Balls of Fire ” I thought at the time this was an international agreement. Perhaps it should be.
    I think that West side story is the best show there will ever be but in a poll it was soundly beaten by Grease . Why ? Bob Dylan called Smokey Robinson Americas greatest Poet. …..

    Outside , I `m masquerading
    Inside , my hope is fading.

    Less is often more .

    I `ll shut up then.

  20. Off topic, this bit of American politics a couple of days ago, via MSNBC’s Keith Olberman:

      Olberman: …First thing this morning, the president signed into law the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which does away with habeas corpus, the right of suspected terrorists or anybody else to know why they have been imprisoned, provided the president does not think it should apply to you and declares you an enemy combatant. Further, the bill allows the CIA to continue using interrogation techniques so long as they do not cause what is deemed, quote, “serious physical or mental pain.”

    Olberman discusses the bill with Jonathan Turley, George Washington University Constitutional Law Professor.

      Olbermann: Does this mean that under this law, ultimately the only thing keeping you, I, or the viewer out of Gitmo is the sanity and honesty of the president of the United States?
      Turley: It does. And it’s a huge sea change for our democracy. The framers created a system where we did not have to rely on the good graces or good mood of the president. In fact, Madison said that he created a system essentially to be run by devils, where they could not do harm, because we didn’t rely on their good motivations.

      Now we must. And people have no idea how significant this is. What, really, a time of shame this is for the American system. What the Congress did and what the president signed today essentially revokes over 200 years of American principles and values.

      It couldn’t be more significant. And the strange thing is, we’ve become sort of constitutional couch potatoes. I mean, the Congress just gave the president despotic powers, and you could hear the yawn across the country as people turned to, you know, “Dancing with the Stars.” I mean, it’s otherworldly.

    I watch what happens in America, because a few years later the same sort of thing tends to happen in Britain – if it hasn’t already…

    OK, you can go back Elgar and Vaughan Williams now.

  21. not to mention that more people voted in the American Idol competition than voted in the last Presidential election. Perhaps they had more faith in the process.

    I love Olbermann, and quite often put his monologues on my blog. Crooks and Liars generally has the transcripts within a few hours.

  22. HABEUS CORPUS ( IN DT)

    People in Britain do not fully know, but should be told, just how dramatic a change it would be for criminal justice to be run by the EU.

    It would mean the introduction of the Corpus Juris, the Commission’s long-cherished project for a “European embryo criminal code”, based entirely and exclusively on continental inquisitorial principles, and completely jettisoning our own safeguards of individual liberty – like habeas corpus and trial by jury.

  23. Google “Miserable failure” …I have a feeling I mentioned this and if so sorry .

    I see Lord Phillips . Lord Chief Justice, considers that torture might be forgiveable. His lecture (as far as I can tell)is at a level far below the recent discussion here on the same subject
    .

  24. THis was BIG story about a month ago. I still can`t manage to master a link ( I have tried ) , despite the kind help of a glamorous not to say voluptuous assistant. The original article you can find by searching
    Torquil Dick-Erikson in DT site , but masses in the press.It is a rather more complex story than the headline and typical of everything I do not like about the EU.It is the inapplicability of different and arguably , equally good systems in different contexts that is the problem

    I badly need a trip to Canada to attend the RAINCOASTER school of advanced interconnectedness. Have a look at her blog today.(and every day)Its like a Catherine Wheel of idea sparks shooting of all over the place and heres me plodding along with piles of Newspapers.

    My time is past. I shall go far from this place and dwell in the land of Nod.

  25. Sorry
    1 Google miserable failure and you get:
    President of the United States – George W. Bush
    Following Raincoasters wierd links

    2Next post answers your query best as I can

    Loved your peasant girl post in Fortean. Ho ho. I said ..and Haha.

  26. newmania, I’m assuming you have a job. I have only a great deal of time on my hands. You decide which you’d prefer.

    In tangentially-related news, the Canadian Conservative party has thrown out a longstanding member, giving as the reason that he posted things they did not want on his blog. I had a link, but the damn computer blew up on me. It’s been doing that a lot lately.

  27. Newmainia – don’t beat yourself up about raincoasters blog Paul, she presents stuff mostly filched from elsewhere, as we all do, and has had a LOT more practice than…. possibly even Simon so she has to be good at it by now. I only know of Boris that fills a blog by sitting down at a desk with a blank page and pouring brilliance all over it out of his own head. And now that I feel breakfast coming up after that statement, I’ll go away and google later dudes.

  28. Boris does not do that. Boris writes articles for the Torygraph, etc, and Melissa posts them here (or sometimes “Boris Johnson’s Office” does, how mysterious).

    But there are referential blogs, issue blogs and personal journals although the lines between the three are often crossed. Still, those are the basic types. newmania, you and Boris have issue blogs, as does Steven. Jaq has a personal journal and I have essentially a referential blog; I’m more of an editor than a writer there, although my word count isn’t insubstantial.

  29. Um right. Kettle’s just boiled. Phew!

    (I didn’t realise cricket was an ‘issue’ – shows what I know about the game. It’s all balls and googlies to me. Over.)

  30. Cricket is definitely an issue where I am sitting. See the below exchange which I had not previously passed on to to Steven L .

    (Office colleague PAUL CHISHOLM) You can tell your mouthy friend that my prediction has more chance of coming true than his in accurate postings about England’s first game in the champions cup. Flintoff and Bell were the real run makers I do not think!!!

    Steven_L said:

    Newmania, your little friend is a traitor who recommends his readers back the aussies to win 5-0 this winter. Give him a clip around the ear from me.

    Guns at dawn ?

  31. Oh God don’t mention ‘bats’ – I’ve already managed to upset one pundit this week. Mind you with that one my continuing to breathe doesn’t help.

  32. How can Tchaikovsky not be up there in the first tier, waving the flag for mother Russia? Surely he deserves to be in their on grounds of the 1812 overture alone, is there a man in the whole of Europe whose heart does not feigntly stir at vague and imagined former glories the moment this kicks in?

    Still, you’re right, the biggest testament to Germanic musical demise is surely David Hasselhoff’s continued popularity there.

  33. Plees Pleeeeese, your all “doin me ead in” !!!!

    For starters, is Keith Olberman the same Keith Olberman that plays second fiddle for the New York Symphony Orchestra,have I lost the plot somewhere?.

    It wasn’t till newmania started his recitative, “It would mean the introduction of Corpus juris”, Blah,Blah,Blah, from G&S’s Trial By Jury, that I knew I was in the right blog.

    When I’ve had a cup of tea and a nice piece of cake, as Aunt Sally would say to Worzel Gummidge, I’m reporting to Boris that these comments “aren’t fit for purpose”. So there!

  34. Since this started on a musical theme, you might enjoy this concert review from the Houston Chronicle. It has to be one of the most moving crits you’ll ever read. Hankies out…

    On Nov. 18, 1995, Itzhak Perlman, the violinist, came on stage to give a concert at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. If you have ever been to a Perlman concert, you know that getting on stage is no small achievement for him. He was stricken with polio as a child, and so he has braces on both legs and walks with the aid of two crutches. To see him walk across the stage one step at a time, painfully and slowly, is an unforgettable sight. He walks painfully, yet majestically, until he reaches his chair. Then he sits down, slowly, puts his crutches on the floor, undoes the clasps on his legs, tucks one foot back and extends the other foot forward. Then he bends down and picks up the violin, puts it under his chin, nods to the conductor and proceeds to play.

    By now, the audience is used to this ritual. They sit quietly while he makes his way across the stage to his chair. They remain reverently silent while he undoes the clasps on his legs. They wait until he is ready to play. But this time, something went wrong. Just as he finished the first few bars, one of the strings on his violin broke. You could hear it snap it went off like gunfire across the room. There was no mistaking what that sound meant. There was no mistaking what he had to do.

    People who were there that night thought to themselves: “We figured that he would have to get up, put on the clasps again, pick up the crutches and limp his way off stage — to either find another violin or else find another string for this one.” But he didn’t. Instead, he waited a moment, closed his eyes then signaled the conductor to begin again. The orchestra began, and he played from where he had left off. He played with overwhelming passion and power and purity.

    Of course, anyone knows that it is impossible to play a symphonic work with just three strings. I know that, and you know that, but that night Itzhak Perlman refused to know that. You could see him modulating, changing, recomposing the piece in his head. At one point, it sounded like he was de-tuning the strings to get new sounds from them that they had never made before.

    When he finished, there was an awesome silence in the room. And then people rose and cheered. There was an extraordinary outburst of applause from every corner of the auditorium. We were all on our feet, screaming and cheering, doing everything we could to show how much we appreciated what he had done.

    He smiled, wiped the sweat from this brow, raised his bow to quiet us, and then he said, not boastfully, but in a quiet, pensive, reverent tone, “You know, sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.”

    What a powerful line that is. It has stayed in my mind ever since I heard it. And who knows? Perhaps that is the way of life — not just for artists but for all of us. Here is a man who has prepared all his life to make music on a violin of four strings, who, all of a sudden, in the middle of a concert, finds himself with only three strings. So he makes music with three strings, and the music he made that night with just three strings was more beautiful, more sacred, more memorable, than any that he had ever made before, when he had four strings.

    So, perhaps our task in this shaky, fast-changing, bewildering world in which we live is to make music, at first with all that we have, and then, when that is no longer possible, to make music with what we have left.

    –Jack Riemer, Houston Chronicle.

  35. ‘How can Tchaikovsky not be up there in the first tier, waving the flag for mother Russia? Surely he deserves to be in their on grounds of the 1812 overture alone…’ (Pete)

    Swan Lake, The Nutcracker? Yes, I think Boris has shown an appalling lack of taste by putting Bach up there with Mozart and Beethoven. Bach was a composer during the baroque period, as was Vivaldi who receives no mention. If an alien landed tomorrow and asked me to play his something to sum up the baroque period it would have to be one of Vivaldis concertos for the mandolin.

    Then there was that notorious German defector, Handel. Georgian England was undoubtedly an influence in his great works, which in turn served as one influence to the great composers of the classical era.

    Mozart was undoubtedly the greatest all-round composer of the classical era. Beethoven has to come a close second I’m afraid, although Moonlight Sonata was deeper than anything Mozart ever came up with.

    Back to Tchaikovsky, he was of the romantic era, I would play the Nutcracker Suite as an example of the romantic era above anything I’ve heard by Mendelssohn or Brahms.

    My first tier would therefore be Vivaldi, Mozart and Tchaikovsky. You have to pick a favourite from each of the three great era’s we generally refer to as ‘classical’ I’m afraid. It’s no use picking one Baroque composer, two classical and then cosigning everyone else to second best. It just doesn’t make sense in my book.

  36. This has been a bit of a knockabout topic but remember the English Music Fesival is now in full swing (not the right metaphor, but you know what I mean). it’s just to far away for me to travel to, but it will be broadcast on the BBC so I will catch it then.

    Mmmm…great music, great composers, like beauty, all in the eye, or this case, the ear, of the beholder.

    Elgar,Holst,Tallis,Delius,Pucell,Oh! and of course my Favourites Gibert&Sullivan, we English have a lot to admire and be proud of if you love music,as I certainly do.

    I’m also a great jazz fan!! Jacques Loussier the French jazz pianist, give yourself a treat and buy his CD “The Best of Bach”, if it is still available, on Music Club MCCD 113.

  37. Jazz :Can’t stand it .

    Steven L it isn’t many young men that could sweep their compass over the history of Western music with such panache. Mozart is the best all rounder is he? A vital run maker in the “Germanic” team effort then. Haven’t your opinions on all rounders been a bit off key lately ?.
    I suppose ,Beethoven is in the classical period but his place as pivotal between the classical and the romantic is what usually gets him the yellow jersey……(ALRIGHT !)

    I remember reading that Jane Austen was a literary equivalent of Mozart. She states her theme . Pride and Prejudice for example then she varies modulates , inverts and restates in a minor key. All resolves into the tonic note of a marriage. I adore Jane Austen but like my classical music romantic ,(in as much as I like it at all ). The only thing I can play nowadays would be the Moonlight Sonata so I would fit snugly into the world of Mapp and Lucia …..(YEAH )

    Even I have noticed the awkwardness of describing Wagner as “Classical” . . The Japanese refer to all this sort of music as “Heroic” and thereby avoid the problem
    In a book on “European” history I once grazed on ,to justify the integrity of ground, the author pointed out that from Stoke to Stockholm from Warsaw to Woking we all have the same piano lessons . Can anything that holds Europe together really be a good thing ? …(YOU SEND ME)

    I cannot abide jazz , it seems to me to satisfy cool cerebral pleasures that are better of in poetry or visual art. The wish to reduce the human voice to an instrument is telling. I went to a weeks course at Guildhall where old reprobates like me doing rock/pop , rubbed shoulders with exotic jazz people from all over Europe. The great advantage our side had was that we listened to the music we played every second of every day. They were usually classical types who thought they were roughing it . They had no feel whatsoever ,far to much technique and made a joyless noise. ( DE ZODEO DOI)

    The jazz piano tutor told me his parents used to read scores rocking silently to and fro as they recreated the sound imaginatively .Is that possible or were they the aliens who wanted to ask what Baroque music is ?……(I`M SOLID GONE MAN)

    At the final concert “I would rather go blind ” containing only C and D minor chords , in C, stole the show. “I would rather go blind , than to see you walk away” beats any amount of diabolical twiddling .
    What is the point of Jazz ? It gave Burt Baccarach the major seventh to play with , some runs of 4ths (Elton John in Yellow Brick Road) but otherwise we would-be finer , better people without it .It annoyed Hitler , but the Sex Pistols would have annoyed him a lot more….(SCOO DA BA DA BA DEE).

    In conclusion I hope we can all agree that Jazz is rubbish , classical music is better but the creative explosion of popular music in the 20th century relegates both to the second and third tier.

    I think the above demonstrates just how tedious aimless riffing can be .

    Sorry .some nights it works some nights it doesn’t.

    Goodnight cats and thanks to Adolph Hitler on vibes .

    (NICE).

  38. In conclusion I hope we can all agree that Jazz is rubbish.

    Newmania, that is the most crass statement I have ever heard from you. There’s jazz and jazz and there’s jazz. Some of it is beyond us mortals, some is the most glorious marriage of man and instrument, rhythm and harmony, melody and ingenuity.

    In the end, there are only two kinds of music – good and bad.

    Mozart was a lightweight. Same notes in a different order, most of them based on nursery rhymes. Pathetic.

  39. Boris, you’re not really going to stand for this load of Fruhromantik tosh from Schmitz, are you?

    It would be like history repeating itself and you know what Marx said about that: first time as tragedy, second time as farce.

    The Scots did ne stand for it, remember.

    ‘An’ he’s clappit doun in our gudeman’s chair,
    The wee, wee German lairdie;
    An’ he’s brocht fouth o’ his foreign trash,
    An’ dibbled them in his yairdie.

    Come up amang our Hieland. Hills,
    Thou wee, wee German lairdie,
    An’ see the Stuart’s lang kail thrive,
    They hae dibbled in our kail-yairdie.
    An’ if a stock ye daur to pu’,
    Or haud the yokin’ o’ a plough,
    We’ll break your sceptre owre your mou,’
    Ye feckless German lairdie.

    Auld Scotland, thou’rt ower cauld a hole,
    For nursin’ siccan vermin;
    But the very dogs in England’s court,
    They bark an’ howl in German.’ (Scots folk song 1730s)

    And that’s the whole point isn’t it? I can just about tolerate these screeching Fruhr – and later – Romantics, but it’s what they screeched about, isn’t it?

    Quick cup of tea etc and I’ll tell you.

  40. And, of course, some of the 18th century folk music composed on these sceptered isles was stunning:

    Speed bonnie boat like a bird on the wing
    Onward the sailors cry
    Carry the lad that’s born to be king
    Over the sea to Skye (Chorus)

    Loud the wind howls, loud the waves roar,
    Thunderclaps rend the air
    Baffled our foes, stand by the shore
    Follow they will not dare

    Chorus
    Many’s the lad fought on that day
    Well the claymore did wield
    When the night came, silently lain
    Dead on Culloden field

    Chorus
    Though the waves heave, soft will ye sleep
    Ocean’s a royal bed
    Rocked in the deep, Flora will keep
    Watch by your weary head

    Chorus
    Burned are our homes, exile and death
    Scatter the loyal men
    Yet e’er the sword cool in the sheath
    Charlie will come again.

    (Sky Boat Song)

    Kettles boiling.

  41. The Welsh have some stunning music too, though I admit the genius lies as much in the singing as the song.

    Men of Harlech in the Hollow,
    Do ye hear like rushing billow
    Wave on wave that surging follow
    Battle’s distant sound? Tis the tramp of Saxon foemen,
    Saxon spearmen, Saxon bowmen,
    Be they knights or hinds or yeomen,
    They shall bite the ground! Loose the folds asunder,
    Flag we conquer under!
    The placid sky now bright on high,
    Shall launch its bolts in thunder!
    Onward! ’tis the country needs us,
    He is bravest, he who leads us
    Honor’s self now proudly heads us,
    Freedom, God and Right!

  42. Newmania – “I’d rather go blind” is best sung by Ruby Turner, I have both Ruby’s version and the Etta James version and personally I prefer Etta singing more hard edge stuff like ‘In the basement’ or ‘I just wanna make.. lurve to you’. For a sweeter ballad by Etta James it’s got to be ‘Sunday kind of love’.

    For something lightweight with a jazzy feel and um an alternative to Ravel’s Bolero, try ‘sweet and gentle love’ by the Crusaders. So I’m told.

  43. A haunting tune indeed, Flo, but I wonder how much of it was genuine after Sir Harold Boulton added the lyrics in 1884. The middle section “Loud the wind howls…” always sounded to me like a bolt-on. (Or should that be Boulton?)

  44. Irish folk music is stunning too.

    The Star Of the County Down

    Near Banbridge town, in the County Down
    One morning in July
    Down a boreen green came a sweet colleen
    And she smiled as she passed me by.
    She looked so sweet from her two white feet
    To the sheen of her nut-brown hair
    Such a coaxing elf, I’d to shake myself
    To make sure I was standing there.

    From Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay
    And from Galway to Dublin town
    No maid I’ve seen like the sweet colleen
    That I met in the County Down. (chorus)

    As she onward sped I shook my head
    And I gazed with a feeling rare
    And I said, says I, to a passerby
    “Who’s the maid with the nut-brown hair?”
    He smiled at me, and with pride says he,
    “That’s the gem of Ireland’s crown.
    She’s young Rosie McCann from the banks of the Bann
    She’s the star of the County Down.”

    Chorus

    I’ve travelled a bit, but never was hit
    Since my roving career began
    But fair and square I surrendered there
    To the charms of young Rose McCann.
    I’d a heart to let and no tenant yet
    Did I meet with in shawl or gown
    But in she went and I asked no rent
    From the star of the County Down.

    Chorus

    At the crossroads fair I’ll be surely there
    And I’ll dress in my Sunday clothes
    And I’ll try sheep’s eyes, and deludhering lies
    On the heart of the nut-brown rose.
    No pipe I’ll smoke, no horse I’ll yoke
    Though with rust my plow turns brown
    Till a smiling bride by my own fireside
    Sits the star of the County Down.

  45. PaulD said:

    how much of it was genuine after Sir Harold Boulton added the lyrics in 1884.

    There are numerous versions, Paul, I personally pefer this one.

    I haven’t posted the Welsh version of Men Of Harlech either

  46. But the finest of them all:

    Jerusalem

    And did those feet in ancient time
    Walk upon England’s mountains green?
    And was the holy Lamb of God
    On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
    And did the Countenance Divine
    Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
    And was Jerusalem builded here
    Among those dark Satanic Mills?
    Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
    Bring me my Arrows of Desire;
    Bring me my Spear; O clouds unfold!
    Bring me my Chariot of Fire!
    I will not cease from Mental Strife,
    Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand,
    Till we have built Jerusalem
    In England’s green and pleasant Land.

  47. newmania…so you didn’t visit Loussier.com then.

    Do you know what gets up my nose, musical snobs, you sound like the epitome of them all.

  48. But the finest of them all: Jerusalem (Flo’)

    Strange you should mention that.

    When I first read the piece up top by Boris, it rang some bell. And then I remembered that I’d been watching TV Monday or Tuesday night, watching some documentary that had started 5 or 10 minutes earlier. And it was recounting how Parry had been asked during WWI to take the words of Blake’s Jerusalem, and set them to music, for patriotic purposes. And how Elgar, I think, had taken Parry’s tune and written a symphony score for it. And how this was part of a revival of English music.

    It took me a while to realise that the documentary was all about this musical Jerusalem, and its almost immediate universal appeal. The Suffragettes used it. Every political party has used it. The Women’s Institute uses it. Nudists sing it. But some churches won’t allow it played, because it’s not a hymn. And how English it is. And should be our national anthem.

    I think Boris must have watched the same documentary, and promptly set quill pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard.

  49. Reading some of the earthier posts in this thread, I am reminded of the words of the immortal Tom Lehrer, who said that the reason most folk songs are so atrocious is that they are written by the people.

    Beethoven woulda kicked Mozart’s ass. Mozart’s work is more beautiful, but it is far too often merely, if perfectly, beautiful. God has Beethoven on his iPod, along with U2 and a great deal of Pink Floyd.

  50. Keith Olbermann. According to the gossip sites I frequent, he’s horrible in bed, but I’d still be willing to see for myself, based on things like this.

    In the terror attacks of September 2001, 3000 people died.

    The US government has poured billions into “The War Against Terror” and various related and unrelated enterprises.

    In the five years since, roughly 150,000 people have died from gunshots. No “War on Guns”.
    200,000 Americans have died on her highways. No “War on Traffic”.

    In the United States today, one is slightly more likely to be shot by police than killed by terrorists.

    Yet no “War on Cops” has been funded. And with the suspension of basic rights, such as that against self-incrimination and the presumption of innocence, none will be neccessary.

  51. “God has Beethoven on his iPod” – I like that, good one raincoaster.

    But you’d want to see for yourself if someone’s horrible in bed based on them talking about dead people?? I think it’s not just Steven who has issues!

  52. Yes Churston, I am a musical snob in my own way as you rightly notice. However i was only adopting an attitude for the fun of it .I regretted it the moment I pressed post and will atone by following your link.Iwouldn`t want to cause anyone nasal discomfort.

    Yes Paul D , quite right .

    What Jazz would you recommend as a favourite and I undertake to buy it and listen ?In fact what a good opportunity .Recommendation ?

    (Think I got off lightly there )

  53. newmania said:

    Jerusalem is William Blake and means excatly the opposite of what many people think it does .

    Good point, newmania, I agree that we need to be aware of Blake’s acceptance of the myth that England was the original holy land and of his apparent racist views in relation to that. Some would argue, of course, that the Bible contains some equally repugnant symbolism and stereotypes.

    However, that doesn’t alter the figurative, as opposed to the literal, truth of Jerusalem and the Bible for many (non-fundamentalists) who believe in God and who reject such stereotypes.

  54. Phew!!, Thought it was going to be “Trumpets at dawn”, and there’s me, haven’t blown me own trumpet for yonks.

    As a classical/jazz start, why not Shostakovich Jazz suites 1 & 2, ok but not jazz in the true sense, bit Art Deco’ey. then there’s Bill Evans,Duke Ellington,Art Tatum,Thelonious Monk, you pay your money and take your choice

    The early Black Amaerican jazz pianists were,remember, poor and uneducated,self taught couldn’t read music, probably didn’t know an F#dim from a Gm7(-5), they played from the heart, basic, simple and unadulterated,you may say thats how it sounds, but it still qualifys as music nevertheless.

    For what its worth thats my angle.

  55. Just a tiny factual inaccuracy – “our children leave primary school with the vaguest understanding of reading and writing” – should read – “our children leave secondary school barely literate.

    Regards
    Cathy

  56. In a rush but very briefly,a crossparty group of MPs are are calling for Jerusalem to be adopted as the national anthem . (IN DT today)

  57. “My first tier would therefore be Vivaldi, Mozart and Tchaikovsky. You have to pick a favourite from each of the three great era’s we generally refer to as ‘classical’ I’m afraid. It’s no use picking one Baroque composer, two classical and then cosigning everyone else to second best. It just doesn’t make sense in my book.”

    Ahh, but surely we can make it a fouresome and have Beethoven? He’s really rather handy at the whole music lark. A commentator on my blog yesterday also drew my attention to Sibelius who on a first listen to seem quite something, altho I have no idea about the breadth of his works.

  58. What Jazz would you recommend as a favourite and I undertake to buy it and listen. (Newmania)

    Gosh, that’s a tough one. If you want your eyes opened – and all power if you do – it’s more a question of what style of jazz you actively dislike. I can’t believe you are hostile to Jacques Loussier, who re-heats Bach in a manner that may well have met with the approval of JSB himself.

    At the other extreme, we went to Ronnie Scott’s recently to hear Geri Allen, a “jazz ethnomusicologist”. She plays piano with drum / bass / sax accompaniment. The backing group might as well have been playing in a club up the road to a different pianist. It was dreadful – everyone doing their own thing, no cohesion as a group. The most enjoyable moment was listening to various beardo’s during the interval. “Isn’t she marvellous!… er, technically”.

    If this is what you don’t like about jazz, Newmania, I can sympathise deeply. A lot of jazz fans would agree with you.

  59. Well I love music and will give anything a try however I will tell you what my objection to Jazz is . Or , given the vast variety the sort of problems one might have.

    1Jazz as a style tends away from emotions and towards patterning of sounds. It is never directly representational never heartfelt or sincere . What piece of Jazz expresses anger , loss love or joy as well as any number of popular songs . None I can think of . I appreciate there are songs with a Jazz influence and so one is being exceedingly rough and ready with boundaries.Nonetheless it is a form that pulls away from the natural heart of music into a sort of audi-picture
    2 Quite obviously virtuosity from its own sake is always ugly and Jazz , for obvious reasons suffers from this
    3Jazz “Says nothing to me about my life” to quote the well known Conservative and Thatcher supporter Morrissey. This is because no one wants to be a Jazz star . It tends to be imposed from above rather than bubbling out of life.

    A bit vague ? In practice then look at the horror that is Jazz Funk. Funk music was invented by the hidden black soul explosion of the 60s and 70s . Hidden because of the racism in America. James Brown , “the King of them all” is still not on the pedestal he should occupy as a right . This music was taken by other musos and turned into “Jazz Funk” . Sexy and dangerous became bland and endless and attained a nasty sort of acceptability.

    Jazz had one of its many vogues in the 80s when heroes of British song writing like Paul Weller were lured onto the rocks becoming “The Style Council” . This is the poisonous effect of Jazz “flavours” at second hand.

    Aretha Franklin , some peoples choice of best singer ever had a career blighted by attempts to shoe horn her bright gospel cry into the doldrums of Jazz. It was considered more acceptable to a White audience than the raw emotion of “You make me Feel “( written by the very white and professional Carol King of course , another all time favourite)

    Miles Davis seems to me to have followed the form to its logical conclusion of incomprehensibility .People say , is he had an operation it would be a “hip” operation and this claim to be “stylish” is also off putting .

    I have seen a bit of the Jazzy stuff live and I will admit it can make for good entertainment . It also suffers from a lack of restraint and taste . How infinitely harder to write a good pop song than to take a chord sequence and muck around with it (which even I can manage enough to fool some of the people ).

    These then are the complaints
    1 A foolish and off-putting association with a rather elitist sort of style .
    2 A veneration for classical a music and virtuosity that misses the point of the whole endeavour
    3 An absence of emotion
    4 A lack of discipline , restraint and and artistic taste
    5 An artificiality which comes from it being a “learnt” form not a listened to form (now)

    These are of course matters of taste and blues might equally be accused of much of the above . I am also not a great fan of blues , although its fun to play.. It wouldn’t be hard to find exceptions of course and if you included Jazz influenced songs I can think of lots of problems with everything I say myself.
    Still there it is .

    That’s why I don’t like jazz much and while I could probably listen to re-heated Bach with tolerable enjoyment I don’t think such a project could ever inspire much love from me .I have not entirely dissimilar objections to conceptual art and conceptual performance art above all .

    Not exactly a causus bellum though is it , just a point of view.

  60. Churston SAID

    “The early Black American jazz pianists were, remember, poor and uneducated, self taught couldn’t read music, probably didn’t know an F#dim from a Gm7(-5), they played from the heart, basic, simple and unadulterated, you may say that’s how it sounds, but it still qualifies as music nevertheless.”

    Sounds more my type of thing although there are some attitudes here I wouldn’t be entirely comfortable with myself. ( To say the least)

    FLO- I fall on any agreement like a an ice cold beer in Alex but I can’t quaff this one unfortunately . I meant that William Blake was a mystic revolutionary and was saying England was an infernal pit . That’s why the Lamb of god would never have walked among the Satanic Mills and only violent insurrection would save it from its purgatory. An odd anthem for the Conservative party but somehow the music seems to have changed the emphasis so as to suggest this island is uniquely qualified to be a new Jerusalem . I suppose Blake was racist by modern standards but that would be very unfair . What do you think of this : (Blake)
    .

    Black Boy

    My mother bore me in the southern wild,
    And I am black, but oh my soul is white!
    White as an angel is the English child,
    But I am black, as if bereaved of light.
    My mother taught me underneath a tree,
    And, sitting down before the heat of day,
    She took me on her lap and kissed me,
    And, pointed to the east, began to say:
    “Look on the rising sun: there God does live,
    And gives His light, and gives His heat away,
    And flowers and trees and beasts and men receive
    Comfort in morning, joy in the noonday.
    “And we are put on earth a little space,
    That we may learn to bear the beams of love
    And these black bodies and this sunburnt face
    Is but a cloud, and like a shady grove.
    “For when our souls have learn’d the heat to bear,
    The cloud will vanish, we shall hear His voice,
    Saying, ‘Come out from the grove, my love and care
    And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice’,”
    Thus did my mother say, and kissed me;
    And thus I say to little English boy.
    When I from black and he from white cloud free,
    And round the tent of God like lambs we joy
    I’ll shade him from the heat till he can bear
    To lean in joy upon our Father’s knee;
    And then I’ll stand and stroke his silver hair,
    And be like him, and he will then love me.

    On the myth of England as Israel the Book “the Chosen people ” is good . It starts with the Coronation and the anthem Zadok the Priest which makes this national myth explicit . I can understand reacting against this but I think you have the wrong foe in Blake. LOVED YOUR FOLK SONGS

    Rain coaster , can`t get your reference . The Doors?
    As a poet working in visual and written media a revolutionary artist and myth maker , I am not surprised he is Rain Coasters friend.

    Far to much of me I think , a period of silence will now ensue

  61. Someone once said that classical music was like the great poets; Keats, Marvell, Donne – and everything else, from jazz to pop was like light verse.

    I rather liked that definition.

  62. Well Newmania, there’s some truth in what you say. I admire your tenacity. Let’s take your points

    1 A foolish and off-putting association with a rather elitist sort of style.

    Isn’t nearly all music elitist to some extent? People have always identified with certain musical styles as part of their “image”. What could be more elitist than Glyndebourne, a paradise for rich posers, many of whom know sweet FA about music. Sid Vicious drew punks wearing dustbin liners. A Sisers of Mercy gig will be packed with Goths in black face-paint. Hip-hop attracts chavs in Burberry and Adidas. A techno-trance disco in Ibiza will pull pissed-up kids wearing very little. Each is elitist in its own way, exclusive to that group. If you listen to jazz sporting beard, knitted pullover and Hush Puppies (forgive the stereotype) it doesn’t make you a bad person, nor does it diminish the music.

    2 A veneration for classical a music and virtuosity that misses the point of the whole endeavour

    Don’t get it. What’s wrong with a veneration for classical music? Virtuosity has always been admired and can be thrilling in itself (cf Liszt). And what is the “point” of any music, so how can jazz miss it?

    3 An absence of emotion… It is never directly representational never heartfelt or sincere. What piece of Jazz expresses anger, loss love or joy as well as any number of popular songs… Jazz “Says nothing to me about my life”

    Here we come closer. I sense that many hardcore jazz practitioners play introvertedly for their own enjoyment, not the audience’s. If you’ll forgive the comparison, it can be more like watching somebody masturbate than someone who wants to share their art.

    But that is a massive generalisation. A trad jazz band will be delighted to see people tapping their feet and dancing to their music. Miles Davis was able to convey intense emotion – as perceived by his followers. You must also appreciate that people who have studied jazz, or who actually play it, get a thrill from hearing it done extremely well. My other half is a keen knitter who will go into meltdown over a cleverly-designed sock. To me it looks like a sock, and probably not a very comfortable one.

    Your comparison with songs is fallacious; they have the added dimension of lyrics.

    4 A lack of discipline, restraint and artistic taste.

    Artistic freedom doesn’t necessarily equate to lack of discipline. As for taste, one man’s fish is another man’s poisson.

    5 An artificiality which comes from it being a “learnt” form not a listened to form (now)

    Symphonic and sonata forms are “learnt”. Jazz requires an awful lot of listening, possibly far more than an orchestral player need apply.

    I wouldn’t get so worked up about this, Newmania. Not everyone likes jazz, others can’t abide opera, urban garage or doo-wop acappella. Just be glad music exists and that most people find something they enjoy.

    Me, I’m inclined to agree that Beethoven was the boy who had it in spades. But some will tell you “there was Mozart and other composers”. How sad.

  63. as a Canadian of German origins, and having spent time in both England (where i lived for a spell) and Germany, i must say that the Germans have less music in their hearts and souls than even the deepest, darkest pits of Russia or Poland or anywhere else that one cannot imagine finding inspiration for music. We’re talking about a country that celebrates the accordian and David Hasselhoff’s pop music, not to mention thinks that dancing automatically means the polka. And as a Boris lover of all types myself and without prejudice, they have their Becker, but he’s no Johnson, now is he? God knows Berlin would be a different place if Oasis or the Streets (or even Keane!!)had come from there.

  64. I meant that William Blake was a mystic revolutionary and was saying England was an infernal pit . That’s why the Lamb of god would never have walked among the Satanic Mills and only violent insurrection would save it from its purgatory. An odd anthem for the Conservative party but somehow the music seems to have changed the emphasis so as to suggest this island is uniquely qualified to be a new Jerusalem . I suppose Blake was racist by modern standards but that would be very unfair (newmania)

    I disagree with you, newmania. Blake was a progressive bourgeois ideologist, not an early, nascent Socialist or left wing intellectual. His obscure symbolism conjures a disturbed, romantic bran tub of, apparently conflicting, visions out of which all manner of contradictory views about the man have been drawn. Yet I believe it’s easier to draw the overall conclusion that the visions and voices which haunted Blake and his work are more typical of stifled petty bourgeois ambition – coupled with creative schizophrenia – than of a violent revolutionary.

    Blake was a true son of the petty bourgeoisie. A sometimes successful, sometimes failed, small businessman, he put his schizophrenia to remarkably powerful creative and commercial use. In the depth of his schizophrenic soul lay a petty bourgeois craftsman and enlightened Liberal, not a left wing revolutionary. Like old Nolly Cromwell (who was also a schizophrenic, though not enlightened) and Cromwell’s compulsive/obsessive alter egos, Tony Blair and Ali Campbell, Blake didn’t want God to free the masses or the slaves – whom Blake wrote of with either paternalism (the poem you quote) or disparagement, as in Song of Liberty: “O African! Black African! (go winged thought widen his forehead)”. Just like Cromwell, Campbell and Blair, Blake would have recoiled in horror from the thought of a society run by the masses or even on behalf of them, his new Jerusalem would be run by an elitist alliance of the ‘progressive’ bourgeoisie – who would do very nicely out of it, thank you very much.

    His dreams and visions were of God ending the rule of the ruthless, elitist, royalist and, still semi-feudal, colonialist regime, which brutally crushed the masses at home and abroad and stifled real enterprise and small beer capitalists like him. Blake would have replaced it with an enlightened bourgeois elite who’d paternalistically care for the poor.

    Yes, Blake rightly recognised that England had become an infernal pit and believed that true followers of God should right this abominable state of affairs, but in true elitist, bourgeois fashion. He’d have run a mile from Nulab’s bureacratic repression of religious expression.

  65. Don’t forget, newmania, that the Bourgeoisie were the progressive and revolutionary class in England at that time. They joined forces with the masses to wrestle power from the ruthless wing of the Ancien Regime, just as the French and American Bourgeouise did to win their respective Bourgeois revolutions. Here, in England, despite that abomination Cromwell, we prefer non-violent revolutionary tradition and our then, and *current* revolutions, are essential peaceful revolutions, thank God.

  66. Well Paul D there is something in what you say… I suppose. BUT
    PAUL D
    Isn’t nearly all music elitist to some extent?
    NEWMANIA
    Yes , you are tending towards the “So what ?” position. Some elitists are misguided. Jazz suffers from a surfeit of elitism and misguided ness. Yours is a non point.
    PAUL D
    Don’t get it. What’s wrong with a veneration for classical music?
    NEWMANIA
    1 Sky . (Remember the awfulness)
    2 Virtuosity . If you like that sort of thing I can simply demonstrate the superior virtuosity in the vast world of popular music. Singers , instrumentalists , composers. You name it . Hardly surprising given the disparate scale involved. Try me .
    PAUL D
    “Here we come closer. I sense that many hardcore jazz practitioners play introvertedly for their own enjoyment, not the audience’s. ”
    NEWMANIA
    As a player , of an abysmal standard ,I think there is a place for music that is fun , only to play. My belief is that this sort of thing communicates only in a coarse “circus monkey ” way , in jazz. Or is more likely to be in that category because of the comparatively un tutored ears listening. The fact that music is something that happens between a sound and an ear is the truth that worshippers of the past fundamentally fail to understand

    PAUL D
    “Your comparison with songs is fallacious; they have the added dimension of lyrics.”
    NEWMANIA
    I find it highly suggestive that Jazz has nothing to offer on lyrics and would suggest that this is not a coincidence. There are in fact plenty of songs Jazz could claim but if you are going to give me this ground you are doomed.
    PAUL D
    4 A lack of discipline, restraint and artistic taste
    NEWMANIA
    Yes very good on the fishy poison but again you are saying something along the lines of “Its all a matter of taste” which does not need saying and ultimately , in my view , is wrong.
    PAUL D
    5 An artificiality which comes from it being a “learnt” form not a listened to form (now)
    Symphonic and sonata forms are “learnt”. Jazz requires an awful lot of listening, possibly far more than an orchestral player need apply.
    NEWMANIA
    Quite and that is why “Classical music as written today is usually a sad waste of time . As , I would suggest , is Jazz. The listening I ma talking about is in the bones and soul where all good music comes from

    PAUL D
    I wouldn’t get so worked up about this,
    Newmania.
    Do I seem worked up ? Hardly . I believe that sort of music I like is better than the sort you seem to like and that I have not only a right to say so but do not wish to be defensive or apologetic about it. You are the one asserting the superiority of an obscure disregarded form . I `m just normal and any music lover would say much the same .

    JAQ and PAUL D this is the heart of it . Music requires a sophisticated listener as well as player. That is why popular music can express ,achieve and communicate so much more . That is also why it is so hard to do well. The teeniest inclination of the blues note can be harder than adding endless complications because we all know when it is wrong.

    I sense that this heading the way of all such discussions and would threfore request that we leave it there with the clear acknowledgement that I am right and paul, D is wrong.Its only fair on everyone else.

    I worry about them terribly.

  67. PAUL D . By the way , that all sounds far more aggressive than I intend. This would be a good ball to kick around over a few drinks .Noone ever agrees on this .

    All the best

  68. FLO – I think , barring a word here and there ,I agree with most of that. I do not see how this detracts in any way from what I was saying though
    You are , I think emphsasising the biographical details too much.I also find much Blake criticism absurd( J Bronowski springs to mind)but you are talking about the unimportant political meaning of Blake and disregarding the important literary meaning.

    Still what you say is pretty fair given that we started on the highly political apprehension of the Hymn Jerusalem .

    Well done.Consider yourself the happy recipient of a virtual pat on the head.

    XXXX

    ( Bet you`re ever so pleased. I can hardly wait for the thanks)

    By the way on problems with authority . I was expelled and in juvenile court by the age of seventeen. Top that .

  69. newmania said:

    FLO – I do not see how this detracts in any way from what I was saying

    By riding a coach and horses right through your argument, newmania. You see Blake as a violent insurrectionist out to wreck the entire social order, I see him as romantic, reformist, nutcase who couldn’t have pushed the skin off a rice pudding.

    No serious revolutionary would have worn that, ‘come and get me copper’, Sans-Culotte red hat, in England, would he?

  70. Newmania said “JAQ and PAUL D this is the heart of it . Music requires a sophisticated listener as well as player. That is why popular music can express ,achieve and communicate so much more”

    Hmn, as Mr Darcy said: ‘any Hottentot can dance’

  71. newmania said:

    By the way on problems with authority . I was expelled and in juvenile court by the age of seventeen. Top that .

    I left home a few weeks after my 16th birthday 🙂

  72. Any Hottentot ? JAQ

    Tiscali reference – Hottentot “South African term for a variety of different African peoples; it is non-scientific and considered derogatory by many. The name Khoikhoi is preferred.”
    What will Trevor Phillips say ?

    FLO
    ” I see him as romantic, reformist, nutcase who couldn’t have pushed the skin off a rice pudding. ” Like Karl Marx , but what do the words say? I am miraculously unscathed by this phantom coach and horses and as all I suggested was that it was an odd poem to be an anthem for Conservatives , I am likely to remain so.

    Left home . Did you? And abused me in such harsh terms that it was deleted. You are obviously a much tougher nut than me. What are you rebelling against Flo ?

  73. I believe the sort of music I like is better than the sort you seem to like and that I have not only a right to say so but do not wish to be defensive or apologetic about it. You are the one asserting the superiority of an obscure disregarded form. (Newmania)

    Steady on, old thing. Read me again. Where did I say I like jazz or assert its superiority over other forms of music? I was merely defending other people’s right to enjoy it without being told they are “wrong”. With all forms of music I also try my damnedest to look for the good points in the hope of discovering an element I may have missed through preconception or prejudice.

    In these sweeping condemnations, you may have overlooked that the performer is as important as the style, which is probably why I’m a sucker for Emma Kirkby singing John Dowland and Fatboy Slim’s disco mixes when many other performances in those genres leave me cold.

    You would probably be horrified by what I enjoy the most. One thing’s for certain: It ain’t hardcore jazz!

  74. Belatedly rejoining the thread after a busy day,(no rest for the wicked).

    I won’t even bother to challenge newmania’s ramblings, suffice to say I strongly disagree with some of his comments, but thats OK, life goes on!, in my own mind I wonder if he likes music at all, or does he just like to give an impression that he knows everything about everything.

    Sorry, no offence intended.

    Me,I off to unwind now, and have a session on my beautiful priceless Hammond B3, which unfortunatly I am unable to play in a way it deserves!

  75. newmania said:

    FLO – abused me in such harsh terms that it was deleted.

    I used a single, honest, Anglo Saxon, four letter word (not the ‘f’ word), to advise you to go away and micturate. if I’d quoted a piece from Chaucer containing this word it would presumably have been acceptable. I bet this is cut too 🙂

  76. Churston- “Hammond B3, which unfortunatly I am unable to play in a way it deserves!”

    I have a mountain of equipment I would happily swap for it.

    (None taken)

    PAUL D – Well who could disagree with that.

  77. Well who could disagree with that (Newmania).

    With what?

    And you haven’t told us what music you DO like, only what you don’t.

  78. Paul D – …with your pluralistic and reasonable summary( I agree).More than enough me already I think but today listened to Paul Weller, Verve, Otis Redding an odd Ska Record ..um could just as easily have been the Carpenters or Carol King …

    Yes JAQ and this was in the phase when you don`t like him

  79. today listened to Paul Weller, Verve, Otis Redding an odd Ska Record ..um could just as easily have been the Carpenters or Carol King …

    Mmmm… pleasant enough.

    What a loss was Karen Carpenter. There’s not been a voice like hers, before or since. Not so sure about the brother though.

  80. No Jaq, haven’t seen the bio. Didn’t she die of anorexia?

    What worries me most is the thought that, if another Karen emerged, the music industry would dismiss her as irrelevant.

  81. Big intake of breath….newmania,dont tell me you are a closet organ player? come on admit it, anyway you wouldn’t have enough cash to by mine.(“grin”).

    But you have rocketed skywards in my opinion!!

    Nina Simone any one?

  82. Paul D- Had I thought I was going to be announcing it I `d have taken care to be listening to something obscure and impressive , but there we go. It has occurred to me that if the Beatles turned up they would have been allocated a stylist and song writer by Simon Cowell; had one hit and disappeared .Four nice looking boys.

    Churston – Well as you say I couldn’t afford the real thing .I have two keyboards mounted on a frame. One has excellent piano sounds and is weighted the other I bought for the brass and organ sounds ( which come from a box) . At that time I was trying to get together with others to do soul and pop and dancey stuff in pubs. I get by but I do play by ear pretty quickly and can work out most songs on the piano or guitar in a minute . This , of course excludes Jazz which always has horrendously difficult weird stuff in it . Actually I had a primitive four track which you can extend to six and with this I recorded numerous compositions (as in songs). Two people in the world like any of them and one of them is me. I did a song writing course actually which was a lot of fun. . Such is my technical incompetence that I could not set a drum machine . Instead I learnt to play the drums on the keyboard and keeping time on your own is not easy. I did it by playing the piano to a metronome and then playing the drums to the guide track . Then I would delete the metronome and follow the guide track with other instruments until finally I deleted that . I did this because it was the only way I could but I gather that is something like the way real recordings are made. This used to take me all night and the worst bit was when you tried to add the …ugh. .vocal.
    I think this little lot plus Amp and soon cost about £5000 in all .It is now packed away so as to leave room for little new mania. The car I used to cart it around in (why oh why the weighted keys !!) is now ideal for pushchairs and shopping . I `ll get my coat…………………….

    Blog just updated. Do you think I am safe to send that to the local paper . If anyone bothers?

  83. I have a great Nina Simone story, but I hesitate to tell it here. Things seem to have gotten simultaneously censorious and vulgar in my absence: I take full responsibility [Ed: xxxxx deleted]

  84. Had I thought I was going to be announcing it I’d have taken care to be listening to something obscure and impressive , but there we go. (Newmania).

    Worry not, sir. No-one but a music snob would censure you for that choice of listening.

    Remember there are only two kinds of music – good and bad (to which you could, I suppose, add mediocre).

  85. FLO-I like this the Chaucerian description of myself
    “To riden out, he loved chivalrie,
    Trouthe and honour, fredom and curteisie. ”

    Or is this not what you meant ?

  86. Whatever the reason for the lack of English musicians in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it was hardly a lack appreciation. Handel was immensely popular, Haydn made his reputation in London, and Mendelsson wrote all his best stuff in the UK.

    And earlier there was Dowland, Lully and Purcell.

    So the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are a strange gap in an otherwise healthy musical tradition.

  87. ——“What Jazz would you recommend as a favourite and I undertake to buy it and listen. (Newmania)”—–

    The Massey Hall concert in Toronto in 1953.
    Gillespie, Parker, Mingus, Bud Powell and Max Roach (the first two only after the interval).

    Quite a story behind it. The Toronto Jazz Society had voted these five the greatest living musicians and they invited them all to give a concert.

    Gillespie and Parker hated each other, Powell had just checked out of a clinic for alcoholics and was stone drunk throughout the whole concert. The concert coincided with a heavyweigth world title fight, so the hall was half empty (Gillespie had to accompany the organizers to the bank to cash cheques from their personal accounts),but still arguably what it says on the cover of the CD “The Greatest Jazz concert ever”.

  88. raincoaster 4.13 AM, forget the compliments, just get on and tell the story. As a scribe and ex-columnist you shouldn’t be lost for suitable substitute words and phrases,demonstrate your prowess !

    Newmania, I envy you technical skill, you are now entering the stratosphere, as regards my own playing Mrs churston will testify that I definately play all the notes..but not necessarily in the right order.

  89. Well. he’s done it again. Cameron’s Age Concern speech was a masterpiece. He’s managed to knit together and balance the need for business rationality and ethical social policy in such a manner that they compliment each other.

    I’d begun to be a little concerned that he was starting to fall into the managerial trap Blair and Brown have dived head first into. But he hasn’t at all, he’s his own man,Cameron.

    He’s still the bookie’s favourite to win too.

  90. And soon enough time will tell,
    About the circus in the wishing well.

    (Hendrix. The Burning of the Midnight Lamp)

  91. One of the country’s most senior policemen has claimed postal voting is wide open to corruption.

    There is a real possibility that results can be rigged, according to Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner Andy Hayman.

    His comments follow an investigation into claims that hundreds of postal votes were stolen from blocks of flats in Tower Hamlets, East London, during last May’s council elections, which saw Labour’s overall majority in the borough cut to one seat.

    The Yard’s Special Prosecutions Unit is now considering bringing criminal charges against several suspects after consulting the Crown Prosecution Service.

    Mr Hayman writes in a report for the Metropolitan Police Authority: “It is the view of the SPU that widespread use of postal votes has opened up a whole new area to be exploited by the fraudster and the opportunity has been taken.

    “It is difficult to assess if abuse of postal voting has altered the outcome of local elections but it is possible. It is the view of the SPU that the postal voting system must be properly managed and scrutinised otherwise the integrity of the electoral system will be compromised.”

    Mr Hayman said Asian areas were being targeted by the vote-fixers.

    “Communities where English is a second language are vulnerable to being disenfranchised or otherwise subjected to ‘sharp practice’ where postal votes are concerned.”

    He said that voters are effectively being duped into applying for postal votes and then handing them over to party activists.

    He added: “There is evidence that such activity has occurred within the Bengali community in Tower Hamlets.

    “Anecdotally some community contacts have remarked on how some practices that are seen as acceptable outside the UK have been adopted in respect of UK elections. For example, the head of an extended family instructing family members to vote for a particular party or candidate.”

    Mr Hayman also said that those applying for postal votes had not been asked to provide enough information on the application form to allow for “effective scrutiny”.

    Detectives have been told thousands more postal votes than usual were issued in Tower Hamlets last spring. The figure was 18,716 – 7,000 more than at the General Election in 2005.

    Labour’s overall majority was cut to just one seat while George Galloway’s anti-Iraq war Respect party now holds 12 seats on the council.

    Police have been told of “fraudulent multiple redirection of postal vote papers being received by those who have not applied for them”.

    Other voters applied for and never received postal votes.

    Among the offences reported are falsification of nomination papers, impersonation of candidates and making false statements about candidates.

    Labour has encouraged postal voting as a way of increasing voter turn- out, though critics have always maintained it provides an ‘open door’ for fraud.

    In 2004, postal voting fraud was so prevalent in Birmingham that Election Commissioner Richard Mawrey, QC, said the situation “would have disgraced a banana republic”.

    Five Labour councillors were found guilty of vote-rigging and stripped of office. Labour are a bunch of crooks from top to bottom.

  92. Still better than the American system of Diebold machines. Even I can hack those puppies.

    I worked as a poll clerk on our last federal election, and believe me, paper and pencil are pretty foolproof. There was one loud yuppie in an ostentatious coat yawping into his cell about how horrible it was he wasn’t allowed to use his cell in the polling station. We took great pleasure in informing him that he was about to be arrested.

  93. FLO-He’s still the bookie’s favourite to win too.
    FLO Polls
    Bit mixed . Mori are depressing but U Gov , very good. Con Home have dropped Mori as unreliable.So all in all good
    On the grey ghetto thing its a good electoral gambit obviously but we are still in the phoney war stage for me .

    Idlex will be pleased to see the Norfolk NHS trust are removing health care from those who will not give up smoking . Expect more of this.
    A quite insufferable article in the DT today from Cristina Odone claiming health care should be allotted to those with life styles that deserve it.

    ( She had a child at 41 for which she would get no help by her logic , from the NHS. She can get private fertility treatment , some cannot)

  94. So are Norfolk health trust giving up money from taxes that came from cigerettes?
    The whole thing about smokers causing their own problems is all well and good, but most people cause a lot of their own medical problems anyway. Should those that drive fast, or refuse to wear a seatbelt be refused treatment? What about those who insist on living in cities and develop health problems as a result?
    Besides which all doctors in Britain have to take the hipocratic oath which means they are not allowed to refuse anyone treatment regardless of their lifestyle or what the health authority says.

  95. A poll for the Daily Telegraph has produced 38% Conservatives, 32% Nulab.

    Cameron will do better than that at the gen election. The prospect of living in Gordon’s Communist Republic will persuade the true blues to stop sulking and faffing about and stand by their man.

  96. believe me, paper and pencil are pretty foolproof. (raincoaster)

    I do believe you, and I also believe that postal voting is wide open to fraud, as that policeman said – which is probably why Labour want to introduce it.

    For myself I’m looking forward to see how the US mid-term elections will pan out. At present, with the Democrats leading Republicans by some 20%, a Democratic landslide is expected in the House of Representatives. If it does happen, it will almost certainly be the result of voting fraud, as in Ohio 2004 (not enough voting machines) or Florida 2000 (voter purging, hanging chads, etc.)

  97. Idlex will be pleased to see the Norfolk NHS trust are removing health care from those who will not give up smoking . Expect more of this. (newmania)

    I do expect more and more of this, now that the medical establishment feels it has carte blanche to order people how to live their lives.

    You mentioned ‘passive drinking’ upthread. It has been under discussion for some years, given that anyone who drinks alcohol exhales it in their breath (which is why breathaysers can be used to deteect and measure it). I have no doubt that a raft of ‘scientific’ studies will soon come floating by, showing that infants who engage in passive drinking themselves become intoxicated and unable to drive, and have a 57.46% likelihood of becoming alcoholics in later life, and a 100% likelihood of dying at some point in their lives. It will also be shown that drunken parents who kiss their children goodnight have a 22.67% increased likelihood of falling on top of them and crushing them in the process.

    If you’re a moral zealot who wants to run a moral crusade against something these days, you don’t appeal to the Bible or moral reasoning. No. You instead concoct scientific-medical pseudo-arguments to show that the undesirable practice/custom damages health or reduces longevity. And, of course, since absolutely anything can be shown to be dangerous, you can mount crusades against anything you like.

  98. On the grey ghetto thing its a good electoral gambit… (Newmania)

    Sadly it will need more than a few of Dave’s “adaptable homes” to overcome his grey ghetto syndrome. The reality is we have lost the culture of looking after our elderly at home, as they do so well in certain other European (and non-European) countries.

    He is right that many families simply don’t have room for granny because they’re squeezed into a little box – another symptom of urban overcrowding and zany land prices. But a lot of them see elderly relatives as a nuisance who get in the way of their groovy lifestyles.

    The weakness of Dave’s “home for life” idea lies in an absence of companionship for those living by themselves. Loneliness can be the greatest enemy in old age, which is why some people actually prefer to live in a residential home or a purpose-built retirement scheme. And the better ones are far from being “ghettos”.

  99. ‘A quite insufferable article in the DT today from Cristina Odone claiming health care should be allotted to those with life styles that deserve it’ (Newmania)

    I just read that article, what utter rot it was too. Here’s a quote from it:

    “Much fairer than rationing by postcode would be rationing by lifestyle: why should the smoker, the drunk or the obese be entitled to the treatment the health-conscious receive? Just as we once spoke of the deserving poor, we now must introduce the deserving ill.”

    Utterly unenforceable! What are they going to do? Give you a little questionnaire on arrival asking how many cigarettes a day you smoke, what you drink in a week and whether or not you’re eating your ‘5 a day’?

    For a start, if your healthcare is ‘rationed’ according to your answers then its obvious everyone’s just going to lie isn’t it.

    Then, what does she plan on doing with the people that fail her little rationing test? Wheeling their trolleys to a dark room somewhere and shooting them up with ever increasing doses of Morphine? Perhaps someone could make the effort to ‘do the rounds’ twice a day and collect the ‘deserving dead’.

    Sounds like she’s basically proposing a cull of people who drink and smoke to me.

  100. newmania said:
    Idlex will be pleased to see the Norfolk NHS trust are removing health care from those who will not give up smoking. Expect more of this.

    idlex replied:
    I do expect more and more of this, now that the medical establishment feels it has carte blanche to order people how to live their lives.

    If you’re a moral zealot who wants to run a moral crusade against something these days, you don’t appeal to the Bible or moral reasoning. No. You instead concoct scientific-medical pseudo-arguments to show that the undesirable practice/custom damages health or reduces longevity. And, of course, since absolutely anything can be shown to be dangerous, you can mount crusades against anything you like.

    I totally agree. With around 12 million smokers in UK collectively paying some £8 billion extra tax, how dare Blair and Brown criminalise us in order to ration health care and deflect attention from the chaos they’ve got our country into.

    We’re a huge silent constituency too. We outnumber Union members by about 2:1. High time we made our collective voice heard.

  101. “Much fairer than rationing by postcode would be rationing by lifestyle: why should the smoker, the drunk or the obese be entitled to Steven_L said:

    the treatment the health-conscious receive? Just as we once spoke of the deserving poor, we now must introduce the deserving ill.”

    Utterly unenforceable! What are they going to do? Give you a little questionnaire on arrival asking how many cigarettes a day you smoke, what you drink in a week and whether or not you’re eating your ‘5 a day’?

    I’ve just completed that very questionnaire – YouGov’s.

    The amount spent by the NHS should depend on:

    A patient’s age
    A patient’s lifestyle
    The chances of treatment succeeding
    Some other factor
    Don’t know
    Should not depend on any factors

    The questionnaire did not include my political survey again.

    Have all of the UK contingent here signed up for YouGov?

  102. The arguement for state lifestyle enforcement by withholding medical care is so utterly silly I haven`t got the energy.
    The two pieces on it today in the DT and Standard unravel themselves.

    It would in practice , apart from anything else, mean killing off the poor ,who have little say in what is currently deemed to be the perfect life.

  103. Did anyone see the article in the Standard about adoption in the UK . I have been more than angry about this for a long time becoming interested during the long period when we were struggling to have a child. The article to which I refer is by Kate Ellington. I have emailed her for a copy but can`t get it out of the standard site.

    On my blog I wrote:
    ADOPTION DISGRACE
    Madonna has been told she will get no special treatment from the British Authorities. LIES. If that were the case she might as well give up now. Well done Mathew Parris on Sunday for pointing out the national scandals that are the adoption agencies. This appalling bureaucracy frustrates would be adopters for years with it petty rules of race, life style and other subjectively judged hurdles. The result is children in Foster homes where conditions are noticeably worse than prisons. Somebody needs to take them on .I have rather high hopes that Madonna might just be the one to do it. She’s a game bird.

    As a mixed race family we find the racist assumptions of this crew of social workers beyond belief.

    PS Mel fans see pic on my blog

    Sorry I have been trying to get this article out which is what i meant to do

  104. One for Idlex, Steven L and other puffers… (today’s Torygraph)

    Residents of a city that outlawed smoking in public are being urged to dial 911 and summon police if they see anyone violating the ban.

    Omaha police department, in Nebraska, has asked for violations of the ban to be reported the same way as any other crime, and said officers would respond and issue offenders with criminal citations or fines of up to $500 (£267) for repeat offences.

    The department said: “Citizens or business owners that observe a violation to this smoking ban are urged to call 911 and report the violation. Officers will respond and take appropriate action.”

    The new ordinance makes it illegal to light up in all indoor public places except gambling areas, which have been given a five-year grace period to comply.

    Critics of police involvement said it was a waste of resources, could clog up the emergency line and distract officers from serious crime.

    There’s enough going in Omaha. We really don’t want the Omaha police department to become the smoking police,” Mark Conrey, the area’s director of emergency services, told television news.

    “Only when it seems that the establishment doesn’t care about enforcing the ordinance, that’s when we want to know. We don’t need 10 phone calls every time someone lights a cigarette.”

    The ban came into force this month but, so far, only a handful of calls have been received and no citations issued, according to the city prosecutor.

    Omaha’s ban is in line with several state-wide bans on indoor public smoking. Some places have also enacted outdoor bans.

    A police spokesman said yesterday: “What we encourage people to do is make contact with the managers [of the bars] and, if the issue can’t be resolved, then call 911.”

  105. Paul D – There are already plans for a similiar hot line for the UK enforced locally and ( being me) I have already protested in the press pointing out that in Islington smoking is older than the Coucil

  106. None of this is a ban on smoking for proven health reasons; it is a grotesque example of muscle-flexing by small people with a little power who trade on the marginal public support for their bullying tactics.

    In no other walk of life is a significant group of people who carry out a legal activity vilified to the same extent as smokers. And before anyone questions the word legal, if the Treasury can happily cream off £10 billion a year tax from a product sold in Sainsbury’s, the practice is officially sanctioned.

    Look here, you sanctimonious little creeps. We got the message. Some people don’t like smoke, so we won’t blow it in their faces. Some pubs stink. Get them to install extractors or provide a well-ventilated room for smokers away from non-smokers. Alternatively, give them the right to ban smoking on the premises, as long as you give other pubs the right not to. It’s as simple as that.

    Now get out of my life, all of you, or I really will emigrate.

  107. ‘A quite insufferable article in the DT today from Cristina Odone claiming health care should be allotted to those with life styles that deserve it’ (Newmania)

    Apart from the good points others have already made, it might also be remarked that what is thought to constitute a ‘healthy lifestyle’ is something that is itself constantly changing, and has been doing so since time immemorial. What is today’s healthy lifestyle is almost certain to become, sooner or later, tomorrow’s fatally unhealthy lifestyle, as one half daft health fad replaces another.

    For example, at present, athletes and footballers and the like are generally held up as exemplifying something approaching the current ideal of healthy living – lots of exercise, fresh air, carefully controlled diets, etc, etc. However, these same athletes are forever pulling muscles, hamstrings, ligaments (watch any football game), as well as suffering multiple bone fractures, and very frequently retiring with early onset arthritis, and probably a great deal more. I don’t know what the typical medical costs for a footballer might be, but I suspect that, assuming they need some sort of medical treatment every 5 or 10 games, and very often weeks or months of subsequent physiotherapy, these costs would most likely be very high. If footballer’s medical costs were audited (regardless of whether they receive public or private medical treatment), I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was found that they imposed a far greater medical burden on society than almost anyone else. And furthermore, it is for the most part perfectly obvious how and why they sustain their litany of injuries.

    But footballers and the like are regarded as the embodiment of ideal health, to which the rest of us are supposed to aspire, and so it’s completely unthinkable to imagine football even being investigated, never mind restricted or banned.

    Or, at least, at present it is unthinkable. With another few turns of the wheel of medical fortune, it might all change.

  108. Now you’re talking, Idlex. But I would not ban football, merely banish it to some remote island where the players’ radioactive girlfriends can learn what it’s like to live without Prada, Rupert Murdoch loses his television rights, and the fans can beat the crap out of eachother without disturbing the rest of us.

  109. In no other walk of life is a significant group of people who carry out a legal activity vilified to the same extent as smokers. (PaulD)

    I think that there are always groups of people of one sort or other who are being vilified. Currently, for example, being a Muslim in Britain is probably not a happy experience.

    I myself have some experience of what it’s like, having once been a dope-smoking 60’s hippie, and knowing dozens of people who had police burst into their flats in the middle of the night, quite often to plant on them the drugs for the possession of which they would be arrested, fined, and sometimes imprisoned. I felt like I was living in Nazi Germany for the few years of this reign of terror. But rather than succeeding in terrorizing people into stopping smoking dope, it only made them into a more cohesive social group. I suspect that the onslaught on smokers will likely have the same effect. I already recognize a kindred spirit when I see someone light a cigarette, cigar, or pipe. It reminds me so much of the 1960s.

    Smoking cannabis only became illegal in Britain round about 1920, for completely arbitrary reasons, thereby creating a new offence. It’s rather strange to see the whole demented process repeating itself, but this time with tobacco.

  110. I think we should speak to Cameron on his blog re: smoking (Flo)

    I wonder what DC thinks of all this. Boris too, of course.

  111. Paul D- I cannot trundle down the anti football path with you .Football is the best game in the world next is rugby , then athletics and boxing. The rest could do without…oh maybe cricket .

    Idlex: A dope fiend are/were you. I feel that most of the problems associated with soft drugs are caused by the fact they are illegal. I met someone with a point of view whilst out campaigning.

    ” I was chatting to woman about her soft drugs habit. She said “Well why shouldn’t I, you have a Gin and Tonic ?”… (And some actually). I pointed out that in a supermarket next to the “Fair Trade ” counter her product would be in the “Child Slave Labour ” ,section. Raw product production is often precisely under such conditions. She said she grew her own and I must admit I was a bit stymied. If anyone can think of a good reasons why she should not please let me know. I was reduced to saying it is against the law and you can’t pick and choose but it felt a bit weak. I do believe my last point is a crucial one but it isn’t very impressive……?”

    In the Standard today someone is saying oh come now its hardly worth manning the barricades about is it ? Well perhaps not neither would the right to eat only with a fork ,laugh ,digress, play music , glance appreciatively at women ,gossip , show off ..and every other small thing that makes life worth living.

  112. We’re a huge silent constituency too. We outnumber Union members by about 2:1. High time we made our collective voice heard. (Flo’)

    I think it’s going to depend on what happens when this latest bad law comes into force next year.

    I think that this is a law that is going to have profound social impacts. There must be millions of people, up and down the country, who will suddenly no longer be able to meet up with friends for a pint and a pipe at their local pub, as many of them have been doing all their lives. It is exactly as if candles and incense were banned in churches (which has happened). And it can be argued that public houses have replaced churches as gathering places. It’s not just that these people are going to find that they can’t smoke in pubs, but that their whole customary way of life will come to an end. They are, in profound senses, going to be hurt in their religion. And otherwise entirely blameless people, who have never committed a crime in their entire lives, will suddenly find their ancient customs and rituals suddenly made illegal, and themselves members of a newly-vilified minority.

    This isn’t just about smoking. It’s much deeper than that. It’s about people’s entire way of life. Indeed, it is about their religion.

    Personally, I’m already enraged in advance almost to the point of violence, but I suspect that the real disbelief, bewilderment, and anger, will only emerge when the law actually comes into effect, and the enormous social damage that it will inflict begins to become apparent.

    It has to be remembered that the anti-smoking zealots are themselves a tiny minority, albeit many of them in high places in the medical and political establishments, which they have misused to impose this law upon us. And many non-smokers are as dismayed by this vindictive law as are smokers.

  113. Idlex: A dope fiend are/were you. (newmania)

    No more so than half the Tory shadow cabinet that courageously stood up a few years ago to say they’d smoked it too.

    And Melissa is indeed an Emma Peel. Thanks for the photo. Who’s standing next to her?

  114. One further remark about the 60s.

    It was during the 60s that the medical establishment determined that smoking caused lung cancer. And so irate hippies would be rolling up their joints/spliffs and bitterly complaining that their harmless drug was illegal, while far more dangerous tobacco was perfectly legal. Since joints were 90% tobacco, sprinkled with a little cannabis resin, these same hippies would spend the next 30 years claiming that they became addicted to tobacco only by smoking tobacco-filled joints.

    I wasn’t one of these complainers, if only because I took up smoking before I ever smoked a joint. But these days I wonder if dope-smoking hippies who went on, as many did, to become lawyers and doctors and architects and other pillars of society, retained into their later life this early passionate animosity against tobacco, with the result that this wretched law is nothing but their belated vengeance.

    In my case, this OK-if-you-ban-my-pleasure-I’ll-ban-yours was vaguely directed at foxhunting rather than tobacco, although I was never any sort of activist. It was only after a long while that I began to think that retaliating in this manner, by making other people’s pleasures illegal, was really no more justifiable than was the original ban on cannabis.

    We may now be in a circumstance where a whole set of retaliatory laws have been enacted in response to the original deeply offensive law, and the process will continue. And angry smokers will seek to ban football, and irate country huntsmen will seek to ban some town or city custom, in a sort of chain reaction of vengeance.

    The only way to stop this will be to repeal all these various vindictive and retaliatory laws, starting with those against drugs, and moving on to fox hunting, and then smoking, and maybe quite a good deal more.

  115. Interesting theory, Idlex. There are other forces at work here too, one of them a by-product of political correctness. We are no longer allowed to express dislike or disapproval of anything much these days unless we are prepared to face accusations of discrimination / ageism / racism / sexism / veganism or any other ism the PC brigade have invented to create new “victims”.

    For all the libertarian developments since the 60s we have become a repressed and narrow-minded nation, permitted to think only along approved lines. This has left a great deal of pent-up firepower in people’s minds, so when the rare opportunity presents itself to unleash anger and hatred, the smoker / foxhunter gets all barrels. Marry this condition to the overzealous application of rules by small-minded officials – a trait for which we are famous – and soft targets suffer as they have never suffered before.

    America has gone much the same way. It has become a pattern in most western governments, who feed off each other for ideas on how they can exercise more control as they themselves become bigger and more powerful. The growth of government, typified by the monstrous EU, becomes a self-fuelling process as the ever-increasing volume of rules and regulations needs new systems to sustain them which, in turn, need more systems to support the systems. And all the while this massive machine has not in itself laid a single brick, planted a single seed, swept a single street, or done anything you might call productive.

    Sadly, Idlex and Flo, protest has little effect against the might of this beast. It has proved deaf to objections in Ireland, Scotland and America, where smoking bans are in place, and indeed considers protest as an ideal excuse to tighten the screw harder.

  116. Idlex, I just read your rant against national newspapers in the previous thread (sorry – old thread, old news).

    Couldn’t agreee more about the Independent. Not even the Guardian at its looniest has been so desperate to cuddle up to the liberal left establishment. There was a copy of the Independent lying around the office recently. Its naivity had us gasping.

    In one of those fashionable multi-line front page headings, it asked: (approximately, from memory) “This school speaks 37 languages yet has been awarded a certificate of excellence. What does this tell us about multiculturalism in Britain today?”

    The rhetoric is of course is designed to invite the response “Wonderful! Let’s have more multiculturalism, more immigration”. Well it didn’t work. All I could see was a school with a saintly headteacher struggling to cope with a huge social problem forced upon it by years of population mismanagement. You’ve got to hand it to them. Goebbels would have struggled to think that one up.

    Behind it, you can see a newspaper hell bent on out-Guardianing the Guardian in an attempt to win the favours of Red Ken and co, who prefer to place their advertising spend with on-message publications.

    Yes, the Independent has become, as you say, “degraded into a vehicle for a kind of cultural terrorism”. Most of the national dailies trade on our fears and prejudices but none insults our intelligence to this extent.

    However, your railing against a Prime Minister who “mounts an attack on women who wear burqas” is where we part company. Asking teachers to dress so that they can be seen in class is fair enough. What makes me retch is NuLab’s giddy u-turn on the whole matter, having suddenly realised they have mis-read popular sentiment. The politics of convenience, as always, not a moral principle in sight. They should have managed the situation properly in the first place.

  117. IDLEX-Thanks for the photo. Who’s standing next to her?

    The person beside Mel, as you very well know Idlex , is the one true love of my life . My hearts desire and, for long periods, my only physically intimate companion. I cannot speak to highly of this person and everything I do , say or write is in some way a hymn in praise to the remarkable soul next to Mel

    The Drugs Do Work
    Idlex I have tried most things more than once and retain many habits that would unfit me for high office .On the other hand would you be happy if brain-frying crack cocaine were easily available .
    If , like me , you feel that what you smoke or imbibe is , subject to overarching reasonableness, your business we have a problem Legalised Crack would push already fracturing benefit hell holes into outright anarchy. I am not exaggerating. We already accept without demure that access to large tracts of London South and North is for the suicidal after dark. Do not confuse decorous cocaine with crack cocaine or various new formulations of heroin. It is entirely clear that such substances cannot be made available to those who will abuse themselves and everyone else with them .By what logic can a libertarian support prescriptive legislation? Can you solve that conundrum or do you really want freedoms you would deny everyone else because you are better , in some way , than them . ?
    Killing Animals just for the Joy of it
    As I said to a” Fox hunting man” of my acquaintance ” Ok dokey I `ll be round y to your place to torture a dog to death or let some yoofs do it for me , quite legally ,.I do hope you children are not easily upset ” . Will you join me in my Libertarian campaign to be allowed to stick pins in puppy dogs. So far I am the only member.

    People have said of me that I would not let the state have a bucket of water if I were burning alive but like any Conservative I am aware of the problems of Liberty . Especially for everyone else!

    As always the benign dictatorship of Newmania seems the only way to cut the Gordian knot of freedom and responsibility

  118. Newmania – I, too, am well acquainted with huntspeople, although horses and I don’t get on (rather, I don’t get on horses).

    They couldn’t catch a fox if it jumped out at them waving a white flag. What’s more, they don’t much care whether they catch one or not. They do it for the thrill of the chase – the fresh air, the going, the obstacles, the speed, the expression of a primaeval relationship between man and nature (or do you prefer kids thinking milk comes from Tesco’s?). It must be a fantastic experience. But it does help to have something to chase.

    You townies do not have the faintest understanding of that. As such, you have no right to dictate how others should live.

  119. PaulD,
    I grew up in the countryside and I agree with the banning of fox hunting. I am all for humane culling, but hunting with hounds is cruel. Other cruel forms of hunting had alreadt been banned for ages when fox hunting was banned so I fail to see the fuss about this specific ban.

    Yes the ride itself is great, but it is not necesary to have something to chase. Other countries manage to make do with just trail hunts, as it were, so we should be able to do the same.

  120. K-Other cruel forms of hunting had already been banned for ages when fox hunting was banned so I fail to see the fuss about this specific ban.

    Yes yes and which were those other “cruel sports” dog fighting , cock fighting and all the sorts suprise suprise that belonged to the working classes. To be honest K I`m really not the sort to be much fussed about animals getting ripped to shreds;

    ( PSSST the last thing a wild animal sees is the gaping maugh of the beast about to eat him , not his weeping relatives clutching hankeys)….

    Do you worry about the fox? What is your objection at heart I`m not trying to be ironic just trying to think it through . Does it matter what sort of animal it is ? You know they are coming for the anglers now ?I can`t get clear in my head what the principles invoved are , there are so many contradictions.

  121. I don’t suppose anyone wants to turn this into yet another argument about foxhunting but your dog/cock fighting point cannot go unanswered, Newmania.

    Those “pit sports” were primarily about the perverse enjoyment of watching two animals fighting each other to death and betting money on which would survive. For most huntspeople the kill – if it happens at all – is incidental. There is a big difference, which you fail to understand despite my spelling it out for you a minute ago. Hunting is so far removed from sticking pins in puppies that the comparison is not worthy of consideration.

  122. ‘I wonder what DC thinks of all this. Boris too, of course’ (PaulD)

    You can find out how Dave C, Boris or any other MP voted on things like smoking here:

    http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/index.php

    ‘You know they are coming for the anglers now?’ (newmania)

    What’s this about them banning fishing then? There’s always been noise from the anti’s about livebaiting for predators, but I haven’t heard anything about banning fishing itself.

    I found this on a pro-livebaiting web-page, I think it pretty much sums things up:

    ‘To those who don’t livebait, for whatever reason, defend it for those who do. If you don’t it will be maggots and worms you will have to defend next…livebait bans are just one more step towards total bans on angling.’

    Personally I do livebait for pike and big perch. If someone out there thinks that it’s cruel then tough. The way I see it, I caught it, its my fish, I decide if it is to become Pike food.

  123. Paul D – If the kill is incidental then why not dispense with it ?Why not , fish for wooden fish ?

    The kill is not incidental and I suspect your claim that my question is not worthy of consideration should be translated as, ” I have no answer”

    No doubt , for you , the statement that you could produce some arguement if you wanted to is same thing as doing so .

    I will grant you consistency and consider myself “incidentally “not killed.

    Is this an old carousel then ? I wasn`t here for the previous rides.Pity.

  124. I suspect your claim that my question is not worthy of consideration should be translated as, ” I have no answer”

    Newmania, I like you enormously and hate to see you demeaning yourself with this kind of clever-dick response. The answer came earlier. There is no comparison between people who go for an invigorating ride and those who stick pins in puppies.

    Please remember this comes from someone who holds no candle for the hunt but who cannot abide the government’s constant interference in our lives.

  125. I don’t eat meat, yet I am not against hunting. I believe it’s important that we as a society retain our hunting skills and I don’t see any means of achieving this other than by practicing these.

    Hunting is an age old means of survival for humanity and is still vital to the economies of some societies. It could once again become vital for us in the future.

    My view is that those who oppose hunting on ethical grounds should give up eating meat as this requires the cruel slaughter of animals. Slaughter of animals in abattoirs is, in my view, every bit as cruel as hunting, pigs scream with terror for hours as they wait outside and inside my local abattoir. They smell, hear and sense that other pigs are being killed and sense that this will happen to them.

    Our government, which is largely comprised of meat eaters, banned hunting primarily for reasons of political expediency. I doubt if many of them really give a damn about animal welfare.

    They cruelly deny a proportion of England’s cancer patients the treatments which would alleviate their suffering. They cruelly rob elderly people, just weeks from death, of their homes to pay for care. And all the while they are stuffing as much of our taxes into their own coffers as they can lay their greedy hands on.

    What hypocrites!

  126. ‘There is no comparison between people who go for an invigorating ride and those who stick pins in puppies’ (PaulD)

    I was just checking Boris’s voting record an animal rights. On 14th March he rebelled against the tory leadership and voted in favour of cutting of little puppy dogs tails.

  127. I guess that my preliminary portmanteau answer to the various questions that have been posed is: if the activity in question does not harm other people, I see no reason to ban it.

    Does wearing hoodies or burqas harm other people? No.

    Does fox-hunting harm other people? No.

    Does drug-taking harm other people? No. Except when behind the wheel of a car.

    Does free debate or argument harm other people? No.

    Does war, murder, assault, theft, rape, embezzlement, and fraud harm other people? Yes.

  128. I should add to this that by ‘doing any harm to anyone’, I mean occasioning them to spend their time doing something they would not have otherwise wished to do.

    If, for example, I stole Boris’ car keys, I would have probably made him spend hours looking for them – something he would not have otherwise done.

    The harm done by this theft lies in these subsquent, fruitless efforts by Boris.

    Boris’ own personal response (alarm, rage, despondency, and so on) are merely his own, personal, passing judgments upon the matter, and are simply another opinion upon it. But if we are to gauge the real impact of any action, we must discount such mere opinion.

  129. idlex, when you say:

    Does drug-taking harm other people? No. Except when behind the wheel of a car.

    it is quite clear that you are not the child of a drug addict or, come to that, an alcoholic.

    It does, in fact, harm other people, as anyone familiar with FAS, domestic violence statistics, or home-based accident rates could tell you.

  130. Flo gets better and better does she not . “I do not eat meat but I am not against hunting,”. You could wait a long time and not hear that again.
    I agree that the Beatrix Potter view of animals should be discarded at adulthood. This country has a peculiar attachment to anthropomorphising, which I attribute to the early industrial revolution, and the consequent separation from agri-business. I eat meat with relish, and would be prepared to kill my own if I had to. In fact, I suspect I might rather enjoy it. I can shoot the dickens out of a clay dish!

    Like any sane person, if pushed, I will admit that the taxing moral conundrums of torturing animals for pleasure, are not worth much political time, and I wouldn’t disturb it myself . Nonetheless there are moral difficulties that the threat of a bucolic bewhiskered squire, in deer stalker and plus fours , tapping my door with a blunder buss ( Paul D?), will not dissuade me from probing a little further.

    Speaking of an old blunderbuss, congratulations to Squire D for getting this one out to the closet .
    ” I like you enormously …BUT…etc.” …
    Ooo sneaky! Have you been reading Potter’s one-upmanship? Allow me to assist you in clarifying your argument for hunting, which at present is full of holes. This I do in a charitable spirit, and because I like you, if possible, even more than you like me……( The standard , not the Sicilian counter)
    Yes fox torturers are probably better people than puppy burners, but this is beside the point.If ,Paul, you were under sentence of death, for the sheer pleasure of some charming rustics, I imagine you, incarcerated like woebegone Toad in a cell, in no end of a funk.
    . Never fear, for around the corner Newmania is hurrying to announce the good news…
    ” Thank god, Squire D , we’ve persuaded them to enjoy an invigorating ride while the torture proceeds ”
    How you would thank me for this stay of execution,
    “God bless you Newmania .”, you would cry ,” the sheer knowledge of the wind in their hair reconciles me entirely to the show . Taran tara , bring it on!!”

    In short you have forgotten how the fox feels about it ? Having done that, quite obviously, there is no problem with fox hunting; neither is there any difficulty with puppy burning.
    I conclude that if you are going to justify hunting, it is not sufficient to vaguely assert that hunters are jolly good chaps , true though that may be . You have to examine the human relationship with animals, the importance of custom, and the Libertarian backdrop, which in itself, as I have quite clearly shown ; will not do.

    Idlex -” If I do not harm anyone else “Well yes that is a good starting point, but the definition of harm you propose is entirely inadequate to the connected lives we have in a modern society . To take one example; the burqa . Does it harm anyone?
    Yes it does
    1 It tells little girls that their nascent sexuality is wrong and sinful
    2 It tells little boys that woman are property
    3 It offers support and succour to fascists and terrorists worldwide
    4 It challenges the free society in which we live and is a quite deliberate political statement to that effect

    Does it actually leap of the face of the anonymous wearer like the a clothy “alien” and inflict physical pain ? No it does not , but it will cause pain and suffering endlessly as the ripples of its effect spread outwards into the actions of others.

    While I am happy for the rustics to enjoy chasing wily Monsieur Reynard . I do not want burqas in schools. This distinction is to do with custom. One is a custom of this culture, the other is an alien political attack on it. If the Labour party, or the politically correct in general, accepted there was such a distinction, how quickly we could solve absurd mess they are in, disrupting our best C of E and Catholic schools. The real objective is to be seen to be bullying two or three Islamic schools and therby suck up to the working class they betrayed . For this tawdry end thousands of our best educational institutions must be undermined ?
    .The answer is simple .The church schools can stay , the Islamic ones cannot .

    I enjoyed that and now I had better start earning a crust au revoir Squire D as in Paul ( Thanks for links Steven ,).

  131. Mr Newman stated:

    ‘The answer is simple .The church schools can stay , the Islamic ones cannot’

    Once again I find myself strongly disagreeing with your views. It is not the purpose of the state to fund any form of sectarian education. All state-funded education in this country should be secular.
    True to my libertarian principles however, if people want to fund there own sectarian school then they should be allowed to do so, provided that the school can be shown to meet the required educational standards in the national curriculum.

  132. Now listen here, Newman chappie, any more of that nonsense and I’ll have you over me britches for a sound spanking followed by seven days’ mucking-out.

    You’ve interrupted by breakfast. Now, where were we… kedgeree, venison pate, brace of quail, tankard of porter… ah, that’s better.

  133. To take one example; the burqa . Does it harm anyone?
    Yes it does
    1 It tells little girls that their nascent sexuality is wrong and sinful
    2 It tells little boys that woman are property
    3 It offers support and succour to fascists and terrorists worldwide
    4 It challenges the free society in which we live and is a quite deliberate political statement to that effect
    (newmania)

    There are no such ‘messages’ in a burqa, except those that you have imagined.

    And for all our vaunted Western freedoms, do we not have equally powerful dress codes?

    It is frequently mandatory for Western males to wear ties, as a noose around their necks. What messages do you read into that?

    1. They are proclaiming themselves to be serfs?

    2. They are going to hang themselves later that day?

    3. They don’t need table napkins?

    The possibilities are limitless, given sufficient imagination.

  134. it is quite clear that you are not the child of a drug addict or, come to that, an alcoholic. (raincoaster)

    My father smoked 60 a day, and used to have his own well-stocked bar in the corner of our living room.

    That would probably have earned him an Anti-Social Behaviour Order, these modern enlightened days.

  135. idlex, My father smoked 60 a day…

    So did mine,and Woodbines t’boot.

    my sister is 79, my brother is 76, I am 74 !!! passive smoking..what passive smoking!!

  136. Idlex-The possibilities are limitless, given sufficient imagination-

    Yes and I might with sufficient imagination interpret the number 3 to be the number 43. I would be wrong however. In the case of the burqa I am not

  137. Are we back onto the Burqa? To be honest it’s never really bothered me, but I agree with taking the same line as France and Turkey and banning it from schools etc.

    A few years ago I lived for about 9 months in Huddersfield, which is over 40% British-Pakistani Muslim. It wasn’t what they wore that bothered me, it was the fact that so many of them refused to speak to white people if they could possibly avoid it.

    I’d be standing with one of my Muslim mates and a few of his old school-chums would come and start chatting to him in some foreign language. The first time they did it I tried to acknowledge them (as they were on the same course as me) but they just completely blanked me.

    When they went away my mate told me not to bother trying to speak to them, ‘Don’t waste you’re time mate, they don’t speak to white folk’ he politely informed me. Now this wasn’t entirely accurate, they’d speak to white folk if it was absolutely necessary, such as the lecturer for instance.

    I’ve never heard of Hindus, Sikhs, black folk or any other minority that refuse to speak to the indigenious population of Anglo-Saxons, just some Muslims. It wasn’t even that smaller minority of Muslims at the uni that completely segregated themselves either, I’d say between 10% and 20% of them did.

    Britain has addressed racism and prejudice within it’s society, legislated to prevent it and punishes offenders severely. Now they want ot go a step further, religion is about to be protected by what will probably end up being used as new anti-blasphemy laws, the new Racial and Religious Hatred Act.

    Even though, like most of this government’s legislation it’s utterly unenforceable, you have to ask the question whether we are moving in the right direction. I thought blasphemy was a thing of the past, and that terrestrial TV was allowed to screen Monty Python’s ‘The Life of Brian’ these days.

    Whether it’s Evangelical Christians preaching hatred of homosexuals or ignorant Muslims pouring scorn on the unbelievers, they should sort out their own houses before they expect the state to protect them from a taste of their own medicine.

  138. I might with sufficient imagination interpret the number 3 to be the number 43. I would be wrong however. In the case of the burqa I am not. (newmania)

    I see. You’re just telling me that you’re right. No argument. No evidence. Only bald assertion.

    In Western society there were Christian women who dressed in something very like burqas, who were sworn to virginity, and sometimes silence. They were called ‘nuns’.

    Those ‘nuns’ must have been a right menace.

  139. Idlex-I see. You’re just telling me that you’re right. No argument. No evidence. Only bald assertion.

    No my meaning was not what you have imagined it to be. I was only saying that the fact symbols can be misinterpreted is not of itself evidence that they cannot be powerful . Context is important and the meaning of a nuns habit stems from the entirely different history and context in which it is worn.

    If,Idlex, there was no meaning attached to this garb other than what one might imagine at random ,the woman would hardly have wasted time insisting on wearing it. It is symbolic for her and it is also symbolic for us .

    The swastika was , I gather a sort of mystic symbol that was entirely benign in India at some point , but if you were to walk it into the context of Israel , you might find that quibbling over your intention fell on deaf ears. To be honest, I didn’t especially mean to get into Moooslim bashing of which there has been to much . It popped into my head as an example of ways in which consideration of others might extend far away from actual physical harm . Perhaps you would allow me that general notion ?

  140. Stevey L-I’ve never heard of Hindus, Sikhs, black folk or any other minority that refuse to speak to the indigenious population of Anglo-Saxons, just some Muslims. It wasn’t even that smaller minority of Muslims at the uni that completely segregated themselves either, I’d say between 10% and 20% of them did.

    Yes there has been some discussion of this in the press including a Muslim revealing his own problems of that sort at college.My impression was thta 10% might beon the low side.?

    Two of the bomb plotters were at Islington College. the theory is that they are watching the Mosques ( god knows I hope so with our one ) , and the focus of actvity has moved into other places in the community. Universities seem to be danger areas

  141. No my meaning was not what you have imagined it to be.

    If I misunderstand you, newmania, is that my fault, or is it yours?

    I generally find that I understand pretty much everything Boris writes, and a great deal of what everyone else writes. But I regularly trip over almost everything you write. Is that really entirely the fault of my own unbridled imagination?

    Why is it that some people can put their ideas into clear words, and others can not? I really don’t care what your opinions may be on any matter, but I do care about your ability to lucidly express them. After all, if we don’t even understand what’s being said to us, then all discussion is void, and me may as well speak in grunts and nods.

  142. And on the English music front, I should report that I’ve spent the last two months listening to Joaquin Sabina:

    Dimelo En La Calle (Tell me that outside).

  143. ” Peces de ciudad ”
    (Letra: Joaquín Sabina / Música: Joaquín Sabina,Pancho Varona) *

    Se peinaba a lo garçon
    la viajera que quiso enseñarme a besar
    en la gare d’Austerlitz.

    Primavera de un amor
    amarillo y frugal como el sol
    del veranillo de san Martín.

    Hay quien dice que fui yo
    el primero en olvidar
    cuando en un si bemol de Jacques Brel
    conocí a mademoiselle Amsterdam.

    En la fatua Nueva York
    da más sombra que los limoneros
    la estatua de la libertad,
    pero en desolation row

    las sirenas de los petroleros
    no dejan reír ni volar
    y, en el [t]oro de Babel,
    desafina un español.

    No hay más ley que la ley del tesoro
    en las minas del rey Salomón.
    Y desafiando el oleaje
    sin timón ni timonel,

    por mis sueños va, ligero de equipaje,
    sobre un cascarón de nuez,
    mi corazón de viaje,
    luciendo los tatuajes

    de un pasado bucanero,
    de un velero al abordaje,
    de un no te quiero querer.
    Y cómo huir

    cuando no quedan
    islas para naufragar
    al país
    donde los sabios se retiran
    del agravio de buscar
    labios que sacan de quicio,

    mentiras que ganan juicios
    tan sumarios que envilecen
    el cristal de los acuarios
    de los peces de ciudad
    que mordieron el anzuelo,
    que bucean a ras del suelo,
    que no merecen nadar.

    El Dorado era un champú,
    la virtud unos brazos en cruz,
    el pecado una página web.

    En Comala comprendí
    que al lugar donde has sido feliz
    no debieras tratar de volver.
    Cuando en vuelo regular
    pisé el cielo de Madrid

    me esperaba una recién casada
    que no se acordaba de mí.
    Y desafiando el oleaje
    sin timón ni timonel,

    por mis venas va, ligero de equipaje,
    sobre un cascarón de nuez,
    mi corazón de viaje,
    luciendo los tatuajes
    de un pasado bucanero,
    de un velero al abordaje,
    de un liguero de mujer.

    Y cómo huir
    cuando no quedan

    islas para naufragar
    al país
    donde los sabios se retiran
    del agravio de buscar
    labios que sacan de quicio,
    mentiras que ganan juicios
    tan sumarios que envilecen
    el cristal de los acuarios
    de los peces de ciudad

    que perdieron las agallas
    en un banco de morralla,
    en una playa sin mar.

    “Lo cuento, aunque no sé si le hará gracia: Estaba cantándola Joaquín y se emocionó tanto que paró y lloró. Primera vez que ocurre”.

  144. After all, if we don’t even understand what’s being said to us, then all discussion is void, and me may as well speak in grunts and nods.-

    Really Idlex? You seem a little tetchy to me.Allow me to draw my own conclusions as to why that might be . I would not be so impolite as to comment on your own style , but if you continue with this low tactic, I shall be sorely tempted.

    “Me may as well speak in grunts and nods.” Yes indeed , me may .(Well just a bit then)

    XX

  145. Curiosity aroused by Idlex, I found a couple of Joaquin Sabina tracks. Nice tight backing, catchy rhythm, but when is Joaquin going to cut down his 80 a day?

  146. There should be raincoaster – now there is a challenge for …Idlex? or I could help too

    The song is of a sad, Fado-type- longing wreathed with sadness and looking to the past

  147. I love listening to Fado, and Vancouver’s actually been instrumental in the revival of authentic Flamenco, but I do not read or speak any Spanish or Portugese that cannot be found on a menu, alas.

    This is a very odd Flash movie, from a very strange but beautiful site. I’m pasting it here because it has such incredible flamenco music from Domingo Alvarado.

  148. now there is a challenge for …Idlex? or I could help too (Melissa)

    One can use Google or Free Translation to help.

    I can translate Spanish a little bit, but Joaquin Sabina is also a considerable poet as well as singer, and that makes it harder. I’ll just try translating line by line, word by word. Here’s my best crude outline guess:

    Se peinaba a lo garçon
    la viajera que quiso enseñarme a besar
    en la gare d’Austerlitz.

    She was combing her hair in boyish style
    The traveller who wanted
    To teach me to kiss
    In Austerlitz station

    Primavera de un amor
    amarillo y frugal como el sol
    del veranillo de san Martín.

    The springtime of a love,
    yellow and frugal like the sun,
    In the brief summer of St Martin.

    Hay quien dice que fui yo
    el primero en olvidar
    cuando en un si bemol de Jacques Brel
    conocí a mademoiselle Amsterdam.

    Someone said that I was
    The first to forget
    When in one flat note of Jacques Brel,
    I got to know mademoiselle Amsterdam.

    En la fatua Nueva York
    da más sombra que los limoneros
    la estatua de la libertad,
    pero en desolation row

    In conceited New York,
    The Statue of Liberty
    Gives more shadow than the lemon trees,
    But in Desolation Row.

    las sirenas de los petroleros
    no dejan reír ni volar
    y, en el [t]oro de Babel,
    desafina un español.

    The sirens of the oil tankers
    Don’t allow laughter or escape,
    And in the tower of Babel,
    A Spaniard is out of tune.

    No hay más ley que la ley del tesoro
    en las minas del rey Salomón.
    Y desafiando el oleaje
    sin timón ni timonel,

    There is no greater law than the law of treasure
    In the mines of king Solomon,
    And defying the swell
    Without helm or helmsman.

    por mis sueños va, ligero de equipaje,
    sobre un cascarón de nuez,
    mi corazón de viaje,
    luciendo los tatuajes

    So my dreams go, with little baggage,
    On a shell of walnut,
    My heart of journey,
    Showing off the tattoos

    de un pasado bucanero,
    de un velero al abordaje,
    de un no te quiero querer.

    Of a past buccaneer,
    Of an approaching sailing ship,
    Of one I don’t wish you to want.

    Y cómo huir
    cuando no quedan
    islas para naufragar
    al país
    donde los sabios se retiran
    del agravio de buscar
    labios que sacan de quicio,

    And how to escape
    When they don’t stay on
    shipwreck islands
    In a country
    Where the wise men retreat
    From the offence of seeking
    Lips that unhinge. (drive mad)

    mentiras que ganan juicios
    tan sumarios que envilecen
    el cristal de los acuarios
    de los peces de ciudad
    que mordieron el anzuelo,
    que bucean a ras del suelo,
    que no merecen nadar.

    Lies that win trials
    So summary that they disgrace
    The glass of the aquariums
    of the fish of the city
    That bit the hook,
    Which dive to floor level
    That they don’t deserve to swim.

    El Dorado era un champú (campeon?),
    la virtud unos brazos en cruz,
    el pecado una página web.

    El Dorado was a shampoo (champion?),
    The virtue some arms in cross,
    The sin a web page.

    En Comala comprendí
    que al lugar donde has sido feliz
    no debieras tratar de volver.

    In Comala I understood
    that at the place where you have been happy
    you should not try to return.

    Cuando en vuelo regular
    pisé el cielo de Madrid
    me esperaba una recién casada
    que no se acordaba de mí.

    When on a regular flight
    I stepped the sky of Madrid
    I hoped for a recently married woman
    Who did not agree with me.

    Y desafiando el oleaje
    sin timón ni timonel,
    por mis venas va, ligero de equipaje,
    sobre un cascarón de nuez,
    mi corazón de viaje,

    And defying the swell
    Without helm or helmsman,
    Through my veins go, with little luggage,
    On a shell of walnut,
    my heart of journey.

    luciendo los tatuajes
    de un pasado bucanero,
    de un velero al abordaje,
    de un liguero de mujer.

    Lighting the tattoos
    of a past buccaneer,
    Of an approaching sailing ship,
    Of a woman’s garter.

    Y cómo huir
    cuando no quedan
    islas para naufragar
    al país
    donde los sabios se retiran
    del agravio de buscar
    labios que sacan de quicio,

    And how to escape
    When they don’t stay on
    shipwreck islands
    In a country
    Where the wise men retreat
    From the offence of seeking
    Lips that unhinge.

    mentiras que ganan juicios
    tan sumarios que envilecen
    el cristal de los acuarios
    de los peces de ciudad
    que perdieron las agallas
    en un banco de morralla,
    en una playa sin mar.

    Lies that win trials
    So summary that they disgrace
    The glass of the aquariums
    of the fish of the city
    That lost the gills
    on a bench of riff-raff,
    on a beach without sea.

  149. Well, my crude translation is in the post. But I put in two links, so it won’t be posted until it has been released by the moderators.

  150. idlex, I loved your translation.

    To be pedantic I would just question:

    >luciendo los tatuajes
    de un pasado bucanero,

    Lighting the tattoos
    of a past buccaneer,

    Surely ‘luciendo’ from ‘lucer’ means displaying with applomb in this context therefore ‘flaunting’ might perhaps be the more fitting word…

  151. I’m sure you’re right, Melissa. Lucir also means ‘to show off’.

    However, it seems to me that one should begin with a crude outline translation, and only then try to render it into good English sense.

    Perhaps you would like to attempt this second stage.

    A third stage might be to make it all rhyme as well.

  152. Incidentally, I worry a lot about shampoo

    And who among us cannot say the same? Many are the sleepless nights I’ve spend worrying whether Full & Soft was the right choice for me, or whether I was more of a Deep Moisturizing girl…

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