Monday, 30 June 2008
Saturday, 28 June 2008
Time for some more music. When I did my earlier posting on reggae, I didn't include any Bob Marley - seemed too obvious. But here he is. Two clips from early Wailers - as opposed to Bob Marley and the Wailers. I touched on my proposition that Marley lost his way when he became a big international star, sang in standard English and parted from Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer before. The early stuff, though, is as good as it gets...
Two clips of early stuff - complete with Bunny Wailer and the Mystic Man. The first is Stir it Up. It's a love song but it's more than just a love song - it's seriously erotic. He did erotic very well...
The second clip - Rastaman Chant - is not rock and roll or indeed reggae at all. It is credited to our old friend 'Traditional' but as Rastafarianism only dates back to the 1930s, it can't be very old. Taken literally, the core beliefs of Rastafarianism are - erm - well - like Haile Selassie was divine?? But it's not really about that - at core it's a black identity thing. I've known and liked a number of Rastas and my own experience is that the genuine article are what they say they are: peaceful men. Mind you, the beard helps. I once met a Rasta at Ochi Rios who greeted me as follows (I write as spoken):
'Yes man! Beard man! De beard is a sacred ting! Moses an' de prophets dem all had beards!'
Ermmm... Quite so...
Rastaman Chant moves - haunting and elegaic.
With Hat Tip to MiMi - if you wondered what the rabbit got up to in his spare time, here is a clip from something called America's Got Talent. No, I'm not giving up the day job ;)
Wednesday, 25 June 2008
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
Sunday, 22 June 2008
Before footage disappears from YouTube completely, here is a clip of Kevin Petersen's switch hitting routine. Explanation: he converts himself from a right handed to a left handed batsman as the bowler runs in. Then he belts two sixes (like home runs Americanpersons). This caused some consternation. Was it legal? The MCC who are in charge of the laws of the game decided that it was. Though I agree, I suspect that this decision was as much for commercial as cricketing reasons. Furthermore, it's a high risk strategy on the part of the batsman and I further suspect that only someone as outrageously talented as Pietersen could get away with it too often.
The disappearance of this footage from YouTube (presumably at the insistence of Sky TV) raises an interesting topic. Some performers, notably Van Morrison, have demanded that all clips of them performing be taken down. Strictly, they are of course entitled to take this stance but it does seem like a piece of miserabilism. What serious commercial harm do the YouTube clips do to them? I did think of doing a posting on Irish music a while ago, a project rapidly abandoned when I discovered every single Van Morrison/Chieftans clip had been taken down from YouTube. Miserable gits! Credit to the Dead who have never given a stuff about unofficial merchandising/bootleg taping/putting any old clip of them up.
A completely different topic: last night I watched a TV documentary on Unity Mitford. This set in motion a thought: as a child, I was told that Hitler's real name was Schicklgruber. Was this true? Cue online researches. The short answer is 'no'. Explanation: his father (name Alois) was born out of wedlock to Maria Anna Schicklgruber. The father of Alois (surname Heidler/Hitler - same thing apparently) married her later and Alois was eventually legitimised and took the surname Hitler. Twelve years later Adolf Hitler was born. So where did the rumours come from? Well apparently the answer is that British intelligence dug up this story and - Schicklgruber being a silly sounding name, at least to British ears - decided to milk it for all it was worth for propaganda purposes. So now you know (apologies to those who did already)...
As a parting shot, some good news. Local authorities have been told by the Local Government Association to cut out 100 words of incomprehensible bureaucratic gibberish. Out goes, among others, 'coterminosity', 'place shaping', 'predictors of beaconicity' and 'stakeholder engagement'. This kind of drivel defeat the purpose of language, namely communication. It excludes instead. If the public sector excludes then the private sector infantilises. One of many reasons I avoid fast food outlets is that they make you speak their idiot language when ordering. Should you find yourself in a fast food outlet, just listen to yourself reciting the puerile guff you have to spout...
Saturday, 21 June 2008
Friday, 20 June 2008
The Rabbit has been silent so far this week - a combination of working out of town and editing the crime novel (coming along nicely as you ask!). So here are a few snippets from the week's events that might have been blogged on at greater length.
Next week sees the start of Wimblebore, the most tiresome event in the sporting calendar. The Rabbit does his level best to ignore it completely but it does manage to intrude despite best efforts. It also makes 5 Live, one of my radio stations of choice, un-listenable-to for a fortnight. I always laugh when it rains on it while simultaneously fearing that the rain may extend it and/or cause Cliff Richard to sing. Then there is the annual farce of the gallant British loser - the mantle has passed from Tim Henman to Thingy Murray (pictured below). YAWN...
On a more sombre note, state terrorism in Zimbabwe is beyond belief. One African politician asked why they are bothering to have an 'election' at all. The only explanation I can think of is that the state terrorists see it as an opportunity to murder, brutalise and generaly terrify the population into submission.
A bizarre story from British Columbia. Feet keep appearing on beaches there, minus the rest of the former owner. So far five feet have appeared, four right and one left if you were wondering. No-one knows why. The latest is that some hoaxer has left an animal paw in a trainer on a beach. The local coroner pronounces this as 'reprehensible'. I don't suppose he would say 'that was a good giggle'.
For an apparently mild-mannered man, the Rev Martin Dudley has caused quite a stink. The reason? He presided over a service inevitably described as 'gay marriage' for two clergy. Cue inevitable huffing and puffing. Some thin lipped woman appeared on the TV news the other day pronouncing 'if I had my way, I'd have them all unfrocked'. Isn't winding up people like that fun? The reverend gentleman's full title is Rev Dr Martin Dudley BD MSc PhD FSA FRHistS AKC so his main crime is being overqualified in a public place. It puts in mind the average electrician or complementary practitioner who always seem to have a string of incomprehensible initials after their name.
Euro 2008 potters along nicely enough without English participation and the Rabbit has given it intermittent attention. It's actually a decent competition and in many ways better than the World Cup. The British media attempt to drum up interest, they having a load of coverage on their hands, was amusing with the 'who do you support?' gig. The great British public's answer appears to be either 'Holland' or 'couldn't care less'. I am apparently among 1.4% of the British population in wanting Germany to win.
Oh dear -- I have been tagged for two memes. I have decided I don't do memes. Sorry! As a peace offering to Daisy in particular, above is the Dead's Sugar Magnolia from The Grateful Dead Movie -only recently posted on YouTube. Look for the huge guy with the beard and the hat dancing at the beginning of the clip. Who is he? They should have given him an Oscar!!! Annoyingly the clips ends before Sugar Magnolia segues into Sunshine Daydream but you can't have everything...
Sunday, 15 June 2008
Guilty pleasures? Two Lyndrd Skynrd songs: I would be interested in American feedback on this posting because in Europe we may be missing a lot of the way in which that band, and Sweet Home Alabama in particular resonates over there. Although I knew of the song before it’s mostly known over here from the soundtrack (and wasn’t it a good one?) from Forrest Gump. That film managed to render the song anodyne – the capacity of mainstream media to render difficult material bland is a topic in itself. But it isn’t. This much I know: Neil Young recorded a song called Southern Man. I don’t actually think it’s a particularly good song but it was – to say the least – not universally well received:
Southern man better keep your head
Dont forget what your good book said
Southern change gonna come at last
Now your crosses are burning fast
I saw cotton and I saw black
Tall white mansions and little shacks.
Southern man when will you pay them back?
I heard screamin and bullwhips cracking
How long? how long?
Sweet Home Alabama was the response. You will see on the clip a Confederate flag being wagged enthusiastically (yuck!).
Big wheels keep on turning
Carry me home to my kin
Singing songs about the Southland
I miss Alabamy once again
And I think its a sin, yes
Well I heard Mr Young sing about her
Well, I heard ole Neil put her down
Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
Southern man don't need him around anyhow
The southern US states have a history of vicious racism. The last lynching was as recently as the late 1960s (now they do that sort of thing legally with lethal injections after due process which apparently constitutes progress). So were the band simply a bunch of racists? I think the answer is more complex than that. We tend to think of rock and roll as radical, as challenging to the existing order but such a view underestimates the power of conservatism. You can grow your hair long and play in the band but not abandon the comfortable certainties of upbringing and belief system of a conservative (and perhaps the word conservative is a euphemism) society. Some identities are problematic – for example Southern US white, Ulster Protestant, Israeli – but they are nonetheless held. What tends to characterise them is a deep defensiveness – for obvious reasons – namely that they are perceived as relatively privileged (rightly, but again it’s not as simple as that) as against the group with whom they are in close up and often violent conflict– the southern US black, Ulster Catholic, Palestinian. I know what a Marxist would say – namely that they suffer from false consciousness and need to recognise that for example that the poor white has more in common with the poor black than, for example, the rich white who has just foreclosed on their mis-sold mortgage - and have considerable sympathy with that view but again (this is getting repetitious) it’s not as simple as that.
For products of a strand underpinned by the religious right, two quotes may be apt (1) St Paul – ‘I am what I am’ – Sweet Home Alabama seems essentially a collective assertion of this proposition. Okay, you are but how to move on? (2) John Wesley – ‘why should the devil have all the good tunes?’ In this case the devil does – I have to admit that Sweet Home Alabama is a brilliant piece of rock and roll. As is Simple Man (the second clip). Again, in Simple Man the underlying sentiments are deeply and self-consciously conservative. You can smell the defensiveness.
Don’t ask me. I’m just a European with libertarian/left sympathies. I’ve never even been. Probably close up contact with the southern US white Republican would send me psychotic in very short order. I really would be interested in feedback on this one…
As they may well still say on the exam papers for all I know ‘discuss’.
Oh and as a parting shot, here’s a clip from Top Gear, a BBC petrolhead TV programme and usually to me mind-numbingly tedious but in this programme they went to Alabama with stuff written on their vehicles that they thought might not go down too well with the locals. It was their finest hour. Observe the consequences…
Saturday, 14 June 2008
Sunday, 8 June 2008
I am formulating a serious blog in my mind about the 'obesity crisis' and the misconceived official response to it. But in the meantime some not serious stuff from YouTube...
The first clip sort of follows from the posting on the 1 June about cold calling (if you haven't listened to the clip on that posting you should you know!). By way of contrast this one is a set up but a cracker - not helped by the exaggerated guffawing of whoever is presenting it and his mate.
The second clip is - erm - a dancing skeleton. Hat (or hut) tip to taj for this.
Saturday, 7 June 2008
Thursday, 5 June 2008
Tuesday, 3 June 2008
rave on John Donne, rave on thou holy fool...
Monday, 2 June 2008
I was thinking earlier that there are no decent new comedies on the TV these days, just endless repeats of the Vicar of Dribbly (there is something about the mere sight of Dawn French that makes me want to kick the TV screen in - then she opens her mouth). Then my mind went back to the recent past and the League of Gentlemen. Pure class...
On a completely different topic, I was reading an article about Hillary's reprise of Custer's last stand, where a vox pop person was quoted saying something or the other. The person's name? Tangerine LeBeau. You wouldn't dare give a character in a novel a name like that. Okay, I confess to having created two fictional characters called Incitatus Promnitz and Lorelei Fender so I suppose Tangerine LeBeau would be okay really - bit far fetched though...
Sunday, 1 June 2008
I rang someone I know the other day to discover that he has a cold calling filter on his phoneline. You have to say who you are. I did and fortunately he picked up! Pretty neat idea, I thought. Cold calling, as well as spam e-mail and the constant avalanche of junk through the letterbox, is one of the banes of modern life.
GO AWAY AND STOP BOTHERING ME!!!!
Rather like getting internet money laundering fraudsmen to send you money, getting cold callers to slam the phone on you is a holy grail in itself. I have managed this. A few years ago I was cold called by a lending institution. I had borrowed money from them before to plug a financial gap (story of my life!). It was a bum deal. You didn't so much borrow money from them as rent it. I paid them off in due course. They obviously thought I might like a second helping - not bloody likely!
The woman started her pitch. I said...
'I'm not interested'.
Undeterred, she ploughed on. I kept saying...
'I'm not interested'.
The woman lacked nothing in persistence. In the end I said...
'What part of "I'm not interested" aren't we following?' She said...
'There's no need to be rude!' I said...
'Did I ask you to call me?'
Result! Another good one is to ask them for their home phone number and when they will be back from work so you can ring them and continue the discussion. This invariably throws them. You then say ' so now you know how it feels this end'...