Topic archives: music

Dylan’s Nobel: Pointless and Stupid:

Dylan’s Nobel: Pointless and Stupid:

October 18, 2016 4

The Nobel Prize Committee is out of its depth.

Two songs to cheer up a depressing day

June 1, 2010 7

Some days you barely have to look up to glimpse all the stuff that can bring you down, or even crush you; but who said life was meant to be easy? Still, one can choose not to be depressed, which is not the same as being happy. In neutral. When one stands in the centre […]

That’s not Pavarotti, that’s my Mother

That’s not Pavarotti, that’s my Mother

May 26, 2010 3

On Cantonese opera One of the reasons I was swanning about Kuala Lumpur last week was to attend a Cantonese opera. (Which is like Beijing style, except in Cantonese.) Unlike the usual show one might catch in KL or Singapore – a brief string of sketches from different shows, usually without benefit of costumes or […]

From ancient Greece, a song of hope and consolation (While you live, shine…)

From ancient Greece, a song of hope and consolation (While you live, shine…)

May 7, 2010

The song of Seikilos is the oldest complete song – music and lyrics – in the western canon, carved in literal stone. The pillar (in Turkey, dated c.200BC–100AD)  announces itself: I am a tombstone, an icon. Seikilos placed me here as an everlasting sign of deathless remembrance. This is the melody: And the lyrics: Hoson […]

Waiting for Goliath

Waiting for Goliath

May 6, 2010 2

Above: Nick Clegg in a production of Beckett’s Waiting for Goliath, featuring Sir Ian McKellen. Nick Clegg – likely very soon to be the kingmaker of David Cameron and the kingkiller of Gordon Brown – is also evidently the most culturally interested of the three. +++ In a Guardian q&a his answer to when and […]

Better to have hearted and lost, than never to have hearted

Better to have hearted and lost, than never to have hearted

April 7, 2010

Inserting heart into the chill of a Venn diagram: mathematical, bureaucratic Venn becomes a Zen perception; lap dances slide into overlap chances; two bright notes coalesce into one dark tone. I heart this graphic. It’s by the designer Aaron Krauss from a little corner of his website. +++ Here is a musical co-relative, Everytime We […]

Bill Withers and YouTube’s magic moment

March 23, 2010 3

The New Yorker‘s pop critic, Sasha Frere-Jones (who I thought of for a long time as a sassy woman of colour, but *alas*  is a fortysomething white guy with a blue-chip ancestry, originally Alexander Jones) wrote a piece recently about Bill Withers. I came across Bill Withers in the early 80s when I was rummaging […]

Gloriana: the fever of human voices

Gloriana: the fever of human voices

September 17, 2009 5

___ Last weekend I went to see my friend Andrew Raiskums conduct his terrific choral outfit Gloriana in one of their quarterly performances. It’s an amateur group – the thirty or so choir members (one of whom rejoices in the name Kate Gondwana) do it out of love and desire; you can tell. The drawings […]

The www music of the spheres

The www music of the spheres

August 17, 2009

Driving along and someone says, What’s that? We all listen hard to the radio. ‘Elgar?’ I say. ‘And it’s got a bit of Jerusalem.’ ‘Very Anglican church,’ says the driver. A bit later the announcer tells us the wonderful stuff was the Jupiter section of Gustav Holst’s The Planets. Which was a perfect excuse to […]

The music midlife crisis

The music midlife crisis

August 11, 2009 2

Bye, Pop! Pop waves g’bye. So does Now take its leave of us … Crashingbore, we had to drive five forsaken hours through dust and dirt – and at the next stop, in the little coal mining boomtown of Blackwater, Qld, between Bluff and Comet, we stocked up on water, fruit, alcohol (not for onboard […]

Pop quiz (Are you old enough?)

Pop quiz (Are you old enough?)

August 10, 2009

Or should that be, Are you young enough*? Back from my break (more later). During which we had to make a five hour drive cross-country, each way – in a small town we bought some cheap greatest hits to fill dead air, which gave rise to a music midlife crisis (later). As it happened I […]

When a star goes supernova…

When a star goes supernova…

July 13, 2009

… all sorts of stuff gets drawn into its gravity field. In the blinding wake of michaeljackson’s death I collected a couple of odd, polar-opposite items. Item one: michaeljackson writes an eulogy for Curly of The Three Stooges. Item two: Miles Davis covers a michaelackson hit and it remains in his live set to the […]

The Rite of Spring by Pina Bausch

The Rite of Spring by Pina Bausch

July 7, 2009

Another piece by PB (7:25 min). Exciting, as always, and maybe slightly diabolical. She’s good at tableau, and good at laying down a hook. A set of cafe chairs, (PB in Cafe Müller, left), a field of pink flowers. In this segment we can see the use she’s made of a phalanx of bodies against […]

Death of a savant

Death of a savant

June 30, 2009

On the day he died I scrounged around for the music. The vinyl of Thriller and Bad are sealed within a staircase of boxes. No CDs or MP3s. Finally, the Off the Wall cassette (!) bought in Tokyo in the early ’90s. In the slot, ker-chunk. The tape stutters to the end of the spool […]

The revolution will not…

June 29, 2009 4

…be televised. The slogan much bandied about recently comes from Gil Scott-Heron‘s magnificent “proto-rap”. It was a prescient line: in Iran, television is a state apparatus. The uprising was cell-phoned, youtubed, tweeted and aggregated by private users and technologies. fyi: lyrics at the youtube page.