Saturday, December 25, 2010

Because Riddhi asked, so nicely.

My list of recommendations for the fast fading year. Based on my own prized discoveries and rediscoveries of the last few months.

I Shall Be Released- Bob Dylan
At This Moment- Michael Buble
Bach's Canon in D Major
O Fortuna- Carl Orff (If you've watched more than ten movies in your life, you'll DEFINITELY recognise this one when you hear it.)
High Noon Ballad- Tex Ritter
O'Children- Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Tore My Heart-Oona and Dave Tweedie
Trust Me- Janis Joplin
If Love is a Red Dress- Maria McKee

The Name of the Rose-Umberto Eco
Cannery Row- Steinbeck
Franny and Zooey- J.D. Salinger
The Leopard- Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
Short stories by Katherine Mansfield and Truman Capote
Poetry by Rainer Maria Rilke, Yehuda Amichai, Walt Whitman, Gerard Manley Hopkins, 'The Hollow Men' (Eliot)

American Beauty
Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (And this demands, well at least suggests, a reading of Hamlet)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

In the light of recent fires

I felt I had to post this. Especially after reading today's newspaper front page.

The Identification

So you think its Stephen?
Then I'd best make sure
Be on the safe side as it were.
Ah, theres been a mistake. The hair
you see, its black, now Stephens fair ...
Whats that? The explosion?
Of course, burnt black. Silly of me.
I should have known. Then lets get on.

The face, is that the face mask?
that mask of charred wood
blistered scarred could
that have been a child's face?
The sweater, where intact, looks
in fact all too familiar.
But one must be sure.

The scoutbelt. Yes thats his.
I recognise the studs he hammered in
not a week ago. At the age
when boys get clothes-conscious
now you know. Its almost
certainly Stephen. But one must
be sure. Remove all trace of doubt.
Pull out every splinter of hope.

Pockets. Empty the pockets.
Handkerchief? Could be any schoolboy's.
Dirty enough. Cigarettes?
Oh this can't be Stephen.
I dont allow him to smoke you see.
He wouldn't disobey me. Not his father.
But that's his penknife. Thats his alright.
And thats his key on the keyring
Gran gave him just the other night.
Then this must be him.

I think I know what happened
... ... ... about the cigarettes
No doubt he was minding them
for one of the older boys.
Yes thats it.
Thats him.
Thats our Stephen.

Roger McGough

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I was going to download Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21. And in the first result generated by Limewire, the composer's name was spelled 'Motzart.' Yes, 'Motzart.' Ususally, people read words first and pronounce them wrong. Hence, you hear 'Chop-in', 'Batch' and a refusal to go down Tchaikovsky street. There are Bangalis who say 'La Vega' for Las Vegas, EXPECTING a fancy-ass, exotic pronunciation.
But this filesharer (bless his generosity) must have heard the name before he ever saw it written. Funny kind of mistake. Or maybe I'm just not used to to it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

And this is why I think Oscar Wilde is Great, and not just veryveryvery good.

"When Narcissus died the pool of his pleasure changed from a cup of sweet waters into a cup of salt tears, and the Oreads came weeping through the woodland that they might sing to the pool and give it comfort.

And when they saw that the pool had changed from a cup of sweet waters into a cup of salt tears, they loosened the green tresses of their hair and cried to the pool and said, `We do not wonder that you should mourn in this manner for Narcissus, so beautiful was he.'

`But was Narcissus beautiful?' said the pool.

`Who should know that better than you?' answered the Oreads. `Us did he ever pass by, but you he sought for, and would lie on your banks and look down at you, and in the mirror of your waters he would mirror his own beauty.'

And the pool answered, `But I loved Narcissus because, as he lay on my banks and looked down at me, in the mirror of his eyes I saw ever my own beauty mirrored.''

(The Disciple, from 'Poems in Prose')