28 November, 2006

My Heroes (22) Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan was born in Duluth, Minnesota and came to New York in 1961 partly to pay homage to his idol Woodie Guthrie, who was dying in a New Jersey Hospital, and partly to make his name on the Greenwich Village folk scene. Since 1962 he has produced a never-ending stream of music that, more than anything else shows his genius as a song-writer. His latest CD, ‘Modern Times’ made him the oldest living artist to top the album chart at the age of 65. It is a magnificent recording which owes nothing to current music styles and, in a way, sounds like the past 40 years didn’t happen. It’s a remarkable tour de force that I have played endlessly for the last three months.There is a whole industry of Dylanology that has grown up around him; people have written books attempting to analyse some of his more inscrutable lyrics and examining the entrails of every segment of his life, both private and public. The dubious ‘science’ of rummaging in the contents of star’s household garbage, to get details of their habits, began with Dylan. However, he has always kept his silence and maintained an air of mystery; he hardly ever speaks on stage and has always denied his interest in being a ‘protest’ singer and says he never wanted to be in that position. There is no denying that, throughout his career, he has cleverly positioned himself in the most advantageous position for the furtherance of his chosen profession.

27 November, 2006

Guess what this is!

Clue one: Picture taken fifty years ago.
Clue two: Object weighs over one ton.
I will post the answer in a day or two!

23 November, 2006

My Heroes (21) June Tabor

June Tabor is an English folk-singer in the traditional style with an instantly recognisable voice. Here are some comments about her from various places:
"Tabor has used her amazing voice to reinvent and experiment with both contemporary and traditional songs"
"Anyone who has heard June Tabor sing isn't apt to forget the experience. Her voice is one of the few genuinely unique vehicles of the folk world: haunting, powerful, and with a deep feeling for the song, it has won praise and admiration beyond the confines of 'folk'."
"I prefer her traditional and more traditional-soundings songs to her contemporary pop-ish stuff, but will listen even to songs that aren't really to my taste for the wonder of her voice--she is a masterful interpreter of all kinds of songs. She might be an acquired taste because she's not for the easily depressed--her material is usually deep, soulful, painful, though she does some wonderful, lively, funny traditional material, too."
If you would like to hear some of her music click here to go to a brilliant site where you can scroll down to listen to some of her wonderful interpretations of some songs about The Great War. I recommend 'No Man's Land' & 'And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda'. They also have the beautiful versions by Eric Bogle, who wrote the songs. This site happily lets you know that you may download any of these songs in MP3 format, free of charge.

However, I warn you that you need to be in a mellow, introspective mood to listen to these songs. They are extremely moving and, if you have any sensibility, you will need to wipe away the tears. Dona Nobis Pacem.

18 November, 2006

Twenty Heroes

I have made links to the first twenty of my 'My Heroes' series.
Coming soon!:
Bob Dylan, Walter Matthau, Sebastian Faulks & more!

12 November, 2006

The Costa Del Sol, Spain

The Marina at Puerto Banus

I just got back from three full days on the 'Sun Coast' of Spain. We had three days of unbroken sunshine with temperatures in the mid 70’s (24c). Marbella (pronounced ‘mar-bayer’), in the province of Andalucia, is the classiest resort on that coast. We parked our hire car between a Lamborghini and a Maserati without shame! Puerto Banus is the marina area of Marbella and is the kind of place where lots of people-watching goes on. Although not officially a part of the ‘beautiful people’ set me and my gang did get some looks – mainly opened-mouthed disbelief. ‘What are these people doing here?’ kind of looks. Although the town is dripping with money and is the resort of choice for starlets, millionaires and the richest of all Britons, soccer players, there is still a down to earth side of town. Orange Square in the old town has a 16th century Town Hall and lot’s of small good value restaurants.

The 16th c. Town Hall in thePlaza de los Naranjos, Marbella.One of the many fine beaches and promanades in Marbella.

09 November, 2006

Quiz Question (4) Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness is a novella by Joseph Conrad first published in book form in 1902. It tells the story using a device known as a frame: one, unnamed, character is relating a story told through another narrator, while the two of them are waiting in a ship anchored in the Thames Estuary. The book is very well written and, incredibly, Conrad is writting in his third language, English. His first two were Polish and French. His skill with words is nonetheless amazing, as he tells the tale of a company agent who steams three hundred miles up an African river to seek a rogue company man. The themes of the book are the evils of imperialism and an examination of many forms of 'darkness', both physical and mental.
What famous Oscar-winning film was based on this story?

07 November, 2006

Dona Nobis Pacem - the Peace Blog

Super Blogger Mimi has gone to extreme lengths to make sure that there are loads of bloggers, all over the world, posting this Peace Globe today. So here is my contribution!

01 November, 2006

Computer Problems!

I expect my posts to be a bit limited for a week or so while I sort out some computer problems. I do hope to be able to visit most of my favourite blogs though. See you there!