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Hello All! Hello World!
Along with a whole lot of other gems (like Bob Dylan performing “Isis” live in 1975 with Mick Ronson, guitarist and arranger from David Bowie‘s legendary Ziggy Stardust band) this here mix features “Madame George” by Van Morrison. When writing a review of Astral Weeks, the 1968 record from which this track comes, incredible music journalist Lester Bangs stated that the song:
[…] is the album’s whirlpool. Possibly one of the most compassionate pieces of music ever made, it asks us, no, arranges that we see the plight of what I’ll be brutal and call a lovelorn drag queen with such intense empathy that when the singer hurts him, we do too. (Morrison has said in at least one interview that the song has nothing to do with any kind of transvestite – at least as far as he knows, he is quick to add – but that’s bullshit.) The beauty, sensitivity, holiness of the song is that there’s nothing at all sensationalistic, exploitative, or tawdry about it; in a way Van is right when he insists it’s not about a drag queen, as my friends were right and I was wrong about the “pedophelia” – it’s about a person, like all the best songs, all the greatest literature.”
He goes on to write:
What might seem strangest of all but really isn’t is that it’s exactly those characteristics which supposedly should make George most pathetic – age, drunkenness, the way the boys take his money and trash his love – that awakens something for George in the heart of the kid whose song this is. Obviously the kid hasn’t simply “fallen in love with love,” or something like that, but rather – what? Why just exactly that only sunk in the foulest perversions could one human being love another for anything other than their humanness: love him for his weakness, his flaws, finally perhaps his decay. Decay is human – that’s one of the ultimate messages here, and I don’t by any stretch of the lexicon mean decadence. I mean that in this song or whatever inspired it Van Morrison saw the absolute possibility of loving human beings at the farthest extreme of wretchedness, and that the implications of that are terrible indeed, far more terrible than the mere sight of bodies made ugly by age or the seeming absurdity of a man devoting his life to the wobbly artifice of trying to look like a woman.
If you accept for even a moment the idea that each human life is as precious and delicate as a snowflake and then you look at a wino in a doorway, you’ve got to hurt until you feel like a sponge for all those other assholes’ problems, until you feel like an asshole yourself, so you draw all the appropriate lines. You stop feeling. But you know that then you begin to die. So you tussle with yourself. how much of this horror can I actually allow myself to think about? Perhaps the numbest mannekin is wiser than somebody who only allows their sensitivity to drive them to destroy everything they touch – but then again, to tilt Madame George’s hat a hair, just to recognize that that person exists, just to touch his cheek and then probably expire because the realization that you must share the world with him is ultimately unbearable is to only go the first mile. The realization of living is just about that low and that exalted and that unbearable and that sought-after. Please come back and leave me alone. But when we’re along together we can talk all we want about the universality of this abyss: it doesn’t make any difference, the highest only meets the lowest for some lying succor, UNICEF to relatives, so you scratch and spit and curse in violent resignation at the strict fact that there is absolutely nothing you can do but finally reject anyone in greater pain than you. At such a moment, another breath is treason. that’s why you leave your liberal causes, leave suffering humanity to die in worse squalor than they knew before you happened along. You got their hopes up. Which makes you viler than the most scrofulous carrion. viler than the ignorant boys who would take Madame George for a couple of cigarettes. because you have committed the crime of knowledge, and thereby not only walked past or over someone you knew to be suffering, but also violated their privacy, the last possession of the dispossessed.
Such knowledge is possibly the worst thing that can happen to a person (a lucky person), so it’s no wonder that Morrison’s protagonist turned away from Madame George, fled to the train station, trying to run as far away from what he’d seen as a lifetime could get him.
I strongly urge you to read the review in its entirety as it is quite brilliant, as was most of his writing. Despite a slovenly, drug-jitter exterior Bangs truly is one of the most sensitive writers I have ever read. To me Lester Bangs should be considered one of the “Great American Writers.” His essays should be taught in universities, particularly for his gift of unraveling a subject out until it seems a precarious mess, just to spool it all back in and land it perfectly in an exquisite knot. However, as on the surface he seemingly wrote about “pop” music I believe he has been unfairly dismissed. This is both ironic and elitist when you take into account this truth he wrote in his obituary for Elvis Presley, published in the Village Voice in August 1977.
But I will say this: Elvis Presley was the man who brought overt blatant vulgar sexual frenzy to the popular arts in America (and thereby to the nation itself, since putting “popular arts” and “America” in the same sentence seems almost redundant).
Yes, it is redundant.
The mix also features Frank Sinatra and Nelson Riddle with their 1958 take on Ann Ronell‘s complex 1932 composition: Willow Weep for Me
Not that I can exactly explain why, I suddenly had this sullen beauty of a tune making languorous rounds within my head when I recently read a poem by Diane Seuss from her incredible new collection, Still Life With Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl:
The Hand Has Dropped the Fruit and It’s Painted Where It Falls
or such is the theater of painting for every painting is a performance some complete with curtains pulled away for the spectator to see the fruit as if casually dropped and painted where it falls or the hare strung up or the turkey hanged from one gnarly foot as if the painter had no design on reality but only painted it haphazardly an improvisation of objects in space but actually a performance of haphazardness as if to say art is not artifice it meets you where you shrug off your robe or pile your strawberries in a basket with no eye for composition but even the haphazard is arranged by the eye who was it who wrote a derangement of arrangements
thus Williams’s so much depends upon the red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens is anything but an accidental tableau viewed for instance through a window as he tended a dying woman in her bed one hears the rhymes of glazed and rain and barrow of wheel and water and white of depends and chickens and considers how briefly water glazes a surface before it must evaporate and leave us behind and how quickly chickens flap their filthy wings and scatter how wheel is separated from barrow rain from water white from chickens so that all constituent parts of what appear to be simple solid randomly arranged objects have been factored down to their prime numbers how nothing is casual nothing is uncomposed whether a curtain is drawn away from the deathbed window or not
Below you’ll also find a list of things I read (or re-read) so far since January of this year, 2018.Last year was the year I discovered that I believe Angela Carter just might be the greatest writer I’ve ever read, and this year hasn’t really contradicted that notion! I just marvel at her sentences. I recently came across a quote of hers that both cracked me up and gave me confidence about my own purple approach to writing:
“The questions that I ask myself, I think they’re very much to do with reality. I would really like to have had the guts and the energy and so on to be able to write about, you know, people having battles with the DHSS. But I…I haven’t. They’re dull things. I mean, I’m an arty person. OK, I write overblown, purple, self-indulgent prose. So fucking what?” – Angela Carter
The majority of my free reading time this year was taken up with tackling Alan Moore‘s massive, magical novel Jerusalem. I can honestly say this is the greatest novel I have ever read and I wholeheartedly urge you all to give it a go. I have been blown away and adored many brilliant novels, but it is not often that while reading a book I am struck with the sudden recognition of “wow, this thing rewired my mind!” (Hopscotch–or Rayuela in its original Spanish–by Argentine writer Julio Cortázar is another such novel that comes to mind).
I must say that after finishing Jerusalem I was actually quite astonished that Alan Moore was able to accomplish all he did with this book in only roughly over 600,000 words (my copy is 1,266 pages long).
I don’t usually listen to audiobooks (however the best narrator I’ve ever heard on one is actor Bronson Pinchot) yet I decided to give one a go with the 2018 collection of essays by Zadie Smith: Feel Free.
My first real introduction to her writing, I think she’s fantastic and the essays are wonderfully read by actress Nikki Amuka-Bird.
There’s a lot of fantastic children’s books featured on the list as well as I am both a father of a three-year-old and a children’s librarian. Whether you have a little one or not to read these to I’d still recommend that you every now and then toss a great children’s book into your reading pile; I guarantee you will be delighted. My son’s favorite books for the year definitely have to be from the Elephant & Piggie series by Mo Willems. They are hysterical, sweet, and quite brilliant!
So yes, these works listed here are all one’s that I truly enjoyed and/or loved; I highly recommend them all!
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- How Unfortunate Are Those Who Die Unaware Of The Beauty Of Music/Lakmé’s Preparation – Zdenek Liska
- Benjamin Franklin (Jump Rope Rhyme) – Illinois School Children (recorded 1955)
- I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier – Mad Season (John Lennon cover)
- Poverty Train – Laura Nyro
- People Get Ready – The Doors [Live in Seattle- June 5th 1970 ]
- This Train – Ziggy Marley (featuring Willie Nelson)
- Five Years / Soul Love – David Bowie [Live April-May 1978]
- It’s Enough – Lenny Kravitz (ft. Ludovic Louis on trumpet)
- Babylon – Richard Swift
- Gasoline Dreams – Outkast Feat. Khujo Goodie
- Green Eyes – Erykah Badu
- Too Hurt To Cry – Candi Staton
- Isis – Bob Dylan & The Rolling Thunder Revue [Live Boston Music Hall, November 21, 1975 (second show)]
- Mili’s Carousel (Lovely Acrobatics) – Zdenek Liska
- Madame George – Van Morrison
- Willow Weep For Me – Frank Sinatra (w/ Nelson Riddle – arranger, conductor; written by Ann Ronell)
- 2morrow – Prince
- Stick Out Your Tongue – Elvis Costello & The Roots
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2018 Reading List :________
All the best to you and yours!— – ————-______-________ ->BOBBY CALERO[—+=-_________________If you dig the mix then please feel free to pass & post it along; if you dig an artist then please support them and go out and pick up some of their stuff. Oh, If you dig the blog overall there’s always the “FOLLOW BLOG VIA EMAIL” button somewhere down at the bottom.