Friday, 20 April 2012

A - Z of Music - F

seem to have got a little behind with this. Ah well, nevermind eh?

Right - F. So what have I got for you this week? Well, F is for Faure - that's Gabriel Faure, a French composer, organist, pianist and teacher. Fauré was recognised in France as the leading French composer of his day, and indeed, his music is still much loved, for its beauty and romanticism.
This is his gorgeous Pavane Op.50, set to pictures by Claude Monet:

For the non-classical bit this week, I've opted for something that I first heard on the John Peel show. John Peel, for me, was the greatest DJ ever. He was never afraid to showcase the unknown and obscure music, and was responsible for more than one person or group attaining stardom.
These are The Flying Lizards with their rendition of the old Beatles classic 'Money'. Don't blame me if you don't like it, blame John Peel!

Now, how odd is that? Guaranteed to get inside your head though...........

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Book Review - The Last Templar - Raymond Khoury

"It has served us well, this myth of Christ" - Pope Leo X, 16th. century

Yeah, right. (yawn) so yet another sect discovers a lost treasure that, if revealed, will destroy Christianity and the world as we know it.

Ever since Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln hypothesised in the true meaning of the Holy Grail in the book 'The Holy Blood And The Holy Grail' (a book which is well worth persevering with), there have been numerous novels written based around the myths and some facts relating to the subject.

Probably the most famous one is 'The DaVinci Code', with contains numerous historical and logistical discrepancies, but which, nevertheless, is quite an entertaining read.

This book is similar in theme, but this time it is the Knights Templar who hold A Great Secret that will destroy civilization. Although a fast moving novel with quite a spirited narrative style, the content of the book is dross. There are questions to which no logical answers are given, and the author obviously has a great knowledge of small arms, but do we really want to know that 'he pulled out his Betamax R-311xyz and loosed off three rounds, where just 'he pulled out his gun and fired' would serve equally, if not probably better?

LOL for some reason, every time I picture the hero, F.B.I. Agent Sean Reilly, I get a picture in my mind of British actor Phil Davis - he of Quadraphenia and Whitechapel fame. I can just imagine him playing the part!

Give this one a miss

Rating: 1/5 cos I like the red cross on the cover

Friday, 6 April 2012

Racism, political correctness and a world gone mad

Browsing the web, as I do, when I'm bored at work, I came across an article in praise of gypsy caravans, or vardos. The article depicted both original ones, and those being made by a firm for suggested use as summer houses, caravans, garden decorations, or whatever takes your fancy.
It was interesting to me, as you may have read elsewhere in this blog, I have gypsy heritage. Anyway, the post was mostly pictorial, with very little verbage to detract from the beauty of the images, and a real pleasure to go through.

Then, I started to read the comments posted underneath the article...............
Oh sweet heavens, the very first guy to post.......and I'm quoting him exactly, so you will have to excuse the language......

'“Gypsies” are real people. They are Roma. Making a wagon in the style of many Roma caravans from over a century ago does not make it “gypsy.” This is incredibly racist and offensive. Do some fucking research.'

Sorry, could you repeat that?
Do you need help with your drug addiction problem?
Can I get you a psychiatrist?

How does admiring something, irrespective of race, gender, creed or sexuality make it rascist and offensive?
Do you mean that I can't appreciate the wonderful singing voice of Paul Robeson, because he was a black man? Or admire the piano music of Achron because he was a Jew? Or like the songs of Elton John because he is gay?

I watched a program the other night about sexism in football, which apparently still exists. But so it does (although it's getting better) in the world of motorcycling. It, in fact, still exists in any field which has traditionally been a bastion of male power. It's not that many years ago, that my husband and I went into a local bike shop because I wanted a new bike.

The salesman was really offensive, and I ended up walking out of the shop and going somewhere else. Every time I asked him a question about the model I was interested in, he would turn to my husband, and give him the answer, and all he kept on about was how the colour of the bike particularly matched his (my husband's)leather jacket. This, despite being constantly told that it was me who wanted a new bike, and SHOCK! HORROR! I was buying it with my own money!

Now, I'm the first one to agree that if a woman does the same job as a man, then she should get the same pay, but it does seem to me that sometimes the pursuit of correctness has gone totally in the opposite direction, and the so-called disadvantaged classes are now given priority over the average Joe Bloggs.

This showed up a couple of years ago, when the company I worked for, was threatened with prosecution because, as a large company, they didn't employ the required number of disabled people. Now, I agree that disabled people deserve exactly the same chances of employment as able-bodied ones, and that certain allowances should be made to enable them to fulfil their potential. But what do you do when, as in this case, no disabled people had applied for the jobs? Do you go out on the street and beg disabled people to join your company for fear of getting heavily fined for not meeting your quota?

The fact of the matter is, that legislation will not change people's opinions, but education will.

When my son was little, he attended a pre-school group, where one of the little boys had epilepsy. When the child had a seizure, instead of panicking the other children, and shoo-ing them out of the room, the lady in charge sat them down on the floor, while she made the little boy safe and comfortable, and then quietly and calmly explained what had happened to him, and why, in words that any 2 year old could understand. As a consequence, my son has grown up with no fear, but total respect, for people with differences.

How different this, to when we were teenagers and my friend had severe epilepsy. She learned to recognise the onset of a seizure, and we would take steps to sit her on the floor away from solid obstructions etc., and allow the seizure to run it's course. 9 times out of 10, we would hear such comments from passers-by as 'disgusting, shouldn't be allowed', 'she must be drunk' etc.

I think a lot of people just simply feel uncomfortable around anybody who is a bit different to themselves, and need to cover up their embarrassment with a load of bluster and hot air. Which brings me full circle back to the guy who made that ridiculous post. My guess is he has no understanding of the gypsy way of life, he's fearful of them, but doesn't want to be seen as rascist, so he goes too far the other way.

There's too many people like him out there...........

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

A - Z of Music - E

Seems like this is the only post I currently have time to do. I really must catch up with all the other thoughts in my overcrowded brain.......

But, how are you doing? Found anything new that you like yet?

However, the letter E:

Obvious choice for the composer this week - Sir Edward Elgar. Most people consider him the greatest English composer ever, but personally, I prefer Vaughan-Williams.
But Elgar was indeed, truly great.
Appointed 'Master Of The King's Musick' in 1924, he is probably best known for the Enigma Variations and the Pomp And Circumstance marches, which include the melody for 'Land Of Hope And Glory' - considered by many to be the English National Anthem.
Why England doesn't have an official anthem beats me. After all, Scotland, Wales and Ireland all have theirs.

But I've gone for one of his more delicate works. This is the exquisite 'Chanson De Matin' Love this video, which sets the music to the paintings of J.M.W. Turner.

Now, the non-classical bit............

A bit spoilt for choice this week, as I like everything from the Everly Brothers to Eminem. However, I finally settled on one of the greatest folk-rock bands of all time, who have endured for decades - the incomparable Eagles.
Having decided on Don Henley and his band of (sometimes) Merry Men, I'm now spoilt for choice as to which number to play.......

Finally settled for this: