Thursday, November 19, 2009

EOTWQ: Kenneth Tynan special



For no particular reason, this week's questions are themed around the British theatre critic Kenneth Tynan, who died 29 years ago last July.

1. Tynan wrote of John Osborne's Look Back in Anger, "I could not love anyone who did not wish to see Look Back in Anger." Is there anything that you feel this way about? (Not music, obviously, you know you're not allowed to discuss music... unless you really want to)

2. Tynan was also one of the few critics to "get" Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot - savaged at the time, now revered. What do you think deserves a critical reappraisal?

3. Famously, Tynan was also the first person to say "fuck" on British TV: "I doubt if there are any rational people to whom the word 'fuck' would be particularly diabolical, revolting or totally forbidden." Cue moral outcry, a public apology from the BBC and four separate parliamentary motions condemning it. So... Swearing: is it big and clever? And if yes, can you give a favourite example?

4. As well as a critic, Tynan was a great diarist. Do you keep a diary, or have you ever kept one? Why? How do you feel about yourself when you read it back?

5. Of course, diaries may reveal rather too much... such as Kenneth Tynan's predeliction for spanking. Sado-masochistic sex apart, tell us one of your guilty pleasures.

99 comments:

Abahachi said...

So this week it's all about self-flagellation...

1.Hmmmm.... I would find it difficult to love anyone who wasn't moved by the Jewish Museum in Berlin, or by W.G.Sebald's The Emigrants or The Rings of Saturn, or Der Himmel ueber Berlin or the television series Taking Over the Asylum, though largely resigned to the fact that I do love Mrs Abahachi despite her disdain for novels in general and her view that most of the films I love are pretentious nonsense.

2.Nietzsche's sense of humour, all too often ignored? Actually what really comes to mind is stuff I know in German that seems to be completely ignored in the English-speaking world: my favourite Krimi writer Ulrich Ritzel, the brilliant novelist of Berlin Monika Maron, the short story writer Adabert Stifter...

3.Not particularly my thing - I had high hopes, for example, of the new university comedy by the creator of Green Wing, pilot episode shown recently, and found it a complete let-down because it seemed to be little more than a serious of vulgarities. But the time when the uncut version of Rage Against the Machine's Killing In The Name was played on the Top 40 on Radio 1 will live long in the memory.

4.Oh God. Yes, for a couple of years between about 15 and 18; never read it back and really don't think I could face it. I occasionally think of destroying it, but am held back by an instinctive respect for historical documents.

5.Carrot, sultana and spelt muffins from the town bakery, on mornings when I'm working at home. Except they didn't have any this morning.

ejaydee said...

Interesting questions;
1. I don't know if I could pick a definite example (I think it would be in the realm of comedy though), but if said person didn't like something I feel strongly about, she would have to give a damn good thoughtful, critical reason as to why she didn't like it rather than claim something is shit.

2. Hmm, this is a hard one, I'd have to know what's been critically "misappraised", so to speak.

3. It can be appropriate depending on the circumstances. I'm sure there's a ore elegant saying to illustrate this.

4. Despite my mother's pleas, I have never written more than a paragraph in a diary.

5. At the moment it would be a white chocolate Twix (Limited Edition), like they have in France, but not here in the UK unfortunately. It sounds wrong but it works.

DarceysDad said...

1. No particular / obvious examples spring to mind. the film of The Wizard Of Oz probably comes closest, but not the book. I'd mistrust any parent not moved by reading Dr. Seuss' Oh The Places You'll Go! to their kids.

2. Jeremy Brett. How this man is not regarded as one of our great lost acting talents is beyond me. He really should've got the James Bond gig. He would have been brilliant for the character that Fleming actually wrote.

3. It's not big, but it can be clever. When I think of some appropriate examples, I'll come back to this.

4. Not since my teenage years. I tore them up into little pieces some years later without ever reading them back.

5. Fried Spam & cheese butties, when I'm supposed to be "behaving" ahead of a cholestorol retest.

Blimpy McFuck said...

1. Tricky one, mebbe "Withnail and I"

2. Folks constantly underestimate the genuis of prime period Clinic

3. Swearing can be super supreme, when deployed correctly.

“We’ve gone on holiday by mistake, are you the farmer?”
“Stop saying that Withnail, of course he’s the fucking farmer!”

4. I never kept one but I used to have a girlfriend who kept one, a very very descriptive one too...

5. I like KFC (sob!)

Chris said...

Another set of probes into our secret corners, eh? I suppose that, as we volunteer, this is not cruel and inhumane treatment...
1. I get a bit evangelical about stuff I really like. The last major one was The Wire. There are people (like all the Awards bodies) that still ignore this masterpiece. It is something that every writer, producer, director of every TV drama should watch all the way through, three times before they ever write anything again. Then they may then understand how to portray real, believable life.
2. My favourite film is still Living In Oblivion. It's about time it made it's way to a wider audience.
3. The Thick Of It shows what you can do with swear words, to brilliant effect. Monologues of great power and inventiveness trip off Malcolm Tucker's foul tongue: hilarious and aften almost beautiful. The 'fuck' scene in series 1 of The Wire is quite an achievement, too. It's when swear words are as common as the ubiquitous 'like' that they should be banned.
4. No. If I ever thought I'd turn into Michael Palin, Tony Benn or Jordan, maybe I would have started one.
5. I don't attach the word 'guilty' to the word 'pleasure', as I suspect I've said before.

Exodus said...

1) possibly Doctor Who' or 'His Dark Materials'

2) can't think of anything immediately, though I can think of a couple of answers to the reverse of this question - stuff that is critically revered that should be re-appraised.

3) 'The fucking pubs are fucking dull
The fucking clubs are fucking full
Of fucking girls and fucking guys With fucking murder in there eyes.'

John Cooper Clarke 'Evidently Chickentown'

4) VERY sporadically for about 10 years from the age of 15. I still have it & occasionally pick it up, wince at what's written, consider binning it & then put it back in the box.

5) danish pastries for breakfast on the way to work.

(PS if Gremlin's about - hope you got my message on the mother ship about meeting for a brew - won't be able to make it I'm afraid. I'm off on a residential training course for two weeks from this weekend & this week's been mad busy getting everything cleared before I go.Another time for sure)

Exodus said...

In 3 for 'there' read 'their'

note to self: proof read before posting!(SLAP!)

zag said...

Right, I wouldn't be a great one for the Arts (well at least not for the critics part anyway) so I'll do my best to sound like I know what I'm talking about here.

1) I had a quick glance at the responses to date and I would have to go with Wings of Desire (Der Himmel uber Berlin for German speakers). I don't think it would affect my love for someone mind you, but then I'm not a luvvie. Looks (and personality, obviously)count more than literary appreciation in my books.

2) Me, possibly.

3) Is it big and clever - not really. I do swear a bit, particularly at my PC when some idiot sends another idiotic mail. Generally accompanied by 2 handed 2 fingered waving at the screen. It keeps me happy. Favourite usage would be along the lines of "I'll do *woteva* when they un-f*ck the system"

4) Used to keep a diary as a kid. They are all stored in the attic pending weeks of boredom - long hospitalisation or unemployment. I also tend to keep a diary when on *long* holidays such as trip to China or New Zealand in recent years. No point keeping one on a weeks trip to the Costas.

5) Sado-maso . . . oh, wait, this is a public forum and someone might know me. Right then . . . doner kebabs. I know they are terribly unhealthy and made fron Donkeys knees and other such cullinary delights but I'm fond of the occasional one when nobody is watching.

z

goneforeign said...

What a lovely surprise, I'd given up on EOTWQ, thought it'd died a natural death. I left UK in '58 but prior to that I devoured Tynan, read him every week in the Observer and I'm sure he set some aesthetic standards and values for me for life. Recently I was browsing through my [California] library's online collections and I came across a book of Tynan's 1950's columns, I was amazed that anyone here would think to add that to their shelves, obviously I checked it out and relived that portion of my youth. I'll keep re-ordering it periodically.
An aside, though slightly relevant, a couple of nights ago I watched a DVD 'A Decade under the Influence', it deals with films produced during the 60's, 70's and 80's and shows how values and tastes changed dramatically. It's basically every film director you've ever heard of talking about and showing clips from their films from those eras. Highly recommended!
The questions require a bit of thought, I've only just got up, I'll be back.

barbryn said...

Some great answers so far. Zag (and anyone else), don't feel q.1 & 2 need to be restricted to the arts (dahling). In fact, I'll edit the post to reflect that.

Abahachi said...

Okay...

1 (ctd.): Cats.

barbryn said...

Abahachi, I never had you down as an Andrew Lloyd-Webber fan.

Japanther said...

before I tackle the questions

@Blimpy - that mystifies me too, I mean how can such genius be so systematically overlooked?!

@Ejaydee - re: chocolate flavours. Every season (or maybe more often, they are always changing) KitKat brings out a new wacky flavour in Japan. At the moment it's "Royal Milk Tea" flavour ("Royal" milk tea of course being English style tea made all with milk rather than water), but in the past has had some crazy crazy flavours, which I can't remember any of now!!

Chris said...

I've realised that I do have an official guilty pleasure: smoking a joint. I don't feel guilty about it but it apparently makes me guilty of a crime. For no logical reason. So I really should put this as something I think deserves a critical reappraisal, rather than the hysterical, ignorant reappraisal it gets over and over again. (The same goes for all activities that people indulge in which cause no harm to others but which break the law.)

ejaydee said...

Japanther: I'm a sucker for these kind of limited editions, I definitely would have tried the tea Kit Kat.

ejaydee said...

I should add, that's as long as you don't mix fruit or alcohol with chocolate. Chili is acceptable.

Abahachi said...

@Barbryn: WASH THAT MOUTH OUT! I was about to say that of course my answer had to be about the furry, purring variety because we're not allowed to discuss music, and then the obvious point occurred to me...

bishbosh said...

1) Oh god, all sorts, I'm sure, but let's stick with books. Any or all of the following: Middlesex, Fugitive Pieces, The Poisonwood Bible, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close...

2) Everything Vince Clarke has ever done: early Depeche, Yazoo, The Assembly, Erasure... Massively under-rated songwriter. Their lyrics may not be all that, but Erasure have come up with some cracking tunes.

3) Perhaps because my dad's a vicar, I still get a thrill from blasphemous sweary expressions. I daren't utter any for fear of giving offence...

4) Last year I had to keep an Arts Journal as part of a course - poems and drawings and bits of creative writing. Wouldn't want anyone else to see it, but I feel quite proud of myself looking through it.

5) I have to watch the Lord of the Rings films alone all the way through at least once a year. Preferably back-to-back. I always cry.

CaroleBristol said...

1. Tynan wrote of John Osborne's Look Back in Anger, "I could not love anyone who did not wish to see Look Back in Anger." Is there anything that you feel this way about? (Not music, obviously, you know you're not allowed to discuss music... unless you really want to)

I think that for me I'd find it very hard to love someone who didn't share my love of good wine and nice food. These are so central to who I am that I'd have difficulty living with someone who was a teetotaller who just treated food as fuel. I love to wine and dine people who I like, as an act of welcoming and a sign of how much I care. It would be awful trying to love someone whose idea of a decent meal was a Pot Noodle washed down with a Coke.

2. Tynan was also one of the few critics to "get" Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot - savaged at the time, now revered. What do you think deserves a critical reappraisal?

Tricky one. There is a lot of music I love that gets unfairly trashed by the critics (who are basically brain-dead, know-nothing fucktards anyway) but I suppose I should steer clear of mentioning music in the EOTWQ answers.

I'd like to see a real objective reappraisal of Damien Hurst. Now, I love modern art, I love Dada and I love the whole idea of Marcel Duchamp's "ready-mades", but Damien Hurst really is shit. He needs to be re-appraised as an example of over-hyped crap.

3. Famously, Tynan was also the first person to say "fuck" on British TV: "I doubt if there are any rational people to whom the word 'fuck' would be particularly diabolical, revolting or totally forbidden." Cue moral outcry, a public apology from the BBC and four separate parliamentary motions condemning it. So... Swearing: is it big and clever? And if yes, can you give a favourite example?

Swearing is just part of language. It has a role to play in how we speak. I have to say that I don't tend to remember any really notable outbursts of swearing but one example I always find funny is in the film Meet The Fockers where Ben Stiller's character Greg inadvertently teaches Little Jack to say "asshole".

Also, see answer #2 above.

4. As well as a critic, Tynan was a great diarist. Do you keep a diary, or have you ever kept one? Why? How do you feel about yourself when you read it back?

I kept a diary from when I was 16 until I was 20. I re-read them when I was about 25 or 26 and burnt them. I found them extraordinarily painful to read because I had poured out all my problems, fears, doubts, insecurities and a fair amount of self-loathing. From then on, never again.

5. Of course, diaries may reveal rather too much... such as Kenneth Tynan's predeliction for spanking. Sado-masochistic sex apart, tell us one of your guilty pleasures.

Oh! so I can't talk about the sado-masochistic sex? Bugger!

Actually, I have really given up on what most people might think of as guilty pleasures these days. I don't really do drugs any more, basically because I really have to avoid them because I tended towards massive over-indulgence for too many years.

I suspect that my guiltiest pleasure is buying clothes, shoes and boots I don't really need. Oh yeah, make-up too.

EffPee said...

1. I wouldn't want to shut anyone out for that reason but I'd have serious doubts about anyone who expressed a violent hatred of children or animals. It would more be having doubts about passtimes - someone who hates cinema or TV would be out of the running as I wouldn't have much to say to them initially. That probably sounds very narrow minded.
2. Charlie Chaplin and his films. In england he's that funny little man with the tash whereas he is utterly REVERED as a poet and great director in France. And they're actually right.
3. I love swearing. We did a while linguistics class on how jokes with swearwords function and why they're funny. A good expletive saves many a bust blood vessel.
4. No. No time.
5. Chocolate because I shouldn't eat too much - sugar. So I really am guilty when I eat the stuff.

Makinavaja said...

1. I find it hard to get along with anyone who is not moved by the bleak, windswept beauty of the North Yorks Moors. I took Mrs Maki there (Blakey Ridge, Rosedale, Egton Bridge, Goathland, etc). She loved it. I married her.
2. A lot of 19th / Early 20th Century Spanish Literature should reach a wider audience. Perez Galdos, Pardo Bazan, Pio Baroja to name but three of my favourite writers.
3. Swearing is a part of life. I encourage my students to recognise this language because I think it can help them. I also warn them that it is very difficult to swear convincingly in any language other than your own. The Spanish are very inventive with scatological / blasphemous combinations. I remember laughing out loud when I heard an old fella bemoaning his luck one day with "Me cago en las tetas de la virgen" (Literally "I shit on the tits of The Virgin").
4. I kept a diary in 76 and 77 (aged 14/15). I re-read it recently and was surprised at how aggressive and bitter I sounded most of the time. I was, however, quite envious of how sure I felt about a lot of things at that age!
5. My guiltiest pleasure, considering how expensive and difficult it is to find here in Madrid, is the occasional slab of Wensleydale.

goneforeign said...

Well as usual I could just say "See Chris's comments above", I don't know how he does it but before he ever puts pen to paper he always invades my privacy! Total agreement re. The Wire but I'm long past being an evangelist for it, it's great, but discover it for yourself like I and millions more did, don't watch it because you're constantly being bombarded to do so.
I just added Living in Oblivion to my Netflix list.
And re. weed, I've recently decided to start growing it again, I enjoy the horticultural aspect of producing perfect plants just as much as the end product if not more, so I'm going to start some seedlings from some very high end seeds that a friend gave me, I'll keep you informed.

1. As with most things there were always alternate points of view, many of the 'new wave' films of the 60's got hammered in the popular press but were applauded in the 'underground' press, I tended towards the underground, finally the mainstream caught on. Citizen Kane might be another example, initially it got terrible reviews though that was because of the power that Hearst wielded, ultimately it became #1 on the all-time list. Everything I think of seems to fall into similar situations.

2. Re-assessing public opinion and critical acclaim: I'd definitely put hip-hop right at the top. My feeling is that, as a race it's 'how the mighty have fallen', after a lifetime of dedication to black culture in all it's forms, to see it's most majestic form, music, reduced to this nonsense is appalling.
Throughout the 20th century black music set the standards for the rest of the world, the list of names is literally endless, I can use first names because you know every one of them, Louis, Duke, Bird, Ella, Nina, Sarah, Diz, Count, Ray, Bob, Gil, Stevie, Miles, Aretha, Tatum, + the entire list of reggae artists + African and Brazilian artists, jazz and blues artists and pop artists worldwide who were directly influenced, they were all giants and what has it all been reduced to: gangsta rap, homophobic, anti-female foul-mouthed tirades, images of thugs flaunting their gold chains; images of hoodlums. In short the greatest musical contributions the world has ever seen are ignored and replaced by utterances from the gutter, the lowest common denominator and they've been applauded by 'music critics', god help us.
But that's just a personal opinion of course.

3. I have on one of my older Macs a piece that I recorded about 20 odd years ago, it's titled 'Fuck' and it's wonderful. It's a dramatic piece delivered by a single [English] male voice lasting about 2 minutes, in it he uses the word repeatedly in EVERY known possible context, it's very funny plus informative, it ceases to be 'swearing', it becomes language.
Unfortunately when I now try to play it I get a message that the software used to created this piece is not available and nothing I try will open it or else I'd post it for you all. Ejay mentioned a conversion software item some months back that was effective but I've misplaced it, if he or any others have any suggestions I'll keep trying. Google gets all medieval on me, "the word fuck has been filtered because google safe search is active!"

4. This is my diary, I enjoy writing and my memories of long ago are amazingly clear, my wife can't understand how I can recall minute details from 20-30-40 years ago and not remember what she said yesterday! So my extended responses to questions here are my writing my retrospective diaries of events and thoughts from years ago. I do enjoy re-reading it all and I put it in a memories file. I don't keep a current, one.

5. With Chris again, no guilt, what you see is what you get. I'm supposed to be guilty about sugar, salt, whipping cream, ice cream, chocolate, brandy, butter, hotsauce etc, but I'm not, they're all part of the diet. My chlorophyl count is below 100 and my blood pressure is consistently in the 130 over 70 range.

TatankaYotanka said...

My chlorophyl count is below 100 and my blood pressure is consistently in the 130 over 70 range.

I'm green with envy :)

Chris said...

gf: you do know you can change your safe search filter, don't you? Click on Search settings. Or have I already smuggled that piece of information back into your head...?

I do hope your hip-hop comments are taken in the right spirit. I know you don't like to offend.

AliMunday said...

1. The natural world, the countryside - natural things in general. Couldn't live with someone who hated all that.

2. "Waiting for Godot" - dreadful. Fell asleep in the theatre. Front row, "in the round". Embarrassing. Critical reappraisal? Russell Brand, or whatever his name is. Dreadful. That's my word of the moment.

3. It's neither really, but it can be funny. Years ago I worked in wildlife licensing and we had a meeting with Jemima Double-Barrelled from the National Birds of Prey Centre.She was quite a character but it was a sedate meeting until we said something which obviously upset her because she exclaimed "Well, fuck me sideways!"I wasn't supposed to laugh, which made it absolutely impossible not to.

4. I kept a diary for years, they're quite interesting to look back on but I wish I'd been more objective about it. I don't think future historians will find them of any interest whatsoever! It's like reading about someone else. Now, I keep emails between me and my best friend, which are like a dual diary in a way, but more amusing.

5. Creme fraiche mixed with sugar. Bang on those calories!

tincanman said...

my blood pressure is consistently in the 130 over 70 range
This is a thing I don't get - why can't blood pressure be a number. One number. What's your temperature? 93.7. Ok, thanks, now I know if you are too hot or not. 93.7 over 12? Should I see a doctor or the coroner?

(I decided I couldn't answer the questions of the week 'cause they are way too intellectually complicated for me, and now that I have read the comments, I am patting myself on the back for being so so right. Who are all these people you are talking about?

But I can still participate in my own way. When I get a check up and they tell me my blood pressure, I always have to ask if the numbers they have given me are good numbers or bad numbers. I suppose after nearly 50 years on this planet, I should know by now. But I don't; I have to ask.

My blood pressure is just fine, but I am eagerly awaiting the day when it is too high so I can tell the nurse or doctor that one of the reasons it is high is having to decipher the bloody result.

But mine is a lone voice, and I think I have discovered the reason why.

Cricket.

Anyone who can tell who won by a cricket score is going to crack the blood pressure code in a cinch.

In the first test of England v Australia in Cardiff this summer, the match was a draw. What 100 runs each? No, England 435 and 252/9; Australia 674/6d.

My blood pressure went up or down from 130 over 70 to 129 over 71 when I read that.

ejaydee said...

"My feeling is that, as a race it's 'how the mighty have fallen', after a lifetime of dedication to black culture in all it's forms, to see it's most majestic form, music, reduced to this nonsense is appalling.
[...]
African and Brazilian artists, jazz and blues artists and pop artists worldwide who were directly influenced, they were all giants and what has it all been reduced to: gangsta rap, homophobic, anti-female foul-mouthed tirades, images of thugs flaunting their gold chains; images of hoodlums. In short the greatest musical contributions the world has ever seen are ignored and replaced by utterances from the gutter, the lowest common denominator"

My personal opinion is that that statement is mostly bollocks. You're reducing an entire genre, to what you may have heard on mainstream radio.
Furthermore, why is it OK to watch gangsters (of any race) on screen but not listen to them? Nah, don't answer that, in fact, that's the last I'll say about this.

goneforeign said...

Tatanka: Several years ago I had a stent installed and since then I've been taking two pills daily, Zorcor for cholesterol, it reduced my count by 50% in one fell swoop. The other is lisinopril , lupin 10 which I suspect helps with the blood pressure, neither have any obvious side effects.
Chris: I shall check that search filter and re. hip-hop, I just said what I feel. Not intended to be offensive to anyone and I know my feelings are not universally shared but it's something I feel quite strongly about which I've sat on quietly, perhaps it's time to talk about it.
Ali: I spent about 8 years sending and receiving long and wide ranging emails several times a week with a friend in Norfolk until he died earlier this year. I enjoy going back and randomly reading what we were talking about in 04 and 06 etc. As you say it's like a dual diary.

ToffeeBoy said...

Answering, as always, before reading the other responses. Apologies, as always, if I'm repeating what others have said.

1. I think I've mentioned a couple of times on here that my favourite book is Ridley Walker by Russell Hoban. I've read it at least ten times and each time I discover new things in it - but the experience is also a bit like having a chat with an old friend. The only problem is that I don't want to recommend it to friends in case they come back and tell me that they don't like it - at which point I would have to end the friendship.

2. ITV comedies from the 70s. Like Please Sir and On The Buses. Or perhaps not.

3. I love swearing but I do feel that overuse of certain words tends to dull their impact. I like to save them for those really important moments.

Two top examples of swearing:

- the following quote from Eminem's The Real Slim Shady always makes me laugh.

Will Smith don't gotta cuss in his raps to sell his records;
well I do, so fuck him and fuck you too!


- there's a passage in Ridley Walker (see above), when our eponymous hero realises that someone that he trusted and looked up to is torturing a friend of his. Out of context, this probably won't have the effect that it has when you read the whole book, but I'll quote the passage in full.

I wunnert what wer happening with Belnot Phist and afeart to ask.
I dint have to ask. There come a yel. 'Daddy!'
Goodparley says, 'Ah! Talky talky.'
I said, 'You cunt.'
He said, 'Funny what peopl wil use for a hard word. The name of a pleasur thing and a place where new life comes out of.


I don't think that any other expletive would have been powerful enough.

4. I kept a diary for a few (late teenage) years. I destroyed it many years ago.

5. Rather than answering this question, I'm going to suggest that we could combine the final questions from the last two EOTWQs and ask: Which 4 Spillers (and their partners) would you like to have sado-masochistic sex with?

Abahachi said...

Interesting that half of us interpreted Q.2 as "what neglected work should be recognised for its greatness?" and the other half saw it as "what over-rated rubbish should be properly mauled?" Is this one of those Rorschach-style questions that reveal our unconscious personality traits? If so, I seem to be a much more positive and enthusiastic person than I would ever have suspected; it didn't occur to me for a moment to start laying into stuff. Besides, as far as hip-hop is concerned, it's not as if there's any shortage of critics denouncing it as lacking in artistic merit; the fact that it's popular is really tangential to the question.

Ivor Warrant said...

Hello hello hello - anyone seen that there Chris7572? We'd like a word with him...

tincanman said...

There was a ton of crap tight-pants hair bands cashing in on a hard few rock bands that had real merit.

Most of country radio is derivative crap you'd never hear played outside an arena.

There's even been the odd .... wait for it ... jazz combo put together with PR and record sales a higher priority than music making.

Playing on the coattails of a few greats is common to any genre, as far as I can see. Yet people who claim to be able to pick the cherries from their favorite genre assume there's none to be picked from another genre.

*scratches head

Is an artist who paints in oils better than a sculptor who works with marble?

Makinavaja said...

Mala Rodriguez: White, woman, flamenco influenced (and damned respectful with it, too), covers a wide range of topics, including crime (lamenting it and its roots in poverty and lack of opportunity). Sassy, arrogant and soulful. It's hip hop, Jim, but not as some know it!

barbryn said...

I have no idea why, as it appeared several years ago, but this article by Jon Ronson about telling his son the worst swearword in the world is currently the second most viewed page on Guardian Unlimited. Does what's being discussed on the 'Spill really have that much influence on world wide web trends?

Anyway, it contains good swearing:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2007/jul/28/weekend.jonronson

debbym said...

1) I honestly can't think of a work of art (in whatever medium) that could be that important, but I'd find it hard to get along with someone who didn't appreciate hearing music of any kind played live or who didn't enjoy reading. And I just will not tolerate intolerance!

2) Riverdance (Just try doing this without flashing your knickers)

3) It's mundane. But then the Teutonic Tongue has only one word, covering the whole range from Hell's bells to fuck, so they tend to borrow Anglo expletives (probably gleaned from all that hip-hop they hear on the radio!) and generally get the nuance wrong.

4) I kept a diary for a while as a child, until my mother started scribbling comments in it. Enough said ...

5) This is such a dark secret, I'm taking it with me to the grave!

Makinavaja said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Makinavaja said...

"In short the greatest musical contributions the world has ever seen are ignored and replaced by utterances from the gutter, the lowest common denominator and they've been applauded by 'music critics', god help us."

Hip hop hasn't replaced any of this. It just came afterwards, or did the Sex Pistols replace Eddie Cochran and company?

steenbeck said...

WOnderful questions and answers, Barbryn. They've been in my brain all day. Um, there were a few things I wanted to respond to before I embark on my own answers...

Loved the John Cooper Clarke quote, which I may have just misspelled but will surely investigate further.

Twix are my fav readily available candy bar!! The boys always very very sweetly save them for me on Halloween. I'm going to find some white chocolate twix!! I do like chili in chocolate, and I would definitely try a royal tea chocolate bar - or probably any kind of chocolate bar that didn't have meat in it. They make a really nice ginger one. HOw do you say ginger in french - gingevre? or something. It's a word I love but can't ever quite remember.

Oh, and I love your voice, Carole, as it is read. It's so strong and funny. It's one of those rare voices that doesn't really need cursing to make a point stronger.
And AliMunday - do you make the Creme Fraiche yourself? Because it's something I'm tempted to try, but it really involves letting cream go bad, right? And that's scary.

I'm sure there were other things to respond to, but on to my answers...

1. It's interesting that Tynan wrote "wish to see." I feel the same way...it's not what you like necessarily, it's allowing yourself to experience it, and donds for what Ejay said - you don't have to like it, but it's a pleasure to discuss things, even if you don't agree on them. And, I suppose, it's important to me that somebody is passionate about something, whether it's something I like or not. So, to properly answer the question, no...there isn't ONE thing. But I feel very lucky to be with somebody with similar but not identical tastes in music/movies/art. I feel like we learn a lot from each other, and it's a joy to discover things together.

2. I instantly thought of things that are very popular, that I like as well, but that I want to be reappraised because I think people like them for the wrong reasons. That either sounds very insecure or very arrogant. Or both. I'm thinking mostly of old movies or Dickens, but I can't really articulate it further. I just think they need to be appreciated by the cooler crowd, as well.

3. Hmm...it can be big and clever, it can also be a crutch for people that can't think of anything better to say. I definitely swear too much in front of my little ones. I can think of an example in which swearing was a disappointment...in A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. THere was so much I liked about it, and I liked it in spite of myself, for various reasons that have nothing to do with this question. But the end was just fuck fuck fuck...and it lost it's power.

4. Kept a diary for years and years. From 16-24, maybe. Very detailed about what I did all day and how I felt about it. I think I stopped keeping it sometime after I started living with David, and now the poor fellow has to hear about all I did all day and how I felt about it. I haven't read it back, but it's in the attic, and this question got me thinking about it. I'm sure I'd think..."you little fool!!"

5. Readers REcommend! Definitely a pleasure, and I certainly feel guilty about how much time I spend thinking about it, making 'Spill lists, etc.

I also like romance stories that end happily (like Jane Austen, Jane Eyre, Dickens) and that makes me feel like a big airhead.

goneforeign said...

Ejay: Sorry that's the last you'll say on that, I would have liked to hear your defense of the qualities and attributes that I describe, what is it about these thugs who seem to delight in killing each other rather like their ghetto gang brethren and then crowing about it to automated electronic computer sounds; if that's music I'd like to hear a justification. And if my statement is 'mostly bollocks' which part isn't?
Have you ever been to Compton, Watts or Oakland, the reality of hip-hop is there on display every day and the body counts are in the papers every day.

TatankaYotanka said...

"I could not love anyone who did not" ... laugh uncontrollably when watching Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday.

What do you think deserves a critical reappraisal?

The High Life

Swearing: is it big and clever? And if yes, can you give a favourite example?

Oooh, can be emphatically clever; current TY household favourite is Malcom Tucker's 'Fuckity-bye' from In The Loop Honourable mention for Lily Allen’s sweetly coruscating GWB , here seen in one of the many amusing, supportive, lip-syncs out there ... by Hungarian actors.

Do you keep a diary, or have you ever kept one?

A dream diary whilst doing some Jungian stuff over the years; and, fuck, I have some sweary dreams ... especially the one’s involving sinking ships.

Tell us one of your guilty pleasures.

The C G Am Fart.

Japanther said...

@gf - but it's not hip-hop that CAUSES the social decay, it DOCUMENTS it. And it is a far clearer and historically important document of life in modern-day urban America than the abstract sounds of jazz ever was....

ejaydee said...

It's gingembre, Steen.
Donds for Michael Tucker, who I discovered thanks to the brilliant In The Loop, and a couple of weeks ago I found out about The Thick Of It. I'll know what I'll wish for this Christmas.

GF: I'll stick to my word on this one.

goneforeign said...

Japanther: You're going to have to point out to me specifically where I said that.

TatankaYotanka said...

@ steen I'm tempted to try, but it really involves letting cream go bad, right? And that's scary..

You know wine is just letting grapes go bad don't you ;)

Japanther said...

@GF - no time or inclination for a full on debate i'm afraid (i'm typing over my breakfast cup of tea!) but saying that hip-hop is on display as evidenced by body counts kinda implied that, but I may have got the wrong end of the stick as I know you ain't the knee-jerk- reactionary-Daily-Mail-style blame anything innocuous for complex social problems kind...(if I knew how to do emoticons, i'd do a smiley face one!)

EJD said...

2. I'm watching tv at the moment, and that reminds me that I always thought traffic wardens are an easy target. These people are simply doing their jobs. As a driver, when I get done for parking wrongly, I accept the fact that I get punished. All is fair in love and war, etc.

SwearyShoey said...

99% of critics, diarists who feel the need to share their mundane drivel(that includes most blogs btw) can all fuck the fuck off (to misquote sweary Malcolm from the thick of it). Thats 1-4 taken care of.

5. Pro-wrestling.

Sick joke warning. Anne Frank's last diary entry: "For my birthday, Papa bought me a drum kit".

Surprised at GF's stance on hip-hop. Blues, Jazz, Country, Folk, Reggae, Rock; all have their share of misogyny. Doesn't mean you invalidate the whole genre.

steenbeck said...

TY - that's why I never touch the stuff (hic!)

I wasn't go to say anything...Oh, wait...I said stop me if I'm going to regret posting this!

See y'all on the RRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Blimpy said...

i liked Zwan - what's wrong with a Happy Pumpkins?

sourpus said...

Hey, these ARE good questions..

In the UK right now and straight from my (massive flu) sickbed, here's my forpence.

1) I love everyone. Therefore, I couldnt not love anyone for anything. I do get the point though and would probably hold up Peter Cook as my best example, altho it would have to be his EVERY incarnation, not just the ones you can stomach.

2) Thirties and Forties English radio dance band music. Hopelessly dated and sentimental? You're really not trying.

I'd particularly like Al Bowlly to be a be given his proper due in the greater scheme of things.

3)I agree that expletives are a bit like product placement, in that you have to get it absolutely right or its oversell.

An example I heard today on my iPod of Jools Holland getting it right:

Lads and lassies, boys and girls, welcome to the most unusual record of all time ever made: Five single minutes from five different people. Some classically brilliant, others utter crap. In my minute, I will be paying homage, paying thanks, paying five guineas, and paying a tribute to the greatest record producer of all time, Mr. "Big John" Goulie!

Big John Goulie would sit in the studio, he'd say to the engineer, "Engineer, is that tape rolling?"
"Yes Mr. Goulie that tape's rolling!"
He'd say, "Engineer, is the band playing?"
And the engineer would say, "You deaf wanker! I tell you every time the band's playing! What do you think that noise in the background is??"
And Mr. Goulie said "OK, I'm ready to rock and roll."

Guess we haven't heard a lot of Big John since he got his penis caught in a 24-track recording machine in Dallas in 1957. We love you Big John, and we thank you for giving us stereo as you know it..

'Course, you had to be there...

4) The first time I came across this idea in real life was the first time I met a middle class American (approx. 1985) who referred to it as her 'journal'. The few times I was then inspired to try it for myself made me so ashamed, I very quickly buried such evidence as there was where no one else but me would ever find it. My real diary of the past, therefore, I keep in the form of bits and bobs, curious and trinkets. Concert tickets, press clippings, sentimental sweet wrappers and the like. Yes folks, in certain areas, the single life has allowed me the luxury of anality with respect to some of life's tiny ephemera, although I keep it stored away.

5) Im happy with and proud of all my activities, but again I take the bait and would probably put up smoking (in Britain anyway) and menthols (if on mainland)

gremlinfc said...

1. Someone who at least in their heart of hearts , absolutely idealistically at least did not yearn for a complete social revolution, total redistribution of wealth- and equality and justice for all. Those are my requirements for a partner. Everything else we can discuss.

2.CABARET VOLTAIRE!!!!!
(Sorry Chris about the shouting but I love them!) - Live at the YMCA is one of theee live albums of all time especially "Nag Nag Nag" - but all their stuff is just waiting to be covered by trendy bands , it's so funky and innovative...

3. John Cooper Clarke -the man behind the hairstyle - was/is a master of cool and appropriate swearing, as the Ex-Man beautifully shows. I do believe that swearing is big and cool where / when used appropriately .i.e. NOT at work (though it's very, very , very tempting...), not in front of parents & nanas...i'm sort of with the Madchester lot really : "That's really brilliant" becomes "that's fucking mint" - "we had a great time" becomes "we had a right fucking mental time"...basically "fucking" replaces "very". Also lovely phrases me nan used such as "get away with ya" are "fuck off ya div"- "you talk nonsense" = "youtalk fucking bollox"...etc.
My own favourite words are "gobshite" and "fuckwit" which I use as often as i can.
If i was ever to be in a duet that's what we'd be called.

4.I have never kept a diary as it takes too much time to have opinions and do stuff - if I were to write it down , i'd have less time to do stuff and i'd be too tired to have opinions. Besides who wants to read that sort of shite?

5. Beautiful women who also have surprises downstairs...
Failing that those pastries with vanilla in the middle -"crowns" i think they are- with a creamy cappucino...as well as "Erdnussflips" when i go to Deutschland and also bring masses of "Erfrischungsstaebchen": lecker lecker!

gremlinfc said...

Who ended up getting "New Dawn Fades" on the A List? I nommed 4 JD tracks but clearly not the one P-diddy-Mac likes! Hope it was the Ex-Man.

MALCOLM said...

Oi! You there! E-Jay-fuckin-Gee or whatever your poncy name is. It's fuckin MALCOLM, right?!

ejaydee said...

Yes yes of course it is Malcolm, so sorry Maicon, er Mark, fuck, MALCOLM. It won't happen again, please don't come after me with a big bum dildo of vengeance.

goneforeign said...

Shoey: OK, I can't imagine why you're surprised, it's right there, it's out in the open.
If the same images, themes and social/sexual attitudes exist in Blues, Jazz, Country and Folk, I'm going to ask you for specifics, I can't think of any.
What I'm talking about is the change in values, the change in music, isn't that what we're here for. What's being passed off as 'black music' today is generally rubbish, there's no musical content and much of the time the lyrics are in the same league. You can't consider Sarah Vaughn, Nina Simone or Ray Charles in the same breath as any of these "musicians". The issue is about 'music critics' who've given them credibility and a public who've bought into it..
Go to youtube and read any of the comments on any pop music page and then meditate on whether there's any relationship between those expressed attitudes and ideas and hip-hop. That's what's happening to society.

TonNL said...

1. No, one of my best friends hates the Triffids, but she is still one of my best friends, tastes differ, luckily.....

2. Sorry, a music related answer: the debut album of the Strokes, currently being hailed as the best album of the decade in lots of lists, I thought the title described it really well: "Is this it?"......

3. Not a really sweary type myself, but the most effective swearing I witnessed was when I crossed a pedestrian crossing in Frankfurt together with an American GI (2 meters high, 2 meters wide, all muscle, sports school type) whilst the lights were red and the German crowd was waiting for the lights to turn green. When we had crossed the road aa German polizist appeared out of nowhere, and started to explain to us, in German, that we were not allowed to cross the road when the lights were red, the American looked at me and asked "What the goddamn' fuck is that piece of shit talking about?", I explained to him that we were not supposed to cross the road when the lights are red, a capital offence in German, at which poit the American turned to the polizist and said: "You goddamn' motherfuckin' son of a bitch, keep your fuckin' mouth fuckin' shut....", The polizist replied: "Wie bitte?"......

4. Never kept a diary, I have a quite good memory....

5. Having a kapsalon dish after a good night out: one of those throwaway aluminum boxes containing fries, shoarma (lambs meat) gratinated with some nice fat cheese, served with garlic and chilli (sambal) sauce.... Each one puts your life expectancy down by some 10 years.....

gremlinfc said...

"big bum dildo of vengeance"..
EJD I admire your style here- I am pondering exactly what this is but it sounds like something maybe Marcellus experiences in the shop dungeon in "Pulp Fiction"...?
In fact on the subject of sweariness this is anger minus the swearing - i got to stick this in from that scene:
Butch (bruce Willis) asks if he's Ok:
"Naw man. I'm pretty fuckin' far
from okay!"
He then speaks to the guy who abused him:
"What now? Well let me tell you
what now. I'm gonna call a couple o pipe-hittin' niggers, who'll go to
work on homes here with a pair of
pliers and a blow torch.
Hear me talkin' hillbilly boy?! I
ain't through with you by a damn
sight. I'm gonna git Medieval on
yo ass."
Thatis just awesome..."I'm gonna git medieval on yo ass".

Shoey said...

Ok, GF let's take Reggae. Over to you Wiki:

Dancehall music has come under increased criticism from Jamaican and international organizations for homophobic lyrics. Dancehall music has incited instances of gay bashing. Anti-homosexual themes have been associated with dancehall music throughout its history. To some degree, these themes stem from the anti-homosexual (though not necessarily violent) sentiment of Jamaicans in general. Homosexual activity is illegal in Jamaica, as in most former British colonies in the Caribbean (see LGBT rights in Jamaica). J-FLAG, a Jamaican gay rights organization, has described homophobic lyrics as a "widespread cultural bias against homosexuals and bisexuals." The dancehall artists in question believe that legal or commercial sanctions are essentially an attack against freedom of speech.

The increased criticism of dancehall music by international organisations is often attributed to the increased international exposure of the music, especially with regards to international media and the Internet. Dancehall has always included themes of not only homophobia, but of violence, sexism, and misogyny as well, which have come under their share of criticism: "Whether the homophobia and misogyny (that also blight almost all current reggae) are carryovers from tight-assed, purse-mouthed, colonial-era Brit sexual fear or personal limitation, the result was lyrical statements too stupid to be spoken." (Elena Oumano, "Fire Down Below:Capleton's Still Blazin in The Village Voice )

ejaydee said...

That is indeed an awesome line GremlinFC, I think that's the line that made my 14 year-old self realise this was a different kind of film.

The big bum dildo of vengeance is from the latest episode of The Thick Of It, it's how the jumior minister summarizes Malcolm's style, but without being able to replicate it, or even quite grasp the concept of such creative sweariness.

Shoey said...

Brown Sugar, I Shot the Sheriff, Cop Killer. Which of these is the odd one out?

goneforeign said...

OK Shoey, let's add that aspect of 'reggae' to the list also.
I remember approx. when and how that started, it was a rapper named Pato Banton, oddly enough an ex student assistant of mine, he decided to become a producer and had made a deal with this unknown Jamaican, they released their first single which was totally anti-gay, it caused immediate negative uproar but it got his name in the papers. If we continue with Wiki we get the following re. Pato Banton et al::
"initially as a more sparse and less political and religious variant of reggae than the roots style that had dominated much of the 1970s. Digital instrumentation became more prevalent, changing the sound considerably, with digital dancehall (or "ragga") becoming increasingly characterized by faster rhythms with little connection to earlier reggae rhythms. Dub poet Mutabaruka maintained, "If 1970s reggae was red, green and gold, then in the next decade it was gold chains". It was far removed from its gentle roots and culture.

So I don't accept any responsibility for Pato Banton et al, he plus others are in it for the money just like their hip-hop brethren. If you're seriously interested in pursuing dancehall you should be talking about artists like:
Barrington Levy, Frankie Paul, Junior Reid, Don Carlos, Al Campbell, Triston Palmer, Gregory Isaacs and Bunny Wailer, they, amongst many others had something conscious to say.

goneforeign said...

A ps: The student mentioned above was an ex student assistant of mine so I must assume some responsibility for introducing him to reggae in the first place, he asked my help with his project but I declined, not sure why since I'm sure I didn't know what the single he had in mind was about.

steenbeck said...

Gil Scott Heron - The Subject Was Faggots.

But This negative contribution would not ideally be how I'd involve myself in this conversation, so I'm going to stop now.

Shoegazer said...

Indeed they did/do GF & so do many in the world of Hip-Hop. If you don't want to explore it, that's fine, but your blanket condemnations just piss people off.

Japanther said...

@GF - the thing is, I think if you took the time to get to know the "good" hip-hop I think you would really dig it. A lot of it has nods to jazz and Jamaican music and there are so many well crafted, intelligent and thoughtful hip-hop tracks out there.

check out nearly any track of the hundreds (well, a lot!) posted by Steenbeck and Ejay (and others of course) over the last year or so and i'm sure you'll find something you like.

Shoegazer said...

Oh, & the answer to my question is Brown Sugar as it's the only 1 of the 3 tunes I like - shame it's supposedly about raping a slave girl.

barbryn said...

Since I've been the victim of a thread hi-jack, I thought I'd comment. I don't want to get drawn into the hip-hop debate - some of it's great, some of it isn't - but I do sort of understand goneforeign's lamenting the tradition of black music that runs through spirituals, blues, jazz, soul...

Nina Simone (who I've been discovering more and more of on RR, and revering accordingly) is perhaps the prime example. Who are her heirs today?

I can think of a few artists, like Jill Scott, who clearly belong to that tradition, while also taking on elements of hip-hop and R&B. But not many. And that IS a shame - but could be entirely down to my own ignorance. I'd like to hear more (and I'm sure gf would too). Any suggestions?

goneforeign said...

Abahachi said...
Interesting that half of us interpreted Q.2 as "what neglected work should be recognised for its greatness?" and the other half saw it as "what over-rated rubbish should be properly mauled?"
It wasn't until I read that and re-appraised the question that I realised that I'd seen and responded to only the highlighted portion, " What do you think deserves a critical reappraisal?" And that's what I based my comment on and it's something I've long felt needed reappraisal. My mistake.

Japanther: I've tried, god knows I've tried, I've attempted to listen to many of the hip-hop posts here and I must admit to not hearing many to the end, they usually get clicked off before that.
It's not just the content, it's also the form, that awful mechanical, artificial, bass centered noise, which seems to be universal, sorry, don't like it but that's just my wierd personal taste. Incidentally I've even posted hip-hop here, at least one piece that I really like, no one commented on it perhaps because it was 'different', it was from Haiti, it's called Ti Chans-Pou Ayiti, I expected a comment from Ejay at least, there's been others, some from north Africa.

Barbryn: Sorry if my comments triggered a thread hi-jack, 'twasn't my intent, I was hoping for a discussion on hip-hop but it seems to be a long time coming. Norah Jones is my first thought re. your musical question, she's just released another album but it doesn't compare to her first one 'Come away with me', which is at Spotty if you need it.

gremlinfc said...

Tracks / bands for Goneforeign to check out: the cynic's guide to nice hip-hop
1. Dream Warriors - Boombastic Jazz Style
2. De La Soul - Magic Number
3. Arrested Development - Mr. Wendal or "People Everyday"
4. Tribe Called Quest - Can I Kick it? or "Left My Wallet in El Segundo"
5. Jungle Brothers - Black is Black

Classics - 2 from each
1. Afrika Bambaata : Planet Rock +
2. Public Enemy : Fight the Power + Don't Believe the Hype
3. Boogie Down Productions : Illegal Business + Stop the Violence
4. Eric B & Rakim - Paid in Full + I know you got Soul
5. Grandmaster Flash : The Message + Adventures on the Wheels of Steel
6. EPMD -: Strictly business + You Gots to Chill
7. Spearhead (Beatnigs) : Chocolate Supahighway / (Television Drug of the Nation)
8. Gang Starr : Soliloquy of Chaos + Conspiracy
9.Pharcyde : Runnin' + Passin' Me By
10. SHOUT FOR BRIT HOP- Roots Manuva : Join The Dots + Witness (One Hope).
YOU CANNOT GO WRONG WITH ANY OF THE ABOVE !
seriously Goneforeign - you might not like it musically but all of the above is / are absolutely wicked and if you come back after listening to them and still hate Hip-Hop then i'll EAT MY HAT!

gremlinfc said...

Tracks / bands for Goneforeign to check out: the cynic's guide to nice hip-hop
1. Dream Warriors - Boombastic Jazz Style
2. De La Soul - Magic Number
3. Arrested Development - Mr. Wendal or "People Everyday"
4. Tribe Called Quest - Can I Kick it? or "Left My Wallet in El Segundo"
5. Jungle Brothers - Black is Black

Classics - 2 from each
1. Afrika Bambaata : Planet Rock +
2. Public Enemy : Fight the Power + Don't Believe the Hype
3. Boogie Down Productions : Illegal Business + Stop the Violence
4. Eric B & Rakim - Paid in Full + I know you got Soul
5. Grandmaster Flash : The Message + Adventures on the Wheels of Steel
6. EPMD -: Strictly business + You Gots to Chill
7. Spearhead (Beatnigs) : Chocolate Supahighway / (Television Drug of the Nation)
8. Gang Starr : Soliloquy of Chaos + Conspiracy
9.Pharcyde : Runnin' + Passin' Me By
10. SHOUT FOR BRIT HOP- Roots Manuva : Join The Dots + Witness (One Hope).
YOU CANNOT GO WRONG WITH ANY OF THE ABOVE !
seriously Goneforeign - you might not like it musically but all of the above is / are absolutely wicked and if you come back after listening to them and still hate Hip-Hop then i'll EAT MY HAT!

goneforeign said...

If those were active links I'd give it a go but finding all those and then listening is a bit much, if you or anyone believes in it that much do a post with live links and I'll listen.

ejay said...

Just a quick one to make something clear:
if Hip Hop is not your thing because it just doesn't connect with you, or you don't like the form, fine. If you're not bothered about finding out more, that's fine too.
What I take issue with is these ignorant preconceived ideas formed on one aspect of the genre, heard on mainstream media more often, denying even its legitimacy as a form of music. Then again it's nothing new, the mainstream critics initially struggled with what they thought was a fad, a hobby for a bunch of street kids. The underground kept at it, and the mainstream caught on.
Moreover GF, I find your "how the mighty have fallen" comment quite patronising. "As a race", black people will make the music they want, Hip Hop or other, with or without your approval. However I hope that what you meant to say, is that you liked these artists you listed, who all happen to be black, and there's a bunch of new artists, who also mostly happen to be black, and you don't like their stuff so much. Their being black really shouldn't come into it though.

CaroleBristol said...

Re hip-hop: I rather like A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul and Guru's Jazzmatazz project.

It isn't my first choice for things to put on, but some of it is OK some of the time.

treefrogdemon said...

Phew, my computer seems to be working properly (unlike Wednesday) and I'm not stranded in Glasgow by bad weather (like yesterday). So:

1 Shakespeare. But I'm willing to put some work in.

2 It's a Wonderful Life (my favourite film), which now turns up on telly every Christmas and is widely regarded as a feel-good film. Gremlinfc called himself 'a big softie' for liking it.

No no no. IAWL is a film about how the power of ordinary people in a community can subvert and potentially overcome the evil of capitalism. It was made in 1946, probably the only time that such a film could ever have been made in the States - ie just after the war when no-one was paying any attention. The ending of the film produces the huge emotional release that it does because of the power of the preceding section, in which the hero, having been cast down, is shown a terrifying vision of the world as it would have been had he never lived - in other words, a world where untamed capitalism holds sway. Watch and compare with our own present-day world.

3 I'm with Goodparley on this one.

4 I did, sporadically, as a teenager. But it all takes so LONG. I do marvel at those folk who are, apparently, currently recording all the minutiae of their lives by divers electronic means. Who will ever have time to watch/listen/applaud, though?

Having said that...one important thing which once happened to me has been documented in a series of letters I wrote to my best friend and which she subsequently returned to me; and I've written a few little stories based on that, but it's not the same as a diary.

5 I'm not supposed to eat carbs, but unfortunately the person who's told me not to is me. I'm trying desperately (and fairly successfully) to avoid chocolate but there is currently a sourdough loaf in the breadbin. OK, half a sourdough loaf.

Hooray, it's frozen margarita time!

steenbeck said...

Biggest donds ever for Ejay's last post. You very articulately stated everything that's been going round in my head.

Mnemonic said...

And from me, ejay. I did wonder if I was being hypersensitive in finding it racist - a sort of "black music is OK if they're doing what I like but it's degenerate if I don't".

Goneforeign, you said you hoped to start a discussion but you must realise that, confronted with the blast of your first post, some, if not most, of us feel sucker-punched and angry and in no mood to discuss anything with you. I remember you doing something similar about free jazz and saying nobody of any taste could like it, thereby insulting several members of this blog.

As ejay says, if you don't like it, that's fine, but don't denigrate those of us who do.

goneforeign said...

Mnemonic: Just for starters please go back and find that piece and cut and paste here for everyone to see, you're going to have a hard time because I never said anything even close to that. What I said then was how I felt about that genre, which is what I've said here and I haven't said a word about those of you who like it, I've asked you to justify it, that's all. So please don't play the 'denigrate' card.
I'll come back in a while to deal with some of these other issues.
Just a note to Gremlin, please don't post that list for my benefit, if you want to do so, do it because it's something you love, not as a means for me to see the light. I'm not unfamiliar with much on your list, I didn't form my opinions about hip-hop in a vacuum, I have heard enough to form an opinion.

gremlinfc said...

Thought I was trying to be helpful there Goneforeign. I DID post it because I DO LOVE all of those songs(and more). There are some elements of HipHop I've criticised quite strongly myself but I made it clear then and will always do that despite that it is a genre I still LOVE and will always. It really doesn't matter to me whether you like it or not , I couldn't care less, but if you are going to be condescending then on the rather sweary note we were on on the EOTWQ i htink i am going to have to tell you to bollocks.

gremlinfc said...

@Barbryn - I haven't really done much EOTWQ-ing in the year+ i've been on here but always read with interest : what made you think of these ones re.Tynan?
I've also been thinking about questions and have been wondering how to go about it - i'd feel like a queue-barger just posting them without some sort of consent.
Any advice?

barbryn said...

@gremlin

I'd always liked that quote about Look Back In Anger, and thought it would make a good question. Then I remembered about him saying fuck on TV, and other stuff from my theatre studies degree. Seemed easier to have a theme than come up with five completely random questions.

If you want to post your own, you need to apply, in writing, to the EOTWQ board, stating your three preferred dates, in order; an outline proposal of the questions you wish to ask; your aims, objectives and overall outcomes; and a cheque for £1000. Seriously, I have no idea what the etiquette is - I've posted a couple of times when nobody else had, and no one seems to have minded.

goneforeign said...

Gremlin: Come now, you can surely do better than that, you seem to be working yourself up into a froth over something as trivial as a conversation about 'music'.

gremlinfc said...

I'm not in a froth at all.
That list was made with love as they say.

goneforeign said...

OK, So much things to say right now, but where to begin.
I'll start with the racist bit which is rich coming from you.
I don't say 'some of my best friends are black', I say 'ALL of my best friends are black'
For the last 40 odd years, nay, 50 odd years I've devoted my life to black culture in all of it's forms, jazz, blues, literature, film, art, African music, reggae, religion, everything. Every event in my life has involved black culture in one form or another, I spent 7 years on-air playing black music, I've been dozens of times to Jamaica because of my love of that culture, not just the music but everything about it. I've been to literally hundreds of jazz, blues and reggae performances and have interviewed and photographed dozens/hundreds of artists; I've collected every item available including books, videos and interviews with everyone involved with the anti-apartheid movement from the 60's onwards, long before Mandela was released; I've spent time with many if not most of Jamaica's leading reggae musicians in their homes and in mine, again interviewing and photographing them, similarly I've spent time with many of the artists who's work is in the National Gallery in Kingston. I was invited by a person involved with the ANC in exile in Zambia to present my work there which I did. In short I've devoted my life to that which I've deemed important because of the quality of the work and for the need to document it.
Not only are all my best friends black, so is my family, my wife's black and my life has been spent in that environment.
Now I suspect Ejay that you're half black which you seem to think gives you some special privileges in that area, but let me ask you how much time have you spent in a place like Oakland California, a 90% black city? Not much I suspect nor have you likely been in Watts or Compton, all places that I'm very familiar with.
Just so you might get a hint of reality, try doing a search at the SF Chronicle on the subject of 'gang murders in Oakland', I did so last night and came up with a list of a dozen or so all of which occurred in the last 3 days! That's the reality of gang banging and the 'music' you hear when you drive through the ghetto is hip-hop and I know you're going to tell me that it's not related but I don't believe you. I don't dislike hip-hop just for the inane monotonous offensive noise, I hate what it's doing to society and in particular to black society, take a tip from Chris and watch The Wire, that'll give you a hint of what I'm talking about. There's much more to be said on both sides but I'm still waiting to hear your justifications rather than your favorites, I'll come back in a bit, time for lunch.

ejay said...

Ah I was afraid it would end up like this, it has and I apologise for the way things have turned out.
I think I'm right in assuming that neither Mnemonic or I was calling anybody a racist (and I didn't need your list of credentials to make me think otherwise), but I maintain what I said, you shouldn't have brought race into it.
And I don't see how it's rich coming from anybody, unless "it" comes from Nick Griffin or David Duke.
It's great that you're familiar with Watts, Compton, Oakland, etc. There is terrible gang violence in these areas, amongst others. So what?
If you go past the inner cities, drive all the way to the suburbs, that's gangsta rap's biggest market. I'm not sure you'll see the same homicide rates.
Hip Hop is not doing anything to society, heavy metal isn't doing anything to society, rave music isn't going anything to society, be bop didn't do anything to society, etc.
Do you blame The Godfather for Mafia violence?
I have seen the Wire, twice, the overall message I got from it wasn't "HIp Hop is the cause of all this violence". So there was no violence before Hip Hop? Do we really have to go through the age old discussion, "X music is degenerating society/corrupting my children"? I really hope we're past that. It's happened since early Jazz, probably even earlier.

Now if by "justifications" you mean why I like Hip Hop, I guess I could if forced, because I don't like/know how to explain why I like Hip Hop or Jazz or Blues or Rock or any music I like. Like I said, you don't have to like it, you don't even have to try to like it, I perfectly understand why someone wouldn't like the form of Hip Hop, but in this occasion, you were talking out of your arse.

tincanman said...

Interesting observation about the market for hiphop being the suburbs eJay.

I was very much into Chicago blues at once point and so made the pilgrimmage with some like-minded friends from Detroit. We thought we'd do a tour of the famous clubs ... and found most of them torn down and the only blues of note to hear out in the suburbs. There was more blues in Detroit than Chicago by then (80's). I was disillusioned, to say the least.

ejay said...

By the way, I hope that by:
"Now I suspect Ejay that you're half black which you seem to think gives you some special privileges in that area, but let me ask you how much time have you spent in a place like Oakland California, a 90% black city? Not much I suspect nor have you likely been in Watts or Compton, all places that I'm very familiar with"
you weren't belittling my opinion on these issues. If being black was limited to living in depraved areas, I would agree as I haven't spent as much time as you in Compton, Watts and Oakland. Like I said, I hope that's not what you meant.

Chris said...

(I'd just like to make clear, gf, that we're not of one mind on this one. I don't like what I've heard of hip-hop but that's because of its concentration on words rather than melody. It can say whatever it wants in my book, as can any other form of creative expression. No-one has to listen if they don't want to.
And I didn't take a message from The Wire that hip-hop was in any way a cause of the issues it portrayed.)

goneforeign said...

Sure sounded like someone was accusing someone of racism so I was curious as to what your credentials were in calling me a racist which is why I laid my cards on the table, Where's yours?
, I was curious how much time you spent in reality.

I was guessing at half, I shouldn't have done that, that's your business.

So what! So What!
That's what we're fucking talking about, so what! Jesus Christ. Which world do you live in? Do you live in the suburbs "the suburbs, that's gangsta rap's biggest market" I suspect you do.

I haven't intentionally said that it's 'causing' the violence, what I've said is that it creates an environment where violence is gloryfied, poverty, racism and unemployment are the probable causes helped along by gansta rap heros.

goneforeign said...

Chris: I know we're not of one mind on all of this and I didn't imply in quoting you that hip-hop was in any way a cause of the issues it portrayed. I used it a means of seeing reality in a typical poor black community.

steenbeck said...

GOneforeign, I wish you would stop now. This is not a discussion. You are becoming offensive. You are offending me. I might not have any of the credentials you are speaking of (holding in curses here) but as a human being, I feel really upset by your comments.

I don't mean to call you a racist, (I obviously don't have the credentials to do so) but some of the things you have said are extremely disturbing on many many levels.

If a comment starts "As a race..." it's probably not worth finishing. If you are implying that somebody is less black because they don't live in a ghetto and experience gang bang warfare on a regular basis...I'm sorry..I can't articulate this, I'm too angry and upset.

Please, just stop. THis is not an interesting discussion, it's just depressing.

goneforeign said...

I'm offending you, how about considering whether I'm being offended?
I'll ignore the first two paragraphs but I'd like you to tell my how YOU would change my sentence that begins "As a race..,," to keep the meaning that I intended and then explain what's so offensive about the word race. What about it bothers you?

tincanman said...

GF:
Friendly advice m8 - this thread has run its course. Its Children in Need night here, so lets think good thoughts and be thankful of good deeds.

steenbeck said...

Well, I would change the sentence by not having written it in the first place.

Makinavaja said...

THE END - I HOPE

goneforeign said...

Tinny: a sincere thank you for all your friendship and help.....T.

Catcher said...

1. I'd have issues with someone who didn't laugh at things I found hilarious. If I heard 'That's just stupid' while watching The League Of Gentlemen or Father ted, I think I'd know I was on to a loser.

2. I think 'It's A Wonderful Life' deserves notice for having the most erotic scene ever, when James Stewart and Donna Mills are on the phone, talking to her boyfriend. It's a sexy film. I'd also like to point out that James Dean was madly overrated.

3. It's all about inventiveness, and so I'm on the side of the Malcolm Tucker fans.

4. I did, until an entry was quoted back to me by a parent, despite it being hidden. I think that incident is the source of some of my trust issues.

5. I'm so tempted to answer this one honestly, but I might be scorned or eww-ed everafter, so I'll just say Spice Girls. I loved them in a big way.

I'm ignoring the preceding rows, I can't think of a reason to add to the debate.

barbryn said...

Whew. In case anyone's still following, I thought I'd do the traditional EOTWQ round-up.

Nothing more to say on the Great Hip-Hop Debate, accept to offer to buy everyone a virtual drink at the 'Spill bar. Oh, and to say a massive thanks to whoever (Steenbeck?) dropped K'naan v. Dylan - which gives a different take on the genesis of "rhythmic poetry". Anyway...

1. Loved gremlin's answer to this, and I think it's not far off what Tynan was actually talking about - Look Back In Anger was, at the time, a revolutionary, anti-establishment, voice-of-a-new-generation play - and anyone who doesn't wish to experience tha probably isn't worth bothering with. Me, I couldn't love anyone who didn't fall in love with the Isles of Scilly; I could love someone who didn't love Dylan, but I'm not sure they'd be able to love me.

2. I've always found it fascinating that critics in the past - expecially theatre ones - can get it so wrong, and often wonder what contemporary masterpieces are being overlooked. Anyway, I'll be watching the anti-capitalist erotic masterpiece that is It's A Wonderful Life with renewed interest this Christmas Hadn't intended this as Rorschach test, but interesting results...

3. As Chris said, "It's when swear words are as common as the ubiquitous 'like' that they should be banned." It's not uncommon where I live to hear someone say "I fuckin just fuckin went to the fuckin shop to fuckin buy fuckin milk... fuckin." Which dilutes the power of a great word. A couple of favourite examples - the opening sequence of Four Weddings and a Funeral, where "fuck" comprises the only dialogue. And Amy Winehouse's line "what kind of fuckery is this?", which I think was the moment I realised she was a force to be reckoned with.

4. Diaries. I always feel I should, particularly with two small daughters growing up so fast... but a lack of time, and never being sure who I'm writing it for put me off. I kept a diary in my first year at secondary school, full of adolescent angst which was, in reality, a bit of a pose. I did destroy it - kind of relieved and kind of sorry. Like Zag, I've kept a few travel journals though.

5. bishbosh's Lord of the Rings confession wins this one hands down. Myself, I find reality TV far too compelling, and have got involved in several series of (Celebrity) Big Brother when there were really far better things to do with my life. Think I've kicked this habit though.

tincanman said...

According to Robin Williams, kids in Brooklyn learn the alphabet as:
fuckin A
fuckin B
fuckin C
fuckin D
....

steenbeck said...

Barbryn, it was me that put the dylan/k'naan in the dropbox, but I found out about it from Ejay, so he's the one to thank. THere's also a K'naan/Fela and a K'naan/Bob marley addition, which I'll add, um, eventually.