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Tuesday, 5 March 2019
Thursday, 28 February 2019
Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare
Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove: O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark, That looks on tempests and is never shaken; It is the star to every wandering bark, Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken. Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks Within his bending sickle’s compass come; Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom. If this be error, and upon me prov’d, I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.
This is in the form of an English or Shakespearean sonnet with three four-lined quatrains followed by a couplet. The other major form of sonnet is the Petrarchan which has an eight-line stanza followed by a six-line conclusion and with varying rhyme schemes.
The poet is describing how true love is never-changing and does not change "when it alteration finds". The metaphor of sailing the ocean is strong with "an ever-fixed mark that looks on tempests"; in other words the North Star. A "bark" or barque is a three-masted sailing ship.
In the third quatrain Time is personified but although his sickle may alter the course of beauty it cannot change love which lasts "even to the edge of doom" - until the end of life.
In the final couplet Shakespeare is saying if he is proved wrong in his description then no man ever-loved.
I'm listening to the wonderful and tragic Robert Wyatt singing with his group Matching Mole. The song, O'Caroline has real meaning in his life and is not just a love song. One day I will write a post about Wyatt. Listen HERE.
Thursday, 14 February 2019
|Sill Life, Samuel Peploe (1871-1935)|
I like this painting for its simple beauty and I am reluctant to over-analyse. I will just say that the influence of Cezanne is strong and obvious. That’s no bad thing as far as I am concerned! He made many still life paintings and also excelled at landscapes and a few portraits. Here's another:
I'm listening to my favourite version of one of my favourite songs: Willie Nelson's Funny How Time Slips Away. You can listen here. There's also a great version by Brook Benton and many others.
Wednesday, 23 January 2019
1) Madeleine Peyroux singing Careless Love
2) Bobby Charles singing Small Town Talk
3) Richard and Linda Thompson singing I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight
4) Jake Thackray singing (live) Lah Di Dah
5) John Williams playing Antonio Lauro's Valse Creolo (aka Vals Criollo)
6) Wibert Harrison's original recording of Let's Stick Together
7) The cast of Hair singing What a Piece of Work is Man based on a speech in Hamlet
8) Steve Goodman singing The Dutchman
9) Kiki Dee singing Amoureuse
10) Jerry Jeff Walker's original recording of his song Mr Bojangles
Friday, 18 January 2019
Monday, 31 December 2018
Friday, 21 December 2018
Sunday, 16 December 2018
Here are some quotes from Slaughterhouse Five:
“Among the things Billy Pilgrim could not change were the past, present, and future.”
“They were adored by the Germans, who thought they were exactly what Englishmen ought to be. They made war look stylish and reasonable, and fun...
They were dressed half for battle, half for tennis or croquet.”
“Billy licked his lips, thought a while, inquired at last: "Why me?"
"That is a very Earthling question to ask, Mr. Pilgrim. Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anything? Because this moment simply is. Have you ever seen bugs trapped in amber?"
"Yes." Billy, in fact had a paperweight in his office which was a blob of polished amber with three lady-bugs embedded in it. "Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.”
And the most famous one of all:
"...and so it goes..."
I'm listening to the late J.J.Cale singing City Girls. You can listen HERE.
Friday, 7 December 2018
|Roger McGough today|
|And in the 1960s, left, with the group Scaffold. |
Paul McCartney's brother, Mike McGear is in the centre.
helping clean up the town,
Now they hang from the mantelpiece
both upside down.
and then straight up the stairs,
Batman and Robin
are saying their prayers.
They've locked all the doors
and they've put out the bat,
Put on their batjamas
(They like doing that)
made their batbeds,
With two springy battresses
for sleepy batheads.
and they're counting black sheep,
Batman and Robin
are falling asleep.
Wednesday, 7 November 2018
Wednesday, 24 October 2018
Oh, a false clock tries to tick out my time
To disgrace, distract, and bother me
And the dirt of gossip blows into my face
And the dust of rumours covers me
But if the arrow is straight
And the point is slick
It can pierce through dust no matter how thick
So I'll make my stand
And remain as I am
And bid farewell and not give a damn
Wednesday, 3 October 2018
|Photograph of Mont Saint Victoire overlooking Aix-en-Provence, France|
However, the camera cannot easily capture mood, atmosphere, feeling or imagination. The French artist, Paul Cezanne returned many times throughout his career to re-paint this view over and again and he found something new to say about it almost every time. I don't want to say anymore now because I want the visual to be dominant in this post. Just luxuriate in the beauty of the paintings below here...
I'm listening to the original version of Rivers of Babylon by the Jamaican reggae group The Melodians.
You can listen here. I like it loud!
Tuesday, 18 September 2018
My uncle John the fence died
When I heard I felt quite sorry
It was poetic justice though
As he fell off the back of a lorry
Copyright © Paul Curtis. All Rights Reserved
This is a lovely little poem which may need some explaining for non-English readers. In Wales 'John the fence' would be a man who erected fences; in England and elsewhere it would be a man who received stolen goods.
And in British English (I'm not sure about elsewhere - please let me know), something that 'fell off the back of lorry' means it was stolen so I can sell it to you cheaply!
Friday, 31 August 2018
Thursday, 23 August 2018
I'm listening to Brinsley Schwarz, led by Nick Lowe, singing Happy Doing What We're Doing. Listen here.
Monday, 20 August 2018
Saturday, 4 August 2018
How Beer Saved The World
Many scientists and anthropologists now believe that it was not the desire for bread that kick-started the agricultural revolution that ended hunter-gathering 9,000 years ago; it was the yearning for barley to make beer. This led to inventions such as the plough, the wheel, irrigation, mathematics and even led to writing! This cascade of world-changing innovations was brought about by the desire for beer.
In ancient Eygypt workers were paid in beer so we could say that we wouldn't have had the Pyramids without beer. There are those who claim it is one of the major food groups because of it's nutritional content.
In modern times it played an important role in refrigeration, the discovery of germ theory and modern medicine.
However, in Medieval times when water was too dirty to drink, possibly it's most important function was to support the population. Beer was safe to drink and men, women and children drank it morning to night, certainly in England.
That possibly is still the case in some parts! Cheers.
Monday, 23 July 2018
“Accordion Crimes” (1996) lovingly tells the story of a succession of owners of an accordion. Annie Proulx is a dispassionate observer of life but she does not shy away from unpleasant scenes and can be brutally honest in her depiction of those who are the losers in life’s lottery.
“The Shipping News” (1993) is a magnificent novel that demands a lot from the reader, whose attentiveness will be richly rewarded. At the start of each chapter a picture of a different type of knot is shown and this turns out to have a metaphorical reference to the content of that chapter. It was turned into a successful movie with Kevin Spacey in 2001. In a similar way “Postcards”(1992) showed a drawing of a postcard at the start of each chapter with a message that was sometimes directly relevant to the story and sometimes just added background colour. In 1997 she wrote a short story which was published in a collection of her work called "Close Range: Wyoming Stories" (1999) which was filmed in 2005. That was the very successful "Brokeback Mountain", in which she typically tackled a subject that had hitherto been taboo in mainstream literature.
Tuesday, 26 June 2018
|Can you spot the made up fact?|
- Japanese research has concluded that moderate drinking can boost IQ levels.
- The fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth is called Arachibutyrophobia.
- Macadamia nuts are not sold in their shells because it takes 300 pounds per square inch of pressure to break the shell.
- Florida: An elephant tied to a parking meter must pay the regular parking fee.
- In Samoa, it is illegal to forget your wife's birthday.
- In Alabama it is illegal to stab yourself to gain someone's pity.
- In the UK it is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament.
- Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.
- London taxis (black cabs) must carry a bale of hay and a sack of oats.
- Descendants of Sweeney Todd, the cannibalistic barber, founded a sausage factory in Somerset, England after the First World War.
- The word "queue" is the only word in the English language that is still pronounced the same way when the last four letters are removed.
- Queen Elizabeth I regarded herself as a paragon of cleanliness. She declared that she bathed once every three months, whether she needed it or not.
- An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain