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Friday, 29 April 2016

THINK ABOUT IT #12: Rumer Godden


There is an Indian proverb or axiom that says that everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional, and a spiritual.  Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but, unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.

A House with Four Rooms (1989)


Click HERE to visit the website of British author RUMER GODDEN (1907-1998).  You can also click HERE to read a short review of A House with Four Rooms, Volume Two of her memoirs, posted on the excellent Wordpress blog LEAVES & PAGES. 

You might also enjoy:
THINK ABOUT IT #9: Liz Jensen
THINK ABOUT IT #8: Yasunari Kawabata
THINK ABOUT IT #3: Phyllis Rose

Friday, 22 April 2016

WRITERS ON WRITING #80: Ford Madox Ford


If this civilisation of ours is to be saved it can only be saved by a change of heart in the whole population of the globe.  Neither improvements in machines nor the jugglings of economists can do it.  To have a living civilisation we must have civilised hearts.  I don't mean to say that it is a very good chance.  But it is the only one.  And it is a change that can only be brought about convinced worlds by the artist by the thinker who has evolved living words that will convinceAnd every real artist in words who deserts the occupation of pure imaginative writing to immerse himself in the Public Affairs that have ruined our world, takes away a little of our chance of coming alive through these lugubrious times.  And when it is a very real artist with a great hold on the people, it is by so much more a pity

Portraits From Life (1937)



THE FORD MADOX FORD SOCIETY is an international organization founded in 1997 'to promote knowledge of and interest in the life and works of Ford Madox Ford' which can be visited by clicking HERE.  You can also click HERE to view clips from the (hopefully) soon-to-be released documentary It Was The Nightingale: The Unreliable Story of Ford Madox Ford, directed by PAUL LEWIS for Subterracon Films.

You might also enjoy:
FORD MADOX FORD A Call: The Tale of Two Passions (1910)
JOSEPH CONRAD The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale (1907)
WRITERS ON WRITING #20: Ford Madox Ford

Thursday, 14 April 2016

WORDS FOR THE MUSIC #5: Margo Price


MARGO PRICE, 2016






Hands of Time
Margo Price & The Pricetags
from the 2016 Third Man Records LP Midwest Farmer's Daughter









HANDS OF TIME


When I rolled out of town on the unpaved road
I was fifty-seven dollars from being broke
Kissed my mama and my sisters and I said goodbye
And with my suitcase packed I wiped the tears from my eyes

Times they were tough growing up at home
My daddy lost the farm when I was two years old
Took a job at the prison working second shift
And that’s the last time I let them take what should be his

Cause all I want to do is make a little cash
Cause I worked all the bad jobs bustin' my ass
I want to buy back the farm
And bring my mama home some wine
And turn back the clock on the cruel hands of time

When I hit the city I joined the band
Started singing in the bars and running with the men
But the men they brought me problems
And the drinking caused me grief
I thought I'd found a friend but I only found a thief

Soon I settled down with a married man
We had a couple babies, started living off the land
But my firstborn died and I cried out to God
Is there anybody out there looking down on me at all?

Cause all I want to do is make something last
But I can't see the future, I can't change the past
I want to buy back the farm
And bring my mama home some wine
Turn back the clock on the cruel hands of time


Still I keep a-running fast as I can
Trying to make something honest with my own two hands
And I ain't got the breath to say another bad word
So if I ever said it wrong won't you forget what you heard

Cause all I want to do is make my own path
Cause I know what I am, I know what I have
I want to buy back the farm
And bring my mama home some wine
Turn back the clock on the cruel hands of time

The cruel hands of time
The cruel hands of time  
The cruel hands of time  







Words and Music by MARGO PRICE
© 2016 Margo Price/Third Man Records






The Songwriter:  The following biography by is taken from the Third Man Records website.  [It is re-posted here for recommendation purposes only and, like the material displayed above, remains the company's exclusive copyright-protected intellectual property.]

It only takes Margo Price about twenty-eight seconds to convince you that you're hearing the arrival of a singular new talent. Hands of Time, the opener on Midwest Farmer's Daughter (released in March 2016 on Third Man Records), is an invitation, a mission statement and a starkly poetic summary of the 32-year old singer's life, all in one knockout, self-penned punch: 'When I rolled out of town on the unpaved road, I was fifty-seven dollars from bein' broke...'

Throughout Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, Price recalls hardships and heartaches – the loss of her family's farm, the death of her child, problems with men and the bottle. Her voice has that alluring mix of vulnerability and resilience that was once the province of Loretta and Dolly. It is a tour-de-force performance that is vivid, deeply moving and all true.

From the honky tonk comeuppance of About To Find Out, to the rockabilly-charged This Town Gets Around to the weekend twang of Hurtin' (On The Bottle), Price adds fresh twists to classic Nashville country, with a sound that could’ve made hits in any decade. Meanwhile, the hard-hitting blues grooves of Four Years of Chances and Tennessee Song push the boundaries further west to Memphis (the album was recorded at Sun Studio).  

Price grew up in Aledo, Illinois (pop 3,612), and after dropping out of college, she moved to Nashville in 2003. She soon met bass player – and future husband – Jeremy Ivey, and formed a band called Buffalo Clover. They self-released three records and built a local following, but it was personal tragedy that brought Price’s calling into even sharper focus. 'I lost my firstborn son to a heart ailment,' Price says, 'and I was really down and depressed. I was drinking too much. I was definitely lost. I did some things that I regret very much now that resulted in a brush with the law. Thank God I had my friends and family to keep me going. Coming through that, I thought, "I'm just going to write music that I want to hear." It was a big turning point.'

After recording the album with her band at Sun Studio and shopping it to a number of Nashville labels, Price reached another critical career moment when a friend brought up Third Man Records and told her, 'You're on Jack's radar, he wants to hear the record.' Price says, 'I sent it over, and it just felt like home. A good creative space to be involved in, and everyone is so down to earth. It was awesome when I met with Jack. He told me he thought my voice was a breath of fresh air, and that he loved the record.'

As Price looks ahead to a busy 2016, full of touring and promoting Midwest Farmer's Daughter, she reflects on her hopes for what listeners might get from these songs. 'I hope that the record helps people get through hard times or depression. That's ultimately what music did for me in my childhood, and especially in my early adult years. It's about being able to connect personally with a song, and hopefully, it makes you feel not so lonely.'


Margo Price is an artist who makes music in the best country tradition honest, uncompromising, passionate and unafraid to express what are sometimes some very dark emotions.  A song like Hands of Time unapologetically autobiographical and a sad reminder of how low Nashville has sunk since it turned its back on artists with something unique and interesting to say in favor of churning out generic tweeny pop by the bucketful demonstrates why people keep performing and relating to grassroots country music despite the pundits telling us, time and time again, that there's 'no market for it' in the Snapchat age.

Country music is to white people what the blues used to be black people (that is, before hip-hop replaced it as the music of choice for the disenfranchised young) a way to communicate emotion, simply and directly, using plain language and minimal accompaniment.  Time and technology march on.  The truth, on the other hand, never stops being the truth and will hopefully never stop being expressed by songwriters who have more on their minds than cranking out the next formulaic, over-hyped 'hit' for an audience that wouldn't know a steel guitar from a synthesizer if its life depended on it.  


Click HERE to visit the MARGO PRICE page at the Third Man Records website.

Special thanks to everyone who takes the time to upload music to YouTube.  Your efforts are appreciated by music lovers everywhere.


You might also enjoy:
WORDS FOR THE MUSIC #3: Iris DeMent
WORDS FOR THE MUSIC #2: Townes Van Zandt
MATT GROENING Life In Hell: How To Be A Feisty Rock Critic (1986)

Friday, 8 April 2016

WRITERS ON WRITING #79: Anton Chekhov


Behind me there are mountains of mistakes, tons of paper covered with writing, an Academy prize and a life of sudden success…yet in spite of all this, I don’t believe there is a single line I’ve written that has real literary value.  I long to hide somewhere for five years or so and do a piece of painstaking, serious work.  I must study, learn everything from the beginning, for as a writer I am completely ignorant. 

From a letter written to a friend in 1889



Click HERE to read more about the life and work of acclaimed Russian playwright, short story writer and novelist ANTON CHEKHOV (1860-1904).  According to CHEKHOV's translator ELISAVETA FEN '1889 was the happiest year of his career as a writer.'

You might also enjoy:
IVAN BUNIN Collected Stories 1900-1944 (2007)
IVAN TURGENEV Fathers and Sons (1861)
IVAN GONCHAROV Oblomov (1859)

Friday, 1 April 2016

STOP MIKE BAIRD DESTROYING NEW SOUTH WALES!





Thousands of koalas, quolls, and gliders will be killed each year if Premier Baird gets away with scrapping our land-clearing laws.

Our Premier is set to release the draft legislation any day now.  We need to be ready to act fast.

National Party MPs, developers and big agribusiness are behind a plot to let landholders trash our precious woodlands and urban bushland by tearing up our existing nature laws and replacing them with laws that will unleash a new wave of habitat destruction. Premier Baird’s new Biodiversity Conservation Act will:
  • add extinction pressures to our state’s 1000 threatened animal and plant species;
  • threaten our clean, reliable water supplies;
  • turn our fertile farms into wasteland through erosion and salinity;
  • put landmark trees and bushland in our towns and suburbs at risk; and
  • release millions of tonnes of carbon pollution into our atmosphere.
Without urgent action, many our species of native wildlife, including the iconic koala, will become extinct within our lifetime.  By tearing up our nature laws, farmers will find it harder than ever to provide food and fibre sustainably, especially as our climate becomes hotter and drier due to climate change.

Spread the message far and wide – sign our petition now!

Check out the Stand Up For Nature website for more information and to sign up for updates. 



Reposted from Stand Up For Nature website
All material quoted above © 2016 Stand Up For Nature Australia
 



*



A FEW MORE FACTS ABOUT
THE PREMIER FROM HELL


MIKE BAIRD recently pushed a Bill through Parliament which makes it illegal for anyone to protest against coal mining in the state of New South Wales.  His corrupt, self-serving Liberal Government has also reduced the fines mining corporations pay for breaching state environment laws from $1,000,000 (the equivalent of 2 cents to companies who rake in billions every year) to a piddling $5000.

MIKE BAIRD is also determined to remove the current protections which limit and control development in and around the State's Marine Parks.  He is doing this to make it easier for his developer friends the NSW Property Council, an organisation which contributed millions towards his campaign fund to purchase and develop land which boasts the 'water views' so beloved of real estate agents and the hordes of cashed-up foreign investors who are greedily buying up everything they can lay their hands on with the enthusiastic cooperation of the NSW Government.  Strange behaviour?  Not really.  But interesting in the light of the fact that MIKE BAIRD is also the serving Member of Parliament for the beachside electorate of Manly an area already suffering from overpopulation, lack of infrastructure, lack of effective development controls, pollution and the loss of irreplaceable native habitat.

MIKE BAIRD took over as Premier from his Liberal predecessor BARRY O'FARRELL in April 2014 after O'FARRELL stepped down to avoid facing criminal prosecution over his deliberate misleading of an investigation being conducted into the business dealings of ex-Labor MP EDDIE OBEID by ICAC (the Independent Commission Against Corruption).  O'FARRELL failed to declare a gift of wine presented to him by an executive of Australian Water Holdings, a company the OBEID family held a $3,000,000 stake in at the time.  MIKE BAIRD whose daddy, Liberal power broker BRUCE BAIRD, previously held O'FARRELL's seat of Northcott won the 2015 election by promising to improve the state's infrastructure and provide more money for its criminally under-funded schools and hospitals.  What he didn't bother to mention was that he planned to pay for it by expanding coal mining, subsidizing the logging of old growth native forests and making unsustainable and reckless over-development the #1 industry in the State as per the instructions of his supporters on the NSW Property Council and other 'big money' lobby groups. 

And today - April Fool's Day - is MIKE BAIRD's birthday! 


HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PREMIER FROM HELL!   

It's a pity MIKE BAIRD didn't enter the Anglican Ministry as he originally planned to do instead of becoming an investment banker and a corporate executive at HSBC (ie. the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, founded by a Scotsman in 1865 and now one of the biggest funders of development in greater Australasia).  He also opposes abortion (in 'most instances'), same-sex marriage and same-sex adoption.

What a guy.  God must obviously be on his side along with the developers, big mining, agribusiness and those fantastically wealthy capitalists otherwise known as the highest-ranking officials of the Chinese Communist Party.

I wish I was him.  It must be great to be an unrepentant self-serving bastard and have people vote for you because you allegedly possess 'such a nice smile.'


Written & posted by BR 



Click HERE to visit STAND UP FOR NATURE and HERE to sign its online petition asking the MP FOR MANLY and THE PREMIER FROM HELL to end his greed-driven, developer-funded destruction of our state and its irreplaceable natural resources.

You can also click HERE to join the Thunderclap campaign which is going to use social media to send a powerful message to MIKE BAIRD and his Liberal Party cronies at 1.30pm on 8 April 2016.


ACT NOW!!
SIGN THE PETITION! 
TOMORROW WILL BE TOO LATE! 

Friday, 25 March 2016

THINK ABOUT IT #11: Lee Nutter


In a perfect world, nipples will serve no purpose, and we will have evolved beyond their existence.  Babies will be fed on state sanctioned formulas created by large corporations.  The base desire once known as ‘sexual arousal’ will be superfluous as these same corporations will be producing young consumers who obey laws and legislation without question, and the primitive idea of 'art’ will [be] replaced with infomercials and advertisements that educate, entertain, and encourage the purchase of authorised goods and services.

Complex relationships with friends, family, and loved ones will no longer be necessary for the population’s satisfaction. Nor will difficult intellectual or creative endeavours that may take many years to bear fruit.  Happiness will be achieved through simple interactions with algorithms that serve up little hits of serotonin by way of immediately gratifying entertainment morsels, and long term satisfaction will be attainable by pharmaceuticals provided for free to anyone working for any one of our corporate sponsors.

Having been made superfluous, and managed by the aforementioned pharmaceuticals, the evil that is sexuality will cease to exist.  The time that was once wasted on relationships will be put to good use working for your choice of approved corporations, providing you with enough credit points to select from any one of the many exciting authorised products produced by our suppliers.

Not only will the population be satisfied, they will also be safe.  Anyone caught producing unsanctioned goods, including but not limited to visual media that does not encourage the purchase of authorised products, will be found and charged with treason.  Without risk of inspiration or provocation, consumers will rest easy in the knowledge that everyone is living the same equally satisfying and productive lives.

Tumblr post [27 February 2016]


Click HERE to visit the Tumblr blog and HERE to visit the website of Australian photographer and writer LEE NUTTER.  (**WARNING:  Do not visit these sites if you are offended by the thought and/or sight of nude art photography.)

You might also enjoy:
THINK ABOUT IT #8: Yasunari Kawabata
THINK ABOUT IT #7: Louis-Ferdinand Céline
THINK ABOUT IT #2: C Wright Mills

Friday, 18 March 2016

POET OF THE MONTH #35: Edna St Vincent Millay


EDNA ST VINCENT MILLAY, c. 1920




CHILDHOOD IS THE KINGDOM
WHERE NOBODY DIES


Childhood is not from birth to a certain age and at a certain age
The child is grown, and puts away childish things.
Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies.

Nobody that matters, that is.  Distant relatives of course
Die, whom one never has seen or has seen for an hour,
And they gave one candy in a pink-and-green stripéd bag, or a jack-knife,
And went away, and cannot really be said to have lived at all.

And cats die.  They lie on the floor and lash their tails,
And their reticent fur is suddenly all in motion
With fleas that one never knew were there,
Polished and brown, knowing all there is to know,
Trekking off into the living world.
You fetch a shoe-box, but it’s much too small, because she won’t curl up now:
So you find a bigger box, and bury her in the yard, and weep.
But you do not wake up a month from then, two months
A year from then, two years, in the middle of the night
And weep, with your knuckles in your mouth, and say Oh, God! Oh, God
Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies that matters,
— mothers and fathers don’t die.

And if you have said, 'For heaven’s sake, must you always be kissing a person?'
Or, 'I do wish to gracious you’d stop tapping on the window with your thimble!'
Tomorrow, or even the day after tomorrow if you’re busy having fun,
Is plenty of time to say, 'I’m sorry, mother.'

To be grown up is to sit at the table with people who have died,
who neither listen nor speak;
Who do not drink their tea, though they always said
Tea was such a comfort.

Run down into the cellar and bring up the last jar of raspberries;
they are not tempted.

Flatter them, ask them what was it they said exactly
That time, to the bishop, or to the overseer, or to Mrs. Mason;
They are not taken in.
Shout at them, get red in the face, rise,
Drag them up out of their chairs by their stiff shoulders and shake
them and yell at them;

They are not startled, they are not even embarrassed; they slide 
back into their chairs.

Your tea is cold now.
You drink it standing up,
And leave the house.



[1931; reprinted in Collected Poems, 1958]




The Poet:  The following biographical statement appears on the website poets.org.  [It is re-posted here for information purposes only and, like the material posted above, remains its author's exclusive copyright-protected intellectual property.]

Poet and playwright Edna St Vincent Millay was born in Rockland, Maine, on February 22, 1892.  Her mother, Cora, raised her three daughters on her own after asking her husband to leave the family home in 1899.  Cora encouraged her girls to be ambitious and self-sufficient, teaching them an appreciation of music and literature from an early age.  In 1912, at her mother’s urging, Millay entered her poem Renascence into a contest: she won fourth place and publication in The Lyric Year, bringing her immediate acclaim and a scholarship to Vassar College.  There, she continued to write poetry and became involved in the theater.  She also developed intimate relationships with several women while in school, including the English actress Wynne Matthison.  In 1917, the year of her graduation, Millay published her first book, Renascence and Other Poems.  At the request of Vassar’s drama department, she also wrote her first verse play, The Lamp and the Bell (1921), a work about love between women.

After graduating from Vassar, Millay, whose friends called her 'Vincent,' moved to New York City’s Greenwich Village, where she led a Bohemian life.  She lived in a nine foot wide attic and wrote anything she could find an editor willing to accept. She and the other writers of Greenwich Village were, according to Millay herself, 'very, very poor and very, very merry.'  She joined the Provincetown Players in its early days and befriended writers such as Witter Bynner, Edmund Wilson, Susan Glaspell, and Floyd Dell, who asked Millay to marry him.  Millay, who was openly bisexual, refused, despite Dell’s attempts to persuade her otherwise.  That same year Millay published A Few Figs from Thistles (1920), a volume of poetry which drew much attention for its controversial descriptions of female sexuality and feminism.  In 1923 her fourth volume of poems, The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.  In addition to publishing three plays in verse, Millay also wrote the libretto of one of the few American grand operas, The King’s Henchman (1927).

Millay married Eugen Boissevain, a self-proclaimed feminist and widower of Inez Milholland, in 1923.  Boissevain gave up his own pursuits to manage Millay’s literary career, setting up the readings and public appearances for which Millay grew quite famous.  According to Millay’s own accounts, the couple acted liked two bachelors, remaining 'sexually open' throughout their twenty-six year marriage, which ended with Boissevain’s death in 1949.  Edna St Vincent Millay died in 1950. 


Click HERE to read more poems by EDNA ST VINCENT MILLAY at the poets.org website.

You might also enjoy:
POET OF THE MONTH #25: Josephine Miles
POET OF THE MONTH #13: Karys PK 
DORIS GRUMBACH The Missing Person (1981)