Archive for September 2010

The Ground Was Shaking

Standing on that field under a darkening, cold sky, with the indomitable sound of those drums and tympani shaking the earth, mischance is being defied. For a moment at least, Michigan, and I as one of its fans, are transcendent. The universe is ours. Go Blue!

Impossible Elegance

So what I was responding to when I listened to that record, over and over again, was just what the music was meant to be about: the personalities of show business folk, and the tendency of their way of life to isolate the lonely and to amplify the personality disorders of the narcissistic – but also about the miraculous, partly healing but also partly wounding powers of showbiz razzamatazz.

Dances for Tolkien

I very specifically recall the thrill of reading Tolkien sitting there. And while I was reading it, I often had playing softly, so as not to wake my parents, one particular record from The Treasury of the World’s Great Music. This LP combined on one side the symphonic version of Borodin’s Polovetsian Dances and Dukas’ The Sorceror’s Apprentice. Now with all respect to Howard Shore’s estimable soundtrack for the Peter Jackson’s near-definitive movies, once you’ve listened to these pieces, you will never think of Shore as being in the same class in capturing the thrill of those books.

The Messy But Necessary Leakocracy

The role of the leakers and the press and bloggers who disseminate what the leakers share is not institutionalized, and there is little or no quality control. But as a result of their actions, things that need to be made public, like torture and illegal wiretaps, often are publicized. The Leakocracy serves as a valuable if not vital safety valve in our society.

A Kitschy Gilde

Have I been defending my youthful tastes a little by portraying myself as a sophisticate-in-training with a yen for the challenging hidden within the mundane like a diamond in the rough? Probably. But with this next item, Lawrence Welk’s version of Calcutta, there is absolutely no making that argument. However intelligently constructed, it is musical kitsch, and one has to start with that.