Saturday, January 30, 2010

Book Quiz and Jimmy Webb's MacArthur Park

Does anyone else at home who feels they need to be tortured, turn on the telly and watch, book quiz on BBC4 and subsequently get as frustrated as me? That show has officially usurped "University Challenge" as the programme that will make even those who are very well read feel like grovelling, befuddled borderline illiterates. I got half a question right the other week.

I have been thinking about MacArthur Park, the song by Jimmy Webb, and why I seem to be the only one who understands the lyrics and does not think they are either strange nor delusional. Don't you people UNDERSTAND? It is about actively losing a time, a place and feeling in your living soul and spirit and knowing it can never be repeated, replaced or recaptured!

The icing and the cake, it is green because a park is (mostly) green. The cake is all the lovely hopes, just forgotten, hosed on, outside in the rain. The beautiful Dracena Park I grew up across the street from once had a few wild sections; gnarled tress, little green meadows, older swings and jungle gyms. This was a residential park but still quite big given the small city we lived in. Just lovely it was. A place where you'd see pelicans and cats having tea with wee little dogs in waist coats while nearby, magic fairies paint Easter eggs with old man bunny and family.

Then, one shiny spring day, I run there to play and it's all been gentrified to something out of an architect's cardboard mock up. Trees chopped down, sod rolled neatly everywhere, faux stone paths landscaped like a hotel entrance and bogus new sand lot-total, utter rip off. The park had melted, someone had stomped on the cake and there was no way to get the recipe again. And yes, there are new dreams but why are the lyrics so freaky to some people? Please explain if you don't "get" the song.

Here is a semi-demo version by Webb himself"

Richard Harris' definitive cover

And, because this is the internet, someone creative actually baked a cake and left it out in the rain and then ATE IT! (FF to 3:45)


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pat Robertson made a pact with Charlie...

or Russell Brand depending on which side of the Atlantic you're on.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The heroes of the tragedy in Haiti are Israel, the US armed forces, Red Cross and countless volunteers from all over the world

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And—which is more—you'll be a Man my son!

— If, Rudyard Kipling

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Patrick Leigh Fermor- MY HERO!

"To meet, Leigh Fermor may still have the speech patterns and formal manners of a British officer of a previous generation; but on the page he is a soaring prose virtuoso with hardly a single living equal."

-William Dalrymple, The Guardian

I think Patrick Leigh Fermor may be one the most important people that has ever, literally, walked the face of the earth. If you don't travel than you don't find out who you are. If you go back two generations, I come mostly Italian peasant stock; people we don't really like to travel long distances. By nature Southern Italians are friendly and open yet suspicious, staying close to their respective towns and countryside. When Sophia Loren's equally beautiful mother, Romilda, won first place in a Greta Garbo lookalike contest, her family was so scared of her going to Hollywood for her prize winning screen test that she was forced to concede to the runner-up. They believed that the "Black Hand" that possibly had a part in Rudolph Valentino's shocking death, would be targeting all Italians from the Old World. The familiar is a guarantee of equanimity. And, apart from mother's grandmother who made nearly half a dozen trips between Calabria and the United States around the turn of he 20th century, I'm part of the first generation of my family to do any real extensive overseas travelling.

Yet, while I've travelled often, I've "Bilbo Bagginsed" it a great deal as well. In fact when I arrive somewhere on a journey I'd rather explore the street I'm staying on. Why, after already taking a flight, a train, a cab, unpacking and then getting settled would I get up go travelling again? That is precisely how I see the proverbial day trip. Even if the day trip is to a cathedral across town with the Magna Carte in it, I'm happier on the nearby high street at Boots testing shimmery blue eye liner. I get into adventures too though, like trudging through forests that incidentally lead to occult like landmarks or walking into Sawrey from Hawkshead. Not quite seven years in Tibet or even seven days in Euro Disney but that's just me!

Paddy Fermor embodies that spirit of the happy wanderer yet he also took his time. I think that is why he eschews the title of "Britain's greatest living travel writer" although he alone is. The same age as my own grandfather, a jaw dropping 94 years young and due to turn 95 on the of 11th February, he resides in Mani, Southern Greece, in a home he built mostly himself where he can look out over the Aegean Sea.

Last spring when I was pregnant and could not sleep, I watched a splendid programme on the BBC all about Paddy and his splendid life. Do read up on him if he is new to you as he is without equal.

Original Tribute by Finger Style Guitar Man

Labels: , ,

How many friends?

Friday, January 01, 2010

A Happy New Year

Congratulations! We've made it to another decade! Champers and poppers all around!
Despite the fact that the horse is supposed to have the best upcoming year of any other zodiac animal by a country mile, I'm not observing feng shui any more. I've decided that any belief system that also includes the wholesale liquidation of the planet's last Rhinos and Tigers is not a code to live by.

New Year's Resolutions

1. To only purchase one thing made in China a month, if at all.
(When you have a new baby avoiding purchases from China is not easy)

2. To learn more about different countries, languages and cultures

3. To sculpt my waist until it is 24 to 26 inches uncorseted by June

4. To eat Goji berries, acai, cranberries or any berry, every day

5. To go to Butlin's with my Kev, Mr. Mooch and Sadie dog

6. Finish my novel(s) {thanks Gina B and Par :)

7. To sing everyday non stop for an hour to two hours

What are yours?

Labels: , ,