Wednesday, October 27, 2010


WIKIPEDIA "editors" have taken voluminous and meticulous research and good work that went into the Paul Robeson wikipedia article intro and replaced it with what can only be called an unreferenced collage of ho hum. Until further notice, I am NOT the wiki-user who helped create the introduction of the article as it currently looks.

Here is the REAL thing with references:

Paul LeRoy Bustill Robeson (April 9, 1898 – January 23, 1976) was an [[United States|American]] [[bass-baritone]] concert singer, recording artist and actor, who became noted for his wide-ranging [[social justice]] [[activism]] and [[political radicalism]]. A forerunner of the [[civil rights]] movement, Robeson was an [[All-American]] athlete, [[Phi Beta Kappa Society]] laureate and valedictorian during his years at [[Rutgers University]]. After graduating from [[Columbia Law School]] in 1923, Robeson discontinued his career as an attorney due to professional racism. Simultaneously he became a sought after stage actor and concert singer, eventually becoming an international film star and celebrity. Robeson was also a recipient of both the NAACP's [[Spingarn Medal]], the [[Stalin Peace Prize]] and of honorary memberships in over half a dozen trade unions for his prodigious labor activism. Robeson, Susan. ''Paul Robeson: The Whole World in His Hands, a Pictorial Biography'', 1980, pg 13, prologueBoyle, Shelia Tully. ''Paul Robeson: The Years of Promise and Achievement'', 2001, pg 11 notes on sourcesDuberman, Martin. ''Paul Robeson'', 1989, prefaceSeton, Marie. ''Paul Robeson'', 1958, pg 57.Despite his being one of the most internationally famous cultural figures of his time, [[persecution]] by the [[US government]] and blacklisting by the [[US media|media]] over his radical politics, has kept Paul Robeson out of mainstream [[pop culture]] and many interpretations of [[US history]], including civil rights, sports and [[black history]].

Paul Robeson was the first major concert star to popularize the performance of [[Negro]] [[spirituals]] and was the first black actor of the 20th century to portray [[Shakespeare]]'s ''[[Othello]]'' on [[Broadway theatre|Broadway]]. As of fall 2010, Robeson's run in the 1943–45 ''Othello'' production still holds the record for the longest running Shakespeare play on Broadway. In line with Robeson's open dissatisfaction with film industry [[stereotype]]s, his roles in both the [[Cinema of the United States|US]] and [[Cinema of the United Kingdom|British film industries]] were some of the first parts ever created that displayed dignity and respect for black film actors, paving the way for [[Sidney Poitier]] and [[Harry Belafonte]].Duberman, Martin. ''Paul Robeson'', 1989, pg 90. Paul Robeson chose to become a political artist at the height of his career in the late 1930s, entertaining and raising money for both allied troops and the International Brigades in the fight against [[fascism]] during [[World War II]]. After numerous visits to the [[U.S.S.R]], where Robeson proclaimed he experienced no [[segregation]] and "walked in full human dignity for the first time", he also became a staunch supporter of socialism advocating for a strong post war friendship with Russia.

Robeson eventually became a prime target of the [[Red Scare]] during the late 1940s through to the mid-1960s. Post War, Robeson publicly stated that the United States government and many Western European powers, had failed, both [[people of color]] and the [[working class]] of all races in the struggle for basic [[human rights]]. Through his strong following in the Black community, Robeson urged U.S. blacks not to serve in the Unites States armed forces until the U.S. government abolished [[Jim Crow]] and passed strict anti-lynching laws. Concurrently, he maintained his outspoken adoration of Russian culture, peace with the [[Soviet Union]] and emerging Communist countries. Robeson's passport was then revoked from 1950 to 1958 under the [[McCarran Act]] effectively blacklisting him when he refused to sign an anti-Communist [[loyalty oath]]. Under surveillance for well over three decades, U.S. Congressional records and FBI files released under the [[Freedom of Information Act]], show the reasoning behind Robeson's persecution was not limited primarily to his affiliations with the Soviet Union. Other aspects of his life and politics including anti-imperialism, the [[racial integration]] of [[major league baseball]], the [[International Brigades]], the [[Council on African Affairs]] and [[progressive]] children's groups were also cause for concern by the [[United States Intelligence Community]]. As of fall 2010, there is no official evidence of Paul Robeson ever being a member of any domestic or international Communist group.

As the [[Cold War]] continued, Robeson was publicly condemned for his radical beliefs by both the [[United States Congress]] and mainstream black organizations including the [[National Association for the Advancement of Colored People]] (NAACP).Duberman, Martin. ''Paul Robeson'', 1989, pg 400. To date, Paul Robeson's FBI file is one of the largest of any entertainer ever investigated by the [[United States Intelligence Community]], requiring its own internal index and unique "status of health file." Duberman, Martin. ''Paul Robeson'', 1989, pg 563, notes on sources While on tour in Europe during the early 1960's following the return of his passport, Paul Robeson's health broke down severely under controversial circumstances. In 1965, he was forced to permanently retire. Despite limited activity in his later years, Paul Robeson remained throughout his life, unapologetic about his political views.Brown, Lloyd. ''The Young Paul Robeson 161 Present day advocates and historians of Paul Robeson's legacy have worked successfully to restore his name to numerous history books and sports records, while honoring his memory globally with posthumous awards and recognitions.Turner, Charlotte. ''Paul Robeson's Last Days in Philadelphia'', 1986, pg 150.Duberman, Martin. ''Paul Robeson'', 1989, pg 543.

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Heat Seeking Missle Music

I never discuss private stuff like this online but lately, I've been thinking of how pleased I am that The Who, apart from some heavier live stuff, don't make bunk up tunes.

Seriously. Part of me really likes music sub text free so I can own it in my own mind and heart. I think The Who do that better than anyone. Minimal Rhodes (insta-70's) , minimal horns (The Ox kept it simple but dazzling) even some of the dated synth stuff on It's Hard that I worship ultimately starts to sound undated once you read the lyrics.

And yet another smaller part of me loves how music retains memories, creating an instantaneous atavachron between (and within) the ears. And, even a smaller part of me, thinks many of these memories should be erotic.

If you become a devoted wife and a working mum who nonetheless retains a loyal niche following on the internet for a being a You Tube friendly boob-centric entertainer you (hopefully) start to question what 'aspects' of your past shaped the dualities. Hopefully you leave the answers to ambiguity. I'm sure I've made a few males hear The Who and think of me...and hopefully at least a select few turn the station!

It works both ways and one disc of The Stones (Beggars Banquet) is now semi (no pun intended) and sadly mostly unlistenable for this reason yet another one or two still sound really good. Don't get me wrong, if I deigned to put on the Stones before, "good" was not going to an issue, it was a given. And it is not that it takes me "back" it just makes me amused as to why I chose certain background tunes. And I do mean "semi" because despite Banquet I can still listen to much of it; good music outlasts most romances. Nick Lowe definitely makes some sexy stuff as well but I'd be too busy laughing at how critically acerbic and ironic it all was to put in a good performance-even if the performance entailed falling asleep! Nick Lowe sings about the romance gone awry while he's still in love-sometimes about your OWN break up on the way. Yet Steely Dan is ironic as hell and seems playable while playing. Not sure why though.

The music of the UK certainly charges up the romance, especially in London on a Saturday night and Sunday early hours. Tired of all the cack on the US charts? Then come to the UK or download all the non-American artists save for the all-girl bands and X factor (sorry Tweedy...) Coming of age in the East End during the 90's, my husband Kev listened to Ian Dury, Chas and Dave, Ska, tu-tone, Cypress Hill, NWA and loads of Hardcore, drum and bass and House. We were married a year ago and while celebrating he shared with memories of when rave culture all but ameliorated football hooliganism and the single techno pulse started the MDA fuelled beat surrender. We listen to everything.

Anyway here are few of those songs, all by The Stones. All still good:

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