Archive for March, 2018

Saturday 31st March 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 31, 2018 by bishshat

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Harvey

Elwood P. Dowd (Stewart) is a middle-aged, amiable though somewhat eccentric man whose best friend is an invisible 6′ 3½” tall rabbit named Harvey. As described by Dowd, Harvey is a pooka, a benign but mischievous creature from Celtic mythology who is especially fond of social outcasts (like Elwood). Elwood has driven his sister and niece (who live with him and crave normality and a place in society) to distraction by introducing everyone he meets to his friend, Harvey. His family seems to be unsure whether Dowd’s obsession with Harvey is a product of his (admitted) propensity to drink or perhaps mental illness.

Elwood spends most of his time in the local bar, and throughout the film invites new acquaintances to join him for a drink (or to his house for dinner). The barman and regulars accept the existence of Harvey, and the barman asks how they both are and unflinchingly accepts an order from Elwood for two martinis.

Elwood’s sister, Veta Louise Simmons (Hull), tries to have him committed to a sanatorium. In exasperation, she admits to the attending psychiatrist Dr. Lyman Sanderson (Charles Drake) that, after so many years of putting up with the invisible rabbit, she sees Harvey every once in a while herself. This causes Dr. Sanderson to let Elwood out and lock Veta up. After sorting out the mistake, Dr. Chumley (Cecil Kellaway), head of the sanatorium, decides that to save the reputation of the sanatorium he must bring Elwood back. At one point, when her daughter asks how someone possibly could imagine a rabbit, Veta says to her “Myrtle Mae, you have a lot to learn and I hope you never learn it.”

When tracked down, Elwood goes through several ordeals, although he remains largely oblivious to the plans put in place for him by Dr. Chumley, Judge Gaffney (William Lynn), and Veta Louise. In a scene where Dr. Sanderson and his nurse Miss Kelly (Peggy Dow) follow Elwood into an alley at the back of his and Harvey’s favorite bar, Charlie’s, Elwood tells the incredible story of how he came to meet Harvey, and explains the way in which people react when they meet them. In a later scene, he gives Dr. Chumley an insight into his philosophy of life:

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Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, “In this world, Elwood, you must be” – she always called me Elwood – “In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.
Elwood also explains that Harvey has the power to stop time: “Did I tell you he could stop clocks? Well, you’ve heard the expression ‘His face would stop a clock’? Well, Harvey can look at your clock and stop it. And you can go anywhere you like, with anyone you like, and stay as long as you like. And when you get back, not one minute will have ticked by. You see, science has overcome time and space. Well, Harvey has overcome not only time and space, but any objections.”

In the final scene of the film, Elwood (along with everybody else) arrives back at the hospital. By this point, Dr. Chumley is not only convinced of Harvey’s existence, but has begun spending time with him on his own, with a mixture of admiration and fear.

Dr. Sanderson convinces Elwood to come into his office where he will receive a serum called Formula 977 that will stop Dowd from “seeing the rabbit”. As they are preparing for the injection, Elwood’s sister is told by their cab driver about all the other people he has driven to the sanatorium to receive the same medicine, warning her that Elwood will become “just a normal human being. And you know what stinkers they are.” Upset by the very thought of this, Veta halts the injection by banging on the examining room door, at which point Elwood comforts her and explains her tears to others with, “Veta’s all tired out, she’s done a lot today.”

As Elwood is leaving, Dr. Chumley asks Elwood for Harvey’s help, and Elwood, being the obliging fellow he is, makes no objection. Dr. Chumley, arm in arm with an invisible companion, asks “Have you ever been to Akron?”

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After the gates to Chumley’s Residence are closed, and Elwood is leaving, he stops, turns around and has a conversation with an invisible Harvey, who is already back from his trip to Akron and reaffirms their friendship. Harvey opens the gate, and Elwood and his invisible companion saunter off towards the bus stop, following Veta and Myrtle Mae, towards the planned last stop of Charlie’s Bar and another drink.

Through the film, Elwood looks up at Harvey. Stewart, at 6’4″, decided that Harvey should be 6’8″ for the film, but the script lines stating that Harvey was 6′ 3.5″ were unchanged from the play.

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White Rabbit

Jefferson Airplane 

One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don’t do anything at all
Go ask Alice
When she’s ten feet tall

And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you’re going to fall
Tell ’em a hookah-smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call
Call Alice
When she was just small

When the men on the chessboard
Get up and tell you where to go
And you’ve just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving low
Go ask Alice
I think she’ll know

When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen’s off with her head
Remember what the dormouse said
Feed your head
Feed your head

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Easter Bunny

The Bible makes no mention of a long-eared, short-tailed creature who delivers decorated eggs to well-behaved children on Easter Sunday; nevertheless, the Easter bunny has become a prominent symbol of Christianity’s most important holiday. The exact origins of this mythical mammal are unclear, but rabbits, known to be prolific procreators, are an ancient symbol of fertility and new life. According to some sources, the Easter bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.” Their children made nests in which this creature could lay its colored eggs. Eventually, the custom spread across the U.S. and the fabled rabbit’s Easter morning deliveries expanded to include chocolate and other types of candy and gifts, while decorated baskets replaced nests. Additionally, children often left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all his hopping.

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Easter Trail Feedback

A big group of my family went yesterday, the children had a great time, helping both the rabbit and the carrot out, as well as finding the clues for the Easter Egg hunt. Well done Compton Verney another great day out!
Great trail and well worth the £3! Thank you
A brilliant trail, the rabbit and carrot were hilarious. The children loved it, thanks 😊
Loved the trail – missed seeing the rabbit as we came today (didn’t expect to see it though). Had a brilliant morning. Thanks.
Isn’t it a bit dangerous putting the rabbit so close to the carrot?
Brilliant time today thank you
Brilliant fun today!! Nothing like a giant rabbit and a crazy carrot to cheer us all up on a wet day

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Just got home. 2 tired girls after running around looking for eggs hanging in trees , and a giant Rabbit and Carrot. Fantastic Easter trail best we have been on for a few years.
Lovely walk on the Easter trail, we had a fantastic time would highly recommend. All the staff were very helpful and friendly
We had a fab day thank you
Wonderful day, thank you!

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It was such a lovely experience and so well thought out. All of your volunteers were brilliant and the bunny and carrot were fab. We all had a wonderful time and they loved the challenge and the prize!
Had a lovely day there yesterday, thoroughly enjoyed, thank you
Thank you for a fab day yesterday – the giant bunny and carrot were fantastic and my daughter loved it!
Carrot absolutely made our day!! She was just brilliant!! So many laughs passing her and the Easter bunny chasing each other just brilliant!! Thank you for a great day!!

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“I don’t know where the eggs come from, and I have no idea why I feel a compulsion to hide them.”

Freud-the-Rabbit

Friday 30th March 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 30, 2018 by bishshat

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Thursday 29th March 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 29, 2018 by bishshat

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Monday 26th March 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 26, 2018 by bishshat

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Woodtock

Joni Mitchell

I came upon a child of God
He was walking along the road
And I asked him where are you going
And this he told me
I’m going on down to Yasgur’s farm *
I’m going to join in a rock ‘n’ roll band
I’m going to camp out on the land
I’m going to try an’ get my soul free

We are stardust
We are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

Then can I walk beside you
I have come here to lose the smog
And I feel to be a cog in something turning
Well maybe it is just the time of year
Or maybe it’s the time of man
I don’t know who I am
But you know life is for learning

We are stardust
We are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

By the time we got to Woodstock
We were half a million strong
And everywhere there was song and celebration
And I dreamed I saw the bombers
Riding shotgun in the sky
And they were turning into butterflies
Above our nation

We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden
Caught in the devil’s bargain
And we’ve got to get ourselves
back to the garden

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Sunday 25th March 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 25, 2018 by bishshat

Spring…SPRING! really..what about the beast for Easter? one hour later than it should be?

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When The Wind Blows

James and Hilda Bloggs are a retired couple living in a tidy isolated cottage in rural Sussex in southeast England. James frequently travels to London to read the newspapers and keep abreast of the deteriorating international situation regarding the Soviet-Afghan War; while frequently misunderstanding some specifics of the conflict, he is fully aware of the growing risk of an all-out nuclear war with the Soviet Union. James is horrified at a radio news report stating that a war may be only three days away, and sets about preparing for the worst as instructed by his government-issued Protect and Survive pamphlets. As Hilda continues her daily routine, and their son Ron, who is implied to have fallen into fatalistic despair, dismisses such preparations as pointless (referencing the song “We’ll All Go Together When We Go” by Tom Lehrer), James builds a lean-to shelter out of several doors inside their home (which he consistently calls the “inner core or refuge” per the pamphlets) and prepares a stock of supplies. He also follows through seemingly strange instructions such as painting his windows with white paint and readying sacks to lie down in when a nuclear strike hits. Despite James’ concerns, he and Hilda are confident they can survive the war, as they did World War II in their childhoods, and that a Soviet defeat will ensue.

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Hearing a warning on the radio of an imminent ICBM strike, James rushes himself and Hilda into their shelter, just escaping injury as distant shock waves rack their home. They remain in the shelter a couple of nights, and when they emerge they find all their utilities, services and communications have been destroyed by the blast. Over the following days, they gradually grow sick from exposure to radiation poisoning. Ron and his wife Beryl are not heard from again, though their deaths are heavily implied.

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In spite of all this, James and Hilda stoically attempt to carry on, preparing tea and dinners on a camping stove, noting numerous errands they will have to run once the crisis passes, and trying to renew their evaporated water stock with (contaminated) rainwater. James keeps faith that a rescue operation will be launched to help civilians. Apparently oblivious to the dead animals, destroyed buildings and scorched, dead vegetation outside their cottage (apart from their own garden), they initially remain optimistic. However, as they take in the debris of their home, prolonged absence of other human company, lack of food and water, growing radiation sickness, and confusion about the events that have taken place, the couple begins to despair.

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After a few days, the Bloggs are practically bedridden, and Hilda is despondent when her hair begins to fall out, after vomiting, developing painful sores and lesions and experiencing bleeding gums. Either in denial about the extent of the nuclear holocaust, unable to comprehend it, or trying to comfort Hilda, James is still confident that emergency services will eventually arrive, but they never do, as they were also presumably destroyed in the attack. The film ends with the dying James and Hilda getting into paper sacks, crawling back into the shelter, and praying. Jim begins with the Lord’s Prayer, but then switches to the first lines of “The Charge of the Light Brigade”, whose militaristic and ironic undertones distress the dying Hilda, who weakly begs him not to continue. Finally, Jim’s voice mumbles away into silence.

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Outside the shelter, the smoke and ash-filled sky begins to clear, revealing the sun rising through the gloom. At once, the skies clear fully as the fallout fades away, revealing a beautiful blue sky with clean white clouds drifting by. At the very end of the credits, a Morse code signal taps out “MAD”, mutual assured destruction.

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Russians

Sting

In Europe and America there’s a growing feeling of hysteria
Conditioned to respond to all the threats
In the rhetorical speeches of the Soviets
Mister Khrushchev said, ‘We will bury you’
I don’t subscribe to this point of view
It’d be such an ignorant thing to do
If the Russians love their children too

How can I save my little boy
From Oppenheimer’s deadly toy?
There is no monopoly on common sense
On either side of the political fence
We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too

There is no historical precedent to put
The words in the mouth of the president
There’s no such thing as a winnable war
It’s a lie we don’t believe anymore
Mister Reagan says ‘We will protect you’
I don’t subscribe to this point of view
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too

We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
What might save us, me and you
Is if the Russians love their children too

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Saturday 24th March 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 24, 2018 by bishshat

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

In the town of Ebbing, Missouri, Mildred Hayes is grieving the rape and murder of her teenage daughter, Angela, seven months earlier. Angry over the lack of progress in the investigation, Mildred rents three abandoned billboards near her home, and posts on them: “Raped While Dying”, “Still No Arrests?”, and “How Come, Chief Willoughby?” The billboards upset the townspeople, including Chief Bill Willoughby and Officer Jason Dixon, the latter being a racist and a violent alcoholic. The open secret that Willoughby suffers from terminal pancreatic cancer adds to everyone’s disapproval. Mildred and her son Robbie are harassed and threatened, but to Robbie’s chagrin, she stays firm about keeping the billboards up.

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While Willoughby is sympathetic to Mildred’s frustration, he finds the billboards an unfair attack on his character. Angered by Mildred’s lack of respect for his authority, Dixon threatens businessman Red Welby, who rented Mildred the billboards, and he arrests her friend and coworker, Denise, on trivial marijuana possession charges. Mildred is also visited by her abusive ex-husband Charlie, who blames her for their daughter’s death.

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Willoughby brings Mildred in for questioning after she injures her dentist in an altercation in the dental clinic. During the interview, Willoughby coughs up blood. He leaves the hospital against medical advice and spends an idyllic day with his wife Anne and their two daughters, then commits suicide. He leaves suicide notes for several people, including Mildred, in which he explains that she was not a factor in his suicide and that he secretly paid to keep the billboards up for another month, amused at the trouble this will bring her and hope that they will keep attention on the murder. Mildred is threatened by a crop-haired stranger in her store. Dixon reacts to the news of Willoughby’s death by assaulting Welby and throwing him out of a window. This is witnessed by Willoughby’s replacement, Abercrombie, who fires Dixon.

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The billboards are destroyed by arson. Mildred retaliates by tossing Molotov cocktails at the police station, which she believes is unoccupied for the night. However, Dixon is there to read a letter left for him by Willoughby, which advises him to let go of hate and learn to love, as the only way to realize his wish to become a detective. Dixon escapes with Angela’s case file but suffers severe burns. Mildred’s acquaintance James witnesses the incident and provides Mildred with an alibi, claiming they were on a date. Dixon is treated for his burns, and he is temporarily confined in the same hospital room as Welby, to whom he apologizes.

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Discharged from the hospital, Dixon overhears the man who threatened Mildred bragging in a bar of an incident similar to Angela’s murder. He notes the Idaho license plate number of the man’s vehicle, then provokes a fight by scratching the man’s face. At home later, he removes a sample of the man’s DNA from under his fingernails. Meanwhile, Mildred goes on a date with James to thank him for the alibi. Charlie enters with his 19-year-old girlfriend Penelope and admits to burning the billboards in anger. Mildred tells Charlie to treat Penelope well, and she leaves.

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Abercrombie informs Dixon that the DNA sample does not match DNA found on Angela’s body and that the man was overseas on military duty at the time of the murder. Dixon stays confused and does not connect the clues. Still his instinct tells him the guy is guilty. Mildred and Dixon conclude that the man must be guilty of some other rape, and set out for Idaho to kill him. On the way, Mildred confesses to Dixon that she set the police station fire. He indicates that he knew already. They express reservations about their mission but agree to decide what to do along the way.

Friday 23rd March 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 23, 2018 by bishshat

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Thursday 22nd March 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 23, 2018 by bishshat

Busy busy at Compton Verney today . 60 year 1 and 2 children from St Lawrence School Napton with Anne and Myself in the studio doing China. 30, 14 yer old young men with Claire doing Mysterious Landscapes. Jo had a further group doing the same. Forest School early years with Hanna, Amanda, Tim and Vix. A group of young girls doing dance. And Anne and I also had 40 university students on teacher training follow us to see how we work. Then after all that I went to read my poetry at The Stagey Fox in Leamington Spa. The evening was recorded for Stratford Words Radio.

Whether you like plays, novels, poetry, short stories, monologues, if it’s using words creatively you’ll find it here! Join us for interviews, what’s on, quizzes, interesting facts, and plenty of readings!

Each week we feature some of the best local writers around, and bringing in others from outside the area to help enrich our wonderful literary culture.

Do get in touch if you have any comments on the show, if you’d like your work considered for broadcast, or if you’d be interested in being interviewed. Our email address is: stratfordwords@welcomberadio.co.uk

Twitter @StratfordWords

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A cycle of songs imagining the final thoughts of Captain Scott and his polar party has been composed by Cambridge graduate Jake Wilson – with the help of the University’s Scott Polar Research Institute.

These songs are one of the most evocative responses to the story of Scott to have come out of the centenary.
Wilson has composed All’s Well, a cycle of five songs, from the point of view of the men who died on their return journey from the South Pole 100 years ago: Edgar Evans, Lawrence Oates, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, and Captain Robert Scott himself. The songs aim to capture the different responses of these five men as they realise their deaths are inevitable, and are dedicated to the memory of Jake’s mother, and his friend, the writer Russell Hoban, both of whom died while he was working on All’s Well.

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Jake’s interest in Captain Scott’s final Antarctic expedition was triggered when he discovered an edition of Scott’s journals in his parents’ house. After reading this gripping first-hand account of the expedition, he went on to immerse himself in the diaries, letters and biographies of Scott and the other members of the polar party.

But what started as an academic interest changed when Jake’s mother was diagnosed with untreatable cancer.

He said: “Suddenly I was faced with the brutal reality of what Scott and his men must have gone through – my mother was also in a race against time, battling against her own body as it failed her. And her response was extremely similar – organising her affairs, writing letters to people who she felt needed to have heard from her, and facing death with dignity and courage.”

Jake’s determination to complete the songs after his mother’s death was reinforced by support from his close friend, the author Russell Hoban.

“Russ encouraged me to write these songs from the start,” said Jake. “I sent him draft lyrics to comment on and took my guitar to his house to play him work-in-progress. Even when he was in hospital he found the energy to listen to my demo recordings and give me advice about how to improve the songs.”

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Folk fiddle legend Dave Swarbrick, who has been collaborating with Jake since 2009, has also played a key role in the project. Swarbrick has described Jake as one of the finest guitarists and songwriters of his generation and has recently produced recordings of the songs. These will be released soon under the title All’s Well, with the support of the Scott Polar Research Institute.

Heather Lane, Keeper of Collections at the Institute, said: “These songs are one of the most evocative responses to the story of Scott to have come out of the centenary. The Scott Polar Research Institute has been pleased to work with Jake Wilson on this project. His moving tribute to the men should have enormous popular appeal.”

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The songs have also met the approval of relatives of the team members in Scott’s polar party. David Wilson, great-nephew of Edward Wilson, said: “With All’s Well, Jake Wilson successfully recasts the South Pole story into a new genre. Evoking the distinct characters of each of the Pole Party in word and tune, he accomplishes in modern folk music what Beryl Bainbridge took an entire novel to achieve. A cultural masterpiece for the Scott centenary.”

Jake will perform All’s Well at the Polar Museum on March 27, alongside Cambridge poet Kiran Millwood Hargrave, who will be reading from her latest collection The Last March, also inspired by the story of Scott and his men. The poems will be published by Pindrop Press to mark the centenary of Scott’s death.

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Evans

Captain, o captain, is our journey done?
Did we struggle so far to find the prize already won?
Must we trudge empty-handed back to the ship?
Can a dragon still fly when its wings have been clipped?
Far from home … home…
Did we haul our way south, battle hunger and cold
For the Norskies to dash, the Norskies to dash
For the Norskies to dash all our dreams at the Pole?

All it takes to cross the line between death and life
Is a slip of the foot, or a slip of the knife
And there’ll be no flag to wrap me in my unmarked grave
No earth below me, and above me no waves
Oh for home … home…
To be back in the Gower, to glimpse Rhosili Sands
And I’ll try not to fall, I’ll try not to fall
I’ll try hard not to fall, when it’s too much to stand

I pulled and I pulled ’til my strength was all gone
Then I made myself walk ’til I just couldn’t carry on
And when you went ahead, had your lunch and brewed your tea
I crawled through the snow on my hands and my knees
To get home … home…
To the land of my fathers, my children and my wife
But I’d pulled to the end, I’d pulled to the end
Oh I’d pulled to the end…

Capt Oates and pony "Snippets". October 1911

Oates

Last night I slept and woke with pain
I almost wished no more to wake again
And oh for an opiate trebly strong
To drug down this blindfold sense of wrong
But no surrender, no surrender
No surrender, no surrender

Like Napoleon under Russian skies
We lost our battle with the snow and the ice
No hero’s welcome, only retreat
No hope of glory, only defeat
But I soldier on, I soldier on
I soldier on, I soldier on

Now the grave seems bright to me
Stepping outside seems right to me
For a pick to the head, or a bullet to the brain
You can do it to a horse, you can’t do it to a man
But maybe some time, maybe some time
Maybe some time, maybe some time
Oh I may be some time, may be some time

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Wilson

The bird circled high, the bird circled high
All alone
It was too far south, we were too far south
To get home
And the snow it fell, the snow it fell
For days
And the colours they fade, the colours they fade away
But all’s well… all’s well…

My spirit is willing, and my faith is strong
To the end
But my flesh is weak, and I almost long
For the end
Thy kingdom comes, and thy will is done
Always
Though the colours they fade, the colours they fade away
All’s well… all’s well…

Oh Ory my dear, my life seems small
To me now
Oh Ory my dear, our love is all
To me now
And though death draws near, I’ve nothing to fear
Today
As the colours they fade, the colours all fade away
All’s well… all’s well…

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Bowers

I’d rather go with no ski than the Norskie way
Give me good old-fashioned British manhaul-sledging every day
And the snow it may blind and the frost may bite
But I’ll battle on, I’ll keep fighting the good fight
And with God as my guide, I’ll head straight towards my goal
And when the pulling is all done, then I’ll just sleep in the cold

With Christ as my companion and the harness as my friend
I’ll brave every crack and crevasse, I’ll struggle to the end
And the ice may break up and the orcas circle near
But a catch in my breath will be the only sign of fear
And if the wind it should change and my luck it doesn’t hold
I’ll float calmly out to sea, and I’ll just sleep in the cold

Now our fuel is running short and the food is almost gone
But I’m far from finished, oh I still feel strong
And the darkness may close in and the shadows threaten me
But death will have no sting and the grave no victory
For I’ll never get tired and now I’ll never grow old
I’ll lie happy in my bag and I’ll just sleep in the cold

H.G Ponting. Captain Scott+s Antarctic Expedition 1910 - 1912. 7th October, 1911. Profile view of Captain Scott sitting at his desk as he writes his journals in the Winterquarters hut.

Scott

White were the nights, and white were the days
White was the path that we trod all the way
White were our thoughts, as we hauled and we dragged
But black was the flag, black was the flag

White were our dreams, and white was our sleep
White was the hope that I struggled hard to keep
For black were the shadows of the doubts that I had
And black was the flag, black was the flag

Red was the blood of the ponies that we drove
And white was the snow that it stained
Blue was the sky so clear above
But black, black was their pain

White was the dawn, but black was the day
Black was the dog on my back all the way
Black were the leaves, pressed hard in the coal
And black was the flag that we found at the Pole

Black was the flag that fluttered at the Pole
But red, white and blue
Red, white and blue
Is my soul

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On Reading Nietzsche

I feel its best to be a simple man
For education only leads to discontent
I try to study the way of it all but it flies over my head
It raises nagging negatives
I close my eyes to the lines I cannot fully grasp
Great holes appear in my soul
I wished that I had begun to know myself earlier
Or I had had the means to do so
Why was I condemned to a life that would only
Leave me asking more questions?
As I begin seeing the reasons
I realise I have learned it all too late
Education leads to the self
The self leads to loneliness
Loneliness leads to thinking
Thinking leads to questions
Questions lead to disillusion
And a wish, yes a dream for an alternative solution
A way out
An escape route
There is none
We are all condemned to nothing
This I have learned from self education
O how I wish I was but a simple man
For education only leads to complexity

John Bishop June 29th 2016-06-29

The Day I Spent in Auvers-sur-oise

She appeared at the top of a dusty steep track
That peeped out among dry stone walls and foliage
Onto the Rue Victor Hugo
She on an after thought could have been
Ursula Andress coming out of the sea
To greet Shaun Connery in the scene from Dr No.
Indeed it was such a strange sight.
“Avez-vous le chemin de la maison du Docteur Gachet”?
“Direct”! I pointed the way ahead.
“Direct”?
“Yes” I said” it’s direct”.
She was slight very, very slight
She could have easily been a model or a film star
Everything about her reminded me of someone
I have no idea who it was
She told me her name was Marianna
She grabbed my arm and held me tight
One of her high heels that was so thin and delicate broke
She held onto me while she did a fast repair
She was immaculate in pearls and diamanté
Her hair glowed in the sunlight
“Allez-vous à une danse”? I asked her as I was so amazed at her attire
“Aucun,Chic” she answered
We escorted each other to the house of Dr Gachet where we sipped champagne
She introduced me to the mayor and a poet and some artists
It was a premier and we drank more champagne
Chatted and laughed and had a splendid afternoon
On leaving her at the same steep track I said “goodbye-au revoir madame”
She turned and fixed me in her crystal blue eyes.
“No John Marianna”.
Arnold on the other hand was so much bigger than his slim frame
Arnold was loud very loud and he commanded me to look at him and his past
He had paintings outside on easels which were terrible
Blotches of paint and stippled colours
No forms at all Van Gogh attempts
A sign said café fermé but he sat in his studio in a garden
That was cracking in the afternoon heat
I was shown in and sat down while he hunted manic like in the draw of a cabinet
A hand full of images black and white of his children
Images too of his youth spent in Montmartre
He looked great every inch a rebel
He spoke of his family all living in London all doing well
One in Richmond with deer and ducks
He laughed loud very loud pointing at me and laughing
Fou Fou I thought. “I am Paris, Paris is Paris, I miss Paris”!
“Montmartre and my youth I miss it all”!
He showed me pictures of himself with princesses and glamorous
Ladies that offered him a different life
“No I was married with four children how could I”?
He said laughing again laughing loud
A cigarette unlit in his had pointing
“Politics” he shouted showing me a photo of a man standing on a box
“Politic, Politic Change nothing will change
Around and around
You take they want
The want they take”!
Loud laughter “nothing changes”!
I said “goodbye -au revoir monsieur”
I took a quick selfie of us together
The artist and the fool
And headed to Paris

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Wednesday 21st March 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 21, 2018 by bishshat

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Keep The Customer Satisfied
 
Simon and Garfunkel
 
Gee but it’s great to be back home,
Home is where I want to be.
I’ve been on the road so long my friend,
And if you came along
I know you couldn’t disagree.
It’s the same old story
Everywhere I go,
I get slandered,
Libeled,
I hear words I never heard
In the Bible.
And I’m one step ahead of the shoe shine,
Two steps away from the county line,
Just trying to keep my customers
satisfied,
Satisfied.
 
Deputy Sheriff said to me
Tell me what you come here for, boy.
You better get your bags and flee.
You’re in trouble boy,
And now you’re heading into more.
It’s the same old story
Everywhere I go,
I get slandered,
Libeled,
I hear words I never heard
In the Bible.
And I’m one step ahead of the shoeshine.

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Monday 19th March 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 19, 2018 by bishshat

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Ape Man

Kinks

I think I’m sophisticated
‘Cause I’m living my life like a good homosapien
But all around me everybody’s multiplying
‘Til they’re walking round like flies man
So I’m no better than the animals sitting in their cages
In the zoo man
‘Cause compared to the flowers and the birds and the trees
I am an ape man

I think I’m so educated and I’m so civilized
‘Cause I’m a strict vegetarian
But with the over-population and inflation and starvation
And the crazy politicians
I don’t feel safe in this world no more
I don’t want to die in a nuclear war
I want to sail away to a distant shore and make like an ape man

I’m an ape man
I’m an ape ape man
I’m an ape man
I’m a King Kong man
I’m woo-doo man
I’m an ape man
‘Cause compared to the sun that sits in the sky
Compared to the clouds as they roll by
Compared to the bugs and the spiders and flies
I am an ape man

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Ravilious & Co: The Pattern of Friendship

This ambitious exhibition throws light on a circle of artists and designers grouped loosely around Eric Ravilious (1903-42). In Eastbourne’s Towner Gallery there were more than 500 artefacts; in Sheffield’s smaller space there are still more than 400. Ravilious, Edward Bawden and the Nash brothers Paul and John have had their work and lives reasonably well documented, but Andy Friend’s curation puts them into new contexts. Others, including Ravilious’s wife Tirzah Garwood and his on-off mistress Helen Binyon deserve further attention. Other characters in Friend’s survey include Peggy Angus, Douglas Percy Bliss, Barnett Freedman, Thomas Hennell, Percy Horton and Enid Marx.

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In addition to these artists and designers, arts mandarin Kenneth Clark, Morley College principal Eva Hubback, Architectural Review editor J. M. Richards (author of High Street), Royal College of Art principal William Rothenstein and the founders of the Dunbar Hay shop play crucial roles, too. This touring exhibition is a welcome chance to fill out their interconnecting stories, to understand the context of the time, and to see impressive work that has hardly been exhibited since the 1930s.

For example, a twelve-minute film of the Morley College commission by Bawden and Ravilious is essential viewing, since it collates all the existing photos of the college’s Refreshment Room murals – destroyed by bombing in 1940 – alongside studies and preparatory artwork. A ‘bookshop’ installation shows a large number of book illustrations and covers designed by their circle of friends, including Ravilious’s own wood engravings for the Monotype 1933 calendar. Webb & Webb use some of the motifs from this as a device within their exhibition design.

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Elsewhere in the show, Friend’s curation emphasises the importance to this circle of artists of shrewd clients: The Listener, the Curwen Press, Lanston Monotype, Kynoch Press, London Underground, Wisden and many more. Display type on the wall quotes Tirzah Garwood’s delight at her first commission for the BBC in 1928: when asked to do her first job, she ‘danced round the room with joy’. Garwood (1908-51) had been a precocious illustrator, who studied with Ravilious when she was a teenager. Her first wood engravings from 1926 are, in Friend’s words, ‘evidence of how, in a difficult art, Tirzah almost instantly became an adept peer of her already accomplished teacher – and during 1927 began to exert an influence over his own approach.’

The relatively small amount of work by Garwood after her 1930 marriage to Ravilious reflects several things: the economic turndown; the lack of opportunities for women; the demands of family (three children and a wayward husband); and cancer. Her late paintings, made after a happy second marriage and the return of the disease that would kill her, show another side of her prodigious imagination, while her early engravings and watercolours have an ease with human form that took Ravilous longer to acquire, and a sharp humour all her own.

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Little known work by Helen Binyon, including some charming children’s book illustrations, added further layers to the exhibition’s documentation of this fascinating group of pragmatic artists. Alan Powers, in his introduction to Friend’s book Ravilious & Co, compares them – as a prolific, interconnected and ultimately influential group – to the Pre-Raphaelites. But he notes that their lack of an easily referenced group name might ‘partly account for the long time it has taken for them to be recognised’.

Barnett Freedman’s work is better known, but the chance to see so much of it in one place is a delight. One ‘scoop’ of the exhibition is the portfolio of student work with which Freedman, who had suffered several rejections for a London County Council (LCC) scholarship, doorstepped Rothenstein. The latter quickly made sure the young artist was offered both a place at the RCA and a three-year LCC grant. During a tour of the Towner, Friend claimed that Freedman was a talented painter, but a ‘lithographer of genius’. Plenty of evidence backs up this claim, with posters, advertising and book covers from several stages of his regrettably short working life. A short film, with music by composer Benjamin Britten, shows Freedman tackling a stamp design commission, including a rather staged conversation with a Post Office official.

d0d27e461cdf83581214a746cd67593c--british-artists-guns4c7b050b5faae867eb68b37aa733ded7Submarines in Dry Dock 1940 by Eric Ravilious 1903-1942

The ‘Submarine’ lithographs and the hallucinatory watercolours of military men, equipment and aeroplanes (such as Hurricane in Flight, 1942) support Friend’s view that Ravilious was still learning, growing and stretching his abilities when the plane carrying him failed to return in September 1942.