Archive for the Life the Universe and Other Things Category

Friday 9th November 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on November 9, 2018 by bishshat

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Oblivion Beckons

Humanity is weighed down by the list of its own complaints
Our heads are so full of self importance
Innocent moments of pure joy have been lost to us
The few with impure thoughts and impure deeds have spoilt paradise
Maths has never been my forte but having made a few calculations
I see no way of balancing the outcome
I look forward with a slight look back to what might have been

Bish 8th November 2018

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Who Wants To Live Forever

Queen

There’s no time for us.
There’s no place for us.
What is this thing that builds our dreams, yet slips away from us?

Who wants to live forever?
Who wants to live forever?
There’s no chance for us.
It’s all decided for us.
This world has only one sweet moment set aside for us.

Who wants to live forever?
Who wants to live forever?

Who dares to love forever
When love must die?

But touch my tears with your lips,
Touch my world with your fingertips,

And we can have forever,
And we can love forever.
Forever is our today.

Who wants to live forever?
Who wants to live forever?
Forever is our today.

Who waits forever anyway?

 

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Wednesday 7th November 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on November 8, 2018 by bishshat

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Tuesday 6th November 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on November 6, 2018 by bishshat

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King Crimson 2018 (a boys night out).

Near 2000 men of a certain age
Crawled from darkened bedrooms
They left their urban sanctuaries
Full of dust and clutter of fifty years
Under unmade beds and in creaking cupboards
They left their dirty socks and crusted underwear
They dragged themselves by wizened fingers
They put on their spectacles
Adjusted their hearing aids
Putting on hats to cover their balding heads
They left the present with families asking why?
These men now time travellers
Were fixed firmly by something they could not explain
Forty nine years it took me to get here with them
And although it was painful
It was worth the leaving of home

John Bish 6/ 11/ 2018

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49 years after I bought In the King Crimson album, In The Court of the Crimson King from Hawtins Music shop in Alum Rock Birmingham I finally got to see them play some of the album live at The Symphony Hall. It was quite an experience. I have only the one album by King Crimson so a lot of the nights works went right over my head. Really it was too much for me.

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The music was totally astonishing on many levels and I really think I could not cope with its complexity. Three drummers and five other band members giving it the full Prog Rock treatment. I wanted to like it. I wanted to love it but really I could not understand most of it. Even though In the Court of the Crimson King is my all time favourite album.

I nearly walked out and if I was on my own I may well have done so at half time. I got to bed around midnight and to sleep around 2 am. Thinking hard and long about what I had just witnessed. In reflection the gig was a hard listen but the tracks they performed from my favourite album were really worth seeing and hearing. A special moment I am happy to have experienced.

Set One

1 Drum trio: The Hell Hounds Of Krim

2 Neurotica

3 Indiscipline

4 Epitaph

5 Discipline

6 Suitable Grounds For The Blues

7 Radical Action 1

8 Meltdown

9 Radical Action 2

10 Level Five

11 Islands

Set Two

1 Drum trio: Devil Dogs Of Tessellation Row

2 One More Red Nightmare

3 Red

4 Moonchild

5 The Court Of The Crimson King

6 Cirkus

7 Bolero: The Peacock’s Tale

8 Dawn Song

9 Last Skirmish

10 Prince Rupert’s Lament

11 Easy Money

12 Larks’ Tongues In Aspic, Part Two

13 Starless

Encore

14 21st Century Schizoid Man

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In the Court of the Crimson King, an Observation by King Crimson. Released in the winter of 1969 the album is filled with echoes of the darkest parts of the decade. Interestingly, although the album had existed since that year, it was not until 34 years later, in 2003, that the true album would be heard. The original recordings of the album had been lost during production, resulting in the release of a musically imperfect composition. This version of the album was the only one available until the master tapes were rediscovered.

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This is the only album released by the band’s original line up. Almost immediately after In the Court of the Crimson King was released founding members Ian McDonald and Michael Giles left the band. Greg Lake followed them out of the band a few months later leaving only Peter Sinfield and Robert Fripp in the band. Sinfield would only last until the first day of January 1972. All of the members of the band would go on to achieve success outside of King Crimson, with the exception of Fripp who remains the keystone of the band to this day.

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McDonald went on to found Foreigner, Giles became a session drummer, Sinfield wrote songs for other artists and Greg Lake went onto fame with Emerson, Lake and Palmer. He also had a successful solo career, producing Big Blue Bullfrog‘s 3rd best Christmas Rock Song of all time, “I Believe in Father Christmas”. So it can be argued that In the Court of the Crimson King is the only actual album by King Crimson as the band lost so many members afterwards that it is hard to call it the same band, although Fripp obviously does.
In the Court of the Crimson King by King Crimson

Released: October 10, 1969 (Island)
Produced by: King Crimson
Recorded: Wessex Sound Studios, London, July-August 1969
Side One Side Two
21st Century Schizoid Man
I Talk to the Wind
Epitaph Moonchild
The Court of the Crimson King
Group Musicians
Greg Lake – Lead Vocals, Bass
Robert Fripp – Guitars
Peter Sinfield – Lyricist
Ian McDonald – Keyboards, Woodwind, Vocals
Michael Giles – Drums, Percussion

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The album opens with what could arguably be its best song, “21st Century Schizoid Man”. An image of the song’s namesake appears on the albums cover. The song opens with a burst of horns and drums before Greg Lake’s distorted voice kicks in with eerie vocals. Fripp’s guitar solo in the middle of the song might be it’s highlight but there are many to choose from. The innovative use of woodwinds is certainly another huge one. The lyrics read a bit like nonsense except for the line, “Innocents raped with napalm fire,” which is a clear nod toward the Vietnam War. It finishes in what can only be described as a mad crescendo of wicked and wild sounds. As expected, it is fantastic.

From here the album goes in a completely different direction. “I Talk to the Wind” is a slow mellow tune one would expect to hear while relaxing in a meadow. Greg Lake’s voice has a majestic feeling here and Giles drums are subdued into a jazzy rhythm. The flute is given center stage throughout the song by Ian McDonald who provides an enchanting melody. The listener almost feels transported into the magic forest of Shakespeare’s A Midsummers Night’s Dream. Lyrically it sort of seems like a different take on Bob Dylan’s “Blowing in the Wind”. In that song Dylan uses the line ‘the answer is blowing in the wind’ as a metaphor for the ignorance of society. Sinfield uses ‘wind’ itself as a metaphor for essentially the same thing.

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Sinfield’s lyrics continue the anti-war themes with “Epitaph”. It is here the album really takes on a dystopian feeling. Lake’s voice is melancholy while Fripp’s guitar returns to add acoustic picking in certain sections. The line, “I fear tomorrow I’ll be crying,” really illustrates the bleak nature of the Cold War. Overall, the song is an extremely pessimistic take on the era but it is wonderful in its darkness.

“Moonchild” is probably the least interesting song on the album. The song essentially describes a perfect and peaceful woman. In many ways this song should have just been called flower child as it is essentially describing that. It is very similar to “I Talk to the Wind” and “Epitaph” in musical composition but adds a symphonic section that simply goes on too long. It takes up most of the song and just doesn’t do enough to entertain the ear.

The album ends with its namesake, “In the Court of the Crimson King”. Musically, the Mellotron is used to its full potential here. The entire song is essentially a fantasy tale involving the Crimson King. The name of the character was chosen because it was given to any monarch who reigned when there was a great deal of bloodshed and civil unrest. This links the song to the albums antiwar concept and the lyrics of it seem to be a metaphor for the band member’s perceptions of the Western World in the late sixties. Near the ending, when the song gets quiet and has only one instrument take center stage, it is really haunting.

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“At that time, nearly all the British bands were using the blues or soul music – American music – as their influence,” Lake once told Gibson. “Since that well had been visited so many times, we decided we would try to use European music as our base influence, in order to be different. Robert and I – and multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald, for that matter – had all been schooled in European music. We understood it. We played Django Reinhardt, and we did Paganini violin exercises and so forth. Even though I loved American music, and had played it throughout my youth, it was very easy for me to adapt to using European music as the basis for new creations.”
Underneath, as on songs like “I Talk to the Wind,” there remained a steady foundation of folk or rock. But King Crimson had added a conceptual expansiveness more associated with classical. “To me, progressive music, the reason that came about was introducing different influences into basic rock music – the rock format of guitar-bass-drums, bringing in different influences, which is what King Crimson was, really,” McDonald later told Big Bang. “That’s what’s underneath, incorporated into what’s basically a rock ‘n’ roll band.”
Robert Fripp says this unique mixture came to him in pieces – he’d worked at a hotel, for instance, where the sounds of a dance orchestra echoed through the halls – and then, almost all at once, when, by chance, he heard the colossal ending the Beatles’ “A Day in the Life” on Radio Luxembourg. “It was terrifying; I had no idea what it was,” Fripp told Perfect Sound Forever. “Then it kept going. Then, there was this enormous whine note of strings. Then there was this a colossal piano chord. I discovered later that I’d come in half-way through Sgt. Pepper … My life was never the same again.” Fripp started making connections between things like Jimi Hendrix and Bartok string quartets. “My experience was of the same musicians speaking to me in different dialects – one musician speaking in different voices,” he added.
And with drummer Michael Giles, McDonald, lyricist Peter Sinfield and – in particular, it seemed – Greg Lake, Fripp had found a group of collaborators who were hearing it, too. The result, Fripp said, was simply magical. “As I heard it expressed later and even now, it was as if the music took over and took the musicians into its confidence,” Robert Fripp told Perfect Sound Forever. “That is by no means the last time I felt in that position somewhere between heaven and earth – but that was the first time.”

Greg Lake and Robert Fripp had grown up together, and had even gone to the same guitar teacher. They spoke a common musical language, even if they were speaking in a way that the wider world hadn’t yet come to understand. “By the time King Crimson was formed, we were like two peas in a pod – like mirrors,” Lake told Gibson. “He knew exactly what I knew, and I knew exactly what he knew. That was one very strange component of King Crimson. The other was that Ian McDonald had never been in a rock band before. He came from the military, from a military brass band. That was a bit peculiar. King Crimson was not an everyday sort of band.”

Some of what they created, like the crunchy, futuristic “21st Century Schizoid Man,” sounds eerily prescient – as relevant today as it was strange and wondrous back then. That song, in fact, has been one of the few constants for an ever-changing group. “‘Schizoid Man,’ for me, was intelligent heavy metal,” Fripp once told Reflex Magazine. “It was very very hard to play – in its time. Technical standards have come forward now, of course. It was so hard to play, and it was so terrifying.”

The subsequent “Epitaph,” meanwhile, has a similarly dystopian theme, but with its sweeping use of Ian McDonald’s Mellotron, a completely different feel. That was, in fact, the hallmark of an album that worked with a endlessly fascinating musical palette – personified both in the otherworldly guitar of Robert Fripp (sometimes delicate, other times eruptive) and in McDonald’s dizzying arsenal of sounds. “I’m always biased towards the first album, I unashamedly have to say,” McDonald told the Artist Shop, “and I think the best song on that album is ‘Epitaph.’ It’s my favorite track and, to me, it’s Greg Lake’s best vocal anywhere.”
“Moonchild” shifted seamlessly from a bucolic tableau toward a striking moment of free-form improvisation – so free, in fact, that you can hear a reference to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Surrey With the Fringe on Top” within Fripp’s guitar excursion. Perhaps best known of all was the title track, one of just two U.S. charting singles for King Crimson – and a triumph of episodic conception.

Taken of a piece, In the Court of the Crimson King couldn’t have been much different from the preceding Giles, Giles and Fripp, this quaint, often unfocused group that featured Fripp and Michael Giles, with McDonald as an occasional collaborator. Their lone release, 1968’s The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp, finds three of King Crimson’s future players unable to find a similar balance a heady blend of folk, classical, pop, psych-rock and comedy. “I think we were just coming out and being ourselves, instead of operating within boundaries that other people had created,” Giles told Aymeric Leroy. “We decided to do away with those boundaries.”

King Crimson stood just as separately from the surrounding scene, too. “We weren’t involved in the hippie movement, or the flower power, or drugs, or ‘Swinging London,’ Giles added. “We were somehow outside that, just concentrating on the music. Of course, we played, and we had access to all sorts of situations that ‘Swinging London’ was doing – but we didn’t come from this environment.”

In time, King Crimson’s outsider brand of rock, as thoughtful as it was unlike anything else at the time, began to grow in popularity. In the Court of the Crimson King remains the group’s best-selling U.S. album and second-highest charting U.K. release. “There was a sort of underground cult following, which came from nowhere and grew and grew,” Giles told Aymeric Leroy. “It was quite surprising to us all, because all of us had spent probably the previous five to 10 years without it. So, it was quite overwhelming – overwhelming and humbling.”
Both Giles and McDonald left soon after, later releasing a co-led self-titled 1971 recording. Giles also appeared as a guest performer on King Crimson’s 1970 follow-up album In the Wake of Poseidon, but by then Lake’s membership was ending, too.
Listen to “In the Court of the Crimson King”
“We were only together, the original King Crimson, for one album and one tour,” Lake told Rolling Stone. “The tour went around England and it also went to the United States. When we reached the end of the tour in the U.S.A., Mike Giles and Ian McDonald, they decided they didn’t much enjoy life on the road. I think they particularly didn’t like flying, and they just didn’t like travel and the whole hectic life on the road.”
Fame, it seemed, had come too fast – or, for Ian McDonald at least, too soon. “Crimson went from total obscurity, living off seed money from a relative to worldwide fame in six months time,” he told Perfect Sound Forever. “I was young then, and it was too much for me. If I took some time to think about it and gather my thoughts, I would have done things differently.”

The first of what would become a series of cataclysmic shifts for King Crimson was underway. McDonald would stop in to lend a hand on 1974’s Red, even as a subsequent lineup dissolved. His initial departure, however, had hit Greg Lake hard.
“I just didn’t feel good about it because Ian, particularly, wrote a lot of the material,” Lake told Rolling Stone. “Also, Mike was a great drummer. They were so fundamental in the makeup and the chemistry of the band. I just didn’t feel it was honest to get two new people in and pretend that nothing had happened. I said to Robert, ‘If you want to form a new band, I’m happy to do that. But I just don’t feel comfortable carrying on with the name King Crimson.’ He said, ‘Well, do you mind if I do that?’ I said, ‘No, not at all. If you want to do it, that’s fine.’ So, that’s what Robert did.”

Spurs 2 PSV 1

A late, late winner from Harry Kane helped keep our Champions League campaign alive as we came from behind to beat PSV Eindhoven at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday evening. The Dutch league leaders scored in the second minute of the game through Luuk de Jong and defended admirably for the majority of the match, but we turned the game on its head with two goals in the final 12 minutes.

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Kane levelled in the 78th minute and then secured three vital points with a header in the final 60 seconds of normal time – although his effort took a telling touch off PSV’s Trent Sainsbury on its way in.

The victory means qualification remains in our hands, with a home game against Inter to come followed by a trip to Barcelona on Matchday Six.

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Monday 5th November 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on November 5, 2018 by bishshat

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Guy Fawkes & the Gunpowder Plot
Words of “Remember Remember” refer to Guy Fawkes with origins in 17th century English history. On the 5th November 1605 Guy Fawkes was caught in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament with several dozen barrels of gunpowder. Guy Fawkes was subsequently tried as a traitor with his co-conspirators for plotting against the government. He was tried by Judge Popham who came to London specifically for the trial from his country manor Littlecote House in Hungerford, Gloucestershire. Fawkes was sentenced to death and the form of the execution was one of the most horrendous ever practised (hung, drawn and quartered) which reflected the serious nature of the crime of treason.

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The Tradition begins…
The following year in 1606 it became an annual custom for the King and Parliament to commission a sermon to commemorate the event. Lancelot Andrews delivered the first of many Gunpowder Plot Sermons. This practice, together with the nursery rhyme and quote, ensured that this crime would never be forgotten! Hence the words to the quote “Remember, remember the 5th of November”

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The quote and poem is sometimes referred to as ‘Please to remember the fifth of November’. It serves as a warning to each new generation that treason will never be forgotten. In England the 5th of November is still commemorated each year with fireworks and bonfires culminating with the burning of effigies of Guy Fawkes (the guy) and people chanting the quote of “Remember remember the 5th of November”. The ‘guys’ are made by children by filling old clothes with crumpled newspapers to look like a man. Tradition allows British children to display their ‘guys’ to passers-by and asking for ” A penny for the guy”.

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Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, ’twas his intent
To blow up the King and the Parliament
Three score barrels of powder below
Poor old England to overthrow
By God’s providence he was catched
With a dark lantern and burning match
Holloa boys, holloa boys
God save the King!
Hip hip hooray!
Hip hip hooray!

A penny loaf to feed ol’ Pope
A farthing cheese to choke him
A pint of beer to rinse it down
A faggot of sticks to burn him
Burn him in a tub of tar
Burn him like a blazing star
Burn his body from his head
Then we’ll say ol’ Pope is dead.
Hip hip hooray!
Hip hip hooray!

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Sunday 4th November 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on November 4, 2018 by bishshat

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Seahawks 17 Chargers 25

Seahawks make playoff pursuit even more difficult by losing to Chargers
For the Seahawks it was a loss that stung, for obvious reasons.

They felt the outcome could, and should, have been different if they had cut down on mistakes. And it was punctuated by an excruciating final play when a miracle victory was still in their grasp – until the ball fell out of David Moore’s grasp.

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On a micro level, their 25-17 loss to the Chargers on Sunday at CenturyLink Field felt to them like one that got away. Or, more accurately, like one they let get away through misplays, penalties, too many chunk plays allowed, a missed field-goal attempt and a huge pick-six interception thrown by Russell Wilson.

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But this is one for which the macro ramifications may well be even more painful. In the calculus for a path to the playoffs by Seattle, a win over the Chargers – at home – seemed to be a crucial element. At the very least, their task just got considerably more difficult.

Saturday 3rd November 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on November 3, 2018 by bishshat

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Wolves 2 Spurs 3

Quickfire first-half strikes from Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura looked to have put Spurs on course for a comfortable win.

Harry Kane’s eighth goal of the season gave the visitors a 3-0 lead before they nearly crumbled at Molineux. League debutant Juan Foyth conceded two second-half penalties to allow Ruben Neves and Raul Jimenez to convert from the spot before Spurs held out to sit fourth, three points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool.

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It was mid-table Wolves’ third straight defeat but Nuno Espirito Santo’s side again demonstrated their threat in the top flight. Spurs chief Mauricio Pochettino had the luxury of resting Dele Alli ahead of Tuesday’s must-win Champions League visit of PSV Eindhoven.

But he may now be without Mousa Dembele after the midfielder suffered an early injury on Saturday. Spurs had any momentum knocked out of them when they lost Dembele inside the first 10 minutes. It took time for them to regroup and, when they did in the 19th minute, substitute Son Heung-min found Kane and his low effort was turned away by Rui Patricio.

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But the visitors had regained their composure and netted two goals in three minutes.

Lamela was at the heart of the first after 27 minutes and, after a slow build-up, he swapped passes with Son to burst into the area and roll the ball under Patricio.

Three minutes later it was 2-0 when Moura powered in a free header from Kieran Trippier’s looping cross. A devastating spell grabbed the initiative and Patricio saved Kane’s piledriver as Spurs looked to kill the game.

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Wolves then thought they had a goal back when Jimenez fired in only for it to be disallowed when Matt Doherty was ruled offside.

Willy Boly planted a header wide five minutes before the break but Wolves’ struggle for goals was laid bare at Molineux. The hosts tried to rally immediately after the break but Hugo Lloris denied Jimenez, Helder Costa and Neves in quick succession.

But Kane bagged a third after 62 minutes with Spurs looking in complete control.

Lamela’s persistence paid off when he found Kane and the England skipper emphatically converted at the second attempt after Patricio saved his initial effort.

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Portugal goalkeeper Patricio’s excellent stop denied Kane a second from 18 yards shortly afterwards. There seemed little hope for Wolves but they grabbed a lifeline with 22 minutes left when Trippier lost possession and Foyth fouled Jimenez in the box.

Neves buried the penalty and soon after, Costa should have made it 3-2 when he was slipped in but prodded wide with just Lloris to beat. Jimenez did pull another back from the spot when Foyth brought down Jonny with 11 minutes left to set up a grandstand finish, only for Wolves to fall short.

Friday 2nd November 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on November 2, 2018 by bishshat

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