Sunday, 19 October 2008

i've been listening to a box set of of Joseph Haydn's arrangements of Scottish songs, of which these folk are in the course of recording as a complete program, which they say includes stuff never performed in modern times. He made them mostly in the last couple of years of his life, many of them with verses by the immortal Robert Burns. I'm reminded of a set of old encyclopedias I recently threw out because I found that I was tending to use Wikipedia all the time. I can't remember the name of it now in spite of it being my close companion for fifteen years. Harmsworths? Anyway, I liked having this set in particular because it was sixty years old and still had all those old forgotten English gentlemen who have tended to drop out of more recent encyclopedias, and it was useful to have all that when I was doing From Hell. But all its values belonged to a distant age. On the subject of Burns it discussed his poetry in a lengthy entry and then added that he wrote verses for several hundred sentimental songs of no account. That certainly isn't the modern estimation of his songwriting, or of songwriting generally.

In another article, on that magnificent beast, the Elk, the encyclopedia told me all about this noble creature, its size, its habits and its habitat and then added 'It tastes of musk'.

I caught a few lines of The Simpsons recently while passing through our living room. Homer is driving somewhere with Bart also in the car. They are disagreeing about something, I can't remember what, and Bart says "but in Wikipedia it says..." and Homer responds, "We'll fix that when we get home."

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4 Comments:

Blogger spacedlaw said...

I don't think I've ever listened to those arrangements. Something to look forward to in the new year.

Throwing that old encyclopedia is such a shame (it is probably more reliable than Wikipedia - even if outdated - too).

19 October 2008 3:15:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apropos of nothing, this article on an attempt to kill the grey squirrel off in the north of England had me laughing out loud by the end of it. I think you'd enjoy it Eddie.

www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/oct/19/red-squirrels-protection

Ben Smith

19 October 2008 5:58:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Matthew Adams said...

I used to play music with a lot of friends at the bombshelter (under the storybridge). It was mainly irish dance tunes, but also Scottish songs and tunes which I prefered. I was only a drum player (and only more as a hobby, not a true calling) so my ability to describe it is limited, but the scottish songs and tunes seemed to me to be a bit deeper and wiser. The irish stuff was like a young passionate lad, but the scottish stuff was like an older, more cynical and more experienced uncle. It could still be playful though. And yes, I realise this is a sweeping generalization.

There was a really lovely tune called Hector the hero, really simple but very moving, especially when the back story for it was known. Hector had been an officer in the army, and was accused of homesexuality. He ended up commiting suicide.

19 October 2008 8:25:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger drjon said...

Sorry, but in the Wikipedia Future, all of those forgotten English gentlemen have been deleted because of Non-Notability.

@Matthew Adams: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hector_the_Hero hee hee.

23 October 2008 7:18:00 am GMT-5  

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