Stuff

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A man hoping to find wisdom traveled to Poland to see the renowned Rabbi Hafez Hayyim. When he arrived at the celebrated rabbi’s house, he was surprised to see that it was nothing more than a room. There, the rabbi sat on a bench at a small table surrounded only by the numerous volumes of books he continually pored over in study.

The seeker asked, “Good Rabbi, where are all your belongings? Where are your furnishings?”

Hafez answered, “Tell me, where are yours?”

“Where are mine?” said the startled man. “But I only came here for a short visit.”

“So did I,” the rabbi said.

(Traditional Chassidic Jewish story )

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Eroica!!!

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On May 18 1804 Napoleon became Emperor of the French. The coronation ceremony took place at the cathedral of Notre Dame on December 2nd. As the Pope poured holy oil over the head of the usurper, all traces of the old Republican constitution were washed away. In place of the old austere Republican simplicity all the ostentatious splendour of the old monarchy reappeared to mock the memory of the Revolution for which so many brave men and women had sacrificed their lives.

When Beethoven received news of these events he was beside himself with rage. He angrily crossed out his dedication to Napoleon in the score of his new symphony. The manuscript still exists, and we can see that he attacked the page with such violence that it has a hole torn through it. He then dedicated the symphony to an anonymous hero of the revolution: the Eroica symphony was born.

The Eroica caused a sensation. Up till then, a symphony was supposed to last at most half an hour. The first movement of the Eroica lasted as long as an entire symphony of the 18th century. And it was a work with a message: a work with something to say. The dissonances and violence of the first movement are clearly a call to struggle. That this means a revolutionary struggle is clear from the original dedication.

Trotsky once observed that revolutions are voluble affairs. The French Revolution was characterised by its oratory. Here were truly great mass orators: Danton, Saint-Just, Robespierre, and even Mirabeau before them. When these men spoke, they did not just address an audience: they were speaking to posterity, to history. Hence the rhetorical character of their speeches. They did not speak, they declaimed. Their speeches would begin with a striking phrase, which would immediately present a central theme which would then be developed in different ways, before making an emphatic re-appearance at the end.

It is just the same with the Eroica symphony. It does not speak, it declaims. The first movement of this symphony opens with two dissonant chords that resemble a man striking his fist on a table, demanding our attention, just like an impassioned orator in a revolutionary assembly. Beethoven then launches into a kind of musical cavalry charge, a tremendously impetuous forward thrust that is interrupted by clashes, conflict and struggle, and even momentarily halted by moments of sheer exhaustion, only to resume its triumphant forward march (listen here). In this movement we are in the thick of the Revolution itself, with all its ebbs and flows, its victories and defeats, its triumphs and its despairs. It is the French Revolution in music.

The second movement is a funeral march – in memory of a hero. It is a massive piece of work, as weighty and solid as granite (listen here). The slow, sad tread of the funeral march is interrupted by a section that recaptures the glories and triumphs of one who has given his life for the revolution (listen here). The central passage creates a massive sound edifice that creates a sensation of unbearable grief, before finally returning to the central theme of the funeral march. This is one of the greatest moments in the music of Beethoven – or any music.

The final movement is in an entirely different spirit. The symphony ends on a note of supreme optimism. After all the defeats, setbacks and disappointments, Beethoven is saying to us: “Yes, my friend, we have suffered a grievous loss, but we must turn the page and open a new chapter. The human spirit is strong enough to rise above all defeats and continue the struggle. And we must learn to laugh at adversity.”

Beethoven Sym.3 “Eroica”
Wiener KammerOrchester
Mark Laycock Dirigent

http://www.marxist.com/beethoven-man-composer-revolutionary190506.htm

Lansbury Publishing – Inception

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Lansbury PublishingI’m now officially a publishing house with a business banking account, yay! I will be considering third party manuscripts once my second book, Headliner, is available for retail this summer, but I initially thought about setting up the company to enable me to manage my different compositions from the same place. I’m figuring things out as I go and will only begin working with other authors when I can be sure to give them and their manuscripts the attention they deserve.

Headliner and its predecessor, Swallow, are contemporary fiction,  perfect for reading on the beach or lounging by a pool. The second novel has some of the same characters and some new ones, different story. I’m writing two method textbooks for beginner violin and piano (and keeping them under separate author names for branding purposes).

Back to the bank – I didn’t even have a business plan or financial forecasts or anything! Just my trade paperback, royalty check and internet tabs showing my Amazon account and websites (so they could tell it was me under the nom de plume), and God’s hand. I’m over the moon and motivated to write faster! :)

You can follow my author blog here > Ilyria Moon

Van Gogh: Patron saint of the unpublished, neglected, and insane.

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Rummaging through old blog posts in various places, I came across this wonderful piece. One of my favourites from a site called the Idler (link at bottom). If you feel it, you’re one of us. 🙂

Van Gogh is the patron saint of the unpublished, neglected, and insane. Which is why Mark Manning loves him so.

‘Hes always there for us. As we sit in our hovels, banging away. Flat broke, thin, hungry and drunk in our unshaven underwear.

Loving it.

A small picture postcard of the death of Chatterton lurking somewhere in our tortured art school souls. Us men of our unfortunate breed, anyway. I think you women carry a small image of Frida Khalo: Frida as a bleeding fawn, the wicked arrows of this oh, so terrible life hanging from her back. A bit like Bambi, sort of. Only more serious.

But we all revere the man. That rugged amelioration of failure, that glorious patron of neglected genius: Sweet Dutch Vincent. Those intense, burning eyes, staring out beneath that flat Arles sun, straight into our souls.

You can almost taste the mistral, its wild hot breath bending the cypress trees and curling the sky into the writhing shapes of dread that permeate and threaten to engulf our martyrs later paintings.

That visceral, desperate anxiety that has transformed his entire perception of the world around him into a swirling turbulence of juddering insanity.

Take his night cafe painting and compare Gauguin’s painting of the very same scene. The two artists sat side by side and painted the same smoky room. For Gauguin (first pic), it appears to be a pleasant place, somewhere to spend a few convivial hours of an evening. A smiling waitress looks over her shoulder and flirts saucily with the French artist.

Gauguin’s version

But for poor old Vincey baby (second pic), it’s a blood red, skew-angled shithole, stinking of murder, madness and death. A smudge-faced waiter lurks beneath the sickly gas lights, a gun, or maybe a cut throat razor, hidden in his pockets. Theres a huddle of absinthe bums, drunk or asleep at the small tables. Its quite obvious from this painting that the poor Dutch bastard would eventually top either himself or some poor innocent French whore that got in the strapped, razor-toting maniac’s way.

Van Gogh’s version

Shivering, sweating, headaches, dry mouth, bad wanking, absinthe, fear. Raging and loathing. Tell me about it Vince, echo his heirs amongst their obscurity and naked light bulbs.

That trembling visionary church at Auvers, yellow against the Prussian blue infinity of the star mad sky. And of course that terrible, terrible Starry Night itself, truly awesome in its wild intensity, those alien suns burning like catherine wheels spinning out of control, an animistic universe teetering way to close to the edge for the over emotional increasingly confused ex-church minister.

Weve all been in that blood red murder room, played pool on that sickly beige, experienced that scary waiter, last seen hanging around with an equally sinister friend in the background of Edvard Munch’s 19th Century masterpiece, ‘The Scream’. Similar to Munch in the fact that both artists painted from something deep inside themselves that lurks just beneath the surface of everything. Even that tragic fucking chair. Especially that tragic fucking chair with Vince’s only luxury, his pipe and tobacco. And possibly even sadder is his only friend Gauguin’s chair with its candles and books. Gauguin who had just fucked off to Tahiti because he couldnt stand his friend’s increasingly demented behaviour, chopping his nob off and everything.

Those overbright sunflowers, painted to brighten up their small rooms. Those coruscating, writhing, insect-like flowers. Their desperate cheerfulness, like a mad woman laughing and scaring children in the street.

And how pathetic is that lonely night, where our dear friend sits alone in his night cafe feeding his insomnia with absinthe.

And that other scary area in Vincent’s solitary existence, a deeply weird painting of a skeleton smoking a cigar. An odd memento mori, reminiscent of Holbein’s ‘Dance of Death’ woodcuts, where Death frolics jestingly with all his eventual victims. A strange painting, it is not often reproduced and is obviously found to be overly unsettling by many critics. I personally find it rather amusing, as if our hero is mocking his own mortality, laughing at death, whistling in the dark maybe, but with a jaunty swagger none the less.

Of course it was not until the end that his muse swung completely sinister, but even in the mid-period paintings the happiness expressed with his cherry blossoms and smiling hoteliers and postmen, theres a desperation about the jollity. Like when you frighten yourself by laughing for too long about what it is you cant remember.

“And now I understand…”, sings Don McLean, not understanding at all. This world was never meant for someone as shit scared, manic and completely fucking insane as our ameliorating Saint of hope and inspiration.

Our Vincent.

We artists, poets, writers, whingers, musicians and masturbators. We madmen, sodomites and landscape gardeners. All of us undiscovered geniuses in our misunderstood fields. Suffering, deeply suffering in our blasted chaotic worlds. Feeling sorry for ourselves – yes, but with what style we whinge. How we perform it only for ourselves, desperately demanding attention and telling it to fuck off whenever it appears, making ourselves even more interesting in the private theatres of our twisted and battered egos. One eye permanently on the mirror, the other on ourselves.

It is we that understand Mr Don McClean, you bad Bob Dylan with your chevy and your levy, whatever the fuck that is. “I knew you were in love with him when I saw you wanking in the gym?” sings the perverted folk singer in Bye Bye Miss American Pie. And equally insanely in Starry Starry Night, This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you. Mr McClean, Im afraid youre quite mad sir. Vincent was many things, but beautiful? What, like a volcano with its rivers of molten rock is beautiful? Im sorry, Mr Tambourine Man, but Vincent belongs entirely to us! We unpublished, unpublishable, forgotten, ignored martyrs upon the various altars of our art!

We understand! We alone understand our mad prophet!

Our Vincent Van Gogh!

Like our patron Saint, for us immortality is all!

All or nothing! Death AND Glory!

This life, this shitty insignificant spunk up a venereal whores suppurating cunt of a life is not wasted! A flea’s fart in the unknowable massiveness of everything maybe, but some flea farts resonate with the universe and are remembered forever. Bottled and stored in museums and libraries, thousands and millions of resonating flea farts. It is written! bawls the mad Jew, head- butting his wailing wall. This angry life, this very ungentle life indeed, stumbling blindly through these dark nights, can not, must not, be squandered. My brother madmen and geniuses, we who vow never to submit, to bend the knee to the unholy Cosmosodomistic trinity of materialism, commerce and commodity.

We refuse to drown beneath the electronic black magic of deeply stupid rulers of men, storing up their treasures on earth and dying of colonic cancer of the arse. With their blatantly invisible conspiracies whose only goal is to keep all of us in bondage. Duped into desiring things that we dont need and paying for them with money that we dont have. Credit? What the fuck is that, if not indentured slavery by stealth? Master Card and Visa slave. Oh yes master! We cannot live without that turbo, four-wheel drive Adidas, Nike, widescreen surround sound, eight wheel drive, blow job washing machine, with wings! Killing ninety nine percent of all known germs. It is beneath this brain crushing submarine pressure to conform that Vincent gives us comfort.

One fucking painting.

One fucking painting the poor bastard sold.

And even that was to his long suffering brother, Theo. Poor. exasperated, kind hearted Theo who kept all his mad brothers letters. Vincent probably wiped his arse on Theo’s letters; none of his brothers correspondence, not one single letter survived, so self-absorbed was our man.

Its in these letters that we learn about the imperfections of our raggy arsed Saint.

In reality, which is why art should never, ever – this is important – be judged by the man who produces it, Vincent was as deluded, vain, selfish, and as much of a complete fucking, wanker arsehole as the rest of us.

This is what truly helps us through our naked lightbulb, Tennants Super, loveless nights. This is when our imperfect Saint gives us much needed succour.

Even arseholes like us, ignored and desperate, can eventually be recognised as great artists. Join the Pantheon of shimmering, flea fart immortals.

Theres even hope for a cunt like me.

And how incandescent is Vincent’s glowing immortality. Bathed in the light of billionaire imbeciles, flayed on the black altars of the cold cash civil religion in their towering bank cathedrals of Arms deals and Blood Money.

You can see these fools chasing their tails in palaces of ignorance. Making mad hand signals and wearing stupid blazers. And eventually when they are crippled by avarice, shame and the inevitable colonic arse cancers, their ignoble white bones will be tossed on to the piles of all the other forgotten irrelevant millionaires who make their fortunes flogging underwear, Porter, cigarettes, Coca Cola, baked beans, corn flakes, pornography and newspapers full of lies. Silk hat, Bradford millionaires, the lot of them. Small souled tax dodging twin turds living on private islands shivering beneath the black demons of fear and paranoia, unloved and unlovable.

Better to reign in Hell, than to serve in Heaven, Milton says in Paradise Lost, with his sexy Satan as damned hero. You tell em, Milt baby.

The mind is its own place and can make of Heaven a Hell or a heaven from Hell. To achieve a state of grace like Vincent achieved is priceless, and quite free. It is not easy and requires a determination and a will that needs must stray dangerously close to the very antipodes of sanity. But it is possible and there are as many paths towards that palace of wisdom as there are pilgrims willing to risk all for some assurance of the future life.

How else do you think us lowlife, alcoholic, autodidactic, council hovel dwellers are able to ignore the conceits and temptations beamed down upon us from the cosmosodimistic satellites of the rich and powerful?’

Written by Mark Manning, posted at The Idler

(from one of my favourite websites The Idler. Go read it, it’ll keep you busy for hours) http://www.idler.co.uk

Through Other Eyes

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Two online friends (who shall remain nameless) wrote the following about me on different fora in threads about regular posters by regular posters. I just found this on my hard drive, while looking for article ideas to write about – I didn’t know I’d kept it! I’m glad I did, ’cause they ‘get’ me. I’m not always likeable, but I am authentic! 🙂

“This is Emma, in a bottle… or bottled… or if you like, the distillation of the essence…firstly, you have to realise two things about her:

1. She is in the top 5% of the population in terms of intellectual capacity

2. She is a Scorpio, which may mean nothing to some people, but it is significant to her

Emma is a person who is alternately driven and indolent – she is capable of great bursts of energy, and sustained periods of idle nothingness. She has times of complete abstinence – from sex, alcohol, drugs, work, whatever; then periods of frenetic indulgence… people find this hard to come to terms with, and don’t understand how she can swing from one extreme to the other. She is probably to some degree bipolar, and this always causes confusion in others till they get it.

Being a Scorpio, she is a person of great passion and intensity, and she will laugh uproariously with someone but is also capable of calling them everything from a pig to an elephant, both things to the person’s face, and to a large degree insensitive to how this might make them feel, good or bad. She is also fiercely loyal, and if you become her friend she will accept anything from you – in other words, she gives as good as she gets, and as a friend you can rely on the fact that if you cuss her out, it won’t affect your friendship, cuz she would do the same to you, and expect the same…

She doesn’t suffer what she considers to be fools gladly, and will be ultimately vindictive (the scorpion’s sting) when she feels like it. She cares little what people think about her, other than the people she is close to, and they will have accepted her unpredictability long ago.

On this forum, she has said herself she is close to few, and regards many here as sport, which is unfortunately what they don’t get; she will lay down a gauntlet just to see how people react, and more often than not she gets exactly the reaction she is looking for, and she will laugh about it. That picture perhaps paints her as overly cold, but she indulges here in an intellectual exercise in provocation, and few understand that about her.

Emma is therefore manipulative, but the irony is that she only manipulates those who allow themselves to be manipulated – she probably won’t thank me for saying this, as it may remove some of her fun… though enough people will disagree with me that it shouldn’t spoil her fun LOL.

So…. love her, or hate her, but for god’s sake react to her… Like me, she is a complete attention whore, and has admitted to it, so don’t let her down.

Oh, by the way, anytime you like, start a thread on the morality of drugs, which people lately here seem to have been focusing in on…I haven’t had one of those debates for ages…”

“Emma joined the forum around the same time as I did and I remember her having a few skirmishes with *** around that time as a newbie. She gave as good as she got which led me to believe she was… “smarter than your average bear”.

Though I wouldn’t say we are bosom buddies, I think we’ve always had a healthy respect for each other. I know part of her story, so I also know she’s come through a LOT of sh*t to get where she’s got. Maybe that’s where of her driving force to succeed in life comes from.

No person is one dimensional and as with anyone Emma has many facets. Some of which you will never find out by simply reading her posts. I do know however…

(a) Emma is a musician. I should really say “nuff said” there. But it’s something that’s almost written into her DNA. Creativity is at the heart of what she does and how she thinks.

(b) Emma is a black woman. A tall one at that! Of course some might say “Yeah? But so what?” Well I believe her heritage, race, physicality and gender are inextricably linked to what she’s experienced in life and how she views it. When reading many of her posts those points always come across to me.

(c) Thirty. Well I’m not sure if Emma is 30 years old yet but I can tell you its a milestone that makes you think differently about life. At 30 you reflect on the past a lot and also look to the future to see where you’re going…. e.g. Have I achieved all that I set out to? Where do I go from here? etc. Emma has always been a workaholic but these days – “the 30s rush” I call it – I think this Beatles lyric sums her up perfectly… “It’s been a hard days night, and I’ve been working like a dog.”

All in all, with Emma… what you see is not necessarily what you get.”

Meditation

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Above all else, guard your heart,
   for everything you do flows from it.

Keep your mouth free of perversity;
   keep corrupt talk far from your lips.

Let your eyes look straight ahead;
   fix your gaze directly before you.

Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
   and be steadfast in all your ways.

Do not turn to the right or the left;
   keep your foot from evil.

Prov.4:23-27