We're going to see Herman's Hermits (Peter Noone and his touring musicians) tonight at the Birchmere. Did you know his 1965 hit "I'm Henry the Eighth" is actually an old British music hall song? See here. You can hear the original here; I prefer it to the Hermits' version...
I don't know what Noone does by way of personal health habits, but he has always struck me as being perhaps the most well-preserved musical celebrity of the 1960's. He's 61. He looks far better today than, well... Michael Jackson did for the last decade or so of his younger life. And Bob Dylan.. have you seen him recently? Yikes. I was surprised to learn that Noone has been married to the same woman since 1968 - good on him.
Michael Jackson... hmmm... also on the subject of older men who pursue the young, last night I saw a film I've known about nearly all my life but have never seen: Stanley Kubrick's "Lolita" (1962). One Internet reviewer wrote, "As film experiences go, this is one of the most provocative, enthralling, disgusting, entertaining and satisfying I've ever been through." While admitting that yes, this is a masterfully directed film, I'd have to add "creepy" to the list of adjectives. I mean really creepy, like watching some old guy hit up on one of the lifeguards at the neighborhood pool. Eck.
All during the film I felt a rising sense of repulsion, which started with Shelley Winters (gad, she can be repulsive!) and culminated with James Mason portraying a total creeper and Peter Sellers' over-the-top weirdness. There really isn't a sympathetic person in this entire film.
The film wasn't at all what I expected, and I had to point out to my wife that this film was, at heart, a comedy. Or at least that the comedic elements heavily influenced the tone of the piece. (How else to explain the name of the girl's camp that Lolita attends, "Camp Climax?")
And, given the theme, would anyone in 1962 have tolerated a more serious or sympathetic film?
It strikes me that with the much freer and more permissive society we have now, this film, if remade, still couldn't possibly have more impact than it does with Kubrick's restrained approach. In other words, it could certainly be more visually explicit, but Kubrick says it all without pulling any punches within the confines of the film making standards of the early Sixties. That's the mark of a fine artist, in my opinion - drawing within the lines but creating a masterpiece nonetheless.
Whenever I think along these lines I think of Igor Stravinsky. His first two ballets, which established his fame, were more or less conventional pieces. His third ballet was the famous primeval "The Rite of Spring," which caused a riot when it premiered. Stravinsky broke all the rules in classical music for that one: instruments used out of their usual registers, multiple beats and polyrhythms, crashing dissonances, no melodies or melodic development to speak of - it sounds fresh and raw. And yet, his subsequent works for the rest of his life were characterized by an intense restraint and a desire for boundaries - and he wrote many other masterpieces. He understood that, after all is said and done, limits make for great art.
I'm at page 317 of 781 in "Quincunx." Our young protagonist has just (apparently) escaped the English Boarding School from Hell. There's one of those in Dickens' "David Copperfield" that probably supplied the inspiration for this one, but Charles Palliser, the author of Quincunx, seems determined to out Copperfield Copperfield. The boys work farm drudgery all day, get beaten, whipped and even killed and are given only potatoes to eat - and they have to fight one another for their share after an exhausting day in the fields. As Oscar Wilde once said, "It would take a heart of stone not to laugh at it." I have no doubt, however, that more and worse things are in store for the plucky lad in the next few hundred pages.
Really, this book is like concentrated literary child abuse. And yet, I've kept with it for over three hundred pages, now. There's sort of a limbo effect at play, here. How low can their fortunes go? Makes me think of a scene in Blackadder's Christmas Carol, when a beggar woman says, "Oh, Mister Blackadder, we're so poor! All we have to eat is what we can scrape from between Grandmother's toes! We shall all starve!"
My post of old Burbank photos continues. Today I posted this one, a shot of my hometown in the 1940's. This was taken from the local Inspiration Point. How many wartime babies were conceived there (or in Burbank's celebrated space capsule of love) I cannot venture to say. What's cool is that I can pick out my high school in the shot.
I am happy to report that I got the monkey off my back and am now caffeine free. The headaches have ceased. See? I can quit any time I want. I may celebrate with a Coke tonight...
Have a swell weekend! Tomorrow morning I have to do yard sales earlier because I have a 10 AM practice with my band. Time to dust off the Fender Jazz Bass; we have a gig in September to ready ourselves for. Maybe we'll also do the associated wine tasting thing in the evening. (The more people drink, the better we sound.)
- ► 2012 (240)
- ► 2011 (249)
- ► 2010 (246)
- ▼ June (22)