DAY 122: Peanut butter

February 28th, 2015 § 0 comments

Angela (cont.)

I previewed Angela Davis’ MLK Day speech at Santa Cruz in the last ish. [does anyone outside Marvel Comics still use that word, abbr. of issue? Looking in the Urban Dictionary, I can't find the meaning I want; their definition, abbreviation for 'if shit happens' isn't what I'm after in the least.] I don’t have the text of the speech yet; but here, captured on video, is (are?) the whole of the goings-on at the MLK occasion. You might want to skip to Angela’s speech around 42:00; but there’s some other commencement-type entertainment first.

Rifkind and Straw and all that

It’s distressing to read of the House of Commons being brought into disrepute yet again. That renowned former member Thomas Cromwell recently seen on television,

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also found it a dispiriting place, if we believe his report: ‘ I amongst other have indured a parlyament which contenwid by the space of xvii hole wekes wher we communyd of warre pease Stryffe contencyon debatte murmure grudge Riches poverte penurye trowth falshode Justyce equyte dicayte opprescyon Magnanymyte actyvyte foce attempraunce Treason murder Felonye consyli … and also how a commune welth myght be ediffyed and a[lso] contenewid within our Realme. Howbeyt in conclusyon we have d[one] as our predecessors have been wont to doo that ys to say, as well we myght and lefte wher we begann.’

Most of the elements Cromwell complained of seem to be still present, including the leaving where we begann. These days, indeed, he could  have watched the proceedings over and over again on BBC iplayer, as I watch him. It is incidentally the 4th centenary of John Lilburne the Leveller (born 1615) for which the London Socialist Historians Group are hold ing a conference on 14 March 2015, 11m-9pm, Bishopsgate Institute, London. Back to restoring power to the people, if we can.

Snow

I used to think that the Christina Rossetti carol was Victorian rubbish, of course snow wasn’t falling in the bleak midwinter n Bethlehem long ago. The weather was more like the French Riviera, I imagined. How wrong I was.
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This year (not unusually, I think), snow hit the West Bank (see photographs). Children had snow fights outside the Dome of the Rock; settlers cut down olive trees in the snowbound fields. On the other hand Gaza has had to endure another spell as art tourism destination thanks to Banksy’s Instagram.

Lenten Stuff

Fedora, an Orthodox reader (I seem to have been accumulating them since I made those opportunistic points about the christmas rush) asks: “Am I allowed peanut butter during Lent?” I don’t know why she asks me, as I simply go to Yahoo! Answers which she could have done herself. From which I get the impression that peanut butter is allowed, although confusingly olive oil isn’t. But hey, getting confused is part of the fun of most religions, if ‘fun’ is the word. (Ask Opus Dei, who notoriously get off on spiked belts and self-laceration).nun_cilice_full_02For a full rundown (on the Orthodox Lent, if you’re still with me), see here (avoiding the sneaky Java applet); and note a) that you can have lobster and oysters all the time – unlike the Jews; and b) that you need to watch out for the Feast of the Annunciation or Lady Day, when the fast is relaxed and you can pig out on tuna and olive oil.

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From ‘Volunteers’ sleeve (Jefferson Airplane)

For the lover of peanut butter there seems to be no prohibition on adding jelly apart from some general rules to the effect that Lent isn’t a time for having fun.

While we’re on the subject of food – are we ever off it? – the Tripe Marketing Board has me scared by posting a recipe with the warning Please do not follow these instructions as it is not safe to drink bleach under any any circumstances whatsoever, even under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances‘ How did our ancestors survive, living as they did on a diet of tripe, bleach and laudanum washed down with gin?

At the Movies

How life does persist in imitating art. Art too. Only a few weeks ago I was drivelling on about ‘veteran’ director Werner Herzog and how we hadn’t heard much of him lately. I’d clearly been hanging round the wrong bierkellers or indeed souks, as he and veteran leading lady Nicole Kidman have teamed up to makequeen-of-the-desert

a film (Queen of the Desert) about Gertrude Bell, Lawrence of Arabia and the making of modern Iraq. Early reports, however, suggest that this will be a low-key affair with nothing worse than routine Orientalism and an excess of camels to condemn it (Kidman has been listed as a supporter of Israel, I don’t know about Herzog).

Incidentally, I, like many others I know, have long been searching for a director who could adequately bring the works of Ivy Compton-Burnett – one thinks particularly of A House and its Head - to the screen. While I had been dallying with the idea of James Ward Byrkit on the basis of Coherence, Joanna Hogg (Archipelago) is becoming

Archipelago-007

Family picnic

an increasingly strong contender – dysfunctional families and all that. My alternative project is, with the endlessly available Qatari money, to transfer the narrative to Ramallah during the first intifada; with director Suha Arraf of the hugely successful Villa Touma.

Poetry

I failed to get into Raja Shehadeh’s talk at the Mosaic Rooms last Thursday; so desperate for other entertainment I found a brilliant concert deep in W.11 featuring Beethoven’s C sharp minor quartet (a treat in itself) and Ruth Padel reading a sequence of poems about Ludwig, his art, life, loves, brothers and other disasters. (Coincidentally she sent a tweet about Shehadeh – it’s a small world.) I can’t get any extracts from the Beethoven sequence, I expect. So in the meanwhile here’s a recent posting of hers.

A TRIP TO THE MOON

My mother is moving house. She’s ninety-one
and determined: words like sheltered
accommodation are coming at us from outer space
but it’s not like that, at least not yet. There are spare
rooms in the new home, she’ll have a small garden,
feed nuthatches, do her own cooking, grow shrubs.
Still, down the slope will be a sanatorium.
That’s the point. A clinic, an Alzheimer’s wing.
She doesn’t want to be a burden. In every room
is a vermilion string to pull if you fall over.

When I clear out her cupboards we find histories
woven in every blanket, like this scorch mark
made the winter the heating failed.
Should she sell the oversize kitchen clock
(which she still gets up on a ladder to wind
every Sunday, as my dad used to do)
to the blind piano tuner who took a shine
to it when he came to value the piano?
Or should it stay around in case one day
some grandchild might give it a home?

For the first time in her life she’ll live only
with things she has chosen. No husband or children
to consider, no furniture from aunts. She can sell,
she can give things away. Traumas of today,
contracts to exchange, dates of completion,
arguments over who’ll let the carpenter in
to the new place to measure up, will be forgotten
because forgetting is an issue let’s face it.
And she is, she is facing it. She’ll be three miles
from family but she’s going to an unknown zone.

Music

After some research, I think I haven’t previously posted the diminutive Icelandic singer Björk’s ‘Crystalline‘ Björk clarifies the ideas of the song as follows:

‘I’ve sat a lot of my life in buses and taxis from 20 years of touring and somehow all these different types of intersections have gone on file in my brain. Like some have three streets meeting with very tall buildings on all sides while others are complex with like five street meeting but all buildings are low and so on… Seems like each one of the has a different mood, different spatial tension or release. Part of my obsessive nature wants to map out each intersection in the world and match it with a song… To me crystal structures seem to grow in a similar way.’ Can this help us with the problems of dysfunctional families?

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