Author Archives: Phil Paine

(Richardson 1962) The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

18-08-16 VIEW (Richardson 1962) The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner pic 1There is more to this bleak story of a young man in a juve­nile deten­tion facil­ity than just another bit of “social real­ism” or the usual for­mula of redemption-through-sport. There are lay­ers and lay­ers in Alan Sillitoe’s story, and Ralph Richardson’s film gets many of them across. It’s about being con­trolled, being used, being forced to play roles for oth­ers, and finally rebelling against it in a way that makes some sense. The actors clearly under­stood these sub­tleties, and avoided clichés in inter­pret­ing the roles. Tom Court­ney became a star on the strength of this per­for­mance. Michael Red­grave, by then a ven­er­a­ble icon, worked every scene with him in del­i­cate bal­ance. This film still has a high rep­u­ta­tion in the British cin­ema, and justly so.

18-08-16 VIEW(Richardson 1962) The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner pic 2

18-08-16 VIEW(Richardson 1962) The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner pic 3

18-08-16 VIEW(Richardson 1962) The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner pic 4

18-08-16 VIEW(Richardson 1962) The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner pic 5

Kurdish Folk Music

Kurdish band Nishtiman performed their second album "Kobane" Toronto, Canada, Sep. 29, 2017.  The band unites musicians from the different Kurdish communities of Iraqi Kurdistan Iran, and Turkey.

Kur­dish band Nish­ti­man per­formed their sec­ond album “Kobane” Toronto, Canada, Sep. 29, 2017. The band unites musi­cians from the dif­fer­ent Kur­dish com­mu­ni­ties of Iraqi Kur­dis­tan Iran, and Turkey.

For a pedi­gree of musi­cal con­ti­nu­ity, you can’t beat Kur­dis­tan. The old­est known nota­tion of music dates from the ancient Hur­rian king­dom, in the sec­ond mil­le­nium BC. Two sacred hymns recov­ered by archae­ol­o­gists from that ancient civ­i­liza­tion, located in the heart of today’s Kur­dis­tan, are in the same mode and bear a vis­i­ble kin­ship to the Kur­dish folk music of today. The mod­ern Kur­dish folk move­ment is frag­mented: vari­ant scenes in Iraqi Kur­dis­tan, Iran, Syria, or Turkey, as well as a Kur­dish dias­pora in Europe and North Amer­ica. In Turkey, singing in the Kur­dish lan­guage was against the law, pun­ished by impris­on­ment and phys­i­cal abuse, until very recently. In Iran, how­ever, it thrived, and in newly self-governing Kur­dis­tan, I’m sure it must be under­go­ing quite a renais­sance. Other than a few stray pieces on gen­eral col­lec­tions of mid­dle east­ern music, the only record­ings I have are one by instru­men­tal­ists Tah­moures and Sohrab Pour­naz­eri, with accom­pa­ny­ing vocals by Rojan, enti­tled sim­ply Kur­dish Folk Music, and a cd called Kur­dish Dances fea­tur­ing Moham­mad Bhamani on dozak and sornâ, ‘Abdol­lâh Nabi­ol­lâhi on dobol, and vocals by ‘Abdol­lâh Qor­bâni. But I heard a mar­velous live con­cert last year, at the Agha Khan Museum in Toronto. The first thing that strikes the lis­tener is the music’s acces­si­bil­ity. The melodies are catchy and upbeat, and not buried in the micro­tonal intri­c­as­ies and melisma that makes it hard for out­siders to fol­low mid­dle east­ern music. You could eas­ily party to this music, in a mod­ern disco, though it is purely traditional.

Sixth Meditation on Democracy [written January 10, 2008] REPUBLISHED

https _s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com_736x_ee_59_33_ee593300e425c02784549e0228c025e1In the begin­ning years of this blog, I pub­lished a series of arti­cles called “Med­i­ta­tions on Democ­racy and Dic­ta­tor­ship” which are still reg­u­larly read today, and have had some influ­ence. They still elicit inquiries from remote cor­ners of the globe. They are now buried in the back pages of the blog, so I’m mov­ing them up the chrono­log­i­cal counter so they can have another round of vis­i­bil­ity, espe­cially (I hope) with younger read­ers. I am re-posting them in their orig­i­nal sequence over part of 2018. Some ref­er­ences in these “med­i­ta­tions” will date them to 2007–2008, when they were writ­ten. But I will leave them un-retouched, though I may occa­sion­ally append some ret­ro­spec­tive notes. Mostly, they deal with abstract issues that do not need updating.


14-03-18 BLOG SIXTH MEDITATION ON DEMOCRACYFor this Med­i­ta­tion on Democ­racy, the sixth in the series, I will under­take a cri­tique of some cur­rently dom­i­nant ideas about the role of democ­racy in human his­tory, and attempt to pro­vide a con­cep­tual frame­work for look­ing at democ­racy in a dif­fer­ent, more real­is­tic way. This will mean that some of the ground cov­ered in ear­lier med­i­ta­tions will be revis­ited. It will also draw on the col­lab­o­ra­tive work between myself and Prof. Steven Muhlberger, pub­lished in the Jour­nal of World His­tory, and on the World His­tory of Democ­racy Web­site. I am exclu­sively respon­si­ble, how­ever, for the views expressed in this series.

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Estêvão Lopes Morago

18-08-06 LISTN Estêvão Lopes Morago

Lis­bon at the time of Lopes Mor­ago: a global entrepôt.

Much of the artis­tic achieve­ment of the Por­tuguese Renais­sance was destroyed by the great Lis­bon Earth­quake of 1755, which killed 30,000 peo­ple. Among the losses where most of the works of the com­poser Estêvão Lopes Mor­ago (c.1575 — after 1630). But some of his work that sur­vives indi­cates that he was very good. I have only five short pieces, recorded by the Gul­benkian Foun­da­tion choir on their Por­tu­galiae Musica series. All are poly­phonic pieces, four of them for four voices, one for a dou­ble choir of 3 and 4 parts each. The most beau­ti­ful is the Jesu redemp­tor, which is a litany for the dead, pray­ing for Christ to accept the soul of the departed, and per­haps sung dur­ing the cortège, between the house of the deceased and the church. Mor­ago was actu­ally a Spaniard, but appar­ently spent most of his life in Por­tu­gal as choir-master of the Cathe­dral of Viseu.

Image of the month: a fine Hockney

18-08-01 IMAGE a fine HockneyModel With Unfin­ished Self-Portrait (1977) by David Hock­ney. A pro­foundly civ­i­lized paint­ing, one of the finest pro­duced in Amer­ica — part of a noble her­itage that is now endan­gered by the wave of bru­tal bar­barism that is sweep­ing over that land.

FILMSJULY 2018

(Nyby 1951) The Thing [aka The Thing From Another World]
(Craven 1982) Swamp Thing
(Tenold 2018) Brandon’s Cult Movie Reviews: Swamp Thing
(Warner 2012) How the Uni­verse Works: Ep.14 ― Comets: Frozen Wan­der­ers
(Har­ris 2012) How the Uni­verse Works: Ep.15 ― Aster­oids: Worlds That Never Were
(Har­ris 2012) How the Uni­verse Works: Ep.16 ― Birth of the Earth
(Ben­ner 1977) Out­ra­geous!
(Mof­fatt 1984) Doc­tor Who: Ep.625 ― The Twin Delema, Part 3
(Mof­fatt 1984) Doc­tor Who: Ep.626 ― The Twin Delema, Part 4
(Borzage 1928) The River [sur­viv­ing scenes]
(Thiele 1943) Tarzan’s Desert Mys­tery
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First-time listening for July 2018

29222. (Arthur Sul­li­van [& W.S. Gilbert]) The Sor­ceror [com­plete opera; D’Oyly Carte]
29223. (Global Com­mu­ni­ca­tion) Fab­ric 26 [DJ Mix 12 by Mark Pritchard, 12 by Tom Mid­dle­ton]
29224. (Gia­como Meyer­beer) L’Africaine [com­plete opera; d. Capuana; Stella, Nikolov, Rinaldi]
29225. (Kun­nakudi Vaidyanathan) Golden Krithis: Colours
29226. (3 Inches of Blood) Here Waits Thy Doom
29227. (Gia­como Meyer­beer) Les Huguenots [com­plete opera; d. Diederich; Pol­let, Ghiuse­lev, Leech]
29228. (Jason Isbell) South­east­ern
29229. (Domenico Scar­latti) Missa Breve “La Stella“
29230. (Queen­srÿche) Oper­a­tion Mind­crime
29231. (Péter Eötvös) Angels in Amer­ica! [com­plete opera; d. Eötvös; Belcher, Hen­dricks;
. . . . . Migenes — 2006]
29232. (Chitti Babu Chal­la­pally) Raga Naatai: Adi Taal “Sarasiruhasan“
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READINGJULY 2018

27476. (Adam Gry­de­høj) Islands as Leg­i­ble Geo­gra­phies: Per­ceiv­ing the Island­ness of Kalaalit
. . . . . Nunaat [arti­cle]
27477. (David G. Har­well) Intro­duc­tion to The Sci­ence Fic­tion Cen­tury [pref­ace]
27479. (Fred­erik Pohl, C. M. Korn­bluth & Dirk Wylie) Vacant World [story] [d]
27480. (N. K. Jemisin) Stone Hunger [story]
27481. (Oliver Diet­rich) Trav­el­ling or Not? Trac­ing Indi­vid­ual Mobil­ity Pat­terns of Late Bronze
. . . . . Age Met­al­work­ers in the Carpathian Basin [arti­cle]
27482. (Bert van der Spek) Home­rus en de oost­erse epiek [arti­cle]
27483. (Androm­eda Romano-Lax) Plum Rains
27484. (Christo­pher P. Atwood) Impe­r­ial Itin­er­ance and Mobile Pas­toral­ism ― The State and
. . . . . Mobil­ity in Medieval Inner Asia [arti­cle]
27485. (Siân Hal­crow) Why It’s Not OK for Human Skele­tal Remains to Fig­ure in NZ
. . . . . Freema­son Rit­u­als [arti­cle]
27486. (Michael Mucci, Ben Cald­well, Rick Lacy & Emanuel Ten­derini) Homer’s The Odyssey
. . . . . [graphic novel]
27487. (Arthur C. Clarke) Travel by Wire! [story]
27488. (Prim­i­tiva Bueno Ramírez, et al) Secuen­cias grá­fi­cas Pale­olítico en la Sierra de San
. . . . . Pedro. Tajo inter­na­cional. Cáceres [arti­cle]
27489. (Charles Lamb) The Story of Ulysses
27490. (Kevin G. Daly et al) Ancient Goat Genomes Reveal Mosaic Domes­ti­ca­tion in the
. . . . . Fer­tile Cres­cent [arti­cle]
27491. (Lavanya Vem­sani) Narasimha, Lord of Tran­si­tions, Trans­for­ma­tions, and The­ater
. . . . . Fes­ti­vals: God and Evil in Hindu Cos­mol­ogy, Myth, and Prac­tice [article]

Sichuan Folk Song

18-07-13 LISTN Sichuan Folk Song

The huge west­ern Chi­nese province of Sichuan has its own, dis­tinct his­tory. It con­sists of a broad and fer­tile basin around the city of Chengdu, ringed by a sparsely pop­u­lated wilder­ness of moun­tains, forests and swamps. While this was a cen­ter of ancient non-Han civ­i­liza­tion as early as the sec­ond mil­le­nnium BC, it grad­u­ally became Sini­fied over the cen­turies, and the city and fer­tile regions are inhab­ited by Han Chi­nese speak­ing a south­west­ern dialect of Man­darin. How­ever, most of the province con­sists of rugged moun­tains, and these are the home of many minor­ity groups, eth­ni­cally and lin­guis­ti­cally not at all Chi­nese. Among them are the Yi, related to the Burmese, the Qiang, and the Naxi (or Nakhi). The west­ern half of the province is cul­tur­ally closer to Tibet, many of the minori­ties speak­ing dialects of Tibetan, or closely related lan­guages. All these minori­ties have dis­tinc­tive musi­cal tra­di­tions, and the met­ro­pol­i­tan musi­cal main­stream of China has drawn from them with the same mix­ing and min­ing process that went on in the devel­op­ment of America’s folk music. The album I have, Sichuan Folk Song and Bal­lad, Vol­ume 2 gives a good sam­ple of this vari­ety. Per­son­ally, the more “folky” the songs are, the more they appeal to me. I par­tic­u­larly like the Naxi song “This Hill is Not As High As That One”.

China’s many eth­nic minori­ties, who com­prise tens of mil­lions of peo­ple, have been hid­den from the world’s view by mil­lennia of obses­sive impe­r­ial cen­tral­ism and racism. In some cases, there are cul­tures of a mil­lion or more peo­ple about whom one can­not find a sin­gle book in a large uni­ver­sity library. Can you imag­ine what it would mean if there was not a sin­gle book in a major library devoted to Wales, or the Basques, or to Esto­nia? For­tu­nately, the musi­cal wealth of Sichuan can give us a foot-in-the-door to cel­e­brat­ing a diver­sity that has been kept from our view by ide­ol­ogy and intel­lec­tual laziness.

Fifth Meditation on Democracy [written Monday, November 5, 2007] REPUBLISHED

https _s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com_736x_ee_59_33_ee593300e425c02784549e0228c025e1In the begin­ning years of this blog, I pub­lished a series of arti­cles called “Med­i­ta­tions on Democ­racy and Dic­ta­tor­ship” which are still reg­u­larly read today, and have had some influ­ence. They still elicit inquiries from remote cor­ners of the globe. They are now buried in the back pages of the blog, so I’m mov­ing them up the chrono­log­i­cal counter so they can have another round of vis­i­bil­ity, espe­cially (I hope) with younger read­ers. I am re-posting them in their orig­i­nal sequence over part of 2018. Some ref­er­ences in these “med­i­ta­tions” will date them to 2007–2008, when they were writ­ten. But I will leave them un-retouched, though I may occa­sion­ally append some ret­ro­spec­tive notes. Mostly, they deal with abstract issues that do not need updating.


14-03-18 BLOG FIFTH MEDITATION ON DEMOCRACY

It’s my con­tention that both hier­ar­chi­cal and egal­i­tar­ian behav­iour are equally “nat­ural” to human beings. These two meth­ods of inter­act­ing with oth­ers in a group have co-existed in all human soci­eties, from the ear­li­est stages of our evo­lu­tion as a species. It is also my con­tention that, while there is a lim­ited place for hier­ar­chi­cal think­ing and behav­iour in a good soci­ety, it is egal­i­tar­ian think­ing that has cre­ated civ­i­liza­tion and moral­ity. Any soci­ety that is dom­i­nated by hier­ar­chy is essen­tially back­ward, self-destructive, and immoral. Read more »