Monday 31 January 2011

Out and About with Prefab Sprout #2

Martin 'n' Paddy 'n' Durham Cathedral. The Cathedral's the one on the right.

New Johnny Cash Archival Release

From Memphis To Hollywood: Bootleg Vol. 2

The musical treasures left behind by Johnny Cash at the House Of Cash estate in Hendersonville, Tennessee, continue to provide insight into his character as an American music icon - perhaps the American music icon. The rich backwoods archive first bore fruit on Columbia/Legacy nearly five years ago, with the release of Personal File aka Bootleg Vol. 1, a fascinating double-CD collection of 49 privately recorded, intimate solo performances dating from 1973 to 1982

FROM MEMPHIS TO HOLLYWOOD: BOOTLEG VOL. 2 continues the series, as compilation producer Gregg Geller focuses on the dawning of Johnny Cash's recording career at Sun Records in Memphis from late 1954 to late '57 (on CD One), into his first decade at Columbia Records in Nashville, from 1958 to 1969 (on CD Two). BOOTLEG VOL. 2 will be available at all physical and digital retail outlets starting 22 February, 2011, through Columbia/Legacy, a division of SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT.

Putting the BOOTLEG VOL. 2 collection in historical perspective is a carefully detailed essay written by Ashley Kahn, author of Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece (DaCapo Press, 2000), and other titles. Kahn also contributes to National Public Radio.

The trove of archival material on BOOTLEG VOL. 2 begins with a 15-minute live radio broadcast from KWEM in Memphis, hosted by Johnny Cash, who worked for Home Equipment Company, the show's sponsor right across the street from the radio station. The date was Saturday, May 21, 1955, in the same month that Cash recorded his first Sun single, "Cry! Cry! Cry!" b/w "Hey Porter." In addition to his lively palaver, Cash and the Tennessee Two - guitarist Luther Perkins and bassist Marshall Grant - performed a handful of tunes, including the honky tonk "Wide Open Road," a cover of "One More Ride" (from the Sons Of the Pioneers), the gospel "Belshazzar," and the guitar showpiece, "Luther's Boogie." The broadcast is followed by a one minute spot advertising an upcoming show at the Overton Park Shell, starring Webb Pierce, Red Sovine, Elvis Presley, Cash, and other country acts.

CD One continues with a dozen historically-significant, pre-Sun demos by Cash, 11 of them previously unreleased. These rare home-recorded demos served as blueprints to such enduring Cash originals as "I Walk The Line," "Get Rhythm" and "Country Boy," and provide new insight into Cash's songwriting. Two of these demos would soon turn into rockabilly hits for Roy Orbison ("You're My Baby") and Warren Smith ("Rock And Roll Ruby").

Under the heading Sun Rarities are seven outtakes produced between late 1954 and late 1957 by Sam Phillips and Jack Clement. In addition to familiar Cash titles ("Big River," "Wide Open Road"), there are covers of tunes by Jimmy Rodgers ("Brakeman's Blues"), Marty Robbins ("I Couldn't Keep From Crying"), and Lead Belly ("Goodnight Irene"), an indication of Cash's abiding interest and love for the burgeoning folk music movement, whose embrace of him was a hallmark of his career. CD One concludes with two final demos, "Restless Kid" (later recorded by Ricky Nelson), and "It's All Over."

The 25 tracks on CD Two span Cash's first 11 years at Columbia Records; he was ultimately with the label for 28 years, through 1986. This disc presents a fresh gathering of Columbia non-album singles, outtakes, and B-sides being released digitally for the first time in the U.S. (11 of them previously unreleased in the U.S.).

The move to Columbia also meant a move to Los Angeles for Cash and his family as he developed a taste for film and television work, both as a songwriter and as an actor. In the Golden Age of TV westerns and movies, Cash was a natural. His larger-than-life presence boosted the popularity of the gunfighter ballads and Americana tales that became a pop music genre at the end of the 1950s and into the '60s, exemplified by such titles as "Restless Kid," "Johnny Yuma Theme," and "Hardin Wouldn't Run." Another example is "Shifting, Whispering Sands," a spoken-sung collaboration with Lorne Greene, better known as Bonanza TV patriarch Ben Cartwright.

The musical passions of Johnny Cash - from traditional gospel and folk, to Tin Pan Alley and Music Row, among many other sources - were given full rein in 1969, when The Johnny Cash Show became a weekly event on ABC-TV. It is at that point, with the evocative theme of the show's central feature, "Come Along And Ride This Train," that BOOTLEG VOL. 2 concludes.

Full tracklist at:

Sunday 30 January 2011

Salinger's War

Holden Caulfield’s Goddam War
As army sergeant J. D. Salinger hit the beach on D-day, drank with Hemingway in newly liberated Paris, and marched into concentration camps, the hero of The Catcher in the Rye was with him. In an adaptation from his Salinger biography, the author reveals how the war changed both Holden Caulfield and his creator.

By Kenneth Slawenski
February 2011

From J. D. Salinger: A Life, by Kenneth Slawenski, published by Random House, Inc.; © 2010 by the author.

In the autumn of 1950, at his home in Westport, Connecticut, J. D. Salinger completed The Catcher in the Rye. The achievement was a catharsis. It was confession, purging, prayer, and enlightenment, in a voice so distinct that it would alter American culture.

Holden Caulfield, and the pages that held him, had been the author’s constant companion for most of his adult life. Those pages, the first of them written in his mid-20s, just before he shipped off to Europe as an army sergeant, were so precious to Salinger that he carried them on his person throughout the Second World War. Pages of The Catcher in the Rye had stormed the beach at Normandy; they had paraded down the streets of Paris, been present at the deaths of countless soldiers in countless places, and been carried through the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. In bits and pieces they had been re-written, put aside, and re-written again, the nature of the story changing as the author himself was changed. Now, in Connecticut, Salinger placed the final line on the final chapter of the book. It is with Salinger’s experience of the Second World War in mind that we should understand Holden Caulfield’s insight at the Central Park carousel, and the parting words of The Catcher in the Rye: “Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.” All the dead soldiers.

Fighter and Writer
Tuesday, June 6, 1944, was the turning point of J. D. Salinger’s life. It is difficult to overstate the impact of D-day and the 11 months of combat that followed. The war, its horrors and lessons, would brand itself upon every aspect of Salinger’s personality and reverberate through his work. As a young writer before entering the army, Salinger had had stories published in various magazines, including Collier’s and Story, and he had begun to conjure members of the Caulfield family, including the famous Holden. On D-day he had six unpublished Caulfield stories in his possession, stories that would form the spine of The Catcher in the Rye. The experience of war gave his writing a depth and maturity it had lacked; the legacy of that experience is present even in work that is not about war at all. In later life, Salinger frequently mentioned Normandy, but he never spoke of the details—“as if,” his daughter later recalled, “I understood the implications, the unspoken.”

As part of the 4th Counter Intelligence Corps (C.I.C.) detachment, Salinger was to land on Utah Beach with the first wave, at 6:30 A.M., but an eyewitness report has him in fact landing during the second wave, about 10 minutes later. The timing was fortunate. The Channel’s currents had thrown the landing off 2,000 yards to the south, allowing Salinger to avoid the most heavily concentrated German defenses. Within an hour of landing, Salinger was moving inland and heading west, where he and his detachment would eventually connect with the 12th Infantry Regiment.

The 12th had not been so lucky. Although it landed five hours later, it had encountered obstacles that Salinger and his group had not. Just beyond the beach, the Germans had flooded a vast marshland, up to two miles wide, and had concentrated their firepower on the only open causeway. The 12th had been forced to abandon the causeway and wade through waist-high water while under constant threat from enemy guns. It took the 12th Infantry three hours to cross the marsh. After meeting up with the regiment, Salinger would spend the next 26 days in combat. On June 6, the regiment had consisted of 3,080 men. By July 1, the number was down to 1,130.

Unlike many soldiers who had been impatient for the invasion, Salinger was far from naïve about war. In short stories he had already written while in the army, such as “Soft-Boiled Sergeant” and “Last Day of the Last Furlough,” he expressed disgust with the false idealism applied to combat, and attempted to explain that war was a bloody, inglorious affair. But no amount of theoretical insight could have prepared him for what was to come. Salinger would count among his most treasured belongings a small casket containing his five battle stars and the Presidential Unit Citation for valor....

Read the rest:

Or, of course, buy the book:

Sinatra in a Box

Limited Edition Special Box Set

  • Features 35 original albums on CD in classy papersleeve replicas
  • Special bonus DVD "A Man And His Music - Trilogy" - remastered and never released on one disc
  • Complete with a book of notes and photos of Reprise years and original liner notes from each album

Saturday 29 January 2011


Out and About with Prefab Sprout

Paddy and Wendy on the late and unlamented Tuxedo Princess/Royale or whatever the hell it was, moored on the Gateshead side of the Quayside.

Accept no substitutes

The remake is okay, if somewhat actioned-up for a generation that needs expolosive gunplay (not to mention actual explosions) to help them concentrate, but this is the real deal:

Friday 28 January 2011

Salinger Letters

Donald Hartog and J.D. Salinger, right, pose together in London in 1989, when they met for the first time since 1938

J.D. Salinger letters show "warm," "affectionate" side

27 Jan 2011
Mike Collett-White

Previously unseen letters from "The Catcher in the Rye" author J.D. Salinger show the kind of "warmth" and "affection" not often associated with someone who is seen as an eccentric recluse, a university said on Thursday.

Salinger wrote the letters to Donald Hartog from London, between October 1986 and January 2002, and Hartog's daughter Frances and his other children have donated them to Britain's University of East Anglia (UEA) Archives.

The men met in 1937 when they were both 18 years-old and sent by their fathers to study German in Vienna. They stayed in touch after their return home in 1938 and continued to write to each other until the 1950s, although these early letters no longer survive.

After several decades with no contact, Hartog wrote to Salinger in 1986 when he learned of the possible publication of an unauthorized biography of the writer. Salinger replied and their correspondence resumed.

The UEA said it was unable to provide excerpts from the letters, because the copyright remains with Salinger's estate.

The author, who died a year ago, aged 91, was fiercely protective of his body of work, and in 2009 sued the writer and publisher of a book billed as a sequel to "The Catcher in the Rye," saying it infringed on his copyright.

Salinger's 1951 novel, a story of alienation and rebellion featuring teenage hero Holden Caulfield, is considered a classic of American literature.


Salinger addressed Hartog as Don and signed the letters as Jerry, and talked about everyday topics like politics, the weather, family and tennis, including who should win Wimbledon.

According to the UEA, he also referred to their increasing ages and associated health issues, and Salinger remembered fondly the time he spent with Hartog in Vienna before it was annexed by Nazi Germany.

Frances Hartog, who once met Salinger, said that despite the mundane subject matter, the letters were "very moving.

"There is tremendous warmth and affection towards my father and this is so different to the man Salinger is often portrayed as. The letters have been sitting in a drawer, but hopefully by being in the archive they will show people another side to him.

"I think there was this extra bond between my father and Salinger because they met before the war.

"This isn't the fighting Salinger of the 1960s, though he talks quite aggressively about publishing and publicity.

"He wanted to be published, but what he appears not to have liked was that it wasn't just about what you published, it was about you."

In 1989 Salinger travelled to London to attend Hartog's 70th birthday dinner, and it was then that Frances met him.

"I didn't really want to meet him because I liked his writing and was worried he might live up to his reputation and be rather unpleasant, but he ... was utterly charming."

In the manuscripts, Salinger was honest about his dislike of publishers but said he continued to work on his writing, and in 1997 was considering publishing a short story, "Hapworth 16, 1924," which appeared in The New Yorker in 1965, as a book.

The correspondence from Salinger stopped in 2002, but his wife continued writing to Hartog until his death in 2007.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

JD Salinger's letters reveal admiration for Tim Henman
Catcher in the Rye author was fan of tennis, tenors and Burger King

Adam Gabbatt and agencies
The Guardian, Thursday 27 January 2011 Article history

JD Salinger was regarded as a recluse for much of the last 50 years of his life but previously unseen letters written by the author to a friend in Britain show that while he may have shunned the limelight, he enjoyed a simpler life of gardening, eating hamburgers and following the tennis career of Tim Henman.

50 letters and four postcards, written by Salinger to Donald Hartog a Londoner whom he met in 1938, reveal that at a time when the Catcher in the Rye author was widely believed to be a near-hermit he was actually enjoying group bus trips to Niagara Falls and regularly indulging a passion for the theatre.

The letters were donated to the University of East Anglia by Hartog's daughter, Frances, after her father died in 2007, and the university has made them publicly available on the first anniversary of Salinger's death.

"Salinger had this reputation as a recluse, that he kept himself to himself," said Chris Bigsby, professor of American studies. "This is another Salinger, this is an ordinary Salinger, not the reclusive, angry person people thought he was."

The letters reveal the author enjoyed listening to the Three Tenors – Jose Carreras was his favourite – and particularly liked watching tennis, with Salinger disclosing a particular fondness for "Tiger" Tim Henman.

Salinger also told Hartog that he thought Burger King hamburgers were better than those from other chains, while he described trips to the Niagra Falls and the Grand Canyon.

The letters are not the only surviving correspondence by Salinger, but they cover a period late in his life when he was at his most elusive.

Hartog and Salinger met as teenagers in Vienna, sent there by their families to learn German.

They kept up their correspondence through the second world war. Salinger travelled to Britain in 1989 for Hartog's 70th birthday.

Salinger: a burger-lover in the ryeAs JD Salinger would have recognised, his letters show that Great Writers are not great all the time

Kathryn Hughes
Thursday 27 January 2011 23.00

If you wanted to dream up a scenario to tickle a biographer's fancy, you couldn't do better than this week's announcement that a bundle of letters from JD Salinger has been deposited at the University of East Anglia. The American novelist, who died last year at the age of 91, was regularly described as "reclusive". This didn't mean that he lived in a log cabin, shot squirrels for lunch and shouted at anyone who came too close. "Reclusive" here means that he avoided literary parties, didn't give interviews and never popped up on television or in lecture halls rattling on about himself. Salinger was, then, what writers were once supposed to be: self-effacing, a bit mysterious, insistent that it was his work rather than his personality that mattered.

All of which explains why this batch of 50 letters, written to a British correspondent called Donald Hartog over a period of 20 years, is so tantalising. Salinger and Hartog had met before the war in Vienna. Some time in the 1950s they lost contact, as young men do, until 1986 when Hartog wrote to Salinger out of the blue, triggering a renewed correspondence that lasted until 2002.

There's one final piquant detail that rounds out what might be described as this biographical primal scene: these precious relics were left in a drawer until Hartog's children decided something Ought To Be Done with them. It's that "snatched from oblivion" tag that really gets professional literary snoops going.

So given the buildup it would be nice to report that concealed within these 50 typed letters and four hand-written postcards are the hidden wellsprings of Salinger's artistic genius, which included the 1951 classic The Catcher in the Rye. But in fact, what emerges from this little archive is the bathetic realisation that Great Writers are not really all that Great most of the time. Salinger's letters to "Don", signed "Jerry", are full of the kinds of things that you, I or anyone might write to an old friend: the vegetable garden, who's going to win Wimbledon, and which high street chain does the best hamburgers. Capping it all is the revelation that during a 1989 visit to Britain "Jerry" was especially keen to visit Whipsnade Zoo. Whether it was the prospect of seeing the penguins or sampling a Cornetto that got him in such a delicious tizz remains unclear.

I'm not suggesting for a moment that JD Salinger was a disappointingly dull or silly man. Far from it. The fault, if it can be called that, lies in our pervasive cultural myth that letters are somehow a "deep" form of communication, bulletins from the most profound reaches of the soul. It's a myth that started, appropriately enough, in the Romantic age at the end of the 18th century and has lasted through to the age of email.

What is so peculiar is that we simultaneously know perfectly well from our own experience that, far from representing the last word on what we are feeling and thinking, letters are a kind of first draft report of wherever we happen to find ourselves in the moment. Moreover, each letter is a kind of performance, designed to achieve a particular effect. In our letters to the gas board we are terse; to a lover sweet; and to a child kind. And when it comes to writing to an old friend with whom we have nothing in common save a few months half a century ago, we either hark back to shared happiness (Jerry was fond of remembering an ice rink in Vienna where he and Don had slipped and skidded as young men) or search for subjects that will bind us together in the present: tennis, veg, the physical taxes of old age.

It is quite possible – the evidence is not yet gathered in, nor will it ever be entirely – that at the same as he was writing to Don about domestic trivia Jerry was also writing completely different kinds of letters to other correspondents. Salinger was famously fierce in his opinions on matters including his privacy, religion, the general rottenness of the literary establishment, cinema and, indeed, the fact that letters belonged in perpetuity to the person who wrote them no matter where they physically came to rest.

On this last point Salinger famously went to court in 1986 to block the writer Ian Hamilton from quoting from his letters in Hamilton's proposed biography, JD Salinger: A Writing Life. Salinger knew, in a way that the rest of us have not yet quite absorbed, that far from being the full picture of someone's personality, letters provide an angled glance, as distorting as those funhouse mirrors that you used to find at the end of piers.

In the circumstances, then, we should not be surprised or disappointed by the quotidian ordinariness of the JD Salinger letters deposited at UEA. Nor should we assume that this cheery companionable "Jerry" must now replace the grouchy, reclusive "Salinger" in our cultural imagination. The point is – and Salinger would surely have been the first to recognise this – that a person's letters can only ever tell a fraction of a story.

Thursday 27 January 2011

FRIDAY is a Fitzgeralds Friday. Frankly it would be foolish to frequent anywhere else.

Dan Thursday

Salinger - With Love and Squalor

With love and squalor
A Salinger devotee delivers an impressively solid biography, slightly marred by some awkward prose and simplistic commentary

By Kenneth Slawenski
Random House, 450 pp., illustrated, $27

This biography of J.D. Salinger appears just a year after his death at age 91; the biographer, Kenneth Slawenski, worked on it for eight years, while maintaining a website ( devoted to the life and works of his subject. His hope is to “deliver a true and fair and unsentimental account of Salinger’s life justly infused with appreciation for his works.’’ A commendable resolve, and Slawenski for the most part fulfills it, especially in his role as appreciator. He has been preceded by other biographers, notably Ian Hamilton, whose attempt was thwarted by legal processes Salinger instituted. The result was an abortive book (“In Search of J.D. Salinger’’) mainly about the search. There have also been memoirs, one by his live-in mate for a year, Joyce Maynard, and one 30 years ago by his daughter, Margaret. But Slawenski fills in a great deal and connects the dots assiduously; it’s unlikely that any future writer will uncover much more about Salinger than he has done.

That granted, it must be said that too much of the early part of this book is taken up with rather banal rehearsals of the plots and characters of Salinger’s early uncollected or unpublished stories. These stories are no fun to read about in detail, especially since Slawenski’s commentary is on the crude side: “Their simplicity adds to their believability,’’ he writes about characters in the 1944 published story “Both Parties Concerned.’’ “Last Day of the Last Furlough’’ is called “a moving story laden with significance,’’ while “De Daumier-Smith’s Blue Period” (from “Nine Stories’’) is “a humorous story containing deep meaning.’’ Some of Slawenski’s diction likewise reveals an awkward side, as when he repeatedly tells us that Salinger “crafted’’ or “penned’’ or even “authored’’ a story — not-so-elegant variation on the perfectly acceptable “wrote.’’

One puts up with Slawenski’s prose as a literary critic if one is sufficiently interested in Salinger’s life. In telling it, the biographer does a much better job, taking us through relatively familiar territory but in fuller detail: Salinger’s upbringing on the West, then East Side of New York City, as the family grew more prosperous; his somewhat oppressive closeness to his mother, Miriam (we think of Bessie Glass in “Zooey’’); his education at a succession of preparatory schools and colleges; and his important experience in Whit Burnett’s writing class at Columbia University. There Burnett read aloud Faulkner’s “That Evening Sun Go Down,’’ resulting in a literary epiphany for the young Salinger. His first story, “The Young Folks,’’ was accepted by Burnett for publication in Story magazine. Soon afterward The New Yorker accepted “A Slight Rebellion Off Madison,’’ where Holden Caulfield first appears in a stiff and unnuanced third-person narration that, in “The Catcher in the Rye,’’ would become a richly first-person one.

Perhaps the most interesting pages of the biography are devoted to Salinger’s wartime service, from the D-Day landings through the awful carnage in the Hürtgen Forest and the Battle of the Bulge. We better understand the shattered nerves Staff Sergeant X, in “For Esmé — With Love and Squalor,’’ has undergone. Salinger himself put the war behind him as many others did by not talking or writing about it. What connection it had with the enlightenment he pursued ever more diligently from 1946 on can’t be specified. But Slawenski is certainly right that an “inclination toward mysticism’’ combined with a conviction that writing was a “spiritual exercise’’ emerges in “Teddy,’’ the last of “Nine Stories,’’ and in the concerns of Seymour, Zooey, and Franny Glass.

Salinger’s second marriage (his first to Sylvia Welter was a brief one) to Claire Douglas is treated with sympathetic fullness, as is his increasing isolation in Cornish, N.H., — “an insidious progression that slowly enveloped him,’’ writes Slawenski — and the eventual breakup of the marriage. Many pages are taken up by his struggles with publishers and editors, a continuing battle that only true believers will follow with interest.

What matters most to readers of a literary biography is that it propel them into renewed acquaintance with its subject’s writings. In Salinger’s case, rereading is easy since his published books are only four: “Catcher in the Rye,’’ “Nine Stories,’’ and the Glass stories — “Franny and Zooey’’ — and “Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters,’’ and “Seymour: An Introduction.’’ Reread they come through as exquisite, coterie art, created through the vocalized performance of an ingenious if sometimes trying narrator. Before condescending, as some contemporary readers do, to Salinger’s art, we should remember that Nabokov praised it, and that 50 years ago John Updike, in the course of reviewing (somewhat adversely) “Franny and Zooey,’’ singled out for admiration Salinger’s “intense attention to gesture and intonation,’’ calling him among “a uniquely pertinent literary artist.’’ Listening to Salinger’s sentences, rather than just reading them with the eye, will bring readerly rewards still pertinent enough to matter.

William H. Pritchard is a professor of English at Amherst College. His most recent book is “On Poets and Poetry.’’

Charlie Louvin dies aged 83

Robert Crumb

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Tonight's set lists

At The Habit, York: -

Set 1:
Love Song
I Believe In You
On The Beach

Set 2:
Pushed It Over The End
Roll Another Number (For The Road)
Tell Me Why
Mind Your Own Business

Someone asked the host if I would do another set (Neil). Began to tread old ground with Tell Me Why, so did some Hank to finish and they sang along. The punters were happy but I'm knackered.

Dan Wednesday

Oscar nomination

It's good to see FNB culture hero Jeff Bridges get another, even though the Oscar itself will probably go to Colin Firth because The King's Speech is THAT kind of film (and it'll clearly aweep up at the Baftas...)

Rich in Vitamin C

Under her brow the snowy wing-case
delivers truly the surprise
of days which slide under sunlight
past loose glass in the door
into the reflection of honour spread
through the incomplete, the trusted. So
darkly the stain skips as a livery
of your pause like an apple pip,
the baltic loved one who sleeps.

Or as syrup in a cloud, down below in
the cup, you excuse each folded
cry of the finch's wit, this flush
scattered over our slant of the
day rocked in water, you say
this much. A waver of attention at
the surface, shews the arch there and
the purpose we really cut;
an ounce down by the water, which

in cross-fire from injustice too large
to hold he lets slither
from starry fingers
noting the herbal jolt of cordite
and its echo: is this our screen, on some
street we hardly guessed could mark
an idea bred to idiocy by the clear
sight-lines ahead. You come in
by the same door, you carry

what cannot be left for its own
sweet shimmer of reason, its false blood;
the same tint I hear with the pulse it touches
and will not melt. Such shading
of the rose to its stock tips the bolt
from the sky, rising in its effect of what
motto we call peace talks. And yes the
quiet turn of your page is the day
tilting so, faded in the light.


J. H. Prynne and Pierre Alferi

The reclusive and elusive J.H. Prynne reading at the Pompidou Centre 11/02/09:

Tuesday 25 January 2011

For Burns' Night - Tam O' Shanter

When chapmen billies leave the street,
And drouthy neibors, neibors meet,
As market days are wearing late,
An' folk begin to tak the gate;
While we sit bousing at the nappy,
And getting fou and unco happy,
We think na on the lang Scots miles,
The mosses, waters, slaps, and styles,
That lie between us and our hame,
Where sits our sulky sullen dame.
Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

This truth fand honest Tam o' Shanter,
As he frae Ayr ae night did canter,
(Auld Ayr, wham ne'er a town surpasses
For honest men and bonie lasses.)

O Tam! had'st thou but been sae wise,
As ta'en thy ain wife Kate's advice!
She tauld thee weel thou was a skellum,
A blethering, blustering, drunken blellum;
That frae November till October,
Ae market-day thou was nae sober;
That ilka melder, wi' the miller,
Thou sat as lang as thou had siller;
That every naig was ca'd a shoe on,
The smith and thee gat roaring fou on;
That at the Lord's house, even on Sunday,
Thou drank wi' Kirkton Jean till Monday.
She prophesied that late or soon,
Thou would be found deep drown'd in Doon;
Or catch'd wi' warlocks in the mirk,
By Alloway's auld haunted kirk.

Ah, gentle dames! it gars me greet,
To think how mony counsels sweet,
How mony lengthen'd, sage advices,
The husband frae the wife despises!

But to our tale:-- Ae market-night,
Tam had got planted unco right;
Fast by an ingle, bleezing finely,
Wi' reaming swats, that drank divinely
And at his elbow, Souter Johnny,
His ancient, trusty, drouthy crony;
Tam lo'ed him like a vera brither--
They had been fou for weeks thegither!
The night drave on wi' sangs and clatter
And ay the ale was growing better:
The landlady and Tam grew gracious,
wi' favours secret,sweet and precious
The Souter tauld his queerest stories;
The landlord's laugh was ready chorus:
The storm without might rair and rustle,
Tam did na mind the storm a whistle.

Care, mad to see a man sae happy,
E'en drown'd himsel' amang the nappy!
As bees flee hame wi' lades o' treasure,
The minutes wing'd their way wi' pleasure:
Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious.
O'er a' the ills o' life victorious!

But pleasures are like poppies spread,
You sieze the flower, its bloom is shed;
Or like the snow falls in the river,
A moment white--then melts for ever;
Or like the borealis race,
That flit ere you can point their place;
Or like the rainbow's lovely form
Evanishing amid the storm.--
Nae man can tether time or tide;
The hour approaches Tam maun ride;
That hour, o' night's black arch the key-stane,
That dreary hour he mounts his beast in;
And sic a night he taks the road in
As ne'er poor sinner was abroad in.

The wind blew as 'twad blawn its last;
The rattling showers rose on the blast;
The speedy gleams the darkness swallow'd
Loud, deep, and lang, the thunder bellow'd:
That night, a child might understand,
The Deil had business on his hand.

Weel mounted on his gray mare, Meg--
A better never lifted leg--
Tam skelpit on thro' dub and mire;
Despisin' wind and rain and fire.
Whiles holding fast his gude blue bonnet;
Whiles crooning o'er some auld Scots sonnet;
Whiles glowring round wi' prudent cares,
Lest bogles catch him unawares:
Kirk-Alloway was drawing nigh,
Whare ghaists and houlets nightly cry.

By this time he was cross the ford,
Whare, in the snaw, the chapman smoor'd;
And past the birks and meikle stane,
Whare drunken Chairlie brak 's neck-bane;
And thro' the whins, and by the cairn,
Whare hunters fand the murder'd bairn;
And near the thorn, aboon the well,
Whare Mungo's mither hang'd hersel'.--
Before him Doon pours all his floods;
The doubling storm roars thro' the woods;
The lightnings flash from pole to pole;
Near and more near the thunders roll:
When, glimmering thro' the groaning trees,
Kirk-Alloway seem'd in a bleeze;
Thro' ilka bore the beams were glancing;
And loud resounded mirth and dancing.

Inspiring bold John Barleycorn!
What dangers thou canst make us scorn!
Wi' tippeny, we fear nae evil;
Wi' usquabae, we'll face the devil!--
The swats sae ream'd in Tammie's noddle,
Fair play, he car'd na deils a boddle.
But Maggie stood, right sair astonish'd,
Till, by the heel and hand admonish'd,
She ventured forward on the light;
And, vow! Tam saw an unco sight

Warlocks and witches in a dance;
Nae cotillion brent-new frae France,
But hornpipes, jigs strathspeys, and reels,
Put life and mettle in their heels.
A winnock-bunker in the east,
There sat auld Nick, in shape o' beast;
A towzie tyke, black, grim, and large,
To gie them music was his charge:
He scre'd the pipes and gart them skirl,
Till roof and rafters a' did dirl.--
Coffins stood round, like open presses,
That shaw'd the dead in their last dresses;
And by some develish cantraip slight,
Each in its cauld hand held a light.--
By which heroic Tam was able
To note upon the haly table,
A murders's banes in gibbet-airns;
Twa span-lang, wee, unchristen'd bairns;
A thief, new-cutted frae a rape,
Wi' his last gasp his gab did gape;
Five tomahawks, wi blude red-rusted;
Five scymitars, wi' murder crusted;
A garter, which a babe had strangled;
A knife, a father's throat had mangled,
Whom his ain son o' life bereft,
The gray hairs yet stack to the heft;
Wi' mair o' horrible and awfu',
Which even to name was be unlawfu'.
Three lawyers' tongues, turn'd inside out,
Wi' lies seam'd like a beggar's clout;
Three priests' hearts, rotten, black as muck,
Lay stinking, vile in every neuk.

As Tammie glowr'd, amaz'd, and curious,
The mirth and fun grew fast and furious;
The piper loud and louder blew;
The dancers quick and quicker flew;
They reel'd, they set, they cross'd, they cleekit,
Till ilka carlin swat and reekit,
And coost her duddies to the wark,
And linket at it her sark!

Now Tam, O Tam! had thae been queans,
A' plump and strapping in their teens,
Their sarks, instead o' creeshie flannen,
Been snaw-white seventeen hunder linnen!
Thir breeks o' mine, my only pair,
That ance were plush, o' gude blue hair,
I wad hae gi'en them off my hurdies,
For ae blink o' the bonie burdies!

But wither'd beldams, auld and droll,
Rigwoodie hags wad spean a foal,
Louping and flinging on a crummock,
I wonder did na turn thy stomach!

But Tam kend what was what fu' brawlie:
There was ae winsome wench and waulie,
That night enlisted in the core,
Lang after ken'd on Carrick shore;
(For mony a beast to dead she shot,
And perish'd mony a bonie boat,
And shook baith meikle corn and bear,
And kept the country-side in fear.)
Her cutty-sark, o' Paisley harn
That while a lassie she had worn,
In longitude tho' sorely scanty,
It was her best, and she was vauntie,-
Ah! little ken'd thy reverend grannie,
That sark she coft for he wee Nannie,
Wi' twa pund Scots, ('twas a' her riches),
Wad ever grac'd a dance of witches!

But here my Muse her wing maun cour;
Sic flights are far beyond her pow'r;
To sing how Nannie lap and flang,
(A souple jade she was, and strang),
And how Tam stood, like ane bewitch'd,
And thought his very een enrich'd;
Even Satan glowr'd, and fidg'd fu' fain,
And hotch'd and blew wi' might and main;
Till first ae caper, syne anither,
Tam tint his reason ' thegither,
And roars out, "Weel done, Cutty-sark!"
And in an instant all was dark:
And scarcely had he Maggie rallied,
When out the hellish legion sallied.

As bees bizz out wi' angry fyke,
When plundering herds assail their byke;
As open pussie's mortal foes,
When, pop! she starts before their nose;
As eager runs the market-crowd,
When "Catch the thief!" resounds aloud;
So Maggie runs, the witches follow,
Wi' mony an eldritch skriech and hollo.

Ah, Tam! ah, Tam! thou'll get thy fairin'!
In hell they'll roast thee like a herrin'!
In vain thy Kate awaits thy commin'!
Kate soon will be a woefu' woman!
Now, do thy speedy utmost, Meg,
And win the key-stane o' the brig;
There at them thou thy tail may toss,
A running stream they dare na cross.
But ere the key-stane she could make,
The fient a tail she had to shake!
For Nannie, far before the rest,
Hard upon noble Maggie prest,
And flew at Tam wi' furious ettle;
But little wist she Maggie's mettle -
Ae spring brought off her master hale,
But left behind her ain gray tail;
The carlin claught her by the rump,
And left poor Maggie scarce a stump.

No, wha this tale o' truth shall read,
Ilk man and mother's son take heed;
Whene'er to drink you are inclin'd,
Or cutty-sarks run in your mind,
Think! ye may buy joys o'er dear -
Remember Tam o' Shanter's mare.


Dan Tuesday


Monday 24 January 2011

Dan Monday

The Ten Best Woody Allen

Here's his own choice of six from New York Magazine, as of June 2010:

Woody Allen’s Six Favorite Woody Allen Movies
6/25/10 at 3:45 PM

Proof again that artists have no business judging their own material: "There are a few better than others, half a dozen, but it’s a surprising paucity of worthwhile celluloid," says Woody Allen of his own movies in a delightfully depressing London Times interview today. His six favorites: Purple Rose of Cairo, Match Point, Bullets Over Broadway, Zelig, Husbands and Wives, and Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

At the risk of having him accost me, McLuhan-like, for telling him what I think is his best, here are my top ten Woody films, in no particular order (which you should know by now):

Annie Hall
Crimes and Misdemeanours
Take the Money and Run
Hannah and her Sisters
Manhattan Murder Mystery
Radio Days
Deconstructing Harry
Bullets over Broadway

*or maybe Mighty Aphrodite or, to be obtuse, Shadows and Fog...

Not that I'm not partial to the (other) earlier, funny films, like Love and Death, and it's easy to find considerable merit with the later works, after the press fell out of love with him. I also enjoy Martin Ritt's The Front and Clive Donner's What's New Pussycat. The latter may degenerate into farce for the last 10-15 minutes, but the rest is a pretty accurate portrayal of the life of one of the founding fathers of the FNB. And, like Woody, he's still going.


and Al Jardine...

Salinger and the Copyright Clause

J.D. Salinger's miserly legal legacy

Jan 17th 2011, 23:07 by W.W. IOWA CITY

J.D. SALINGER'S infamous mania for privacy included a rather self-defeating litigious streak. One of the author's final public acts was to file a lawsuit enjoining the publication of a book that otherwise would have passed immediately into obscurity. That case was finally settled last week, ensuring Salinger's legacy as the preeminent enemy of open culture in American letters.

"60 Years Later: Coming through the Rye" by Frederik Colting, a previously unknown Swede writing under the pen-name "John David California", tells the metafictional tale of J.D. Salinger's desire to resurrect his most famous character so that he can kill him in print, thereby silencing the troubling voice in his head. But Mr Colting's elderly Holden Caulfield proxy—whom he calls "Mr C"—escapes his nursing home to revisit his New York haunts 60 years later, all the while eluding his creator's lethal authorial intentions.

By most accounts, the book is a bungled experiment destined to languish unread and unrecognised in the far ghettoes of the long tail. Yet apparently Salinger could not abide others playing with his words and worlds. He could not let Mr Colting's book simply fade away. In 2009 Salinger successfully won an injunction against the publication of "60 Years Later" in America. Mr Colting appealed and a panel from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the injunction and threw the case back to the District Court while acknowledging the strength of Salinger's case under the prevailing interpretation of the "fair use" provision of American copyright law. (Judge Guido Calebresi called Mr Colting's effort a "rather dismal piece of work".) Not long thereafter, Salinger passed away. Last week his estate and Mr Colting settled out of court. According to Publisher's Weekly:

Colting has agreed not to publish or otherwise distribute the book, e-book, or any other editions of "60 Years Later" in the U.S. or Canada until "The Catcher in the Rye" enters the public domain. Notably, however, Colting is free to sell the book in other international territories without fear of interference, and a source has told PW that book rights have already been sold in as many as a half-dozen territories, with the settlement documents included as proof that the Salinger Estate will not sue. In addition, the settlement agreement bars Colting from using the title “Coming through the Rye”; forbids him from dedicating the book to Salinger; and would prohibit Colting or any publisher of the book from referring to "The Catcher in the Rye", Salinger, the book being “banned” by Salinger, or from using the litigation to promote the book.

In the end, Salinger could not put the genie back in the bottle, though his faithful estate did manage to deny the genie an American visa, for what that's worth.

The action against Mr Colting was merely the last in a long string of lawsuits Salinger pressed to maintain stifling control over the use of his writings. In 1986 Salinger successfully sued to stop Ian Hamilton from including excerpts of some of his letters, which are archived in several university libraries, in the book, "In Search of J.D. Salinger: A Writing Life (1935–65)". The court declared Mr Hamilton's excerpts went beyond "fair use". In 1998 Salinger threatened to sue to stop a screening at New York's Lincoln Centre of the film "Pari", a loose adaptation of his book "Franny and Zooey" by Dariush Mehrjui, an Iranian director.

Writing of the incident in the Village Voice, Amy Taubin sensibly asked:

[W]hy would Salinger care that some obscure Iranian filmmaker had paid him homage with a meditation on his heroine, a late-'50s, New York­-bred college student who is obsessed with the concept of "praying incessantly" and whose nervous breakdown is accelerated by her dinner date's remark that Flaubert "lacked testicularity"?

Why, indeed?

One of the few interviews Salinger granted after achieving literary fame was prompted by the writer's indignation over the unauthorised publication in 1974 of a collection of short stories he had published over the years, but never intended to compile or reprint.

'Some stories, my property, have been stolen,' Mr. Salinger said. 'Someone's appropriated them. It's an illicit act. It's unfair. Suppose you had a coat you liked and somebody went into your closet and stole it.

That's how I feel.'

As a matter of justice, surely Salinger was owed some the proceeds from the sale of this volume. Naturally Salinger sued, seeking a tidy sum in damages. Yet these were works he meant never to republish, so it's doubtful the prospect of lost profits was the source of his ire. And I don't buy his defence. As Nina Paley delightfully illustrates, making copies of something is utterly unlike stealing a coat. When somebody steals your coat, you can't wear it any more. If somebody distributes copies of your stories, there's more for everyone. Try an alternative story: "Suppose you're a domineering patriarch who insists on telling his typically compliant middle-aged children to eat grits for breakfast and suddenly one day they don't. That's how I feel." The only thing Salinger really lost was his jealously guarded sense of exclusive control over everything he ever had a hand in creating.

Whether or not this kind of loss counts as a real harm, whether there is a legitimate moral entitlement to this kind of exclusive and comprehensive control of one's creative work, is one of the great questions of our age. Given the all-too-successful legal and legislative efforts of Disney, the recording industry and artists like Salinger, the prevailing model of copyright has come to appear as yet one more way in which our political economy is rigged to protect privilege. This shift in perception can be explained by a bigger shift in our creative culture. The rise of the arts of the sample, the remix and the mashup alongside the emergence of the open-source software movement has engendered a growing sense that creative work both draws from and adds to a common pool of shared culture.

This change in the mood and tools of the creative class has made Salinger's legal aggression against biographers, filmmakers and inferior writers seem less like charming New Hampshire get-off-my-lawn curmudgeonism and more like a contemptible failure of generosity. A decent man does not shoot at kids taking a shortcut across his back forty. But Salinger, again and again, lawyered up, aimed carefully, and fired.

Sunday 23 January 2011

Dan Sunday

Fab 4 & Ken 1963

The Other Side of the Wind

Orson Welles's unseen masterpiece set for release
The Other Side of the Wind, shot in 1972, could now see the light of day

Dalya Alberge
The Observer
Sunday 23 January 2011

An unfinished "masterpiece" filmed by Orson Welles nearly four decades ago is finally to reach the screen.

The Other Side of the Wind portrays the last hours of an ageing film director. Welles is said to have told John Huston, who plays the lead role: "It's about a bastard director… full of himself, who catches people and creates and destroys them. It's about us, John."

The unedited film has been hidden away in a vault until now amid doubts that it could ever be shown.

Rumours of its release have surfaced repeatedly since it was shot in 1972, but an ownership dispute has always scuppered any plans. However, a Los Angeles lawyer told the Observer last week that the film will finally be seen.

Kenneth Sidle, a lawyer involved in the dispute over rights to the film, said: "We are in negotiations for the picture, which would lead to the finishing and public exhibition. Hopefully within the next few weeks we will know."

Sidle, of law firm Gipson Hoffman & Pancione, represents Jacqueline Boushehri, widow of a relative of the Shah of Iran and one of the film's producers.

Also embroiled in the negotiations is Welles's lover, Oja Kodar, a Croatian who starred in and co-wrote the film. Sidle confirmed that both are selling their interests in the film.

He added that would-be buyers have checked that he can complete the film: "They wouldn't be putting up money if they weren't confident."

Huston's actor son, Danny, describes the footage as "absolutely fascinating". In 2005 he recalled that Welles had given extensive "editing notes" on the film to actor and director Peter Bogdanovich, who also appeared in the film.

Bogdanovich is understood to be involved in efforts finally to bring The Other Side of The Wind to the screen.

Françoise Widhoff, a producer who collaborated with Welles on his F for Fake, spent a month on set of the unedited film, which she described as a masterpiece – "the way it's shot, the way it's acted. It's very modern and free."

However, Widhoff has reservations about anyone editing the film; she says the raw footage should be seen.

Andrés Vicente Gómez, a Spanish film-maker who worked with Welles on various productions, including the unedited film, agreed that its completion would be an "act of betrayal".

Describing it as Welles's "testament", he said: "The main character is a mix of [Ernest] Hemingway, Huston and himself… It was a film very close to him. But his physical condition was delicate. He didn't have the energy to cut it."

Saturday 22 January 2011

Thursday 20 January 2011

Bob's Books

Bob Dylan signs six-book deal
Agreement with publisher Simon & Schuster promises two further volumes of autobiography to follow 2004's Chronicles

Benedicte Page
Wednesday 19 January 2011

Bob Dylan has signed a deal to write six more books for his publisher Simon & Schuster, including two works of autobiography to follow Chronicles: Volume One, the highly-praised memoir of his early years published in 2004.

The prospect of further Dylan memoirs will create great anticipation even though publication date remains tantalisingly unconfirmed. Fans have been agog since Simon & Schuster revealed in 2008 that Dylan had begun work on the next book.

Waterstone's spokesperson Jon Howells said it was "hugely exciting for any Bob Dylan fan and for any aficionado of rock history" to hear that two more books of memoir were definitely on their way. "Chronicles set a new standard in what people expected from a rock'n'roll autobiography, and was a revelation," he said. "No one expected him to be so open, and the writing was completely in his voice, and essential reading. Another volume is great, two more is fabulous news."

Another book in the new deal is said to be a collection of Dylan's musings from the Theme Time Radio Hour show he presents on the Sirius XM satellite channel, syndicated to BBC 6Music. No details have been released on the remaining titles. Chronicles: Volume One charted Dylan's arrival – as Robert Zimmerman – in New York City in 1962 and the recording of his first album. It was greeted rapturously on publication, praised for its exceptional intimacy and eloquence and forgiven for its often meandering narrative. Critics compared the book to discovering the lost diaries of Shakespeare, and claimed it should take its place alongside Jack Kerouac's beat classic On the Road as a record of an American artist encountering his destiny. It went on to become a major hit, spending 19 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

However, Dylan's publisher has suffered a hiccup in obtaining a follow-up. Hannah Corbett, a spokeswoman for S&S, said the initial arrangement with Dylan had been made on "shifting sands", with the singer-songwriter "very hard to pin down" on how many books he wanted to write. Literary agent Andrew Wylie – known as "the Jackal" for his feral approach to publishing deals – has since come to represent Dylan, and US publication Crain's New York Business reported that Wylie "spent months trying to drum up interest in the project among other publishers despite Simon & Schuster's insistence that it had the rights to any Chronicles sequels," maintaining however that "no house would bite because of the potential for a lawsuit."

The Wylie Agency could not be reached for comment.

Howard Pyle

Further reading: