Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happy Birthday Ruby

Although our hearts ache that we no longer experience the daily joy of living in the same house with our kids, we are comforted by Ecclesiastes 3:1:
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.

Gabriella is in Praha - Prague - this week with my sisters and the rest of the family and my army days come back to haunt me as I was 19 like Gabbie when I was forced to serve 2 years of compulsory service. Many thanks to Janka, Lydka, Gitka and one and all at the good old Czechoslovakia for looking after my muse ;-)

Memories of Cold River Flows Prague’s Bad Dream
THE WEB SITE FOR Prague’s Museum of Communism instructs visitors to make their way to No. 10 on Na Prikope in the heart of the city:

We are above the McDonalds and next to the Casino.” Against these flashy consequences of the Velvet Revolution, the museum itself has a cramped, grubby feeling appropriate to the four decades of Czech life that it memorializes. During my Sunday-afternoon visit, I need to crane my neck over someone’s shoulder to read the display panels, and have to wait in a slow-moving line to reach the de rigueur piece of the Berlin Wall at the exhibit’s end. If for example, a girl received 20 dollars from a foreigner for a night of love-making, she could exchange it in the state bank for about one hundred and sixty Tuzex crowns, which she could sell on the black market for 800 Czechoslovak crowns, which equaled the monthly wages of a shop assistant

Bizarre story from Gabbie from Berlin where the police and British consul staff are trying to identify an English-speaking teenager who says he lived in German woods with his father for five years
Postcard from an awakened city ...; [Lloyd Evans Tara FitzGerald’s beauty is fabulous. Literally, there’s something unworldly about the surfaces and contours of her face. It’s as if the codes of her biology had been transmitted to earth Out of this world; The brilliant foreignness of Australian crime fiction. It is a rare crime novel that doesn’t seem better in the first part, when we are still trying to find our bearings. Perhaps we want to feel the way we did as children, when the genre was so much more thrilling for being slightly over our heads. This is the good thing about Australian crime fiction: as an American, you are never completely at home in it. True, the suburban backdrops appear very familiar, and on the printed page the Australian variant of English is almost identical to our own. But the characters in these novels behave much more differently from Americans than do the Swedes in those Stieg Larsson books, and this never stops feeling odd. Among male friends an intensity of joshing camaraderie is in evidence that even our frat boys would find stifling. At first I chalked this up to over-imitation of Hollywood films, only to read in The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature that the Sunburnt Country has a true-life tradition of especially tight-knit “mateship.” Not for nothing did Australian prisoners in Japanese POW camps survive at a higher rate than American ones. Most other characters in these novels interact with a reflexive prickliness, and that includes husbands and wives; there is a constant effect of chips on shoulders. Stephen Knight, the leading expert on his country’s crime fiction, talks of “drily aggressive wit” without explaining the aggression itself. Down Underworld]
• · Our obsession with musical nostalgia is strangling pop. Nostalgia is now thoroughly entwined with the consumer-entertainment complex. We feel pangs for the products of yesteryear, the novelties and distractions that filled up our youth … The passage of our time has become indexed to the procession of rapidly obsolescing fads, fashions, celebrity careers et al. Has pop culture, uh, stopped? Why do the major musical developments of the past decade include Guitar Hero, reunion tours, hip karaoke, the rise of the tribute band, pop stars made entirely from bits of other pop stars, and Van Morrison re-performing Astral Weeks? Lady Gaga, bless her radical retro soul, is Cher after three weeks in Warhol’s Factory. Cee Lo is Motown with swearing. This month, even as Roger Waters breaks temporarily from his transglobal plod-through of Pink Floyd’s 32-year-old rock opera, The Wall, Roger Daltrey sallies forth with a production of The Who’s 42-year-old rock opera, Tommy. One salutes the unkillability of these gentlemen, one reveres their work, but, honestly. And wherefore this pile of rock docs and rock bios, these waves of compulsive historicization? The Making of Frampton Comes Alive! … The Making of The Making of Frampton Comes Alive! … The Making of The Making of The Making of Frampton Comes Alive! … Everything Old; Evil and us. Sloppy historical analogies, amateurish psychological speculations, oversimplifications, tired moral platitudes – we’ve gotten evil all wrong Evildoers and Us: The open secret: Everyone does something illegal
• · · Marvellous mashup - great literature and 80’s pop music! Long live the 80’s ; Klassikal Kozak of my Czechosloval Army days Alexander Lebedev, Russian owner of the Independent, lashes out at property tycoon Sergei Polonsky ; Marx was wrong: Capitalism, not communism, killed the bourgeoisie. Now there’s no escaping the mercurial market forces. Prepare for further upheaval A Point of View: The revolution of capitalism