Sunday, 29 January 2023

8x8 (10. 509)

musiclm: a Google sandbox experiment for audio generation from rich captions—via Waxy and Web Curiossee previously  

krewe of karens: i would like to see the Mardi Gras manager  

semi-stagionato: an ancient method for surviving the COVID cheese glut made have improved the region’s pecorino cheeses  

taming of the shrew: voles manage to bond and form long-term relationships without the “love hormone” oxycotin  

party (of one): Broadway Barbara’s “Dance for Your Life!”—see also 

 an absurd italian gastronomic religion: the ironical, fascist sauce that outlived the war on pasta—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links—lots more to explore there 

you know i always wanted to pretend that i was an architect: attribute these quotes to either Seinfeld’s George Costanza or GOP darling George Santos  

magic voice: more prompts and audio continuation courtesy of Google’s suite of AI tools

Friday, 27 January 2023

and the girl in the corner is everyone’s mourner—she could kill you with a wink of the eye (10. 502)

Inspired by a unruly audience driving the band off the stage on this day in 1973 whilst performing in Kilmarnoc at the Grand Hall of the Palace Theatre—the booing and bottling ensuing perhaps the British glam rock group didn’t fit in with the rest of the line up—The Sweet would go on to release in September one of their biggest hits narrating the tense moments before their exuent. The Ballroom Blitz has been covered numerous times and featured in the soundtrack of several films including Wayne’s World.

Monday, 23 January 2023

6x6 (10. 492)

zhengyue 2: the second day of the Lunar New Year is considered the birthday of all dogs 

only took the m’f’er fifteen tries: Randy Rainbow lampoons Kevin McCartney with a parody of ‘Master of the House’ from Les Misรฉrables 

i shot the serif: US Department of State drops the typeface Times New Roman in favour of the more legible Calibri font  

yellow magic orchestra: watch performances by the Japanese group that created some of the most innovative and influential acts in electronic music  

odonymy: more open etymological street maps—see also  

tet: a short, hand-drawn game about cooking and serving a Vietnamese holiday meal—via Waxy

Sunday, 22 January 2023

regal zonophone (10. 489)

Composite artist and computer collaborator—I think these partnerships are called centaurs or reverse centaurs depending on one’s perspective on who is doing the driving—Wen Wormhole sits down for an interview with Messy Nessy Chic to talk about the alternate reality of a “Glam Rock Sci-Fi Universe,” with a touch of wrestle-mania energy added to the prompt, that he’s has helped craft with the power of artificial intelligence—see previously.  Learn more about the creative process, techniques and compounding inspiration at the links above, which Wormhole compares to being an art director of a project. What fusions of reality and alternate universe would you create with the help of AI?

Saturday, 21 January 2023

the sun is a mass of incandescent gas (10. 486)

Via Weird Universe, we are directed towards a collection of educational songs on the topic of astronomy performed by Dottie Evans and Tom Glazer and written by Hy Zaret (lyricist behind “Unchained Melody”, “The Partisan”) one LP in a series of six, “Singing Science,” meant to expose children to a variety of topics in the late 1950s through catchy little tunes. We especially liked “Constellation Jig” and “Planet Minuet.” Science fiction author Isaac Asimov praises these inspirational songs after his children received them as a gift and of course They Might Be Giants (previously) recorded a cover of the above “Why does the Sun Shine?"

i could be brown, i could be blue, i could be violet sky (10. 485)

The debut song of the Lebanese-British glam graphic designer rock artist born Michael Holbrook Penninman Jr rose to the top of the UK charts on this day in 2007—after an appearance on the talk show Later… with Jools Holland—and holding number one for five weeks would go on to become the third best-selling single for that year, bested by Amy Winehouse. From his autobiographical musical anthology, “Grace Kelly” references MIKA’s influences (“so I tried a little Freddie”) and is the opening track of his first studio album Life in Cartoon Motion and begins with a exchange of dialogue from the Princess of Monaco’s film The Country Girl. The melody is a reference to the aria “Largo al factotum” that Figaro performs in Rossini’s Barber of Seville.

Monday, 16 January 2023

9x9 (10. 424)

j.t. iv: the compilation “Cosmic Lightning” of a tragically forgotten outsider rock artist  

tees valley: a dialect map of England from the University of Leeds  

bundesministerin der verteidigung: German defence secretary steps down  

courtlife: Queen Victoria’s illustrated journals—see also—via Messy Nessy Chic  

mlk: Stevie Wonder’s campaign to make Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday a national holiday  

wef: global leaders gather in Davos buona sera: actor, photojournalist and sex symbol Gina Lollobrigida passes away, aged 95 

scare-fox: accidentally Art Brรปt predator-deterrent  

atomic rooster: a classic from the spin-off band of Crazy World of Arthur Brown

Sunday, 15 January 2023

he just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich (10. 418)

Originally released three years prior as the B-side, local single “Keypunch Operator” before signing with a major record label, Men at Work’s hit song began topping the US charts on this day in 1983 for a run of four weeks. Relating the narrative of an Australian travelling the world only to meet people interested in hearing about his home country with slang, drug references (chunder means to vomit) and remorse about overdevelopment and American cultural hegemony peppering the lyrics. The opening musical flourish from the children’s song “Kookabura (Sits in the Old Gum Tree)”—already in the public domain—was inserted ironically but was still the subject of a copyright lawsuit after the sampling was pointed out in a quiz show in 2007.

Saturday, 14 January 2023

the lower third (10. 415)

Coinciding with the release of the single under the label Pye Records and at the suggestion of his manager and publicist the singer and artist born Davy Jones changed his stage name on this day in 1966 to Davie Bowie—to distinguish himself from the up-and-coming act the Monkees and their Davy Jones. Bowie re-recorded the song for his album Toy after performing it live at a concert in 1999.

human be-in (10. 414)

Considered an overture to the city’s Summer of Love, the 1967 counterculture event—the focus of the hippie movement’s rejection of staid, middle-class morality, occurred on this day on the Polo Fields of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, drawing a crowd of some thirty-thousand. In turn inspired by sit-in and teach-in protests to erode vestigial segregationist practises in institutes of higher learning, the gathering took its name from an off-hand remark made by psychedelic artist Michael Brown Bowen the Love Pageant Rally, held the previous October in the Haight-Ashbury district to demonstrate against the outlawing of LSD—where thousands showed up and dropped acid in unison, the above organiser bringing the Grateful Dead, Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters and Janis Joplin to the event. Among invited speakers and performers—also arranged by Bowen—were Ram Dass, Dick Gregory, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti with Timothy Leary making the declaration “Turn on, tune in and drop out” and local bands Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and the Dead, staple acts of the Avalon Ballroom concert. Follow-on events included the Fly-In, Sweep-In, Yip-In, Love-In and John and Yoko Ono Lennon’s Bed-In.

Monday, 9 January 2023

strange days indeed (10. 402)

Released posthumously as a single with video accompaniment from the album Milk and Honey by Yoko Ono and John Lennon on this day in 1984, the lyrics reference the poem The Green Eye of the Yellow God by J Milton Hayes, There’s a One-Eyed Yellow Idol to the north of Kathmandu, and are an inversion of the adage, “Mother said they’d be days like these.” Most peculiar Mama.

Saturday, 7 January 2023

๐ŸŽผ (10. 393)

Via Waxy and Things Magazine, we are introduced to an ingenious bit of coding, a sleek JavaScript application programming interface, a complier under twenty kilobytes for making generative remixes—like this stand-out reimagining of Jean-Michel Jarre’s 1976 Oxygรจne, Part IV, inspired by the track “Popcorn” by electronic composer Gershon Kingsley. Give it a spin yourself or browse the extensive catalogue of contributors.

Friday, 6 January 2023

9x9 (10. 389)

varvuole: resides of Grado collect at Porto Mandracchio to watch the battle against the sea witches—see also—every Epiphany via Miss Cellania  

jet-set: the heyday of air travel and the factors that led to its downfall and disgrace  

missing link: the curious case of the Nebraska Man—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links 

the doors of mcmurdo: the barriers, corridors and dividers of the Antarctic research station—see previously—via Kottke  

foulbrood disease: a vaccine developed to prevent the spread of infections for honeybee hives  

serial fabricator: the life and lies of New York Congressman-elect George Santos

piltdown man: one of anthropology’s greatest and enduring hoaxes

the settle-carlisle line: scenic railway route built out of spite  

lately he’s been overheard in mayfair: a disco impression of An American Werewolf in London, considered for inclusion on the film soundtrack, by Meco—see previously

Sunday, 1 January 2023

9x9 (10. 379)

run with us: Lisa Lougheed vocal talents showcased for the Canadian animated television series The Raccoons—1985 to 1992  

the number 23: Tedium looks forward to the dawning year  

artisanal bitcoin: crypto mined with only slide rules and graph paper  

rip: this more inclusive, Sgt Pepper’s style (previously) obituary of those we lost in 2022—to include the very recently passing of Anita Pointer, Barbara Walters and Pope Benedict 

next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual: a literary guide to New Year’s resolutions and more from Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links 

web 1.0: a clarion call to bring back personal blogging—also the upteenth time this appeal has circulated since 2007—via Kottke’s Quick Links  

penny-farthing: a pocket-sized battery that can enhance a mechanical bicycle  

magic clock: a 1960 Mel-O-Toons classic reminds us it’s late than we think  

fever ray: a selection of new musical artist from Super Punch

Friday, 30 December 2022

everything everywhere all at once (10. 374)

Via Miss Cellania, who refrained from posting their year-end list on cinema in hopes of including this annual movie mash-up, we are treated to this three part expertly edited remix of 2022 trailers and teasers set to a driving soundtrack all arranged rather beautifully by Sleepy Skunk which can best the theatre-going experience in some regards, particularly given how few we have ventured out to see this year.

mmxxii (10. 369)

As this calendar year draws to a close and we look forward with anticipation to 2023, we again take time to reflect on a selection of some of the events that took place in 2022. Thanks as always for visiting. We’ve made it through another wild year together, and we’ll see this next one through together as well.

january: Violent protests erupt in Almaty in response to the Kazakh government ending fuel subsidies and lift price caps on petrol and heating oil, prompting a coalition of former-Soviet military forces to intervene. The US reflects on the one year anniversary of the Capitol insurrection and the fragile state of democracy.

Legendary actor Sidney Portier passed away, aged 94, as did singer Ronnie Spector (*1943). Tragically, seventeen individuals are killed in an apartment fire in the Bronx. Disturbingly the US Supreme Court blocks vaccination mandates for private companies-upholding the requirement for public sector workers. Two Democratic senators-who derailed president Biden’s Build Back Better plan-are also opposed to changing legislative rules to overturn the filibuster, allowing Republicans to block the enactment of a voter-rights protection bill. There are widespread calls for the resignation of Boris Johnson over revelations of work-dos during strict lockdown. The Queen strips Prince Andrew of his titles and military leadership roles over his association with sex pest Jeffrey Epstein and allegations of sexual assault. Russia seems poised to re-invade Ukraine, first undermining their cyber capabilities.  The Pacific island group volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haสปapai erupted violently, triggering tsunami waves halfway across the world in California and Nova Scotia. Performer Meatloaf has passed away, aged seventy-four as did comedian and actor Louie Anderson at sixty-eight.  Zen Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh who protested the Vietnam War and introduced mindfulness to the West dies aged ninety-five.

february: The leader of a defeated though resurgent ISIS, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quarshi, is killed in a US airstrike in Syria.

Tensions continue to mount in Ukraine over the spectre of an Russian invasion, with the US suggesting that Russia will stage a false-flag operation as a pretext to advance.   Truckers in Canada protesting COVID restrictions, mandatory passports blockade Ottawa; separately Justin Treudeu, Jacinda Arden and Keir Starmer need police intervention to be rescued from rioters.  The Queen celebrates her Platinum Jubilee with seventy years on the throne.  So called Canadian Freedom Convoys of big rig truckers shut down three key border crossings into the US, causing knock-on effects including factory shut-downs.  Provocatively, Russia begins military exercises in Belarus and on the Black Sea. 
Two powerful, successive windstorms, Ylenia and Zeynep, cause damage through a corridor in German after wreaking havoc in England and Wales (as Dudley and Eunice).  The Candy Bomber, Gail Halvorsen (previously) passes away, aged 101.  As the UK announces the relaxation of legal measures to combat the spread of the COVID virus, the palace announced that the Queen has contracted a mild case of it.  Putin recognises the sovereignty of break-away Ukrainian territories Donetsk and Luhansk and deploys peace-keepers to the regions nearly eight years to the day after applying a similar tactics to Crimea. 

march: Numerous Western companies suspend operations in Russia as sanctions intensify.  Shelling of civilian targets across Ukraine shows no signs of abating though the invasion has not been the easy and instant take-over that was apparently expected. 

Inflation surges as the price for everything spikes with the price of oil.  Many news outlets suspend reporting from Russia following passage of legislation that threatened individuals with fifteen-year sentences for spreading “fake news.” Sustaining a minor infection, US supreme court justice Clarence Thomas was discharged from hospital, a week after he was admitted. The news comes as the congressional panel investigating the 6 January attack on the US Capitol sought testimony from his wife and conservative activist, Virginia Thomas, after the revelation of a text message exchange between her and the White House chief of staff, urging him to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.  People Power Party candidate is narrowly elected president of South Korea.

april:  The US Senate, after much acrimony, confirms Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Though vice president Harris would have been the tie-breaker in the case of a fifty-fifty split, no Black woman in this forum had the chance to vote.  Viktor Orbรกn with fourth consecutive term as leader of Hungary. 

North Korea appears to be on the verge of resuming nuclear tests after a pause of five years, escalating regional tensions, after demolishing a symbolic hotel that held out the possibility of reconciliation. Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan was ejected by a vote of no confidence.  Hundreds die from mudslides in the Philippines and flash floods in South Africa.  Russia retaliates to the destruction of its flagship of the Black Sea fleet with renewed shelling in Kyiv and Lviv, having shifted focused to the southeastern part of Ukraine to create a corridor through rebel-held areas to Crimea and the sea.  Emmanuel Macron holds his presidency against Marine Le Pen.  Twitter agrees to sell itself to Elon Musk.  Moscow confirms Russia assault on Kyiv during visit by UN secretary-general Antรณnio Guterres, meeting with the Ukrainian leader just after a summit with Putin.

may: A leaked draft opinion from US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito suggests that the court is poised to over-turn the 1973 precedent that affords women access to abortion. 

The remaining contingent of soldiers holding Mariupol’s bulwark of resistance in the Azov steel plant have surrendered to Russian forces.   Australia’s conservative coalition government is defeated for the first time in a decade and the Labour party takes control.  A gunman espousing the Great Replacement Theory, tying into all the regressive, racist social movements in the United States, murdered ten individuals in Buffalo, New York.  A shooting at an elementary school in Texas takes twenty-one lives.  A dire shortage of baby formula in the US is on-going.  Monkeypox is spreading rampantly.  

june: the UK and the Commonwealth celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. 

Prompted by the publication of the Partygate investigation, Boris Johnson weathers a confidence vote by fellow party members but with more negative ballots than the votes that ended the ministries of Thatcher or more recently May. Portions of the January 6 select committee hearings are being televised.  The US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v Casey, prohibiting access to abortion in more than half of America and putting at risk same-sex marriage, gay rights and access to contraceptives. 

july: Russia takes control of the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine.  Yet another mass shooting occurs in the US, this time at an Independence Day parade in a Chicago suburb. 

Compelled by the resignation of over fifty chief ministers and secretaries (including those appointed a day and a half earlier) ultimately, cumulatively over the Chris Pincher scandal, Boris Johnson announces he will step down as leader of the Conservative Party but plans to hold on to his prime ministership until the party conference in the autumn.  Former Japanese prime minister Shinzล Abe is fatally wounded in an assassination attempt.  Actor James Caan passes away, aged 82. After massive unrest and protesters storming the presidential palace, Sri Lankan leader Gotabaya Rajapaska steps down.  After reaching a deal brokered by Turkey, the first Ukranian grain transport vessel sails into the Bosporus, bound for Lebanon.  Pioneering actor Nichelle Nichols passed away, aged eighty-nine.

august: In the backdrop of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and intensifying incursions from mainland China, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan.  Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is killed by a blade-wielding drone in Afghanistan.  The conservative state of Kansas rejects a referendum to outlaw all abortions.  The FBI conducts a search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate for mishandled government documents.  The US congress passes Joe Biden’s Build Back Better act. 

Taking a cue from Belarus, the governors of Texas and Florida are bussing migrants to New York and California.  Olivia Newton-John passes away after a long battle with cancer.  Fashion designer Issey Miyake (ไธ‰ๅฎ… ไธ€็”Ÿ) has also died, aged eighty-four.  Actor Anne Heche died after sustaining serious injuries in a car accident.  Salman Rushdie was stabbed by an assailant whilst delivering a lecture in Chautauqua, New York.  Joe Biden announces a jubilee on student debt that will positively impact millions of borrowers.  A redacted affidavit shows that over one hundred eighty classified documents were being sought at Mar-A-Lago, which Trump illegally removed when he left office.  Pakistan is devastated by heavy monsoons.  Ukraine begins a counter-insurgency to retake Kherson.  Mikhail Gorbachev passes away, aged 91.  

september: Liz Truss is chosen as new Prime Minister to replace Boris Johnson.  Queen Elizabeth II passes away, aged 96, with London Bridge protocols enacted.  Ukraine is seen to make major incursions into Russian held territories as municipal officials in Moscow and St Petersburg call for Vladimir Putin’s resignation. 

Charles III is proclaimed as new monarch as UK and Commonwealth enter a period of remembrance and mourning.  A Florida federal judge appoints a Special Master to review documents seized from Mar-a-Lago.  The UK economy tanks after Truss chancellor Kwarteng borrow more to reduce tax on business, garnering rebukes from Germany, the US and the IMF as the Pound Stirling approaches parity with the US dollar.  Iranians rage against their government after a young girl dies in custody of the morality police.  Russia appears to have sabotaged the Nordstream pipelines, rendering them unusable even if the gas is turned back on.

october: A hurricane batters Puerto Rico and Cuba, Florida and South Carolina.  Putin annexes four more regions in Ukraine though the hold is tenuous.  Coolio and Loretta Lynn pass away.  A mass shooting, knife attack takes place at a nursery in Thailand with two dozen children killed.  Joseph Biden pardons all of some six-thousand individuals charged with marijuana possession on the federal level.  Rhetoric over the use of tactical nuclear weapons by Russia is increasing. 

Ukraine damages the twenty kilometre bridge linking the annexed Crimea to the Russian mainland, a key supply route, across the Kerch strait.  In retribution, Russian attacks on civilian targets and infrastructure increase markedly.  Kwasi Kwarteng is dismissed, giving the UK four chancellors in as many months amid wide-spread calls for Liz Truss to resign.  Accomplished actor Robbie Coltrane passes away, aged 72, as does Angela Lansbury, aged 96.  Rishi Sunak becomes prime minister of the UK after being voted leader of the Tory Party. The husband of senior congressional member Nancy Pelosi is attacked by a man with a past of espousing fringe right wing theories with a hammer, the target intended to be the Speaker of the House.  Twitter is delisted from the stock exchange as Elon Musk takes over the platform.  Over one hundred and fifty individuals in Seoul are crushed in a stampede during a Halloween party in a narrow alleyway.  Citing continued Ukrainian drone attacks on its Black Sea fleet, Russia pulls out of a UN brokered arrangement to facilitate grain-shipment.

november: World leaders gather in Sharm el-Sheikh for COP27.   Ukrainian cities contend with power blackouts after Russia targets the country’s infrastructure.  Founding father of election science Sir David Butler passes away, aged 98. The anticipated repudiation of the US Democratic party failed to materialize, counter to polling and pundits’ expectations with those Republican candidates aligned with Donald Trump underperforming and falling short in the broad sense, holding the GOP bastions of Florida and Texas.  The UN announces the world population is at eight billion. 

At a ceremony at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump announces his third candidacy for the presidency, much to the dismay of a Republican party whom cannot challenge his bid.  Artemis I launches on its way to the Moon.  Speaker Pelosi steps down as party leader in the House of Representatives.  In response to Trump announcing his intent to run for president, a move in part calculated to frustrate legal action against him, Attorney General Merrick Garland appoints a special counsel to investigate the insurrection that Trump instigated and the US Supreme Court rules that Trump must turn over years of tax returns to Congress.   Mired in controversy, the World Cup hosted by Qatar commences.  Continued Russian airstrikes on Ukrainian infrastructure and utilities have caused a near total blackout in neighbouring Moldova.  Earthquakes cause mass destruction in West Java and Turkey.   The UK Supreme Court blocks a second referendum for Scottish independence.  Fame and Flash Dance singer Irene Cara passes away, aged 63.  Demonstrations against the government and the ruling party not seen in China since Tienanmen Square erupt in China over COVID lockdown protocols and after the emergency response to an apartment fire is apparently delayed due to restrictions and added barriers to restrict movement. Fleetwood Mac singer Christine McVie dies, aged 79. 

december: Chinese authorities begin relaxing COVID prevention measures in response to protests.  The G7 nations and the European Union try to enforce further sanctions against Russia by banning oil shipments by sea and placing an upwards price cap per barrel. In response to massive protests, Iran disbands its morality police.

Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Labs announce a breakthrough in harnessing the power of nuclear fusion for energy production.  During its final session before dissolving, the January Sixth Committee recommends to the Justice Department to bring four criminal charges, including inciting insurrection, against Trump.  The Specials lead singer Terry Hall passes away, aged 63.  In his first trip abroad since the Russian invasion, Zelenskiy speaks before a joint-session of Congress in Washington, DC––appealing for continued aid from the United States.  Much of the US is pummelled by a bomb-cyclone, a monstrous winter storm that forces the cancellation of holiday travel. Bolivian police detain opposition leader Luis Fernando Camacho for his role in the 2019 protests that prompted then-president Evo Morales to resign. Putin issues a decree prohibiting the export of Russian oil to countries and organizations that adhere to the US$60-per-barrel price cap that Australia, the European Union, and the G7 member states agreed upon earlier this month. The decree will be in effect from February through the summer.  Legendary footballer who made soccer the beautiful game, Pelรฉ, passes away, aged 82, as well as fashion icon Vivienne Westwood.


Wednesday, 21 December 2022

public domain revue (10. 352)

Under US copyright law, now more true to its lifecycle after years of belayed disposition, we can herald
the many works from 1927 that will become free to use and reuse as one sees fit on New Year’sDay. In the category of literature, we have works by Virginia Woolf and Arthur Conan Doyle as well as Hermann Hesse’s Der Steppenwolf and the final instalment of Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, and in film and stage Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and Wings, and in music the original “The Best Things in Life Are Free,” “Puttin’ on the Ritz” as well as “(We All Scream for) Ice Cream.” See the link from Duke Law Centre for more.

8x8 (10. 350)

gadgetbahn: displacing solid public transportation networks with amusement park rides won't address underlying traffic problems 

senior superlatives: the most interesting fonts and typefaces of the year  

๐Ÿ‘: the ten best films of 2022  

seneca falls: the altruistic act that is said to have inspired It’s A Wonderful Life and other festive adventures in audio with Josie Long  

fรฆรฐingarsaga: listen again to an eleven-year-old Bjรถrk Guรฐmundsdรณttir recite the Nativity Story in Icelandic  

as it was: some the most popular songs of the year  

shot sage blue marilyn: the most expensive works of art trading hands this year  

chief twit: abiding by results of a poll, Elon Musk announced he will step down as CEO of the social media platform as soon as a replacement can be identified

ะฟะพั€ัƒั‡ะธะบ ะบะธะถะต (10. 349)

Premiering on this day in Paris as the composer’s first commission for a film soundtrack, the suite to accompany the eponymous Lieutenant Kijรฉ (a Soviet comedy released in the US as The Czar Wants to Sleep about a non-existent officer under the eighteenth century Emperor Paul I, unpredictable and unpopular, the historical figure assassinated by his own elite guard) by Sergei Prokofiev quickly became his most popular work and became a standard of international concert repertoire. Elements and recognisable leitmotivs of the experimental five-movement have been incorporated into many film scores and popular songs of the Cold War era—particularly “Troika” as among the archetypal Christmassy songs.

Tuesday, 20 December 2022

and if you want to be free, be free (10. 347)

Premiering on this day in 1971, as our faithful chronicler informs, the romantic black comedy by Hal Ashby and Colin Higgins relates the narrative of Harold Chasen, an adolescent obsessed with the macabre, staging elaborate fake suicides, driving a hearse and attending the funerals of random strangers to the dismay of his wealthy, socialite mother, who goes to great lengths to try to make him more respectable, and Dame Marjorie Chardin, a seventy-nine year old he meets at a funeral mass, who counters his morbid demeanor and teaches him joie de vivre for the first time as their relationship develops into a more intimate one. The film’s soundtrack is provided by Yusuf Stevens. Producer and writer Higgins had expressed an interest later the decade after his work attained cult status after its initial mixed reviews in both a prequel, Grover and Maude wherein Maude learns how to break into cars and fence stolen property and a sequel, Harold’s Story about his life after meeting Maude though neither were pursued though was adapted into a Broadway stage play, a French made-for-tv-movie and a musical version.