“… our expectation that avant-garde art must puzzle, shock, and, above all, resist immediate understanding”: pianist-critic Charles Rosen on Elliott Carter (1908-2012) back in 1973
I’m writing about Adam and the Ants all week, at Hendrik’s excellent One Week One Band tumblr — a pleasure and an honour. I won’t quite say this is really actually what I became a music-writer to undertake, delayed by 30 years, except surely this is what I became a music-writer to undertake, and I only had to wait 30 years to find a way.
“No men with names that sound like Aglooka or Toolooa leap from the [crew lists of the Erebus and Terror] in the manner of ‘Ill-kern’/Pilkington or ‘Oolizhen’/Allison. However, it should be remembered that [Vilhjalmur] Stefansson found that even after repeated coaching the Inuit pronounced ‘Jim’ as ‘Perk’ or ‘Zerk’ and that to them ‘Rae’ sounded just like ‘Nerk’.”
—Unravelling the Franklin Mystery: Inuit Testimony, by David C. Woodman, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1st pb edn 1992, p.197
All the talking heads in the Peter Green documentary were male heads, I believe; and — for all they’ve achieved a kind of artless wondering openness towards the discussion of what must have been very tricky passages of their long-ago past — none seemed especially wise heads. Green himself, hearteningly enough, has emerged as a cheerfully plump balding hobbit of a man, a long long way from the ethereal and curly-headed yearning elf-poet of yore: he has — for someone who’s been through the extended labyrinthine haze of mental breakdown, medication and ECT and long stays on wards — a strikingly exact memory of moments, artistic or chemical or inspirational, on the cusp of his breakdown. He’s vague enough about what he wanted, what drove him — a thing that wasn’t yet there, in his music and his playing — but he’s funny and practical about everything else. Continue reading