Monday, December 30, 2019

Last #songlyricsunday for 2019: Crazy paving and quilts - sweet natural love - passion and activism drive creative and vicious madness

My final #songlyricsunday post is around two quotes and one song - Melua [performer] and Batt [songwriter]'s The closest thing to crazy.

When first I listened to Closest thing to crazy in 2005 on the television I thought How far from crazy I was. And those times when I had felt excruciatingly sane [intensely painful; embarrassing; tedious; awkward - thanks Apple Dictionary].

Other people have done it too - like Mike Batt the writer and a band called Blake which does choral and chamber work.

A continual thread in my life since the early 1990s has been mental health activism and advocacy in the best traditions of the World Health Organisation and everything short of that.

The lyrics which caught my ears were Feeling twenty-two acting seventeen. One of the big things about mental health and emotional distress can be a disconnection/dissociation between chronological age; developmental expectation and experienced reality. This can be echoed and has resonance in significant relationships and attachments. And I was reaching a lifestage when I was technically beyond the reaches of youth mental health - which is often provided through the auspices of student life and psychiatric/psychological aftercare services.

Often this conflict and dissonance can productively be tackled through creative work like writing; art; music or whatever outlet and input you have.

How can I think I'm standing strong
Yet feel the air beneath my feet?
How can happiness feel so wrong?
How can misery feel so sweet?
How can you let me watch you sleep
Then break my dreams the way you do?
How can I have got in so deep?
Why did I fall in love with you?
This is the closest thing to crazy I have ever been
Feeling twenty two, acting seventeen
This is the nearest thing to crazy I have ever known
I was never crazy on my own
And now I know that there's a link between the two
Being close to craziness and being close to you
How can you make me fall apart
Then break my fall with loving lies?
It's so easy to break a heart
It's so easy to close your eyes
How can you treat me like a child?
Yet like a child I yearn for you
How can anyone feel so wild?
How can anyone feel so blue?
This is the closest thing to crazy I have ever been
Feeling twenty two, acting seventeen
This is the nearest thing to crazy I have ever known
I was never crazy on my own
And now I know that there's a link between the two
Being close to craziness and being close to you
And being close to you
And being close to you

My 2019 self picks up on the folie a deux aspect. And the correlation between being close to craziness and being close to you. It can also be about the intense friendships that we valorise in youth - and/or the lack and the disappointment we perceive as well as the imbalances and the indifferences involved.

And that strong feelings and yearning are often associated with children - at least the relatively uninhibited expression of these. I think Batt is trying to say something.

Especially when he writes How can happiness feel so wrong? which I associate intimately with scrupulosity [a feature of much obsessive-compulsive disorder and also the personality type version which is closely linked - especially those with a religious content and/or background - though not exclusively so - we Humanists feel it too] and with depressive and anxious thinking - both of which can insinuate and make themselves feel right - especially in terms of traumatic spirals of shame and of guilt whether connected with action or feeling.

How can misery feel so sweet? - that ambivalence is very familiar to high achievers. And to sensation seekers and those who demand a heap of themselves. Again - there is a strong ambivalence in the push-me-pull-you feeling - which is associated with attachment. You can hold the misery and the sweetness and they touch on and with one another - and of course the happiness contains the wrong even as wrong runs and walks away with happiness and sweetness.

An earlier Song Lyric Sunday was about dreams and lullabies and sleep.

And it is so good to know that you are never crazy on your own - that crazes HAVE A CONTEXT.

This I recognise through all the fads that any well-constituted young person or student at any level experiences. The crazes and dazes and lazes I tried to represent through my writing - like Bourdieu and his habitus and [re]production.

There are crazes which tell you to murder your mother or your little sister or your governess or your cousins. If not literally; metaphorically or through tools.

And if you are lucky and if you are sensible ...

Standing strong and feeling the air under your feet - air is supposed to be up there and around us all. We do all breathe it. And some good advice is to breathe between spoonfuls and hopefully breathe between sentences - this saves the Wall of Text effect.

What a wonderful sensory and cognitive image for Ms Melua to put to life through her singing and launch her impactful career.

Before I introduce my first quote - which is from a very fine man called Edward Everett Hale from old-school Boston [MA, USA - as contrasted to the Lincolnshire version in the United Kingdom] I would like to make some last and ancillary reflections.

Oh break the fall with loving lies. I know those as consoling fictions most particularly and poignantly from a certain Brian Friel [Irish playwright who died recently] when I first encountered them in January 2001 [about six weeks later than I should have - a failure to get the books and the scripts you see] and his introducer for Faber and Faber.

Wild and blue hmm? It does seem like a lot of relationships that people will enter to in this New Year 2020; especially if they are visiting a new city and/or a new country.

Edward Everett Hale claimed kinship with Keller through her Mum, Kate Keller. Kate Keller was a New England transplant to the Southeast of the USA during and just before the Civil War which bitterly divided that country. He was also a New England priest.

His words are quoted on page 87 of Joseph P. Lash's authoritative biography of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan Macy - see I knew the Irish dander would come into handy here!

Lash describes Everett Hale as "one of New England's divines and social reformers" - in 1871 - some 9 years before Keller was born in 1880 - he started a group called Lend a Hand which was a very fine community organisation which advocated social work.

Poor, staid Laura Bridgman, who had been brought up in all the conventionalities of the most rigid New England propriety, used to say Helen was crazy. It was the craziness of sweet natural love.
Edward Everett Hale
[Lash 1980: 87] 

I think too of a young man identified as William who said Crazy is just a word in Torey Hayden's ground-breaking first work which was also published in 1980 One child. In French you would call it Enfant [but there is a much more evocative title] and in Polish Dziecko [which makes the ONE child part very clear]. Finally read it in late 2007. I do know that in German too it is called Meine Zeit mit Sheila.

Hayden's new book is called Lost Child and concerns a young lady in Wales who is known as Jessie. She has many of the calling cards of Reactive Attachment and characteristics of disinhibited social engagement.

And, oh, yes, the thing about sweet natural love which must have been lacking so much in Bridgman's upbringing and marked her so hard by the time she was 58. We know that she sought out so very much of it and needed lots of it. Partly due to the way Howe treated her.

And that Annie Sullivan said It is not a teacher the deaf-blind need ... it is another self. And she did try as far as she could be to represent that other self. Fraiberg writes very well in her Insights from the Blind which was very current when Lash was writing. Lash's principal biographical interest and original contribution to the Keller-Sullivan canon in the 1980s was in the socialism of Keller and the appeals she made to this compassionate conservatism which is what I would characterise the tone of Bostonian life at the time of Howe and Anagnos who was Howe's son-in-law.

I seem to remember how Keller grew like a clinging vine which brings home the nature of this love and this attachment - and how the adoration of Annie satisfied this side of her nature [the affectionate; ideological adolescent development].

Where Everett Hale says rigid I would say strict and then I had to go in and type the quote again a second time.

When you contrast the conventionalities as they were in the late 1800s you naturally - if you are an English Literature person - go thirty years into the Victorian era. What book do you expect I would pick up? And more specifically, what piece of feminist literary criticism would spice up this piece?

If you guessed that the title had passion in it - as in Charlotte Bronte: a passionate life by literary critic Lyndal Gordon - you would probably be correct.

So in context Gordon wrote an invigorating chapter called The Public Voice. In my musical world it makes me think of Morrissette and Ballard's All I really want which is the very first single from Jagged Little Pill.

The public voice which takes in late 140s and early 150s is very much about Jane Eyre in 1847 which Bronte had worked on for two years while she was in Manchester. Gordon brings out a cancelled line in the manuscript which had me thinking - what else had Bronte left out to shape the text that she did and that we know a hundred and sixty years later?

Here it is for you:

If he was subjugated so was I - and that by a strange and resistless sway

Also this capstone foundation of a paragraph shows us to be very careful before we accept what is avant garde and vanguard in literary criticism and its fashions and furbelows.

Aristotle does show us - the educated person does not simply accept. Six servants Kipling demonstrates to us - five Ws and an H.


The creative madness that Charlotte Bronte and other writers - Dickinson; Schreiner; Woolf; Plath - experienced in one way or another, is different from the vicious madness of Bertha. She is stupidly violent, like capricious fighter dogs with rending teeth. As Charlotte Bronte conceived her, Bertha was the cause of her misfortune, not her husband. It will not do to infuse Bertha with feminist sentiment if we care at all for what is there on the page as an emanation of its time and place. Women are not simply victims; they have, within them, the agency to discover gains in the most restrictive life. This is what Charlotte sought to show.
[Gordon 156: Charlotte Bronte - a passionate life 1994
which I am not sure if I read in 2002 first at the library - perhaps the September 2002 reading was another critic - Lucasta Miller I so strongly suspect
I know I read Gordon first myself in November 2017 around the second half of that month]

When first I read this excerpt in November 2017 ... the contrast between vicious madness and creative madness engaged me hard and would not leave me.

Someone very close to me reminded me that some eleven and a half years before, I had enacted a form of vicious madness [which is to say May 2006].

I experienced it in relation to a younger literary peer who had seemed to surpass me in accomplishment when I had stagnated for some ten months beforehand.

And over the years we have shared so many interpretations of the madness of Bertha and how Charlotte Bronte conceived her.

When we care about what is on the page - and only what is on the PAGE - and not what may lie in the world beyond the page [for example in Batt's The walls of the world].

Gordon of course is right - fundamentally right - about the agency to discover gains in the most restrictive life.

The dog is often a harbinger of fear and of trauma. They are also very comforting and play roles of help; companionship; care; empathy. Some ten years ago I read a wonderful passage about animals and unconditional love - which is again in contrast with inhumanity to humanity. Or Cards against humanity especially in a behaviourist manifestation.

What I would add is - feminism is not primarily about victimhood. Patriarchy and misogyny depend upon the manufacturing and reinforcement of victimology. Perhaps this makes me a radical feminist as opposed/a natural step from liberal feminism. Certainly the feminism as it was practised and experienced in the 1990s and crystallised and became an efflux in the 2000s.

Some really great essayists people can and should read:

  1. Coventry by Rachel Cusk
  2. Make it scream make it burn by Leslie Jamieson
  3. Trick mirror by Jia Tolentino
In their different ways they show agency and gains discovered in lives which are more or less restricted; whether by self or others or society and the interactions and relations involved.

Their passion is informed and their activism infectious.

Also I question creative madness and I problematise it especially in relation to Woolf and Plath and even Schreiner who I first encountered from a friendship with Vera Brittain and also Winifred Holtby. Literary life during the First World War and even during the Second was really something especially when you follow women poets and novelists and activists like Vida Goldstein and the women in Wayward Women which is an exhibition at the Old Treasury Building.

I had read Brittain back in July-August 1998 when I encountered Testament of Youth. It is a formidable text which saw me through so much during that period.

Another element is obviously colonialisation and the West Indies. Now I was not particularly naive at that point [which is to say May 1995 when first I read Jane Eyre] to West Indians in Britain and indeed the wider Commonwealth - had indeed put my hand at creating some and did over the next few months; like Sally Wallace who is a competitor to my romantic heroine in Mysterious Girl Conspicious Boy. Dorothy Edwards and her story about dinner ladies was a big inspiration to me in 1991 in that regard [The cat flap and the apple pie]. Obviously the racialisation/racialised identity and the Blackness/Brownness.

These women of course have agency too as Sue Sharpe's Just like a girl shows us. And I think too of Grace Forrest's philantrophic and social justice work.

If you were picking up what I was dropping in my Words don't come easy post [the one about Don't] I discovered much more Glenn Mederios especially his duet with Elsa - Love always finds a reason / Friend you give me a reason.

There was Nothing's gonna change my love for you and Lonely don't visit me any more.

And also why thirty matters. Not thirty years, exactly [even though the thirty-year rule is such a big thing in the public service and when we have literary and journalistic embargoes on our Right to Know as in the European Court of Human Rights and other places]. I was meaning more like thirty percent. In the Bourse there is often a thirty percent return for an exceptional stock or a well-performing equity. And when the reference point is something like a hundred, well, 70 to 130 can mean a big difference. Two deviations either way. And sometimes 30 words a minute in the typing world can make a big difference.

Then I remember that thirty is also three multiplied by ten and we have thirty days in our months like April and like June and indeed like September and November.

I am writing Crazy paving and quilts on the 30th day of the month.

I am wishing you, too, a happy New Year [and I realise that if I want to book the old Krakow restaurant/hotel that Jan Morris told us about in Fifty years of Europe for New Years' Eve I should have done it on 15 October 2019 - a date which proved very significant in my professional and personal life - she calls it a very pretentious kind of restaurant] and Sylwester and a great New Year's Eve however you define and choose. I will remind you that we have still 18 years to fix the New Millennial Bug - the one that is in 2038 and every second on the computer is 999,999,999,999 repeating.

Now if such a bug were on smartphones - and on iDevices - apparently my iPad's Photos app is not working so well just now and has not done since a big zoom.

It was offered me that I perhaps delve into the latest iThing and I am accepting and I am in process. Right now the Dreamy Fish is a heavyweight and it has a World Clock which takes me through Kuala Lumpur and Kiev and Tehran and Montreal and Caracas and St Peter Port and Paris.

Remembering the Suffragette Ribbon and the Artists' Society which I wish to visit in mid-January 2020. The Romanesque architecture is brilliant and invigorating to use two words.

Ah - the vulnerabilities in the devices and our selves.

What I was hinting at last month [and probably ten days ago also] was a concept of developmental vulnerability - which is measured in six fields. Roughly language; social; gross motor; fine motor; emotional and a sense of general/holistic health and fitness [the sort that Marilla Cuthbert alludes to through the narrator when she talks about a sense of humour being an indication of the fitness of things]. We call this a comprehensive assessment and we try to do it at certain intervals - so that it is not a big and scary thing - but can be met with equanimity and with fidelity and a Middle Way such as is embodied in a Yusuf Islam song.

Still want to say Chocolate Buddha is a very fine production and I think Geoffrey Falk has a critique of it in his Rock and holy waters - which is an example of #yourfaveisproblematic - especially when Christopher Cross's Arthur's theme is almost entirely encoded through dhimmis - probably not quite so when You say it's for harmony and for tolerance - and my own hypocorism comes up. [Someone may look for another hypo- word in relation to my interpretations of harmony and tolerance - especially during my campaigning days and years!]

We call this thing psychoeducational and psychosocial. I think of it as like a spider's web or like a plot with Louise Bourgeois and Maman the spider - she knits it and then she stays away.

Wonderful song from Wilbur the pig - it is called I can talk - in the 1973 Hanna-Barbera adaptation which defined a generation's experience of Charlotte's Web on screens big and small.

Thirty years ago I saw it as a puppet production.

And there is still Hugo's Notre Dame to read - thinking too of St Patrick and his Cathedral and the Artist's Trail for the Heidelberg School. And the big tinny bells and the roses and the hedges. The Lutheran church is very dignified and active and unpretentious.

I am working through Endacott's trilogy of the Seven Lakes and also the book about Freya. I have read Unreliable Memoirs and seen Jojo Rabbit. Very glad I took the chance to buy this self-published Australian author who uses an awesome designer and illustrator. The King, Gidyon, reminds me of a few people I have known - especially the moment he tries to teach advanced mathematics to seven and eight year olds in the Royal Families and not the Assassin Family which his retainer and special person Elen-ai [who is of very low birth and rose up through the ranks through loyalty and dignity and protection] is part of. And to think he is only seventeen still! It is a year after the Queendom of the Seven Lakes which I read over Christmas and Boxing Day/St Stephen's Day 2019.

Janine McCulloch's book about Provence and Cote d'Azur from 2013 was one of my more planned impulsive purchases. She describes the markets and attractions and cities and villages with panache and with a honesty worthy of more than the lifestyle work she is too often pigeoned in.

There is one other nice book I read through the break - it is a story in pictures by the author of the Lunch Lady series who uses minimal colours to express and make testimony to his grandparents and his mother Leslie and his father Brian Hennessey [yes I know - very Irish - in contrast to the Polish and Swedish in the grandparents' diaspora life]. It is the second graphic novel I have read in 2019 since Roz Chast's Can't we talk about something more pleasant which is about the illness and decline and legacy of her troubled relationship with her ageing parents as they go through the chronic and the terminal and the quotidian. I do like the way Jarrett has gone through things and done things and showed us his artistic efforts and career and how he influences the next generation who in turn influences the next and it is never ever one way.

The direction is like the thing we call crazy paving which would describe lots of cobblestones and also the crazy quilt. When I think of the latter I think of Moorhouse and Hogan and Lily and Jack and Maddy and Spike - I have not quite got up the guts or the garters to buy Unconditional Love. The legacy of the haute behaviourism of the second half of the 1990s is not quite resolved, particularly the bits which clash with the eclectic humanism I adopted and adapted. And then I realise how far I have to begin!

I trust I will meet the challenge with decency; dignity; diplomacy - finding my own language of worth and corresponding with and through all the worthy courses of present communication and future life.

Goodbye, au revoir, do widzenia ...

Friday, December 20, 2019

A golden start; a dream run: Glissando and Teetaatumtee when they came for a Christmas visit

It all started with a Glastonbury-like feeling in a local paddock in the space between 1987 and 1988.

I was a small girl who if given my own head would use it and quietly - and sometimes not so quietly - wander.

Some four or five years later Glissando and Teetaatumtee came for a Christmas and New Year visit [1992-93].

Teetaatumtee liked the outdoors very much and he liked me and I liked him and we had fond memories and appreciated one another's Being and Presence more than Presents.

It is like the spirit of the Oh very young song by Yusuf Islam in the 1970s.

Glissando was a musician and a very quiet man who liked the semirural settings which were characteristic of our milieu and our world very much.

Like many children and teenagers in my orbit, Teetaatumtee appreciated the lattice treehouse that was in my garden from 1990 to 2000 - he liked the inside and the windows and the desk and the dolls' house that had been made.

Glissando appreciated quiet time and undemanding company with my mother who when we had known each other most actively was an advocate-activist-secretary.

They appreciated the contemplation.

Last Friday was the anniversary of martial law in Poland.

When I looked for "Walęsa" in my notebooks I remembered that Jean-Michael Jarre had a concert from 2005. It was in the Lenin Shipyard or perhaps the Conrad.

There is a very fine poem by Apollo Korzeniowski which he wrote to his brother-in-law:

Ready is your boat, and in the outspread sails,
Blows the wind, lighthearted,
Some of us life may deceive,
You will choose the right way.

May cowards tremble at lofty waves,
To you they bring good fortune!
You know the hidden reefs
And are familiar with the tempest!

Your eager boat, with eagle’s wings,
Will make a rapid passage,

And, steered with reason, governed by strength,
Will reach the shores of fame!

But, resting on your journey,
In the golden lands of fortune,
Remember, o remember, with a sigh,

Those who perished in the tempest!

I read it in Gustaf Morf's The Polish heritage of Joseph Conrad.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

A Body of Knowledge: reflections on #gfchildgenius2019 - and one more sleep to #2019ukgeneralelection

Fifty-six seconds into Joe's version of Radiohead's No surprises - which is about Theresa May and the last three years of her political life [2016-present] - there is a great line which at first when I heard it the week before last I believed I had hallucinated it:

Negotiate my sacrifice

Then in context there was "Handshake with Jeremy Corbyn"

and the chorus Not so strong and not so stable now.

Joe is an incredible, indescribable team of political satirists who I had got onto when I was looking up Common People which was the satire of 2010 - there is a terrific Rees-Mogg version talking about that whole Etonian attitude.

And Clive James died towards the end of November 2019 - I thought I would pass on writing about that until I sounded and felt less like a self-centred three-year-old. Unmoored and abandoned, you know, was probably the core of that feeling. James, of course, was an Australian expatriate, who went to Pembroke College, and demystified oh so much with his unique take on life. He had spent the last nine years living with leukaemia. Yes - from roughly 71 to 80 years old.

I have two of James's critical anthologies: The crystal bucket and In the land of shadows.

And in November 2007 - the Big Kahuna - the Cultural Amnesia.

Then there was the whole Marie Frederiksson tribute. She has just died too. So good to know her Swedish songs from the 1990s as well as all the awesome things she did with Roxette.

The Grand Final of Child Genius happened on the Special Broadcasting Service.

Our four genii were Karin whose mother is a doctor; Mahesh and Aidan who both attained perfect scores in the anatomy round [15 points is what you need] and Callum who was doing it for a young lady in the competition - Cecilia - and also has a phenomenal knowledge of the human body.

Callum was the one who said the brain did everything. His brain does a lot - 145 and more in the Intelligence Quotient stakes.

Karin is very very confident and she had 14 all up; Callum had 10.

The genii spent time with a University mentor and showed off their skills.

As there was a tiebreaker and 10 questions were required the last 5-10 minutes were intense!

Turned out to be all the general knowledge.

I yelled out that there were twelve stars in the European Union flag - this is something that will always be; no matter how many countries enter or leave. That is a form of strength and stability I do appreciate very very much. [Aidan answered that question too very quickly - speed is Aidan's big thing - Mahesh has a good memory which is not necessarily photographic/eidetic - but fortunately that kind of memory is not the only one which will succeed in gifted land; whether under pressure or not].

Also the Swedish flag. Love the way they described it.

I will always remember about fibres as the thing that holds the body together when your body makes clots. Some people thought capillaries or celluite or another connector beginning with C.

The first three questions in everyone's set were relatively easy. This was usually because of missing letters like portmanteau...

And the spelling - I got none of them correct at all.

The mathematics - I kept my distance [would have to do the sums backwards and/or sideways].

Mahesh made a wonderful acceptance speech - thanking his Mum for helping him study and Aidan for being such a good competitor and keeping him all the way down to the wire - and his whole Sri Lankan Tamil family and friends and community.

Aidan shone when he received the silver medal.

Remembering how very big the trophy is for 12-year-old Mahesh - it must have taken up his whole middle.

Thinking of how Callum lost confidence after about question 10 and promptly had the next four go wrong.

Karin - well, Karin! She shone on the stage and her mother and father and brother were there.

So happy to see all the genii and their families in the audience as well as everyone who has been interested in this competition's 2019 iteration - people like Susan Carland and the people of Mensa and the universities.

And really, The last leg? HUGH GRANT is "the prime minister Britain needs right now?" ;*).

No, afternoon sleeps do not make elections go any faster - though they may well be needed and desired after a tussle at the ballot box.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

#songlyricssunday WORDS DON'T COME EASY F. R. David - "Melody so far my best friend"

3 November 2019: [a fortnight ago] there was an emergency in Dresden relating to the neo-Nazis and more specifically the political pressure group PEGIDA. Very discombulating to see them on the top of the news page and the situation in Dresden more generally.

10 November 2019: [last Sunday] I watched part of a film called BALLOON which is about two East German families trying to get around the Berlin Wall to the West. That week there had been lots of celebrations about the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall - I learnt a lot about journalists and Stasi informers. [That was a story which unfolded with my youth].

One of the scenes which moved me really hard was the youth confirmation of the 14-year-olds who were in the eighth grade or the third form [as lots of Europeans call that school stage/year - and still did in the 1970s and 1980s where Balloon is set - until about the National Curriculum in 1988 in the UK case and everyone had years except in grammar and more traditional schools]. The father - Strezlyk - sees a lot of nonsense and balderdash in it.

The last scene I saw was the first attempt at the balloon and then the blue screen kept breaking up from behind. It is a terrible thing for those with migraines and with photosensitivity; at least moderately disruptive and intolerable for every patron. You do get a complimentary drink and/or something to eat that you choose. You do get to know your patrons and the people.

It was a serious matter when it got into the advertisements which tell about future movies.

So that evening, after I went to a nearby park of native shrubs and trees with a lookout which is closed on Sundays, and to a ramen restaurant some way away in a food court, and the Housemuseum to see some challenging and provocative modern art - I drew a concertina door with two folds.

The outside is the setting up of the balloon process by the families.

There is a statistical opener which tells about the escapes from East to West Berlin and from East to West Germany from 1976 to 1988. So many attempts; so many failures.

The inside is a whole lot of nature in three colours [purple; red; yellow] and Zentangle-inspired artforms. It has been four years now since Zentangle was introduced to me.

Heraldry-type work as well as Zentangle patterns and regularly florescence flowers with scallop outline.
Inside of the fold: various shrubs and trees and yellow cloud forms as well as scallop patterning

Image divided in to two halves: top half shows balloonist and engineers; bottom half shows the balloon emptied with the eight people in Federal Republic of Germany [Bundesrepublik] in 1970es.
The outside of the fold shows the setting up of the balloon and the trial balloons

and then the family being triumphant - there were two families; eight members.

Some were young girls; some were small boys.

upside down people with hot air balloons going to West Germany [the Federal Republic of Germany] in the 1970s and 1980s]
And this is roughly what happens when the world is upside down.

We do in fact see the world this way with primitive maps - however that was the scanner
Which leads me to the earlier Disney film - Balloon for 2018 was the very first German telling/narrative - which was made in 1982.

It provoked a lot of imagination and empathy for things which are often very hard to talk about and/or witness.

Like F. R. David and his piece of Italo-pop or Euro-pop which I am going to share with you today through Song Lyric Sunday. The prompt for 17 November 2019 is Do and Don't. Jim Adams has been using some very clever grammatical prompts.

What do we do when words don't come easily?

Words - don't come easy to me
How can I find a way to make you see - 
I love you
Words don't come easy

Words - don't come easy to me
This is the only way for me to say -
I love you
Words don't come easy

Well, I'm just a music man
Melody's so far my best friend
But my words are calling I'm wrong
and I, I reveal my heart to you
and hope that you believe it's true 'cause

Words - don't come easy to me
How can I find a way to make you see -
I love you
Words don't come easy

This is just a simple song
That I've made for you on my own
There's no hidden meaning, you know
and I - when I say I love you, honey
Please believe - I really do 'cause

Words - don't come easy to me
How can I find a way to make you see -
I love you
Words don't come easy

It isn't easy
Words don't come easy

Words - don't come easy to me
How can I find a way to make you see -
I love you
Words don't come easy
Don't come easy to me
This is the only way for me to say -
I love you 
Words don't come easy

Words don't come easy

thank you Golyr for the clean reproduction of the text - diest sehr gut!

When this song came to the consciousness it was only really in Monaco and France; a year later it became a hit for the whole of Europe.

If you liked easy listening and ballads and songs which didn't announce themselves though they had a beat and a self-definition Words don't come easy was a natural choice.

Love the modesty of the narrator and the way he talks about himself - I'm just a music man.

And the simple song verse. Some people may want to shake the narrator and/or kick him somewhere.

One hopes the hearer will respect the narrator enough to see - and not see past - words - don't come easy and their relationship is one which transcends and doesn't depend on words.

In late October 2019 I was fortunate enough to discover which was an incredible streaming experience. For 30 days you can listen to all the music free and even make comments.

Soundcloud has been kind as well. I was tempted to listen to Ok boomer so I did. And then some rapping about a toy/console character with a co-producer Poloboy21 who is about 18.

So many hidden meanings; so many implicatures and inferences we make. And love drives us to understand them all - and hope for what we do not understand and cannot undertake - yet!

The narrator is very innovative and creative in finding ways for the person - and for the listener/reader/receiver - to understand.

Of course this makes me think of love languages.

I particularly appreciated the way Rachel Reyes made a lyric video.

The don't is especially powerful in this song because it would be a very different song without it. 

We would have our usual suave and articulate hero who would be very hard to relate to - someone who is in a romantic novel. 

Now those people can be complex and intriguing characters - even in a comedy of manners like Vanity Fair which I am very glad I did not binge upon when the opportunity was offered to me. 

I do still want to know what happens to Becky Sharp and Steyne and Rawdon the younger - I did feel the narrative change its tone when Becky and Amelia were mothers and Jos was in India being a nabob - specifically Bengal [now Bangladesh if in the East].

I am thinking that Melody so far my best friend is the most powerful of the lot - the one single lyric. Unfortunately it is not an earworm - though the concept and the idea certainly is

Repetition of Words don't come easy is a good one.

That is repeated four times at the end of each verse plus chorus. As if to say "Words don't come easy but if you keep at it they WILL come or they MAY come".

"Try not to worry because everyday concerns would bring them out".

Wikipedia reminds us just how big a hit this Italo-pop piece was on the British charts in particular. Number two! And that was in 1983. So you see it was a slow burn.

Its genres are soft rock; eurobeat; synthpop. Some incredible equipment was put onto it; a Simmons; a Lind; a Oberheim.

Someone who was instrumental [I think the pun is allowed] in putting it together was one Roberto Fozzini. He is the songwriter.

In the 21st century - which leads us to 2000 - there was a French-language version with Winda.

A whole generation of children and adolescents had grown up into their loving and dating years.

And by [7 December] 2006 when the video above was made an era had ended.

Seven years longer than I had any reason or right to expect.

YouTube had mainstreamed and mainlined into all our musical brains.

Chart positions for Words don't come easy as of 1982 and 1983:

Did you know, first, that it sold a million copies in France and indeed across lots of French overseas territories - like the ones in Africa; Asia; the Pacific?

Springbok Radio in South Africa absolutely loved it. There was a lot of big trouble with Apartheid which did affect a lot of people in the Commonwealth. I was still so little when the Rhys Muldoon issue came through - I am thinking Jim Bolger and Greg Chappell and Chappeli.

Perhaps Laurence was still alive.

Australia reported it by the end of 1983 as #49 - wow! the top 50! When I think of all the good Australian and international songs which you can experience on nzoz83 - and that I have shared with you in the past - I think Words don't come easy deserves to be up there.

Number one was an acclamation in Sweden; Switzerland; Spain; Ireland; Italy; the whole Eurochart [if you want to listen to decent European music - you could do worse than start there - or maybe with Caroline or Luxembourg like Robin Carmody of High-functioning human fame - or Humain a niveau-haut which is what I would have grown up with] Austria and Belgium [the Flanders version]. Switzerland and West Germany were into it.

Now if that isn't an advertisement for detente and/or European unity I don't know what is.

We do badly need it now - especially on 12 December 2019. Badly.

Lots of debates on the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Independent Television in the next few weeks.

On two separate Dutch charts Words don't come easy came #2 as it did indeed in France. And The Official Charts Company of the United Kingdom.

The Commonwealth of Nations was far more mixed - Canada thought this song should come ninth. I am sure the Quebecois market/vote drove it - though there is no reason English Canada shouldn't have liked such a smooth song. 

New Zealand made it seventh and Australia's Kent Charts put it as 12th.

Meanwhile on the hot 100 of Billboard Words don't come easy was 62nd place.

Turns out there were several remixes within the 1990s - 1997 and 1999 respectively in Finland and France - these were both in the top 30 - 12 and 27 for the Finnish and French ones.

Another Don't song I like very much and discovered in early 2001 is Heart don't change my mind in the Elaine Paige version - though it was sung by Streisand and Glen Medeiros who I think I will explore more during the week [especially a lyric video of Lonely won't leave me alone - when you think this situation is pervasive and permanent this is when you are in big big trouble and disturbance. Systemic work helps too - there is a Minister for Loneliness and another for Social Inclusion].

During the week. too, I am seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and its Second Part.

#keepthesecrets is reminding me of Luria and Vygotsky and a cognitive test.

It is about buttons and instructions.

And commands in particular. "Don't press; don't press; press" and "Press; press; don't press" is said to 3 year olds; 4 year olds; and 5 year olds by an experimenter/examiner.

Vygotsky was the First Master of Inner and Private Speech.

So he wanted to see how far and how much the children internalised these instructions and related ones in real life and culture.

I learnt of this examination in James Britton's Language and Learning.

Probably somewhere after the children's dialogues and before Participant and Specator which I feel is the meat and potatoes of this book.

I think also of expressive; transactional and poetic and what a tightrope and precipice it can really be.

Children do play still in the 21st century - however the play behaviour of the children of the 1950s and 1960s was wow especially Alison and Claire Britton - Claire was a perceptive and caring young lady by the time she was written about as a late teenager.

[and she is part of the inspiration for all the responsible and competent eighteen-year-olds I write about who have an ethical system and a humanitarian streak.

The fault is to me, though, that it breaks down in the early twenties, more or less catastrophically].

Wednesday last [13 November 2019] I read a wonderful report by a Consultant Psychiatrist on Attachment and in particular the First Year Cycle - which had been spoilt for me by certain populist Americans from 2002 to 2008.

Something important I learnt: you need only be 30% sensitive or have sensitive interactions for that proportion.

Thirty percent of anything is bloody significant. Especially it could sway cognitive or linguistic delay or deviance.

As I said words don't come easy - but they don't have to to be socially significant or valid.

Friday, November 08, 2019

Lead; learn; leave: Interesting answers for linguistically-oriented Quorans embedded for November 2019 and compelling papers in varied fields of interest

Over the past 45 months I have been asked - and asking - Quora questions. [only about 10 for the asking portion].

[in 2020 I will have been doing it for four years as of February].

Here is a Quora answer someone asked about Your future being blessed and secured:

Read Adelaide Dupont's answer to Your future is blessed and secured. Is it correct? on Quora

[hoping the JavaScript is behaving itself!]

And another response/answer I made about despise and detest - I went up close and personal for this one. [I wrote a book called Ever the Westerner in which the diarist-heroine-protagonist says these things in her narrative - so it was fresh in my mind at that point. Though I have not read that script since early in the 21st century].

This heroine would have a habit of saying "I utterly detest" and "I utterly despise" as if those words were not strong enough on their own and she could not say them on her own.

The related words our questioner references are contempt and disdain.

Read Adelaide Dupont's answer to What does the word "despise" mean? Does it only mean to regard with contempt and disdain, or can it also be used as a synonym for detest? on Quora

And this third question is about "Old-fashioned slang". Yes: words have fashions.

A bit more about me and grouse : I was quite overbowled back in February 1993 when I saw it on a student writing assistant tool.

I did learn later on that grouse in its non-slang sense meant something about a bird.

Read Adelaide Dupont's answer to What's some outdated slang you used to use that no one says today? on Quora

Another young person asked about dramatic mistakes. I was able to edit the question slightly so that mistaks were mistakes and the previous word agreed with dramatic; and send it to other Quoran topics like Drama as an interpersonal interaction and English phrases - where I have answered some hundred questions.

One question I would like to know -- is how do you embed the questions onto your blog and make sure they're small enough to fit in the space?

mean/answer/Adelaide-Dupont'>Read Adelaide Dupont's answer to What do "dramatic mistakes" mean? on Quora

It all started with someone asking I don't want to be somebody; I want to be somebody better.

Very relatable!

Read Adelaide Dupont's answer to What does the phrase "I am not trying to be somebody but just somebody better" mean? on Quora

My 1987-88 self was seriously counselled and bounced against every catchphrase there was, but my 2019 self found it hard to find a specific one.

Finally I went back not quite so far - 2006 - and found O RLY? which is short for Oh really? and seems very contemptuous.

Read Adelaide Dupont's answer to What new catch phrases do you tend to avoid using whenever possible? on Quora

Now that I think about so close and so far - it seems to me that the conflict comes in when the "so close" is concrete and the "so far" is abstract.

And of course the "so far" can be interpreted provisionally - that you are still at it.

Read Adelaide Dupont's answer to What is the meaning of "so close yet so far"? on Quora

If any kind people know about docking - of course one can always add or edit to an answer and indicate that one has done so - that would be so much to the good

And if the person can remember that my definitions tend to be loose usage and anything but exact:

Read Adelaide Dupont's answer to What is the exact meaning of 'docking'? on Quora

People have a way of asking me all sorts of IT questions [information and communications technology] Whether they talk about burner phones or deafen [on DISCORD!?!?!??!?!] or the digital Iron Curtain I am always happy to oblige.

Read Adelaide Dupont's answer to What does deafen mean on Discord? on Quora

Read Adelaide Dupont's answer to What does the term 'Chin Stroker' mean? on Quora

When people ask about chinstrokers I got a picture in my head about Stephen Fry, the multitalented comedian whose Fry Chronicles I was about due for a re-read. A question that helps me get a picture in my head ...

Read Adelaide Dupont's answer to What is a ‘digital iron curtain’? on Quora

Above is the answer to the question about the Digital Iron Curtain.

Below is the answer to the question about the Burner Account.

Read Adelaide Dupont's answer to What is a burner account? on Quora

This Tuesday [Guy Fawkes Day - 5 November 2019] I received two interesting questions:

One is about the coup de main

Read Adelaide Dupont's answer to What is a coup de main? on Quora

and the other is about well-founded fear [sometimes fear can be very well FUNDED too! in fact all too often!]

Read Adelaide Dupont's answer to What does well-founded fear mean? on Quora

Did you know not all heroes wear capes?

Read Adelaide Dupont's answer to "Not all heroes wear capes." Who does this phrase make you think of and why? on Quora

I thought I would put some papers here too so you can meet my heroes who may or may not wear capes:

Maurice Stierl wrote Can Migrants at sea be heard? [Stehl 2019]. He lectures/teaches/studies at University of Warwick.

Markieta Domecka wrote about gender and migration and reflexitivity especially where process is concerned! She is at Nottingham.

Jordi Valverddu [Barcelona] wrote about robotics and robotic devices - "What's your robotic challenge"? Maybe blended cognitions can help.

He wrote another interesting paper about Monamides and how they stimulate emotions and psychosocial states with some friends and fellow academics. The natural thing is about amino and mono- and multi- amino acid or MOA as it is called in the more popular literature like Anthony Hordern's Tranquility denied which was around when I was a little girl. And I read it in the early to mid 2000s. #fuzzylogic #aminoacids

Then I must find out about Max Talanov and Alexey Leukhin - he is an undergraduate at Kazan University and he went to a technical high school in that part of the world. For some reason his profile just says "Alexey". Like Max he is into affective computing and neuroscience interfaces.

One of my favourite people in is Springer - he writes all kinds of papers about anarchy, anarchism, geopolitics and neoliberalism. He teaches this year and last year at the Australian University of Newcastle - that part of the world is under fire of the catastrophic variety [well, Tenterfield and Armidale and 16 places in New South Wales are and 3 places in Queensland].

Sometimes people feel as if neoliberalism = the living dead and that there is "no more room in hell". Simon Springer's first paper I wish to share with you is all about that.

Springer wrote another interesting paper.

Powerful ideas have anatomy - you can pull them apart and see how they work. When you see how neoliberalism works you may be less frightened - or even more frightened than you are today.

And that is probably not the most interesting paper I have read - I intend to read it on the weekend and the others too.

In the November edition of the Insecure World of Writers the question was asked:

What is the strangest thing you have researched?

I will say that "Active research make the world less foreign and alerts me to the strange in myself and in other people and this assists me greatly in life and literature.

Even passive research is of some benefit and empowering.

Research means of course to look again and look more bravely and deeply than you may have done before - research is a provocation; a prompt; it keeps you independent and wise and honest".