Bad

Jun. 26th, 2009 10:53 am
rhythmaning: (whisky)
Late last night - well, early this morning -I was told Michael Jackson was dead.

My first thought was Michael Jackson or Michael Jackson...
rhythmaning: (Armed Forces)
Until I read her obituary in the Economist, I had never heard of Alison Des Forges.

I found the obituary very distressing, because of the story it tells of her on the phone to a friend during the Rwandan genocide:
Mrs Des Forges called her every half-hour, late into the night. She heard her describe steadily more alarming scenes—militiamen going from house to house, pulling people out and killing them. Eventually, they came to Ms Mujawamariya’s door. Mrs Des Forges told her to pass the telephone to the killers. She would pretend to be from the White House, she said, and warn them off. “No, that won’t work,” said Ms Mujawamariya. Then she added: “Please take care of my children. I don’t want you to hear this.” And she hung up.

The Economist goes on to describe Ms Des Forges work documenting genocide and war-crimes on both sides of the conflict, and elsewhere as well. It contains more, equally disturbing, details.

It is important to remember these things.
rhythmaning: (Armed Forces)
Until I read her obituary in the Economist, I had never heard of Alison Des Forges.

I found the obituary very distressing, because of the story it tells of her on the phone to a friend during the Rwandan genocide:
Mrs Des Forges called her every half-hour, late into the night. She heard her describe steadily more alarming scenes—militiamen going from house to house, pulling people out and killing them. Eventually, they came to Ms Mujawamariya’s door. Mrs Des Forges told her to pass the telephone to the killers. She would pretend to be from the White House, she said, and warn them off. “No, that won’t work,” said Ms Mujawamariya. Then she added: “Please take care of my children. I don’t want you to hear this.” And she hung up.

The Economist goes on to describe Ms Des Forges work documenting genocide and war-crimes on both sides of the conflict, and elsewhere as well. It contains more, equally disturbing, details.

It is important to remember these things.
rhythmaning: (Default)
As [livejournal.com profile] morgaine_x has pointed out, the death of sometime Glaswegian singer-songwriter John Martyn has been announced.

A mate of mine from Glasgow claims John Martyn stole his name: John and his brother Martin went to see Martyn play in a bar in Glasgow before he was wellknown, and they were chatting after the gig; Martyn said he was looking for a stage name, and decided to take theirs!

[Edit] You can listen to his most famous album, Solid Air for free here.
rhythmaning: (Default)
As [livejournal.com profile] morgaine_x has pointed out, the death of sometime Glaswegian singer-songwriter John Martyn has been announced.

A mate of mine from Glasgow claims John Martyn stole his name: John and his brother Martin went to see Martyn play in a bar in Glasgow before he was wellknown, and they were chatting after the gig; Martyn said he was looking for a stage name, and decided to take theirs!

[Edit] You can listen to his most famous album, Solid Air for free here.
rhythmaning: (Default)
A fair number of people seem to have died over the holiday period. I knew about Harold Pinter.

Yesterday, I learnt that Helen Suzman, a South African politician who fought apartheid for many years, died on New Years Day. Radio4's obituary programme Last Word discussed her life at the start of yesterday's programme. (They also had a long piece about Pinter, by one of his school friends with whom he stayed friends his whole life.)

And, listening to Jazz Record Requests just now, I heard that trumpeterFreddie Hubbard also died last week. Damn.
rhythmaning: (Default)
A fair number of people seem to have died over the holiday period. I knew about Harold Pinter.

Yesterday, I learnt that Helen Suzman, a South African politician who fought apartheid for many years, died on New Years Day. Radio4's obituary programme Last Word discussed her life at the start of yesterday's programme. (They also had a long piece about Pinter, by one of his school friends with whom he stayed friends his whole life.)

And, listening to Jazz Record Requests just now, I heard that trumpeterFreddie Hubbard also died last week. Damn.
rhythmaning: (christmas)
Well, actually, Thor Nogson.

I heard this morning that Oliver Postgate had died. I wasn't into the Clangers, and Bagpuss was (I think) after my time; but I did love Noggin the Nog.

When I was looking through my old autograph book the other day, I found that I had this sketch of Thor Nogson by Peter Firmin, who illustrated the series, from book show in 1971. In memory of Oliver Postgate, then:

thor nogson001 bw

rhythmaning: (christmas)
Well, actually, Thor Nogson.

I heard this morning that Oliver Postgate had died. I wasn't into the Clangers, and Bagpuss was (I think) after my time; but I did love Noggin the Nog.

When I was looking through my old autograph book the other day, I found that I had this sketch of Thor Nogson by Peter Firmin, who illustrated the series, from book show in 1971. In memory of Oliver Postgate, then:

thor nogson001 bw

rhythmaning: (Default)
From the Independent: Actor, writer and director famed for his epic plays and one-man shows.

I particularly liked the last comment: "His death was unexpected. But then, so were most yhings he did."
rhythmaning: (Default)
From the Independent: Actor, writer and director famed for his epic plays and one-man shows.

I particularly liked the last comment: "His death was unexpected. But then, so were most yhings he did."
rhythmaning: (Default)
I have just learned that Esbjorn Svensson has died.

I was quite shocked by this. Jazz is full of stars who are near to death – there are several musicians I have been to see only because I thought it might be my last chance. (Sometimes I was right.)

But Svensson was younger than me; he died in a scuba diving accident. It is very tragic.

I first saw his band, the Esbjorn Svensson Trio – EST – play ten years ago or so, in a small bar in a basement in Edinburgh. I had been bullied to go by F., a friend who was promoting the concert. (It was F. who told me this evening he had died; I hadn’t seen the papers on Tuesday.) It was crowded that night; I sat in the front row, close enough to Svensson’s piano to turn the music if he had needed it.

It was a brilliant gig: vibrant and exciting, the three musicians producing more sounds than three people ought to. It was very much a band – they were EST rather than Svensson’s band. It is probably the best gig I have been to – well, one of the best. (I have been to a few!)

After that I caught EST whenever I could: I saw them play several times in Edinburgh, in Dundee a couple of times, and in Amsterdam once. I last saw them a year ago – not a great gig: they were in the Usher Hall, and they couldn’t fill such a big space. A friend saw them on the same tour in London, and said they were brilliant, so maybe I just caught an off night.

I was about to buy tickets for their scheduled gig in next month’s Edinburgh Jazz Festival.

Instead, there is an empty space.

I am saddened, and shocked; and I wonder what will happen to the music.

DSC_0105

rhythmaning: (Default)
I have just learned that Esbjorn Svensson has died.

I was quite shocked by this. Jazz is full of stars who are near to death – there are several musicians I have been to see only because I thought it might be my last chance. (Sometimes I was right.)

But Svensson was younger than me; he died in a scuba diving accident. It is very tragic.

I first saw his band, the Esbjorn Svensson Trio – EST – play ten years ago or so, in a small bar in a basement in Edinburgh. I had been bullied to go by F., a friend who was promoting the concert. (It was F. who told me this evening he had died; I hadn’t seen the papers on Tuesday.) It was crowded that night; I sat in the front row, close enough to Svensson’s piano to turn the music if he had needed it.

It was a brilliant gig: vibrant and exciting, the three musicians producing more sounds than three people ought to. It was very much a band – they were EST rather than Svensson’s band. It is probably the best gig I have been to – well, one of the best. (I have been to a few!)

After that I caught EST whenever I could: I saw them play several times in Edinburgh, in Dundee a couple of times, and in Amsterdam once. I last saw them a year ago – not a great gig: they were in the Usher Hall, and they couldn’t fill such a big space. A friend saw them on the same tour in London, and said they were brilliant, so maybe I just caught an off night.

I was about to buy tickets for their scheduled gig in next month’s Edinburgh Jazz Festival.

Instead, there is an empty space.

I am saddened, and shocked; and I wonder what will happen to the music.

DSC_0105

rhythmaning: (Default)
The man they named a rhythm after has died.

The beat that launched a thousand riffs!

What a shame.
rhythmaning: (Default)
The man they named a rhythm after has died.

The beat that launched a thousand riffs!

What a shame.
rhythmaning: (Armed Forces)
I tend to read the obituary column in the Independent, sometimes when I have not heard of the subject.

Yesterday, they published the obituaries of two true Glaswegians: footballer Tommy Burns and writer Jeff Torrington.

I had heard of Burns' death on the radio - touchingly, a Rangers' fan fresh back from Manchester told the reporter how moved he had been by the Celtic player and manager's death. It affected me too: he was only a couple of years older than me.



I didn't know Torrington had died. Reading of his life, I was stuck by what a fascintating life he had lead - and how he confounded society's stereotyping. Or at least mine.


* * *



BBC Scotland had a tribute to Burns on their tv news broadcasts. It is on YouTube (of course):



The statements with Peter Laswell, the Celtic chief executive, and Gordon Strachan, the current Celtic manager, are moving; but - at about 2 min 26 seconds - there is an incredibly wooden performance by Gordon Brown. Brown just can't do empathy. He may believe what he is saying - but I don't believe he does.

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