Saturday, August 26, 2006

From Killing Joke to Killer Joke …

Someone put me on to a band I used to listen to ages ago namely Killing Joke. To refresh my memory I (of course) went to Wikipedia. As then always happens, Wikipedia led me on to other things … The band name ‘Killing Joke’ is derived from this Monthy Python sketch called “The Funniest Joke in the World”. The premises of this, so incredibly funny joke, is fatal hilarity. The fatality of the joke being, whoever reads it will die from laughter.

The story reads as follows: Ernest Scribbler, a struggling writer, creates the funniest joke in the world. Having done this he dies laughing. The paper on which the joke is written is then found by his mother, whom imagining it being a suicide note reads it, and of course dies laughing.

Attempts are then made by others to read the joke. For example is very sombre music used as an aid.

The British army eventually gets hold of the joke and decides to use it in it’s warfare against the Germans. The lethality of the joke makes for extreme carefulness, of course, while translating it. The translators are thereby only allowed to translate one word at a time. A translator who accidentally reads two words at one time is hospitalised for weeks.

The fate of the joke is, to at the end of the war, be buried under a monument bearing the inscription: “To the Unknown Joke”

World's Funniest Joke

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Last Waltz

This is so cliché, but I’ve just got to use it anyway: If I had to choose the one music album to bring to a desert Island, what would it be? It sure would not take me long to opt; no doubt would it be The Band’s ‘The Last Waltz’. This album is like historical documentation to beat even the Dead Sea Scrolls! The Band on their own is good, but on this album they are joined by some of the absolute great: Bob Dylan (of course), Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris, Paul Butterfield, Neil Diamond, Neil Young, Muddy Waters, Van Morrison … And the tracks they play … better than …. you name it … So fabulous!

PS I would very much like to bring Robbie Robertson along to that island as well, if possible.

Now, allow me to choose my favourite tracks. But please let me safeguard myself by saying I do like all the tracks! I mean who could not like Muddy Waters singing ‘Mannish Boy’!? Well?

My favourite tracks:

1) ‘Up on Cripple Creek’ (Robbie Robertson, vocals: Levon Helm)
“I took up all of my winnings
And I gave my little Bessie half
And she tore it up and blew it in my face
Just for a laugh”

2) ‘Helpless’ (Neil Young)
“There is a town in north Ontario,
With dream comfort memory
to spare,
and in my mind I still need a place to go,
All my changes were there”

3) ‘Coyote’ (Joni Mitchel)
“Locals were up kicking and shaking on the floor
And the next thing I know
That Coyote's at my door
He pins me in a corner and he won't take "No!"
He drags me out on the dance floor
And we're dancing close and slow”

4)‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’ (Robbie Robertson, vocals: Levon Helm)
“Like my father before me, I'm a working man
And like my brother before me, I took a rebel stand
Oh, he was just 18, proud and brave
But a yankee laid him in his grave
I swear by the blood below my feet
You can't raise a Cane back up when he's in defeat”

5) ‘Caravan’ (Van Morrison)
“And the caravan is on its way
I can hear the merry gypsies play
Mama mama look at emma rose
Shes a-playin with the radio“

6) ‘I Don’t Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Met)’ (Bob Dylan)
“I wish she'd tell me what it is, I'll run an' hide.
Though her skirt it swayed as a guitar played,
Her mouth was watery and wet.
But now something has changed
For she ain't the same,
She just acts like we never have met.”

7) ‘I Shall Be Released’ (Bob Dylan)
“They say ev'ry man needs protection,
They say ev'ry man must fall.
Yet I swear I see my reflection
Some place so high above this wall.
I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east.
Any day now, any day now,
I shall be released.”

8)’The Weight’ (Robbie Robertson, vocals: Levon Holm)
“I pulled into Nazareth, I was feelin' about half past dead;
I just need some place where I can lay my head.
"Hey, mister, can you tell me where a man might find a bed?"
He just grinned and shook my hand, and "No!", was all he said.”

9) ‘Mystery Train’ (Herman Parker/Sam Philips, vocals: Paul Butterfield)
“Well I went down to the station, meet my baby at the gate
Asked the station master was the train a-running late
"Son, if you've been waiting for the four forty-four
I hate to tell you, boy, that train don't run here any more"

Wikipedia reads:
"The Last Waltz is the name of The Bands's final concert, the Martin Scorsese concert film, and the album of the concert.
The Band, consisting of Levon Helm on drums, Rick Danko on bass, Garth Hudson on organ, Richard Manuel on keys, and Robbie Robertson on guitar, had been touring for 16 years before deciding to disband.
They held their final concert at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, and made rock music history by compiling one of the most extensive lineups of prominent guest performers at a single concert. The venue was chosen as it was the first venue the group played under the name "The Band". The concert was not so much a farewell show, but more of a celebration of the group themselves and their close friends and biggest influencers."
( 2006-08-05)

The Last Waltz at imdb:

Thursday, August 03, 2006

'A Model of the Universe' or 'The Nihilism of Zen'

This poem is long; it makes sense though, and I therefore reckon it is worth reading. Thing is, maybe the reason for it making sense, is that it points towards the idea of letting nothing make sense – the nihilism of Zen …

A Model of the Universe
What we want is a model a model of the universe
That includes everything leaving nothing out
Yet is completely different fresh unique holding nothing in
With any of its constituent elements
Yet is not strange exotic and does not make us feel
What we want is a model f the universe that we can
Read about in a magazine article with pictures
Yet it can’t be just another magazine article and it can’t
Be in a regular magazine this magazine will glow as
it shimmers before our eyes
What we want is a model of the universe that will answer all
our questions
To which we can refer for all sorts of advice
To foretell the future cure bursitis get rich quick aphrodisiac
And will be absolutely foolproof one hundred percent of the
What we want is a model of the universe
That we can talk to coyly we can drop our eyelids at
Plump our lips begin the sniffle
And it will pat our shoulders say “there there dear” grow
sad and droopy itself
But without ever really losing it’s composure or assurance
What we want is a model of the universe so complex we can
never understand it
So simple we can grasp it in a glance and explain it to our
friends via a few simple sentences
What we want is a model of the universe
Which once in our possession becomes identified so
strikingly with us
That we become internationally famous with our names
Household words the meaning of our doing and saying
An eternally living legacy around which all subsequent
culture is organised
What we want is a model of the universe we can count on
time after time
Yet is never tiring never predictable eternally new
What we want is a model of the universe that is better than
someone else’s model of the universe
That makes their model of the universe look really pale by
comparison although
Only we realize this we and our intimate friends
But our model of the universe is also better than the
Model of the universe of even our intimate friends
Although the fact of the matter is that no one but us really
Posseses a model of the universe it is our own little secret
However we write poems about it that strike others as
Infinitely suggestive and profound but since this makes us
feel lonely
We want a model for the universe that everyone understands
We want a model of the universe that explains everything
Yet doesn’t take the mystery out of anything in fact adds
Even to the simplest of daily actions a model of the universe
Keeps us fit and eating delicate and healthy foods
A model of the universe in which we appear never
overweight nor old
Yet we don’t want to actually appear in this model of the
We want to be beyond it holding it in our hand looking at it
from a distance
Yet we don’t want to feel alien from it either we want love
We want a model of the universe in which we can always
stay home
Yet be able to travel whenever we want to remote places
Where all foreign languages are actually English
Though they never lose their ethnic charm
What we want is a model of the universe
Contiguous with the total shape of time
So that it neither begins nor ends is neither something nor
What we want is a model of the universe in which
This poem therefore never ends and in which it never began


(From: "What Book!? Buddha Poems From Beat to Hiphop", Gary Gach (editor), Berkley, California, 1998)