Saturday, 23 January 2016

perfect timing


And you have to pardon me, because my brain is on holiday - suprisingly, I caught a nasty virus infection and something strange called neuralgia. Very funny. So I'm staying home, sleeping like 20 hours for a day and in the meantimes swallowing the pills, drinking magical linden flower tea with raspberries, ginger, honey and tons of lemon juice! (I must say that's this pleasant aspect of being ill, I must admit.)

Perfect timing. Just before the exams.


Monday, 11 January 2016

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Let's support WOŚP!

Dear all!!! Today is the 24th Grand Finale of Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy (Grand Finale of Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity), the biggest charity action in Poland. Real European phenomenon!



This year we're raising funds for medical equipment for pediatric wards and providing decent medical care for seniors. Don't be decieved by political demagogy, don't trust poisonous words of the people who're trying to use WOŚP as their tool of political combat.

It doesn't matter if you like Owsiak or not. Trust me! I was the one who lied in the incubator funded by WOŚP as a premature baby.

Even if you're feeling down and don't like the idea of searching the volutneer with the special can, you can support WOŚP with a donation. Just visit the WOŚP's official page HERE. OR, if you have done that, you can enjoy the simple game HERE.

And remember:


Sunday, 3 January 2016

Lazarus

Everybody knows the story of Lazarus. Restored to life by Jesus four days after death who simply tould him to come out from the tomb - and he did, still wrapped in his grave clothing. Inspired by new David Bowie's single, I decided to quickly remind myself all of the songs that are somehow linked to Lazarus.

Here is the new David Bowie:



(this way or no way
you know, I'll be free
just like that bluebird)

 Of course, Nick Cave - the master of storytelling - presents kind of contemporary and story of Lazarus reversed. Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! is the first song from the album Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! that was released in 2008. It sounds more "rough", I would say, than his other albums, but it was supposedly recorded in 5 days, so it must have been real rock'n'roll... And I have a special sentiment to that particular album, because it was the first album of Nick Cave I have ever heard - and I fell in love (and my mum... "fell in hatred", she couldn't stand it, especially Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!).
About the lyrics to that song Nick Cave speaks himself:

"Ever since I can remember hearing the Lazarus story, when I was a kid, you know, back in church, I was disturbed and worried by it. Traumatised, actually. We are all, of course, in awe of the greatest of Christ's miracles - raising a man from the dead - but I couldn't help but wonder how Lazarus felt about it. As a child it gave me the creeps, to be honest. I've taken Lazarus and stuck him in New York City, in order to give the song, a hip, contemporary feel. I was also thinking about Harry Houdini who spent a lot of his life trying to debunk the spiritualists who were cashing in on the bereaved. He believed there was nothing going on beyond the grave. He was the second greatest escapologist, Harry was, Lazarus, of course, being the greatest. I wanted to create a kind of vehicle, a medium, for Houdini to speak to us if he so desires, you know, from beyond the grave. Sometimes, late at night, if you listen to the song hard enough, you can hear his voice and the sad clanking of his chains. "I don't know what it is but there is definitely something going on upstairs", he seems to be saying. It is, most of all, an elegy to the New York City of the 70's."


 

 (I mean he, he never asked to be raised from the tomb
I mean no one ever actually asked him to forsake his dreams
He ended up like so many of them do, back on the streets of New York City
In a soup queue, a dopefiend, a slave, then prison, then the madhouse, then the grave)

And now, a song with a special story. Po Lazarus was recorded by James Carter with a group of prisoner as a melancholy old work song. The song was recorded in 1959 by Alan Lomax (kind of American Oskar Kolbert of 20th century), but it was given a second life in 2000 film, in a Grammy-winning soundtrack to the brothers Cohens' film O Brother Where Art Thou. In 1997, the musician (he played with Dylan) and producer T Bone Burnett (he produced the albums for Roy Orbison, Cassandra Wilson, Elvis Costello, etc...) while rummaging through the Lomax's archives in NYC.



Saturday, 19 December 2015

WAR IS OVER

I don't know why, but this year I cannot feel the famous "Christmas mood" at all despite of all preparations (baking cookies, preparing Christmas cards, buying presents). Maybe the weather is the guilty one?

That is why I decided to write about one of my favourite Christmas songs that may be not so... "christmasy". Just like me.




I like that song, because it's really ironic. "So this is Christmas" - here it begins - "and what have you done" - with John,  making a statement of disappointment or accusation or, simply, encouraging us to think a bit about what happenned last year. Why do I think it is really ironic? "I hope you have fun": to fully understand that wish, we have to recall the historical context.

The song was recorded in NYC in 1971. John&Yoko spent a lot of time in the late '60s and early '70s engaging into peace activism. In 1969, they invested in billboard postcards that said "WAR IS OVER! If you want it - Happy Christmas from John & Yoko" and two years later that slogan became the major part of this song. In 1971, America was still involved in Vietnam War. In fact, in May more than 200,000 protesters arrived to Washington to demand an end to the Vietnam War (read more HERE).



The message is clear: review your choices. Don't let yourself be fooled, the Christmas is not about the presents. The real Christmas message is the one sung by John. It's simple and clear. Remember: "we're just as responsible as the man who pushes the button. As long as people imagine that somebody's doing it to them and that they have no control, then they have no control".

War is over. If you want it.

Happy Xmas, everybody.

Monday, 23 November 2015

The art of suggestion

Do you know who is Philippe Marlowe? If yes, you must have read some crime novels written by Raymond Chandler, who is one of the best detective fiction writer OR you must be fond of the old-fashioned cinema, especially of classical film noir period (1940-1950). Why do I recall them?

Last week, I decided to reach for "The Big Sleep", the first film version of Raymond Chandler's novel of the same name, starring Humphrey Bogart in the role of detective Philip Marlowe and Lauren Bacall as Vivian Rutlege. The screenplay was written by Leigh Brackett (who worked also on "Rio Bravo" directed by John Wayne), Jules Furthman ("Only Angels Have Wings", "To Have and Have Not") and... William Faulkner!
I was sure that I've never seen the film, but after a few minutes I realized that I did - when I was younger and TCM that showed American movie classics, was one of my favourite TV channels. "The Big Sleep" is based on a complex, confusing plot, a mystery, which is to be solved by a private detective (Marlowe of course).

In addition: sexy women, femme fatale, guns, violence, blackmails, murder, suspicions, all the things that make the film noir really noir. The icing on the cake: Bogart and Bacall, who were having an affair behind the screen (about six months later, they were married). The atmosphere is a bit paranoic, but at the same time very intriguing. Marlowe is called by his new client, General Sternwood. The retired, handicapped general, who characterizes himself the best:
Sternwood: You are looking, sir, at a very dull survival of a very gaudy life - crippled, paralyzed in both legs, very little I can eat, and my sleep is so near waking that it's hardly worth the name. I seem to exist largely on heat, like a newborn spider. The orchids are an excuse for the heat. Do you like orchids? 
Marlowe: Not particularly. 
Sternwood: Nasty things! Their flesh is too much like the flesh of men, and their perfume has the rotten sweetness of corruption.
Sternwood wants Marlowe to resolve gambling debts that his younger daugher, Carmen, owes to Geiger, the bookseller. When Marlowe is leaving, he meets Vivian Rutledge (Lauren Bacall!), who stops him, because he suspects that her father asked Marlowe to find his young friend, who dissapeared mysteriously.

Marlowe follows Geiger to his house, where he hears a gunshot and a woman scream, so he breaks in. He finds Geiger's body, drugged Carmen, who he takes home and then he returns to the Geiger's house to discovers that the body is no longer there.
Next morning, Vivian comes to Marlowe's office with a blackmail and pictures of Carmen. At Geiger's, they are packing up the store. Then Marlowe decides to follow the gambler who blackmailed General Sternwood, he returns to Geiger's house, she finds Carmen that admits that she doesn't know a thing about the murder.

Then Marlowe follows (following, following, following) Vivian to the Brody's apartment. Brody admits he was blackmailing Sternwood and Vivian, then he is killed and the murderer escapes. ...the plot becomes more and more complicated (more following, more guns, more violence).

But the book is more hard-hitting: within the pages, you can find pornography, homosexual relationships, nudity. The film makers couldn't include them in the film, because it had to in accordance with The Motion Picture Production Code (popularly know as the Hays Code), the regulations that listed the things that were acceptable or unacceptable for the movies produced in the United States. But the film noir mastered the art of suggestion:


And now I suggest you to watch the film. Or read the book. Or do both!

Monday, 2 November 2015

Waiting for Blackstar

This news really electrified me. On January 8 (btw, his 69th birthday - is he really that old...?) David Bowie will realease his new album. Blackstar may be "the oddest work yet from the 68-year-old singer and internal chameleon", according to The Times. With regard to Bowie, this classification sounds very appealing. Seven songs, 45 minutes. The title song will be released on November 19.
The album was recorded with local jazz musician in New York's Magic Shop studio, The Times evokes German groups like Kraftwerk and Can. Somewhere I read also about some Gregorian chants. All these rumors make me even more excited! That sounds like something.

 But we were given a taste of what we can expect. A fragment of Blackstar appeared in the opening credits of The Last Panthers, the TV series (I've never heard about it - but in the trailer I noticed John Hurt!).

In the time of waiting, I recommend to read few facts we already know about the album HERE, to watch the opening credits of the The last Panthers HERE and remind ourselves some older songs: