Dark Mountains, Optimism, and Pessimism

optimism

The following is from an interview in 1984:  

Interviewer:  Are you a pessimist or an optimist?

Morrissey:  I think I’m an optimist, because I am here and I’m doing this.  If I was a total pessimist I would have never have bothered.  I would have just, you know, stayed in bed, and didn’t bother to do anything.  So I think I’m an optimist.  

Anyone that knows Morrissey’s work would know that he often deals in dark themes and human failings.  Flannery O’Connor once said that, “If a writer writes about dirt it is because they despise dirt, not because they love it.”  

I’m sometimes told that I dwell in the dark too much.  However, I too would consider myself an optimist.  I believe the world can be a better place.  In order to get to that place though you must realize what you are dealing with and tackle it head on as best you can.  You must attempt to look for the truth even if that leads you down dark alleys at times.  There is a great deal of joy and beauty in the world, but there should be more of it.  It is those dark mountains we must climb and conquer.  

Oboe Concerto

Many of you liked the unofficial video for Morrissey’s World Peace is None of Your Business.  Here is an excellent one for Oboe Concerto by Sharon Jheeta, who is the same person that did the last one.  I found this thanks to http://www.true-to-you.net, which is Morrissey’s official website.  Oboe Concerto is the fitting final to Morrissey’s excellent new album.  

P.S. I read that Richard Strauss was asked to compose an oboe concerto by an American soldier after World War II. 

Random Thoughts Before Departure and Weekend Picks

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I am heading out for Houston today to play the Redneck Country Club in Stafford, Tx.  You can check out details and other dates at http://www.shinyribs.org.

Because of this posting will probably be light today, although I am hoping I will have time between my soundcheck and gig to get something up.  After this I am off for three days and will hopefully get to work on here with a little more regularity.  I feel like I have gone through the looking glass today!  

Some random thoughts:  Against all intelligence and reason I would like to satiate my bloodlust with Expendables 3 at some point, which comes out today.  I grew up on 80’s action movies and they are definitely a guilty pleasure of mine. (Well, they would be if I felt guilty.)  I was just watching 2 a couple weeks ago and the body count in the first few minutes alone was ridiculous, all while the main characters cracked jokes and one-liners.  

The new Sinead O’Connor album, I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss, is excellent, and I hope to write a full review at some point, even if it falls slightly short of her masterpiece How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?.  

I have been listening again to the George Carlin concert Life is Worth Losing.  He somehow manages to take suicide, murder, and all forms of human depravity, completely hilarious.  I have trouble deciding if that or It’s Bad For Ya is my favorite Carlin concert.  He is one of the few people that got braver and bolder as he got older.  He never mellowed out or stopped searching.  See if you can YouTube “extreme human behavior”.  The part about Roman torture is especially funny.  

I am still listening to the new Morrissey album World Peace is None of Your Business nonstop.  If you haven’t gotten it yet, do, and get the version with the bonus tracks.  The bonus tracks are all absolutely fantastic.  Art-Hounds has been in my car stereo every day.  Look up the lyrics if you need a laugh.  

I’ve read more of the Hampton Sides book In the Kingdom of Ice.  I’m still not far enough in to write a review or to decide where it places in his work, but it is another fascinating well told story.  One of the best history writers working today.  

Well that’s all folks…I need to hit the highway…

In the future when all’s well…

Jeff

 

 

Soldiers or Police in Missouri?

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http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/08/13/not-again-ctd-2/

World Peace is none of your business
Police will stun you with their stun guns

Or they’ll disable you with tasers
That’s what government’s for

World Peace is None of Your Business – Morrissey

Andrew Sullivan has been doing a really good job covering the events in Missouri.  The police shot another unarmed black teenager.  If that isn’t horrible enough the police reaction to justifiably angry black protestors has been disgusting.  If you look at the picture above you have to ask if those are cops or soldiers in Afghanistan?  

 

Powerful World Peace is None of Your Business Video.

 

The above video is an extremely powerful unofficial video for Morrissey’s World Peace is None of Your Business.  It is a collection of real world clips that underscore the song’s meaning.  Both the video and the song are exceptional.  It was endorsed by the man himself at the official site http://www.true-to-you.net with the following statement:

I am indebted to three sources that have placed their own well-crafted videos on You Tube for the songWorld peace is none of your business. The three individual sources are named as Sharon Jheeta, Héctor González and wpeace123456. These videos fully understand the intent of the song, and I am relieved that these films exist. Yes, a similar document ought to have been harvested by the record label, but please understand that the pop or rock industry can be as dedicated to perpetuating public deception as the world of politics itself. God bless social media!
Liberty, equality and fraternity are the essence of the song; no monarchic rule, no political hierarchies, no bought-and-paid-for government thugs, security forces no longer beyond prosecution, and an end to megalomania, repression and corruption. Meat consumption is climate change, and if ever there were a self-evident lost cause it is the British so-called “royal family”. Societies have never been so nervous; Pan Am Flight 103 differs not a jot from Malaysian Flight 17. The United Nations failure to imprison Tony Blair and George W. Bush for war crimes against Iraq has told us all that there can never be enough bloodshed, and the world is suffering its worst nervous breakdown. Do not feel powerless!
Many apparently powerless causes have succeeded in shifting political stupidity and greed. You are intellectual sanity. It is possible for nonviolent change; there are more people than there are aging despots; there are more people than there are world leaders. In truth, the world is leaderless. Please stop watching Fox News; anti-monarchial Britain has given up on the BBC – we know that every slot is paid for. We know that the number 1 position on the pop charts is “bought”; this is not 1955.
Thank you to all of my friends in Israel, Chile, Sweden, Poland, Argentina, Hungary, Romania, Finland and Italy who bought World peace is none of your business. It is 30 years on since The Smiths album entered the UK chart at number 2 with zero airplay and zero promotion, and the struggle for the airwaves remains difficult. Yet, I am writing this to you now, and you are reading it.
In answer to many people who have asked, I should like to finally make it clear that I have not received any television invitations – worldwide! – to either discuss World peace is none of your business, or even to sing any songs from the album.

Thank you for reading this. We have our first World peace is none of your business concert booked in Lisbon (Portugal) on October 6th.

All we have is each other.

for the animals, for intellectual sanity …

MORRISSEY
5 August 2014.

Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me

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I found myself watching a documentary about entertainer and force of nature Elaine Stritch the other day.  It was called Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me.  If I’m being honest I only watched it because I read a particularly funny passage about her in Morrissey’s Autobiography and I was also aware that she had just passed away.  I was in no way overly familiar with her work before coming across the documentary on Netflix by chance.

The film not only dealt with her career and her one of a kind personality, but also with her unbelievable work ethic at the age of 87 and the struggles that she faced from aging and diabetes.  She was someone that had more than one memorable quote to say the least.  When talking about her diabetes she simply shrugged it off by saying something along the lines of everyone has their sack of rocks that they carry around.  When asked about aging she quoted Bette Davis and said, “Aging is not for sissies.”

One of the most memorable parts of the film was when her musical director talked about their first meeting.  He described how right away she stated that she wanted someone that was not going to bullshit her.  With her truth was essential.  In fact throughout the film she spoke openly about how the entertainment business is full of people that you can’t trust completely, and that it was clear that she valued people who would be straight with her.  She herself was not one to hold her tongue regarding her opinion to say the least.

The movie itself was a very interesting character study.  She was someone that went to a convent before going into acting, yet she swore like a sailor.  She was both extremely vulnerable and yet completely brave in many ways.  She loved attention, but didn’t suffer fake praise.

I was surprised at how moved I was at this documentary featuring an 87 year old woman whose work I had no relationship with.  You see her at times in the movie, especially as she is struggling with her health and talking about her battle with alcoholism, at moments of extreme human weakness.  It’s also clear that she undoubtedly liked being at the center of things.  However, despite whatever flaws she may have had, one can’t help but marvel at the hutzpah that she possessed.

She was dead within a year of this film coming out.  Throughout the movie the end of her career and life hover continuously.  If she didn’t exactly rage against the dying of the light, she definitely faced it with more balls than most.  I was glad that I discovered this tough old broad by chance, on a Saturday afternoon.

Listen, Read, and Watch this Weekend

'Sunday Brunch' TV Programme, London, Britain - 06 Jan 2013

I thought about writing something about ten times today.  But nothing came.  Could it have been the fact that it was as hot as Africa out?  Could it have been the drinks I had last night?  A few recommendations for the weekend is all I have today:

Listen to:  If you love great singing over pop music, and are looking for an album this weekend, check out Frank Sinatra’s Watertown.  It was recorded in 1969 and it is Frank’s one attempt to play the 60’s pop game.  It’s a concept album and a masterpiece and I hope to write more about it at some point. The song I Would Be in Love (Anyway) alone is worth the price.

Listen to:  With Weird Al at number one in the Billboard album charts, and the soundtrack to Frozen still selling units, I think we can safely proclaim that mainstream America has lost their minds.  If you want to support music that is actually intelligent, melodic, extremely musical, and sad and funny as hell in equal measures, check out Morrissey’s new album, World Peace is None of Your Business.  It’s the best thing I’ve heard in years.  Yes, I’m going to keep pushing this album on you.  It’s that good.

Read:  I finished the Brendan Behan play The Quare Fellow.  It takes place in Mountjoy prison.  It’s the first dramatic piece of Behan’s that I’ve read.  It’s subversively hilarious, poetic, and rings true in every word.  I’ve been thinking about the death penalty in Texas lately, and this play will make you dead set against it.  It does so without ever becoming some kind of self righteous morality tale.  In fact it is the fallen nature of everyone involved that makes it’s final sequence seem like some kind of sad cosmic joke.

Watch:  If you want to see things in the world you have never seen before and laugh your arse off while doing so, check out the Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant produced An Idiot Abroad.  The show stars Karl Pilkington, as the little Englander and title idiot.  This is someone that doesn’t like to travel hosting a travel show.  The show could easily descend into reality show brainlessness, but the footage is excellent.  In often trying to torture Karl they send him to places that most travel shows would never go to.  Also, although most of Karl’s commentary duly earns him the title phrase, he occasionally stumbles his way into truth as when he compares Jerusalem to Pac-Man.  There is also something strangely lovable about Karl.  His words and deeds are often at opposites.  He will say something completely offensive and then show kindness towards someone that most people never would.  The full series is available on Netflix.

That’s all for today kids.  I am throwing a party for my brother tonight, so the bottle calls again.  To quote Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon, “I’m too old for this shit!”  (P.S.  Another hilarious watch is the It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia espisode Dee Reynolds: Shaping America’s Youth.  In this episode they spoof the Lethal Weapon series.  You haven’t lived until you have seen Danny DeVito having sex to the cheesy 80’s saxophone music that they play in those movies.)