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I have a question for you all: do you listen to classical music and if so, do you gravitate to a specific period or set of composers? What do you listen to? What speaks to you?

Oh, and what's your star sign, because if I'm going to have a stupid theory about it, I may as well add astrology to make it even more ridiculous.

I'm listening to Spem in Alium which may be the musical equivalent of the northern lights over Finnmark, so beautiful is it, but this recording is just rubbish; it's sludgey, fraught with vibrato and lacking all clarity. ::switches to Taverner choir version::

Maybe I should turn this into a poll.

* * *

I missed some birthdays, as you do when you feel uninclined to look at LJ for a while. A very happy very belated birthday to upsy_daisy, and happy birthday, not quite so belatedly, to leadensky and vaznetti

* * *

Is there something unpleasant in the water this month? Are you *that* bored? There's a kerfuffle a weekend on LJ at the moment. I think it's the Harry Potter fandom's turn next week. I'm not sure. No one's sent me the schedule yet.

Perhaps we should all take up basket-weaving, only then we'd have flame wars about the right reeds to use and new techniques versus old techniques and someone would say that women basket-weaving is perpetuating ancient gender stereotypes and someone else would say that maybe potters should be consulted since they have interesting things to say about crafts.

Then the basket-weaving community would be all "but we're open to potters if they want to discuss pleasing shapes! We never said we weren't! We'd welcome their input. Some of our best friends are potters, and they do post stuff here, you know" and then someone would say "Yes, but you've only been talking about baskets for ages, which proves you're not interested in pottery brackets you bastards close brackets"

Then someone else suggests that maybe you could make a basket and then build clay into it -- and they are roundly mocked, just on general principles and a troll comes in and yells "only big loosers make baskets, you people should get lade". (Why can trolls seldom spell? Because they are ignorant arseholes, Jeremy. Why thank you for clearing that up.)

Some BNP (big name potter) would say that it was *ceramics*, thankyouverymuch and anyway, some nasty basket weavers had once not written her feedback back in 1998, which proved that all basketweavers were ceramics-unfriendly and anyway, the lurkers supported her in email.

Later someone else would point out that pottery was also a mostly female activity and we were hemmed in on all sides by oppressive gender norms, then someone would post a picture of Grayson Perry and say "well, he won the £,000 Turner Prize for art for his pottery and he's a MAN", then someone would find a picture of Grayson Perry in a dress and say "HAH! Transvestite!" and someone would quote Eddie Izzard in a brave but foolish attempt to lighten the tone and basically it would be a whole big mess.

Hmmm. All of which is to say... precisely nothing. I just think it's weird how prone to disagreement everyone is right now.

Today I followed a link that led me to furry porn and my brain pan now needs a good going over with the bristly brush and the bleach. I'm not feeling well-disposed towards LJ right now, even if it is my own stupid fault.

"You don't have to read it, you know". Yes, I know. I didn't read it all.

But I smite you for stating the bleeding obvious.

* * *

London's weather was strange this weekend. Today was the normal fine-ish March day, slightly grey and slightly cold, but yesterday was T-shirt weather. It was hot and sunny and all the cafes in Clerkenwell had shoved their tables outside a few months early. In keeping with the return of the fitness regime I've been neglecting since Christmas, I walked up from lower Clerkenwell to Islington to meet T. so we could go see Hotel Rwanda.

I embarrassed myself in the cinema by exclaiming rather louder than intended "oh for the love of God, would you Shut. Up." because the man in the seat next to me kept scrabbling around in his popcorn cup at crucial moments.

Not just a swipe for more popcorn, which would be okay and part of the cinema going experience, but an extending swirling it about and rattling, followed by loud, loud, open-mouthed mastication, then prolonged finger-sucking with attendant lip-smacking.

This was then followed by answering of his partner's dumb questions about Rwanda in a voce that was not entirely sotto. I wanted to lean over and say "read the Gourevitch book afterwards. I'll even write down the title for you. But for now, shut. up. And by the way, shut your mouth when you're eating, you sound revolting."

I am turning into my mother. ::holds head in hands::

Hotel Rwanda was a really good, old-fashioned film with a conscience, telling the story of one man in order to tell the story of the genocide. The numbers are mind-boggling: 800,000 people were killed in a hundred days in an organised slaughter while the west looked on and argued about the definitions of genocide. I can recommend this, an in-depth interview with Gourevitch on the UC Berkeley website, as interesting background. The film made me want to read the Gourevitch book again, if only to confirm that if anything the film underplayed the massacres.

Don Cheadle was just fantastic as Paul Rusesabagina and Sophie Okenedo, who looked like Angela Bassett's sister, only younger and less gussied up, did a fantastic job with what must have been a thankless part. (I suppose she will have to go to Hollywood to get another decent role, like Marianne Jean Baptiste and Chiwetel Ejiofor, or else be stuck in Holby City like poor Hugh Quarshie.)

It was very good at telling uncomfortable truths, like the news pyramid that exists, albeit unofficially, where a train crash like Eschede would be front-of-book news for days and a train crash in Sydney is a page lead but the hundreds of deaths in African civil wars barely make it out of the news in brief column. It's not that we (as in individual westerners) don't care about the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda, or the millions of deaths in the Congolese conflicts or that somewhere like Malawi (which I looked up as a random African country) the life expectancy is less than 40 years for both men and women, it's just that half the time we don't even know what's going on.

When we do know, the problems seem so vast and intractable that we give up. After the second world war there was a lot of fine talk about how never again would the world stand by and watch a genocide, indeed laws were framed to make intervention a requirement when there was evidence of a genocide but all that meant was that the west argued over the definition of genocide. This paragraph particularly struck me:

I think that there was a fantasy after [the scale of the holocaust was revealed]. There was a dream, there was a hope that we would act differently in the future. But we didn't. And when push came to shove, Rwanda was the test, and [in] Rwanda [we] said no, we will not. Unlike Bosnia, where we also disgraced ourselves in terms of the intervention policy of the world community for much of that time, [in Rwanda] we did nothing ever, even in the end we didn't. There was no strategic interest. There was no economic interest. The only claim that Rwanda laid on us was fellow humanity, and that's not enough. It turns out that the lesson of Rwanda is that that is not enough. And it's been borne out consistently every since. We wouldn't go in there today, I guarantee you. As much as Clinton has gone over there and wrung his hands, as much as Madeleine Albright has. Kofi Annan has never apologized. And to me it virtually invalidates his entire career. It's one of the great stains on his career.

We shall see what difference the Africa Commission report makes this year as Britain takes the presidency of the G8. The plans were rather knocked off course by the tsunami. For all that George Bush Jr is possibly my least favourite US president ever, aside from the unpleasant conditions he imposes on aid, he seems to have made some extra effort for Africa and to be genuinely concerned -- and for that we must be grateful.

I suppose. Grudgingly. With caveats, because where would the left wing be without grudges and caveats? *g*

T. and I differed in our reactions to it. She felt angry and I felt ashamed, and I wondered how much our cultural backgrounds have to do with our reactions but I didn't get chance to broach that (or indeed work out exactly how to broach that). Maybe in email, where I can be articulate, rather than a mumbling tosspot.

It does raise very important questions for the left, though: when is it right to intervene? What's the line between respecting a country's right to self-determination and standing by while thousands of our fellow human beings die because intervention is politically expensive. Given what we knew of Saddam -- the torture cells, the disappearances, Halabja -- should we be supporting an invasion carried out for selfish strategic reasons if it overthrows a tyrant?

Out of a foreign policy that much of the rest of the world finds ignorant, arrogant, dangerous and repellent can a greater good come? Cedar revolution, I'm looking at you.

I don't have any answers to this. Don't suppose I ever will.

* * *

Email tomorrow, when I am less meh.



( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
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Mar. 21st, 2005 03:17 am (UTC)
I'm pretty basic: Mozart, Vivaldi, the occasional Handel, and if I'm feeling roustabouty, Tchaikovsky.

And I'm a Gemini. Do tell me what this is about at once.
Mar. 21st, 2005 03:26 am (UTC)
I guess I'd be classified as a huge fan of baroque music - that period contains many of my fave composers.

some of the best on my list are people like Mozart, Telemann, Bach, Purcell, Albinoni, Handel, Pachelbel, Scarlatti, Vivaldi. of course I'm fond of others, but this era is the one that owns my heart, I think.

and in case it matters, I'm Libra

Mar. 21st, 2005 03:33 am (UTC)
I am turning into my mother.

We all do, it seems.

I listen to and love classical. As best I can tell I don't gravitate to any particular period or composer overall, though different composers save my sanity at different times. When I have hard thinking to do, it's Bach. When I want to be creative, it's often Mozart, though sometimes Debussy (and, lately, Elgar). Every so often I go for the Russians and just wallow in them. I'm also a choral music junkie with a weakness for Requiem Masses and English composers like Vaughn Williams and Rutter (yeah, he's trite and has never met a Lloyd Weber song he hasn't stolen from, but he's effective), as well as chant and Palestrina-era works.

And I'm a Virgo. And certainly none of this is any help whatsoever. But I'm just glad to see you back on LJ, kerfuffle or no. Those frelling basket weavers-- damn them all.
Mar. 21st, 2005 03:35 am (UTC)
I am turning into my mother. ::holds head in hands::

It's an awful feeling, isn't it?

I have a fondness for Bach fugues, and am a Pisces. I really want to see you correlate this data. And thank you for the birthday wishes.
Mar. 21st, 2005 03:35 am (UTC)
Wagner. And Holst. Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Pisces, but you knew that.

Thank you.

I think the underwater basketweaving classes I took during the second BS were the kewlest. "International History of Curling" was fun, too.

The irony of holding up the Holocaust as a great "never again" is that the Holocaust was not the reason any of the allies fought WWII.

It does raise very important questions for the left, though: when is it right to intervene? What's the line between respecting a country's right to self-determination and standing by while thousands of our fellow human beings die because intervention is politically expensive.

It's not just a question for the left. But if the left comes up with a good, simple answer, I'll take it. With a glad heart, and give credit where it is due.

Until then, I think we'll have to continue muddling through.

I mean, it's not like the UN troops have pulled out of Bosnia or anything.

- hg
Mar. 21st, 2005 03:39 am (UTC)
Yes, I listen to classical music.

Mozart, Bach, & Haydn for elegance imposed on an inelegant world.

Elizabethan chamber music for the inhuman beauty of it; if I were writing about aliens, I'd pick Purcell to do it to.

Medieval music for the Elizabethan reasons.

I love lots of bits of lots of other periods.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 21st, 2005 03:42 am (UTC)
1) My interest in classical does depend on my mood. On the whole, I prefer the more melodic composers -- the graceful harmony of Bach, the million pretty notes of Mozart, the gloomy melodies of Rachmoninov -- but I'm not very well-versed in classical music at all. And I'm a Libra.

2) I'll have you know that I am in the basket-weaving fandom just for the pretty REEDS. And people who have to meta about the pretty reeds and the nice slippery clay are just stuck-up, antisocial academics with nothing to do but spoil other people's fun. I'll be over here in the corner, weaving baskets with my pretty reeds and ignoring their snottty theories of Water Plant-Based Crafts and Gender Modes. ::huffs::

3) Hotel Rwanda blew us all away. I can't believe it wasn't up for best picture, and that it really faded from view. Best movie from 2004, in my opinion.
Mar. 21st, 2005 03:46 am (UTC)
I have a question for you all: do you listen to classical music and if so, do you gravitate to a specific period or set of composers? What do you listen to? What speaks to you?

I have a pretty broad range. I adore Bach, both to listen to and sing, because in Bach, the music is a puzzle, and nothing beats the moment when the pieces click into place.

I like later Americans like Copland, Bernstein, John Adams. I love Vaughan Williams, who can write a soaring melody like nobody's business. Also, say, Dvorak, Bartok, Kodaly. There's also a group of people whose instrumental stuff I enjoy much more than choral. Beethoven definitely falls into that category (if I never have to sing the freaking 9th again...), Schubert, Brahms.

And I'm a Gemini. Who probably left stuff out.
Mar. 21st, 2005 03:22 pm (UTC)
I forgot Britten and William Byrd and Thomas Tallis and Rachmaninoff.

I'll stop now.
Mar. 21st, 2005 03:56 am (UTC)
Vivaldi and Bach. Also Mozart, Handel, and sometimes Haydn. Scorpio.

I'm not sure if I'm more scared of turning into my father or my mother, since I see more traits from both of them in myself each day, aiee!
Mar. 21st, 2005 03:57 am (UTC)
I'm so ill-educated about classical music, I don't know where to start. I have listened to, and enjoyed, Bach, Beethoven, Vivaldi, Mozart, Copeland... ::sigh:: And I'm a Sag.

What's the line between respecting a country's right to self-determination and standing by while thousands of our fellow human beings die because intervention is politically expensive.


Cedar revolution, I'm looking at you.

You know, I'm... less convinced than others are that what's going on in Lebanon has anything directly to do with US policies. Basically because I know squat about the political history of Lebanon. But this is the sort of thing that, I suspect, builds over a long time and has a lot of different contributing factors. I get suspicious of the current administration's attempt to get credit for it. That may be a cynical viewpoint, but there it is. I'm a skeptic.

And I really do need to go see Hotel Rwanda.

Some BNP (big name potter) would say that it was *ceramics*, thankyouverymuch and anyway, some nasty basket weavers had once not written her feedback back in 1998, which proved that all basketweavers were ceramics-unfriendly and anyway, the lurkers supported her in email.

Heee! I shouldn't say it, since I did participate in the Recent Unpleasantness in SG-1/SGA fandom, but you're so on the money. Thank you.
Mar. 21st, 2005 04:32 pm (UTC)
Dummy's guide to Lebanon politics

(This is actually a post linking to a series of posts, but it explains what you'll get behind each link.)

(Also - warning for neo-con driven VRWC right-leaning warhawk blog)

- hg
Mar. 21st, 2005 04:15 am (UTC)
I am very drawn to the Romantic period, particularly the French composers of that time. Every time I hear a piece I like on the local classical station and look it up on their web site, it turns out to be from that era, almost without fail.

I'm a Virgo.
Mar. 21st, 2005 06:29 am (UTC)
I find it ironic that as I read this post, a song called "How Come" by Ray Lamontagne came on. It's mostly about brutality in the western world, but it's also one of the only modern "protest" songs I have found, and. Well, there's really not anywhere to go with this. I know a woman who left Rwanda after the genocide - she's two years older than I am, but I thought she was at least ten. I can't even imagine.

I don't listen to classical music often, though I do like it, and I think I prefer it performed live in a way that I don't necessarily feel about contemporary music. But if I do, I'm big on Vivaldi. My friend thinks he's too Baroque - by which she means too mathematically precise - but I love the strings. Also, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, and possibly my favorite classical piece ever is "Liebestraum" by Lizst. And I'm a Scorpio, you nut.

Also, do you know what your plans are on Wednesday, 6th April? I'm hoping to escape the family and come down to London a day early. They're protesting and I'm trying to tell them but I KNOW people that I want to see!
Mar. 21st, 2005 06:29 am (UTC)
Also, I forgot to mention that your scenario re: basketweavers? Hi-larious.
Mar. 21st, 2005 07:59 am (UTC)
I like Classical music, but have no real favourites. It depends on my mood as to whether I want stirring Beethoven or light frothy Mozart. I am a Gemini.

I never noticed any kerfuffles this weekend, but then I never do until they are over. And there is furry porn???!!!
Mar. 25th, 2005 01:13 am (UTC)
Oh my God, yes, there is furry porn. Terrifying.

There's also Roy Orbison wrapped in clingfilm if you go spelunking about the internet. There's this one chap who has a fetish about famous people wrapped in clingfilm. Part of me wishes I could remember the link so I could go and boggle, the other part knows that it's my brain protecting itself and I should not break the wilful amnesia.
Mar. 21st, 2005 08:28 am (UTC)
OMG Spem in Alium...! *swoons dramatically*

Tallis is one of my favourite composers of all time. Him and Palestrina. And some Josquin is to die for...

I also like Vivaldi (great for background music while working); most Mozart, Haydn and Händel for light relief; Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Mendelssohn, some but not all Dvořák, Saint-Saëns, early Wagner, and Berlioz when I want to get emotional. Offenbach just for fun. Actually, I like most things up to around 1880, and then some of the more 'old-fashioned' modern composers. Oh, except for Elgar. Brrrr.

Sagittarius. So what does that mean?
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