Music Notes September 2011

September 30, 2011 at 12:57 am (Uncategorized)

It’s the last day of the month, so…

1. Link Wray – Some Kinda Nut Missing Links Volume 3

There’s a few records that make you think, if this had never been made how would things sound today? “Rumble” is one of course. Pete Townshend has said, it’s the record that made him pick up a guitar. This collection by Norton cranks out more odds and sods by LInk, including another version of “Rumble.” Like most collections, some hits and some misses, but tracks like “The Girl Can’t Dance” and “Genocide” sizzle.

2. Nick Lowe – The Old Magic

I’m not sure exactly when Nick Lower morphed so seamlessly from new wave rocker into master tunesmith, but as much as I loved the former, I sure like the latter. In the review of the Wilco show earlier this month, readers could easily be forgiven for the impression that I liked Lowe better than the headliners. I wouldn’t go that far, but his forty minute set seemed over too soon. Lowe played a couple of songs from this album at the show including the lovely “Stoplight Roses” and “I read a Lot.” A beautiful record.

3. Sigur Ros – Hvaf/Heim

I subscribe to Iceland’s official tourism newsletter. How weird is that? It’s not weird at all when I listen to this band. This release contains studio versions of unreleased songs on one disc and live acoustic versions of released songs on the other. It’s dreamy Icelandic pop, and it’s completely wonderful.

4.  J. Geils Band –Live: Full House

In an upcoming post I’m going to write about a trip I took to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. My mate Paul and I drove down with a carful of music, but this live recording from 1972 was one of the favourites. Only eight songs on this release, and the first half is powerful r & b, but when you hit the second side, the band really hits its stride. Four cuts of absolutely wild rock music. If J Geils means “Centerfold” and “Freezeframe” seek this out. It’ll change your perceptions.

5. The Jim Jones Revue – Burning Your House Down

And speaking of blazing no-holds-barred rock and roll. If you missed the show at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto this month, or elsewhere on their tour, you missed a treat. I listened to the CD in the car at a rather reckless volume on the way home from the show. Searing.  I’m not sure why it took a year for this to be released in North America when it was out in the UK, but never mind. If you’ve listened to other JJR records you know the patter, and this one doesn’t disappoint. Produced by Jim Sclavanous, this was has great sound which doesn’t sacrifice any of the band’s power. Perfect party music.

6. Wire – The Third Day

If you read this column regularly, you know I’ve become something of a Wire nut. This live EP dates to 1999, and rather that simply replay the songs on it, Wire recreate them. Two versions of “Pink Flag” and three other classics. Unfortunately the family find Wire a bit abrasive, ah, but when they’re not home…

7. Danger Mouse – Rome

The soundtrack to a never made spaghetti western with Jack White and Norah Jones? not usually the kind of this that would end up on my listening play list, but one has a quiet seductive charm. it’s a grower. Lots of twang.

8. Anna Calvi – Susanna & I / Baby It’s You

A single from Anna’s self titled debut (one of the finest record out this year.). I’m a little wary about mentioning singles when they are already on the album, but the B-side Baby It’s You (yes, the Shirelles song) is definitely worth having. Doing a cover is always a risk: too close to the original, why bother? Too different and risk offending the purists. Anna’s version succeeds because it reminds me of the original, but it still has that lovely  Calvi guitar sound. Can’t wait for her return to Toronto in December.

9. Devo – Pioneers Who Got Scalped

A 2 CD compilations of outtakes and rarities from the Spudboys. I’m still digging into that vault as a result of the tornot show this summer, and this has some nice material, and some very odd covers ( Itsy Bitsy Polka Dot Bikini anyway?) But it’s those early versions that are worth having. Now can anyone hook me up with pre-Q: Are We Not Men bootlegs?  

10. The Velvet Underground – “After Hours”

A Mo Tucker sung song from the Velvets’ third album. Lou Reed commented it was too sweet for him to sing.  Now the soundtrack to an arty perfume commercial. Didn’t catch the name of the perfume, but I have to admit the song works there.

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Ontario Election 2011: A Riot of Apathy

September 29, 2011 at 12:27 am (Uncategorized)

The Ontario Provincial election takes place on October 6, 2011.

OK, true confessions, as a left-communist, I pretty much think it doesn’t make any fundamental difference who wins the provincial election as they are all committed to the maintenance of capitalism. The choice really is vanilla, chocolate or strawberry.

But even by the usual standards of elections, there has been little to shake things up, and wake up even those who believe in the democratic system: no central issue, nothing, It’s possible that one of the parties will catch fire (or self immolate) after yesterday’s leaders; debate, but watching it, it’s hard to see how (if one of the leaders had actually caught fire that might have been interesting, but for the most part they all stuck to their respective scripts)   As I think about the 12 million or so people in Ontario, I’m suck that even by bourgeois standards, they choice  between these three seems particularly cruel.

 The Liberal Party who have governed Ontario since 2003 argue times are tough, but look how much we’ve done. Stick with us.

A couple of weeks back, Liberal candidate and my current MPP Kathleen Wynn appeared on my doorstep. Now Ms. Wynn and I have a somewhat interesting history. In my job I’m involved in adult education programmes and in 1998, the previous Conservative government took its axe to adult-ed. Teachers wages and benefits were cut, class size increased. 

In the run-up to the election which brough the liberal to power, Kathleen Wynn and others appeared on a panel discussion. Wynn promised that should the Liberals be elected they would change the funding formula introduced by the Conservatives.

When I confronted Wynn with this, she claimed the Liberals had changed the funding formula, but conceded that it hadn’t reached adult classrooms. She went on to argue that only the liberals would change it. So there the message was, true I haven’t done anything for you, but the Conservatives won’t and the NDP are too small to matter. Well, that’s a good reason.  

A few days ago, I received a (recorded nothing like a personal touch) phone call from the president of “my” union telling me to vote for Wynn because she was a progressive. Uh huh. A few days after the call, I saw Ms. Wynn on TV arguing that a vote for the NDP would help to elect the Conservatives. This always brings a smile to my face as it recalls the Communist Party of Great Britain’s line about the Trotskyist Revolutionary Communist Party during the Second World War: A Vote for Haston is a Vote for Hitler!

A few days after Wynn’s visit, the Progressive Conservative candidate Andrea Martin-Campbell stopped by. (Her campaign office is a few blocks from my house). Unfortunately, I wasn’t home, but she was nice enough to leave a sorry I missed you card. We weren’t sorry at all.

The Conservatives argue, times are tough and look how little the liberals have done. Vote for us and we’ll lower your taxes without cutting services (pretty much everyone in Toronto ought to be skeptical about that one as this was the promise Rob Ford made last year.  

Conservative leader Tim Hudak has muddled through looking very much like, well, an opposition leader and not much else.  The first big point he thought he had scored was to attack the Liberals for a program that gave tax breaks to business for employing new immigrants. Unfortunately, that went off-message as several candidates veered into territory of “immigrants taking our jobs.” The point was quietly dropped.

Instead, the Conservatives have switched to a low-taxes campaign. Ho hum.

The NDP argue, times are tough; you voted for Jack Layton, why not vote for us? The New Democratic Party who run a distant third in this riding have left me neither form literature nor recorded phone messages. As the NDP abandoned even their fig leaf rhetoric about social democracy they ever resemble Canadian Prime Minister Louis St-Laurant’s comment about liberals in a hurry. The NDP slogan putting people first always reminds me that in the U.S., corporations are people too.  

I should also mention that my riding also has candidates from the Green Party, the Freedom Party, the Communist Party and the Vegan-Environmental Party (the last do not even have a web site, just a Facebook page)

So while my earlier dismissal of the election may have seemed trite, there really isn’t much to choose from, and none of the parties offered will fundamentally change things. Yes, I prefer chocolate to strawberry and vanilla, but what if I don’t like ice-cream at all?

I’d like a society which is not based on profit. Not run according to the dictates of the law of value. Where people don’t go to bed hungry, where the rich and the powerful make decisions based on their interests. I’d like a society where the vile miserable things of this society have been abolished.

But that’s not on offer. Nor will it be. Not in this nor any other bourgoeis election. Once the dust has settled and one of the parties has been elected (Liberal or Tory minority is the prediction right now), a discussion about how to create that society, far away from parliament and the bourgeois parties might be a good idea.

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A Catholic Education (part 2)

September 28, 2011 at 3:07 am (Uncategorized)

A couple of weeks back I posted a piece about Catholic schools in Ontario and their apparently reliance on non-Catholics to justify their existence. Well, here’s part 2.

I don’t want people to think I have a particular dislike for the Catholic church – I’d say I dislike all organized religion pretty much equally, even if at certain conjunctural moments various bodies outdo themselves.

Anyway, this article from Toronto’s Grid weekly makes some sound points. It’s not a communist article, not even leftist really, but it’s worth a read.

You Are Funding My Kid’s Catholic School Education

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Bartleby Rides Again

September 25, 2011 at 5:37 pm (Uncategorized)

 

 

This might be the author Sam Jordinon, it’s not clear to me. I took it from 3AM’s web site because it’s the best version of that shirt and memorable phrase from Melville’s short story. 

I try to keep it in mind.

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Death Doesn’t Take a Holiday

September 25, 2011 at 4:53 pm (Uncategorized)

The carrying out of  Troy Davis’s death sentence last Wednesday was certainly tragic, but hardly unpredictable. Davis had been on death row for over twenty years for killing a white cop. And despite the lack of physical evidence and the recantation of many witnesses who identified Davis, there really wasn’t much doubt he would be put to death. Although he had the support of many prominent figures and a 600, 000 strong petition to save his life, Davis was ultimately unable to stop the execution.

It seems that justice must be seen to be done. To whom it is done appears to be of lesser importance. Especially when a poor, non-white or working class scapegoat can be found. The World Socialist Web Site has a good piece on Davis’ execution

And in an ironic moment, if Davis was a good case for the abolition of the death penalty, Lawrence Russell Brewer who was also put to death the same day was not. Brewer, an avowed white supremacist, was convicted of death of James Byrd jr, an African-American who was dragged to death by Brewer and two other from the back of a pick-up truck.  Brewer went to his death apparently unrepentant for his action. Byrd’s son however was opposed to the execution of his father’s murderer.

As if to make the proceedings even more squalid, in the aftermath of Brewer’s execution, Texas, the U.S. leader in executions decided to end the practice of allowing a prisoner to choose his last meal. Brewer apparently ordered a large menu and ate none of it.

 Perhaps, its best to end with Albert Camus’ word on the subject.

Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal’s deed, however calculated can be compared. For there to be an equivalency, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not encountered in private life.

        — Albert Camus Reflections on the Guillotine, 1956

 

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Wilco and Nick Lowe in Toronto – A Review

September 17, 2011 at 8:09 pm (Uncategorized)

Massey Hall is in the middle.  At capacity it holds a little over 2, 700 people. It’s too large to really create the ambience and intimacy of a club show, but it’s still small enough to avoid the agoraphobia of an  impersonal stadium show. And so it was, I went to see Wilco and Nick Lowe at Massey Hall on the second date of their tour to support the release of Wilco’s new album The Whole Love

I was pretty excited about seeing Nick Lowe. I’d listened to him in the late 70s, and once saw him play in Hamilton in the mid 1980s (k.d. lang and the reclines was the opening act), and it’s hard not to have a soft spot for someone who named his first album The Jesus of Cool.

Nick Lowe has been in the music business for over 40 years, starting as a pub-rocker with Brinsley Schwartz in Kipplington Lodge in the late 1960s. In the punk years, Lowe produced bands like the Damned and Elvis Costello, wrote songs with Doctor Feelgood, and was a cheeky new wave solo performer  and part of Rockpile with Dave Edmunds. In addition to a continuing solo career, Lowe was later a part of Little Village with Ry Cooder, John Hiatt  and Jim Keltner.

Lowe took the stage at 7:40 accompanied only with an acoustic guitar, and forget what I said about intimacy, Lowe created an instant rapport with the audience; silver-haired, tall and thin at 62, Lowe was a gracious entertainer, who seemed just to be glad to have the opportunity to play for us: A class act.   

Over the course of his 40-minute set, he took us through the stages of his career: “Cruel to be Kind” (from Labour of Lust), “Raging Eyes” (from The Abominable Showman), (“When I Write the Book” (from Seconds of Pleasure and a breath-takingly beautiful version of  Elvis Costello’s Alison. Lowe concluded his set with the song which he wrote when in Brinsley Schwartz and which made him rich when it appeared on the soundtrack to The Bodyguard, “(What’s so Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding, ” (sorry Nick, gotta go with Elvis’ version over the Brinsley Schwartz one). 

Here’s a video of Lowe performing “Lately I’ve Let Things Slide” (a song he played last night) from 2001’s The Convincer to give you a sense of the show. 

Wilco are a band who were on my radar for a long time. I bought their first four albums, and then somehow lost interest. I saw them play in Calgary in 1996 supporting Being There, and they were amazing. It was one of those shows where the audience and the band feed off of each other’s energy, and the show just builds to a frenzy. I wasn’t expecting that at Massey Hall, but I was pretty sure things would be good.

Except that they weren’t.

The band took the stage and began with some electronica-sounding keyboard noodling, while the rest of the band played some jam sounds and Jeff Tweedy kind of danced on his own. Ohh. And for about 45 minutes, they struggled to find their groove.

Tweedy said not a word to the appreciative audience (so not everyone shared my view), but they continued to work through their set. The songs however, were often interrupted by discordant noise. Twice during “Via Chicago”, the band exploded into blasts of noise, but Tweedy didn’t pause he just continued with the song. At this point, I began to be very concerned.

And then it happened. Halfway though “She’s a Jar,” Tweedy forgot the words. He stopped, started again, stumbled again. He laughed, the audience laughed, and Wilco bonded with us.  And for the remaining 45 minutes, they played amazing rock and roll, albeit with occasional overly long jams.

After a 90-minute set, Tweedy and the band returned to play an encore of songs drawn mostly from their masterpiece Being There. And then it was over. A good show, possibly great, if you can overlook the first half of the show.

Here’s Wilco’s cover of Nick Lowe’s “I Love My Label.”

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The Jim Jones Revue in Toronto

September 16, 2011 at 3:08 am (Uncategorized)

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven!

Well I think Wordsworth would have felt that way if he’d been at the Jim Jones/Kid Congo show at the Horseshoe Tavern Tuesday night. There’s something about straightforward unpretentious rock ‘n’ roll that strips away the years, making you young again. And at the mostly full venue, that was a good thing, as the audience seemed, well, older. Yet through the magic of music, it didn’t matter a damn.

Kid Congo

Kid Congo Powers was a founding member of the Gun Club, leaving before they recorded Fire of Love to join the Cramps and recording Psychedelic Jungle with them. Congo played with the Gun Club a couple more times, but also worked with Nick Cave and Sally Norvell before his latest project Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds.

Congo and the band took the stage about 9:45 and immediately began with  “Sex Beat,” a song off of the Gun Club’s first album. Throughout their 55 minute set, Congo and the band played an energetic rock ranging from punk to sounds which would not have been out-of-place on a Dick Dale album.  Besides originals, Congo also played a couple of covers: the above mentioned “Sex Beat”, but also  “For the Love of Ivy,” a song he co-wrote with Jeffrey Lee Pierce, followed by the Cramps’ “I’m Cramped.”

Congo was an entertaining frontman with a charismatic camp presence. I wasn’t familiar with Congo’s most recent work before the show, but they made a convert out of me. Cool too that the band wore matching denim jackets! 

And the Pink Monkey Birds

So that was the appetizer, but onto the main course. To try to describe the Jim Jones Revue is a futile task because they have to be experienced. Sure, the records are a big fat slice of rock and roll by a band that might sound like the Sonics fronted by Little Richard or Jerry Lee, only much longer and much wilder, but it’s not enough.

Jim Jones

The band took the stage about 11:15 with a rock’n’ roll swagger and dressed the part. Wasting little time, they launched into a sweat drenched set. With continual references to the Montreal crowd, frontman Jim Jones spent much of the set trying to move the audience into wild abandon 

Songs? Yeah, a whole wack of things from the band’s second record Burning Your House Down including “High Horse,” “Shoot First,” “Killing Spree” and the title track, but it doesn’t really matter. You see, the JJR are a sound, and all their songs kind of sound the same – which isn’t a put down, it’s a compliment. Having that sound is crucial.

But speaking of sound, the band seems a little unhappy with the Horseshoe’s PA. Throughout the set, Jones requested changes to the sound, but it seemed to be only on the band’s side because the audience didn’t seem to notice anything wrong.  Of course, I might not of noticed anything given the volume. The Jim Jones Revue play LOUDLY!

One complaint though, which seems to be a frequent one these days, the main set was only 45 minutes. Even with a fabulous three-song encore, the show still clocked in an under an hour (about the same length of Kid Congo’s set). Call me picky.

If you’ve never seen these two bands, well too bad. But don’t worry, you can partially save your soul by investing in the records. Turn them up real loud and maybe you’re half way there.

The Jim Jones Revue

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Here’s a clip someone was nice enough to post on You Tube

 

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Is the Truth out There?

September 11, 2011 at 11:02 pm (Uncategorized)

And on this, the tenth anniversary of the September 11 bombing of the World Trade Centre. There’s been a lot of talk about the way the world has changed since that grey September morning. And of course it has, but in many other ways it hasn’t. Capital still grinds along.

The New York Times this morning devoted an entire section to 9-11 events. Media both left, right and liberal have churned out stories ad nauseam , all tweaking the events to fit their own political perspectives, so that 9-11 has now left any semblance of reality and become the stuff of legend. Which is very handy if you have an agenda to advance.

Earlier this week in the Toronto Globe and Mail,  former McMaster university professor Graeme McQueen gave an interview about an upcoming conference on 9-11 to uncover the truth behind the day’s events. I met McQueen once or twice when I was an undergraduate at McMaster over twenty years ago, so I hope for his sake that the Globe  deliberately edited the interview in a way that made him look stupid.

McQueen’s defense of his contention that the 9-11 bombings were the result of a conspiracy seemed to take on the tactics of a “no it isn’t”to whatever question the interview posed:

There is a group called al-Qaeda. They had 19 hijackers. They commandeered planes. They smashed them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

No. There was never strong evidence for what you just said.

How is this even questionable? The 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed says, “I did this.”

Khalid Sheik Mohammed was suffocated by water over 180 times. What do we know about what he really said?

Al-Jazeera had him on TV a year before his capture, saying, “I’m very happy about this operation.”

Well, I would have to see the interview.

You don’t accept al-Qaeda did it?

Who is al-Qaeda? The term wasn’t used very much before 9/11. There are a lot of questions about who al-Qaeda is and who they work for.

Do you accept that planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon?

Large planes obviously hit the World Trade Center. We have them on video. We have many eyewitnesses. The Pentagon is very complicated – let’s not even go there right now.

If not al-Qaeda, then who?

A very good question. We’re not going to try to solve that in these hearings

Uh huh. A number of writers have argued that the rise of the “Truther” movement is a positive thing because it has eroded people’s trust in the government. In actual fact, it’s an elaborate smoke and mirrors where everything is forms a part of the conspiracy  (at the end of Bob Dylan’s John Birch Society Paranoid Blues, with one left, the character began to investigate himself – “sure hope, I don’t find anything.”)

I don’t know if the bombing of Pearl Harbour ever produced a significant movement of people who wondered if the U.S. let it happen (there has never been any argument that Japan actually committed the raid), but the mother lode for this was the assassination of JFK.

The Kennedy Assassination produced an entire industry of books, magazines, newsletters and an army of “researchers” identifying suspects such as the CIA, the Nazis, the mob, the Soviet Union, Cuba, Lyndon Johnson, or some bizarre cabal with elements of some of all.

You see something of the same illness among the truthers or “Birthers” today. Each with their own little version of the truth. And when a fellow researcher differs, it can only be that they have become a part of the conspiracy., and must therefore be denounced.  

But even beyond that, there’s also the notion that politics make strange bedfellows. Beyond the agent baiting, there are documented proofs. L Fletcher Prouty, Bo Gritz and others who were lionized in ostensibly leftist conspiracy journals for their warnings about the ‘military industrial complex’ and the dangers of fascism have very often been involved with rightist militias or associations seeing the hand of communism or Zionism behind the world’s great events.  

Alexander Cockburn ran an interesting article about the dead-end of conspiracy politics and posted on Counterpunch, but the site doesn’t seem to be available today – I’ll post the link later.

I don’t want to simply tack on an orthodox ending here, but if the powers-that-be are indeed as powerful and all-controlling as the conspiracy theorists would have us believe, then nothing can be done. We’ve lost (it’s puzzling though why the repeated need for coups – JFK is said to be one, then Bush’s victory in 200 and 9-11 a year or so later). The power to change the world doesn’t lie with crusading researcher exposing powerful elites, but rather in the social power of the collective worker.

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A Catholic Education?

September 10, 2011 at 7:50 pm (Uncategorized)

Hey, how do you get Canadians out of a swimming pool at closing time?

Ask them.

And so goes the stereotype of Canadian “niceness” and “accommodation.” 

Part of this must surely go back to the conquest of New France by the British in 1763. After the defeat of the French on the Plains of Abraham, the British found themselves in control of a country in which they were a minority. In fact, French speakers were to outnumber Anglos until the 1930s.

As a result of linguistic and religious differences, two school systems were set up – an English school system for the Protestants and a Catholic (sometimes called separate) school system for the French.  This was thought to be an intelligent compromise; after all, the alternative was the Acadian solution where the French were expelled from Nova Scotia and made their way down to Louisiana, but this would be on a much grander scale..  

Flash forward to the 21st century, and while many provinces, even largely Catholic one such as Nova Scotia, have a single school system, others such as Ontario have two: Both English speaking, both public funded, one nondenominational, one Catholic. (a French school board still exists but it is tiny by comparison)

Many have wondered why there are two such systems. During the last provincial election in Ontario, Conservative leader John Tory argued that public funding for religious schools should be extended to all faiths, an idea which proved to be hugely unpopular and one of the many reasons his party was defeated.

The notion of public funding for sectarian beliefs continues to be touchy, especially since many Catholic school boards seem to have no trouble taking the money, but have some difficulty in dealing with issues such as sexuality and of course gay students. (Some officials have justified their opposition to gay rights with the claim of freedom of religion, and of course any bigotry or lunacy is made saner if prefaced by the phrase “in my religion…”)

In last Tuesday’s Globe and Mail, journalist Kate Hammer wrote an article on the increasing number of non-Catholics, and especially Muslims in  Catholic schools – discipline, modesty, shared Abrahamic values concluded the article was the reason for the sudden attractiveness of non-Catholics in Catholic schools.

The following day, a letter appeared in the paper from Rev David Reilander, a priest in Owen Sound, Ontario. Reilander wrote:

In Owen Sound, a regional centre for Bruce-Grey, my schools are half non-Catholic. If it were not for the non-Catholic students, it would be difficult to justify a Catholic educational presence here.

Huh? A Catholic school board which is only viable with the support of non-Catholics. You don’t have to be a communist, or even a leftist to wonder about that. (Of course a few years back one prominent leftist organization in Ontario supported the establishment of sharia courts for the muslim community so you never know)

Everyone knows that famous remark by Marx about religion being the opium of the people, but for me the most interesting part was the following part where he argued religion was the sign of the oppressed creature. In other words, the continued existence of religion was evidence of  oppression in society. Organized religion though, is a business, a bureaucracy, a racket. No less so than many secular institutions. It remains a curiosity though that a seemingly modern state would continue to promote this one particular bureaucracy.

On the other hand, as a friend of mine once remarked about his own experience with Catholic schools, everyone went in a Catholic, but thanks to the priests who ran the institution, few came out that way.

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The Solitary Reaper

September 5, 2011 at 2:43 pm (Uncategorized)

On Labour Day, on the verge of a new school year, here’s this lovely poem by William Wordsworth. It’s referenced in an episode of the Inspector Morse spin-off Lewis 

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BEHOLD her, single in the field,
          Yon solitary Highland Lass!
          Reaping and singing by herself;
          Stop here, or gently pass!
          Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
          And sings a melancholy strain;
          O listen! for the Vale profound
          Is overflowing with the sound.

          No Nightingale did ever chaunt
          More welcome notes to weary bands                           10
          Of travellers in some shady haunt,
          Among Arabian sands:
          A voice so thrilling ne’er was heard
          In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
          Breaking the silence of the seas
          Among the farthest Hebrides.

          Will no one tell me what she sings?–
          Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
          For old, unhappy, far-off things,
          And battles long ago:                                       20
          Or is it some more humble lay,
          Familiar matter of to-day?
          Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
          That has been, and may be again?

          Whate’er the theme, the Maiden sang
          As if her song could have no ending;
          I saw her singing at her work,
          And o’er the sickle bending;–
          I listened, motionless and still;
          And, as I mounted up the hill                               30
          The music in my heart I bore,
          Long after it was heard no more.

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