Here it is... the book thread!

Started by scatcat, November 30, 2007, 03:55:17

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SueC



It's been over ten years since our own tree-change, so it's a good time for general reflection for us, including a re-visit of Faith Addis' classic tales of her own family's move to the UK countryside in the 1970s. I originally caught the story via the BBC series of the same name, which it turns out wasn't the Addis' story at all, it was 95% conconcted. This, I shall now proceed to rant about.

It's not that the first BBC series of Down to Earth wasn't interesting in its own way. In it, Faith Addis is the person with the brains and heart to keep her family together and going forward while her well-intentioned but inept husband Brian bumbles along, and yells a lot at other people instead of accepting responsibility for his own mistakes - not to mention, whose personal pride decrees that his wife secretly working off-farm at something she excels at so her children can eat and be clothed is a betrayal not to be brooked. :confounded:

The TV children are: Sara, caught up in her own world and blinded by her first romance with a no-goodnik, the ground on which he walks, she worships - until she finds out it's only an exclusive arrangement from her end. There's Marcus, a jewel who takes more after his mother than his father, and endearing little Molly, excited about everything, but especially animals.

These were not the real Addises, who are so far removed from their fictitious doubles that I find it unethical they ever shared names. Were I Faith Addis, I'd be incensed especially at the way the screenwriters chose to portray her husband Brian - turning a resourceful, intelligent, kind, emotionally mature man into a bumbling idiot with anger management issues and an urgent need for several decades of psychotherapy. Daughter Sara never was a self-absorbed, whingeing teenager who thought moving to the country was hell - she and her brother Marcus were both for it, actually instigating the move it in the first place. Molly doesn't even exist in reality.

A few other important things never happened in reality: Brian didn't mismanage the taxes on his florist shop, forcing him to sell. He managed the business well and sold by choice. The move to the country was planned for years, not an impromptu wildcard after a train wreck. The Addises never naively thought to make a living for their family by growing flowers and vegetables single-handedly, small-scale and without prior experience - they planned to do children's rural holiday camps from the outset - and Brian already was a green thumbs.

Brett played devil's advocate when we were discussing this last night. "But Sue, we can't just have a competent, emotionally healthy, together couple moving to the country with their delighted children and succeeding. Where's the drama in that? No, no, no - make one of them a bumbling fool the other puts up with for nobody knows what reason. Make the oldest daughter a drama queen in puppy love who runs away. Make everyone into stereotypes, let them fail serially, indeed let them barely escape a naivety and failure so consistent and cumulative it almost costs them their dreams; let them only escape by a hair's breadth and by divine miracles, and by their adult son selling his motorbike and their little girl busking in the street."

Or so thought the BBC, much to my chagrin and also to my surprise - that level of sensationalising is more akin to Australian and American commercial channels. While the TV series itself, if you've never read the books they were supposedly based on, is an OK story, I think that as a story using the real Addis' actual names, it's horrible and defamatory.

I read the books after I watched the TV adaptation, and couldn't believe the BBC hadn't thought the original, unadulterated story worth telling. I personally think it's worth telling more than the confection they made out of the character names, some of the original settings and a number of real-life incidents they kept in with the rest of their confabulation. It's the story of real people, and a good how-to for anyone who's thinking of upending their lives and doing something completely different. It shows the qualities you need to cultivate in yourself to succeed, and demonstrates that even a well-considered real life already has plenty of curveballs, comedy, drama and mistakes to learn from, even without the fevered imaginations of TV writers inventing more.

The real Faith and Brian Addis were both of them industrious, energetic, clever, capable, eager to learn, and exactly the kind of people who will make a go of anything they choose to turn their attention to. They not only made a go of their 16th century farmhouse and holiday camp, but of several other ventures, although Faith Addis remarks in the foreword, "Looking back to the 1970s, which is when my books began, I realise how lucky we were to be able to do the things we did. Nowadays there are so many regulations strangling small enterprise you probably need a degree in form-filling to start a flower farm or a children's holiday home, to name just two of our ventures." And it's even more difficult in Australia or the US, which is why alternative farming practitioner Joel Salatin wrote a book not so long ago called Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal.

I strongly recommend both Faith Addis' classics and Joel Salatin's treatise to anyone interested in rural life and in how food gets to your table (and what you can do to encourage good environmental and animal welfare standards).
SueC is time travelling

MeltingMan

To make room for my new collection, I transported books to the basement, a total of five boxes. It was important for me to store the volumes upright so that air can get between the pages. All heavy books on subjects like art history, military history and old files. With the cardboard boxes you are already reaching the limit of what is feasible. When I went down the stairs, some volumes fell over. Oh well. Nothing happens. In the event of a move, it is recommended not to over-load the box anyway. If you only have paperbacks, it is easier. 😄
« Hors du temps » devise mystique, exagérée,
seulement décorative; « hors de son temps »
excellente formule qui exprime non la comba-
tivité, mais le désintéressement de l'éphéme-
ride.

(La science de l'amour, Éd. 1911, p. 296.)

MeltingMan

I was still missing five text-critical comments on my collection. Today I downloaded them as pdf's (August Strindbergs Samlade Verk). It is questionable whether they will ever appear in print. Certainly not this decade. A big thank you to the editors and to everyone who was involved in this 'monument'! 👌🏻
« Hors du temps » devise mystique, exagérée,
seulement décorative; « hors de son temps »
excellente formule qui exprime non la comba-
tivité, mais le désintéressement de l'éphéme-
ride.

(La science de l'amour, Éd. 1911, p. 296.)

SueC

JP Delaney writes intricate, intelligent psychological thrillers. I've reviewed The Girl Before, The Perfect Wife and Believe Me for these pages - all excellent and thought-provoking. The latest, Playing Nice, I can also highly recommend.

The title, Playing Nice, is on the one hand a reference to teaching children to play nicely with others, and on the other, about adults compromising and being reasonable with each other - or putting on a stage performance of such behaviour in public while pursuing quite different lines in private. To an extent, a lot of families give stage performances in public that differ significantly from how they act at home - most shockingly so in cases of family violence and abuse. In this novel, we meet a master of such stage play - a psychopath who is, of course, able to charm most people with his facade, plus he's ultra successful and rich, which means he can conceal a lot of things ordinary citizens can't, and engage lawyers at the drop of a hat.

Playing Nice is a novel about two babies mixed up at a hospital, and the parents discovering the mistake two years later. Now what? It is also about how people (routinely, lawyers, but they are not the only ones) will take other people's stories and twist them to present them in an unfavourable light - spin, character assassination, etc. It's about how experts in various agencies can get things completely wrong but still be the esteemed expert, and how ruthless people will play a system, and other people.

Because I've read a fair few of these and because I'm sadly au fait with narcissism and families "playing nice" in public (having grown up in such a family), I generally pick the personality traits of various disorders pretty easily even under the presented facades, when reading such books - and I usually figure out who has done what so that the "big surprises" aren't surprises to me. Therefore, I did correctly pick who had swapped the babies at the hospital and why - in part that's because I wasn't looking just at who would do something "horrible" like that, but at other reasons a person might have for doing this.

It's satisfying that Playing Nice does have a relatively happy ending, even though many real-life stories like this do not. One thing that held me in suspense was trying to figure out whether Pete was genuinely super-nice or had a personality disorder - a little puzzle the author was giving us, and it could have gone either way because sometimes it's really hard to tell the difference! Likewise, it's interesting looking closely at all the characters in this cast trying to work out what is driving them and what they might really be thinking.

Excellent treatment of "baby psychopathy" caused by an underdeveloped amygdala, and how "warm parenting" can help develop the amygdala and hopefully prevent the child becoming a psychopath - while insensitive parenting, or making a "little prince", can have the opposite effect.
SueC is time travelling

Pongo

Quote from: SueC on September 22, 2021, 00:52:09Playing Nice is a novel about two babies mixed up at a hospital, and the parents discovering the mistake two years later.

Sounds like a very interesting plot. Will have to check this one out.

Psychopathy in general has been on my radar the last couple of years. Haven't read that many books dealing with it though. The Psychopath Test By Jon Ronson is a very entertaining and interesting introduction to the subject.

SueC



In postscript to Post #195 above: I've now finished re-reading all five books in the Down to Earth series - an interesting exercise to see how other smallholders elsewhere live their lives and solve their problems. Faith Addis is a highly entertaining writer and always good for humorous anecdotes about human foibles, including her own - books guaranteed to make readers laugh almost continuously. Also, her rural-life biography is now a slice of 1970s/80s rural history, which paints a colourful picture of Devon, Dartmoor and surrounds.

I personally preferred the earlier books in the series where they were living in historical houses built hundreds of years ago and doing a lot of self-sufficiency, as I could relate more to the activities they were doing at that point: Growing much of their own fruit and vegetables, keeping agricultural animals, producing their own milk, eggs and meat, bartering with other smallholders, and doing rural-life sidelines like running holiday camps for children and taking in general farmstay guests.



They sold the fabled Phyllishayes at the end of Book 2 but I could stand it because the place was bought by nice people who continued to grow food and run the holiday camps. This means the children didn't miss out in consequence - I think it's so important for children to have rural experiences; many who live in cities never have the opportunity. The Addises moved to a larger smallholding where they could grow more stuff, and shared a leaky Tudor house split into two separate residences with Faith's mother while undergoing continuous education through the Smallholders Association.

The series took a dive for me when they sold the Tudor house to resurrect and on-sell a nursery that had fallen into disrepair. That was the end of most of their livestock-keeping. They then lived in a mouldy bungalow with a leaky roof and horrible interior features like psychedelic swirly carpets. Part of the aim of the exercise was to do up the house as well as the nursery, in order to sell it at a good profit two or three years later and move somewhere more pleasant. It may or may not have made them enough money to compensate for the drop in quality of life and the loss of a plethora of previous interesting activities - but I personally recoiled at the idea of running a greenhouse production unit for begonias, petunias, fuchsias, geraniums and general garden shrubs. Mass propagation of plants in artificial environments and sterile media isn't the same as getting your fingers into real soil and working organically, with permaculture systems that harmonise with nature.



At the end of Book 4 they finally sold that place and bought an ancient Devon Longhouse on Dartmoor. I was keen to hear all about that, but at the start of Book 5 they have already sold it because the high moor is too cold to grow plants properly - and we hear basically nothing about those two years. Instead, it's back to living in another eyesore and working in greenhouses to mass-produce ornamental plants and sell them at car boot sales and fairs. Zzzzzz, I'd rather have root canal therapy than do that. Nevertheless, the last book in the series is made interesting by its discussion of green lane projects, which Brian is involved with for a while, its descriptions of the alternative-lifestyle haven Totnes and its more bohemian occupants, and the author's continuous humorous anecdotes.

By Book 5 you get to have some idea of the author's particular flaws, because she begins to make jokes at other people's expense often enough to make things uncomfortable, and because while she's different and alternative-lifestyle herself, she's often scathing of people who are different in other ways, or of kooky theories that are not her own pet kooky theories, but objectively no kookier. However, it's always easier to see other people's flaws than our own, and familiarity with anyone will increase this awareness.

I also get the impression that the Addises didn't live in particularly clean interiors. Faith often refers to her aversion to housework and even to meal preparation - and that bit is hard to relate to for foodies like Brett and me - the whole point of growing your own stuff is that you get far better taste and nutrition, because you're growing heirlooms in healthy soil and bringing them straight to the table. However, Brian seems to have not exactly pulled his weight around the house, and when you're dealing with that kind of inequality it could put anyone off housework and cooking.

Unhygienic interiors aren't uncommon with back-to-the-land smallholders - I've met a fair few, and I always winced when I read the in-house stories from the Grass Roots magazine editor about chickens running around indoors and sitting on the kitchen table and sofas. At our place, we draw the indoor critters line at one dog, who has her own sofa and isn't allowed in the kitchen, dining area or the guest rooms. She's definitely not allowed in our bed, or encouraged to spend much time in our bedroom. Our house doesn't smell of dog. Not having any carpets helps - floor rugs are washable. I launder her sofa coverings weekly. We'll vacuum once a week, and touch up in-between where needed if she's moulting or has snuck into the house without the obligatory towelling-off outside first.

Not for me the idea of chicken or any other droppings, ectoparasites and farmyard dirt inside a house. I'm happy to get dirty outdoors, but indoors is clean and comfortable and welcoming, and our personal haven. Nice crisp natural-fibre bedsheets that get a rinse in water with a shake of lavender oil at least once a week are to us the pinnacle of that kind of hygge. You can be a smallholder, but leave the dirt outside to grow potatoes in - very nice potatoes too.

Anyone who's interested in rural life and in funny anecdotes could give the Down to Earth books a go. Book 5 kind of ends mid-air and is a bit anticlimactic compared to the first three books in the series, but the whole series is still worth a read.

SueC is time travelling

Ulrich

I've been reading Garry Disher's "Under the cold bright lights".

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43599436-under-the-cold-bright-lights

Quote from: undefinedAlan Auhl was a homicide detective who took early retirement but has now returned to the police force to work on cold cases. He has an unusual household composed of his student daughter, occasionally his ex wife, several tenants and usually someone in need of a safe place while they sort out their lives.

In contrary to the other books I read by G. Disher, this one is in a more "urban" setting and the main character makes a (morally) questionable decision...

What's the same as the other books: "social realism" and cases which show how bad some human beings can become.

Quote from: undefinedBetween Auhl's several cases, and his complicated personal life, there's a lot going on in this book, but all the storylines are compelling and well-plotted.

Can't help but agree with this!  :smth023
It doesn't touch me at all...

SueC

Definitely sounds like I should reserve it at the library, @Ulrich:cool

Garry Disher's books, like JP Delaney's, I tend to read quickly and without dipping into other books at the same time. I actually finish them within a few days, whereas my bedside book stack is full of books I keep dipping into and back out of, and reading in parallel with each other. This happens especially with nonfiction - and so, I've just gotten into the second half of Mike Scott's autobiography, and wanted to bring up some things from that!

As already mentioned in the above link, there's lots of good stuff in this bio, including really excellent writing. When Mike Scott does his cultural decompression in the West of Ireland, the descriptions are so evocative it feels like part of you is right there in Western Ireland too, which is lovely, for me anyway, because I've never been to Western Ireland and yet the place has fascinated me since I painted the Dingle Peninsula for my Year 10 art class Impressionism project when I was 14, and subsequently read JM Synge's Playboy of the Western World for Year 12 English Literature when I was 16. The chapters of Adventures of a Waterboy set in Western Ireland are a very good personalised vicarious immersion into the local landscape and culture.

Fisherman's Blues is one of my favourite albums of all time, and it was really interesting to read about its recording, especially the months in residence in Spiddal House. That all seemed pretty idyllic apart from when the cook threatened crew members with a shotgun, and when they had to send one of their roadies back home to his wife a couple of weeks early because he was going AWOL with alcohol and drunken antics that interfered with everyone else getting on with the recording work. I'll never be able to listen to the super-cheery Spring Comes To Spiddal again without remembering that while an oblivious Mike Scott was laying down the vocal for that track with headphones on, the cook was running around with a loaded shotgun threatening people!  :1f62e:

I loved the chapter on the young Sharon Shannon, who's one of my favourite Celtic traditional music artists, right up along with Capercaillie and Alasdair Fraser, and whom we've caught live in our small town on the South Coast of Western Australia - excellent gig, too.

Alas, good things eventually came to an end, because the recording of the next album, Room to Roam, was plagued with problems. It probably wasn't a good idea to return to Spiddal House, and the producer certainly sounded like the wrong choice, driving everyone up the wall with his bloody metronome and his lack of understanding of Celtic music. It wasn't the first time Mike Scott chose a producer that didn't work out for them, and I don't think you can choose someone like that just based on externals such as whether you like some albums they produced - I think you'd have to meet up with them, with all of your band, and have some serious discussions together on how you like to work and what your priorities are - because what matters more than anything is whether people can work together well and productively.

Mike Scott seems not to have consulted the other band members democratically and inclusively with major decisions like this - reading the bio, one gets the distinct impression that the rest of the Waterboys are kind of like his Greek chorus, and that The Waterboys ought to have been known as "Mike Scott & The Waterboys" or just "Mike Scott" like Suzanne Vega is known as Suzanne Vega even though she travels with other musicians. The Waterboys don't seem to have been a band of equals with creativity and general decision-making - Mike Scott was definitely the one with the principal say over what the band would sound like and do. And sometimes that's how it works, but I can imagine that this would have set up a fair bit of friction and resentment by the time Room to Roam was getting recorded.

Because by then the band had been together for years and probably began to feel a bit like a family that owed each other a bit of mutual consultation. I can imagine some of them getting really annoyed about being stuck with an apparently up-himself big-time big-name big-head American producer without having had any input into the decision, and I can certainly imagine that some of the band members would have been livid when Mike Scott started sacking people when the rehearsals for the new-album tour weren't working out. The album wasn't as good as it could have been, and it's my understanding that concert tours are an important aspect of making an income as a musician. You'd be understandably pissed off if you had to endure an unpleasant album recording process that ended in a relative commercial flop and then didn't get to tour that album to at least top up your bank balance, because the head honcho decided to sack you and go on tour without you - as was the case for the drummer, and all the trad musicians in The Waterboys at the time. So OK, Steve Wickham quit and then the trad stuff didn't work out, but Steve Wickham quit after Mike Scott sacked the drummer, and almost certainly at least in part because he didn't agree either with that decision, or with not being consulted.

And so, our human flaws and resulting conflicts continue to mess things up in our lives, at regular intervals along the road. This isn't an exercise in pointing the finger at Mike Scott, who in any event was aware after it all blew up that he should have approached that differently - just an exercise in imagining how the other people might have felt at the time, who were not telling this story. It's also a reminder that we're all of us plagued with these difficulties along the road, and that perhaps the most important thing is this: If you can't always avoid falling over, to get good at getting up again, and at doing your part in promoting goodwill and harmony again afterwards.

Mike Scott, in the long run, appears to have done a fair bit of this, since he did record and play live again down the track with some of the very people he sacked in that dark time for The Waterboys. And not that this is an excuse for deliberately doing something untoward, just a consolation for tripping up: It's amazing how well flowers grow in compost made from BS. Going separate ways isn't necessarily the end for anyone, creatively or personally, and much excellent music came from various separate ventures by various ex-Waterboys, as well as by the continuing Waterboys AKA Mike Scott's backing band!  :winking_tongue

I've just gotten to the early-90s New York part of the bio and am wincing again at just how easily Mike Scott got the wrong impression of people, but I think part of me is wincing for all of our human stuff-ups, misconceptions etc. Full marks for the forthrightness with which Mr Scott is letting us see some of his warts, and is a catalyst for making us think about our own warts, both warts past and warts still in treatment!
SueC is time travelling

Ulrich

Quote from: SueC on October 22, 2021, 05:17:17Fisherman's Blues is one of my favourite albums of all time, and it was really interesting to read about its recording, especially the months in residence in Spiddal House. That all seemed pretty idyllic

Well I guess it was and even today, when the band members speak about it (or re-visit the place) they get all sentimental about it.
However, only half of the album was recorded there, the rest was all over the place (Dublin mostly, plus some sessions in L.A., which weren't used after all).
Songs kept being rearranged and re-recorded, in the end they lost track and it could've been 3 albums in all. (Most left-over recordings were subsequently released over the next 30 years.)

Quote from: SueC on October 22, 2021, 05:17:17Mike Scott seems not to have consulted the other band members democratically and inclusively with major decisions like this

A bit like with Robert Smith, he seems to be "the boss" of the project. (It has been known that The Cure democratically decided which songs to put on some albums, but in general it is Robert who makes most decisions.)
I had the impression that Mike Scott just follows his own intuition when it came to creative decisions. This lead him to into "blind alleys" at times, but that can easily happen.

Anyway, I read that autobiography by Mike Scott a while ago and enjoyed it. He's a good writer, hopefully during lockdowns he found time to write something again (part 2 of this bio maybe)...
It doesn't touch me at all...

SueC

Quote from: Ulrich on October 22, 2021, 15:04:44
Quote from: SueC on October 22, 2021, 05:17:17Fisherman's Blues is one of my favourite albums of all time, and it was really interesting to read about its recording, especially the months in residence in Spiddal House. That all seemed pretty idyllic

Well I guess it was and even today, when the band members speak about it (or re-visit the place) they get all sentimental about it.
However, only half of the album was recorded there, the rest was all over the place (Dublin mostly, plus some sessions in L.A., which weren't used after all).
Songs kept being rearranged and re-recorded, in the end they lost track and it could've been 3 albums in all. (Most left-over recordings were subsequently released over the next 30 years.)

Yes, they covered all that in the bio!  ;)  That producer in LA gave me the creeps. I'd have walked away (but I'm mature-age and have picked up more on alarm bells than I had as a younger person, and Mike Scott was still young and impressionable). The big American flag draped across his house was already a clue as to what you were going to get.

I've had Too Close To Heaven for many years, and I like some of the material on it even better than the material on Fisherman's Blues. And yet from what I read in the bio, that's only a fraction of what they actually recorded and then put on ice (although some of it turned up on Room To Roam, whether from the vault or re-recorded specifically for that album I'm not sure). Looks like I need to do some more digging. Also to try to get the B-sides for Dream Harder - which I had no idea existed.

Other than that I'm pretty much up to date with what I want out of that catalogue - I'm yet to acquire Still Burning (last time I looked it wasn't available) and Modern Blues, which would mean a complete catalogue up until that particular album, and after that I'm not so sure I'm interested anymore. It's starting to look samey after that and there's other back catalogues I'm still filling gaps in...


Quote from: Ulrich on October 22, 2021, 15:04:44I had the impression that Mike Scott just follows his own intuition when it came to creative decisions. This lead him to into "blind alleys" at times, but that can easily happen.

Anyway, I read that autobiography by Mike Scott a while ago and enjoyed it. He's a good writer, hopefully during lockdowns he found time to write something again (part 2 of this bio maybe)...

Yeah, I think Part 2 would be interesting. Brett, of course, after The Withering Letter, thinks Mike Scott should give up music altogether and make a career change into spoken-word projects, like audio books.

But he's also, for the last couple of days, several times a day exclaimed in shocked tones, "He sacked Sharon Shannon! How can anyone sack Sharon Shannon?" Yesterday it was the first thing he said after he woke up in the morning. :rofl

By the way, I listened to Room To Roam a couple of times since yesterday (much outdoors work to do) and it's not actually as bad an album as either the critics or Mike Scott himself suggests. About half the tracks on it I like very much, either for the lyrics or for the music - sometimes just for one, like Further Up, Further In - the last four lines are particularly sage, and I first took note of those in my 20s:

I find I've wandered far from home
but home is in me wherever I roam
I thought I was an hour or a year behind
but the hours and the years are only time


Of course, the cynical part of me thinks How Long Will I Love You? is another hormonal proclamation by a starry-eyed courting individual, which smells vaguely fishy, and will smell worse a year later (same sort of reaction with songs like this documented previously :winking_tongue ).

I think the main problem with this album is that it's the closest The Waterboys ever got to sounding twee - in fact, they probably crossed that line with several songs on it. This was not a problem on Fisherman's Blues, or on Too Close To Heaven - or on any other albums from that catalogue that I've heard. It's a problem with some aspects of traditional music that the better trad artists, like Capercaillie, seem to have been capable of avoiding for their entire careers, while many of the general offerings you hear on St Patrick's Day are infested with it.

But Room To Roam isn't nearly as twee in its most twee places as those general St Patrick's Day offerings - and there's another way to look at it, which is: Mike Scott seems to have been a bit like a big sponge keenly soaking up the surrounding environment and culture wherever he went - particularly the West of Ireland, New York, the Findhorn intentional community - and he always produced incredible musical postcards of those places and experiences. He wasn't a tourist, he actually became a local in those places. If you spend enough time in the West of Ireland, I'm sure some of the twee starts not to look twee to you, just as cynicism doesn't look so cynical if you live in New York! ;)

And when he was looking back at Room To Roam from the context of living in New York, he could suddenly see the twee aspects of it because of the contrast in cultures, and it seems to have embarrassed him, the way he writes about it. Plus he's a perfectionist and often looks very critically at his own work, probably more critically than anyone else, backstage.

He also wrote rather critically about the New York album Dream Harder as being faux rock'n'roll, but I actually enjoy that record for its quirkiness and think it has many redeeming features, and many super songs on it. I love Glastonbury Song, the tongue-in-cheek Corn Circles and Spiritual City and the sublime version of Love and Death, for example. He thinks his mojo was at half-mast for that record, and was happier with the subsequent B-sides, which is why I'd like to hear those B-sides...

I'd totally also be up for reading the sequel for life 40+ for Mike Scott, so yeah, I hope he's been writing during the pandemic, but maybe he hasn't because he's busy juggling parenting young children and being civil with various exes... :winking_tongue
SueC is time travelling

SueC

Quote from: Ulrich on October 23, 2021, 14:30:22Thanks for ruining another song for me with such weak assumptions. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:  :mad:  :1f629:  :anguished:

When a song has a different effect on someone else than it has on you, it shouldn't ruin it for you. Just like it doesn't ruin bananas for me that Brett doesn't like them.  :winking_tongue

I like a lot of songs you don't like, and you like a lot of songs I don't, and personally I think that is cool and ruins nothing.

But if I've ruined How Long Will I Love You? for you because of what I've said about that and other songs like it, then I've ruined all romantic songs for you that make promises that people don't usually live up to. Sometimes they do - but mostly it's like what Nick Lowe caricatures in All Men Are Liars. Most singers who sing about loving someone forever and ever are with the next item a couple of years later - it's pretty predictable - and writing the next forever and ever song about them, and then about the next person after that - and the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result... :lol:

History bore out that Mike Scott didn't stay with the person forever and ever he wrote that forever and ever song for, either. Or the next one after that he thought was "the one" etc (and maybe that's because most people's romantic ideas aren't very realistic, but a bit rooted in fairytales about romance, and they mistake strong feelings caused by reproductive brain chemistry for love when those are quite different things). So no assumptions there. Personally if I can't live up to unrealistic promises, I stop making them - and I'd think it was unrealistic if I hadn't lived up to my first lot of promises, and I'd be really hesitant to think I could henceforth make such sweeping promises again.

So I'll agree to disagree with you on that one, and get back to book reviewing. One I've just begun is this, and it looks great:



Here's some information from the Penguin Random House page:

Quote"Merlin Sheldrake's marvelous tour of these diverse and extraordinary life forms is eye-opening on why humans should consider fungi among the greatest of earth's marvels. . . . Wondrous."--Time

A mind-bending journey into the hidden universe of fungi, "one of those rare books that can truly change the way you see the world around you" (Helen Macdonald, author of H Is for Hawk).

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Time • BBC Science Focus • The Daily Mail • Geographical • The Times • The Telegraph • New Statesman • London Evening Standard • Science Friday

When we think of fungi, we likely think of mushrooms. But mushrooms are only fruiting bodies, analogous to apples on a tree. Most fungi live out of sight, yet make up a massively diverse kingdom of organisms that supports and sustains nearly all living systems. Fungi provide a key to understanding the planet on which we live, and the ways we think, feel, and behave.

In Entangled Life, the brilliant young biologist Merlin Sheldrake shows us the world from a fungal point of view, providing an exhilarating change of perspective. Sheldrake's vivid exploration takes us from yeast to psychedelics, to the fungi that range for miles underground and are the largest organisms on the planet, to those that link plants together in complex networks known as the "Wood Wide Web,"  to those that infiltrate and manipulate insect bodies with devastating precision.

Fungi throw our concepts of individuality and even intelligence into question. They are metabolic masters, earth makers, and key players in most of life's processes. They can change our minds, heal our bodies, and even help us remediate environmental disaster. By examining fungi on their own terms, Sheldrake reveals how these extraordinary organisms--and our relationships with them--are changing our understanding of how life works.

SHORTLISTED FOR THE BRITISH BOOK AWARD • LONGLISTED FOR THE RATHBONES FOLIO PRIZE

"Entangled Life is a gorgeous book of literary nature writing in the tradition of [Robert] Macfarlane and John Fowles, ripe with insight and erudition. . . . Food for the soul."--Eugenia Bone, Wall Street Journal

So far, the book is living up to the hype. If people are interested in other superb natural history books, I would also recommend:

The Future Eaters by Australian ecologist Tim Flannery - best natural history of Australia and surrounding land masses I've ever read - accessible, detailed, superbly written, total pleasure to read and so much to learn - Tim Flannery did a Literature degree before he became a biologist, and it really shows in his writing.

Where Song Began by Tim Low - amazing exploration of Australian birds, their characteristics, why they're so hyperactive and vocal (our plants make lots of excess sugar for them because there aren't enough minerals in the soil for the plants to turn all the sugars they make from photosynthesis into other useful things for their own use - such as proteins etc - so they instead use the sugar to court pollinators, and have enough to employ lots of birds to do that).
SueC is time travelling

MeltingMan

Canada, of all places, is the Guest of Honor at this year's Frankfurt Book Fair. Just don't get it wrong: I lost a book that was already out of print this year in the mail, which was ordered as a reimport from (French) Canada. No problem - the purchase price was refunded immediately and the publisher has now (with presence of mind) released a paperback version (L'Éternelle jeune fille. Une ethnocritique du Rêve de Zola by Marie Scarpa). Great.

🙂
« Hors du temps » devise mystique, exagérée,
seulement décorative; « hors de son temps »
excellente formule qui exprime non la comba-
tivité, mais le désintéressement de l'éphéme-
ride.

(La science de l'amour, Éd. 1911, p. 296.)

Pongo

Quote from: SueC on October 23, 2021, 11:30:26Of course, the cynical part of me thinks How Long Will I Love You? is another hormonal proclamation

If anyone is baiting with Room to roam, I will bite. There will be more about this album in my upcoming essay on Wild Mood Swings. But concerning How long will I love you, I saw that more as an exercise in writing something lyrical. Much the same as A Man is in Love, I don't necessarily have to have Mike being the subject of this song. Both of these songs are a bit cheesy, but I appreciate the use of language in both of them. Both of these maybe should have been left as b-sides, if it weren't for that they have the music to go with them.

Moreover, most of us are multi-dimensional, sometimes we are reflecting on life in a complex way and sometimes we put a sign on the wall saying Carpe diem!. No, sorry, that was a bit too far, but I think you get the idea. But I think everyone has the right to write a Friday I'm in love, without being judged too harshly.

Pongo

In order for this not to become a Waterboys thread, I'll just say that I'm currently reading this one:


It's a history book about the Black Death. I thought it interesting in the light of the current pandemic. Don't know whether it's translated to any other languages. The focus is on what it was like in Sweden at the time but it covers what happened throughout the world.

Ulrich

Thanks for trying to stay on topic.  ;)  :happy

If a book is about an album, a little "detour" is alright.
However an in-depth song analysis might be moved to a Waterboys topic at some point. I already deleted my own "off topic" posts (the sarcasm in one sentence might've been "lost in translation" to some anyway.)

Quote from: Pongo on October 27, 2021, 08:53:46...I saw that more as an exercise in writing something lyrical. Much the same as A Man is in Love, I don't necessarily have to have Mike being the subject of this song.

So do I. And unless anyone delivers a medical report about his hormonal status at the time, I will call an assumption what it is: an assumption.  :1f62e:
It doesn't touch me at all...