Sunday, April 14, 2013

The news from England

The current issue (5-18 April) of Private Eye is a cracker. Worth every cent of the $10 cover price. A brilliant Boris Johnson cover, snarkiness about university vice-chancellors’ salaries (that whooshing sound you hear is Paul Litterick rushing out to buy a copy), Craig Brown filleting Paulo Coelho, and this from the “Street of Shame” column :
Last week Independent hack Tom Peck struck a blow for over-informed journalists everywhere when he finally snapped and sent a reply to the 9994th email from a PR pushing a product and claiming “I hope this news story brightens up your Wednesday!”
“Well it doesn’t brighten up my fucking day does it, because it’s fucking bollocks, and I will get a million more like it within the next ten minutes, making it near on impossible not to miss the important stuff I do need to read, because you pricks insist on sending me cosmic fucking wank like this,” ran his unimprovable riposte.
Was he congratulated by grateful colleagues for this constructive feedback? Was he heck. When the PR company in question complained to Indy editor Chris Blackhurst, Peck was hauled into the editor’s office, bollocked, and ordered to write an apology.
This item on the Miliband brothers is even better, at least for those strange people interested in UK politics:
So. Farewell then David Miliband, who has decided to swap his part-time jobs in Norway, Denmark, California, Pakistan, the UAE, and South Shields where he is the Labour MP for a role with the International Rescue Committee in New York.
Older readers may recall that there were some family tensions at International Rescue during the Thunderbirds episode “Atlantic Inferno” when eldest Tracy brother Scott badly bungled his attempt to lead the organisation in the absence of his father Jeff, and was forced to concede his position as pilot of Thunderbird One to his younger brother Alan. F-A-B!
There is also an item about conman Giovanni di Stefano, jailed last month for 14 years. Older readers may remember his escapades in Auckland in May 1990. Those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end.

In the Spectator, Kate Chisholm reviews David Hendy’s new series for Radio 4, Noise: A Human History:
In the first week, he took us inside the caves of Arcy-sur-Cure in Burgundy where archaeologists have discovered fragments of paintings of mammoths, bears, fish, even the delicate outline of a bird, dating back 40,000 years. That’s extraordinary enough, but when musicologist Iegor Reznikoff went into the cave to look at the paintings he found that 80 per cent of them are posi­tioned precisely where, if you make a sound, there is an unusual resonance, an eerie, echoing presence.
The paintings are not close to the entrance of the cave, where the light from outside still penetrates, but deep inside where it would have been pitch-dark and to paint would have been difficult. Here, though, the ech­oes are more pronounced. If you clap in certain rhythms beside the painting of a mammoth, for instance, the overlapping reverberations sound like hooves gallop­ing towards you from deep inside the cave. Reznikoff believes the images are connected to these audio effects. Sound is as important a part of their creation as the visual image. In effect, the images are signposts into an aural world, connecting the hearer, or rather listener, to another- dimension of experience.
So here is Beck performing David Bowie’s “Sound and Vision” with a cast of thousands in the round. He must have been listening to Gabrieli and/or Stockhausen.

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