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Pete Atkin >> Words >> Perfect Moments
(Message started by: Kevin Cryan on Today at 17:04)

Title: Perfect Moments
Post by Kevin Cryan on Today at 17:04
Robert Hughes's piece on Rembrandt in the review pages of last Saturday's (11/02/2006) Guardian - there is a link to it later - reminded me that I'd long intended to write some notes on my personal favourite James/Atkin songs, Perfect Moments. Now, after a week of trawling thorugh the net for the right links, here they are.

         Perfect moments have a clean design
         Scoring edges that arrest the flow
         Skis cut diamonds in the plump of snow
         Times my life feels like a friend of mine
         
         Perfect moments wear a single face
         Variations on each other's theme
         Renoir's mistresses in peach and cream

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre-Auguste_Renoir) frequently used mistresses, including Suzanne Valandon (http://www.abcgallery.com/R/renoir/renoir45.html), as models. The most famous is Aline Charigot, a provincial girl whom he met in 1880 when she came to Paris to learn dressmaking. She more or less immediately became his mistress, and after a decade together, and the birth of their first child, they married.

This portrait of Aline Charigot (http://www.wisdomportal.com/Romance/MmeRenoir(531x648).jpg) was painted around 1885.  Although he painted women in beautiful and sensual way, Renoir was by all accounts something of a misogynist; "I like women best when they don't know how to read, and when they wipe their babies' bottoms themselves," he once remarked.

Renoir did not do many portraits of Aline, but she does appear in many of the group scenes he painted including the very famous Luncheon of the Boating Party (http://www.wisdomportal.com/Romance/Renoir-BoatingParty.html) which was painted the year they met.

         Rembrandt's mother in a ruff of lace

Of Rembrandt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rembrandt) the Australian-born art critic Robert Hughes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Studley_Forrest_Hughes) has recently written in an essay (http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,1706244,00.html) published in the Guardian on the February 11th 2006:


Quote:
We think of him, primarily, as a great topographer of the human face, his own and others', Jewish and gentile, male and female, young and (especially) old. And so he was. Nowhere else in 17th-century art is there a more beautiful and respectful portrait of a woman in old age than Rembrandt's Margarethe, with that starched white ruff like an immaculate millstone about her neck…


         Perfect moments bear a single name          
         They're placed together though they never meet
         Charlie Chaplin policing Easy Street

Easy Street (1917) is one of a dozen short films Charlie Chaplin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Chaplin) made under contract to Mutual Films.

When the tramp (Chaplin) strays into a mission he immediately becomes infatuated with a mission worker (Edna Purviance) and returns a collection box which he has taken.

Now reformed by his growing fondness for the mission worker, he joins the police and is assigned to the rough neighbourhood of Easy Street. Unable to trick or beat the local bully (Eric Campbell), he puts the bully’s head in a gas lamp and anesthetizes him into submission.

Now a hero, he gives his help many poor people living on Easy Street. When the bully escapes jail and kidnaps Edna is Charlie, aided to no small extent by his having accidentally injected himself with narcotic, he rescues the mission worker and cleans up Easy Street.

The strengths and weakness of this film are well summed by Philip French in his Observer review (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,6903,1681457,00.html) when it and other of Chaplin’s Mutual films were issued as a DVD boxed set.

         Charlie Parker playing My Old Flame

One of the best of the many Charlie Parker (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Parker) recordings of this 1934 Johnston (http://www.songwritershalloffame.org/exhibit_bio.asp?exhibitId=90)/Coslow (http://www.songwritershalloffame.org/exhibit_bio.asp?exhibitId=52) number (which by introduced by Ivy Anderson and Duke Ellington in the 1934 Mae West film Belle Of The Nineties) was recorded New York November 1947 with Parker on alto sax, Miles Davis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miles_Davis) on trumpet, Duke Jordan (http://www.oldies.com/artist/view.cfm/artist_162.html) on piano,Tommy Potter (http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/music/artist/bio/0,,480730,00.html#bio) on bass and Max Roach (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Roach) on drums.

Parker’s playing on this recording full of melodic invention, while Davis’s solo, a understated half chorus that comes at the end of the recording, has been described in some quarters as an ideal ‘emotional counterweight’ to Parker.

         Perfect moments should redeem the day
         Their teeming richness ought to be enough
         To take the sting out of the other stuff
         A perfect bitch it doesn't work that way

Kevin Cryan


Title: Re: Perfect Moments
Post by Pete Atkin on 19.02.06 at 15:32
Very nice job, Kevin, what with all those links and everything.   I wonder if it's worth including a note on the 'diamonds in the plump of snow', perhaps not least because it comes (ahem) ex cathedra.   Sometimes when we've included it in one or other of our shows, Clive has pointed out as an afterthought that these diamonds are not the criss-cross pattern of the marks made by skis, but the way in which the ultra-smooth surface created by the passage of the skis reflects sunlight in a way that makes it seem as if the snow is studded with diamonds.  Just a thought.

Pete

Title: Re: Perfect Moments
Post by Kevin Cryan on 29.05.06 at 16:00
If you've ever woncered whether 'Charlie Chaplin policing Easy Street' is really one of those 'Perfect Moments', there is a opportunity to judge for yourself tonight.


Quote:
Charlie Chaplin Superclown: Easy Street

BBC 4: Monday, May 29 2006 (19:30 - 20:00)
     
Mon 29 May, 19:30 - 20:00  30 mins      
     
A reformed tramp becomes a constable and has to take on a thug who bullies an inner city street. [Charles Chaplin, 1917, b&w]

The Derelict ...... Charlie Chaplin
The Mission Worker ...... Edna Purviance
The Bully ...... Eric Campbell

Part of BBC FOUR's Silent Cinema season.

http://www.bleb.org/tv/


My apologies for giving such short notice.

Kevin Cryan



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