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Pete Atkin >> Words >> New annotations
(Message started by: S J Birkill on Today at 18:11)

Title: New annotations
Post by S J Birkill on Today at 18:11
From Richard Bleksley:

Thief In The Night
http://www.peteatkin.com/b7a.htm

Wristwatch For A Drummer
http://www.peteatkin.com/c4a.htm

Steve

Title: Re: New annotations
Post by jeremy_pymer on 29.04.06 at 00:18
WFAD Annotation - brilliant job, Richard, but surely the warning bell for free form playing warns the musician(s) rather than the audience.  It tells him/her/them that the free form has been going on long enough - a lovely Jamesian epigram (or possibly gentle piss-take as we call it here in Cambridgeshire) and in line with the equally good "it'll count the bars/it'll tell you when/the basset horn's coming in again, which knocks nicely at the supposed spontaneity, freedom, improvisation, call it what you will, that so much of jazz is supposed to be about.  More seriously, a comment about how free any art form can really be? - dunno, really, but it's a really witty song, and benefits much more from the annotation than analysis (in which case, why on earth I am writing this.......it's been a hard week and it's time for bed).

Jeremy Pymer

Not thinking up tag lines in Fowlmere, South Cambs

PS, any twitchers among MVs? - there was a Hoopoe at the RSPB reserve here a weekend or two ago.

Title: Re: New annotations
Post by Richard Bleksley on 29.04.06 at 09:55
Yes, it's always been my understanding that the bell was to warn the musicians that they were in danger of boring the audience - and Clive's lyric makes that pretty clear. I'm not actually sure, Jeremy (and thanks for the compliment), where you got the idea I didn't mean that.

Title: Re: New annotations
Post by Leslie Moss on 02.05.06 at 00:00
Great annotations Richard. Can I suggest some additions to Wrist Watch to cover Omega (watchmaker), Incabloc (watch movement), (Rolex) Oyster and (Bulova) Accutron.  Happy to have a go myself next weekend if you don't get time before then.

Leslie

Title: Re: New annotations
Post by Ian Chippett on 02.05.06 at 10:25
<<Long fingernails. From this we can infer that our guitarist with the lean and hungry looking wrists is either a Spanish or a classical player. Steel-strung guitars are almost invariably – there are a few brave and hardy-handed exceptions – played with a plectrum or with metal or plastic picks clipped over the fingertips. Spanish and classical guitars are picked with the fingernails. If you ever notice someone with closely trimmed nails on one hand and long ones on the other, it’s 10 to 1 that that’s the reason. >>

In rock, there's Ry Cooder and Mark Knopfler who are among the hardy-handed exceptions but the most exceptional one I know (and I've shaken the hand with the nails) is an unknown (relatively) French guitarist called Patrice Meyer who uses his thumb and the four fingers (one per string as far as possible on an instrument with six strings) at a jaw-dropping speed. He says he started playing this way after seeing Paul Simon and naively thought that PS was using all his fingers. Later, he discovered that this was not the case but it was too late to go back. He has a website somewhere where you can see him in action. Makes you want to give up...

Ian C

 

Title: Re: New annotations
Post by Pete Atkin on 02.05.06 at 12:01
Add to those Richard Thompson, who commonly uses a conventional plectrum held between first finger and thumb plus his second, third, and fourth fingers, and the amazing Amos Garrett, *both* of whose hands seem to dance all over the fingerboard like a stride piano player's -- a miracle: don't miss him if you get the chance.

Pete

Title: Re: New annotations
Post by Secret Drinker on 02.05.06 at 12:18

on 05/02/06 at 10:25:16, Ian Chippett wrote :
<<Long fingernails. From this we can infer that our guitarist with the lean and hungry looking wrists is either a Spanish or a classical player. Steel-strung guitars are almost invariably – there are a few brave and hardy-handed exceptions – played with a plectrum or with metal or plastic picks clipped over the fingertips. Spanish and classical guitars are picked with the fingernails. If you ever notice someone with closely trimmed nails on one hand and long ones on the other, it’s 10 to 1 that that’s the reason. >>

In rock, there's Ry Cooder and Mark Knopfler who are among the hardy-handed exceptions [...]


I've noticed more acoustic guitarists these days who just use their fingers rather than picks, because many folk clubs and similar venues now have PAs, and players either use an electro-acoustic or a mic and can be heard easily, even when softly plucking the strings. Unlike the old days when you'd have to use picks to be heard at the back of the room (of course there are still venues like this, but not as many as in the 1970s or earlier). Personally I never got on with the picks that clip onto your fingers, although I gather the modern ones are more effective. Does Pete ever use them, btw? I can't remember noticing him using them.

Cheers

Paul

Title: Re: New annotations
Post by Richard Bleksley on 03.05.06 at 10:42
A two part post:


Part 1

You're welcome to have a go at the additional Wristwatch annotations, Leslie. There's nothing wrong with a bit of collaboration (as Pete and Clive have proved....).


Part 2

Perhaps my stuff about steel-strung guitar players not using their fingers was a bit behind the times. It's a long time since I picked up a guitar in anger.

Another exception from the old days was that veteran stalwart of the British blues scene Tony McPhee. Even the Groundhogs' heaviest stuff was all done with the fingers.

Now what shall I annotate next?....

Title: Re: New annotations
Post by Ian Chippett on 03.05.06 at 15:28
Richard wrote:

<<Now what shall I annotate next?.... >>

"Flowers and the Wine:" it's a doddle. The river in the dark must be the Thames and that's all there is to it. Apart from telling us who "you and him" might be...

Ian C

Title: Re: New annotations
Post by Kevin Cryan on 03.05.06 at 21:41
Ian,

I'd say that Touch Has a Memory is even a better candidate. All you have to do there is say that the title comes from John Keats' What Shall I do to Drive Away
(1816? 1819?) the first lines of which run thus:

        What can I do to drive away
       Remembrance from my eyes? for they have seen,
       Aye, an hour ago, my brilliant Queen!
       Touch has a memory. O say, love, say,
       What can I do to kill it and be free
       In my old liberty?


You might then ask the listener to consider whether touch does have a memory in the way the speaker suggests. That's a big question, but not necessarily one which anyone who is simply writing a glossary needs to deal with.

I've often wondered someone doesn’t have a crack (Oops!!! Freudian slip there!!) at Little Sammy Speedball. I'm sure that there are people out there who, while getting the general drift of that song, would like to know whether or not all those terms for drug-taking were current, and indeed where they originated from.  

Surely, there is a brave soul who does not think that admitting to knowing what all of all the euphemisms in the song mean is going to sully his or her reputation, or that it will have Mr Plod and his boys in blue making an early-morning call. On the other hand, you can't be so sure nowadays, can you?


Kevin Cryan




Title: Re: New annotations
Post by Simon Reap on 12.05.06 at 17:30

on 05/03/06 at 21:41:04, Kevin Cryan wrote :
I've often wondered someone doesn’t have a crack (Oops!!! Freudian slip there!!) at Little Sammy Speedball. I'm sure that there are people out there who, while getting the general drift of that song, would like to know whether or not all those terms for drug-taking were current, and indeed where they originated from.


I remember Pete saying that the terms were all genuine, and the Clive had found them all in a book.  Honest, guv.  This was 30 years ago at my old school, in front of 250 impressionable 11 to 18 year old boys.  I understand that some school members were more familiar with the terminology than others - it was certainly all new to me!

Simon

Title: Re: New annotations
Post by Russell Greaves on 14.05.06 at 18:52
I too remember hearing Pete on tour stating that Little Sammy Speedball was written after Clive found a dictionary of West Coast drug terms, which provided the source materials. I think that Pete commented that purists would note that there were East Coast terms included inappropriately.

Title: Re: New annotations
Post by BogusTrumper on 21.05.06 at 20:36
I seem to remeber that as well.  And Pete also mentioned that Clive was thinking of writing a dictionary of gay terms.  I think it was due to be called "The Queen's English", according to Pete.  ;D

Title: Re: New annotations
Post by BogusTrumper on 03.06.06 at 00:16

on 03/26/06 at 18:11:24, S J Birkill wrote :
From Richard Bleksley:


Wristwatch For A Drummer
http://www.peteatkin.com/c4a.htm

Steve



"Richard Buckminster Fuller (1895 – 1983), American architect, designer and inventor, was known for his unconventional thinking and visionary ideas, his best known invention probably being the geodesic dome. He might well have designed something original and stylish in the way of watch-cases."

Or maybe Clive could see into the future  

Buckminster Fullerine is a recently discovered form of carbon. Sixty atoms of carbon which can be arranged into a ball, constructed like radomes – large spheres built from lots of little triangles; geodesic domes. Like the Epcot domes. And inside the spherical Fullerine molecule, is a tiny vacuum.

Title: Re: New annotations
Post by jeremy_pymer on 27.06.06 at 01:18
Richard

Have only just seen your reply to my post of 29/04 re WFAD annotation (lurking in the meantime owing to pre-holiday rush, followed by winding down from pre-holiday rush in the time originally reserved for holiday).

Ought to have put embarrassed smiley on this post but it's not on the drop down list.  Took the last sentence in the "free form" section of the annotation totally out of context to mean that the bell is to warn the audience of the imminent advent of free form playing.  On re-reading just now, couldn't at first see what the Dickens I had been on about!

I can only plead tiredness, and it being late on a Friday night, and in my defence, refer my learned friend to my contemporaneous allusion to these matters at the end of my original post.    

As Bluebottle once said: "I feel a proper fool then!"

Jeremy

Title: Re: New annotations
Post by Jim Grozier on 14.12.06 at 22:38

on 05/02/06 at 00:00:37, Leslie Moss wrote :
Can I suggest some additions to Wrist Watch to cover Omega (watchmaker), Incabloc (watch movement), (Rolex) Oyster and (Bulova) Accutron.  


Geoff (The Speech Painter), a performance poet who is also a watchmaker/mender, and is usually to be seen at Philip Jeays gigs, told us what the "Acutron" bit means - apparently it has a tuning fork in it which somehow makes it very accurate. I'll have to try and get him to post on here and explain all. We told him about the song and I think he's visited the site to get the words, but may not have discovered this forum yet.

Jim.



Title: Re: New annotations
Post by S J Birkill on 14.12.06 at 22:52
The Bulova Accutron (http://members.iinet.com.au/~fotoplot/acc.htm) used the Swiss watchmakers' patented version of the tuning-fork regulator, popular before the availability of quartz timekeepers. The electro-mechanical tuning fork, vibrating at an audible frequency, required only a single transistor in its sustaining circuit, rather than the complex oscillator/divider integrated circuit necessary with a quartz crystal which typically hums along at 32.768kHz before division to a 1Hz impulse. I seem to remember Bulova advertised widely, perhaps even sponsored programmes, on the offshore commercial radio stations of the 1960s.

The other trademark watches featured in the song featured (I believe) patented shock-resistance mechanisms. No doubt Google reveals all, to anyone interested.

SJB

PS - If anyone (Richard?) cares to add a note on these, I'll be happy to include it.

Trivia PPS: The Accutron's tuning fork frequency was 360Hz, a nicely horological figure I think, corresponding approximately to the F sharp above Middle C.

Title: Re: New annotations
Post by Secret Drinker on 15.12.06 at 10:51
I just re-read Richard's excellent annotation of Thief In The Night, which mentions record producer John Hammond. In case anyone's interested, he was the subject of R4's Great Lives series on Tuesday (12th Dec). It's still available on "Listen Again" if you go to the BBC Radio website - try this (http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/radio4_aod.shtml?radio4/greatlives) link (if it doesn't work, go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/  and navigate to the programme, see under Tuesday on the right hand side of the R4 home page).

Remember this will only be available until next Tuesday (19th Dec 2006), so if you see this after then, tough!  ;)

Title: Re: New annotations
Post by Richard Bleksley on 17.12.06 at 10:05
For the benefit of any of you who may have been waiting with bated breath for the horological information discussed above to appear on the Wristwatch annotation, I can now announce that I've finally added it.

http://www.peteatkin.com/c4a.htm

Title: Re: New annotations (Wristwatch)
Post by Andrew_Curry on 17.12.06 at 16:59
<<Bird and Diz were tricky men for a drummer to sit in with>>

Apparently Dizzy Gillespie was once asked why bebop was so hard to play.

He replied: "If the white man can't play it, they can't steal it".

During the 1930s, white banleaders had routionely got rich by adapting jazz musics developed by black players and touring it with white bands, which were more accesptable in pre-war segreagationist America.

Andrew  

Title: Re: New annotations (Thief in the Night)
Post by Andrew_Curry on 17.12.06 at 17:25
<< A guitar reminds you of death and taxes >>

i think this line also deserves an annotation:

Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the American republic (and therefore one of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence.) As a scientist he conducted some of the influential early experiments about electricity and as a diplomat secured the French support that won the war of independence against the British. He uses the phrase in a letter written in 1789, a year before his death.  


Title: Re: annotations (DTMA)
Post by Andrew_Curry on 17.12.06 at 18:49
Just noticed this one:

<<      No-one had even heard of Herman Kahn

Hudson Institute is a private, not-for-profit research organization
founded in 1961 by the late Herman Kahn.>>

The annotation is correct, but only tells half the story. Herman Kahn was a futurist who developed the use of scenarios at the Hudson Institute to explore the possible consequences of nuclear war. One of these, for example, was the 'mutually assured destruction' scenario. Although he maintained that the only way to realise the potential horror of nuclear war was to imagine the consequences, some thought he relished some of the outcomes; the Dr Strangelove character in Stanley Kubrick's film, who ends up, IIRC, riding a nuclear missile down towards the earth,  was partly based on Kahn.

Apologies for the typos in the earlier post about Bird and Diz. Too much haste.

Andrew

Title: Re: New annotations
Post by S J Birkill on 05.01.07 at 15:50
From Andrew Curry:

The Prince of Aquitaine
http://www.peteatkin.com/b6a.htm

Shadow and the Widower
http://www.peteatkin.com/d2a.htm

Steve

Title: Re: New annotations
Post by Colin Crooks on 05.01.07 at 16:57

Just as an aside, there is a tenuous link between "The Prince of Aquitaine" and Donald Swann of Flanders and Swann.

In "At the Drop of a Hat" Donald Swann sang his own setting of  "El Desdischado" under the title "Je suis le Ténébreux".

Happy New Year to you all!

Colin

Title: Re: New annotations
Post by Richard_Hales on 05.01.07 at 18:32
Reference "Shadow and the Widower"...

This is all very interesting but what is the song about?

It has always made me think of a 50s black and white movie scenario. The images are very cinematic. The shadow is literally that of a hitman (common James theme) lurking with a gun (widow maker) and seems to me to be a metaphor for impending tragedy. Cheerful little ditty - but I love it. (even if I have missed the point!)

Richard

Title: Re: New annotations
Post by Secret Drinker on 05.01.07 at 19:34

on 01/05/07 at 15:50:35, S J Birkill wrote :
From Andrew Curry:

The Prince of Aquitaine
http://www.peteatkin.com/b6a.htm


Re. the "envelope of sugar" in Prince of Aquitaine: I recognised this instantly - returning from my first ever trip to the US (on business, in my first job, in 1973, the year the album came out), I brought back all kinds of "plunder" including several of these; plus all kinds of other junk, such as baseball caps (these were not at all common in the UK then) and Sesame Street puppets (the programme wasn't shown in the UK until later - that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!)  :D

It would all seem a bit sad now, I agree, but travel to the States from the UK for ordinary folk like me was fairly rare then, and a bit of a novelty, in the days before Laker and Easyjet  :)

It was little phrases like this that made Clive's lyrics stand out for me back then  :)

Cheers

Paul

Title: Re: New annotations
Post by Richard Bleksley on 06.01.07 at 01:05
Thanks, Andrew. I'd always assumed that Clive hadn't invented the phrase "the shadow and the widower" himself, but had no idea where it came from. Ah, that Clive and his literary references!

Switching with bewildering speed to The Prince of Aquitaine, I wonder if "la tour abolie" might be a reference to the tarot trump called "The Tower," even though its French name, for some reason, is "La Maison Dieu." For those unfamiliar, the card (at least in traditional tarot packs) depicts a tower being destroyed by lightning, with people falling off it. Its interpretations include a sudden change, crisis or upheaval; release (as in an emotional outburst); a humiliation or reversal of fortune; and a sudden revelation or insight.

Hmm...

Richard

(getting a bit occult in Sutton, Surrey)

Title: Re: New annotations
Post by Mike Walters on 06.01.07 at 10:47
On the subject of 'The Prince of Acquitaine', a few days ago Steve M, in adding his votes to the end of year poll, also made reference to the London Daily Photo blog.  I was intrigued, so Googled it and, with characteristic Google serendipity, was directed to a page with a certain Atkinesque (or, rather, Jamesian) resonance...

http://londondailyphoto.blogspot.com/2006/12/burnham-wood.html

Excellent blog as well, so thanks for Steve M for pointing to it.

Happy new year to everyone

Mike

Title: Re: New annotations
Post by Andrew_Curry on 06.01.07 at 20:07
Richard wrote:

<<I wonder if "la tour abolie" might be a reference to the tarot trump called "The Tower," even though its French name, for some reason, is "La Maison Dieu." For those unfamiliar, the card (at least in traditional tarot packs) depicts a tower being destroyed by lightning, with people falling off it. Its interpretations include a sudden change, crisis or upheaval; release (as in an emotional outburst); a humiliation or reversal of fortune; and a sudden revelation or insight.>>

Right on the money, Richard! I'm not an expert on Nerval, but the essay in the translation I have does say that Nerval was fascinated with the Tarot and its imagery and it is embedded throughout the poem sequence which El Desdischado comes from.

Andrew

Title: Re: New annotations
Post by hamilton on 07.01.07 at 00:49
Mike,

>>On the subject of 'The Prince of Acquitaine', a few days ago Steve M, in adding his votes to the end of year poll, also made reference to the London Daily Photo blog.  I was intrigued, so Googled it and, with characteristic Google serendipity, was directed to a page with a certain Atkinesque (or, rather, Jamesian) resonance...<<

Thanks for the link, and I'm pleased you like my blog. You may or may not recognise my name as I don't post here often, but I've been around since the early days of Smash Flops and the mailing list. All things being equal, I'll be at the Wood Street gig on the 11th Feb, and Pete will be featured on the blog the next day.

Hamilton
===
http://londondailyphoto.blogspot.com

Title: Re: New annotations
Post by Richard Bleksley on 15.01.07 at 11:09
That nice Mr. Birkill is letting me blow my own trumpet this time, so this is just to announce that I've had a go at annotating The Last Hill That Shows You All the Valley.
The results can be found here.

http://www.peteatkin.com/c6a.htm

Richard



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