Sunday, 30 December 2018

Fortune Teller by Allen Toussaint

Went to the fortune teller
Had my fortune read
I didn't know what to tell her
I had a dizzy feeling in my head

When she took a look at my palm
She said son are you feeling kinda warm?
And she looked into her crystal ball
And said you're in love

I said I could not be so
I'm not passionate with the girls I know
She said when the next one arrives
You'll be looking into her eyes

I left there in a hurry
Looking forward to my big surprise
The next day I discovered
That the fortune teller told me lies

I hurried back down to that woman
As mad as I could be
I told her I didn't see nobody
Why'd she made a fool out of me

Then something struck me
As if it came from up above
While looking at the fortune teller
I fell in love

Now I'm a happy fellow
Well, I am married to the fortune teller
Well happy as we can be
Now I get my fortune told for free

Now I'm a happy fellow
Well, I am married to the fortune teller
Well happy as we can be
And now I get my fortune told for free

Songwriters: Allen Toussaint
Fortune Teller lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Voodoo Child

Well, I stand up next to a mountain
And I chop it down with the edge of my hand
Well, I stand up next to a mountain
Chop it down with the edge of my hand
Well, I pick up all the pieces and make an island
Might even raise just a little sand
'Cause I'm a voodoo child
Lord knows I'm a voodoo child

I didn't mean to take you up all your sweet time
I'll give it right back to you one of these days
I said, I didn't mean to take you up all your sweet time
I'll give it right back to you one of these days
And if I don't meet you no more in this world
Then I'll, I'll meet you in the next one
And don't be late, don't be late
'Cause I'm a voodoo child
Lord knows I'm a voodoo child
I'm a voodoo child

Songwriters: Jimi Hendrix
Voodoo Chile lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

Charm from the Stalls of Barchester Cathedral by M.R. James

When I grew in the wood,
I was watered with blood,
Now in the church I stand.
Who that touches me with his hand,
If a bloody hand he bear,
I counsel him beware.

Lest he be fetched away,
Whether by night or day;
But chiefly when the wind blows high,
In a night of February.

This I dreamt 26th of February 1699 John Austin.

Sigrdrífumál (stanza 4 & 5) the Poetic Edda: H.A. Bellows (Trans.) 1936

Hail, day!
Hail, sons of day!
And night and her daughter now!
Look on us here with loving eyes,
That waiting we victory win.

Hail to the gods!
Ye goddesses, hail!
And all the generous earth!
Give to us wisdom and goodly speech,
And healing hands, life-long.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

No More (1998)

Electric gadgets in the home,
I switch them off.
In the dark I sit alone.
I think of things and scare myself,
I put the book back on the shelf.
No more Stephen King.

Is that the wind or a banshee calling?
There is something out in the garden.
My skin is crawling.
I look out and find,
My neighbour’s cat wailing.
No more Hammer videos.

I haven’t got the nerves for horror,
My stomach’s made of jelly.
All these monsters, ghosts and gore,
Perhaps it’s me, am I a bore?
No more tales of blood and woe.
I just can’t take it anymore.

A Christmas Carol starring Simon Callow 12th December 2018

Over the last couple of years I have been attending live beam showings at cinemas. These are theatrical productions of a variety shows transmitted live from London, Stratford and other theatrical centres of excellence. It is not uncommon for the recordings to be reshown. The performances as transmissions and as recordings, capture something of the atmosphere and energy of the theatre. It is the next best experience to actually being present.

On Wednesday the 12th of December 2018, I travelled to a nearby town to watch what I thought was to be, a live transmission from a theatre in London. This was ‘A Christmas Carol’ starring Simon Callow. I was disappointed to discover that this transmission was not of his legendary one man interpretation of the Dickens classic from a theatre live. It was instead a film version of Callow performing his famed telling of the story, set in a disused warehouse at the Woolwich arsenal. My disappointment was short lived.

With minimal sound effects and special effects, with clever lighting and it has to be said, empathic direction. Callow took us through his one man show on film. He moved from room to room; set with the bare minimum of furniture, to gift us a performance built around expression, voice and posture.

Walking between the muted tones of the ruined building, with lighting that was both subtle and distinctive, Callow wearing contemporary dress gave us the performance of our dreams. We all know the story, we go to such performances to experience a personal reinterpretation, an adaptation and to live the story. Callow in this regard shows himself to be an acting genius. He was born to be Dickens, he is as close as we can get to seeing Dickens ourselves without time-travel.

We should not underestimate the achievement that is a one man performance. Nor was this the first time I have seen an actor perform ‘A Christmas Carol’ solo. To stand without a supporting cast and with the minimum of props, to face, engage and entertain an audience, truly they are alone. There is no one there to cover a mistake, to lift a flagging performance or distract the audience from the main character. It is acting without a safety net.

In all of this Simon Callow excelled, he shone in the role that has come to define his career. He is an outstanding actor, without doubt he is one of the best of our century and his performance in this film confirmed his reputation. It is my humble opinion that Callow is a thespiactrical giant. With that I note; I have and not for the first time, created a new word.


Friday, 28 December 2018

Chaucer - The character of the Summoner

A summoner was with us in that place,
Who had a fiery-red, cherubic face,
For eczema he had; his eyes were narrow.
As hot he was, and lecherous, as a sparrow;
With black and scabby brows and scanty beard,
He had a face that little children feared.

There was no mercury, sulphur, or litharge,
No borax, ceruse, tartar could discharge,
Nor ointment that could cleanse enough, or bite,
To free him of his boils and pimples white,
Nor of the bosses resting on his cheeks.
Well-loved he garlic, onions, aye and leeks,
And drinking of strong wine as red as blood.
Then would he talk and shout as madman would.
And when a deal of wine he’d poured within,
Then would he utter no word save Latin.

Some phrases had he learned, say two or three,
Which he had garnered out of some decree;
No wonder, for he’d heard it all the day;
And all you know right well that even a jay
Can call out “Wat” as well as can the pope.
But when, for aught else, into him you’d grope,
’Twas found he’d spent his whole philosophy;
Just “Questio quid juris” would he cry.

He was a noble rascal, and a kind;
A better comrade ’twould be hard to find.
Why, he would suffer, for a quart of wine,
Some good fellow to have his concubine
A twelve-month, and excuse him to the full
Between ourselves, though, he could pluck a gull.

Taken from the General Prologue of the Canterbury Tales