Archive for the ‘quotations’ Tag

Hope quote

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul

Emily Dickinson

tree-sparrow

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Between starting this post and writing this last paragraph I was just outside with my neighbours clapping the NHS and frontline workers battling the coronavirus on our behalf. Someone down the street has taken to letting off a firework to mark this weekly occasion. When he fired off his rocket this evening a frightened sparrow flew over my head.

Quotation: the long game

Set your course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship

Omar Bradley

Set your course navigating by the stars

Set your course navigating by the stars

 

The Plague 2

So I am still ploughing my way through Albert Camus’ 1947 novel The Plague / La Peste. I am not rushing, savouring it – got plenty of time on my hands! The parallels continue to resonate. So here’s picking up from my first post on the subject…

la peste the plague albert camus 1947 1971 novel le livre de poche

I recently acquired this 1971 copy of a 1966 edition

[Sunday posting] “Only as the sermon proceeded did it become apparent to the congregation that, by a skilful oratorical device, Father Paneloux had launched at them, like a fisticuff, the gist of his whole discourse. After launching it he went on at once to quote a text from Exodus relating to the plague of Egypt, and said: “The first time this scourge appears in history it was wielded to strike down the enemies of God. Pharaoh set himself up against the divine will, and the plague beat him to his knees. Thus from the dawn of recorded history the scourge of God has humbled the proud of heart and laid low those who hardened themselves against Him. Ponder this well, my friends, and fall on your knees.”

“ ‘Ah, if only it had been an earthquake! A good bad shock, and there you are! You count the dead and living, and that’s an end of it. But this here blasted disease – even them as haven’t got it can’t think of anything else.’ ”

[on the day of the UK Government’s first daily Coronavirus news conference] “a new paper has been launched, The Plague Chronicle, which sets out “to inform our townspeople, with scrupulous veracity, of the daily progress or recession of the disease; to supply them with the most authoritative opinions available as to its future course; to offer the hospitality of its columns to all, in whatever walk of life, who wish to join in combating the epidemic; to keep up the morale of the populace, to publish the latest orders issued by the authorities, and to centralise the efforts of all who desire to give active and whole-hearted help in the present emergency.”

“During the last 24 hours there had been two cases of a new form of the epidemic; the plague was becoming pneumonic. On this very day, in the course of the meeting, the much-harassed doctors had pressed the Prefect – the unfortunate man seemed quite at his wits’ end – to issue new regulations to prevent contagion being carried from mouth to mouth, as happens in pneumonic plague. The Prefect had done as they wished, but as usual they were groping, more or less, in the dark.”

[self-reflexive about these posts] “They began to take a genuine interest in the laborious literary task to which he was applying himself while plague raged around him. Indeed, they, too, found in it a relaxation of the strain.“

“ ‘If things go on as they are going,’ Rieux remarked, ‘the whole town will be a madhouse.’ He felt exhausted, his throat was parched. ‘Let’s have a drink.’ ”

[on the day UK government calls up retired doctors and final year medical students] “ ‘Haven’t doctors and trained assistants been sent from other towns?‘
‘ Yes,‘ Rieux said. ‘10 doctors and 100 helpers. That sounds a lot, no doubt. But it’s barely enough to cope with the present state of affairs. And it will be quite inadequate if things get worse.’ “

“At 11 o’clock that night, however, Rieux and Tarrou entered the small, narrow bar of the hotel. Some 30 people were crowded into it, all talking at the top of their voices. Coming from the silence of the plague-bound town the two newcomers were startled by the sudden burst of noise, and halted in the doorway. They understood the reason for it when they saw that spirits were still to be had here.”

“ …there’s no question of heroism in all this. It’s a matter of common decency. That’s an idea which may make some people smile, but the only means of fighting a plague is – common decency.’
‘ What do you mean by “common decency”?’ Rambert’s tone was grave.
‘ I don’t know what it means for other people. But in my case I know that it consists in doing my job.’ ”

“ Tarrou said he knew the latest figures, and that the position was extremely serious. But what did that prove? Only that still more stringent measures should be applied.
‘How? You can’t make more stringent ones than those we have now.‘
‘ No. But every person in the town must apply them to himself.‘
Cottard stared at him in a puzzled manner, and Tarrou went on to say that there were far too many slackers, that this plague was everybody’s business, and everyone should do his duty.”

[full UK lock-down was announced last night with a rousing Churchillian speech by PM Boris Johnson] “Now, at least, the position was clear; this calamity was everybody’s business.”

Finishing art works [quotation]

Glen Head Glencolmcille watercolour painting by adam gee

Glen Head, Glencolmcille

When I was on a painting holiday in Glencolmcille, Donegal in the summer I found myself thinking about how do you know when you have finished a work of art? When are you just noodling? It’s a key question for artists in all disciplines.

The French poet Paul Valéry put it well and WH Auden boiled down Valéry’s words to this:

‘A poem is never finished; it is only abandoned.’

Paul_Valéry_french poet -_photo_Henri_Manuel

Paul Valéry – photograph by Henri Manuel

W H Auden English poet

WH Auden

Background on this quotation and its attribution.

I recently heard, in connection with my Art Vandals project, about the occasion when the French Impressionist painter Pierre Bonnard in his later years was arrested in the Louvre with a small palette and brush, retouching one of his paintings. The security guards grabbed him – he was shouting “But I am Bonnard! It’s my painting!” – and they responded “The painting is in the Louvre. It’s finished!”

Keep creating [quotation]

“If anybody wants to keep creating, they have to be about change”

Miles Davis

mile davis jazz trumpeter

Miles at Newport ’69

Cricket vs Baseball – quotation

ben stokes cricketer cricket red bull

ben stokes cricketer cricket red bull bulletin

 

“We have baseball. You have cricket, which is like baseball on Valium.”

Robin Williams (1951-2014) at the London Palladium on 5th December 1987

 

 

(This edition of Red Bulletin contained an extended article on Surf Girls Jamaica connecting my commissioning at Little Dot and my similar human interest documentary work at Red Bull Media House)

surf girls jamaica little dot studios red bull bulletin

McCoy Tyner – pianist

“To me living and music are all the same thing. And I keep finding out more about music as I learn more about myself, my environment, about all kinds of different things in life. I play what I live. Therefore, just as I can’t predict what kinds of experiences I’m going to have, I can’t predict the directions in which my music will go. I just want to write and play my instrument as I feel.”

mccoy tyner pianist jazz

mccoy tyner pianist jazz

McCoy Tyner with John Coltrane at Van Gelder studios, New Jersey in 1963

McCoy went to the great jazz gig in the sky this weekend – his performance on ‘A Love Supreme’ is transcendent and I’m having it played at my funeral (on the way in)

High Definition: what’s the point of Cinema?

One of the best definitions of Cinema:

A machine that generates Empathy

Roger Ebert, film critic

dziga Vertov man with a movie camera

Machine with great significance (Dziga Vertov, Man with a Movie Camera)

Woody guthrie this machine kills fascists guitar

Machine with great power (Woody Guthrie)

Here’s the full context of the quote: “We are all born with a certain package. We are who we are. Where we were born, who we were born as, how we were raised. We are kind of stuck inside that person, and the purpose of civilization and growth is to be able to reach out and empathize a little bit with other people, find out what makes them tick, what they care about. For me, the movies are like a machine that generates empathy. If it’s a great movie, it lets you understand a little bit more about what it’s like to be a different gender, a different race, a different age, a different economic class, a different nationality, a different profession, different hopes, aspirations, dreams and fears. It helps us to identify with the people who are sharing this journey with us. And that, to me, is the most noble thing that good movies can do and it’s a reason to encourage them and to support them and to go to them.”

Parachute Minds

Apollo 11 splashdown parachutes

Apollo 11 Command Module splashing down in the Pacific on 24th July 1969 – the anniversary of the moon landing was one of the highlights of 2019 and the achievement a great act of open-mindedness

 

“A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.”

― Frank Zappa

 

 

frank-zappa

Frank Zappa at Muhlenberg College in 1969

Frank Zappa splashing down at Muhlenberg College in 1969 (photo: Peter Meza)

Peter‘s recollection:  Frank Zappa signing autographs after a Mothers of Invention concert at Muhlenberg College on or about April 26, 1969. The headliners were the Turtles, who went on first. Nearly everyone left when the Mothers of Invention hit the stage. After the concert I took this photo and the few remaining teenaged hardcore Zappa fans (and their girlfriends) started clearing out. Frank was left sitting on the bleachers by himself. I tentatively approached him (“Hey Frank can I ask you a question?” “Sure, kid”) about the cover of the Lumpy Gravy album and the PIPCO T-shirt. He said it was a Little League T-shirt and that Pipco pipe company of Santa Barbara, CA was the sponsor.

20/20 Vision

Here’s a thought for 2020 and the new decade…

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. [People] to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, [are] as good as dead: [their] eyes are closed.”

Albert Einstein

glasses-vision clear trees nature

%d bloggers like this: