Monday, August 01, 2011

GASTROENTERITIS just my latest excuse for not blogging much. It's been a busy time, going from two weeks at Camp Ikon, quick turnaround to Newfoundland, popped home to meet new girlfriend of #3 son, popped back to the Rock, attacked viciously by evil Virus which may or may not be connected with ordering the E-Coli special at a certain St. John's McDonald's.

Time to address more pressing events.

Remember when "WHAT A RIOT!!!" was a colloquialism describing some form of jolly and benign form of having a few laughs and a good old time?

Suddenly the globe, our home, is dotted about with way too numerous sites of genuinely vicious attacks and full-blown mass riots, with looting and arson and beatings and floods -- that is to say, floods of perfectly ridiculous sociological explanations for what drives the "youf" of today to turn so angry and hostile, and to "act out" in this dramatic, excessive (you meant EVIL shurely????) ways.

Since quite a number of these riots, and the accompanying explanatory blather, have been breaking out across the Mother Country, Merrie Olde Englande, I could not help but recall a truly stirring song written in ironic tribute to William Blake's poem/hymn to Britain, Jerusalem -- the song, first recorded on a 1994 mix CD by the artists of the No Masters independent folk label, is called Jerusalem Revisited, with its stinging lyrics penned by one of my all-time favourite songwriters (and a very nice fellow indeed, as I discovered subsequently and in person) Jim Boyes, the bass voice in the Midlands-based trio Coope Boyes and Simpson. Hear the pure and clear tone of tenor Barry Coope, with Boyes and baritone Lester Simpson joining in, making what may be the finest harmonies in modern acapella folksong happening anywhere, anytime.

Free music - Jerusalem Revisited

Now this version of Blake's hymn was written with the kindest possible classic left/Labour/socialist instinct for compassion, and it is sung with an artistry that elicits chills and tears. (I first heard it live at a tiny club in Chesterfield, when Barry was suffering a sore throat and under some stress to perform at all. But he asked us beforehand, what we, the visitors from Canada, would like to hear, and my spousal unit said "Jerusalem," he delivered it, in all its searing poignancy. It was brilliant.)

But.... here's that "but-monkey" that has the potential to slap all the compliments to hell -- I wish it weren't so. But, the more time that has passed since I first heard that song, the more I have been forced to see that the lyrics written in satire constitute a picture of the unhappy truth. At first it was just a line here or there that struck me as too true, in a way the Jim Boyes did not intend. As events have unfolded over all these years, fact has overwhelmed poetry and transformed the song into a prophetic news report rather than the twisted Tory vision that the early stanzas were meant to be. Once upon a time, I could read these lyrics and "tut-tut." Now one must read them and weep.

The first phrase that leapt out at me years ago was "...head full of jagged images/ somebody's crazy mixed-up son"........

Oh my --this post has just had a strange journey in and out of consciousness.  It showed as a "draft" in my Blogger file, which I thought was a mistake, and so I posted it.  Now I see it ends abruptly, so maybe it was an unfinished draft after all.  AGH!  The "jagged images" reference was headed towards a reflection on the agitated minds of the video game generation, which seems self-explanatory if one pays any attention to what's going on in that product line.  That's as much as I care to reflect at the moment.  Maybe another day.

Suffice to say, this was meant to be posted in the latter part of the summer of 2011.  So I'll stick it in roundabout there, and have done with it for now.

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