Friday, 26 October 2007

Control, A film about Ian Curtis and Joy Division

Excellent performances by all actors. Sam Riley as Ian Curtis is indeed very convincing, even Ian’s mannerisms on stage are very well enacted. Alexandra Maria Lara is an extremely sweet presence, as Annik Honore, Ian’s extramarital affair.
Some very funny and tragic lines at the end (“your confusion, my illusion”), Ian trying to convince his wife not to divorce him:

—I do not want you to divorce me
—But you are in love with someone else
—And what’s that got to do with us?

The end is so tragic and poetic at the same time. Atmosphere is the track that comes with it, the same way The End is the tune played at the end of the film The Doors.

For hardcore Joy Division fans this is a realistic depiction of Ian Curtis’ life and times. A great opportunity to listen to all the favourite Joy Division tunes. However, I would not recommend this film to people who are not close to Joy Division in the same way I would recommend the film The Doors.

Control at Wikipedia

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

The Hunger with David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve

The most haunting vampire film I have ever seen (and I am not a fan of this genre) starring David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve. A deeply romantic atmosphere supported by excellent choice of music: Bauhaus, Bach cello sonatas, Piano Trio in E-Flat by Franz Schubert, Lakmé by Léo Delibes.

Astor Piazzolla - Vuelvo al Sur

If there is a musical equivalent for passion, then it should be called Astor Piazzolla.

Astor Piazzolla - Vuelvo Al Sur Lyrics

Vuelvo al Sur,
como se vuelve siempre al amor,
vuelvo a vos,
con mi deseo, con mi temor.
Llevo el Sur,
como un destino del corazon,
soy del Sur,
como los aires del bandoneon.

Sueño el Sur,
inmensa luna, cielo al reves,
busco el Sur,
el tiempo abierto, y su despues.

Quiero al Sur,
su buena gente, su dignidad,
siento el Sur,
como tu cuerpo en la intimidad.

Te quiero Sur,
Sur, te quiero.

Vuelvo al Sur,
como se vuelve siempre al amor,
vuelvo a vos,
con mi deseo, con mi temor.

Quiero al Sur,
su buena gente, su dignidad,
siento el Sur,
como tu cuerpo en la intimidad.
Vuelvo al Sur,
llevo el Sur,
te quiero Sur,
te quiero Sur...

Sweet Movie by Dusan Makavejev (music Manos Hadjidakis)

I was lucky enough to see this cult movie at the age of 15. It made a huge impression to me then with its surrealist atmosphere, the amazing love-death scene of a couple immersed in sugar, the TV commercial with the girl taking a chocolate bath, the scene of non sexual penile tenderness over dinner, the vaginismus scene (a couple stuck together while making love), the chastity belt foundation scene, and, of course, the soundtrack by Manos Hadjidakis.

Full movie

chocolate ad

chastity belt foundation

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Manos Hadjidakis - Dedication

If Manos Hadjidakis was alive, he would have been 82 years old now. He is the single most influential Greek composer for me. He has moved me as nobody else did with feelings of profound love and longing and a unique, Greek sensitivity.

The songs "Dedication" and "Χάρτινο το φεγγαράκι" are performed by my favourite Greek singer of all times, Savina Yannatou.

The following is from Wikipedia:

Manos Hadjidakis (Μάνος Χατζιδάκις) (October 23, 1925June 15, 1994) was one of the most popular Greek music composers. He was born in Xanthi, Greece. In 1962 he received an Academy Award in the category of Best Music, for his Song Never on Sunday from the film of the same name. He is widely popular among Greeks and can be credited with the introduction of bouzouki music into mainstream culture.


His very first work was the tune for the song Paper Moon (Χάρτινο το Φεγγαράκι), from Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire staged by Karolos Koun's Art Theatre of Athens, a collaboration which continued for 15 years. His first piano piece, "For a Small White Seashell" (Για μια Μικρή Λευκή Αχιβάδα) came out in 1947 and in 1948 he shook the musical establishment by delivering his legendary lecture on rembetika, the urban folk songs that flourished in Greek cities, mainly Piraeus, after the Asia Minor refugee influx in 1922 and until then had heavy underworld and cannabis use connections and were consequently looked down upon. Hadjidakis focused on the economy of expression, the deep traditional roots and the genuineness of emotion displayed in rembetika, and exalted the likes of composers like Markos Vamvakaris and Vassilis Tsitsanis. Putting theory to practice, he adapted classic rembetika on his 1951 piano work Six Folklore Paintings (Exi Laikes Zografies), which was later also presented as a folk ballet.

At this point he started pursuing a double-track career of sorts, writing immensely popular "pop" songs and movie soundtracks, alongside more serious works, such as 1954's The C.N.S. Cycle (O Kyklos tou C.N.S.), a song cycle for piano and voice recalling the German lied in its form, if not in style. In 1955 he wrote the score for Michael Cacoyannis' film Stella, with actress Melina Mercouri, a close friend of his, singing the movie's trademark song "Love that became a double-edged sword" (Agapi pou 'gines dikopo mahairi). Hadjidakis always maintained that he wrote his serious pieces for himself and his less serious ones to make a living: nevertheless his melodic talent was so abundant that one can hardly distinguish a quality gradient between the two.

In 1959, Hadjidakis met Nana Mouskouri, his first "ideal interpreter", a shy but superbly skilled vocalist who shaped the sounds of his music with her uniquely beautiful voice. It was 1960 that brought him international success, as his score for Jules Dassin's film Never on Sunday (Pote tin Kyriaki) won him an Academy Award, with The Lads from Piraeus (Ta Paidia tou Peiraia) becoming a huge worldwide hit.

In 1962, he produced the musical 'Dream Street (Odos Oneiron) and completed his score for Aristophanes' Birds (Ornithes), another Art Theater production which caused an uproar because of Karolos Koun's revolutionary direction. The score was also used later by Maurice Béjart's 20th Century Ballets. He also wrote the music for a song which Arthur Altman added English lyrics to and gave to Brenda Lee. The song was "All Alone Am I".

In 1965, his LP "Το Χαμόγελο της Τζιοκόντας" (Gioconda's Smile) was released on Minos-EMI. In 2004, it was re-released, digitally remastered as an audiophile LP and a CD in the EMI Classics collection.

In 1966 he travelled to New York for the premiere of Ilya Darling, a Broadway musical based on "Never on Sunday" and starring Melina Merkouri. He did not return to Greece until 1972, mostly because of opposition to Greece's military dictatorship. While in America he completed several more major compositions, including Rhythmology (Rythmologia) for solo piano, his famous orchestral compilation Gioconda's Smile (produced by none other than Quincy Jones), and the pinnacle of his musical achievement, the song cycle Magnus Eroticus (Megalos Erotikos), in which he used ancient (Sappho, Euripides), medieval (stanzas from folk songs and George Hortatzis' romance Erophile) and modern (Dionysios Solomos, Constantine Cavafy, Odysseus Elytis, Nikos Gkatsos, Myrtiotissa, George Sarantaris) Greek poems, as well as an excerpt from the Old Testament book "Wisdom of Solomon". His LP "Reflections" with the New York Rock & Roll Ensemble contained several of his most beautiful songs, either in orchestral form or with English lyrics written by the band - a record that preceded fusion trends by several decades.

Hadjidakis returned to Greece in 1972 and recorded "Magnus Eroticus" with singer Fleury Dantonaki, an opera-trained dark-toned alto who proved the consummate interpreter of his music, and singer Dimitri Psarianos. Following the junta's overthrow, he became active in public life and assumed a number of positions in the Athens State Orchestra (KOA), National Opera (ELS), and the National Radio (ERT). In 1985 he launched his own record company "Seirios" (Sirius). In 1989 he founded and directed the Orchestra of Colours (Orhistra ton Chromaton), a small symphonic orchestra.

He was to assume the role of score composer for his friend Federico Fellini's films, following Nino Rota's death, but the collaboration never materialized because of Hadjidakis' mounting health problems. He died on June 15, 1994, of heart disease and diabetes.

Musical Scores (incomplete)

Monday, 22 October 2007

Dirk Polak by Mecano at Booze bar (Athens) and the spiritual quest

Last night I had been to the second day of the spiritual quest film festival at Goethe Institut, Athens. There, I met my friend K., whose friend had a photography exhibition at Booze, so we decided to go after the festival. At a certain time, a tune caught my attention. And a very familiar and loved one at that. But it was quite different and slower, as if it were an arrangement. K. looked at me and said that this was the song by the gentleman next to me.

It was the new version of Untitled by Mecano (the Dutch group please, not the Spanish!). And the man next to me was Dirk Polak.

Then a whole conversation on a number of topics sparked up with Dirk, starting from musicians and bands we both love (like Joy Division and Nick Drake), moving on to his remark about the vanity of Athenian women (and then my retort which he found quite apt that "stupid men make vane women"), his love for Russian poetry, his having been in Athens for quite some time and played at Gagarin, the new album, his partner Sofia Florou (a ballet teacher who told me some amazing stories regarding her life and career which I would like to document). The meeting ended up with the suggestion to watch together Control, the film about Joy Division and Ian Curtis and share some of our favourite music.

Dirk was an amazingly vibrant and energetic person in a brilliant and friendly mood; indeed, aptly personifying the energy spirit and the gut power of the song Untitled which I consider one of the best songs of its genre of all time, alongside 3-4 of the best songs by Joy Division.

I was also happy to talk with eL Panouli (Mecano photographer who also took these photographs). In the pic on the left there is me, Sofia Florou and Dirk Polak.

Video clips

Mecano at Rockwave 2006 - Treasure Lost and Found

F. Truong & Mecano


Sunday, 21 October 2007

What the Bleep Do We Know - on addiction

This is a hard to classify genre, part documentary, part narrative, part interviews with quantum mechanics experts (and not only). Certainly an eye opener.

What the Bleep!? - Down the Rabbit Hole (QUANTUM Three-Disc Special Edition)

Read the script

Friday, 19 October 2007

Joy Division - Decades (lyrics and video clip)

Minimum musical means; maximum emotional impact - this is Joy Division for me and this song aptly encapsulates it.

Joy Division - Decades lyrics

Here are the young men, the weight on their shoulders,
Here are the young men, well where have they been?
We knocked on the doors of Hell's darker chamber,
Pushed to the limit, we dragged ourselves in,
Watched from the wings as the scenes were replaying,
We saw ourselves now as we never had seen.
Portrayal of the trauma and degeneration,
The sorrows we suffered and never were free.
Where have they been?
Where have they been?
Where have they been?
Where have they been?
Weary inside, now our heart's lost forever,
Can't replace the fear, or the thrill of the chase,
Each ritual showed up the door for our wanderings,
Open then shut, then slammed in our face.
Where have they been?
Where have they been?
Where have they been?
Where have they been?

King Crimson - Epitaph (lyrics and video clip)

This is a song with extreme emotional significance for me.

The wall on which the prophets wrote
Is cracking at the seams.
Upon the instruments of death
The sunlight brightly gleams.
When every man is torn apart
With nightmares and with dreams,
Will no one lay the laurel wreath
As silence drowns the screams.

Between the iron gates of fate,
The seeds of time were sown,
And watered by the deeds of those
Who know and who are known;
Knowledge is a deadly friend
When no one sets the rules.
The fate of all mankind I see
Is in the hands of fools.

Confusion will be my epitaph.
As I crawl a cracked and broken path
If we make it we can all sit back
And laugh.
But I fear tomorrow Ill be crying,
Yes I fear tomorrow Ill be crying.


King Crimson in Wikipedia

Joy Division - Atmosphere (lyrics and video clip)

Atmosphere - my atmospheric favourite by Joy Division and with strong personal connotations.

Walk in silence,
Don't walk away, in silence.
See the danger,
Always danger,
Endless talking,
Life rebuilding,
Don't walk away.

Walk in silence,
Don't turn away, in silence.
Your confusion,
My illusion,
Worn like a mask of self-hate,
Confronts and then dies.
Don't walk away.

People like you find it easy,
Naked to see,
Walking on air.
Hunting by the rivers,
Through the streets,
Every corner abandoned too soon,
Set down with due care.
Don't walk away in silence,
Don't walk away.


Joy Division in Wikipedia

Joy Division, Heart and Soul (lyrics and video clip)

The music of Joy Division presents a unique case for me. This is because with very simple musical means they came up with some extremely emotive and deep songs that go straight to the heart... and the soul. Apart from Heart and Soul, absolute favourites are, of course, Love will tear us apart and Atmosphere as well as Decades, The Eternal, Twenty Four Hours.

Instincts that can still betray us,
A journey that leads to the sun,
Soulless and bent on destruction,
A struggle between right and wrong.
You take my place in the showdown,
I'll observe witha pitiful eye,
I'll humbly ask for forgiveness,
A request well beyond you and I.

Heart and soul, one will burn.
Heart and soul, one will burn.

An abyss that laughs at creation,
A circus complete with all fools,
Foundations that lasted the ages,
Then ripped apart at their roots.
Beyond all this good is the terror,
The grip of a mercenary hand,
When savagery turns all good reason,
There's no turning back, no last stand.

Heart and soul, one will burn.
Heart and soul, one will burn.

Existence well what does it matter?
I exist on the best terms I can.
The past is now part of my future,
The present is well out of hand.
The present is well out of hand.

Heart and soul, one will burn.
Heart and soul, one will burn.
One will burn, one will burn.
Heart and soul, one will burn.


Joy Division in Wikipedia

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Amici miei by Mario Monicelli, train station scene

This is perhaps one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. One of its numerous hilarious scenes is the one at the train station (see video below), where the dad, pursuing his favourite random slapping hobbie, accidentally slaps his son. There have been 2 sequels; none as good as the original movie.

Amici miei in Wikipedia (English)
Amici miei in Wikipedia (Italian)

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

IL Mio Canto Libero by Lucio Battisti

In un mondo che
non ci vuole più
il mio canto libero sei tu
E l'immensità
si apre intorno a noi
al di là del limite degli occhi tuoi
Nasce il sentimento
nasce in mezzo al pianto
e s'innalza altissimo e va
e vola sulle accuse della gente
a tutti i suoi retaggi indifferente
sorretto da un anelito d'amore
di vero amore
In un mondo che - Pietre un giorno case
prigioniero è - ricoperte dalle rose selvatiche
respiriamo liberi io e te - rivivono ci chiamano
E la verità - Boschi abbandonati
si offre nuda a noi e - perciò sopravvissuti vergini
e limpida è l'immagine - si aprono
ormai - ci abbracciano
Nuove sensazioni
giovani emozioni
si esprimono purissime
in noi
La veste dei fantasmi del passato
cadendo lascia il quadro immacolato
e s'alza un vento tiepido d'amore
di vero amore
E riscopro te
dolce compagna che
non sai domandare ma sai
che ovunque andrai
al fianco tuo mi avrai
se tu lo vuoi
Pietre un giorno case
ricoperte dalle rose selvatiche
ci chiamano
Boschi abbandonati
e perciò sopravvissuti vergini
si aprono
ci abbracciano
In un mondo che
prigioniero è
respiriamo liberi
io e te
E la verità
si offre nuda a noi
e limpida è l'immagine
Nuove sensazioni
giovani emozioni
si esprimono purissime
in noi
La veste dei fantasmi del passato
cadendo lascia il quadro immacolato
e s'alza un vento tiepido d'amore
di vero amore
e riscopro te

I Giardini Di Marzo by Lucio Battisti

album: Si Viaggiare 1972-1977 (1993)

Il carretto passava e quell' uomo gridava 'gelati!'
al ventuno del mese i nostri soldi erano già finiti
io pensavo a mia madre e rivedevo i suoi vestiti
il più bello era nero e coi fiori non ancora appassiti
All' uscita di scuola i ragazzi vendevano i libri
io restavo a guardarli cercando il coraggio per imitarli
poi sconfitto tornavo a giocar con la mente e i suoi tarli
e la sera al telefono tu mi chiedevi: "perchè non parli?"

Che anno è, che giorno è
questo è il tempo di vivere con te
le mie mani come vedi non tremano più
e ho nell' anima in fondo all' anima
cieli immensi, e immenso amore
e poi ancora ancora amore amor per te
fiumi azzurri e colline e praterie
dove corrono dolcissime le mie malinconie
l' universo trova spazio dentro me
ma il coraggio di vivere quello ancora non c'è.

I giardini di marzo si vestono di nuovi colori
e le giovani donne in quel mese vivono nuovi amori
camminavi al mio fianco ad un tratto dicesti:"tu muori"
Se mi aiuti son certa che io ne verro fuori!
Ma non una parola chiarì i miei pensieri
continuai a camminare lasciandoti attrice di ieri

Che anno è, che giorno è
questo è il tempo di vivere con te
le mie mani come vedi non tremano più
e ho nell' anima in fondo all' anima
cieli immensi, e immenso amore
e poi ancora ancora amore amor per te
fiumi azzurri e colline e praterie
dove corrono dolcissime le mie malinconie
l' universo trova spazio dentro me
ma il coraggio di vivere quello ancora non c'è.

Emir Kusturica, Promise Me This (Zavet)

Somehow, Kusturica is one of those rare film makers who never disappoint me.

His movie Promise Me This is his usual amalgam of Balkan joie de vivre, with some extra spice of self-improvised devices, magic realism and visual poetry. Extraordinary performances from all actors, including of course the protagonists, Uroš Milovanović (the boy) and Marija Petronijević (the fresh and beautiful femme fatalle). Definitely, not to be missed. Film was part of the 20o ΠΑΝΟΡΑΜΑ ΕΥΡΩΠΑΪΚΟΥ ΚΙΝΗΜΑΤΟΓΡΑΦΟΥ and was viewed in the great comfort of Athenian movie theatre, Ideal.


Tsane lives with his grandfather and their cow Cvetka on a remote hilltop. Except for their neighbour, Bossa, they are the village’s only inhabitants. One day, Tsane’s grandfather tells the young man that he is dying. He makes Tsane promise to go over the three hills into the nearest town and sell Cvetka at the market there. With the money, he must buy a religious icon, then anything he really wants and finally, he must find a wife to bring home. In town, Tsane easily fulfils the first parts of his promise, but how is he going to get home with a wife before his granddad dies? That’s when he meets Jasna, who is late for school as usual…..


Promise me this in
Kusturica in Wikipedia

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Tonight I can write the saddest lines, Pablo Neruda, Il Postino

Il Postino, Massimo Troisi and the power of the metaphor

When I first saw this movie there were so many things that moved me. First of all, memories of Naples, the local dialect and the people there (oh yes, Massimo Troisi is a master at conveying the magic of Naples!). Then it was the soundtrack which was so emotive and formed an organic whole with the movie. The poetry of it, with Pablo Neruda and the way he instructed Troisi to use metaphors in order to conquer his beloved Maria Grazia Cucinotta (what a woman!) saying things like "your smile spreads like a butterfly". Oh yes, my heart is so close to all the things this movie says...


Maria Grazia Cucinotta

Il postino script (English translation)
Il Postino - Wikipedia

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Branduardi Canta Yeats, Nel giardino dei salici

Nel giardino dei salici ho incontrato il mio amore;
là lei camminava con piccoli piedi bianchi di neve.
Là lei mi pregava che prendessi l'amore come viene,
così come le foglie crescono sugli alberi.
Così giovane ero, io non le diedi ascolto;
così sciocco ero, io non le diedi ascolto.
Fu là presso il fiume che con il mio amore mi fermai,
e sulle mie spalle lei posò la sua mano di neve.
Là lei mi pregava che prendessi la vita così come viene,
così come l'erba cresce sugli argini del fiume;
ero giovane e sciocco ed ora non ho che lacrime.


Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.

In a field by the river my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.

Down By The Salley Gardens

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Down By The Salley Gardens (Irish: Gort na Saileán) is a traditional Irish song. Sometimes known as "An Traigh Mughdhorna", "The Maids of Mourne Shore" and "The Mourne Shore", it can be sung in either English or Irish.

It is sometimes listed as a poem by William Butler Yeats, after the words were included in a book of his poems, The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems, published in 1889. However, the case is that Yeats published the poem as a tribute to oral tradition; it was based on a fragment of a song he recalled hearing an old Irish woman sing. Yeats' noted that This is an attempt to reconstruct an old song from three lines imperfectly remembered by an old peasant woman in the village of Ballysodare, Sligo, who often sings them to herself. The verse was subsequently set to music by Herbert Hughes to the air The Maids of the Mourne Shore in 1909.

"Salley" is an anglicisation of the Irish saileach, meaning willow, i.e., a tree of the genus Salix. Willows are known as "salleys", "sallies" or "salley trees" in parts of Ireland.

Unicornio Azul - Silvio Rodriguez (English Translation, Lyrics, Tablature, download mp3)

Unicornio Azul (Blue Unicorn) - Silvio Rodriguez
Download Unicornio Azul by Silvio Rodrigue

Mi Unicornio azul ayer se me perdió,
pastando lo dejé y desapareció.
Cualquier información la voy bien a pagar,
las flores que dejó, no me han querido hablar.

Mi Unicornio azul ayer se me perdió,
no sé si se me fue, no sé si se extravió.
Y yo no tengo más que un Unicornio azul.
Si alguien sabe de él, le ruego información,
cien mil o un millón yo pagaré.
Mi Unicornio azul se me ha perdido ayer,
se fue...

Mi Unicornio y yo hicimos amistad,
un poco con amor, un poco con verdad.
Con su cuerno de añil pescaba una canción,
saberla compartir era su vocación.

Mi Unicornio azul ayer se me perdió,
y puede parecer acaso una obsesión,
pero no tengo más que un Unicornio azul
y aunque tuviera dos, yo solo quiero aquel.
Cualquier información la pagaré.
Mi Unicornio azul se me ha perdido ayer,
se fue...

My blue unicorn, I lost it yesterday.
I left it grazing and it disappeared.
Any information, I will pay for it well.
The flowers that it left behind don't want to talk to me.

My blue unicorn, I lost it yesterday,
I don't know if it left me, or if it got lost,
and I don't have but one blue unicorn.
If anyone's got any news, I beg to hear them.
A hundred thousand or a million, I will pay.
My blue unicorn, I lost it yesterday,
it went away.

My unicorn and I became friends,
a little bit with love, a little bit with truth.
With its indigo horn it was fishing for a song
knowing how to share it was its calling.

My blue unicorn, I lost it yesterday,
and it may seem perhaps like an obsession
but I don't have but one blue unicorn
and even if I had two I only wanted that one.
Any information, I will pay for it,
My blue unicorn, I lost it yesterday,
it went away.

Unicornio Azul - Silvio Rodriguez - Tablature

Intro: DO(VI-2•3 III II)MIm(IV-2•3 III II)

A)Mi unicornio azul ayer se me perdió

REm FA7+ DO(IV-2•3 III II)
pastando lo deje y desapareció

cualquier información bien la voy a pagar

las flores que dejo, no me han querido hablar.

B)Mi unicornio azul ayer se me perdió

REm FA7+ DO(IV-2•3 III II)
no sé si se me fue, no sé si se extravió

y yo no tengo mas que un unicornio azul

REm (V-0•2) DO
si alguien sabe de él, le ruego información

cien mil o un millón yo pagare

mi unicornio azul, se me ha perdido ayer

se fue...

A)Mi unicornio y yo hicimos amistad
un poco con amor, un poco con verdad
con su cuerno de añil pescaba una canción
saberla compartir era su vocación

B)Mi unicornio azul ayer se me perdió
y puede parecer acaso una obsesión
pero no tengo mas que un unicornio azul
y aunque tuviera dos yo solo quiero aquel
cualquier información la pagare
mi unicornio azul se me ha perdido ayer
se fue...


Silvio Rodríguez Domínguez in Wikipedia

Te voglio bene assaie ma tanto bene sai

Lucio Dalla, Caruso

Qui dove il mare luccica e tira forte il vento
Su una vecchia terrazza davanti al golfo di Surriento
Un uomo abbraccia una ragazza dopo che aveva pianto
Poi si schiarisce la voce e ricomincia il canto
Te voglio bene assaie ma tanto bene sai
É una catena ormai che scioglie il sangue dint'e vene sai

Vide le luci in mezzo al mare pensó alle notti lá in America
Ma erano solo le lampare e la bianca scia di un'elica
Sentí il dolore nella musica si alzó dal pianoforte
Ma quando vide la luna uscire da un nuvola
Gli sembró piú dolce anche la morte
Guardó negli occhi la ragazza quegli occhi verdi come il mare
Poi all'improvviso uscí una lacrima e lui credette di affogare
Te voglio bene assaie ma tanto tanto bene sai
É una catena ormai che scioglie il sangue dint'e vene sai

Potenza della lircica dove ogni dramma é un falso
Che con un pó di trucco e con la mimica puoi diventare un altro
Ma due occhi che ti guardano cosí vicini e veri
Ti fan scordare le parole confondono i pensieri
Cosí diventa tutto piccolo anche le nottie lá in America
Ti volti e vedi la tua vita come lá scia di un'elica
Ma si é la vita che finisce ma lui non ci pensó poi tanto
Anzi si sentiva giá felice e ricominció il suo canto
Te voglio bene assaie ma tanto tanto bene sai
É una catena ormai che scioglie il sangue dint'e vene sai
Te voglio bene assaie ma tanto tanto bene sai
É una catena ormai che scioglie il sangue dint'e vene sai.

Gm C7 Dm Gm C7 Dm ^ Gm Dm

Dm Gm
Qui dove il mare luccica e tira forte il vento
C7 A7 Dm
Sulla vecchia terrazza davanti al golfo di Surriento
Dm Gm
Un uomo abbraccia una ragazza dopo che aveva pianto
C7 A7 Dm
Poi si schiarisce la voce e ricomincia il canto
Dm Gm C7 A7 Dm
Te vojo bene assai ma tanto tanto bene assai
Dm Gm C7 A7 Dm
E' 'na catena ormai e scioglie il sangue in't'e vene assai

Gm C7 Dm ^ Gm
Dm Gm
Vide le luci in mezzo al mare penso' alle notti la' in America
C7 A7 Dm
Ma erano solo le lampane e la bianca scia di un'elica
Dm Gm
Senti' il dolore nella musica si alzo' dal pianoforte
C7 A7
Ma quando vide la luna uscire da una nuvola
A7 Dm
Gli sembro' piu' dolce anche la morte
Dm Gm
Guardo' negli occhi la ragazza quegli occhi verdi come il mare
C7 A7 Dm
Poi all'improvviso usci' una lacrima e lui credette di affogare
Dm Gm C7 A7 Dm
Te vojo bene assai ma tanto tanto bene assai
Dm Gm C7 A7 Dm
E' 'na catena ormai e scioglie il sangue in't'e vene assai

Gm C7 Dm ^ Gm

Dm Gm
Potenza della lirica dove ogni dramma e' un falso
C7 A7 Dm
Che con un po' di trucco e con la mimica puoi diventare un altro
Dm Gm
Ma due occhi che ti guardano cosi' vicini e veri
C7 A7 Dm
Fanno scordare le parole confondono i pensieri
Dm Gm
Cosi' divento' tutto piccolo anche le notti la in America
C7 A7 Dm
Ti volti e vedi la tua vita come la scia di un'elica
Dm Gm
Ma si e' la vita che finisce ma lui non ci penso' poi tanto
C7 A7 Dm
Anzi si senti' quasi felice e ricomincio' il suo canto
Dm Gm C7 A7 Dm
Te vojo bene assai ma tanto tanto bene assai
Dm Gm C7 A7 Dm
E' 'na catena ormai e scioglie il sangue in't'e vene assai
Dm Gm C7 A7 Dm
Te vojo bene assai ma tanto tanto bene assai
Dm Gm C7 A7 Dm
E' 'na catena ormai e scioglie il sangue in't'e vene assai

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Spiegel im Spiegel and Festina Lente by Arvo Pärt

Arvo Pärt is one of my best loved minimalist composers. He spends half of his year in an orthodox monastery and the rest of it he composes. His profoundly simple; yet unbelievable profound and esoteric compositions resonate so strongly with my heart.

The article below is from wikipedia:

Arvo Pärt (born September 11, 1935 in Paide), (IPA: [ˈɑr̺vɔ ˈpær̺t]) is an Estonian composer, often identified with the school of minimalism and more specifically, that of "mystic minimalism" or "sacred minimalism". He is considered a pioneer of this style, along with contemporaries Henryk Górecki and John Tavener. Arvo Pärt is best known for his choral works.


Even in Estonia, Arvo was getting the same feeling that we were all getting. [...] I love his music, and I love the fact that he is such a brave, talented man. [...] He's completely out of step with the zeitgeist and yet he's enormously popular, which is so inspiring. His music fulfills a deep human need that has nothing to do with fashion.Steve Reich

Pärt's musical education began at age 7, while he began attending music school in Rakvere (his family lived there at the time) and by 14 or 15 he was writing his own compositions. While studying composition (with teacher Heino Eller) at the Tallinn Conservatory it was said of him that: "he just seemed to shake his sleeves and notes would fall out". There were very few influences from outside the Soviet Union at this time, just a few illegal tapes and scores.

Although at the time of Pärt's birth Estonia was an independent state, the Soviet Union occupied it in 1940 as a result of the Soviet-Nazi Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and the country remained under Soviet control (except for a 3-year period of German occupation), for the next 51 years.

Pärt's oeuvre is generally divided into two periods. His early works range from rather severe neo-classical styles influenced by Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Bartók. He then began to compose using Schoenberg's twelve-tone technique and serialism. This, however, not only earned the ire of the Soviet establishment, but also proved to be a creative dead end. Pärt's biographer, Paul Hillier, says:

"... he had reached a position of complete despair in which the composition of music appeared to be the most futile of gestures, and he lacked the musical faith and will-power to write even a single note"

This may be an overstatement since the transitional third symphony (1971) was composed during this time. However, it is clear that Pärt experienced a deep personal crisis. His response to this impasse was to immerse himself in early music — to go, in effect, back to the roots of western music. He studied plainsong, Gregorian chant, and the emergence of polyphony in the Renaissance. At the same time he began to explore religion and joined the Russian Orthodox Church, perhaps indicating that his crisis was partly spiritual in nature, rather than exclusively musical.

The music that began to emerge after this period was radically different. Pärt describes it as tintinnabuli - like the ringing of bells. The music is characterised by simple harmonies, often single unadorned notes, or triad chords which form the basis of western harmony. These are reminiscent of ringing bells, hence the name. Tintinnabuli works are rhythmically simple, and do not change tempo. The influence of early music is clear. Another characteristic of Pärt's later works is that they are frequently settings for sacred texts, although he mostly chooses Latin or the Church Slavonic language used in Orthodox liturgy instead of his native Estonian language.

He moved to Berlin in 1980 and has lived there ever since.

It is for these latter works that Pärt is best known, and he is unusual for a modern composer in that he is very popular in his own lifetime. Arvo Pärt's music came to public attention in the West, largely thanks to Manfred Eicher who recorded several of Pärt's compositions for ECM Records starting in 1984.

Pärt has said that his music is similar to light going through a prism: the music may have a slightly different meaning for each listener, thus creating a spectrum of musical experience, similar to the rainbow of light.

His music has been used in over 50 films, from "Väike motoroller" (1962) to "Promised Land" (2004). The Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten was used in Léos Carax's Les Amants du Pont-Neuf (1991) and in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 while showing the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City. Spiegel im Spiegel was prominently used in Mike Nichols' Wit (2001), the mountain climbing documentary Touching the Void (2003), and Gus Van Sant's Gerry (2003), which also used Für Alina.

A new composition, For Lennart, written for the memory of the Estonian President Lennart Meri, was played at his funeral service on April 2 2006.

In response to the murder of the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya in Moscow on October 7 2006, Arvo Pärt has declared that all his works performed in the 2006-2007 would be commemorating her death.

"Anna Politkovskaya staked her entire talent, energy and – in the end – even her life on saving people who had become victims of the abuses prevailing in Russia."

Pärt is to be honoured as the featured composer of the 2008 RTÉ Living Music Festival in Dublin, Ireland and he has also been commissioned by Louth Contemporary Music Society [1] to compose a new choral work based on St. Patricks Breastplate, to be premiered in 2008 in Louth, Ireland.The new commission is complete and is called The Deers Cry. It will have its first performances in Drogheda and Dundalk on 13 and 14 February 2008 respectively.

Selected works

Works for voices and orchestra

  • Our Garden, Cantata for children's chorus and orchestra (1959/2003)
  • Credo for chorus, orchestra, and piano solo (1968)
  • Wallfahrtslied for tenor or baritone and string orchestra (1984/2000)
  • Te Deum for chorus, string orchestra and tape (1984-5, rev 1992)
  • Berlin Mass for chorus and organ or string orchestra (1992)
  • Litany for soloists, chorus and orchestra (1994)
  • Como cierva sedienta for soprano, chorus and orchestra (1998)
  • Cantiques des degrés for chorus and orchestra (1999/2002)
  • Cecilia, vergine romana for chorus and orchestra (1999/2002)
  • In Principio for chorus and orchestra (2003)

Works for voices and ensemble (or piano)

  • An den Wassern zu Babel saßen wir und weinten for voices or choir and organ or ensemble (1976/1984)
  • Sarah Was Ninety Years Old for three voices, percussion and organ (1977/1990)
  • De profundis for chorus, percussion and organ (1980)
  • Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi secundum Joannem for soloists, vocal ensemble, choir and instrumental ensemble (1982)
  • Es sang vor langen Jahren for alto, violin and viola (1984)
  • Wallfahrtslied for tenor or baritone and string quartet (1984)
  • Stabat Mater for 3 voices and string trio (1985)
  • Miserere for soli, choir and ensemble (1989)
  • Zwei Wiegenlieder for two women’s voices and piano (2002)
  • L'Abbé Agathon for soprano, four violas and four celli (2004/2005)

Works for chorus (and organ)

  • Missa syllabica for chorus and organ (1977)
  • Summa for chorus (1977)
  • Magnificat for chorus (1989)
  • Bogoroditse Djevo for chorus (1990)
  • Dopo la Vittoria for chorus (1996)
  • Kanon Pokajanen for chorus (1997)
  • Triodion for chorus (1998)
  • Which Was the Son of... (2000)
  • Nunc Dimittis for chorus (2001)
  • Peace upon you, Jerusalem for female chorus (2002)
  • Anthem written for St John's College, Oxford (2005)

Orchestral works

  • Nekrolog for orchestra op.5 (1960)
  • Symphony No.1 for orchestra op.9 (1963)
  • Perpetuum mobile for orchestra op.10 (1963)
  • Symphony No.2 for orchestra (1966)
  • Symphony No.3 for orchestra (1971)
  • Wenn Bach Bienen gezüchtet hätte ... for piano, wind quintet, string orchestra and percussion (1976)
  • Fratres for chamber ensemble (1976 and on, many versions)
  • Arbos for brass and percussion (1977/1986)
  • Cantus In Memoriam Benjamin Britten for string orchestra and bell (1977)
  • Psalom for string orchestra (1985/1995/1997)
  • Festina Lente for string orchestra and harp (1988)
  • Summa for string orchestra (1991)
  • Silouans Song for string orchestra (1991)
  • Trisagion for string orchestra (1992)
  • Mein Weg for 14 string players and percussion (1999)
  • Orient & Occident for string orchestra (2000)
  • Lennartile / Für Lennart for string orchestra (2006)
  • La Sindone for orchestra and percussion (2006)

Works for solo instruments and orchestra

  • Collage sur B-A-C-H, for oboe, string orchestra, harpsichord, and piano (1964)
  • Pro et Contra, concerto for cello and orchestra (1966, for Mstislav Rostropovich)
  • Credo for chorus, orchestra, and piano solo (1968)
  • Tabula Rasa, double concerto for two violins, string orchestra and prepared piano (1977)
  • Fratres for violin, string orchestra and percussion (1992)
  • Concerto piccolo über B-A-C-H for trumpet, string orchestra, harpsichord and piano (1994)
  • Darf ich ... for violin, bells and string orchestra (1995/1999)
  • Lamentate for piano and orchestra (2002)

Instrumental works

  • 2 Sonatinen, op.1, for piano (1958/1959)
  • Für Alina for piano (1976)
  • Variationen zur Gesundung von Arinuschka for piano (1977)
  • Spiegel Im Spiegel for violin or cello and piano (1978)
  • Fratres for violin and piano (1980)
  • Hymn to a Great City for two pianos (1984/2000)
  • Summa for string quartet (1990)
  • Mozart-Adagio for violin, cello and piano (1992/1997, from Mozart's Piano Sonata in F major (K 280))
  • Passacaglia for violin and piano (2003)
  • Annum per Annum (organ)
  • Pari Intervallo (organ)


Printed sources

External links

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Wednesday, 10 October 2007

You Can Have Anything You Want, but You Can't Have Everything You Want

Peter McWilliams, LIFE 101

When I ask people that simple yet profound question, "What do you want?" they sometimes answer, "I want it all!" I often wonder, "If they had it all, where would they put it?"

I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go to the mountain. And I've looked over, and I've seen the promised land. So I'm happy tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man.


There's an awful lot of "all" out there. And there's a lot more "all" to be experienced inside. The people who say they want "it all" either have not taken the time to explore what they really want, or don't realize one simple fact of life: "You can have any thing you want, but you can't have every thing you want."

Living on this planet has some down-to-earth limitations. First, we can put our body in only one place at a time. Second, there are only 24 hours a day, 365 (or 366) days per year. Third, the human lifetime is only so long (150 years seems to be tops).

The limitations become even more severe when we consider the time we spend on maintenance: sleeping, washing, eating--and some of us even have to make money to pay for all that.

We can't have "it all" because "all" is more than our "container" of time and space will hold.

Before you cry, "Foul!" consider: You can have anything you want. Pick what you want most and--if it's available, if it doesn't already belong to someone else (who wants to keep it)--you can have it.

The history books are full of people who said, "I don't care if everybody thinks it's impossible, I think it's possible, I want it, and I'm going to get it (or do it)." And they did. You can, too.

The catch? The more unobtainable the "want" you want, the more you must sacrifice to get it. It's not that you can't have it, it's that you'll have to give up many--and maybe all--other things.

I was once on a talk show and a woman called in. She said she wanted to be an actress more than anything else. She was quite upset that she hadn't succeeded yet. Our conversation went something like this:

The Wright brothers flew right through the smoke screen of impossibility.


–How much time do you spend on your career?
–I spend all my time.
–You don't sleep?
–Of course I sleep.
–Are you in a relationship?
–Yes, but I only see him four or five nights a week.
–Do you have a job?
–Of course--I have to work to support my two daughters.
–How old are your daughters?
–Four and eight.

As you can guess, this woman spent about an hour a week on her "career." What she meant to say was that she spent all of her free time pursuing acting. Unfortunately, it's not likely that an hour a week will give her the success she craves.

My advice to her? After establishing that she loved her daughters and loved her boyfriend and considered them more important than show biz, I suggested she be grateful for the choices she had already made and her successful implementation of them. I told her there were any number of successful actresses who wish they had two healthy children and a loving, romantic relationship. The acting? Make it a hobby.

The phrase "spending time" is a precise and accurate one. We all have only so much time this time around. Spend it well.

Who begins too much accomplishes little.


It's as though you were in a large store (Earth). You are given enough money (time) to buy anything in the store, but not everything in the store. You can fit a lot of things in your cart (projects you start). When it comes time to pay, however, if your money runs out, that's it. And this store does not give refunds. At best, the store may reluctantly buy something back as used merchandise--at a fraction of what you paid for it.

Some people put a "want" in their cart--a new career, a relationship, a car, a house, a project--and fail to consider its cost: the time it will take to obtain and maintain the want.

They like to quote Edna St. Vincent Millay:

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But, ah, my foes, and, oh, my friends--
It gives a lovely light.
While reciting it, however, they are secretly worried about the wax dripping on the new rug--which hasn't yet been paid for. At some point, they find themselves "out of time," quoting Samuel Hoffenstein: "I burned my candle at both ends, and now have neither foes nor friends."

Some protest: "Time is money, and with money you can buy time." Up to a limit, that's true. But you can't hire someone to do all the things you want to do yourself (flying a plane, ballet, race car driving, reading, watching videos). And do you plan to hire people to spend time with your friends, eat your pizzas, or to entertain your lover(s)?

At a certain point in most everyone's life--rich, poor, organized, or scattered--the wants outnumber the available hours in the day. At that point, a want must go a-wanting.

The solution is preventative: choose carefully at the outset. Be grateful that, although you can't have everything, some very nice anythings await your selection.
Peter McWilliams, LIFE 101

Also, by J M Barrie:
You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.

And be on thy guard, also, against the assaults of thy love!

German: Und hüte dich auch vor den Anfällen deiner Liebe! Zu schnell streckt der Einsame dem die Hand entgegen, der ihm begegnet.
English: And be on thy guard, also, against the assaults of thy love! Too readily doth the recluse reach his hand to any one who meeteth him.
Nietzsche, "Thus Spake Zarathustra"

This has been for years a favourite Nietzsche quote for me and it describes me perfectly. Here is some more:

The Way of the Creating One.

Wouldst thou go into isolation, my brother? Wouldst thou seek the way unto thyself? Tarry yet a little and hearken unto me.

"He who seeketh may easily get lost himself. All isolation is wrong": so say the herd. And long didst thou belong to the herd.

The voice of the herd will still echo in thee. And when thou sayest, "I have no longer a conscience in common with you," then will it be a plaint and a pain.

Lo, that pain itself did the same conscience produce; and the last gleam of that conscience still gloweth on thine affliction.

But thou wouldst go the way of thine affliction, which is the way unto thyself? Then show me thine authority and thy strength to do so!

Art thou a new strength and a new authority? A first motion? A self- rolling wheel? Canst thou also compel stars to revolve around thee?

Alas! there is so much lusting for loftiness! There are so many convulsions of the ambitions! Show me that thou art not a lusting and ambitious one!

Alas! there are so many great thoughts that do nothing more than the bellows: they inflate, and make emptier than ever.

Free, dost thou call thyself? Thy ruling thought would I hear of, and not that thou hast escaped from a yoke.

Art thou one ENTITLED to escape from a yoke? Many a one hath cast away his final worth when he hath cast away his servitude.

Free from what? What doth that matter to Zarathustra! Clearly, however, shall thine eye show unto me: free FOR WHAT?

Canst thou give unto thyself thy bad and thy good, and set up thy will as a law over thee? Canst thou be judge for thyself, and avenger of thy law?

Terrible is aloneness with the judge and avenger of one's own law. Thus is a star projected into desert space, and into the icy breath of aloneness.

To-day sufferest thou still from the multitude, thou individual; to-day hast thou still thy courage unabated, and thy hopes.

But one day will the solitude weary thee; one day will thy pride yield, and thy courage quail. Thou wilt one day cry: "I am alone!"

One day wilt thou see no longer thy loftiness, and see too closely thy lowliness; thy sublimity itself will frighten thee as a phantom. Thou wilt one day cry: "All is false!"

There are feelings which seek to slay the lonesome one; if they do not succeed, then must they themselves die! But art thou capable of it--to be a murderer?

Hast thou ever known, my brother, the word "disdain"? And the anguish of thy justice in being just to those that disdain thee?

Thou forcest many to think differently about thee; that, charge they heavily to thine account. Thou camest nigh unto them, and yet wentest past: for that they never forgive thee.

Thou goest beyond them: but the higher thou risest, the smaller doth the eye of envy see thee. Most of all, however, is the flying one hated.

"How could ye be just unto me!"--must thou say--"I choose your injustice as my allotted portion."

Injustice and filth cast they at the lonesome one: but, my brother, if thou wouldst be a star, thou must shine for them none the less on that account!

And be on thy guard against the good and just! They would fain crucify those who devise their own virtue--they hate the lonesome ones.

Be on thy guard, also, against holy simplicity! All is unholy to it that is not simple; fain, likewise, would it play with the fire--of the fagot and stake.

And be on thy guard, also, against the assaults of thy love! Too readily doth the recluse reach his hand to any one who meeteth him.

To many a one mayest thou not give thy hand, but only thy paw; and I wish thy paw also to have claws.

But the worst enemy thou canst meet, wilt thou thyself always be; thou waylayest thyself in caverns and forests.

Thou lonesome one, thou goest the way to thyself! And past thyself and thy seven devils leadeth thy way!

A heretic wilt thou be to thyself, and a wizard and a sooth-sayer, and a fool, and a doubter, and a reprobate, and a villain.

Ready must thou be to burn thyself in thine own flame; how couldst thou become new if thou have not first become ashes!

Thou lonesome one, thou goest the way of the creating one: a God wilt thou create for thyself out of thy seven devils!

Thou lonesome one, thou goest the way of the loving one: thou lovest thyself, and on that account despisest thou thyself, as only the loving ones despise.

To create, desireth the loving one, because he despiseth! What knoweth he of love who hath not been obliged to despise just what he loved!

With thy love, go into thine isolation, my brother, and with thy creating; and late only will justice limp after thee.

With my tears, go into thine isolation, my brother. I love him who seeketh to create beyond himself, and thus succumbeth.--

Thus spake Zarathustra.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Happy 67th birthday John Lennon!

If John Lennon were alive he would have been 67 now.

Hey, I am alive and younger.
And now I remember a line from Krapp's last tape, by Samuel Beckett.

Celebrated the awful occasion, as in recent years, quietly at the winehouse. Not a soul. Sat before the fire with closed eyes, separating the grain from the husks. Jotted down a few notes, on the back of an envelope. Good to be back in my den in my old rags. Have just eaten I regret to say three bananas and only with difficulty refrained from a fourth. Fatal things for a man with my condition. (Vehemently.) Cut 'em out! (pause.) The new light above my table is a great improvement. With all this darkness around me I feel less alone. (Pause.) In a way. (Pause.) I love to get up and move about in it, then back here to . . . (hesitates) . . . me. (pause.) Krapp.

Happy birthday to us John!

Monday, 8 October 2007

Love is nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth

Love is not a feeling. Love is an action, an activity... Genuine love implies commitment and the exercise of wisdom... love as the will to extend oneself for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth... true love is an act of will that often transcends ephemeral feelings of love or cathexis, it is correct to say, 'Love is as love does'.

Scott Peck, The Road Less Travelled (Arrow New-Age)

White shoe scene from The Party starring Peter Sellers

One of the funniest classical comedies. Not to be missed.

Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky

Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky,
We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness.
Kahlil Gibran

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

St Francis of Assisi

Sunday, 7 October 2007

By This River by Brian Eno

This piece was played in La Stanza del Figlio by Nanni Moretti. It is part of the 1977 album "Before and After Science".

Here we are
Stuck by this river,
You and I
Underneath a sky that's ever falling down, down, down
Ever falling down.

Through the day
As if on an ocean
Waiting here,
Always failing to remember why we came, came, came:
I wonder why we came.

You talk to me
as if from a distance
And I reply
With impressions chosen from another time, time, time,
From another time.

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring by Kim Ki-duk

A poetic film with magnificent photography and meditative style, conveying some of the most important Buddhist tenets like non-harming, karma and purification, and most importantly the huge difference between passion and selfless love.


Franz Kafka quotations

I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn't wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? ...we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.

Letter to Oskar Pollak

Ich glaube, man sollte überhaupt nur solche Bücher lesen, die einen beißen und stechen. Wenn das Buch, das wir lesen, uns nicht mit einem Faustschlag auf den Schädel weckt, wozu lesen wir dann das Buch? Damit es uns glücklich macht, wie Du schreibst? Mein Gott, glücklich wären wir eben auch, wenn wir keine Bücher hätten, und solche Bücher, die uns glücklich machen, könnten wir zur Not selber schreiben. Wir brauchen aber die Bücher, die auf uns wirken wie ein Unglück, das uns sehr schmerzt, wie der Tod eines, den wir lieber hatten als uns, wie wenn wir in Wälder verstoßen würden, von allen Menschen weg, wie ein Selbstmord, ein Buch muß die Axt sein für das gefrorene Meer in uns. Das glaube ich.

Meeting good people (reunion with an old friend)

When I meet good people (a rare event indeed), meaning people who make great effort not to wrong or hurt others, often at their own expense or pleasure; people who communicate openly and do not hide anything even if that will influence others' opinions in a negative way; people who do not exaggerate their claims about their emotions, but prefer to show them with their actions and doing the best they can for the spiritual development of their friends; it makes me feel like crying, it is as if a major catastrophe is looming, like a tornado or a hurricane; there is an incessant turmoil in my heart; I find it hard to believe it and I am moved beyond words, sort of like coming home after being away for a lifetime in a perilous and hostile environment.

For some strange reason, the way Kafka describes the kind of books one should read, is very similar to my feelings about good people:

I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn't wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? ...we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.

Also, there are people who make you believe that they are like that, and later you may realize that they are not. They might have (with or without intention) fooled you, but they have also fooled themselves in the process. In fact if one is fooled by someone, s/he is, in Larkin's words "Less Deceived", than when fooling oneself. Fooling oneself shows so much hidden pain.

May these people also be well; may they also be happy.