Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Reading through a book of Gaelic proverbs* I took a liking to these two -

A' chuiseag a dh'fhàsas anns an otrach 's i as àirde a thogas a ceann.
"The weed that grows on the dunghill lifts its head the highest."
(I know them, I know them.)

Is sona iadsann a chumas o lagh is o léigh.
"Happy are they who have no dealings with lawyers and doctors."

An old favourite of mine is Is cliùtach an onair no 'n t-òr.
"Honour is more commendable than gold."
(The poor man's consolation)

"Gaelic Proverbs", Babi Nic Leòid.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I did not believe what I heard, it sounded as if the Palestinians were occupying Israel. There was no empathy for the Palestinians, he only spoke of the Israeli problems.
He told us that it isn’t easy to achieve peace, thanks, we know this. He spoke about universal rights – Good, those same rights apply to Palestinians.
[The Americans] are applying enormous pressure on everybody at the UN, they are using threats and coercion. I wish they would invest the same energy in an attempt to promote peace, not threats.
(Hanan Ashrawi, lifted from Angry Arab2)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"What I will not do is provide cover for the ideological descendants of those who sent children up chimneys". (Chris Huhne)
Well, not during conference week anyway.
How the impartial BBC gathers "news" on Israel/Palestine -

Bicom is the British Israel Communications and Research Centre.
Sophie Long, whoever she is, must be in line for promotion.

(via Jews sans frontieres)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Who owns the Gleision mine?
Where is the management?
Has there been a statement about the deaths from either board or management?
If there has, I haven't seen or heard it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

<<¡Permanece la escucha!>>

Interview with Manu Chao (audio), plus videos.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Train of Thought

A bout de souffle 1959 by lesamisdejob

I have habit of bursting into song, blurting out snatches of lyrics that seem to come out of nowhere (cue for a song). "Where did that come form?" My Missus asks and I track back through the thought process that led to the lyric. There's always an explanation - a word spoken, an ad on the TV, something in the paper. If the reaction is immediate, no problem, but sometimes there's been an incubation period between reception and translation.
This morning I followed the process forward instead of retracing my steps. I saw the word dégueulasse in print. This word always reminds me of the end of the film "Breathless". "T'es vraiment dégueulasse" says the dying Belmondo to his betrayer. "Qu'est-ce que c'est, dégueulasse?" asks Jean Seberg of the onlooking crowd. Fade out.
So now I'm thinking about the picture, and a puzzle. I read somewhere that the director Truffaut had a walk-on part in the film, but I've never seen him. That leads me to another puzzle. The poet and scénariste Jacques Prévert is supposed to be among the wedding party in the film "Atalante". I've yet to catch sight of the bloke.
Then there's a head-scratcher that was answered eventually. The first time I saw Scorsese's "Mean Streets" I'm reading through the credits and I see among the musical acknowledgements "Maruzzella" by Renato Carosone.
Eh? My favourite song and I didn't hear it. Next time the picture's on the telly I'm watching and listening carefully, but nothing. OK, a third chance to see it and there it is, only just.
I'm not a fan of the film, but there are some good bits. One is played out by two of the Carradine brothers. A drunken David C. is in this club, pissed out of his skull. He gets up and staggers across to the jakes to relieve himself. A young fellow (Robert C.) gets up and follows him. What's this? A rent-boy scene, a drunk about to get rolled? No, the young fellow pulls out a pistol shoots your man dead. It's a professional killing. The victim gets it while he's having a hit-and-miss, the fate of Dutch Schultz.
What I missed first and second times of seeing "Mean Streets" was the very faint music in the background, I think from a juke box in another room. There it was, case closed.
But I'm still on the lookout for Truffaut and Prévert.

More about "Maruzzella" another time (Ricordi di una Genovesa bionda).

So all that's gone through my head because I saw a word, though I've reshuffled it, and put the solved case last instead of in between the other two. As the saying goes, I do love a happy ending. I'm keep telling myself that I'll keep a record of those Proustian processes from trigger to song, but I tell myself a lot of

[Tidying up: I got the names of the Carradines wrong originally and have since corrected them.]

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Concerning Clancy Sigal, to whom* I referred in my last post, and whose surname I managed to misspell.
I first encountered the gent's writing in the Guardian in 1959 0r 60. He had an article in the paper about London youth gangs. It was a piece of participant observation, he driving around with some gang members looking for bit of action. He claimed that he'd been accepted by the young blackguards because he had the right hairstyle, known in those days as the French schoolboy cut.
From the article I learned the the gangs were divided ethnically between 'Turks' (Irish), 'Spades' (Blacks) and 'Bubbles' (Greek Cypriot); fascinating stuff.
A couple of years later I came across a book bearing the Sigal name, "Weekend in Dinlock". This is a great yarn, probably a fictionalised account of a real person and his community. He is a miner who is also a talented painter. The narrator tries to persuade him to turn professional, without success, because real men hew coal.
"Weekend in Dinlock" is a story of northern working class life and attitudes that rings true, and it was written by an American. Funny that.
The next work of Sigal's that I encountered was "Going Away", seemingly fictionalised autobiography. The narrator, a fugitive from the McCarthy bloodhounds, crosses the United States from California to New York with the intention of emigrating. He looks up old comrades on the way and meets one person whose conversation induces a paranoid reaction; our narrator is close to breakdown.
I also got a copy of another autobiographical novel, "Zone of the Interior" which I have yet to read. This features a fictionalised version of Sigal's friend R.D.Laing, the unorthodox psychiatrist and hip guru of the 1960s. Laing's "Bird of Paradise" was an essential feature of every "progressive" student's bookshelf in the sixties, along with Marcuse's "One-Dimensional Man". Add a poster of Che, and one's trendy-lefty credentials were assured.
I've never seen the film "Frida", whose screenplay Sigal had a hand in, and, with luck, I never will. But I do enjoy reading articles etc., by the old class warrior.
Strange that neither the linked article or C.S's wikipedia entry mention the association with Doris Lessing.
Interesting to learn that 'Clancy' stands in for his real name, Clarence, his mother having named him for Clarence Darrow. I've always thought Clancy+Sigal an exotic hybrid.

*There's posh!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Good old Clancy Segal on good old Joe Hill, in the Guardian.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Can it be? That PM Cameron has joined his role model, Blair, on the list of British war criminals?

And, yes, this is a war. This has never been the enforcement of a No Fly Zone UN . resolution 1973 with the clause 'all necessary measures'Let's be real here. 'all necessary measures' falls beneath the No Fly Zone' edict and does not allow a situation of war. The NATO allies immediately when beyond the UN resolution and began an areal war and they began killing civilians almost immediately. This was, quite obviously, never meant to be a humanitarian effort.

Everything that NATO has done in Libya has been illegal.

Kellogg-Briand Pact, 1928, Art. I. The High Contracting Parties solemnly declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another. Art. II. The High Contracting Parties agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sought except by pacific means.

Convention on Duties and Rights of States in the Event of Civil Strife, 1928, Art. 1. To forbid the traffic in arms and war material, except when intended for the Government, while the belligerency of the rebels has not been recognized, in which latter case the rules of neutrality shall be applied.

Nuremberg Charter, 1945. Crimes against peace: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy the accomplishment of any of the foregoing . . .

Civil & Political Rights Covenant, 1966, Art. 20. (1). Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.

SECRET CONTRACT AWARDS tolls imposed for the benefit of the State, he shall do it, as far as possible, in accordance with the rules in existence and the assessment in force, and will in consequence be bound to defray the expenses of the administration of the occupied territory on the same scale as that by which the legitimate Government was bound.

Mercenaries Convention, 1993, Art. 5. (1). States Parties shall not recruit, use, finance or train mercenaries and shall prohibit such activities.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

I see that David (or Dave) Cameron has described critics of his Libyan adventure as "armchair warriors". I should think so too, when the man's been out there in the desert, ducking bullets and leading from the front. More appreciation please.
I think he should have a medal struck for himself. His place in our military history is assured; Gordon of Khartoum, Lawrence of Arabia, Montgomery of Alamein, Cameron of ... NATO HQ.
A helpful hint to a searcher -
Addendum (5th Sept.) more Latin (and other) texts at -

Thursday, September 01, 2011

"So a UK minister has used a video on a government website to express government policy on Palestine and the Board of Deputies of British Jews has told him not to do that. And he has dutifully removed the video from the site.
"We now have two front page articles in the most recent edition of the Jewish Chronicle boasting of a Jewish lobby group's ability to effect government behaviour and policy. Next week perhaps there will be a couple of front pages telling us that it is antisemitic to speak of a Jewish lobby.
"In fairness to Jews like me, it should be called the zionist lobby and the Board of Deputies should make it clear it only represents a zionist perspective. But of course honesty has never been the best policy for zionists and honesty is certainly not going to be the policy of either the Board of Deputies or the Jewish Chronicle any time soon."
"I'm back and I'm proud." (Gene Vincent)

Not proud really, not humble either, but the above is the only quote I know containing the words "I'm back".
I suppose it's symptomatic of a lack of confidence in one's own writing that it's found necessary to quote others. I quote, with no sense of irony; " ... as judges shelter their knavery by precedents, so do scholars their ignorance by authority: and when they cannot reason, it is safer and less disgraceful to repeat that nonsense at second hand which they would be ashamed to give originally as their own." (John Horne Tooke, "Epea petroenta or the Diversions of Purley", 1829, though I found it in R. H. Harris's "A Short History of Linguistics", 3rd ed., 1990)
Gene Vincent was playing on the Black Power Movement's slogan about being black and proud.

I've been communing with the shades of my ancestors in the Kingdom of Fife. Or more prosaically, visiting birthplaces and trying to enter locked graveyards. I pointed out places of import to my grandchildren; "our ancestors once lived and worked on the land where those posh houses stand", etc. The response, "Can we go to the shops?" (Granddaughter). "Can we go to the beach?" (Grandson). Never mind, I tried. God loves a trier, as the old folks say.