There is so much bull in the UK fiasco, but Dante would have to have created a new circle at the very bottom of hell to accommodate Michael Gove. It is too distressing to talk about, so I will mention some bull of a lighter nature.
Nordic noir is fashionable. One competent exponent is Anne Holt. She lives in Oslo. I just read her thriller Dead Joker. The lead character is a woman in the police of high rank who lives with her partner. At a critical time in an investigation, and in the lives of various parties, she goes to bed with one of her officers – who happens to be a man. He has already generated a number of bastards from prior unions, but he is about to marry the most recent mother – who is also a police officer. His boss was slated to give the speech of the best woman. It may have caused something of a stir if she had had to confess that she had been made pregnant by the groom.
They apparently got themselves into this frightful fix when at least one of them became entranced by music. It was a piano concerto. It was said to be by Schubert. The trouble is that so far as I know, Schubert never wrote a piano concerto. I bet that the author was thinking of Brahms’ second piano concerto, the third movement. It is as beautiful a piece of music as I have heard.
Whether it is powerful enough to achieve the effects here described might I suppose be an accident of history. But if you want to test the issue get the version by Claudio Arrau with Haitink and the Concertgebouw Orchestra. It is a recording of surpassing beauty. I’m due to visit Stockholm and Oslo shortly, but I will leave that recording home, for fear of unsettling the natives.
Poet of the month: Keats
On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer
Much have I travelled in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacific – and all his men
Looked at each other with a wild surmise –
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
Finally, the people of Victoria get a chance to vote tomorrow for the CFA in what is clearly a federal issue. I urge all people – whether in the bush or not – to vote to save the CFA. And like the O’Connells of old in Richmond – vote early, vote hard, and vote often.