Thursday, 27 March 2008

Sunrise, Sunset

I just received a letter from Bergen containing lovely snapshots of little Bo. Since I still haven't had the pleasure of seeing my now nine-week-old nephew in the flesh, this was a great substitute. (However, I consider publishing their favourite baby on the web as his parents' prerogative.)

Funny how time flies. My brother and I have always been "the brothers" and "the sons", but now we've also become a dad and an uncle, respectively. This acknowledgement brought me back to a tune I haven't thought of for 30 years. I've never been a big musical buff - and I'm not at all going to compare myself with the aging, thoughtful Tevye. But you probably don't have to be a Russian Shtetl Jew to recognize life experiences such as

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Sundance Festival

According to tradition you might see the sun dancing on Easter morning. Now, this morning I distinctly think I did! And I'm sure the empty cognac glass before me had nothing to do with this...

For breakfast I usually enjoy a glass of either chocolate milk or orange juice. Incidentally, both chocolate and oranges are considered Easter delicacies at my latitudes, and this inspired me to venture a little experiment: How about trying out a combination of them both? So, I mixed a spoonful of Nesquik powder with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. The result? Well, to be honest, it was quite awful. More than anything else, it tasted like some lemonade-based ice cream I never cared that much about. But no one can say I'm not willing to test out boundaries!

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Donald's Easter Gothic

Sadly, it's been a while since our national Disney magazine had a great appeal, but it still happens once in a blue moon that I get myself a copy if they can offer a really special treat. Like this year's Easter issue, advertising one of Donaldism's best stories ever, made by the great Master himself, of course.

Easter is traditionally a time for eeriness. Detective stories are closely associated with this holiday, and goths (and other individuals with a predilection for pale skin and black clothes) have made the Inferno festival a regular Easter phenomenon in the Norwegian capital. So, it all makes good sense reprinting what might be the creepiest and most "Gothic" of all Donald Duck stories: The Old Castle's Secret. Skeletons, ghosts and Scottish castles - what more can you ask for on dark Easter nights?

Eastertime is reading time, and in addition to the Donald Duck magazine I've also got hold of Goethe's play Faust - which, with a bit of goodwill, may also be said to have a certain connection to Easter. (As you may understand, my scope of preferred literature is pretty broad - as long as it's good!) So, we'll just have to see which of the works I'll get down to first - Faust or Donald...

Monday, 17 March 2008

Irish Blood, English Heart

Happy St Paddy's Day! On YouTube I recently came across a music video I'd hardly seen nor heard since the early 90s. To be honest, "Words" by the Christians isn't fully my cup of tea, but its Celtic air, combined with the video's picturesque coastal sceneries, must somehow have made an impression on my tender soul. Besides, I've always had a crush on the mysterious beauty emerging midway through the video. Melancholy gazing from her solitary tower she reminds me of some reason of the ethereal females in Pre-Raphaelite paintings. (Hm, maybe that's why one's still a bachelor? The girl of my dreams is locked up in a desolate castle somewhere on the British isles...)

Thursday, 13 March 2008

New Musical Express

Sometimes on my train trips to and fro work I'm accompanied by a nice colleague, and we've gradually discovered that we've got several interests in common, not least music. So, on drowsy mornings and knackered afternoons we often exhange our newest musical discoveries. This is how I was introduced to the songstress Yael Naïm. And after a few listens to her latest cd I've realized this is my kind of music too: Pop the way pop should be! If anyone should find her songs somewhat quirky, that's probably just because their own musical p/references are primarily frictionless FM pop.

In the present musical climate, allowing an artist like Feist (who definitely moves in a similar musical landscape) to break the way she has, people will hopefully embrace Yael as well! Just like I already have. A big thank you and shalom to my nice companion who introduced me to this new and exciting musical acquaintance!

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Hymn to the Night

Inspired by the nocturnal Disney poetry mentioned before, I've now returned to a genuine "poet of the night", i.e. the German Romanticist Novalis and his Hymns To The Night, a poetic cycle I once in the previous millennium hoped to incorporate in a presumptuous and (abandoned) "metaphysical" novel (whatever that might be...). In their tribute to the mystery of the night, the Hymns might appear pretty über-Romantic, but I think most people sense the magic in stanzas like

To the Light a season was set; but everlasting and boundless is the dominion of the Night.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Adele's Adventures

Personally I think most mainstream ballads are boring trash, but once in a blue moon a song may appear on the radio playlists with this little extra indefinable something that makes it a little more than just neatly produced ear candy. The way I see it, the latest example is Adele's Chasing Pavements. Hopefully, she will become more than just another artist you get fed up with quicker than you can say Amy Winehouse... (On the other hand, maybe one shouldn't let an artist's personal life affect one's sym- and antipathies too much. Apparently, Billie Holiday had some skeletons in the cupboard too...)

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Disneyland After Dark

As you may have understood, I'm surfing on some kind of a Disney wave these days. And today I bought "Disney's 1000 Words" on a book sale. Here all the beloved Disney characters help the children (and everyone else who has kept the child in their hearts) develop a good vocabulary. I don't know if I've entered my second childhood or what. I guess it's mostly a regression to the reading material that probably meant the most to me while growing up.

I don't know if anyone else remembers "WORDS WORDS WORDS", a picture dictionary published in the mid-70s? It had a similar structure, divided into various topics and situations, in which Disney's characters taught the readers new words. Many of these pictures have fixed themselves to my retina, and it's always interesting watching one of Disney's classical feature films, and then experiencing one of these scenes suddenly re-emerging.

Every volume focused on one part of speech, and my favourite was probably the volume called "Words that Tell You About Things". There's something almost poetic about the images and the descriptions on pages like "What Kind Of Night Is It?":

sparkling moon beams
shadowy corners
silent bat
silvery moon
shining leaves
sleeping town

Who would have thought that my first encounter with poetry should take place in a Disney dictionary?