donderdag 31 juli 2014

Nina Simone - Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

Joseph Brodsky - Debuut

Van de tentamenlast bevrijd, had zij 
voor zaterdag een vriendje uitgenodigd; 
't was avond, en op tafel stond in 't kaarslicht 
de stevig dichtgekurkte rode wijn. 

Maar zondagmorgen ving met regen aan; 
en de logé sloop, een ervaring rijker, 
steels weg en nam zijn kleren van de spijker, 
die losjes in het pleisterwerk bleef staan. 

Ze pakte van 't bureautje bij de muur 
een beker, goot een restje thee naar binnen. 
De woning sliep nog op dit vroege uur. 
Ze lag in bad en voelde hoe in 't midden 

de bodem bladderde, en plotseling 
kroop toen de leegte, licht naar badschuim geurend, 
haar lichaam in door nog een opening, 
die na vannacht bekend was met de wereld. 

De hand, die stil de deur geopend had, 
was - hij schrok op - besmeurd; hij stak hem weg en 
het geld, nog van de wijn teruggekregen, 
liet horen dat het in de voering zat. 

De straat was leeg. Er dreven peukjes rond 
in 't water, stromend uit de regenpijpen. 
Hij zag opnieuw het stucwerk en de spijker, 
en van zijn opgezwollen lippen klonk 

een vloek. De leegte bleef onaangedaan, 
hij bloosde hevig en - bewust van 't vreemde 
van zijn gedrag - was door de grond gegaan, 
als daar de trolleybus niet was verschenen. 

Weer thuisgekomen, kleedde hij zich uit, 
niet kijkend naar de sleutel, die nu afhing, 
op vele deuren past en stonk naar zweet, 
verbijsterd door de allereerste draaiing. 

Vertaling: Peter Zeeman 
Uit: Joseph Brodsky, De herfstkreet van de havik. Een keuze uit de gedichten, 1961-1986 (De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam 1989)

woensdag 9 juli 2014

Das Publikum war schier aus dem Häuschen

"Ein 'unbekannter Faktor sei hingegen der Solist im nun folgenden Konzert Nummer 2 g-Moll, dem Sommer aus Vivaldis Vier Jahreszeiten: Tim de Vries, 13 Jahre jung, Gewinner des Solistenpreises beim Groninger Kammermusik-Festival. Was der Junge zu leisten in der Lage ist, ist fast schon unglaublich. Er betrat die Bühne, verbeugte sich kurz, legte los und empfahl sich als jemand, dem eine große Karriere bevorsteht. Das Publikum war schier aus dem Häuschen nach dem souveränen Auftritt des sympathisch wirkenden Wunderknaben." 

Uit: Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, 8 juli

Richard & Mimi Farina - Raven Girl

dinsdag 1 juli 2014

Playboy Interview: Bob Dylan (February, 1966)


PLAYBOY: Do you feel that acquiring a combo and switching from folk to folkrock has improved you as a performer? 

DYLAN: I'm not interested in myself as a performer. Performers are people who perform for other people. Unlike actors, I know what I'm saying. It's very simple in my mind. It doesn't matter what kind of audience reaction this whole thing gets. What happens on the stage is straight. It doesn't expect any rewards or fines from any kind of outside agitators. It's ultra-simple, and would exist whether anybody was looking or not. As far as folk and folk-rock are concerned, it doesn't matter what kind of nasty names people invent for the music. It could be called arsenic music, or perhaps Phaedra music. I don't think that such a word as folk-rock has anything to do with it. And folk music is a word I can't use. Folk music is a bunch of fat people. I have to think of all this as traditional music. Traditional music is based on hexagrams. It comes about from legends, Bibles, plagues, and it revolves around vegetables and death. There's nobody that's going to kill traditional music. All these songs about roses growing out of people's brains and lovers who are really geese and swans that turn into angels - they're not going to die. It's all those paranoid people who think that someone's going to come and take away their toilet paper - they're going to die. Songs like "Which Side Are You On?" and "I Love You, Porgy" - they're not folk-music songs; they're political songs. They're already dead. Obviously, death is not very universally accepted. I mean, you'd think that the traditional-music people could gather from their songs that mystery - just plain simple mystery - is a fact, a traditional fact. I listen to the old ballads; but I wouldn't go to a party and listen to the old ballads. I could give you descriptive detail of what they do to me, but some people would probably think my imagination had gone mad. It strikes me funny that people actually have the gall to think that I have some kind of fantastic imagination. It gets very lonesome. But anyway, traditional music is too unreal to die. It doesn't need to be protected. Nobody's going to hurt it. In that music is the only true, valid death you can feel today off a record player. But like anything else in great demand, people try to own it. It has to do with a purity thing. I think its meaninglessness is holy. Everybody knows that I'm not a folk singer. 

PLAYBOY: Some of your old fans would agree with you - and not in a complimentary vein - since your debut with the rock-'n'-roll combo at last year's Newport Folk Festival, where many of them booed you loudly for "selling out" to commercial pop tastes. The early Bob Dylan, they felt, was the "pure" Bob Dylan. How do you feel about it? 

DYLAN: I was kind of stunned. But I can't put anybody down for coming and booing: after all, they paid to get in. They could have been maybe a little guieter and not so persistent, though. There were a lot of old people there, too; lots of whole families had driven down from Vermont, lots of nurses and their parents, and well, like they just came to hear some relaxing hoedowns, you know, maybe an Indian polka or two. And just when everything's going all right, here I come on, and the whole place turns into a beer factory. There were a lot of people there who were very pleased that I got booed. I saw them afterward. I do resent somewhat, though, that everybody that booed said they did it because they were old fans. 

PLAYBOY: What about their charge that you vulgarized your natural gifts? 

DYLAN: What can I say? I'd like to see one of these so-called fans. I'd like to have him blindfolded and brought to me. It's like going out to the desert and screaming and then having little kids throw their sandbox at you. I'm only 24. These people that said this - were they Americans? 

PLAYBOY: Americans or not, there were a lot of people who didn't like your new sound. In view of tbis widespread negative reaction, do you think you may have made a mistake in changing your style? 

DYLAN: A mistake is to commit a misunderstanding. There could be no such thing, anyway, as this action. Either people understand or they pretend to understand - or else they really don't understand. What you're speaking of here is doing wrong things for selfish reasons. I don't know the word for that, unless it's suicide. In any case, it has nothing to do with my music. 

PLAYBOY: Mistake or not, what made you decide to go the rock-'n'-roll route? 

DYLAN: Carelessness. I lost my one true love. I started drinking. The first thing I know, I'm in a card game. Then I'm in a crap game. I wake up in a pool hall. Then this big Mexican lady drags me off the table, takes me to Philadelphia. She leaves me alone in her house, and it burns down. I wind up in Phoenix. I get a job as a Chinaman. I start working in a dime store, and move in with a 13-year-old girl. Then this big Mexican lady from Philadelphia comes in and burns the house down. I go down to Dallas. I get a job as a "before" in a Charles Atlas "before and after" ad. I move in with a delivery boy who can cook fantastic chili and hot dogs. Then this 13-year-old girl from Phoenix comes and burns the house down. The delivery boy - he ain't so mild: He gives her the knife, and the next thing I know I'm in Omaha. It's so cold there, by this time I'm robbing my own bicycles and frying my own fish. I stumble onto some luck and get a job as a carburetor out at the hot-rod races every Thursday night. I move in with a high school teacher who also does a little plumbing on the side, who ain't much to look at, but who's built a special kind of refrigerator that can turn newspaper into lettuce. Everything's going good until that delivery boy shows up and tries to knife me. Needless to say, he burned the house down, and I hit the road. The first guy that picked me up asked me if I wanted to be a star. What could I say? 

PLAYBOY: And that's how you became a rock-'n'-roll singer? 

DYLAN: No, that's how I got tuberculosis. 


PLAYBOY: By their mid-20s, most people have begun to settle into their niche, to find a place in society. But you've managed to remain inner-directed and uncommitted. What was it that spurred you to run away from home six times between the ages of ten and eighteen and finally to leave for good? 

DYLAN: It was nothing; it was just an accident of geography. Like if I was born and raised in New York or Kansas City, I'm sure everything would have turned out different. But Hibbing, Minnesota, was just not the right place for me to stay and live. There really was nothing there. The only thing you could do there was be a miner, and even that kind of thing was getting less and less. The people that lived there - they're nice people; I've been all over the world since I left there, and they still stand out as being the least hung-up. The mines were just dying, that's all; but that's not their fault. Everybody about my age left there. It was no great romantic thing. It didn't take any great amount of thinking or individual genius, and there certainly wasn't any pride in it. I didn't run away from it; I just turned my back on it. It couldn't give me anything. It was very void-like. So leaving wasn't hard at all; it would have been much harder to stay. I didn't want to die there. As I think about it now, though, it wouldn't be such a bad place to go back to and die in. There's no place I feel closer to now, or get the feeling that I'm part of, except maybe New York; but I'm not a New Yorker. I'm North Dakota-Minnesota-Midwestern. I'm that color. I speak that way. I'm from someplace called Iron Range. My brains and feeling have come from there. 


Jann S. Wenner, 'Bob Dylan Talks' (Interview, Rolling Stone, 1969)

There's a cat named Alan Weberman who writes in the East Village Other. He calls himself the world's leading Dylanologist. You know him? 

No . . . oh, yes, I did. Is this the guy who tears up all my songs? Well, he oughta take a rest. He's way off. I saw something he wrote about "All Along the Watchtower," and boy, let me tell you, this boy's off. Not only did he create some type of fantasy – he had Allen Ginsberg in there – he couldn't even hear the words to the song right. He didn't hear the song right. Can you believe that? I mean this fellow couldn't hear the words . . . or something. I bet he's a hard-working fellow, though. I bet he really does a good job if he could find something to do but it's too bad it's just my songs, 'cause I don't really know if there's enough material in my songs to sustain someone who is really out to do a big job. You understand what I mean? 
I mean a fellow like that would be much better off writing about Tolstoy, or Dostoevesky, or Freud . . . doing a really big analysis of somebody who has countless volumes of writings. But here's me, just a few records out. Somebody devoting so much time to those few records, when there's such a wealth of material that hasn't even been touched yet, or hasn't even been heard or read . . . that escapes me. Does it escape you? I understand putting time into it, but I read this, in this East Village Other; I read it . . . and it was clever. And I got a kick out of reading it [laughter] on some level, but I didn't want to think anybody was taking it too seriously. You follow me? 

He's just representative of thousands of people who do take it seriously. 

Well, that's their own business. Why don't I put it that way. That's their business and his business. But . . . I'm the source of that and I don't know if it's my business or not, but I'm the source of it. You understand? So I see it a little differently than all of them do. 

People in your audience, they obviously take it very seriously, and they look to you for something . . . 

Well, I wouldn't be where I am today without them. So, I owe them . . . my music, which I would be playing for them. 

Does the intensity of some of the response annoy you? 

No. No, I rather enjoy it. 

Complete story: here.

Mikal Gilmore, 'Bob Dylan Unleashed' (Interview, Rolling Stone, 2012)

Before we end the conversation, I want to ask about the controversy over your quotations in your songs from the works of other writers, such as Japanese author Junichi Saga's "Confessions of a Yakuza," and the Civil War poetry of Henry Timrod. Some critics say that you didn 't cite your sources clearly. Yet in folk and jazz, quotation is a rich and enriching tradition. What's your response to those kinds of charges? 

Oh, yeah, in folk and jazz, quotation is a rich and enriching tradition. That certainly is true. It's true for everybody, but me. I mean, everyone else can do it but not me. There are different rules for me. And as far as Henry Timrod is concerned, have you even heard of him? Who's been reading him lately? And who's pushed him to the forefront? Who's been making you read him? And ask his descendants what they think of the hoopla. And if you think it's so easy to quote him and it can help your work, do it yourself and see how far you can get. Wussies and pussies complain about that stuff. It's an old thing – it's part of the tradition. It goes way back. These are the same people that tried to pin the name Judas on me. Judas, the most hated name in human history! If you think you've been called a bad name, try to work your way out from under that. Yeah, and for what? For playing an electric guitar? As if that is in some kind of way equitable to betraying our Lord and delivering him up to be crucified. All those evil motherfuckers can rot in hell. 


I'm working within my art form. It's that simple. I work within the rules and limitations of it. There are authoritarian figures that can explain that kind of art form better to you than I can. It's called songwriting. It has to do with melody and rhythm, and then after that, anything goes. You make everything yours. We all do it. 

When those lines make their way into a song, you're conscious of it happening? 

Well, not really. But even if you are, you let it go. I'm not going to limit what I can say. I have to be true to the song. It's a particular art form that has its own rules. It's a different type of thing. All my stuff comes out of the folk tradition – it's not necessarily akin to the pop world. 

Do you find that sort of criticism irrelevant, or silly? 

I try to get past all that. I have to. When you ask me if I find criticism of my work irrelevant or silly, no, not if it's constructive. If someone could point out here or there where my work could be improved upon, I guess I'd be willing to listen. The people who are obsessed with criticism – it's not honest criticism. They are not the people who I play to anyway. 

But surely you've heard about this particular controversy? 

People have tried to stop me every inch of the way. They've always had bad stuff to say about me. Newsweek magazine lit the fuse way back when. Newsweek printed that some kid from New Jersey wrote "Blowin' in the Wind" and it wasn't me at all. And when that didn't fly, people accused me of stealing the melody from a 16th-century Protestant hymn. And when that didn't work, they said they made a mistake and it was really an old Negro spiritual. So what's so different? It's gone on for so long I might not be able to live without it now. Fuck 'em. I'll see them all in their graves. Everything people say about you or me, they are saying about themselves. They're telling about themselves. Ever notice that? In my case, there's a whole world of scholars, professors and Dylanologists, and everything I do affects them in some way. And, you know, in some ways, I've given them life. They'd be nowhere without me. 

And inspiration. 

No, they're not good for that. 

The flip side of people being critical . . . 

 Yeah, to hold someone in high admiration [laughs]. 

The flip side is, there's also the audience that really loves you. 

Of course. They think they do. They love the music and songs I play, not me. Why do you say that? Because that's the way people are. People say they love a lot of things, but they really don't. It's just a word that's been overused. When you put your life on the line for somebody, that's love. But you'll never know it until you're in the moment. When someone will die for you, that's love, too. 

 This story is from the September 27th, 2012 issue of Rolling Stone.