How the work week has flown! It’s Friday, October 21, 2022: National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day! (Note to Big Pumpkin: Your product doesn’t improve everything!). It’s also International Day of the Nacho, Garbanzo Bean Day, Apple Day, Reptile Awareness Day, and, for those of the Baháʼí Faith, the Birth of the Báb (2017).
Would you like some nachos? Who doesn’t? Here are the Ultimate Nachos®:
Readers are invited to comment on notable events, births, and deaths on this day by consulting the October 21 Wikipedia page.
*The lagniappe first. The Guardian reports that Joni Mitchell is going to play her first headline concert in 23 years. Her voice may be largely gone, and the performance an exercise in nostalgia, but hey—it’s JONI! (h/t: Jez)
*Of course the big news is that Liz Truss, having proven herself unable to govern in just a few short weeks, resigned as Britain’s prime minister. As of Tuesday, her approval rating was a scant 10%! Conservatives are apparently planning to replace her within a week, and good luck to them. Will the third time be a charm?
. . .rules announced on Thursday by Graham Brady, chairman of a powerful committee of Conservative backbench members of Parliament, will severely restrict the number of candidates allowed to vie to succeed Prime Minister Liz Truss.
The rules will require them to have a minimum of 100 nominations by 2 p.m. Monday. Given that there are 357 Conservative lawmakers in Parliament who can nominate candidates, no more than three will be able to pass that threshold by that deadline.
If only one person has enough nominations by the deadline, that candidate will become party leader and the country’s second prime minister in two months.
If two candidates get to the 100-nomination threshold, there will be a vote to indicate which one has the most support among lawmakers. Unless the second-place candidate drops out, the two names will go before party members in an online vote that will conclude on Oct. 28.
If three meet the threshold, the balloting on Monday will eliminate one candidate, with the two top vote-getters advancing to the online vote.
But what if nobody meets the threshold? Is that likely? Brits, help us out here. But here’s the scary part:
Some also want former Prime Minister Boris Johnson back, even though his tenure was punctuated by a series of scandals. In addition, many voters see Mr. Johnson as a divisive figure. There is also uncertainty about whether his return would be welcomed by financial markets.
And even Larry the Cat is happy at Truss’s egress; here’s a cartoon from a conservative paper. As reader Paul, who sent it, remarks: “According to this cartoon in the Telegraph, Larry the Cat seems well pleased with the departure of Liz Truss. In this, he speaks for almost the whole nation!”
Who’s driving the van?
*The Washington Post lists some of the top contenders, and of course I know none of them save one.
Rishi Sunak, former Chancellor of the Exchequer
Penny Mordaunt, leader of the House of Commons
Ben Wallace, British Defense Secretary
Boris Johnson, ’nuff said
Johnson’s last day in office was just 44 days ago, but rumors are swirling in the British media that he could return.
There’s a strange logic to it. Despite the scandals that brought him down, the 58-year-old remains popular with Conservative Party members, according to polls. And whatever his subsequent troubles, memories of the commanding victory he secured at the 2019 general election are still fresh for many.
So far, Johnson has not commented. He is reported to be holidaying in the Caribbean.
Any guesses from those who know these folks?
*Wrong-headed editorial of the week: the NYT’s “History may absolve the soup-throwers”, by Andreas Malm, tries to vindicate the two pastel-haired anti-oil activists who threw soup on one of van Gogh’s “Sunflower” paintings in London’s National Gallery. After all, argues Malm, the painting wasn’t damaged because the soup-throwers knew it was glazed, so what’s the harm? Further, he says, it raises a ruckus that calls attention to the cause of Just Stop Big Oil, and that attention is what we want.
“We need to break the mirage that everything is fine and shatter the illusion of normal life,” explained Indigo Rumbelow, an organizer with Just Stop Oil, when I spoke with her. A trip to the museums, a football match, a journey to work — anything is up for disruption in this view. The goal is to jump onto every stage and create enough disorder to make it impossible to ignore the ongoing climate breakdown.
Anything up for grabs? What about a “non-glazed” van Gogh painting (of course, damaging that comes with jail)? Does the sweating author not realize that very disruptive actions, and damaging property, will hurt the very the cause the activists espouse. Would the Civil Rights Act of 1964 have passed faster if Martin Luther King’s acolytes had blown the nose off George Washington at Mount Rushmore? Would Indian independence have come sooner if Gandhi peed on Government House? I don’t think so. Think about what really changes people’s minds.
But, says Maim, such disruptions worked before!
The actions of the rightly lionized suffragists were similar and even included attacking paintings in the National Gallery. In 1914, Mary Richardson slashed Diego Velázquez’s “Toilet of Venus,” stating that “justice is an element of beauty as much as color and outline on canvas.” Her insouciance did not charm the press, but four years later, Parliament granted British women who owned property and were over the age of 30 the right to vote, and militant organizations like one Richardson supported, the Women’s Social and Political Union, received significant credit for their willingness to challenge social norms.
Here we have an uncontrolled experiment whose flaws are palpably obvious. Maim cites the rage of Greta Thunberg as an impetus for attention to global warming, and he’s right. But Thunberg never defaced or destroyed anything. (She does, however take plane flights.)
*Oklahoma just executed a man for killing his daughter, despite all signs that the man was mentally ill. This is, of course, retributive punishment that assumes the man has a choice (he wouldn’t have had a choice even if he were sane). The government simply shouldn’t be in the business of killing, which is not, by the way a deterrent:
Oklahoma executed inmate Benjamin Cole on Thursday morning despite claims from his attorneys that he had been severely mentally ill.
Cole was pronounced dead at 10:22 a.m. at Oklahoma’s state penitentiary in McAlester. He was the sixth Oklahoma inmate to be executed since the state resumed carrying them out in October 2021.
Cole delivered a sometimes rambling, two-minute prayer while strapped to the gurney.
“Choose Jesus while you still can,” he said.
The first of the three lethal execution drugs began to flow at 10:06 a.m., and Cole was declared unconscious at 10:12. He could be heard snoring inside the death chamber.
Attorneys for Cole did not dispute that he killed his infant daughter, 9-month-old Brianna Cole, by forcibly bending her backward, breaking her spine and tearing her aorta. But they argued that Cole was severely mentally ill and that he had a growing lesion on his brain that had worsened in recent years.
Cole refused medical attention and ignored his personal hygiene, hoarding food and living in a darkened cell with little to no communication with staff or fellow prisoners, his attorneys told the state’s Pardon and Parole Board last month during a clemency hearing.
He doesn’t look sane to me, and there’s that Jesus thing, too.
*Elizabeth Holmes is scheduled to be sentenced on November 18, and faces up to 20 years for each of four counts of wire fraud in the Theranos startup scandal. The NYT says that her multiple requests for a new trial are unlikely to be granted, but adds that there’s a new twist to the case: Holmes appears to be pregnant with her second child. I wouldn’t say this about any normal person, but I wouldn’t put it past Holmes to have gotten pregnant as a tactic to stay out of jail. Though she and her husband refuse to comment on the pregnancy issue, there’s clearly a baby bump, and I’m not the only one who suspects subterfuge:
Anne Kopf-Sill, a former biotech professional who attended every day of Holmes’ trial, tweeted Monday that Holmes appeared five to seven months along.
Speaking to KRON4 outside the courtroom, Kopf-Sill speculated that the second pregnancy may be part of Holmes’ bid to avoid serious prison time.
“I think she is hoping to get a lighter sentence,” she said. “Everyone feels sorry for children that have to grow up without both parents. Even though they may be unsympathetic to Elizabeth … there still is feeling for doing something for innocent children.”
What do you think? Should the judge give her a lighter sentence because she’s pregnant?
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is disturbed. Malgorzata explains: ” Hili dislikes the most modern ‘performances’, ‘happenings’, etc. and she thinks that the sums people get for such stunts is ridiculous. She is, after all, an elderly lady.
Hili: It’s shocking!A: What’s shocking?Hili: How much performers earn by shocking.
Hili: Szokujące!Ja: Co jest takie szokujące?Hili: Ile artyści zarabiają na szokowaniu.
A groaner from Jesus of the Day:
From Thomas, a cartoon by Hilary Price.
From Malcolm—cats with OCD. Click here or “Watch on Facebook”
God comments on the latest debacle in Britain. Indeed, He’s already taken action.
Great Britain, for 70 years I saved your Queen.
But there's not a chance in hell I'm saving your government.#torychaos #ToryShambles ,#ToryCostOfLivingCrisis #GeneralElectionNow #GeneralStrikeNow #TrussOut
— God (Thee/Thy) (@TheTweetOfGod) October 19, 2022
From Masih. Mahsa is the woman whose murder set off the wave of unrest breaking over Iran:
This is Mahsa Amini singing, dancing….
The Islamic Republic of Iran’s morality police killed her just because a little bit of her hair was shown. She was only 22 years old.
Her name became a symbol of resistance against gender apartheid regime. #MahsaAmini#مهسا_امینی pic.twitter.com/QH5F0Mv38L
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) October 20, 2022
A retweet from Larry, Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office:
Thursday 20th October – 1330 pic.twitter.com/BDEG1kuh1m
— Larry the Cat (@Number10cat) October 20, 2022
From Simon, who says “Harsh but true.” Also prescient:
Good grief, The Economist does not hold back 💥 https://t.co/9EBHKN1nEK pic.twitter.com/semZMPpJhq
— Rupert Myers (@RupertMyers) October 11, 2022
From Malcolm. Poor monkey!
Oops.. 😂 pic.twitter.com/AYAAFe5qGF
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) October 18, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial: an American murdered in the camp:
21 October 1902 | Eddy Hamel was born in New York. As a teenager, he moved to #Amsterdam. 1st Jewish player in @AFCAjax. He scored 8 goals in 125 league games.
After his arrest in October 1942, he was deported to Auschwitz where he perished on 30 April 1943. pic.twitter.com/Tw7ElQRW1B
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) October 21, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. There does seem to be a trend here!
Following current trends, the next PM will be in office for approximately minus 200 days pic.twitter.com/avLQE9i1yy
— Rob Sansom (@Sansom_Rob) October 20, 2022
A lovely Egyptian cat with amber eyes:
Bronze Head of the Cat goddess Bastet with amber inlays for eyes. Egypt, 26th dynasty. ~600 BC. Collection: Carlsberg Glyptotek Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo: Stock Photo / Alamy. pic.twitter.com/SY6RJArvqh
— Archaeology & Art (@archaeologyart) October 20, 2022
Don’t watch this if you don’t want to see one alligator attacking another as a bird watches on:
Wait for it… pic.twitter.com/yErHCsirEf
— Travis Akers (@travisakers) October 19, 2022
50 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue”
Ah Friday morning on the U.S. East Coast: Waking up to an excellent Da Nooz on WEIT and Nellie Bowles is back at Common Sense!
Who’s driving the van?
Looks like Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers. It was after his meeting with Liz Truss yesterday that she tendered her resignation as PM.
> Of course the big news is that Liz Trump, having proven herself unable to govern
Joke, typo or Freudian slip?
Typo but perhaps also a Freudian slip. I’ve fixed it, thanks.
I actually thought it was a joke and it made me laugh.
It made me look up ‘Liz Trump’. Now I know that Elizabeth Trump was Donald Trump’s paternal grandmother. Thanks!
If that happened, those with the fewest supporters would be pressured behind the scenes to drop out, and then their support redistributed. This process will iterate until there is one clear leader, who will then be PM (they will skip the stage of giving the party members are say, having just seen that go badly wrong last time).
Rishi Sunak is odds-on at this point. He was, after all, the most popular among MPs last time (which wasn’t that long ago). Ben Wallace would be the safe-and-dependable compromise candidate. Morduant would be another Liz Truss. As for Boris, well, fun and games would continue.
Ben Wallace has confirmed he will not be standing. I’m worried by the fact that some MPs are backing Boris; including one who I taught as a schoolboy! (I also may have taught Liz Truss’s husband, but cannot remember him as a pupil).
I think re-electing Boris would be a mistake. He was ousted because he was not fit for office and it doesn’t say much for a party that it insists on having a leader that is not fit for office.
To be fair though, this is not a job that any rational person would want in the current circumstances.
Having been forced to resign in disgrace, the fact that he is considering standing again a few weeks later shows how utterly shameless Boris Johnson is.
I’m pleased to announce that my football team (The Arsenal) is the first English team ever to win all of its fixtures during the entire tenure of a prime minister. This applies, even if you include the women’s team’s matches.
But Truss is still effectively PM, isn’t she? She will remain in post until her successor is appointed by King Charles III.
No I think she’s already resigned.
Resigned as Conservative leader but not as PM, until her successor is appointed.
Even if we’re counting her term in office as finishing when her successor is appointed, you’ve still got a shot. Chelsea away looks the biggest test before the World Cup break.
I think the real message behind what happened to Truss is that Modern Monetary Theory is now dead. No more borrowing astronomical amounts of money with no plan to pay it back.
Yes, I think so. MMT really only ever made sense when interest rates on sovereign debt were less than the rate of inflation. If that interpretation is all wet, please do say so..
Nicolaus I Bernoulli, 1687 (what a family!)
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1772 (where would Iron Maiden be without him)
Alfred Nobel, 1833
Martin Gardner, 1914 (mathematician and puzzler extraordinaire)
Important Birthings of Today
i) Ms Ursula Kroeber ( Le Guin ), y1929
” Let the tailors of the garments of God sit in their tailor shops and stitch away,
but let them stay there in their temples, out of government, out of the schools.
And we who live among real people — real, badly dressed people,
people wearing rags, people wearing army uniforms, people sleeping on our streets
without a blanket to cover them — let us have true charity: Let us look to our people,
and work to clothe them better. ”
— Ms Ursula Kroeber ( Le Guin ), y2009 speech excerpt
accepting FFRF’s Emperor Has No Clothes – Award
ii) Ms Mary Ann Potter ( Masterton ), y1925
” I PRAISE ROUND STONES
I praise no god.
I only praise the sun and wind and
Moon – lit babies kissing gentle in my arms
Remembering other arms
And other kissing nights.
Books and letters I praise
And small fires that warm my face
And light the page.
Cozy rooms in many houses
Filled with laughter and good talk –
These I praise.
And quiet walks
And fresh baked bread dripping honey.
I praise all the tender hands that soothe
And hold – make music – mend.
I praise dear friends and lovers.
And, O, the magic gardens burning
Their bright colors deep into my heart
Turning my bones into embers that will
I praise round stones.
No god I praise.
Whatever raises me to life
Puts me on my knees to praise.
— Ms Mary Ann Potter ( Masterton ), y1983
My knowledge of poetry is limited, for example my knowledge of STC came from listening to Iron Maiden and Rush, so I hadn’t even heard of Potter but that was quite wonderful. Thank you.
I have a question for those of you who understand what’s going down in Britain right now:
I did a bunch of belated googling in an effort to learn more about the uproar over Truss. In doing so, I learned that she and a few other Tories had published a manifesto entitled Britannia Unchained ten years ago. To quote one commentator,* Brittania Unchained espouses “brutal and destructive” policies and virtually “celebrates chaos.”
So, Truss put on paper that, if she was in a position of power, she would enact brutal and destructive policies that would cause chaos. The Tories proceeded to give her that power, and she did exactly what she said she would. Who could be surprised?
Tories aren’t suicidal, presumably. So my question is: why did they elect somebody they could easily predict would bring down the party? (Not to mention the country, if anybody cares.) I just don’t get it.
See also https://www.monbiot.com/2022/09/21/the-undead/
The favourite candidate among MPs was the then Chancellor, Rishi Sunak. He led from start to finish, and was quite a way ahead of Truss when the other candidates had been eliminated.
But the choice between the two of them was made by the 160,000-odd (and I do mean odd) members of the Conservative Party. A lot of them liked Boris (well, I did say they were odd), and blamed Sunak for bringing him down. So they backed Truss, even though it was by a smaller margin than the opinion polls suggested. And that’s how we were landed with her.
It might be worth adding that her book wasn’t exactly a best-seller when it came out; and also that she has been in Cabinet continuously since 2012, longer than anyone else, and had shown little sign of her slash-and-burn tendencies during that time.
>she has been in Cabinet continuously since 2012, longer than anyone else, and had shown little sign of her slash-and-burn tendencies during that time.
Well, Putin has been in office for a long time, too, but didn’t show his Hitleresque tendencies til recently, either. But if people actually read what he’s written in the past (especially for domestic consumption), his recent actions could have been predicted!
The message may be that people who have malignant ideas tend to be the kind of people who will DO malignant things, if they’re given a chance. So don’t give them a chance! Or something like that.
“I have a question for those of you who understand what’s going down in Britain right now”
I’m not sure that anybody understands what’s going on right now, except that Britain currently has no functioning government.
“So, Truss put on paper that, if she was in a position of power, she would enact brutal and destructive policies that would cause chaos. The Tories proceeded to give her that power, and she did exactly what she said she would. Who could be surprised?”
I don’t think anyone was surprised that she did exactly what she said she’d do. She even campaigned for the Tory leadership on the promise of putting the “Britannia Unchained” policies into practice. But when she and her Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng (a co-author of that book) actually started down that path, the international financial system answered her with a Big Fat Nope by devaluing the both pound and government gilts.
“Tories aren’t suicidal, presumably.”
There’s a school of thought which says that since the Brexit referendum, the Tories have become so detached from reality that they expect reality to bend to their increasingly extremist policies. They were dealt a swift corrective after Kwarteng’s disastrous “mini-budget”, but there’s now serious talk of Boris Johnson seeking to return to Number 10, despite the fact that the voting public have turned against him. And the Tory party membership (as distinct from Tory MPs) might very well vote him back in.
If that isn’t suicidal, what is? Remember the old adage: those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.
A brutal 5% tax cut.
This whole debacle reflects incredibly poorly not so much on Truss but the very people who chose her. What’s wrong with them?
All excellent questions.
Let’s start with Britannia Unchained. Truss wrote it in collaboration with other MPs on the libertarian right of the Tory party. Her co-authors included the ex-chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng (whose name is now almost interchangeable with any of: hapless / arrogant / reckless / embarrassing). The book itself resembles the ramblings of entitled, immature 1st year economics students. The sort who were already free-market libertarian ideologues when they arrived at university from their privileged existence at home.
Regarding home, Truss grew up in the city I grew in (on the outskirts): Leeds. At the same time too, as I’m always exactly the same age. Unsurprisingly, she uses this to claim she grew up in ‘the hood’ in a rough northern city alongside drugs and violence. Utter claptrap. She lived in Roundhay, a very upmarket area full of huge houses, masses of parkland, a huge lake and an expensive golf club. The school where she claimed she mixed with the poor, forgotten urchins of the working class was Roundhay School, an excellent institution situated in a massive, green and wooded campus – google it, it’s lovely. In a city of a million people, it’s probably the best rated high school, and one of the most exclusive and expensive neighbourhoods. It’s bare faced nonsense, you really can’t believe a word she says. Apart from her crackpot policies – that’s one thing she follows through on.
Back to the book. Imagine our 1st years have learned a bit of economic theory but they’ve only listened to the bits they like, and they lack the common-sense, education and insight to understand how the world works, but the just have to show people how clever they are. Forgivable, if you’re 19 maybe, but they wrote it when they were at least into their mid thirties, and working as MPs.
This quote from the book says it all: “Once they enter the workplace, the British are among the worst idlers in the world. We work among the lowest hours, we retire early and our productivity is poor. Whereas Indian children aspire to be doctors or businessmen, the British are more interested in football and pop music.”
It’s a perfect example of what many Tory MPs, and practically all Tory party members think of their fellow citizens. And it’s those Tory members who get the final vote on leader! It amounts to less than 0.2% of our electorate, but that 0.2% is made up chiefly of free market, low tax, xenophobic ideologues, who maintain an unhealthy and sneering contempt for members of the ‘lower’ classes’.
The Tory members wanted her to enact those libertarian, low tax, small govt policies, because that’s what they dream of! They don’t particularly care about anything else, but they did expect she would last long enough to cut budgets and taxes, and get the lazy, idling poor folk working harder. It’s exactly the same as can be seen in GOP politicians and their supporters: They don’t give a s**t about the country, they want power and they want their own way. In fact, if you want to know what Tories on Truss’s side of the party are all about, take a look at GOP lawmakers in the US – not the full crazies, just the moderately bonkers ones.
This explains why Liz Truss was elected. That book wasn’t an impediment to success, it was a key contributor. The ‘toxic’ ideas in that book are what party members dream of, and when these people were presented with the only politician stupid enough to implement them, there was only ever going to be one winner. The result was the most spectacularly under-qualified, incapable and reckless leader in all our history. And 99.8% of the electorate had no say at all.
I just realised I didn’t finish the story, but at the risk of writing a bit too much, I’m so upset, disgusted and embarrassed at the situation in the UK, that I must get it off my chest.
Truss getting elected is only half the story, the other half was the budget. Truss’s stupidity wasn’t sufficient to get the budget done though; arrogance, hubris and contempt for parliamentary norms were also required. It’s well known that Truss and Kwarteng think they are cleverer than anyone else, they never listen to others, and that’s how they screwed our economy – they always think they know best. A couple of years ago, Kwarteng attended a conference on international business, organised and chaired by Bill Gates. Kwarteng couldn’t help but embarrass himself; he interrupted and talked over Gates, forcefully assuming role of chairperson, then telling Gates he was wrong before lecturing him on how to run an international business! In the UK, budgets normally must be presented to the OBR (office of budgetary responsibility), where economists assess it and calculate projections and likely impact. Truss and Kwarteng didn’t do this – instead, they winged it. Among other things they gave £55k pa back to those earning more than £1 million, tiny savings for average and low earners, and decided all by themselves that ‘Trickle down economics’ would sort it all out. Reckless, arrogant, tone deaf idiots.
And how did we get here? BREXIT! In terms of self-imposed disasters, it’s the most ridiculous, self-damaging, economic and cultural calamity since Chamberlain flew to Munich. Inflation in the UK is now higher than the EU countries, growth is much lower, exports to the EU are down by about 20%, many family businesses have had to close, businesses can’t find employees because qualified people are staying in, or returning to Europe, £2 Trillion in capital has left the country for EU, US and Asia. Even travelling is more painful – passport control anywhere in Europe used to be straight through, no waiting, I’ve flown 4 times in the last 2 months and waited at least 45 mins in the British passport queue, even on returning home.
Brexit was forced on to us by these free market ideologues and Cameron only gave the extremists the referendum because he was scared they’d defect. And then he immediately buggered off when he lost. Only 25% of our population voted to leave, in (what was proven in court) an illegal vote that should have been quashed. High ranking ministers e.g. Johnson and Gove made numerous bare faced lies to scare voters (a criminal offence in public office), but weren’t even reprimanded. The Torys bent and broke every rule in the book to force it through, and gave us the most extreme and damaging variety of Brexit possible. They have screwed the country, they know it, and the last few years of madness are all about hiding the damage and the internal Brexit related party arguments.
There are now so many violent, toxic, festering resentments and disagreements within the party, that it is not fit to govern at all. The Tory party as a whole, is too arrogant, entitled, irresponsible and uncaring to perform any useful role in British society anymore, it is the root of nearly all our current problems. I say nearly all, because we would have been in nowhere near as bad a situation if Corbyn hadn’t been so useless, vain, selfish, pig headed, anti-EU, and completely out of step with reality and the modern world. He could have stopped Brexit, he didn’t even try. He could have stepped aside when it was clear he could never win in the last election, but he didn’t. If he had been anywhere near a competent Labour leader, we could still be in the EU, and NOT have a Tory government intent on taking us all down with them.
I suspect that the answer may simply be that she is white, and Rishi isn’t!
Slightly more explanation; many of the party members did not want Boris removed, and blamed Rishi for being the final nail that led to this; Liz became the “anyone but Rishi” candidate.
Moral of the story is *spite has bite*. It comes back to bite you in the butt.
The Guardian reports that Joni Mitchell is going to play her first headline concert in 23 years. Her voice may be largely gone, and the performance an exercise in nostalgia, but hey—it’s JONI!
I admit I’m of a different mindset in terms of not greeting that idea with enthusiasm.
First of all I should say that if an aging musician of any type still gets fulfillment from performing, and if there are audiences who enjoy it, more power to all of them! That’s great!
But for me, I just can’t seem to help finding it cringe-worthy in most cases. Watching for instance old men trying to do a young man’s game (looking at you Stones), and in general I’m just so aware of the deterioration all around of the artist. I’m a long time Rush fan and I know audiences still loved them right up until their last tour. But I found it hard to listen to Geddy Lee whose voice had lost exactly the elasticity and ease that made him unique. The amount of strain in his voice trying to hit notes was awful.
When Elton John sings I just hear a guy whose voice used to soar being restricted to what sounds like a single octave, and having to change melodies all the time to suit his restrictions. I’ve found they have often lost the very signature elements that made them great when young.
That’s why I actually see the wisdom in the way ABBA went with their new Virtual Concert. They always said about re-uniting that they didn’t want to be old folks shuffling around on stage and, given their titanium quality control, preferred people remember them in their prime. I agree. Apparently the show is wildly successful and hugely emotional as well, and really comes close to seeing some version of ABBA in their prime touring form.
I cannot agree completely with you here, but there are certain musicians that pro should just enjoy retirement. Paul Simon comes to mind. His voice is just shot, and not in an interesting way like Tom Waits or even Bob Dylan. I very much disagree with your views on Geddy Lee, but he, like Robert Plant, need only modify how they sing. It’s true that he’s lost a bit but he’s far from unlistenable, at least in my opinion. Joni has lost more of her range, but I think I’m willing to see if and how she could adjust her songs to fit her limits. And Jagger can still sing and swagger. I’m fine with the Stones, who still know how to put on a show. I’ve seen plenty of aged blues musicians, and that’s a style of music that seems to lend itself to the crumbling vocal chords. BB King was fine up to the very end, and Pinetop Perkins was I think 92 when I saw him perform. Certain styles of music, certain singers, can adjust and even reinvent themselves as they age. Not everyone needs to quit the stage or hope they die before they get old. But, hell, they all sound better than the crap being spewed out by current “musicians”.
“I’m a long time Rush fan and I know audiences still loved them right up until their last tour. But I found it hard to listen to Geddy Lee whose voice had lost exactly the elasticity and ease that made him unique. The amount of strain in his voice trying to hit notes was awful.”
As a fellow Rush fan, these are my thoughts exactly. It was hard enough listening to him sing on their final tour, but I couldn’t even watch the Taylor Hawkins tribute show performances he did with Lifeson. I wish he had stuck to playing the bass and let someone else sing. Or stick to instrumentals.
Yup. Several of my Rush-fan buddies couldn’t listen to Rush in the later part of their career. These things are sort of like going to see a famous gymnast perform in her 70s.
They still played great though. I just couldn’t get past the voice.
I definitely lean your way on this, though maybe not quite as far. Mostly, it makes me melancholy, remembering not just the artists’ degradation but my own.
Just a couple of days ago I chanced upon the music video of Hunger Strike by Temple of the Dog. Both Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder, two of the best rock vocalists of their generation, in their prime. The lyrics are few and repetitive, but the music and the melodies are beautiful and moving, and the vocals are beautiful. Likewise the imagery in the video is beautiful, and Cornell and Vedder are young and beautiful too. As was I, at least relatively, when I first heard the song back in 1991. I was damn near in tears.
Now Vedder, and Cornell too if he were still alive, can probably still sing very well, but I probably wouldn’t want to see them trying to sing their classics when they are in their 80s. I’d probably need counseling afterwards.
Yes, exactly darrelle. That’s another thing, for me it sort of brings on an additional existential angst when I’m made so acutely aware of the ravages of age by watching an old person perform songs from a younger age. It’s a mirror on our own mortality as well.
It’s sort of like watching those videos of people in their 90’s “still competing” in sprints. I’m sure they are meant to be inspiring, and I’m glad these people are able to still do it, but what I see is more of the horrors of age as these folks stiffly attempt to get their bodies to move.
But, hey, as I said, that’s me. It’s good that other folks can see the glass as half full when watching this stuff.
And Vedder (I’m sure Cornell would have to) still lives the way of Hunger Strike: staying true to oneself and not changing due to success/money. Vedder still has a strong voice, but, like you, I don’t think I could handle hearing him struggle vocally in his dotage.
Vedder has always seemed to be a genuinely good person to me. I’m glad he is still with us. Most of his peers from that era & genre didn’t make it.
Indeed, a lot of his peers have died way too early. I put Grohl in Vedder’s category as well. Lanegan’s death was a biggie for me this year, since he’d been clean for a long spell, but all those junkie years mixed with covid…not to be. Hawkins’ death had me dumbstruck. Thunderstruck, as AC/DC would say.
Here’s to continuing the aging process, “drinks a black currant perry cider,” even though getting old is the pits.
That cider sounds good.
“We need to break the mirage that everything is fine and shatter the illusion of normal life,” says Indigo Rumbelow. Since March 2020 normal life (never mind the “illusion”) has been shattered for most people without any help from the hand-gluers.
There’s a women’s Federal Medical Center in Lexington, KY that’s able to accommodate Holmes’s current condition just fine, thank you very much.
I’m betting BF Skinner’s hair was even nicer than Pavlov’s. It wasn’t classical conditioning, of course, but it worked better for “shaping.”
Ben Wallace announced he won’t stand, he didn’t fancy it last time either – sensible move it’s cluster fuck
Penny Mordaunt’s the only one who’s officially said she’s standing – I don’t think she’ll meet the threshold.
Rishi Sunak seems to have the most support.
Yesterday I thought there was no way there’d be a Boris Johnson return but at this point nothing would surprise, though a Boris return would rip the Conservative party apart (again).
Whatever happens we’re screwed, we need an election….pray for the UK 😂😂😂😂
There is still time to plan to go. San Antonio.
Not much. But some.
Remember that the two colleagues of Indigo Rumbelow, after throwing their soup, followed up by gluing themselves to the wall nearby. I was disappointed that the National Gallery extricated them from the wall for removal by the police. I would have favored leaving them glued to the wall, as a permanent exhibit. That would have been done if the National Gallery were as with-it as, say, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
The comment regarding Greta Thunberg threw me. You state, “She does, however take plane flights.” Happy to be corrected, but my understanding is that she does not fly, and wouldn’t unless in an emergency situation.
My son had to fly to Oslo and Stockholm to close deals for his company, with which he supports his family and those of his employees.
I guess Greta, whoever she is, doesn’t have to worry about that sort of thing.
No doubt Oklahoma had no choice but to execute him.