Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Evanston: Gurrumul's last; Huxley and Orwell; November 10, 2022; off Arnhem Land
I can save you money. I bought Gurrumul last two albums, THE GOSPEL ALBUM and HIS LIFE AND MUSIC, so you don’t have to. You might want to anyway. Both are pleasant to listen to, but both are ‘cash-in’ albums designed to make money following his unexpected success and fame, and both lack the purity and plaintive simplicity of GURRUMUL and RRAKALA.
HIS LIFE AND TIMES was recorded with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra before a live audience. The arrangements of Gurrumul’s songs are reasonably well done, but an orchestra is too big and complicated a sound for his voice. Between the pieces brief explanations are given of their meaning which I rather enjoy, though I expect I will delete them in time.
I’ve listened to HIS LIFE AND TIMES TWICE. After doing so the second time I listened to the same songs in GURRUMUL. There is no comparison. GURRUMUL and RRAKALA are the essence. HIS LIFE AND TIMES and THE GOSPEL ALBUM are business.
A couple of weeks ago Larry sent me an article comparing Aldous Huxley’s and George Orwell’s visions of the future which caused me to download and reread BRAVE NEW WORLD for the first time since student days. I have reread 1984 since then.
I’m about half way through BRAVE NEW WORLD, which is a treat. That it was first published in 1932 further increases my admiration of Huxley’s imagination. I had forgotten much of BRAVE NEW WORLD, including that time is dated not from Christ, but Henry Ford.
Huxley sets the novel five hundred years in the future. I don’t think it will take nearly that long. In fact when I walk along a street and see almost every face staring at a small screen instead of the trees, the sky, the flowers, the birds, the people, the world around them, I think it is already here.
I resumed my workouts three weeks ago and have not failed to do them the standard three times a week. I also do other exercises, walking, riding my bicycle, hitting tennis balls to Carol (because of my dead right eye, I cannot hit them back. They just aren’t where I sort of see them.) climbing at least twenty-one flights of stairs a day, and close the circles on my watch every day except Sunday, which I take off.
Recently on days when I felt exceptionally good, I did 80 push-ups and crunches instead of the requisite 75. 80 will enable me to do my age in push-ups through November 10, 2021. That may be long enough.
I first sailed past Elcho Island in CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE in 1981. Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu would have been ten years old. A few days later, anchored in a cove off Arnhem Land I wrote:
through the night
on unseen wind
and unseen waves
I sail unseen
in deserted coves
I will not be here
to be unseen
and the people ashore
will not be here
not to see me