A classic example of ill-judged packaging for this new CD by the Russian soprano Julia Lezhneva. Kitsch or what? Cloying beyond belief.
Don't, however, let that put you off. Here is some of the most exquisite singing that I have ever heard - transcending my usual allergy to operatic mannerism. Lezhneva's voice has an unearthly beauty to it that is impossible to ignore. I first heard her on BBC Radio 3's In Tune on Wednesday, listening with half an ear & mind as usual. Suddenly I realised that this was something extra-ordinary, grabbed some paper & scribbled down details. As I understand it, she is only 25 & so all sorts of possibilities await as her voice develops & matures.
This afternoon I went down - with the younger Wafflette - to a branch of Troc (a secondhand depot) in search of a cassette deck. I'd had a tip off from a colleague that they sold such out of date machines with a guarantee that they still worked & if not you had a week to bring them back.
Indeed. There, at the back of the shop, were some six or seven decks & the one that caught my eye was a Memorex dual cassette the kind that - in the old days - I coveted given the possibility of doing tape-to-tape mixes. Price tag: the extraordinary sum of 29 euros.
Taking it to the till there was an enjoyable bit of banter with the salesman - he plugged it in, checked the Power On, each of the buttons, then pointed out that I could insert a microphone to start making my first album. Ha-ha. He scanned it in & then announced there'd been a price change - down to a mere 19 euros. Amazing! At that price who could make a fuss if it packed in after a month?
Anyway, it's now coming up to 10 pm & I've played an entire TDK C90 worth of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue (the Lyttleton & Rushton era), Frank Zappa's BBC Radio 1 DJ spot (27th January 1980), a couple of tracks from an Out To Lunch mix tape, and - just now - the wonderful 'Kites' by Sax Appeal off an early Wire magazine anthology cassette. (Massive rush of nostalgia for that room with the skylight on Meridian Road and the railway line with the little trains that chugged along to Bristol Temple Meads).
It's been years since I've been able to play these cassettes & the sound is as good as I can remember - if not better.
Four boxes lie open on the floor - what delights remain to be rediscovered?
Ted Berrigan was one of the first poets to make me sit up & think now this is poetry. I'd read an article by Miles Champion in Parataxis & that had sent me off in search of what was available - which, back in the UK in the early 90s, was very little. I got the American Penguin Selected & ordered with such excitement via the still nascent internet (Netscape Navigator, version ?) on a dodgy modem connection the big red Collected. I got it delivered to friends in Washington & there it was waiting for me on Hallowe'en night. 1997? Yes, I think so.
Strange, then, yet kind of appropriate - in the way things seem to orbit in the Poetic Uni-Verse - that I should find myself chatting to Anne Waldman this sunny late October morning after the second keynote speech at the ULB Beat Conference. To shake the hand that ... & what do you say other than thank you, trying to sum up a whole world of books & conversations & ways your days have been touched & transformed by words. She was modest & charming, of course, & seemed to understand what was being implied albeit awkwardly.
"The Muse plugs you in. It's that direct. Electricity. It's always available, batteries are not needed, but you have magic keys access to the illusory batteries which are needed and available, when you are genuinely ready and alert. Who's to say how or when or why this occurs. It's the reciprocity with "bigger mind". And it can involve other people. I get that hit - don't you too? - in the poetry one loves." (From the interview 'Vow to Poetry' in the volume of the same name, Anne Waldman)
Never a great fan of Scotland on the rugby field, their performance this evening was outstanding.
I didn't see the entire game having to shuttle back and forth to the kitchen. However, the post-match analysis and replays make it pretty damn clear that they were robbed. Why, indeed, when referees go for the TMO so readily was there no consultation ahead of the decision that awarded Australia that oh-so vital penalty?
Difficult not to feel that certain interests were being served with that result.
& it's kind of wrong when a referee wins the match.