Tag Archives: music

Stan Freberg to the (sardonic) rescue

In my youngest daughter’s school they celebrated the visit of Green Santa, who was into Repair Reuse Recycle sort of prezzies. I like that. Stan Freberg, 50 years ago, took on the commercialization of Christmas in an astonishing recording called Green Christmas which the US broadcast media did its best to sink. Here’s a link to a page which has both the recording and the album cover. Note Freberg’s discussion of satire (outrage barely concealed with sweetness) and the lineage Voltaire-Swift-Al Capp.

And while we’re on the subject: a bit more satire.


A cup of tea.

There are very few people out there that I specially want to meet. Talking to ordinary folk on the bus or the beach is enough. When I hear an interview with Professor X on the radio, or read a posting by Joe Bloggs, I am glad to know them that much, but only rarely think, I’d like to meet you.

I regret never having met John Cage. I have no idea what I would have said to him, but every report I have ever read suggests he was wonderfully easy to talk with, a man with no pretension or prejudice. His writings, films, and recordings are deeply inspiring and I regard him as an unintentionally significant figure in West Coast Buddhism—although Simon Wickham-Smith and I disagree over his ‘place’ in Zen.

Here are some available resources on the net:

Ubuweb’s Cage sections: film, sound, historical. Recently they have also put up a long film.

There is a mailing list for Cage studies, called Silence-L.

It’s also a good thing to celebrate a Cage Day in any year when it is possible. On this day, a group of people agree to use a toolkit for chance determinations that will guide their actions for that day – so, for example, one might use avispexy (assuming there were birds to be seen) to guide which direction one travelled, how far, and by what means; then again to decide what one did en route or on arrival (sing, dance, write, interview, sit quietly &c.).

More music

It is a part of British middle class life, to which I have been rather inefficiently glued, to wonder what would happen if one were summoned to Desert Island Discs. Friday night I remembered the idealism of a California folk/hippy musical youth, and yesterday evening I dug into what happened next. I found Chris Cutler’s page at ReR and spent the next two hours weddling (web waddling?) through Recommended Records, Hannibal Records and who knows what else. Fred Frith, Henry Kaiser, Tom Cora (I was there for a Skeleton Crew concert at Reed – I talked to Fred! – I pushed their drumkit back onto the stage when it threatened to fall off) – the West African marimba bands, who formed and reformed like the CBeebies bloblets but played four six hour sets; the Golden Palominoes, Pere Ubu, John Zorn a bit but boy was he full of himself. And now where has it all gone? I have written to Simon W-S to complain.