lata mangeshkar – mujh ko iss raat ki tanhai mei

I’ve been listening to old Lata Mangeshkar records on my new, very old His Master’s Voice (model HMV 88a) gramophone. Indescribably magical, to listen to something powered only by the twist of your own wrist.

This song is from the film Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere (1960).

Don’t call out to me in the stillness of the night
Don’t play that music which brings tears to my eyes
Don’t play it
Don’t call out to me

gaudeamus igitur

My irreverent nieces’ voicenotes are just the best when end of term varsity work is driving me a bit insane.

Gaudeamus igitur
Iuvenes dum sumus.
Post iucundam iuventutem
Post molestam senectutem
Nos habebit humus.
Let us rejoice, therefore,
While we are young.
After a pleasant youth
After a troubling old age
The earth will have us.

e.b. white’s response to a man who had lost his faith in humanity

helping charlotteDear Mr. Nadeau:

As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.

Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society – things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbour seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.

Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.

Sincerely,

E. B. White

(I found this at Letters of Note.)

lizza littlewort on the nature of “art”

lizzaI think it’s an imperialist idea with massive blind spots.

I think creativity, and the making of artefacts, is a product of cultures in general, and the Western sense of “Art” is a product of massive surplus over and above the meeting of needs for artefacts.

The idea of it as a “high” expression of culture has spread with imperialism, as did the idea of a “national culture” being expressed through literature. It is as Western as the English language, and carries with it the same kinds of embedded privilege, in terms of it being a “text” which privileges European concerns. It is impossible to “speak” art without its European history being part of the discussion.

I think that much like European history has been selectively “rewritten” to seem to be a continuous, meaningful story from prehistory to Modern America, so has art history.

It’s great to have it around. Certainly I like it. But to engage in it without confronting its lies and limitations is like living inside the bubble of white privilege without standing back to look at its impact on the world in general, and see who gets favoured by its discourses of “natural” “genius” and “talent” (as opposed to “first-language” familiarity), compared with who gets punished and dumped outside its magic circle like so much human trash.