In our occasional feature we invite guests to select the six cultural links that might sustain them if, by some mischance, they were forced to spend eternity in a succession of airport departure lounges with only an iPad or similar device for company.You might want to don your regulation-issue Chilean miner sunglasses now, because you’re about to be dazzled.
Here are the 6 Clicks of the man who we can without fear of contradiction call ‘the commenter’s commenter’, Malty…
“You must see it” he said, my father as I parked my bike in the hall after a damp week away in the Lakes, away from it, obviously. “It’s all about you young people, and there’s this new music, rocking and roll” I was thirteen and a bit, he was old, old, older and musically embedded in the forties, Vera Lynn, Anne Shelton, Henry Hall, you know, the alien ones. My uncle the club pianist had dragged him along, complaining, to the cinema, the Grand in Pelaw, fleapit, smelt of sweaty socks and burnt lard, Uncle Al was up for anything new, recently divorced, played the field, my mother detested him. Me, I hero worshipped him and determined that I too would get divorced when old enough.
“The Blackboard Jungle, it’s called”, and as he offered to finance the outing for my cousin and myself I omitted to mention the fact that we were both under age and so, off we trotted with no expectations pulsating within our souls.
We were, all of us, looking for an escape route, away from the grim gruel of a life in this dowdy arena, later used as the backdrop in the Get Carter ferry scene, we had no money, if we had what would we spend it on. Music was there for the grown ups who always knew better, we were left with Sparky’s Magic Piano and Bambi. I would suppose that everyone has their tipping point, that moment, when there is a before, swiftly forgotten, and a now, like no other, only experienced by ourselves, others unable to understand the quantum shift.
Today the movie and the music seems crude, simplistic, boring, embarrassing. The musical big dipper you enjoy today started here…
Staying with the semi quavers, occasionally music comes up with a corker, I heard this one at an influential age. Some herbert of a duke once said ‘if music be the food of love, play on’, here’s a meal to savour, Irmgard Seefried with the Wiener Symphoniker conducted by Ferdinand Leitner, the solo violinist is Wolfgang Schneiderhan, Seefrieds husband and one of the last great Bohemian fiddlers. She sings the aria “Lamero saro costante” from Il Re Pastore. I think we could safely say that they fancied each other…
There are concept artists and there is Gerhard Richter, Nige, in the fastness of his Carshalton refuge now has a soft spot for him, I know of no other living artist who has the entire floor of a large museum dedicated to his work, as Richter’s is at Bonn’s Museum of Modern German Art. His stained glass window in Köln’s Dom is as close as concept art will ever get in an attempted blending with the Gothic, and Gothic the Dom’s interior is, a horror, cold, creepy, crowded, cricks the neck. Gerhard’s window has transformed it, literally a ray of sunshine, a window on hope maybe, I have sat at it’s feet, since its installation, gazing at its charm’s, always if possible the first port of call once the suitcase is emptied. It has been described as simply an outsize farben, a colour swatch, which it is, its effect however, on a sunny afternoon, dappling, scattering the light, is magical.
This is the sister of No 5, didn’t connect at the time. My daughter, the struggling actress one, said in the car, upon being picked up at the airport “Dad, do you mind me trying something out”, we are often asked to read parts with her so I thought, read plus drive means no claims disaster. It was something she was refining as a party piece and one that has her mother in floods of tears, the first time for me, in the car, left stunned, crying, not funny man. It tends to leave any room it is performed in very quiet. There is acting, then there is this.
5. Valhalla isn’t burning.
“You must see it” said junior, passing me his Ithing as we huddled against the storm that was determined to pluck us from our perch on the Aiguille blanche. Dear god I thought, now what, oh well, nothing could be as bad as The Dead Kennedys, the group whose music he long ago played. Inside the sleeping bag I donned the player and screamed “Rammstein, f****g Rammstein?”. “Stick with it”, he mouthed.
One hour later when I finally turned off the gadget, having repeatedly watched the video, in a state of grace never before experienced, the wind howling, the thunder bellowing, electric blue lightening, bag now encased in ice, ironmongery discarded, the gods of the Italian Val Veni were ordering their forces, safe in our self confidence, facing one another, I thought, man, there is a god after all.
Later junior explained, he was at the concert in Nimes as were, allegedly, many of the European automotive design community. Rammstein, in concert with the Porsche GT1, their holy grail, if you wonder about those odd depressions in your Qashqai, the bloke that designed it, returning to his place of work on the Monday following the concert head butted the clay model, during the video conference later that week Carlos Ghosn said, “if those krauts have flame surfacing we can have dents, lets keep it”.
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, you at last have a rival, and it’s free.
6. Musical dance stuff.
“You’ve gotta watch it” said Martin, one of juniors German friends, the one who fiddles his time away at the Köln Symphonie, “it’s astounding and Zeemon Grattle is in it”. He was in the trade and had wangled a seat at the live performance and fiddled a copy of the DVD, typical Kraut, load of fiddling wanglers.
Each new generations ability astounds, here are a bunch of kids dancing the night away. Martin’s comment “its astounding” is correct he omitted to say that it also restores your faith in human nature.