Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize lecture

08/06/2017

Bob Dylan has delivered his Nobel Prize lecture :

When I first received this Nobel Prize for Literature, I got to wondering exactly how my songs related to literature. I wanted to reflect on it and see where the connection was. I’m going to try to articulate that to you. And most likely it will go in a roundabout way, but I hope what I say will be worthwhile and purposeful.

If I was to go back to the dawning of it all, I guess I’d have to start with Buddy Holly. Buddy died when I was about eighteen and he was twenty-two. From the moment I first heard him, I felt akin. I felt related, like he was an older brother. I even thought I resembled him. Buddy played the music that I loved – the music I grew up on: country western, rock ‘n’ roll, and rhythm and blues. Three separate strands of music that he intertwined and infused into one genre. One brand. And Buddy wrote songs – songs that had beautiful melodies and imaginative verses. And he sang great – sang in more than a few voices. He was the archetype. Everything I wasn’t and wanted to be. I saw him only but once, and that was a few days before he was gone. I had to travel a hundred miles to get to see him play, and I wasn’t disappointed. . .

John Donne as well, the poet-priest who lived in the time of Shakespeare, wrote these words, “The Sestos and Abydos of her breasts. Not of two lovers, but two loves, the nests.” I don’t know what it means, either. But it sounds good. And you want your songs to sound good.

When Odysseus in The Odyssey visits the famed warrior Achilles in the underworld – Achilles, who traded a long life full of peace and contentment for a short one full of honor and glory – tells Odysseus it was all a mistake. “I just died, that’s all.” There was no honor. No immortality. And that if he could, he would choose to go back and be a lowly slave to a tenant farmer on Earth rather than be what he is – a king in the land of the dead – that whatever his struggles of life were, they were preferable to being here in this dead place.

That’s what songs are too. Our songs are alive in the land of the living. But songs are unlike literature. They’re meant to be sung, not read. The words in Shakespeare’s plays were meant to be acted on the stage. Just as lyrics in songs are meant to be sung, not read on a page. And I hope some of you get the chance to listen to these lyrics the way they were intended to be heard: in concert or on record or however people are listening to songs these days. I return once again to Homer, who says, “Sing in me, oh Muse, and through me tell the story.”

I like that the meaning doesn’t have to matter.

Sometimes I don’t get the meaning of what I read or hear but I still like the way the words sound and the power they have to affect my feelings.

You can listen to Dylan delivering the lecture at the link above.


Can popular be good?

14/10/2016

Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize for literature for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.

He is the first songwriter to win the prize.

The award has surprised many and begs the question: can the popular be good?


December 10 in history

10/12/2009

On December 10:

1394 King James I of Scotland was born.

1520  Martin Luther burned his copy of the papal bull Exsurge Domine outside Wittenberg‘s Elster Gate.


1655 The Royal Netherlands Marine Corps was founded by Michiel de Ruyter.

1684  Isaac Newton‘s derivation of Kepler’s laws from his theory of gravity, contained in the paper De motu corporum in gyrum, was read to the Royal Society by Edmund Halley.

Head and shoulders portrait of man in black with shoulder-length gray hair, a large sharp nose, and an abstracted gaze

1830 Emily Dickinson, American poet, was born.

1868 The first traffic lights were installed outside the Palace of Westminster in London. Resembling railway signals, they used semaphore arms and were illuminated at night by red and green gas lamps.

1878  Rajaji, India’s freedom fighter and the first Governor General of independent India was born.

1901 The first Nobel Prizes were awarded.

 The committee room of the Norwegian Nobel Committee

1902 Women were given the right to vote in Tasmania.

1906 U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt won the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the first American to do so.

1907 The worst night of the Brown Dog riots in London, when 1,000 medical students clashed with 400 police officers over the existence of a memorial for animals which had been vivisected.

1907 Rumer Godden, English writer, was born.

1908 Ernest Rutherford won the Nobel Prize in chemistry.

Rutherford wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry

1914 Dorothy Lamour, American actress, was born.

1927 The Grand Ole Opry premiered on radio.

Grand Ole Opry Logo 2005.png

1932 Thailand adopted a Constitution and became a constitutional monarchy.

1936 Abdication Crisis: Edward VIII signed the Instrument of Abdication.

The Instrument of Abdication signed by Edward VIII and his three brothers.

1948 The UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Eleanor Roosevelt with the Spanish version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.Eleanor Roosevelt with the Spanish version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

1949 Chinese Civil War: The People’s Liberation Army began its siege of Chengdu, the last Kuomintang-held city in mainland China, forcing President of the Republic of China Chiang Kai-shek and his government to retreat to Taiwan.

Shangtang.jpg

1952 Susan Dey, American actress, was born.

1955 Jacquelyn Mitchard, American novelist, was born.

1960  Kenneth Branagh, Northern Irish actor and director, was born.

1962 New Zealand born Maurice Wilkins won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. His colleagues James Watson and Francis Crick shared the prize for their studies on the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the genetic molecule found in all organisms. Watson used X-rays to show the shape of the double helix.

Wilkins wins Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

1978 Arab-Israeli conflict: Prime Minister of Israel Menachem Begin and President of Egypt Anwar Sadat were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

1983 Democracy was restored in Argentina with the assumption of President Raúl Alfonsín.

1989 Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj announced the establishment of Mongolia‘s democratic movement that peacefully changed the second oldest communist country into a democratic society.

1993 The last shift left Wearmouth Colliery in Sunderland. The closure of the 156-year-old pit marked the end of the old County Durham coalfield, which had been in operation since the Middle Ages.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


October 21 in history

21/10/2009

On October 21:

1520 Ferdinand Magellan discoversed what is now known as the Strait of Magellan.

1772 English poet  Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born.

1805  The Battle of Trafalgar took place.A British fleet led by Admiral Lord Nelson defeated a combined French and Spanish fleet off the coast of Spain under Admiral Villeneuve.

Turner, The Battle of Trafalgar (1806).jpg
The Battle of Trafalgar, as seen from the mizzen
starboard shrouds of the Victory

by J. M. W. Turner (oil on canvas, 1806 to 1808)

1824 Joseph Aspdin patented Portland cement.

1833 Alfred Nobel, Swedish inventor and founder of the Nobel Prize was born.

1854 Florence Nightingale and a staff of 38 nurses were sent to the Crimean War.

Florence Nightingale.png

1917 US musician Dizzy Gillespie was born.

1921 English composer Sir Malcolm Arnold was born.

MalcolmArnold.jpg

1929 US author  Ursula K. Le Guin was born.

1931 English actress Vivian Pickles was born.

1940 English cricketer Geoff Boycott was born.

Boycottportrait.jpg

1940 English musician Manfred Mann was born.

1942 Judy Sheindlin, American judge (“Judge Judy“) was born.

1945 Argentine military officer and politician Juan Perón married  actress Evita (María Eva Duarte de Perón).

 

 

1952 Trevor Chappell, Australian cricketer, was born.

1981Underarm.jpg

1953 British politician Peter Mandelson was born.

1956 US author and actress Carrie Fisher was born.

1959 The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York opened to the public.

1964 Peter Snell won his second gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

1966 A coal tip fellon the village of Aberfan in Wales, killing 144 people, mostly schoolchildren.

 1983 The metre was defined at the seventeenth General Conference on Weights and Measures in terms of the speed of light as the distance light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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