December 28th, 2004


Io Eris!

Not so long ago I mentioned a certain Peter Mastin, who was involved in the early Class War as well as being an occasional cartoonist in gay magazines. Well, he's turned up. Not on the front door begging for Yuletide charity, nope, he's in this month's Fortean Times as a Second Degree and UK Section Head of the Illuminates of Thanateros. That's Chaos Magic, folks, just to make that clear. Chaos Magic? You may well ask. Pete's take on magic is suitably refreshing:

Lucia Ring-Watkins [that's surely a pseudonym]: How you do you think magic works?
PM: I don't give a toss! Dear me, I'm an engineer, I leave that to the theorists.

LRW: How does this no-fixed beliefs system express itself in the style of magic?
PM: Every magical system is available to you - it doesn't have to be a working magical system, just anything with any sort of mythos. For instance, the Temple of The Magic Roundabout were working in the Tex Avery cartoon paradigm; you could invoke Elmer Fudd on your enemy and send the wascally wabbit to dwive him scwewy - that worked!

I've had nothing to do with any magical, or indeed magickal, world for some time now and I'm not going to start up again either. Pete mentions that one impetus for him becoming involved in Chaos Magic was the death of so many of his friends during the late 80's to 90's and he talks about a club-based Temple that "broke the power of the AIDS virus." It's great to see Pete made it through and he still seems to excel in his own particular way. Careful with that nose piercing though. Ouch!

Escaping History

In an attempt to improve the astounding audio-visual treat that is Sarmoung, I have decided to follow the pack and occasionally post pieces of music that may be of interest to some of you. I'm enjoying the mp3 blog phenomenon and find it a useful means of discovering music I may not otherwise have encountered. As with all such sites, these files (mp3s, encoded at 120 kbps) will only be posted for a week before being taken down. They're intended for listening only and to encourage you to go out and buy the album, obviously they are not to be downloaded and stored on some device or another. That wouldn't do, would it? Here then is the first of these nuggets:

Copland's Lincoln Portrait - LSO (conducted by Wyn Morris) - featuring the Rt Hon the Baroness Thatcher

This is the third section of Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait, written in 1942. Her reading was included on the recording Salute to Democracy which also features works by Barber (Adagio, natch), Elgar, Holst and Sousa. This 1992 release on EMI was a bit of an oddity at the time and the impact of this work has not lessened since. The conductor, Wyn Morris, has been a guest at the family home over Christmas and, politics aside, his company has been most welcome. His pioneering study of local Welsh pride, They Came From Llanelli, may never see the light of day, but never mind. The book would include him, Michael Howard and, supposedly (I think not!), Veronica Lake. There may be some others. Wyn apparently watched the Cooper-Clay match in the company of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. I'd have found it hard to concentrate on the match with Liz next to me. It's '63, Liz is very much in her prime. She grips my thigh as surely as Cooper takes his swing... [No, let's not go there, I'll keep that fantasy private, splash it all over...] I'd recommend Wyn's Mahler recordings without reservation, especially his Das Knaben Wunderhorn which is still available, I think. The symphonies are more patchy on the reissues [I should clarify - I mean the reissuing is patchy, not the interpretation and performance]. The Thatcher recording is currently deleted.

I was watching a fairly abysmal two-part documentary on Ronald Reagan over the holiday period. I wouldn't have minded the period footage but the entire programme was drenched in BGM that made it sound like wistful nostalgia for a lost love. Am I nostalgic for that period? I miss the Soviet Union in some ways. I understand why most Russians (and more importantly Ukrainians, Latvians, Afghans and so on) don't.

You can listen to this track as you see fit, but I would advise having something firm to grip onto and not intravenously administering anything too potent prior to clicking for maximum benefit.