Hmm. Aesop's Fables? Terayama Shuji? For children? How could it go wrong? Thankfully, compared to some of Terayama's other work for kids, it doesn't stray too far from the original so kids can actually listen to it without fear of reprisal from parents anxious their children are being exposed to pornography or overly seditious influence.

The singer here is Tanaka Seiji, who was best known as a 70's folk-singing tv presenter for kids. Think Derek Griffiths or Brian Cant. Okay, that doesn't work for everyone. Never mind. Slight musical contributions from J.A. Caesar on tracks 4 and 7. Released in 1973 and the battery is going on the laptop...

I haven't translated the titles on the tags, but here's a translated tracklisting with the original Aesop fable when I've been able to work it out:

1. Prologue
2. The Story of the Meaty Bone (The Dog and the Bone)
3. The Spiteful Cat (The Cat and the Mice)
4. The Slandering Fox (The Fox and the Grapes?)
5. The Tortoise Who Couldn't Fly (The Tortoise and the Eagle)
6. Along Came A Wolf (The Boy Who Cried Wolf)
7. The Weasel in the Moonlight (The Bat and the Weasel?)
8. The Big Pig and the Little Pig (?)
9. Fox on Fire (The Farmer and the Fox)
10. The Ant and the Grasshopper
11. Epilogue

Terayama of course puts his own spin on these stories so, for example, rather than The Ant and the Grasshopper being a tale about how you should be prudent in putting something away for the possibly lean future, it instead comes across a story about bastard ants being unwilling to share their food for somebody who, as the grasshopper puts it, has been spending the whole summer singing for everyone else's benefit. So he dies and that's why there he doesn't sing in winter (or you can read it "that's why there are no songs in winter"). Which brings a tear to my eye.

It's here.

Tomorrow I'm off to see Miwa Akihiro in Kurotokage. Which I expect to be as camp and kitsch as Christmas. It's four hours long?!?

Farewell England

There's a knock at the door. I guess that I've been rather too generous with the volume. Circle Sky by the The Monkees, as it happens. Now then, now then... A high visibility jacket in green and yellow visible through rippled glass the sounds of rain. I suppose I should answer.

"I don't mean to intrude, but there is a rather delicate matter which I am really rather most embarassed to come to you about..."

It's not the Jehovah's Witnesses then. In fact, I'm on first name terms with them, since my policy is to be polite to visitors. We had a long chat about Arianism about a year ago and whatever my doubts about their teaching, I have to admit that they were both well read and diligently patient in their attempts to get me interested in their views. They come back from time to time. Hello, I say, I'm still not going to convert. No matter, they say, why not read our magazine about Armageddon? I'll give it a go. It probably doesn't help, I notice, that the print date is April 1st, you might want to rethink that. Thanks for pointing that out. Good day...

The sprawling introduction at my front door is clearly not that of an official. The jacket is clean, as are the trousers and shoes. In fact, it's a pretty good paramedic outfit. I don't think he works on the ambulances though. The Dickensian pat of hand wringing, the request that never quite gets to the point, he's obviously after money. There's rain pouring in through the roof, there are "children without electricity or gas..."! Well, that's clearly something that should be addressed, how on earth are you going to manage to cook them otherwise?

It's his face that gives him away. Phil claims that he's a nurse. Well, you're certainly highly visible I say. The face doesn't match the shoes. He's willing to offer his wedding ring as collateral if I lend him some money. No, I'll give you some money. There's no point thickening the duplicity and the repayment arrangements are going to take another fifteen minutes of emoting. Time that could be spent by Phil doing what he needs to, which is putting the money into himself through some means or another. "I need twenty pounds". It's a fairly audacious figure, but I'm willing to give Phil credit for starting high. He's worked out an outfit, worked out his spiel (I admire his "Respectfully,..." with which he starts a couple of sentences), he's working the street. Stanislavsky of the streets. It'd be a lot faster if he just said "I'm a junkie. I need money." Some in his state might go the way of low-level violence or burglary. But it's light outside and Sunday morning, not a good time for it. Phil looks the sort who has survived by using his wiles. He'd not manage otherwise. He'd fold on a single punch.

"Youve got to hand it to Phil." They say, back at some dingy room or another, waiting. "He really gets into it. Me, no, I'd just intimidate them into handing over a pound or so."

There is money in the house. In fact, there's rather a lot of it, but it's almost all Japanese and I'm not sure Phil wants something as unfamiliar as yen in his state. There'd be the nightmare of getting the thing changed, the percentages lost, percentages already lost on a product stepped into household dust. More time on the streets. As it is, I hand Phil a fiver and a twenty Euro note. Good luck to you, I say. This way, I think, Phil can get on to the next stage of the adventure without hassling anymore residents or, worse, trying to grab a bag or car stereo. Anyway, I'm leaving, and it's goodbye to the Phils of the area. There's something I remember in Raoul Vaneigem, something I most certainly misremember, that the gift is one of the revolutionary tools available to us in resisting and overcoming capitalism. Of course, in Phil's case, giving him money isn't really going to achieve anything so lofty. But I've been where Phil is, or not far off, working my own spiel, preposterous stories for preposterous ends. He looks respectable enough, I'm sure it's kosher. It wasn't, suckers. Goodbye Phil, for all the good it will do you.

Back in the sitting room, objects seeking storage, cases open for shirts and cables. The music shuffles on with Dion singing Daddy Rollin' (In Your Arms) (mp3 here).

What is to be done?

There is quite a lot of it. Preparations. Clearing desktops and putting things into storage. Physical and virtual. There's a list I keep tapping items into and then I get to write that they are done. A sense of control. On Monday afternoon, I fly to Osaka and I'll be spending two or three months in Japan.

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I was having a discussion quite recently about voting. For me, the right not to vote is as important as the right to vote. If there's no one you're prepared to support, then don't support anyone. My analogy, as faulty as such things are, is entering a restaurant to be presented with a list of unappetising choices. Ah, someone might say, but if you were hungry? If you were with a group of friends all very keen to eat in the said restaurant? Would you refuse then? Why should restaurants even permit you access if you're not going to spend any of your money in there? Not even on wine or bread? Might as well just kick you in the head right here and now. Serves you right for spitting on our food.


I'm going through some post that's amassed in my absence, one item of which is a list of mayoral candidates for London. There's no one I want to vote for. Certainly not:

a. The British National Party. "Remember London the way it used to be? Clean, friendly and safe." I should cocoa, squire! Student Samantha Winter comments: "I'm voting BNP because I'm Irish..."

b. The English Democrats. It seems candidate Matt O'Connor has now withdrawn anyway. "We all remember a country we called home. A green and pleasant land that gave the world the English language, Democracy, the Mother of Parliaments and the Magna Carta..." FFS...

c. The Left List. The SWP in another less than convincing disguise. Trotskyite Hare Krishnas. "Remember when Trotsky wielded power?" They don't say.

Fortunately I have a dentist appointment.

A Weekend in Brief


I bought some new glasses. Although it's not quite there, a partial shave and a double-breasted suit and I could be Gene Hackman as Royal Tenenbaum.

I note that John "Black Hole" Wheeler died recently. I can remember trying to read him many years ago with so-so success as I only seem to be able to maintain my understanding as long as I am reading the book. Once the book is put down...

On Wheeler's Wikipedia entry, I misread Magic Without Magic: John Archibald Wheeler: A collection of essays in horror of his sixtieth birthday. I was working by the White Hart Lane stadium in Tottenham last week, an area steadfastly resisiting gentrification of any sort despite foolhardy attempts to the contrary. Again I misread the hoardings:

Life is about choices: Tottenham High Road is about living hell

Presented by Ajanta. Modern Urban Living. Saturday evening finds me in Trellick Tower, younger sister of Balfron in Poplar. Ernö Goldfinger. Gazing out from the 12th floor, a meeting of transport links against the skyline: Grand Union Canal, Great Western Railway, Hammersmity & City line, Westway. Blimey. I hadn't been inside for about fifteen years. Despite reading about the increased desirablity of the flats, the entrance hall still seemed to be leaching urine. Origins unknown. The flats smelled fine.

Note to self: remember to write about a post about Strasbourg Pie. Does anyone know anything about it? It turns up in verse 16 of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin:

He mounts the sledge, with daylight fading:
"Make way, make way,'' goes up the shout;
His collar in its beaver braiding
Glitters with hoar-frost all about.
He's flown to Talon's, calculating
That there his friend Kavérin's waiting;
He arrives -- the cork goes flying up,
Wine of the Comet fills the cup;
Before him roast beef, red and gory,
And truffles, which have ever been
Youth's choice, the flower of French cuisine:
And pâté, Strasbourg's deathless glory,
Sits with Limburg's vivacious cheese
And ananas, the gold of trees.

I think that translation has some issues. In Russian, the last four lines are:

Французской кухни лучший цвет,
И Страсбурга пирог нетленный
Меж сыром лимбургским живым
И ананасом золотым.

Pirog = pâté?!? Pie or pasty surely. Anyway, let's not start posting about it now...