L’heure espagnole

El Greco, View of Toledo

L’heure espagnole

Reviewed by David Truslove

‘My only mistress is music’, Maurice Ravel once remarked. Considering he was a private, even secretive composer who avoided relationships, his comic opera L’heure espagnole, with its central good-time girl, offers a rare glimpse into the composer’s humanity. The work’s sophisticated integration of Hispanic influences illustrates an affinity with Spain – inherited from his Basque-born mother. Perhaps the bawdy humour of Franc-Nohain’s 1904 play appealed to him. Whatever the attractions for Ravel, he created a wonderfully entertaining one act opera that has been superbly fashioned into a film by Grange Park Opera.

First performed at the Opéra-Comique in 1911 and originally set in 18th century Toledo, L’heure espagnole has been artfully relocated to London’s Church St. Kensington thanks to the initiative of Grange Park Opera and the ever-resourceful Wasfi Kani. She’s even provided the English surtitles. [Indeed, this work is the latest of fifty-one free to view on-line events presented by GPO in the past year.] No less enterprising is opera director Stephen Medcalf, whose film circumnavigated lockdown restrictions to enable singers to record their parts at the Wigmore Hall before miming them on location at the upmarket Howard Walwyn’s Fine Antique Clocks. Continue reading

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Home is over Jordan

Colin Jordan and Françoise Dior, credit National Vanguard.org

Home is over Jordan

Failed Führers ; A History of Britain’s Extreme Right, Graham Macklin, Routledge, London & New York, 2020, reviewed by Leslie Jones

Introduction

Failed Führers presents portraits in writing of ‘six principal idealogues and leaders’ from an evolving British Fascist tradition, namely, Arnold Leese (1878-1956), Sir Oswald Mosley (1896-1980), AK Chesterton (1899-1973), Colin Jordan (1923-2009), John Tyndall (1934-2005) and Nick Griffin (1959-). Graham Macklin thereby highlights the pivotal role of key individuals who enabled the far right to adapt to changing historical circumstances. For as Professor Macklin contends, there has been ‘continuity and change within the British fascist tradition’. Both pre and post war British fascists posited the preordained role of the white race and a Jewish conspiracy to engender white racial defilement. Mass immigration from the West Indies (100,000 in 1960 alone) only increased the salience of anti-black racism in neo-fascist ideology. Then in response to mass immigration from the Indian sub-continent, the BNP under Nick Griffin grafted anti-Muslim populism onto a pre-existing racial nationalist ideology.

Compared to a more conventional chronological or thematic historical perspective, Macklin’s ‘collective biographical’ approach or ‘prosopography’ has its downside. The careers and lives of his six key figures overlapped, so there is some repetition of material. Continue reading

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Wussification of the West

Tucker Carlson by Gage Skidmore, credit Wikipedia

Wussification of the West

by Ilana Mercer

Herewith, the latest in the saga of Dr. Seuss. The New York Times reports that “Six Dr. Seuss books will no longer be published because of their use of offensive imagery.” None other than Dr. Seuss Enterprises, “the business that oversees the estate of the children’s author and illustrator,” “had decided last year to end publication and licensing of” the following titles:

“And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” (1937)
“If I Ran the Zoo” (1950)
“McElligot’s Pool”
“On Beyond Zebra!”
“Scrambled Eggs Super!”
“The Cat’s Quizzer”

These custodians of Theodor Seuss Geisel’s work simply rolled over. They agreed to cancel their own books after consulting with the educational idiocrasy. It took panels of ponderous oafs to conclude that the “whimsical stories [that] have entertained millions of children and adults worldwide” “revealed strong racial undertones.”

Some parents were aflutter, too. The following headline perfectly captures the “wussification“—that fretful melding of “wimps” and “p-ssies,” en masse, to make for a Wussy Nation: “Parents grapple with racist images in Dr. Seuss books.” Grown-ups “grapple” with things like food and medicine shortages; with the fact that the educational establishment that is depriving kids of the literary canon has failed to teach them to read, write and speak English properly. Or, picture this: video footage of Kamala Harris being swallowed whole by a python has surfaced. She is being subjected to the crushing peristaltic movements of the giant reptile, as he digests her. You “grapple” with that: to pull or to publish these ostensibly upsetting images, that is the question. (Adult-humor alert for Wussy Nation.) But grownups do not “grapple” with Dr. Seuss content! Continue reading

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#MeFirst Coven comes to Congress

Medusa, Arnold Böcklin, circa 1878, credit Wikipedia

#MeFirst Coven comes to Congress

by Ilana Mercer

The media scrum framed the Trump impeachment circus, round II, as an “emotional” affair. Headlines homed in on the “emotion” surrounding the trial. “It Tears at Your Heart. Democrats Make an Emotional Case to Senators — and America — Against Trump,” blared one of many hackneyed screamers, this one from Time.com. The case made by the managers “was both meticulous and emotional,” came the repetitive refrain. Democrat Jamie Raskin, a representative from Maryland and a lead impeachment manager, sniffed “emotionally” as he related what to him was a heartbreaking tidbit: his (privileged) daughter expressed fear of visiting the Capitol again, presumably because of the January 6 fracas. That made Jamie cry. And when Jamie Raskin cries, normies outside Rome-on-the-Potomac laugh. Uproariously.

Impeachment managers had warned all present in the Senate Chamber that evidentiary footage would be upsetting. Their presentations were “intentionally emotional,” intoned CNN’s Dana Bash, who had paired up with one Abby Phillips for the “solemn” affair. Phillips’ “coverage” of all things Trump, in scratchy vocal fry, was a reminder that the Left’s “empaneled witches and their housebroken boys are guided more by the spirit of Madame Defarge than by lady justice.” Continue reading

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Jobs not Snobs

HMS Astute, built in Barrow-in-Furness, credit Wikipedia

Jobs not Snobs

by Bill Hartley

They still dig coal in the North East, just. The company responsible is Banks Mining which operates open caste sites. Banks protests in vain that whilst the country needs coal, then better it should come, in part at least, from a domestic source. An outside observer might be forgiven for thinking that Banks is laying waste to the countryside, rather than complying with strict environmental controls and planning consent. It’s a familiar sight on the BBC TV North East regional news, when a Banks story appears. Rather than the usual Eco-warrior the person speaking for the objectors is often a middle aged man in a wax jacket, the type who has a colour coordinated solid fuel Aga in his kitchen. What he definitely doesn’t have is a local accent. Now that those dreadful deep mines have vanished from the landscape, the North East has become a desirable place to live for incomers with money. One suspects that they make common cause with environmentalists to keep the view looking nice.

Certainly there’s plenty of evidence that environmentalism has a pronounced class element and not just in the North East. Down in London some definitely non-proletarian activists have been doing a bit of amateur mining. The February 11th edition of the London Evening Standard reported on the tunnelling activities of a group opposed to the HS2 project. Two activists named “Blue” and “Lazer”, who sound like individuals you might have met in Haight Ashbury circa 1968, had dug themselves in. Their father is a Scottish laird who owns an island in the Hebrides. One tunnel collapse could have prompted a sizeable inheritance problem. Also ensconced underground were Dr Larch Laxey and his son Sebastian. Not names you’d encounter in an inner city comprehensive. Continue reading

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ENDNOTES, March 2021

Corot, Le Berger sous les Arbres, Soleil Couchant, credit Wikipedia

ENDNOTES,  March 2021

In this edition: Elgar’s Italian maestro. Stuart Millson recalls conductor Giuseppe Sinopoli.

When Worcestershire’s Edward Elgar emerged from what has been described as provincial obscurity into the realms of the European romantic mainstream, it became clear that his fame was no passing novelty. With the success of the ‘Enigma’ Variations and the Parsifal-like grandeur of his Cardinal Newman-inspired oratorio, The Dream of Gerontius, England was, at last, able to take her place alongside the Germany of Beethoven and Brahms. The famous Wagner conductor, Hans Richter, took up the baton for Elgar, conducting the first performance of Gerontius. Meanwhile, Gustav Mahler – described by the Elgarian conductor, Sir Andrew Davis as “the musical prophet of the 20th century – championed the Variations during his tenure with the New York Philharmonic. Audiences from the Rhineland to Pennsylvania heard and loved what Richter called “this English genius”. Elgar was soon to be as well established as Richard Strauss, Wagner or Debussy. Continue reading

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Systemic Rot – from Texas to California

Race IQ Sketch

Systemic Rot – from Texas to California

Ilana Mercer is twixt fire and flood

Some blame a quasi-free-market in electricity for the collapse of the electrical grid in Texas, during a winter snow storm, mid-February, in which temperatures hovered at 0°F (or -18°C). The same people finger deregulation and isolation from the national and neighboring grids. Opposing opinion has it that an excessive reliance on renewable energy sources, like wind turbines, was the culprit in a grid collapse that saw 40 percent of the power supply fail within hours of the storm, indirectly causing the death of about 60 Texans. All agree that the oil-and-gas state enjoys both cheap natural gas and abundant wind power, and that its natural resources could have stood Texas in good stead.

The Lone Star State’s human resources are another matter. Be they wind turbines or gas pipelines, the electrical grid has to be properly maintained. Texas, however, lacked “leadership.” It transpires that the grid had not been weatherized or winterized in anticipation of a harsh winter—pipelines had not been insulated and wind turbines never deiced. Leadership is a euphemism for intelligence. Texas in the winter of 2021 will likely be looked upon as a case of systemic stupidity, systemic rot. Continue reading

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Still Addicted to that Rush

President Trump with Rush Limbaugh

Still Addicted to that Rush

Ilana Mercer, on the late king of radio

Rush Limbaugh died on February the 17th. In the encomiums to conservatism’s radio king, mention was made of his 2009 address at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. CPAC for short, or CPUKE before Trump.

Addicted to that Rush,” the March 6, 2009 column’s title, came not from Rush’s brief addiction to painkillers following surgery, but from an eponymous hit by the band Mr. Big. (It, in turn, came from a time when the American music scene produced not pornographers like Cardi B, but musicians like Paul Gilbert and Billy Sheehan). Nevertheless, that title alluded to one of Rush’s missed opportunities: speaking against a war into which he was involuntarily drafted and by which he was almost destroyed: the War on Drugs.

Still, how petty does that war, in all its depredations, seem now! How unimaginably remote do the issues Rush spoke to, in 2009, seem in the light of a country that has come a cropper in the course of one year, due to an unprecedented consolidation of state power around COVID, compounded by an amped up, institutionalized campaign against white America. And, in particular, against white Trump voters. Continue reading

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Rattus Republicanus

Gulliver’s Travels, credit Wikipedia

Rattus Republicanus

by Ilana Mercer

The defining difference between Democrats and Republicans is this: Republicans live on their political knees. They apologize and expiate for their principles, which are generally not unsound. Democrats, conversely and admirably, stand tall for their core beliefs, as repugnant as these mostly are.

The Left most certainly didn’t rush forward to condemn the Black Lives Matter and Antifa riffraff, as they looted and killed their way across urban America, last year. Instead, Democrats defended the déclassé, criminal arm of their party. “Riots are the language of the unheard,” they preached, parroting MLK.

What of the trammels of despair that drove the Trump protesters of January 6? Trust too many Republicans—goody two-shoes, teacher’s-pet types all—to trip over one another in order to denounce that ragtag of disorganized renegades, the protesters aforementioned, who already have no chance in hell of receiving due process of law. Continue reading

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The Walls of Jericho

Salt’s Mill

The Walls of Jericho

Bill Hartley blows his trumpet

Since the nineteenth century the expansion of our cities has seen settlements on the outskirts absorbed into the urban area. Occasionally though a town avoids this trend and manages to retain a distinct character. Topography can sometimes play a part in allowing this to happen and there is a good example to be found in the Yorkshire Pennine country.

Not everyone would favour living on an exposed site more than 1200 feet above sea level. This is a location which still carries a sense of isolation, even though it overlooks the City of Bradford. The railways never made it here, being defeated by the gradient. Closest was the old Great Northern Railway which climbed to some impressive heights on its network but was defeated by Queensbury, now part of the Bradford Metropolitan District. The station lay 400 feet below the town. Here, up to the 1960s, stood one of the strangest examples of railway architecture, a triangular station built that way to accommodate three lines which needed to find their way around the hills. Because the valley bottom sites had been taken by other lines they were known to train crews as the Alpine Route. Continue reading

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