Monday, August 22, 2005

neglected corners

I came across this article in The Guardian, about neglected masterpieces, you know, the stuff that’s as good as the ‘same old same old’ list but never gets a guernsey. You know, it’s always Beatles, Dylan, Stones or Mozart, Bach, Beethoven. Or Citizen Kane, You know what I mean.

There was more discussion at The Observe. Some of it made me laugh, such as the folks that would say “if so-and-so becomes more famous I don’t want to like them anymore”. We want to keep out little secret corners of pleasure away from hyping eyes. As someone else said, look what they did to Nick Drake, after the fact. Indeed!

I had a bit of a think about my private lists. So, in film, why not Jacques Rivette’s Celine and Julie Go Boating. I had assumed you couldn’t even get it on DVD but, hey, it does exist. I better track it down now. I saw it twice, late 70s and early 80s. Both prints not so good and only viewed in a mouldy old art house cinema, and when did anyone last mention it to you? To me, it was a complete magic dream, a circling teasing narrative, with a girly friendship at the centre (how often did that happen back then?). Formal as well as loose and improvised. And summer in Paris and thereabouts.

And poetry? Well, I don’t think you can go past Robert Harris’s Jane, Interlinear and Other Poems. So much guff gets talked about this ‘n that these days. Harris’s book is the real deal.

And music. I’d plump pretty categorically for Richard and Linda Thompson’s I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight. Don’t argue with me, “The Great Valerio” is amazing, shattering.

I could go on but it would start to get a bit like trainspotting but maybe there’s other ideas out there, you know, for following up.

But, yeah, it's fun unpicking the canon and top 100s. I mean, hey, I've been on a bit of a Dylan kick lately, don't ask me why, just have, but I gotta go check some of my old vinyl downstairs. Anyone remember Sea Train? Or If?

2 comments:

Ginny said...

On the one hand, it's horrible when a wonderful artist's work gets reduced to background music in a car commercial, but on the other hand, I never would have known about Nick Drake if it weren't for that Volkswagen commercial. And a lot of people would never have heard of Iz if they hadn't used his version of "Over the Rainbow" in a commercial and a movie. However, I was one of the lucky ones that knew who Israel Kamikaweo'ole was "before," although sadly I never got to see him perform before he died. So when his songs showed up on the national front, I was happy and sad at the same time.

In general, a lot of my "neglected corners" are regional artists who will probably never be famous, but who make a small income selling CDs at festivals.

Andrew said...

I'm tired, Jill, and maybe don't fully get your point, but I'm hankefring after the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, especially 'It'll Shine when it Shines'. Grand music, grand philosophy.
For poetry, for music, for art, I think back to the little corners of the city, the behind-the-seen places, where we recited and wrote instant poems, where we played folk music and sang or shared avant garde jazz too far-out for the jazz clubs and bars, where we hung paintings and photos (b'n'w) that said so much more than the 'mainstream' guys. Ah, so much is slick these days, so much is grubbied by money. Andrew the Nostalgic