diumenge, 31 de març de 2013

Stepping out with my baby - Fred Astaire #Easter

Ja que he posat la cançó principal de la pel·lícula Easter Parade (desfile de pasqua) 2 anys seguits, aquest any canviarem - mateixa pel·lí, però una altra peça. És una pena que fa potser 30 anys des de que vaig veure aquesta pel·licula per ultim cop, però quan era molt jove i a Anglaterra passava dies i dies plujosos pegat a la tele, m'encantava tot el que feia Fred Astaire:)
Happy Easter!
So, Easter time, and this year, we'll change song. Same film, different song;  another one from the Easter Parade film - sang and danced by the one and only Fred Astaire. As a kid, many a rain-drenched TV hour was spent watching his moves :)
Happy Easter!

divendres, 29 de març de 2013

Hole in my shoe - Neil #The_Young_Ones

Fa poc m'he adonat d'un xoc cultural anglès-català arrel de la programa de comedia dels anys 80, Els Jovens (The Young Ones). Resulta que el personatge "hippy", el Neil, no parava de cuinar i menjar llenties a totes hores. Per a mi, vivint a Anglaterra en aquests moments, era "normal" - l'estereotip d'un hippy, algu que menjaria llenties bullides sense res més.Un bon acudit, que es repetia a cada episodi! Jo no havia menjat ni vist mai llenties en aquests moments - potser tenia 15 anys - i de fet el primer cop que els vaig menjar va ser en un pis igual que el dels Jovens, quan un amic universitari "alternatiu" ens els va fer. Llenties bullides en agua, i ja està. Era com menjar formigo calent.

Es veu que aquest serie excel·lent despres es va emetre aqui a Catalunya i em consta, i ara ho puc comprendre, que a molta gent no li veia la gracia en l'acudit corrent de les "llenties". Clar, aqui és un menjar normal de la gent "normal", que tothom aqui menja llegums cada setmana, i no son avorrits ni dolentissimes perque es veu que a Catalunya les cuinen ben cuinats, seguint uns receptes molt bones. Potser s'hauria d'haver emes una explicació de aquella diferencia cultural per entendre millor la serie.
De fet, és una bona mostra de que sentir les traduccions o tenir un nivell d'anglès alt no és tot, si no arribem a comprendre realment la cultura de l'altre pais.
Bé, per a demostrar que finalment he entes que els no-hippys també menjem llenties, i ben bones, pos, hem comprat 5 kilos, de la Mecca de les llenties - Le Puy :)
Vinga, Neil ....
Many years later I've only just found out about an interesting social-cultural difference between England and Catalunya which came to light thanks to the 1980s TV comedy The Young Ones. Remember Neil the hippy and his diet of "hippy food" - lentils! A running joke in the series as Everyone knows that only hippies eat (or ate, back then) lentils. In fact I think I had never eaten lentils before seeing this programme, with my first time being at university in a stereotyped hippy/environmentalist supper of boiled lentils. Disgusting they were.
Well, it turns out that pulses, including lentils, are a very common staple food over here in Catalonia - like Mars Bars in the UK! From my experience people eat pulses a couple a times a week - and not just boiled. No, in elaborate delicious dishes with all kinds of scrumptious ingredients. There is no hippy connection whatsoever! So, apparently the "lentil joke" fell flat week in week out with locals here who didn't see the humour at all in boiling lentils for dinner!
Just goes to prove, there's more than a good language level needed to fully understand the ins and outs of another country.
Anyway, I now eat lentils on a regular basis (as do many English people nowadays - eh, its 2013!). And I ain't no hippy! Just happened to buy 5 kilos of the stuff this week ....From Le Puy in France, apparently the "top place" for lentils.

dimarts, 26 de març de 2013

Suit Charlotte Pike /Abbey Road - Transatlantic #Magic

Tal com diuen, sempre pots aprendre alguna cosa nova. Fa uns mesos no coneixia aquest grup, ni aquesta "amazing" versió que han fet del Abbey Road medley dels Beatles barrejat amb la seva propia composició, la Suit Charlotte Pike ... són 4 videos, 30 minuts en total - que ja no seran 30 minuts perque poca gent es pot quedar escoltant aixo només una vegada !!
Transatlantic, amb el Suit Charlotte Pike / Abbey Road Medley.
As they say, there's always the chance you'll learn something new - I'd never heard of this group a few months ago, and so had never had the pleasure of running this amazing track through my musical taste buds. So, with an incredible cover version of the Beatles' Abbey Road medley, alongside their own track Suit Charlotte Pike, here's Transatlantic. Four videos all together with 30 minutes of pure magic.

dilluns, 25 de març de 2013

Oblivious - Aztec Camera #Catalonia_Scotland

Parlant de Catalunya, gràcies a Liz Castro, s'ha publicat un llibre excel·lent amb una diversitat d'articles molt interessants sobre el tema de la má de "experts" en la materia - i tot això en anglès, amb l'objectiu d'arribara llà on hem d'arribar. De fet amb els diners que han recol·lectat (amb el sistema Verkami) han enviat copies del llibre a biblioteques, periodistes, i politics internacionals a més a més de les copies que s'han enviat als contactes dels col·laboradors!
En fi, per intentar ajudar a entendre, he copiat una pagina de l'article de Xavier Solana comparant Catalunya i Escocia. 
La cançó d'avui - pos, alguna cosa d'Escocia.
Recently there has been a great book published, What's up with Catalonia. Thanks to the editor Liz Castro, 33 fascinating articles on different aspects of the "Catalan question" by a selection of experts, has been published in English - and copies have been sent around the world, to libraries, journalists, politicians, and contacts of the people who have donated money to make this project happen! Here's just a short extract, from an article by Xavier Solano, but hopefully by comparing the Catalans with the Scottish case it will help people understand a little better What is up with Catalonia!
"...Scotland and Catalonia have many things in common. Both are small nations that currently form part of European Union member states. Both lost their sovereignty at the beginning of the 18th century, Scotland in 1707 and Catalonia in 1714. Three hundred years later, a significant portion of both the Catalan and Scottish people believe that it no longer makes sense to remain within their respective states. The current situation no longer offers them sufficient benefits. Indeed, many believe that Scotland and Catalonia miss out on opportunities every day because they are not independent, and they do not have complete freedom to make decisions about their own affairs.
It turns out that there are more and more people who believe that it is time to become a grown-up nation, a people responsible for its own actions with all the associated consequences, just like the other approximately 200 countries in the world. There are many who believe that the Catalonia and Scotland of the future should have only two capitals, Brussels and their own, and that those decisions that are not made in Brussels should be taken in Barcelona or Edinburgh because, at the end of the day, independence is nothing more than having the freedom to make your own decisions and manage your own resources.
However, there are also important differences between Scotland and Catalonia. For instance, Scotland is considered a “nation” by the Government of the United Kingdom and the Scots are deemed to have the right to decide the future of Scotland. Its parliament is respected and trusted by the British Parliament of Westminster, which never legislates on matters that have been devolved to the Scottish Parliament. The budgets of the Scottish Parliament and Government are calculated through a transparent formula, the public
revenue and expenditure reports are published regularly and the Scottish Parliament has full powers over the main policy areas such as education, health, or justice, to name just a few. Scotland also has official national teams competing internationally.
Catalonia has none of these. The Spanish government and parliament, unlike the British authorities with Scotland, have repeatedly refused to give such treatment and recognition to Catalonia.
... Another thing that perhaps few people know is that Catalonia is a very old nation. For example, our current President, Mr. Artur Mas, is the 129th president of the Generalitat of Catalonia. To put this into context, allow me to compare this with the United States, whose current president, Barack Obama, is the 44th leader of that great nation. There are not many countries in the world that can claim that their first president was named in 1359. Obviously, the times have changed but the Catalans’ sense of self-determination and sovereignty remain strong.
This desire for self-government is something we share with all of the nation-states in the world and also with those nations that, like Scotland, are pursuing independence. Scotland and the United Kingdom make a good analogy for explaining Catalonia and Spain to the world. If we look closely, we see that the United Kingdom and Spain have a fair number of things in common, for example, both were formed as unified states at the beginning of the 18th century and both are comprised of multiple nations.
Britain, for example, is formed of English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish. It’s interesting to see that the English—who were and still are the largest and most important nation in the United Kingdom—never renounced their own nationality in order to become British. In Spain, the story is quite different. The Castilians, who were the largest of the nations that constituted the Spanish State, after conquering the other Iberian nations and abolishing their laws, languages, and constitutions, established a process of castilianization of the new unified Spain. In the end, they divvied up their own nation, Castile, and converted it into Spanish regions. They eventually stopped thinking of Castile as a nation and considered only Spain instead. The English, on the other hand, have always kept their own identity, which has facilitated maintaining a relatively healthy relationship with their neighbors. In contrast, Spain has been trying to implement an aggressive program of “Spanishization” or castilianization of the Catalans, Basques, Galicians, and all other non-Castilians.
For that reason, the proposal of making Scotland an independent state from the United Kingdom has not raised such visceral hackles among the English, who understand it to be a Scottish affair. The English realize that an independent Scotland might fragment the United Kingdom but that its own nation, England, would remain intact. In Spain, the reaction is quite different. Since the Castilians are now only Spanish, they believe that an independent Catalonia would break up their nation. Therefore, the Spanish Government and Parliament have actively moved against any sort of recognition of the national identity of Catalonia even though it is well known that Catalonia was a nation well before Spain was created and, obviously, long before Castile was divided up.
The Spanish case is paradoxical. On the one hand it is a democratic country that belongs to the European Union of the 21st century. On the other, it is a state that, in contrast with the United Kingdom and Scotland, or Canada and Québec, has yet to recognize the status of “nationhood” for Catalonia, even though such status was passed by 90 per cent of the Members of the Catalan Parliament and ratified in a referendum by the Catalan people in 2006.
In fact, we can even go further. In contrast with Canada, and in the United Kingdom in particular—where each and every one of the Prime Ministers from Margaret Thatcher to David Cameron, including Tony Blair, have always recognized the right of the Scots to decide if they want Scotland to become an independent state—the Spanish government refuses to recognize this right to the Catalans, the Basques, or anyone else who asks for it. Actually, the Spanish government has already announced that if the Catalan President goes ahead with the referendum in 2014, he will have to face the courts."
And to finish, a song from Scotland:

diumenge, 24 de març de 2013

Read all about it - Emeli Sande #Catalonia

Un altre resumen personal de la situació actual a Catalunya, pels que parlen anglès ... i la cançó, pos, si apreteu les semblances podriem dir que parla d’algù que havia tingut por a parlar fins ara però per fi vol explicar-ho tot  al món....
Regular visitors to the blog will be wondering why Brian hasn’t been rabbitting on about the Catalan independence movement for some time. Well, firstly, time is short, and secondly, I would not wish to bore you with a mono-themed blog – but, anyway, it’s time for a quick update.
As you should know (by clicking here), 1.5 million people marched for Independence on 11th September which led the Catalan PM to call elections. His (winning) party, and the second-placed party in the elections, have a clear objective of holding a referendum on this issue. Together with a couple of smaller parties, maybe 75% of MPs believe a referendum should be held, and the government is committed to holding it in 2014.
Meanwhile, in Madrid, they insist this would be illegal and anti-constitutional, and that they’d probably not allow it and Catalonia would lose all its current autonomous powers, as well as other nasty things which may or may not happen – prison, military threats etc.
Catalonia insists that it will try to get Madrid to agree to the referendum, but if they don’t, then legal support from international legislation will be the way to move forward.
And as many experts have said, the top and bottom of it is; how can a people be denied the right to have a democratic peaceful say on their own future, especially after such wide and deep support has been shown?
What will happen? Who knows! It seems like the plans for the referendum are still on track, though maybe not at the front of the government’s mind at present as it is struggling to deal with recession, no cash to pay for its obligations (public servants and services being cut right, left and centre), plus numerous cases of corruption. Maybe these cases will all be proven, but it seems like Madrid has had a hand in many of them coming out to public knowledge just now .... so, interesting situation!
The song, at a (drastic) push, you could find a weak link today as she sings of someone losing their fear to speak out ....

dijous, 14 de març de 2013

Sweet dancer - The Waterboys #Yeats

Another one of those posts where the song speaks for itself. Sweet Dancer, a poem by W.B.Yeats, set to music by the Waterboys for their 2011 "An Appointment with Mr Yeats" LP.

 The girl goes dancing there
On the leaf-sown, new-mown, smooth
Grass of the garden;
Escaped from bitter youth,
Escaped from out of her crowd,
And her black cloud.
Ah, dancer, ah, sweet dancer!

If men come from the house
To lead her away, please do not say
That she is crazy;
Lead them gently astray;
Let her finish the dance,
Finish the dance.
Ah, dancer, ah, sweet dancer!

(adaptation of poem)

dimecres, 13 de març de 2013

Maple Leaf Rag - Scott Joplin #ACenturyAgo

Continuant amb el tema d'ahir, ara tenim una peça de la decada que ens faltava - 1900-1909. Com que Scott Joplin va escriure la musica al 1899, i va morir al 1916, sembla ser (amb 5 minuts de google) que aquesta gravació és de la decada en questió. Bona musica !
Following on from yesterday's post, here's a piece from the 1900-1909 decade (probably).

dimarts, 12 de març de 2013

Take off a little bit - Fay Compton #MusicOfMyLife

Gràcies a que algú ha estat comptant, ja podem oferir les estadistiques de quines decades és la musica que he posat al blog en aquests gairebé 4 anys que funciona ....
19th Century / Segle 19
2 temes = 0.3% del total
2 = 0.3%
6 = 0.9%
12 = 1.7%
36 = 5.1%
144 = 20.5%
123 = 17.5%
149 = 21%
62 = 8.8%
125 = 17.8%
41 = 5.8% and counting ....

Conclusions: jo sempre havia pensat que  els 60 havia sigut la meva decada, i que era el moment de l'historia amb la millor musica, però veig que, per poc, he posat més fato dels 80 – senyal que la musica que t’acaba marcant és aquella que t’agafa en el moment d’adolescencia (en el meu cas al 1980 vaig complir 13 anys), quan vius la musica més intensament, i hi dediques una gran part del dia, i dels teus (pocs) diners. També es confirma que els 90 van ser la meva decada “perduda” musicalment. Vaig aterrar a Tortosa al 1988 i vaig estar 4 anys només amb un Walkman, fins que vaig decidir comprar una maquina de reproducció que valia la pena. Però, entre les aventures de la “nova vida” que experimentava, i el fet d’estar fora de l’actualitat musical – sense noticies d’Anglaterra (no hi havia internet), i sense tenir controlat quines revistes o mitjans de comunicació seguir aquí, pos, el temps i energia dedicat a la musica van tenir un baixon. La musica post-2000 no és que m’agrada ni més ni menys que l’anterior, però simplement pel fet de voler estar a l’actualitat, sembla que ara els numeros tornen a pujar.
També tinc una laguna dels primers decades del segle XX. Aixi, per a anar millorant, aquí tenim una cançó de Irving Berlin de l’any 1915 cantada per Fay Compton un any despres.
In the table above you can see which time-periods the songs I’ve been posting over the last 4 years have come from. Interesting as it shows, that despite my belief that “the 60s were the best”, I’ve actually played more stuff from the 1980s. Just goes to show that the music you listen to (or get obsessed by) in your teens, is the music that will always be with you. I was 13 in 1980, so just entering “obsession-time”! The 1990s were my “lost decade” from a music point of view. Just landed in a foreign country (Catalonia), I had no internet, no decent music system, and little knowledge of musical sources (back in the UK I knew which TV, radio, magazines to follow to keep up to date) – plus, new adventures were taking over my life. With my life now more settled, post-2000 I am now back in a mild obsession phase, and long may it last!

I can also see I’m missing music from the 1900-1920 period. So, to balance things out, let’s hear this Irving Berlin piece, sang by Fay Compton back in 1916 ...

dilluns, 11 de març de 2013

That's entertainment - Paul Weller & Bradley Wiggins #Mods

Quan va sortir la confessió sorpresa (no!) de Lance Armstrong, tenia ganes d’escriure un apunt sobre el cas. Però ara han passat un parell de mesos i ja no tinc ganes de perdre el temps amb ell. Anava a dir que, val, segur que ell no és l’únic ni el primer ni l’últim en prendre alguna cosa per a ajudar-los a millorar el rendiment – però mentre les normes són les que són, o juguem amb les normes o no juguem. No es pot ensenyar als joves des de ben petit que fer trampes està bé , i sobretot si no t’enxampen – un exemple que podríem passar als futbolistes i comentaristes de TV3 també. Ja ho aprendran de gran. Anava a dir que no tinc cap simpatia cap a ell, sent un multi-millonari com és, ni en la forma que ell mateix ha tractat a la gent que si que han confessat abans d’ell, o li van sospitar d’ell, despedint-los, fent-los “bullying” etc
En fi, si d’aquí 2 anys li perdonen i torna a participar professionalment en qualsevol esport, pos, un altre clau en el taüt de la poca dignitat que li queda al món de l’esport.
Però, com deia, no parlarem de Lance sinó d’un ciclista que si que sembla ser un petit-heroi per a mi – i no només pel possible (no pots posar la ma al foc per ningú avui en dia, però si ho hagués de posar per algú, seria per ell) fet que no pren res, sinó pel seu caracter, humil, sencer, educat, i sobretot, “mod” :) Bradley Wiggins, guanyador del Tour de France i d’Or a les Olimpiades de Londres, és tot un personatge. Aquí el tenim a la radio amb Paul Weller, ModFather, i després tocant la guitarra amb Paul, una cançó dels The Jam, That’s Entertainment.
I was going to write about Lance Armstrong when he confessed (surprise? No!), but time has passed and – why bother writing about cheats? Why waste time explaining that, OK, maybe everyone is on something, but that still doesn’t make it right? Sportspeople are supposed to be examples for kids, for God’s sake, and the message we get from these fools is, it’s OK to cheat kids, and especially if no one finds out! Are we supposed to feel sympathy for this multi-millionaire who has cheated his way to success, and stepped on anyone in his way; threatening, bullying, firing, anyone who suspected him or wanted to go clean?

No, I won’t waste my time.  Let’s concentrate on a cyclist who is in my good books. As of now he’s seen to be clean. But more than that, he’s also seen to be a good, down-to-earth, decent, witty, guy who loves Mod Music (and who happens to have a Knighthood). So, let’s hear it for Bradley Wiggins, Olympic gold medal and Tour de France winner. Here he is on the radio with the one and only Paul Weller – Modfather – talking about their shared love of music. And then on stage with the great man himself, playing old Jam hits. Don’t get much better than that, does it Wiggo?

divendres, 8 de març de 2013

He ain't heavy - The Justice Collective #Hillsborough

Al 1989 el semi-final de la Copa FA de futbol a Anglaterra es jugava al camp de Hillsborough, Anglaterra – a uns 15 km de casa dels mons pares. Van morir 96 persones, tots fans del Liverpool FC. La versió primera de la noticia culpava els “hooligans”, dient que havien entrat al camp de males maneres, forçant la porta. Pocs dies després el diari sensacionalista (i el diari més llegit d’Anglaterra) The Sun reforçava aquesta versió i afegia detalls – que els propis fans de Liverpool havien robat carteres als cossos morts que estaven estirats en el camp, que els havien orinat damunt, que havien atacat a la policia i als del servei d’ambulancies. Que estaven tots borratxos i per a civilitzar... en fi, un munt de calumnies que quadrava perfectament amb l’imatge que alguns volien vendre sobre la gent de ciutats com Liverpool (ciutats post-industrials al nort, amb tothom a l'atur vivint "gràcies" als diners de la seguretat social i, segons el govern, vivint del xollo...).
Poc a poc, les families de la gent que hi va morir han anat esbrinant les veritats i buscant justícia. Després de molts anys de campanya i lluites politiques i legals, van aconseguir que el govern obres una investigació als fets. Un primer informe l’any després de la tragèdia ja explicava que la culpa principal estava en uns fallos de la policia, i finalment al 2009 el govern va autoritzar la publicació de milers de documents secrets i la formació d’un comite de investigació ja definitiva. Al 2012 van publicar els resultats.
Sembla ser que aquell dia, el partit estava a punt de començar i encara no tenien tots els aficionats de Liverpool dins de l’estadi. La policia va obrir una porta ampla de sortida per deixar-los entrar en massa, en comptes de la típica entrada controlada d’un en u. A més a més, els van indicar d’entrar una secció de l’estadi que ja estava ple – recordeu que en aquella època als estadis la gent estava de peu i no tenies un lloc teu sinó era com entrar en un concert dels Sex Pistols – sense cap agent de la policia controlant la situació. Van entrar-hi massa gent, i la policia encara hi enviava més gent, estaven com a sardines i davant tenien aquelles tanques terribles que ficava per a que la gent no podia saltar al camp. Van morir aplastats. Fallo de la policia. A més a més, segons l’investigació, ja des de primer hora la policia va intentar amagar el fallo, inventant la seva versió, canviant els escrits (169!) dels testimonis, donant instruccions al seus agents de la versio del que “havia passat” que podien donar, i filtrant la seva versió manipulada a uns politics del partit Conservador, qui després ho van passar al The Sun. Des de llavors que ningú a Liverpool compra aquest diari.
Per fi, ara el govern ha demanat disculpes, i The Sun també (d’aquella manera), i s’ha buscat responsibilitats dins del cos de policia.
Les families han anat recollint diners tots aquells anys per cobrir la seva campanya i per ajudar les families més afectats. L’any passat alguns dels cantants més grans de Gran Bretanya es van ajuntar amb el nom del Col·lectiu per a la Justicia, i van gravar aquesta cançó (dels Hollies) que va arribar a numero 1 de ventes al nadal passat. La podeu comprar per iTunes (aqui no val descarrega gratis!). Una bona causa. I si no sabeu que vol dir "spine-tingling" en anglès, esteu a punt de saber-ho ....

Aquí al Wikipedia alguna cosa en castellà, però val la pena llegir la versió completa en anglès. (he afegit una llista de qui participa en els Comentaris)
In 1989 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death in Hillsborough football stadium. Immediately it became “known” that it was all the fault of crazy drunken hooligans who still needed civilizing. It was just so easy to put it down to those no-good-for-nothing unemployed rude and rough folk from Liverpool (especially as 4 years before, their fans had been responsible for another football tragedy in Brussels). The Police Inspectors were more than happy to put the blame on the fans, and the same week, Britain’s top-selling newspaper (some still call it that), The Sun, claimed some fans had pickpocketed the dead corpses of their fellow fans, others had urinated on them, attacked the police, attacked the ambulance service and so on ....

... however, a first governmental inquiry the following year soon laid the seeds of doubt. They suggested the police were actually to blame, for directing far too many fans into one area of the standing-room-only sardine tins known as enclosures. This, and the fencing around it, led to the crushing of the fans. The victims’ families continued pressing, though, for a further inquiry, one which would get to all the truth and put names and faces to whoever was to blame. Eventually in 2009 the government agreed to open up thousands of confidential documents to a new independent inquiry. The results came out last year. 
It seems that, as kick-off was approaching, and all the fans were not in the stadium, the police opened the main exit gate and sent all the fans in “en masse”. They did not control the numbers or a correct distribution of the fans. Just hours after the disaster, the police  bosses were already “selling” their version of events (overrun by hooligans) to wash the blood off their hands, and in following days instructions were given to police officers as to what to say when asked, and 169 witness statements were manipulated so as to hide the police force's faults, and lay the blame on the fans. The nonsense published in The Sun was actually “leaked” by the police to a Tory MP who then called the Sun’s editor .... anyway, the findings of this report came out and at last the families can rest knowing their fathers, brothers, sons and daughters have had their names cleared. David Cameron issued an apology as did The Sun (in a way) and some police bosses have been blamed, though 25 years after the event, few are still in the force.

The families have funded their campaign and raised money to help those families with problems through various channels. At Christmas 2012, many top singers and groups came together to sing this song, which made number one, and made many a spine tingle, and still does .... Still available to buy on iTunes (no illegal downloads please!). 
(now with list of artists added in Comments)