Blue   (30.8.12)

Blue Blue by Joni Mitchell on Grooveshark

This is the title track of Joni Mitchell's album Blue.

Blue songs are like tattoos
You know I've been to sea before
Crown and anchor me
Or let me sail away
Hey Blue, here is a song for you
Ink on a pin
Underneath the skin
An empty space to fill in
Well there're so many sinking now
You've got to keep thinking
You can make it thru these waves
Acid, booze, and ass
Needles, guns, and grass
Lots of laughs lots of laughs
Everybody's saying that hell's the hippest way to go
Well I don't think so
But I'm gonna take a look around it though
Blue I love you

Blue here is a shell for you
Inside you'll hear a sigh
A foggy lullaby
There is your song from me

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All I Want   (28.8.12)

Joni Mitchell All I Want by Joni Mitchell on Grooveshark

This is the first in a new series of posts on this blog giving a guided tour of the wonderful music of Joni Mitchell. First up: All I Want is the opening track from her 1971 album Blue. Both this song and the album's last track (The Last Time I Saw Richard) were last-minute additions to the release. It simply wouldn't be the masterpiece it is without these intense lyrics standing at each end. In 1979 Joni Mitchell reflected:

The Blue album, there's hardly a dishonest note in the vocals. At that period of my life, I had no personal defenses. I felt like a cellophane wrapper on a pack of cigarettes. I felt like I had absolutely no secrets from the world and I couldn't pretend in my life to be strong. Or to be happy. But the advantage of it in the music was that there were no defenses there either.

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Dooley's toffee   (7.8.12)

A while back day Mark Dooley penned an article in the Mail entitled, "Why to be against gay marriage is not bigoted".

As I don't want to read any further, I'll comment here only upon the title, which I accept Mr Dooley probably didn't devise. I'd guess what it means to say is "Why to be against gay marriage is not necessarily bigoted". It's true that arguments can be advanced against gay marriage which are not rooted in bigotry. However, it's also true that arguments can be advanced against gay marriage which are rooted in bigotry; so whether someone's opposition to gay marriage is or isn't bigoted will depend on exactly which arguments that someone makes in its support.

To consider an analogy, someone can oppose take-aways in their residential area for entirely unbigoted reasons: for example, out of concern for levels of litter and noise. But someone can also oppose take-aways in their residential area because they think that they'll be run by foreigners and they don't like foreigners much.

Mr Dooley states that "Liberals become irrational when they claim that their conservative adversaries are ‘homophobic’". (I lied; it was like watching a car crash.) Well, in line with my take-aways analogy, the truth of this depends entirely on whether those conservative adversaries actually are advancing arguments based in prejudice. Opposition to gay marriage cannot be accepted as unbigoted simply because it has the potential to be unbigoted; we need to examine the arguments. And when we do, we'll discover that some of them are indeed rooted in bigotry, stereotype and prejudice.

O Waly Waly   (7.8.12)

Is there a finer folksong arrangement than this? Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears perform Britten's O Waly Waly.

When love is old, it groweth cold
And fades away like morning dew.

Distressing churches   (7.8.12)

Last weekend Giles Fraser wrote a column in the Guardian entitled "Church, like therapy, is a space where you are allowed to bring your distress". To which my immediate response was to laugh, and then remark, "not in my experience, mate".

Okay, okay. Let's be a bit more charitable. Perhaps Giles Fraser really means "Church, like therapy, should be a space where you are allowed to bring your distress". But, wouldn't you say, there's quite a difference between "is" and "should be"? Specifically, I'd say, the difference between reality and fantasy.

The first time in ten years that I brought my "distress" to church, I was treated to a cocktail of public insult and humiliation from someone in a position of pastoral care. The church's standards frequently fall far below those of the secular workplace, yet somehow the church finds it possible to talk down to the rest of society precisely on these issues of fairness, exploitation, and "distress".

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