This is probably the best piece of television I've ever seen. It's a three-part true story about how HIV/AIDS struck through the Stockholm gay community in the 1980s. Released on DVD just after Christmas.
I don't quite remember how I began reading the weblog of Norman Geras. I know it was before I began my Master's in 2006, because perhaps his greatest book, The Contract of Mutual Indifference, was on the course reading list. It must have been before that, because I remember it taking several months before I realised that this Norman Geras with the weblog was the same Norman Geras who appeared on my university reading list. I was so taken aback that I emailed him to check that I hadn't made a mistake. "I'm only surprised," he wrote, "that you didn't see the Norman Geras connection earlier".
My experience both of the academy and of the internet was such that, even in the face of compelling self-evidence, I couldn't believe that a serious political theorist was also writing an engaging blog for the general reader. The disorientating sense I had -- of a meeting between two alien worlds of discourse -- goes to show how rare a writer Geras was (even rarer in 2006). All too infrequently does high-quality scholarship overlap with accessible output that ordinary readers can digest and engage with. It is to Norm's great credit not only that he pioneered a website which offered just that, but also that he maintained it so fastidiously, so regularly, and with such clarity and conciseness.
Your poetry got me through some dark times as a teenager. Thank you.
Now it's high watermark
And floodtide in the heart
And time to go...
What's left to say?
Suspect too much sweet talk
But never close your mind.
It was a fortunate wind
That blew me here. I leave
Half-ready to believe
That a crippled trust might walk
And the half-true rhyme is love
The BBC seems to have the best obituary at the moment.
Having heard the highlights of Joni Mitchell's Blue and Hejira, I turn to The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975). This is an upbeat album; it draws on jazz and rock styles, in contrast with the lighter folk overtones of earlier records. It also features thicker textures, electronic instruments, synth, and more extensive studio editing.
This track, "Harry's House / Centerpiece", embeds an old jazz classic by Sweets Edison and Jon Hendricks.
Heatwaves on the runway
As the wheels set down
He takes his baggage off the carousel
He takes a taxi into town
Yellow schools of taxi fishes
Jonah in a ticking whale
Caught up at the light in the fishnet windows
Watching those high fashion girls
Skinny black models with raven curls
Beauty parlor blondes with credit card eyes
Looking for the chic and the fancy to buy
He opens up his suitcase
In the continental suite
And people twenty stories down
Colored currents in the street
A helicopter lands on the Pan Am roof
Like a dragonfly on a tomb
And business men in button downs
Press into conference rooms
Battalions of paper minded males
Talking commodities and sales
While at home their paper wives
And paper kids
Paper the walls to keep their gut reactions hid
Yellow checkers for the kitchen
Climbing ivy for the bath
She is lost in House and Gardens
He's caught up in Chief of Staff
He drifts off into the memory
Of the way she looked in school
With her body oiled and shining
At the public swimming pool ...
... Shining hair and shining skin
Shining as she reeled him in
To tell him like she did today
Just what he could do with Harry's House
And Harry's take home pay