jazzy_dave: (Default)
Robert Hutchinson "Thomas Cromwell: The Rise and Fall of Henry VIII's Most Notorious Minister" (Orion)




This was an intriguing, easy to read account of the career of Thomas Cromwell, notorious chief minister to Henry VIII.

Robert Hutchinson sets out the main events of Cromwell's life and times without going into much detail. . Hutchinson brings to life the Tudor court in all its madness and corruption, illustrating how easy it was to fall foul of the king and meet a gruesome end. Some of it being very gruesome so i recommend reading without eating food in front of you.

This is really just a primer and he does write in an engaging style and hence this book would be a good starting point for anyone interested in Henry VIII's world or that of the Tudors in general.
jazzy_dave: (beckett thoughts)
Monday i did a supermarket covert shop in Sittingbourne and i walked into the town from the village , but on this occasion i diverted off the main road to Tonge hamlet and went into Sittingbourne via the back roads or lanes.

Tonge Mill is a listed building and with camera in hand i took some pics.








Tonge hamlet
In 1798, Edward Hasted records that it was once called 'Thwang' (a Saxon name).
Vortigern, King of Saxon Britain reward two Saxon chiefs Hengist and Horsa after his victory over the Scots and Picts. Hengist requested, as a pledge of the king's affection, only as much land as on ox-hide could surround. This was granted, he cut the whole hide into small thongs (long, thin strips, generally of sturdy fiber or leather, typically used for binding), and inclosed within them a space of ground, this was large enough to contain a castle, which he accordingly built on it, and named it Thwang-ceastre (i. e. Thong-castle). The castle later became a ruin in the later years of the Saxon age.



Only the moat, a millpond, and the outer earthworks remain. The mill pond was used by the Grade II listed Tonge Mill.

The village has a parish church. The Church of St Giles, which is in the diocese of Canterbury, and deanery of Sittingbourne. This is Grade I listed/

Tonge Pond and Mill - geograph.org.uk - 6557.jpg

Tonge pond and mill.
jazzy_dave: (Default)
R. Crumb "R. Crumb's Heroes of Blues, Jazz & Country" (Harry N. Abrams)



This is one of those books that you just have to dip into occasionally for its interesting history of music of a certain period.

R. Crumb's Heroes of Blues, Jazz & Country is an illustrated compendium of America's early 20th musicians. R. Crumb started to draw and paint the musicians and bands for trading cards that would be included with LP recordings reissued (from pre-WWII 78s) by Yazoo Records. Eventually they were boxed into a set sold by record stores. This book reproduces the paintings along with biographical sketches of the artists and bands. While I appreciate the music of this era, I am certainly not an expert, or even a student, of the music. That said, I found the text fascinating (especially the highly descriptive information on Country String bands of which I knew little about except for the articles in the excellent Wire magazine), and Crumb's illustrations evoke the period and whets your appetite for more. The text is by Stephen Calt, David Jasen and Richard Nevins.

While flipping through the pictures you may be surprised at how many of the bands had women guitarists. Read the entry on Fiddlin' Powers and Family to learn that the guitar was originally "scorned by most rural performers" and "stigmatized in its early days as a polite parlor instrument" that was fit for young girls to play. Now that's a cool little bit of cultural history that I didn't expect to learn from a book of drawings of musicians--and it's emblematic of what you get with this book, and why I loved it.


The book is accompanied by a 21 song CD with recordings from 1927-1931, which has an excellent selection of music from the period. Well Recommended.
jazzy_dave: (Default)


Deborah Cadbury "The Dinosaur Hunters : A True Story of Scientific Rivalry and the Discovery Of The Prehistoric World" (Fourth Estate)







This material, despite its inherent interest could easily have been dull in the hands of another writer. Thankfully, Cadbury keeps it very interesting, by turning it into a sort of group biography. This is the birth of paleontology, as told through the life histories of William Buckland, Mary Anning, Gideon Mantell, Richard Owen, Thomas Henry Huxley, and more. I particularly liked the story of Mary Anning, from carpenter's daughter to a key figure in paleontology, but always disadvantaged due to her class and gender. She sketches all these characters in with great deftness, and one enjoys learning little things about them as we go from "undergroundology" to the first instance of dinomania.

A well written, accessible, engaging popular science history that would appeal to most readers; possibly a little light for those with more interest or knowledge in the subject or more academic/intellectual tastes.
jazzy_dave: (Default)
Dava Sobel "Longitude" (Fourth Estate)






This is a hard book to categorize. Is it history or science? In the end it does not quite fit into either category and that it is down to its brevity, about 176 pages long, which ultimately means that it lacks a certain depth. It tells the tale of a brilliant craftsman's battle against snobbery and vested interests to solve one of the biggest puzzles of his time. An uneducated Yorkshire man who ultimately succeeds against the London establishment.However, what is perhaps even more remarkable are the countless unknown sailors who were willing to cross vast oceans far away from the sight of land having no real idea as to where they were.

This is an easy as well as enjoyable read, a great introduction to the subject and there area a few interesting asides within as well. Harrison was certainly poorly treated by certain individuals however, I do feel that on a couple of occasions the author's own particular bias against the star gazers shines through a little too brightly to give a truly balanced feel. All the same give it a go, it might even make you look at your GPS enabled smart phone a little differently.

Overall, an enjoyable account of the development of methods to measure longitude, a fairly dry subject that she makes interesting.

Tudors

Dec. 29th, 2015 11:57 pm
jazzy_dave: (bookamy)
Just started reading Peter Ackroyd's book on The Tudors and so far it reads like a gripping novel, although actually a popular history book. It is informative and entertaining enough and quite unputadownable - already at page hundred since just after none this evening.

Long Day

Oct. 15th, 2015 11:57 pm
jazzy_dave: (pipe man)
Well that turned out to be a longer day than expected. Mind you, i did an evening meal at the Opera House in Tunbridge Wells since it was curry night. I had their hot Welsh Dragon one, which suits me but may be too hot for more delicate palates.

I did notice that the pub i was in, being a former opera house, will be staging La Boheme in the new year.



It could be worth a visit.

The journey back took longer than expected due to road works on the Medway bridge in Rochester. The bus form Chatham station diverted via the tunnel to Strood and i had a twenty minute wait at Strood station to get connecting trains to Teynham. Arrive home just before eleven.

Whilst in Brighton recently i never did get a chance to any of the early music events going around the city this month. Another missed opportunity. Oh well, c'est la vie, as the French would say.
jazzy_dave: (beckett thoughts)
I waled four and a half miles today towards Faversham this afternoon. It took bout one hour and twenty minutes, as it is still a fine sunny day, i took the challenge of not spending exorbitant pries on the bus system. I had a bag of books to sell at Past Sentence and got eight quid for them, which was not too bad.

I am now in the local Wetherspoons pub enjoying a Bengali Tiger from the Sixpoint brewery in New York. I sat outside the library for a while soaking up the sun and reading a book on Sartre by Iris Murdoch.

I also took some photos during my walk. These are under the cut.


Pics here )
jazzy_dave: (beckett thoughts)
A good night of telly watching this evening which started with University Challenge, then Only Connect, and a fascinating look on Magna Carta with the historian David Starkey.

Programme synopsis and a link below.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b05139m4/david-starkeys-magna-carta

David Starkey's Magna Carta


We take our liberties for granted. They seem absolute and untouchable. But they are the result of a series of violent struggles fought over 800 years that, at times, have threatened to tear our society apart. On the frontline was a document originally inked on animal skin - Magna Carta.
Distinguished constitutional historian David Starkey looks at the origins of the Great Charter, created in 1215 to check the abuses of King John - and how it nearly died at birth. He explores its subsequent deployment, its contribution to making everyone - even the monarch - subject to the rule of law, and how this quintessentially English document migrated to the North American colonies and eventually became the foundation of the US constitution.
Magna Carta has become a universal symbol of individual freedom against the tyranny of the state, but with ever-tightening government control on our lives, is it time to resurrect it?
Starkey has a special encounter with an original Magna Carta manuscript at the British Library, one of only four from 1215 to survive. He also examines other unique medieval manuscripts that trace the tumultuous history of Magna Carta, the Article of the Barons listing their demands in June 1215, and the papal bull declaring Magna Carta null and void less than two months after it was sealed.
jazzy_dave: (beckett thoughts)
The location i will be at next week come Tuesday is Fort Amherst in Chatham, which is an historical site. As it is a tourist centre then i might be working for the tourist bioard, and that would suit me down to the ground.

ftham

fthm1

History )
So, a place steeped in our military history. However, until that dreaded Tuesday , i do not know exactly where i will be placed until i see my placement officer.
jazzy_dave: (beckett thoughts)
Last night I watched some old downloaded videos mostly from the Ubu website, which for film buffs who like the avant garde, is a wonderful sand informative site. I watched a film of the seventies Japanese psychedelic group The Taj Mahal Travellers on a tour in 1972. I also watched the video of Edgard Varese “Poem Electronique” from 1958, and Erkki Kurenniemi “Electronics in the World of Tomorrow” from 1968.

The site also clips by John Cage , Karlheinz Stockhausen, Stan Brakhage ,and loads more. To peruse the site it is at www.ubu.com.

I also read more chapters from the History of Western Philosophy and then watched  a saved [programme from Monday, the excellent New Tricks. It was also very educational as well as it delved into the history of the Fleet river/ The river is one of London’s oldest underground rivers and gives it name to Fleet Street which runs from Ludgate Circus to Temple Bar and The Strand. Its headwaters are two streams on Hampstead Heath, each of which was dammed into a series of ponds, the Hampstead Ponds and the Highgate Ponds, in the 18th century. At the southern edge of Hampstead Heath these descend underground as sewers and join in Camden Town. The waters flow 4 mi (6 km) from the ponds to the River Thames.

Quite fscinating and you learn something whilst watching a crime series about cold cases.
 
jazzy_dave: (beckett thoughts)
From the pages of Making History on the BBC Radio 4 website i did an eleven question quiz and these are the results.

What Kind of Historian Are You?


You tend to be a postmodernist historian. Postmodernists are sceptical of easy explanations, or 'grand narratives' of history. Traditionally written history is therefore a product of a field of power relations which reflects the biases of its times and its writers. Rather than emphasising the events and their causes, there is a tendency to evaluate the sources themselves, giving a close textual reading to see what they reveal about attitudes of the time, the idea being that interpretations are as revealing (if not more so) than the facts themselves. Postmodernist historians include Michel Foucault, Keith Jenkins and Hayden White.

https://sites.google.com/site/whathistorianquiz/home
jazzy_dave: (beckett thoughts)
So it looks like the Vietnam War started on a lie.The anniversary of this useless war is on Monday.

The war between the United States and Vietnam cost over 58,000 American and more than one million Vietnamese lives. It left one country physically devastated and the other socially splintered. It began, President Lyndon Johnson told the world, with an "unprovoked attack" on American ships on the night of August 4, 1964.

What we know today is that the incident that was reported to have taken place in the South China Sea off the coast of Vietnam didn't ever happen. Yet three days later it was cited as the justification for the Gulf of Tonkin resolution which authorised "the President, as Commander in Chief, to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression."

The Gulf of Tonkin was the crucial turning point. In 1960 there were 900 American troops in Vietnam - by the end of 1965 there were over 200,000.

Did President Johnson take his country to war on a lie, or was he misled?

Journalist and historian D D Guttenplan explores these dramatic events through archive recordings and new interviews with the key players, bringing all the evidence together for the first time. Taped White House phone calls transport us back to that day - we'll listen in on President Johnson as he discusses the situation with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and hear the situation unfold through conversations between key military personnel.

Daniel Ellsberg remembers being in the Pentagon receiving reports of the incident on the day, and Jim Stockdale tells us how his father was flying above the USS Maddox when the attack supposedly happened.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04c9lp4
jazzy_dave: (anarchist rules)
Last night i watched the first episode of the wonderful Jacob Bronoqsku series "The Ascent Of Man",. I vaguely remember this series when it first came out and to watch it again was quite revelatory. He was a great intellectual. On You Tube i found this summation by him and as described in the clip it is a warning from the past.

These thoughts seem even more pertinent now. -

jazzy_dave: (Default)
Yeah , i know. That pun of this month  is well known but i could not resist it.  It has been a day of reading and then catching up with TV programmes  in particular, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D , which has a gripping dark edge to it, and i was shouting at the screen for Sky not to let that turncoat into the secret Canadian basement. I get so wrapped in it.

I also watched the last part of Rule Britannia !  Music, Mayhem and Morals In the Eighteenth Century on BBC 4 which showcased Handel's Messiah and Haydn's Creation plus this original British bawdy version of the Star Spangled Banner -





The song was written for the Anacreontic Society, probably around 1771. The tune is now thought to have been written "collectively" by members of the society, led by John Stafford Smith. The society met every two weeks to get drunk, sing songs and to indulge in some debauchery. Anacreon himself was a Greek poet from about 570BC who was noted for his erotic poetry and his drinking songs. Here is the full lyrics of the song.

1
To Anacreon in Heav'n, where he sat in full glee,
A few Sons of Harmony sent a petition
That he their Inspirer and Patron would be;
When this answer arrived from the Jolly Old Grecian:
"Voice, Fiddle, and Flute, no longer be mute,
I'll lend you my name and inspire you to boot,
Refrain
And besides I'll instruct you, like me, to intwine
The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's Vine."
2
The news through Olympus immediately flew;
When Old Thunder pretended to give himself airs.
"If these Mortals are suffered their scheme to pursue,
The devil a Goddess will stay above stairs.
Hark, already they cry, in transports of joy,
Away to the Sons of Anacreon we'll fly,
Refrain
And there with good fellows, we'll learn to intwine
The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus' Vine."
3
"The Yellow-Haired God and his nine fusty Maids
From Helicon's banks will incontinent flee,
Idalia will boast but of tenantless shades,
And the bi-forked hill a mere desert will be.
My Thunder no fear on't, shall soon do its errand,
And dam'me I'll swing the Ringleaders I warrant.
Refrain
I'll trim the young dogs, for thus daring to twine
The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's Vine."
4
Apollo rose up, and said, "Pry'thee ne'er quarrel,
Good King of the Gods, with My Vot'ries below:
Your Thunder is useless" — then showing his laurel,
Cry'd "Sic evitabile fulmen[7], you know!
Then over each head, my laurels I'll spread,
So my sons from your Crackers no mischief shall dread,
Refrain
Whilst, snug in their clubroom, they jovially twine
The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's Vine."
5
Next Momus got up with his risible Phiz
And swore with Apollo he'd cheerfully join —
"The full tide of Harmony still shall be his,
But the Song, and the Catch, and the Laugh shall be mine.
Then, Jove, be not jealous of these honest fellows."
Cry'd Jove, "We relent, since the truth you now tell us;
Refrain
And swear by Old Styx, that they long shall intwine
The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's Vine."
6
Ye Sons of Anacreon, then join hand in hand;
Preserve Unanimity, Friendship, and Love!
'Tis yours to support what's so happily plann'd;
You've the sanction of Gods, and the Fiat of Jove.
While thus we agree, our toast let it be:
"May our Club flourish happy, united, and free!
Refrain
And long may the Sons of Anacreon intwine
The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's Vine."



Note - Myrtle translates to clitoris in the song. Told you it was bawdy.
jazzy_dave: (beckett thoughts)
This morning, having just finished my eggs and toast , i watched on the catch-up feature of BBC iPlayer the first part of a series on British music in the 18th century , Rule Britannia , Music, Mischief and Morals in The 18th Century. Introduced by , broadcaster and writer Suzy Klein , it is a fascinating look at our cultural past in music. For me, the Beggars Opera by John Gay , is the highlight of the first episode, which was the first opera sung in English.

Here is a clip from the 1953 Peter Brook's film version of the opera.



Enjoy.
jazzy_dave: (I luv books)
A couple of books that i picked up some time ago, and relevant to the study of feminism,  one which is an historical account, Women in Britain Since 1900 by Sue Bruley (Palgrave) , and the other one from a sociological aspect , Women In Contemporary Britain, An Introduction by Jane Pilcher (Routledge).

The reason for mentioning these two books, is that i have just started reading the former one, as it is a subject i know very little about. I do welcome any other recommendations.
jazzy_dave: (beckett thoughts)
chann

This book i got from the charity shop that was chucking out books for free has been very useful in relating the history of the coastline. I used it yesterday on my travels down to Deal.

Another book from the same pile i sold for a tenner at Past Sentence on Tuesday.

Today i shall going to Sittingbourne and as it is a mere three miles away i shall walk in. 

A Done Deal

Mar. 5th, 2014 09:21 pm
jazzy_dave: (beckett thoughts)
Today, on a lovely warm sunny day, i visited the coastal town of Deal. I had a couple of visits to do, one a cobblers and the other a travel agents. .This was completed after a morning spent  in the Office. I had a good few minutes available to walk around the town, and take a couple of photos.

Julius Caesar, the Roman Emperor, landed onshore between Deal and the nearby Walmer way back in 55 BC , but due to a severe storm that destroyed many of their ships, his stay was short and extricated by the local Britons. He returned the following year with more ships and soldiers but due to problems elsewhere within the Empire decided that it was  a lost cause. We were not invaded till another hundred years.

Deal has an extant castle, along with the one at Walmer, and one that use to be in Sandwich to the north , all commissioned and built on behalf of Henry VIII in 1540. Unfortunately i did not have time to look around the two castles.

However, i did take a couple of photos of the 1000 ft long Deal pier.

IMG_1062

IMG_1063

 
jazzy_dave: (book carrying geek)
I shall be reading more about the Italian Renaissance today, as i picked this book up for fifty pence in Faversham on Monday, and will be taking it along with me on my visits.



and thus will complement this book -


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