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"Anyone who hates children and animals can't be all bad" ~ W.C. Fields.


Almodovar on directing pop singer Fanny McNamara in Labyrinth of Passion: "McNamara has a strong, very undisciplined personality and limited, or at best, highly personal faculties of comprehension...he was constantly on drugs...I therefore directed him as I would have an animal: very clearly, authoritatively, directly and violently."
P. Almodovar. (Independent on Sunday, 28.1.96.)


Classical Music


Accused of being "artificial", Maurice Ravel replied "Some of us are naturally artificial".


"What have I done? I get abusive letters. People are abusive - 'couldn't write a tune if you tried', 'who do you think you are?' Why are these people offended? I'm a nice sort of guy really...It doesn't smell. It's only music you know, it's only music. Why can't you take it on that level?"
(interview in Independent on Sunday, 7.4.96)
Harrison Birtwistle

In a Gramophone "Explorations" special issue p. 30, Paul Clarvis, who performed Birtwistle's "Panic" at the Proms, was interviewed: "Birtwistle doesn't hear things rhythmically - I played him some Count Basie and he said, "It's a bar of 13 and a bar of seven, isn't it?" and it's very strange what he heard..."


Boulez is scathing about Gorecki's success in BBC Music Magazine March 95: "Mind you, I gather that Gorecki has been able to buy a Mercedes from his royalties [from the 3rd Symphony]. So at least he now has a big car".


Messiaen: Before she met him, his future wife Yvonne Loriod played one of his bird pieces at a concert he attended. Expecting to be congratulated, she was surprised when he growled afterwards "You don't understand birds".



Jazz Music


"It's strange stuff, music; a lot of it is highly suspect, I should say" Derek Bailey in The Wire issue 149

Bobby Tucker told Tony Scott that he didn't like Billie Holiday; she's got no sound, it's like a flat thing, he said. He preferred Ella Fitzgerald. Tony Scott replied: "But with a singer like Ella, when she sings 'my man has left me', you think the guy's going down the street for a loaf of bread. But when Lady sings it, man, you see the bags are packed, the cat's going down the street and you know he ain't never coming back" (quoted in D. Clarke Wishing On The Moon p. 278).


Keith Jarrett: Talking to Jazz Hot about his ECM album Standards Vol. 2, he said: "There's a ballad which is (in my opinion, even if it happens to be on one of my own albums) the most melodious that I've ever heard played by a trio". He was referring to "Never Let Me Go".


Story told by Joe Williams: A group of old-timers was short of a bass-player. They found "one of them Scan-dee-navy-en youngsters". After the first two numbers in which the bass never left the upper register, the pianist turned to the drummer and said "Man, the bass-player sure needs a bass-player" (Jazz on CD July 95, p. 64).




"Bishop Berkeley destroyed this world in one volume octavo; and nothing remained, after his time, but mind; which experienced a similar fate from the hand of Mr Hume in 1737" Syndey Smith


"It is a matter passing strange that a notion so full of philosophical obscurity as causation should seem to offer so much by way of resolution of so varied a range of philosophical complaints" (reference, perception, memory, action...)." C.A.J. Coady, Testimony: A Philosophical Study p. 164


Durham Exam Scripts:

Descartes "These arguments against the Dualist theories do not prove that dualism does not exist, they simply render the dualist's arguments that there are seperate [sic] minds and bodies, invalid" (1995 1st year exam script).


Hume " Hume would argue, there is no uniformity of nature...there is just as much chance of the bread not nourishing as there is that it will. What he is essentially saying here is that he feels it is 'time for a change'...Hume would state that if a fire burnt me yesterday, and it burnt me today, then the likelihood is that is may not burn me tomorrow, because it is time for a change..." (1995 1st year exam script).


Wittgenstein (concluding para of answer) "NB It may seem that this essay is somewhat rambling and inconclusive; this is in keeping with the style of Wittgenstein's later work" (1995 2nd year exam script).



Visual Art


Interview with Louis Eilshemius, "the American Dounanier Rousseau", in Duchamp's magazine The Blind Man: "I am very broad-minded," said Eilshemius, "I like everything that is nice, everything," smiling beningly, "that is nice you understand. I can paint anything, anywhere, beautiful pictures on your hat or your dress, if you like!" (De Duve, Kant After Duchamp, p. 111).


"Ah yes, the man in the street", as John Cage said, looking down twenty storeys to catch sight of Jackson Pollock crossing the road.




Possibly apocryphal story quoted in Anne Applebaum, Gulag:


"Abroad, the Bolsheviks were scarcely 1917...a bureaucrat rushed into the office of the Austrian Foreign Minister, shouting 'Your Excellency, there has been a revolution in Russia!'  The minister snorted.  'Who could make a revolution in Russia?  Surely not that nice Herr Trotsky, down at the Cafe Central?"



JMW Turner:

"[Turner] and his father ate off earthenware rather than china, and used archaic two-pronged forks and knives with round spatulate ends.  For all the discreet modernity of the architecture of Sandycombe, the two Turners lived in it like happy but hard up peasants...[Food] was of the simplest kind...'Old dad,' he once said to his father when Trimmer and one of his sons were with them for lunch, 'have you got any wine?'  The old man produced a bottle of currant gin that he had made.  Turner sniffed it, grimaced at its strength, and put it on one side, ticking his father off mildly as he did so. 'Why, what have you been about!'" (Turner: A Life, by James Hamilton, p. 164).

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