Archive for the ‘Chat’ Category

A song from the 1990s, by Buffy Sainte-Marie.

I thought… title, at least, appropriate.


BE THE LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS

Be the light in the darkness is the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2021.Be the light in the darkness

We will continue to do our bit for as long as we can, secure in the knowledge that others will continue to light a candle long after us.

– Gena Turgel MBE, survivor of the Holocaust (1923-2018)

Watch the UK HMD Ceremony

https://www.hmd.org.uk

https://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2021/jan/27/holocaust-remembrance-day-in-pictures

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-55816309

Last night we watched a biopic of English band, Joy Division, released in 2007.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joy_Division_%282007_film%29
This is not CONTROL, the film of Ian Curtis’ life, but a documentary.

It is the sort of documentary that you can bring away a different aspect every time you watch.
I can see many other aspects to the events, people, times, but for me this time it was this:

The distance of time gives such a perspective on many aspects of that era.
We both grew up in the same era and area of northern England.
Footage from the time shows just how shocking conditions were, conditions that we took for granted, our normal.
London, of course, was different, another world as far as living conditions and expectations were concerned.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joy_Division

And, yes, the north was badly, terribly, neglected.
The main industries were gone or were going, and as yet there was little to replace them.
The scars of war were still being healed. Twenty-five years afterwards.
Which also shows very clearly how little input had been provided by hugely south-centric governments and planning.

The biggest jolt came, though, with comments/reminiscences of their first meeting, by Annik Honoré.
She was a major member of Plan K, and was to become Ian Curtis, Joy Division’s, lead singer’s girlfriend (she has since died, 2014. Ian Curtis died in 1980).
The band were booked to play at Plan K, in Brussels. It was 1979.
It was their first trip out of England.
This also is very telling. There was so little money available, and so there was little outside travel.

Annik described them, as compared to her fellow Belgians and Europeans of the same age, as
undernousished, wearing thin, cheap clothes … thin coats in Winter.
They were barely 21 year’s old.

And we were. This was all of us.

On the whole most people in Europe were better fed, more aware of the world, more clued-in.

Why was this?
England had joined the EU only a few year’s previously. The effects had not yet been felt, recognised. Nothing yet had trickled down through society.
We were still living in English isolation.

Given five years and we were in a boom. It burst, but the way ahead had been seen, and we built on it. The fabric of life, and living standards, had improved hugely. Five years’ time and we could hardly believe how we had been back then.

I do not blame Ian Curtis’ death on these conditions. Is there a link? I don’t know.
This is not the angle I am looking at it all from.
But I will say that since those days there is a very well established epilepsy and autism centre, and care groups, set up in the area Ian Curtis lived and died.

Joy Division got their impetus from Punk.
The Punks used to say, Never trust anyone over 25.
The over-25s had already forgotten was it was like to be young.

Maybe We should now say, When the BIG decisions have to be made, never ask anyone under 50.
The under-50s never knew how horrible and grim it was. What we took for normal back then.

And now, with the huge unemployment from the prolonged periods of quarantine under Covid, on top of Brexit….
Goods are already becoming hard to buy; what there is available is becoming expensive. Quality of life, of services, and foodstuffs, is already falling.

Never trust anyone… who had not lived through those horrible times… to decide for you.

And do we turn against this present government for forcing this?
No, we turn on each other.

The Song Weigher, The Complete Poems of Egill Skallagrimsson. By Ian Crockatt, Arc Publications, 2017

Egill Skallagrimsson, writes Ian Crockatt in his Introduction, was the most original, imaginative and technically brilliant of the old Norse skalds.

It is no small feat then, that he has taken on this task of rendering the complete poems of Egill Skallagrimsson, in as close a Norse metric as possible.
The oldest, earliest, of the old Norse sagas is Egil’s Saga. As we have it, it is a wholly prose translation. Egill’s poems, scattered throughout, also have this form.
It was Ian Crockatt’s task to render the prose form into the recorded poetic metrics of this consummate writer. Our English cannot reproduce the old Norse sound, nor syntax, and so Ian Crockatt had to call upon his own great skills and expertise to render accessible and understandable, indeed appreciable, all Egill’s poems, in translation.
He has succeeded brilliantly.

Unlike the skald of Ian Crockatt’s previous book in this field, Rognvaldr Kali Kolsson, Earl of Orkney (Crimsoning the Eagle’s Claw), Egill Skallagrimsson is not a very likable man. He is too red in tooth and… well, sword. He is too intent on his warrior trade, and lacks the leavening of Rognvaldr Kali Kolsson’s poems to Ermingerd of Narbonne, his journeys to Jerusalem, his humour, and playfulness.
He does, however, have his own laments for his lost sons, as well as his unstinting praise of friendship, and rare poems of love. The life was not easy for those of more liberal dispositions; these poems chart the ups and downs of the life a warrior led, if he was to survive. And Egill was a survivor.

Egill’s main antagonist in his poems was Erik Bloodaxe (Eirikr Blodox).
He’d actually killed Eirikr’s son at one point, then later, shipwrecked whilst sailing to ‘offer his sword’ to British Saxon King Adalsteinn, ended up seeking sanctuary in Blodox’s own halls. Understandably, his wife, Gunnhildr, wanted Egill’s head.
He was able to save the day through his reputation.
What reputation?
His reputation as the best, most gifted, inventive, skald of the day.

His accommodation to the charges was to take the form of suitably outstanding verses for Eirikr’s family. These are the Hofuthlausen – the Head Ransom – of Egill Skallagrimsson.
Such was the value of a skald’s work in-the-day, that it could save a life.
He composed 21 verses for his own head. And obviously lived to tell the tale.
He lived long enough to bemoan the loneliness and neglect of the fate of that of an old warrior.

His own father was also a highly prized skald.
These verse forms were notoriously complex, involved, tightly controlled, with rules and strictures. But mercifully few were longer than 8 lines in length.
For the Head Ransom he produced a new form, with shorter verses interspersed between the regular length verses, and introducing a greater preponderance of end-rhymed lines. It is suggested that this last embellishment echoed the dominant British form of the period, and so was a gesture towards Eirkir’s British base in England.

For deeper discussion of the verse forms, see my earlier post on Rognvaldr:
https://michael9murray.wordpress.com/2014/10/19/crimsoning-the-eagles-claw/

Muck, slime, mud. We waded
for five mired weeks, reeking,
silt-fouled bilge-boards souring
in Grimsby bay. Nimbly
now, our proud-prowed, Bergen-
bound Sea-Elk pounds over
wave-paved auk-moors, lockhorns
with foam-crests, bows booming.

(reproduced with author’s permission)

The standard form is of eight, six-syllable lines. The poem construction follows strict rules of rhyme, alliteration, half-rhyme, internal rhyme and trochaic ending per line (above).

If, like me, you are a bit of a metre-geek, you’ll love these.

And so, I had a go, using the dominant Drottkvaett form. Eight six-syllable lines, tied in couplets by alliteration, and each even line with two full rhymes. Trochees tend to be the dominant metre.
A recent trip to London gave me these:

Canyons of steel and concrete
caught in blue-red rain, blew to
yelps under lit yellows – 
baffled us battling
back through. Don’t be beaten;
busy cities broker
strangeness: blood is  seen there,
someone hurt; some’s own one.

*

Sea-toadstools; slow-flowing
seep of traffic-halted
jet-black, wet, jellyfish’d
jacks. Belligerent
brolly-bargers billow,
hail-stoned and sleet-harassed:
the City trawls homeward
to suburban harbours.

*

Hail and sleet half day’s light:
how the light is slighted.
What we see’s how wishing
works superstitiously.
Outside worsens; our take
on the season. Reason’s
tangled with belief, truth.
We’ve wrecked the weather. 

Ok.
So what about the use of kennings – you know, the allusions to, but not actually naming of, things known to one’s audience?
I actually state in the piece what the subject is, in the second part.
I tried to keep the sea-theme throughout.
Hmm.

A kenning is a compound word, made from a base word for a thing, and its ‘determinant’ ie what modifies that base word. In Icelandic there is also a highly allusive element, usually to an element in another saga, and/or their world of myths and gods.
Kipling’s ‘old grey widow-maker’ for the North Sea, is fairly easy for a British person.
Ian Crockatt lists and explicates the kennings used in the poems in a very useful appendix. He also has an excellent appendix on Verse-Forms. Invaluable.

Ok, these are first tries, and I was trying for more subtlety.
There is still so much yet to learn about these verse forms.

I hope I have passed on the spark of these to you.
They are certainly a great way of ‘keeping one’s hand in’ in those times of drought.

There is a very interesting article on the New Scientist site, written by Alison George:
https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23230990-700-in-search-of-the-very-first-coded-symbols/

Entitled Code hidden in Stone Age art may be the root of human writing, it investigates the work of Canadian paleoanthropologist, Professor Genevieve von Petzinger.
Professor von Petzinger has been noting, dating and mapping cave art. OK, this has been done for decades, and more. What Professor Petzinger is investigating are the bits left out of the main investigations. Most work to date has been involved with the ‘big’ images, the animals. people even. But not the ‘decorative’ bits.

She has travelled and personally mapped, photographed/drawn, and dated, the examples still accessible. Then she went on to analyse the results. She came up with 32 basic types, she calls “consistent doodles” – and that is world wide.
The article, above, gives the full story, photos, maps, and conclusions – and it is truly fascinating.

Why are prehistoric cave paintings of such consistently ...

Her work takes us back as far as 100,000BCE.
Another important point that is made in the article is that the images and ‘doodles’ used were fully developed before being deployed on the walls. There are ‘grids’ of hatching, for example, that probably developed in complexity before being used in the wall art.
Where were the try-out’s? Also, on that point, where were the main-image art skills developed and practiced?

The well-known hand stencil images, she says, were an early type of image; they become used in combination with other symbols in time, but then faded from use. The time- dimension is clearly of importance.

It has been suggested they could be early approaches to what was to be conceived as communicative signs, i.e. ‘writing’. There was a long time to before early identifiable script was developed, though: the earliest cuneiform is estimated to be from 5000BCE.

And what of the inconsistent doodles? Are there any one-off ones that only occur in certain places, at certain times? Is there a local signature? The suggestion from the article is that there was long-term and consistent travel and communication between sites – trading maybe. Historian V Gordon Childe in his book What Happened in History (first published 1942) argued that stone axe ‘factories’ existed, where they were made in bulk and traded, as an example.

A further article I have read recently may have bearing on all this. The ‘Central Australian Visual Language’ chapter in Nik Cohn’s book, The Visual Language of Comics (Bloomsbury, 2013) collects together a lot of observations on visual language among native Australians of the Alice Springs region.
The chapter explores how native central Australians use and view images. The most striking example given is that of showing a drawing of a horse. We see a horse, standing, running etc. For the native central Australian this is interpreted as a horse lying, or dead. Their viewpoint is always from above, looking down. A seated person is represented as a bow shape, which is the cross-legged shape of someone seated. Their bottom is at the centre of the bow, and the legs to knees spreading from that. This is a big departure from our current predominant view points.
How predominant was this viewing point in that long period of cave art? Is there a way in here for interpreting the images?
It could be this is an anomaly. There are many more Australian paintings that do depict animals from the side, as we do. And from before our contact period.
The shift in perception may yet be of great significance, however.

Silhouettesman

You could say ‘Something happens everywhere.’ Well, I do.
Is this proof? In the village of West Linton, the Scottish Borders:

properly made standing silhouette figures have been mysteriously appearing.

The work of Silhouettesman, which I suspect is a misnomer for several gadgies, who you will find credited on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/Silhouettesman/

Wheel barrow

It all started March/April this year, in, yes, lockdown. And they still keep cropping up here and there. There about 30 of them by now around the village, by all accounts.
We made silhouettes to reflect the ghosts of the events that were supposed to be happening.’

And now another dimension has emerged. Due to the great popularity of the works, it is hoped there can be a charity connection.
A friend of ours was Scott Hutchison from Frightened Rabbit,’ explained one of Silhouettesman.
‘His brother has set up Tiny Changes in his honour.’

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frightened_Rabbit

The number of extant works I gave, above, is an estimate only.
Why?
Because they are beginning to be sold by raffle, to fund the charity.

Now, isn’t that a great way?

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-55266179

The Electric State, by Simon Stalenhag. Published by Skybound Books, 2019. ISBN-10 : 1501181416

Simon Stalenhag is a Swedish artist and concept creator.
He began his career creating photo-painting images of rural Swedish landscapes, dotted with defunct machinery, but he scaled up the machinery. So what you get are huge derelict machines littering ordinary landscapes.

His work became central to the Netflix TV series, Tales From The Loop. The series is maybe like an updated take on A Town Called Eureka, but without the central actor-characters.
No, perhaps the likeness to that series is so minimal to be inconsequential.
He produced two book works on this central concept. The Loop is an underground particle collider.

The Electric State does not have the saccharine quality of that TV series.
It is a novel, and graphic novel.
We see here again the huge machines littering the landscape, but this time centred on southern California. The concept and story-line is of a post-War 111 setting, where huge drones and android-type machines were the fighting forces.
The destroyed now litter the desert, town, urban and rural landscapes. We see huge destroyed androids slumped in abandoned barns, strangely humanoid. It is very, very eerie.
Through this landscape The Girl, a young woman, travels. She escaped her adoptive parents, rescued her brother, and together travel across to the coast and a supposed safe haven.

The population has been decimated, and the survivors have turned to using neurocasters, virtual reality headsets. Only, these headsets, big, duck-billed things, are fed by transmitters, and feed-back from mental states of other wearers. They create a virtual community. It takes over their lives. Her adoptive mother fell into the pool and drowned wearing her headset; to deal with his grief, her husband turned once again to the headset. It gets to the point when not many live long without their headset.

We later see huge wandering neurotransmitters followed by hoards of devotees; they wander aimlessly, until the people collapse through exhaustion. Dead devotees also litter the landscapes.

For the more nerdy types of readers, Simon also incorporates several actual maps of the areas the book covers, so we can follow the journey. I admit that I did.

The book is a graphic novel.
It does not, though, follow a perzine mode in any way.
The graphics are very high standard, the text spare, and the story-line pieces together cumulatively,
And what is especially enjoyable is that not all the narrative is in the text, there are sequences of graphics that explore aspects of the story that are not narrated. Likewise with the text and graphics do not mirror, but have a more nuanced relationship.
This is a book to return to. Details in the pictures, and connections in the narrrative, reveal themselves slowly.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36836025-the-electric-state

Hannah Gadsby

Posted: December 8, 2020 in Chat
Tags: , , , , ,

Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby has been very busy of late.
Her 2018 sell-out, hard-hitting show, Nanette is available on Netflix.
2019 saw her tour another show, Douglas, also available on Netflix.

In Douglas she says something like, If I’d known I was going to do another show I wouldn’t have put all my best material into the first one. It’s this disarming approach that really works for her. She can use this approach because it in dialogue with her earlier show, a show of a very different character.

Disarming? But do not confuse this with deferential.
Male comedians can play deference because it plays against status, and is seen as that. To play lower status has always been a dependable, stock-in-trade, (male) comedic resort.
For a woman, deference, she argued, it is just the norm, the expected: not to be too clever, too pretty, too aggressive, or even, admit it, too funny. The women who break that last rule really come in for it.

As is usual with me, I came into her work back-to-front, with Douglas first.
I was knocked out. She is just Great.
In Douglas she opens by giving a dissertation format, this is what she is going to do, this followed by this, with jokes here and here. It promises to be dry, formulaic. Ah, but then the life is in the performance.
Compare, say, a Penn and Teller magic show, where the show you/tell you how it works. But it still works, the spectacle is still breathtaking.

And so it is with Hanah Gadsby.
She is usually marketed as a lesbian comedian. I cook more than I lesbian, she quips. Why am I not the chef comedian?
Subtle. This is her style. How get in underneath the veneer of the industry. Marketing, yes, marketing. What control do we have over how we are marketed, made money from?

In Nanette she manipulates her material, and it is very strong material at times, very subtly, with great sensitivity and clarity of vision.
I don’t hate men, she says, though heaven knows she has every right to. ‘I don’t think women are superior, either…’
Both are susceptible to abusing and abuse, to power-madness… and, well, yes, it is a long list.
But men’, she says, ‘you really need to pull your socks up.’
And if anyone doubts this, they seriously need to watch these shows and apply a little self-honesty.

*

Her Art History training comes to the fore in Douglas. She has an hilarious take on Old Master paintings.
What we all forget is that they were not photographs, capturing a momentary image. No, they were worked at, worked over, for hours, days… months. Everything is chosen, decided.
She shows a clip from a Renaissance piece of a naked cherub with a diaphanous shawl. Only the shawl is tucked neatly into its buttock cleft.
‘A decision,‘ she says, pointing this out.
She piles up the examples, and I defy anyone not to find these very funny.

In Nanette she tells us how comedy works: it is about tension, and release. Only, she admits to us the audience, she is the one imposing the tension on us. To build up the tension manipulates our emotional responses; she ‘plays’ us, all comedians do.
Hannah Gadsby asks, though, is this fair? Is this a acceptable? How can I continue as a comedian? she asks, doing this to you?
This is part of the rapport she builds/bridges with the audience. And it is palpable, even on-screen. Who knows how powerful it must be in performance.

It is her clear-sightedness that startles, it allows her to be even-handed, and also to see her own short-comings, as well as our gendered ones. At the heart of this is that concept of ‘honesty’. How can we be – is it even advisable to be – honest with each other, never mind ourselves?
It is not something we already have, but degrade; it is something we can chose to work towards.
And honesty is a part of integrity. It is a part of being able to feel good about ourselves, to feel/know we are safe, steadied, responsible for ourselves.

Douglas also explores neuro-diversity.
Many of us now have training in ‘equality and diversity’, a few in near-diversity. And yet I have witnessed untold occasions where trained people just do not recognise these in real life situations. And responses have been… bad. Real life is messier, more diverse, expresses itself in so many different ways.
Take ‘masking’, for one. When one masks one’s ‘condition’, and depending on how experienced they are at it, it makes situations tricky. But masking is a not just saving face, but an attempt at saving sanity. Ultimately it all collapses back in on the masker, and burn-out sets in. Burn out makes life very, very hard.

This just a bit of what I have come away with from these shows.
Give ’em a whirl.

https://hannahgadsby.com.au

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hannah_Gadsby

Cunning Intelligence in Greek Culture and Society by Marcel Detienne and Jean Pierre Vernant (Harverster Press), is a deeply researched and innovative book.

In Book XXIII of the Iliad, towards the end of the funeral games for death of Patroclus, there is a chariot race. One of the contestants is the relatively young and inexperienced, Antilochus, son of the wise Nestor.

Nestor says to his son, …these are slow horses, and they may turn-in/ a second-rate performance. The other teams/ are faster. But the charioteers/ Know no more racing strategy than you do./ Work out a plan of action in your mind/ dear son, do not let the prize slip through your fingers. (translation Robert Fitzgerald).

So what he does is, up to the home straight, he managed to hold on level with the others; in fact he was neck and neck with Menelaus in joint second position. Then they came upon a narrowing of the track where a landslide had encroached. Antilochus would not rein in, which caused Menelaus to do so, and so gave Antilochus the chance he needed and he pulled ahead.

He came second.
However, Menelaus would not let it go at that: Antilochus, you were clear-headed once./ How have you acted now?….

Antilochus, to maintain amity split his winnings with Menelaus.

Another version of this is, Antilochus drove his chariot with a clear plan, which was to force the brinkmanship with Menelaus. This he did successfully: he had inspected the course, found the narrowing, and planned around it.

His error was to be too obvious; he should have got away with it by making it look as though his horses had run away with him. He would have had to prepare for this, though, by surreptitiously displaying moments of loss of control earlier in the race. He would have won the same, but also kept his prize, and his prestige.

This second version is the way of the true cunning.

With this version, the book says, we begin to notice clusters of words, phrases, that occur again and again. In Greek we have

Metis – informed prudence

Dolos – cunning

Kerde – tricks

Kairos – ability to seize the opportunity

Pantoie – multiple

Poikile – many coloured

Oiole – shifting

They all describe the polymorphic, polyvalence of wily intelligence

The most important is Metis. She was once a goddess, first wife of Zeus. She helped him in the fight to dethrone his father, Chronos. Her reward? To be swallowed by Zeus. After all, he cannot have such an unruly presence in his ordered realms. Swallowed she gave him the power to foresee events.

Such is the fate of all who help a dictator to power: we saw it in Soviet Russia, where Stalin cleared away all the old, original, Bolsheviks from government. It is indeed everywhere to be seen still.

The book also calls upon the work of Oppian, second century AD Latin writer of hunting and fishing treatises.

Hunting and fishing are worlds of duplicitous dealings, he says. To be good at either craft, art, one must have the ability to appear to be/do one thing whilst being/doing another. One must be a master of camoflage, subterfuge.

He wrote, ‘In this world of hunting and fishing, victory is only to be won through metis.’
That word again.

There are a number of essential qualities one must have.

1 – Agility, suppleness, swiftness, mobility

– one must move as swiftly as one’s prey; be able to ‘leap from stone to stone’ etc.

2 – Dissimulation

– one must be able to lie in wait whilst appearing not to do so etc.

3 – Vigilance

– one must be sleepless, untiring; or, appearing to sleep whilst being fully alert, watchful.

One must be, in essence, ‘a master of finesse’: polupaipalos. One must be a master of cunning and multiplicity.

There are a number of animals highly regarded for their metis, their cunning:

The wily fox

A master of strategy and cunning. His den is underground; it has innumerable exits.

He knows how to make his body itself a trap: when stalking, birds say, he can lie as if dead for hours in order to disable their vigilance.

In fables, the book notes, the fox’s words ‘are more beguiling than those of the sophist.’

Anything shifting, scintillating, that shimmers, beguiles the senses: one is no longer fully alert but distracted, lulled even. One then, is prey to the master of metis.

The octopus

The octopus ‘is a knot made up of a thousand arms, a living, interlacing network.’ And, just as the fox’s den has innumerable exits, so does the octopus have innumerable means of escape and capture.

It is like the snake, and thereby we see Typhon here.

It is also like the labyrinth – this is the fox’s den again.

For Oppian, the octopus is ‘as a burglar… under the cover of night.’

We see in this the octopus and its use of its ink to cover its escape, but also to hide in it in order to capture prey.

For the master of cunning this is the smokescreen he/she uses to gain the required object.

…like the fox, the octopus defines a type of human behaviour…’ that one must ‘present a different aspect of oneself to each of your friends…’ like the octopus that can change colour to fit in with its environment, background.

The book also notes: ‘The octopus-like intelligence is found in two types of man’: the sophist, and the politician.

Each is an apparent contrary of the other.
Contrary, and yet also, oddly, complementary.

And here lies another aspect of cunning: as well as appearing as one thing whilst being another, he must also use both qualities where and when necessary.

The octopus is supple enough to squeeze through a chink to escape, but also solid enough to hold its prey in a hard and fast clutch.

This is known as ‘the bond and the circle’: the circular reciprocity ‘between what is bound, and what is binding‘. This can be seen in the use of the fishing net; the more one struggles, the more one becomes ensnared.

Ten centuries separate Homer from Oppian – throughout this period can be cited a number of examples of this complex of ideas.

The underground den of the fox, and the sea environment of the octopus, throw up a metaphysic where gods and goddesses rule mankind’s fortunes.

The fox is decidedly chthonic, he has the qualities of the old gods of the race of Chronos, the Giants/Titans etc, the pre-Olympians. He is a emissary from Chaos, where ‘there is no up, or down, no side to side’: the unformed space, brimming with potential, but not active as such.


– So much like a definition of the astrophysicist’s ‘Quantum soup’.
Uncanny? Or is there a.cultural/educational link in the imagery?

This is the state of mind of the master of metis: all awaits its birth in the intent, concentration, and single-mindedness, of the hunter/master of cunning.

The octopus lives in the sea, medium of the goddess Thetis. She has similar properties to those which Metis had.

The fate of Metis may also answer what happened to the biblical  Lilith; they did seem to share many qualities, and most of these centred around closeness of identification with animals.
The realm of Middle-eastern demons does not seem to have its counterpart in Greek culture.

It also answers the question Why. Why what?
Why Aeschylus fell foul of the Orphics for supposedly betraying their secrets in his play Agamemnon. For Cunning was claimed by the later Orphics as theirs.
I could suggest it has a kindred spirit in Bacchus, also.

You know what that means. Now I am going to have to dig out Euripedes’ The Bacchae from about thirty years ago, and re-read it in this light!

I would suggest the violation of Orphic secrets was in Aeschylus’ use of the net:

Agamemnon returned home after ten years at Ilium. In the meantime his wife, Clytemnestra, had taken another lover.
Added to, or because of, that, in order to gain a favourable wind to take their ships across to Ilium in the first place, Agamemnon was advised to make a personal sacrifice to the gods. He chose his own daughter Iphigenia.

Quite rightly, Clytemnestra was inconsolable. And so the consequences would be terrible.

When he arrived home after ten years Clytemnestra was well prepared – she had made ready a pathway strewn with royal purple. He walked over this, in effect insulting the gods by setting himself on their level.

This was planned. His next error was take the obligatory bath prepared for him as all weary travellers of renown did. In the bath she snared him with a net, and then he was killed.

There began a terrible period of retribution we know as The Orestia.

Clytemnestra was a mistress of cunning: she planned this long in advance; she made it look as though Agamemnon had violated honour to the gods (the purpled path), and she used trickery to ensnare him with the net, used honeyed words to lure him. The deed, though, was committed by Clytemnestra.
Cunning specifies that a third person should do the deed, whilst the possible suspect, herself, gives herself a solid alibi.

The hacker who ricochets his signal throughout the world communication system is a modern practitioner of cunning.

It is these lapses from the absolute, that Greek drama is all about.

I have given two instances of users of cunning connected with The Iliad; the third, of course, is Odysseus, master of tricks. Who knows how many more are yet to be found.

One last note: for the master of cunning, it is only a matter of time before he is revealed, makes an error, or is supplanted.
The master of cunning may seem to be laying low, but he is constantly on the go, obliterating traces, changing habitat, watchful, always watchful. He does not drop his guard. Ever.

Free Broadcast: Birmingham Royal Ballet

Posted: November 27, 2020 in Chat
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Here’s a real scoop for ballet lovers:
BIRMINGHAM ROYAL BALLET AT 30

A free, broadcast performance from Birmingham’s iconic Town Hall to celebrate our 30th anniversary

https://www.brb.org.uk/brb-at-30

And why not take a look at gerarddavis09/Dancing Review blog, while you’re here?
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