I’m approaching another personal crossroads in life, and am in the process of abandoning edgy inner-urban life for a bucolic rural existence, and quite possibly rural idiocy (pace Marx).
So lets put this change on the scales of life and examine some of the pluses and minuses involved.
Rural life involves truly crap internet, questionable BBC access and the unavailability of SBS television, which is tubbylands truly multicultural broadcaster. Consequently, I will no longer be bombarded with blog entries on the Hong Kong locust plague and home videos of Mainlanders soiling their streets with excrement. Nor will I have to read truly dated op pieces on Troy Parfitt’s vanity publication account of his unpleasant travel experiences in Sino-land.
The same goes for the Dikkoter piece on the GLF which is getting down to how many angels can stand on the head of a pin. Unlike most of the commenters, I’ve actually read the book plus footnotes in two sittings, and have also corresponded with the author.
I was particularly struck by the fact that no one has yet referenced any of Dikotter’s other publications (ie his excellent monograph The Age of Openness in particular), or Jasper Becker’s Hungry Ghosts: Mao’s Secret Famine (John Murray 1996). And it seems that the free-ranging chatterati are blissfully unaware of Annie Applebaum’s authoritative Gulag: A History (2003). Why bother with links!
After a couple of sessions with my analyst, I feel confident that I will be able to break with BBC’s vox pop journalism, but am not sure if I will be able to cope with non-access to their Five Alive Football reportage. Here I should note that sometime ago, I adopted Arsenal as my team to support. This was not done on the basis of Robin Van Persie’s goal scoring prowess however. Arsenal was chosen simply because Arsene Wenger came across as an incredibly talented individual (read his Wiki CV) in contrast to functional illiterates like Fergusan, Rednapp and Dalglish. Note to ESPN: Provide sub-titles when you interview these challenges to the English language.
Now to the three elements required for a life of rural idiocy.
Balkan countries are basically sewers, but this Wiki entry on the history of this blues, bluegrass instrument gives them a free pass.
Finally, a good conversational companion.
With this context in place, time for some suitably rustic music, and where better to start than with Blind Willie McTell (and no Dylan references pls). Unlike Robert Johnson’s small discography, this truly great musician captured the old and the new, 19th century ragtime and 12 bar blues, and with a perfectly dazzling guitar technique.
Duane Allman also covered the above, but I go with Allman’s collaboration with Johnny Jenkins, taken from a double LP covering all his studio work.
I don’t want you enjoying too much of a good thing, so let’s conclude with some JJ Cale, prolific song writer and master of pre-digital recording techniques at Bradleys Barn with Audie Ashworth pushing the buttons.
On that note, time to say good night to the hound and turn in for another day in the cotton fields.
“For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”