Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Lost Bagpiper

From an NZ magazine article sent to me by Loretto Smith, Wanaka NZ

'As a bagpiper, I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man who had no family or friends. The funeral was to be held at a new cemetery in the remote countryside and this man would be the first to be laid to rest there.
As I was not familiar with the backwoods area, I became lost and being a typical man, did not stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late, I saw the backhoe and the crew who were eating lunch but the hearse was nowhere in sight.
I apologised to the workers for my tardiness and stepped to the side of the open grave where I saw the vault lid already in place.
I assured the workers I would not hold them up for long but this was the proper thing to do. The workers gathered around, still eating their lunch. I played out my heart and soul.
As I played the workers began to weep. I played and I played like I'd never played before, from Going Home and The Lord is My Shepherd to Flowers of the Forest. I closed the lengthy season with Amazing Grace and walked to my car.
As I was opening the door and taking off my coat, I overheard one of the workers saying to another, Sweet Heaven, Mary 'n Joseph, I have never seen nothin' like that before and I've been puttin' in septic tanks for twenty years.'

Library of Congress Blogs

'The Arabian Nights'

From the wonderful resources at the Library of Congress. Read this book about the tales of 'Scheherazade'.
The 'Preface' was written by the Editor, Kate Douglas Wiggin and is particularly charming, recalling the more romantic use of English in 1909 and a gentler time.

'Nowhere in the whole realm of literature will you find such a Marvel, such a Wonder, such a Nonesuch of a book; nowhere will you find impossibilities so real and so convincing; nowhere but in what Henley calls:

" ... that bless├Ęd brief
Of what is gallantest and best
In all the full-shelved Libraries of Romance.
The Book of rocs,
Sandalwood, ivory, turbans, ambergris,
Cream tarts, and lettered apes, and Calenders,
And ghouls and genies- O so huge
They might have overed the tall Minster Tower,
Hands down, as schoolboys take a post;
In truth the Book of Camaralzaman,
Schemselnihar and Sinbad, Scheherazade
The peerless, Bedridden, Badroulbadour,
Cairo and Serendib and Candahar,
and Caspian, and the dim, terrific bulk-
Ice-ribbed, fiend-visited, isled in spells and storms-
Of Kaf ... That centre of miricales
The sole, unparalleled Arabian Nights."

August, 1909.'
From their series of Classic and Rare Books, subscribe to this blog, LOC on Twitter, Facebook and Rss Feeds.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Freer & Sackler Galleries

"From the age of six I had a penchant for copying the form of things, and from about fifty, my 
pictures were frequently published; but until the age of seventy, nothing that I drew was worthy of notice.
At seventy-three years,
I was somewhat able to fathom the growth of plants and trees, and the structure of birds, animals, insects, and fish.

Thus when I reach eighty years,
I hope to have made increasing progress, and at ninety to see further into the underlying principles of things, so that at one hundred years
I will have achieved a divine state in my art,
and at one hundred and ten,
every dot and every stroke will be as though alive.

Those of you who live long enough,
bear witness that these words of mine prove not false."

the Japanese print master
Hokusai tutorial:

the Thunder god print by Hokusai featured in this tutorial and
the amazing Google Art Project:

image from:  Library of Congress Digital Collection "The Floating  World"