Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Back in April

I wish I could say that there have been no posts because I have been involved in heroic acts, which have changed the coarse of history. Or that I had been doing worthy things for the good of Humankind. Or even that I forgot my passwords.

But no…just a bit knackered, still. Going to Rome, and will post in first week of April.


Anonymous said...

"...the coarse of history."

Good play on words =)

Anonymous said...

How can a European get knackered with all the vacation time you all get?

roman said...


Don't you know that 2 months off per year just doesn't do it for European workers anymore.


While in Rome, do as Roman would do.
Hope you feel better soon!

Anonymous said...

In the meantime...

Hey 57, would you boink Maria Sergeyeva?


Drum, cymbal...

beatroot said...

Geez...I know you think you Americans work all the hours God sends and that you are the most productive people in the history of Planet Earth.

But...besides the fact that many Europeans want to be more productive from the loan from the American banks here that don't want to give credit anymore....(something to do with Wall Street's productivity of creating toxic assets...)...but I actually have not had a single clear day off this year...so four days in Rome will not be affecting Poland's GDP too much...promise.


Anonymous said...

I was thinking the other day...

The population of our world has increased many orders of magnitude since December of 1791. The advances in nutrition and medicine are astounding. Most of us live much longer. Our technology would seem miraculous to those from the eighteenth century. Materially, those of us in the Western World, parts of Asia, but also increasingly everywhere else, lack absolutely nothing. And yes, most of us work very hard to maintain and increase this high material standard. To the point where four days in Rome seem like a luxury...

Yet, with all of this, we're without a single Mozart, Berlioz, Chopin, Holst, or Bach. Our cultures don't seem to be able to rise above the pop level. Our preoccupations seem utilitarian. I wish it wasn't this way. Link below is to an echo of better days.


Anonymous said...

Wachoo got agin' Gorecki?

Ever stop to think that maybe those dead guys were the pop artists of their day?

Gimme Springsteen, Korpiklaani, and 2 TM 2,3.

Mark, I bet you might even like the latter. Check them out on youtube. They are a Polish Catholic death metal band, just right for Lent. Well sorta. They are Catholic and wear it on their sleeves. They do play heavy metal, but they also play a lot of ballad stuff that sounds medieval.

Anonymous said...


You asked: "Ever stop to think that maybe those dead guys were the pop artists of their day?"

Yes, I have. But if Mozart was the "pop" artist of his day, then who was the classical artist of his time?
I think that the present day pop artists flatter themselves when they think they are the Mozarts of today. By any objective standard there is no comparison, they are in a different class altogether. Why is today’s art in general so juvenile, so focused on base drives like sex and aggression, or with death?

OK, since we drifted to the subject of sex, this is how Mozart and Da Ponte treated it in the Catalogue Aria:


This is how it’s treated today:


Mille e tre... take your pick.

Anonymous said...

False dichotomy when you choose a bunch of Brits in spandex leotards.

Try this:


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Ge'ez, a great blast from the past. Over a million views, and over a thousand enthusiastic comments. This must really resonate. Here is a visual to go with it:


And now for something completely different:


Strange piece - not only in a minor key, but has racy lyrics as well.

beatroot said...

You asked: "Ever stop to think that maybe those dead guys were the pop artists of their day?"

That’s a complete misunderstanding of what it means to be a pop artist. Pop, by its very nature, is mass produced and needs a mass audience. It is predicated on there being a capitalist business machine to disseminate its product.

Mozart et al…were not working in that type of environment at all. The commissions the composers got were not to satisfy a mass market but to satisfy their sponsors…in Mozart’s case, royal courts etc.

So, no…classical musicians were not and are not pop artists...unless your name in Nigel Kennedy, of course...who thinks he is a pop musician but is really a very fine violinist with a boil on his neck. Who supports Aston Villa. And lives in Krakow.

Anonymous said...

What other sponsors were there in those days? What mass consumer markets were there in those days? So given that the times were indeed different, I still think that they were a rough equivalent of pop stars within the realm of what possible mass audience there was...

Anonymous said...

Pintos and Gremlins were fine cars.

OK. Not. So what?

I don't think Marvin Gaye ever drove one or sang a commercial for one.

As for Mazowsze, I really dislike fake operatic peasant folklore.

But to each his own. Different strokes for different folks. Mark, did you check out 2TM 2, 3? I looked at and listened to your opera stuff.

Anonymous said...

Very "spot on" comment, Beatroot.

It answers my question about why so much pop art today is juvenile and base - it is mass marketed by large entertainment corporations, thus the lowest common denominator of the day usually ensures profit. Mozart was indeed exempt from this type of pressure - case in point, his Requiem Mass. Money came from a single, anonymous sponsor, who, as far as we know, didn't make any artistic demands. He just wanted his Mass, and left it all in Mozart's hands. The Viennese public was completely irrelevant.

Two questions then:

(a) Do you think the entertainment corporations first come up with a rough idea of a product that will make a profit, and then search for a person or a group that will meet the product's design requirements (i.e. some kind of new genre of black metal or rap)?

(b) To elevate pop art, should a commission system be brought back? Would that stimulate more innovation and competition in the pop world?

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the link – I listened to several of their songs and I really liked them. They're original, with a Middle Eastern accent – how would you explain it?

I kind of agree with you about Mazowsze – was the “Polska wies” ever like this? Or is this mostly for the idealized imaginations of the city folk? On the other hand, could selling real village life, no matter what country, be a profitable proposition?

If not, then how’bout village life making fun of itself? How about “Hee Haw”? How about a “Hee Haw” version of Mazowsze?


BTW - Marvin Gaye and Gremlins, that was just some free association.

Anonymous said...

Some of their stuff has a melodic middle eastern flavor to it, other stuff is straight ahead metal, however you want to categorize it. It's hard to golab-hole them because they take a little bit of this and stretch it a little bit like that.

As for "lud" authenticity, consider the Warsaw Village Band, young folks taking po stary krajsku (there's my bad half na pol for you - or maybe not so bad -it just plops out in my middle ages)and giving it a modern urban edge:


Finally, I don't think "the public" should be completely irrelevant and ain't sure if that was the way classical composers looked at it, either. Seems to me they had a lot of the "dandy" in them and while they were purists in certain respects, they wanted to get laid, too.

Anonymous said...

ge'ez said "Hey 57, would you boink Maria?"

A cheap Moscow street whore, I have higher standards!

Re: Maria

Here is a video of her last “group date”.


Here is a photo of the guy who didn’t use a condom while "dating " her.


beatroot said...

a) Do you think the entertainment corporations first come up with a rough idea of a product that will make a profit, and then search for a person or a group that will meet the product's design requirements (i.e. some kind of new genre of black metal or rap)?

Doesn’t it happen both ways? There has always been the manufactured pop star…and that is now enshrined in the Pop Idol type horror show.

But A and R men, as they used to be called, were the talent spotters, who like fashion spotters today tried to get a hang on the latest thing, which was, initially, usually independent of them - like Punk rock in the Uk in the mid 1970s…or house music in the late 1980s.

In a way, though, we are talking history here. These days of myspace etc…bands can now by-pass the machine. Record labels are collapsing, the whole of the old business model is in crisis.

So that’s quite exciting. That plus all the new technology makes for new creative chances. Shame then that we don’t have an avant garde culture anymore to produce some really scarily new music.

beatroot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beatroot said...

Just got an email from John D (real name retained) under the title: Nicholas Copernicus.

Your view on politics and current affairs amount to little more than basic observation of local and national news. The lack of any credible first-hand information in your work and the general skepticism that you raise throughout your collection of work places your “journalism” squarely in the genre of dissident reporting. That is your first problem. Your second problem is the writing style, which is inextricably bound to the tone of your work. From this falseness stems a variety of other problems including, but not limited to, your lack of affiliations or contact information....

It goes on...and on...

What does he expect this blog to be like? A Root Veg cross breed between Seymore Hersh and Tolstoy?

Anonymous said...

Does he have a blog or maybe he even owns his some major newspaper or magazine? Of course, he's pretty much spot on although I don't think it's a "problem." I used to go to bars to argue with folks. This eliminates any need for drunkeness or fisticuffs. So you are providing a vital civil service.

--> I miss a common pop culture, at least the kind that emerged with Woodstock that ran through Altamont. There was the emergence of FM radio -- which was new and something really different and exciting. I still listen to the psychedelic radio and WNEW-FM in NYC (the station I listened to when I was still a teenager) on aol.com.

Now there's just too much to choose from and consequently most folks wind up choosing the crap that's shoved and mediated at them from every which way. Too much MP3 and not enuff going out to listen to bands or folks playing music themselves. There worst is that guitar hero crap so now kids don't even bother to learn real music. They just push buttons on plastic guitars. I'm a curmudgeonly old geezer.

Anonymous said...

BTW, why did you stop updating the Polish Top of the Pops?

beatroot said...

Top of the Poops is dead.

Common culture, in general, seems to be history. The Great National TV Moment is all but snuffed it...the common experience of an album comming out and everyone listening to all of it...the movements of fashions...everyone wearing short skirts...everyone wearing the same thing...is gone. Now it's a pick and mix culture...which is atomising...

bring back the hoola hoop!

beatroot said...

re: Mr D

Yup! I sometimes think that people don’t get the true idea of the blog form. Editors of newspapers that have their ‘blogs’ try and cling to what they think it is, to give them more cred and authenticity…or something. But that is not blogging, either.

It is meant to be a new form…it’s not meant to be prize winning journalism.

All I do is hope to write an entertaining enough piece that makes people respond, in some way. Either they just read it and like what is going on here, or participate. And when they do it entertains the vast majority who just read it a little more.

And that’s just about it. It ain’t gonna win a Pulitzer.

Anonymous said...

No more top of the Polish pops? Was I the only one who listened to it? There's a lot of good stuff there to listen to, but downloading it is too weird. You need to show some kind of pop up demonstrating how much has been downloaded.

I'll have a schnapps to Topo Gigio tonight...

57, I'm afraid to try those links. Will my wife freak out if she walks in while I have any of them on? Would you boink a high class, expensive Russian ho?

beatroot said...

It's a money thing, Geez. Big fucking crisis, actually. And at the same time trying to be creative and come up with new stuff. You will see changes in a few weeks. The music programme will be back...although different. And I agree Polish music is not as bad as...POLES think it is.

Anonymous said...

ge'ez said "Would you boink a high class, expensive Russian ho?"

High class and expensive Russian ho not compatible terms. The best your going to do with those people is low class and over priced.

Anonymous said...

Most of the the manufactured stuff featured on Eurowisja (or somesuch show I stumbled across on youtube) is Idol-like crap. Every once in awhile a decent group like Zakopower or the Warsaw Village Band gets picked up but that's when I expect them to plummet downhill. I really thought the the Jacek Kosciuszko video I saw on youtube with the latter doing doing backgrounds to a reggae performance was forced and kind of pretentious (although I love the Trebunie Tutki / Twinkle Brothers collaborations -- and much of the earlier WVB stuff)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Have you ever heard the Japanese proverb, "Capable hawk does conceal his nail"?

This is exactly what you should have known before, or at least should learn now.


beatroot said...


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