Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Black Metal Music: 'Abiding and Transcendent'

The wide world of academia  includes Buffy Studies and edited collections published by serious presses on the legal aspects of Harry Potter's world.

So why not a quasi-academic symposium on black-metal music?

He quoted lyrics from the face-painted, early-1990s Norwegian black-metal bands Gorgoroth and Immortal; he framed black metal as respecting some of rock’s orthodoxies, as opposed to the heresies of disco and punk; and he spoke of black metal’s preoccupation with “the abiding and transcendent: stone, mountain, moon.”.

(Tip of the steel helmet to Margaret Soltan.)


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

From Abortion to Icelandic Music and Back

So Jason decides that he would rather blog about abortion than Iceland Paganism, which leads me to follow the Icelandic Paganism link, as I have read all the usual blather that followed the murder of Dr. Tiller.

Thus I am lead to the documentary Screaming Masterpiece, about Icelandic music, which is now in my Netflix queue.

Must get back to work now -- I have to finish my paper for the CESNUR conference.

Back when I had to teach first-year composition, the joke was that students in search of a topic tended to fall into well-worn ruts: abortion, gun control, the drinking age, etc.

Dealing with the first one was easy, after a while. I just issued a classroom fatwa that only people who had had an abortion could write about the topic.

The real purpose, of course, was to segue into a discussion of pathos and how hard it was to write convincingly about a topic with which one has no emotional connection.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Yule and its Songs

The Northern Hemisphere winter solstice occurs at 12:04 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time on December 21. That's 5:04 a.m. here in Colorado, perfect for the people drumming up the Sun at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. (I won't be there--too far away.)

Remember to visit for all your calendrical ritual-timing needs.

You can vote on your favorite Pagan Yule song(s) here.

A YouTube video of this year's drumming up of the Sun at Red Rocks.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I found this video of "Roots" by the British folk-rock group Show of Hands at Rod Dreher's blog, where there is more discussion and more videos. The lyrics are definitely "crunchy" with a loosely small-p pagan tone. I think I need to watch all the videos.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Gallimaufry with Dreams

¶ Anne Johnson on Dream Weaving.

¶ Anne Hill writes about dreaming too. (Is this a blog meme? Ann + dreams?)

¶ Northern Path likes the new Beowulf movie.

¶ Peg is upset about people stealing Pagan music.

¶ Caroline posts collage Tarot decks.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Gallimaufry with Cocktails

¶ Having watched most of the "Thin Man" movies out of sequence, M. and I finished tonight with the last of them, Song of the Thin Man. It is notable for its proto-hipster dialog in some scenes and what I am sure are well-veiled cannabis references, slipped past the Hollywood censors of the day. I have a vision of a 21-year-old Allen Ginsberg, watching it and going "Yeah, yeah!" "Best minds of my generation," check. [Hidden] drug references, check. [Euphemized] "negro streets," check. Insane asylum, check. Jazz, check. It's almost all there. But no overt references to Patterson, New Jersey.

¶ A friend writes, "I am finally reading Her Hidden Children!! It is wonderful, Chas. Intelligent, concise, thoughtful, and respectful as well. Lovely, bravo, you are my hero. It is well written and pleasant to read. Your style flows like water over glass, never stumbling over complexities or data."

I can't marry her, so do I put her in my will? Flattery goes to a writer's head like a big glass of cheap sherry!

¶ You should bookmark Jason Pitzl-Waters' music blog, A Sweeping Curve of Sound. "Music, Blasphemy, Idolatry." I'm in. Links abound, including to his Pagan music podcasts.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Gallimaufry with Nut Brown Ale

John Barleycorn Reborn is a double CD compilation of dark folk music from the British Isles.

¶ Staying with the British theme: if you see this, you must be in Glastonbury.

¶ Now this is embodied Paganism.

¶ "Sexy witch" Halloween costumes (big this year) require striped stockings. Why is that? The "sluts and slashers" aspect of costuming bothers some Pagans.

¶ Another example of group disfunction?

¶ I missed DOR Day. Next year I won't. (I do wish bloggers would abandon white-on-black type. The only thing more eyestrain-inducing is purple-on-black.)

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Slow-Cooked Campfire Gallimaufry

¶ If you are not totally saturated with LOLcat humor, there is always the LOLCat Bible. (Via Boing Boing.)

¶ Download a quick Dutch oven cookbook. Then at your next festival, elbow aside all those half-naked dancers, set your cast-iron Dutch oven in the lambent coals, and enjoy a drink while waiting for baked goodness.

¶ Ready for some retro-Web design? Download traditional tunes from the British Isles, Ireland, and "the colonies" in low-res MIDI format. Then visitors to your Web site can listen to them over and over until they hit the BACK button repeatedly to get away from the noise. (Lyrics also available.) Or maybe you just want to remember how "John Peel" goes.

¶ If you are an alchemist or on the staff at Hogwarts, your name is here. (Hat tip to Stone Circles.)

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Wind that Shakes the Pine Trees

It's a sunny day with a brisk wind blowing. Pine needles are in the air. M. and I both slept in a little last night after returning at midnight from one of the Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival concerts.

We went to one last year too, to hear Kim Robertson's harp and to watch Jerry O'Sullivan fight the uilleann pipes and win.

It's truly a little odd to hear stars of the Celtic music scene play in the old coal-mining town of Walsenburg, which is definitely in the non-fashionable part of Colorado, for all that they are trying to promote it now as "gateway to the Southwest."

Last night the harpist was Lynn Saoirse, while Seamus Connolly played fiddle and emceed. Add cellist Abby Newton, her fiddler daughter Rosie, Connolly's Maine neighbor Kevin McElroy, John Mullen, and the duo of Kim McKee and Ken Willson, who have moved to the area and whom my Celtic music-loving colleague wants to bring to campus.

Now: house-cleaning, cabin-cleaning, desk-cleaning, and somewhere I there I have to read essays from my creative-nonfiction class.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007


• Get your fringe archaeological theories here, including a study how Pagan uses of megalithic sites compares to the "postprocessual" trend in archaeology. Maybe academic jargon does get the better of her at the end, when she refers to Paganism as a "discipline."

• The Boston Globe describes "The Age of Steampunk,", following up on Wired's piece. You can go straight to the workshop.

• The Red Witch blog is posting old photos, book jackets, etc., of interest to those following Craft history. (Some photos NSFW.)

&bull Jason Pitzl-Waters discusses new releases in "dark" and Pagan-esque folk music. I am playing some sample cuts right now.

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Sunday, February 20, 2005

Pagan with a Small 'p'

Pueblo, Colorado, is a perplexing city. As Pueblo Chieftain columnist Chuck Green wrote in today's paper, it "suffers from a traditional inferiority complex, looking like a haggard woman when a little bit of care could reveal an attractive lady. Sometimes it seems like the city has accepted some self-fulfilling subordination imposed by outsiders."

And yet some local organizations just produced a outstanding performance of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana.

Go figure: it's a shot-and-a-beer, get-pregnant-and-drop-out-of-high-school city with an equally flourishing "high culture" side.

Orff (1895-1982) was a German composer who believed in creating powerful, sensual music that could be performed by nonprofessionals. One organization still carries on his music-education principles.

The "carmina" are medieval songs from a collection found in a German monastery, but their world view is not Christian. It is a frank admittance that sometimes you are up, and sometimes, no matter how you strive, the universe has decided that today is not your day. So you drink a toast to Lady Fortune, and you keep on keeping on.

The gods may favor you, or they may not; meanwhile, "Hail, light of the world. Hail, rose of the world. Blanchefleur and Helen, noble Venus!"

The performers ranged from professional singers to dedicated amateurs (The Pueblo Choral Society) to university students (the solid CSU-Pueblo Percussion Ensemble) to kids (the South High School Cecilian Choir and the Sangre de Cristo Ballet Theatre)--nearly 200 performers in all.

From the first crashing notes . . . O Fortuna velut luna statu variabilis (O Fortune, you are changeable like the Moon), I was carried away. Back to the fog-wrapped dormitory at Reed College where I first heard the Carmina Burana on my girlfriend's stereo, back to the final scenes of John Boorman's Excalibur back to, yes, even the credit-card commercial where the barbarians invade the shopping mall. So what--Orff' s music stands like a wall.

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