[cross-posted at BHL, POT, and Facebook (1, 2, 3)]
A good thing just arrived by mail – a first edition of Francis Dashwood Tandy’s 1896 free-market anarchist classic Voluntary Socialism, autographed by the author. And for only $25! Usually those go for over $400, even if not autographed. I’ve grossly exploited some online bookseller, and I’m fine with that.
Full disclosure: I’d intended this as a gift (I won’t say for whom) but I’ve selfishly decided to keep it. (Tandy, as a Tuckerite egoist, would no doubt approve.)
This Tandy volume is now one of my three favourite autographed-libertarian-classics-by-dead-authors in my possession. (I specify “dead authors” because if I own an autographed copy of one of YOUR works, dear reader, then naturally I cherish it far more. Possibly.)
The other two are this very pro-mercantile mediaeval-era historical novel by Isabel Paterson …
(The “John Farrar” to whom Paterson signs the book is presumably the one mentioned here.)
… and this copy of Gustave de Molinari’s book on compulsory education:
(It’s not by Napoleon III. It’s just bound together with Molinari’s book on Napoleon III, for no obvious reason. But the autograph occurs at the opening of the education book – a debate with Frederic Passy, who is incidentally useful as an answer to the trick trivia question “who was the first libertarian economist to win a Nobel Prize?” – a trick question because it wasn’t the economics prize.) (I don’t think the seller noticed it was autographed, since it’s not at the beginning.)
I can’t quite make out to whom Molinari has signed the book. First name Henry, but what is that last name? Logh?
(Sorry for title page blurring, but at least no autograph blurring.)
Today is the 250th anniversary of the founding of Dartmouth College, and I want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for its role in my life. I spent my high school years (1977-1981) in Hanover NH, and Dartmouth was an amazing and wonderful cultural presence for me during that time.
For starters, Dartmouth provided an endless variety of high-quality live performances – music, drama, dance – ranging from the ultra-traditional to the ultra-avant-garde, as well as movie showings (classic films, foreign films, a terrific Orson Welles festival, etc.) – and most at relatively low prices (generally a much better bargain than Auburn’s new Performing Arts Center offers).
But Dartmouth offered opportunities not only to spectate but to participate. I got to play the role of the Swaggering Soldier in Plautus’s Bacchides (translated by James Tatum and directed by Bill Cook; my slave was played by my high school compatriot Josh Gert, who is now also a professional philosopher, like his father and his sister), and multiple roles in the Christmas Revels – acting (I played Dr. John Brown in the Mummers’ Play), singing, and dancing.
As an Advanced French student at Hanover High School, I also had the opportunity to take Dartmouth classes in French literature (where I was introduced to such works as Chrétien de Troyes’s Yvain, Montaigne’s Essais, Madame de La Fayette’s La Princesse de Clèves, Racine’s Bajazet, Balzac’s Eugénie Grandet, and Proust’s Un amour de Swann, as well as to Renaissance poets like Ronsard and Du Bellay, who permanently screwed up my ability to spell French correctly) and French philosophy (e.g., Sartre, Lacan, Saussure, Barthes, Lévi-Strauss, Foucault – in French! tough going!). (My French philosophy teacher accused me of intellectual dishonesty for disagreeing with Sartre, but no experience is perfect. My Renaissance poetry teacher was great, though. She also had us all over to her apartment for dinner.)
In addition, Hanover High had a hook-up to the Dartmouth main computer (two Pleistocene-era terminals with endless rolls of paper instead of screens, and a shrieking modem with a giant phone). One of my classmates, Miken Bean, taught me how to program a bit in BASIC (a language created by Dartmouth president John Kemeny), and I was soon able to get a college account allowing me to use not only the two high school terminals (with their limited hours) but various computing labs all over the Dartmouth campus, where I would spend many hours working on a D&D-style adventure game.
During most of my four years in Hanover, Dartmouth was my natural goal for college. And although in the end I was seduced away from Dartmouth by Harvard, a switch I’ve never regretted (Fight fiercely, Harvard!), my gratitude and affection toward Dartmouth remain undimmed. Happy birthday, Dartmouth!
My French classes were in the white building with green roofs, center left.
The wheel turns, and from above
the passing people look like dots;
how many problems would a shove
resolve? From here to Stephansplatz
the twanging strings still moan and soar;
beneath the streets we’ll meet once more.
I made this! You can buy it! You should totally buy it in ridiculously large quantities!
Modern periodic tables of elements are so cumbersome and messy – get back to the simplicity of the original, with Aristotle’s four terrestrial elements (Earth, Water, Air, and Fire) and one celestial element (Æther).
Want to get this image on a mug, poster, t-shirt, button, etc.? Check out my new Zazzle store.
And please consider sharing this post and/or link with your Aristotelean (or otherwise susceptible) friends.
This painting of a Young Shepherdess by Bouguereau, part of the collection of the San Diego Museum of Art, was one of my mother’s favourites, and we always made sure to seek it out whenever we were visiting the museum.
And now we come to the grand finale, with fireworks bursting in all directions, the –
FINAL HALLOWE’EN COUNTDOWN: #1
327-328. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Charles Hart, “Phantom of the Opera” and “Music of the Night” (1986):
Is Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel Phantom of the Opera a work of science-fiction? I say yes, for the same reason Batman is: all those gadgets and mechanical contrivances. And so these songs from the musical version count, sez I, as sci-fi songs.
(Two Phantom-related memories: listening to a Phantom “cassette tape”* on my “Walkman”* as I rode up and down the elevators of the insanely surreal Marriott Marquis atrium at the Eastern APA in Atlanta in 1991; and taking my mother to see the live show at the Kennedy Center in 1993 when I was running the IHS graduate summer program.)
[* Look it up, kids.]
Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman, the original performers:
Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum, from the 2004 movie (which I saw at the [late lamented] Harvard Square Theatre while in Boston for another Eastern APA [for the very first Molinari Society session, in fact] in 2004):
329. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Glenn Slater, “The Beauty Underneath” (2010):
From the flawed but underrated Phantom sequel, Love Never Dies (which I saw in Atlanta two years ago). There are three quite different versions of this song; I have trouble deciding which I like best:
From the 2010 London production:
From the 2012 Australian production:
From the 2017-2018 North American tour:
But the two Webber works are not the only musicals to be based on Leroux’s novel. Twelve years earlier, there was the crazy movie The Phantom of the Paradise; here are a couple of songs from that:
330. Paul Williams, “The Hell of It” (1974):
331. Paul Williams (composer); Jessica Harper (singer), “Old Souls” (1974):
Of course the amazing-voiced Jessica Harper would go on to star in the 1981 Rocky Horror sequel Shock Treatment, taking over the role of Janet from Susan Sarandon in the 1975 adaptation of the 1973 stage musical. And that makes an adequate segue to Rocky Horror itself, a vaguely Frankenstein-based musical which of course opens with the ultimate science-fiction song – a song that was always going to be one of the songs featured in the grand finale of this SciFi SongFest. Namely this one:
332. Richard O’Brien, “Science Fiction Double Feature” (1973):
In the original stage production, the song was sung by Patricia Quinn (who also played Magenta – though she sounds more like Columbia here):
In the movie, it was sung by O’Brien, the composer (who also played Riff Raff), though it’s still Quinn’s lips we see:
On an amazing Hallowe’en 2011, singer Amanda Palmer performed the song on the Craig Ferguson show, with help from Stephin Merritt and Moby – and slightly more minimalist help from Palmer’s husband, fantasy writer Neil Gaiman. Yes, this gloriously exists!
And that in turn offers segues in two different directions – one to this incredible song of android love from Palmer when she was part of the Dresden Dolls:
333. Dresden Dolls, “Coin Operated Boy” (2003):
– and hence to this similarly-themed song (actually written by Johnny S. Black in 1915):
334. Mills Brothers, “Paper Doll” (1943):
– and onward to this updated version (which quotes the original in the background, starting around 1:30):
335. Red Clay Ramblers, “The Corrugated Lady” (1978):
– and the other segue is back to the Craig Ferguson show, where on that very same Hallowe’en 2011 night, Ferguson himself performed another song from Rocky Horror:
336. Richard O’Brien, “Over at the Frankenstein Place” (1973):
First the film version:
And then Ferguson’s version:
Following the Rocky Horror strand forward leads to this song:
337. Richard O’Brien, “Time Warp” (1973):
(And don’t Columbia, and her relationship with Frank-N-Furter, prefigure Harley Quinn, and her relationship with Mr. J?)
(As for those subtitles: traduttore, traditore, indeed.)
– which leads in turn to this Doctor Who oriented cover from the Hillywood Sisters (filled with visual references to the Tennant era). I think Elliott Crossley deserves more prominent billing than he gets here for his spot-on Tennant voice dubbing. (Incidentally: the timing of “the blackness would hit me” is, um, surely not accidental – right? Cheeky.)
Following the Rocky Horror strand forward for one more song takes us to …
338. Richard O’Brien (composer); Tim Curry (performer), “Sweet Transvestite” (1973):
(And the subtitles are not getting any more accurate.)
Alternatively, following the Doctor Who and Craig Ferguson threads back, we find them converging on …
339. Craig Ferguson, “Doctor Who Cold Open” (2010):
So, back in 1963 the Doctor Who theme was composed by Ron Grainer and then vastly improved by Delia Derbyshire:
But it never had lyrics until, nearly 50 years later, Ferguson gave us these:
Trivia note: in his youth Craig Ferguson was in a band with Peter Capaldi, who would later play the Doctor from 2013 to 2017.
Continuing to follow the Doctor Who strand leads to another song that has received a Doctor Who parody:
340. Victoria Wood, “The Ballad of Barry and Freda (Let’s Do It)” (1986):
And here’s the Doctor Who themed version, a send-off from the stars of Doctor Who to showrunners Russell T. Davies and Julie Gardner – parts of which you’ll get only if you’ve read Davies’ Writer’s Tale:
But we’ve begun to depart from the authentically Hallowe’eny, so let’s follow the Doctor Who strand back in a twisty direction – to this song from the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas:
341. Danny Elfman, “This is Halloween” (1993):
No Doctor Who connection yet; but then Marilyn Manson recorded a cover version – and someone made a Doctor Who themed video (from the Matt Smith era) for that – and the result is the ultimate sci-fi Hallowe’en song (as opposed to the ultimate sci-fi song simpliciter, which was #332 above), and a fitting culmination for our SongFest: