Monday, 1 January 2007

Excuse me, sir, I think you might have inhaled a squirrel

18 comments:

TimT said...

Squirrel + Snifter = Squifter. Or possibly a Snurrel, depending on your mood at the time.

alexis said...

Ha!

St John Nottlesby said...

By Jove, it's Bertie! Last I heard he'd been captured by the Bosch! Where the deuce did you unearth this? Is it Hun propaganda? His make the Kaiser's moustaches look like a Greek fishwife's, eh?

alexis said...

Just one of the many splendid portraits in my "Dr Harlot's Miscellany of Great Moustaches", coffee table edition forthcoming from Harper Collins next publishing quarter.

TimT said...

... captured by the Bosch ...

Would that mean he's captured by Eponymous Bosch, or George Bosch (senior)?

St John Nottlesby said...

Neither Eponymous, Heironymous, Georg, nor Fritz Bosch -- rather, *the* Bosch, the dread enemy of the Britannic Volk, er, People. The faceless, nameless, Kaiser-helmeted masses, marching inexorably onward to the tune of a Bavarian Brass Band (staffed by exceedingly fat men called Wolfram, whose lederhosen are straining under the effort of containing their collectively capacious "schnitzel-guts").

TimT said...

I am perplexed, befuddled, and confabulated, and more, Nottlesby. Why do you have a link to the Biggest Bosch of them all, Richard Wagner, on your website? What would the three Lords of British Music, Vaughan Williams, Sullivan, and Parry, think of this?

St John Nottlesby said...

Bugger them, I say with more vehemence than intent. The late RW was a composer par-excellance, and despite my ravings to the contrary, I am indeed a fan of All Things Teutonic. That '39-'45 business was a sordid affair indeed, and tarnished the reputation of an otherwise fine people.
How the Germans can produce Brahms, Wagner, Goethe, Schiller, Heine, Einstein, Schubert, Schumann, and Rilke (among many other notable contributors to Music, Literature, Science &c) and then also Nazism is truly staggering, and I admit, part of their appeal to yrs truly.
I was reading a social history of the 3rd Reich recently (as one does) and a crusty General (whose name I forget) referred to Hitler as "that Austrian interior-decorator's assistant". Rather summed it up, eh?

St John Nottlesby said...

Any anyway, the real Lords of British Music are, as any dilettante knows: Messrs Gilbert and Sullivan, and Messrs Flanders and Swann. The British only work really well in pairs y'see.

TimT said...

I have a few quibbles, Nottlesby (if a fellow may be permitted his quibbles - they're all I have left, now that my collywobbles have gone, and the Wombles are no longer to be found):

Gilbert's major contribution was to the world of letters, and indeed, in my opinion, 'tis the words of his operatic collaborations with Sullivan that are more important than the music.

Wagner was undoubtedly a great musician, but one can hardly ignore the darker side of his personality; 'twas a reason the Nazis took to him so readily!

Besides which, one must never forget the English contribution to the world of music is not entirely unremarkable, either: Vaughan-Williams, Britten, Holst, Tippett, Purcell, Boyce. Oh, and of course, Ivor Gurney. One should never forget Ivor, even though he did go a bit batty in the end.

alexis said...

Oh, now, really. Let's not have that old England vs. Germany debate out again. Schelling and Shelley, Bavarian strüdel and bread-and-butter pudding, the Schwarzwald and Sherwood Forest: they're practically the same country. What was Handel if not evidence of a shared musical culture? Wagner's Ring Cycle, frequently misinterpreted as a gargantaun celebration of Aryan supremacy, was in fact a wee ditty on the evils of haemorrhoids - and no finer wee ditty on the evils of haemorrhoids has the world ever seen.

St John Nottlesby said...

My dear boy, I am not for a second denigrating the Britannic contribution to Good Music, only saying that the Jerries not only more or less invented it, but, in my humble opinion, pretty well perfected it as an artform.

Hitler's understanding of Wagner was sketchy at best; a classic (and highly ironic) example is that he fancied himself the embodiment of Siegfried, the boy-man hero of The Ring. What Hitler failed to acknowledge (to his detriment) is that Siegfried perished in a mighty inferno - the selfsame inferno that consumed Valhalla and all within.

Yes Wagner was an anti-Semite, as were most Europeans of his time, but RW was dead by the time a young (and unknown) Adolf started ingratiating himself into life at Wahnfried (Wagner's home at Bayreuth). By the time 'Dolf became the dread Chancellor of the Thousand Year Reich, the Wagners realised that they were in too deep and couldn't really tell him to bugger off. Winifred Wagner (RW's son Siegfried's wife) became a rabid Hitlerite, and more learned commentators than me have doubted how much of her fervor was political, and how much was due to Hitler's very persuasive personal charms.

It's also known that the Nazis were, to a man, provincial thugs who, by and large, didn't really like Wagner at all, and endured his lenthy operas because their Fuehrer did and they feared for their lives if they weren't seen to enjoy it too.

There was a military hospital at Bayreuth, and part of Hitler's recovery program for wounded servicemen included compulsory nights at the opera. So few ailing Huns went that after a while the Military Police had to start rounding them up from the local pubs and forcing them up the hill to the concert hall.

So yes, Nazism and Wagner are strange bedfellows, and again, I am not at all saying that British composers are entirely without talent or their place in the firmament of Great Composers.

St John Nottlesby said...

My dear Doctor, the only haemhorrhoids present at a performance of the Ring are those of the town Mayor who keeps trying to get voted OUT of office so he doesn't have to endure yet another performance.

The philistine!

I'm thinking of standing for office in Bayreuth just for the chance at free tix.

TimT said...

Philistine, indeed. The Philistines themselves treated their own case of hemmorhoids much more sensibly.

St John Nottlesby said...

... by passing them on to their neighbours?

TimT said...

By making golden haemmorhoids, which for some reason had the effect of magically disappearing their own case of haemmorhoids. It's an example of sympathetic magic.

St John Nottlesby said...

I must admit, I've never been all that sympathetic to magic, or magicians, for that matter. At least not since, as a lad, I watched one saw my Governess, Miss Coffin, clean in half - before realising that he'd forgotten to use the illusion-box most commonly favoured for these particular hijinx.

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