Something puzzling me on V-E Day on May 8 last week: no one seems to have noticed that Ben Shahn‘s Liberation is a French maypole scene. I believe from the MOMA@NY blurb that it draws on a Cartier-Bresson image, but if it’s a maypole it must surely be celebrating the end of the war in May 1945 rather than the liberation of France from June to August 1944. (The French do (did) have maypoles (in September), of course, because they are actually Germans, curse their dark and devious souls.)
- There’s so much brilliant German shit on YouTube
Was: How pleased I am to find both the Zarah Leander and the Nina Hagen versions of “Ich weiß, es wird einmal ein Wunder gescheh’n” on the line.
- Origins of cock and bull
I’m going to try and pin it on John of Bridlington’s rapidly disproven prophecy of a cock and bull and Anglo-French relations.
- A tribute to the Valencian work ethic
Featuring my draft recording of “El dilluns jo no treballe”, with various other European “7 days lazy” songs.
- On the French penchant for inventing things already in existence elsewhere
François Dominique Séraphin, Bourbon favourite and reputedly the father of ombres chinoises (shadow puppetry), began operating 15 years later than is generally thought, and may have copied his techniques from an itinerant Italian or a London Alsatian. Featuring the memoirs of the valet to the later Louis XVII, early descriptions of the delights of the renovated Palais Royal (including a pygmy show), jolly old Baron Grimm on the lamentable state of French opera, shadow plays, and marionettes, and William Beckford’s favourite designer of theatrical perversions.
- Noisy buskers used to drown out the sounds of murder
But were organ-grinders really complicit in the 1817 killing at Rodez of the French politician Fualdès, as the translation suggests, or were the vielles hurdy-gurdies, as you’d expect?