Thoughts on the Schubert Piano Sonata in B flat major, D.960

Thoughts on the Schubert Piano Sonata in B flat major, D.960
By Richard Blake
(1st May 2016)

If I add up the hours I have spent listening to music and the hours spent doing anything else, the list of my published works gives an unbalanced view of my interests. Even when I am not listening to music, there is something playing in my head. There is music playing in my dreams. Every memory in over half a century of life is associated with some piece of music. I first noticed the obsession when I was five, and I walked into a room in my grandmother’s house where the wireless was playing the Blue Danube. Somehow, I already knew the piece, as I could recognise where the A major introduction was heading. I felt pleased with myself when the principal waltz theme confirmed that I was right. I now realise that, as I sat on the floor and listened to the whole piece, I was totally and hopelessly lost. Continue reading

Cult of Death: Modern Art and Would-be Tyrants

Mustela nivalis

I won’t get into that fruitless debate about “what art is”. But what we can surely say is that anything that “society” considers to be “art” at any given time is a reflection of the sensitivities and mental state of said “society”. This is especially the case if a particular work of “art” receives a prize.

Take, for example, the fake stone slab called “Lest We Forget Those Who Denied”. It was recently presented to the public at the Anglia Ruskin University, having received that place of education’s “2015 Sustainability Art Prize”. It’s made of plywood, painted all in black, and bears the names of six well known British “climate change sceptics” like Christopher Monckton, James Delingpole and Christopher Booker. A constant stream of engine oil runs over the inscription.

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More Socialist Realism

This one supplied by Rob Worsnop. I’m pretty good at explaining what I think about music and literature. I’m less fluent on the visual arts. But note the attention to detail here, the Great Leader’s indifference to his surroundings, his complete devotion to his work for the people. The room looks cold. The other chair is only temporarily empty. The use of the antique table as just a table heralds the beginning of a new and more rational age, etc, etc. It’s propaganda, and propaganda in the service of great evil. It’s also very good – and possibly even great – art.

Our own total state’s preferred “artist” seems to be Tracy Emin.

Isaak Brodsky – Lenin in Smoiny, 1917 [1930]

Isaak Izrailevich Brodsky (Sofiyevka, Ukraine, January 6, 1884 – Leningrad, August 14, 1939) was a Soviet painter whose work provided a blueprint for the art movement of socialist realism. He is known for his iconic portrayals of Lenin and idealised, carefully crafted paintings dedicated to the events of the Russian Civil War and the Bolshevik Revolution.

The Boy Friend

Ken Russell was frequently maddening. On the other hand, he could make his actors do the most uncharacteristic and even astonishing things. Here, for example, is Twiggy giving what I think is the best ever performance of All I Do the Whole Night Through.

Mrs Gabb and I watched the whole of The Boy Friend on telly last night. All else aside, it may be her only collaboration with Ken Russell in which Glenda Jackson keeps all her clothes on….

Graphic Designer Wanted

by Kevin Carson

My friend Gary Chartier of LaSierra University has a manuscript anthology of free market anti-capitalist writing in development. Unfortunately the designer working on it at Autonomedia decided to drop out because the book was “an affront to anarchism” and he couldn’t support it. I’ve included everyone in the writing & editing industry who looks like they deal with this kind of stuff. Can anyone recommend someone who’s skilled at cover design, formatting text, etc., who would be a good fit for this?

You can reach Gary at

Jaded by Mere Porn? How about This for Shock Value?

It takes a lot nowadays to make me open my eyes and stare at something in shocked disgust. This does the job pretty well.

Even so, it is well-composed and technically accomplished. Every detail works towards producing the desired effect – or would do if we didn’t know better about its main subject.

On the whole, I prefer socialist realism to Nazi art. I prefer both to most art produced in the democracies since about 1910. I’ve spent some very happy afternoons shuffling about Bratislava and looking at now neglected public art. There is a fine mosaic in the main railway station, and some good paintings in the central post office. There is even a fine statue – cast in concrete! – of some unmemorable apparatchik. It’s in the middle of a housing estate close by Ruzinov.

The best thing to do in a place like Bratislava is to keep looking up at the first and second floor of buildings in the centre. You will see things the natives stopped noticing many years ago.