Skandalkonzert – Music with Punch

March 31, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, MUSIC |

March 31, 1931: A concert at the Vienna Concert Society by the ‘atonalists,’ Schoenberg, Berg, inter alios, ended part-way through when fights broke out. It was a bit like the scene in No Surrender when a punk band comes out to entertain old age pensioners at a New Years Eve dance hall. Concert organizer Erhard Buschbeck punched a man out: a witness described it as “the most harmonious sound at the entire concert.” The show closed during Alban Berg’s “Five Orchestral Songs on Picture-Postcard Texts by Peter Altenberg.”  Mahler’s contribution to the programme, the best of the bunch by far,…

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George H. W. Bush

December 1, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | American Politics, HISTORY, POLITICS, USA History |

(12 June 1924 to 30 November 2018) Born in Massachusetts, educated at Yale, after flying for the navy in World War II, he became part of the Texas Oil industry, and a lifelong Republican. With experience in Congress, the Diplomatic Corp. and Intel, he was a steady second-in-command to the more flamboyant Reagan, and an obvious choice as his successor to the presidency. He oversaw the end of the Cold War, clipped Saddam Hussein’s wings (but crucially, drew back to allow that dictator to stay in place, ensuring an uneasy balance of power in the Middle East), and was generally…

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Tutankhamun’s Tomb Desecrated

November 26, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, Non-Fiction, WRITING & LITERATURE |

26 November, 1922 at Luxor: the antechamber to Tutankhamun’s tomb is found, and the tomb is “officially” inspected the following day. Carter wrote: “Slowly, desperately slowly it seemed to us as we watched, the remains of the passage debris that encumbered the lower part of the doorway were removed until at last we had the whole door clear before us. The decisive moment had arrived. With trembling hands I made a tiny breach in the upper left hand corner. Darkness and blank space, as far as an iron testing-rod could reach, showed that whatever lay beyond was empty, and not…

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Face It, Western Civilisation: You Lost

November 25, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY, Ulalume |

“It’s Time”, to borrow an old political phrase, Last Orders for Western Civilisation and its running dogs, time even for soldiers in the cause to lay down their easels, quills, violins, compasses and chisels. You got beat – not by folks who were smarter (quelle idée!) or had a worthier plan. They had simply worked-out O’Brien’s dictum that hate was not more exhausting than love. In fact, it could be spread more evenly, calibrated and cadenced, and thus more effective over time. They understood that destruction is an essential part of the human condition and that righteous destruction is virtually…

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Armistice 100

November 10, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY |

Martin Place, Sydney, 100 years ago today

11/11/11: 11 am, 11 November 1918: The Armistice is signed, ceasing hostilities ahead of the Versailles Treaty the following year (the ’20 year armistice’, which paved the way for further hostilities*). In August 2014, after ceaseless manoeuvring, the War broke out.  History records that most of the players thought the engagement would be short, sharp, and decisive.  The German Kaiser, Wilhelm II, told his officers, “You will be home before the leaves fall from the trees.”  Less optimistic predictions had it all over by Christmas (1914).  But Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary, got closer to the mark when…

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