Tag Archives: poetry

7 Things

The idea of “7 Things” is to write seven things that your readers may not know about you and then “tag” other bloggers to do the same. Unfortunately, I don’t know enough bloggers to do that, so if you read this and decide to participate, please let me know so I can pretend that I put you up to this. Here goes.

1. When I was in pre-school, I was convinced I was not a human being. The reason? We were read an environmental-themed book which showed “human beings destroying animals’ habitats”. Logic: human beings practise deforestation, I have never even thought about deforesting anything, ergo I am not a human being.

2. In the past week, I have been eaten by lift doors over a dozen times and almost lost my manhood to a scaffolding pole at a church clean-up

3. Russians don’t have middle names but rather patronymics so my full name is Alexander Petrovich Sheko (which is to say, “Alexander Sheko, son of Peter”). However, when I was young, I decided to rebel against the patriarchal system (you’re welcome, ladies) and called myself AlexanderTatianovich (Alexander, son of Tania).

4. At the age of three (or so), I had nightmares about a dragon chasing me around the backyard. Not just any dragon: the St George dragon. And I don’t mean the generic ectothermic creature of legend, but the dragon on the St George Bank logo. (Ironic twist: Last year I briefly worked for a sales company representing St George Bank)

5. I sing bass but because I have never had proper singing training, my range depends on the temperature, time of day and how long I have been singing. Usually the lowest note I can reach is D below the stave but it can go up to F if I’ve strained my voice. I once sang an A below the stave.

6. My parents made me learn the piano. At various points in time, I despised it and hated them for not letting me quit. I now have an Associate Diploma in piano, am being paid to play for a school musical (Cabaret) and enjoy playing every single day. I consider it a great blessing and one of the most rewarding aspects of my life.

7. A fundamental element of Russian culture is forcing children who have barely learned to speak to commit to memory large portions of poetry and recite them in front of large groups of people. At some point in my childhood, it was decided that it would be a good for my education (despite the fact I spoke very little Russian) for me to participate in this cultural treat and I learned some verses of a poem to recite at the annual Russian Culture Day. Unfortunately, I was sent on stage with a girl (half my age and height) who recited her poetry first. It never occured to me to adjust the microphone stand and I could not understand why several dozen Russians were laughing raucously at my attempt to combine poetry recitation with limbo.

If you are reading this and have a blog, please give it a shot of your own (and tell me so I can have a read!). It’s good fun.

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Dig Lazarus Dig!!

Dig Lazarus Dig!!!, the fourteenth studio album by the incredibly cool Nick Cave and his band The Bad Seeds, is a welcome change to some of his more depressed (not necessarily depressing!), piano-heavy music (i.e. The Boatman’s Call).

Don’t get me wrong… I love most of his stuff. But this is that sort of music that defines Cave as “cool”, rather than your run-o’-the-mill talented musician. Cave has stated that this album is similar in sound to his side project Griderman; a more “garage rock”-type sound.

The music on this album tends to have a repetitive feel with lots of noise happening and a driving, cool beat. It also has an epic feel to it, thanks to the use of instruments such as the organ. It seems most similar in musical style to Let Love In. Vocally, Cave takes on a sneering, Bowie-like quality.

Like pretty much all of Cave’s music, the lyrics are fantastic and a welcome departure from the flaccidity of much Western contemporary lyrics. In the great importance of lyrics to the overall feel of its songs, Dig Lazarus Dig!!! is similar to the Bad Seeds’ previous studio (double) album Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus, in which Cave’s inventive lyrics could conceivably function as stand-alone poetry.

However, in my opinion, Dig Lazarus Dig!!! takes a step further. Its as if Cave has written a book and decided to read it along with some musical backing- often putting way more syllables in a line than we are used to with Western music. This has a similar feel to the operatic tradition of recitative: a focus on lyrics, with a sparse basso continuo accompaniment, to tell a story in between the arias. This makes the choruses even more effective, such as in We Call Upon The Author, where the recurring and driving chorus is especially dramatic compared to Cave’s recitative.

A very cool album that was well worth downloading again when the first copy was a dud. 4 stars.

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