Monday, 14 July 2008

A couple of things

Firstly! We went to a concert in Stonehaven on Sunday night that was part of the very fine Stonehaven Folk Festival. We saw and heard the very marvellous Rachel Unthank and the Winterset and what an excellent band of lasses they are. Consisting of two singing geordie sisters, a pianist and a fiddler/accordion player, they may have opened the show on Sunday but they are so, so, SO a headline act. There was beautiful, really quite perfect singing, excellent songs, some clogdancing and some great playing. They played for 45 minutes and every one of those minutes reminded me why I am such a huge music fan. A spell was bound and I sat on the edge of my seat like a kid at the pantomime. Joy on earth. Joy in the air. Just joy.

Also last week I read 'Willard and his Bowling Trophies' by Richard Brautigan. I had never heard of Brautigan before reading about him a while back in Jim Murdoch's ever informative blog but I couldn't help but be interested for several reasons - some of the comments on his writing were so enthusiastic and then, of course, there was the suicide issue. Having my own family suicide history does mean I can't help but be interested in suicide stories...I keep a weird mental list of people with suicidal parents for example...and I have lots of odd little opinions on the 'least favourite suicide comment' = 'I don't know how they can do it to the children' (when someone who also happens to be a Mum or Dad dares to kill themself). That one always makes me want to scream 'if they could think about killing themselves that rationally chances are they wouldn't get round to it you moron!' But anyway...back to Brautigan...

I loved the book. I picked it up in Aberdeen's second-hand bookshop Books & Beans when I was up there in June. The price on the back says £1.25...I love those old prices...and I love a lot of things it seems because I loved Brautigan's wonderful eye and ear for detail. What I didn't understand was the quotes from reviews on the back cover...'funny', 'enjoyable', 'comic dignity' my sense of humour so odd? I thought it was really, really sad. Any thoughts?


Jim Murdoch said...

I am so pleased you've discovered him. And Willard and his Bowling Trophies is a great start. I just loved the two stories flipping back and forth until the very end. The Logan brothers are funny, Bob and Constance are funny, but it's not rolling-about-on-the-sofa-funny … and it's also tragic too, that the Logan brothers would devote their time to this quest and that Bob and Constance have such an uncomfortable relationship. It's also a beautifully-written book.

In real life, Willard was a papier máché sculpture, a bird about four feet high painted red, white, and orange with big, round eyes, a pot belly, and long beak created by Brautigan's friend Stanley Fullerton. Brautigan and Price Dunn enjoyed elaborate practical jokes on each other as part of passing Willard back and forth between themselves.

Now, have a look at the used books in Amazon and see what's cheap. You can get Trout Fishing in America for 33p and you might check out his daughter's memoire You Can't Catch Death too.

Poetikat said...

I am greatly intrigued with this Brautigan writer. I shall have to track it down.

Until now I had never seen the construction "a spell was bound", but I think it a fine one. Far more impact than the conventional usage.
I too, have those epiphanic(?) moments of sheer delight in a piece of music or the spoken word or even watching someone dance. It makes one grateful to be alive.


P.S. I have just put a podcast on my blog, wherein you can hear me reading a variety of my works.

Rachel Fox said...

Will get to more Brautigan some time, Jim, but I'm currently reading several other things...lots of books I've swapped for 'More about the snog's.

Hi Kat...well done on podcasting..I caught your artistic cats! I have some audio files on my website...meant to do some more but haven't got round to it yet. Have also been nagged to film some poems somehow for youtube but have yet to enter that world of tiny, tiny tv screens! Maybe after the summer...4 sets of visitors down, 1 set to go!