Even those of you as busy as I’ve been today know that it’s Bob Dylan‘s 71st birthday. Assuming you don’t actually know Dylan and haven’t actually bought him something for his birthday that you don’t want to give away before he opens it, what would you have gotten him?
Tonight is Burns’ Night, the anniversary of Robert Burns‘ birthday, a poet whose work was written in Scots dialect and is largely incomprehensible to anyone reared outside of that beautiful country’s borders. For example, his poem “To A Mouse” begins:
Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi’ bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee
Wi’ murd’ring pattle!
It is big business north of the border, the culmination of all of the eating and drinking training that has been put in over Christmas and New Year; here in England it is more often than not overlooked unless it is a very slow news day, in which case the telly will be taken over by burly men in kilts explaining why it matters, generally with the benefit of subtitles for the nesh southerners. I am not proud to admit that I know little of the poet’s work, or his life, other than that he died young and that enough wee drams are sunk in his honour to keep the majority of Scottish distilleries in business the whole year round.
Many cultures enjoy a national dish which as soon as they are able to exercise sufficient mental dexterity to poke a nearby animal in the eye with a pencil they are sworn to a solemn promise under pain of losing their place in heaven that they will never admit to any other human being is completely inedible, but which on at least one occasion a year they have to force into their mouths and keep down. These are usually meat-based, and if ever I am faced with them I thank my secular God that I decided to become vegetarian when I left home.
The people of Iceland enjoy the delicacy known as Hakarl, which is shark that has first been buried in sand for 6 to 12 weeks to “ferment” (or “rot” as non-Icelandic people generally describe it), and then dug up again, cut into strips which are hung out to dry for several months. It is washed down with Brennivin, which is schnapps made from potato. A friend and I went to Iceland on holiday many years ago and I have not forgotten the sensation of drinking Brennivin: it is as close to pouring white spirit down ones throat as I ever hope to experience.
On Burns’ Night the people of Scotland enjoy the Haggis, which to a faint-hearted vegetarian like myself appears to be a huge bloated sausage constructed from parts of animals that even Ozzy Osbourne would hesitate to put into his mouth, bulked out with horse food and whatever is left laying about, served with neeps and tatties, which is mashed swede and potato, presumably so that those who are not drunk have something on their plates which they are prepared to eat.
I have found a recipe for a “vegetarian haggis,” which contains ingredients that I not only recognize but would be prepared to put into my mouth, and thought that I would share it…after the jump…with the Hall, in case anyone is stuck for something to cook this evening.
In our continuing review of Rock Town Hall’s first 5 years as a blog, we will be providing some brief reviews of key aspects of this place. The hope is these overviews will pay homage to the contributions of our peers and provide newcomers easy access into the blog’s rich past. Let’s look at Rock Town Hall’s role as a home for the holidays.Continue reading »
Motivated, in part, by our ongoing effort to identify Rock Town Hall’s Essential Videos and to possibly compile some ambience to project during this weekend’s Sausages for Sammy extravaganza, I had my 14-year-old son show me what to do to download and edit videos for my own purposes. It’s not of the quality that many of you would deliver, but here’s my first attempt at putting some essential images to Hrrundivbakshi‘s “Rock Town Hall Theme.” What I’m really trying to say is…
Tuesday, February 3, 2009, marks the 50th Anniversary of The Day the Music Died, that is, for those of you…
Too young to have grown up with Don McLean’s “American Pie”
Too sober and reasonable to have ever been at a “normal person” bar with patrons drunkenly singing along to said song as an acoustic cover duo signals Last Call
Blessed enough to have missed Madonna‘s atrocious cover of said song from its brief appearance on the charts a few years ago
…the day an airplane carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper went down near Clear Lake, Iowa, killing the three early rockers and the plane’s pilot.
(Holly’s the guy who looks kind of like Gary Busey.)
If the sentiments of McLean’s song and rock criticism are to be believed, this momentous event – together with Elvis Presley‘s induction in the U.S. Army, Jerry Lee Lewis‘ marriage to his 14-year-old cousin, and Little Richard‘s swearing off of rock ‘n roll in favor of The Lord – would set the stage for a few years of mostly wimpy rock ‘n roll and indirectly lead to John F. Kennedy’s assassination and England’s Profumo Affair, the latter a sexual scandal involving a politician that would provide a slap to the butt of the newborn Beatles, reawaken The Power and Glory of Rock, and many years after the fact introduce me to the cute-as-a-button screen presence of Bridget Fonda.
The small plane was supposed to have carried only Buddy Holly and two bandmates, including future country music icon Waylon Jennings, but Valens and JP Richardson (ie, Bopper) subtly pulled rank and took the Crickets’ seats. Bad move for the opening acts, but a boon of varying degrees for Gailard Sartain, Gilbert Melgar, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Stephen Lee, among other actors who’ve had the honor of portraying these artists in films, telemovies, and stage plays. Continue reading »