Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Same to you

Swiss speakers of English tend to say "same to you" where I would say "you too": that is, after someone says something nice like "have a good time" or "have a nice day." I would only say "same to you" after something mean, as a response to an insult, say. I assume this is just a feature of my personal usage; other native speakers of English must use "same to you" the same way the Swiss do, or they wouldn't put it that way, presumably. But perhaps it's a Helvetism from Swiss German or from French? In any case, this morning when my daughter Sara wished me a nice morning when she left for kindergarten, I said, "You too!" (Sometimes, I think I should say REM instead of U2.)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Human Shields, Bloomsday 2013

My band Human Shields played a set at the Bloomsday party at the English Department of the University of Basel last night, organized by the wondrous Michelle Witen, Ph. D.

Our setlist:

The Morning after the Night Before
Better Never Than Late
Alisa's Bridge
The Bloom is on the Rye (lyrics Edward Fitzball, music Sir Henry Bishop)
Bright Cap and Streamers (lyrics James Joyce, music Andrew Shields)
Long Enough
1952 Vincent Black Lightning (Richard Thompson)
Land without Nightingales

We framed the songs with passages from Ulysses:

“Doublebasses helpless, gashes in their sides, musical duets, mandoline and guitar”
The Morning after the Night Before

“Sea, wind, leaves, thunder, waters, cows lowing, the cattlemarket, cocks, hens don't crow, snakes hissss. There's music everywhere”
Better Never Than Late

“they all write about some woman in their poetry well I suppose he wont find many like me where softly sighs of love the light guitar where poetry is in the air the blue sea and the moon shining so beautifully coming back on the nightboat from Tarifa the lighthouse at Europa point the guitar that fellow played was so expressive will I ever go back there again”
Alisa's Bridge

“—Leopoldo or the Bloom is on the Rye, Lenehan said.”
The Bloom is on the Rye
Bright Cap and Streamers

“It was like the paintings that man used to do on the pavement with all the coloured chalks and such a pity too leaving them there to be all blotted out, the evening and the clouds coming out and the Bailey light on Howth and to hear the music like that and the perfume of those incense they burned in the church like a kind of waft.”
Long Enough
1952 Vincent Black Lightning

“The human voice, two tiny silky chords, wonderful, more than all others.”
Land without nightingales

“Captain Moonlight, Captain Boycott, Dante Alighieri, Christopher Columbus, Andrew (Pisser) Burke"
“The void awaits surely all them that weave the wind: a menace, a disarming and a worsting from those embattled angels of the church, Michael's host, who defend her ever in the hour of conflict with their lances and their HUMAN shields.”

"Fabled by the daughters of memory. And yet it was in some way if not as memory fabled it. A phrase, then, of impatience, thud of Blake's wings of excess. I hear the ruin of all space, shattered glass and toppling masonry, and time one livid final flame. What's left us then?"