Posts Tagged ‘rhyme’

Richard Thompson’s Lovely 1952 Vincent Black Lightning

13 February 2015
Richard Thompson Rumor and Sigh album cover via Wikipedia

Richard Thompson Rumor and Sigh album cover via Wikipedia

I don’t usual post popular musical stuff at this blog, but my wife and I were driving (yes, driving) last week, and a Richard Thompson song (I Feel So Good) came on the radio, I think KCRW. We both started talking about Richard Thompson, who she’s seen live, and how much we liked his 1991 album “Rumor and Sigh.”

Especially the song 1952 Vincent Black Lightning. (Video below)

So, this being the 21st century, I found a recording of it on youtube. It brought tears to my eyes to listen.

I am a bicyclist… with little to no affinity for motorcycles… but this song still really appeals – love, tragedy, a sweet humanly-strained vocal, arranged very simply, and plenty of clever rhymes including this, slightly awkward, slightly wonderful one:

that’s a fine motorbike
a girl could feel special on any such like

I like that the policeman ultimately looks out for the dying outlaw, too – in that the police sergeant contacts his wife when he’s dying.  (more…)

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Annotating Splash Brannigan’s Shenanigans

13 October 2014
Splash Brannigan detail from cover of Tomorrow Stories No. 11, art by Hilary Barta

Splash Brannigan detail from cover of Tomorrow Stories No. 11, art by Hilary Barta

He’s the drip with quip! The ink who can think! The stain with a brain! Now, even his dalmatians have annotations!

I am, of course, talking about the comic book superhero Splash Brannigan. Created by writer Alan Moore and artist Hilary Barta.

I’ve recently had some time on my hands while my wife and daughter are out of town, so I re-read a bunch of Alan Moore comics. I wrote these earlier posts about Moore (or at least touching on some aspect of his oeuvre.) He’s certainly among my top dozen favorite comics creators, alongside Craig Thompson, Mike Mignola, Alison Bechdel, Dupuy/Berberian… yikes! I am not going to finish that list for fear of excluding great folks I enjoy.

Patient souls have already annotated Moore’s most highly Easter Egg laden series: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Top Ten. There are more annotations on-line for Swamp Thing, Promethea, 1963, etc. etc., and From Hell is printed with 66 pages of great explanatory appendices.

I love reading Alan Moore annotations and re-reading the comics seeing all kinds of clever twists I’ve missed. One of the great things about Moore’s work is that it is very honestly and very cleverly very derivative. He swims in culture, and self-consciously and richly mixes and mashes it up to form new stories which pay tribute to and shed light on older works. Like pretty much all great art, it’s easy enough to enjoy with a surface understanding, and then repeated experiences reveal additional layers and details missed earlier.

An earlier re-read of annotations of Moore’s 1963 got me thinking about multi-panel polyptichs in comics. That reveal led me to compiling my listing of notable and obscure comics multi-pans from 1906 to 2003.

I figured I would try my hand at annotating some Alan Moore work. Something that hadn’t been annotated yet.

There are still lots of great works to chose from… but I ended up picking Splash Brannigan. Mostly because each Splash appearance is a sort of tribute to some subject: art, comic fandom, music, early animation, detective fiction, etc. some of which I have decent knowledge of. I think Splash may be Moore’s most highly-referential comic that hasn’t yet been annotated… but I may just be missing references in Lost Girls or Cobweb or Miracleman. And I already owned a copy of every comic where Splash appeared. And I think most Splash stories are still fairly easily available in ‘compendium editions’, unlike hard-to-find Moore classics including American Flagg! back-up stories, or Brought to Light.

WWSBS? How about “Hey! Where’s the love?”  (more…)

Very Serious Nonsense

21 November 2013

We’ve been enjoying reading books to our now nearly 4-month old daughter Maeve. Maeve clearly doesn’t fully understand what we’re reading, but it does keep her attention most of the time. I hope it makes here comfortable with and interested in books. And I can only improvise, count and narrate so much, so having books to read out loud is good.

What I am enjoying reading most is Dr. Seuss, pen name of Ted Geisel Having a chance to go back and read and re-read stuff out loud has been fun. The incessant rhymes are great – my favorite lately: “a muddle puddle tweetle poodle beetle noodle bottle paddle battle” – not quite Sondheim, but great rhyming that deserves to be said out loud over and over. What I am also enjoying is picking up on some of Seuss’ social commentary.  (more…)

Sondheim Rhyme: Sublime

20 August 2011

As I wrote about here, I’ve listening to a fair amount of Stephen Sondheim… and more you listen to Sondheim, the more his genius kind of sinks in. Like other great art, repeated listenings just get deeper and stronger. The first time I hear a Sondheim piece, I can get the basic gist, and I may like it – especially when it’s performed in a musical. I admit that, sometimes, hearing a piece for the first time, without knowing any of the plot that it hangs on and is completely integral to, it can be more difficult to appreciate. The first time I heard the soundtrack to Sunday in the Park with George, I didn’t get it… and now it seems like it’s part of the fiber of my being.

It’s repeated those listenings and viewings that deepen one’s appreciation for Sondheims work. It sounds deceptively simple… but then there are huge underlying complexities… both musically and in the rhymes. I am not a musician, so I can’t explain the musical textures (maybe watch this NY Times video to get a wonderful taste of it), but lately I’ve been thinking about the way Sondheim rhymes.

When my mom, the biggest Sondheim fan of my life, was in the hospital, I was thinking about her, cruising Youtube for Sondheim, I came across this 2010 PBS Newshour video:

Starting at minute 9 in the video, Sondheim talks about rhyming things based not just on sound but also spelling! This is something I’ve never thought of… isn’t rhyme just about sound? Isn’t that the definition? Sondheim says that he prefers rhymes that are spelled differently, because they surprise. The examples that he uses in the video is that “suffer” and “rougher” is a better or richer rhyme than “rougher” and “tougher.” The other example Sondheim cites is rhyming “journal” and “colonel.”  (more…)