Well, I'm certainly not going to talk about how my first real paper that is not a sort of practice report is due tomorrow, how the argument is unclear and may in fact contain several buried crypto-arguments, none of which are sufficiently justified, how my ability to say anything new or relevant about Joseph Andrews seems somewhat questionable, how culling it down to seven pages is a Herculean task in itself as I could easily go on for twenty pages about all this without actually getting anywhere, how actually typing out the sentences is unexpectedly onerous and requires the surmounting of an enormous inhibition threshold because I am looking at each word, phrase, syntactical unit through the eyes of the professor and finding it puerile, pompous, wanting
Well, I'm certainly not going to talk about that.
R.E.M., Greek Theater, Fri 15 Oct. Everyone seems to agree that the new record is a sanded-off, adult-contemporary version of R.E.M., and certainly the new songs were not very exciting, but they played enough oldies to keep me happy. Especially since we were again using the expedient of camping out on the hill behind the auditorium in order to hear and "see" the show for free. I got "These Days," J. got "Cuyahoga," everyone got a few between-song speeches from Michael Stipe that seemed to have political content, though it wasn't clear where he was going with it. I suppose he didn't think Berkeley needed any convincing.
Billy Budd by Benjamin Britten, San Francisco Opera, Sun 17 Oct. Winston Churchill once described the Royal Navy as "rum, sodomy, and the lash," and indeed the gay theme was prominent enough to be completely obvious to us, while just eqiuvocal enough that your average retiree operagoer might have been able to convince himself or herself that something else was going on. I'm told that it's present enough in the Melville text as well, which I'll buyI haven't read it in ten years, and I certainly didn't get it at all when I was seventeen. "Why is Claggart so angry? Why does he keep talking about how handsome Billy is? It doesn't make any sense!" The libretto was not very subtle about the good/evil distinction (as I recall, neither was Melville) but the music was simply glorious, and can those men ever sing. The three main soloists were all superb, but I must also praise the chorus of "sailors, powder-monkeys, etc." whose massed voices sounded like avenging angels, and whose choreography was by turns inspiring and terrifying. Heave ho, me lads.