Might be post-Halloween, but Diane Havens has us covered! Add in a touch of Lowell and the ever-present Tom Jones and we’ve rounded out the week AND the month, and started November properly.
Ghosts High Noon, by WS Gilbert
Read by Diane Havens
As a stage actor I spent many joyous hours with the plays of Gilbert and Sullivan. Such gorgeous music, witty dialogue and beautiful often humorous lyrics in that quintessentially period British way. This poem, the lyrics from a song in my all time favorite of the G&S operettas, Ruddigore, is a perfect choice for my Halloween posting this year. I sang the “haunting” refrain and laid it underneath the spoken track with the requisite touch of reverb.
The Bungler, by Amy Lowell
Read by Xe Sands
God but this sums up my experience in several areas. How often do we approach something with enthusiasm or passion – some overwhelming emotional response that makes us think running full tilt at it is the best way to approach (which is pretty much never true unless you’re getting a running start for a gymnastics routine, btw). Sometimes, you’re not running at at it all, you’re not. You’re approaching carefully, with love in your heart and your heart in your hands, and your hands open, and yet you still manage to ruin everything, like a yellow lab breaking something precious with his tail because he’s just so happy to be with you – a “destructive wag moment.”
Sometimes, I feel just like my old lab.
Tom Jones – Book 6, Chapter 9, by Henry Fielding
Read by Mark Turetsky
Book 6 Chapter 9 of Tom Jones.
This is part of an ongoing project in which I will record and post one chapter per week of Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones over the course of four years.
This chapter deals with the fallout of Squire Western’s learning that Sophia and Jones are in love. It contains about what you’d expect: Western vows to crush Jones, Sophia faints, Jones and Western unite over their love of Sophia, Western vows to crush Jones.
What’s truly amazing about this chapter is an extended analysis of the phrases “to kick one’s ass” and “to kiss one’s ass.” Yes, evidently, over 200 years ago, these two phrases were in use precisely as they are today. Someone threatens to kick someone else’s ass, or someone invites someone else to kiss their ass. Even the other meaning of kissing ass shows up, with Fielding claiming that in the city, everyone is always kissing someone’s ass, and without even being invited to do so.
Sometimes, things just jump out to us through history.