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Paul Simon BBC4 last night

GUEST,Eliza 01 Sep 12 - 05:11 AM
Nigel Paterson 01 Sep 12 - 07:41 AM
theleveller 01 Sep 12 - 07:54 AM
GUEST,Charles Macfarlane 01 Sep 12 - 08:02 AM
GUEST,Charles Macfarlane 01 Sep 12 - 08:13 AM
theleveller 01 Sep 12 - 08:18 AM
Will Fly 01 Sep 12 - 09:16 AM
GUEST,Eliza 01 Sep 12 - 01:40 PM
GUEST,Eliza 01 Sep 12 - 01:47 PM
GUEST,sturgeon 01 Sep 12 - 02:07 PM
GUEST,Eliza 01 Sep 12 - 02:23 PM
GUEST,sturgeon 01 Sep 12 - 02:35 PM
GUEST,Eliza 01 Sep 12 - 02:54 PM
GUEST,Charles Macfarlane 01 Sep 12 - 05:39 PM
Marje 01 Sep 12 - 05:46 PM
GUEST,Eliza 01 Sep 12 - 06:23 PM
Leadfingers 01 Sep 12 - 06:54 PM
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Subject: Paul Simon BBC4 last night
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 05:11 AM

Watched this documentary with enormous pleasure. His involvement with South African artistes such as Ladysmith Black Mombasa and Miriam Makeba in the eighties was sincerely and lovingly intended, but drew intense reactions from ANC and the anti-apartheid movement as a betrayal of the sanctions imposed. I had no idea (being ignorant!) of the Graceland album and the work that went into producing it. Wonderful music, skilful interweaving of two different cultures, and Paul seemed a tremendously enlightened, compassionate and inspired person. Did anyone else watch it and if so, what did you make of it?


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Subject: RE: Paul Simon BBC4 last night
From: Nigel Paterson
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 07:41 AM

Missed it...Damn! I got to know Paul very well when he first came to the UK in the 60s. I would echo your words: 'enlightened, compassionate & inspired'. As obvious then as it still is today.
                                                Nigel Paterson.


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Subject: RE: Paul Simon BBC4 last night
From: theleveller
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 07:54 AM

I enjoyed the programme but, having lived in (and been thrown out of) South Africa in the mid-70s, I know that the political situation was much more complex than was shown. Although Paul Simon may have had the best of intentions, he did not understand what was happening in the country and could have put the musicians in grave danger both from the SA authorities and from ANC supporters who were 'necklacing' people who they thought were not supporting the struggle.

It is, however, a great album.


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Subject: RE: Paul Simon BBC4 last night
From: GUEST,Charles Macfarlane
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 08:02 AM

I too would echo those words above.

Graceland was a favourite LP at the time, and the music has lasted well enough to survive the great vinyl throw out, through my buying the CD.

I've been an admirer of a great deal of Paul Simon's work ever since I first heard "The Paul Simon Song Book" LP, which someone had at school, and which I immediately went out and bought for myself. Then came his enormous success with Art Garfunkel, and subsequent solo hits like "Slip Sliding Away", IMO one of the best contemporary songs that has ever been written. Then he seemed to drop out of the limelight for a while, until Graceland, which was a phenomenon.

Yes, there was some controversy at the time, but although I boycotted Barclays Bank, South African fruit and vegetables, and South African sport, as Paul Simon was so obviously bringing the music of black South Africa to a wider world, and thereby benefitting the people concerned, and giving them a platform which showed their culture to be so much more than claimed for them by white supremacists, I thought then and still think that those who attacked Paul were wrong.


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Subject: RE: Paul Simon BBC4 last night
From: GUEST,Charles Macfarlane
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 08:13 AM

> From: theleveller
>
> I enjoyed the programme but, having lived in (and been thrown out of) South Africa in the mid-70s, I know that the political situation was much more complex than was shown.

Doubtless. TV today is always a very simplistic medium which shies away from trying to present faithfully life's complexities.

> Although Paul Simon may have had the best of intentions, he did not understand what was happening in the country and could have put the musicians in grave danger both from the SA authorities and from ANC supporters who were 'necklacing' people who they thought were not supporting the struggle.

IIRC, 'necklacing' was putting an old car tyre filled with petrol around their necks and setting fire to it! An appalling thing to do to anyone, whoever the victim, and whatever they had done to 'deserve' it.

Probably only the musicians themselves know exactly how much danger they were in, but however much it was, thankfully it doesn't seem to have deterred them from participating, from which I would guess that they felt it was not much. As a reward for their courage and talent, they had the honour of featuring on one of the greatest, most innovative albums of the 20th C.


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Subject: RE: Paul Simon BBC4 last night
From: theleveller
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 08:18 AM

"Probably only the musicians themselves know exactly how much danger they were in"

Am I right in thinking that some ended up in exile in Botswana?


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Subject: RE: Paul Simon BBC4 last night
From: Will Fly
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 09:16 AM

Well, most of them appeared on the "Graceland" concert (available on DVD), which played in Zimbabwe. The concert featured Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela - both in exile at the time - so it's highly likely that others were also living outside SA.


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Subject: RE: Paul Simon BBC4 last night
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 01:40 PM

I was reminded while watching the programme of the group 'Baka Beyond' which unites Baka (formerly Pygmy) traditional music and several western styles including Scots/Irish fiddle music. An unlikely but very successful amalgam. I have several of their CDs. It's very interesting to hear two (or more) traditions joining forces like this. Are there any others?


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Subject: RE: Paul Simon BBC4 last night
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 01:47 PM

By the way, I was chatting two weeks ago to a man in his seventies who was here on a visit from South Africa. He was terribly scathing about 'The Bleks' (as he pronounced it) and inferred that they were feckless, lazy and dangerous, and were ruining 'his' country. He said he used to be a big farmer out there and had had several 'house boys' (his words) who for a few pennies would do all the work in and around his property. I was astonished and disgusted that such an attitude still prevails out there. Maybe he was a one-off. He was incredibly racist. I didn't tell him my husband is a negro from West Africa. I just listened, grinding my teeth, while he took enough rope to hang himself!


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Subject: RE: Paul Simon BBC4 last night
From: GUEST,sturgeon
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 02:07 PM

'Ladysmith Black Mombasa' - who they?

Do you mean Ladysmith Black Mambazo?

Flipping heck, Eliza, don't you think it's rather racist to refer to your husband as 'a negro from West Africa'?

But then again, you're probably NFN.


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Subject: RE: Paul Simon BBC4 last night
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 02:23 PM

Quite correct, Sturgeon, I don't know why 'Mombasa' stuck in my head!
And my husband IS a negro. What's wrong with that? It's a race, just as Caucasian is. And what please does NFN refer to? I'm not familiar with it.


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Subject: RE: Paul Simon BBC4 last night
From: GUEST,sturgeon
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 02:35 PM

Eliza, you clearly don't understand the concept of race. You've defined him by his colour, to begin with, rather than by his nationality. That should get you started on what will probably be a very long road to awareness.

NFN=Normal for Norfolk - as used extensively by NHS staff in the county.


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Subject: RE: Paul Simon BBC4 last night
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 02:54 PM

Rubbish! There are black people of many races. Colour isn't the same as race. Negro describes exactly what he is. His country wouldn't tell you anything, as there are white people in Ivory Coast too. 'A very long road to awareness'?? You sound as though you feel you are well along that road, whereas I am not. However, in seventy years I have probably had more experience of African people than you've had hot dinners. I have countless friends in Senegal, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Gambia. I have seen and loved more African culture than you could possibly imagine. I love my NEGRO husband dearly and indeed all his family, my in-laws. They call me the Toubabe (ie the white lady) but that's not racist either, just a fact. Anyone less racist than myself would be impossible to find. I also love Norfolk and the folk who live here. If I'm Normal for Norfolk, I'm very proud, as although not born in this county I've lived here for forty years.


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Subject: RE: Paul Simon BBC4 last night
From: GUEST,Charles Macfarlane
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 05:39 PM

> From: GUEST,sturgeon
>
> NFN.

Typical hypocrisy, you come over all PC against Eliza for her using a term like negro perfectly within it's non-racist meaning, and then yourself use a far more pejorative stereotype like 'NFN'.

'Thinking', so-called, in terms of stereotypes - whether of race, religion, age, sex, NFN, or whatever - is not really thinking at all; it's exactly the opposite, it's a cop-out from thinking. It's not being arsed to think. It has no place in a rational discussion about the world.

> From: GUEST,Eliza
>
> By the way, I was chatting two weeks ago to a man in his seventies who was here on a visit from South Africa. He was terribly scathing about 'The Bleks' (as he pronounced it) and inferred that they were feckless, lazy and dangerous, and were ruining 'his' country. He said he used to be a big farmer out there and had had several 'house boys' (his words) who for a few pennies would do all the work in and around his property. I was astonished and disgusted that such an attitude still prevails out there. Maybe he was a one-off. He was incredibly racist.

I fear not. Back in '79/'80, I was at a UK agricultural college, and there were a number of white colonial students there, who were almost to a man repulsively racist. They wouldn't sit next to any of the black students from African countries, and, if there were no other seats left when a late black arrival came, so that (s)he had to try and sit on the end of their bench, they'd abuse them with the usual terminology. (What was particularly deplorable about this was that the lecturers, who were in a position of authority, did little about it, while us English people, though mostly deploring it, were also mostly too embarrassed to do anything more than shuffle up to make room for them on our benches and apologise for 'these people').

On the one occasion I tried to get the colonials into a rational debate on the subject, they claimed: "Blacks are all lazy and ignorant!" I said: "Starting with the latter, whose been in charge of their education for the last 30 or however many years?" Naturally, they had no rational reply to this sort of argument, and soon resorted to terms of abuse like: "Nigger lover!"

In short, they were sh*ts.


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Subject: RE: Paul Simon BBC4 last night
From: Marje
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 05:46 PM

Eliza, I thought you made your meaning perfectly clear when you described your husband, and the disparaging comments about Norfolk show you how little regard you should have for that poster's views.

You asked if there were other musical fusions like this. You might be interested in the Afro Celt Sound System, which brings together the unlikely partners of African and Irish music, and includes the vocals of the initmitable Iarla O'Lionaird.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Paul Simon BBC4 last night
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 06:23 PM

Thank you very much Charles and Marje for your supportive comments. It's very sad Charles to learn that those attitudes still pertain in SA. How can people be so insulting and cruel to fellow human beings? It's no wonder really that there is so much violence from the townships, I should think the people have had enough oppression and injustice.
Marje, I'm thrilled to learn of the Afro-Irish link in music by the Afro Celt Sound System. I'm half Irish, as my mother was from Cork. I'll be looking into that over the weekend!


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Subject: RE: Paul Simon BBC4 last night
From: Leadfingers
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 06:54 PM

Eliza - Our Fishy Guest seems to have a habit of posting predominately negative comments in here ! Ignore Him !


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