web analytics

The fat lady, singing

Saturday night was the last night of the Proms AKA Mr Robert Newman’s Promenade Concerts AKA The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts presented by the BBC AKA The BBC Proms.

In 1895, Robert Newman, manager of the Queen’s Hall in London, decided he would sucker the general public into liking highbrow music by offering a series of cheap but excellent concerts, starting with popular music and getting snootier by the day. One of those worthy Victorian deals.

Together with a conductor named Henry Wood, he put together a whole season’s worth of music (a shilling – 5p – for a single concert or £1.05 for the lot). There were Wagner nights and Beethoven nights and new music and young performers. People were allowed to eat and drink and smoke and mill around. It was an altogether superb idea, and it stuck.

Today’s Proms are eight weeks long (70 concerts this year!) and are held in the Royal Albert Hall (and on television, of course). They still feature new works and young performers (Wagner, not so much) and it’s still pretty informal.

At least, the last night was. That’s the bit everyone watches. The lefties have been trying to stick a sock in the last night of the Proms since forever, but they haven’t kilt it yet. They end the whole thing by dressing stupid and waving flags and blowing horns and singing patriotic songs and letting off fireworks. I mean, the audience, too.

This lady (here she is swinging an axe for some reason) led the crowd in Rule Brittania. And there was God Save the Queen and Land of Hope and Glory (we know that one as Pomp and Circumstance) and Jerusalem (Blake’s schitzy vision of Jesus walking around England).

Not just in the packed Albert Hall, but there was a crowd of something like 300,000 crammed into Hyde Park listening in, too. It did me a world of good to see all those happy, pasty faces waving flags and singing their little Limey hearts out.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 12, 2011, 9:32 pm

Also, a bit of a buffer for September 11. I hate that day. I hate the remembrances (I watch them, of course). I hate the vividness of the memory. I’m grateful the 10th anniversary landed on a Sunday and I didn’t have to blog (I really, really hate blogging it).

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 12, 2011, 9:33 pm

Also on the last night of the Proms there was a Chinese pianist named Lang Lang. So I got to make many delightful jokes about him eating bamboo shoots with his toes.

Comment from Mitchell
Time: September 12, 2011, 10:26 pm

OT, but badger related: Gordon Ramsay Porn Dwarf Dead In Badger Lair.

Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: September 12, 2011, 10:33 pm

I’m glad all you limeys haven’t totally lost touch with Western greatness. 🙂

And don’t be dissin’ Wagner, England…every adult should listen to him from time to time, if only to reacquaint him/herself with cartoon music. Okay, AND some of the most labyrinthine music ever composed. It’s like reading Hawthorne and his ilk–you hate it but it’s good fer ya. It gives you grown-up cred, young composers notwithstanding.

Comment from Mark T
Time: September 12, 2011, 10:50 pm

I think I may have touted this already. The BBC special Stephen Fry: Wagner & Me is excellent–and so timely to this discussion. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00wpvb2 Unfortunately, the documentary is in limbo right now because of programming availability stuff. He explores all of it–Hitler’s relationship, the British revulsion/love thing, the German media’s use of Wagner as propaganda–heh–all of it. He also incorporates how his research and journey have changed himself–S Fry is Jewish. One of the best documentaries I’ve seen this year!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 12, 2011, 10:51 pm

Making a comeback. The lady in the wingèd hat is apparently a Wagner specialist (though all the symbols on her ‘armor’ represent different parts of the UK).

You can guess when and why Wagner went out of fashion here.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: September 12, 2011, 11:05 pm

Knuckle bone, anyone?

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: September 13, 2011, 1:23 am

Ms. Weasel, your description reminded me of Victor Borge. He had some funny stuff.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: September 13, 2011, 1:37 am


Sorry, I grew up on Looney Tunes cartoons. Elmer and Buggs doing Wagner was always one of my favorites…. 🙂


Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: September 13, 2011, 2:51 am

Yep! That’s where I first heard a lot of classical music. 🙂

Comment from Oceania
Time: September 13, 2011, 2:53 am

So Scube, have you worked out how WTC7 fell over by itself yet? And where is the ‘missing’ footage of the plane into the Pentagon?

Comment from catnip
Time: September 13, 2011, 3:40 am

Yeah, Scube, cuz if Oceania hasn’t seen the footage, it wasn’t a plane that hit the Pentagon. No matter that there actually is footage of the plane (aired again yesterday), as well as many eyewitnesses, also plane parts salvaged from the wreckage.

WTC7 was destroyed by HAARP, with the cooperation of extraterrestrial termites.

Comment from OldYank
Time: September 13, 2011, 4:11 am

They’re still doing that, huh? Kinda like reliving their finest hour. It was fun to watch, though. I think the oldies but goodies come out (Jerusalem, Hope and Glory) whenever their is an ample intake of something to looseng the tongue (or whatever). Sentimental, but catchy.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: September 13, 2011, 5:57 am

Victor Borge was a hoot!

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: September 13, 2011, 8:38 am


Sorry, didn’t feel like resisting that one… 😉

Flashy/Oceania is nothing if not repetitive…

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: September 13, 2011, 8:40 am

I beg your pardon, Catnip, but it was OBVIOUSLY the will of Cthuluthu that brought down WTC7.

The Pentagon, on the other hand was obviously caused by a Care Bear fart.

Comment from Pupster
Time: September 13, 2011, 12:03 pm

Racist Truther Troll?

Quite the trifecta.

Comment from some vegetable
Time: September 13, 2011, 12:12 pm

Whenever I listen to Wagner it reminds me that most recreational drugs were legal in those days

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 13, 2011, 12:20 pm

Hey, I only have the one troll, Pups. He’s got to cover a lot of bases.

Comment from Blast Hardcheese
Time: September 13, 2011, 1:41 pm

What charming behavior will our troll show next? My money’s on Moon Landing Conspiracy.

I always thought it was the Halliburton Hurricane Machine (TM) that took down WTC7.

Comment from ermine
Time: September 13, 2011, 2:13 pm

vaguely related comment: The Rackham illustrations for Wagners Ring are some of his best imho.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: September 13, 2011, 3:48 pm

Not to go off-topic, since y’all know I’d NEVER do anything like that, but what’s with this Dead Pool of the Immortals? Throughout your country, dick makers are losing their jobs because you can’t declare a winner! Maybe it’s God’s way of punishing you for disallowing the Death Row pick…

Comment from MIke C.
Time: September 13, 2011, 4:06 pm

“Wagner is better than he sounds.”

Mark Twain

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 13, 2011, 5:39 pm

Actually, Aunty’s Spotted Dick is made in New Zealand. So it’s the dick makers of Oceania that are hurting.

I’m thinking about renting out the Dead Pool as an immortality policy.

(ermine: absoLUTEly some of my favorite Rackham).

Comment from Deborah
Time: September 13, 2011, 5:41 pm

I have to disagree with Mark Twain and Mike C

Wagner sounds much better than the way it looks. I greatly prefer to listen to Wagner and skip watching the operas. I saw “Götterdämmerung” in person, and after five hours I was ready to kill everyone (and the wabbit) except for the glorious Metropolitan Opera ORCHESTRA and James Levine.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: September 13, 2011, 6:09 pm

OK, SWeas. I remember now. Never mind. I guess this means that their sheep aren’t quite so lonely any more…

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: September 13, 2011, 7:08 pm

I’m with Rossini: “Wagner is a composer who has beautiful moments but awful quarter hours”

Oh… and today’s hot tip. Oceania is the chief raisin supervisor at the Auntie’s Spotted Dick factory, in NZ. You read it here.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: September 13, 2011, 8:15 pm

So UB, what you’re saying is that he’s the guy who pulls the wings off the flies that then become “raisins”?

Comment from Christophyer Taylor
Time: September 13, 2011, 8:26 pm

Actually Jerusalem is not really about Jesus at all, its about the belief that some separatists had in that they’d transform England into a paradise on earth, a beautiful place of glorious Christendom through their hard work and theology. The “dark satanic mills” refer to the colleges and universities which were a strong force against Christianity and especially puritan theology at the time. There are some strains of post-millennial Christians around today that have that sort of perspective about the US or the world under Christians in general.

Still, its a pretty song.

Comment from Oceania
Time: September 14, 2011, 12:06 am

Of course the Apollo landings are real – what is wrong with you people? Are you all conspiracy theory nuts?

I have a mate with the titanium tubular leg of one of the lunar probes that was diassembled and brought back to Earth for analysis.
He found it in the trash bin in the 1980’s at NASA …. the only piece of material sent by man to another Sphere and returned by separate means.

As for WTC7, that building appears to have fallen over by itself. Of course, you Americans all have ALL seen the footage of the passenger plane flying into the Pentagon – haven’t you? Please point it out on Youtube for me?

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: September 14, 2011, 9:01 pm

If its not on Youtube, its not real!

Comment from Richard
Time: September 14, 2011, 10:26 pm

In 2001 the Star Spangled Banner was played, in an unprecedented tribute to America and a symbol of our partnership with you guys. Made me rather tearful, have had rather a soft spot for the former colony since well before I learnt to fly over there.

“Still, its a pretty song.”

Indeed, and since Blake was a complete fruitloop,therefore protected by act of Parliament from discrimination as mentally disabled, his genius for poetry and art entitle us to forgive him anything.

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: September 15, 2011, 2:26 am

Richard: Mind you, we swiped the tune from you folks in the first instance: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_Anacreon_in_Heaven

(At one time in my teens I actually knew most of the lyrics of “To Anacreon in Heaven.” Sad, but true.)

Which, given the near inability of any ordinary citizen to sing the damned tune, does not place us nearly so much in your debt as one might think.

Comment from Oceania
Time: September 16, 2011, 5:25 am

So – no one has seen the footage of the aircraft ploughing into the Pentagon?

Dear God! Didn’t the 9/11 Committe investigate that?

Write a comment

(as if I cared)

(yeah. I'm going to write)

(oooo! you have a website?)

Beware: more than one link in a comment is apt to earn you a trip to the spam filter, where you will remain -- cold, frightened and alone -- until I remember to clean the trap. But, hey, without Akismet, we'd be up to our asses in...well, ass porn, mostly.

<< carry me back to ol' virginny