Me Me Me
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‘The Smithfield Decretals’ (Decretals of Gregory IX with glossa ordinaria), Tolouse ca. 1300, illuminations added in London ca. 1340.
British Library, Royal 10 E IV, fol. 107r
Would so love to lead a charge of medieval battlesnails into combat.
Shout-out whoever is playing bass on this Lee Hazlewood track (anonymous German studio hireling?)
The glow of an atomic bomb test draws Las Vegas casino workers, March 1953.Photograph by Volkmar K. Wenztel, National Geographic
Davy Graham performing “She Moved Through the Fair” on the UK television show “Hullabaloo,” c. 1963.
“Punctuated equilibrium” is a theory of evolution which maintains that changes in species don’t happen slowly and steadily over eons, but through sudden, discontinuous leaps, followed by stasis.
In the world of British folk rock, Davy Graham’s voicing of “She Moved Through the Fair” was a puncture in the equilibrium. Graham had traveled the hippie drug route to North Africa and the Middle East well before his compatriots, bringing back a detached view of life, as well as the guitar fingerboard. Exposure to the oud and other traditional stringed instruments also led him to fool with the tuning of his own - this song he plays in DADGAD, common now but so unusual at the time that fellow British guitarists were mystified.
Of course it’s more than the tuning on display here. Apologies for the poor sound (this must be the best available, cause even the BBC has used a snippet of the same footage with just as wobbly a soundtrack) - but to watch Graham perform this with his characteristic intensity (whether from concentration, drugs, the poor sight in his right eye, or simply genius), is like miraculously witnessing one of those rare instants of evolutionary change.
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