Everything old is new again

Tar and Feathers, is a disturbing novel in which the Ku Klux Klan, its principles and activities figure prominently. Based on real experiences, it was written by Victor Rubin and published in 1924 by Universal Press, Chicago.

From the jacket flap: “Out of the World War emerge four men who form the principal characters, the three friends – a Jew, a Catholic, a Protestant – and the Negro. How they meet the blind forces of injustice is vividly set forth and the problem that Hamilton solves in Tar and Feathers is the same problem that every other white, native born Protestant must answer for himself sooner or later. The book throws a clear, bright light on the place in American society of the Jew, the Catholic, the Negro and the Foreigner and for that reason it is perhaps not always pleasant reading, for some.”

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If you have ever gone to the woods with me

“Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore unsuitable… I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of praying, as you no doubt have yours… Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds, until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost unhearable sound of the roses singing… If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love you very much.”

Mary Oliver

 

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Human Nature

I know it’s a bit of a departure from our usual remit at TBTP, but I was excited to read about the upcoming release of a new recording from the late great Miles Davis. Just a few months before his death in 1991 Davis performed at France’s Vienne Jazz Festival with the Miles Davis Group. He had just been awarded knighthood in France’s Legion of Honor. The historic performance is finally being  released on Rhino next month. Merci Miles! Live at Vienne features a terrific setlist including Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” (see below) along with “Penetration” and “Jailbait,” written by Davis’s friend and collaborator Prince.

 

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Fore Edge Fridays

For the first Fore Edge Friday of the year, we have two volumes of the fifth edition of English writer and moralist Hannah More’s, Hints Towards Forming the Character of a Young Princess, printed in London for Thomas Cadell and William Davies in 1819. Each volume bears a fore-edge painting, or painting under gold. When fanned, the fore edge of volume one reveals a painting of Windsor Castle, while volume two bears a bucolic painting of Frogmore Cottage on the grounds of the royal Windsor estates, the former home of the current Duke and Duchess of Sussex before stepping down from royal duties and moving to North America.

The volumes are full-bound in green, blind-tooled, straight-grain Morocco, and are housed in a blue Morocco book-form, pull-off case (which has seen better days) made by the notable London bookbinders Sangorski & Sutcliffe for the J. W. Robinson Company, a southern California department store company which maintained a book department.

More often than not, the subjects of fore edge paintings, which were usually commissioned by the book owner, had little to do with the book’s content. In this case, however, the choice of royal residences seems appropriate for a book containing advice for a young princess.

 

 

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An Almost Complete Collection

I’ve been a fan of the always original science fiction works written by Philip K. Dick since I was a child. So I found the recently release Folio Society limited edition complete collection of 118 short stories intriguing. As usual, the Folio Society’s packaging and graphic design is beautiful. Check out the video below for more about the process.

Here’s what the publisher has to say about the project:

This limited edition of Philip K. Dick’s The Complete Short Stories, with 24 illustrations by 24 different artists, is a celebration of the freewheeling imagination of a science-fiction master. The Complete Short Stories is limited to 750 hand-numbered copies and presented in a special display box designed by independent studio La Boca. The bindings, endpapers, title pages, page edges – even the ribbon markers – are colour co-ordinated in a fabulous fluorescent rainbow. Each binding is emblazoned with an eye-catching symbol that is echoed on the relevant title page and spot-varnished on the two-part presentation box. The interior of the box itself is lined with two specially designed papers; a multi-coloured ‘glitch’ pattern, and a night sky sparkling with silver stars to reflect Dick’s fascination with the possibilities of space travel and technology.

The Complete Short Stories [Philip K. Dick / The Folio Society]

My only question is : what happened to the missing stories ? According to reliable sources, Dick wrote 121 short stories, yet the Complete collection only includes 118. I guess it’s fitting that even after death Dick is fueling mysteries.

 

 

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Not a bridge too far

The world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge has opened up high above the River Paiva in Arouca, Portugal. The bridge stretches for an incredible 516 meters (1,693 feet) across at an elevation of 175 meters (574 feet), offering picturesque views of the valley below. Inspired by the design of Inca bridges in the Andes, construction of the bridge began in May 2018, cost about 1.7 million euros ($2,050,000). The local government is hopeful that Ponte516 will attract more visitors to the area with this record-setting bridge.

I’m not in a hurry to cross the Ponte516. The longest pedestrian suspension bridge that I’ve walked is the Capilano Suspension Bridge in the District of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. That bridge is 140 meters (460 ft) long and 70 meters (230 ft) above the river and it swayed a little too much for me.

 

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Death is comprised of deep blue tortures

DEATH POEM ONE

Michael McClure

DEATH IS COMPRISED OF DEEP BLUE TORTURES
and filled with dark chocolate cake.
Birth has gone with the losses
of endless imagination.
A round brown leaf whirls at the tip
of a spider thread.

I
n

l
a
t
e

Winter
I will study
the whiteness of plum blossoms
and look for knots in an old trunk
at the edge of the forest fire
near some deer bones.

Today marks the first anniversary of the passing of the great American Beat poet Michael McClure.

 

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Literature plus Science

 

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Why a Duck

DELVAUX, Paul Viaduct

I first discovered the dreamy near Surrealist paintings of the Belgian artist Paul Delvaux at the Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique in Brussels many decades ago. I was particularly drawn to his works on trains and train stations. Delvaux was strongly attracted to the subject of trains and stations, which he returned to as subjects many times during his long career. Early on, he got into the habit of painting at the Gare du Luxembourg in Brussels. Later, he drew inspiration from the small local station in Boistfort, the borough of Brussels where he lived.

The Viaduct  (above) is an interesting work, because it covers in a single, very dense composition, all the elements which constitute the artist’s world: the suspended lamps found in local neighborhood, the slightly oneiric atmosphere of the stations at nightfall, and the train passing on a mysterious journey.

 

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Dawn Days of May

A year ago, in May 2020,the UK has been in lockdown for over a month leaving many people feeling isolated and anxious. Photographer Nick Pumphrey turned to the place where he where he felt safest — the sea. Every day for a month, he went down to the sea at dawn with his camera and began capturing precious moments. He then shared the experience by posting ten photos on Instagram with the hashtag #DawnDaysOfMay.  The moving film below by Greg Dennis is a window on that month a year ago.

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