Wednesday, July 02, 2003

library hauls

The sole bright spot in the otherwise bleak wet yesterday was another trip to the library -- I was clearly not satisfied with picking up a book on UML-based project management (Does the heavy dependence on Microsoft software mean that Project Managers are sold on bad bloated software?). Grabbed two DVDs: Traffik volume II (the TV mini-series that seeded Soderbergh's movie) and Fawlty Towers volume III and Six and Violence (being volume VI of the compilations of Monty Python skits). Then there's Jazz Noir by David Butler (more about that in a moment). And Song Review, a 2-CD compilation of Stevie Wonder hits. And finally, a very very interesting CD (Pro Arte CDD-120. Made in Japan!) featuring recordings of the Cantilena Chamber Players. The track of interest is Round a common centre, a tonal commision piece by Lukas Foss, featuring Yehudi Menuhin on violin, Elaine Bonazzi (mezzo soprano), and Orson Welles (reading "The Runner", a little-known poem by W H Auden). This track premiered at the 1980 Winter Olympics. Historical importance aside, it's great to hear the familiar voice. Another item in the ongoing obsession with all Welles-media.

Jazz Noir by David Butler, is an extended version of his PhD thesis. The book explores the reasons for the incorrect widespread belief that jazz and film noir were entwined during the 1940s and 1950s, that the shadows cast by one were inescapably echoed in the sounds of the other. Butler also examines the racial myths and ideologies that drove the use of jazz in American film. So far, it has been a very lucid (that's saying a lot for academic literature!) read and has a splendid collection of references. It's a welcome addition to a list of interesting books on this fascinating genre of film.

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