Friday on my Mind 171: (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman – RIP Aretha Franklin

Another giant of 60s (and later) music has gone.

Aretha Franklin was undoubtedly the best purveyor of the branch of music she excelled in. Not for nothing was she known as the Queen of Soul.

(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman wasn’t a hit in Britain. I’m not sure if it was ever released as one in the UK but her expression in this recording is the epitome of soul.

Aretha Franklin: (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman

Her biggest solo hit in the UK in terms of chart placing was actually I Say a Little Prayer, in 1968:-

Aretha Franklin: I Say a Little Prayer

But only one word suffices to describe her achievements.

Respect.

Aretha Louise Franklin: 25/3/1942 – 16/8/2018. So it goes.

Crook of Devon War Memorial

Crook of Devon is a village in Perth and Kinross, Scotland.
Its War Memorial is a stone slab with carved decoration over a brick and sandstone foundation bearing the names of the war dead, which stands at the east end of the village.

Crook of Devon War Memorial 1

Inscription. “1914 1918. In memory of those who fell.”

Crook of Devon War Memorial Inscription

Names to left:-

Names on Crook of Devon War Memorial

Names to right:-

More Names on Crook of Devon War Memorial

Emil Nolde: Colour is Life

The art exhibition with the above title is on at ModernTwo (The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art,) Edinburgh until 21/10/2018.

Nolde was born in a part of Germany that became Danish after a plebiscite in 1920 (though had presumably been Danish before the war of 1864) thought of himself as German yet retained Danish citizenship.

I noticed at the entrance that the gallery felt it had to emphasise it in no way endorsed Nolde’s anti-semitic views.

Despite those views and his membership of the Nazi party Nolde’s works were the single most withdrawn from museums by the Nazis (1,052 works) and the most represented in their Degenerate Art (Entartete Kunst) Exhibition, which managed to draw huge crowds – some of whom were quite enthusiastic about the contents.

I found myself not knowing quite what to make of Colour is Life. Some of the paintings were undoubtedly grotesque like Paradise Lost, Adam and Eve after expulsion from the Garden of Eden

Paradise Lost Emil Nolde

and his Immaculate Conception (which I cannot find an example of to embed here) showing the mother of Jesus in an attitude of ecstasy as the Holy Spirit hovers nearby is in a similar style only more so.

Others are reminiscent of Toulouse-Lautrec posters, only more garish:-

On the other hand some of his pen and ink drawings reminded me of the Rembrandt ones in the exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery.

His depiction of the sails in one of his paintings of junks looked like Japanese calligraphy. I’m not sure I’ve found the exact match, the original image of the one below is apparently copyright so this is only a thumbnail:-

Junks with Full Sails

This is a more colourful version of a similar subject:-

Junks (Red) Emil Nolde

The introductory video from the exhibition’s web page is also on YouTube:-

The Story of Ragged Robyn by Oliver Onions

Penguin, 1954, 200 p. First published 1945.

The Story of Ragged Robyn cover

This is a historical novel set sometime after or during the Commonwealth in which Robyn Skyrme has grown up on a farm in Unthank, not knowing who his mother was. One night he is seized upon by a gang of masked robbers, told to bring the farm’s four best horses to a certain place and not to breathe a word to anyone or else suffer the consequences. In the presence of his father he whisper his dilemma to his horse, leading to the robbers’ plans being thwarted. The shadow of this incident, for a long time backgrounded, is however really never far from Robin for the duration of the book. The other main thread is his fascination for the visiting girl he glimpsed on a trip to the church in nearby Mixton.

Not long later, on reaching the cusp of manhood the man he thought was his father tells him his real father is dead and he is in fact Robyn’s uncle but that Robyn will still inherit the farm. This puts Robyn in a spin and he resolves to leave and make his own way in the world, partly to avoid the reprisals the bandits promised.

On the road Robyn falls in with Hendryk Maas, a stonemason with wide experience in Germany, the Netherlands and Brabant but who has contempt for the guilds and all they stand for (and who finds work more difficult to secure as a result.) Robyn becomes his apprentice. They eventually end up with a job at a house called Maske. It is here that a coincidence appears, leading to a tale of star-crossed lovers and the impossibility of crossing class boundaries. This throws Robyn back onto the road and on to his destiny.

Onions certainly wrote well, he evokes his milieu with convincing verisimilitude. The Story of Ragged Robyn is a chronicle of one of those quiet lives lived to the best of someone’s ability – but no less worthy of record for that. It is a little Hardy-esque in its dénouement, though.

Pedant’s corner:- “his handful of books were in” (his handful … was in,) Sim Dacres’ (Dacres’s,) a missing comma before a piece of direct speech (x 2,) bye and bye (by and by,) I have never seen chidden as the past participle of chide before but – fair do’s – I doubt I’ve seen anything as a past participle of chide before, a missing start quote mark before a piece of direct speech, “when the master-mason shook their heads” (master-masons.)

Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld

Home of Clyde F C (and also of Cumbernauld Colts F C.)

From west (away) car park:-

Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld From West Car Park

Main and south stands from east (home) car park:-

Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld, Main and South Stands

Main stand from north-east (stitched photo):-

Broadwood Stadium, Mainstand (Stitch)

West stand from main stand:-

West Stand, Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld

South stand from main stand, part of west stand to right:-

South Stand, Broadwood Stadium

View along main stand towards south stand:-

View Along Main Stand, Broadwood Stadium

There is no stand at the north end of Broadwood Stadium. In that it resembles the west end of Kilbowie Park, once the home of Clydebank F C, which housed the social club.

It’s not quite so stark as the east end of Firs Park, Falkirk, which had a concrete wall built to stop the ball ending up on an access road when a retail park was built on the ground’s west side.

North end, Broadwood Stadium:-

North End, Broadwood Stadium

V S Naipaul

I note the passing of V S Naipaul, whose Guardian obituary is here.

His work seems to be highly regarded but he is one of those authors to whom I have never got round so I am in no position to say. Nevertheless a Nobel Prize is not to be sniffed at.

It does seem though, as is mentioned in the obituary in the link, that in his personal life he was less than saintly, to put it mildly.

Buchlyvie War Memorial

Buchlyvie is a village on the A 811 between Balloch, at the foot of Loch Lomond, and Stirling. Its War Memorial is at the eastern end of the main street in a small enclosed space.

Buchlyvie War Memorial

Below the granite cross surmounting the memorial is a wreath enclosing the dates “1914 1919” and covering a sword crossed with a rifle.

Then the inscription, “In honoured memory of the men of Buchlyvie and District who fell in the war,” followed by 24 names.

Lower inscription, “Greater love hath no man than this; that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Lower addition: “World War 1939 1945,” surrounds the two names David Duff and William Irvine.

Buchlyvie War Memorial Closer View

Winter’s Tales 27 Edited by Edward Leeson

Macmillan, 1981, 187 p.

Winter's Tales 27 cover

I read this because it was recommended (and loaned) to me by Guardian reviewer Eric Brown as containing a very good non-SF story written by 1960s and 70s British SF stalwart John Brunner. It does and it is. There is also a story by once (and now again) SF author – and reviewer for the Guardian – M John Harrison.
Letting the Birds Go Free by Philip Oakes is narrated by the son of a farmer whose eggs are being stolen. They both confront the culprit but then offer him employment. He is, though, a deserter from the Army unwilling to be sent back to Northern Ireland.
Another first person narration, Things by V S Pritchett, is the tale of the sudden descent after years away of a wayward sister(-in-law) on a newly retired couple’s home.
Old Tom1 by Celia Dale relates the experiences and reminiscences of a down-and-out war veteran intercut with the administrations of a retired woman to an ageing cat.
In Flora’s Lame Duck by Harold Acton, Flora has taken under her wing a young Italian disfigured by polio. He becomes besotted with her but she is only waiting for the terminally ill wife of the man she loves to die before returning to the US to marry him.
Terence Wheeler’s Safe Wintering2 is narrated by an ex-sailor and describes the sequential (and contrasting) relationships another man in the town has with two women.
The Indian Girl3 by Giles Gordon is the tale of the narrator’s possibly hallucinatory experience while travelling from New Delhi to Amritsar by train.
A Mouthful of Gold4 John Brunner is another of those ‘as told to’ tales – this time in a London club for writers – concerning a particularly fine wine and the failure of a US flier shot down over Italy and hidden by the region’s inhabitants from the Germans to understand the nature of its secret ingredient.
Home Ownership5 by Murray Bail tells the story of a Brisbane house, growing old along with the man who lives there.
In Chemistry by Graham Swift a ten year-old child muses on the relationship between his widowed mother, his grandfather, his mother’s new lover and himself.
Egnaro by M John Harrison is the story of a bookseller/pornographer who is tantalised by the possibility of a mysterious land, Egnaro, found nowhere on the maps except by hint or exegesis, and the translation of this obsession to the narrator.
Birthday!6 by Fay Weldon concerns the marriage of two people, Molly and Mark, who had both been born on the same day and met on their twenty-eighth birthday. Words beginning with “m” dominate the text as does Molly’s belief in astrology. Another birthday, their fortieth, when Mark’s workmates descend on the family with a birthday video, bookends the story.
In Christmas with a Stranger by Leslie Thomas, a young man from the Welsh valleys uses the bit of money he has come into to visit London. On the train there he invents for himself a persona as a film director. In the city he meets a woman fashion designer, down from the north. They spend Christmas Day navigating a deserted London.

Pedant’s corner:- In the Editor’s Note; “full of strange, twists and turns” (unless strange here is a noun, that comma is unnecessary.) 1“if he don’t move” (this is the only verb in the piece not in standard English; doesn’t,) plimsoles (x 2, plimsolls.) 2the whole story is told in seaman’s language so contains instances of ungrammatical or other usages. Otherwise; laying (lying,) “farther gone that he had thought” (than,) a lay-in (lie-in.) 3mannaged (managed.) 4“there were only a couple of” (there was only a couple.) 5 “You-who!” (is normally Yoohoo!) 6silicone-chip (silicon,) sprung (sprang.)

More for Interzone

Another book for me to review for Interzone arrived today.

It is called Supercute Futures and was written by Martin Millar – born in Scotland but now living in London – and is said to be “a gloriously warped dystopian fantasy.”

The review ought to appear in Interzone 277.

I’ll need to get on to it straight away.

A Heron, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland

I captured this heron on the bank of the Kinness Burn at St Andrews harbour:-

A Heron, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland

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