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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:51 am
by rongould
This is the kind of game that can go on forever, but I'm surprised that no one has mentioned anybody in the "serious" or "classical" fields (sorry forgot Yo Yo Ma) but there are many, too many to name, great composers, conductors and players still alive. I'll just go with Harrison Birtwhistle for now, and Gavin Bryars and Michael Nyman as they happen to be fellow QPR fans.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:08 pm
by Nigel w
I found another quote which I think rather neatly describes what Charlie was driving at:

There are people who just hit a seam, they’re so good at what they do that you start to almost not appreciate it, because it’s like they just press a button and it pours out of them.

It's actually Danny Kelly talking about Jack White. But I think we could all adapt his words to a name of our own choosing.

Mine would not be Dylan or Neil Young, who are more mercurial - but it sums up everything I feel about Van Morrison.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 12:34 pm
by Charlie
Nigel w quoting Danny Kelly wrote:There are people who just hit a seam, they’re so good at what they do that you start to almost not appreciate it, because it’s like they just press a button and it pours out of them.

Getting close to jazz, now. This is how Coltrane fans talk about their idol. I once dared to suggest that I didn't consider everything he did to be beyond comment or criticism, and the person I was talking to said something along the lines of, "I don't think we are ever going to be able to have a conversation again." It can be a touchy subject

PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 3:12 pm
by Charlie
Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, has a new book out, whose principal subject seems to be the theme of this link, as he identifies the special people, sometimes branded geniuses, whom he bunches together under the category, outliers. The term doesn't trip off the tongue, and the impression is that this is not as interesting as his previous two books.

But he is a good, very bright guy, always worth keeping an eye on.

He is being presented at the Lyceum Theatre, Monday 24 November, at two talks: 5.45 and 8.30

PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 6:19 pm
by c hristian
This book is intense, riveting, and the logical extention of the Tipping Point. The central point remains the same, that success is due a lot more to culture and history, and how society's institutions are set up, than this notion of one man's singular achievement.

The Beatles became the Beatles b/c they got set up in Hamburg to get paid to play, what turned out to be almost 8 hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week. All that time tightening their act was one early, decisive factor in making them the Beatles.

Bill Gates was spending more time as a 13 y.o. in front of a main frame, than almost anyone else in the world. Haven't listened to it yet, but somehow, he got access to the mainframe at the University, and used that time to the hilt. More so than professors and students who would be the normal recipients of access and privilege to what was then cutting edge technology.

The author talks about how some accumulated victories in the 18th, 19th, and 20th cent. led to his mom going from poor Jamaica to wealthy Ontario, and how he, the author, growing up in rural Ontario, with little educational culture around him (farmer's kids), became best friends in the first grade with a future NYT editor , and a Harvard professor/Dean, also from the same town. (that was in the interview with the author)

This book basically reinforces my point, actually. In trying to point out who the exceptionally talented are, he then finds out that the underlying reasons for the exceptional , that which makes them different from us, has more to do with preparation and opportunity than with "genius".

PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 8:56 pm
by Jonathan E.
Apparently, a statistically unlikely number of high flyers in the computer business were born in 1955 — which made them just the right age to exploit the "new thing" when it emerged.

The question, as always, is how much of one's life is due to circumstances, privilege and background, and how much do you make for yourself. Obviously, one can be born privileged and drink one's life away and one can be born poor and distressed and work one's way up. It's not a hard and fast rule — but as Jared Diamond showed in Guns, Germs and Steel, cultural conditions ultimately derive from geographical considerations. (Loathe yourselves, white people!) So, perhaps Malcolm Gladwell is simply continuing that argument into an area of more detailed discussion. The geniuses are those who defy their background and situation to become truly their unique and talented self.

PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 10:02 pm
by Rob Hall
Charlie wrote:He is being presented at the Lyceum Theatre, Monday 24 November, at two talks: 5.45 and 8.30

Here's the review from yesterday's Guardian.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 1:23 am
by Dayna
The very unique person Einstein said Genius is 10% Inspiration & 90% Perspiration.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 2:36 am
by Adam Blake
The utterly unique and incomparable Einstein also said:
"God may be subtle, but he isn't mean."

PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 9:41 pm
by Jonathan E.
Einstein also said:

A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest--a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.


There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.


Imagination is more important than knowledge.


The Ancients knew something which we seem to have forgotten.

Just thought you'd like to know.

Re: The utterly unique and incomparable..

PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 11:29 pm
by Rob Hall
Charlie wrote:Whether we are simply listeners or people involved in bringing musicians to public attention, the ultimate quest remains the same: to discover and champion musicians, writers and/or singers whose ability is so remarkable, it feels as if everything they do is inherently special.

Howe rare they are, these people who truly deserve the epithet, 'artist'

Miriam Makeba was clearly one of the special few

Among our contemporaries still alive, the shortlist would include Mariza, Salif Keita, Youssou N'Dour, Toumani Diabate, Oliver Mtukudzi, Arto Tuncboyaciyan ..and who else?

Anouar Brahem and Cassandra Wilson.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 7:10 am
by Jonathan E.


PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 3:35 pm
by Hugh Weldon
Jonathan wrote:


Are you sure on that pic Jonathan? Definitely a Banksy-type concept, but it doesn't have his style.

Though I do agree he's quite special. More than 40 years on and he's brought the situationist world view into the mainstream. Or nearly.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 4:34 pm
by Jonathan E.
Well, I stole it from his website — but maybe Banksy is playing games.

Last night I watched this tremendous documentary on graffiti, Bomb It, which had a moment or two of Banksy in it — and it made think of how everything he's done (or rumored to have done) basically blows my mind. Definitely genius. Anyway, Bomb It is great, fascinating, covers graffiti all over the world, has a soundtrack of the sort of music I can never sit down and listen to but love to hear in snatches and scratches.

While we're on the visual end of genius, I propose Shepard Fairey of Obey Giant.


And in the auditory world of snatches and scratches — Steinski!

PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 5:49 pm
by Papa M
Jonathan E. wrote: I propose Shepard Fairey of Obey Giant.

I've been watching some of their stuff in a fine art gallery where I live. I've always assumed that they did the graphics for Devotchka.