Thursday, July 24, 2008

communiqué #11: gone camping


columbia F.B.2816.
illustration by ib, after the cure's "a forest".

This city is too filthy and sticky this weather to stay cooped up like chickens hiding from a fox.

"If you go out in the woods today

You'd better not go alone

It's lovely out in the woods today

But safer to stay at home


For every bear that ever there was

Will gather there for certain, because

Today's the day

The teddy bears have their picnic."

The song is widely acknowledged to have originally been written by John W. Bratton as an instrumental in 1904, one of a number of "'humorous' pokes at Theodore Roosevelt following his refusal to shoot a bear cub whilst hunting". The lyrics were a later addition by Irish composer James B. Kennedy.
We'll be safe.

We intend to camp out in a wigwam. And not feed the bears.
See you soon.
HENRY HALL & HIS (BBC) DANCE ORCHESTRA:
THE TEDDY BEARS' PICNIC from "The Teddy Bears' Picnic" 78rpm (COLUMBIA) 1933 (UK)

HENRY ROBERT HALL

7 comments:

Jon said...

What a perfectly lovely version of this perfectly lovely song. Of course it sounds wonderful as interpreted by yours truly on the ukulele. I made it a point to post a link to you over at my place because I wanted to introduce my political blog acquaintances to my other blog pals. I used to have very political blog, mostly dealing with union and workplace issues. That's how I came to know Nezua, Dear Kitty and BFP. After 8 years of little bush my brains have begun to ache when I think about politics. I'd rather think about music, or movies. However, I continue to post political comments at those blogs and people who read them continue to click on my name and end up at the new largely apolitical blog.
And you do have a classy blog going here. I even like it when you dig up songs that I don't particularly like. I wrack my brains trying to figure out what the connection is to the stuff I do like. People are so various, it's a wonder we manage to agree on sex long enough to make babies.

ib said...

Hey, Jon. I'm glad you like this one. This is the definitive version for me, but i'd like to hear a (your) ukulele version. Everytime I hear this it creases me up, but sometimes it has the ability to sound exceedingly sinister too ; like all good fairy tales it works on different levels.

I'd guessed you were quite deep into politics, but I wasn't aware you previously ran a political blog.
Union and workplace issues are important. If you don't agitate for your rights - either collectively or individually - you (one) get(s) stepped on. I know this much. There is definitely safety in numbers, but it has always ran slightly against my grain as an individualist. Read hippie. Or punk. Whatever floats your boat.

In my experience, if you trust too hard in a collective or co-operative you wind up getting sold out down the line.

It gives me a buzz to see the good guys like Mick Farren are still true to their ideals. Precisely because they refuse to mute their own individual voice. Not unlike yourself. Or Beer. Or a whole lot of good people out there.

Later, brother.

We leave today at dawn. I like the sound of that. But we'll be back.

Jon said...

Sinister- Yes it sounds wonderfully sinister. It has all sorts of implications about the amorality of nature spirits and the dangers of involving oneself with faeries. Even the most adorable teddy bear has an agenda, and it is not the same as ours. Be very careful in the woods.

I once wrote a pretty good poem about times I found myself in the presence of nature spirits, some of them quite hostile.

I've read a fair amount of Marx and company. It was a long time ago but plenty of it stuck.

Marx didn't claim that workers were the carriers of socialism because they were the most oppressed. He said they were the carriers of socialism because they had collectivism forced on them by the conditions under which they work. I won't argue with that one.

I would be a fool to try and cut a separate deal with my employer. My best chances are to stick with my fellow workers. That's a tactic that makes use of the collective conditions under which we work and it flies in the face of capitalism's claim that we are all just isolated consumers. Or, to put it another way, solidarity for fuckin' ever.

Over the years, I've been sneered at by a whole range of subculturalists because I happily set aside differences in my style of consumption (fashion, musical taste etc.) to engage in collective behavior with fellow workers. For all of their sneering, their only suggestion was that I needed to become a cockroach capitalist and open a boutique or a record store or a coffee shop.

Fuck that. Who wants to be crushed between the working class and the capitalist marketplace? In all but a few cases, it sounds like a sucky place to be. In the few cases, don't worry, someone like Starbucks will be coming along shortly to wipe out your hard won little niche.

As you can see, it doesn't take much to get me going.

My blood sugar has been a little crazy the last few days. I'm taking a couple of days off for that reason. Hopefully, when you come back I'll have some of the blog issues sorted out. Have a great time, but look out for adorable bearsie wearsies.

ib said...

Good advice for the uninitiated, and then some. My biggest nature spirit confrontation was with a whale. In the classic Jonah sense. It took me a long time to arrive at any satisfactory conclusions, and I'm still not 100% convinced.

Sucked me up and spat me out.

Deja Vu came in the form of a film weeks later, but not months. I've been through that movie many a time.

Solidarity works well most of the time, but I spent too long in the past as a freelancer with no union backing negotiating for my own skin. I didn't make a million - didn't set out to either - but at least I never got stiffed. Lots of sunday morning meetings in industrial units with people on coke with evil grinning dogs, but I digress...

Take care and keep the blood sugar level under control. Enjoy the time off as much you can. This holiday is more for the kids, but i'll enjoy it too if I can stop worrying long enough about territorial pissings round my 'hood'.

Jon said...

Fucking whales. I hate it when that happens. Actually, if you are bright enough to take the story of Jonah as a metaphor, then we've all been swallowed by a few whales when we tried to flee our fate.

What sort of pissing goes on in your territory? The big scandal in the local paper started when someone pulled up in front of a quiet suburban house and fired 20 rounds into it. No one was hurt, but it came out the tenant freely admits to being a Norteno affiliate. It seems he stabbed a Sureno who was giving him a hard time. So it's only natural that their would be trouble. He doesn't really get why the neighbors are so upset. No one was shooting at their house. Just another day in California suburbia. I moved up here partly to get away from that sort of thing, but that sort of thing is following me.

My friend, Kimmie left a heroin infested New York neighborhood and bought a ranch in Colorado. Twenty five years later, rural Colorado is being terrorized by farm boys on home made amphetamines.

Hell, I don't know.

ib said...

The problems round here aren't typically down to feuding. It's bad (free for all access) access and assholes being able to come and go at will, and property violation ; burglary - that type of thing. Vandalism and people urinating on your doorstep. You've seen the YouTube videos. Half of those fuckers live in the same project as I do.

Back to the whales. Yeah, it could be a simple metaphor for fleeing fate or past transgression. But no. It's more than that, I think. The Red Indians and Siberian shamans had a completely different take. I buy more into theirs', to be honest.

I have a lot of sympathy for your friend, Kimmie. What a bum rap. Sometimes irony is far from amusing.

"Hell, I don't know."

I'm with you on that one too.

Jon said...

Well, this discussion has traveled a long way from the Teddy Bear's picnic. My take on Jonah comes from my experiences with the "worst possible outcome". Quite often, what I've imagined to be the worst possible outcome- something to be avoided by all means- turns out to be the best thing that ever happened to me.

Nowadays the preferred parlance for red indians is "Native People". What's your understanding of their take on fate?

By the way, if a copy ever makes it to Glasgow, and if you ever come across it, There's a very good book called "Grand Avenue" by Greg Sarris. It's the story of several generations of Pomo Indians and it's set on the traditional site of an ancient Pomo village. That site is now the location of a very shabby little street called Grand Avenue, right here in Santa Rosa. There are still a lot of Pomos living in that neighborhood.

How the Pomos were driven away from the banks of the Santa Rosa creek, and how they made their way back is a major subject in the book.

Sarris is a screenwriter in Los Angeles, but he is also a Pomo. He shows native Californians very sympathetically, but he doesn't turn them into New Age nature spirits. It's a book worth tracking down.

I believe it's very nearly dawn in Glasgow. Enjoy your holiday and come home prepared to wash the piss off your doorstep. God I'm glad I haven't had to put up with that sort of thing lately.

Be very cautious about entering into deals with faeries and remember, if there's a bustle in the hedgerow, don't be alarmed now. It's just a spring clean for the May queen.