I found this charming blogging challenge in Tarukirja blog. It’s pretty simple. You go through the alphabet and answer the following questions by naming women whose first or last name begins with the letter in question. (There is no time limit with this challenge which is very good indeed.)

  1. Who is your favourite female author?
  2. There is other culture besides literature. Who is your favourite woman in culture other than literature?
  3. Two questions, you can answer both or just one. A) The woman you would like to get to know better? B) Who is your absolute favourite and would like to bring to attention?

I’ll begin with the letter A.

1. Margaret Atwood. She is such a versatile writer. She could write pretty much anything and I would read it.

2. Alice Pike Barney. She was an American painter. Her work is so impressive and I would say even magical.

APB

Alice Pike Barney: Young Woman in Black Hat (1927)  From: Wikipedia Commons

3. A) Astrud Gilberto. She is a Brazilian singer. So far I’ve listened to repeatedly her version of The Shadow of Your Smile. But there is probably a lot more amazing music by Astrud and I have to listen to it asap.

Advertisements

Lola Bensky

07.01.2015

I immediately wanted to read Lily Brett’s novel Lola Bensky when I saw the cover. And read the book jacket that mentions the words “London music scene”, “1967” and “rock stars”. The novel is all that but also much more. It is a work of fiction but very autobiographical at that, the author did in fact work as a rock journalist in Australia in the 60s and she did interview many rock legends.

Lola Bensky is an Australian 19-year-old music journalist who is the daughter of Holocaust survivors. Lola has heard many gruesome stories of the horrors of Auschwitz. These stories Lola recollects in her thoughts and sometimes even shares them with her interviewees. Lola meets and interviews for example Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. And even Paul Jones and The Bee Gees are mentioned. The passage about Paul Jones is brief but it made my day! Lola recounts her interview with Mr. Jones whom she finds very confident and direct in a good way, without false modesty.

The themes of confidence, modesty and self-esteem are very crucial in the novel. Lola Bensky, who is quite content to be a rock journalist, doesn’t know how to enjoy life or to appreciate herself. She feels fat and rather than living the life of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll like so many others in music business, she spends her time working and dieting (or planning her cockamamy diets consisting of boiled eggs and watermelon). To Lola’s mother Renia, excess weight is something suspicious, as only the traitors in death camp were allowed enough food to eat, others suffered from severe malnutrition. The Holocaust is Lola’s trauma through her parents, Renia and Edek, even though Lola herself was born after the war and didn’t experience it firsthand. The badly traumatized survivors didn’t know how deal with the fact that they survived while so many others died. To Renia her survival is a constant source of antagonizing guilt which lives on in her daughter. So, The Holocaust continues to be a collective trauma also for the next generation. Everywhere Lola goes she reflects her own Jewish roots to other Jews. How to make peace with a past so dreadful? How to live and go on knowing that humanity is capable of inflicting such horrors?

The novel also brings up gender issues. As Lola talks with Janis Joplin and later Mama Cass, they both reveal the difficulties of working in a very male dominated rock music business especially as women who are not considered to be sexually attractive or beautiful in the traditional sense. However, Lola finds both Mama Cass and Janis Joplin to be happy and content with their lives. Many of the beautiful and thin celebrities Lola meets seem to be more unhappy and troubled despite their perfect appearances.

All in all, Lola Bensky is a novel about making peace with your past and finding self-worth as a woman. And stories about some great rock music personalities whose depictions might be true. Or not.

Lily Brett’s interview in The Sydney Morning Herald. 

R.I.P. Robin Gibb

11.06.2012

I find it extremely hard to write about this. Or to even think about it. Robin Gibb (from The Bee Gees) died about three weeks ago. The music of Bee Gees has been the soundtrack of my life. I can not even begin to explain how much it has meant to me over the years. When Robin’s twin Maurice died in 2003, I was devastated. I cried for a month. And I listened to all my Bee Gees albums over and over again. And I have listened to them now. The music lives on and I will keep it with me for as long as I live. I never had the pleasure to see Robin (or the Bee Gees) perform live. It was close last June when Robin was scheduled to perform in Stockholm. I already had the tickets and all but sadly the concert was cancelled. Thank you for the music ❤

Kuva

Saw The Blues Band at the 100 Club in London. Wow, those guys are just awesome! It’s been two years since I last saw Paul and company perform live. I have grown a lot older but these guys have surely not. It was a really energetic gig and the band sounded good. I was so happy to hear two of my favourite songs, Come On In & Death Letter. Paul’s harmonica solo in Flatfoot Sam was brilliant as always. Thank you guys, you made our trip to London so special!

100club

Paul Jones and Tom McGuinness

High Time

06.07.2009

paul_jonesFinally got my hands on Paul Jones’ new solo album Starting All Over Again. It’s been a long long time since the last solo album from him. Well, he’s been busy with the Blues Band, The Manfreds and his radio show on BBC2. ❤ The two things I adore the most are still there, his voice and the harmonica. Probably the greatest voice and the finest harmonica player ever! With Paul Jones it’s all about the blues. Starting All Over Again comprises some fine (blues) tunes, famous musicians and impressive arrangements. I especially enjoyed the title track as well as Still True and I’m Gone. I can’t exactly put it into words why. It’s just beautiful. And I can only imagine how these songs would sound like live. Maybe I’ll get a chance to hear him again live someday.

It’s good to know that some things never change. Mr. Jones’ music (solo work, with Manfred Mann, The Blues Band etc.) has been with me for a long time. I listened to Manfred Mann when I was a teenager and desperate (for various things). I played Paul Jones’ solo albums nonstop in my stereo when I was in high school. I had a  Blues Band addiction in university. And still his music moves me. I’m lucky.
Paul Jones with the Blues Band in 2007  ©grezilda

Paul Jones with the Blues Band in 2007 ©grezilda