Friday, 15 February 2013

Manet in London, Jazz at the Hippodrome Casino, SARS, Chocolate heaven and a hard rain's a gonna fall

It is, of course, raining in London, so Elena and I decide on a safe indoor pursuit and head to the Royal Academy on Piccadilly to see the Manet exhibition.

We feel the need to be safe. 

Kim, the young yet podgy panjandrum of North Korea, has started letting off small hydrogen bombs because he is angry. The research shows that it is human nature to make a reckless move in a bid to bounce back if all the options look bad - for Kim, who appears to be very well fed, it’s looking bad all round. For North Korean people, who are starving, it just carries on being bad, so maybe they’re feeling reckless too.  I recall the case of a certain Mr Kahn, from Pakistan, who made a living selling North Korean nuclear bomb components to the highest bidder. If anyone of that name asks you if you’d like to join his get-rich quick scheme, say yes and pass on the details to me.
I’ll lose them.
I lose everything else, especially hats. I’ll put the nuclear secrets in my hat and they will be lost forever, so the world will be a safer place for a while.
Don’t tell Obama, whatever you do, he can’t be trusted and is very dangerous as he seems to have an excellent memory for deadly detail but be remarkably absent minded when it comes to election promises.
He’s not cool with criticism either -  he signed the National Defence Authorisation Act in 2011 which gives him power to order his military to arrest you and throw you in jail for life without a trial. No, you don’t have to be an American, it covers everyone.
Phewee man, call me an old hippy but that sounds over heavy to me?

And SARS is back in town - the fatal respiratory disease, so we are not using the tube and breathing fitfully on the buses.

Manet made some great paintings, and they are all here - but what a smug bunch those Belle Epoch bourgeoisie were, sitting in their salons, smoking, loving or lusting. The girls are always naked and the men are covered head to toe. As they sat feeling pleased with their new found industrial wealth the scramble for Africa was underway - the second big act of theft, murder and mayhem ( the first one was the one that got civilisation going in the shape of capital accumulation, some time ago now ) that we celebrate in our art and architecture, and Europe was preparing the ground for World War 1 and then racism all round.

Gee, we must cheer up, nothing we can do about any of this today, so we take refuge across the road in a new chocolate cafe called Khave Dunyasi.

It reminds us of Heaven.

In Heaven, nothing much happens except you sit around singing things such as ‘ Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty’ and you feel happy.

In this chocolate cafe, everyone sits around sipping coffee and singing the praises of the chocolate, 

"This is really lovely, lovely, lovely, lovely" and everyone is really feeling happy happy happy.

Nobody should be allowed to run a country, it’s too complicated, it should be divided up and shared out between everyone, but if they are going to, they should have to prove that they love Jazz.

Jazz musicians have to create, compose, listen to each other and to their audience.

They aim at making us feel human.

This is what politicians should do if they are running countries.

If they did it as well as the Jay Phelps quartet did at the Hippodrome Casino last night, the world would be a safer place.

The Hippodrome Casino is a relatively new jazz venue in London. It’s great.

We entered through the gaming card and croupier floor, sham sophistication - Good evening Mr Bond - but good fun if you’re not an addictive gambler.

The quartet - Jay on trumpet, the great Moses Boyd on drums, Ross Stanley on Piano and Mark Lewandowski on Bass, were a perfect combination of sensitive attention to each other, to their main musical theme, and to the opportunity to invent, surprise and shatter the expectations of the audience.

If only Kim and Obama had been there!

A Clifford Brown number, lyrical and uplifting, called What’s New, would have had North Korea and the USA agreeing to cooperate in feeding the starving and finding other ways to spend the billions they spend now on nuclear weapons to teach every child how to love one another, make music and understand mathematics. The manufacturing of useful items, all the arts and an efficient agriculture will be a natural by product of this programme.

God will not be invited, as he does not seem to be able to agree on anything, and neither do any of his adherents.

We don’t need Heaven anyway because we have chocolate cafe’s.

Jay Phelps, you are more than a genius of the jazz trumpet, you and your work are the hope of mankind!

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