Posts Tagged ‘Monty Python’

Been taking a little hiatus but still wanted to post something today, maybe just a simple song. I spent quite a bit of time this morning listening to music on YouTube, doing that thing where you keep choosing an obscure but somehow related video on the right side, seeing how far it can lead you down a twisting rabbit hole of oddball songs and forgotten genres. I heard a lot of songs I haven’t heard in years, some good and some not so much.

It was going pretty well and I thought I had my choice when out of the blue, the YouTube algorithm turned up this song from 1979’s Monty Python’s Life of Brian. I knew I had my choice for the day. During the Falklands War in 1982, the British naval ship HMS Sheffield was hit and sunk by an Argentine missile. As the crew was waiting to be rescued, the crew broke out singing this song and it has become tradition among British troops in dire situations.

So whether it’s sinking ship or a nation stumbling along at the end of an odd year, it might be the right song for the day. It made me feel better this morning. Feel free to sing or whistle along…

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Richard lindner Double PortraitI’ve been going through some books on my shelves that I haven’t looked at for some time and came across a smallish book on the work of Richard Lindner, who was  a German born  (1901)  painter who moved to New York during World War II.  He taught at the Pratt Institute then later at Yale before his death in 1978.

His work was obviously a big influence on the Pop Art movement of the 60’s.  If you remember the artwork for the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine film,  you can easily see how Lindner’s work Richard Lindner The Coupleguided the hand of the film’s  artist who most people think was Peter Max.  However, the artist was Heinz Edelman .  This misconception probably shows Lindner’s influence on Max as well.   I also can see Lindner in some of Terry Gilliam‘s animations for Monty Python.  The Beatles  paid tribute to Lindner  by inserting his image  in the group of figures on the cover of their classic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.  He’s  between Laurel and Hardy in the second row.

I am really attracted to Lindner’s colors and use of forms.  His colors have gradations and complexities that give his work added dimension.  His shapes and lines are strong and sure.  It’ demands an immediate response, even if it’s negative, and I really respect that.

Richard Lindner  FBI On East 69th StreetOne of my favorites is shown to the left here,  FBI On East 69th Street.  I have no idea whether he was influenced by Lindner’s work (although I wouldn’t be surprised), but when I look at this painting I can only think of  David Bowie, especially in the early 70’s in the Glam era.  Again, the strength of the color and shape,s as well as how his figures fill the picture frame, excite me.  How I might take this excitement and make it work within my own work is something that remains to be seen.  It may not be discernible but seeing work that makes your own internal wheels spin will show up in some manner.  We’ll have to see if this comes through in the near future.

Richard Lindner The Meeting

Richard Lindner Rock-RockRichard Lindner Telephone

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Tomkinsons SchooldaysA few weeks back I came across the old film, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, the one from 1939 with Robert Donat, not the later awful musical version with Peter O’Toole.  It’s a very sweet chronicle of a schoolmaster’s life at a British upper crust boarding school, the type of film that would never be made today.  Watching it, however, reminded me of another such story.

In the 1970’s Michael Palin, in his post-Monty Python days, did a short series for the BBC that consisted of half hour episodes, each a different story with him as the main character in each.  It was called Ripping Yarns.  Seeing Mr. Chips reminded of one such episode called Tomkinson’s Schooldays which tells of a young student’s trials and tribulations in such a school.  

I remember seeing it 30 years ago or so and laughing very hard and still use references from it.  I have been wanting to revisit it all these many years and I always look for it but it never seems to resurface.  But of course, I hadn’t checked Youtube.  With a few clicks, there it was, in several parts.  

It was as funny as I remembered.  Here is the first part of Tomkinson’s Schooldays and for those of you who enjoy Python-like humor, you can see the rest on Youtube. 

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