Remember you can follow the SadPanda on Twitter - To stay updated on the latest articles just follow @StreetlampBlog.

You can talk to the SadPanda too. E-mail:

You can also now find us on Facebook , if that's your thing.


To re-direct to wikileaks please click here. We will endeavour to keep this redirect updated in the event of an IP address change.

Lovely people who read The Streetlamp

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Griff says; Heavy metal mayhem! - Plutonian Ode.

If the article title made you do a double-take, then please forgive my little joke. The Streetlamp is not, of course, straying into the overblown, cock-rock territory of heavy metal music but, instead, does intend to add a few more precious points to the pretentionometer with an article on contemporary, American, 'classical' composer Philip Glass (pictured below). And the reason for our little foray into the world of orchestral music is that tomorrow, Thursday 24th May, at 7.30pm, in the sumptuous setting of the Grand Hall of Glasgow's City Halls, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra is giving the UK Premiere of the composer’s Sixth Symphony.

 Naturally, the Streetlamp will be there, and as tickets are still available at a not unreasonably priced £12, we wanted to give our readers based in central Scotland the chance to attend what should be an excellent night of music.
The concert is part of the 75th birthday celebrations for Philip Glass and his Sixth Symphony is an apposite choice of piece as it was commissioned 10 years ago to mark his 65th birthday. Glass's Sixth Symphony, Plutonian Ode, is named for and inspired by poet, and anti-war activist, Allen Ginsberg's epic poem of the same title. The late Ginsberg, a long-time friend of Glass, is now widely, and properly, recognised as the pivotal figure linking the 50s Beat Generation and the counter-cultural revolution of the 1960s.

Ginsberg (pictured above) wrote Plutonian Ode in 1978, at the height of the cold war, as an impassioned plea against the arms race and nuclear armament. During the last ten years of his life, he and Glass had performed frequently together in poetry/music collaborations. It had been their plan to collaborate on a piece based on Plutonian Ode but, unfortunately, Glass was unable to complete it until after Allen's death.
The three movements of the symphony follow the three parts of the poem, and follow, also, the narrative arc of the poem -- the first movement is a passionate outcry against nuclear contamination and pollution, the second a turn towards healing, and the final movement an epiphany arrived at through personal transformation.

The text of Plutonian Ode can be read 'here'. An MP3 of Ginsberg reading the poem (as well as MP3s of many of his other works) can be downloaded freely from the wonderful University of Pennsylvania site 'here'.

Here is a part of the first movement of Glass's Symphony to whet your appetite:

Tomorrow night, the orchestra will be conducted by Nicholas Collon, Principal Conductor of the Aurora Orchestra. Plutonian Ode is preceded by Richard Strauss’s classic tone-poem of decay and rebirth, Death and Transfiguration.

While we're on the subject of nuclear weapons and nuclear contamination, it seems like a good time to remind you all that, as of June 12th, the Faslane Peace Camp will have been in existence for 30 years. To celebrate this, a 30 Day campaign of anti-nuclear insubordination, from June 9th to July 9th, has been planned.

I visited the peace camp myself recently and I would urge anyone interested in this issue to get along and find out how you can help. With a vote on Scottish Independence and Trident replacement in the offing, now seems like the ideal time to revive the Faslane campaign. Due to the nature of some of the happenings being, ahem, not entirely approved by the MOD, the Faslane Peace activists are unable to provide a full list of events. However, here are the ones that they have announced;

PEACE PICNIC JUNE 17TH: Helensburgh CND would like to invite all local groups to a peace picnic at Faslane North Gate on Sunday June 17th from noon to 4pm. Jeely Peace cafe from Stirling CND will provide catering. Please bring banners, musical instruments and your friends. The Peace Camp will be pleased to welcome you before or after the picnic, or any time, ever.

PEACE MARCH FROM GLASGOW TO FASLANE 21ST-23RD JUNE: A group of enthusiastic walkers and concerned citizens will meet at George Square, Glasgow at midday on Thurs 21 June to walk to Faslane in the name of peace and no nukes! They will be stopping to camp en route overnight. The pace will be relaxed. Bring banners and practical shoes!

 RISE UP SINGING 1ST AND 2ND JULY: *Come and sing Trident out of Faslane and out of Scotland! *To re-invigorate the diverse creativity of Faslane 365 and to keep the issue of nuclear weapons firmly in the public eye and on the political agenda, Rise Up Singing (a Trident Ploughshares affinity group) has organised a two-day gathering to celebrate the 30th birthday of Faslane Peace Camp. Everyone welcome! No singing experience necessary. Bring a song to share, a banner and some cake, and we'll provide the tea.

ACADEMIC SEMINAR ROADBLOCK 6TH JULY: On Friday July 6th academics and activists from all over the world will participate in a seminar blockade as part of Faslane 30. The seminar blockade will be peaceful but will insist on claiming the public space for democratic debate on what security means both geopolitically and in people’s everyday lives. The seminar will involve creative public and participatory scholarship, using a variety of media and forms alongside workshops for small group debate, experience sharing and other kinds of learning. The timing and exact locations of seminar events will necessarily be determined on the day, but participants are invited to gather at the Peace Camp between 8 and 9.30 am.

CIRCA 7TH JULY: The Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army (CIRCA) will NOT be marching on Faslane nuclear submarine lair on Saturday 7th of July, oh no. Even though the Trident missiles at Faslane Naval Base could kill all the Clowns on the planet we won’t be there. Even though the Trident missiles at Faslane are going to be replaced at an astronomic cost when all Clowns are feeling the pinch, we will not be roused to action. Even though none of our Clown comrades and friends in Scotland want Trident or its replacement, CIRCA aren’t for turning (up). Most of all, even though Rebel Clowns would defend everyone for just the price of a rubber dingy and load of custard pies, even though Trident replacement will take our Army jobs away, we will NOT be part of Faslane 30. Academics say that CIRCA has died a death in Britain, and they are right. They must be right because they are academics and academics know everything about elites, exploitation, militarisation… (Funny how nothing changes, then, eh?) However. A new Army of Rebel Clowns from all over Britain is trained and ready to join our international comrades and peace camp friends to PARTY on the 30th anniversary of resisting nuclear nonsense at Faslane. If Trident makes us redundant and academics pronounce use dead, we will come to the party as the unemployable undead, as gummy vampires, vegan zombies and mangy werewolves. CIRCA will NOT be marching on Faslane, but a ghost army of Rebels Clowns – seasoned corpses and the freshly (sic) deceased (diseased?) might, just might, be there! Come on, do the Resurrection-Insurrection Shuffle!

Sound interesting? Then get yourself along to Faslane Peace Camp this summer. There are scenic camping spots, and vegan food will be provided for all meals (donations for which will be gratefully received from those who can afford it). Caravans will be allocated on a needs basis first, so do let the Peace Campers know in advance. They can answer questions and queries by email at or phone them on 01436 820901 or 07511793227. 

If you live in Scotland and you simply can't get along to support the Peace Camp's 30th birthday then you can at least support Scottish CND's Nae Nuclear Weapons Here Campaign. All Scottish CND want people to do is to add a pin to their map to show that people in every corner of this country want to see nuclear disarmament. Add your pin 'here'


No comments:

Post a Comment