Operation Concrete


A slightly delayed Wikipedia Wednesday this week, but I've been playing catch-up, because of business and illness, so I have half an excuse. A nice cross of music, with John Cage's 4'33" composition, a look at the word Bloc, and a little insight to making up words with Gargantua and Pantagruel, so, onward.

John Cage 4'33" A Composition - Now, I wish I could say I came across this in a more dignified way, or that I simply knew about it because, you know, I'm all cultured and that, neither of which are true unfortunately. I came across this via Facebook when a friend 'Liked' the fact that someone has kicked off a campaign to get it to UK Christmas Number 1, in the same vein that Killing In The Name Of, by Rage Against the Machine did last year. Where as the song last year was good fun, and as a consequence of the £6 I spent on buying it twice I got to see Rage live in Finsbury Park, it still did line the pockets of big record companies, although the band accepted no money. Now, if you've not heard 4'33", get on Spotify now, and give it a listen and understand why this would be much more appropirate. The idea of getting four minutes thirty three seconds of silence, that of a now dead composer, to number 1 is great in my book. I actually really enjoyed reading the Wiki though and discovering what John Cage was trying to do, when he first 'played' the composition, a lot of people didnt get it and stormed out, but the idea was that anything can be music, and there is never true silence, especially in a room full of people so, the sounds of the room itself are what the composition is made up of, genius.

Opening: 4′33″ (pronounced Four minutes, thirty-three seconds or, as the composer himself referred to it, Four, thirty-three) is a three-movement composition by American experimentalcomposer John Cage (1912–1992).

Bloc - I'm not sure what it is, maybe it's because my favourite kids show was 'Chock-A-Block' but I've always had a thing for the word Bloc, without really ever knowing it's etymology, it usually refers to a group of people or nations that have a similar political goal or outlook. It comes from the French word for 'group'. There's not really any other meaning too it, and there's a few different pages on wikipedia that use the word, I just really like it as a word.

Opening: Eastern Bloc refers to the former Communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, especially the Soviet Union and its satellites in theWarsaw Pact.

Gargantua and Pantagruel - Here's an interesting one, I have no idea how I came across this, but it's cool because it's about two fictional giants, they're horrible buggers by the sounds of things, and the stories in which they feature have whole chapters that are just lists of insults, which sounds great. But what I found really interesting about this, was reading a little further, the writer of the stories, Francois Rabelais loved playing with words, he was a student of Ancient Greek, and as a consequence, would just make words up that eventually became part of the French language. The idea that you can just make words up that eventually become part of common language is nothing new, and happens all the time in English, that's one of the beautiful things about the language, maybe I'll have a word or phrase in the dictionary one day? Probably not.

Opening: The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel (in FrenchLa vie de Gargantua et de Pantagruel) is a connected series of five novels written in the 16th century by François Rabelais.