I read Slaughter House 5 a long time ago when I was working out in Germany. In the days before ipod/phones I used to read on the tram and bus journeys to work. The book is semi-autobiographical and easy to read in terms of style, but harder to inwardly digest. The author, Kurt Vonnegut goes up in my estimation the more I find out about him. I posted a blog entry on him previously after seeing a clip of a lecture he gave on “Story Styles”.
Since then I have discovered and read two letters written at different stages of his life. One letter he typed to his family at the end of WWII and the other was sent to some high school students almost 40 years later in 2006.
Vonnegut enlisted in the US Army in 1943 and by the following year he was fighting in the Ardennes. It was here that he became a POW during the Battle of the Bulge. By 1945 he was in Germany, in Dresden to be precise.
This is the city where his book Slaughter House 5 is set. Dresden. is a place that I have been to; it is a very beautiful city with an Old Town that has half timbered houses. It has some wonderful architecture with palaces, churches and a very famous opera house. Visit Dresden today and you will see very little evidence that it was a scene of mass death and destruction towards the end of the War in Europe.
The city was the target of heavy bombing by the RAF which resulted in a huge firestorm. Vonnegut was there to see the city burn on Valentine’s Day 1945 that many of its victims simply suffocated to death. The reason for this was that the fire was so intense that its flames consumed all the available oxygen in the combustion process.
Nobody knows how many people died but it is estimated to be hundreds of thousands as the city was full of people fleeing the oncoming Red Army. When you hear about the journey that took him to Dresden it is amazing that he even got to see it all take place. Just see what he wrote here:
The things that he must have experienced, one cannot begin to imagine. It was a shocking and disturbing thing to see first hand but he dealt with it and enjoyed successful writing career.
Towards the end of his life Vonnegut was invited to come and visit their class by some New York high school students. He politely declined the invitation by sending this letter to the school. It just illustrates what an absolute diamond the man was.
The video made about this story can be seen by clicking the picture below
Some people just do things right. Kurt Vonnegut is one such man.
It is like the good old days. A musician plays his heart out at a gig and after had your socks knocked off by the live performance you wait in anticipation for the next album to come out. Then when you find out this record is to made in collaboration with another favourite combo then it is time to get really excited!
Time to buzz down to Raynors/Rival/Revolver and get your hands on a copy of the LP.
Well Elvis Costello has teamed up with The Roots to make his latest album.
He did his best to shake up the dullards who were stood waiting in their chosen spots to see The Stones be wheeled out later. It was said that Freddie Flintoff used to bowl a lot of ‘effort’ balls in his Test career. Well Glastonbury 2013 was one of Elvis Costello’s ‘effort’ gigs.
So he has now gone onto work with Philadelphia’s finest. It just is a download away to see how they got on.
was a post written 2 years ago when Buster Bloodvessel was laid up in hospital in Italy. At the time it did not look good. It was even reported in the NME that the front man from Bad Manners was in a bad way and obituary writers were being summoned in readiness.
However all is well with the big man, which puts a smile on my face. As in my recent trawl of various ticket agency web sites to see which forthcoming The Hives gig was nearest to me I saw the list of bands due to play at the Reading festival next month. There they were, Bad Manners, and with a future Christmas count down tour lined up too. I might even go to the Fleece on December 15th and see them for myself! It has been a while.
Anyway Buster looks the picture of health to me – here he is playing Mighty Sounds festival in the Czech Republic in June. Good news I say.
Happy Birthday Alan Border! The former Australian cricket captain, who is 58 today was quoted in the week as saying about the current team’s batting in the Ashes series so far :
“Our major concern right now is the performance of the top six. I could honestly say the nine, ten and jack [No 11 batsman] looked more competent than our one, two and three. If that was me in the top three, I’d be embarrassed.”
Chin up mate and enjoy your special day!
Heroes are people who inspire and make your jaw drop.
Mark Cavendish does that. He continues to win stages of major races the hard way (see the report below)
One can only admire his grit and determination to get to that finish line first. He still has time to raise his hand to show how many stage wins he has chalked up on this race so far.
You can check it all here:
This web site is a great mine of information on what MPs are up to and if they really are “working for you”. “The Beast of Bolsover” gives full value to his constituents. Meanwhile my MP, the Honourable Member for Amersham (where an Oyster Card still works), regularly claimed well over Dennis’ annual travel expense totals and voted in only 69.65% of debates in the House of Commons.
Amersham Off peak Travelcard to Zone 1 costs £12.10, whilst an off peak return from Chesterfield (5 miles from Bolsover) to London with a Zone 1 travel card costs £113.
Here he is at yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Question Time on top form.
A Legend from the Old School.
I wish Dennis was my MP.
There is always someone who has more on their plate to deal with than you.
If I think like this it helps me see that half full cup.
Hats off to this young pup for his grit, stamina and determination.
Hey, I sound a bit like Alan Hansen on a Saturday night in giving that analysis!