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Friday May 16th, 2008

Schweigt Stille, Plaudert Nich't Day

"Before you judge someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.
That way when you judge them, you are a mile away, and you have their shoes."
Judge Josephus the Utterer

Hi folks,

Did you know that the original German title for Bach's Coffee Cantata - BWV 221 is 'Schweigt Stille, Plaudert Nich't' - "Be still, stop chattering" or, in other words, 'Shaddap You Face?' Mein Gott!

My mate, Big Russ, stumbled upon an excellent idea, in the Letters section below. Russ has graciously called it the 'Joe Dolce Day of Song' but I would like to suggest 'Schweigt Stille, Plaudert Nich't Day,' an international holiday when everyone (including Big Russ and Josephus the Utterer) simply shuts the fuck up. No talking. For 24 hours. Especially media and politicians. No newspapers or news programs. Writing on pads, for people with pencils attached to their heads, is allowed. But texting is not. What do you think, folks? Think it'll fly?

If you liked my 'Australian Idol for Dummies' pic, you can make your own custom-designed 'dummy' book covers here: Website



Subject: International Disturbed People's Day
Dir mista Dolce,
Ta for thinckin ov me on me speshal day- I rit yer a pome. Hoap yer lik it. BigRus

" It's great to be retarded and have a special day,
For you never have to go to work, You spend your life at play,
You can swear and fart and fornicate, stir people just for sport,
And everyone just laughs because, you're just a sandwich short,
And when you write bad poetry, Folks never make a fuss,
And you get away with dirty jokes; 'cos you're just retarded Russ.
BUT . . .
They have special days for every thing, like kids and wives and climates,
They have days for missing people, and for endangered primates,
They've a special day for awful hits, With which the world is cursed
It's called Joe Dolce Day of Song, 'Cos he has writ the worst. "
Bigretarded russ May 08

(Note: BigWaterHeadRuss, they say it's the thought that counts and since you collided with that plate glass window at the tripe shop I'm certain that the thoughts have been far and few between. So, much appreciated. But with a Friend like you, Russ, who needs an Enema? Boom boom! And so, by way of thanks, in the spirit of 'Schweigt Stille, Plaudert Nich't Day,' here's a little reflection:

" There Once was a Bard named Big Russell,
Whose Brain was an Underworked Muscle.
Fifty Yards of Coarse Thread,
Tightly Wound 'Round his Head,
Could Suffice as an Impromptu Bustle."
Josephus the Utterer

Good on you Joe,
Your newsletter continues to entertain, inform and inspire. Not a bad trifecta. Your love of words shines through. Arnold Zable

(Note: Arnie, as you know, Trifecta comes from the word Perfecta. I love words. Except those times when I scream at them, lock them in the closet, burn them with cigarettes or put them on the naughty seat of struckdumbness. x Josephus, the Dark Nanny)

Hi Joe,
Hope all goes well on the upside-down side of the planet. We went to see the Morningstar [Ranch] Play in Rohnert Park. Sort of funny watching a guy on stage playing me. Your 'Hey, Lou Gottlieb, He Opened Up His Land!' song was much enjoyed! All in all, I think they did a great job of portraying the ranch sympathetically. We're going back on the 17th for the penultimate performance. Site
Always get a kick out of your newsletter! Hugs, Ramon Sender

(Note: Morningstar Ranch was a ground-breaking free Open Land commune, in the 70s, in Northern California, started by Lou Gottlieb, PhD Music, and former student of Arnold Schoenberg. Lou was more popularly known as one of the founding members of the hugely successful US folk group, The Limeliters, in the 60s. Lou signed the deed of ownership of the land: Property of God, removed his own name, and about 200 people, including Ramon, moved onto the land, built funky houses and lived in creative freeelovebliss(ters). Due to the fact that nobody technically owned the land, no-one could ask anyone else to leave. A unique synergetic therapy and camaraderie ensued 'causing Lou to muse once that 'only the people who can't live anywhere else will end up staying on Morningstar.' The local Town Council eventually twigged to the outrage and bulldozed all the handmade houses back to the stardust from whence they came. Lou Gottlieb was a true visionary and my first authentic music teacher.)

You are amazing!
Xx Neda

(Note: Neda - does a big X followed by a little x mean a big kiss followed by a little one? Or is that a big upper Angelina Jolie lip over a regular little lip? :)x~

My whole life i'm thinking: "what could a schlepper like me possibly have in common with the great genius Bach...?"
then i read Bach Spricht 3: "Bring me A bowl of coffee before I turn into a goat" Johann Sebastian Bach
it's a-better than nothing...
contrapuntally caffeinated, joan besen

(Note: Joan, that quote is a paraphrase from one of the maestro's few secular works,'The Coffee Cantata - BWV 211.' (Schweigt Stille, Plaudert Nicht - "Be still, stop chattering"). The libretto, actually written by Christian Friedrich Henrici, tells of addiction to coffee, a pressing social problem in eighteenth century Leipzig, where this work was premiered by Bach himself at local Zimmerman's Coffee House. The attitude of the daughter, Lieschen, is almost a pre-feminist sentiment. Bach had an enlightened respect of women for a religious man of his day. His second wife, Anna Magdalena, was a Court Singer, when he married her. Bach also collaborated with Christiana Mariane Von Ziegler, Poeta Laureata of the University of Wittenberg and Imperial Poetess to the Emperor, who wrote the librettos for many of his cantatas over a fifteen year period. Nine alone came from one tiny volume of her poetry. Bach felt a kindred spirit in the writing of Von Ziegler - someone who could match his own intense and personal artistic religiosity. This, in itself, was radical and shocking as women did not write Lutheran cantatas. The Coffee Cantata is an unusual comic mini-operetta, which gives unexpected insight into Bach's character, sense of humour and playful spirit. There are musical excerpts of it all over uTube but here is the short libretto which is a good read in itself:


Narrator: tenor
Schlendrian, (literally Stick in the Mud), the father: baritone
Lieschen, daughter of Schlendrian: soprano

Be quiet, stop chattering, and pay attention to what's taking place:
here comes Herr Schlendrian with his daughter Lieschen;
he's growling like a honey bear.
Hear for yourselves, what she has done to him!

Don't one's children cause one endless trials & tribulations!
What I say each day to my daughter, Lieschen, falls on stony ground.

You wicked child, you disobedient girl, oh!
When will I get my way?
Give up coffee!

Father, don't be so severe!
If I can't drink my bowl of coffee three times daily,
then in my torment I will shrivel up like a piece of roast goat.

Mm! how sweet the coffee tastes, more delicious than a thousand kisses,
mellower than muscatel wine.
Coffee, coffee I must have, and if someone wishes to give me a treat,
ah, then pour me out some coffee!

If you don't give up drinking coffee
then you shan't go to any wedding feast, nor go out walking.
Oh! when will I get my way?
Give up coffee!

Oh well! Just leave me my coffee!

Now I've got the little minx!
I won't get you a whalebone skirt in the latest fashion.

I can easily live with that.

You're not to stand at the window and watch people pass by!

That as well, only I beg of you, leave me my coffee!

Furthermore, you shan't be getting any silver
or gold ribbon for your bonnet from me!

Yes, yes! only leave me to my pleasure!

You disobedient Lieschen, you,
so you go along with it all!

Hard-hearted girls are not so easily won over.
Yet if one finds their weak spot,
ah! then one comes away successful.

Now take heed what your father says!

In everything but the coffee.

Well then, you'll have to resign yourself
to never taking a husband.

Oh yes! Father, a husband!

I swear it won't happen.

Until I can forgo coffee?
From now on, coffee, remain forever untouched!
Father, listen, I won't drink any.

Then you shall have a husband at last!

Today even dear father, see to it!
Oh, a husband! Really, that suits me splendidly!
If it could only happen soon that at last, before I go to bed,
instead of coffee I were to get a proper lover!

Old Schlendrian goes off to see if he can find a husband
forthwith for his daughter Lieschen.

But Lieschen secretly lets it be known:

'No suitor is to come to my house unless he promises me,
and it is also written into the marriage contract,
that I will be permitted to make myself coffee whenever I want!'

A cat won't stop from catching mice,
and maidens remain faithful to their coffee.
The mother holds her coffee dear.
The grandmother drank it also.
Who can thus rebuke the daughters?


Ultimate Positive Attitude Organisation

Eco Group Calls For "Voluntary Human Extinction"
Steve Watson

An environmental group says it's sole purpose is to recruit volunteers and educate enough people to eventually realize that the human race needs to completely die out in order that the planet can survive.

The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT) says humans need to stop breeding and voluntarily progress our own slow demise in order that plants, animals and fragile ecosystems can survive.

The group's motto is "May we live long and die out". Their website explains their commitment to a long term goal of convincing the population of Earth that it has no future. Site



Various magazine templates that you can use with your own photos. Live your paparazzi dreams! Site


World CO2 Levels At Record High, Scientists Warn
by David Adam

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached a record high, according to new figures that renew fears that climate change could begin to slide out of control.

Scientists at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii say that CO2 levels in the atmosphere now stand at 387 parts per million (ppm), up almost 40% since the industrial revolution and the highest for at least the last 650,000 years. Site


White House vs White Bear
by Geoffrey Lean

It's a classic stand-off between one of the world's best loved animals and one of its most unpopular leaders, between the planet's largest bear and its most powerful man. And it comes to a head this week.

On Thursday, by order of a federal judge, George W Bush must stop stalling on whether to designate the polar bear as a species endangered by global warming. The designation could have huge consequences for his climate-change policies; his administration would, by law, have to avoid doing anything that would "jeopardise the continued existence" of the mammal whose habitat is melting away. Site


Songwriting Workshop 19
Stylists & Songwriter-Composers


A stylist is an artist who has a recognisable style. A stylist could sing the telephone directory, an article from the newspaper or a recipe and you would know it was them.

Examples would be Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, Sam Cook, Otis Redding, KD Lang, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Elvis or Roy Orbison, to mention only a few popular artists.

A songwriter can also be a stylist when they perform, such as Dylan.

What I am asking you now is to try to see the difference between a stylist and a songwriter.

Wagner once wrote, ' A great piece of music is greater than any single interpretation of it.'

I would argue that many of Dylan's early masterpieces transcend style. That is one reason why those brilliant early songs lent themselves to interpretation by such a wide range of stylists.

In Dylan's case, today, the stylist who is Dylan has overtaken Dylan the songwriter so that, in fact, Dylan can now sing anything (and he does) and it sounds deep and Dylanesque. But it's not. It's just his 200 gig-per-year seasoned performing style.

Willie Nelson's greatest masterpiece doesn't sound anything like a 'Willie Nelson song'. That's because he wrote it before he became the vocal stylist he is today. 'Crazy' will always be identified with Patsy Cline's unique style.

Lennon and McCartney's songs also transcend style. Most of the time, it is impossible to know which one of them wrote which songs or which parts of songs.

Lennon-McCartney songs sung by Mary Hopkins or Peter and Gordon were not recognisable as Lennon-McCartney songs at the time - until someone told you.

The Beatles, on the other hand, were very distinctive stylists. The Beatle sound was an identifiable stamp. (e.g. Just listen to a good Beatles's tribute band.)

I've often mused that The Beatles, with George Martin behind the wheel, could have produced and recorded the songs from the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds album, in their style, much more creatively than Brian Wilson did, but had Wilson had attempted to produce and record the songs from either Sergeant Pepper, Rubber Soul, or Revolver, with the Beach Boys style, they wouldn't have been as strong. Part of the reason for this is that Pet Sounds, as wonderful as it is, lacks the strong identifiable instrumental themes, and instrumental counterpoint that mark just about all of the Beatles middle-period songs. (Think Daytripper, Ticket to Ride, Norwegian Wood, Doctor Robert, And Your Bird Can Sing, Hard Day's Night - just one friggin' opening chord announces that one!- , Michelle, and countless others.) Although Wilson was adept at vocal counterpoint, poor or non-existent musical themes was one of his weak points. (The unique theremin part to Good Vibrations is the exception that demonstrates the rule.) But, to give Wilson credit, Pet Sounds was practically a one-man show, whereas the three above mentioned Beatles albums were a product of a 5 part (including George Martin) group synergy.

For a singer to be commercially successful over the long term, it is inevitable that they become a stylist. There has to be a sound recognisable to the public - no matter whose songs they are singing.

For a songwriter to be commercially successful, however, they usually have to have their songs recorded and performed by other stylists. It doesn't really matter if they are stylists themselves. (i.e. Gershwin. You can imagine 'Summertime' - maybe sung by Porgy, or Janis Joplin, but Gershwin himself is somewhat faceless.)

I would also like to propose now that the more a songwriter turns into a stylist - someone easily recognisable by a sound alone - the more their songwriting deteriorates.

How is that statement justified?

Because I believe that enduring and unique songs transcend style; that the best ones are autonomous self-contained worlds. The more they are like each other, the less they are unique.

Now, in my own work, I consider myself a songwriter-composer first and foremost. I may also be slowly evolving (or devolving, as the case may be) into a stylist, but, at the moment, I'm not one who is recognised or may ever be recognisable by my sound in my lifetime. My commitment to creating unique compositions is much more sustained and passionate than my commitment to being a trademark recognisable to my peers and the public. Of course, in fifty or a hundred years, someone at the Musical Nervous Hospital might look back and be able to connect the dots. But at the moment, the dots are too far apart for the average person to make sense of. For instance: just try to put 'Shaddap You Face,' next to the baroque 'Ecstasy of Narcissus;' or the uniquely therapeutic 'Father,' with 'Death of Bach,' or my hour long 'Joan on Fire' oratorio, which does seem to sit well with my a cappella chorale, 'A Girl is Born in Bethlehem,' but is not on the same channel as my second most covered alt country ballad, 'My Home Ain't in the Hall of Fame.' And then there's the recent Americana 40 song Leadbelly Ballad-Novel! Where did that one come from? And why? (I had to live in Australia for 30 years to be able to write that.) Each of these song creations are separate animals. The dots are seriously far apart. You can keep backing up further and further trying to see the big picture but you will probably fall off the cliff before you see it. Now, I KNOW all the dots connect but it isn't necessary for me to understand how - as I trust my intuition. And I also plan to keep pushing the boundaries of my musical picture further and further until I am nailed in my urn. I still have another twenty-five or more years to go (knock on particle board) and I'm consciously trying not to repeat myself.

But back to my favourite composer!

JS Bach, in his day was not recognised as a stylist. Many people considered him quite old fashioned as a composer. Nobody could possibly have recognized the author of 'The Coffee Cantata,' (which would have been classified as a novelty song today) as the same author who had composed the mighty 'St Matthew's Passion.' People were unable to see the immortal panorama of Bach's vast vision. But I'm also convinced that Johann didn't even attempt to connect his own dots. He didn't have to. He relied on his mystical faith - which is a form of personal intuition - to reassure himself continually that he was indeed on track. The average punter saw Bach the brilliant organist who could work the pedals with his feet faster than most players could the keys with their fingers! But the dots were too far apart in the breadth of his composing ability to be fully connected by his contemporaries.

Two hundred years later, Bach's songpicture is now as clear and resonant as a bellbird on a bunyip.



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Nanny Joe's Naughty Sweet

Out There Parents! When your Inner Child has finally said 'Sorry,' and is allowed off the Naughty Seat, reward them with a Nanny Joe Naughty Sweet.

This super-quickie bickie goes great with afternoon tea. The ginger thins are ideal as they are very fragile. Well-behaved kids will love it. So will the rest of us.

Anna's Ginger Thins
thick cream
castor sugar
vanilla essence

Mix 1 cup of heavy cream with 2 tble castor sugar and a half teas of vanilla essence. Beat until peaks form. Fold gently into a half cup of marscapone cheese. Spread a thick layer of this cream over one ginger thin. Top with another ginger thin. Arrange on a plate. Put a little teardrop of cream mixture in the centre of biscuits for decoration.


For the Children

The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us.
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.

In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:

stay together
learn the flowers
go light

~ Gary Snyder ~
(Turtle Island)





The Italian Tomato Garden

An old Italian man lived alone in the country. He wanted to dig his tomato garden, but it was very hard work as the ground was hard. His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament:

Dear Vincent,
I am feeling pretty badly because it looks like I won't be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I know if you were here my troubles would be over. I know you would be happy to dig the plot for me.

A few days later he received a letter from his son:

Dear Dad,
Don't dig up that garden. That's where I buried the bodies.

At 4:00 a.m. the next morning F.B.I. agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire garden without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left. That same day the old man received another letter from his son:

Dear Dad,
Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That's the best I could do under the circumstances.
Love you,

(thanks to Ramon Sender)