Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"All the Greatest Matadors were Fascists" mp3

What was with all the commentators yesterday during President Barack Obama's inauguration remarking on "the peaceful transfer of power"?

Was there a violent resistance to the peaceful transfer of power in the works that the rest of us don't know about? Was W. thinking about calling in the Texas National Guard and bunkering himself into the White House with Dick Cheney's thumb on the red button of nuclear armageddon?

Anyway ... it reminded me of a violent transfer of power that was the subject of one of the first songs I cowrote that could count as a poetry score.

The violent transfer of power: The Spanish Civil War. The poetry we scored: a pregnant phrase from George Orwell's book about the war, Homage to Catalonia, and one of William Blake's Proverbs of Hell.

The Proverb from Hell: "Drive your cart and plow over the bones of the dead," which forms the song's outro.

The pregant phrase from Orwell: "All the greatest matadors were fascists," which became the song's hook and title.

Orwell was amazed to find that the bullfights were all cancelled after the people took power from the fascists, which led to his conclusion about the loyalties of the matadors and their handlers.

Some other lines in the song - notably, the bit about the "anarchist barber who's no longer a slave" - are also pure Orwell.

My cowriter: Marshall Boswell, cofounder of my grad school band Enormous Richard, who has gone onto a solid career writing fiction and critical works about John Updike and the late Davis Foster Wallace.
The song:

Free mp3

"All the Greatest Matadors were Fascists"
(Boswell, King)

By Enormous Richard
Produced by Meghan Gohil
(In bad need of a mastering job!)

From Why It's Enormous Richard's Almanac
(out of print cassette)


Matador photo by John Dimis of AP courtesy of Time.

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