Saturday, August 23, 2003

I am rereading Stanislaus Joyce’s book My Brother’s
Keeper and I loved this line:

“Much more than his reputation for being clever,
his good humor and gaiety made him a favorite with
his many sisters and relatives.” (59)

Some people think that Stannie should be taken with
a grain of salt because his memories of Joyce are
influenced by his jealousy of him. Whether that’s true
or not, I believe the above lines are true. It’s nice to
be reminded of that side of Joyce every once in a while.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Split Pea Press, located in Edinburgh Scotland, was
established in 1987. They have a number of inter-
esting publications including a poster which reproduces
the Evening Telegraph of June 16, 1904 (something I
plan to purchase on my next payday).

Here’s an excerpt from their website telling how they
came up with the idea for the poster:

“On Friday October 5, 1967, Timothy Finnegan (55), a
labourer of 5 Walkin Street, was working on the demolition
of a row of Dublin houses in Eccles Street to make way
for a new hospital extension when he discovered a cache
of old newspapers among the bricks and mortar. A lover
of the turf he decided to take them home to peruse the
old sports pages over a pipe while waiting for his supper.
Sadly he died the next day in an accident at work. It was
after an encounter with his son, Michael, in The Ship Tavern,
Lower Abbey Street, that Mr Ian Gunn, a visiting scholar
and gentleman from Scotland asked if he might see the
papers which the son had kept for sentimental reasons.
Gunn (72) of Edinburgh recognised immediately that among
this pile of papers was the original copy of the Evening
Telegraph for June 16, 1904, owned by one of Dublin's most
famous literary characters, Leopold Bloom.

On return to Scotland Mr Gunn showed the documents to
Mr Alistair McCleery (17) of the Split Pea Press in Edin-
burgh and together they decided on its immediate repro-
duction as a poster together with a guide to the refer-
ences to this newspaper in the account by James Joyce
in his Ulysses.”

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Another Molly Song

In Old Madrid was written by G. Clifton Bingham and
Henri Trotère. In Old Madrid is a chipper love song that
Molly first sang in Gibraltar. She thinks of it on the night
of June 16th because it is so much more romantic than
the letters of Blazes Boylan. Featured most in Sirens
and Penelope.

The song begins:

Long years ago
In old Madrid
Where softly sighs of love the light guitar.
Two sparkling eyes
A lattice hid
Two eyes as darkly bright as love's own star

And Molly:

"... will i ever go back there again all new faces
two glancing eyes a lattive hid Ill sing that for
him they're my eyes if hes anything of a poet
two eyes as darkly bright as loves own star
aren't those beautiful words ..." (637)

You can find In Old Madrid on the album
Along the Road of Dreams
; there is a sample of the song
at the Amazon page for this album.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

It’s one of the most significant songs used in
Ulysses. It’s one of the songs Molly will be
singing in her upcoming concert, in the key of
G. Its words are by G. Clifton Bingham. Its
melody is by J.L. Molloy. The sheet music of this
song is placed on the piano at 7 Eccles Street,
open at the last page “with the final indications
ad libitum, forte, pedal, animato, sustained
pedal, ritirando, close.” (580)

Molly contemplates how she will render it as
she lay in bed in the last chapter of Ulysses
“...that train again weeping tone once in the
dear deaead days beyondre call close my eyes
breathe my lips forward kiss sad look eyes open
piano ere oer the world the mists began I hate
that istsbeg comes loves sweet sooooooooooong
Ill let that out full when I get in front of the
footlights again...” (627)

Its first lines are:

Once in the dear dead days beyond recall,
When o’er the world the mists began to fall...

Its chorus goes:

Just a song at twilight
When the lights are low
And the glimmering shadows
Softly come and go
Though the heart be weary
Sad the days and long
Still to us at twilight
Comes love’s old song
Comes Love’s Old Sweet Song.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Today is the first day of school for students here in
Chico and though I thoroughly enjoy my children, it’s
a blessing to have my days back.

I find myself thinking of Nora today; what a relief it
must have been to her to have the children go back
to the local school on Via Veronese where they weren't
the must studious of students, but had many friends.
No more trying to keep them occupied in the small
Trieste kitchen while Joyce had students in the front
room for English lessons.

And the mornings when Georgio and Lucia were in
school AND Jim was off writing at a cafe - maybe Il
Caffe Bizantino - well Nora must have surely set
aside a few moments to sit back in silence, taking
pleasure in the rare moment of quiet and solitude.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Tech note: Comments installed today thanks to
maystardesigns. Finally my site is up and pretty
near complete. Look for additions to the music
page soon. I want to extend a HUGE thank you
to May (of Maystardesigns - link in sidebar) who
put this site together and helped me switch over
all my old posts for a very reasonable fee. Not
only is she reasonable, she was also patient with
all 3542 questions I asked her. Thanks May!
Tin Pan Alley

Joyce used a number of songs from Tin Pan Alley
in his works.

Tin Pan Alley was an area in NY populated by
popular music publishers and song writers who
developed the idea - now prevalent in the pop
music world - that hit songs could be made
through the fine art of plugging.

Imagine the year 1900 : no records, no cds, no top
40, no MTV, no radios; yet even in that era there
were songs that sold a million copies - of sheet
music! The music movers and shakers from 1890 -
1920 had to be especially creative in getting their
songs before the public. One technique was to hire
boys to stand around in front of music stores and
saloons whistling their tunes over and over and
over. Another much used technique was to hire a
“stooge” or “boomer”, usually a clear voice tenor or
soprano who would sit in the galley of a of a concert
hall. When the performer had finished the song to
be plugged, the boomer would then stand, as if
inspired by the song and repeat the chorus. The idea
was to get the audience to join in, thus reinforcing
the song in their memories.

That might be why most Americans know the chorus
to songs like Take Me Out to the Ball Game, but not
the verses. Take Me Out was not one of the songs
Joyce used in his works but several other Tin Pan Alley
hits are, including Sweet Rosie O'Grady, My Irish Molly-O,
Daisy Bell and When Irish Eyes are Smiling.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

The more I think about Gary's Hart's recent statement
(see post for Aug 14th ) the more pissteroff I get. First of
all, he compares himself to Joyce which is annoying but
utterly laughable. More bothersome is Hart's assumption
that Joyce didn't read other writers which is untrue;
Hart may be too egotistical to read other bloggers
but Joyce recognized the great value of reading others.

Joyce loved Tolstoy and Shelley. Joyce said he had read
every line of only three writers: Flaubert, Ben Jonson and
Ibsen. Ibsen was one of his heroes and a huge influence.
As was Dujardin's 1888 novel Les Lauriers sont Coupés to
which Joyce ascribed his use of stream of consciousness.
Aquinas and Giordano Bruno were two of his favorite philo-
sophers. He once remarked that "I love Dante almost as
much as the Bible. He is my spiritual food, the rest is

And it has been suggested that the proposal in Vico's
"Scienza Nuova" to write an ideal and timeless history into
which all ordinary histories are embodied provided Joyce
with the basis for Finnegans Wake.

Joyce was also a frequent library Patron. You can see his
Paris library card here.

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