A Cover For An Engine The Rebirth of A King (Baby What You Want Me To Do)


Not a fan of Elvis (make an exception for this track) but just watched a documentary ‘the rebirth of the king’ which was rather interesting.

This video is part of a Christmas special, planned by his manager to be a series of Christmas classics but Elvis and the Director had other ideas.

The director notes that after performing big production numbers on set, Elvis would then move to his dressing room and jam until 3 or 4 in the morning (effortless movement has a cost).

This was an attempt to capture that energy and intimacy on stage.  One commentator adds an interesting perspective on the sound.

“But he’s picking up on something, he’s getting interested in something: what he’s getting interested in is the rhythm of the song and its suddenly as if no-one has ever really heard the words before. What this song is about is a certain rhythm. Nothing to do with words, it has nothing to do with the vocal. Their is no idea in it. Their is a rhythm that is asking to be made bigger, to go further and become a thing in-itself.

And he just pushes and pushes and pushes, and he makes a moan, he makes a sound, and you know, one of his friends shouts at him……… it is coming together in that moment.


A World As if In Miniature ( Cultural Modification & Violence)

Copy and paste somethings, take them out of context. The first from a lecture on….


model free control

“We’re going to finally find out if you drop you’re robot or agent into some unknown environment and you don’t tell it anything about how that environment works, how can it figure out the right thing to do?”

A World Away  (sleeping now/ the wide-eyed host)

Early medieval verse depicting violence and death asMy Sites an effortless activity, it is no more, to kill, be killed, than it is to sleep. It requires no thought. It expresses clear contempt for the foe. It also expresses the skill and ability of this ‘mindless’ warrior, which are considerable, ‘no one is greater.’



When Flamdwyn killed Owain,
there was not one greater than he sleeping.
A wide number of Lloegyr
went to sleep with light in their eyes
And those that fled not instantly
were beyond necessity.
Owain valiantly chastised them,
like a pack (of wolves) pursuing sheep.

He moves effortlessly on the battlefield and moves effortlessly from life to death. Its a considerable cost.

To him the price is of no consequence. This is a heroic quality. Understanding and acceptance of mortality and an inevitable meeting with death.


A Motivational State

Lets throw in the clunk, clunk, clunk of anthropological language


adjusting behavior from one sphere of appropriateness….  a shift from a relaxed to a mobilized state….. a disciplined response, a motivational state…… which separates and defines differences between an individual’s role in ordinary life and his role in another domain which sanctions extraordinary behavior.

Backtrack slightly, as the poem cited is not noting a distinction between the individuals role in ordinary life/ spiritual life and his role as a warrior

i.e his ‘ordinary’ role as a warrior king and the religious belief system he is apart of, need to create some distance between themselves. Considerable tension to be resolved between these two conflicting states of being.

The soul of Owain son of Urien.
May its Lord consider its need…..

A worthy man, upon his many-coloured trappings,
he would give horses to those that asked.
While he hoarded hard money,
it was not shared for his soul.
The soul of Owain, son of Urien.

Return to the first question raised, how in these situations do you figure out how to do the correct thing?

Explore the possibility that in this case no thought is required. This is a rhythmic activity and we can make sense of the situation in these terms.

A poet and a song, clearly these things are not a warrior and a sword. But sometimes they look little different from one another.

These activities are a world away, considerable distance has to be maintained, the activity is effortless, everything is one, both friend and foe. All are caught up in the same act and they have to live with the consequences of such actions.

They are at one with the horror of it.

These societies lived with high levels of violence. It is not an activity confined to the battlefield. Ravaging, the systematic destruction territory, destruction of livestock, crops, settlements and non-combatants, was the mainstay of this type of conflict.

Psychological impact on both perpetrator and victim. Society as a whole has to at least exert some control, the warrior has to step away and return to a settled community. His foes will be intent on vengeance.

Winning is a temporary state, the inevitable outcome of entering into such a relationship is death.

Heroic quality  here can be  interpreted as having a full understanding of the consequences and cost of the action. yet not failing in regard to duty despite the cost.

Poetry here is unrelenting heroic in tone, it is a world away from reality set in a dream like state.

It is ‘psychologically real.’


On the hoof notes that may not make much sense. First stab at constructing an argument. I need to look at some detail. Bend it rigidly to the argument at hand and hope it falls apart and becomes something I have not yet thought about.

This type of material does not simply perform one role but these texts have been described as unrelentingly ‘heroic’ and not a subject for students of ideas. I don’t think that’s entirely the case. At times the verse can be as subtle as a rubber cosh but get past the immediate impact and response,  more here than simply being left dazed and confused by the glamour cast by violence.

Unrelentingly heroic, unrelentingly ideological, unrelentingly reflective. An unrelenting host of unrelenting things, which in the moment become one thing intent on achieving one goal, one movement.

It is found contained within a song.

“there is a rhythm that is asking to be made bigger, to go further and become a thing in-itself.”





The Cradle Song

I had an ulterior motive for discussing the cradle song, a few posts back.  It seems to male for an unusual inclusion in a body of verse, which is otherwise given over to violence and descriptions of the king’s court and it’s feasting.

Its identity is drawn at a household level, mother/ father son/ master/ household slave. Distinct difference between free and un-free (unfree status here can be achieved through legal sanction and the loss of wealth, goods livestock and status) but the measure of identity here is in regard to age/ gender not the rigid hierarchical order of the king and court.

It’s a world away from that.

Why the inclusion of a family setting?

Move further away with an observation Hilda Kuper recorded from Swazi warrior culture.

” The warriors dance and sing at the Inwala and so they do not fight, although they are many and from all parts of the country and are jealous and proud. When they dance they feel they are one and they can praise each other”

Lets extend that further as it may provide a basis for understanding why a child’s cradle song and a form of identity that could be associated with ‘tribal society’ ( a relatively static social hierarchy, with an identity measured at a household level) should find its way into a type of  song devoted to violence within a highly competitive and hierarchical society.

Part of affective readiness involves setting apart the fighting from the non-fighting group and the friend from enemy, adjusting behavior from one sphere of appropriateness (e.g., thou shalt not kill) to the opposite through altered states of consciousness or distancing. Wallace (1968) calls this a shift from a relaxed to a mobilized state arguing that a releasing mechanism is necessary. For many African groups the war dance serves as this kind of mechanism through being a special language code with kinetic graphic symbols evoking a disciplined response, a motivational state. Warrior dance is similar to the use of masked possession dance which separates and defines differences between an individual’s role in ordinary life and his role in another domain which sanctions extraordinary behavior and frees him from libel and similar repercussions.


Judith Lynne Hanna, African Dance and the Warrior Tradition

Just Talk: The destructive nature of unchecked power-lust and political ambition

Tartan Manners, Berserk Headgear and Uncouth Whiskerage

A drum! A drum! Macbeth doth come.” So say Shakespeare’s Weird Sisters in an uncanny prophesy of the Scottish play’s ubiquity this coming year. Rory Kinnear and Anne-Marie Duff star in Rufus Norris’s National Theatre production (previews from 26 February). Christopher Eccleston and Niamh Cusack are next in line in Polly Findlay’s RSC version (previews from 13 March). The Royal Opera, meanwhile, revives Verdi’s Macbeth (from 25 March) closely followed by Shostakovich’s satirical update, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (from 12 April). For good measure, Kit Monkman has made a fluidly poetic film version, opening in late March, to add to the growing catalogue of movie Macbeths.

I suspect there is an element of chance to this profusion of Macbeths. At the same time, there is clearly something about the play that speaks to us urgently today. It is fashionable to see King Lear, with its madness and nihilistic bleakness, as the most modern of Shakespeare’s tragedies. But you could make an equally good case for Macbeth.

It deals, after all, with the destructive nature of unchecked power-lust and political ambition: it is no accident that the play has spawned a host of modern variations, from a 1955 gangster movie, Joe Macbeth, to a 1967 parodic play, Macbird, in which Barbara Garson wickedly implicated Lyndon Johnson in President John F Kennedy’s assassination.

The play also provides one of the most extensive insights ever written into the mind and soul of a murderer……

But I would argue there is one crowning reason, aside from its political relevance and domestic acuity, why Macbeth is always with us: it is quite simply the greatest theatrical poem ever written. The language, once heard, haunts the memory forever. Poets have also been quick to appreciate it. Peter Porter has said: “Nowhere is Shakespeare’s language more musical in the correct sense of the metaphor – not lyrical and euphuistic but continually thematic, with its own deep-set harmonies.”…………..

If Macbeth continues to obsess us, it is because it seems both modern and timeless.

M Billington, On Macbeth, Guardian





Sayings of The Just



"For the moment that was the dominant thought. There was a sense of extreme disappointment, as though I had found out I had been striving after something altogether without a substance. I couldn't have been more disgusted if I had traveled all this way for the sole purpose of talking with Mr. Kurtz"

When The Pure Products Go Crazy

Had rather a mundane slog through the past of late. I had hoped looking at something fresh i.e the nature of heroic society in the middle east would provoke something new.

All it seemed to be doing was reinforcing my existing beliefs. Just lead to a stroll around what I already know to check if it had altered in any way.

It remains the same, the formula oral culture + tribalism = the production of heroic verse, I still find problematic. The formula I get is, oral culture + tribalism + the heroic = continuity.

A narrative device. Part of the story telling aspect of history. When you have too much time on you’re hands having an essential unchanging core is useful as a framing device.

Problem confronted by anyone that has to ‘do time.’

I can use that thought to alter what I know about British history. It has the opposite issue, not enough time and a radical break with the past but the same desire to make its past ever- present.

It uses prophecy to do this. It retrospectively inserts a prophetic figure at a date it selects as the start point of its history.

Its altering its perception of time to deal with a story- telling issue. It can present a radically altered sense of time in a very conservative way and maintain continuity with the past while using it as a tool for legitimacy in the present.

I have noted the move before but not thought about it in  this way, as a device which resolves an issue of historical narrative with regard  to time.

It seems to allow for a radical transformation of space while maintaining a continuity which stands outside of time.

Essentialism allows you to make the same move in a different way. But you need to have a concept of a large scale identity in the first place in order to project back into the past and achieve a consistency with it.

This sense of ethnic solidarity is not a feature of smaller scale, social organization. It needs a different device to become an agent of change, if it desires to alter its perception of time in a way that maintains a consistent relationship between past, present and future.

Cultural agent of change here would appear to stem from religious organization, offering an altered perception of time that is not dependent on a sense of identity, which cannot exist without the development of a larger scale state.

Religious thought here can make a difference at a much smaller scale and radically alter culture while maintaining a cultural consistent concept of it’s past.

Development of essential story telling skills which alters the way a culture identifies with itself.

A past which becomes forever altered by being ever-present.