Q Combinations 21: The big IF of Easter (from AE Housman & Eugène Burnand)

There is an emotional complexity to this wonderful painting by Swiss artist Eugène Burnand. I know very little about him, apart from the usual resort of Wikipedia. But he manages to capture a moment of almost frantic inquisitiveness, as Peter and his young, fellow-disciple John rush in the golden sunrise light to the burial garden. Their faces seem filled with anxiety, confusion, hope, wonder, and longing all at once. Hoping against hope, but fearing a con, or something worse? Could Mary Magdalene, first to visit the tomb, possibly have been right...?

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U2’s Songs of Innocence (4): No longer alone with tectonic forces? VOLCANO

There’s a surprising amount of the natural world on Songs of Innocence, just as there was in fact in No Line on the Horizon (the title kind of gives that away, I suppose). Nature has always provided poetic inspiration, but perhaps it’s not the most common imagery for rock ‘n roll. (Though having said that, you can no doubt think of countless counter-examples. Please don’t all write at once.)

So here’s just a quick thumbnail sketch of some of the key nature metaphors: (more…)

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U2’s Songs of Innocence (3): A Disquieting Lullaby (SLEEP LIKE A BABY)

U2 can be pretty shocking. If you’ve followed social media recently, you’ll know they’ve caused global offence by giving away their Songs of Innocence album for free (oh, and a nice tidy cheque from Apple for $100 million). I do think that the sum is pretty obnoxious. There’s no way that anyone needs that kind of cash, least of all the world’s most successful band in history (more or less). I’d say it represents, at the very least, a rather grim error of judgment. I have enjoyed some of the memes that this has provoked, though (esp Who is U2 anyway?). But even though that all now seems rather an inadvertent PR disaster, the album contains some genuine shocks which are clearly more artfully deliberate.

(more…)

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