Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body Joseph Addison, English Essayist, Poet, Dramatist and Statesman. 1672 - 1719

'Clarice's Book Page' is the 'reading room' of the 'Elizannie' page at:

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The Times Aren't Always A-Changing

The blog title is obviously - to those who know their Bob Dylan - a bad misquote of his famous song. So why would I misquote one of musical heroes, who incidentally is 'up for' a Noble Prize for Literature tomorrow?

Its been one of those afternoons when I have been conducting an interesting internet discussion which was both political and literary with an internet buddy, whilst at the same time writing an Elizannie blog and also chatting to family on facebook and listening to a new CD. Which probably means that as usual I wasn't really doing any of those things very well.

My internet discussion was around the fact that history repeats itself if we don't allow ourselves to learn the lessons that it can teach us. In this instance my buddy and I were using the instance that 19thC literature can show us what life was like before the Welfare State in the UK as in Gissing's The Nether World [for the UK] or any of Theodore Dreiser's books for pre 'safety net' facilities [for the US] The discussion also included references to two hymns, one a paen to Conservatism and another to Socialism [obviously the better one] and if you wish to sample these go to the Elizannie blog here

As always when discussing literature, which then leads to history, then on to politics, music crops up and as I was listening to the new Ry Cooder album, Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down I began to feel more than a bit sad and angry. I realised that the artiste was basically saying the same thing as my 'discussion buddy' and I, although even more harshly. To quote from this BBC review of the album:

When Ry Cooder recorded his first two albums, collections of songs by the likes of Lead Belly and Woody Guthrie that evoked the desperate times of the Great Depression, he could scarcely have imagined that 40 years later he’d be singing of the same old problems, but relating them to modern times.

As I have said to others, if you only buy/download one CD this year, make it this one. And learn and share with others the lessons Ry Cooder has written and sings.

Photo of the CD, courtesy of

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