Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Seeking Ease

11 Ramadhan 1433

Here's Pickthall's rendering of the second part of Surah 185, from Al Baqarah, extending the description of the purpose of the fasting month: Allah desires for you ease; He desires not hardship for you;  and (He desires) that you should complete the period, and that you should magnify Allah for having guided you, and that peradventure you may be thankful. My guess is that a non-Muslim would find this very puzzling, yet the extraordinary thing is that I'm pretty sure anyone who has completed the fast would recognise the simple accuracy of what we are being told.

The translation of hardship into ease seems utterly counter-intuitive, yet it works every time for me. At least I hope and pray it does this time. (But part of that translation is the understanding that the mild discomfort one may suffer at this time doesn't come close to real hardship.)

I take particular delight, by the way, in the fact that the notion of controlling the appetites runs counter to the religion of consumerism in such a radically powerful manner as to constitute a major and necessary challenge to modernity. This is the real radical Islam.

Monday, July 30, 2012

In Words

10 Ramadhan 1433

I'm pleased to have embarked on a Ramadhan reading of the Pickthall translation of the Holy Qur'an - entitled The Meaning of the Glorious Qur'an, a title I like a lot. There are some explanatory notes, but these are quite sparing, allowing the reader to get pulled along - or rather swept away - by the cataract of revelation. I wouldn't recommend it to the neophyte, though. Without having encountered some reliable commentary earlier you'd drown in these unforgivingly forgiving waters.

I get a sense that Pickthall is giving us as literal a translation as he can, as best he can, out of his awed respect for the original. It's a sign of the strength of character of the man that he persists in what he knows to be impossible just to ensure the English reader gets at least an echo of the power and majesty of the original, despite the occasional clumsiness. We have much to be grateful for in that alone.

In fact, I wonder if that sense of clumsiness does capture something in the Arabic. I've heard it said that the power of the revelation is such that it seems at times to fracture the language that needs to convey it. We're listening here to language at the very edge of what can be uttered - a feeling I often get when listening to a top-flight reciter.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Things That Count

9 Ramadhan 1433

Other than managing to cope reasonably well with work and enjoying breaking the fast with family in this Far Place, the great thing about starting this fasting month was being able to have a coherent conversation with Maureen on the phone last week. Considering the state she was in at the time of Mum's death and funeral such a conversation was by no means guaranteed, so it came as an enormous, joyous relief. I've been thinking about her recovery with each prayer of the month so far as a way of reminding myself of what's really important.

When I was a little lad just starting school it was my big sister who took me each day and looked after me. Enough said.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

In Company

8 Ramadhan 1433

Another paradox of the month: the experience of the fast fosters an extreme self-awareness. Yet much of the value of the experience lies in its communal nature. Put simply, you can never be unaware that you do not fast alone.

This evening we broke our fast in fine company, at Fuad's mother's place, with prayers for Fuad's much missed father.

Friday, July 27, 2012


7 Ramadhan 1433

Something new this week: getting a show done and fasting at the same time. It isn't easy, but it can be done. You live. You learn.

And something I already knew, but learnt afresh: there are few experiences quite as satisfying as watching very talented and dedicated students unleash themselves on an audience.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

At The Ready

6 Ramadhan 1433

I wasn't looking forward to this week at all. And it hasn't been easy. But it's been extremely rewarding in quite a number of ways so far. And I find myself very much looking forward to tomorrow.

An odd thing, the passage of time, eh?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Food, Glorious Food

5 Ramadhan 1433

So here's a paradox inherent in ascetic experience. The denial of food and drink is designed to foster a kind of contempt for those necessities. We are led to glimpse a level of experience that transcends the material and realise that in some sense we can go without them. They are put into some kind of proportion, no longer being almost automatically the central concerns of our lives.

Yet before the experience of fasting I'd never fully recognised what a glorious gift water is or seen the wonder of a bowl of porridge.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Long Way To Go

4 Ramadhan 1433

Felt almost normal for most of the day, a sign I'm adapting. And I'm deeply grateful for that small sign of grace, especially considering the fact that the day was impossibly packed in terms of teaching, observing, attending a meeting and rehearsing. Oh, and there were a couple of really quite nasty moments along the way which I'd rather not think about, except in terms of feeling happy they didn't shake my equilibrium as deeply as they might have done.

Yet there's so much time left in which to be tested and so many possibilities of being found wanting. But that's the point of it all, or one of the points. And part of me, I'm happy to say, has the sense to welcome that.

Monday, July 23, 2012

And Still Adjusting

3 Ramadhan 1433

In the course of the day, at regular intervals I found myself checking my physical state with regard to possible headaches, feelings of nausea and the like. I'm not normally quite so obsessive but I was genuinely worried that this old frame of mine wouldn't make it through the day, or rather wouldn't be able to cope with the sudden onset of rehearsals and the attendant pressures in the late afternoon. By 4.00 pm all was well. No obvious headache, just a mild weariness. And the actual rehearsing that followed, intense as it was, took me so far out of myself that I completely forgot the fast. So far, so good.

As soon as the main rehearsals were over (made easy by our highly talented drama guys, I must admit - gosh, these people are a pleasure to work with in every respect!) things took a distinct turn for the worse. It was as if I suddenly realised just how over-stretched I'd become. A headache of immense proportions assailed me - I actually felt almost under attack. Fortunately it was now approaching sunset, so I was able to pack my things, get back and catch up with prayers, and break the fast without collapsing.

And thirty minutes later all was hunky dory. And I felt privileged to have been stretched in that way, being allowed to catch a glimpse of the extremes faced by those who are hungry and thirsty not by choice but necessity. Today's experience, and similar ones in previous Ramadhans, have taught me never to take food and drink for granted - lessons that bite deep into my core somehow.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Further Adjustments

2 Ramadhan 1433

We went down to Arab Street early in the afternoon to take in the atmosphere around the Sultan Mosque and buy a few things from Wardah Books. These included Pickthall's translation of the Holy Qur'an which I intend as the foundation of my reading during the fasting month. I also picked up a book of essays by Syed Hossein Nasr - always worth reading.

It was unrelentingly hot out there, the reason I acquired another mild headache, I think. I'm hoping tomorrow sees further progress in the way of fasting coming to seem quite normal as I will have to integrate some rehearsing into the process, plus plenty of teaching. I'm girding my loins, as it were, as I consider my rather packed time table for the day.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Necessary Adjustments

1 Ramadhan 1433

As I knew it would be, a tough day. By the early afternoon I felt entirely lacking in energy and was nurturing a mild headache. Fortunately I never felt too much worse than that.

One of the great welcomely worrying truths that fasting month is apt to shove right in our faces - we are fundamentally weak and fragile. But we can learn to gain strength from self-control. The problem is, we so easily unlearn this.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Intense heat in the morning at West Coast Park; intense rehearsing in the afternoon as we delved into matters of timing. All this bisected by the welcome intensity of Friday Prayers. And now letting go of everything.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


I find it puzzling that you often hear the generalisation that wicked people are somehow more interesting than good people. (By the way, I'm simple enough to believe that both types exist.) There's occasionally a surface fascination attendant upon sociopaths and the like, but they're too predictable to be of true interest for long. Read Hitler's table-talk. Extraordinarily obsessively boring stuff. Not a man to be trapped in a lift with.

In contrast the genuinely good are invariably disturbingly beguiling. And challenging.

Shakespeare, of course, knew this. Which is why the Bastard Edmund is exciting at first, but gets a bit wearing, whilst the simple Cordelia is endlessly enigmatic (and far more difficult to play.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Expecting The Unexpected

A long time back I mistakenly noted in my diary that this Friday was the first day of Ramadhan. It was only yesterday that I realised the error and that I'd got the month beginning a day earlier than the actual day - which is Saturday. This came as a bit of relief; not that I'm terribly worried about beginning the fast, but Friday's quite an odd day with my school's cross country in the morning and some rehearsing to do in the afternoon, which is likely to prove intense as it's now only a week to showtime and we have a piece that we've only just finished writing. The notion of still adjusting to the fast with all this going on had been a little intimidating. Now I've got the weekend to adjust, with only a bit of rehearsing due this Saturday.

But this is the great thing about the fasting month. Since it doesn't occupy a fixed position in the year, owing to the operation of the lunar calendar involved, each experience is a different one. My first years of fasting occupied the January - February period and I've now gone backward, as it were, through the months to this almost mid-point of the year. This will be the first time I've ever fasted whilst in full production mode and figuring out the logistical challenge will shift the focus of my attention to some degree from its usual concerns. So we'll begin again with a different beginning.

Interestingly, last year was the first time I ever experienced distinct pangs of regret at completing the fast, as opposed to my usual sense of relief and accomplishment. Whether that will be repeated remains to be seen, assuming, of course, I fast successfully, something you learn never to take for granted.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Things Fall Apart

I'm getting clumsier and more forgetful. I can't honestly say this worries me too much though. It kind of adds a certain spice to life. And it's helpful that I don't get overly worried about things that I forget. Case in point, yesterday was a very busy day, as noted in yesterday's post. What I didn't mention then was that at the time of writing I was a little worried about managing to mislay the bag for my laptop. It's not much of a bag - falling to pieces, in fact. I think it embarrasses the Missus, but I feel it has a certain ragged charm. Fortunately the laptop wasn't in it when it went missing; unfortunately several important cables and other bits and pieces were.

Actually I'd realised that I left it somewhere, and knew exactly the somewhere it had been left, before leaving work. Yet the thing was gone which led me to two possible conclusions: either it had been picked up and kept by someone with a passion for inexpensive cables, or it had been picked up and kept temporarily by someone who judged that the idiot who'd left it on the table for the world to admire needed to be protected from his folly. The latter turned out to be the case (thanks Greg!) and I was able to retrieve the thing before work proper began.

If this had happened twenty years ago I would have been sort of sleepless over the loss. Last night I slept like a lamb - and I'm talking about a lamb with a good conscience here. I do wonder though how I would have reacted had I mislaid the laptop itself. I'm guessing I wouldn't have been quite so phlegmatic, though I doubt I would have reached a state of total meltdown.

And just to round everything off, I seem to be in one of those phases I sometimes endure of extreme clumsiness such that I keep banging into things and incurring damage of one sort or another. Here's the tally for the last week: an awkward cut on my right ankle I don't remember acquiring; some scraped skin at the base of my left thumb, which I do remember - and it hurt; a sore set of toes on my right foot (though not quite bruised) as a result of running said foot into the base of our coffee table; and, amazingly, a small laceration on the back of my right hand which appeared after the point in the day when I formulated the notion of listing my various wounds in a blogpost. I mean, you'd think I might have been on the defensive by that time.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Spectacularly busy day, and I don't mean that in a good way. But it had some good moments - which is one of the rewards of having a job that involves contact with bright young people: such moments can't be avoided.

For example, Paul or Mervyln, or both - I'm not sure how it worked - had arranged for a talk for a class by a couple of local writers, poets, who happened to be old boys - one a very young old boy, if you see what I mean. I'd not expected a great deal from this other than to pass the time in a vaguely pleasurable way whilst thinking I'd prefer to be getting down and dirty with Webster's Duchess. It turned out to be a thoroughly illuminating 100 minutes. It helped that I enjoyed the poems they read but the insightfully unpretentious points both guys made about their work and the processes involved had me thinking a bit harder than usual about a whole raft of issues connected with what it is to be a writer, and especially a writer in this Place.

I came away with a volume from each, and looking forward to two good reads: Sonnets From The Singlish by Joshua Ip, and Chasing Curtained Suns by Jerrold Yam. And if that sounds like a covert recommendation - yes, it is.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

With Passion

Finally watched Passion from beginning to end today. Very intense and, at times, almost embarrassing. It felt strange to be so uncomfortable watching what, after all, would essentially be classed as a musical. The genre is surely meant to provide entertainment regardless of how meaty the issues it deals with are, and that means the audience isn’t meant to feel badgered.

But Passion isn’t really a musical. It’s a chamber opera, and once that’s understood the nature of its intensity falls into place. This is upsetting in the same way that Britten gets under your skin.

In his commentary on the show Sondheim makes the point that, far from being unable to identify with the central characters, as several critics claimed, we recognise ourselves in Fosca and Giorgio. I think that’s true. It’s difficult to face our awful neediness, and that’s what this piece is all about, I reckon. Hence the embarrassment.

By the way, the music is lovely and the staging of this production – the original Broadway version – is visually ravishing. Blue and red, and their various shades, have never looked quite so gorgeous.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Easy Labour

Of the not-so-great Shakespeare plays, two have a special place in my heart for reasons that I don't quite grasp. It's just one of those things. I know their flaws but all I can see and feel are their strengths. The two plays are Love's Labour's Lost and The Merry Wives of Windsor and, curiously, I've never seen them live in the theatre.

But I have seen them done on television and film, and in the case of Merry Wives it was actually the version done by the BBC when the corporation produced all the plays around the 1980's that completely won me over - especially Richard Griffiths's brilliant Falstaff.

To some degree it was also a BBC production (I think) of Love's Labour's Lost that started me on my long love affair with the play, but this was a long time ago, so long I've forgotten who was in it, or even whether it was actually the BBC that did it. I was young enough at the time to consider watching a whole Shakespeare I'd never read quite a challenge, and remember being pleased with myself for grasping what was going on. Of course, it's quite easy to grasp the plot as there really isn't one, but at the time I regarded it as a bit of a feat. After that I found myself enjoying wrestling with the text on several occasions, assisted by the fact there are particularly good editions for both Oxford and Arden, eventually reaching the point of thinking I needed to see it in the theatre to see if a director could match the kind of magic in the imaginary production running through my mind.

Branagh's movie didn't, which was a bit of a disappointment, though I could understand why he avoided a reprise of his brilliant Much Ado About Nothing and found a lot to enjoy in what he did with the play. But today I finally saw the version I've been waiting for, as it were. It's one of those Opus Arte DVDs, shot at the Globe in 2009 and it does everything right. You get broad comedy, but done with a genuine feeling for the glorious language of the play, and an eye for the shadows amidst the bright summer laughter.

Just to mention one moment: the devastating entrance of Mercade with the news of the French king's death is timed to utter perfection and the Princess's reaction (the excellent Michelle Terry, just one of several outstanding players), one of real, sudden, appalling grief, has the weight to add necessary ballast to the meditation upon the nature of comedy that follows.

By the way, I've actually read literary critics who think Shakespeare's ending is clumsy. Have these people ever been in a theatre? Have they no lives?

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Kind Of Hush

Noi took Afnan back to Melaka today, and I arrived home to rather too much peace and quiet. I'm told that the nipper is likely to stay there, at least for a time. He's got some sort of appointment with the doctor early next week and the situation regarding where he's best situated for the duration of his ibu's pregnancy appears to be under review. This is to some degree a relief - I don't think I've felt quite this tired in years; and to some degree a cause for quiet regret - there's nothing quite so illuminating to come home to as a highly curious, hyper-active ten-month-old. Gosh, make that eleven: how time flies.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Glimpse Of Art

Happened to pop into the Art Room today on a bit of business. It's always a good place to be as you get a chance to view a lot of the students' work in progress. In fact, I've always considered the art rooms in every school I've ever been in as the best areas to hang out in.

But today was a bit special. On entering I caught sight of quite a large canvas leaning against a table and it was stunning in every detail. The essence of the piece was a youthful figure eyeing the viewer, but with the glance partly obscured by a piece of clothing held in front of the face of the figure. There was more to the composition than that, a lot more actually, but that alone was compelling. And not just for me. Chris Talbot happened to be with me and once I'd pointed out the canvas he readily agreed about its odd power.

The oddness came, I think, from the fact that there was a strong sense of meaning about the painting yet also a feeling that you were projecting something onto what was essentially a simple canvas.

On exiting Chris made the observation that the work on view in the room generally was a lot more rewarding than that hung in the average 'real' gallery - and he was absolutely right.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Houseguest 3

We take our responsibilities as temporary parents for the little fellah very seriously. As role models we are conscious of the need to influence him in positive ways in all the important aspects of his life. We know that important choices lie ahead for him, and we need to do all that is in our power to ensure he makes wise and healthy ones.

Monday, July 9, 2012

In Public

Insofar as a programme detailing the downfall, as it were, of a famous film star (do they still use the term?) can be reasonably tasteful, the one I saw yesterday managed to give some sense of genuine sympathy for the actor in question. I still felt somewhat soiled watching the thing though, and it says little for my character that I continued to watch. It wasn't that I was terribly desirous to discover the grim details; simply that the spectacle of the train wreck was compelling. Some dreadful voice messages the guy was assumed to have sent in a particularly violent, drunken outburst had the power of the bleakest kind of drama.

I really have no idea whether the guy is basically a decent sort bought low by alcohol and betrayal, or a nasty piece of work whose innate nastiness is inevitably unravelling. But I do know I'm deeply glad I'm not him or at all close to his condition.

At one point there was a clip of him saying something to the effect that public humiliation is every one's worse fear. It's not mine actually, not even close. In fact, such humiliation is something I think I could survive with relative ease. So the sheer fact of the making of the programme I was watching - humiliation on the grandest of scales whichever way you cut it - had an awful ironic power in itself.

It was all deeply and strangely, almost pointlessly sad. And the fact that there are people far, far worse off than this guy, and far more worthy of attention, just added to the sadness.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Glimpse Of Passion

I've been meaning to sit down and watch the DVD I bought a little while back of Sondheim's show Passion, but just haven't found the time somehow. When we were in KL it was Sunday In The Park With George that made it to the player, partly because since Karen had been kind enough to lend it I felt a certain moral obligation to watch. Also the fact I knew the show well from my CD didn't hurt. It helps to have some enthusiasm for viewing something I find when you have as little enthusiasm for watching anything on telly as I have.

Unfortunately Sondheim's own comments on Passion from Look, I Made A Hat haven't stoked any great enthusiasm in me for watching it. He makes the whole concept sound, well, difficult. I've never been that keen on obsessive love as a theme, and the notion of a terribly unattractive young lady sort of stalking a very good looking man as the centre of the plot of a musical just doesn't do anything for me.

But, then, this is Sondheim so there's a level of trust that you're going to get something worth your time and attention. It was with this thought in mind that I had a look at the first part of the show earlier today. I knew I wouldn't have time for the whole thing, but I was curious to watch at least something of it. And what I saw was impressive, but a touch forbidding. It wasn't easy to relate to the story. But there was a fascination in the challenge being set and a reminder that it's not always a good thing to be comfortable with the stories you are told. In fact, quite possibly it's simply never a good thing, which might account for the sense of emptiness I experience watching most modern films. They are designed to appeal to their audiences after all, above all. This wasn't.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

In Development

We have survived young Afnan for almost two weeks now and, indeed, he has survived us. In fact, in just two weeks it's been possible to see him developing new skills, especially new ways of disturbing our sleep. Or, rather, the old ways refined in exciting and noisy ways.

That's the thing about very young children, there's no such thing as a routine. The game of picking up the big coaster from the table turns quickly into the game of turning it over to its green felt side assisted by Uncle Brian, and getting plenty of saliva on that, and then, with the magic of the passage of one day, assistance is no longer necessary - though saliva is routinely plentiful.

All of which means, of course, you can never be entirely sure what the lad is up to as he wrestles with the unforgiving geometry and weight of the world.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Expecting The Impossible

We're at the mid-point of the Islamic month of Syaaban. Which means it's important to think of the challenges ahead in Ramadhan. And the main challenge: being better than you actually are. Tricky. The astonishing thing is, now and then it comes true, insha'allah. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What's In A Name?

Got home reasonably early from work and spent quality time listening to Soft Machine's third album, cunningly entitled Third. Did so at a reasonable volume as the Missus and youngster are out for the day. Puzzled over one of the minor mysteries of our time: why is the production on Third so bad? Great music but sonically the equivalent of a bog, and I'm talking about a bog with attitude.

But this led to a happier thought. Isn't Soft Machine the coolest name ever for a band? It manages to sound soothing and menacing all at one go. And the nod to Burroughs gives it huge cultural cachet. (Steely Dan come a close second on the cachet, of course, and add a touch of naughty irony, but the actual name doesn't do a lot in itself.)

And that led me to consider the other extreme. What might be considered the dorkiest name ever for a group? Oddly, the answer came immediately. Think of those lovable lads from Liverpool - the fab four themselves. We're so habituated to the idea of The Beatles we forget what a gormless moniker it really is. Just about the only thing going for it is the implied homage to Buddy Holly's Crickets, but even that is undercut by the horrendous pun.

Just as a matter of interest, I know for a fact how silly it really sounds because I remember the first time most of England, and my younger self, heard it on the telly. This was at the time of the release of Love Me Do when the single was first played on Juke Box Jury. The panel, the studio audience, my family and myself all chuckled at the sheer silliness of hearing anyone referred to as beetles, and I distinctly remember the six- or seven-year-old version of me thinking, before the song was played, This is going to be a novelty record and a one-hit wonder at best. At least the thought was to that effect even if the word novelty was not yet in my vocabulary. So there we are. I rest my case.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Today finished that odd little anthology of pieces, poetry and prose, entitled Coast (in which all the pieces are entitled Coast, geddit?) that I bought at Books Actually a little while back. I mentioned in an earlier post that Alfian Sa'at's contribution was the best so far, and this remained the case to the end. In fact, a few of the offerings were not exactly first-rate, or even second- for that matter) but that didn't spoil my read.

The truth is, I think reading weak stuff that claims to be lit is a fruitful activity in a number of ways. For starters, it puts you on your critical mettle - you're forced to make a judgement along the lines of, If this doesn't work what's gone wrong, or is it just me? Also, unless you're in a destructive frame of mind, you can have fun sorting the wheat from the chaff: Which bits of this would be worth keeping or indicate that the writer isn't completely beyond the pale?

Most important, at least for me, is the sense of trying to connect with the concerns of much younger writers than myself - for the most part - and figuring out what's fueling them. At times this is little more than adolescent (or post-adolescent) angst, but as Don Paterson wisely points out that's pretty much what fuels the reality of feeling behind Shakespeare's Sonnets, and if it was good enough for him...

Monday, July 2, 2012

In Style

I've not been watching Euro 2012 since getting back from Malaysia, except for brief highlights, because:

1) You have to pay an arm and a leg for it here, in contrast to getting excellent coverage buckshee (well, through ordinary Astro payments) over the boarder;

2) Once England got knocked out all the emotion went out of it for me - but not that I expected anything of them really;

3) I'm too old to stay up watching at three in the morning, and it would have been impossible to find too much time to watch during the day due to present circumstances, what with work and houseguest and everything.

Having said all that, I'm pleased Spain won it by a country mile since they are playing easily the best football on the planet - even when they pack the midfield. Just the little bits I've seen make that very clear. Finally, the beautiful game played beautifully.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Great Guitar Solos 4

When I first started this little series, and named Richard Thompson as the perpetrator of one of my all-time favourite solos, the one (or, to be technically accurate, two) I'm talking about today was not the one I had in mind. This minor contradiction doesn't actually surprise me though because even as I named him I was aware of quite a number of solos that could easily have made the, when all is said and done somewhat arbitrary, list. The man's work over decades has been never less than stunning, both in terms of song-writing and guitar playing, and characterised by a sense of inventiveness that keeps it all fresh and varied. Invariably the solo, extended or sparely economic, fits the song and is somehow right.

That was the case with the original solo on Shoot Out The Lights, but in live performance the great man has transcended that any number of times. The version on the live performance captured on the 3 CD Watching The Dark set is a case in point. But then I came across Mr Thompson's performance of Shoot Out The Lights with Elvis Costello and the Imposters, which can be found on youtube.com, where I chanced on it, here, and, to my delight, I enjoyed what I reckon is his best version ever. Of course, it helps having Elvis and the gang around - Steve Nieve's organ-playing is particularly outstanding - but it still seems remarkable that he pulled out all the stops in what must have been a somewhat atypical situation in which to perform.

Incredibly I think the second solo towards the end tops the first, helped by his detuning the lowest string. It's that sense of controlled discord, so in keeping with the nature of the song, that makes everything so utterly right. And the superfast strumming, especially in the first solo (or, perhaps, we might regard it as Part 1 of a single solo) eerily reminiscent of Robert Fripp, again both impresses technically, but, far more importantly, is right for the mood of the piece, suggesting chaos and outrage all at once.

When will he get a knighthood, or a grammy for that matter?