Social media, Shakespeare and the Bear Pit

I really think that all through history most of the bad stuff quietly eliminates itself in its particular form from generation to generation. It may be replaced by other bad stuff, but the fashion disappears. Whereas the good stuff renews itself. Anything that was good in the writing of Sophocles some good director will discover again and reproduce. But the bad stuff – when it’s forgotten, it’s gone for ever. I can’t remember all that about Shakespeare and the Bear Pit but I think that at the time people were saying: ‘Isn’t it terrible, Mr Shakespeare is writing all these classics and people are rushing to the Bear Pit’.
There will probably never be a final word in the debate about classical music's use of Twitter. But if there is, let it be those wise words from the poet Robert Lax, who is seen above. Social media and Robert Lax are an unlikely pairing, but worthwhile side turnings have emerged on this much overgrown path. The team with guest Drew McManus debated my social media post (start at 56.00") and decided that I “was almost right about Twitter”; which, I guess, is better than being almost wrong. My musings somehow inspired Drew to proposes a concert event Twitter client. But he seems to be behind the curve on that one - last year's BBC Proms website made a big deal of audience tweets, but this year tweets are nowhere to be seen. As Robert Lax said, the fashion disappears.

Recent encounters with Robert Lax left me wanting to find out more about him as savant rather than poet. That need was serendipitously met by an email from
Canadian editor Kevin Burns who pointed me in the direction of three books by Steve Georgiou. The first of these, The Way of the Dreamcatcher: Spirit Lesson with Robert Lax has been ordered from Robert Lax was a great jazz fan, as was his close friend Thomas Merton. Jazz has been rather neglected here recently, so my Shakespeare meets classical soundtrack is provided by pianist Lynne Arriale and her trio with their jazz take on Touch her sweet lips and part from the score William Walton wrote for Henry V, a track from Arriale's Melody album seen below. More quoting Shakespeare here.

Also on Facebook and Twitter. Robert Lax quote is from Hermits by Peter France. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk


Mike said…
The Arriale take on "Touch her sweet lips and part" sounds a lot like Mike Nock's solo piano version from his 1994 album Touch.
The Lax book is pretty much a fluff piece.I wanted it to be good.It was breathlessly written.The Letters of Merton and Lax ,on the other hand, are wonderful,playful,witty,some written as"anti-letters" in a kind of cryptic code.There is another book on Bob Lax,Thomas Merton and Edward Rice called Merton and friends which is quite good.Columbia university's alumni website had a long piece on Lax right before he passed, which is on the web.{i have trod this path}
For those of your readers interested in a deeper understanding of Lax and how jazz influenced his life, Fordham University Press has just published my full biography of him: Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax. The title comes from an approach to living Lax developed from his college days with Thomas Merton watching jazz musicians jam. Lax was an amazing poet and inspirational man, and he lived a fascinating life. Michael N. McGregor
Pliable said…
Michael thanks for that. Although Steve Georgiou's books are valuable a comprehensive biography of Robert Lax is long overdue. I look forward to reading it.

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