What if Chesterton was right, perhaps in some kind of Blakean fit of ecstasy? Maybe all of our worrying about The End is for naught. Perhaps it did happen long ago, and we live somewhere in the final days. The Apostles certainly believed the End of the Age was near to them, and the New Testament confirms and affirms this repeatedly.
Of course, I am only being half serious. Still, look at the news. The Coronavirus might as well be the Black Death. As I type this, the governor of Michigan has declared (unconstitutionally, it should be noted) a “stay at home”/lockdown order. Walking the dog (named, by coincidence?, Chesterton) this afternoon, my hometown of Hillsdale, Michigan, might very well have served as the set of some Twilight Zone episode, so quiet and abandoned does it seem. (This might be the ideal time to become close friends with a Mormon.) And, of course, this is just one view. China and Italy have already gone through hell, or continue to exist in it. With this viral threat, half of the world seems to have lost its collective mind.
Well, for the sake of argument, let’s say this is The End. It wasn’t nuclear war or an asteroid or a rogue planet or even some mystical force. But, merely—in a whimper—a damned bug. Would it really matter?
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/03/what-if-this-is-the-end-bradley-birzer.html
Prior to this, I had prided myself on writing seven-, eight-, or even nine-page handwritten letters. My family and friends had filled our letters with news, with details of great adventures, with reviews of the latest books we had read and music we had heard. We filled the entire page with snippets of poems or lyrics, with some rather inexpert doodles; sometimes, I’d paste photos into the letter or squiggle in some band name such as Rush, Talk Talk, or Yes. There was an individualistic art to long-form letter correspondence.
I still have boxes and files full of these letters received from friends, and I cherish them as some of my finest possessions. I hope and trust the recipients of my letters feel the same. These letters represent small but mighty little communities: neighborhoods, suburbs, towns, republics, and – sometimes – dynasties of letters.
— Read on www.acton.org/religion-liberty/volume-30-number-1/solution-cancel-culture-true-community
Hans Jonas was born into a German Jewish household in 1903. As a boy, he longed for excitement. However, the most exciting events always seemed to be happening elsewhere. It seemed unlikely that he could fulfill his boyhood “dreams of glory” in the monotony of everyday life there.
Before the First World War, the most significant world events in his memory had been the sinking of the Titanic and the Balkan Wars. Comparing these events to his “charmed life — in a country that had known nothing but peace for decades, that was flourishing economically, and as a child in a comfortably situated family,” he found his life and the lives of his family members to be very boring.
Again, it is possible that Burke actively disliked the principles of the American Revolution, but there exists no such evidence one way or another. What we do know is that Burke, when pushed, supported the American cause for independence, though he very much lamented the breakdown and breakup of the British commonwealth.
From my perspective, Burke was a vital ally in the cause, as patriotic to the American cause as any American revolutionary leader. He not only defended our cause, he did so in a way that could have easily been regarded as treasonous by his own people.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/03/edmund-burke-support-american-revolution-bradley-birzer.html
The stagecoach, just about to leave town, despite the threats from the Apache, represents American society in every aspect. The local Marshall, Curly, rides shotgun, protecting the stagecoach’s driver, Buck, and their passengers. The passengers include, of course, Boone and Dallas (forced to leave, regardless of danger), a whiskey drummer from Kansas City, Kansas (Mr. Peacock, though everyone refers to him as the Reverend), and, critically, the seemingly-ill wife of an army officer and a high-class lady from Virginia (Mrs. Mallory). As the stagecoach departs, a notorious southern gambler, Mr. Hatfield, attaches himself as “protection for the lady,” and, just as the stagecoach is about to exit town, Gatewood—now illegally in possession of the bank’s money—joins in a getaway attempt, knowing that the telegraph lines have been cut by the Apaches.
En route, Ringo “Henry” Kidd (John Wayne) hitches a ride, having broken out of prison to avenge the killings of his father and brother in Lordsburg. Whatever his crimes, the Kidd is clearly appreciated for his honesty and his good skills.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/03/stagecoach-reign-justice-redemption-bradley-birzer.html
The Bardic Depths offers an interesting combination of genres. At its core, the band plays a progressive rock that revels in subtlety, as even the heavier riffs are gentle and easy on the ears. However, you will find that some of the tracks are akin to progressive electronic/ambient, so not “rock” at all. Even further, and as the album progresses, you will find a huge portion of jazz fusion in the mix, so be ready for quite a lot of saxophone and bassy grooves. Somehow, the band puts this all together and makes it work well.
— Read on theprogmind.com/2020/03/13/the-bardic-depths-the-bardic-depths/
This was, to be sure, a more innocent time. And, to be certain, there was even a time in my high school years—a less jaded time—in which I assumed most Americans were raised in the same manner and believed as I did. President Reagan, Prime Minister Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II were normal leaders of the West, not extraordinary ones. Many of my teachers—clearly the children of the New Left and the 1960s—revealed to me a blatant hypocrisy. While they shouted for love, they behaved as would-be tyrants, hypocrites . . . not all . . . but many.
Somehow, and in a myriad of disturbing ways, my delusions and illusions and wishes and hopes and dreams and subjective realities collapsed over the years. Not that I lost faith in liberty, but I’ve certainly lost faith that others kept the faith, if they ever actually had it.
The evidence is more than clear. Communism, socialism, and progressivism have each made huge comebacks, re-entering political discourse blatantly and, just as importantly, very quietly, over the past decades. Even the very words “socialism,” “communism,” and, especially, “progressivism,” have reacquired respect and a semblance of dignity in many circles of public thought and discourse.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/03/revival-socialism-bradley-birzer.html
SDE: What is it, do you think, about the album, that resonates so much with people? Is it just the fact that it’s got massive hit singles on it, or is it something more than that?
RO: I think… I mean, at the time it felt completely disjointed, that we were clutching at straws regarding available songs. We started off with two or three songs and bits of b-sides and within one month I came up with ‘Shout’, ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’, and ‘I Believe’. And I think it was when we did ‘Shout’ that we really moved to a completely different gear.
The secrets are in the arrangement and production, because it really is superb
One of the reasons it was called ‘Songs from the Big Chair’, I probably told you this a million times, is that it felt disparate; it wasn’t like The Hurting which was almost like a life work for us. Albeit we were teenagers. Hence the title ‘Songs’ because it just seemed to me like eight separate songs, and even the track ‘Listen’ was an Ian Stanley [keyboard player] demo and made while we were recording The Hurting. But I don’t know why… I think it was possibly the fact that we’d done our initial first demo’s in Ian’s house in Bath. And then he won a little bit of money from the publishing, we built the studio there in a bigger room, in his house. And I think it was almost like coming back to the West Country and even [producer] Chris Hughes had links to Bath, because his mum lived there. So, I think getting out of the huge studios and into this real intimate [setting], the birthplace of Tears for Fears almost, which was Ian Stanley’s house. I think that created this, you know, more of a calm but hot-housed environment. Plus, this massive input of new technology, like the Fairlight, the Synclavier and the Drumulator. We had all these cutting-edge sounds to play with and I think that the secrets are in the arrangement and production, because it really is superb.
— Read on www.superdeluxeedition.com/interview/tears-for-fears-roland-orzabal-in-the-big-chair-the-sde-interview/
Finally, there was The Bardic Depths. Can you tell in a nutshell how this was realised?
Brad asked if I wanted to do a third album and I agreed. I started writing it. It felt different to anything else I had written and I felt it need contributions from other more capable musicians. Once it was nearing completion it was so obviously not another Birzer Bandana album. I wanted to acknowledge the other guys who had helped and thought a different name for the band / project would me more appropriate. After coming up with lots of weird proggy names we decided on the album title for the band name as well
— Read on www.backgroundmagazine.nl/Specials/InterviewTheBardicDepths.html
We will return to this point shortly. Brad Birzer’s Beyond Tenebrae is subtitled Christian Humanism in the Twilight of the West, which lets the reader in on the main thrust of the work. As Russell Amos Kirk Professor of History at Hillsdale College, Dr. Birzer’s breadth of knowledge is more than equal to the task. Much of the book reads like a sophomore survey course, with Dr. Birzer taking the reader on a tour of people who express what he is trying to convey. He covers a lot of terrain in this survey, including characters expectable and unusual. There are scholars (Christopher Dawson, Eric Voegelin) and artists (Willa Cather, Flannery O’Connor, Ray Bradbury); social critics (Russell Kirk, Alexander Solzhenitsyn), and politicians (Ronald Regan, Edmund Burke); the prominent (J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis), and the obscure (Dr. Birzer’s own grandparents, as well as one of his Notre Dame instructors). All are chosen because each exemplifies some aspect or principle of the true humanism that Dr. Birzer is trying to convey. The examples are woven into a tapestry to illustrate his points—indeed, if the book has a weakness, it is that the weaving is at points not as smooth as it could be. But even that serves to illuminate the point that comprehending humans as human means surrendering the wish for everything to work out as smoothly as a mathematical formula or well-designed computer algorithm.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/03/beyond-tenebrae-brad-birzer-roger-thomas.html
Getting to a higher musical level meant that this time around Bandana wasn’t the only musician playing on this album. Yes, he still plays instruments such as keyboards, guitars, bass, flute, harmonica and sings the lead vocals. But when he asked other musicians to contribute to the songs that he had written, the music sounded more professional than on the earlier released Birzer Bandana albums. He got some musical assistance from people such as Peter Jones (Camel, Tiger Moth Tales, Red Bazar) on vocals and saxophone, Gareth Cole (Under A Banner, Tom Slatter band, Fractal Mirror, Mike Kershaw) on guitar, Kevin McCormick on guitar, Tim Gehrt (Streets, Steve Walsh) on drums, Paolo Limoli on keyboards, Glenn Codere on backing vocals, John William Francis on Marimba, Mike Warren on Cello and Robin Armstrong (Cosmograf) on keyboards, guitars, bass, drum programming and backing vocals. Together they came up with a rather strong progressive rock album which is full of soundscapes and has musical references with bands such as Pink Floyd and Talk Talk. But also, I can hear influences from another band. Namely Freedom To Glide. A band from the UK which also makes concept album about war and conflicts around the world in general! They pay tribute to the fallen soldiers in meaningless wars.
— Read on www.backgroundmagazine.nl/CDreviews/TheBardicDepthsTheBardicDepths.html