Happy Anniversary WWW
And I'm not referring to this month's 15th anniversary of Tim Berner-Lee's WWW
nor the Wonderful World of Wrestling.
Today is the 40th wedding anniversary of Michael Quinion and his wife. I mention this because he does in the 500th edition of his weekly World Wide Words e-newsletter - online here
.The e-mail newsletter first appeared on 12 July 1996, a slim forerunner of its expansive current format.
That first issue of the newsletter had seven subscribers. Now it has 26,750+ by e-mail and another 15,000+ via RSS, with readers coming from at least 120 countries (I've lost count). The Web site has grown to more than 1,800 pieces. Each month, the site receives 1.7 million page hits from more than 750,000 individual visitors. Many commercial sites would like to boast such numbers.
In the ten years from then to now, I've received many thousands of interesting e-mails from subscribers and site visitors. There are always readers who know more about the topics I write about than I do. With their help, the site has become a respected, if somewhat garrulous, reference point for people interested in the way our language has evolved and continues to change.
I'm a regular reader and I contributed the Jakarta Post headline Crocodiles Go Hungry Due To Shortage Of Tourists
.ECM reaches 1,000 releases
Music collections offer a biographical journey and certain record labels encapsulate an era which leaves an imprint in one's psyche. For me, there was CBS in the late 60's, which wanted to Fill (Y)Our Heads With Rock
with The Sounds of the Seventies ~ Santana, Taj Mahal, It's A Beautiful Day, Miles Davis, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, a veritable cornucopia of delights. CBS has since turned monolithic, corporate and uninteresting.
Although I didn't know it then, another record label was founded in 1969 and it is one I have never lost faith with.To refer to ECM simply as a record label feels like a perverse understatement. Founded in 1969, ostensibly as a jazz label, ECM has come to embody a feel and an approach to the meeting of jazz, classical, contemporary and world music that is difficult to quite define, but - once you've encountered it - instantly recognisable.
From Estonian minimalist Arvo Part to Black Power icons the Art Ensemble of Chicago, from the film soundtracks of Jean-Luc Godard to the piano sonatas of JS Bach, the defining, overarching element in all ECM's music is the label itself. Elegant, moody, austere and profoundly European, the ECM vibe comes with an element of seductive difficulty - a sense that the effort of the listener will be both required and rewarded that it can be peculiarly compelling, even addictive.
ECM is the nearest thing music has to a cult. And its founding guru and presiding genius, who masterminds the cross-genre collaborations that are a feature of its output, who has produced almost all of is 1,000 releases, devising if not actually designing most of the starkly elegant covers, is the enigmatic 63-year-old Manfred Eicher.
A cult? I suppose it is; I'll buy every ECM album I can find because it is rare to find one I can't listen to. Roll on the next 1,000.Happy Birthday Fidel
Yep, Fidel Castro is 80 today
and is up
following his recent operation. Gabriel Garcia Marquez writes about the man he thinks he knows here
.He's a man of ironclad discipline, inexhaustible patience, colossal ideas and insatiable illusions.
George Bush isn't happy, but so what?
Other august birthday boys and girls today
include Danny Bonaduce
(actor), Dan Fogelberg
(singer), Cliff Fish
(musician), Gretchen Corbett
(actress), Kevin Tighe
(actor), Don Ho
(singer, host), Pat Harrington
(actor) and Quinn Cummings
(actress) - who has a blog