Wednesday, August 7, 2013


The great pest of speech is frequency of translation.  No book was ever turned from one language into another, without imparting something of its native idiom; this is the most mischievous and comprehensive innovation; single words may enter by thousands, and the fabrick of the tongue continue the same, but new phraseology changes much at once;  it alters not the single stones of the building, but the order of the columns.  If an academy should be established for the cultivation of our stile, which I, who can never wish to see dependance multiplied, hope the spirit of English liberty will hinder or destroy, let them, instead of compiling grammars and dictionaries, endeavour, with all their influence, to stop the licence of translatours,  whose idleness and ignorance, if it be suffered to proceed, will reduce us to babble a dialect of France. 

Samuel Johnson, from Preface to the Dictionary, 1755. 



  1. Curtis,

    The man's music grows more magnificent with the years.

    These last few, I've found myself coming back to this majestic performance of Chinese Envoy:

    John Cale & Metropole Orchestra: Chinese Envoy / Paris 1919 (live, Amsterdam, 1998

    1. I love, love, love Chinese Envoy (and this performance). We saw JC perform a few months ago at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He combined a performance of Paris 1919 (full lp in line with a current trend) with some old and new material. We wanted to take Jane because John Cale's music and performances were a big part of our life and he was just terrific. (Yesterday, while going through some old photos, Caroline uncovered some Cale CBGB performance photos we took that brought back wonderful memories.) I wasn't surprised to find that the Paris 1919 performances generally worked less well than the others because he felt compelled (I guess) to use the small orchestra (bought, paid for and expensive, I imagine) on all the songs and really the original arrangements were perfect. That's a very minor quibble. John's stage presence, singing and playing were magnificent. Curtis