December 10th, 2007

breaking bad

Still singing Galway Bay

Oh no. It's twenty years since 'Fairy Tale of New York' was released by the Pogues. That means it'll get a lot of airplay.

Why 'Oh No'? It's a good song I think, one of the best Christmas Songs. But twenty years ago I was pregnant for the first time, and I felt really sick all the time. Meanwhile this song had come out and was being played all the time on the radio. Somewhere in my primitive back-brain some ancient circuit decided these two facts were connected, and I've developed a Pavlovian response.

I found myself over the sink this morning, dry-retching as if I were pregnant again, just because I had read the title of the song in a newspaper. Bloody hell. I think that's an extreme reaction because I'd just woken up. I don't feel sick right now, for instance, although I'm typing about it.

Isn't it interesting that this part of the brain was able to pick out that song from all the thousands I must have heard that Christmas, as the 'important one' (it probably got more plays that any other individual song). The mechanism that connects a feeling of nausea to a stimulus is a very ancient one, from the earliest animals. If a primitive animal is going to learn anything about its environment, it has to learn to avoid anything that made it sick last time. This is not a sophisticated part of the brain, but it's very powerful.
breaking bad

Four Quartets on e-book

On the subject of audio books I just listened to an absolutely brilliant one. Paul Schofield reading The Wasteland and Four Quartets. I think anyone who loves these poems will enjoy this reading, which is lyrical and interpretive, but not (I felt) overpowering.

(that's a link to amazon, but on audible.co.uk it's half that price to download it directly).

I'd like to write a bit about Burnt Norton in particular, perhaps later today.