Archive for Ghosts

The Ghost Room in Maynooth

Posted in History, Maynooth, Poetry with tags , , , on September 9, 2020 by telescoper

I stumbled across this rather macabre post about Maynooth University and thought I’d share it….don’t have nightmares!

That reminds me of this poem by Emily Dickinson:

One need not be a chamber to be haunted,
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
Material place.

Far safer, of a midnight meeting
External ghost,
Than an interior confronting
That whiter host.

Far safer through an Abbey gallop,
The stones achase,
Than, moonless, one’s own self encounter
In lonesome place.

Ourself, behind ourself concealed,
Should startle most;
Assassin, hid in our apartment,
Be horror’s least.

The prudent carries a revolver,
He bolts the door,
O’erlooking a superior spectre
More near.

Come Here To Me!

Path leading down to the College Graveyard at Saint Patrick’s College. (Carax)

Just on the outskirts of Dublin lies the historic university town of Maynooth. It is the home of Ireland’s main Roman Catholic seminary, St Patrick’s College, which has been churning out priests since 1795.

One particular room in the college has been associated with demonic apparitions, suicide and paranormal activity for over 150 years.

In the mid 19th century in Room Two of Rhetoric House, two young seminarists took their own lives, nineteen years apart, and the room has been the source of many tales ever since.

Rhetoric House in the South Campus, built in 1834, was formerly a residential house for trainee priests. It now hosts the Department of History.

Rhetoric House, Maynooth (http://bogwarrior.com)

On 1 March 1841, a young student from Limerick by the name of Sean O’Grady (b. 1820) jumped out of room and fell…

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R.I.P. Gary Peacock (1935-2020)

Posted in Jazz with tags , , , , , , on September 8, 2020 by telescoper

I heard on Saturday via social media that the great bass player Gary Peacock had passed away on 4th September, only to see other posts claiming that the rumours of his death were a hoax. I was relieved about that but then it turns out that the hoax reports were themselves a hoax and Gary Peacock had indeed died. He was 85 years old.

Gary Peacock is probably best known for his work with the likes of Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans and Jack DeJohnette but as a tribute I thought I would post an example of his earlier work with Albert Ayler. I think the album Spiritual Unity with Gary Peacock on bass and Sonny Murray on drums is one of the highlights of 1960s free jazz.

This tune, the shorter of two versions on Spiritual Unity of an original composition by Albert Ayler called Ghosts, is a great example how he could make coherent what at first hearing sounds like disassociated bursts of sound. It involves remarkable improvised melodies based on short thematic lines designed to evoke unsophisticated  folk music or nursery tunes. It may sound primitive on the surface, but it’s very complex underneath and creating this extraordinary sound world clearly required great technical mastery from Ayler and his supporting musicians, especially Gary Peacock, who plays wonderfully on this track.

Rest in peace, Gary Peacock (1935-2020)

 

Ghosts

Posted in Jazz with tags , , , , , , on October 23, 2011 by telescoper

I’ve been meaning to post this pioneering piece of music for some time but never seemed to get around to it until a comment yesterday reminded me that I’m probably not posting enough about Jazz these days. Albert Ayler was one of the true originals of the free jazz movement of the 1960s, and I think the album Spiritual Unity he made with Gary Peacock on bass and Sonny Murray on drums is the first record on which his radical ideas came fully to fruition, which is why I’ve chosen to post a track from it. His saxophone style was totally unique, with a rough broad vibrato and searing hard-edged tone contrasting dramatically with a superb command of the upper register and exhilirating speed of execution. His articulation is blurred in order to give the saxophone a more personal timbre, with inflections similar to a human voice, and he’s able to accomplish dramatic changes in mood, from a wild passion bordering on violence, to a deep sense of pathos or nostalgia. As is the case with other highly independent jazz musicians, such as Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, you only have to hear one note to know immediately who’s playing.

This tune, the shorter of two versions on Spiritual Unity of an original composition by Albert Ayler called Ghosts, is a great example how he could make coherent what at first hearing sounds like disassociated bursts of sound. It involves remarkable improvised melodies based on short thematic lines designed to evoke unsophisticated  folk music or nursery tunes. It may sound primitive on the surface, but it’s very complex underneath and creating this extraordinary sound world clearly required great technical mastery from Ayler and his supporting musicians, especially Gary Peacock, who plays wonderfully on this track.

Yet for all its brilliance, this record also hints at the dark clouds that were never far from Ayler’s horizon. Although critically acclaimed, his music never found favour with the public. He battled depression throughout the late 60s and, in 1970, at the age of only 34, he took his own life by jumping off a ferry into New York’s  East River.