Category Archives: Others’ works

Here are some pieces by others which have given me inspiration, peace of mind or have just made me think.

Throwback Thursday: Queen’s Album, 1974

For today’s post in the #ThrowbackThursday topic I look at Queen’s third LP album – Sheer Heart Attack, which was released on 8 November 1974. The sound in this album shifted from the sound of the previous two albums and away from progressive rock towards the classic Queen style we are familiar with.
One of my favourite songs, Killer Queen, was released as its first single and reached No 2 in the British charts. It was the band’s first international hit. Freddie wrote the song starting with the lyrics. It is about an elite prostitute offering service to top figures.
###
She keeps Moet et Chandon
In her pretty cabinet
‘Let them eat cake’ she says
Just like Marie Antoinette
A built-in remedy
For Kruschev and Kennedy
At anytime an invitation
You can’t decline

Caviar and cigarettes
Well versed in etiquette
Extraordinarily nice

She’s a Killer Queen
Gunpowder, gelatin
Dynamite with a laser beam
Guaranteed to blow your mind
Anytime

Recommended at the price
Insatiable an appetite
Wanna try?

To avoid complications
She never kept the same address
In conversation
She spoke just like a baroness
Met a man from China
Went down to Geisha Minah
Then again incidentally
If you’re that way inclined

Perfume came naturally from Paris
For cars she couldn’t care less
Fastidious and precise

She’s a Killer Queen
Gunpowder, gelatin
Dynamite with a laser beam
Guaranteed to blow your mind
Anytime

Drop of a hat she’s as willing as
Playful as a pussy cat
Then momentarily out of action
Temporarily out of gas
To absolutely drive you wild, wild.
She’s all out to get you

She’s a Killer Queen
Gunpowder, gelatin
Dynamite with a laser beam
Guaranteed to blow your mind
Anytime

Recommended at the price
Insatiable an appetite
Wanna try?
You wanna try.

I read here, on the band’s official website, about the specifics around making, recording and releasing the album.
And now, it’s time to listen to some music. I picked the recording of Queen’s performance at Top of the Pops in 1974. Enjoy!

After this magical song, post a comment to tell me which is your favourite song/album by Queen.

Tuesday Tales: Aida, by G. Verdi

Synopsis from My Standpoint

Aida, the story of the tragic love between a princess and a captain against the background of military conflict between Ethiopia and Egypt, was completed in November 1780. It’s a four-act work and the premiere was in December the next year, in France. The time of the narrative is not specified, so it’s hard to place it to anything more precise than the Old Kingdom.

Radames, the Captain of the Guard for the King of Egypt, hopes to be in charge of the Egyptian Army in the imminent war with Ethiopia. At the same time, he is in love with an Ethiopian slave living in the palace. That slave is actually Aida, the Ethiopian princess, and her identity is secret to her captors. To make matters more complex, the King’s daughter, Amneris, loves the young warrior, but worries that he might be enchanted by another. It is true, as we know, plus Aida loves Radames in return, but the two haven’t admitted their feelings to each other. Wow, how dramatic already!

The military forces of Ethiopia move close to Egypt, in a campaign to free the princess. The Ethiopian king, Amonasro, declares war and Radames goes to war leading the Egyptian army. Aida is torn between her love of her father and country, and Radames.

Suspecting who Radames’s love interest is, Amneris, the Egyptian princess, tells Aida that the young captain has died on the battle field, which makes her reveal her feelings towards him. That affects Amneris, filling her with bitter spite and revengefulness. I already pity her.

The Egyptians win a victory and take some Ethiopians hostage. Aida’s father is among them. She runs to him, but he wants her to hide his real identity from their captors. Thus, King and Princess remain incognito. In an age when no photo IDs were available, that is no wonder. It is much more surprising when notables are recognised near and far despite obvious difficulties.

The captives beg the Egyptian king for mercy, although the High Priest and the crowd insist that the enemies should be put to death. In honour of the victory, the King promises to Radames anything he wants. Radames, in his turn, begs the King to spare the captives’ lives. That is granted, Radames is declared successor to the throne and to be married to the Egyptian princess. The King and Princess of Ethiopia are to remain hostage for life, lest they plan a revenge in their homeland.

Aida and Radames get together in some mystic move. I didn’t get how it came to this, but operas often play this trick. So, on the night before Radames and Amneris’s wedding, the two lovers converse, while Amonasro, of Ethiopia, listenes behind a rock. He has ordered his daughter to learn the location of his army and their planned attack direction from Radames. Aida asks her lover to flee with her in the dessert, and unknowingly, he tells her where his army is camping and where they are going to attack.

Amneris and the High Priest appear on the scene and, seeing Radames conspiring with the enemy, call the guards who arrest the commander as a traitor. Meanwhile, Amonasro has told the young man who he is, so Radames is astonished by the news of the night: one horrible and one confusing. The horrible one is that he spilled the beans to the enemy, while the confusion comes from him realising whom he loves.

Amneris sincerely wants to save her love, but Radames refuses to deny the accusations. He is sentenced to be buried alive and brought to a lower vault in the Temple of Vulcan. In the last scene, we see Radames there expecting his fate and believing Aida is safe. This wouldn’t be a true tragic opera if that were so. Aida appears in the same chamber and both sing to their destiny, goodbye to life and earth’s suffering. Above ground, Amneris is miserable. This final piece leaves me with several questions.

First of all, why would Radames not reject the accusations? He didn’t inform the enemy knowingly, he was cheated into it. I don’t believe his death would remedy the situation. Another trait here is that he didn’t want to live without Aida. But, why want to die? He believed Aida escaped and was safe. So, lay low for some time, wait for your moment, and go. Life is strange, you never know what the future holds. These sound like all to modern considerations. I know that noble characters in old work don’t think in such opportunistic ways. For the heroes of old, there is all or nothing, now or never. I understand that I’ve grown. Up, old or wiser.

My other nuisance concerns the place. What temple of Vulcan? Who is that god? Wasn’t he one of the Roman pantheon? I’ve never heard of an Egyptian god called Vulcan.

In conclusion, I think this poor girl, Amneris, is the really tragic character. First, she loves someone who doesn’t return her feelings. Not only that, but his heart belong to someone else. Although Amneris is a princess, she loses this fight to a slave. Of course, the winner is also a princess, but who knows that? Then she hopes to get the upper hand in some way or another, but finally, she loses all. Imagine the humiliation Radames causes to her by meeting up with another woman on the night before their wedding! Imagine the disrespect! Spectators forget about the feelings of characters who are not loved by the protagonist. We want to support the loving couple. Anyone else is of no importance, as if another woman has no right to feel they way she does. When has love asked for permission, though? I felt for Amneris the first time I knew she was in love with this outstanding guy, Radames. And you know what more? I don’t like him very much. He has large enough fandom, I reckon.

As for Aida and Radames, they are heroically tragic, and they are the central characters in the opera with pretty good dividents from that. They are protagonists, everyone in the audience is supposed to sympathise with them, and remain in our hearts forever.

Poor Amneris! Poor rich and happy princess in love with the commander-in-chief!

Thoughtful Thursday, Poetic Revelation Reblogged

#thoughtfulthursday is here and it is brought about by none other, but my dear friend Sopphey Vance. She writes poetry, she blogs and is the editor-in-chief and owner of the Enhance magazine.

Sopphey tells about her love of Indian movies. She specifically discusses a movie entitled “Umrao Jaan”. To quote from the blog: “For example, Umrao Jaan is a movie about a girl who’s sold into prostitution. She grows to learn her craft, and as a result writes wonderful poems. …”

Go on and read the remaining part of the post on her blog. You may watch the full-length movie itself, too.

And, to quote Umrao’s poetic teacher (imagine a prostitute, taking poetry lessons!): “Remember two things: the delicacy of the thought and the rhythm of the words.”

What else would you be in need of in poetry!

 «Yours, MK»

Sunshine Sunday – Fan-flash on Blake’s 7

Today was supposed to be a sunny Sunday. After all, it’s nearing the end of May, so that’s only natural. Yet, it’s raining and the sky is bleak. So, instead of a Sunshine Sunday post, I made up a Fun-shine Fan-flash post. My friend Claudette Young, of the April Challengers opened a fun fan prompt a couple of days ago, to which I responded. I have long wanted to write some fan fiction. You know the kind – you watch a movie or read a book and you can’t help thinking there is something or someone missing there. So, you sit down and write it.

My Fun-shine Fan-flash Sunday is based on Blake’s 7, my favourite show on TV when I was a kid.

***

“Listen, Roj, I can’t stand it”, said Monica. “Sort things out with Avon. Find a way, make it up. I don’t know.” The tension in her voice escalated.

Blake only bit his lips. The deep creases on his forehead looked almost black.

“Monique,” he attempted tenderness, but his voice was not used to that. “I AM trying.”

“No, you aren’t! You two are in war. And we all see it. And it will tear us apart.” She hesitated for a second and then mumbled, “And not only that.”

Blake blinked for a moment, wondering what to say. He was amazed at her tearful brown eyes.

“Why are you crying?” he croaked.

“It’s nothing.” she retorted. “Too tired, that’s all.”

He could see it now. Too absorbed in his revolutionary cause, he hadn’t realized that his little sister was on board with his crew of escaped convicts. Constantly on the run and hiding, Blake had blocked all human emotions as dangerous and missed to see how Monica changed when Avon entered the room. “Oh, my God!” he thought. Aloud he said:

“I’ll make it up to him. I promise.” He put his cheek to her lips.

***

© 2012 Mariya Koleva

Posted at Claudsy’s blog!

If you’d like to get the feeling, here is the opening video 🙂

Cover Art ready for the Sombre Chapbook

Hello, and here is an update for the Sombre Chapbook. In case you missed the beginning – here are the details. And now, the news: all poems have been selected and arranged, roughly edited, awating final moderation,

but the main piece of news is that

I HAVE THE COVER ART FOR THE BOOK READY. And here it is:

Copyright © 2011 Emil Penchev

How about that 😉 The artist is currently working on the contents. So, hopefully, it will be out soon.

Book Review: The Lost World, by A.C.Doyle

The Lost World, publ. 1912

When I got down to reading this book, I had known Arthur Conan Doyle as “Father of Sherlock Holmes” and was rather surprised to find out the he exploited yet another of my favourite streaks in reading, fantasy and science. Of course, I am speaking of myself of many years ago, before I got actually familiar with the Late-Victorian writers’ strive for the fantastic and supernatural, clad in the scientific, which is so characteristic of the period and widely present in all Doyle’s colleagues’ works.

The Lost World easily became my favourite book. I liked the characters very much. Their diversity is what makes them so attractive, in fact. I seem to remember that at a particular stage of my young life, I have had different favorite characters from among the cast. Lord Roxton was my first favourite due to his manly characteristics and my easy-to-impress girlish age. Later on, the two professors took the top place in my grading, changing rank from time to time, owing to the scientific bubble which I adored during my late teenage. I’m afraid Ed Malone never hit the top, and that is largely due to his sick devotion to Gladys, who was “simply no good” as I had somehow felt since the very beginning.

The Lost World is, in fact, a story of a quest for oneself. The characters go into the wild, in search of evidence for the existence of pre-historic biological species, and, in the end, each of them discovers something about himself (no ladies in the story). They all return changed people, especially young Malone, who sobers up from his infatuation.

On the whole, The Lost World is a wonderfully-written adventure story, which will captivate your attention. It is a marvellous example of the balance between literary masterpiece and enjoyable book.

*

Read it free, here.

Book Review: TLOR Trilogy, by J.R.R.Tolkien

This is an example of a book which I did not like as much as I did the film shot on it.  Unfortunately,  the story failed to grab and hold me,  as I expected.  In my teenage,  I tried reading some Tolkien,  and did not enjoy it.  I hoped it was due to the text,  and I certainly wished I would love The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  Having watched the film,  which I enjoyed immensely,  I wished and hoped even more.
Unfortunately,  I simply did not get hooked by the narration.  The story is interesting enough,  even marvelous;   characters are believable and deep;  scenes are described in great and exciting details.  Yet,  the action unfolds somewhat tediously,  sometimes descriptions and fairy-tale departures from the plot are simply “too much”.
I believe the book has plenty of ardent fans to wait for my exultation and fervour.

In short,  it is a most interesting story,  and I enjoyed it truly;  however,  I got tired of the writing very fast.

*Uncle Tom’s Cabin* by Harriet B. Stowe; Book Review

Despite its sometimes archaic language and certain naivety entirely due to the age of its production,  Uncle Tom’s Cabin is an indispensable read in the young reader and learner reading list.
The heart-breaking story,  full of Biblical quotes and interpretations,  terrifying scenes of human degradation and thrilling descriptions of pure saintliness and greatness,  both on the whites and blacks’ side,  will impress readers deeply and make them realise, accept and respect simple realities in life,  such as diversity,  equality,  tolerance and dignity.

Book Review – Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo

This is a book every adolescent and young adult should read. It is a powerful and sensitive narrative, soul-shattering prose that will touch a young soul and change it forever. A young person will meet the misery of poverty and the misery of the soul which social inequality could easily bring upon human beings.

By the terrifying personal stories of some of his downcast and “miserable” characters, Hugo in fact argues that nobility and gentleness are not inbred human qualities, they should be taught and encouraged. Not only that, the author accuses society in assisting the downfall of the human soul, since by society inventions such as class division, inequality and oppression, the individual is humiliated and dragged to the bottoms of everyday existence, vividly described in the novel as the Parisian sewer, where “les miserables” dwell as if in a small community of their own.

Not all is despair and misery, though. We will see the noble rise of Jean Valgean – a former hard labour convict prisoner, who rose from the deepest darkness of ignorance and soul savagery to the high state of community and family leader.

Large and small stories are intertwined to build a magnificent and terrible panorama of life in a pre-revolution society.

© 2011 Mariya Koleva

Book Review: 7 Folds of Winter, by Carolyn McCray

BOOK REVIEW:

7 Folds of Winter by Carolyn McCray

I started reading the book with modest expectations.  After all,  given the mighty supply of Young Adult fantasies,  one needs to be at least cautious.  It would be only honest to say,  that the book exceeded my expectations,  and very few things were really easy to predict in it.

As for suspense,  drama,  romance and heroism,  7 Folds of Winter has it all.  There are all types of characters,  as well – well-meaning but weak,  truly noble,  downright evil and,  of course,  ambiguous ones.

For myself,  however,  I could spot two weaknesses.  One is that destined lovers are not particularly romantic for me.  I prefer romance that is hindered,  relations that are tense and that need clarification between the two partners-to-be.  The other weakness I found is that no single character became my favourite.  All the “nice” ones were nice enough,  but none of them appealed to me definitively.  The book is rather long,  so there was “time” to get familiar with the characters.  I just missed doing that.

I definitely enjoyed 7 Folds of Winter,  and did not regret taking it,  in the first place.