Lou Reed 1942-2013

Some musicians are so much bound up with your life that when they die it’s like losing an old friend. Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground formed my musical tastes, showed how dangerous, sexy, and alluring life could be. I saw him live as well, at a concert in Seattle in in the noughties.

So here’s a song to remember him by, a Kurt Weill classic, and a memento mori to enjoy life and appreciate my friends and family.

And here’s the rest of the 1994 album, September Songs: The Music of Kurt Weill.

Thanks for everything, Lou.

Ballad of the Soldier’s Wife

This is one of the best anti-war songs I’ve ever heard – it doesn’t deal in noble or ignoble concepts, but in real, physical things, freighted with meaning. PJ Harvey does justice to Kurt Weill’s song, the lyrics of which follow the Germany Army from initial victories to final defeat.

Lego Brecht

An Australian(?) school assignment covering the life of Bertolt Brecht, and his concept of epic theatre. I’m a huge fan of Brecht, particularly in his collaboration with composer Kurt Weill, but I never did bother my head about the ideas behind epic theatre.

This enterprising student has filled the gap in my knowledge in the most entertaining way – with the use of Lego animation. I hope he got an A for this project.

Here’s an example of the inspired Brecht/Weill collaboration – Lotte Lenya singing Pirate Jenny from The Threepenny Opera.

Open to many different translations. I’m torn between Marianne Faithfull’s lipsmacking English version and this one by Amanda Palmer.