Wednesday, June 17, 2009
ULYSSES AS YOU NEVER THOUGHT OF IT !
For Bloomsday: Rejoyce/Jefferson Airplane, and More
All of the events in James Joyce's 1922 novel Ulysses take place on June 16th.
To celebrate Bloomsday (so called after Joyce's protagonist, Leopold Bloom), here are some songs with ties to the book and the author.
Jefferson Airplane's Rejoyce, from their 1967 album After Bathing at Baxter's, is an homage to Ulysses and includes specific references to characters from the book, e.g.: Mulligan stew for Bloom/The only Jew in the room and Molly's gone to blazes/Boylan's crotch amazes (Mulligan is a rowdy medical student in the book; Bloom's wife Molly begins an affair with a character known as "Blazes" Boylan in the course of the novel).
Kate Bush's The Sensual World, from her 1989 album of the same name, is drawn from the 18th and final episode, or chapter, of the novel. Often referred to as Molly Bloom's Soliloquy, it recounts the largely unpunctuated stream-of-consciousness thoughts running through Molly's mind as she lies in bed at the end of the day.
The song employs the conceit of Molly leaving the fictional setting of the novel behind and entering reality (Stepping out of the page into the sensual world). The Joyce estate denied Bush the right to use wording from the book, so she revised passages for the song.Also drawn from Molly Bloom's Soliloquy is Amber's song Yes!, from her album Naked. The word "yes" both begins and ends the soliloquy, and is the final word in the book.
The lyrics hew closely to Joyce's original, and repeat virtually word for word the closing lines of the novel: I put my arms around him, yes/And draw him down to me so he can feel my breast/And his heart was going like mad/I mean yes, I said yes, I will yes. No word on whether Amber got permission from the Joyce estate, or whether Kate Bush was ticked off about it.
The Florida band PopCanon recorded a song called Bloomsday for their 2000 album The Kingdom of Idiot Rock. It juxtaposes Bloomsday observances with images of a crucifixion. It would be nice to think the crucifixion was metaphorical, but the band insists it actually happened--part of a birthday celebration that got out of hand. (You can get the whole story here.) The lyrics include the lines: In the land of the Lotus-Eaters Leopold Bloom said/"Iron Nails Ran In"--a reference to Bloom's explanation of the notice INRI that was posted above Christ on the cross.
For the rest link here.