52% intelligent. 9% modest. More monkey than bear.

Monday, July 10, 2006

but the feeling's gone and I just can't get it back...

I'm feeling a touch melancholy today. I'm not sure why. It might be that the World Cup has finished with one of my sporting heroes ending his career in disgrace; it might be because I'm listening to Johnny Cash's final album, "American V: A Hundred Highways"; it might be because I've just finished reading the tenth and final volume of Neil Gaiman's "Sandman".

It might be all of these things.

I've spoken about this elsewhere, so I won't dwell on it here.... but after 4 weeks and however many games played in this tournament, the image that is burned into my brain is not the winning captain lifting the World Cup.


The picture that I can't forget is Zidane trudging past the trophy and down the tunnel with his head bowed after his sending off. There's no question that he deserved to be sent off for that moment of madness, it's just that surely it wasn't supposed to end like this? How could it end like this? How is that fair?

I can't decide if "American V: A Hundred Highways" is the worst album I could be listening to in this frame of mind or the best. Johnny Cash died in October 2003, so this final collection of the recordings he made with Rick Rubin sounds like a voice coming from beyond the grave. The songs are confessional and reflective and speak of impending death and redemption. That deep, majestic voice is still there, just about, but you can often hear its owner struggling for breath. It's incredibly moving.

You would be a hard person indeed not to have a lump in your throat whilst listening to this album. Cash's cover of Gordon Lightfoot's "If You Could Read My Mind" is particularly affecting:

"If I could read your mind love
What a tale your thoughts could tell
Just like a paperback novel
The kind that drugstores sell
When you reach the part where the heartaches come
The hero would be me
But heroes often fail
And you won't read that book again
Because the ending's just too hard to take"

It's almost unbearably poignant. You can almost see June Carter-Cash standing behind him as he sings, or hovering in the background as she does in the video for "Hurt". But she was dead when he sang this, and now Cash himself is dead.

"It should be a while before I see Doctor Death" says Cash in "Like the 309"... the last song he ever wrote.

They don't make them like him any more. An amazing album and a fitting epitaph.

I've finally finished Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" saga too. All ten volumes of it. I won't say too much here because I don't want to spoil if for anyone who hasn't read it.... but my goodness me, what an ending.


One thing is for certain though, whatever else it has achieved (and believe me, it is an absolutely stunning piece of work), Gaiman's saga has definitely given me my favourite anthropomorphic personification of Death.

(well, almost definitely.....)

Omnia mutantur nihil interit. Everything changes but nothing is truly lost.

...and it's pizza for tea.


  • At 8:53 pm, Blogger theboywil said…

    The Sandman is indeed fantastic, the character I always loved was Delirium (and the idea that she was born as Delight, but went a touch too far).

    I might have to dig the books out again...

    I recently read (& enjoyed) Neil's most recent novel 'Anansi Boys'. If you haven't read it, it's a lot smaller scale and lighterhearted than the Sandman... Well worth a read...

  • At 11:21 pm, Blogger Pynchon said…

    Swiss, my review of Ka's CD is finally up at http://pynchonj.blogspot.com/2006/07/my-review-of-cd-that-ka-sent-to-me-as.html

    Sorry it took so long.

  • At 11:51 pm, Blogger Hyde said…

    I just got the Johnny Cash CD. I've been listening to it non-stop. I LOVE it. But you're right-- if you're not already in that kind of mood, it'll put you there fast.



  • At 2:37 am, Blogger Ben said…

    Hmm. I need to buy more Johnny Cash.

    BTW My review of Mandy's CD - belated and rather lengthy - is now up.


  • At 2:38 am, Blogger Ben said…

    Sorry, I'll try that link again:


  • At 3:07 am, Blogger fifipoo07 said…

    Hey just found u via cheerupalanshearer. I thought a blogger called swisstoni couldn't be wrong. Naming yourself after one of the greatest characters in comic history.....brilliant ! ( to quote another fast show character). I feel the same about the world cup. What the hell do we do now??? Have done post match analysis on the final, would much appreciate any comments. Pippa.

  • At 4:55 am, Blogger Jenni said…

    Oy...this is a somewhat depressing post. But in an appropriate sort of way...because sometimes that's just how life is, isn't it?

  • At 4:57 am, Blogger Jenni said…

    Also, I am a bit worried that my Shuffleathon recepient hasn't received the cd yet. Especially as last week at the office we received mail addressed to someone in Jamaica. Apparently, my friendly local post office is not so adept at handling the international mail....

  • At 5:08 am, Blogger monogodo said…

    ^ I'm a bit worried that I have yet to receive my CD. My best guess is that I was assigned to one of the two people who had yet to ship theirs.

    I also haven't heard whether or not my recipient has received the disc I sent.

  • At 8:32 am, Blogger swisslet said…

    monogodo - your recipient got his CD yesterday, and your CD was shipped out a little while ago. Must be the vagaries of international shipping (same for you Jenni).

    Let's give it a bit longer before we think about initiating any resends, eh?


  • At 1:37 pm, Blogger monogodo said…

    ST - Good to know. I figured it had something to do with international post. I'm not complaining, as I was late in sending mine, too. I did track it, but USPS tracking stops when it leaves the USA.

    Anyway, I'm glad to hear it was received.

  • At 3:45 pm, Blogger Sarah said…

    .....and my review of Del's cd is finally online (phew!):


    Sorry for the wait!

  • At 7:19 pm, Blogger Ali said…

    Allez Zizou!

    We are flying the Tricolore at half mast here. We were all French for the day, (I even learned to sing the Marseillaise, by heart) and we are devastated by the Italy win.


    Our comiserations to C.

  • At 9:04 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I feel the same way about the end of the World Cup. I find myself wandering listlessly around the house or strange things happening to either me or the space time continuum.

    The Zidane saga rumbles on and it is interesting to see the reaction of the French fans who seem unshocked by his behaviour and pleased by his show of heart.
    Sometimes hero worship goes to far.

    I can't say that Johnny Cash is my choice of tune in the current mood.
    More "Achtung Bono" by Half Man Half Biscuit.


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