2007-02-28

Hatto husband's about-face

Having insisted that his wife's virtuoso recordings are genuine just one week ago, William Barrington-Coupe now admits that he did pass off piano CDs as wife's work (Telegraph, 27/2/07):

But William Barrington-Coupe insisted that he only did so to give Joyce Hatto hope as she was dying, and maintains that she knew nothing of the deception.

He said she had made recordings, but they were marred by grunts of pain as her ovarian cancer worsened and he began to insert excerpts of other recordings to hide the noises.

"In some cases it was only a matter of bars, but her playing in places just became a template. It was very complicated and difficult to do, but I just allowed myself to take longer passages than initially because it was easier to fit them in."

More details, as Gramophone reveals William Barrington-Coupe's confessional letter to BIS:

As he grew more adept at the practice, he began to take longer sections to ease the editing process, and discovered, he says, by accident how to digitally stretch the time of the source recordings to disguise the sound. He would, he says, use Hatto’s performances as a blueprint and source recordings which were along the same lines.

2007-02-26

觀影讀書流水賬 25/2/07

觀影:

● 張楊 《落葉歸根》 (7/10)
● Robert Jan Westdijk 《Phileine Says Sorry/Phileine zegt sorry》 (6/10)
● Laurence Ferreira Barbosa 《Ordo》 (6/10)
● Dominik Graf 《The Red Cockatoo/Der Rote Kakadu》 (7/10)
● Steve Buscemi 《Lonesome Jim》 (5/10)

讀書:

● Dan Brown 《Deception Point》

----------

張楊的電影向有人情味,《落葉歸根》也不例外。主角仁至義盡,不辭千里送醉酒暴卒的工友遺體返鄉,雖波折重重仍堅持下去。這是一個人情味濃的黑色幽默片,也是一部「公路」片,更是一部「伊朗」片。看近年中國大片看到反胃的,可拿《落葉歸根》調劑一下。

荷蘭電影看得不多,這部《Phileine Says Sorry》講的是辣妹Phileine談情勇往直前,醋意十足,死不悔改,幾乎誤了好事。

《Lonesome Jim》是部頗為典型的indie film。主角Jim是個到紐約尋作家夢碎的內向廢柴男,挾著尾巴返回老家解決吃住。電影刻畫他和父母和兄長(另一廢柴男)的關係,及一段與單親母親的若即若離戀。自問難與廢柴Jim產生共嗚,因此也難以投入電影。

六零年代初,一群有藝術家氣息,一味追尋享樂的東德年青人常到Dresden一家名為Red Cockatoo的俱樂部聽西方流行曲,跳西方流行舞。那是一個生活常被監視,行為常被身邊人告密的年代。最後,男主角在圍牆築起的前幾天逃奔到柏林,跟他傾慕的女主角從此一牆隔天涯。

----------

《Deception Point》與《The Da Vinci Code》的比較:
- 同是Dan Brown作品
- 《Deception Point》先,《The Da Vinci Code》後
- 《Deception Point》銷量平平,《The Da Vinci Code》全球賣個滿堂紅
- 《Deception Point》是驚天大陰謀式懸疑小說,《The Da Vinci Code》亦然
- 《Deception Point》的故事涉及NASA和政治,《The Da Vinci Code》則講的是天主教會
- 兩書故事不同,寫作公式和技法卻幾乎一樣,文筆同樣差勁

為何兩書在銷量上有如此迥異的命運,我不知道(我只知道自已對教會陰謀有大歡喜,對外太空不感興趣),Dan Brown自已說不知道(可參考他就官司案的說詞),只有事後孔明才知得一清二楚。

曾堯角落其他相關文章:
觀影讀書流水賬 14/1/07
The two Aringarosas
觀影讀書流水賬 30/7/06
Great for readers, not for bookshops
Finished Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code

2007-02-23

紅樓惡夢

有情人終成眷屬"寶黛成婚"紅樓廟會每天上演

在北京大觀園舉行的第十二屆紅樓廟會上,由“紅樓夢中人”海選演員擔綱主演的“寶黛成婚”等廟會重頭戲增加了表演的觀賞性。

與原著中不同,“賈元春”這次回賈府除了“省親”,還要為寶黛這對有情人主婚。據介紹,從大年初一到初六,“寶玉成婚”將每天在廟會上演出,新娘換成黛玉,就是為了讓有情人終成眷屬,讓紅樓愛好者不再悲傷。



在陣陣喜慶的鑼鼓聲中,娶親隊伍被遊客簇擁著來到中央的水面舞台。兩個“丫環”攙扶著蓋著大紅蓋頭的“林妹妹”,將紅繡球交給青梅竹馬的“寶哥哥”。“邁火盆,紅紅火火!”“過馬鞍,平平安安!”幾個象征吉祥的“老禮”行過後,“寶哥哥”用一桿象征“稱心如意”的秤桿挑開了“林妹妹”的紅蓋頭,周圍的觀眾都不禁鼓起掌來……來逛廟會的情侶陶先生和宋小姐準備在今年結婚,陶先生說,這次是特意來廟會“考察”的,“我比較喜歡古典婚禮,能體現中國傳統的親情。” 他說。

據大觀園管委會主任馬俊潼介紹,“寶玉成婚”是大觀園為服務社會而開發的傳統婚慶典禮,不僅新郎新娘身著古典盛裝,雙方的父母親朋也都將穿著紅樓夢中的慶典華服參加婚禮。舉辦這樣的古典婚禮的價格是人民幣1萬元至1.2萬元。

----------

2007-02-22

Origami as art, math and magic

Never thought a longish article on a full-time origami (paper folding) artist could be this interesting.

The Origami Lab: Why a physicist dropped everything for paper folding (Susan Orlean, The New Yorker, issue of 19/2/07)

You'll read about:

● The Bug Wars - origami contests in which Japanese origami artists try to outdo one another by folding the most spectacular insects

● How an American physicist Robert J. Lang fell in love with origami and eventually became a full-time origami artist

● How math can be used to aid origami designs

● What has origami got to do with kindergarten

● Why was origami seen as a form of magic (Houdini even wrote a book on paper folding)

...

Christopher Howell reveals Joyce Hatto correspondences

Christopher Howell, the critic at MusicWeb whio previously penned glowing reviews of Joyce Hatto's CDs, decided to reveal his extensive correspondences with Hatto and Barrington-Coupea.

For more on this safa, check out the rec.music.classical.recordings discussion group, or new additions to the ongoing series Joyce Hatto - The Ultimate Recording Hoax by Andrew Rose of Pristine Classical.

How iTune/Gracenote identify your CD?

In my previous post - The Joyce Hatto hoax? - I mentioned that iTune helped identify a Joyce Hatto CD as a potential fake.

Actually, before this incident, I never thought about how iTune "identify" music. I somehow just assumed that there must be a certain piece of information embedded in a CD (a unique code, e.g.) which would be transmitted to the Gracenote database, which iTune uses, for matching purpose. The matching, I supposed, was done through information submitted by record companies.

That is, it seemed to me that a Joyce Hatto CD of Liszt's Transcendental Etudes would carry a code (say 1a2b). Concert Artist, the label which released that CD, would submit album and track information to the Gracenote database to match that unique code.

If this is indeed how it works, then a Joyce Hatto CD will always be identified as just that, and there is no way to expose this potential fraud.

In fact, from Gracenote's web site, these days music identification is done in a much complex and sophisticated way:

Audio Waveform Recognition Technology: Using audio waveform fingerprint technology, MusicID can identify individual songs or albums in a user's collection regardless of source, format or tag information.

In simple terms, A may disguise himself as B and in posession of B's identification documents, but he still has the fingerprints of A and therefore can be exposed when being checked.

I learned something new today.

----------

To learn even more, including the controversy surrounding CDDB/Gracenote, read Wikipedia's entry on Gracenote.

OK, so there is no unique code embedded in a CD and that CD information was submitted by volunteers/users as well (at least in the early years). But that's not the point here. The point I want to make in this post is, should music recognition was done along this vein, there is no way to identify a recording as fake. There must be some form of fingerprint/DNA inherent in the music itself for this to happen.

Song Recognition Software Uncovers Fraudulent Recordings (Wired Blogs, 21/2/07)
Gracenote Defends Its Evolution (Wired News, 13/11/06)

2007-02-20

春暖花開



剛溜覽了幾個閒常造訪的香港中文網誌,讀了一些與新年有關的文章。不知是否因為春節期間香港天氣和暖的關係,其中兩篇竟同樣出現「春暖花開」揮春,其中一篇內文更有「面朝窄巷,照樣春暖花開」之句。

怎不教人想起海子的詩篇:

  從明天起,做一個幸福的人
  喂馬,劈柴,周遊世界
  從明天起,關心糧食和蔬菜
  我有一所房子,面朝大海,春暖花開

  從明天起,和每一個親人通信
  告訴他們我的幸福
  那幸福的閃電告訴我的
  我將告訴每一個人
  給每一條河每一座山取一個溫暖的名字

  陌生人,我也為你祝福
  願你有一個燦爛的前程
  願你有情人終成眷屬
  願你在塵世獲得幸福
  我只願面朝大海,春暖花開

可惜的是,暖和的詩篇的作者在現世卻體驗不到真正的「春暖花開」。

----------

兩年多前,我引用「面朝大海,春暖花開」,寫了一篇短文。如今看來,世情依舊。全文如下:

自從我躲進小樓﹐生活一切平和美好﹐真個是面朝大海﹐春暖花開。然而﹐當我放眼世界﹐看到的總離不開戰亂﹐殺戮﹐鬥爭﹐和謾罵。所有人似乎都變成了極端分子﹐思想和行為準則無非是﹕

我對 你錯
非友 即敵
報仇 負義
寧枉 毋縱

我們真有那麼多恨嗎﹖

----------

然而,新年流流,又逢「春暖花開」的好天氣,我和你和他應當是快樂的。管它世情如何!

----------

文人多大話。人講「春暖花開」,我又學人講「春暖花開」。你們過的當然是「春暖花開」的時節,可我是住在「地球屁股那一端」的,時方盛夏,春你個頭。

The Joyce Hatto hoax?

Gramophone describes the scandulous discovery as:

It was already one of the strangest stories the classical music world had witnessed. But the discovery of the late English pianist Joyce Hatto as the greatest instrumentalist almost nobody had heard of, appears to have taken a bizarre, even potentially sinister turn.

So who was Joyce Hatto? And what is this bizarre and potentially sinister story?

Joyce Hatto, a little-known pianist who stopped performing as a concert pianist in 1976, struggled with cancer, continued to record - prolifically - for a small label Concert Artist Recordings run by her husband, began to achieve cult status among some classical music critics shortly before her death in July 2006. She was hailed as "the greatest living pianist that almost no one has ever heard of" and “one of the greatest pianists Britain has ever produced.”

Yes, there had been rumours that her prolific output - well over 100 CDs - covering a wide repertoire seemed suspect, but no one had been able to substantiate the doubts. Until now.

When you put a CD in your computer and run iTune, it would usually recognise it and come up with the correct album and track information for your cataloging purpose (actually it is done by Gracenote in the background). What if you put in a Bob Dylan CD and iTune comes up with Britney Spear information? Normally you would just curse iTune for being bloody useless.

But when someone put in a Joyce Hatto CD of Liszt's Transcendental Etudes and got instead information on the same work by a different pianist on a different label, he felt puzzled and informed a critic who reviewed for Gramophone and Classic Today.com, who concluded he smelled something fishy. Later, scientific analysis of soundwaves seemed to suggest the two were indeed identical. Soon, other cases of supposedly "plagiarism" were found.

To cut a long story short, it is now suggested that a number of Joyce Hatto CDs "were in fact copied from recordings of the same music by other pianists."

So it seems that while most of us have never (heard of or) listened to any CD by Joyce Hatto, those who have may have listened to great piano performances by someone else.

Suppose this is indeed a hoax. The not-yet-answered question is why? For money, or something else?

● Gramophone: Masterpieces Or Fakes? The Joyce Hatto Scandal
● The New York Times: A Pianist’s Recordings Draw Praise, but Were They All Hers?
● Stereophile: Was Joyce Hatto the Greatest Pianist Almost Nobody Ever Heard Of?
● MusicWeb: Hatto - the greatest pianist(s) that now everyone has heard of!
● Hiperhip: A Strange Story
● Wikipedia: Joyce Hatto

● Pristine Classical: Joyce Hatto - The Ultimate Recording Hoax
● AHRC Research: Purely coincidental? Joyce Hatto and Chopin's Mazurkas

● Concert Artist Recordings: Featured Artist: Joyce Hatto
● Boston Globe: After recording 119 CDs, a hidden jewel comes to light - Fans and critics have long overlooked pianist Joyce Hatto
● The Guardian: Obituary - Joyce Hatto

----------

From Classics Today.com:

Will The Real Joyce Hatto Please Stand Up

As I told him [Mr. Barrington-Coupea, Hatto's husband] a few days ago, either he hired an orchestra, engineers, a recording space, a conductor, and paid them all, or he did not. Even Ms. Hatto’s solo recordings were not made just by her husband alone. In short, many others were involved, and they are even credited on the booklet jackets. Let some of these parties come forward and acknowledge their participation. Let Mr. Barrington-Coupe produce receipts, schedules, or whatever documentation is in his possession.

At the heart of this whole controversy, the real question isn’t so much what Hatto and her husband may have done. It is “Why?” As I’ve already pointed out, it’s not difficult in today’s digital marketplace to engineer a fake, but there’s so little money in doing so that one can only wonder why anyone would want to bother. What on earth is the point in taking famous recordings by major artists and issuing them on a vanity label (with no international distribution) as the work of a virtually unknown recluse? The sheer level of chutzpah involved in lifting entire concerto recordings wholesale from major labels ... is either breathtaking, or simply insane.


William Barrington-Coupe did come forth and talked to the Telegraph, insisting that "my wife's virtuoso recordings are genuine", although he offered nothing whatsoever to support his point, in the face of strong evidence to the contrary.

2007-02-19

Actors on movies

Watch a short film The First Ones by Jack Paltrow, in which seven actors (Kate Blanchett, Brad Pitt, Helen Mirren, Abbie Cornish, Ken Watanabe, Penelope Cruz, Leonardo DiCaprio) talked about the first movies that had a profound impact on them.

Some of these actors (minus Cornish and Wanatabe, add Forest Whitaker) also featured in Newsweek's Oscar Roundtable. A wide range of movie-related topics were discussed.
Short clips of the roundtable

2007-02-18

觀影讀書流水賬 18/2/07

觀影:
Brett Ratner 《X-Men: The Last Stand》 (6/10)
Cameron Crowe 《Elizabethtown》 (7/10)
Petr Zelenka 《Wrong Side Up/Pribehy obycejneho silenstvi》 (8/10)
Samantha Lang 《L'idole》 (4/10)
康祐碩 《實尾島風雲》 (5/10)
馬楚成 《男才女貌》 (3/10)

讀書:
古華 《色審》

----------

馬楚成的《男才女貌》,其粗疏老套的程度,令人尷尬,感覺就像看葉偉信的《大城小事》一樣。同是香港導演,同是拍大陸現代愛情電影,水平同樣低劣。

澳洲女導演Samantha Lang在法國拍的《L'idole》,做作,扮有深度,令人坐立不安。
Sandra Hall的影評

相反,Cameron Crowe的《Elizabethtown》,在主流電影中算是有深度有寄託之作,可惜稍嫌拖拉,未達應有成績。

《Wrong Side Up》是部怪雞捷克愛情片,由導演將他的話劇《Tales of Common Insanity》改編而成,一新耳目,不容錯過。在愛情上,你有難題,我也有難題。你也怪怪,我也怪怪。
Prague Post的介紹 | Peter Martin的影評
電影網站(捷克文)

豬事大吉!



附送一堆豬史:

進門百福話亥豬 (李雄 李富軒,歷史月刊,229期)

中國養豬史 (農業e線)

豬年如意 (人民日報)

2007-02-17

Water tank

With Level 5 water restrictions just weeks away from being introduced (all watering of garden to be banned?), I have decided to install a water tank to collect rain water from the roof for gardening and car washing use.

The water tank has already been delivered but not yet installed. Photos will be posted in due course. In the mean time, I can only tell you that it is BIG!

To help you visualise its size, it is cylindrical in shape, with a diameter of 1.75 metres (just under 6 feet) and a height of 2.41 metres (just under 8 feet). It has a capacity of 4,730 litres, i.e. about 12,500 cans of soft drink.

《紅樓夢》何時傳入日本?

剛讀了一篇刊於1月31日《環球時報》的史料文章,對《紅樓夢》傳入日本、朝鮮的經過有了初步了解。

兩百年前 《紅樓夢》走向世界所述,1793年12月9日,“寅貳號”貨船從浙江乍浦抵達日本長崎。船上還載有67種中國圖書,其中一種名為《新鐫全部繡像紅樓夢》,共9部18套。這次航程是《紅樓夢》走向海外的最早記錄。

《紅樓夢》除了深受日本文人的追捧外,更有趣的是,自明代以來,日本的外國語言學校在教授漢語時都以南京官話為基礎,但自從《紅樓夢》傳入後不久,他們便轉而學習北京官話,而《紅樓夢》則成為學生必備的教材。

----------

所謂《新鐫全部繡像紅樓夢》,即通行的120回「程高本」《紅樓夢》。該書初版(即所謂「程甲本」)於1791年末由萃文書屋出版。翌年經大幅修訂後改版再印,是為「程乙本」。不論“寅貳號”所載的是程甲或程乙本,該部《紅樓夢》都可被視為當時的「新近出版圖書」。

----------

2007-02-15

Brahms in the Limelight, 100 years (and a bit more) after his death

(Original post: 8/2/07)

On the cover of the Limelight magazine (a music|arts|entertainment monthly from ABC, Australia's public broadcaster) was printed:

BRAHMS
Nearly 100 years after his death
Why he remains so relevant to
modern audiences

Johannes Brahms died on 3 April 1897, so this issue of Limelight must have been published before April 1997. Right?

Wrong, if you look harder, you will see that this is the current (February 2007) issue!

A general magazine could be forgiven for this gaffe, though it is still hugely embarrassing, given that this is front cover material. For a specialist publication to f-up like this, I honestly can only say that it is hopeless. And to think that I, as a taxpayer, help fund its publication!

I noticed this error yesterday having a quick glance at the magazine at the local Borders bookstore. I was not sure which exact year Brahms died, but I was 100% sure that it couldn't be in the 20th century.

Here's the description of its contents on the ABS Online shop:

In the February issue of limelight, we look at Brahms and why, even 100 years after his death, his music is still relevant and loved today.

Someone must have noticed this horrible mistake after the magazine was printed, since on the magazine's website, the description has been changed to:

In the February issue of limelight, we look at Brahms and why, even more than 100 years after his death, his music is still relevant and loved today.

----------

(Updated: 15/2/07)

Just had the chance to have a quick look at the article. It started with something like this: On 3 April this year, Johannes Brahms would have been dead for 100 years ...

This article was written by a James McCarthy who, from my web search, have an impressive CV in the Australian film and music industry. Hard to understand why he would make such a silly mistake.

Even harder to understand was how come no one from Limelight noticed this error and corrected it, considering the long process from editing the article to writing tag lines for the cover, and the number of supposedly professionals involved.

----------

(Further update: 15/2/07)

Just noticed that this mistake was finally picked up by the Australian media. In the 15/2/07 "The Diary" column by Amanda Meade (who moniters what's happening in the print media), she wrote "Ten per cent free: The ABC's Limelight magazine is marking the centenary of the composer Brahms's death. He actually died 110 years ago."

2007-02-11

More on tennis: are women chokers?

Steven Landsburg cites a research by a professor (who I suspect have nothing better to do) which shows that women tennis players are more likely to commit unforced errors on important points than unimportant points. Men, the calm and cool half of the species, do not show such variability.

After toying with stats from Grand Slam tournaments, the professor concludes that when the pressure's on (i.e. when playing the important points), both men and women get more defensive (and by about the same amount)—but only women make more errors.

Women Are Chokers: Studies show they cave under pressure. Why? (Slate, 9/2/07)

----------

- More on first and second serves
- Random thoughts on tennis

九旬佛山「十二姨」擺下太極推手PK擂台

現年八十八,人稱「十二姨」的袁拾貳,2006年5月在“佛山推手王”比賽中勇挫40青年壯漢獲得“推手王”美譽。

根據“佛山十二姨太極功力擂臺PK大賽”賽例,任何年滿80歲的女性,不限地域,不論武術功底,均可挑戰十二姨。在推手PK過程中,十二姨將只守不攻。挑戰者只要能推倒十二姨,即可獲萬元現金獎勵。

「武術之城」佛山市武術協會主席薛綿本表示,在古今中外武術擂檯上出現90歲高齡的女擂主,目前為止是第一次;而參賽者均為80歲以上高齡的女性,這在世界武林史上亦屬首次,堪稱「天下第一擂」。

九旬武林高手擺擂30天尋同齡挑戰者

觀影讀書流水賬 11/2/07

觀影:
● Woody Allen 《Scoop》 (6/10)
● Danis Tanovic 《Hell/L'enfer》 (7/10)
● Sophie Fillieres 《Good Girl/Gentille》 (6/10)
● Gore Verbinski 《The Weather Man》 (6/10)
● Stephan Apelgren 《Wallander: The Overdose》 (5/10)
● 章家瑞 《芳香之旅》 (6/10)

讀書:
● 村上龍 《到處存在的場所 到處不存在的我》

----------

欣賞Woody Allen的《Match Point》,期望他和Scarlett Johansson組合再下一城的人可能要大失所望。《Scoop》只是一部滿是Woody Allen式幽默,不痛不癢的少女與老坑緝兇輕鬆小品。(電影網站

Danis Tanovic的《Hell/L'enfer》虛有其表,令人失望。

L'enfer lacks subtlety

繼《The Weather Man》之後,Steve Conrad又寫了《The Pursuit of Happiness》的劇本。其實,《The Weather Man》又何嘗不是一個pursuit of happiness的故事?(電影網站

----------

村上龍的《到處存在的場所 到處不存在的我》是部短篇小說集,每篇都有一個人物準備出國。正如我在《海鷗食堂》影評中提過,很多日本人對「出國」所持的希望,都是夾雜了嚮往和逃離。

所謂逃離,用村上龍的話,就是「為了脫離閉塞而無法獲得充實感的日本社會所採取的一種戰略性的逃避。」

村上龍的書,以前只讀過一本,就是他三十多年前的成名作《接近無限透明的藍》。希望《到處存在的場所 到處不存在的我》不是他的近期佳作,因為它實在只是部平平無奇的作品。

2007-02-09

可圈可點的秦勝

章詒和的《伶人往事》被「查禁」風波,最近鬧得沸沸揚揚,昨天兩大官員解畫。故事主角新聞出版總署副署長鄔書林澄清他說的是「不得」因人廢書。「我前面加了『不得』!」而另一副署長閻曉宏則在記者會上澄清對該八書,「確有查處,但沒有查禁」。至於是否還能再版,他說「那是出版社和作者之間的事情」。

出版總署﹕有查處無禁書 章詒和駁斥官員不懂認錯 - 《明報》,9/2/07)

同日的《明報》有篇秦勝的評論,題為「查」「禁」風波的正面意義

秦勝用「可圈可點」來形容閻曉宏的解說,「因為查處針對的是出版社的違法亂紀行為,查禁則是涉及干預言論自由和出版自由的事。」同樣地,他又用「可圈可點」來形容鄔書林的解說,「說明鄔書林同樣不贊成干涉出版自由、創作自由。《伶人往事》等書被查禁,完全與作者的背景無關。」

秦勝認為,「新聞出版總署的高官們如此公開表態,有點讓章詒和擱不住面子。」因為章詒和依賴傳話者告知鄔書林宣布查禁的消息,「她並沒有很確鑿的證據證明新聞出版總署確實下過禁書令,她的抗議聲明是基於有人傳話。事情到了這一步,真相如何亦大致可以有個譜。」

真相如何大致有個譜?

這個譜大致是這樣的:鄔書林在通風會上點了八本內容有問題的書,並查處有關的出版社,已印的書未被查封。《伶人往事》是八本之一,但內容那方面有問題未見披露。雖然出版社因出版這八本書而遭上級查處,但能否再版,那是出版社和作者之間的事情。

要知道,新聞出版總署懲罰這八書的出版社,雖然不能抹煞出版社仍有冒加倍懲罰之險而膽敢再版發行的可能,但新聞出版總署的意向是極為明顯的,不是一句「那是出版社和作者之間的事情」之類的空話就能敷衍過去的。

在會上,就《伶人往事》一書,鄔書林說的是要因人廢書,還是不得因人廢書?按道理,雖然總署只查處出版社而沒有查封已印書籍,但仍屬「廢書」之舉。鄔書林實在沒有忽然強調不得因人廢書的理由。

真相如何,除非公開當天的正式紀錄、錄音或錄像,否則只會如羅生門,各執一詞。若以我上面的分析,則章詒和的傳話者的話似乎較接近真相(註)。

不知秦勝為何輕易地認為高官的說詞「可圈可點」,全盤接收?

----------

(註)章詒和在2007年1月19日的公開聲明中是這樣轉述傳話者的話的:

二00七年一月十一日,在全國圖書定貨會開幕當日,中國新聞出版署召集了一個「通風會」。會上,副署長鄔書林先生以宣讀方式公佈了一份「二00六出版違規書選」,被點名的書裏,《伶人往事》列於三。鄔先生對出版此書的湖南文藝出版社說(大意):「這個人(即指作者)已經反復打過招呼,她的書不能出,……你們還真敢出……對這本書是因人廢書。」接著,自然是對該社的嚴厲懲處。

----------

● 曾堯角落:《伶人往事》遭禁 章詒和的公開聲明

2007-02-06

2007-02-05

倒下了的中文巴別塔

在最近的一週觀影讀書流水賬中,我「手痕痕」地轉述了舒琪破口大罵《Babel》,還引來友好的回應。

由舒琪談《Babel》令我想起早前讀過的林超榮談《Babel》

這篇影評發表於《亞洲時報在線》。它是一份背景比較特殊的網上刊物,目標讀者是來自中港台和海外的華人。要令來自不同地域的華人都能分享同一篇文章,作者或編者有時不得不花額外心力。且看以下引文:

墨西哥籍的阿加多‧岡薩雷斯‧伊納里多(Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu,港譯艾力謝路依拿力圖,台譯阿利安卓崗札雷伊納利圖)是一個值得一記的名字,他是電影《通天塔》(《Babel》,港譯《巴別塔》,台譯《火線交錯》)的導演,初次驚艶是他拍《愛情是狗娘》(《Amores Perros》,港譯《狗男女的愛》,台譯《愛是一條狗》),三段式錯綜複雜的人性故事。

之後,他再拍《21克》(《21Grams》,港譯《21克-生命可以有多重》,台譯《靈魂的重量》),欣賞得到的影像、剪接和敍事方法都是全新震撼。

《通天塔》講的...是世界上不同地區同時發生的故事,美國夫婦布拉德‧彼特(Brad Pitt,畢比特,台譯希萊德彼特)與凱特‧布蘭切特(Cate Blanchett,姬蒂白蘭芝,台譯凱特布蘭琪)在摩洛哥旅行遇到了冷槍,妻子被打中頸部,大巴士被逼停在荒涼村莊等候救援。

你看,煩得要死!

林超榮說,「直如片名《通天塔》,人類自覺力可通天,希望建立巴別塔,顯示人類的智慧與能力,可是此舉令上帝震怒,摧毀了巴別塔,自始人類的語言分崩離析,隔膜從此而來,互不了解,戰爭不休。」

是甚麼瘟神令華人共通的語言分崩離析,隔膜從此而來?人名三地譯音不同,片名也如是。看不慣繁體字的,又要按連結到簡體字頁閱讀。

Who was Milton Friedman?

Paul Krugman has an answer (New York Review of Books, Vol.54, No.2, 15/2/07).

As can be expected, Krugman is highly critical of Friedman's roles as the economist's economist, the policy entrepreneur, and the ideologue, even claiming that "there were some serious questions about his intellectual honesty when he was speaking to the mass public":

What's odd about Friedman's absolutism on the virtues of markets and the vices of government is that in his work as an economist's economist he was actually a model of restraint. As I pointed out earlier, he made great contributions to economic theory by emphasizing the role of individual rationality—but unlike some of his colleagues, he knew where to stop. Why didn't he exhibit the same restraint in his role as a public intellectual?

The answer, I suspect, is that he got caught up in an essentially political role. Milton Friedman the great economist could and did acknowledge ambiguity. But Milton Friedman the great champion of free markets was expected to preach the true faith, not give voice to doubts. And he ended up playing the role his followers expected. As a result, over time the refreshing iconoclasm of his early career hardened into a rigid defense of what had become the new orthodoxy.

● Read comments on Krugman's article from Greg Mankiw's blog and Economist's View.

US files WTO complaint against China over subsidies

More setbacks for Bush policy on China (Steven Weisman, IHT, 4/2/07)

More:
U.S. Files Trade Complaint Against China
USTR: United States Files WTO Case Against China Over Prohibited Subsidies
China voices pity about WTO case on subsidies

--- joetsang.net: China and the WTO ---

2007-02-04

觀影讀書流水賬 4/2/07

讀書:
● 漢寶德 《中國建築文化講座》

觀影:
● 馮小剛 《夜宴》 (8/10)
● 杜琪峰 《放.逐》 (7/10)
● Christian Volckman 《Renaissance》 (6/10)
● Agnes Jaoui 《Look at me/Comme une image》 (5/10)
● Alexandra Leclere 《Me and my sister/Les Soeurs fachees》 (5/10)

----------

喜歡《夜宴》,實是意料之外。馮小剛的電影看過不少,沒有一部滿意,覺得他不過是個大陸平庸娛樂片大導演。他的前作《天下無賊》更明顯暴露他想更上層樓,但力有未逮的窘境。

置《夜宴》於大陸大片群中,它是非常創新的,但也頗克制的,不像《無極》的失控,也不像《滿城盡帶黃金甲》的縱慾。至於電影既中且西,既古且今,又像電影又像話劇是否缺點。我認為不是。

我曾說過,王家衛的《2046》是《花樣年華2》。其實,杜琪峰的《放.逐》又何嘗不是《鎗火2》?一切都是似曾相識,熟口熟面。當然,即使只是《鎗火2》,也屬佳片。


《Renaissance》是套黑白漫畫化的2054年巴黎追兇片。除視覺效果外,無甚足觀。喜歡《Sin City》的或許也會喜歡本片。

《Look at me》又是另一部圍繞法國中產文化人生活的電影。

《Me and my sister》,熱情率直鄉下妹探訪冷漠做作巴黎姐。愛恨交織。俗套得很。

----------

舒琪有火,把《Babel》罵個狗血淋頭

那部叫人齒冷的《巴比塔》(Babel)。齒冷,不單由於它那一邊在灑狗血、一邊卻沾沾自喜地擺出一副悲天憫人的嘴臉(類似的電影,光是荷李活便掃埋都一大堆,例如去年的《撞車》、今年的《血鑽》),而是由於它的作者,正正是來自被壓迫的發展中國家。報道說影片的導演與(三度合作的)編劇正展開罵戰,因為編劇(本身還是一個教授!)宣稱影片起碼有三分二是他的劇本的功勞。導演一怒之下,阻止了他出席康城影展。做到這樣齷齪的地步,你能說不齒冷嗎?情形一如片中處理那名日本少女自動向中年刑偵獻身一場,每個鏡頭都要有意無意地搖過女演員的乳頭。你能說這不是無恥嗎?

2007-02-03

飄香之城

很多人都說,Tom Tykwer在《Perfume》中,將18世紀的巴黎拍得非常髒、亂和臭。當然,這與劇情需要有關-與後來上流生活和香水的香作強烈對比。

然而,300年前的巴黎真的不是這樣的嗎?還是我們對當時的巴黎,甚或一般的歐洲的城市,曾有過份浪漫化的印象?

我雖對此雖沒有研究,也不能說看過很多「古裝西片」,但我的印象,是近年的西片,在拍攝十七、八世紀的歐洲時,一般比較寫實-如實反映完全追不上現代化和城市化步伐的市政設施。(我在看Peter Webber的《Girl with a Pearl Earring》時也有相同的感受。)

前些時,讀了林行止的屎尿屁話兒書《說來話兒長》,在屎尿的專章-"便便"古今談-中,就有引述巴黎曾有"臭都"之稱。

- 在公廁普遍前,由人當街提供流動廁所服務:業者身穿大斗篷,身旁左右各放一桶。客人光顧,即以斗篷圍之,右桶小便,左桶大便。桶滿後即時傾入塞納河。

- 巴黎雖早已明文規定不准當街傾倒糞便,但違規者眾。從樓上傾倒至街中也很普遍,路人常有中「頭獎」的機會。

至於中國的情況是否相近,我不得而知,恐怕是有過之而無不及吧。

最近重讀王軍的《城記》(一部解放後北京古城滄桑史),竟然也有提及解放前京城「屎積如山」!

據說,「當年東西長安街的南側,垃圾堆有兩層樓高,遠遠望去如同城牆。」梁思成在一篇文章中,就曾指出,「在北京解放後的一年中,從城裏清除了明、清兩朝存下來的三十四萬九千噸垃圾,清除了六十一萬噸大糞。這是兩件小事,卻是兩件偉大的奇跡,是令我們可以自豪的兩件偉大的小事。」

注意,那些都是明、清兩朝幾百年的遺物!

Labels

Labels is a relatively new Blogger feature. I have to assign labels to each and every one of my previous posts (over 1,000!) over the past 4 years.

This task might take days, weeks, or even months I am afraid.

2007-02-02

《中國音樂大全 古琴卷》

經過將近一個半月,昨天終於收到去年底由香港寄出的20公斤書碟海郵包裹。

今次回港,購買的CD不多,但卻非常慶幸買到中國唱片上海公司再版發行的《中國音樂大全 古琴卷》,一套8張。

我愛聽音樂,屬於囫圇吞棗,中外古今亂聽一通之人。但我對中樂(或國樂)幾乎全無興趣,唯古琴是少數的例外。聽古琴,對我有一種洗滌心靈的作用。不時聽聽吳兆基、龔一、張子謙的CD,比甚麼detox program都管用。最近也愛聽李祥霆的琴與簫即興演奏CD系列,雖然一直搞不通何謂「即興演奏」。

中唱這套CD收錄的,是1956年中國音樂家協會和中國藝術研究院音樂研究所遠赴21省市采訪調查錄制古琴音樂的部分成果,收入22位琴家的53首琴曲。這廿多位古琴名家,絕大部分均已作古。這套古琴界稱之為「老八張」的CD所收集的,堪稱珍貴紀錄。

劉森民 序言 + 王迪 編者的話 | 周純一 一套無可替代的東方瑰寶

古琴藝術 | 維基百科:古琴 | 李祥霆:古琴不需要搶救式保護

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

(original post: 29/1; updated: 2/2)

That, writes Michael Pollan (author of "The Omnivore’s Dilemma"), is the short answer to the supposedly incredibly complicated and confusing question of what we humans should eat in order to be maximally healthy.

Simple isn't it?

The problem is, people just don't like simple answers.

One of those who don't like this "misleading, great-great-grandma-knew-best philosophy" is Daniel Engber, writing for Slate (Survival of the Yummiest: Should we buy Michael Pollan's nutritional Darwinism?).

2007-02-01

After more than 1,000 posts ...

... it's time for change, a big change. And you are looking at the end product.

To be honest, I didn't make the change just because I had posted more than 1,000 entries to this blog over the past 4 years (this is the 1,012th). It's just coincidental.

The fact is, I have always been using FTP to publish this blog to my own domain, but it has been a pain in the ass. It's OK if I do simple things such as posting new entries. But the hassle of going through the "publishing" process whenever I try to make changes to the setting or template really kills me.

Publishing under Blogspot is almost instantaneous and offers more fine-tuning options. I have been reluctant to move this blog to Blogspot until today because I always thought that it would be nice to keep everything under my joetsang.net domain.

But it is just impossible. Now I am using several external sites (Flickr, Yahoo Photos, Picasa, Snapfish, etc.) to store photos, and one for a guestbook (seldom used though). I just see no reason why I must keep all my blogs under one roof (in fact, I have already been using Blogspot to host two of my newer blogs).

But what drove me to make the move today was that more than one person reported that when they tried to load my blog under IE, the index page was just a blank one. I tried to find out the reason for that, but to no avail.

So, I thought, why not create a reincarnation of this blog? And I did!

You can continue to use the old address to access this blog, but updating your bookmark to the new Blogspot address provides a direct and quicker access.