a more heroic age?

March 24, 2008 at 11:58 am | Posted in music, writing | 20 Comments
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I went to visit the new Hemingway’s Shotgun site thinking Scot is cool, it will be cool and it is. The first post surprised me cos it was preBeat. Now one of my alltime heroes is Harpo Marx, his autobigraphy is ironically long. He was a member of The Algonquin Round Table, a bunch of writers who hung out together and talked a lot and were famous for various types of talking about different stuff and Harpo was a part of the magic that resulted. A man famous for not talking was requisite it seems.

Harpo was one of the first classical clowns to realise that it was important to play to the camera like it was your favourite audience member and he would play live straight into it so that the reponse when looking through it at him is not to the clownish gesture but to the compassionate, passionate spirit beneath. He was also a mean croquet player, a skill which meant more than knocking balls through hoops at that time.

There are so many quotes available and you know me, I could go on and on, but eventually my schlepping and grammer will breakdown,

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  1. I’d almost forgotten that Harpo was a member of the Algonquin Round Table. Well, at my age you remember something new every day.

  2. That bit around 2 mins where it turns into Scott Joplin and then back into classical piano sends magic shivers up my spine and then his look of chidlish amazement at the end as though it wasn’t him playing, that he is just listening like i am, it is a work of art,

  3. Another man who didn’t speak…….

    Fabulous clip, almost surreal. I am going to click the links.

  4. way more to take in here than i can do during a 2 a.m. visit. will be back for more though. thanks for visiting my blog and leaving an affirming comment.

  5. Harpo who?

    Kidding!!! I sorta… vaguely,,, know who you’re talking about. He was kinda like the negative space in art, huh? Subtly critical.

  6. oh, go on…in going on ,that is. And Harpo was a master of his craft.

  7. ragtime harp–unreal–cool

  8. Harpo is one of my favorites also. I raised my children watching the Marx brothers often. Now as teens, they appreciate him too.

  9. The Marx brothers were the greatest ever… EVER! They were inteligent, sublime, increadably creative… always my favorites. No one came close.

  10. The last second of the tape is just great! The look on his face is classic! Harpo was one of a kind…

  11. “His remains were reportedly sprinkled into the sand trap off the seventh fairway of his favorite golf course.”

    thanks for the reminder of what a truly masterful entertainer he was…

  12. Cool, many Harpo fans. His autobiography is a wonderful book, “Harpo Speaks”. It really captures the spirit of the age. Chico, you play poker? Hahaha, where’s Zeppo?

  13. I think it would be fun to be part of a modern day Algonquin Round Table.

    I’d claim Dorothy Parker’s seat if I had the tongue for it.

  14. Talent was abundant in the Marx clan.

    Glad to see you still around. I think the ‘self-indulgent’ poem will lead to more ideas. Any way you can make a living as an artist, you should take it.

    I’d love to have the same option.

    Run with it and keep the smoke signals rising.

  15. That was me up above.

    Just sayin!

    Peace out.

  16. actually got the nickname “chico” from some elementary school chums cuz i was always reciting marx brothers lines… (plus they thought i looked a little like him, i guess)… raise you five hundred…

  17. Five hundred! I fold, oh and Eric, that’s one of the main reasons i wanna do it, not just for my ease of lifestyle but to prove that it is still possible and leave a trail, a career path, if you like, everyone here above is a really good writer or artist, as good as writers and artists as most professionals, it’s just that the world where commerce and art intersect, publishing, the movies, all those old avenues are dying commercially for various reasons and pushed to produce lowest common denonimator crap to make a profit because, partially, of the internet. I want to figure out a career path using the internet as a medium that doesnt involve working for pornographers or spammers,

  18. Hey paul, as someone who works in an industry that promotes the lowest common denonimator crap to make a profit ,(and the porfit is huge) and worse still, makes a bloody god that they worship of it, I will suport you in any way i can.

  19. Cool, the hole is more than the sum of its planets. Rage on, radiate,

  20. In NYC for a conference, my friend and I had drinks at the Algonquin just a couple days ago. I felt history in the atmosphere and was inspired to check out James Gaines’s book Wit’s End. BTW, Matilda the cat is quite personable.
    Paul Alan
    http://www.wordsalad.wordpress.com


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