“Propaganda of an Alien Ideology”

The Sword in the Rock

In medieval times, prior to someone becoming a knight, he had to take a bath the night before. Then they had to kneel at an altar upon which their weapons were arrayed all night long. The actual tapping with a sword—not on the shoulders back then as much as it was to the neck, presumably indicating that the person performing the ceremony could stick it to the person becoming the knight—is called an accolade.

On March 11, 1997, 25 years ago, Paul McCartney received an accolade, as he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth.

On May 24, 2003, McCartney played in Red Square. According to the BBC’s reporting of that day in Sir Paul’s history:

“Hours before the event, McCartney and his wife Heather took tea in the Kremlin with President Putin.

“Mr. Putin, who was a KGB agent when the Fab Four topped the charts around the world, admitted to his guest that The Beatles had been ‘a breath of fresh air’ during Soviet times.

“He said Beatles music ‘was considered propaganda of an alien ideology.’

“Mr. Putin said that while Beatles’ music was not banned by the Communist regime, ‘the fact that you were not allowed to play in Red Square in the 1980s says a lot.’

“McCartney said he gave President Putin a private performance of The Beatles’ song ‘Let It Be.’”

The most famous knights in British history are, of course, the Knights of the Round Table, which were organized by King Arthur.

Arthur established a “Code of Chivalry” for the knights:

• To never murder anyone.
• To be merciful unto everyone who asks for it.
• Not to fight over worldly gains or personal quarrels
• To never indulge in treason
• To do succor unto ladies, gentlewomen and widows
• To never lay down arms
• To defend the weak with all one’s might
• To not attack another knight
• To fight and lay down one’s life for the safety of one’s country
• To practice religion diligently

Clearly Putin could never be knighted.

“Let It Be,” indeed.

He will never receive an accolade. Only condemnation.


The Rhythmists

“This is a truly remarkable discovery, and is the most important piece of prehistoric art to be found in Britain in the last 100 years. The Folkton drums have long remained a mystery to experts for well over a century, but this new example finally begins to give us some answers. To my mind, the Burton Agnes drum is even more intricately carved and reflects connections between communities in Yorkshire, Stonehenge, Orkney and Ireland. Analysis of its carvings will help to decipher the symbolism and beliefs of the era in which Stonehenge was constructed.

“The discovery of the Burton Agnes grave is highly moving. The emotions the new drum expresses are powerful and timeless, they transcend the time of Stonehenge and reflect a moment of tragedy and despair that remains undimmed after 5,000 years. We are honoured that the British Museum will be the first place the public will be able to see this important object, and that they will see it alongside 430 other ancient items telling the spectacular story of Stonehenge and the vibrant world in which it was built.”— Neil Wilkin, curator of The World of Stonehenge at the British Museum

Wilkin is talking abut a 5,000-year-old chalk sculpture in the shape of a drum that was discovered in East Yorkshire in 2015 but not announced until last month, after extensive research. It was found in a grave of three children. It is considered to be one of “the most significant ancient objects ever found on the British Isles.”

As it is a solid object, it is not a musical instrument per se. But it is interesting that there are three more cylindrical sculptures, known as “the Folkton drums,” which were excavated—again in the grave of a child—in 1889.

It is somewhat hard to imagine: back in 3005 BC some kids might have been playing the time-relevant version of the drum solo in “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” so relentlessly that their parents decided to bury them with drums.

Which takes us to the east, where there are children being buried, perhaps with their toy drums.

Then Play On

“There is the complex of mammoth bones dating from around 20,000 BP, found in the Ukraine and published by Bibikov (1981). Many of the bones show signs of wear, almost certainly from repeated striking, and others. . . have striations similar to those of rasps, suggesting that some were scraped whereas others were struck. It is claimed that this was an ensemble, and although it would be difficult to prove that this was so, it would be even more difficult to show that each of these bones was struck only singly as an individual solo instrument. So here perhaps we have the first evidence of an ‘orchestra.’”—“How Music and Instruments Began: A Brief Overview of the Origin and Entire Development of Music, from Its Earliest Stage” by Jeremy Montagu, University of Oxford

And one can imagine the man who reportedly called Beatles’ music “a breath of fresh air” destroying those instruments in Ukraine at this very instant.

Slava Ukrain!

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