Debussy, Ravel, Satie, and La Mer

Sometime in the earlyish 2000s I went to a talk at the Royal Academy of Music given by Roy Howat, an expert on Debussy (and Faure and Chabrier), and always an interesting speaker.

His talk was on proportion in Debussy’s music, and my recollection is that at one point he said that Ravel very rarely criticised Debussy’s music, but that one criticism Ravel had made was that the music in “La Mer” was too precise, or something similar.

That immediately triggered a connection in my mind. Eric Satie once remarked of the first movement of “La Mer” (“From dawn to midday on the sea”):

There’s one particular moment between half past ten and quarter to eleven that I found stunning!” *

Hitherto I had assumed that was merely Satie making a witty – and possibly somewhat dismissive? – remark, but when Roy Howat mentioned Ravel’s criticism of “La Mer” another possibility occurred to me, which is that maybe Satie was aphoristically making the same criticism of “La Mer” as Ravel.


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Romeo and Juliet at the Harlow Playhouse

Some of the best performances of plays that I have seen have been either at regional theatres or fringe theatres or by fringe companies, sometimes combining two or three of those: one of the best things I have ever seen was an amateur production of Jean Anouilh’s play “Antigone” at the Nuffield Theatre in Southampton.

Restricting myself to Shakespeare, the two productions that sparked my real interest in theatre and in Shakespeare were both at the Nuffield Theatre in Southampton, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, and the following year “As You Like It”. (Also good was earlier seeing “The Merchant of Venice” at the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon, but that didn’t spark my interest in theatre and Shakespeare.)

Despite my experiences in the first paragraph above, when in the late 1990s or early 2000s a friend suggested seeing a production of “Romeo and Juliet” at the Harlow Playhouse, I had some – unjustified – misgivings about whether it would be worth my while to make the trip from South London. (Shades of Frank in “Educating Rita” being dubious about going with Rita to see an amateur production of “The Importance of Being Earnest”, but eventually agreeing to go.) Nevertheless, I went, and (with the exception of an actor in one of the minor roles) it was excellent. I can’t now remember much about the production, but I think it’s worth setting down what few details I can remember.

The performance started with a group of children riding onto the stage on BMX bikes, and then one of them spoke the prologue.

Later this opening scene was referred to when Mercutio and his friends roared onto the stage on powered quad-bikes, and now we come to my primary reason for posting this. Mercutio was played by a Black British actor, who was superb in the role. I can’t imagine Mercutio being played better: maybe played differently, yes, but not better. He commanded the stage when he was on it, but without distracting from the other actors.

I wish I could remember his name because a performance as good as that deserves to be properly attributed.

Moral: in theatre – and in my experience in all other arts (and other parts of life?) – not being well-known is *very* poorly correlated with not being good. And while being well known is mostly correlated with being good, you can’t rely on it.

Some other good Shakespeare productions I have seen which were more or less outside the mainstream:

  • “Romeo and Juliet” at Basingstoke(?), a colloboration between a Black British theatre company (Tamasha?) and a British East Asian theatre company (Mulan?)
  • “King Lear” in London, a collaboration between British East Asian company Yellow Earth Theatre and a Shanghai theatre company, and the occasion of the best line in Shakespeare that Shakespeare didn’t write: the Shanghai actor playing the Duke of Kent was applying to be Lear’s servant and setting out his qualifications for the job, this being spoken in Mandarin with surtitles, and at the end of the speech he switched and said in English “And I can speak English!”. I understand that the actor had improvised that in a rehearsal as a joke, and the director liked it so much that he – rightly – kept it in the production.
  • “As You Like It” – an all-male at the Albery Theatre with Adrian Lester as a superb Rosalind. I nearly didn’t go to this because it was sold out and I’d have to queue for a returned ticket, and I was a bit wary of an all-male production. Then I decided I was being silly, and queued and got in.
  • “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, by Tara Arts. (From memory, there were parts of this which didn’t quite work for me, but it’s memorable to me because quite by chance, also at the performance was Colette Koo, who in Spring 1994 gave one of the best performances I have ever seen in a theatre.)
  • “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in London by a British East Asian theatre company in 2000s(?). (Hopefully I will recall more details.)
  • “Twelfth Night” in a shortened version for children at the Open Air Theatre Regent’s Park. Not ground-breaking, but a very mixed cast and a good introduction for children, and at one of the two performances I went to was the occasion of the second-best line in Shakespeare that Shakespeare didn’t write, also – as with King Lear – improvised. Vera Chok (an East Asian actor) was playing Maria, and at one point had to throw some (pretend) dog-poo in a plastic bag into the audience. (The bag was attached to a string so it wouldn’t actually go into the audience.) Except on this occasion she let go too soon, and the bag instead went to the back of the stage. Vera Chok hurried to retrieve the bag, saying to the audience “I didn’t mean to do that”, and then successfully threw the bag at the audience. On the page this doesn’t sound like much, but done live it was a very very funny mistake *and* recovery from the mistake.
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Some inequalities for faster integer division by a constant

*** This is currently a work in progress, and TODO shows me and any readers where more work is needed.

??? is a reminder to me to check that something I believe to be true really is true.

TODO put page links to quickly get to the conditions TODO maybe a short contents table with those links TODO maybe add a brief history of developments of the theory at the end

Modern compilers – for example LLVM’s Clang and GNU’s gcc – and some libraries – for example by – make integer division by a constant divisor faster by replacing a relatively slow division operation floor(n/d) by floor(n*m/2**s), where:
* floor(X) is the greatest integer less than or equal to X
* 2**s is 2 exponentiated to the power s
(ui) Given integers 1<=d<=nmax, we have integers m & s so that m/2**s is a close enough approximation to 1/d that:
(ui’) for integers 0<=n<=nmax we have:
(ui”) floor(n/d) = q = floor(n*m/2**s)

The point is that dividing by 2**s can be done with bits shifts, which are fast, so instead of a slow division operation we can use a faster multiplication and bits shifts. (This only applies if we know d in advance, and we may be dividing by d several times: while the calculation floor(n*m/2**s) is fast, it does take some time to find m & s.)

But how to find suitable m/2**s? Here we:

* Give an unusual unified approach to finding and proving sufficient conditions for m/2**s. We believe this gives short simple proofs which easily explain why the approximations work, and why they eventually fail for “too large” n.

* Derive and prove a condition which seems to be novel, and which:
** gives a simpler and faster algorithm for finding the best possible m/2**s than the algorithm currently used??? by LLVM;
** may be nearly as fast as the algorithm currently used by GCC, which usually, but not quite always, finds the best possible m/2**s.

* Suggest a modification to the algorithm currently used by GCC which makes that faster.

* List several practical and/or theoretical conditions due to others for finding m/2**s, and use the unified approach to give simple, very short, proofs of these. This list is also useful for showing the similarities and differences of these conditions. (A few of these conditions are in our opinion not useful for either actually finding m/2**s or explaining how and why the approximation works – we think none of the conditions is good at both – but we have included them because they are in the literature.)

The unified approach – an example:
(ui.n) if n>0 a sufficient condition for (ui”) is: 1/d <= m/2**s < (1 + 1/n) * 1/d
* instead of floor(n/d) use floor(n*m/2**s)
* which is equivalent to instead using floor(n * d*m/2**s / d)
* let K = d*m/2**s so equivalently instead use floor(n*K/d)
* then it is obvious that a sufficient condition for (ui”) is n<=n*K<n+1
* so if n>0 then a sufficient condition for (ui”) is 1 <= K = d*m/2**s < 1 + 1/n
* dividing all parts of that inequality by d gives (ui.n)
We believe this is an elegant sufficient condition which clearly shows how good the approximation is to 1/d. Moreover, it can be easily modified to give a similar necessary & sufficient condition for (ui), which we do below.

This uses (with hindsight: it wasn’t found by following Jacobi’s advice!) a maxim attributed to Carl Jacobi that “man muss immer umkehren” (one must always invert), albeit he made that about finding new research topics.
For dividing n by d, instead of:
* finding conditions for changing to dividing n by (an approximation to d)
* we find conditions for changing to (dividing an approximation to n) by d
but doing it in a way in which the latter is equivalent to the former.

We believe this approach gives simpler and more obvious proofs of conditions for (ui) than those in the literature that we are aware of, and below we give those proofs.


* HD10 means chapter 10 of the second edition of “Hacker’s Delight” (published in 2012), which discusses this, and proves necessary & sufficient conditions. (References to inequalities and conditions in that chapter are like this: (27), that is the identifiers are numbers inside round brackets, which is how the late Henry S Warren wrote them in his book.)

* Here we are mostly concerned with the mathematics underlying this, not with practical implementations, although we don’t completely ignore those. So this omits some important details on how to use m/2**s once found: for these you need to read other articles and/or books like HD10. At the end of this post are some links. TODO

* The somewhat clumsy system used to label the conditions is to allow additions to be made without having to renumber, and to at least hint at a condition’s originators.

* all “variables” are integers except those in upper-case like E, E’, E”, H, K, etc, which can be rational or real;
* in the mathematics “/” is rational or real division, so 17/3 is not evaluated as 5 or 6; we always explicitly use floor(expression) to convert an expression to an integer. (But in any computer code examples “/” is used to mean rounding to the integer towards zero, so in code 17/3 is evaluated as 5 and -17/3 as -5.)

* qc = floor((nmax+1)/d)
* nc = qc*d – 1; then nmax – (d-1) <= nc <= nmax;
* or we can use the other HD10 formula for nc, and then qc = (nc+1)/d.

Measure how good the m/2**s approximation is to 1/d, and 2**s/m is to d:
* delta = m*d – 2**s, so m = (2**s + delta) / d and 2**s = m*d – delta;
* d – 2**s/m = (m*d – 2**s) / m = delta/m
* m/2**s – 1/d = (m*d – 2**s) / (d*2**s) = delta/(d*2**s)


* We mostly, but not always, use nmax = 2**w – 1 where w >= 1 is an integer, often 32 or 64 for bits sizes of integers. But always nmax>=d. (We could also develope the theory for nmax<d, but then it gets messy, and the algorithms for finding m/2**s are made more complicated, both of which are unnecessary because if nmax<d then floor(n/d)=0 when 0<=n<=nmax.)

* In practice m = ceiling(2**s/d), where ceiling(X) is the least integer greater than or equal to X, but that is not essential for the mathematics.

* It is also not essential for the mathematics that we use m/2**s as an approximation to 1/d, although that is what we always do in practice. For the theory we can almost always use integers m/b instead of m/2**s, where b does not have to be a power of 2. All the measures of approximation just above work just as well if we use a general b instead of 2**s.

* For the mathematics it is not even essential that m & b are integers: in almost all of it we can instead approximate 1/d by 1/(d-E), where E is zero or a smallish positive real number. Then we have:
* m/2**s = m/b = 1/(d-E) and 2**s/m = b/m = d-E
* E = delta/m

* A reason for the apparently pointless generalisation (and idiosyncrasy – we admit that using 1/(d-E) or m/b instead of m/2**s looks more than somewhat peculiar compared with probably everything else written on this and similar topics, especially when in practice we only use m/2**s) is a curiousity of this subject seems to be that ideas & theorems & proofs for seeing what’s really going on and why it works aren’t directly good for actually finding m/2**s, and that different but equivalent ideas & theorems & proofs for actually finding m/2**s are less good at easily showing what’s happening. We believe generalising makes clearer what’s really happening. (Also using m/b saves a few “**” or superscripts and makes the formulas somewhat less cluttered.)  And if a practical computer is ever built using a non-binary base with an operation equivalent to bits shifting, then we’ll be ready to implement faster division by a constant divisor!

(The Bourbaki method for mathematically capturing a lion in a desert:
The capture of a lion in the desert is a special case of a far more general problem. Formulate this problem and find necessary and sufficient conditions for its solution. The capture of a lion is now a trivial corollary of the general theory, which on no account should be written down explicitly.
(Online here, but originally #27 in “15 New Ways to Catch a Lion” on page 11 of Manifold (18, Spring 1976). Manifold was a magazine mostly, but not exclusively, for mathematics undergraduates, and was based at, but was not officially part of, the Mathematics Institute of Warwick University.) Here we follow the Bourbaki method, but with a crucial difference: we may stray from the path of allegedly true “Bourbakianism”, and explicitly apply the general theory to the actual problem!)

* For practical algorithms to find m/2**s use necessary & sufficient conditions (ui.qc), (, and sufficient conditions (ui.GM), (, (ui.Alv).

These conditions are for unsigned integers, but can be adapted for signed integers. TODO: maybe do that at the end

*** Six necessary & sufficient – and hence equivalent – conditions for (ui)

( For (ui) it is necessary & sufficient that: 1/d <= m/b < (1 + 1/nc) * 1/d.
In fact we prove this for 0<=n<=nc+d-1, where nc<=nmax<=nc+d-1.
Proof: as for (ui.n) above, let K = d*m/b
* at n=d it is necessary that d<n*K=d*K, or 1<=K=d*m/b;
* at n=nc it is necessary that nc*K<nc+1=qc*d, or K=d*m/b < 1 + 1/nc;
* nc<=K*nc<nc+1; if 0<=n<=nc multiply by n/nc, so n<=n*K<n+1, which is (ui.n);
* if d=1 then nmax=nc and we are done
* if d>=2 then for 1<=i<=d-1<=nc we have i<=i*K<i+1
so for qc*d=nc+1<=n=nc+i<=nc+d-1
we have qc*d<=n<=n*K=(nc+i)*K<nc+1+d-1+1=nc+1+d=(qc+1)*d,
so qc<=n*K/d<qc+1 and floor(n*K/d)=qc, and we are done.

This condition is not practical, but it has that simple proof, and it and similar conditions are very useful for showing how close m/b = 1/(d-E) must be to 1/d, and for comparing sufficient conditions to necessary & sufficient conditions. All other conditions used (whether equivalent, or only sufficient) are easily derived from it.

For all the remaining necessary & sufficient conditions,
from ( 1/d<=m/b is equivalent to b<=m*d, and so to 0<=m*d-b=delta,
and also to 1/d<=1/(d-E) and d-E<=d, and so to 0<=E.

(ui.E) For (ui) it is necessary & sufficient that: 0<=delta, or 0<=E;
and: E=delta/m<1/qc, or qc*delta/m = qc*E < 1;
where instead of floor(n/d) we use floor(n*m/b)=floor(n/(d-E))=floor(n*K/d),
where K = d*m/b = d/(d-E).

Proof: from ( m/b = 1/(d-E) < (1 + 1/nc) * 1/d
is equivalent to nc/(d-E) < (nc+1)/d = qc
and nc = qc*d-1 < qc*(d-E) = qc*d – qc*E
and so to qc*E<1. The rest follow easily.

These aren’t useful practically, but are useful as intermediate conditions, and for explaining how and why the approximations work. They may be novel: they are not in HD10 (published in 2012), or on a related website archived here (I suggest using snapshots *before* 2019):*/

Condition (ui.E) is a key to seeing why suitable m/2**s work up to nc+d-1,
and why they may go wrong at nc+d = (qc+1)*d – 1.
Consider two equivalent variants for calculating q, using as an example:
nmax=23; d=10; qc=2; nc=19; E=0.4; D=d-E=9.6; K=d/(d-E)=1.041…;

* 0…8_9_9.6=1*D_10…18_19=nc_19.2=2*D_20…28_28.8=3*D_29
q=floor(n / (d-E)): this is approximating d with d-E, and is like using a measuring rod of length d-E instead of the correct length d: as we lay rods of length d units alongside rods of length d-E, the end of the latter rods drifts back from the end of the former rods, and eventually the end of the latter rods is 1 or more units (including parts of a unit) behind the end of the former, and the integer that is 1 unit behind the end of the d units rods is the least integer for which: floor(n/d)<floor(n/(d-E))

* 0…9_9.4=9*K_10…19=nc_19.8=19*K_20…28_29_29.2=28*K_30_30.2=29*K_31
q=floor((n*d/(d-E)) / d): this is approximating n with n*d/(d-E)=n*K, and is like stretching the line with integer points by a factor d/(d-E) before dividing by d, making it clear why we need nc*d/(d-E)<nc+1.

The next three conditions for (ui) use increasingly large integers.
The first two give practical algorithms for finding the best possible m/2**s: the second is in HD10 and is used??? in LLVM??? and libdivide???; the first may be novel, and is simpler and faster than the second.

(ui.qc) For (ui) it is necessary & sufficient that 0<=delta and qc*delta<m.
Proof: from (ui.E) use that E = delta/m
Or from ( use the direct proof that these two are equivalent: this isn’t a circular argument because we also prove ( directly from (
This gives a simple algorithm to find m/2**s which easily fits within w bits: this is because if m = ceiling(2**s / d) then qc*delta <= nmax. The code (see Annex.ui.qc) is shorter, simpler, and faster than for ( Neither the condition nor the algorithm are in HD10, and both may be novel.

( For (ui) it is necessary & sufficient that 0<=delta and nc*delta<b.
Proof: from (ui.qc): qc*delta < m
is equivalent to (qc*d – 1) * delta = nc*delta < m*d – delta = b.
Or from ( m/b < (1 + 1/nc) * 1/d is equivalent to nc*m/b < (nc + 1) / d
and nc*m*d < (nc + 1) * b = nc*b + b
and nc*m*d – nc*b = nc * (m*d – b) = nc*delta < b
This is HD10 (27), we believe due to Henry S Warren, but with 2**p generalised to b. This gives code which can be made to fit within w bits at the expense of some complexity because mostly nc*delta>nmax: for example see the code in HD10, which is used as the basis for code in LLVM’s Clang compiler???.

(ui.GMW) For (ui) it is necessary & sufficient that 0<=delta and nc*m<qc*b.
Proof: from (ui.qc) qc*d*m – m = nc*m < qc*d*m – qc*delta = qc*b
Basically part of step 6 of “Algorithm 1 Granlund-Montgomery-Warren” in the LKK paper???  We believe this condition doesn’t have any practical uses, because the values used in it are so large that code fitting in w bits would need to be more complicated than for (

(ui.HD.25) For (ui) it is necessary & sufficient that b/d <= m < (b/d)*(nc+1)/nc.
Proof: from ( multiply all expressions by b, and rewrite (1 + 1/nc) as (nc+1)/nc.
This is HD10 (25), we believe due to Henry S Warren, with 2**p generalised to b. We believe this is only useful as an intermediate result in the HD10 proof of (

*** Three sufficient conditions for (ui) with b = 2**s and nmax = 2**w – 1

These conditions are sufficient, but not necessary, and (ui.GM) & ( are equivalent. All give algorithms to find m/2**s.

Pedantic correction – that’s not quite correct: as implemented in GCC, XXXXX TODO this is because GCC wants, entirely reasonably, to use the same function to find m/2**s for unsigned and signed integers, and to do that it needs to exclude delta=0, which is not done by ( However, that only makes a difference if abs(d) is an integer power of 2, for which the smallest values of delta making the condition correct are 0 or d (for all other d we have the smallest values of delta are 0<delta<d), and for these GCC just uses shifts, and doesn’t need to find a multiplier m, so for all practical purposes (ui.GM) and ( *are* equivalent. 

(ui.GM) For (ui) it is sufficient that 2**s <= m*d <= 2**s + 2**(s-w)
or (ui.GM’) 1/d <= m/2**s <= (1 + 1/2**w) * 1/d
Proof: from ( use nc <= nmax < nmax+1.
This is Theorem 4.2, condition (4.3) in Granlund & Montgomery’s 1994 paper.

Note that ( & (ui.GM’) are similar, the differences being ( uses nc, but (ui.GM’) uses nmax+1, and in ( the right side comparison is “<” but in (ui.GM’) it is “<=”.

HD10 says that ( – and so also (ui.GM) – gives code which is simpler than code from (, but which nearly always finds the minimal m/2**s. Condition (ui.GM’) helps explain this: nc < nmax+1, but by at most d, so for small d by not much. HD10 has an example: for w = 32 bits the smallest divisor with (ui.GM) & ( not giving the minimal m/2**s is 102,807. (TODO: show my proof of a lower bound – 2**((w+1)/2) Z??? – for d below which (ui.GM) & ( always find the same m/2**s as (ui.qc) & (

But: (ui.qc) gives code for the minimal m/2**s which is almost as simple as that using (, and which is at worst only a little slower than using (, and might even be slightly faster. It is, for now, an open problem how code from (ui.qc) compares in performance with code from (

( For (ui) it is sufficient that 0 <= delta <= 2**(s-w)
Proof: from ( use that nc <= nmax < nmax+1.
This is HD10 (30), I believe due to Henry S Warren.

Since (ui.GM) and ( are derived from equivalent conditions by using nmax+1 instead of nc, it’s arguable that in itself shows that (ui.GM) & ( ) are equivalent, but we will prove it directly. From (ui.GM’) we have:
m*d*(nmax+1) <= b * ((nmax+1) + 1) so (m*d – b) * (nmax+1) <=b

The algorithm from Granlund & Montgomery (used in GCC), from their (ui.GM), is elegant, but we believe it can be improved. As currently used in GNU gcc it starts with s = w + ceiling(log2(d)), which guarantees that the inequality is true, and iterates downwards until it finds the least s for which the inequality is true. Instead we suggest start s = w + ceiling(log2(d)) – 1, and iterating downwards from there; with this it is possible that the inequality is false at the start s, but in that case using (start s) + 1 makes the inequality true, and it is easy to get the m for s+1 from the m for s; this suggested change means that in the GNU GCC compiler we can avoid using wide_int integers, which seem quite slow compared with 32 or 64 (etc) bits fixed width integers.

And if we use the (ui.qc) improvement of the HD10 code used in LLVM, then it’s possible that iterating upwards to find m/2**s may be faster than iterating downwards as is done in GCC, albeit (to repeat myself) the GCC method is an elegant algorithm. This may be especially true for relatively small divisors.


TODO give my lower bound for divisors for which (vii) & (viii) always give the minimal m/2**s


(ui.Alv) s = w + ceiling(log2(d)) and m = ceiling(2**s/d)
Proof: delta < d, so delta <= 2**ceiling(log2(d)) = 2**(s-w), which is (;
and TODO prove always 2**w <= m < 2**(w+1)
HD10 says this is due to Alverson, and that it is simpler than the HD10 methods because it doesn’t need trial and error to find s, so is more suitable for building in hardware, but that always 2**w <= m < 2**(w+1), so the code using m/2**s for division is often more complicated than that using (ui.qc) or ( or (ui.GM) or (


(ui.RF) TODO apply idea of (ui.i) & (ui.qc) to ridiculousfish’s proof for his libdivide n+1 algorìthm && does rf prefer to be cited as rf or r_f? TODO ??? Mayve mention this may be somewhere in HD (but I now can’t find it) but not in HD10 and so not in context of faster int div, so …..)

TODO  give an account of finding qc & nc for finding m/2**s as approximations to c/d so that floor((n*c + h) / d) = floor((n*m + H) / 2**s)   TODO  thought: might we want the remainder for this without the quotient? If so could the ideas in LKK 2018 paper be used?

TODO  other similar ideas, eg 64 bits nanoseconds converted to complete seconds or minutes or hours or days, and how for one of those by doing a pre-shift for dividing by a power of 2, and then doing a multiply and add, then another shift, we can get a quotient which is either exact or is only -1 out.

TODO Algorithm 1 Granlund-Montgomery-Warren” in the LKK paper?  maybe do a bit more on the conditions in the different steps of this, for each first as d-E &/or b/m, then as m/2**s and 0 <= n < 2**W

TODO maybe add more on maximum & minimum & miscellaneous stuff, etc, in HD10

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Proto Mega Dance Party XXX!

Chok Notes to Self

These are feedback forms from an amazing, life-changing workshop on making solo work run by performance artist, Bryony Kimmings.

At the end of the week, we all showed a few minutes’ worth of material. This is some gorgeously generous feedback from the group. Am indebted to Bryony and the team. This was the start of what I thought would be my first full length solo show.

I’ve come a long way!












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This is my brain on dogs

Chok Notes to Self

So I just had a look at a pile of feedback from peers I got via a Bryony Kimmings workshop few years ago. As I work towards my new show, kind my first full length theatre show, this feedback from amazing artists is reminding me of what I have to offer and how I can be of service. Am posting it here as a reminder to self.
Bryony Kimmings Chisenhale Workshop
What did you feel?
Happy, excited, admiration
You’d be great on a night out
Empathy re. Letter
Confusion, nostalgia, sadness
Excisted, intrigued, wanted more of your craziness
Laughter, intrigued – what was really going on. This woman! Does she KNOW?
Happy, uncertainty
Happy but needed to know context – wanted to know more about cultures and home
Excitement, amusement, some grossed-outness
Amazement, kind-of-fear, softness, humour, pathos
Three things you liked?
Smile then sudden turn…

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Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019

Initially a quick post so I can link to three shows which I recommend, one of which I haven’t seen yet.

* In the 1999 London Mime Festival I saw a wonderfully inventive & funny show “The Letter” by Paolo Nani. I went because an inspiration for it was the French writer Raymond Queneau’s “Exercises in Style”.
Here’s a review of that 1999 performance:
I just found out, completely by chance, that it’s on in Edinburgh until Sunday 25 August 2019, so I for one will be going to see it:
That link has links to other 2019 reviews, at least one of which (I think) get’s the basic plot a bit wrong, but they are all very positive.
It’s at 17:30 and lasts about one hour.

The rest of my suggestions are contemporary dance shows.

* “From the Top” by Victor Fung (Hong Kong) at DanceBase. I saw this yesterday: a good dance piece and a funny take on a somewhat dysfunctional relationship between a choreographer and two dancers rehearsing a new piece. It’s about 30 minutes long, but to me it felt like only 15 to 20 minutes. (That *is* a compliment.)
At 18:30 until Sunday 25 August 2019.
A review:

* “Floating Flowers” (Taiwan) at DanceBase. I saw this yesterday – it’s excellent, but is unsurprisingly sold out for the rest of the run. I suggest getting to the venue at least an hour, and probably better is at least 90 minutes, before 15:30 show start to queue for returns (that’s what I did). It’s about an hour long, and is on until Sunday 25 August 2019.


* Between 1996 and 1998 I saw three excellent dance pieces (two solos for the choreographer herself, and one for four female dancers) by Mui Cheuk Yin (also from Hong Kong). So I was delighted to find that she’s in this year’s Fringe. I’d be going anyway, but I’ve also been told by another choreographer that it’s good. I haven’t seen this yet, and judging by the two reviews I’ve skimmed it might not appeal to people who don’t see a lot of contemporary dance.
“It Will Come Later” at 13:00 for about one hour until Sunday 25 August 2019.

* I’ll be going to several Korean events, all of which are described here:

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Han-Na Chang conducting Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 5 in E minor

From the Cambridge University Press book “Essays in Music” by Hans Keller – an extract from a review of Wilhelm Furtwängler conducting in Mysore in 1950:
As was to be expected, the most overpowering interpretations in the Philharmonia Orchestra’s first two concerts under the greatest developer and deepest experiencer among living conductors were those of the symphonic and evolving works: above all the 5th Beethoven, but also the 5th Tchaikovsky, Brahms’s Haydn Variations, and The Hebrides, with whose development Mendelssohn seemed, for objectively incomprehensible reasons, dissatisfied. The Tchaikovsky became not only a great, but even an immaculate work: does then its weakness simply consist in its occasionally hiding its strengths, which it needs a Furtwängler to uncover?

I considered Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 5 in E minor to be a somewhat lesser work than his 4th and 6th symphonies (partly because that’s what the conventional thinking seemed to be), until the BBC Proms 2014 when a performance by the Korean cellist and conductor Han-Na Chang with the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra changed my mind. I was promming in the Royal Albert Hall arena, and apart from it being a wonderful performance it was also a delight to watch her conducting.

There is a video of the performance on YouTube, which I highly recommend:

@0m00s: 1 Andante – Scherzo. Allegro con anima
@15m00s: 2 Andante cantabile con alcuna licenza
@28m10s: 3 Valse. Allegro moderato con Patrioso
@34m05s: 4 Finale. Andante maestoso

I’ve watched this video several times, and the Finale more than ten times, yet it wasn’t until watching the Finale again on 2019-08-16 that I noticed she was conducting this symphony from memory and not using a score: in the hall and on previous occasions of watching this video I must have been so preoccupied with watching her conducting that I couldn’t see that!

Two of the comments are from people who saw Han-Na Chang conduct this symphony in St Louis and Oslo, and from those and my experience I think if you have an opportunity to see her conduct this symphony (or Tchaikovsky’s 4th and 6th symphonies, or anything else for that matter) then don’t miss it.
 * I  just watched her repeat this amazing performance last night with the St. Louis Symphony here. Truly an electrifying experience that brought the audience to its feat as soon as the last chord died away. The rest of the all-Russian program here was equally impressive. She’s going places, mark my words.
* Fantastic conductor and person .. We enjoyed the moment, admired her gestures and a seldom sensible conduction of Tsjaikowsky symphony 5th this week. And the excellent Oslo Philarmonic Orchestra

Some reviews which explain why this was a special performance:

Have you ever felt a sense of elation at the end of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony? In many ways, I find the Fifth as intensely painful and autobiographical as the “Pathétique”, with the finale seeing the composer nobly ‘putting on a brave face’, accepting fate’s hand stoically. The last pages often play through a mist of tears, the triumphant march ringing helplessly hollow. Not so here. Han-Na Chang, conducting the Qatar Philharmonic in its BBC Proms debut, lit the biggest firecracker under the Allegro vivace of the fourth movement I’ve ever heard. It took me completely unawares – and judging by the scramble in the strings, possibly the orchestra too – as the movement raced away at lightning speed. Any sense of Tchaikovsky’s fragility and self-doubt were swept away in a joyous romp to the finishing line … her conducting this afternoon was quite outstanding. Her style is often understated: small, precise beats and cues, much of it led from the wrist rather than the shoulder, with glowing beams of encouragement to her players. Her gestures grew more expansive in the Tchaikovsky, where tempo choices, shaping of phrases and application of rubato showed imagination. After a darkly lugubrious opening on clarinets, the Allegro con anima found Chang whipping up a maelstrom in the brass and timpani. The Andante cantabile was characterized by a gorgeously played horn solo. Brass often tended towards the excitable and raucous – there was no lack of passion in this exhilarating interpretation. … [I recommend reading the whole review.]

Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony was also interpreted brilliantly by Chang and her performers. … There was a real feeling of symbiosis here; Chang directed, but only enough so that the musicians gave their best. It was definitely a team effort, not the ‘conductor knows all’ approach which can very often be stifling.


… With her intensely dynamic conducting style, Chang was faithful to the emotional panache of the score, summed up in the thrilling conclusion …

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A comment I made in 2014 or 2015 on a YouTube upload of a performance of Sibelius’s astounding “Luonnotar”, a concentrated (only ten minutes long) tone poem for soprano and orchestra. (Wagner lovers temporarily avert your eyes now: I have been known to say that Wagner takes over ten hours for what are basically squabbles between some gods and giants, but Sibelius takes only ten minutes for the creation of the world!)

I was searching YouTube for a performance of Luonnotar to send a link to some people, and quite by chance decided to try this upload in the search listing. That was a very good random choice because for many years I have thought this recording of Luonnotar (Taru Valjakka [Finnish] soprano, conductor Paavo Berglund [Finnish], Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra [English]) is probably the best I have heard.

For a long time I lived in Bournemouth [England] and went to almost all the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) concerts. Living in London in the late 1990s, I found a CD of music by Sibelius with the BSO conducted by Berglund. One piece was Luonnotar, so I bought the CD because from when I first knew about Sibelius’s Luonnotar I thought it had to be an amazing piece, but I couldn’t recall hearing a performance on radio that had lived up to my expectations.

I can’t remember how many times I immediately replayed this performance when I first listened to the CD, but it was a lot, and it is still for me the performance that probably gets closest to the heart of Luonnotar.

One reason I like it is that I think it has a deliberate roughness, which seems highly appropriate for Luonnotar – see just below. (I should add that in my experience the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra is very good: in fact I have aphoristically described them as “the best Russian orchestra west of Oslo”, a reference to their strengh in playing 19th and 20th century Russian music, and to recordings of Tchaikovsky symphonies by the Oslo Philharmonic conducted by Mariss Jansons.)

Luonnotar on Wikipedia
Part of this Wikipedia article on Luonnotar used to be like this:
“… composed for soprano and orchestra in 1913. … the mythical [Kalevala] birth of the earth and sky … becomes an intense Sibelian metaphor for the inexorable force – even the terror – of all creation, including that of the artist. One of the composer’s most compelling works, it alternates between two musical ideas. … In its relentless physicality and eruptive violence, Luonnotar is unlike anything else in the entire repertory.”

Unfortunately that fell prey to Wikipedia’s understandable policy that Wikipedia articles must not contain original research, or indeed comment.

This is a pity, because those words seem to me to epitomise Luonnotar, so what I would like to happen is that someone who can write well about music would quote those words as having at one time been on Wikipedia and explain why they are accurate, and then we can hopefully get the Wikipedia entry changed to quote an outside source quoting and explaining a deleted Wikipedia entry! Maybe Anne Ozorio? (See just below.)

Discussion on the Wikipedia article on “Luonnotar”
A quote from a Wikipedia contributor: “this doesn’t capture the elemental flavour of the work at all, but it’s a start”

Musicweb-International article on “Luonnotar”
Appreciating Sibelius’s Luonnotar Op. 70 by Anne Ozorio
Luonnotar (Op. 70, 1913) must be one of the most distinctive pieces in the repertoire. It transcends both song and symphonic form. … The orchestra may play modern instruments and the soprano may wear an evening gown, but ideally they should convey the power of ancient, shamanistic incantation, as if by recreating by sound they are performing a ritual to release some kind of creative force. … But it is the voice part which is astounding. Technically this piece is a killer – there are leaps and drops of almost an octave within a single word. When Luonnotar calls out for help, her words are scored like strange, sudden swoops of unworldly sounds supposed to resound across the eternal emptiness. These hint of the wailing, keening style that Karelian singers used. This cannot be sung with any trace of conservatoire trained artifice: the sounds are supposed to spring from primeval forces. … Singing over the cataclysmic orchestral climax that builds up from “Tuuli kaatavi, tuuli kaatavi!” must be quite some challenge. The sonorous wall of sound Sibelius creates is like the tsunami described in the text, and the soprano is riding on its crest. … As Erik Tawaststjerna said, “the soprano line is built on the contrast between … the epic and narrative and the atmospheric and magical”. …

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How to Warm Up for a Future of Disruption

via How to Warm Up for a Future of Disruption

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The Declaration of Independence in American – by H. L. Mencken – 1921

The Declaration of Independence in American – by H. L. Mencken – 1921

The Declaration of Independence in American – by H. L. Mencken – 1921

Text used

For Mencken’s reason for making this “translation” of the Declaration of Independence (apart, that is, from humour) see below. I’ve made this version because it’s helpful to compare the original text with Mencken’s “translation”. I particularly enjoy Mencken’s versions of 4, 7, 16.4 and 16.8. For more information about the Declaration of Independence go here.

To ignore the preamble, and go down this page to just read the original declaration and Mencken’s “translation” click here.

But: Mencken’s language was of its time (1921) and in particular three words used by Mencken in his “translations” of sections [2] and [10] – the numbering is mine, not an official one – are very offensive nowadays. I originally intended to reproduce Mencken’s text unaltered, but on reflection I’m going delete those three words, and slightly change Mencken’s text in those sections so the slightly amended version still reads well. To do that I’ve:

* changed one word from Mencken’s version of [2], and I apologise in advance to anyone – French or not – who objects to me using “frenchies”; for what it’s worth I’d point out to anyone considering that I’m endorsing their view of the French as “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” that:

** from 1914 to 1916-1917 on the Western Front the French army held firm against the German army, admittedly with the large help of the Russians on the Eastern Front, and with the increasingly large help of the British and parts of the Commonwealth and the British Empire, not forgetting the Italians on the Italian Front (I use 1916-1917 rather than 1918 because from 1916-1917 to 1918 it’s arguable that on the Western Front the British and their associated armies were effectively the main forces fighting the German army, although the French army was still a very important factor, and the Americans were making their presence felt)

** a small but significant part of the French population was in the resistance to the occupying Nazi forces, and I doubt that had the Nazi forces been occupying the UK (practically very unlikely: there was no real prospect that the Nazi forces could have successfully invaded Britain – the military and logistical difficulties of crossing the English Channel in sufficient force were too great) or the USA (literally impossible) that the proportion of the population that actively resisted the Nazis would have been all that different to the proportions that actively resisted in the countries that were actually invaded and occupied by the Nazis

* replaced seven words with one word in Mencken’s version of [10]

I’ve shown where the changes are by using “[***]” instead of “**” to indicate Mencken’s version, and used [*change*] to show where the omitted words were and the changes are.

I’ve left Mencken’s gratuitous insult to South Americans in [2] because I think – possibly wrongly – that it’s less offensive than the other three words

My guess is that Mencken would not have approved of this, but if you want to read exactly what Mencken wrote go to the links just below (my judgment is that you’ll miss very little if you don’t) or just search the internet – Mencken’s original text is readily available: indeed, the text on is slightly different to that on

* Text of the Declaration of Independence taken from:

* Mencken’s THE AMERICAN LANGUAGE introductory note and text taken from:

* Mencken’s Baltimore Evening Sun introductory note taken from:

When this was reprinted in A Mencken Chrestomathy, the author added the following note:

From THE AMERICAN LANGUAGE. THIRD EDITION, 1923, pp. 398-402. First printed, as Essay in American, in the Baltimore Evening Sun, Nov. 7, 1921. Reprinted in THE AMERICAN LANGUAGE, SECOND EDITION, 1921, pp. 388-92. From the preface thereof: ‘It must be obvious that more than one section of the original is now quite unintelligible to the average American of the sort using the Common Speech. What would he make, for example, of such a sentence as this one: “He has called together bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures”? Or of this: “He has refused for a long time, after such dissolution, to cause others to be elected, whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise.” Such Johnsonian periods are quite beyond his comprehension, and no doubt the fact is at least partly to blame for the neglect upon which the Declaration has fallen in recent years, When, during the Wilson-Palmer saturnalia of oppressions [1918-1920], specialists in liberty began protesting that the Declaration plainly gave the people the right to alter the government under which they lived and even to abolish it altogether, they encountered the utmost incredulity. On more than one occasion, in fact, such an exegete was tarred and feathered by shocked members of the American Legion, even after the Declaration had been read to them. What ailed them was simply that they could not understand its Eighteenth Century English.’ This jocosity was denounced as seditious by various patriotic Americans, and in England it was accepted gravely and deplored sadly as a specimen of current Standard American.”

Baltimore Evening Sun – 1921-11-07 – page 10 – Essay in American

The following attempt to translate the Declaration of Independence into American was begun eight or ten years ago, at the time of of my first investigations into the phonology and morphology of the American vulgate. I completed a draft in 1917, but the publication was made impossible by the Espionage act, which forbade any discussion, however academic, of proposed changes to the canon of the American Koran. In 1920 I resumed the work and have since had the benefit of the co-operation of various other philologists, American and European. But the version, as it stands, is mine. That such a translation has long been necessary must be obvious to every student of philology. And this is Better Speech Week.

The great majority of Americans now speak a tongue that differs materially from standard English, and in particular from the standard English of the eighteenth century. Thus the text of the Declaration has become, in large part, unintelligible to multitudes of them. What, for example, would the average soda-fountain clerk, or City Councilmen, or private soldier, or even the average Congressman make of such a sentence as this one: “He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures”? Or this one: “He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise”? Obviously, such sonorous Johnsonese is as dark to the plain American of 1921 as so much Middle English would be, or Holland Dutch. He may catch a few words, but the general drift is beyond him.

This fact, I believe, is largely responsible for the disaster which overtook those idealists who sought to wrap the Declaration around them during and immediately after the war. The members of the American Legion, the Ku Klux Klan and other patriotic societies, unable to understand the texts upon which the libertarian doctrines of such persons were based, set them down as libelers of the Declaration, and so gave them beatings. I believe that that sort of faux pas might be avoided if the plain people, civil and military, could actually read the Declaration. The version which follows is still far from perfect, but it is at all events in sound American, and even the most advanced admirers of the Hon. Mr. Harding, I am convinced, will find it readily intelligible.

Mencken’s apparent suggestion in his Baltimore Evening Sun introduction that the “Ku Klux Klan” was a patriotic society is almost certainly ironic – for example read:
Baltimore Sun in 1991
Nieman Reports
Oxford American

But from Wikipedia I learn that Mencken had views on race and elitism which I mostly flatly disagree with. Later in the Wikipedia article Mencken’s opinions on science are described, and I consider that at least when it comes to mathematics and physics Mencken was way out of his depth, and should have known that he was. The following extracts from Wikipedia summarise this. In the interests of brevity I’ve omitted some nuances where Mencken has a point (for example on Oliver Lodge’s belief in spiritualism): to make up your own mind read Wikipedia and/or a biography of Mencken.

Mencken supported biology and the theory of evolution by Charles Darwin, but spoke unfavorably of physics and mathematics. In Charles Angoff’s record, Mencken said:

[Isaac Newton] was a mathematician, which is mostly hogwash, too. Imagine measuring infinity! That’s a laugh.

In response, Angoff said: “Well, without mathematics there wouldn’t be any engineering, no chemistry, no physics.” Mencken responded: “That’s true, but it’s reasonable mathematics. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, fractions, division, that’s what real mathematics is. The rest is baloney. Astrology. Religion. All of our sciences still suffer from their former attachment to religion, and that is why there is so much metaphysics and astrology, the two are the same, in science.”

Elsewhere, he spoke of the nonsense of higher mathematics and “probability” theory, after he read Angoff’s article for Charles S. Peirce in the American Mercury. “So you believe in that garbage, too – theories of knowledge, infinity, laws of probability. I can make no sense of it, and I don’t believe you can either, and I don’t think your god Peirce knew what he was talking about.”

Mencken also ridiculed Einstein’s theory of general relativity, saying “in the long run his curved space may be classed with the psychosomatic bumps of Gall and Spurzheim”.

It’s possible that Einstein’s theory of general relativity will one day be replaced, but perhaps only in the way that it replaced Newton’s theory of gravitation, that is Newton’s theory and Einstein’s theory essentially agree in their predictions for many cases, but in some cases Einstein’s theory works and Newton’s doesn’t. I can imagine a hypothetical mathematically and physically competent Mencken mocking the actual Mencken for comparing the theory of general relativity to phrenology, by asking when did phrenology explain an anomaly in the precession of the orbit of Mercury, or make two predictions (gravity deflecting light and red-shifting light) which were subsequently confirmed by observations and experiments.

The Declaration of Independence – in American

In the following plain text was written by the American 1776 revolutionaries (or by others, or by me!), and the “translation” by Mencken is in italics.

1: In Congress, July 4, 1776. – The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

** When things get so balled up that the people of a country got to cut loose from some other country, and go it on their own hook, without asking no permission from nobody, excepting maybe God Almighty, then they ought to let everybody know why they done it, so that everybody can see they are not trying to put nothing over on nobody.

2: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

[***] All we got to say on this proposition is this: first, me and you is as good as anybody else, and maybe a damn sight better; second, nobody ain’t got no right to take away none of our rights; third, every man has got a right to live, to come and go as he pleases, and to have a good time whichever way he likes, so long as he don’t interfere with nobody else. That any government that don’t give a man them rights ain’t worth a damn; also, people ought to choose the kind of government they want themselves, and nobody else ought to have no say in the matter. That whenever any government don’t do this, then the people have got a right to give it the bum’s rush and put in one that will take care of their interests. Of course, that don’t mean having a revolution every day like them South American yellow-bellies, or every time some jobholder goes to work and does something he ain’t got no business to do. It is better to stand a little graft, etc., than to have revolutions all the time, like them [*frenchies*], and any man that wasn’t a anarchist or one of them I.W.W.’s (*) would say the same. But when things get so bad that a man ain’t hardly got no rights at all no more, but you might almost call him a slave, then everybody ought to get together and throw the grafters out, and put in new ones who won’t carry on so high and steal so much, and then watch them.

((*) I.W.W. refers to the Industrial Workers of the World, a now almost defunct trades union)

3: Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

** This is the proposition the people of these Colonies is up against, and they have got tired of it, and won’t stand it no more. The administration of the present King, George III, has been rotten from the start, and when anybody kicked about it he always tried to get away with it by strong-arm work. Here is some of the rough stuff he has pulled:

4: He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

** He vetoed bills in the Legislature that everybody was in favor of, and hardly nobody was against.

5: He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

** He wouldn’t allow no law to be passed without it was first put up to him, and then he stuck it in his pocket and let on he forgot about it, and didn’t pay no attention to no kicks.

6: He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

** When people went to work and gone to him and asked him to put through a law about this or that, he give them their choice: either they had to shut down the Legislature and let him pass it all by himself, or they couldn’t have it at all.

7: He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

** He made the Legislature meet at one-horse tank-towns, so that hardly nobody could get there and most of the leaders would stay home and let him go to work and do things like he wanted.

8: He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

** He give the Legislature the air, and sent the members home every time they stood up to him and give him a call-down or bawled him out.

9: He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

** When a Legislature was busted up he wouldn’t allow no new one to be elected, so that there wasn’t nobody left to run things, but anybody could walk in and do whatever they pleased.

10: He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

[***] He tried to scare people outen moving into these States, and made it so hard for a man [*…*] to get his papers that he would rather stay home and not try it, and then, when he come in, he wouldn’t let him have no land, and so he either went home again or never come.

11: He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

** He monkeyed with the courts, and didn’t hire enough judges to do the work, and so a person had to wait so long for his case to come up that he got sick of waiting, and went home, and so never got what was coming to him.

12: He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

** He got the judges under his thumb by turning them out when they done anything he didn’t like, or by holding up their salaries, so that they had to knuckle down or not get no money.

13: He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

** He made a lot of new jobs, and give them to loafers that nobody knowed nothing about, and the poor people had to pay the bill, whether they could or not.

14: He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

** Without no war going on, he kept an army loafing around the country, no matter how much people kicked about it.

15: He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

** He let the army run things to suit theirself and never paid no attention whatsoever to nobody which didn’t wear no uniform.

16: He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

** He let grafters run loose, from God knows where, and give them the say in everything, and let them put over such things as the following:

16.1: For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

** Making poor people board and lodge a lot of soldiers they ain’t got no use for, and don’t want to see loafing around.

16.2: For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

** When the soldiers kill a man, framing it up so that they would get off.

16.3: For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

** Interfering with business.

16.4: For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

** Making us pay taxes without asking us whether we thought the things we had to pay taxes for was something that was worth paying taxes for or not.

16.5: For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

** When a man was arrested and asked for a jury trial, not letting him have no jury trial.

16.6: For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

** Chasing men out of the country, without being guilty of nothing, and trying them somewheres else for what they done here.

16.7: For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

** In countries that border on us, he put in bum governments, and then tried to spread them out, so that by and by they would take in this country too, or make our own government as bum as they was.

16.8: For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

** He never paid no attention whatever to the Constitution, but he went to work and repealed laws that everybody was satisfied with and hardly nobody was against, and tried to fix the government so that he could do whatever he pleased.

16.9: For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

** He busted up the Legislatures and let on he could do all the work better by himself.

17: He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

** Now he washes his hands of us and even goes to work and declares war on us, so we don’t owe him nothing, and whatever authority he ever had he ain’t got no more.

18: He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

** He has burned down towns, shot down people like dogs, and raised hell against us out on the ocean.

19: He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

** He hired whole regiments of Dutch, etc., to fight us, and told them they could have anything they wanted if they could take it away from us, and sicked these Dutch, etc., on us.

20: He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

** He grabbed our own people when he found them in ships on the ocean, and shoved guns into their hands, and made them fight against us, no matter how much they didn’t want to.

21: He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

** He stirred up the Indians, and give them arms and ammunition, and told them to go to it, and they have killed men, women and children, and don’t care which.

21.1: In Thomas Jefferson’s original draft this passage now appears:

he has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the christian king of Great Britain. determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them; thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.

* I don’t really understand what Jefferson is saying here, especially the second half, but it looks dangerously like a slave-owner complaining that he’s being enslaved, which might be one of the reasons why Congress struck out the whole of this passage in making the actual Declaration of Independence. This seems to be a mis-reading, but the correct reading doesn’t seem much better: Wikpedia on Slavery and the Declaration:

… The apparent contradiction between the claim that “all men are created equal” and the existence of American slavery attracted comment when the Declaration was first published. As mentioned above, Jefferson had included a paragraph in his initial draft that strongly indicted Great Britain’s role in the slave trade, but this was deleted from the final version. Jefferson himself was a prominent Virginia slave holder, having owned hundreds of slaves. Referring to this seeming contradiction, English abolitionist Thomas Day wrote in a 1776 letter, “If there be an object truly ridiculous in nature, it is an American patriot, signing resolutions of independency with the one hand, and with the other brandishing a whip over his affrighted slaves.” …

There’s also an article at the New York Public Library,which includes:

… The section regarding the slave trade, or ‘reprobating the enslaving of the inhabitants of Africa’ is found in the list of grievances against the King. This section is on the third page of the ‘fair copy’ draft. It is interesting that Jefferson thought slavery had been foisted upon the Colonies only as they were designed to bring economic gain to England. The specific words about slavery were later removed by Congress. In his Autobiography, Jefferson wrote:

“The pusillanimous idea that we had friends in England worth keeping terms with still haunted the minds of many. For this reason, those passages which conveyed censures on the people of England were struck out, lest they should give them offense. The clause, too, reprobating the enslaving the inhabitants of Africa was struck out in complaisance to South Carolina and Georgia, who had never attempted to restrain the importation of slaves, and who, on the contrary, still wished to continue it. Our Northern brethren also, I believe, felt a little tender under these censures, for though their people had very few slaves themselves, yet they had been pretty considerable carriers of them to others.”

22: In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

** Every time he has went to work and pulled any of these things, we have went to work and put in a kick, but every time we have went to work and put in a kick he has went to work and did it again. When a man keeps on handing out such rough stuff all the time, all you can say is that he ain’t got no class and ain’t fitten to have no authority over people who have got any rights, and he ought to be kicked out.

23: Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

** When we complained to the English we didn’t get no more satisfaction. Almost every day we give them plenty of warning that the politicians over there was doing things to us that they didn’t have no right to do. We kept on reminding them who we was, and what we was doing here, and how we come to come here. We asked them to get us a square deal, and told them that if this thing kept on we’d have to do something about it and maybe they wouldn’t like it. But the more we talked, the more they didn’t pay no attention to us. Therefore, if they ain’t for us they must be agin us, and we are ready to give them the fight of their lives, or to shake hands when it is over.

24: We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

** Therefore be it resolved, That we, the representatives of the people of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, hereby declare as follows: That the United States, which was the United Colonies in former times, is now a free country, and ought to be; that we have throwed out the English King and don’t want to have nothing to do with him no more, and are not taking no more English orders no more; and that, being as we are now a free country, we can do anything that free countries can do, especially declare war, make peace, sign treaties, go into business, etc. And we swear on the Bible on this proposition, one and all, and agree to stick to it no matter what happens, whether we win or we lose, and whether we get away with it or get the worst of it, no matter whether we lose all our property by it or even get hung for it.

Signed by 56 representatives of the 13 states.

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