Someone from work here just gave me a photocopied/bound copy of a 1594 fencing book: Discourse of Managing Weapons and Dealing with Quarrels, by Vicentio Sabiolo. I’ve been paging through it, and it’s wonderful:
…Moreover, if your enemie finding you with your Rapier point borne out in length, should strike by your rapier with his, in the verie instant that he striketh, you maie passe with your right foote towards his right side, and with great quicknes putting your Rapier over his, give him a punta riversa in the face, and if hee bee not verie skilfull at his weapon, you may fodainly make a passata upon him, and this maie happen unto you verie often : but you ought to bee well exercised in these pointes, which may amke you verie nimble and quicke with your foot, body and hand, least for want of knowledge and practise in this facultle, you fal not into some Inconvenience and dishonour, for in the verie least point consisteth life and death.
Yea, verily, this is Awesome. :)
This morning I read an interesting piece on the BBC about Salman Ahmad, who is the leader of Junoon. The band’s song No More, released after the 11 September terrorist attacks, is based on the poem Pulverised by Polar Levine, who outlines the meaning of his work:
“I heard the sound of the plane and the crash, and I thought I was dreaming something. Then I heard sirens, turned on the TV, and there’s this building, in my neighbourhood, burning away.
All these people that are missing, that they’re digging under the rubble to find – they’re all in my lungs. It was my neighbourhood that got attacked, it wasn’t just my country. The World Trade Center is right across the street from where my kid plays soccer. I lived a few blocks north of the thing, and for weeks there was dust everywhere. It was piled on the street. It was on my window sill and on my floor. You had to clean this dust from all over the place.
I was listening to a broadcast and they were saying what all this dust was – a combination of concrete, pulverised wall board, the plastic from computers, chairs, and the bones of the people who were in the towers.
Suddenly it occurred to me that I’m breathing all these people. All these people that are missing, that they’re digging under the rubble to find – they’re all in my lungs. This is New York – you have a little of everybody on the planet in New York. I was breathing in Muslims and Jews, Christians and atheists, conservatives and liberals. I was numb with this notion that I’m breathing in these people, and that’s basically what the poem says.
With Junoon, you had this New York Jewish guy who was collaberating on a piece of work about an extraordinary event with a Muslim in Pakistan. And Pakistan was sponsoring the Taleban, which was the training ground for these folks. And yet Salman and I became very good friends as a result of this whole thing. I guess you could say it’s the mirror image of the destruction.”