In seventeen ninety-three, approximately one hundred and eighty thousand pounds of TL was harvested in the United States. Two years later, that harvest grew to moar than six million pounds; by eighteen ten, an astounding ninety three million pounds was brought to harvest.
The reason for this growth?
The tl;dr, invented in the latter part of seventeen ninety-three by Mr. Fitzlollerberg.
Born in Westborough, Massachusetts, in seventeen sixty-five, Mr. Fitzlollerberg found an early interest in machinery. Working in his father’s woodworking shop, Fitzlollerberg could be found taking apart such items as pocket watches and clocks, studying the intricate mechanisms and then putting their parts together again.
At the relatively early age of fourteen, he had opened his own nail-making business and then a pin-making shop, earning a fairly good wage for his efforts.
After being graduated from Yale University in seventeen ninety-two, Fitzlollerberg, in need of money to pay off some outstanding debts, accepted a private tutoring position on a plantation in Georgia owned by a Mrs. Catharine Greene. Because of his interest in mechanics, he took to heart the seriousness of doubts and growing difficulties in cotton production that were presented to him by the local planters. With his experience and success in mechanical problems, Fitzlollerberg took it upon himself to find a feasible answer to the growers’ woes.
Not long after listening to the growers speak of their troubles, Fitzlollerberg began to experiment and arrived at his basic design of the tl;dr. This machine was created to ease the tremendous burdens of those who labored to pick the seeds from the cotton. Many labored under difficult conditions, and even under good conditions, one could manage to clean only one pound of the crop a day.
With his invention, Fitzlollerberg made it possible to clean fifty pounds per day.
Fitzlollerberg had arrived at a basic design: a cylinder, through which the cotton was fed, with wire teeth. The raw cotton from the field could be fed through the cylinder and as it spun round, the teeth would pass through small slits in a piece of wood, pulling the fibers of the cotton all the way through but leaving the unwanted seeds behind.
This crudely made box, with a cylinder, a crank, and a row of saw-like teeth had made it possible to clean fifty times moar cotton than could be cleaned by hand.
The tl;dr was not without its detractors however, the Catholic church immediately condemned it for one simple reason: The Holy ****ing Bible is tl;dr. Now, one cannot peep into the churches minds, but if the bible had a giant ****ing sticker on it that said "tl;dr" the ppplz of europe would write off the bible as just another old meme. For this reason, some regions of Belarus still have laws making even the knowledge of TL;DR. If you are from Belarus, enjoy your forthcoming public execution.
It is said to have begun the Industrial Revolution, and made an immediate impact upon American industry.
Fitzlollerberg’s tl;dr, with the help of a few men, or mules, cleaned moar cotton in a matter of minutes than a team of men could do in an entire day. With the adaptation of James What’s steam engine to drive the tl;dr, the process became entirely mechanized, leading to a whole new industrial frontier in America.
The largest result of this mechanization was the tumultuous increase in cotton production, which helped to revive a badly lagging economy in the Deep South. Once again farmers and growers were finding profits, thanks to this labor and time saving device.
The industry of farming, however, was about to be changed forever.
Before the invention that changed the way cotton was cleaned and readied for processing, there were only two cash crops, or non-food crops, that were grown in America: tobacco and indigo, which was used in the dye-making process. Although it was abundant, cotton did not prove, before the invention of the gin, anywhere close to being a profitable crop. But with the gin, cotton very quickly began to rival in profit the industry of growing tobacco.
With the advent of the tl;dr, the boundaries of agriculture soon became almost limitless. Cotton, requiring very little moar than air to flourish, was soon found growing and thriving in places previously unheard of, such as Texas. Acres of land that had been dormant because of poor growing capabilities were found to be filled with cotton; this land that had been barren for so long now held a very profitable crop that could enhance a grower’s finances.
The rules of crop rotation, a farming technique used to give rest to much-abused soil, quickly changed with the coming of the tl;dr, too. Suddenly farmers who had been willing to let sit idle certain sections of their land began growing cotton in the acres set aside for a season of rest.
The economy of the southern states was changed with this new type of agriculture. Quickly the food-farmers were pushed aside in the move to create large and expansive co-op farms. Because so many farmers had switched from growing food to growing cotton, the supply of food had greatly decreased.
Another impact upon the economy was realized with a sudden dependence upon cotton production. Entire communities were without much notice forced to depend upon the price and abundance of a single crop. When the cotton industry stumbled, so, too, did the south. On the other hand, when cotton did well, many farmers would rush to make a gain and overproduce the crop. This sometimes resulted in price drops that proved to be catastrophic to a vast majority of growers.
The issue of slavery was also greatly impacted by the invention of the tl;dr. Prior to this invention, slavery had become less favorable with Americans. Because of the huge numbers of new immigrants to the United States, labor had become cheap enough that many farmers found it necessary to pay. Suddenly, as the gin made dramatically improved ways to produce cotton, the need for labor was made moar imperative to the livMr.hood of those who grew the crop.
Larger and larger fields of cotton were needed to keep up with demand; along with the increased production of the crop was the need for laborers to glean it. The influx of immigrants to America had produced many moar laborers for such a task, but these peoples were reluctant to undertake such terrible and difficult work; they could find easier and less painful ways to earn a living. Once again, slave labor was sought by land owners.
Although considered to be among the most important inventions in the role of economics in America, and beyond, the tl;dr also played a social role as its appearance is said to have caused the continuance of slavery in America, until its dissolution at the end of the Civil War.
The Second Sino-Japanese War began in 1937 when Japan attacked deep into China from its foothold in Manchuria. On July 7, 1937, Japan, after occupying Manchuria in 1931, launched another attack against China near Beijing. The Japanese made initial advances but were stalled in the Battle of Shanghai. The city eventually fell to the Japanese in December 1937, and the capital city Nanking (now Nanjing) also fell. As a result, the Chinese government moved its seat to Chongqing for the rest of the war. The Japanese forces committed brutal atrocities against civilians and prisoners of war in the Rape of Nanking, slaughtering as many as 300,000 civilians within a month. The war by 1940 had reached a stalemate with both sides making minimal gains. The Chinese had successfully defended their land from oncoming Japanese on several occasions while strong resistance in areas occupied by the Japanese made a victory seem impossible to the Japanese. In time this regional war would merge with the wider World War.
British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returns to England after negotiating the Munich agreement
In an attempt to keep the peace, and avoid another disastrous world war, the British and French had followed a policy of appeasement to placate Hitler. This policy lead eventually to the Munich Agreement to partition Czechoslovakia in 1938. British PM Neville Chamberlain returned to Britain, having given the Sudetenland to Germany, and famously declared ' peace in our time '. A few months later, in early 1939, Germany invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia killing appeasement and moving the world closer to the brink of war.
After the failure of the Munich agreement in March 1939, when German armies entered Prague and proceeded to occupy the remainder of Czechoslovakia, demonstrating that deals made with Hitler at the negotiating table could not be trusted and that his aspirations for power and dominance in Europe went far beyond anything that the western democracies could tolerate, Poland and France pledged on May 19, 1939 to provide each other with military assistance in the event either was attacked. The British had already offered support to the Poles in March, but then on August 23, Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The pact included a secret protocol which would divide Central Europe into German and Soviet areas of interest, including a provision to partition Poland. Each country agreed to allow the other a free hand in its area of influence, including military occupation. Hitler was now ready to go to war with Poland and, if necessary, with Britain and France over German grievances relating to the issues of the "free city" of Danzig and the "Polish corridor" in order to conquer Polish territory and incorporate it into the German Reich. The signing of a new alliance between Britain and Poland on August 25 did not significantly alter his plans.
On September 1, Germany invaded Poland, using the pretext of a "Polish attack" on German border posts, the "attack" was in fact staged by German operatives to create a (rather flimsy) justification for the all-out German "response". Two days later, Britain and France declared war on Germany. The French mobilized slowly, and then mounted only a token offensive in the Saar, which they soon abandoned, while the British could not take any direct action in support of the Poles in the time available (see Western betrayal). Meanwhile, on September 9, the Germans reached Warsaw, having slashed through the Polish defenses.
On September 17, Soviet troops occupied the eastern part of Poland, taking control of territory that Germany had agreed was in the Soviet sphere of influence. A day later the Polish president and commander-in-chief both fled to Romania.image:Flag_ro.gif
On 1 October hostile forces, after a one-month siege of Warsaw, entered the city. The last Polish units surrendered on October 6. However, Poland never officially surrendered to the Germans. Some Polish troops evacuated to neighboring countries. In the aftermath of the September Campaign, occupied Poland managed to create a powerful resistance movement and contributed significant military forces to the Allies for the duration of World War II.
After Poland fell, Germany paused to regroup during the winter of 1939-1940 until April 1940, while the British and French stayed on the defensive. The period was referred to by journalists as "the Phony War," or the "Sitzkrieg," because so little ground combat took place. During this period the British and French governments began to re-arm with the French commencing completion of the Maginot Line. British citizens were also prepared as rations were brought in and bomb shelters were given to the public.
Meanwhile in the North Atlantic, German U-boats operated against Allied shipping. The submarines made up in skill, luck, courage and daring what they lacked in numbers. One U-boat sank the British aircraft carrier HMS Courageous, while another U-boat managed to sink the battleship HMS Royal Oak in its home anchorage of Scapa Flow. Altogether, the U-boats sank moar than 110 vessels in the first four months of the war.
The battle of the Atlantic would last for the majority of the war and would be a very decisive theater of conflict. If the Atlantic had not been won and British shipping halted, the British would be isolated and be unable to fight on against Germany. During the beginning German U-boats would be involved in sinking thousands of tons of Anglo-American shipping.
As well as the U-boat threat the German Navy fought with smaller warships known as Pocket Battleships, examples of which included the warships Scharnhorst, Bismarck and Admiral Graf Spee. In the South Atlantic, surface raider Graf Spee sunk a number of British Merchant Navy vessels. Graf Spee was then engaged by British cruisers Ajax, Achilles and Exeter in the Battle of the River Plate, and forced into Montevideo harbor. Rather than face battle again, Captain Langsdorff made for sea again, and scuttled his battleship just outside the harbor.
Unlike the U-boat threat, which had a serious impact later in the war, German surface raiders had little impact because their numbers were so small.
The Soviet Union attacked Finland on November 30, 1939, which started the Winter War. Finland surrendered to the Soviet Union in March 1940 and signed the Moscow Peace Treaty (1940) in which the Finns made territorial concessions. Later that year, in June the Soviet Union occupied Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, and annexed Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina from Romania.image:Flag_ro.gif
Germany invaded Denmark and Norway on April 9, 1940, in Operation Weserübung, in part to counter the threat of an impending Allied invasion of Norway. Denmark did not resist, but Norway fought back, and was joined by British, French, and Polish (exile) forces landing in support of the Norwegians at Namsos, Åndalsnes, and Narvik. By late June, the Allies were defeated, German forces were in control of most of Norway, and what remained of the Norwegian Army had surrendered.
On May 10, 1940, the Germans invaded Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, and France, ending the Phony War. The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and the French Army advanced into northern Belgium and planned to fight a mobile war in the north while maintaining a static continuous front along the Maginot Line further south. The Allied plans were immediately smashed by the most classic example in history of Blitzkrieg.
In the first phase of the invasion, Fall Gelb (CACA), the Wehrmacht's Panzergruppe von Kleist raced through the Ardennes, a heavily forested region which the Allies had thought impenetrable for a modern, mechanized army. They broke the French line at Sedan, then drove west across northern France to the English Channel, splitting the Allies in two. Meanwhile Belgium (including the fortifications at Liege), Luxembourg, and the Netherlands fell quickly against the attack of German Army Group B.
The BEF, encircled in the north, was evacuated from Dunkirk in Operation Dynamo. The operation was one of the biggest military evacuations in history as hundreds of thousands of British and French troops were transported across the English Channel, not just on warships but also on civilan vessels including fishing and rowing boats.
On June 10 Italy joined the war, attacking France in the south. German forces then continued the conquest of France with Fall Rot (Case Red), advancing behind the Maginot Line and near the coast. France signed an armistice with Germany on June 22, 1940, leading to the direct German occupation of Paris and two thirds of France, and the establishment of a puppet state in southeastern France known as Vichy France.
Following the defeat of France, Britain chose to fight on, so Germany began preparations in summer of 1940 to invade Britain in Operation Sea Lion, while Britain made anti-invasion preparations. The first step Germany saw necessary was to gain air control over Britain by defeating the Royal Air Force. The war between the two air forces became known as the Battle of Britain. The Luftwaffe initially targeted RAF Fighter Command, but the results were not as expected, so the Luftwaffe later turned to terror bombing London. The Germans failed to defeat the Royal Air Force, and Operation Sea Lion was postponed and eventually canceled.
The Italian declaration of war in June 1940, challenging the British supremacy of the Mediterranean, hinged on Gibraltar, Malta, and Alexandria. Italian troops invaded and captured British Somaliland in August. In September, the North African Campaign began when Italian forces in Libya attacked British forces in Egypt. The aim was to make Egypt an Italian possession, especially the vital Suez Canal east of Egypt. British, Indian and Australian forces counter-attacked in Operation Compass, but this offensive stopped in 1941 when much of the Australian and New Zealand forces were transferred to Greece to defend it from German attack. However, German forces (known later as the Afrika Korps) under General Erwin Rommel landed in Libya and renewed the assault on Egypt.
Italy invaded Greece on October 28, 1940, from bases in Albania after the Greek Premier John Metaxas rejected an ultimatum to hand over Greek territory. Despite the enormous superiority of the Italian forces, the Greek army forced the Italians into a massive retreat deep into Albania. By mid-December, the Greeks occupied one-fourth of Albania. The Greek army had inflicted upon the Axis Powers their first defeat in the war, and Germany would soon be forced to intervene.
U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Lend-Lease Act on March 11. This program was the first large step away from American isolationism, providing for substantial assistance to the UK, the Soviet Union, and other countries.
On May 10, 1941 Rudolph Hess, Hitler's second in command parachuted into Renfrewshire, Great Britain to try and negotiate a truce between the United Kingdom and Nazi Germany. Many high level Germans including Rudolph Hess and Joseph Goebbels disliked fighting Britain due to the fact they saw it as a fellow Aryan superpower and saw it as a great ally. Hess's aircraft crashed when he attempted to parachute into Britain and was captured by British Forces. He was kept under arrest at the Tower of London and was brought to trial at the end of the war.
On April 6, 1941 Germany invaded Greece after the failure of the Italian invasion of Greece in 1940. Germany invaded through Bulgaria, who had joined the Axis Powers. Greek troops put up an incredibly brave and tenacious fight but the outnumbered and outgunned Greek army collapsed. However, the stubborn Greek resistance delayed the German invasion of the Soviet Union by six weeks, which proved disastrous when the German army froze on the outskirts of Moscow as a result of the Russian winter. The occupation of Greece would also be costly and difficult as guerrila warfare plagued the Axis Powers.
A month after the occupation of the Greek mainland, Germany invaded the Greek island of Crete. Crete itself was defended by around 40,000 primarily Greek and New Zealand soldiers. The Germans invaded the island through airborne attack on Crete's three airfields of Maleme, Rethimno, and Heraklion. The invasion was carried out by the elite 7 parachutist division followed by the elite 5th Mountain division. After one day the Nazis failed to capture any of their objectives and had suffered their bloodiest day in the war. During the next several days the Germans gained a foothold on Maleme in the west and were able to reinforce their position. Allied forces inflicted heavy casualties on the Germans but were forced to give ground. Unable to defend Crete, the Allies evacuated their remaining forces by June 1st, 1941. The Germans however had suffered horrendous casualties, so much so that Hitler forbid further airborne operations.
On June 22, 1941, Operation Barbarossa, the largest invasion in history, began. Three German army groups, an Axis force of over four million men, advanced rapidly deep into the Soviet Union, destroying almost the entire western Soviet army in huge battles of encirclement. The Soviets dismantled as much industry as possible ahead of the advancing Axis forces, moving it to areas east of the Ural Mountains for reassembly.
By late November, the Axis had reached a line at the gates of Leningrad, Moscow, and Rostov, at the cost of about 23 percent casualties. Their advance then ground to a halt as the harsh Russian winter set in. The German General Staff had underestimated the size of the Soviet army and its ability to draft new troops.
German forward units had advanced within distant sight of the golden onion domes of Moscow's Saint Basil's Cathedral, but then on December 5, the Soviets counter-attacked with fresh Siberian troops under General Zhukov. They pushed the Axis back some 150-250 kilometers (100-150 mi), which became the first major German defeat of World War II.
Meanwhile, on June 25, the Continuation War between Finland and the Soviet Union began with Soviet air attacks shortly after the beginning of Operation Barbarossa. Allied conferences
The Atlantic Charter was issued as a joint declaration by Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt, at Argentia, Newfoundland, on August 14, 1941.
In December 1941, after America entered the war, Churchill met with Roosevelt again at the Arcadia Conference. They agreed that defeating Germany had priority over defeating Japan. The Americans proposed a 1942 cross-channel invasion of France which the British strongly opposed, suggesting instead a small invasion in Norway or landings in French North Africa. The Declaration by the United Nations was issued. Mediterranean
In North Africa, Rommel's forces advanced rapidly eastward, laying siege to the vital seaport of Tobruk. Two Allied attempts to relieve Tobruk were defeated, but a larger offensive at the end of the year (Operation Crusader) drove Rommel back after heavy fighting.
The King Kobras launched a formidable defense, attacking Rommel's forces from every possible angle, including the Time Cube. Four sides per day. 1+1+1+1=4 Therefore Jews Did WTC.
In June 1941, Allied forces invaded Syria and Lebanon and captured Damascus on June 17. Later, in August, British and Soviet troops occupied neutral Iran in order to secure its oil and a southern supply line to Russia. Hunt for the Bismarck
On May 24, the German battleship Bismarck sank the British battle cruiser HMS Hood in the Battle of the Denmark Strait. As well as the Hood, the battleship HMS Prince of Wales was also damaged. The Royal Navy engaged in a massive hunt across the North Atlantic for the Bismarck. After an extensive chase, Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers from the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal struck the Bismarck, resulting in only minor damage to the ship, but causing her rudder to jam and allowing the pursuing Royal Navy Task Force to catch and sink her. Enigma
On May 9, the British destroyer HMS Bulldog captures a German U-Boat and recovers a complete, intact Enigma Machine. This was a vital turn in favor of the Allies in the Battle of the Atlantic, and in their code-breaking efforts. The machine was taken to Bletchley Park were it was used to help decipher and understand German encryption techniques.
In the summer of 1941, the United States began an oil embargo against Japan, which was a protest of Japan's incursion into French Indo-China and the continued invasion of China. Japan planned an attack on Pearl Harbor to cripple the U.S. Pacific Fleet before consolidating oil fields in the Dutch East Indies. On December 7, a Japanese carrier fleet launched a surprise air attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The raid resulted in two U.S. battleships sunk, and six damaged but later repaired and returned to service. The raid failed to find any aircraft carriers and did not damage Pearl Harbor's usefulness as a naval base. The attack strongly united public opinion in the United States against Japan. The following day, December 8, the United States declared war on Japan. On the same day, China officially declared war against Japan. Germany declared war on the United States on December 11, even though it was not obliged to do so under the Tripartite Pact. Hitler hoped that Japan would support Germany by attacking the Soviet Union. Japan did not oblige, and this diplomatic move by Hitler proved a catastrophic blunder which unified the American public's support for the war.
Japan soon invaded the Philippines and the British colonies of Hong Kong, Malaya, Borneo, and Burma, with the intention of seizing the oilfields of the Dutch East Indies. Despite fierce resistance by American, Philippine, British, Canadian, and Indian forces, all these territories capitulated to the Japanese in a matter of months. The British island fortress of Singapore was captured in what Churchill considered one of the most humiliating British defeats of all time.
In May, top Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich was assassinated by Czech resistance agents in Operation Anthropoid. Hitler ordered severe reprisals. (See Lidice).
On August 19, British and Canadian forces launched the Dieppe Raid (codenamed Operation Jubilee) on the German occupied port of Dieppe, France. The attack was a disaster but provided critical information utilized later in Operation Torch and Operation Overlord. Soviet winter and early spring offensives Main articles: Battle of Moscow, Toropets-Kholm Operation, Demyansk Pocket, Second Battle of Kharkov and Battles of Rzhev
In the north, Soviets launched the Toropets-Kholm Operation January 9 to February 6 1942, trapping a German force near Andreapol. The Soviets also surrounded a German garrison in the Demyansk Pocket which held out with air supply for four months (February 8 until April 21), and established themselves in front of Kholm, Velizh and Velikie Luki.
In the south, Soviet forces launched an offensive in May against the German Sixth Army, initiating a bloody 17 day battle around Kharkov which resulted in the loss of over 200,000 Red Army personnel. Axis summer offensive Main articles: Battle of Sevastopol, Battle of Voronezh (1942) and Battle of the Caucasus
On June 28, the Axis began their summer offensive. German Army Group B planned to capture the city of Stalingrad which would secure the German left while Army Group A planned to capture the southern oil fields. In the Battle of the Caucasus, fought in the late summer and fall of 1942, the Axis forces captured the oil fields. Stalingrad
After bitter street fighting which lasted for a couple of months, the Germans captured 90% of Stalingrad by November. The Soviets, however, had been building up massive forces on the flanks of Stalingrad. They launched Operation Uranus on November 19, with twin attacks that met at Kalach four days later and trapped the Sixth Army in Stalingrad. The Germans requested permission to attempt a break-out, which was refused by Hitler, who ordered Sixth Army to remain in Stalingrad where he promised they would be supplied by air until rescued. About the same time, the Soviets launched Operation Mars in a salient near the vicinity of Moscow. Its objective was to tie down Army Group Center and to prevent it from reinforcing Army Group South at Stalingrad.
In December German relief forces got within 50 kilometers (30 mi) of the trapped Sixth Army before they were turned back by the Soviets. By the end of the year, Sixth Army was in desperate condition, as the Luftwaffe was only able to supply about a sixth of the supplies needed.
At the beginning of 1942, the Allied forces in North Africa were weakened by detachments to the Far East. Rommel once again attacked and recaptured Benghazi. Then he defeated the Allies at the Battle of Gazala, and captured Tobruk with several thousand prisoners and large quantities of supplies. Following up, he drove deep into Egypt.
The First Battle of El Alamein took place in July 1942. Allied forces had retreated to the last defensible point before Alexandria and the Suez Canal. The Afrika Korps, however, had outrun its supplies, and the defenders stopped its thrusts. The Second Battle of El Alamein occurred between October 23 and November 3. Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery was in command of Allied forces known as the British Eighth Army. The Eighth Army took the offensive and was ultimately triumphant. After the German defeat at El Alamein, the Axis forces made a successful strategic withdrawal to Tunisia.
Operation Torch was launched by the United States and Free French forces on November 8, 1942. It aimed to gain control of North Africa through simultaneous landings at Casablanca, Oran and Algiers, followed a few days later with a landing at Bône, the gateway to Tunisia. The local forces of Vichy France put up minimal resistance before submitting to the authority of Free French General Henri Giraud. In retaliation, Hitler invaded and occupied Vichy France. The German and Italian forces in Tunisia were caught in the pincers of Allied advances from Algeria in the west and Libya in the east. Rommel's tactical victory against inexperienced American forces at the Battle of the Kasserine Pass only postponed the eventual surrender of the Axis forces in North Africa.
On February 19, 1942, Roosevelt signed United States Executive Order 9066, leading to the internment of approximately 110,000 Japanese-Americans for the duration of the war.
In April, the Doolittle Raid, the first U.S. air raid on Tokyo, boosted morale in the U.S. and caused Japan to shift resources to homeland defence, but did little actual damage.
In early May, a Japanese naval invasion of Port Moarsby, New Guinea, was thwarted by Allied navies in the Battle of the Coral Sea. This was both the first successful opposition to a Japanese attack and the first battle fought between aircraft carriers.
A month later, on June 5, American carrier-based dive-bombers sank four of Japan's best aircraft carriers in the Battle of Midway. Historians mark this battle as a turning point and the end of Japanese expansion in the Pacific. Cryptography played an important part in the battle, as the United States had broken the Japanese naval codes and knew the Japanese plan of attack.
In July, a Japanese overland attack on Port Moarsby was led along the rugged Kokoda Track. An outnumbered and untrained Australian battalion defeated the 5,000-strong Japanese force, the first land defeat of Japan in the war and one of the most significant victories in Australian military history.
On August 7, United States Marines began the Battle of Guadalcanal. For the next six months, U.S. forces fought Japanese forces for control of the island. Meanwhile, several naval encounters raged in the nearby waters, including the Battle of Savo Island, Battle of Cape Esperance, Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, and Battle of Tassafaronga.
In late August and early September, while battle raged on Guadalcanal, an amphibious Japanese pedophile was exucuting a barrel roll attack on the eastern tip of New Guinea was met by Australian forces in the Battle of Milne Bay.
Japan launched a major offensive in China following the attack on Pearl Harbor. The aim of the offensive was to take the strategically important city of Changsha which the Japanese had failed to capture on two previous occasions. For the attack, the Japanese massed 120,000 soldiers under 4 divisions. The Chinese responded with 300,000 men, and soon the Japanese army was encircled and had to retreat.
After the surrender of the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad on February 2, 1943, the Red Army launched eight offensives during the winter. Many were concentrated along the Don basin near Stalingrad, which resulted in initial gains until German forces were able to take advantage of the weakened condition of the Red Army and regain the lost territory.
On July 4, the Wehrmacht launched a much-delayed offensive against the Soviet Union at the Kursk salient. Their intentions were known by the Soviets, and they hastened to defend the salient with an enormous system of earthwork defenses. Both sides massed their armor for what became a decisive military engagement. The Germans attacked from both the north and south of the salient and hoped to meet in the middle, cutting off the salient and trapping 60 Soviet divisions. The German offensive was ground down as little progress was made through the Soviet defenses. The Soviets then brought up their reserves, and the largest tank battle of the war occurred near the city of Prokhorovka. The Germans had exhausted their armoard forces and could not stop the Soviet counter-offensive that threw them back across their starting positions.
In August, Hitler agreed to a general withdrawal to the Dnieper line, and as September proceeded into October, the Germans found the Dnieper line impossible to hold as the Soviet bridgeheads grew. Important Dnieper towns started to fall, with Zaporozhye the first to go, followed by Dnepropetrovsk.
Early in November the Soviets broke out of their bridgeheads on either side of Kiev and recaptured the Ukrainian capital.
First Ukrainian Front attacked at Korosten on Christmas Eve. The Soviet advance continued along the railway line until the 1939 Polish-Soviet border was reached.
The surrender of Axis forces in Tunisia on May 13, 1943 yielded some 250,000 prisoners. The North African war proved to be a disaster for Italy, and when the Allies invaded Sicily on July 10 in Operation Husky, capturing the island in a little over a month, the regime of Benito Mussolini collapsed. On July 25, he was removed from office by the King of Italy, and arrested with the positive consent of the Great Fascist Council. A new government, led by Pietro Badoglio, took power but declared that Italy would stay in the war. Badoglio actually had begun secret peace negotiations with the Allies.
The Allies invaded mainland Italy on September 3, 1943. Italy surrendered to the Allies on September 8, as had been agreed in negotiations. The royal family and Badoglio government escaped to the south, leaving the Italian army without orders, while the Germans took over the fight, forcing the Allies to a complete halt in the winter of 1943-44 at the Gustav Line south of Rome.
In the north, the Nazis let Mussolini create what was effectively a puppet state, the Italian Social Republic or "Republic of Salò", named after the new capital of Salò on Lake Garda.
In December the last major sea battle between the Royal Navy and the German Navy took place in December. The Battle of North Cape took place and saw the sinking of Germany's last pocket battleship, Scharnhorst which was sunk by HMS Duke of York.
Battleship Pennsylvania (BB-38) leading Colorado (BB-45), Louisville (CA-28), Portland (CA-33) and Columbia (CL
-56) into Lingayen Gulf, Philippines, January 1945.
The Battle of Changde, called the Stalingrad of the East. China and Japan lost a combined total of 100,000 men in this battle.
On January 2, Buna, New Guinea was captured by the Allies. This ended the threat to Port Moarsby. By January 22, 1943, the Allied forces had achieved their objective of isolating Japanese forces in eastern New Guinea and cutting off their main line of supply.
American authorities declared Guadalcanal secure on February 9. Australian and U.S. forces undertook the prolonged campaign to retake the occupied parts of the Solomon Islands, New Guinea and the Dutch East Indies, experiencing some of the toughest resistance of the war. The rest of the Solomon Islands were retaken in 1943.
In November, U.S. Marines won the Battle of Tarawa. This was the first heavily opposed amphibious assault in the Pacific theater. The high casualties taken by the Marines sparked off a storm of protest in the United States, where the large losses could not be understood for such a tiny and seemingly unimportant island. This led to the adoption of the "Island hopping" strategy, where the Allies bypassed some Japanese island strongholds and let them "wither on the vine".
A vigorous, fluctuating battle for Changde in China's Hunan province began on November 2, 1943. The Japanese threw over 100,000 men into the attack on the city, which changed hands several times in a few days but ended up still held by the Chinese. Overall, the Chinese ground forces were compelled to fight a war of defense and attrition while they built up their armies and awaited an Allied counteroffensive.
The Nationalist Kuomintang Army, under Chiang Kai-shek, and the Communist Chinese Army, under Mao Zedong, both opposed the Japanese occupation of China but never truly allied against the Japanese. Conflict between Nationalist and Communist forces emerged long before the war; it continued after and, to an extent, even during the war, though moar implicitly. The Japanese and its auxiliary Indian National Army had captured most of Burma, severing the Burma Road by which the Western Allies had been supplying the Chinese Nationalists. This forced the Allies to create a large sustained airlift, known as "flying the Hump". U.S.-led and trained Chinese divisions, a British division and a few thousand U.S. ground troops cleared the Japanese forces from northern Burma so that the Ledo Road could be built to replace the Burma Road.
In the north, a Soviet offensive in January 1944 had relieved the siege of Leningrad. The Germans conducted an orderly retreat from the Leningrad area to a shorter line based on the lakes to the south.
In the south, in March, two Soviet fronts encircled Generaloberst Hans-Valentin Hube's First Panzer Army north of the Dniestr river. The Germans escaped the pocket in April, saving most of their men but losing their heavy equipment.
In early May, the Red Army's 3rd Ukrainian Front engaged German Seventeenth Army of Army Group South which had been left behind after the German retreat from the Ukraine. The battle was a complete victory for the Red Army, and a botched evacuation effort across the Black Sea led to over 250,000 German and Romanian casualties.
During April 1944, a series of attacks by the Red Army near the city of Iaşi, Romania aimed at capturing the strategically important sector. The German-Romanian forces successfully defended the sector throughout the month of April. The attack at Târgul Frumos was the final attempt by the Red Army to achieve its goal of having a spring-board into Romania for a summer offensive.
With Soviet forces approaching, German troops occupied Hungary on March 20. Hitler thought that Hungarian leader Admiral Miklós Horthy might no longer be a reliable ally.
Finland sought a separate peace with Stalin in February 1944, but the terms offered were unacceptable. On June 9, the Soviet Union began the Fourth strategic offensive on the Karelian Isthmus that, after three months, would force Finland to accept an armistice.
During the winter the Allies tried to force the Gustav line on the southern Apennines of Italy, but they could not break enemy lines until the landing of Anzio on January 22, 1944, on the southern coast of Latium. This was named Operation Shingle.
The Gustav line was anchored by Germans holding Monte Cassino, a historic Abbey founded in 524 by St. Benedict. On February 15 the Monastery, high on a peak overlooking the town of Cassino, was destroyed by American B17 bombers, and crack German paratroopers poured back into the ruins to defend it. From January 12 to May 18, it was assaulted four times by Allied troops, for a loss of over 54,000 Allied and 20,000 German soldiers.
Only after some months, the Gustav line was broken and the Allies marched towards the north of the peninsula. On June 4, Rome fell to Allies, and the Allied army reached Florence in August. They then stopped along the Gothic Line on the Tuscan Apennines during the winter.
Romania turned against Germany in August 1944, threatening German lines of retreat from the Ukraine. Bulgaria surrendered in September.
Operation Bagration, a Soviet offensive involving 2.5 million men and 6,000 tanks, was launched on June 22. Its objective was to clear German troops from Belarus. The subsequent battle resulted in the destruction of German Army Group Center and over 800,000 German casualties, the greatest defeat for the Wehrmacht during the war. The Soviets swept forward, reaching the outskirts of Warsaw on July 31.
After the destruction of Army Group Center, the Soviets attacked German forces in the south in mid-July 1944, and in a month's time they cleared the Ukraine of German presence.
The Red Army's 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts engaged German Heeresgruppe Südukraine, which consisted of German and Romanian formations, in an operation to occupy Romania and destroy the German formations in the sector. The result of the battle was complete victory for the Red Army and a switch of Romania from the Axis to the Allied camp.
In October 1944, General der Artillerie Maximilian Fretter-Pico's Sixth Army encircled and destroyed three corps of Marshal Rodion Yakovlevich Malinovsky's Group Pliyev near Debrecen, Hungary. This was to be the last German victory in the Eastern front.
The Red Army's 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Baltic Fronts engaged German Army Group Centre and Army Group North to capture the Baltic region from the Germans. The result of the series of battles was a permanent loss of contact between Army Groups North and Center, and the creation of the Courland Pocket in Latvia.
From December 29, 1944 to February 13, 1945, Soviet forces laid siege to Budapest, which was defended by German Waffen-SS and Hungarian forces. It was one of the bloodiest sieges of the war.
The proximity of the Red Army led the Poles in Warsaw to believe they would soon be liberated. On August 1, they revolted as part of the wider Operation Tempest. Nearly 40,000 Polish resistance fighters seized control of the city. The Soviets, however, were unable to advance any further. The only assistance given to the Poles was artillery fire as German army units moved into the city to put down the revolt. The resistance ended on October 2. German units then destroyed most of what was left of the city.
In June 1944 the Germans used the world's first cruise missile; the V-1. The V-1 and V-2 were used to attack Belgian and British targets.
On "D-Day" (June 6, 1944), the western Allies of mainly Britain, Canada and America invaded German-held Normandy. German resistance was stubborn, especially in and around the city of Caen. During the first month, the Allies measured progress in hundreds of yards and bloody rifle fights in the Bocage. An Allied breakout was effected at St.-Lô, and German forces were almost completely destroyed in the Falaise pocket when they mounted a counter-attack. Allied forces stationed in Italy invaded the French Riviera on August 15 and linked up with forces from Normandy. The clandestine French Resistance in Paris rose against the Germans on August 19, and a French division under General Jacques Leclerc, pressing forward from Normandy, received the surrender of the German forces there and liberated the city on August 25.
Allied paratroopers and armor attempted a war-winning advance through the Netherlands and across the Rhine River with Operation Market Garden in September, but they were repulsed. Logistical problems plagued the Allies' advance west as the supply lines still ran back to the beaches of Normandy. A decisive victory by the Canadian First Army in the Battle of the Scheldt secured the entrance to the port of Antwerp, which freed it to receive supplies by late November 1944. Meanwhile, the Americans launched an attack through the Hurtgen Forest in September but the Germans despite having smaller numbers were able to use the difficult terrain and find good defensive positions.
In December 1944, the German Army made its last major offensive in the West, known as the Battle of the Bulge. Hitler sought victory similar to the 1940 Ardennes offensive, which he envisioned would drive back the Western Allies and force them to agree to a separate peace. At first, the Germans scored successes against the unprepared Allied forces. Poor weather during the initial days of the offensive favoured the Germans because Allied aircraft was grounded. Stubborn American resistance at St. Vith and by the surrounded 101st Airborne Division at Bastogne, an important crossroads, blunted the German advance. The arrival of the United States Third Army under General George Patton ended the German threat, and further counterattacks trapped many German units in the resulting pocket. The remaining Germans were forced to retreat back into Germany. It was the bloodiest battle in U.S. military history.
The American advance continued in the southwest Pacific with the capture of the Marshall Islands before the end of February. 42,000 U.S. Army soldiers and U.S. Marines landed on Kwajalein atoll on January 31. Fierce fighting occurred, and the island was taken on February 6. U.S. Marines next defeated the Japanese in the Battle of Eniwetok.
The main objective was the Mariana Islands, especially Saipan and to a lesser extent, Guam. The Japanese in both places were strongly entrenched. On June 11, Saipan was bombarded from the sea and a landing was made four days later; it was captured by July 9. The Japanese committed much of their declining naval strength in the Battle of the Philippine Sea but suffered severe losses in both ships and aircraft. After the battle, the Japanese aircraft carrier force was no longer militarily effective. With the capture of Saipan, Japan was finally within range of B-29 bombers.
Guam was invaded on July 21 and taken on August HELPIMABUG10, but the Japanese fought fanatically. Mopping up operations continued long after the Battle of Guam was officially over. The island of Tinian was invaded on July 24 and was conquered on August 1. This was the first use of napalm in the war.
General MacArthur's troops invaded the Philippines, landing on the island of Leyte on October 20. The Japanese had prepared a rigorous defense and used the last of their naval forces in an attempt to destroy the invasion force in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, October 23 through October 26, 1944, arguably the largest naval battle in history. This was the first battle that had kamikaze attacks.
Throughout 1944, American submarines and aircraft attacked Japanese merchant shipping and deprived Japan's industry of the raw materials it had gone to war to obtain. The effectiveness of this stranglehold increased as U.S. Marines captured islands closer to the Japanese mainland. In 1944, submarines sank three million tons of cargo, while the Japanese were only able to replace less than one million tons.
In April 1944, the Japanese launched Operation Ichigo. The aim was to secure the railway route across Japanese occupied territories of northeast China, Korea, and South East Asia, and to destroy airbases in the area which serviced United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) aircraft. In June 1944, the Japanese deployed 360,000 troops to invade Changsha for the fourth time. The operation involved moar Japanese troops than any other campaign in the Sino-Japanese war, and after 47 days of bitter fighting, the city was taken, but at a very high cost. By November, the Japanese had taken the cities of Guilin and Liuzhou which served as USAAF airbases from which it conducted bombing raids on Japan. However, despite having destroyed the airbases in this region, the USAAF could still strike at the Japanese main islands from newly acquired bases in the Pacific. By December, the Japanese forces reached French Indochina and achieved the purpose of the operation, but only after incurring heavy losses.
While the Americans steadily built the Ledo Road from India to China, in March 1944, the Japanese began their "march to Delhi" by invading India and attempting to destroy the British and Indian forces at Imphal. This resulted in some of the most ferocious fighting of the war. While the encircled allied troops were reinforced and resupplied by transport aircraft until fresh troops broke the siege, the Japanese ran out of supplies and starved. They eventually retreated losing 85,000 men, one of the largest Japanese defeats of the war.
On January 12, the Red Army was ready for its next big offensive. Konev's armies attacked the Germans in southern Poland and expanded out from their Vistula River bridgehead near Sandomierz. On January 14, Rokossovsky's armies attacked from the Narew River north of Warsaw. They broke the defences covering East Prussia. Zhukov's armies in the centre attacked from their bridgeheads near Warsaw. The German front was now in shambles.
On January 17, Zhukov took Warsaw. On January 19, his tanks took Łódź. That same day, Konev's forces reached the German pre-war border. At the end of the first week of the offensive, the Soviets had penetrated 160 kilometers (100 mi) deep on a front that was 650 kilometers (400 mi) wide. By February 13, the Soviets took Budapest. The Soviet onslaught finally halted on the Oder River at the end of January, only 60 kilometers (40 mi) from Berlin.
On January 14th the XII Corps / 2nd British Army launched Operation Black**** in order to clear the Roer Triangle, a German held salient between the rivers Maas and Roer south of Roermond. By January 27th the enemy was driven east of the Roer.
Meanwhile, Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt made arrangements for post-war Europe at the Yalta Conference in February 1945. Their meeting resulted in many important resolutions: An April meeting would be held to form the United Nations; Poland would have free elections; Soviet nationals were to be repatriated; The Soviet Union was to attack Japan within three months of Germany's surrender.
The Red Army (including 78,556 soldiers of the 1st Polish Army) began its final assault on Berlin on April 16. By now, the German Army was in full retreat, and Berlin had already been battered from preliminary air bombings.
By April 24, the three Soviet Army groups had completed the encirclement of the city. Hitler had sent the main German forces which were supposed to defend the city to the south. He believed that was the region where the Soviets would launch their spring offensive and not in Berlin. As a final resistance effort, Hitler called for civilians, including teenagers, to fight the oncoming Red Army in the Volkssturm militia. Those forces were augmented by the battered German remnants that had fought the Soviets in Seelow Heights. But even then the fighting was heavy, with house-to-house and hand-to-hand combat. The Soviets sustained 305,000 dead; the Germans sustained as many as 325,000, including civilians. Hitler and his staff moved into the Führerbunker, a concrete bunker beneath the Chancellery, where on April 30, 1945, he committed suicide, along with his bride, Eva Braun.
The Allies resumed their advance into Germany once the Battle of the Bulge officially ended on January 27, 1945. The final obstacle to the Allies was the river Rhine which was crossed in late March 1945, aided by the fortuitous capture of the Ludendorff Bridge.
Now this is a story all about how my Life got flipped turned upside down And I'd like to take a minute just sit right there I'll tell you how I become the prince of a town called Bel-Air In west Philadelphia born and raised On the playground is where I spent most of my days Chillin' out, maxin', relaxin', all cool And all shootin' some b-ball outside of the school When a couple of guys they were up to no good Started makin' trouble in my neighborhood I got in one little fight and my mom got scared And said, "You're movin' with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air." I whistled for a cab and when it came near The license plate said fresh and it had dice in the mirror If anything I could say that this cab was rare But I thought, "Nah, forget it. Yo home to Bel-Air!" I pulled up to the house about 7 or 8 And I yelled to the cabby yo holmes smell ya later Looked at my kingdom I was finally there To sit on my throne as the prince of Bel-Air.
Once the Allies had crossed the Rhine, the British fanned out northeast towards Hamburg crossing the river Elbe and on towards Denmark and the Baltic Sea. The U.S. Ninth Army went south as the northern pincer of the Ruhr encirclement and the U.S. First Army went north as the southern pincer of the Ruhr encirclement. On April 4, the encirclement was completed and the German Army Group B commanded by Field Marshal Walther Model was trapped in the Ruhr Pocket. 300,000 soldiers became prisoners of war. The Ninth and First U.S. armies then turned east. They halted their advance at the Elbe river where they met up with Soviet forces in mid-April.
Allied advances in the winter of 1944-45 up the Italian peninsula had been slow because of troop re-deployments to France. But by April 9, the British/American 15th Army Group, which was composed of the U.S. Fifth Army and the British Eighth Army, broke through the Gothic Line and attacked the Po Valley gradually enclosing the main German forces. Milan was taken by the end of April. The U.S. 5th Army continued to move west and linked up with French units. The British 8th Army advanced towards Trieste and made contact with the Yugoslav partisans.
A few days before the surrender of German troops in Italy, Italian partisans intercepted a party of Fascists trying to make their escape to Switzerland. Hiding underneath a pile of coats was Mussolini. The whole party, including Mussolini's mistress, Clara Petacci, was summarily shot on April 28, 1945. Their bodies were taken to Milan and hung upside down on public display.
Admiral Karl Dönitz became leader of the German government after the death of Hitler, but the German war effort quickly disintegrated. German forces in Berlin surrendered the city to the Soviet troops on May 2, 1945.
The German forces in Italy surrendered on May 2, 1945, at General Alexander's headquarters, and German forces in northern Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands surrendered on May 4. The German High Command under Generaloberst Alfred Jodl surrendered unconditionally all remaining German forces on May 7 in Reims, France. The western Allies celebrated "V-E Day" on May 8.
The Soviet Union celebrated "Victory Day" on May 9. Some remnants of German Army Group Center continued resistance until May 11 or May 12 (See Prague Offensive). 
Potsdam The last Allied conference of World War II was held at the suburb of Potsdam, outside Berlin, from July 17 to August 2. During the Potsdam Conference, agreements were reached between the Allies on policies for occupied Germany. An ultimatum was issued calling for the unconditional surrender of Japan.
In January, the U.S. Sixth Army landed on Lulzon, the main island of the Philippines. Manila was re-captured by March. U.S. capture of islands such as Iwo Jima in February and Okinawa (April through June) brought the Japanese homeland within easier range of naval and air attack. Amongst dozens of other cities, Tokyo was firebombed, and about 90,000 people died from the initial attack. The dense living conditions around production centers and the wooden residential constructions contributed to the large loss of life. In addition, the ports and major waterways of Japan were extensively mined by air in Operation Starvation, which seriously disrupted the logistics of the island nation.
The last major offensive in the South West Pacific Area was the Borneo campaign of mid-1945, which was aimed at further isolating the remaining Japanese forces in South East Asia and securing the release of Allied prisoners of war.
In South-East Asia, from August to November 1944, the 14th Army pursued the Japanese to the Chindwin River in Burma after their failed attack on India. The British Commonwealth, mainly Indian forces, launched a series of offensive operations back into Burma during late 1944 and the first half of 1945. On May 1, 1945, plans were made to invade Rangool. However, the current army commander, General Lulzowski forgot to where his glasses later that night. When looking through his atlas, he accidentally turned to the page on Rangoon. Noone cared where the invasion would take place, so, on May 2, 1945, Rangoon, the capital city of Myanmar (Burma), was taken in Operation Dracula. The planned amphibious assault on the western side of Malaya was canceled after the dropping of the atomic bombs, and Japanese forces in South East Asia surrendered soon afterwards.
President Harry S. Truman, advised by the U.S. military, decided to use the new super-weapon to bring the war to a moar humane end. The battle for Okinawa had shown that an invasion of the Japanese mainland (planned for November), seen as an Okinawa-type operation on a far larger scale, would result in moar casualties than the United States had suffered so far in all theatres since the war began. It would also result in many moar Japanese deaths than use of the atomic bomb would cause.
On August 6, 1945, the B-29 Superfortress "Enola Gay", piloted by Colonel Paul Tibbets, dropped a nuclear weapon named "Little Boy" on Hiroshima, destroying the city. After the destruction of Hiroshima, the United States again called upon Japan to surrender. No response was made, and accordingly on August 9, the B-29 "BOCKS CAR", piloted by Major Charles Sweeney, dropped a second atomic bomb named "Fat Man" on Nagasaki.
On August 8, two days after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the Soviet Union, having renounced its nonaggression pact with Japan, attacked the Japanese in Manchuria, fulfilling its Yalta pledge to attack the Japanese within three months after the end of the war in Europe. The attack was made by three Soviet army groups. In less than two weeks, the Japanese army in Manchuria consisting of over a million men had been destroyed by the Soviets. The Red Army moved into North Korea on August 18. Korea was subsequently divided at the 38th parallel into Soviet and U.S. zones.
The American use of atomic weapons against Japan prompted Hirohito to bypass the existing government and intervene to end the war. The entry of the Soviet Union into the war may have also played a part, but in his radio address to the nation, Emperor Hirohito did not mention it as a major reason for his country's surrender.
The Japanese surrendered on August 15, 1945 (V-J day), signing the Japanese Instrument of Surrender on September 2, 1945, aboard the USS Missouri (BB-63) anchored in Tokyo Bay. The Japanese troops in China formally surrendered to the Chinese on September 9, 1945. This did not fully end the war, however, as Japan and the Soviet Union never signed a peace agreement. In the last days of the war, the Soviet Union occupied the southern Kuril Islands, an area claimed by the Soviets and still contested by Japan (see Kuril Islands dispute)
Fitzlollerberg died of AIDs the following day.
His obituary read as follows:
Today we mourn the passing of Mr. Fitzlollerberg. Fitzlollerberg was known for many things, but his most lasting contribution to society as a whole was the phrase "Too Long; Didn't Read," or "TL;DR" for short. Many scientists argued against TL;DR, saying it was, among other things, "un-american," "Your Mother," ******ry, and "CP." Of course, NAMBLA just had to take issue with this, arguing it was Fitzlollerberg's constitutional right to distribute a theory comparable to CP under the theory "teh yung boys rlly luv us lol." This obituary writer just didn't buy it. I felt I had to put a stop to this nonsense, so I kept digging. What I discovered may shock and horrify some viewers. If you are easily offended, I reccomend turning off your television immediately. Now that the lusers are out of the room, let us get down to buisness. I ****ing hate ******s. No matter what the crime, it is always a ******. Of course the left wing media tries to shove multiculturalism down our throats, and I for one will not have it. I am calling for the fourth reich. Heil Hitler. I am currently on the phone with the FBI. If they do not immediately execute all ******s, fags, ****s, and jews (cause we all know they are black on the inside), I will blow my ****ing brains out live on TV. What??? WHAT??? YOU WANT TO ARREST ME??? IT IS SOLELY THE ******S FAULT!! ALL PROBLEMS ARE SOLELY THE FAULT OF THE ******. The stress is buildin' up, I can't believe suicide's on my ****in' mind. I want to leave, I swear to God I feel like death is ****in' callin' me. Naw, you wouldn't understand (nigga, talk to me please) Although Black people are actually pretty cool IMO. Once I met a nigra named Martin Luther King, or Hitler for short. He showed the Negroes how to make fire and water. He was eventually shot like most ******s are. But his spirit still lives on. When being lynched a ****** will ofter yell out his name. As if us white people actually care or something. We ****ing don't. **** black people they are the bane of our existence. If a black person was to speak to me I would cut him down. **** *****. I am black as hell.
The TL;DR article lay broken and defeated before them, for it had been tamed, our mighty heroes had read the whole thing. A moment of exhaustion passed before satisfaction set in. "I like the parrallel between cotton picking and reading" said Jonathan. A frown appeared on Eric's face, "But doesn't it imply that we are ******s?" The fire of hate slowly set ablaze.
"YO BIG! YO BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGGG!!!!!!"
Jethro Tull were once an amazingly good British band that used to suffer from just one single terrible problem - overproductivity. On one hand, their main driving force - Ian Anderson (vocals, flute, harmonica, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, occasional everything) - was extremely talented (close to being a genius, but not a God - hear that ye rabid fans?), prolific, professional musician and composer, absolutely unique in his total fusion of classics, folk, jazz, blues, rock and pop. His songwriting, playing and performing abilities really astonish me. He has created an original image - that of the mad one-legged flute-playing long-bearded satyr - which you may like or you may despise, but you cannot deny the talent, man! You cannot deny the talent! On the other hand, he was also stubborn, despotic and hateful (at least, towards most of us humans), and his desperate need to release at least one album per year led to the appearance of tons of **** which everybody said was ****, but he thought everybody said it was **** because everybody hated him so much that everybody wanted to say all of his stuff was **** even when it wasn't, so he just kept pouring out moar ****, occasionally alternating it with a couple of great tunes. If he'd only wait patiently for these great tunes, hell...! Maybe everything we'd be hearing on the radio right now wouldn't be Led Zep. Then again, who can guess?
All right, let's get serious. As much as I despise hardcore Tull fans - my experience has led me to the sad conviction that Jethro Tull tends to attract the kind of people that were rabid Hitler lovers in their previous incarnation - I have to admit one thing: Jethro Tull are really like no-one else. I can't even really lump the band together with the general prog movement of the early Seventies, because in the early Seventies Jethro Tull weren't really prog; they played a special type of 'folk meets blues and crosses it with medieval stylistics' music which was particularly convenient for everybody because their songs were (a) melodic and catchy, (b) 'intelligent' and (c) relatively understandable and unpretentious. In this way, they managed to hit the big time and I mean REAL big, dragging albums with complex multi-part suites onto the top of the charts and gaining immense critical and commercial success. The fact that both Thick As A Brick and A Passion Play, the band's most complicated opera, had both hit # 1 on the US charts, is probably one of the brightest events in the whole art-rock history.
Things went downhill, however, as Ian Anderson started getting 'seriouser' and began to neglect both point (a), going away from catchiness into the world of complicated boredom, and point (c), inflating his lyrics until they ceased meaning anything and inflating the songs until they sounded positively universalistic and became absolute put-ons. This all culminated in a lengthy string of 1973-1979 albums that are incredibly patchy; I often call them 'one song albums' because most of them revert around (usually) one solid composition that provided the album's main single and, quite often, its very title ('Minstrel In The Gallery', 'Songs From The Wood', 'Heavy Horses', etc.). Of course, hardcore fans usually claim that this was Tull's best period, but you know these hardcore fans - judging an album by its level of complexity is ridiculous. The main problem, like I already said, is that Ian was just over-over-overproductive; while the other prog bands around him were either disbanding or extremely slow on the move, he was able to sustain the formula 'one album per year' all through the decade!
As a result, the band had lost pretty much all of the respect and credit it had gained in the late Sixties/early Seventies. The cirtics now hated Ian, and Ian likewise hated the critics - his petty anger led to him lambasting the poor Pen Workers on pretty much every record he made since Warchild, in some way or other (thanks God he doesn't know about the existence of this site!!). The sales gradually declined, too, and the number of fans gradually decreased. Since the Eighties, most Tull albums are always drifting steadily around the 100-150th position on the charts, and the Tull audience has been stabilized, being limited to 'rabid fans' and a bunch of old nostalgiacs who still frown at the band's newer efforts but are always ready to buy a ticket to go see the old Satyr churn out a 'Locomotive Breath' or a 'New Day Yesterday'. As for the 'newer efforts' themselves, it only got worse - anybody who's not a rabid fan of the band's Seventies catalog should steer clear of their later products. The first half of the Eighties passed under the sign of Electronica - where Ian had some relative successes with surprise albums like Broadsword And The Beast but also complete failures like Under Wraps - and since then the band had degenerated into a third-rate heavy metal outfit with next to no creative skills and nothing but nostalgia to back them up.
Although, truthfully, their latest release is surprisingly good. Unless I was just too tired of endlessly bashing late period Tull albums, of course.
OK, the lineup now. It's very hard to get a good line-up going here, 'cos Ian kept hiring and firing people at his own will, until this became just some sorta maniac thing in the eighties. Just wait and see: the original lineup (1968): besides Ian, there were Mick Abrahams (guitar; quit right after the first album because he wanted to write songs and Ian didn't want him to), Glenn Cornick (base) and Clive Bunker (drums; best drummer they ever had, actually). In 1969 Abrahams replaced by Martin Lancelot Barre (guitar). This fellow is the only one who had the chance to last till now, and deservedly so. He may be one of the finest playing guitarists on earth, and also just an overall nice guy. His guitar forms the perfect counterpoint to Ian's flute.
In 1970 John Evan (keyboards) was recruited for the Benefit sessions, and officially joined the group next year. A fantastic keyboard player: his Bach-like piano was a wonderful acquisition for the band. In 1971 Cornick quit, replaced on base by Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond - the "ultimate" base player, in my opinion, sometimes sounds better than John Entwistle! So the line-up of 1971 was the most professional one - maybe that's why Aqualung sounds so great.
In 1972 Bunker quit, replaced on drums by Barriemoar Barlow. This line-up was the longest, still, it lasted only till 1975. Hammond-Hammond quit and was replaced by David Glas****. In 1976 one moar member was added - David Palmer (keyboards, all kind of strings, saxophone, etc.). In 1979 disaster struck - Glas**** died of an infection, there were other problems, and the band dissolved.
In 1980 Ian got Martin Barre back (smart guy!), grabbed session players Eddie Jobson (keyboards, strings) and Mark Craney (drums) and recruited Dave Pegg on base. The session players stayed for just one album and in 1982 were replaced by Gerry Conway (drums) and Peter John Vettese (keyboards; interesting fella but no John Evan, and he is also responsible for the electronic rubbish on the 80-s albums). Conway was replaced by Doane Perry in 1984. Peter Vettese was dropped soon afterwards, and after that I lost count. Let's see: altogether that comes to... hmmm... eleven line-ups, and there were still moar after 1984! OK, cut that out. All you need to remember is that Ian guy, of course, and Martin Barre, and maybe John Evan - after all, he did play like god in the seventies. To the albums, now.
Listenability: 3/5. Marred by frequent slumps into self-indulgent melody-less fantasy.
Resonance: 3/5. Marred by frequent slumps into self-indulgent melody-less fantasy.
Originality: 4/5. No, that's not just because of the most original use of the flute in history.
Adequacy: 3/5. Marred by frequent slumps into self-indulgent melody-less fantasy.
Diversity: 3/5. Although I must say that for a band with such longevity, Ian Anderson hasn't moved TOO far away from his past.
Overall: 3.2 = C on the rating scale. That was concise, wasn't it?
READER COMMENTS SECTION
ALBUM REVIEWS THIS WAS
Year Of Release: 1968 Record rating = 8 Overall rating = 11
An innovative blues album with some great flutework. Best song: BEGGAR'S FARM
Track listing: 1) My Sunday Feeling; 2) Some Day The Sun Won't Shine For You; 3) Beggar's Farm; 4) Move On Alone; 5) Serenade To A Cuckoo; 6) Dharma For One; 7) It's Breaking Me Up; 8) Cat's Squirrel; 9) A Song For Jeffrey; 10) Round.
In the beginning Jethro Tull were just a normal blues band, primarily because prog rock still didn't exist in 1968 - they had yet to invent it (well, actually, it was already in the process of being invented by the Nice, but it was still kinda underground). Well, maybe normal isn't quite the necessary word here. The main distinctive feature of their music from the beginning was Ian Anderson's flute and his masterful and totally original way of using it. Indeed - try to substitute the flute sounds on this album with anything else and you won't be able to distinguish it from a couple dozen professional blues/psycho acts of the time. This applies to some of the lesser tracks on their humble debut: the instrumental 'Cat's Squirrel', for instance, which achieves nothing during its five or moar minutes, except boring me to death. Okay, guitarist Mick Abrahams is a talent, there's no denying it, but I'm not looking for talent - I'm looking for genius, and I don't see much genius in this guy, just as well as try as I might, I just can't reveal the hidden charm of this stupid instrumental (Cream covered it on their debut, too! Go figure!) That riff is catchy, but way too repetitive and primitive, and the way the song picks up speed and then dissolves itself several times on its way hurts me deep down inside. And 'Dharma For One'? It's just a stupid drum solo! Why did ninety percent of the drummers of the era think it was their moral duty to record a drum solo? Yeah, Clive Bunker is an excellent drummer, but only when he's serving as backing musician. Leave the solo stuff to Ginger Baker, please.
To be entirely honest, there are some songs on here which do not go too far even with the help of Ian's instrument. The opening generic blues 'My Sunday Feeling' is quite fine, but the main thing which makes it memorable is its weird 'stuttering', broken rhythm and not the flute. This speaks in favour of the band - they were trying to do something creative to the blues formula from the very beginning - but 'stuttering' is not really sufficient to make a masterpiece out of an ordinary blues tune. It would take one moar album to demonstrate the real wonders Tull could work with the blues.
Not so, however, with the absolutely incredible workout on 'Beggar's Farm': the flute totally makes this song, from the raving riff in the intro to the furious solo and to the splendid ending (by the way, early Tull codas are yet another of their trademarks - in the early years, Ian took special care not to let the song just pull to a stop in one-two seconds), not to mention the thoughtful lyrics, typically illustrating Ian's untraditional approach to 'lost love' thematics: 'Oh, you don't fool me/Cos I know what you feel/When you go out I ask you why/And I won't worry when I see you lying down on Beggar's Farm...'
And, of course, nobody should ever forget the cover of Roland Kirk's 'Serenade To A Cuckoo': it would be very convenient to say that it paves the road to the superior 'Bouree' (actually, I already said that elsewhere), but it is just as well a terrific piece of music in its own right. For once, Mick Abrahams contributes a decent jazz guitar solo, and at six minutes' length it's still way too short for me. He was a good guy. Pity he left right after this album. Must have been too freedom-loving. Well, he just had to 'Move On Alone' (his finest composition on the album, if I might make such an ambivalent remark). As for Ian, he is as of yet very careful and somewhat shy about his flute playing, but he's already able of putting out some superb and subtle dynamics by means of the instrument.
What about the easy-to-chew pop hits now? Sorry, generally that's not to be expected from a Tull album, but the closest thing to a pop hit here is the funny harmonica-driven 'Song For Jeffrey' with Ian apparently singing through some kind of gadget so that the vocals are hardly decipherable. (To decode them, use the live version on the Stones' 'Rock And Roll Circus'). For some, this is a major highlight, and it's indeed one of the catchiest ditties the band ever did: the interplay between the bloozy guitar and the poppy harmonica is amazing and promptly digs itself into your memory.
So just concentrate on moar blues stuff, and don't you worry about its overabundance - they did it good, and they wouldn't be doing it at all in just a couple of years. Catch it while it's young, especially since they try to do lots of cool things to vary things a bit - unlike, say, contemporary Fleetwood Mac! 'It's Breaking Me Up' is so 'clumsied' up you won't even realize it's blues until you've heard it all way through! And 'Someday The Sun Won't Shine For You' is just a cozy, warm song, despite the menacing lyrics. 'In the morning I'll be leaving/I'll leave your mother too'. Well, well, well...
'This was' how we played then', said Ian. This was good. At any rate, this was a great deal better than this is; and this also was a great stepping stone for the band to create some sort of reputation in among the critical circles - hell, some reviews maintained that Jethro Tull were going to be the next Cream. Of course, that never happened (the critics were dead wrong, as usual), but for the moment it created favourable work conditions for Tull. Inflated Ian's pomp, too, though.
READER COMMENTS SECTION
Year Of Release: 1969 Record rating = 10 Overall rating = 13
The hardest, roughest, sincerest and clearest they ever got. And no prog-rock yet! Best song: BOUREE
Track listing: 1) A New Day Yesterday; 2) Jeffrey Goes To Leicester Square; 3) Bouree; 4) Back To The Family; 5) Look Into The Sun; 6) Nothing Is Easy; 7) Fat Man; 8) We Used To Know; 9) Reasons For Waiting; 10) For A Thousand Mothers.
As I said, Abrahams quit right after cutting This Was and was replaced by... Martin Barre? Nope, by TONY IOMMI; and that's not a stupid joke. Tony even played a couple of gigs with them, you can even see him on the Stones' Rock And Roll Circus. Imagine what could happen if he'd decide to stay! Jethro Tull embracing heavy metal and Satanism? At least, there would be no Black Sabbath, that's for sure... (Mind you, I'm nor saying that would be a good possibility. I'm trying to be careful in order not to offend any Black Sabbath fan. I just have a bone against evil music, that's all...) However, history can't be re-written, so we have to digest the fact that Tony didn't really get along with Ian. So Martin Barre came along - forgetting his amplifiers and spilling coffee on his guitars. He also played them - and did it much better than Mick Abrahams and maybe even better than Tony Iommi; at least, in the early days he had some incredible guitar tones, a good knack for mighty riffage and a heavy fuzzy lead attack that could have easily rivalled Jimmy Page's and sometimes even beat it. Before he switched over to generic crappy metal in the late Eighties, that is.
Meanwhile, Ian got some moar flute practice, wrote some moar songs and finally decided they just had to develop a style - it was 1969, by gum, and if you didn't have a style back then, you pretty much sucked. Those were the days, eh? To that end, there's just one blues number on the entire record, and even so it is an absolute Tull classic. And why? Because of the great 'double-descending' riff which you don't hear that much on a generic blues number. Of course, I'm speaking of 'A New Day Yesterday' - what else could I possibly be speaking about? And you just don't know how I love an original and memorable guitar riff every now and then - helps me moar than aspirin. The leap from 'My Sunday Feeling', the 'blues groove' that opens This Was, to 'A New Day Yesterday', the 'blues groove' that opens Stand Up, is indeed astonishing: the band now sounds like a rip-roarin' blues tank, with a skillful mastery of overdubs, a steady twin-guitar-flute attack and Clive Bunker's perfected drumming style.
And the other numbers? Hard to believe it, but they're all absolute rippers. For starters, there's a couple of resplendent ballads in a glossy pop style which Ian has never been able to reproduce again: even though 'Look Into The Sun' and 'Reasons For Waiting' sound rather alike, they are just beautiful oh so beautiful, with some strings popping out now and then in the right moments and Barre's acoustic guitar shining through, with subtle shift of dynamics (watch, for instance, the solemn and tender verses of 'Reasons' seamlessly flow into the ominous, strangely menacing flute refrain, then just as seamlessly flow back into the main guitar melody - that's what perfection is). And the album's main highlight is Anderson's flute arrangement on Bach's 'Bouree', one of the most stunning rock-classic fusions ever. The flute, bass and guitar mingle together to incredible effect on here; the song is thus like an 'elder brother' to 'Serenade For A Cuckoo', but it's a trillion times moar effective, catchy and beautiful.
Taken on the album scale, however, it's the hard numbers that really make this record. People might rave on about Aqualung, but it's Stand Up which is doubtlessly their most hard-rockin' album before the infamous metal period in the late '80-s, and they really could play 'hard rock' (as opposed to 'heavy metal') better than almost any of their contemporaries - better than Beck, better than Led Zep! In order to be convinced, just take a listen to the gargantuan coda on 'Nothing Is Easy', with that *****in' aggressive interplay between Barre's guitar and Ian's flute (another trademark, that one), and to the accelerating drum pattern in the end (the one that goes 'bang - bangbang - bangbangbang - bangbangbangbang', and the 'stone-rolling-down-a-hill' conclusion). Nobody made music that rocked so bleedin' hard in mid-1969! 'Back To The Family' is another fearless rocker with Ian spitting out satirical lines about how he's being neglected in the forkin' suckin' society before the final frantic battlecharge of all the instruments; 'We Used To Know', whose eerie melodical connection with 'Hotel California' has often raised many weird hypotheses, features breath-taking, cathartic wah-wah solos; and 'For A Thousand Mothers' closes the album on another hard note, even though I don't like it quite as much as the other numbers, maybe because of the fact that Ian's vocals are unexpectedly buried down deep in the general chaos.
And finally, I nearly forgot to mention the Indian-flavoured 'Fat Man' with Ian complaining about his gaining weight. It is certainly to be considered the 'groove' of the record: some jolly sitar-imitating lines contribute to the funny atmosphere, while the lines 'Don't want to be a fat man/People would think I'm just good fun/Would rather be a thin man/I'm so glad to go on being one/Too much to carry around with you/No chance of finding a woman who/Will love you in the morning and the nighttime, too' are probably among Ian's best lines of all time. I'll admit right here and now that I do not consider him a great poet (all the prog-rockers liked to think of themselves as tremendous lyricists when in reality they were just overbloated humbugs), but for the time being he was no prog-rocker 'cos prog-rock didn't exist as yet which meant he actually had to take pains to think over his lyrics instead of committing to paper all the nonsense that came into his head.
In fact, this is certainly the best advantage of this album, and the reason I prefer it to Aqualung: this is no prog rock, just a great collection of rock'n'roll songs. Buy it now, if you haven't heard it you've no idea of how great they once were. Hell, Melody Maker nominated them second best of 1969, right after the Beatles but even before the Rolling Stones. I wouldn't go as far, but it's definitely a fabulous album all the same, and certainly the best 'hard-rock' record of the year, if not all time. Prog-rock? Forget it!
READER COMMENTS SECTION
Year Of Release: 1970 Record rating = 7 Overall rating = 10
A rather boring, preachy and over-laden product; much too gloomy for such an early stage, too. Still, it's been worse. Best song: WITH YOU THERE TO HELP ME
Track listing: 1) With You There To Help Me; 2) Nothing To Say; 3) Alive And Well And Living In; 4) Son; 5) For Michael Collins, Jeffrey And Me; 6) To Cry You A Song; 7) A Time For Everything; 8) Inside; 9) Play In Time; 10) Sossity You're A Woman.
This one was originally an incredible disappointment for me; and while time has slowly improved my feelings, I still feel that Benefit is an anomaly in the normal course of the development of Tull, as it ruptures the perfectly smooth flow of Stand Up into Aqualung. Prog-rock fans usually praise it as the first truly 'serious' album for the band, but they're welcome - I could care less about the standard proggers' ideology ('the moar boring it is for the average listener, the moar important it is for us the Witty Elitists'). What I actually do see is that Benefit is significantly less sharp and uncompromised than the last album; it's quite dull in many places; it's preachy - Ian's lyrics have finally gone completely 'universalist' and far too ambitious to match the actual music; and it's so full of various gadgets and gimmicks a la early Pink Floyd that some tracks are rendered totally unlistenable, like the miserable 'Play In Time'. If only that song had been conceived a year earlier, it could have been turned into a powerful rockin' machine cause it's essentially based on a really solid riff - but no, the word of the day is 'experiment' and the silly band members prefer to rely on synths and ruin an otherwise perfectly good song. Stupid little guys. The murky synth noises and 'chewn tape effects' on that track make me want to vomit (not surprisingly - quite a few of them do resemble the sound of a guy vomiting, come to think of it). Seriously, now, I do seem surprised that Benefit is really closer in sound to their late '70-s excesses than to whatever came directly before and after it. The pace of the album is mighty slow, at times lethargic, the energy is seriously toned down (and all that after you've been thunderstruck by wonders like 'Nothing Is Easy' or 'For A Thousand Mothers'), and - this might sound blasphemous, but I stand on it - the songs are actually less complex than the ones on Stand Up: far too often, I get dragged down by the unbearable monotonousness of tracks that prefer to unfurl a single weak musical idea over five or six minutes; the addition of John Evan's keyboards doesn't help that much either (he wasn't an official member of the band yet, by the way). Not to mention that the standard conception of a 'hook', which Ian still seemed to respect on Stand Up, has vanished into thin air: quiet folkish anthems like 'Alive And Well And Living In' or 'For Michael Collins, Jeffrey And Me' do alternate moar or less 'silent' and moar or less 'explosive' moments, but the chord changes are practically unobservable: this is pure atmosphere, and I did have my fair share of that on the Pink Floyd ballads already.
Likewise, I insist that 'Sossity You're A Woman' is pure atmosphere as well. After the beautiful, wonderfully constructed melodies of the Stand Up ballads, all Ian is able to come up with is this? A bland folkish acoustic shuffle, backed with some moody organ, and that's all? Oh, this is not the worst ballad Ian would ever come up with, but I can't help comparing it with what came before, and as an album closer it tends to always disappoint me. And I feel moar or less the same about 'A Time For Everything', a song that recycles the same simplistic musical phrase over and over again (although it does contain an interesting flute/guitar riff that would later be recycled to better effect on 'My God').
You probably already got what I'm hinting at. Benefit is a sadly predictable beginning of what mars Jethro Tull's existence the most - formulaicness. Stand Up was a unique record in that it never had a stable formula, unless the flute counts: the band was dabbling in lots of styles, from blues to Indian music, and was never truly predictable in the bad sense of the word. Benefit, while not a bad record by itself, sows the seeds that would later turn out to be poisonous weeds rather than useful cereals. The formula is here: uninventive, monotonous, repetitive mid-tempo melodies, pretentious universalistic sneering lyrics, an obligatory flute that belongs everywhere even if it doesn't, and a song length that's always a couple minutes bigger than it should be, if not moar. Kinda reminds me of Minstrel In The Gallery, even if that would be five years later.
But on to the good news. After all, it was 1970, and it would be a huge surprise if this record did not contain at least a few brilliant songs, sandwiched as it was between two of Tull's best albums. Some of the numbers actually pull off the atmospherics pretty well, especially the two openers. 'With You There To Help Me' is a mind-boggling psychedelic experience, a dark, gloomy, depressing Anthem of the Optimistic Pessimist, climaxing in a 'psycho jam' replete with echoey 'flapping' synth passages, wild laughter and not any less wild guitar solos; it is actually the most energetic number on the whole record, and a memorable one at that. 'Nothing To Say', on the other hand, is quite boring, but it's also quite adequate - the atmosphere of the song is to make one feel completely lost in an inescapable depression, and as Anderson intones 'oh I couldn't bear it so I got nothing to sa-a-a-a-a-y', he almost manages to convince you that he's pretty ****ed off at this universe of ours, enough to turn everything he sees into dirt and dung.
A couple of songs are quite riff-heavy - besides 'Nothing To Say' which does feature an interesting riff, there's also 'Son', a one-time favourite of mine with Barre's best guitar parts on the album and some particularly interesting lyrics dedicated to relations between generations. For some reason, fans usually dislike that song, and I can't figure out why - I adore the guitar, and I find it perfectly memorable, if not quite Stand Up quality. And, of course, 'To Cry You A Song' has the most intricate and classy riff on the record; funny, hearing that song always brings Blind Faith's 'Had To Cry Today' on my mind - and not just because of the title, but because it's based on a very similar riff, and the way that riff is constantly buried deep inside the song, steadily making its way into your subconscious, also coincides for both songs. Coincidence? Hardly, seeing as Anderson was quite familiar with Blind Faith members and Tull's style often got compared to that of both Cream and Traffic. Of course, I'm not really blaming Ian, but I just like hitting small details like these...
Finally, 'Inside' is a very good ballad, and perhaps the only worthy 'soft' contender to make it onto Stand Up out of everything on here - the heavenly flute sound is very similar to the style used on 'Reasons For Waiting'.
In all, the amount of good material on Benefit is still enough to make the record worth acquiring, and apart from the synth noises on 'Play In Time', there's nothing particular offensive about the remaining songs. It's not a crime, though, if you prefer to skip it - like I said, I just don't feel the record really fits in in between the two other ones that surround it chronologically.
Special note: there are actually several Benefits floating around, of which I seem to have the original British version. The American one seemed to have cut out 'For Michael Collins' and replaced it with the single 'Teacher'. A very wise move, considering that the former is one of the worst efforts on here and that 'Teacher' is a terrific single, quite in the Stand Up vein... be sure to take a look at the (unfortunately very brief) snatch of it on the 20 Years video...
READER COMMENTS SECTION
LIVE AT CARNEGIE HALL
Year Of Release: 1993 Record rating = 8 Overall rating = 11
While some of the performances here are kinda sloppy, Ian moar than makes up for it. Best song: TO CRY YOU A SONG
Track listing: 1) Nothing Is Easy; 2) My God; 3) With You There To Help Me; 4) A Song For Jeffrey; 5) To Cry You A Song; 6) Sossity You're A Woman; 7) Reasons For Waiting; 8) We Used To Know; 9) Guitar Solo; 10) For A Thousand Mothers.
This isn't really an independent officially released record, but lemme explain. It was originally constituting Disc 2 of the 25th Anniversary Boxset, released, well, on their 25th anniversary and including quite a few previously unheard live cuts. Arguably, Carnegie Hall is the most interesting part of the boxset as it's the only solid block of performed numbers that dates back to such an early period - since then, we've had Bursting Out and Little Light Music and quite a bit of other stuff, but you know how it goes: the earlier it gets, the moar interesting it becomes. So, right now, the album has been released in Russia separately from the other discs, and a good move it was, as I would never shell out my hard-earned pay for a 4CD boxset (and one of these CDs consists entirely of well-known material available on regular studio releases, too). Therefore, it's pretty much impossible to find this anywhere else in the world, and I guess I should just stop my review here and say good-bye to you all. On the other hand, if you happen to have some spare gold bullion which you're not intent on investing into a packet of Microsoft shares, you might as well grab this little boxset, too, and I'll do my best to seduce you. Because this concert recording is really very nice. You might remember something about it, too, if you own Living In The Past, one side of which consists entirely of two numbers culled from the show; see the Living In The Past review below to find out why both of them suck. Quite unlike the rest of the concert, which is presented to you here in its (near) entirety.
There are no obscure or unknown songs on here: the band trustily plays its cards by drawing on material from Stand Up and Benefit; the two major exceptions are 'A Song For Jeffrey', the only short-time stage favourite from the debut album, and a 'pre-release' version of 'My God' which would surface on Aqualung in just a few months after the show. And I wouldn't want to lie and say that everything works. One thing that's great is the sound quality: you can hear basically everything, or concentrate on any particular instrument you'd wish to, or just groove along to Ian's heavy panting. But sound quality isn't everything; I have a feeling that Martin Barre was in some kind of depression that night. Not that his playing is bad, but every time they start a heavily guitar-based song, he manages to mess it up somehow and make the song incomparable to the studio version. 'Nothing Is Easy', 'My God' and 'We Used To Know' are three songs that require maximum precision, clearness and energy when you play the guitar on them; Martin fails to deliver the goods. The sound seems much too sloppy for my ears, and Barre is no Pete Townshend to allow himself to play sloppily: when he misses a note or gets the wrong tone for his instrument, the effect is murky and cacophonous. Now don't you worry, all three tunes are still very much enjoyable, but it pains me to see the powerful ending of 'Nothing Is Easy' reduced to a distorted, ear-hurting mess simply due to the fact that Martin wouldn't want (or wasn't able?) to play as precisely and fluently as in the studio on that particular night. I also miss the cathartic wah-wah effects on the unexpectedly shortened version of 'We Used To Know'; and after that Barre goes into a seven-minute solo that has its moments (watch out for that great vibrato in the middle), but for the most part is deadly dull. I mean, it's not enough to play these vicious notes, you also have to structure them somehow. And Martin truly didn't care much about structuring them that evening.
Now the biggest surprise for me is that somewhere in the middle of the show Ian turns to his trusty guitarist and says something like: 'Martin, it's your night tonight, Martin'. Because by all means, that night belonged completely to Mr Anderson - the worse his sidekick got, the better Ian looked himself. His vocals are as great as ever - powerful, sneering and gentle at turns - but it's not the vocals, rather the awesome flute playing, that really strikes you on here. The record is an absolute must for all those who respect Ian's handling of the instrument. This is particularly evident on the schizophrenic flute solos in 'My God': the song probably wasn't yet ripe enough to include the funny Russian chorus section, so instead of this you get three or four minutes of Mr Loony Fawn doing his flute racket thing, and man, that's really mind-blowing. He alternates regular 'classical' passages with something which could only be described 'fits of madness', growling, grumbling, roaring, bellowing and even... sneezing along with the flute sounds he makes. Woo-hoo. Don't play this too loud, or you'll end up in an asylum.
Also, the rest of the band holds up together exceedingly well. Clive Bunker amply demonstrates why he was the best drummer Jethro Tull ever had (actually, Barrie Barlow has a moar impressive technique, but Clive is tons moar energetic), Glenn Cornick contributes his usual jazzy bass lines, and John Evan, by that time already a formal member of the band, adorns even the older numbers with clever organ and piano parts. And, contrary to what you'd expect, they don't extend the numbers for too long: I couldn't complain about the length of anything on here, except for that fishy Barre solo.
Finally, one last praise is that this album somewhat reinstates my faith in Benefit: even 'Sossity You're A Woman' sounds improved on here, with Ian taking on a far moar energetic approach, and the short, unadorned version of 'With You There To Help Me' liberates you from the necessity of enduring the final jam of the studio take. And Barre regains enough of his senses to at least play the great riff of 'To Cry You A Song' flawlessly - so far, it's my favourite performance on here.
All in all, the night was not perfect enough to make this album the best live record of Tull; Bursting Out still gets a higher rating. But keep in mind that these are the only live versions of 'My God' and 'Nothing Is Easy' you'll ever be a-findin', and maybe you'll give it a chance.
READER COMMENTS SECTION
Year Of Release: 1971 Record rating = 9 Overall rating = 12
A must for every prog lover. But I bet you all know it already. Best song: LOCOMOTIVE BREATH
Track listing: 1) Aqualung; 2) Cross-Eyed Mary; 3) Cheap Day Return; 4) Mother Goose; 5) Wond'ring Aloud; 6) Up To Me; 7) My God; 8) Hymn 43; 9) Slipstream; 10) Locomotive Breath; 11) Wind Up.
American audiences needn't be introduced to this album - as far as I know, lots of its songs are constantly recycled on the radio, and overall, if Jethro Tull are to be associated with anything by anybody, it's probably the menacing heavy riff which opens the title track. The biggest ever commercial whopper for Tull, it is that good indeed - even though the same American audiences were slow on the move to really appreciate Stand Up. Anyway, for aspeaking out loud, it's tons better than Benefit, and a true all-time classic. I may easily say that there's not a single bad song on the album - for the very last time in the entire Tull career (barring the one song albums, of course, one of which is all good and the other... ahem... well, read on, oh gentle listener). Maybe it has something to do with a radical change in line-up - this is where both John Evan and Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond stand up to the blackboard (well, Evan did play some keybs on Benefit, but that doesn't count - he wasn't even a legitimate band member). Maybe Anderson was desperately looking for FM radio hits. Maybe he just had a good day. I don't know. What I know is that this is the last Tull record which is listenable at first listen and memorable at first memory (forgive me my silly analogies). Actually, it is something of a bridge between the lovely early blues-psycho days and the later murky overblown pompous fantasy days. This is the first of Anderson's multiple concept albums, but the concept is still rather just a basis for the songs than vice versa. The plot is as follows: Man created God and God created Aqualungs. Or was it the opposite? Oh, never mind. It's all written in a parody on John's Gospel placed on the album cover. In other words, it's a stupid, self-indulgent concept that bashes organized religion and sometimes borders on bashing the very essence of religion - especially on tracks like 'My God', although Anderson always takes care so as not to cross the thin borderline completely. That's not to say that the lyrics are bad: the underlying ideas and principles are very simple, but this is Anderson at his most poetic and involving, and his imagery has never been stronger, considering that on here he's still able to uphold the balance between form and content - since Thick As A Brick and particularly later on, his lyrics would go off the deep end completely.
Let us not forget the immaculate melodies, though. The radio classics include the multi-part title track, highlighted by the above-mentioned cool riff, very expressive singing that ranges from a special Anderson-style 'vomit-inducing sneer' to passionate and heartfelt, and a mad, ecstatic, rise-to-a-shattering-climax guitar solo courtesy of Martin Barre; 'Cross-Eyed Mary' with its gorgeous crescendo in the flute-dominated introduction and Anderson's bitter condemnation of the middle class society; and especially my favourite - the bad luck anthem 'Locomotive Breath'. Have you ever heard a riff imitating the slow progress of a train? Then you haven't heard 'Locomotive Breath', a song perfect from the first notes of the John Evan Bach-imitating piano introduction to the majestic fade out with Ian singing that 'there's no way to slow down'. If it ain't my favourite song by Jethro Tull, that's just because it isn't on my turntable at the present moment. Yes, I admit it's rather naive for a person who's gone through the entire Tull catalog to announce that his favourite song by the band is the one radio standard that's most popular among the beer-drinkin' crowds, but what can I do if the song's pure and clear genius? Forgive me, lovers of Tull. At least I don't abuse beer.
But even if you don't hear the other tracks on the radio every five minutes, that doesn't mean they aren't worth of radioplay. 'Hymn 43' may not be great, but, once again, the riff is an absolute classic (and this is where you'll find the famous line about how 'if Jesus saves, he'd better save himself...', so much hated by orthodoxal church abiders who intentionally neglect that the second half of the phrase goes '...from the gory glory seekers who use his name in death'). Barre and Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond chug along on the track like mad, transforming it into a true hard rock masterpiece. The plaintive, desperate 'Up To Me' is based on a cool repetitive flute line, 'Mother Goose' is just a funny tune (having nothing to do with the notorious rhymes), and the lengthiest track on here - the conceptual climax of 'My God' - also manages to keep the listener's attention, going off from rifffests onto bits of Bach onto bits of Russian folk music (not that Anderson knew very well how to handle Russian folk music, but at least he made an entertaining try). Plus there are several short acoustic links which all the Tull-haters try to accentuate by saying all kinds of things about how they suck and so on, but LIVING IN THE PAST
Year Of Release: 1972 Record rating = 9 Overall rating = 12
Oh, I love these early singles. All you haters of overblown prog, get it. It might change your opinion. Best song: LIVING IN THE PAST
Track listing: 1) A Song For Jeffrey; 2) Love Story; 3) Christmas Song; 4) Living In The Past; 5) Driving Song; 6) Sweet Dreams; 7) Singing All Day; 8) Witch's Promise; 9) Inside; 10) Just Trying To Be; 11) By Kind Permission Of; 12) Dharma For One; 13) Wond'ring Again; 14) Locomotive Breath; 15) Life Is A Long Song; 16) Up The Pool; 17) Dr. Bogenbroom; 18) For Later; 19) Nursie.
(Hope you don't mind that previous mail-your-ideas line in the reader comments section. I try to follow my concept, see, and if it sometimes looks offensive, don't forget that it's undertaken in the name of the Idea). You might actually not believe it, but for a short while the Tullers were not just another bunch of pretentious prog rock giants - they wedition only has one track in all, and it's a real pain in the butt to have to wait through all the filler to get to the good sections, which irritates me even further.
Of course, you'll have to love this album if you actually want to qualify as hardcore Tuller. This and Minstrel In The Gallery are, like, the ultimate tests: if you stand 'em, welcome to the elitist club of Anderson worshippers. I mean, if the reviewer refuses to join it, it's no reason to follow suite, isn't it? Who knows, you might enjoy A Passion Play even moar than some of the commenting gentlemen below. But this is a highly acquired taste; objectively, A Passion Play is the first album that adds absolutely nothing new to the Tull legacy. I mean, you wouldn't want to argue that Ian's saxophone is a major and crucial innovation for the band, now would you?
READER COMMENTS SECTION
Year Of Release: 1974 Record rating = 7 Overall rating = 10
Concept again, but the songs are shorter and catchier and why not give it a try? It's moody. Best song: BUNGLE IN THE JUNGLE
Track listing: 1) Warchild; 2) Queen And Country; 3) Ladies; 4) Back Door Angels; 5) Sealion; 6) Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of A New Day; 7) Bungle In The Jungle; 8) Only Solitaire; 9) The Third Hoorah; 10) Two Fingers.
Well, there you are. Even if Ian had always said he didn't give a damn about critical opinion, he must have still felt uncomfortable about the bashing-out of A Passion Play. Because on his next release he's finally increased the number of tracks to a whole ten. And I don't want to say the previous two albums' main flaw was the lengthiness. Nope; I've always said things like Thick As A Brick and stuff were just your ordinary song collections with the only difference that the pauses between tracks have been switched for non-breaking instrumental links. But I've also come to realize pauses between songs are really vital. Absolutely necessary, in fact. For three reasons: first of all, you can always run off to the bathroom without having to push the PAUSE button; second, you can always spend all the time you want there without having to rush back and resume playing before your CD player automatically disables the pause; and third, you don't have to fast forward the actual track with cusses and obscenities only to find out you don't really remember what exact minute you were listening to. Seriously now. These ten songs really show that, unfortunately, the main problem with A Passion Play wasn't the bad abuse of 'conceptuality' and self-indulgence. The main problem was that Ian's songwriting talents have slowly begun to wane. By now he's slowly steering into the direction of his own fantasies and dreams which actually brought about his total commercial downfall in a couple years. Artistic, too. I'm not going to pretend I'm a big fan of Mr Ian Anderson's fantasy world. Like one Peter Gabriel said, 'I know what I like, and I like what I know'. I couldn't agree moar. It's not that I'd like Ian's music to sound commercial or anything - I'm just trying to say that somewhere on the way Ian had apparently lost the Major Artist's Filter that would allow him to sort out the mediocrities and leave in only the "pure gold". Just look at the band's creativity, for Chrissake - out of all the notorious prog rock acts, Jethro Tull were the only band that stuck to a strict one-album-per-year schedule all throughout the Seventies. Not to mention all those rarities that were released afterwards on anniversary boxsets and suchlike. With such a flood of productivity - all due to Ian's complete rejection of the Filter - it was inevitable that the band would soon be drowning in a sea of pretention and questionable fantasies, and its devoted following reduced from millions all over the world to a small, compact groups of people who had the luck (or the misfortune) to possess a mind similar or equal to that of Ian's.
Well, thank your lucky stars that there's still a lot to cheer about on Warchild; unlike whatever followed it, it can be said to be at least a slight rebound into the world of "pre-Passion Play". Like I said, it's certainly conceptual, and the nature of the concept is quite clear: as usual, Ian goes ridiculizing society and mocking at the establishment with some really clever lyrics, adding certain obscure anti-war references and, well, intriguing imagery that will leave one completely satisfied. In fact, if anything has taken a turn for the better since Play, it's the lyrics: Ian has obviously turned away from Yes-like poetic spontaneous nonsense and made up some really interesting, er, 'texts'. Check 'em out even if you don't have the album, they're quite deserving.
As for the music, about half of the album is really really good (quite a good percentage for post-1972 Tull). The title track leads off the record with some subtle majesty (the refrain 'Warchild/Dance the days and dance the nights away' is especially memorable). It has a strange atmosphere, never found on any Tull record both before and after - something in the Spanish style, I'd bet, but I'm not too sure. 'Sealion' has a great melody, too - I confess I somewhat prefer the 'alternate' version found on Nightcap (with silly lyrics by Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond that have a lot to do wowerful, inspiring anthem ('Flying Colours') that's energized beyond our biggest hopes.
There's even a funny spooky groove - 'Watching Me Watching You', with crazy drum patterns strewn throughout the song in order to emphasize the sense of paranoia. (Somehow, this song has without any apparent reason made it onto the lowest rung of Tull compositions among the fans; I suppose it has something to do with it sounding a wee bit New Wave-ish, and you know that rabid Tull fans and New Wave tolerance is a near-incompatible thing.) And finally, the album ends on a gentle and touching note with a nod to 'Grace' (the charming farewell of 'Cheerio').
Filler? The filler amount is surprisingly low; actually, I count just one piece of filler, the endless 'Seal Driver' which is the only song on here that doesn't have a well defined hook and drives on fueled by energy alone. Martin's solo in the middle is beautiful, but so is his solo on, say, 'Broadsword', so the song sure has a lot of competition. But forget that, that's just one song: the lowest rate of filler on a Tull album since at least Thick As A Brick. The actual melodies are all distinguishable, rarely boring, and there's almost no sign of those uninspired, poorly-crafted 'jams' that infest their Seventies catalogue: the songs are relatively short and always straight to the point.
In all, this could have been a perfect formula for late-period Tull: retro rockers/ballads with a significant, but not over-the-top touch of modern production values. For once, Ian came close to learning and clearly understanding the possibilities of "modern technologies" and settling into a groove that would allow him to combine modern-sounding arrangements with his age-old gift for hooks and melodies. Who knows? Maybe if Jethro Tull had only stuck with this formula for some moar time they'd even succeed in gaining some long-lost respect. With an album like Broadsword, Ian clearly let us know that he, too, could be able to survive the 'hard times' and creatively reinvent himself, like Genesis and Yes, and even better than Genesis and Yes, because the latter actually reinvented themselves as mainstream pop bands - excellent mainstream pop bands, to be sure (particularly Genesis in 1981-83), but mainstream pop bands all the same. Ian reinvented himself as the same old witty prog-rocker, who can even tame lame lifeless Eighties production if the need arises.
But no, that was not to happen. As it was, the silly need to 'progress' and 'experiment' eventually drove Ian to the point of recording some of the worst trash that could ever come out of the whole prog-rock bunch - and then, to a complete and lengthy period of total musical degradation.
READER COMMENTS SECTION
Year Of Release: 1984 Record rating = 2 Overall rating = 5
A tuneless bunch of computer-produced noise. Avoid this at all costs. Best song: LAP OF LUXURY
Track listing: 1) Lap Of Luxury; 2) Under Wraps # 1; 3) European Legacy; 4) Later That Same Evening; 5) Saboteur; 6) Radio Free Moscow; 7) Astronomy; 8) Tundra; 9) Nobody's Car; 10) Heat; 11) Under Wraps # 2; 12) Paparazzi; 13) Apogee; 14) Automotive Engineering; 15) General Crossing.
Really. The unpleasant things that populated the last two Tull albums are all here (drum machines, synths, diverse production gimmicks and sound effects), all right. But this time they're not compensated neither with good melodies nor with... hell, nor with anything else. Even Barre's guitar, which slowly tends to evolve to the kind of metal **** that was so typical for the Eighties, is rarely heard among the forests and seas of electronic sound. I really don't know what Ian was thinking about and how much effort did he really shove into this piece of worthless plastic. Well, I mean, on the other hand, I do know what Ian was thinking about. He was thinking about how synthesizers and electronics could turn out to be the real true future of music and decided to jump on the bandwagon - having missed the New Wave bandwagon, he thought it would have been nice to at least catch the synth pop bandwagon. But I don't hate the album for the same reason that Tull fans usually hate it, i.e. for the reason that "Jethro Tull are a prog-rock band! What are they doing with all that electronica pop ****?". As you might have noticed, I have evaluated Broadsword And The Beast rather highly. No, the reason is that the band, and Ian in particular, simply missed the very point of synth-pop. Essentially, synth-pop is just a facilitated way of making simple, effective pop/rock tunes - it has no value in itself whatsoever. Creating, for instance, a touching atmospheric texture within the world of synth-pop is a task worthy of a Hercules. And when you try to mix synth-pop with traces of 'progressive' - complex song structures, pretentious lyrics, untrivial, hookless melodies - the result can only be predicted as a complete disaster. Anderson tries to breathe life into these clumsy, robotic numbers, but all he results in is a humourless, unmemorable offense to the good memory of Jethro Tull.
The track listing here is endless, with bonus tracks for the CD, and this only makes the hatred grow. Even the lyrics have degenerated to either an uncompromised paranoid spy-mania ('Nobody's Car', 'Saboteur', 'Radio Free Moscow') or lousy social critique ('Lap Of Luxury'). Despite this, 'Lap Of Luxury' seems to be one of the few really listenable songs on here, with an actual melody and groove going on. It's one of the songs on here that doesn't try to be complex, concentrating instead on a couple of solid vocal hooks, and as a result, it works better than almost anything else.
The title track is also nice, displaying some genuine emotion (even though it's indeed 'under wraps', bein
71- "nothing visible to the eye provides a reason"---a fitting phrase for what's happened.
And to think my day actually started off pretty well.
I woke up having had an almost wet-dream about Thumper. She was doing this crazy Margaretha Geertruida Zelle dance, veil after coloured veil thrown aside, though oddly enough never landing, rather flying around her as if she were in the middle of some kind of gentle twister, these sheer sheets of fabric continuing to encircle her, even as she removes moar and moar of them, allowing me only momentary glimpses of her body, her smooth skin, her mouth, her waist, her---ah, yes, I get a glimpse of that too, and I'm moving towards her, moving past all that interference, certain that with every step I take I'll soon have her, after all she's almost taken everything off, no she has taken everything off, her knees are spreading apart, just a few moar veils to get past and I'll be able to see her, not just bits & pieces of her, but all of her, no longer molested by all this nonsense, in fact I'm there already which means I'm about to enter her which apparently is enough to blow the circuit, hit the switch, prohibit that sublime and much anticipated conclusion, leaving me blind in the daylight stream pouring through my window.
I go to cuff in the shower. At least the water's not and there's enough steam to fog the mirror. Afterwards, I pack my pipe and light up. Wake & Bake. Moar like Wash & Bake. Half a bowl of cereal and a show of bourbon later, I'm there, my friendly haze having finally arrived. I'm ready for work.
Parking's easy to find. On Vista. I jog up to Sunset, even jog up the stairs, practically skipping past the By Appointment Only sign. Why skipping? Because as I step into the Shop I know I'm not even one minute late, which is not usually the case for me. The expression on my boss's face reveals just how astHELPIMABUGonishing an achievement this is. I couldn't care less about him. I want to see Thumper. I want to find out if she's really wearing any of that diaphanous rainbow fabric I was dreaming about.
Of course she's not there, but that doesn't get me down. I'm still optimistic she'll arrive. And if not today, why ****, tomorrow's just another day away.
A sentiment I could almost sing.
I immediately sit down at the side counter and start working, mainly because I don't want to deal with my boss which would mean jeopardizing my good mood. Of course he couldn't care less about me or my mood. He approaches, clearing his throat. He will talk, he will ruin everything, except it suddenly penetrates that chalky material he actually insists on calling his brain, that I'm building his precious points, and sure enough this insight prohibits his trap from opening and he leaves me alone.
Points are basically clusters of needles used to shade the skin. They are necessary because a single point amounts to a prick not much bigger than this period ".". Okay, maybe a little bigger. Anyway, five needles go into what's called a 5, seven for 7's and so on---all soldered together towards the base.
I actually enjoy making them. There's something pleasant about concentrating on the subtle details, the precision required, constantly checking and re-checking to assure yourself that yes indeed the sharps are level, in the correct arrangement, ready at last to be fixed in place with dots of hot solder. Then I re-check all my re-checking: the points must not be too close not too far apart nor skewed in any way, and only then, if I'm satisfied, which I usually am---though take heed "usually" does not mean "always"---will I scrub the shafts and put them aside to be sterilized later in the ultrasound or Autoclave.
My boss may think I can't draw worth **** but he knows I build needles better than anyone. He calls me all the time on my tardiness, my tendency to drift & moither and of course the odds that I'll ever get to tattoo anything---"Johnny, nothing you do, (shaking his head) no one's ever gonna wanna make permanent, unless they're crazy, and let me tell you something Johnny, crazies never pay"---but about my needle making I've never heard him complain once.
Anyway, a couple of hours whiz by. I'm finishing up a batch of 5's---my boss's cluster of choice---when he finally speaks, telling me to pull some bottles of black and purple ink and fill a few caps while I'm at it. We keep stuff in the storeroom in back. It's a sizeable space, big enough to fit a small work table in. You have to climb eight pretty steeps steps to reach it. That's where we stock all the extras, and we have extras for almost everything, except light bulbs. For some reason my boss hasn't picked up any extra light bulbs in a while. Today, of course, I flick the switch, and FLASH! BLAM! POP!, okay, scratch the blam, the storeroom bulb burns out. I recommence flicking, as if such insistent, highly repetitive and at this point pointless action could actually resurrect the light. It doesn't. The switch has been rendered meaningless, forcing me to feel my way around in the dark. I keep the door open so I can see okay, but it still takes me awhile to negotiate the shadows before I can locate caps and ink.
By now, the sweet effects of my dream, to say nothing of the soft thrumming delivered care of alcohol and Oregon bud, have worn off, though I still continue to think about Thumper, slowly coming to grips with the fact that she won't be visiting today. This causes my spirits to drop substantially, until I realize I have no way of knowing that for certain. After all, there's still half a day left. No, she's not coming. I know it. I can feel it in my gut. That's okay. Tomorrow's---aw, **** that.
I start filling caps with purple, concentrating on its texture, that strange hue, imagining I can actually observe the rapid pulse of its bandwidth. These are stupid thoughts, and as if to confirm that sentiment, darkness pushes in on me. Suddenly the slash of light on my hands looks sharp enough to cut me. real sharp. Move and it will cit me. I do move and guess what? I start o bleed. The laceration isn't deep but important stuff has been struck, leaking over the table and floor. Lost.
I don't have long.
Except I'm not bleeding though I am breathing hard. Real hard. I don't need to touch my face to know that there are now beads of sweat slipping off my forehead, flicking of my eyelids, streaming down the back of my neck. Cold as hands. Hands of the dead. Something terrible is going on here. Going extremely wrong. Get out, I think. I want to get out. But I can't move.
Then as if this were nothing but a grim prelude, **** really starts to happen.
There's that awful taste again, sharp as rust, wrapping around my tongue.
Worse, I'm no longer alone.
This time it's human.
Extremely long fingers.
A sucking sound too. Sucking on teeth, teeth already torn from the gums.
I don't know how I know this.
But it's already to late, I've seen the eyes. The eyes. They have no whites. I haven't seen this. The way they glisten the glisten red. Then it begins reaching for me, slowly unfolding itself ot of its corner, mad meat all of it, but I understand. These eyes are full of blood.
Except I'm only looking at shadows and shelves.
Of course, I'm alone.
And then, behind me, the door closes.
The rest is in pieces. A scream, a howl, a roar. All's warping, or splintering. That makes no sense. There's a terrible banging. The air's rank with stench. At least that's not a mystery. I know the source. Boy, do I ever. I've **** myself. ****ed myself too. I can't believe it. Urine soaking into my pants, fecal matter running down the back of my legs, I'm caught in it, must run and hide from it, but I still can't move. In fact, the moar I try to escape, the less I can breathe. The moar I try to hold on, the less I can focus. Something's leaving me. Parts of me.
Everything falls apart.
Stories heard but not recalled.
Words filling my head. Fragmenting like artillery shells. Shrapnel, like syllables, flying everywhere. Terrible syllables. Sharp. Cracked. Travelling at murderous speed. Tearing through it all in a very, very bad perhaps even irreparable way.
Without meaning---I'm afraid not.
The shape of a shape of a shape of a face dis(as)sembling right before my eyes. What wail embittled break Like a hawk. Another Maldon or no Maldon at all, on snowy days, or not snowy at all, far beyond the edge of any reasonable awareness. This is what it feels like to be really afraid. Though of course it doesn't. None of this can truly approach the reality of that fear, there in the midst of all that bedlam, like the sound of a heart or some other unholy blast, desperate & dying, slamming, no banging into the thin wall of my inner ear, paper thin in fact, attempting to shatter inside what had already been shattered long ago.
I should be dead.
Why am I still here?
And as that question appears---concise, in order, properly accented---I see I'm holding onto the tray loaded with all those caps and bottles of black and purple ink. Not only that but I'm already walking as fast as I can through the doorway. The door is open though I did not open it. I stub my toe. I'm falling down the stairs, tripping over myself, hurling the tray in the air, the caps, the ink, all of it, floating now above me, as my hands, independent of anything I might have thought to suggest, reach up to protect my head. Something hisses and slashes out at the back of my neck. It doesn't matter. Down I go, head first, somersaulting down those eight pretty steep steps, a wild blur, hip, elbows, even as I also, at the same time, remain dimly aware of so much ink coming down like a bad rain, splattering around me, everywhere, covering my, even the tray hitting me, though that doesn't hurt, the caps scattering across the floor, and of course the accompanying racket, telling my boss, telling them all, whoever else was there--- What? not that it was over, it wasn't, not yet
The wind's knocked out of me. It's not coming back. Here's where I die, I think. And it's true, I'm possessed by the premonition of what will be, what has to be, my inevitable asphyxiation. At least that's what they see, my boss and crew, as they come running to the back, called there by all that clatter & mess. What they can't see though is the omen seen in a fall, my fall, as I'm doused in black ink, my hands now completely covered, and see the floor is black, and---have you anticipated this or should I be moar explicit?---jet on jet; for a blinding instant I've watched my hand vanish, in fact of me has vanished, one hell of a disappearing act, too, the already foreseen dissolution of the self, lost without contrast, slipping into oblivion, until mid-gasp I catch sight of my reflection in the back of the tray, the ghost in the way: seems I'm not gone, granting contrast, and thus splattered with purple, as have my arms, granting contrast, and thus defining me, marking me, and at least for the moment, preserving me.
Suddenly I can breathe and with each breath the terror rapidly dissipates.
My boss, however, is scared ****less.
"Jesus Christ Johnny," he says, "Are you okay? What happened?"
Can't you see I've **** myself, I think to shout. But now I see that I haven't. Except for the ink blotting my threads, my pants are bone dry.
I mumble something about how much my toe hurts.
He takes that to mean I'm alright and won't try to sue him from a wheelchair.
Later a patron points out the long, bloody scratch on the back of my neck.
I'm unable to respond.
Now, though, I realize what I should have said---in the spirit of the dark; in the spirit of the staircase ---
"Known some call is air am."
Which is to say ---
"I am not what I used to be."
That's just disgusting.