The Conchordia Folio: Germany
I am definitely the only person on the planet trying to take down Shakespeare. Everyone thinks he’s the best, but I know for a fact my bass-lines are better. To determine who wins will be easy, place the First Folio by my Conchordia Folio & let people decide themselves. That means I have to compose 39 plays – Shakespeare did 37 for sure, but there’s a couple of plays that have his pensmanship incorporated, & 39 is a nicer number 3×13. Whatever happens, however, between the Bard & I we will have recorded a great deal of history in the dramatic form. Shakespeare would have buzzed off being able to write about Napoleon, but unfortunately died two centuries earlier. That’s where I step in…
I am currently in the city of Koblenz, a beautiful spot where the Moselle meets the Rhine, over which corner there is a huge stature of Kaiser Wilhelm I looking towards Berlin I expect. I’ve been availing myself of the 9 euro all-month, train-bus ticket, in order to explore the area.
Bad Ems is the playground of Tsars & Kaisers, a gorgeous spot, over which towers Concordia Hill, which I felt rather appropriate as I watched the sun go down over the spa town. I even wrote a little sonnet;
Tis four & twenty years since I took seat
Oer Portovenere, one long sunset
Where I became a poet, quite a feat,
So much promise slips the Muses’ net,
But I was just so happy then, alive,
A man, a pen, an empty leaf of book,
Those simplet joys that to these hours survive
Atop the steep Concordia, just look!
Bad Ems slithers so beautiful, both sides
Of dreaming Lahn that elegantly glides
Between unbroken woodland hanging oer
This sylvan scene which Tsars & Kaisers saw
& Wagner too, Parsifal composing,
I’ll soon be back, this valley’ll hear me sing!
Not my greatest sonnet. I do sense my poetry needs Conchordia now. Minor sonneteering feels a tad trivial when I have over 20 conchords to write. Hopefully by the time I’m fifty, by the way, which works out one of every couple of months. Very doable if I’m very dedicated.
Returning to Germany, on the day of the great heatwave (unless you live in India), from Koblenz towards the west winds the Moselle – so stunning a gorge of greenery & curves & cute little towns – to Trier, another spectacular city, possibly the oldest in Europe & the de facto operational Roman HQ for NW Europe. It was there that I’ve found my 38th subject for a conchord, the witch trials of the late 1580s ran by Jesuits. The devil was clearly work in those days & the whole story should make a gripping watch. Its going to be called DIETRICH or DIETRICH FLADE, after one of the Witch-hunters whose story is the most interesting. After returning to Koblenz I lunched, siestaed, then caught a train to Mainz & back gushing over the Rhine gorge, drinking rose wine, which I finished off sipping as I wandered the very beautiful old town of Koblenz.
The last time I was abroad I was in Malta, December 2020, completing the 13th conchord of the Conchordia Folio, The Siege of Gozo. So what’s happen’d since? Well, I’m still on Arran, where I did write an update in February setting out my plans. I did manage to complete the first part of the Madchester trilogy, which I’ve made available to buy in ‘quarto’ form so to speak, as will the rest over the coming months.
There’s been some evolutions since then, including the setting of the final 39 concords (bar one). These neatly fit into 3 blocks of 7 separate conchords follow’d by a sexology block of connected concords. Three acts if you will, which in chronological order appear as (completed conchords in bold type)
The King & The Spider
The Siege of Gozo
The Siege of Vellore
The Flight of the White Eagles
Paradise of Exiles
Stars & Stripes
In a Man’s Garden
Exes & Axes
Black Watch Brodick
The Day of the Gryphon
GODS OF THE RING
Float Like A Butterfly
Sting Like A Bee
Fight of the Century
Rumble in the Jungle
Thriller in Manilla
Madchester: The Gathering
Madchester: The Come Down
The Rock & Roll Apocalypse
Little Black Book
No Nay Never
I am currently composing Atahuallpa, the story of the last Incan King & his defeat by Don Pizarro. Cool constumes will abound with this one, & the story’s guest. I’ll also be working on the Savoyards at the same time, the story of Gilbert & Sullivan’s creation of the Mikada. It’ll be something of a G&S light opera about Gilbert & Sullivan themselves. I’m also converting Black Watch Brodick, my epic ballad cycle, into an actual conchordia, one which I’ll be presenting this armistice day.
The Edinburgh Fringe is on the horizon, which I’ll be reviewing & running the Mumble, but at the same time working on several conchords at once, including the finalisations of Rock & Roll Apocalypse – which might be a dream by Bez – & Exes & Axes. The latter I’ll be sitting in Navarenx, southern France, where I’ll be visiting on a drive to Portugal after the Fringe… watch this space.
Damian Beeson Bullen