New York

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‘I’ Article on ‘Bardcore’ – Postmodern Fusion of Medieval Music and Modern Pop

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 05/08/2020 - 8:20pm in

I’m a fan of early music, which is the name that’s been given to music from the ancient period through medieval to baroque. It partly comes from having studied medieval history at ‘A’ level, and then being in a medieval re-enactment group for several years. Bardcore is, as this article explains, a strange fusion of modern pop and rock with medieval music, played on medieval instruments and with a medieval vocal arrangement. I’ve been finding a good deal of it on my YouTube page at the moment, which means that there are a good many people out there listening to it. On Monday the I’s Gillian Fisher published a piece about this strange new genre of pop music, ‘Tonight we’re going to party like it’s 1199’, with the subtitle ‘Bardcare reimagines modern pop with a medieval slant. Hark, says Gillian Fisher’. The article ran

“Hadst thou need to stoop so low? To send a wagon for thy minstrel and refuse my letters, I need no longer write them though. Now thou art somebody whom I used to know.”

If you can’t quite place this verse, let me help – it’s the chorus from the 2011 number one Somebody That I Used to Know, by Gotye. It might seem different to how you remember it, which is no surprise – this is the 2020 Bardcore version. Sometimes known as Tavernwave, Bardcore gives modern hits a medieval makeover with crumhorns a plenty and lashings of lute. Sometimes lyrics are also rejigged as per Hildegard von Blingin’s offering above.

Algal (41-year-old Alvaro Galan) has been creating medieval covers since 2016, a notable example being his 2017 version of System of a Down’s Toxicity. Largely overlooked at the time, the video now boasts over 4.4 million views. Full-time musician Alvaro explains that “making the right song at the right moment” is key, and believes that Bardcore offers absolute escapism.

Alvaro says: “What I enjoy most about Bardcore is that I can close my eyes and imagine being in a medieval tavern playing for a drunk public waiting to dance! But from a more realistic perspective , I love to investigate the sounds of the past.”

In these precarious times, switching off Zoom calls and apocalyptic headlines to kick back with a flagon of mead offers a break from the shambles of 2020. Looking back on simpler times during periods of unrest is a common coping mechanism, as Krystine Batcho, professor of psychology at New York’ Le Moyne College explained in her paper on nostalgia: “Nostalgic yearning for the past is especially likely to occur during periods of transition, like maturing into adulthood or aging into retirement. Dislocation or alienation can also elicit nostalgia.”

The fact that Bardcore is also pretty funny also offers light relief. The juxtaposition of ancient sound with 21st-century sentiment is epitomised in Stantough’s medieval oeuvre, such as his cover of Shakira’s Hips Don’t Lie. Originally from Singapore, Stantough (Stanley Yong), 35 says: “I really like the fact we don’t really take it very seriously. We’re all aware what we’re making isn’t really medieval but the idea of modern songs being “medievalised” is just too funny.”

One of Bardcore’s greatest hits, is Astronomia by Cornelius Link, which features trilling flutes and archaic vocal by Hildegard. It’s a tune that has been enjoyed by 5.3 million listeners. Silver-tongued Hildegard presides over the Bardcore realm, with her cover of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance clocking up 5 million views. Canadian illustrator Hildegard, 28, fits Bardcore around work and describes herself as “an absolute beginner” with the Celtic harp and “enthusiastically mediocre” with the recorder. Her lyric adaptations have produced some humdingers such as “All ye bully-rooks with your buskin boots which she sings in rich, resonant tones.

HIldegard, who wishes to remain anonymous, believes the Bardcore boom can be “chalked up to luck, boredom and a collective desire to connect and laugh.”

In three months, the Bardcore trend has evolved with some minstrels covering Disney anthems, while others croon Nirvana hits in classical Latin. While slightly absurd, this fusion genre has ostensibly provided a sense of unity and catharsis.

The humming harps and rhythmic tabor beats evoke a sense of connection with our feudal ancestors and their own grim experience of battening down the hatches against the latest outbreak. Alongside appealing to the global sense of pandemic ennui, connecting to our forbears through music is predicated upon the fact that they survived their darkest hours. And so shall we.

While Bardcore’s a recent phenomenon, I think it’s been drawing on trends in pop music that have happening for quite long time. For example, I noticed in the 1990s when I went to a performance of the early music vocal group, the Hilliard Ensemble, when they performed at Brandon Hill in Bristol that the audience also included a number of Goths. And long-haired hippy types also formed part of the audience for Benjamin Bagley when he gave his performance of what the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf probably sounded like on Anglo-Saxon lyre at the Barbican centre in the same decade.

Bardcore also seems connected to other forms of postmodern music. There’s the group the Postmodern Jukebox, whose tunes can also be found on YouTube, who specialise in different 20th century arrangements of modern pop songs. Like doing a rock anthem as a piece of New Orleans Jazz, for example. And then there’s Orkestra Obsolete, who’ve arranged New Order’s Blue Monday using the instruments of the early 20th century, including musical saws and Theremin. There’s definitely a sense of fun with all these musical experiments, and behind the postmodern laughter it is good music. An as this article points out, we need this in these grim times.

Here’s an example of the type of music we’re talking about: It’s Samuel Kim’s medieval arrangement of Star Wars’ Imperial March from his channel on YouTube.

And here’s Orkestra Obsolete’s Blue Monday.







Trump’s Brilliant Plan

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 31/07/2020 - 4:18pm in

Terrified that he will lose and face prison time for corruption, President Trump is contemplating canceling the upcoming election or invalidating its results after the fact. Ironically, the best way to avoid fascism might be to vote for the fascist.

Young and Homeless During Covid-19

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 18/07/2020 - 12:30am in


New York

Lala considered herself good at avoiding attention on the subway at night by sitting up straight, her feet on the floor and her arms pulled inside the sleeves of both of her sweatshirts, “balled up in a ball.” Corday sat next to her, his head in her lap. During periods of wakefulness, phones offered precious distraction, and Lala didn’t like to let the battery dip past 20 percent. She had accidentally paid for a Hulu subscription, so while they rode she watched movies, or scrolled through Facebook, looking at pictures of hairdos and limited-edition food: Captain Crunch ice cream, Sour Patch Toll House cookies, a four-pack of bright red Seagrams Escapes.

Albert Mayer’s Urban Village: Between The New School and India

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 17/07/2020 - 6:00am in

The New School does not look like most other universities, even those in large cities. It has no college green...

Read More

Petition Started to Sack Keir Starmer as Leader of the Labour Party

There’s been outrage after Keir Starmer sacked Rebecca Long Bailey from her position on the shadow cabinet yesterday. Her crime was simply tweeting about an interview with the actress Maxine Peake in the Independent. Peake and RLB had condemned the training of US police by the IDF, who had taught them to keep suspects and protesters down by putting their knees on their necks. It was this hold that had killed George Floyd. RLB had begun her tweet by stating that systematic racism was a global issue, mentioning that the American cops were taught the hold from seminars with the Israeli security forces.

This outraged the Zionist fanatics and the Tories, like the Tory peer and Murdoch hack Daniel Finkelstein, John Rentoul, the keeper of the Blair flame in the Labour Party, and the noxious Dave Rich, who immediately declared that RLB was peddling an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory and demanded Starmer sack her. But it isn’t a ‘conspiracy theory’. It’s solid fact, as established and verified by Amnesty International. Mike in his piece about this disgraceful scandal has supported RLB’s statement through passages from Amnesty reporting that law enforcement officials from a series of American states – Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Arizona, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Georgia, Washington State, and the police of Washington DC, have travelled to Israel for training. He has also reproduced a passage from the Jerusalem Post reporting that a city in North Carolina has actually banned training and other forms of exchange between their police and the IDF because of the IDF’s brutal repression and maltreatment of the Palestinians. He also points out that what RLB said was not anti-Semitic. She did not say Jews had taught the police the use of the technique. She had said the IDF. The two are not synonymous, no matter what Marie van der Zyl of the Board of Deputies wishes to claim.

Starmer, honouring his obligation to the Board after he signed their ridiculous and highly manipulative 10 pledges, has asked RLB to resign. This was angrily attacked by the peeps on Twitter, including Simon Maginn, Kerry-Ann Mendoza, Ash Sarkar, and Tom London. Even Owen Jones, who has supported the anti-Semitism smears, called it an absurd overreaction.

But as Mike himself has pointed out, Starmer has not sacked Rachel Reeves, the odious right-winger in the party who laid a wreath at the statue of Nancy Astor. Astor was the first British woman MP, but she was also a vicious anti-Communist and anti-Semite, who thought that Adolf Hitler was the right man for Germany and tackling both of these issues.

Mike has also reproduced RLB’s own series of Tweets explaining and clarifying her comments. She states that she put up an previous clarification of her comments, which had been agreed by Starmer, but was told to take it and her retweet down. This means that Starmer is using her Tweet as a pretext to get rid of her. It’s all part of his campaign to purge the Labour Party of the left, and anti-Semitism is just the pretext, not a real cause.

Long-Bailey’s sacking tells us all we need to know about Keir ‘double-standard’ Starmer and his racist Labour Party

In fact under Starmer Labour has allowed racism to go unpunished. But it’s the racism of his supporters against Blacks and BAME MPs, supporters and activists.

Zelo Street in its article also quotes the Middle East Eye, which states

“The Israeli police force has tried to distance itself from any perceived imilarities, issuing statements denouncing what happened and stating that its officers are not trained to use knee-to-neck techniques. But photographs taken as recently as March have shown Israeli forces using the same restraint on unarmed protesters just yards from the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City”.

The Street concludes

‘The training of US law enforcement officers by the Israeli military is not an “anti-Semitic conspiracy theory”. It’s not “5G level stuff”. No-one “blames Jews”. But this does enable pundits to look away from holding a catastrophically inept Government to account.

And it allows the Tories to get away with rather more blatant anti-Semitism. The kind that none of those bleating at Maxine Peake seem to notice. I’ll just leave that one there.’


Tony Greenstein, the long-time critic of Israel and Zionism, was so incensed by Starmer’s actions that he has put up an article that also proves very clearly that the training of American cops by the IDF is most definitely not a ‘conspiracy theory’ but solid fact. he has this quote from Neta Golan of the International Solidarity Movement.

“When I saw the picture of killer cop Derek Chauvin murdering George Floyd by leaning in on his neck with his knee I remembered noticing when many Israeli soldiers began using this technique when we were protesting in the West Bank sometime in 2006.”

He has also stated that Starmer’s support for Black Lives Matter is hypocritical, as the Israel lobby despises BLM because it also criticises and condemns the Israeli state’s maltreatment of the Palestinians. He provided more than ample evidence of this in an article he put up yesterday.


He also notes that this isn’t about attacking anti-Semitism. It is about defending the Israeli apartheid state and the bi-partisan imperialist foreign policy in the Middle East that Labour shares with the Tories. He states that a racist and imperialist cannot be leader of a socialist party, and has therefore set up a petition calling for Starmer to go. A link to it is in his article on RLB’s sacking at:

I think this link should also take you there if you put it in the search box.

I’ve signed it, as I agree absolutely with what Tony, Mike and Zelo Street have all said. This isn’t about anti-Semitism. It’s simply using the anti-Semitism smears to justify the unjustifiable – apartheid in Israel, and the smearing and purge of entirely decent, anti-racist people from the Labour Party in favour of racist red Tories.

If you feel the same, please consider signing Tony’s petition. Though I’m afraid that it may provide Starmer with more names of people he can purge.














































Such Things Have Done Harm

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 24/06/2020 - 7:36am in


Film, New York

We should be willing to demand more than fellow feeling. The New York City Council crowed about its progressivism in passing a billion-dollar reduction in the NYPD’s budget. That number would just about return the department budget to the levels it was under Mayor Bloomberg’s administration. It is indicative of a dangerous lack of imagination if the best we can do is make a tacit admission that it was unwise to give the police more resources in the years after the rise of Black Lives Matter.

The Dead Live Longer

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/06/2020 - 1:04am in


New York

Her mother’s prophecy struck me as a terrible, sinister curse: You, daughter, will die before me. The curse of a miserable woman who should never have had a child. A daughter. A Greek curse, though I don’t know of a Greek tragedy with that in its story. Here is a daughter cursed by her mother, who becomes a curse to her friends. I wasn’t alone.

Finally, Some Signs of Improvement in the Regional Economy

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 16/06/2020 - 10:30pm in

Jaison R. Abel, Jason Bram, Richard Deitz, and Benjamin G. Hyman


The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s June business surveys show some signs of improvement in the regional economy. Following two months of unprecedented decline due to the coronavirus pandemic, indicators of business activity point to a slower pace of contraction in the service sector and signs of a rebound in the manufacturing sector. Even more encouraging, as the regional economy has begun to reopen, many businesses have started to recall workers who were laid off or put on furlough since the start of the pandemic. Some have even hired new workers. Moreover, businesses expect to recall even more workers over the next month. Looking ahead, firms have become increasingly optimistic that conditions will improve in the coming months.

The Free Fall Has Stopped

After a period of sharp deterioration that began in early March, business conditions finally appear to be firming in June, according to respondents of our Business Leaders Survey, which covers service firms in the New York-Northern New Jersey region, and our Empire State Manufacturing Survey, which covers manufacturing firms in New York State. The headline index for the Business Leaders Survey climbed 36 points but remained well below zero, indicating ongoing decline in the service sector, though at a much slower pace than over the past few months. Declines continue to be particularly widespread in the transportation and warehousing, leisure and hospitality, and finance sectors. Despite these declines, roughly one in five service firms noted a increase in business in June, most prominently among respondents in the information and retail sectors. The headline index for the Empire Survey increased nearly 50 points to near zero, indicating activity stabilized in the region’s manufacturing sector.

Employment Has Turned the Corner

Perhaps more encouraging, employment in the region appears to have begun to improve. In supplemental questions, we asked businesses about their employment levels in February (before the pandemic), at their low point during the current downturn, and presently. Nearly half of all businesses reduced their workforce during the pandemic, though these cuts were substantially more prevalent in the hard-hit leisure and hospitality and retail sectors. Across all firms, our survey suggests that employment declined by 18 percent in the service sector and 15 percent in the manufacturing sector at the lowest point of the downturn.

With the gradual reopening of more nonessential businesses throughout the region over the past month, a number of firms have started to recall workers who were let go and some have hired new workers. Indeed, about two-thirds of businesses that reduced their workforce indicate that employment has picked up since hitting its low point. Thus far, however, service firms have only recalled about 15 percent of their laid-off workers, while manufacturers have recalled almost half.

A small number of new workers have been added to payroll in both sectors. New hires were strongest among administrative support firms, while businesses in that industry, as well as in wholesale trade and construction, reported the strongest degree of recalls. Although progress has been made, employment in the region remains well below pre-pandemic levels even with the job growth that has occurred thus far. Fortunately, businesses in both sectors plan to recall additional workers, with firms expecting to have rehired more than half of the workers who were let go since the start of the pandemic over the next month.

The Outlook Has Improved

Looking ahead, businesses in the region expressed optimism that conditions would improve over the next six months, though from extremely low levels. The Business Leaders Survey’s index for future business conditions climbed well into positive territory, led by retail, leisure and hospitality, and transportation and warehousing—which were some of the hardest-hit sectors—as well as real estate. Similarly, the comparable index for the Empire Survey jumped to its highest level in more than a decade. With businesses starting to bring back workers, and more hires expected in the months ahead, there are signs that the regional economy is headed in a positive direction after plunging during the depths of the pandemic. We will continue to monitor economic conditions in the region, and provide timely updates as additional data and information become available. You can visit our Regional Economy website for more information useful in tracking the region’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Jaison R. AbelJaison R. Abel is an assistant vice president in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Research and Statistics Group.

Jason BramJason Bram is a research officer in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group.

Richard DeitzRichard Deitz is an assistant vice president in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group.

Benjamin G. Hyman

Benjamin G. Hyman is an economist in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group.

Related Reading

The Coronavirus Shock Looks More like a Natural Disaster than a Cyclical Downturn

How to cite this post:

Jaison R. Abel, Jason Bram, Richard Deitz, and Benjamin G. Hyman, “Finally, Some Signs of Improvement in the Regional Economy,” Federal Reserve Bank of New York Liberty Street Economics, June 16, 2020,


The views expressed in this post are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or the Federal Reserve System. Any errors or omissions are the responsibility of the authors.


Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 14/06/2020 - 8:41am in


New York

Later, on May 14, when I am making final edits to this essay, I will learn that according to UCLA’s Covid-19 Behind Bars Data Project, there have been 380 confirmed deaths of people incarcerated in jails and prisons across the United States — a number already greater than the 329 formal death sentences that have been carried out in this country since 2010.

Epilogue for a Way of Life

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 14/06/2020 - 8:39am in


New York, Politics

The Decameron came to mind first, but as the weeks went on, our minds wandered to reruns of The Jetsons that we used to watch as kids. A smug depiction of an optimized society so stratified that its beneficiaries literally lived above the clouds, The Jetsons always made us wonder about all the people living below, on Earth, in cities abandoned by the techno-optimists of the future. Now we knew.