Life . . . don’t talk to me about life.

Anyone familiar with the phenomenon that was “The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Universe” by Douglas Adams will recognise immediately that quote from Marvin the permanently depressed paranoid android. Marvin, “here I am, brain the size of a planet” is a familiar English comic character who could have cropped up as easily in Alice in Wonderland as he could in Wind in the Willows.  He is not a million miles away from the lugubrious Eeyore from the Winnie the Pooh stories by A A Milne.

My friend Mark Bialczak has set me a challenge which has had me thinking about life

The challenge is this: –


Post your three favorite quotes, one each for three consecutive days.

With each post nominate three bloggers for the challenge.

Recognize the blogger who nominated you.

So what are my three favourite quotes?

And what do they reveal (or what do I want them to reveal) about me?

Do I take this seriously and provide quotes to live by or do I offer up my favourite literary quote ?

So, that’s what got me thinking about life.  or rather about Life.

Life, as Tom Lehrer once said, is like a sewer.

What you get out of it depends on what you put into it.

But that’s not it.  Well not quite.

So in reverse order.

I have to acknowledge the blogger who nominated me. Mark is a regular blogger and has a journalist’s flair for a good story and for bringing out the best in people he meets and writes about. I met Mark through the wordpress blogging course #Blogging101. His daily postings and comments have encouraged me to develop as a blogger and given me the confidence to try new things.   You can follow Mark’s adventures here –  – drop by and say Hi.

I have to nominate three bloggers for the challenge.  So, today, I am going to nominate bloggers I met via either #Blogging101 or through #Photo101.   Just click the links below.

First is a great photographer from Catalonia, bCL Photography whose photos have the sensitivity and intensity of great poetry.

Second, a Cantankerous Old Mule who opened up a whole new world for me about life in Madagascar – have a look at the writing and photos from this Peripatetic Shutterbug

Third, you can read everything you never needed to know here from TJ in The TJBlog.. Well, maybe not quite everything, but I admire this guy’s confident and positive approach.

And the quote I want to share is “Life must be an unremitting struggle for perfection.”

It sounds like a Sufi or Buddhist quote, and it may well originate from some such text, and I cannot. alas verify it’s authenticity.  I heard it said in a radio programme, over 20 years ago, about the conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler, in an introduction to a performance of one his own compositions, his 3rd symphony and both the quote and the music have resonated with me since.  Furtwangler was the greatest interpreter of classical and romantic symphonic music and you can hear that titanic struggle for perfection in almost every recording he made.  Here’s one he never made.  I don’t think he got to hear a performance of his third and final symphony.  Each movement was originally given a title – “Das Verhängnis,” “Im Zwang zum Leben,” “Jenseits” and “Der Kampf geht weiter.”

Joseph Keilberth conducts the first movement Furtwangler’s Third Symphony.

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