Monday, 27 April 2015

Erik Larson And Impending Doom, The Prequel

Quotation of the day ~ Linus Torvalds: the people have spoken...most of it was complete gibberish

I have just finished another, earlier, book by Erik Larson: Isaac's Storm (1999). It's the story of Isaac Cline, the head of the U.S. Weather Bureau in Galveston Texas from 1889 to 1901. Erik Larson is such a great writer that he can make meteorology exciting!

But here's the thing -- an event i had hitherto known nothing about. The worst hurricane in American history smashed head-first into Galveston on September 8th, 1900, killing over 6,000 people (some estimates put it as high as 12,000) (1800 people died in Hurricane Katrina, to put it in perspective).

Isaac saw the storm coming, but failed to appreciate its intensity. Later, in his autobiography, he claimed to have warned people to evacuate, but Larson argues, convincingly, that this simply wasn't true. Isaac was as astonished as anyone when roof tiles started flying through the air with such strength that they were decapitating people, and when the flood waters rose to beyond the height of his house (he nearly drowned, his wife wasn't as lucky).

A great deal of the book concerns itself with how hurricanes form; a lot concerns itself with life in Galveston on September 7th, 1900 -- where we meet all manner of the local citizenry ... and know that many of them will die. The sense of impending doom is overwhelming.

Here, lighten up, let's have a playlist:

Sky -- Sky 2
Pyewackett -- Pyewackett
Tangerine Dream -- The Essential Tangerine Dream
Ten Years After -- Watt
Home -- The Alchemist
Wishbone Ash -- Here To Hear
Max Webster -- High Class In Borrowed Shoes
Horslips -- Happy To Meet, Sorry To Part
Rory Gallagher -- Top Priority
Fairport Convention -- The Jewel In The Crown
Martin Carthy -- Sweet Wivelsfield
The Albion Country Band -- The Battle Of The Field
The Art Of Noise -- (Who's Afraid Of) The Art Of Noise
Brand X -- Unorthodox Bahaviour
The Cars -- The Essentials
Trigger Hippy -- Trigger Hippy
Runrig -- Party On The Moor
Bill Bruford -- Feels Good To Me
Tangerine Dream -- Poland
Led Zeppelin --III
Thunder -- The Joy Of Six

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