Tock Tick

Kurt Vonnegut / Simon Heselev

Kurt Vonnegut reads one of the best bits from Slaughterhouse Five, with music by Simon Haselev. So it goes.

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The vocals throughout this track are taken directly from Chapter 4 of Kurt Vonnegut's recording of of "Slaughterhouse Five."
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The vocals throughout this track are taken directly from Chapter 4 of Kurt Vonnegut's recording of of "Slaughterhouse Five."
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Although this excerpt doesn't mention a storm, I like the composer's implication that the weather was partly to blame for keeping Billy up.
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Billy Pilgrim is the protaganist of "Slaughterhouse Five." Vonnegut made it reasonably clear, both within the text and in interviews, that Billy is a "Mary Sue."
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(A "Mary Sue" is a sort of idealized [or in this case, less-than-ideal] author surrogate.)
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This version of Chapter Four has been heavily abridged (possibly re-recorded entirely by the author), and does not mention that Billy knows that he is about to be abducted by the Tralfamadorians in about an hour.
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Maybe a lazy "Alice in Wonderland" reference, given what happens to Billy immediately after this.
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"So it goes" is the most prevalent of several recurring motifs in "Slaughterhouse Five." It most often follows some mention of or reference to death.
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"So it goes" is the most prevalent of several recurring motifs in "Slaughterhouse Five." It most often follows some mention of or reference to death.
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Billy's swinging the bottle "like a dinner bell" is both a perfect word-picture and a way to help us see Billy for the bumbling naif that he is.
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Billy spends most of "Slaughterhouse Five" "unstuck" in time, simultaneously experiencing a number of events at once. I've always thought this device is presented as a sort of natural mechanism for coping with the horrors that Billy/Vonnegut witnessed dur
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Billy spends most of "Slaughterhouse Five" "unstuck" in time, simultaneously experiencing a number of events at once. I've always thought this device is presented as a sort of natural mechanism for coping with the horrors that Billy/Vonnegut witnessed dur
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I kind of love/hate this echo effect... I understand why the composer went for it, but Vonnegut should really be allowed to speak for himself.
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Kurt Vonnegut really, really hated WWII. Mostly because he lived through it.
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Vonnegut's Gedankenexperiment: What do you get when you watch a war movie backwards?
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Answer: A pacifist fantasy.
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Haselev's backbeat brings out the energy of this set piece without downplaying the heartbreak.
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Vonnegut is a master of irony, but he really hits his peak here when he really gets into the idea of reframing a bleak war movie as a story about hope and pulling together to save lives simply by running it backwards.
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Bombers as gatherers.
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Bombers as gatherers.
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The jazzy piano interludes worked for me the third time I listened to this.
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AA guns as anti-anti-aircraft guns.
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"...and made everything and everybody as good as new." Gets me every time.
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Rosie the Salvager?
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I like how the wordless vocals seem not-quite-human.
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"...so they would never hurt anybody ever again." Remember that the person who both wrote and is reading this personally witnessed one of the most ruthless firebombings of WWII.
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"...that wasn't in the movie; Billy was extrapolating."
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"So it goes."
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I like to think that Heselev's backbeat and piano perfectly capture the quiet fatalism of the entire novel.
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