Thursday, March 05, 2009

Wahn, Wahn , Uberall Wahn.

Last night at dinner, Mr. Hare engaged in an interesting discussion on Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg. A Wagner opera and comedy based on an actual 16th century character named Hans Sachs who was a poet and Shoemaker. Now you see where I am going with this.

Anyway...the story goes, Goldsmith, Veit Pogner offers his daughters hand in marriage to the winner of the St. Johns day feast singing competition. Entrants must be master craftsmen in their field and have notable singing skills. First act (2hrs), revolves around Walther, a young knight who is obviously in love with Eva, the prize. Unfortunately the marker of the competition is not feeling Walthers vocals and he loses.

In act two (another two hours) town clerk, Beckmesser has a go but his efforts near cause a riot with which Wagner channels the philosopher Schopenhauer, whom he has recently read, where he cites Wahn (illusion, madness, folly, self deception) or self delusion driving men to behave in ways that are actually destroying them. In this act our shoemaker, whilst helping Beckmesser to perfect his song bangs a hammer on the shoe last of the shoes he is making for Beckmesser every time Beckmesser makes a mistake. There are so many mistakes the shoes are finished before the song is perfected. In his frustration Beckmesser incites said riot. The cobblers hammer is the time piece for this act.

Act three, our shoeman, poet and hero, Hans Sachs, invoking Schopenhauer's very description of a noble man - "We always picture a very noble character to ourselves as having a certain trace of silent sadness... It is a consciousness that has resulted from knowledge of the vanity of all achievements and of the suffering of all life, not merely of one's own."(The World as Will and Representation) lays aside his own sexual desires for Eva to help Walther perform the song that will win him his true love.

So the moral of the story is that when the stuff hits the fan, you can always trust a shoeman to do the right thing.

Here is Herbert Von Karajan conducting the Berlin Philharmonic in it's first tour of Japan performing the prelude to the first act in 1957.


Alec said...

Hello Mr Hare!

I love shoes. Especially shoes that feature different textures, materials and colours on them. I'm absolutely in love with the 2 tone (white&black)oxfords. I am aware that your collection will be available soon on oki ni but I can wait no longer. Is there any way that I can get a pair right now? Pretty pretty please!

Sorry I couldn't find your email address anywhere on the web so I had to make this request through the comments section.

Mr. Hare said...

Hey Alec.

I only have the one sample pair you saw which are a UK size 8 and we will need them to work from until production starts probably May.

my email is
so get back to me there.

Mr. Hare.