Friday, December 30, 2005

Pearl jam and Party Lists

I have just been watching a DVD of Pearl Jam in concert from 2000 that N bought me for Christmas. Was vey interesting as I had not seen them perform before, just heard their albums. There was a fantastic bit of footage from a concert in St Louis where a woman is signing everything they are saying and singing just below the stage. When the singer notices her he gets her up on the stage for a number. She signs and dances at the same time and it is amazing to watch - a real visual interpretation of the music - the track is called Given to Fly if anyone is interested in seeing it.

Yesterday Hunchermuncher told me not to get too obsessed about making the perfect party soundtrack. Too late I am afraid! I am obsessed, I will be obsessed and I want to be obsessed, it's the most fun thing I have done for ages and I am really enjoying it. I used to think that I should have been a DJ or a record shop owner - only money and lack of confidence in my abilities stopped me, also I suppose a feeling that I should be doing something more "worthy" with my time. I guess it's too late now.

Anyway back to the party playlist, which I have to say is coming on a treat. I have been playing the list in i-tunes whilst I do other stuff on the computer and if a track doesn't make me want to groove, out it goes. I have also started a beginning of party list which is more mellow.

Songs that have almost definitely been added to the party list:
Utah Saints - Something Good
Bob Marley and the Wailers - Trenchtown Rock
Counting Crows - Mister Jones
Madonna - Sorry
Pointer Sisters - Jump
Primal Scream - Movin on Up
Third World - Now that We've Found Love

Thursday, December 29, 2005

I'm Loving Angels Instead

Top 10 Songs featuring Angels

1) Angel Eyes - Roxy Music
2) There must be an Angel (playing with my heart) - Eurythmics
3) Angel of Harlem - U2
4) You Angel You - Bob Dylan
5) No Angel - Dido
6) Heaven Must be Missing an Angel - Tavares
7) Angels - Robbie Williams
8) Angel - Sarah Mclachlan
9) Angel - Aerosmith
10) Zip Mouth Angel - Rolling Stones

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Pressies and top 10 songs about eyes

A late merry christmas and an early happy new year to anyone who is reading this.
Pleased to relate that Santa brought me a fine selection of music related items this year including Moonage Daydream by Mick Rock (lovely big book full of photos of David Bowie from 1972), the new Madonna Cd, the Bob Dylan Chronicles and ipod therefore I am. Although life has been such a social whirl that I haven't yet had time to read any of them.

Lying in bed last night in an alcohol induced fug I started thinking (as you do) about top 10s, 2 that I found particularly amusing were Angels and eyes - so here goes (although they may end up being top 5s due to lack of contenders!)

Top 10 songs about Eyes

1) Angel Eyes - Roxy Music
2) Don't it make my Brown Eyes Blue - Crystal Gayle
3) Lyin Eyes - The Eagles
4) Blue Eyes - Elton John
5) It's in Your Eyes - Kylie Minogue
6) In Your Eyes - Peter Gabriel
7) Bright Eyes - Art Garfunkel
8) Green Eyes - Coldplay
9) Jimi Hendrix - Gypsy Eyes
10) Gary Gilmore's Eyes - The Adverts

angels to come later as breakfast is ready!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Top Ten for December (and no absolutely NO Christmas songs!)

Decided the other day that each month of the year I will make a top 10 of songs for that month, so here is my Top 10 songs for December 2005:

1) Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison
absolutely superb AND you can dance to it too!

2) Square One - Coldplay
From the album X & Y, which I have to say has really grown on me. Love this track.

3) Sorry - Madonna
From her latest album, better than Hung Up and that's pretty good. Wouldn't mind betting that this is released as a single. Very dancey!

4) Give me Novacaine - Green Day
Fantastic! Thoroughly enjoyed watchong the Greens on an extended Top of the Pops last week. i would love to see them live, they have such a brilliant energy. This track is from American Idiot.

5) High - James Blunt
I really like this track, actually I quite like James Blunt in general, although I found him slightly annoying when I saw him interviewed. I haven't yet bought his album but I may do!

6) She's a Rebel - Green Day
Good rocky track, never fails to perk me up!

7) Trenchtown Rock - Bob Marley and the Wailers
From Live, revisited this album this week (on vinyl) and thoroughly enjoyed it!

8) Talk - Coldplay
I make no apologies for liking Coldplays latest album, I haven't always liked their previous stuff, but I am really getting into this one and find it neither boring nor maudlin (two accusations levelled at them in last weeks Observer music mag)!

9) Burden of Shame - UB40
Going back to my roots...always liked UB40, although not so keen on their later stuff. I think I prefered them when they were more streetwise. This is from the most excellent album Signing Off.

10) Speed of Sound - Coldplay
Yes three Coldplay tracks in this months top 10. Lets hope the new year brings some musical gems.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Rock on Tommy

Was saddened to read in the Observer music magazine that the DJ Tommy Vance died earlier this year after a suffering a stroke. Tommy was the god of rock when I was a teenager into heavy metal. My friends and I listened to religiously to the Friday Rock Show, as like John Peel he was never afraid to play new or old music (both a rarity on radio 1 these days!).

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Assimilate this (UB40, Patrick Stewart and the Utopian Dream)

I have been listening to some reggae this week and found myself revisiting my early UB40 albums (on vinyl no less!), rememebering fondly their early lyrics
"I'm a British subject and I'm proud of it,
but I carry the burden of shame" etc...

In my opinion it is a great shame that UB40 stopped acting as a cattle prod to the social conscience of Britain. Is it I wonder because the more famous a band gets, the more removed from real life they become? I guess it's hard to write about issues that effect the people on the street, if you have no direct experience of them yourself. That's why their first few albums were so powerful, they had been those unemployed lads queueing up to sign on at Birmingham dole office. They had experienced the harsh reality of Thatcher's Britain first hand.

So There is a price that's paid with the arrival of fame. It can detatch you eventually from issues that once seemed so important to you. Some artists/bands however, do try to and marry themselves to some social cause like coldplay/Bob Geldof or U2. Most of Bob Dylans most poignant protest songs were written before he really hit the big time, but he did champion other causes later on once he was "off the street".

Just to completely change the subject, N and I were watching the film "The Canterville Ghost" (not the 1944 version, but the 1994 remake) starring Patrick Stewart. N remarked that Patrick Stewart often plays similar roles (Sir Simon De Canterville, Scrooge, Captain Ahab, Professor X, Captain Picard). N also observed that in the roles he takes he rarely falls in love, and thinking about it I have to conclude that he is right. He generally plays someone that is very noble, moral and slightly aloof, yet with a wealth of hidden warmth and humanity bubbling away just below the surface, that shows itself from time to time.

He is definitely like that in his role as Jean Luc Picard in Star Trek the Next generation. The writers could have given him myriad romances like the fickle Captain Kirk, but instead Jean Luc stays resolutely alone with a hint of deeper feelings between himself and Dr Beverly Crusher. You can almost see the sparks fly between them sometimes but (in the series anyway) there is no action. Even in the one episode where he does have a romance he ends up alone at the end.

One of the best films that I have seen Patrick in is Safe House, where he plays an ex intelligence operative who thinks someone is out to get him. Everyone thinks he is mad and just as you start to think he is too he is proved right and along come the baddies - an exciting film (helped along by a delliciously naked P S in the shower!).
I think that the episodes of Star Trek that I enjoyed most were the ones where Jean Luc does show more of his human side - I especially like the film First Contact where he loses it a bit and goes after the Borg on a vigilante revenge trip.

I have often tried to quantify what exactly it is that attracts me to those Sci Fi series (beyond mere escapism of course), and I think it is because they embody the kind of Utopian society that I long for, where morals and ethics are held in high regard, war is virtually non existent and people aren't all out for money, power and fame. It is also because they are about the complexity of human relationships and the human condition, spiriuality and they embody both physical and spiritual journeys.

Of course in Deep Space 9 the Utopian society is shakem up into an unexpected war giving the perfect example of why she should never let ourselves become too complacent and smug. Life is held in fragile balance and one little shake of the metaphoric tree can set everything all akilter.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Cynical Older Men and Female Role Models

Now if you had told me ten years ago that I would one day quite like Jeremy Clarkson I would have laughed in your face. At the time I felt that he embodied many of the things that I despised - sexist, blokey leather jacket wearing smoker who liked to drive fast cars (or should that be cars fast?).

so it is with some reluctance that I find myself reporting that I nearly bought a book by him today. Has Jeremy mellowed or is it I who have changed? Well I couldn't tell you...

The rot set in when he was on What not to Wear last year (that tight jeans and leather jacket on an older bloke look really is the pits - sorry guys!). I expected him to be obnoxious, but he actually came across as alright, self deprecating and quite funny. Since then I have occasionally watched bits of late night top gear (or whatever it's called) and he really is quite watchable. Then today I started reading bits of The world according to Clarkson when I was waiting to use the loo in Ottakars and realised that I wanted to read more - it was full of short pieces (not sure if it was originally a newspaper column), not unlike a blog, cynical, intelligent, well informed and witty, which makes a pleasent change from the in your face, chavved up humour that is so popular at the moment.

And just to completely change the subject. I was waiting in for a package to arrive from Santa this morning and was watching the early moring news, on which there was a short piece about Kate Moss and what a bad role model she is. what disturbed me tough was that they had done a survey of teenage girls asking them who they looked up to as a role model and the top answers were Jordan and Abi Titmuss! If that's the future for women in this country I'm bailing out now!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Corner Shops and Party Music

Haven't written my blog for a while - I have been soooo busy - doing christmas stuff. Like buying presents, christmas meals etc. My house is a tip, money is tight and N keeps saying every five minutes that he wishes Christmas would hurry up and arrive!

Well tonight I wanted to chill, I thought that I would nip to the shop and get a bottle of beer or cider or something and just relax, look at newly decorated and cute (but diddy tree). The fates were against me though - I went to the shop, got my drink - queued up for ages behind a man who was paying £2.79 in 1p and 2p pieces, which as you can imagine took absolutely ages, and when I finally got to the counter the assistant told me sweetly that they are not allowed to sell alcohol at the moment! Something to do with a problem with their liscence apparently. But why, why, why - don't they put up a notice, or take the booze off the shelves or cover the shelves like they used to when the Sunday liscensing laws were stricter?

Anyway I know it's all for my own good, blah, blah, blah and all that.

The other news (if you can call it that) is that I am thinking of having a party for my 40th birthday. I thought of just booking a room above a pub where we went to another party recently. It was quite a nice a room and there was a sound system and a space for dancing and there was also a smaller space round a corner (it's an L-shaped room) where they had buffet food. Well anyway once I had started thinking about it I found myself becoming increasingly obsessed by the idea of making music cds for dancing to, and I can tell that it is going to take me the whole two odd months until them to find the perfect mix of tracks.

I found myself going through all the music in my library both on i-tunes and cd to find music that's good to dance to and then I started looking at other peoples lists on the net. I decided that I want a good mix, I like some of the disco classics but there are some like YMCA that I am definitely NOT having. I want a mixture of oldies, recent music and some that is not strictly dance music. I downloaded a few tracks and have put them on the MP3 player to give them a trial run.

So far the only absolute definites are
Van Morrison - Brown Eyed Girl
Pretenders - Show Me
Jamiroquai - Love Foolosophy
Jamiroquai - Virtual Insanity
DJ Satomi - Castle in the Sky
Madonna - Hung up
Faithless - Insomnia

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Similarity or Contempt?

Well here's another one for Hunchermuncher to check out if he happens to read this. Was listening to some music this morning and couldn't help noticing an uncanny similarity between the first few bars of "Dream On" by Aerosmith and those of "Don't Speak" by No Doubt - coinicidence? Who knows?

And while I am at it I have been listening to a couple of tracks off of the new Madonna album (which I wouldn't mind in my Christmas stocking this yeear Santa!) and there is somthing about the track which really reminds me of the Lightning Seeds last albun Tilt. I am listening to said Seeds album as I am writing this trying to pinpoint it but can't as yet - I have narrowed it down to two tracks "City Bright Stars" and "Life's too Short".

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

What's on your MP3 player this week?

Tracks on the MP3 player this week:

lots of Madonna this week, not sure why, going through a kind of disco phase (help!)

anyway won't list all or tracks but an idea of the vibe

Jars of Clay (sort of melodic rock - christians but hey we won't hold that against them!).
George Harrison (a track called Beware of Darkness that I found listed on a blog called Bloggedy Blog).
Pearl Jam (2 tracks Better Man and Evenflow).
Patti Smith
Pink Floyd
Lightning Seeds
David Bowie
Smashing Pumpkins
The Vines
Fun Boy Three
the Smiths

It's a hard road

Watched a Tv programme about the Tsunami the other night and was struck deeply by the survivors belief in God - and they were all different religions. I can't help believing like some of them that somehow we humans are being punished for the way as a species we are behaving. Even if you just take global warming as an example and all the extreme weather things that have been going on in the last year or two. Whether or not the government denies that it is global warming (and at some point they have to stop saying that it's just a coinicidence!), maybe the palnet is trying to rid itself of the parasites that are sapping it's life force and energy (like a dog with bad fleas!).

On a lighter note I was out walking yesterday and I was struck by the beauty of wet brick pavements and roads, especially the ones made of those bricks that are almost black. I like them best when the bricks ar in straight rows (not herringbone or fancy patterns). There is just something almost mystical about them.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The funny thing about MP3 players

The funny thing about MP3 players is that it makes you see things in a new light. I put some tracks on mine last week and then hadn't used it for a few days - today when I did play it, it was interesting guessing what the track was. Another thing that I notidced was that the intro to "Stupid Girl" by Garbage was almost identical to that of "Train In Vain" by the Clash (can anyone else verify this I wonder?). It's only the first few bars but when it came on I really thought it was the Clash track (bearing in mind it's also one of my favourite Clash tracks of all time!).

The other thing that struck me is that there some bands where you only have to hear the opening bars of any of their tracks and you instantly know which band it is (you don't need to wait for vocals). Two that I can think of straight off are Coldplay and U2 and I am sure there are more (I am slightly tipsy as I write this so bear with me!). Usually it is a certain style of guitar playing (the exception being Nirvana who nearly always start with an unmistakable bassline).