Thursday, June 29, 2006

Thursday Thirteen Songs that make me go mmmmm

In no particular order...
1) Babylon - David Gray
2) Sleep - The Dandy Warhols
3) Not Enuff Love - Faithless
4) Love Explosion - The Lightning Seeds
5) Oh Sister - Bob Dylan
6) I Believe When I fall in Love - Stevie Wonder
7) Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd
8) Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison
9) Sense - The Lightning Seeds
10) Wild is the Wind - David Bowie
11) River - Joni Mitchell
12) California Dreaming - Jose Feliciano
13) Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Blogging Hell...Holiday Tracks

This is the second time I have tried to blog since being in Greece. The first time I spent ages typing up an entry only to find it wouldn't load or even save as a draft - grrr!

Being on holiday has made me wonder, what is it that makes a great holiday track? Is it a summery feel to the music? Is it the content of the lyrics? Or is it some other mysterious quality that can't quite be defined?

I can think of quite a few tracks that have a summery feel to them. There are songs about summer (like Summer in the City, Summer Night City and California Dreaming), There are reggae, African and Latin tracks that ooze the heat of summer. Chilled out music like Air also has a summer's day feel to it, as do songs with great vocal harmonies like those of Simon and Garfunkel and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

But there are other tracks that for some reason I always feel like hearing in the summer although I don't really know why and this is my top 10 of those tracks...

Top 10 Summer Holiday Tracks

1) Acres Wild - Jethro Tull
"I'll make love to you,
in narrow side streets,
with shuttered windows
and crumbling chimneys..."

2) Ramble On - Led Zeppelin

3) Lucretia My Reflection - The Sisters of Mercy
" Hot metal and Methedrine..."

4) The River - Bruce Springsteen

5) Over the Hill - John Martyn
"Been worried about my babies,
been worried about my wife,
There's just one place for a man to be
when he's worried about his life..."

6) Cat People (Putting Out Fire With Gasoline) - David Bowie

Am I Wrong - Love Spit Love

7) Maybe Tomorrow - The Stereophonics

8) Coffee and TV - Blur

9) Knocking On Heaven's Door - Bob Dylan

10) Don' Let Me Down Again - Fleetwood Mac

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Summer Holiday Playlist

Been updating my playlist on the i-pod today in holiday anticipation!

Top 10 Summer Holiday Tracks

1) Maybe Tomorrow - The Stereophonics
2) All the Money or the Simple Life Honey - The Dandy Warhols
3) Epoca - Gotan Project
4) Shadows of Ourselves - Theivery Corporation
5) Falling Down - Muse
6) Sunshine Superman - Donovan
7) Leaving Me Now - Level 42
8) Cross Eyed Mary - Jethro Tull
9) Caroline - Status Quo
10) Dancing Barefoot - Patti Smith

Wordless Rope day

Land of Rope and Glory
Originally uploaded by pupski.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Musical Interconnectedness

Blue Turtle left me a comment suggesting I check out this singer "Ari Hest"(see picture), I had never heard of him before but I am glad I did, he is well worth a listen. it's mostly acoustic guitar based songs. You can check him out by clicking on his name above.

Blue Turtle's blog led me to that of A Boy and His Bike and another band that I had not heard of called "Hoobastank". I listened to a couple of their tracks and was very impressed. I like this kind of musical networking. I am always looking for a new musical high, so if anyone else has any good suggestions please leave me a name and or link in my comments.

holiday preparation

Just a few more days and I will be on a Greek island so might not get to post very often. (i could get my housesitter to blog for me!) There is an internet cafe so I will be able to blog once or twice.

As you might have guessed I have been editing my playlists in anticipation. What a difference from last time I went on holiday and had a little mp3 player that could fit about 50-60 tracks! There is something about summer that makes me want to revisit old tracks and this week I have wanted to revisit some music that I had on singles.

Holiday Preparation playlist:

Are Friends Electric? - Tubeway Army
Sarah Smiles - Bram Tchaikovsky
Airport - The Motors
Tempted - Squeeze
Turn it on Again - Genesis
Ma Jaiye Oni - King Sunny Ade and His African Beats
Shine Eye Gal - Black Uhuru
Invisible Touch - Genesis
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner - Black Uhuru

Not so Random i-pod Shuffle

I'm not looking for a conspiracy but it does seem slightly odd that when I put my i-pod on shuffle there are certain songs it always plays. I find this slightly annoying. If you set it to shuffle a playlist of 180 tracks you want a bit of variety, but no, the same tracks come up every time and what is weirder is that one of the tracks that keeps coming up on my ipod, 100 Billion Stars by Lux, also comes up over and over on Hunchermuncher's ipod.

I did wonder if maybe it is to do with where you downloaded the tracks from in the first place, but there is just no way of knowing. It means that I quickly tire of certain tracks and then remove them for a while. According to Steve Fruhlinger I am just doing the human thing - looking for patterns in things.

"Apple's engineers swear that the shiny white music players actually do use pseudo-randomizing algorithms for shuffle play. The people at Newsweek were kind enough to verify this with Steve Jobs when they found that their iPod had an unhealthy obsession with Steely Dan (it happens). The conclusion? People love their iPods so much that they look for patterns in the pseudo-randomness. It's what we do, as humans."

But what if there really is a pattern???

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Thursday Thirteen Children's Books

13 Books I loved as a Kid
1) The Ring O Bells Mystery Enid Blyton
In my opinion this is her best ever book. It's about 4 kids (and their dog of course) who go to stay in a village called Ring O Bells to recover from flu (those Enid blyton kids got a lot of flu and their parents were always sending them away to convalesce!). Basically they have an adventure that involves a manor house, an old cottage with a well and a secret passage. Oh yes and all with the help of their friend Barney and his monkey Miranda!

2) The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings - J R R Tolkien
Hard to separate these two out so I decided not to. My mum read these books to me and I have read them to my son too and they are still just as fresh and exciting as ever.

3) The Digginest Dog - Al Perkins
A sad tale with a happy ending. A dog is rescued from a pet store but he doesn't know how to dig and his boy is disappointed in him. Eventually he learns but he gets carried away and digs up the whole town.....

4) Stig of the Dump - Clive King
I absolutely loved this book. It's about a boy who finds a kind of cave boy living in a rubbish dump (one of those dumps in a big pit) and their subsequent adventures. This is a book to captivate your imagination. I wanted to be Stig!

5) Heartease - Peter Dickinson
Peter Dickinson's books are great. This is about the world as we know it gone mad, evryone has turned against machines. The cities have been abandonned and many people have fled to France. Those that are left live in a kind of medievel society where if they suspect you of having any thing top do with machines they stone you to death. The children in the story know this to be wrong and they help one such witch who has been left for dead and help him escape to the coast where they fix a tug boat. Will they make it in time or will they be caught - a very exciting story that makes you think. This trilogy was made into a series for children's tv called "The Changes".

6) The Naughtiest Girl in the School - Enid Blyton
This is about a grumpy girl called Elizabeth and what happens to her when she goes to boarding school. I must have read this book twenty times when I was a child. I identified with the main character because she was always scruffy and getting into trouble without trying.

7) The Enchanted Wood - Enid Blyton
Yes I was a big Enid Blyton fan. She was like the J K Rowling of the 60s and 70s. Easy to read, hooks you in but not too challenging. She did have some great ideas though and when I was very young I loved this book. Some children find a tree in a wood that is massive. Lots of differnent odd charcters have their homes in its trunk : Moon Face, Saucepan Man, Silky the Fairy. The top of the tree pokes up through a cloud and every day a different world is at the top. Brilliant.

8) Princess Anne - Author unknown
This was a great book that I got in a jumble sale when I was abot 10. It was about a lonely girl called Anne who discovers a secret door in her house through to the house next door where she meets another girl. I wish that I could remember who wrote it.

9) The Quangle Wangle's Hat - Edward Lear, Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
This is a great poem about the Quangle Wangle Quee who lives on top of the Crumpety Tree and invites lots of animals and strange creatures to live on his hat and keep him company. The copy I have has fantastic illustrations by Helen Oxenbury.

10) Are you my Mother? - P D Eastman
Sad story of a baby bird who comes out of the egg to find his mother is not there. He falls out of the nest and sets off on a quest to look for her. The bit that always got me was when he asks a crane (the kind used on building sites) whether it is his mother and the cranes says snort. For those of you who are worried he does find his mum in the end!

11) The King, The Mice and the Cheese - Nancy Gurney
The king gets fed up with the mice stealing his cheese and brings in some cats to get rid of them, but this only makes things worse! The king runs through a whole gamut of animals - dogs, lions, and finally elephants and of course he ends up inviting the mice back again! Fab and funny.

12) One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish - Dr Seuss
It was a close call between this one and "Green Eggs and Ham". This one one out because of the great illustrations. The thing in the bottle in the park in the dark used to really spook me!

13) Abandonned - Unknown Author
Very sad novel about a kitten whose owners abandon him on Dartmoor and what happens to him. I can't remember what happens at the end but I do remember that the book made me cry.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Artist's Dilemma

It's a dilemma as an artist - do you produce something that is pleasing to the eye, or do you follow the idea that is in your head, that might not be beautiful. I have struggled with this over the years. Sometimes I do make things that are good to look at, but often I make work that is more artistically challenging.

The struggle I guess is with the ego. The ego wants people to walk into the room and go wow that's great, I really like it or whatever, and when they don't I can't help wishing they could understand it.

Today however, after talking to a friend last night about who you make work for, I realised that yes I do want people to like my work. it's a bonus if they do. But I should not let that hang up stop me from making art. If I am only making it to receive the praise of others then that is not the right reason to make it. Henceforth I will endeavour to folllow my artistic urges and blow the criticism. Lots of great and famous artists were slated and misunderstood in their lifetime. Surely it is better to make a piece of art from the heart than a shallow one with the aim of pleasing others!

Wordless Woodday

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

If The Shoe Fits....

Yes shopping can make you feel like this! I have spent the day trying to find summer clothes and some comfortable yet attractive sandals (is there such a thing?).

I did ok on the clothes front - finally. But the sandals thing not so good. They either look like hideous things your granny would wear like this:

or else they have horrible textured insoles. N has a pair like that which I could wear as his feet have grown too big. I tried them for a day but I just couldn't get used to the feeling of the ridges. I'm not sure why they make them like that. I once bought a pair of sandals that had little raised dots all over the insoles to massage your feet. I couldn't stand that either and had to take them straight back. They might as well have been ones like this:

Ahh well the quest continues but at this rate it looks like i will be taking my comfy yet scruffy old black sandals on holiday with me.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

It is scorching here in Norfolk today, probably the hottest day of the year so far. Huncermuncher and i went for a walk with some friends but it was a bit too hot for me. I can see why people who live in warmer climates have a siesta in the mid afternoon and then get active in the evening, it just makes more sense.

not too impressed by Nelly Furtado's new music style. Her first album really grew on me and who knows maybe this will too but rap just isn't really my thing. In fact I wasn't that impressed by much on Top of the Pops this week, except maybe Lilly Allen and a band called The Automatic.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Face the Music and Dance

This weeks playlist (in no particular order):

1) Hoppipolla - Sigur Ros
2) The First Cut is the Deepest - Rod Stewart
3) The Youngest was the Most Loved - Morrisey
4) No Quarter - Led Zeppelin
5) Godless - The Dandy Warhols
6) The Beautiful Ones - Suede
7) Any Other Name - Thomas Newman
8) Garota de Ipanema - Nara Leao & Elis Regina
9) Catching the Butterfly - The Verve
10) New Born - Muse

I have been listening to a lot of The Dandy Warhols this week - I got two of their albums off ebay "Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia" and "Welcome to the Monkey House" and they are both excellent. In fact i just can't stop playing them! I have also been listening to House of the Holy by Led Zeppelin - quite a contrast!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Thirteeen Songs that Make me want to Play Air Guitar

Thirteen Songs that Make Me Want to play Air Guitar

1…. Ramble On - Led Zeppelin

2....Sweet Child o Mine - Guns n Roses

3...Daughter - Pearl Jam

4....Cowboy Song - Thin Lizzy

5....Tom Sawyer - Rush

6....Funky Monks - Red Hot Chilli Peppers

7....Freebird - Lynyrd Skynyrd

8....Smoke on the Water - Deep Purple

9....Owner of A Lonely Heart - Yes

10....Immigrant Song - Led Zeppelin

11....Can't Get Enough of Your Love - Bad Company

12....The Spirit of Radio - Rush

13....Sweet Emotion - Aerosmith

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. friday's child

2. norma

3. carmen

4. andrea

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Bad plumbing Day in Urban Bohemia

Yay - Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia (click the link to go to amazon and hear clips) finally arrived, although not in the great condition the seller promised. It seems to play ok, although there is a bit of hiss on some tracks but I'm not sure if that is meant to be there!

"Songs for the Deaf" by Queens of the Stone Age arrived this morning as well but I haven't had a chance to listen to that one yet. I need something to cheer me up (not that I'm grumpy!) first my washing machine leaked water all over the kitchen floor and then the big knob on the radiator broke off. A man came to fix it, but guess what they don't make that kind anymore and what should have been a quick fix looks like turning into a major drain the whole system kind of a job. I guess I'm having a bad plumbing day.

Hunchermuncher, N and I are going to see Terry Jones (you know from Monty Python) tonight, he is doing some kind of multi-media presentation and talk about his book Barbarians. I'm hoping it will be entertaining, and tomorrow a friend and I are going to see a play called "Pram Face" so i am quite the cultured one this week!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Fly Like a Seagull

Mid Flight
Originally uploaded by pupski.
Maybe Steve Miller should have used sea gull in his lyrics instead of eagle! I took this photo yesterday at Southwold - that's another gull behind him in case you were wondering.

I am still waiting for my Dandy Warhols cd. The seller finally contacted me last night saying she would post it tomorrow - a week after I won the auction - it's just not goo enough. I also won a Queens of the Stone Age cd, which hopefully will get posted a little quicker.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Musing on Air Guitar Anthems

Well I am disappointed. Hunchermuncher and I happened to flick channels to VH1 on Saturday night only to find that they were most of the way through 100 Greatest Air Guitar Anthems. We watched a bit but were going out to the cinema and switched off after about 4 tracks (and when Aerosmith got too much for us).

I was disappointed though. I would have liked to see th whole thing and I REALLY wanted to know what they chose as number one. Hunchermuncher guessed it would be Bohemian Rhapsody, but I thought that by rights it really should be Smoke on the Water.

So tonight i thought I would look for the list on the internet - but to no avail - I can find the programme listed but no list of the tracks anywhere as yet - grrrr.

One of the bands that we did see was Muse, who I didn't know much about. The track was called "Newborn" and I thoought it was excellent. The singer sounds a lot like Tom Yorke from Radiohead, very soulful but the it suddenly goes into some blistering guitar rock - really good - I am planning on checking out some of their other stuff soon!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Hot Chips

Really enjoyed the UK electronic dance band Hot Chip on Later with Jools Holland last night. I had never heard them before but found them refreshingly different from other bands around at the moment - if you click on the link above you can go to their web site and listen to tracks from their album "The Warning".

I also found myself enjoying watching Morrisey. I used to be a fan of the Smiths (although not when it was fashionable!), but have not warmed to Morrisey's more recent work. After watching him on Jonathan Ross a cople of weeks ago I found myself left cold. But I have to say some of those tracks grow on you and his present band are really tight - I just couldn't get over how good they were, and "The Youngest Was the Most Loved" is a brilliant track, well worth a listen.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Dandys where are you?

There I was waiting eagerly at the front door like a dog waiting to bite the postman, and all I got was three measly bills! It's not fair. I ordered "Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia" by The Dandy Warhols from ebay on Monday night. I waited yesterday and when it didn't arrive I was sure that it would come today. Not that I'm desperate or anything.......

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Thursday Thirteen - Great Novelists

Thirteen Authors That I Really Admire PUPSKI

1…Louise Erdrich - I find her writing fresh and inspirational, it is gritty without being too disturbing and usually I can't put her books down until i have read the whole thing! Favourite: Tacks

2...Mervyn Peake - The Gormenghast books have been favourite since I was a teenager, but Peake was also a talented artist and illustrator. Reading Peake will take you to a fantastical yet slightly dark fantasy world.

3...T. C. Boyle - I only came to his writing relatively recently. His books are gritty yet humourous with undercurrents of truth shot through. Best read - Drop City.

4...Esther Freud - I really like Esther Freud. Her books are often set in Norfolk and Suffolk and she writes in a way that you feel you might know the chracters. Her books are atmospheric, emotionally charged you find yourself swept along by them like a boat at high tide. Best read : The Sea House.

5...Alice Hoffman - wow, Alice Hoffman is such a great writer, and her books are always different so you never know what to expect. She really knows how to make you attached to a character yet then once you are hooked you might discover some dark secret or quirk that you weren't expecting. Best read: Blue Diary

6...Tolkien - yes corny I know but sometimes those oldies are the best. I have included Tolkien because both Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit made a huge impact on me as a child. I read both of them to my son a year or so ago and really enjoyed them again. you have to admire the mans vision.

7...Ellen Gilchrist - very different from the other authors on my list. I got into Ellen Gilchrists novels when I was about 18, and there isn't one I haven't enjoyed. In reality I would never relate to her characters and i probably wouldn't like some of them. But she writes in a funny and sympathetic manner and I find I want to know more about what happens to them. She has also written several books of short stories which I really enjoyed. Best reads: "Light can be Both Wave and Particle", "I cannot Get You Close Enough", "In the Land of Dreamy Dreams".

8...Tobias Wolff - Most well known for his semi-autobiographical novel "This Boy's Life" that was made into a film starring Robert De Nero and Leonardo Di Caprio. However Wolff is a versatile and riveting writer. His perfered genre seems to be the short story which he excels at. Best Reads: "The Night in Question", "Hunters in the Snow".

9...Michael Doris - Despite the contoversy around Michael Dorris and his death several years ago, there is no getting away from the fact that he was an extremely good writer and depite my feelings abot hihis personal life - I still love his novels. Best read: "yellow Raft in Blue Water"

10...Donna Tartt - although she has so far only written two books, Donna Tartt is a truly excellent writer, I enjoyed her first novel "A Secret History" several years ago, but didn't expect her second to be very good. How wrong I was, The Little Friend is a novel stuffed to the gills with detail, mood and evocative description - yet I never lost the thread of what was goingg on and I was desperate to see how it would all end. My only disappointment was that when I finished that there were no more books by this author to read!

11...Carolyn Chute - I first read work by Carolyn Chute more than 10 years ago and have been slightly disappointed that more of her work has not been published. her novels are are a great mix of humour and drama. Best reads: "The Beans of Egypt, Maine", "Letourneau' Used Auto Parts".

12....Peter Dickinson - I have included Peter Dickinson as he was one of my early influences. One of my middle school teachers read us the book "heartsease" when we were 11 years old and I was entranced (the book was later made into a children's tv series called The Changes). Dickinson writes about a world gone mad, where people have turned against machinery and gone back to living in semi dark ages style. As a child I found these ideas both terrifying and entrancing. The Changes trilogy is well worth a read if you come across them even now.

13...Barbara Kingsolver - Another writer who writes with passion and integrity. I haven't liked all her work, her novel The Poisonwood Bible left me cold. But I loved her earlier work especially "The Bean Trees" and "Pigs in Heaven", Kingsolvers books contain deep insight into the human condition our realtionship to one anotherLinks to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. Louise

2. moogie

3. divap

4. lisa

5. fatedhearts

6. karen

7. janet

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!