Saturday, 29 September 2012

Remembered

It was late on a certain night of the year. New Years Eve no less. The beer was flowing and we were having what we were classifying as an excellent time. The table cleared for a minute as people went to the bar, to chase girls, pee almost continuously, or just to chat to another group of revellers.  I turned to my friend and we looked through the crowd and of course, someone was missing.

'Dude, where the fuck is he?! It's New Tears Fucking Eve!'

'Mate! I don't know! It's fucked up!' Replied my excellent, tall, boat sinking friend.

'Well he better be sick or dead! He's missing the fucking fun!'

The next day I got a phone call while at work. My friend was indeed sick that night.

He died the next day.

We flash forward and I'm at work, its New Years day and the cinema is very quiet. I get given a message that I need to call home and its January the first nineteen ninety eight, so I call home because I never get messages normally. @Mamacrow answers and brakes it to me, he died an hour ago, of Meningitis.

My arse touches the faded red seat in the foyer, I'm still on the phone but I'm really not.Not really anywhere. I'm there, last night, sitting at that table, or maybe I'm sitting in his flat and maybe I'm already home as well. I'm nowhere.

'I'm coming home,' I mumble and the phone goes down. First thing, first person I see is 'Pip'. He's annoying and inoffensive and he smokes, so I bum a fag and tell him I'll be out back for a minute. He can tell, damn, he can smell somethings up and so he sends my good mate and the supervisor out back to check on my unscheduled brake. We talk, he sets up my early departure and I head home.

Walking out of the building and standing out front I could feel eyes on me. I remember that feeling of being watched far more than most of the feelings that night, the rest is kind of numb, silent, a void. My first real meeting with mortality. Those eyes though? I can feel them linger still.

I was young, twenty one, he was younger. He'd joined the navy and was loving life and it was a crying shame. Wrong on every level, and yet, we learn from life and its cruelty.

I have come to understand that death doesn't pick you because you're evil or cruel, mad or reckless. It just does. Life doesn't crap on us or shine because we are worthy. It just does. There are things that we can do to increase the chances of death and those that can increase the chances of success and sunshine but in the end, if its your time, then its your time.

I don't go out on New Years Eve any more. I stay at home and watch Jools Holland's Hootenanny. Its good. I don't sit and moan or be miserable. I'm as comfortable as I'll ever be with that day and that feeling. It's a time I remember to cherish my family and pull close the people I hold dear. There are other days that will join this one in my life for reflection and for holding people close. I won't be able to tell who will go, when, or where. I have to accept (as we all do) that one day my parents will die. I have many siblings, sadly the likelyhood are I have a good chance of facing tragedy in the years to come but I hopefully will face it with my eyes open.

Why this post? Why now? Well I'm following someone on Twitter and they are very ill. Honestly, they're dying. It seems hopeless and cruel and it seems nothing can change this much undeserved outcome. What can I do? Well, if I won the lottery I would send them money. If I had some great words of advice I would give them, but I don't. Honestly, all I know is that it seems entirely random as to how things turn out.

What can we do? Nothing, just sit and ride it out and be there. That's it. Small comfort and yet maybe that small comfort may help in some small way. I hope it does. If I could help my twitter friend I would, perhaps there is nothing I can do practically, but I will be there and maybe that's enough.

It sounds crap, stereotypical and very clich├ęd but I still see my mate in town. Someone will walk through the crowd and I'll just see their hair or someone will bowl through a shop and I'll have to double take, because for the briefest of seconds my brain tells me he's there, right there. Still in my thoughts, still in my memories, still a part of my life.

I haven't given up hope, I believe the world is as brilliant as it is horrible and maybe some ray of light will come. I pray it does. If things go badly I know I'll boot-up twitter and I'm sure it will be the same as my friend in town, I'll see someone has tweeted something and I'll have to double take. I hope it will be of small comfort to his family to know that there will be people; not just me, that remember him.



Monday, 24 September 2012

Music Monday

Here come another five pieces of music that I think are pretty cool and I have seen them LIVE. No albums this week, just single tracks. Lets get started shall we?

EPIC by Faith No More

I saw F.N.M  at the Brixton Academy in the year they played the Download festival. The place was heaving, the warm up act were a small local band and they got murdered by the crowd (not literally obviously) and when Faith No More came on stage they were in white suits. We were slightly wrong footed.

The first song they did was a cover of an eighties song 'Reunited' and we loved it, once the song was done the band kicked in with the real deal and hammered us with awesome sounds! Stunning live band and one of my all time favourite bands. The song I offer as tribute to you? Well...its Epic!





FLY AWAY by Lenny Kravitz

In 1999 we were given tickets to a massive gig in Wembley Stadium. Aerosmith headlined a day of amazing acts and one of the very best there that day was Lenny. He tore the arse out of that Stadium with his huge sound and on was certainly the second best act of the day, defiantly the best under card act.

Lenny hit us hard...that's what I'm going to do to you!





OBJECTS IN THE REAR VIEW MIRROR by Meatloaf

I saw Meatloaf at Wembley arena and it was a great gig. It's a rock opera and it's huge! Meatloaf did all the hits and left it on stage like only he can. Yes, I know I'm claiming that all these people are awesome and that they are all utterly fantastic at what they do...I didn't say this was going to be impartial did I? Nope!

So Meat did big rock opera and he did soft sad songs and this?...One of my fav songs of all time.






SAMURAI by The Mountain Firework Company

I went to a small gig in my little brothers favourite bar. Rocking up I found it to be a small space and as we got settled into the corner I got ready to expect very little, what I got was something totally beyond my expectations.

These guys are brilliant but what was really special was that I listened to the music and a whole screenplay popped into my head. Characters, scenes, setting, music influences, conclusion, shots, the whole works. I wrote it. I've tried to sell it. I really like it.

When my brain went on its journey into sight and sound this was playing. Somewhere in the back of my mind its always playing.





JANIE'S GOT A GUN by Aerosmith

1999, Wembley Stadium, Kravitz blew the crowd away, Sterophonics did a good job, Three Colours Red were ok, Black Crows were a bit self indulgent, Aerosmith were perfect.

As the set started up we jumped and shouted and absorbed the sound and everything was perfect, but the timing? As the sun started going down and dusk crept above us like a cover pulled over the sky there was a moment of calm. A point of stillness...and then this. Amazing.





That's it for this week. Hope to blog mid week. Enjoy the tunes.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

You'll Never Change

It's Sunday, a day of rest, yet there are plenty of people that don't rest on this day. Plenty that are kicking into overdrive, both today and on every other day.

I like to call them arseholes.

The fact they call themselves something else does bother me and I think it always will, you see I'm not a great believer in structured religion and yet it seems I understand it better than SOME of the people CLAIMING to be religious.

Lets take the recent film made by a Californian idiot with more cash than sense. He makes a film that shows the prophet of another religion as a nasty piece of work, presumably to directly stir up his fellow unchristian Christians. He knows its going to annoy the Muslims and that sects are going to rise up and cause trouble, burn flags, attack American troops in the middle east and he must understand that this will only fuel hatred and kill understanding.

Yes, he knows this. If he doesn't he is not just stupid but carrot like in intellect. So he has kicked the hornets nest and stepped back. The hornets do what they do and swarm and yet look, these aren't insects with no education, humanity or understanding. These are human beings and people, following a religion with hopefully a core belief of goodness. Surely these people will see through this weak attempt to breed hate and laugh at this pitiful Muppet and call him what he is? An arsehole.

Nope.

In an act of utter idiocy they leap up, charge about, burn flags, attack embassy's and kill people that have nothing to do with this childish piece of crap film. They prove their idiocy and add fire to the smoke he's blowing all over the Internet. Now a hold load of American Muppet's can look to the east and say 'See, look how mad they are!' While those mad bible belt lunatics and their creationist buddies can keep their holy war going because they serve different gods!

Wait...I think the wheels just came off. These two groups are from the same god. The Jews are too.
You know the Jews wandered the wilderness and finally settled and their rules and regulations set down in the tablets, set down by god, were built upon. More rules followed about crushed testicles and not being able to serve in temples if you have them. It didn't seem very fair, so up pops a dude not called Jesus!

What?! Not called Jesus?! As far as I understand it 'Jesus' is not likely his name, it was probably 'Joshua' and translated into the Greek version...Jesus. So what the fuck?! His name's wrong?! What else?!

Well, he came and fought against the dogma of Judaism and kicked the money lenders out of the temple and hung out with the homeless and chilled with prostitutes and beggars and the poor. He said screw the temples lets worship wherever you want to. He said lets have a big movement and be more accepting and leave the judging to god and just get on down here. This pissed off a load of people and so a drive-by was organised.

Killed off by the local powerhouses his story went forth and people screwed with it and wrote down the bits about being nice and then added lots of rules, rules about women and temples and orders of mass and where and when you can shop and who you can talk to and just where tab A has to go; certainly not in slot B.

That took them nice and far away from the original message; be cool, chill out, help each other and let god sort out the arseholes. So when a dude called Muhammad turned up some years later and said 'Hi, I'm from the god of the Jews and I have some amendments to the way you're acting and the weird rules you're following', everyone should really have paid more attention right?

Nope.

He told them to chill and not worry, to follow god by being good to people and for goodness sake, whatever you do, let god sort the arseholes out! Oh, and the thing that's important here guys is 'Man Is (insert word that could mean equal or lesser, depends on your agenda) to woman.' Then to stamp this really simple rule into peoples heads he marries an older female businesswoman and when he dies he leaves 'Fatima' his daughter in charge. That says 'equal' to me.

Nope.

Cue the subjection of women and the insanity of holy war. Brilliant. Nice one lads.

I have a simple question. One that is so obvious I feel anyone should be able to answer it. Ready?

If God is so mighty and he is going to sort out all the people that are arseholes and send them to crappy land when they die...why are you trying to kill them? You are breaking the law held above all others.

THOU SHALT NOT KILL.

So If your god is able to see all then why is it you have so little faith that the person who offends him must die now, and not be judged when his time comes to stand before God?

If your God is so powerful how is it he couldn't create a universe and make the world the way he wanted to. When evidence suggests the world was created 4.5 billion years ago surely that indicates he is the king of forward planning? Surely he had this thing worked out all from the start and every now and then made amendments to the world gene pool by chucking asteroids at it?

The dinosaurs were unlikely to develop the Internet so they had to go.

Its simple really. You have no faith! No love for your God! No understanding of the laws you claim God would have you live by. You are to be judged and you, my friend, are off to crappyland when all is said and done.

The rest of us, the people who don't know and those who follow the rules of god without buying into the hate written in by man and his quest for power? We get the bar where its always happy hour, or perhaps we get the picnic, on a sunny day, with our loved ones forever, or maybe we do something far cleverer?

Energy cannot be destroyed, it is transformed. Solid to energy, body to soul. Perhaps we just move on and its nothing as petty and small minded and unimaginative as harps and halos? I don't know the answers but I'm open. I don't believe in a dude with a beard, or a man with a burning bush, or a guy who can move mountains. I believe perhaps this stuff was not literal but symbolic.

Many people with faith are nothing like the lunatics that attack each other, gather in mobs, make inflammatory films or sweep child abuse under the carpet. Many of them are fantastic, wonderful, giving, beautiful people and I respect them for their beliefs. Measured and controlled and hopeful and full of the message of peace. Peace for all, not just people that think exactly the same as you. I think these people are excellent and the world is a better place for having you in it.

I know if I am shown evidence then perhaps I'll change, I can't see it happening but I know I have that ability. I don't have the same faith in the hate smothered arseholes who burn books and make films designed to insight violence. I have no faith in those that would take the bate. I know deep down that sadly...

You'll never change.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Music Monday

Its music monday, lets get this shit on shall we? This week we are having a fire sale on soundtracks, just the best ones mind you...and no, I don't mean the ones with singing on them. We are talking the instrumental scores that fill the voids in films and sometimes, just sometimes, bring them to life.


THE THIN READ LINE

War is 5% action and 95% sitting around or marching. That isn't a direct quote, no, I'm pretty sure we've all gripped I'm a lazy bastard, but the ideas is about right. No I couldn't tell you who said it, No I can't be arsed to look it up.

This is a soundtrack for a war film that sounds like nothing else in any other war film filmed that I'm aware of. It's devoid of rousing, patriotic themes and thundering tracks to fight to. No this is a soundtrack to compliment Terrance Malick's near three hour adaption of the book of the same title.

It's a depressing, soulful, tortured piece of music that sways through the horror of the battle for Guadamal Canal without ever glorifying war. It is a beautiful film. It is a stunning soundtrack.

I really feel you should own it. I would. I do.






SOLARIS

Now this is the remake with George Clooney and Natasha McHardnameToSpell, directed by Steven Soderberg (whatever). Before you leap up and hit me with the paradox stick screaming 'NO! YOU FUCKING HYPOCRITE! YOU HATE REMAKES BY THERE VERY DEFINITION!', stop and wait. This one is different.

This one is amazing.

This film I love. Everything about it. Every second. Every arty cut and long pause. Every damn second of this film is something I love. Now the soundtrack? Same thing. Its soft, gentle, haunting, beautiful and totally captivating.

I know it probably isn't for everyone. Its very modern Tangerine Dream but I loved what they did. This however? I love this more.





THE CROW

The original Crow film had a kickass rock soundtrack that featured memorable tracks by memorable bands. As you may have guested that is not the soundtrack I'm going to recommend. Nope.

The instrumental soundtrack is full of that pain and mourning and sadness. It sweeps over you and sounds incredible but its not just a sad sound that reminds you of the plight of Eric Draven and his poor fiance. No. This has moments of tenderness, warmth, a sound that tells of the love of this couple, the love of the child that still misses them and the message that people are not gone. Never 'gone' forever.

Not if we remember them.





THE LAST OF THE MOHICAN'S

This is a great film filled with drama and romance, danger and suffering, hope and despair. The soundtrack in general is great but it reaches a peak that few ever do with the chase at the end. Uncas rushes to save Alice from Magwa, it doesn't all go according to plan.

Possible the saddest scene you'll ever see. The tragic nature of the new world played out in all its horror.

I get a lump in my throat just thinking about it.

 


Final one and yes, Its break the mold time! Every week I do four albums and an instrumental and so this week I do four Instrumental scores and a soundtrack that pounds you with classic songs! Huge sound! Hugely quotable! Film of the nineties? Yes! Its...


PULP FICTION

You already have this soundtrack. I know you do. You obviously do. Lets just slip back and hit the dusty shall we?




Back next week for more hits from the headcase. Hope to blog before then though.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Silent Sunday Part 2


Silent Sunday (Dr Who Roo)


Sworn Secret a Review.

There seems to be a secret on many lips that just keeps spilling out and whoops...everyone starts to hear about it! This most ineptly kept secret is how good Amanda Jennings debute novel is, and its entitled 'Sworn Secret', so as you can see I'm trying to be clever and failing miserably.

In truth I don't think I can tell you how good 'Sworn Secret' is, I do happen to think its brilliant. My words would almost certainly fall short, but I am feeling brave so here we go.

SWORN SECRET by Amanda Jennings

This book concerns the lives of a family shattered by child bereavement, following each member and their struggle to adapt (if they can) to the world following the death of one of their loved ones.

Anna died by falling from the gym block in her school. She was drunk and reckless and by all accounts much loved. A special child. A year later and her mother, Kate, has fallen into a pit of mourning she cannot escape from, black sackcloth walls smoother her life post Anna's death and she cannot climb out. Jon, her father, tries to keep it all going but he is crippled by loneliness, having lost his oldest child, effectively his wife and though he tries to hold on his youngest daughter Lizzie is drifting away too.

As revelations concerning Anna's death come to light and old wounds left weeping start to gush once more it seems this is an event that has and will destroy these once bright and happy people, collapsing their loving family into never ending despair, yet we all find ways to move on. The stages of grief must be walked through, no matter how painful they are for the walkers and the ones desperate to carry them.

I tried to be clever there again....did you notice?

I love this book. Its sad, its makes your heart ache and its damned difficult to hold back manly tears through it. I failed of course. Why should that then be something you'd want to read?! Simple, because real emotional reactions dragged from books should always be sought out!

I loved the characters, how they interacted, the tears they wept and the miles they walked to try and get back to each other. It is grim reading in places as I said, Anna is a modern teenage girl with all the trappings and maybe we can see some of what she felt through Lizzie's journey into Love too? Maybe we can begin to understand the motivations that pull through the characters that surround the family, their parts in the sad play and perhaps even come to feel some empathy for them?

I know I did.

I love it because it engaged, was exceptionally easy to read, flowed beautifully, twisted just enough to make one feel the upheaval and was above all else very well written. It does have sad and unpleasant subject matter but it's never too horrible through involved description. It tells you what you need to know, shows you the picture without ever trying to shock you cheaply, which would detract from the emotional content, which is exceptionally strong.

I bought the book because I had chatted very briefly with Amanda on Twitter. I bought her book because I'm trying to up my game and I wanted to see what she had delivered as her first novel, gripped by the idea that perhaps you didn't need to be on your fourth novel to be great at what you did.
I bought her book because I wanted to step out of comfort zone and try something new.

She is new. The book is great. I can up my game. Amanda is lovely.

I'd love to be able to produce something this good one day.

Go get it. I loved it.

(I'd put a jazzy pic here of the book but I can't work out how to put a link here :-) So instead I'll tell you to go to Amazon. They have it. I checked and I actually bought it for myself as a birthday present on that special day. Says it all right? Yeah.)

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Nomad Blues

As we come through a Cabinet re-shuffle and find ourselves no better than we were before (shocking that) I ask what is the point?

I boil the kettle and get my Assam and Battenberg ready and ask what the hell did it achieve? What was the point? There wasn't one of course is the answer and yet isn't that always the case? When did a Re-shuffle do anything other than push new square pegs into well worn and battered round holes?

The sugar goes into my cup (just the one) and the water follows. I squeeze, stir, repeat and then get rid of the bag. The milk follows, the spoons twists, the tea swirls, I sip.

Right, it's not the Cabinet re-shuffle that's getting me down. It's not the arseholes screwing up the country, as the arseholes before did as well. It's not that smug bastard Cameron's face telling us it's going to be fine or the unimaginative imbecile of a chancellor getting soaked in boo's and smiling about it. No. It's us. The people.

Now before you leap up, scream, spill your coffee and knock over your biscuits its not what you think. I'm not going to tell you we should be getting down with the 'Big Society' or perhaps just 'put up with it', no. I'm not telling you to do anything. I'm going to tell you what's getting me down. Ready?

'FUCK THE (insert group of people here)!!! YOU VOTED FOR THEM YOU C*NTS! DAMN YOU (insert name here)  FUCKERS!!'

Here's the truth as I see it; when the election happened we were looking at a Labour gov run by a Prime Minister we never voted for. He was handed the throne by a war criminal that brushed his opposition aside with a smile and a catchy slogan. He was hammered in the debates by a young upstart called Clegg and Cameron was obviously a better speaker than the paper P.M who mismanaged the countries finances while he was in the cash chair.

The numbers gathered and Clegg looked like he could pull off something incredible and syphon power from the big parties finally bringing the Lib Dems to the table. Then the night, that night happened and the Lib Dem's didn't get the points they wanted. The reason?

People voted with their fear.

Some wanted to see the end of the Labour insanity and some were terrified of the Tory terror and so they voted tactically. Those votes brought the Tories to the brink of outright success, but they weren't quite there. They needed a partner.

Labour got hammered but they tried to forge an alliance with Clegg, it didn't happen because Balls and other lunatics came in as they had for the last four years, believing it didn't matter what other people thought; they were in control. No. Wrong. Shot down.

Clegg and Cameron got together and the rest, as they say, is tragedy. Its gone badly wrong. We can all see this, we all know this, but without a balanced view we will fall down again. The time will come when we get to make our mark and we will vote with fear. We'll rush out and burn the Tories or stamp on the Labour to keep Red Ed down and where will we be? Somewhere near fuckedville.

Am I telling you how to vote? No. I'm telling you what's getting me down. By the way the tea is good, the cake is better..

So what is getting me down? Its us. We scream and shout and name call like little kids and our passion for our beliefs gets the better of us and I understand that. I understand the anger at the current shambling bastards and their sad, moronic devotion to old economic practises that assault the weak and attack great foundations all in the name of cut backs. I see their incompetence. I understand the fear of Labour and what was before. The wars, the lap dogging to Bush, the inability to secure the country we live in, the waste of gold. The Lies.

They are as bad as each other and we all can pick a bad we hate less. We can all follow our hearts and our minds but what we do need to do is make sure anger doesn't blind us to the darkness in the party we pick. We need to stay civil. We need to try and listen to each other rather than just shout.

I see 'I HATE FUCKING (insert people of one type)!' and my world gets a little darker. What's the difference between blaming just one group and blaming one religion, or maybe one sex, hell, what about one colour? You are after all saying that everyone in that group is the same, thinks the same, acts the same and should share the same fate.

Blindness leads to hate. You cannot make clear decisions if you're burning that hard.

We are the people.Stop hating. Start thinking.

Drink the beverage of your choice, consume the delight you love most. Discuss.

The raging gets you no-where. Just my opinion.
   

Monday, 3 September 2012

Music Monday

Ready to have another 'Music Monday'? Yep, I thought so. You know how it works, I put up five things for you to try and perhaps enjoy, or maybe you already have them, love them but haven't heard them in a while? Either way, we head into the musical wonder with both hands holding our hats on and ours tongues stuck as far out as they'll go!

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS By Jeff Wayne

Nothing really needs to be put about this but lets do the basics. Its a seventies classic, the story of The War of the Worlds set to music, stars the voice Talents of Richard Burton, David Essex and others and well...Eve Of the War!
Its amazing. Switch the lights off at dusk, let the sound wash over you as the light dims and stay there as the Martians take the world. Eve of the War is Iconic, there is no doubt but for me, if you put a gun to my head and forced me to tell you which track I loved the most then I would have to pick 'Thunder Child'. Epic, haunting, Heroic, rousing and tragic. That final line a chiller that will stay with you forever after; '...the Earth belonged to the Martians.'


LEVELLING THE LAND By The Levellers

Chilled, folky, uplifting, brilliant! This is one of those albums I can put on and listen to from start to finish. I'm not tempted to skip a single track, as it's all so good. Its an early nineties sound that hasn't lost anything since it was released. Fantastic!





SKID ROW By Skid Row

Their first album and it's a stomping metal sound that shouts like an angry teenager throughout the record. Yes, it has very little substance to it compared to some worthy albums but lets face it I'm not putting this on to set the world right! I want it loud! I want it stompy! I want to hear about Seb Bachs easy sister! CUE MUSIC!!





THE HOUSE THAT DIRT BUILT By The Heavy

I found this and bought it on a one track basis. That track was so good I fell in love with it straight away. What was the rest of the album like? Brilliant! Its an odd mix of acid jazz, rock, funky stuff. It gets hard and then it gets soft and it moves and it ebbs and flows. Its a great album, constructed to be listened to from start to finish, not a few singles and then dross, but gold throughout.
My favourite track is called 'Short Change Hero.' Its amazing. I hope you like it.

 

Finally we have the soundtrack of the week. I have a draw full of soundtracks for films but this is one of the more recent ones I picked up and has a certain excellence to it. Melding the old with the new to create a familiar sound that I tend to write Role Playing sessions too (yes, Marvel is my fav game and yes I do still play).

PREDATORS By John Debney

The soundtrack from the most recent Predator film, it was a cool movie, it's a cool soundtrack. Here it is.





That's it for this week. Hope you found something that tickled your fancy, if not there's always next week right? Yeah.