bbtmn

Posts in Category: Music

Another Hustle Just To Make It Big

Thursday 24th July 2008

Tunnel of Love by Dire Straits is the best song ever. Fact.

I’ve been through a slight non-blogging phase lately. A few reasons for that. I’ve either wanted to write about something, but not wanted my writings on that something to be available freely on the Internet; or I’ve not had anything to write about; or I’ve wanted to write about things on which I’m more than happy for my writings to be freely available, but I’ve not been able to articulate what I’ve wanted to a sufficiently high standard that I could get my point across well.

In summary: Moping, Unimagination and Laziness.

Another reason is that I’ve been working for the last week, which is really rather tiring. I’m sure theres something wrong with the fact that I seem to work harder over my summer vacations than I do over the rest of the year, but there you go. I realised the other day that I’ve not had a completely free summer since about 2002. Weird.

Working’s been pretty good to me though, to be honest. For those who don’t know, I work in a bank as a cashier. I first did it when I was 16, and looking back now at how I was then and now it’s probably one of the best things I’ve done, for a bunch of reasons. Mostly because the job I do is essentially a proper job that proper people do, rather than a “student” job (and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way towards other stuff btw). I’ve worked with all sorts of people from my age upto 60-odd – and obviously dealt with a nice array of customers – and I think it’s whats largely responsible for turning the shy, nervy 16 year-old I was into the slightly less shy, chilled-out 20 year-old I am now.

Theres a few of the customers in the branch I’m in at the moment who can’t work out how to use the front door. This isnt important, but I just felt you ought to know.

This is probably the last year I’ll be working in the bank. Next year I’ll be doing proper work, and who knows what I’ll be doing the year after. I’m considering doing an MSc after I graduate, and I was thinking about what sort of course I want to do. Research or taught? What area? Do I wanna do it somewhere other than Cardiff? Lots of choices.

I was also thinking about my car the other day. I’ve just got mine back on the road (first time I can drive regularly for a couple of years), and I was thinking of getting a different car in a few months. And then I looked at insurance. It’s frustrating, because I can afford some pretty decent cars, but the insurance is… Well I probably could afford it, but I’m not paying £2500-£5000 for it (admittedly the larger quote was for a Fiat Coupe. With the 20v turbo engine…). Ho hum. Might just keep what I’ve got.

I’ve also been thinking about racing a lot lately. Actually, since the British Grand Prix a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been thinking about Lewis Hamilton an awful lot. I’m probably gonna write another entry about that though, so I wont say much for now, other than: wow.

Tempted to pay to do a race weekend of some sort in the next year. I was thinking either karting, or possibly car racing in something like a Caterham. I’m almost definitely going to race when I’m in full-time work, because it’s something I love. Then, I’ll probably go karting to start with (cheaper…), but for a one-off I’m tempted to jump in the deep end. We’ll see.

Bleh, I’m tired. Should probably sleep. This has been a really awful entry, but as I’ve typed it (and think I should publish something), it’s going up. Sorry.

P.S. Theres also a few sites I keep meaning to add to the Blogroll. I’ll get round to it at some point, probably.

Posted In: CarsGeekMotorsportMusicRandomSleepStuff Tagged: | 1 Comment

Scratching A Musical Itch

Thursday 10th July 2008

So the other evening I went to the pub, and ended up driving there (so much less hassle). Most of the time when I’m in the car, I put my own music on. But the other evening I decided to put the radio on. Very good reason for this: Radio 2 in the weekday evenings is excellent. To be honest, I’d assumed it was Radcliffe and Maconie’s show, one which I particularly enjoy. As it happened, that started a bit later, so I listened to whoever else was on.

Now, I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve listened to Radio 2 in the evenings and found myself thinking “wow, this is bloody brilliant!”. They play all sorts of country, or blues, or folk, or whatever – basically really good music. Anyway, on this particular evening, there was an interview with a guy from some random band I’d never heard before, and obviously played some of the band’s music.

I’ve been listening to some old blues/jazz/country recently (from the 20s and 30s. I’m so cool), and I’ve been trying to find some more. This band seems to take all of those influences – and more – and mixes them together into one big blend of musical brilliance. They’re called Hazmat Modine, and I defy anyone to listen to this and stay still. I certainly couldnt the other evening, despite the fact that I was meant to be driving… Definitely another band to add to the “must see live” list.

Posted In: Music Tagged: | 3 Comments

Sultans of Strings

Saturday 31st May 2008

I wanted to reply to comments from the last post, but it’s probably gonna get quite long so I thought I’d just write a new post. Most of this is aimed at Andy’s comment…

Something I want to get entirely clear (and probably wasn’t clear in the post) is that I think the Killers’ cover of the song is – on the whole – ok. Passable. Not bad. Note that I avoided any jokes about them “killing” it (despite the obvious temptation). Okay so the guitarist simply can’t play the part, and the tone is awful, but whatever. It sounds OK. But…

Juliet when we made love you used to cry
You said I love you like the stars above, I’ll love you till I die
Theres a place for us, you know the movie song
When you gonna realise it was just that the time was wrong, Juliet ?

So it’s clearly a love song. And to my mind a love song should have some sort of element of passion to it. If you listen to a good one (like the original version of Romeo and Juliet, or Buckley’s version of Hallelujah, or Love Sick by Dylan), that comes in spades. When Knopfler sings the lines I’ve quoted, you can hear the heartbreak in his voice. I don’t get that feeling from The Killers’ version. They’re just going through the motions, which makes the whole exercise pointless. Music is about emotions, about conveying a feeling and telling a story, and a song (or performance) which fails to do that isn’t worth listening to.

So “how fucking dare anyone cover it who doesn’t fully understand the subtle nuance” is half right, I guess. It’s a nuance, but not a subtle one. A love song which is devoid of emotion just seems to defeat the point, and that’s why it’s bad.

It’s not purism by the way. There’s a cover of the same song by The Indigo Girls, and I think it’s absolutely brilliant. They’ve taken the song and performed it in their own way, which is surely the point of a cover? Think of Hendrix’s version of All Along the Watchtower, or Buckley’s Hallelujah; they take other people’s songs and make them their own, and arguably make them better by doing so. But this is straying from the point… What I’m trying to say is that it’s not “how dare anyone cover this!?”, it’s more a case of “meh”.

I disagree with the point about “The guy even says at the start of the video that they won’t do it justice, but that it’s worth doing if they get a Killers fan to listen to Mark Knopfler. They’re on your side, for crying out loud” as well. My main gripe wasn’t that they didn’t perform the song that well – I didn’t like them beforehand, and I remain justified after having heard them do it. My main gripe stems from the comment about “I’m amazed that they’re from England”. If he’d heard any of their songs, he’d know they plainly are from England. A lot of the songs even mention places in England, for fuck’s sake! It just sounds cynical. “Oh, they’re popular, let’s play that…”. Maybe I’m being cynical; maybe someone else in the band wanted to play it, and he’s just going along with it. I don’t know, and perhaps I’m being harsh, but it just irked me.

I also didn’t call them “complete wankers with no skill at all”. I called them “talentless no-ones”, which I should probably take back; they have a talent for writing relatively mediocre poppy songs with a strong chorus, which is popular because of the whole club thing, and bring little new or interesting in terms of musicality. Hey, if you like that sort of thing, fine; I’m not saying it’s wrong for people to like them (as I’ve said before, people want different things from music). I just happen to have a penchant well played, well written, interesting music, so The Killers don’t particularly float my boat. It’s not that I’m a purist (well, maybe a little), it’s just that they’re really bloody dull!

Re: “wanky bullshit”, well you just can’t say that. I doubt you even know most of the people I listen to (without looking at Last.fm), and of those you know I listen to, how much have you listened to? Very little, I’d wager. Even if you have heard it, still can’t call it “wanky bullshit”. Well, you can, but you’d be wrong :-p

Re: Hendrix is best… That’s slightly more complicated. He really was great, and anyone who disagrees is a fool or a liar. This story particularly amuses me. But… As I said up the page, music is about emotions; about storytelling. So yes, Hendrix was a fantastic performer, and definitely a great technical guitarist, but Knopfler is my favourite purely because of the way he uses a guitar to convey feelings. To quote the great Douglas Adams:

“Mark Knopfler has an extraordinary ability to make a Schecter Custom Stratocaster hoot and sing like angels on a Saturday night, exhausted from being good all week and needing a stiff beer”

QFT.

Also, that list has Kurt Cobain at number 12, David Gilmour at 82, and Nick Drake nowhere to be seen. It was clearly compiled by idiots.

Anyway, now you see why I didn’t want to write this via phone… I’m probably gonna write some other stuff relating to this week when I’m less tired, but for now I think sleep would be a good idea.

Oh, re: Monaco… I had a few things I wanted to not hear about while I was away: the race, who left the Apprentice, and the Lost finale. I found out the part of the result of the first when someone told me, and the rest when I looked it up afterwards. And then some people were watching The Apprentice on iPlayer the other day whilst I was playing cards with some people, and I kinda caught the end of it. Oops. I’m gonna watch Lost unspoiled tomorrow though, which is good.

The GP result is kinda annoying. I’m in a fantasy league with some people here, where you pick teams & drivers and get points depending on how well you’re doing. I did have a pretty clear lead, but it’s gone down to something like 4 points now because most of my teams did badly. Ho hum. I look forward to watching the recording on Sunday, anyway –  sounds like a pretty damn good race (despite it being the dullest part of your weekend, Flix :-p).

Posted In: MusicRant Tagged: | 4 Comments

All I Do Is Keep The Beat

Sunday 25th May 2008

I think I’ve mentioned before (on a comment elsewhere, iirc) that I have a certain amount of distaste for The Killers. This cover of “Romeo and Juliet” by Dire Straits is (mainly) why.

Ok, it’s not bad. But then it’s an amazingly good song (better than the inoffensive trite they usually play…), so they’d have to be fools to completely cock it up. That said, the guitarist is blatently struggling to play his part (and the tone of his guitar is awful. Awful!), and his solo at the end is just laughable, but y’know… The guy singing kinda fails to convey any sense of emotion as well. It sounds like he’s trying really hard to sound cool, rather than trying to tell the story within the song.

So it won’t go down in history as The Best Cover Ever, but anyone who hasnt heard the original (most of The Killers’ fanbase, I imagine) would probably think it’s ok. But I have heard the original, and it’s one of my favourite songs ever. So the Killers’ lacklustre effort really shows them up for the talentless no-ones they are. For comparison, this is the way Mark Knopfler, who wrote the song, performs it live. Take note of the decent singing (when you write good lyrics, you don’t need to try to sound cool), the excellent guitar playing (best guitarist ever), and the band just generally being awesome. Also, take note of the tone of the guitar being much nicer on this version. But then he has a Resonator (a National from the 1930s, iirc. And apparently a bitch to play), and they’re pretty fucking awesome.

That said, the performance isn’t what irritated me when I first heard it (to be honest, it just makes me laugh). It’s the little interview at the start:

“I’m amazed that they’re from England, y’know? To me, all the songs sound like they’re from the deserts of Australia. You don’t imagine the clouds of England hanging over their songs, it’s just not there…”

Wrong. Just wrong! That quote really just says that they know nothing about the band, that they’re not really that into the music, and just… Suffice it to say, it really annoys me. Knopfler has a way of writing songs which really tell a story, and the fact that they’ve misunderstood his music that drastically is just contemptious. If they were a proper band, who cared about music, then they wouldn’t say such a thing…

Basically, all this is a roundabout way of saying: I went with one of my brothers to see Mark Knopfler play in Cardiff the other night, and he was bloody brilliant. But then, I’ve seen him before and he was brilliant then, so it wasn’t exactly unexpected.

What was unexpected was another band we saw on the same night. We went to a jazz bar in Cardiff after the gig (which is bloody good, if expensive – £2.95 for a pint of Guinness!), and saw some random band play there. Didn’t really know what to expect, but they were actually really bloody good. After that gig, there sadly wasn’t any more live music to go see, so we ordered another couple of pints and talked about girls…

Anyway, two great gigs in one night. Can’t beat that!

(Yes, another post starting with the letter A. I would try to find another lyric which doesn’t start with that, but…)

Posted In: MusicRant Tagged: | 6 Comments

The Pixies In My Computer Like Free

Thursday 17th April 2008

I’ve had Winamp on shuffle for the last few days, because I couldn’t be bothered picking an album to listen to the other day and I just haven’t changed it since then. It’s a good way of getting myself to listen to something different – I download acquire music quite a bit and just never listen to it, or listen to it once then forget about it. I’ve heard quite a few things that I’ve thought “ooh, this is really good”, which is nice. Anyway something I’ve noticed is that Free is coming up a lot. I’m not sure if this is just perceived or whatever, and it’s not as if I have significantly more Free than anything else. So I’ve decided the the Pixies in my Computer like Free.

The Pixies in my Computer clearly have taste.

On a similarly musical note, I’m looking for some new headphones at the moment because mine are pretty broken (the cans have kinda fallen off the headband, and I’m fed up of reattaching them). Thing is though that it’s really hard to decide which ones are any good just from the internet; you really need to hear them. But if I go down the road to Maplin and ask to listen to them, that’s no use either because they won’t have been broken in yet.

I’ve been poking around on the net and I think I might go for a set of Beyerdynamic DT231s. But then, I could go for another set of Sennheisers… I think not actually – my current ones (different type, admittedly) have only lasted about 14 months, which is fairly poor. But then I don’t know they Beyers will fare any better… Ah, the choices!

Anyway, got back to Cardiff the other day. Mixed feelings. On the one hand, it’s nice to be back because I do appreciate the independance thing. But then on the other hand, I’m not exactly reined in at home. I stay up as late as I want (and get up as late as I want), I go out when I want, I do what I want. Much the same as here then, but with the advantage of having food made and washing done for me.

And, if I get bored here, I tend to sit in my room and think “hmm, I’m bored”. At home, theres usually someone about (even if its just the dog) to entertain me. Hmm.

Also, being back at Uni reminds me that I have a bunch of coursework due in the next few weeks, as well as a load of exams. And I still don’t have a job for next year, so I need to be doing that and chasing people. I think I’m gonna try to head down to the library tomorrow to finish an application and to revise without distraction. I’ve tried to work in my room, but it’s so much easier to do something else, anything else. Like watch all of the first series of Monkey Dust on DVD…

I’m loving the weather at the moment though. I hate in winter when it’s only light for about 15 minutes each day. It’s just so much nicer when you leave the house in the morning (I’m awake in the morning sometimes) and it’s nice and bright, instead of it being dark and dreary. Feels so much more pleasant.

Anyway, back to exams… Considering their proximity I think I should probably be starting to get a bit more concerned/stressed/whatever. That said, I never get stressed by the damn things. I’d do so much better if I did…

This post is probably already sub-par, and I can’t really think of anything else to write. Except that I should probably go to sleep soon, or something. I’ve heard that’s what people do at night, but to be honest I think it’s just an elaborate hoax. You can’t believe everything you read on the net, after all…

Posted In: MusicProcrastinationSleepStuff Tagged: | 3 Comments

It’s Gonna Be The Future Soon

Wednesday 26th March 2008

So yeh, saw Jonathan Coulton in London last week (thanks again to Andy for the use of his sofa, and more importantly for the use of his spare Xbox controller…) and it was pretty awesome. I’ve basically had his music stuck in my head ever since the gig (not a bad thing), and its basically all I’ve been listening to. I burned up some Explosions in the Sky earlier so I can listen to it in bed when I eventually try to go to sleep (sidebar: thing I hate the most about coming home is that I have to leave my CD collection in Cardiff. Grr) just for variety’s sake, but I bet I’ll still wake up with Skullcrusher Mountain in my head.

Anyway, I’m straying from the point before I’ve even started… Theres a bunch of things I’ve wanted to write about on here lately, but frankly I’ve been far too lazy to write them out. So I haven’t. Of course, by the time I can be bothered to write some of them out I will have forgotten what I wanted to say, but meh.

I’ve probably written before on here about time, how it goes quickly, blah blah blah. I know it’s not an entirely original idea, so I’m not going to elaborate too much on it now. Anyway, it’s almost the end of the University year (I think I’ve got just over 2 months yet) and it leaves me thinking “crap, where has that gone?”. I’m almost at the end of the second year, and when I think back to when I was still a in school (or even in 6th form, looking round places) and how uni students looked to me back then, that’s not how I feel about myself now.

Lately I’ve been thinking back though over the last year and a half-ish I’ve been at uni, and thinking about how I’ve changed. Outwardly, I’m not sure if I have massively (other people can judge that better), but inwardly I think I have quite a bit. Not just as a result of going to university, but as a result of certain things that have happened and the way I’ve coped with them (I’m mostly thinking of a specific thing, but I’m not elaborating on a public website. If you wanna know what thing, ask me elsewhere :-p).

Argh, I have this idea floating around in my head, but I’m not sure how to transfer it to words. Annoying to the extreme…

Basically, I realised the other day that I’ve turned into an adult. I’m not sure when it happened, or how it happened, but it has. And in some ways it’s scary, but in others less so.

We’re grown-ups now, and it’s our turn to decide what that means…

==

As an aside, I was pressing the “I” key often enough whilst writing this that it reminded me of this… Thanks Hannah, made me all self-conscious :-P

Anyway, I’ll try to write something more good soon.

Posted In: MusicStuff Tagged: | 14 Comments

Waxing Lyrical, Reprised

Thursday 6th March 2008

In that post, I talked about Heima.

Well, Sigur Ros are taking over YouTube tomorrow, and as part of it, guess what’s being shown in full… Or don’t guess, click the link and find out.

Dunno how good the quality will be (it’s YouTube…), but well worth watching at least some of whats up there, if you have the time.

(I think this post could be tagged stmtm. Am I correct?)

Posted In: MusicRandom Tagged: | No Comments

A Scattergun Approach to Blogging

Tuesday 19th February 2008

Usually when I write a post on here, I have some vague idea in my mind of where I’m gonna go with it, and what I’m gonna say. Tonight, I’m just bored and feel like writing something, so no “plan” as such, more stream of consciousness.

I go through a sort of internal argument with myself every so often, where I try to work out what the hell to write here. I don’t like doing writing down everyday minutae, diary-style, because I always think that other people (i.e. you!) would find that a bit boring. So usually I end up ranting. Most of the time I don’t really care about that; I’m fairly opinionated, so having an outlet for that is fun for me, at least. But then sometimes I think “Does the Internet really need another idiot spouting his opinions on everything?”, and kind of lose confidence in it. Like I said last time, I write a lot of things where I get half way through and decide not to carry on, cos I don’t think its a decent post.

Why do we blog at all? I suppose I’ve partly answered that in the last paragraph, for myself at least. I enjoy writing it, and I guess as well I like that other people read it. It’s great when people leave a comment on something you’ve written. I think I try to make people think about things which they might not think about ordinarily (reading that line back, thats not exactly what I mean, but I cant think of another way to put it which is more accurate and less arrogant). I don’t know how well I do that, but meh.

In other news, the Eee is still great. I installed WinXP on it last week, and it handles it surprisingly well. It doesnt boot quite as quickly as Xandros (the default operating system) did, but i think its still <60 seconds to desktop, which is pretty good. And once its loaded it’s just as responsive. Pretty good. I took it to the Uni IT people last Friday to get it registered on the Cardiff network (for wireless internet goodness at Uni). When I took it out of my bag to give to the lady for her to set it up, her reaction was “aww, I’ve seen these!”. Amused me.

I love being able to use the net in more places than just at my desk. I’ve taken to using the Eee to check my emails/read the news/whatever in the mornings, because its small and quiet and because bed is nice. And tonight, I got bored of sitting in my room so I came downstairs to watch a DVD, with the net to accompany me. I watched Pink Floyd live first, and now somehow Heima seems to have worked its way into the DVD player… I’ve said it before, but damn I love this film.

Changing topic somewhat… I find it kinda weird that it’s already half way through February. I say this a lot, I think, but the rapid passage of time always kinda shocks me. In my head it still feels like early Feb, not almost March. Not that I’m complaining. As much as it surprises me, I do kinda like time’s winged chariot. The inevitability of time whooshing by is somewhat comforting to me, for some reason. The knowledge that the future will come, that now is but a fleeting moment… I’m not articulating myself nearly as well as I should be here.

Of course, as much as I like the passage of time, I also seem to get hung up on the past. And occasionally on the feeling that I’m wasting the “now” with daily monotony. But that’s an unhealthy way to look at the world, and if I feel like that I just remind myself of the small pleasures in life which make “now” so exciting.

For me, one of those pleasures is music. I don’t think I’d get through a day (and remain sane) if I couldnt listen to at least one song. I love the way that if you’re feeling depressed and alone, music can take those feelings and make you feel elated and involved, but if you’re feeling on top of the world it can amplify those feelings and make you feel fantastic (driving whilst listening to music always seems to help that process, which is one of the reasons why I miss driving so much…).

I think its because I find so much pleasure in music that it annoys me when people don’t appreciate it fully. I know people don’t have to, and I’m sure that someone who loves antique furniture could say the same about me because I happen to not appreciate antique furniture. But I don’t say “antique furniture is crap”; everyone seems to have an opinion on music, even if that opinion isnt well thought out.

Anyway, I was talking about time and got sidetracked. Uhm… oh yeah, middle of February shocker. I think I’ve said before here that I don’t much like the first 2 or 3 months of the year. Too dark and grim and miserable. So I’m kinda glad it’s passing quickly, cos then its done.

Of course, getting through the first part of the year also means that various motorsport series start up again, which may have something to do with my not liking the winter… I’m not gonna write down my predictions now (other than Ferrari and Raikkonen look like they’re going to walk the F1 championships, and I reckon Giovanardi could do the double in BTCC. As long it’s not Matt Neal, I don’t mind…), I shall save that for a later date. Which gives you all something to look forward to (he says, knowing that pretty much no motorsport fans read this…).

Anyway, I think I’ve gone on for long enough, so I shall go enjoy the rest of Heima. G’night!

==

Final thought: why is it that I never read back things I write for Uni before submitting them, but I always read back my blog posts before posting? I’ve only just noticed that I do that.

Posted In: MusicRantTechnology Tagged: | 2 Comments

Waxing Lyrical

Thursday 7th February 2008

One of the things I got for Christmas this year is a DVD. Well, I got a few DVDs actually, but theres one in particular that I really enjoyed. It was the new Sigur Ros film, Heima. To be honest, I hadnt heard much Sigur Ros before I got the DVD. I’d downloaded a couple of albums, and thought they were good, but nothing more. Obviously, I thought they were good enough to point out the DVD to my Mum, but anyway… I watched it about a week after Xmas with one of my brothers, and we were both absolutely bowled over by how good it is.

For anyone not familiar with the concept of the film, this is basically it: in 2006 Sigur Ros returned to Iceland after playing a fairly large world tour and held a series of mostly unannounced gigs all over the island. The film is a record of that tour. They played in some pretty weird places, as well as more traditional ones, and it’s pretty interesting to watch. Theres one where they just played an acoustic set on a hillside, and the thing was recorded with a single mic (iirc…). They played another gig at an old herring factory, and one of the songs they recorded there was played in an old vat or something – a really echoey place, and whenever the lead singer made a noise his voice echoed round really nicely.

One of the things I love most about the DVD though is the insight you get into the whole ethos of the band. Not only staging the concerts for free, but other things. During the songs, quite often the camera cuts away from the band and focuses on the audience. Not just a cursory wide shot either, proper shots of individuals, or groups, reacting to the songs being played in front of them. Its a small touch, but I think it displays a certain lack of arrogance on the band’s part – the film isn’t about them; it’s about the music, and that includes the fans as much as it does the band.

What I’m getting at is that it shows that the band are obviously massive music lovers, and I think that’s why my brother and I like it so much. We’re both massive music fans too, so something like that really resonates.

Now, I don’t like putting music down, and saying that X is better than Y; I know that its largely subjective, and what I hate others may love, and vice versa. But it got me thinking. Surely certain songs, albums or artists just are better than others? I’m not saying “Everything I like is categorically Good, and anyone who disagrees is Wrong”, far from it. But surely anyone who appreciates music will find something to appreciate in Sigur Ros? Surely anyone will agree that Love Sick is a better song than Insania? Isn’t it a Fact that The Earth is Not A Cold Dead Place is a much better album than, say, Vulture Culture*?

The thing I forget, of course, is that people want different things from music. Some people like music because its popular, and it helps them fit in or whatever. Others like things they hear in clubs because it reminds them of the experiences they’ve attached to the music. Or whatever. I like music on it’s own though, music for the sake of it. I like lying in bed at night, closing my eyes and being enveloped by music. Whether it be scratchy blues recordings or well-produced epics (and part 2 – although this ver is poss better if you dont know the song) enveloping me, I enjoy well-made music. Those last 2 clips kinda sum it up actually: two pretty dissimilar songs, but both make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.

That said about people wanting different things from music, it really annoys me when people write off music without listening to it properly. For instance, I once introduced someone to Explosions in the Sky, only for them to say that they “dont like it, no-one’s singing”… Or when someone says they dont like a band cos theyre too old (or too new…). It’s far too narrowminded, and those people are missing out on some fantastic music because of it. Annoying to the Extreme.

This post is probably far too long and incoherent by now, anyway, so I should probably stop writing…

* For the record, I do actually like that album. I don’t like Insania…

Posted In: Music Tagged: | 3 Comments

Don’t think twice, it’s alright

Saturday 19th May 2007

Now if it’s time to recompense for what’s done
Come, come sit down on the fence in the sun
And the clouds will roll by
And we’ll never deny
It’s really too hard for to fly.

So it’s past 2am again. And once more I’m sat at my desk, not really doing much. For once, I am actually tired (and I’ve got a headache), but I’ve once again managed to distract myself. Most nights for the last week or so, I’ve been heading to bed really late. As in “shit, the sun’s coming up. I need to go to bed soon”. And then when I’ve gone to bed, i’ve found it hard to sleep.

Lately I’ve had all these thoughts and ideas floating round my head, and I’ve found it really hard to switch off from them. I’ve kinda been going over things to myself, let my mind wander, and sometimes I’ve slightly surprised myself with where I’ve ended up (and sometimes slightly annoyed myself).

To be honest, most of the reason i’ve been up has probably been because I’ve been listening to music. I’ve generally said “oh, one more track”, but that track has inevitably led to one more, and then to an album. And the reason I’ve been so introspective is probably to do with the type of music i’ve been listening to at these sort of times. If you know your music (or are good with Google), you might have realised that the lyrics at the top of the post are from Fly, by Nick Drake. It is – and I can’t over-state this – an absolutely astounding song. And most Nick Drake does seem to lend itself very well to that sort of introspective thinking. The title of this post is from a Dylan song, which I’ve fond out tonight that Drake covered. I’ve not heard it, but I reckon that if anyone were to sing that song with the right sort of bitter and semi-sarcastic manner which it so much deserves (and of which I am so approving, lets face it), it’s Nick Drake. Listen to one of his albums, and you’ll get what I mean.

I could talk about Nick Drake for a long, long time. At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man (again…), you simply do not hear artists like him any more. Which is a shame.

Most of the posts on here are becoming slighty “diaryesque”, aren’t they? The sort of entry that I’d always sworn never to write… I don’t know if it’s because of the move, but that’s just the sort of thing I’ve wanted to write lately. I been finding it very hard to get worked up enough about something to be able to write a meaningful batch of words about it. Or I’ve had a coherent thought or idea that I’ve wanted to write about, but I’ve not been able to put that thought down with the same amount of clarity that it had in my head – I could write about it, but when I read it back to myself it just sounded muddled and confused (“like this post, ho ho ho!”).

Good example of the whole “not getting worked up” thing today. Was sat in the Taf (read: union bar, if you’re not a Cardiffite) earlier with some people, and a discussion about religion (namely Christianity) cropped up. Two of us there were atheists, the others were Christian. And I just couldnt be bothered to discuss it with them – there was no point. The thing that really pisses me off about most religious people (that I’ve spoken to about this, anyway) is that they don’t seem to appreciate where I’m coming from. For instance, someone today was saying that he’s a Christian because it “gives meaning to life”, or somesuch. And he simply couldnt comprehend that I don’t need there to be meaning to life. I am perfectly happy with the realisation that we’re born, we live, we die, and that within a few generations we’re forgotten about. I can see things for what they are, and I’d argue that that viewpoint is a lot more refreshing, much more liberating, and a lot less dangerous, than the view that “God made the Earth for us. He made us in his own image, because He loves us blah blah blah”. Oh, and Christians, when you’re asked a question about something, the answer “well it’s in the Bible” is not always acceptable:

Me: Why don’t you believe in Evolution?
Them: Oh, well the Bible says…
Me: Yes, but the Bible is a book. “2001: A Space Odyssey” says that 6 years ago we’d be living on the Moon, and would be sending a spaceship to Jupiter, piloted by a sentient computer and two men, with a bunch of the world’s leading scientists in the back of the ship snuggled in their hibernation chambers. I hate to break it to you, but books arent always true.
Them: Yes… But the Bible says…
Me: Yes, but the fossil record says…

Usually, I’m always up for a good theological discussion. But it bloody annoys me when people who are religious just dont understand your point of view, or don’t try to understand it. This seems to be something I’ve only come across at Uni – I’ve had plenty of other conversations where people have addressed me by not just saying “oh well in the Bible it says…” (yeah, I talk to Jehovas Witnesses when they come to the door), and they’ve turned out to be bloody thought-provoking discussions, for them as well as me, I’d hope.

So, lesson learned from that: theological debate is not compatable with pubs.

I was watching the Panorama on Scientology the other day, and to be honest it was quite an eye-opener. The thought I came away with was, if Christianity – or any other religion – was founded 50 years ago, how would we perceive it? What makes Scientology any different to Catholicism, or Sikhism, or Islam? Except that it’s more socially acceptable to mock Scientology…

Anyway, I’ve gone staggeringly off-piste, and have now forgotten what I was talking about, or where I was going with it. So I should probably leave this here.

Posted In: MusicProcrastinationRantSleep Tagged: | 1 Comment