Posts tagged ‘Music’

Katie Came Home

Well, no, that’s what I do every day anyway, so there’s nothing too exciting about that. What I really mean is, I lost the impetus to write anything at all quite abruptly earlier this year, but it came back, equally abruptly, when I listened closely yesterday to Shawn Colvin’s Sunny Came Home (which, incidentally, has been among Katie’s Top 100 for several years). Now, I had just finished re-reading Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (which has caused me to start re-incorporating words like ‘schism’ and ‘flaneur’ [HELLO VRIC!!!] into my vocabulary), so it came quite naturally that I listened to Sunny with Lemony Snicket in mind.

Has anyone else read the series and found the song to almost be like an eerie sequel?

No? OK, look.

(I’m afraid you’ll have to have read the books in order to get what I’m going to say)

Sunny came home to her favourite room

Sunny sat down in the kitchen

In the books, Sunny Baudelaire’s favourite room would have been the kitchen. She was the chef among the siblings, even as a baby, and in The Beatrice Letters, was said to have discussed her recipes on the radio.

She opened a book…

Books featured very prominently in ASOUE, and the greatest reader in it was her brother, Klaus.

… and a box of tools…

Shades of her sister Violet, the inventor. Symbols of both her siblings in the same sentence and in their marked absence. What happened to them?

Sunny came home with a mission

Very VFD.

Days go by, I’m hypnotized…

That happened to Klaus at the Lucky Smells Lumbermill.

It’s time for a few small repairs…

Like Violet would have taken care of.

Strike a match, go on and do it…

I close my eyes and fly out of my mind into the fire…

THE most ASOUE-esque symbol of all: fire, which destroyed all the important buildings in the series – the Baudelaire and Quagmire mansions, the VFD headquarters, Caligari Carnival and Hotel Denouement.

Doesn’t the song sound just like a sinister follow-up in which Sunny loses her beloved siblings, turns to the dark side and becomes a fire-setter instead of a volunteer? After all, in The Beatrice Letters, the three kids have grown up and mysteriously disappeared, with no confirmation of whether they are dead or alive.

Right. Back to reality. The fact is, Sunny Came Home PRECEDED ASOUE by a good three years, so there is no way that it was intended to be related to the series, and all the connections therefore really only exist in my own mind <ducks rotten vegetables being thrown>.

But try doing what I did – read the books and then listen to the song, and perhaps you may come to agree that “miracles are like meatballs, because nobody can exactly agree on what they are made of, where they come from, or how often they should appear”.

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September 30, 2010 at 16:41 4 comments

Playing In My Head

Is Five For Fighting’s The Riddle. Yes, the non-Nik Kershaw Riddle. I love it that FFF is actually just one guy, John Ondrasik, and that many people take him for an over-featured frontman. He looks like an ordinary redneck, but he has a voice like a cello, and his songs are wise and tender.

Like this one, that he described as the most difficult song he’d ever written. It took him eighteen months, and evolved along the way from an existentialist song to one about father and son. I dunno. I still think there’s a good bit of existentialism in it, but unlike most songs of its ilk, this one is calm, happy and accepting. It resonates with my own beliefs about life in general – that we are the world to ourselves but also tiny specks in the big picture, and that there are universes of mysteries and secrets that will whirl forever out of reach of our blind groping. But that’s OK, as long as we have people to love. There’s really no need to understand everything. Sometimes it’s in the little moments.

Picked up my kid from school today
“Did you learn anything? ‘Cos in the world today
You can’t live in a castle far away
Now talk to me, come talk to me”

He said, “Dad I’m big but we’re smaller than small
In the scheme of things, well, we’re nothing at all
Still every mother’s child sings a lonely song
So play with me, come play with me…”

“And hey Dad, here’s a riddle for you –
Find the answer
There’s a reason for the world
You and I”

I said, “Son, for all I’ve told you
When you get right down to the reason for the world
Who am I?”

September 23, 2009 at 10:02 Leave a comment

Highs & Drys

I heard ‘High & Dry’ twice in a row while driving to work!!!

Let me explain why that deserved three exclamation marks. I love listening to music as I drive – the louder the better. My poison is soft rock and alternative, although I do like a little mushy pop and the occasional instrumental. I don’t like being limited to a single CD as I drive. Listening to twelve songs by the same artist gets stale after a very short while. So when I got my car, I got a player that could handle MP3 discs as well as normal CDs, and burnt my own compilations.

Now, the beauty of burning one’s own MP3 disc lies not only in handpicking songs; you can also squeeze in loads more songs than the average CD holds. My MP3 disc holds 140 songs (oh, the wonders of technology). In that list, only one song appears twice. That song is ‘High & Dry’ – one version by Jamie Cullum (my absolute favourite of his songs, by the way; the intro never fails to induce fantasies of an ice-cold Asahi on a beach at sunset), and the original by Radiohead (which has a totally different vibe; the frontman, incidentally, hated the song).

The chances of the two versions played back to back are, what, 1/140 x 1/140? I dunno; junior college maths was a couple of millenia ago, and I hope the 140-choose-1-times-whatever-choose-something doesn’t apply because I simply don’t remember it anymore.

So I shall elect to believe that something nice happened today that had a 1/19600 chance of happening. And that totally deserves several exclamation marks.

August 27, 2009 at 08:54 1 comment

The Meaning Of The Riddle

Nik Kershaw’s The Riddle (not to be confused with Five For Fighting’s identically-named but totally-different song) has always been a bit of an oldies favourite of mine, because of it’s winding Irishy tune and wacked-out lyrics. I never succeeded in memorizing those crazy lyrics, but thought them quite fascinating.

I got two strong arms blessings of babylon
with time to carry on and try
for sins and false alarms
so to america the brave

wise men save
near a tree by a river
there’s a hole in the ground
where an old man of aran
goes around and around
and his mind is a beacon
in the veil of the night
for a strange kind of fashion
there’s a wrong and a right

i got plans for us
nights in the scullery
and days instead of me
i only know what to discuss
of for anything but light
wise men fighting over you

it’s not me you see
pieces of valentine
with just a song of mine
to keep from burning history
seasons of gasoline and gold

wise men fold
near a tree by a river
there’s a hole in the ground
where an old man of aran
goes around and around
and his mind is a beacon
in the veil of the night
for a strange kind of fashion
there’s a wrong and a right
but he’ll never, never fight over you

i got time to kill
sly looks in corridors
without a plan of yours
a blackbird sings on bluebird hill
thanks to the calling of the wild wise mens child. 

Weird, aren’t they? So weird that they take on this uber-cool unfathomable poetry sort of appeal.

But guess what. They don’t mean anything at all. Nik Kershaw had only intended them to be a rough lyric guide, just to have something to sing out while the song was still under construction. But he never came up with anything that fitted better, so he simply bunged on an intriguing title and released the song.

Then his record company, MCA, hurled the shit at the fan by announcing a competition, inviting listeners to submit their thoughts on what the song meant. Without telling him. The next thing that happened was that people started getting very interested, and submitted all sorts of  mini-theses and novellas about their interpretations. And then there was no way for him to break the news without pissing everybody off.

There is a life lesson in this. It’s that you don’t always need to know what’s going on. You just need to blow enough smoke with flair. And hope that no one seriously takes you for the real thing.

July 23, 2009 at 14:46 1 comment

Playing In My Head

The current song on my internal radio is Bryan Adams’ Summer of ’69. Although it’s technically vintage rock and full of electric guitars and drums, I’ve always found it surprisingly heart-wrenching, especially the last stanza.

And now the times are changin’
Look at everything that’s come and gone
Sometimes when I play that old six-string
I think about you wonder what went wrong

Standin’ on your mama’s porch
You told me that it’d last forever
And when you held my hand
I knew that it was now or never
Those were the best days of my life

July 21, 2009 at 09:45 Leave a comment

Michael Jackson: Gone Too Soon?

That’s the song that’s playing on one of the trailers lamenting the King of Pop’s death on 25th June 2009. But you know what? I’m not entirely sure I agree.

Aside from his commercial success, he also had multiple rhinoplasties, a fake chin, controversial skin colour, possible anorexia nervosa, drug dependencies and financial problems. If it’s true that he had body dysmorphic disorder, looking into the mirror every day must have been a tiny hell. His public photos always freaked me out, especially because of the mud-coloured lipstick and collapsing nose. I wonder if he ever let anyone see him without makeup in the later years. I wonder how much worse his face could have gotten. A sensational report of his autopsy states that he was bald. All these things must have been terribly frightening for him.

He would have loved this new wave of adulation started by his demise. A nasty, sneaky bit of me wonders, then, if it could be remotely possible that his death was not real. What if he simply changed his face one last time and faded out to live an alternative life as another person? He’d have millions from sales, and the choice to enjoy resuscitated, albeit indirect, fame. Or if he rose from his coffin during his funeral?

What if. What if. 

July 6, 2009 at 07:36 Leave a comment

Sunday Night TV

Last night was so miserably hot, I lacked the willpower to do anything besides lounge in front of the TV. Here’s what I saw:

First, the President’s Command Performance. Actually the reason I stuck with this was to watch Gabriel Ng play the violin. I knew Gabriel as a tiny tot, when he’d just started with lessons. Even at the age of four, he was awesome. He always took his time before launching into a piece, clutching at his little trousers to dry his hands one after the other, which made people laugh because he looked so cute. But the moment he started playing… wow. Even folks who had no interest in classical music would stop and watch in silence. He played Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with the same intensity as he did the Wieniawski piece, with that big fringe flying at expressive moments, except of course it was baby hair when he was small.

I am biased, but I preferred his performance to Kam Ning’s, despite her impressive Gershwinesque arrangement of Amazing Grace. His level of absorption in the music almost precludes the need for additional techniques of showmanship. The way he plays is really about the music, and very little about self-demonstration. Plus, I’ve always liked his shy aw-shucks demeanour, which comes as a surprise, given his talent and intelligence. I must say that, in comparison, I found Kam Ning’s proclamation of feeling like a Greek goddess on Mount Olympus a turn-off. 

After the news, I used the S-Factor slot to go have a cool shower. I’d tried to give the show a chance last week, but after I saw two pretty bikini’d girls trying to be polite about applying plates of cream to each other, with an offscreen guy screaming, “Smash boobs! Smash boobs!”, I kinda gave up. There are people who like this type of thing and people who get indignant about this type of thing. As for me, I just wish that this show would stop getting in the way of my Harper’s Island.

Harper’s Island… now that’s my type of thing. Agatha Christie’s 10 Little Indians was always one of my favourites, and here’s a show that seems quite similar. In essence, there is a party that boats to Harper’s Island for a snazzy week-long celebration of Henry and Trish’s wedding. The island was previously the site of several murders seven years ago, and the purported murderer was shot and killed. All the same, the murders are starting again. People die in every episode, often in gory ways (Lucy – dropped into a pit and set on fire; Uncle Marty – lower half of body severed), and the identity of the murderer is a mystery.

It’s only the second (out of thirteen – how apt) episode so far, and I don’t think it’s possible yet to deduce whodunnit. However, here are some of my guesses:

  • Abby (the Good Girl) will stay alive till the last episode, otherwise the show will lose direction
  • Trish will probably die, as will most of the bridesmaids and best men
  • Either Henry or Jimmy (Abby’s ex) will die, but not so soon, as someone needs to act as Abby’s ally
  • JD and Shane, the weirdo nasties, are unlikely to be the main villain X, but will be manipulated or recruited by X, and then slaughtered in horrific manners
  • Probably ditto for Thomas (the bride’s snob father) and Katherine (his second wife) Wellington
  • There will be more than one villain – either X will have help, or there are two independent murderers 
  • One of the villains will turn out to be an islander
  • X is someone who seems low-key and plain-vanilla, like Maggie (the inn manager)
  • X is Madison’s (the creepy kid) “new friend”, which suggests a woman and eliminates Madison’s parents, grandparents and Trish as X
  • X has Uncle Marty’s gun and will use it, possibly framing Marty, as someone has taken pains to send Henry an SMS from Marty’s phone, making it look as if Marty is still alive
  • Marty and Cal (the Brit chap) Know (in Marty’s case, Knew) Something… OK, that’s pretty lame, but it’s just a feeling

I will be staying tuned.

April 20, 2009 at 17:23 3 comments

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Welcome to my blog!


My blog-name is Katie but I will not respond if you call me that in real life because it's not my real name. Yes, I do practise virtual-world paranoia. No, I do not enjoy stalkers. But I do enjoy writing and having folks reading said writing, so welcome to my world. It's nice to meet you.

Playing in my head over and over again argh

I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song (Jim Croce)

Book(s) of the moment

Hogfather (Terry Pratchett)

Books read in 2010 and 2011

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows (JK Rowling) - 'cos the movie's coming out!
Frankenstein: Lost Souls (Dean Koontz) - ah, bugger, it's part of a series! Now I hafta find all the books...
Dismantled (Jennifer McMahon) - oh, good one
Tigerlily's Orchids (Ruth Rendell)
Shutter Island (Dennis LeHane) - reminds me too much of work
Holy Fools (Joanne Harris) - it's official: I prefer her scary books
A Series of Unfortunate Events; The Unauthorized Autobiography; The Beatrice Letters (Lemony Snicket)
The Little Friend (Donna Tartt)
The main books - 11 so far - of the Southern Vampire series; the Aurora Teagarden series except for A Fool & His Honey - that makes it 7; Sweet & Deadly (Charlaine Harris)
The Woman in Black (Susan Hill)
Full Dark, No Stars (Stephen King)
Room: A Novel (Emma Donaghue)
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs)
The Bachman Books (Stephen King)
Men At Arms (Terry Pratchett)
Carpe Jugulum (Terry Pratchett)
The Fifth Elephant (Terry Pratchett)
Beauty (Robin McKinley)
The Sandman, Vol 1 (Neil Gaiman)
The Burden (Agatha Christie) - her crime novels are waaay better
Snuff (Terry Pratchett)

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I started my first photoblog on 3 May, 2009. Each post features one picture, with a little story of how it came about. Do take a look by clicking on: Manx Pictures
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Disclaimers: 1) I cannot help but bitch about work sometimes, but everything here comes under the realm of personal remarks, and nothing here is said in my professional capacity. Nor does anything here reflect the opinion of the institutions that employ me. This is just me shooting off. 2) Most identities have been anonymized, particularly those of folks I know on a personal basis. Same goes for my workplaces. However, commercial and public places and figures remain named. Otherwise some things just wouldn't make sense. 3) Links and sources have been provided where appropriate and possible. They are not meant to challenge anyone's ownership. If this causes any discomfort or offence, please let me know.

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