Monday Meh: Three Angry Men

Songs are poetry set to music. Some are the perfect marriage of sound and message while others are just wasted creative potential. Monday Meh is about presenting the best musical offerings and a little backstory to get you through to hump day.

The pen is mightier than the sword when it comes to songs about breaking up. It was quite a challenge having a listen to lots of music on this subject, so I included my hubby, the inimitable Captain Kirk in on the process to ensure he didn’t feel like it was all about us – it’s not, we’re good.

At the moment it seems people around me are going through the end of a significant relationship (or similar), and in the process of finding their ways through the storm. There is a lot of reflection going on as they encounter the reality of singularity in the present age. We’re not in Kansas anymore.

This week it was tough choosing. I found three great songs where I think that the music and lyrics work well together, told from the perspective of men and none of them are similar. It’s like Snow White turned three of her compadres into Happy, Shitty, and Guilty.

First up is Happy relating the best advice to extract the ultimate revenge – Living a Good Life with the happiest, danciest song I have ever heard relating to breaking up, it’s the Mavericks, founded by Raul Malo, with Dance The Night Away.

First released on their album Trampoline, the song went to number 4 in the UK and remained on the charts for eighteen weeks and I kinda wish it’d make a bigger revival on the easy listening wavelengths.

This one is good for light-hearted break-ups. You know, I wouldn’t ever recommend this kind of extremely happy music when you’re bawling your eyes out and your tears are the size of two pound coins. There’s something oddly surreal about wailing and blowing-nose to happy dance music that feels a bit too much like a Tarantino flick… or maybe that’s just me.

The Mavericks’s influences include Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and unsurprisingly, Los Lobos as they combine neo-traditional country music and latin into aural chicken soup. Here’s a live video of a gig at the Royal Albert Hall in London, the sound quality is excellent.

 

I just wanna dance the night away
With senoritas who can sway
Right now tomorrow’s lookin’ bright
Just like the sunny mornin’ light

And if you should see her
Please let her know that I’m well
As you can tell
And if she should tell you
That she wants me back
Tell her no
I gotta go

The Mavericks, 1998

Next up is Shitty, and this one has always conjured up the image of a dingy bar, a mountain of tequila shot glasses and a general fiery finger of fuck-you approach to dealing with heartbreak. This song kind of blew me away the first time I heard it at age 17… I had never really thought about it quite like this before! Rock and Roll! Use your Illusion had just come out and I’d gone through all the popular songs first on the cassette taped copy-of-a-copy, before just letting it run through a few hundred times until there was no magnet left. Use Your Illusion 1 and 2 were one of the first CD sets I ever bought when I finally earned cash by full-time employment.

The song was one of several written by the co-founding member of Guns N’ Roses, Izzy Stradlin, who along with Axl Rose enlisted Slash, Duff and Adler to create an awesome band that had its ups and downs. Axl Rose wanted to give it more kudos, to raise it up to the heights of Queen and co. But alas, t’was not meant to be, Axl believed he was possessed by John Bonham, and he accused Courtney Love of possessing him too –I’m still not quite sure what to make of that… and then Chinese Democracy, then poof. A whole other story.

You Ain’t the First is indeed the least Guns N’ Rosesy song being more bluesy, with an acoustic sound, Slash providing the atmospheric twang of the slide guitar-work – the man is brilliant. I always thought this song, along with the others written by Izzy Stadlin balanced out the album by creating a powerful aural contrast.

After Izzy left somewhere in the aforementioned mess, GNR included him as Easter eggs in post-Izzy work — like the sign that says “Where’s Izzy?” in Don’t Cry, and they used his picture on the milk carton in Live and Let Die. Make of that what you will.

Time can pass slowly,
things always change
You day’s been numbered
And I’ve read your last page
You was just a temporary lover
Honey you ain’t the first
Lots of others came before you woman
Said but you been the worst
Sa’ you been the worst

Izzy Stradlin, Founder of Guns ‘n Roses, 1991

As for Guilty, it’s the time-honoured classic that still sounds as good as it did in the eighties, Careless Whispers. George Michael is a legend and this well-covered song is so well known that it’s unlikely you’d meet anyone that hadn’t heard it at some point or another. Although most Wham! songs were written by George Michael, this one was also credited to Andrew Ridgeley.

George Michael said that he was taking the bus to his job as an usher at a cinema and BAM was inspired to write “the silver screen” in the first verse (I paraphrased). and it had nothing to do with anything he was going through at the time. He came up with “Guilty feet have got no rhythm,” demonstrating sophisticated song-writing skills. I still find it hard to believe that George wasn’t doing something he shouldn’t have been… (who George Michael? No!?! Okay.)

George Michael has previously stated that he’s had more compliments on his writing of the sax solo than anything else, and it’s likely because it is undeniably distinctive and an amazing piece of music.

George Michael once said, “I’m still a bit puzzled why it’s made such an impression on people… Is it because so many people have cheated on their partners? Is that why they connect with it? I have no idea, but it’s ironic that this song – which has come to define me in some way – should have been written right at the beginning of my career when I was still so young. I was only 17 and didn’t really know much about anything – and certainly nothing much about relationships.”

I’m never gonna dance again
Guilty feet have got no rhythm
Though it’s easy to pretend
I know you’re not a fool
I should have known better than to cheat a friend
And waste a chance that I’ve been given
So I’m never gonna dance again
The way I danced with you

Wham!, 1984

If you’re looking for a lot more break up songs, do a google, bing or duck… there’s more out there for the sad and lonely than you realise. If you have any other information about these three songs, or similar recommendations, other videos of the same quality… y’know… pop them in the comments underneath. I’d also appreciate a heads up if you find any broken links. Follow me for future updates.

Mwah!

 

Doctor Who: Thought morass before the big reveal

eyeThis season has been the most enjoyable ever (for me anyway), and I think when Christmas is done and the special shown, I’ll have to go back to previous ones just to see if this is an accurate belief, or an immediate side-effect of watching this broadcast legend brought to life by the world watching and commentating.

Telepathic interfaceAll along, we’ve been swept away, tumbled about for a bit, floating along in the air – a bit like Clara’s leaf. Our Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Teacher (Jenna Coleman) masterfully play off, challenge, and support one another – they are a dynamic duo.

Having knocked about with the Doctor and Clara, we’ve seen intriguing role-swapping, reflecting, and tightrope walking along the invisible threads that link with our current cultural narrative, Season 8 has touched on very relevant themes like battle, soldiers, history, humanity, our world (let’s take a deep breath now) our attitudes, and fears about death, the truth (whatever that happens to be), the qualities of goodness, lies, lies and damned lies, puddingheads, jobsworths, and so on.

Robot of Sherwood” was edited (and I think it suffered as a result) because of its similarity with recent events and fears of causing offence, and “Dark Water” has truly offended the closely regarded sensibilities of many people who hold death in as sacred a regard, as life. My view for whatever it’s worth is I’m not afraid of death – having lost someone dear to me twenty years ago I’ve long made peace with it’s inevitability and grace – I don’t invite it, but I don’t fear it either. I’ll discover what it’s like the same way everybody else does. In death we are all equal, and fear is a super power. Nevertheless, it was upsetting for many people’s sensibilities, it says a lot about how invested in the show people are, and it’s arguably comparable to the reaction to the original broadcast of radio drama “War of the Worlds” by H.G. Wells — but more intense in the spotlight.

MeditatingFor the Doctor, life got back to normal following his extended stay on Trenzalore, which seemed to create the necessary psychological distance between him and everybody – making way for the new (more alien) Doctor. And what a new Doctor Peter Capaldi is. He is perfect – and I don’t mean that in a superficial way. I mean his whole portrayal of the flaws and virtues of an indispensible and terrified Time Lord is flawless against the backdrop of great writing, editing, production, music that Season 8 has been.

Clara goofy DannyAs for Clara, her life was progressing nicely until it wasn’t – she had an exciting secret hobby that took her to places she’d never have seen otherwise, a quiet maths teacher with his feet firmly planted, teaching a nice bunch of kids in an inner city school. She’s been tested, challenged, stretched and has sprung back repeatedly, gaining character strength (Str +10 Int +5, Wis +5, Dex +10) over time.

Watching previous episodes – looking for hints that I might have missed or forgotten over these busy and exciting weeks, it’s incredible to watch his transformation occur in binge-watching mode. It’s like I said before, seeing an episode once the iron is off the fire and having a few more stories lining the memory banks is a very different experience to watching it for the first time in the white heat of the media forge.

I don’t really have any theories or expectations about tonight’s finale to an enlightening and epic run… hopefully closing some vital plot-holes…

All seems to be flowing into the pool that is “Dark Water”… and (hopefully) “Death in Heaven” will bring us some interesting conclusions, closure, and peace to the fearful. I’m holding onto the optimistic notes of “Kill the Moon” and “In the Forest of the Night” and trying not to assume the worst…

 

Keep going

A few notes on similarities I noticed between “Deep Breath” and “Dark Water” (If you can think of any more…)

Deep Breath: First words – Doctor says “Shush!”
Clara says, First words – Clara says “Shut-up!

Deep Breath: We begin story at Clara’s loss of the Doctor
Dark Water: We begin story at Clara’s loss of Danny Pink

Deep Breath: Clara keeps it all together in “Deep Breath
Dark Water: Clara falls apart in “Dark Water

Speculation
Will there be a parallel between the moment where the Doctor mourns for the death of the Dinosaur and something that happens in “Death in Heaven”, he says “She was scared and alone, I brought her here and look what they did.” It’s almost the kind of thing he might have an opportunity say about Clara in the Underworld.

Deep Breath: Coldness – the Doctor is cold in the biting London air
Dark Water: Coldness – Danny is cold in the Nethersphere

Deep Breath: The Ad in the newspaper
Dark Water: The Ad for 3W

Deep Breath: They’re surrounded by eating automaton
Dark Water: They’re surrounded by submerged cybermen

Deep Breath: They’re in a trap long before they notice
Dark Water: This feels like a trap…

Deep Breath: Harvesting organs
Dark Water: Harvesting the dead

Deep Breath: Robot turning itself into a man
Dark Water: Man being turned into a robot (Cyberman)

 

© Nicki Ki, All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Refraction (II)

refraction 2

After my first richer coloured entry, I wanted to try something a little different… a portrait format collage using photos of a miniature still life I set up – macro-still-lives if you will… I used feathers, grass, dried flowers, beads, glitter and mirror surfaces and shot in afternoon partly sunny conditions.

  1. Mirror mosaic pen cup as backdrop to feathered foreground is a good example of the prismatic qualities achieved by refraction.
  2. Refractions on the white backdrop caused by the sun’s rays hitting them at that angle – geometry in motion, the mirror-mosaic pen cup is in sharper focus giving a sense of scale to the glitter bottle and pink feather (which is quite tiny)
  3. Translucent glitter’s facets sparkle at different angles demonstrating the prismatic effects of plastic.
  4. A subtle refraction on clay bead and gently touching the dried daisy petals.

Procrastination Haiku

Procrastination
There is lots to do today
I play with photos

© Nicki Ki
All Rights Reserved

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/refraction/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Celebration Refractions

    refraction

     

    Refraction is a fun photographic technique that I’ve explored over the years. It was difficult to pick six images that showcase different subjects, but I think this week’s collage shows several examples.

    Anniversaries, wine and candlelight are essential ingredients to building a romantic atmosphere. The first photograph is a lovely Cape Sauvignon Blanc taken in front of a mosaic glass candle lamp Captain Kirk found on sale at TK Maxx one fine wintry day, bringing together all the elements for a lovely evening. The refracted candlelight blends into the clear, light wine deepening harmonies of light. The next time you’re out with a glass, take some photos of lighting through the liquid – you’ll be delighted at the results. (iPhone)

    Perfume bottles of various shapes and colours, with unique scents to bring back memories of celebrations past… I don’t so much wear a signature scent as wear scents that evoke recollections of significant past moments, holidays, times in life. My all time favourite is Chanel No. 5 … although I love it, I can never wear Davidoff Cool Water again because of past associations. Scent and memory are intrinsically linked. (Nikon)

    The top right photo of the refracted cast-iron sunflower topping of a garden bell – don’t you love the way the bare spring branches and blue skies to the left give a sense of context to the myriad of sunflowers refracted through the crystal ball of the spiral light-catcher? (Nikon)

    I certainly don’t go around outdoors wearing this sort of earring when in my yoga pants (“trousers” for English people who think pants are what Superman wears over his tights)… but a sexy dress, a little make-up and a few sparkles means we’re celebrating something! I’m sensing this is a theme! (Nikon with 10x Macro filter)

    I love buttons. My gran had a button box and I would spend hours rummaging through all shapes and sizes of buttons she’d collected through the years. I don’t even know what happened to it after she passed away – I don’t think anyone knew how much I enjoyed playing with them (apart from her), but I’ve started my own small collection that my daughter loves playing with. It’s funny how activities can be passed down from generations before, because I recall my gran told me that she used to enjoy playing with her mum’s buttons too. This image is simply buttons in a jam jar. (Nikon)

    Stained glass is an excellent medium to take pictures through. This was taken at a mall in Wimbledon splitting upstairs from downstairs, with a Nikon. This was when we went to the Polka Theatre to see the Charlie and Lola production – which my daughter loved. We’re going to see the Gruffalo soon – a memory in the making.

    My daughter started Reception year this quarter and I found myself feeling quite lost and empty for a few weeks as I got used to losing another 15 hours of time with her (previously she’d only been going in for half days).

    I have some really good friends (and Captain Kirk who is my best) and being able to talk about my feelings about being faced with being by myself (and being myself – whoever that was), and trying to figure out who I’d now become was invaluable! It’s been an interesting few weeks and they’ve gone fast. I’ve done a lot of free work for people, and I have done it with a good heart and the best intentions, but I need to start getting something back for the effort I’m putting in and I am plotting ways to make this happen.

    At this juncture, between phases there needs to be a pause and looking at my selection of images in the collage – which were the ones I was drawn to when scrolling through my humungous library of images and I noticed that there’s a theme of memory and celebration (and how the two are linked) and we haven’t actually stopped long enough this quarter to catch our breath, and take stock of everything we are thankful for.

    This may have been a challenging year, but it has never been without its rewards – so Celebration Pending!

    Celebration

    Best life things are free
    Moments, memory windows
    Remembering love

    All Rights Reserved 
    © Nicki Ki

    http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/refraction/

Daily Prompt: Odd Trio and Musical Maestros

As someone almost old and considerably wiser than I was in my youth, I look back in reflection considering how much easier it would be to learn any musical instrument than it is now. When I begged for music lessons, I was declined with the explanation given that I was not musically gifted enough to ever play professionally therefore I could pay for my own lessons when I was earning my own money.

Fair enough. It would have cut into the bags and shoes budget unfairly and besides I had tennis lessons with a professional coach (despite having no real affinity with tennis to begin with) and that was enough to demonstrate that I wasn’t cut out to be a Wimbledon tennis player.

Yes, it made about as much sense to me too.

So onward and upward, I figure that although I definitely don’t have the right voice for singing, my voice is incredibly relaxing for guided meditation – check out my rainbow meditation for a trippy treat (under no circumstances attempt to operate heavy machinery while listening. Yes, that includes the lawnmower)… And I also don’t have the coordination for piano and drums, I tend to overthink and lose rhythm.

But I have a deep and abiding appreciation for good music, especially classical because the instruments produce the right tones and frequencies.

Good music is defined by the sound and intangible substance that raises the hair on everyone’s arms, because it’s just that perfectly harmonious!

Grab a cake, kick off your flip-flops and prepare for the sheer awesomeness of these two performances of classical music taken to a different level, reminding us that for all our nonsense, we human beings, inhabitants of Planet Earth, are capable of amazing feats, and we really need to spend more time focusing on what connects us, rather than what separates us.

Ode to Joy, Beethoven Symphony 9 delivered Flash mob style in Sabadell Bank in Spain, 2012 and might I add, the most amazing performance. I wish I’d been blessed to be there like those wonderful folk standing there with their hair blown all backwards!

Wow! The sound wave energy evokes almost speechless hyperbole.

The next musician is an orchestra accompanied by a gifted drummer who plays as naturally as if the beats were just part of himself coming out through his body.

Russian drummer Lyonya Shilovsky is three years old, performing with the Novosibirsk Symphony Orchestra. The song is Jacques Offenbach’s “Orpheus in the Underworld,” also known as “The Can-Can.”

Today’s theme was inspired by the Daily Prompt…

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/odd-trio-redux/

Time for another Odd Trio prompt: write a post about any topic you want, in whatever form or genre, but make sure it features a slice of cake, a pair of flip-flops, and someone old and wise.