65 Short Stories (W Somerset Maugham)

coverI think astrology and karma play a major role in whether someone is born to be a writer or not. By that I mean a creativity that cannot be learned by conscious techniques or formal education etc. The person concerned is usually moved internally to share something large with the world. And W Somerset Maugham was born to enthrall and entertain people with the written word. It was fate. Like some other literary titans, Charles Dickens and Jules Verne, he was an Aquarius. They usually possess personal charisma that effortlessly draws others to them, originality in their field of work, and are very broad-minded. [Read more…]

Tom Brown’s Schooldays (Thomas Hughes)

book-coverUnless you’re an Anglophile, you might prefer watching one of the dramatizations of this story. The films tend to have more plot than the book, which is more a series of chronological anecdotes set amidst statements of philosophy than it is a novel. “Character” and “fair play” are much emphasized but remain fuzzy concepts, which rather deflates its moral purpose. Jolly great fun is had by chucking stones at Irish labourers and otherwise tormenting the lower classes. “Fagging”–the practice of young boys having to fetch and carry for the older boys (and yes, that’s where the word comes from)– is an accepted and honoured institution.  [Read more…]

I Did It Just The Same

An instrumental with vocals. A futuristic scat singing style crossed with a synthesized dark alley-at-night atmosphere. Punctuated by Annie Lennox’s loud “huh” pushed out of her chest, and various “huuuuh” and “hmmmm” sounds. A loud & very precise kind of dance beat. It swirls around plenty of echo effects. Her singing is awesome, perfectly in rythmn with the bass. “Heeeeeeeyyyy, zump zump, boom boo boo boo, ayeeahh, oh boo doo ooooo.” It starts out so gentle with icy percussion and stillness before finally succumbing to its own confusion.

The Essence Of Summer

Before Cat Stevens became a bearded boring git with painful ballads that were overplayed by easy listening radio, he had a former life as a clean-shaven pop singer of upbeat tunes. Like this. Bright and breezy to go with that cool lemonade in the conservatory on a summer’s day.

A Bit More Of A Bit Of Fry & Laurie

The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad (Britain 1974)

golden-voyage-of-sinbadIf you are looking for an enjoyable adventure, full of swashbuckling heroics, colourful characters, and of course the battle of good versus evil, then you’ve found it. All aspects of the production contribute to a fantastic tale of conflict, destiny and glory. This is one of a series of Ray Harryhausen (animator/story) movies about Sinbad, the legendary sailor. In the first ten minutes this film shows its true colours as a fantasy. It will pull you in and keep you musing, wondering, and entertained mostly all the way through. [Read more…]

Geriatric Bad Boys

Bill Wyman maybe made rock history with his juicy bass playing on this. Welcome to Cocaine Junkie aerobics, 1981 style. Mick can barely fit into his Jane Fonda jazzercise T shirt. He is so into this that I bet they didn’t do a second take without paramedics being on standby. Or a vet. None of the guitars are plugged in…Charlie Watts and Bill are watching Mick and Ronnie go through a midlife crisis. Keith just wants to throw up. As usual. My favourite few seconds are between 00.29 and 00.39….Jagger is really trying to get the inner woman to come out of him with some coquette-ish self mockery.  You’re watching sweaty arm pit history here.

Poetry In Song

What a lush soundtrack Michel Legrand composed for the Thomas Crown Affair film of 1968. This must have been a big hit – all 2 minutes 20 seconds of it. Noel Harrison’s vocals are very unaffected and natural. He sings as if time is running out, and of course, it is. Its both eerie and sad in a wholesome (not morbid) way.  As someone once pointed out “this song will outlive us all.” Quite! Its already outlived Noel Harrison, Steve McQueen and a few others…

King Solomon’s Mines (H Rider Haggard)

king-solomons-mines-h-rider-haggard-book-cover-artThis is probably the Grandfather of all adventure novels. The author was inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. It has all the strengths and weaknesses of the genre. The strengths: a true sense of adventure and exploration that marked British sentiment at this time, the sort found in Jules Verne and Rudyard Kipling and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Lost World and the like. The main weakness has to be our three protagonists just blasting away at anything on four legs, but in 1885 nobody thought about conservation or the possibility that over-hunting could contribute to the extinction of a species.  [Read more…]

The Way We Were

I don’t like Barbra Streisand and this will be the only mention of that person on this blog. But I do like this song. So, with the help of You Tube, I found this short and sweet choral version.

%d bloggers like this: