Dead Calm

There was a pile of recordable VHS tapes in my house growing up. They were stored in the cabinet below the TV at one stage, then later on they were relegated to the end cupboard in the little study room. My dad had an extra one stashed away at the top of his wardrobe I discovered. It was labelled ‘The hand that rocks the cradle’ and, as it happened, genuinely was ‘The hand that rocks the cradle’. I think there was a pattern to the stuff my dad recorded off the TV, because the only other full movies in the general pile were the ocean-set Dead Calm, Basic Instinct, and Someone to Watch Over Me, all of which are also about cheating, with maybe a ‘wicked woman’ to blame, and that being an exciting thing. In other news, I quite like this song:

 

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I Just Called to Say I Love You

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Your Number One.”

What was the #1 song when you were born? Write about how the song relates (or not!) to your personality.

It’s ‘I just called to say I love you’ by Stevie Wonder, or Steven Wonder, as he must have been originally. I don’t like that song at all. It’s miserable. I get frustrated even trying to sing that title line, with the dreary pace of it. You could get up and get a glass of juice in the dead air between ‘I just called’ and ‘To say’, then go ahead and make a sandwich and reply to a few emails before ‘I Love you’ finally arrives. You need the patience of a saint. I didn’t always hate it though. It was in the air when I was very young. In fact I was completely fascinated by it, this person calling to say ‘I love you’. It pulled back the curtain on a netherworld of adult autonomy and telephone use and making weird meaningful declarations to other people. And it wasn’t just some shit sentimental song, as I recognise it to be now, no- it was definitive; that’s what life was like out there mood-wise, I understood. Until the next song came along presumably.

Good Tunes of Late

Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)- The Rolling Stones

I’m not an expert on The Rolling Stones, or any music for that matter, but this is the most exciting song of theirs I’ve heard. It was on the end credits of a documentary I watched, one of those showstopper moments where the song kicks off as the screen goes black and you think ‘Wow- what’s this!?’ The lyrics are about the cops in New York recklessly shooting someone ‘right through the heart’. So the chorus continues: ‘Heartbreakers! With yo’ .44! I wanna tear your world apart!’ Not sure what Mick Jagger knows about .44’s, with his economics degree. Maybe a lot, what do I know. I suppose they’ve been around.

Everything Goes My Way- Metronomy.

I listened to this track on repeat while I was out for a jog the other night. Every time it drew to a close I would be running with my phone held out in front of me, stabbing at the screen trying to hit the back button. I was pretty much delirious after five straight listens, but I couldn’t face moving on to something potentially less motivating. It’s amazing for jogging. A cascade- the vocals of what sounds like a female android with a voice like honey, dying away and immediately rising again and again, a horn tooting, hand claps, a swaying guitar – all falling forward together- the momentum of the high beats per minute saving it from collapse.

I Don’t Know What I Can Save You From- Kings of Convenience

This band sounds exactly like Belle and Sebastian, but they’re from Norway. This is a very lovely melancholic tune involving the interplay of two acoustic guitars and a caressing male voice. It made my friend go ‘What’s this?’, which was satisfying.

Mercy Mercy Me- Marvin Gaye

The sorrowful rhythmic guitar riff in this song, which never flags from start to finish, is what makes it great. Far-away sounding ‘oooh’s’ rise and fall at certain points, complementing it. It’s physically difficult not to bow/shake you head sadly when they come in. As it happens the lyrics are all about pollution and are very lovey-dovey: Radiation under ground and in the sky/Animals and birds who live nearby are dying… I think this could be where Michael Jackson took his cue from, with his Earth Song etc.

Don’t Think Twice

 

Here’s what I think is a great recent cover of my favourite Bob Dylan song, Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright. It was already the ultimate singalong song for me- the lyrics flow so smoothly, rhymes everywhere, and it’s a great wish-fulfillment character- some world-weary cowboy type guy whose ‘precious time’ has been wasted in this relationship. Life has just done gone and disappointed him once again and he has a whole song’s worth of excellent withering shit to say to this imaginary nogoodnik woman, before he’s ‘a’ travellin’ on’. The Bob Dylan version already flowed beautifully but this take adds an airy nostalgic guitar sound that fits really well and also more of a driving quality to the chorus bit, which is exciting.

Viva Forever

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).”

I can’t recall ever having a pleasant dream. My dreams are always fraught these days. I would guess the reason for this is the fact that I’m missing important shit from my life, like fulfilling work, love and sex. Any one of those sorted and I’d probably sleep well again. The hour before my alarm goes off is the worst for demented dreaming. This morning it was a woman and me exchanging videos of her having sex. Only she was visible in the videos, looming over a low angle camera pointing upwards. I’d send her one and say ‘you’, then she’d send me one back saying ‘me’. But overshadowing it all was this terrible feeling that she was in fact a transexual man. (I’ve had transexuality on the brain lately. I think it’s having a moment) Then the alarm on my phone kicked in. It couldn’t tune radio 4 this morning so it went to its second option, some European pop station I had decided on at random, to broaden my horizons. Viva Forever by the Spice Girls was playing. What a tune, with sporty spice echoing back each line of the chorus in her silly Liverpool accent. I lay there listening, in that adrenaline pumping yet physically exhausted state of discomfort that I’m always waking to lately.

Rested and ready for the day

Rested and ready for the day

 

 

 

Laura Jane Grace

Laura Jane Grace in this video has been a game-changer for me when it comes to my perception of transexuality. It’s always looked grotesque and misguided to my eyes. But Laura Jane Grace is lovely, because she looks natural, not done up like it’s Halloween. She’s attracted to women though so it makes no difference. She came across well in a quite gripping extended interview with Marc Maron on his podcast, which I’d heartily recommend. Plus the song is excellent, what a cool voice. Miley Cyrus is there for some reason, but she’s tolerable in it.

He’ll Teach Ya Stuff, Although He’s Looking Rough

I was out getting milk just there and while walking up the street on my return home I passed an old man coming the other way, who I barely noticed. It came to my attention that I had barely noticed him. If it had been a guy my age my posture would have stiffened approaching him, my heart would have started beating a little faster etc. Yet this old guy is practically invisible to me. I suppose that’s a bit sad. Where then is the fucking ad-campaign fronted by some old geezer, bemoaning how unfair it is that old men are invisible? Because where older women are concerned there’s plenty of that. Helen Mirren goes on about it in a recent ad for some make-up company. And even before I saw that ad I was pretty sensitive to the notion of older women being invisible and how tragic it is. But you know what, fucking deal with it. As with old men, if they had any character you’d still notice them. You can’t expect to be first and foremost an object of desire as a 65 year old. Why have I been running around feeling guilty about that while at the same time not giving a second thought to the plight of little old men? From this and other areas of my life, I’m thinking women have a bit of a racket going on. I’m not an oppressor of women, I’m just as oppressed as them. I need to start saying ‘fuck off’ to a lot of feminism, just as I instinctively do to authority in other areas.