Posts from 25th October 2005

25
Oct 05

THE FT TOP 100 SONGS OF ALL TIME No. 75

FT + New York London Paris Munich/2 comments • 2,514 views

Art Garfunkel- “Bright Eyes”

There are two songs in the world which are guaranteed to make me cry: Ordinary World by Duran Duran, and Bright Eyes. One is about what it is like not being a pop star any more, something I should find difficult to empathise with. And the other is about rabbits. I am not a rabbit, so why does Bright Eyes effect me so much?

Theories are called for:
1: The Watership Down factor: Bright Eyes is, if not the theme to Watership Down, THE song from it. A brutally sad tale of rabbits, I did not see Watership Down until I was much older: it is after all a pretty disturbing film. My main memories were then of the odd except on Top Of The Pops. The animated rabbits did look sad, but I am rarely touched by poor drawn animals.

2: Mortality:
This could be the rub, I think my Grandad died about the same time as Bright Eyes reached number one. The line “how can the light that burns so brightly, suddenly burn so pale” is more than emphatic about illness and death. Let’s be fair, this is no jolly song: the first verse does mention a river of death after all.

3: Singability: This is not a “round the barrel organ” classic, but the chorus in particular invites a singalong. And whilst it can sound odd bellowed out by burly drunken fellows, it never loses its edge of wistfulness. And it suits the acoustics of a bathroom perfectly.

4: Art Garfunkel: The tall one out of Tom & Jerry? A certain Mr Hopkins of this parish will rave (rightly) about his Jimmy Webb numbers, but the beauty of Art’s voice is how unaffected it is. It is quiet here, holding the moment, and never really letting on that it is a song about rabbits. Perhaps that is the key, he manages to inhabit the idea of a frightened creature, with his ridiculous barnet and borderline falsetto. Bright Eyes might be an easy song to sing, but no-one sings it quite like Art Garfunkel.

It is a combination of these issues which I love about Bright Eyes. It has the instant power to transport. It turns up briefly in the Wallace & Grommit rabbit themed movie, and instantly conjured a smile. Not because it was necessarily funny, but the rabbits and the song (and what a song) will never leave me.

*If I am on my own, feeling a bit down and adequately hydrated. I don’t burst into tears all the time.

Cliffs to be hanged, programmes to be made (watchable)

Do You SeePost a comment • 235 views

Way back when I moaned about the ending of 24 season 2. The gist being that for a programme that fed us cliffhangers every week, ending on one was a bit of a gyp. Oddly 24’s sister show in US popularity and ubiquity, torture and thematic content (and start dates of 2001) is Alias, which did exactly the same thing at the end of its second series. Having wrapped up much of its convoluted plot, it ended the series with the lead suddenly waking up, and being informed that it is two years later.

I am not really that interested in this device, it is clear that 24 felt it had not really worked and instead ended season 3 on a dramatic note, rather than a plot point. But what was interesting about both series was how they dealt with their cliffhanging season endings. Both worked like bastards to restore the status quo. The first two episodes of Alias Season Three twist like a maggot on a hook to reinstate the “one clever action sequence an episode” formula. 24 just jumped three years on, and President Palmer was not dead and Jack was the head of CTU. That made no difference: after all its not as if Jack ever listened to anyone in authority. And exactly the same sort of conundrums exist in Alias season three. Its still more spy hokum (who spend their time investigating groups like “The Convenant” and never real actual terrorists).

My grander point? As exciting or interesting as good network US TV is, at its heart it is remarkably formula driven. The viewers and advertisers know this, and rely on this so they can plan for the future. But consider this, the episodes which people really like are usually the ones which break the formula. But even breaking it means you have to go back to the rules straight away. The success of a show may well exist not so much in breaking the rules, but making sure everyone knows what the rules are so you can break them quicker.

WHO BUILT THE MOON WATCH: Chapters 12& 13

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So if it wasn’t God (due to logical fallacy) or Alieums (due to unlikeliness and racking of book in UFOlogy sections of bookshop) who really built the moon. Get this: WE DID! B-b-b-but surely we would remember. A moon isn’t just something you knock together in your back yard. A moon is a very big (though lighter than expected) satellite orbiting the Earth, it ain’t just some bouzy pissed up crop circle.

So how did we humans build the moon. Well, its okay, because we haven’t actually done it yet. Turns out that Messrs Knight and Butler have been listening to Orbital too much and hence present us with the theory of the Mobius. You know: where time becomes a loop. (The Mobius bit of the theory of the Mobius is just a rubbish analogy, so he should take no credit for it). Basically, since the Moon is so jolly important to our existence, and indeed we would not evolved without it (and we have ten fingers – alright already) the Moon is a message from mankind. And that message is: GO BACK IN TIME AND BUILD THE MOON.

Now time paradoxes notwithstanding (HA – and indeed DOUBLE HA) this is a neat theory. They can suggest that futoor man is very clever and can manipulate all sorts of mass, and build a time machine, which is great. And having not only noticed the Moon being a message but that it is integral to our existence, decide not to leave it to chance. The multiple, bifurcating worlds theory pops up too (well we are talking time travel). Bascially we better decode the message soon, else we may miss out on building the very thing which ensured our existence. That and 4 billion years of good luck. WE BUILT THE MOON WATCH STARTS NOW!!!

Down in Rangers, surely?

TMFDPost a comment • 340 views

This is a surprising and enjoyable take on the relationship between a fan and a club, although it betrays a rather fuddled mind, I fear:

“Ties are stronger than they could ever be with a woman. If she goes and sleeps with your best mate, it’s over. If the Rs’ boss, Ian Holloway, slept with my best mate, QPR would still be my team.”

Who would say such a thing? (This line aside, the piece is sadly little more than a checklist of plankishness, but I guess we get our kicks where we can these days, eh?)

The FT Top 23 STRANGE PHENOMENA: No.13 The Kraken

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Or Kraken’s in general. Lord knows how many of them could be down there. Thank the heavens that they don’t pop up, or “Wake” more often. Scary many armed sea creatures, The Kraken is the best of a surprisingly large number of rarely sighted (and then only by loonies) sea monsters. Old fashioned maps of the seven seas often dotted the big, geographically dull, blue bits with fabulous pictures of sea serpents and mermaids. Laterly mermaids were later discredited as being walruses and narwhales. You may joke about this gross mistake, but consider, eyesight was a lot worse back then, as were standards of feminine beauty. Back then a woman with oversized tusks could be thought of as quite a catch. Mermaids however should not be confused with the airborne type of Kraken, who these days can be seen walking the street of Newcastle in white stillettos of a Friday night: or as they are better known “the Kraken Bird”.

None of which explains the mystery of The Kraken, a frightning creature often known to toy with its ship-sized prey by juggling it in its tentacles. Recently a giant squid of Kraken-like proportions was washed up: but do not think this explains the monster. Indeed it just makes it more frightening. After all what could kill a giant squid of Kraken-like proportions, except a Kraken of Kraken+1 proportions? Krakens are therefore even bigger and more deadly than we though.

Though never named, the thoroughly entertaining Steve Sommers film Deep Rising has a Kraken as the monster. This Kraken is notable for having more tentacles than the average squid and, in particular, some tentacles which are able to operate and travel by elevator. More reasons to suggest that this truly is a unexplainable, magical animal. (Deep Rising is also notable for the first appearance of the island in the TV series Lost where they are washed up at the end, replete with mystery creature).

The Kraken has inspired much sub-standard literature too, John Wyndham’s The Kraken Wakes is probably his worst novel, mainly because its Kraken are actually aliums. Tennyson wrote a poem about it too, which is a bit rub but is notable for rhyming Polypi with Lie.

Below the thunders of the upper deep,
Far far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides: above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumbered and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant fins the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages and will lie
Battering upon huge seaworms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by men and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

Giant Squid, or mysterious creature. There is no contest I think. And if there were one, and it was arm wrestling, my money is on the Kraken.

NUMB3RS-W4TCH

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 296 views

in order to remind the one who wz in northern exposure that armed gangs when they know they’re under observation may try and change their behaviour, the sweaty maths-nerdy one invoked a somewhat embroadened HEISENBERG’S UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE!!

the crime wz averted –> armed crims are a type of sub-atomic particle QED