The Wikipedia Random Article Band Meme. Go to the Wikipedia home page and click random article. That is your band's name. Click random article again; that is your album name. Click random article 15 more times; those are the tracks on your album.

Eye of a Cat Productions proudly presents Cissa of Sussex and their debut album, Parramore Island Natural Area Preserve. Tracks listed below:

1. Walter F. González, a heartfelt ballad about a small-town kid with a broken arm who daydreams about being a high-ranking LDS authority.
2. Yellow-browed Woodpecker, a jazzy instrumental.
3. FK Mladost Begaljica, in which all of human longing is epitomised in the blank strips for both 'Home' and 'Away' in the Wikipedia page of a Serbian football club.
4. Moore's Pocket, Queensland, in which my man done left me and all I got's this postcard from far away.
5. Mecher, an experimental spoken-word piece with cellos.
6. Nikolai Melnik, a punk sonnet.
7. Walt Disney Creative Entertainment, a VH1-pleasing light-rock anthem with a lot of angry teenage hair.
8. Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight Committees, the one they let the drummer write.
9. Santa Ysabel, California, the sequel to track 4.
10. Jayson Blair, which is in the style of Steve Earle's 'John Walker's Blues' except with the New York Times standing in for the Taliban. Deep, man, deep.
11. Via Panisperna boys, a lengthy ballad detailing the angst of internal politics in a postdoc science community.
12. Salida, a rock anthem.
13. Direction For Our Times, on which I... can't beat the Wiki article.
14. New Tavern Fort, sung from the fort's point of view.
15. Trolley Dollies, shameless bubblegum pop.

Music meme

Saturday, 8 November 2008 13:47

Name your top 10 most played bands on iTunes (Or Last.FM) (or my iPod, here):

  1. Kathleen Edwards
  2. The Weakerthans
  3. Del Amitri
  4. Dan Bern
  5. Ryan Adams
  6. Steve Earle
  7. Lucinda Williams
  8. The Magnetic Fields
  9. The Ramones
  10. Ralph McTell (wtf, iPod? I don't even remember the last time you played any of his)


And... )
Some of my favourite non-bitter, non-twisted, non-angry lyrics from love songs:

I'm not looking for another as I wander in my time
Walk me to the corner, our steps will always rhyme
(Leonard Cohen, 'Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye')

There are a thousand things about me I want only you to know (The Indigo Girls, 'You've Got To Show

I know you might roll your eyes at this, but I'm so glad that you exist (The Weakerthans, 'The Reasons')

Well, you may not be beautiful
But it's not for me to judge
I don't know if you're beautiful
Because I love you too much
(The Magnetic Fields, 'Asleep and Dreaming')

What can I compare you to, a window the sun shines through?
Maybe the silver moon, a smile rising
The magic of the fading day, satellites on parade
A toast to the plans we've made to live like kings
(The Weepies, 'Take It From Me')
eye_of_a_cat: (River)
I think I just got the Bruce Springsteen thing.

Not, that is, the reason women want to marry him (still puzzling) or the reason he's popular (never puzzling). The Bruce Springsteen Thing is the anger, annoyance, or intermediate level of grumble, that incredibly rich Bruce can sing first-person songs about being poor. I used to scoff and roll my eyes at this on the dual grounds that a) it's unfair to trap people in some bizarre cycle of negative-success, where if his songs about poor people are good enough for people to make them popular then he shouldn't be allowed to sing them, and b) the world does not need any more songs about how existentially horrific it is to be a famous rich white man. (See: Randy Newman's 'It's Lonely At The Top'. See also: What's Wrong With 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road', viz. "you, Elton John, have a plough. That you are going back to.")

Anyway, so. I didn't get the Bruce Springsteen thing until 11.21pm last night, when I was listening to 'Car Wash', in which a woman works a low-wage dead-end job in guess where, and it contained the following lines:

"Well, some day I'll sing in a night club
I'll get a million dollar break
Some handsome man will come here with a contract in his hand
And say 'Catherine, this has all been some mistake.'"

I still stick to my guns re: unfair fame cycle and no more rich-kid angst, but, um. Bruce, draw a line before you get to singing about poor people whose impossible dream of escape involves a multi-million dollar record deal, would you?
Thanks, people! Undergrads will be given a story or poem to read for their first class, and Orwell can wait until Week 2.

I'm not behind in my own work for a change, and I'm also very impressed with myself for how good I've been at keeping my resolution to walk into university rather than get the bus (this involves getting up an hour earlier and discovering that the sunrise is really pretty). Not feeling so comforted over the work, though, because there's always something to feel guilty about. Plus I think I've lost the ability to relax, at least where reading's involved; I planned to have an evening of non-university-related reading and a good night's sleep, and ended up awake at 2am drawing a plan of that labyrinth in The Name of the Rose. (Yes, there's one in the book. I hadn't got to that page yet. Shush.)

My dad, who left school at 16 with no qualifications and still has a a wider-ranging knowledge of literature than I do, sent me an e-mail pointing out something I'd never noticed before. Presenting one of my favourite poems and one of my favourite songs:

Thomas Hardy, 'Neutral Tones' )

The Weakerthans, 'None Of The Above' )

Oh, yeah...

Daniel Berrigan

Thursday, 27 January 2005 01:03
I wish I could afford any of his books. Since I can't, and Amazon only taunts me:

Daniel Berrigan is a Jesuit priest who once featured on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list. He protested against the Vietnam war, most famously by pouring napalm on draft files, and he's been protesting against wars since; he's written poetry, campaigned for social justice, and intermittently served time in prison.

'A parable for today, if not tomorrow'

Some of his poetry

And Dar Williams's beautiful song about Daniel and Philip Berrigan:

I Had No Right )

Some lyrics

Wednesday, 22 December 2004 00:59
The first is a song by Ralph McTell from an album about Dylan Thomas. (If you haven't read any of Dylan Thomas's beautiful poetry, you can find some here.) The songs themselves are as much about Caitlin Thomas as they are about her husband (their marriage could kindly be described as 'turbulent'; they were both alcoholics with fierce tempers), and about not writing poetry rather than writing it. This one is both.

This union is soldered... )

The second is by a band called Richmond Fontaine, a group named after a drifter the lead singer met while travelling through Mexico (the drifter later disappeared and left everything behind right after saying he was about to get his life together, which says a lot about the band). It's a song about being addicted to gambling, written by a man who used to eat breakfast in a casino every day. You expect certain things from that kind of song. This one starts off in the Superficially Happy But Miserable Deep Down vein, and you're all set to expect the rest of it to continue the same way; the character in the song is far too happy about gambling, and therefore clearly doesn't know what it's doing to him. That impression does not last long. It's one of the saddest songs I know.

Drop me off... )

The third is by Lucinda Williams.

I envy the wind )
argh panicpanicpanic.

Answers to lyrics meme )
The way to productive work habits is, apparently, to procrastinate and fret and stamp about all day, then listen loudly to old rock ballads in the early hours of the morning until you hit one of those "Behold my l33t critical analysis skillz!" patches, then write like crazy. Who'd have guessed.

This has the additional side-benefit of making a complete idiot of yourself by squeaking "You did it!" out loud when listening to Richard Marx sing Hazard. (Referring to the narrator, that is. Not Richard Marx. Seriously, first she 'went out walking all alone', and then he says he 'left her by the river', and then he's on the run from the police. If this was Law & Order, Benjamin Bratt and Jerry Orbach would be waiting by that riverbank for him by verse 2.)

In the same vein of Odd Things You Only Notice In The Early Hours Of The Morning, it's occured to me that I'm one of only two people in my office who didn't go to a private school, and the only one whose parents had no university education. And I'm also the only one who, recently, knew that the Dark Ages and Middle Ages weren't the same thing, knew who killed who with a tent-peg in the Bible, and knew what a splice comma was and why it shouldn't be used. I'm second to Google in general information inquiries. This makes me a little bit too smug.


Monday, 4 October 2004 22:56
The things I can find to do in the face of an impending deadline...

Okay. Here's how it works. Set playlist to Random, then list the first line of the first song, the second line of the second song, and so on for ten lines. Sit back and coo over the results:

I guess that it was bound to happen
Didn't get to bed last night
And you tried to intimidate me as you drank your drinks and joked
Oh, but that ain't enough, no, you wanted me to run
And I hope you're thinking of me
It was only a change of plan
Like winter comes too soon
And you spend your days in bed
Woke you from your sleep
And everyone else is spring-bound.

(Jim Croce, Lover's Cross; The Beatles, Back in the USSR; Patti Scialfa, 23rd Street Lullaby; M Ward, Carolina; The Verve, The Drugs Don't Work; Neil Young, Harvest; The Weakerthans, Fallow; Del Amitri, Just Like A Man; Roy Orbison, I Drove All Night; Dar Williams, After All.)

Or this one, which I think I like better:

As I lay sick and broken
I told you I'd be back
Barely coasting into a pay-check stuck on empty
But for a while I thought we'd almost beat the rain
With or without you
Here's hoping all the days ahead
One thing that's worth every page of the deal
The wind is low, the birds will sing
Let the rain be your applause, every encore soothe your rage
Get lost in other eyes.

(Lyle Lovett, The Road to Ensenada; Eric Bogle, The Gift of Years; The Weakerthans, Exiles Among You; Mary Chapin Carpenter, It Don't Bring You; U2, With Or Without You (surprisingly enough); Dar Williams, Better Days; Mary Chapin Carpenter, That's Real; The Beatles, Dear Prudence; The Weakerthans, Benediction; Nils Lofgren, Black Books.

Hours of (slightly baffled) fun!
Go not to fellow research students for sympathy on the really bad unpublished manuscript you have to read, for they will say both "Is it in Latin? Is it? Well, then, stop complaining," and "It's written on a typewriter. You can actually read it. No pity," and "Oh, Word has been correcting my seventeenth-century spellings forever, live with it," and then they will show you copies of the unreadable centuries-old manuscripts that they have to read until you beg for mercy.

But it is really badly written... [/whine]

I'm at the pleasantly-slightly-ill stage, where you wake up feeling like death but adjust to a slightly delirious state of productivity at about 3pm-ish. The only sign apart from looking pale (this is actually quite impressive - I look so pale anyway that anything extra is usually a sign of Something Pretty Bad) is an uncharacteristic fondness for the type of songs that don't usually make their way onto my playlist. Usually, I like flaws and gloomy landscapes and hating/loving the place you come from, and the type of Bruce Springsteen songs which make everyone but me point out that it's really sort of clumsy to use the word 'redemption' in a song about redemption, and John K Samson singing about - well, to be honest, he could read the phone book and I'd sit at his feet in a doe-eyed way and gaze at him adoringly, but anyway. Right now, a chirpy song called "Hey, Julie", about a man trapped in a nine-to-five office job he hates, has been playing on repeat for 14 times. ("He's got me running around like a gerbil on a wheel, he can tell me what to do but he can't tell me what to feel.")
(Someone told me today that I have, and I quote, "a really nice-sounding accent". Aww. Most people, if they comment at all, just ask me where I'm from in a puzzled-sounding way (in their defence, it does jump about a bit) - the man I nearly married thought it was ugly, but he has no taste whatsoever in anything except girlfriends. I mean, I know that my accent is the default one in which everyone should speak the English language, but it's nice to have some outside validation from time to time. Yes.)

The new prettified icon, anyway, has lyrics from a band that everyone should listen to. I try to avoid saying things like that - favourite lyrics tend to be a very personal thing, and what means something to one person won't mean the same to another, and some people just don't like lyrics, and, well, yes. I don't want to be one of those lj people who does nothing but post reams of teeny goth angst in the mistaken conviction everyone else out there will know what they're trying to say, apart from 'I am an angsty goth teenager'. But the Weakerthans have such beautiful lyrics that I feel the need to evangelise a little.

They sing about belonging to a place so much that you love it and hate it at the same time, and loss and loneliness and recovery. Which might make them sound like one of the angsty bands I've just mocked, but they're really not. Their lyrics are perfect enough that I could quote couplets forever ("How I don't know what I should do with my hands when I talk to you / How you don't know where you should look, so you look at my hands"), they sing about pamphleteers rewriting love songs in the language of protest songs and the Communist manifesto, and about one of Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic explorers meeting Michel Foucault, and about playing on baggage carousels in empty airports. And it all works. It's beautiful.

Their first two albums are about loss, more than anything; their third and most recent album is about recovery and rebuilding. But it's not self-pitying angst, and it's the kind of self-consciouss loss and recovery that works, somehow. The song about Foucault and the explorer, who just wants to get back to "dear Antarctica", is a happy poppy thing. The song my icon's lyrics are from is told from the point of view of a bored cat, who's "tired of this piece of string" and wants his miserable, introspective owner to snap out of it. ("I don't know who you're talking to, I've made a search through every room / But all I found was dust that moved in shadows of the afternoon.") It's not wallowing in cynical angst, or an optimistic call to cheerfulness, and I don't think it's anywhere in between either, really. It's off to the side. Look:

When the one-ways collude with the map that you folded wrong,
And the route you abandoned is always the path that you probably should be upon,
When the bottle-cap ashtrays and intimates' ears are all full
With results of your breath, and the threads of your fear are unfurled with the tiniest pull,
One more time, try.

You should listen to them.


Monday, 12 July 2004 17:57
Hot. Too hot. Hot and raining and muggy and overcast, and I've had a thumping steel headache since I woke up at 5am dreaming someone had broken into my room to kidnap me. And our arts librarian just e-mailed me to say that the anonymous author of a short story I've been trying to track down probably is known - but it'll take three weeks to get the big catalogue book thing which'll have it, so if I need it sooner I'll have to go to the national library in Edinburgh.

Yay. A train journey I can't afford to spend a day I can't spare looking up a name that I'd already know if the author had signed her name to the damn story in the first place. (And yes, 'her' is a guess, but I bet you anything I'm right.) On the other hand, nobody's written about this story before and it will feel like I'm doing real, worthwhile research. But still.

Little brother e-mailed from some distant land (Pennsylvania - he's working at an American kids' summer camp), to say that he's bought an eleventh share in an old Cadillac and has seen a bald eagle, and "If you could send some PG tips as well that would be great, i'd like to have the kids try some decent tea (the tea here is dreadful)." Nice he's keeping his priorities straight, I suppose.

Answers to the 20 Songs meme )

I'm back

Monday, 5 July 2004 14:36
Never helping out at a conference again. Never. Never never never. (Except the postgraduate one next spring, which I'm running along with someone else. Um. Well, that's ages away, isn't it?)

Will catch up on e-mail, LJ and at least 50% of everything else I need to do, and I'm going to post about conference fun and games (haHA) as well. For now, though, a meme that was going around a while ago which I never got around to doing:

Set playlist to 'Random', and without naming the songs, list your favourite lines from the first twenty. Then see if anyone can guess what any of them are.

Okay, then, and bonus points to anyone who can get more than two of these from my somewhat odd taste in music: )

(no subject)

Tuesday, 29 June 2004 16:46
(LiveJournal has been messing around with comments recently. Especially my comments, apparently. So if you left a comment here in the past week or so, and I didn't reply, then the odds are pretty good that I did reply and LJ just didn't tell you. *sighs* Just so you know.)

I'm helping out at this conference for the rest of this week. I meant to go into town today and buy makeup (which I don't usually wear, but thought might be nice for a change), but it was raining and it's too hot for makeup anyway. Plus, I have to wear a conference T-shirt, and so I doubt they want me to look all formal and businesslike. Still need to find out some nice dancing clothes for the ceilidh, but that's not till the weekend.

I didn't volunteer to chair, which I surprised myself with a bit. I like chairing, and I'm good at it (she says, modestly), but I didn't volunteer. It's a poetry conference, though, and poetry isn't my area. Neither does it interest me (modern poetry, anyway), which saddens me a bit. I used to love poetry - I used to write it, too, and it was teenage and angsty and not wonderful, but I enjoyed it - and these days, not. I'd blame university for having put me off, like so many people I know blame university for taking the pleasure of reading away from them, but I don't think that's it. At least I'll get the chance to attend some of the poetry reading sessions at this conference, anyway. Maybe get interested again.

Maybe I do like modern poetry, sometimes, when it's song lyrics. My favourite band ever ever ever has the most talented lyricist I've ever heard, and the most beautiful, amazing songs (plus, anyone who can write about Michel Foucault meeting a retired Antarctic explorer from Shackleton's expedition, and make it a happy light-hearted song, is wonderful).

Like this one )

Weather bad

Sunday, 14 March 2004 22:36
It's half-past ten, I want to go to bed, I'm stranded on the other side of campus from home, and it is pouring down with rain. This is what I get for 'waiting for the rain to stop' in Scotland, where the rain never stops. (Except for two weeks in August, which we call 'Heatwave'.)

Right. I shall type out song lyrics I like until the rain has died down a bit.

The Weakerthans, 'Plea From A Cat Named Virtute' )

That's not a typo in the title, by the way. I love this song.
The first twenty songs that appear when your playlist is set to Random )

Well, that's not too bad. I'm sort of glad that Achy Breaky Heart is no longer on my playlist, though. (My ex 'accidentally' deleted it.)



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