Day Three: A song that reminds you of summertime.

I have no idea why, but for some reason the soundtrack to Buster always sounds hugely summery to me. Maybe I bought it in the summer? The film is rubbish, but the soundtrack is great, and I bought it almost as soon as I saw the film, way back in 1988. Maybe there was a really good summer that year? I have literally no idea. But it's an album that shouts summer at me. So here's the first track on the album, Two Hearts, by Phil Collins:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9wq5GV2uIU

(Don't worry, it's not the video, so you don't have to actually look at him.)

Bonus song, because obviously this should ideally be listened to on a beautiful day, which I suppose makes it sort of summery:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQk23ViALh4
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I keep meaning to do this, and failing. You wouldn't think typing a few words would require such effort! Anyway, Day Two: A song you like with a number in the title. I like a lot of songs with numbers in the title. On reflection, an awful lot of them are the numbers one and two though, so for that reason, I'm going with a far less common number. This is the fantastic Sixteen Tons, by Tennessee Ernie Ford, released in 1956. Ernie Ford was mostly known for his comic songs, but this one is right out of Steinbeck's The Grapes Of Wrath. Along with a great piece of social commentary, it has one hell of a bass line.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1K0l-xPhWzs

As a bonus, have Guy Mitchell's Ninety-Nine Years (Dead Or Alive), partly because it's great, partly because I like to sneak in a little Guy Mitchell here and there, and partly because, some half dozen years before Bond hit cinemas, it's clearly the Bond theme.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8l1J2VUcPw

So there you go. Two songs with numbers in the titles. Next time I shall try to get a little more modern. I might even make it into the 1960s.
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swordznsorcery: (ratpack)
( May. 15th, 2017 19:45)
Haven't done this in a while, as I haven't been watching anything much of late, save Doctor Who and Agents Of SHIELD; and talking about stuff that everybody is watching seems a bit pointless somehow. I have been reading though, and I've just finished a book that felt worth a mention. It's called The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair, by Jöel Dicker, and it's a big, chunky, 600+ page whodunnit about a schoolgirl who was murdered in the summer of 1975, and the investigation that begins when her body is discovered in 2008. Although it's so big, it's a very easy read, and I found myself getting through it very quickly. So if anybody feels like a murder story that bounces about from year to year, and keeps throwing interesting hooks at you, that would be a good one to go for. Originally written in French, apparently, although I read it in English.

On the watching front, one thing that I did do was rewatch the first episode of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell today. Wednesday will be the second anniversary of the show's debut, so it felt like a good time. It's still fab. I'm appreciating Vincent Franklin as the brilliantly smarmy Drawlight a little more this time around, now that my attentions aren't so taken up with Strange and Norrell themselves. Also, he and Lascelles do some quite splendid snide bickering - typical bored, rich men about town, indulging in gossip, and getting their entertainment from other people's misfortunes. They're great side characters in the book, and they also work well in the series. If I could change anything in episode one, I think I should have liked to have seen a little more of Segundas. His role as a sort of magical fanboy is rather effective. It's nice to be seeing it all again.

This week's Last.fm top five artists:

Blondie (due in part to their new album, so I am a little bit up to date!)
Dean Martin
The Equals
Manic Street Preachers
Caro Emerald

In other news, I've decided to do that music meme that's knocking about, but since I've been completely incapable of choosing a song for the first question (I'm supposed to randomly choose one with a colour in the title, but who can randomly choose a song?), I've decided that it has to be from one of the above artists. So beneath the cut are the Equals with Black Skin Blue-Eyed Boys (released in 1970, and this is from a TV appearance in 1971).

Funky guitar under here )
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A week or so back, [personal profile] arnie1967 asked about favourite songs, and how they make us feel. It was an interesting question, but I didn't get around to answering it at the time. Kept thinking about it though, and with my usual inability to come to a decision about favourite songs, I shovelled a bunch of them into a folder, and then wrote down the first ten titles that resulted from a random play. This is the result, and it's a playlist that I'm very happy with. As to how they make me feel... Well, they're good songs, so I suppose the obvious answer is "good", but there is a bit more to that, at least occasionally.

... )
Come join in at [community profile] tic_tac_woe, and get a bingo card that lets you destroy the world nine times over! (if you manage to complete it). Wipe out humanity; you know you've always wanted to. My card is beneath the cut. Slightly bothered by "return of the dinosaurs", since they've never actually left. I'm assuming it means the toothy kind, although personally I wouldn't put anything past a pelican.

Death! Destruction! Dinosaurs! )
Written for [community profile] b7friday. Prompt: Villains.

PG, c. 1000 words.

... )
swordznsorcery: (whitecollar)
( Apr. 10th, 2017 20:56)
I keep forgetting to do this, although admittedly it doesn't change much from week to week. Since last time, I've watched a fascinating mini-series that, like Boy Dominic, I picked up in a Network sale a couple of years ago, and have only just got around to. It's called Wolcott, and was apparently Britain's first police drama with a black lead. I wish I could say that it distinguishes itself! First the good points: it has a great cast. George Harris is a charismatic lead, and heads the cast well as the titular Wolcott. He's supported by a shedload of British character actors, many of them familiar from other police dramas, including Christopher Ellison (Burnside from The Bill as - surprise! - a crooked detective). Rik Mayall also features as a loathsome, racist PC. It also has very funky music. That's where the good stuff ends. Apparently the cast hated the show, and I can see why. It's trying very hard to be Shaft, but what worked for New York City in the seventies, is not going to work for London, and certainly not in 1981, the year of the Brixton Riot. The characters are dreadful stereotypes. Wolcott himself is impossibly good; everybody else is either a racist, or a two-dimensional Jamaican gangster. Jeepers. I've since taken refuge in a rewatch of the final season of White Collar, which I loved so much at the time. It's still good. If you've never seen White Collar, I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Oh, and also in the world of telly - Sleepy Hollow finished. No decision yet on whether there will be a fifth season. I ended up really loving season four, against all the odds. It was nearly as much fun as season one, and the new cast were all great. Jenny got to be properly awesome throughout, and the last scene of the final episode was proper silly grin stuff. A nice place to leave the show, if it turns out that that was it.

In reading, I've just finished A Symphony Of Echoes by Jodi Taylor, the second in her time-travelling historian series. It's all about an institute called St Mary's, which houses a band of historians, who travel through time to witness famous events. Think time-travelling history nerds, fuelled by tea and explosions, and you're pretty much there. The books are fast-moving; a bit shallow, admittedly, but fun. Sentences like "We're St Mary's - there's something wrong if something isn't on fire", will give you some indication as to why it appeals to me. I've heard that the series gets better as it progresses, so I shall certainly hunt out some more. Otherwise still scrambling through a complete Sherlock Holmes readthrough, and am currently on The Valley Of Fear, which is an interesting one. Don't think I've read it before. Holmes books are always oddities. Nothing happens in them - absolutely nothing at all. They break all of the "show, don't tell" rules. We're told about everything after it happens, and never witness anything exciting. And yet somehow you never mind. Conan Doyle's prose is a thing of beauty. (Although if you could stop with all the "You can tell he's a criminal by the shape of his head", and "It was clearly a woman's handwriting," Sir Arthur, that'd be good, thank you kindly.)

Also a thing of beauty (corny links, I has them) was the weather of the last few days. My mother's weeping cherry tree exploded into life quite magnificently (she's only had it a year, and last year it only managed one flower!). It's properly settled in now though, and it looks stunning. Spring is nice. I do wish this one particular wasp (I'm assuming it's the same one, purely because they look alike, although I admit that that's hardly damning evidence) wouldn't keep flying through my window though. I have to keep leaping madly to the kitten's defence to stop her trying to eat it. *sigh*

There are pictures under the cut, of springy colour. It's all grey again outside today though. You're a killjoy, April. Give me my sun back.

... )

Oh, and top five artists of the last seven days, courtesy of last.fm:

Queen
a-ha
Blondie
Joe Jackson
Pet Shop Boys

(a-ha just put out a new album in 2015, so that list is more modern than you might assume, honest.)
It's been a fab day today. I got the lawn mowed, and did some pond tidying up. Also planted some stuff that will hopefully be tasty eventually. Then I retired to the iPlayer, and watched some programmes about Top Of The Pops in 1977 and 1978, and terrified myself by remembering all of it. I was two in 1977, for goodness sakes! Why do I remember every twist and turn of the UK's pop music scene back then, including still being able to sing along with most of the songs?! If I could remember a few useful things as well, I wouldn't mind so much. Blimey, things were scary back then though. Wall to wall Boney M! Also Brotherhood Of Man, in pink nylon, singing a spectacularly cheesy song called Angelo, in which two young lovers commit suicide. Sung complete with synchronised "waving goodbye" dance moves. I don't think it was meant to be funny.

Boney M, though. Forty years on, I still haven't quite figured out what that was all about. Ra-Ra-Rasputin indeed. I went to YouTube, with the intention of posting an illustrative video on the horrors of the likes of Rivers Of Babylon or Brown Girl in The Ring. I wound up getting distracted by the "Recommended for you" thingy at the side of the page though, and hit on this, so you got lucky:

... )
It's the song Style, from the 1964 film Robin And The 7 Hoods, performed by Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. The film isn't perfect, but it's good fun, and this song always makes me smile.

And here, have some bottled spring:

... )
The first is tulips, the second is my mother's Magnolia stellata. I bought it for her several years ago, as she's magnolia mad, and doesn't have space for a tree. It was tiny, and this year it flowered for the first time. Also, my first ducks of the year!

Now that I've spoken of sunshine and flowers, it'll hail tomorrow. Ah well.
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swordznsorcery: (ratpack)
( Mar. 20th, 2017 20:56)
Boy Dominic came to its inevitable end, in a sweet and joyful reunion. I felt bad for them, knowing that most of the cast were soon going to be murdered off-screen, in order to trigger an unexpected sequel. Still, even with that shadow hanging over it, it remained a fun little series. Julian Glover cropped up in a handful of episodes (he was evil, of course). One episode had Brian Wilde in it as a dastardly murderer, which amused me. Nice bit of unexpected casting. All in all, I recommend it, at least to fans of seventies telly. The usual caveats apply, obviously. In one episode the windows are very obviously made of plastic sheeting, which amused me. Partly because of how obvious it was, and partly because it hadn't been invented yet. Good gender balance though, and a fine cast.

Following the one-sided struggle against The Brothers Karamazov, I decided to stick to short books for a while! I read an interesting 1935 novella called It Can't Happen Here, by Sinclair Lewis, which a lot of people have been recommending recently. Although it was written in 1935, it's quite clearly the story of Donald Trump's election, so possibly Sinclair Lewis had a time machine. An interesting one. Also read Douglas Adams's Last Chance To See, about his voyages around the world for the BBC in the late eighties, to track down endangered species. Two of them are gone now (and so, obviously, is he). The statistics quoted are terrifying, especially for the collapse of the northern white rhino population. Humanity, you suck.

What else? I watched Saving Mr Banks, the story of Walt Disney's struggle with PL Travers to get the rights to Mary Poppins. It was good, but a bit frustating. Every time somebody blinked, the narrative switched from the 1960s to the 1910s, or back again. Could have done with spending more than ten seconds in each one at a time. Also Colin Farrell was in it. Despite that, it was nicely done, and an interesting story. And Bradley Whitford was in it too, which helped to counteract Colin Farrell to some extent. I've been singing Mary Poppins songs ever since though, so it may have been a mistake.

Top five artists for the last seven days, according to last.fm:

01. Chuck Berry
02. Madness
03. Huey Lewis & The News
04. Duran Duran
05. Oasis

I know. I'm so modern and up to date.
I guess by now everybody knows that yesterday we lost Chuck Berry. Anybody with an interest in popular music knows what an important figure he was, so there's no point in running over that again (John Lennon said that it all started with Chuck Berry, and he wasn't far wrong). But like any other form of evolution, there's no clear cut moment when jazz, blues and gospel became rock and roll. Just as there's no set moment in time when you can point to dinosaurs becoming birds - rather a whole slew of intermediary fossils charting the progression over millennia - so it is with music. Chuck Berry - and Little Richard, and Elvis Presley, and Jerry Lee Lewis despite his different instrument - were all influenced by a formidable lady named Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and now seems as good a time as any to share a little music. So there's a couple of songs beneath the cut. If this doesn't make you smile today, it's a fair bet nothing will!

... )
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In honour of John Barrowman's 50th birthday today (11th March, for those of you awkward enough to have drastically different timezones), here's an old favourite from days gone by:



JB is celebrating by launching a t-shirt highlighting trans issues in the States. Go John.
swordznsorcery: (queen)
( Mar. 9th, 2017 21:09)
Shamelessly ganked off [livejournal.com profile] dimity_blue, because it looked fun: Put your mp3 player on shuffle, and write down the first ten songs.

01. Blaze Of Glory, Jon Bon Jovi
02. You Better You Bet, The Who
03. Nothing Compares 2 U, Sinéad O'Connor
04. Promise Her Anything (But Give Her Love), Dean Martin
05. Old Red Eyes Is Back, Beautiful South
06. Runaway, Del Shannon
07. Let's Face The Music And Dance, Nat King Cole
08. Play The Game, Queen
09. I'll Be There For You, The Rembrandts
10. Chicka-Boom, Guy Mitchell

I'm quite impressed. Last time I did something like this, there were about half a dozen Queen songs, a couple of Springsteen, and something vaguely embarrassing (probably Five Star or The Jets). This actually looks sensible though!
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swordznsorcery: (sleepy team)
( Feb. 27th, 2017 20:54)
It took effort (and I admit that I did skip some of the longer and more impenetrable chapters), but I have finished The Brothers Karamazov. Damned if I know what it's about though. I mean, certainly it's the tale of three brothers, and their father is murdered by somebody, but this apparently major event is probably only about a third of the narrative. The rest is wandering down lengthy side trails, talking of ailing schoolboys, boring monks, a veritable barrage of people with assorted ailments, and some people who may or may not be in love with each other. It must surely have been written whilst high. It's the only sensible explanation. (I'm guessing there's at least one level of allegory going on, and certainly there's comparative examples of fatherhood, and the importance of father figures, but jeepers). This is one book I'm not recommending! I've gone back to Sherlock Holmes now, and have just started The Hound Of The Baskervilles. It's a much better story, and Conan Doyle manages to tell in a dozen pages what Dostoevsky needs four hundred to even begin getting around to.

Boy Dominic remains entertaining, although it must be said that Richard Todd's bit of the plot (a short scene at the beginning and end of each episode) is infinitely more engaging than his wide-eyed son, still getting into assorted scrapes in the Yorkshire countryside. Each episode is only half an hour long though, and Brian Blessed is there, so it's enjoyable enough. Just had another Return To Treasure Island alumnus turn up, which was nice. Also falling in love with Sleepy Hollow all over again. Season four has been absolutely splendid so far.

Making use of last.fm's glorious statistics capabilities while it's still there (it seems forever in danger of falling before the unappealing juggernaut of Spotify), I see that my top five artists for the last seven days are:

1. George Harrison (14 plays)
2. The View (13 plays)
3. Kaiser Chiefs
3. Mika
3. Pulp (12 plays each)

I do like a nice list. Elsewhere I am mostly thinking about dragons for I Surrendered, and trying not to get sucked into the world of temptation that is Prompt Amnesty Week over at [community profile] 100words. Every ten weeks you get to choose any of the previous prompts. They are very prompty.

I have finished my cup of tea. Woe.

Bye.
Three drabbles beneath the cut: ... )
swordznsorcery: (Default)
( Feb. 25th, 2017 16:39)
Title: None
Fandom: Babylon 5
Rating: G
Characters: Londo Mollari


prompt: #024: Silence


Space was silent, so it was said. Londo Mollari knew the truth. Space was not silent. It screamed; it sobbed; it wailed with the voices of the dead and the dying. All those Centauri; all those Narns. Faceless statistics that he would carry with him to his own death – and maybe beyond.

Here at least there was silence, of a sort. Here in the Zocalo, in the constant din, the constant to-ing and fro-ing of so many thousands of lifeforms, there was a stillness. A refuge. Here, for a little while, Londo could hide from all that he had done.
swordznsorcery: (ratpack)
( Feb. 20th, 2017 20:37)
A blatant rip off of [personal profile] lost_spook's What I'm Reading Wednesday.

I think I've given up on The Brothers Karamazov. Or maybe I haven't. I shall probably pick it up again, but I've read two other books since I put it down last! Ordinarily I wouldn't struggle on with something, but people who are usually worth listening to keep telling me how good it is. The Kindle tells me I'm halfway through it, although goodness knows how. The less annoying brother just battered the butler possibly to death with a kitchen appliance, so it has briefly got interesting. I may persevere. In the meantime I'm reading something I picked up in a charity store: Spartan Gold by Clive Cussler. A husband and wife team of treasure hunters travel the globe seeking out archaeological finds, whilst being shot at. She's a history buff and a crack shot; he's an engineer and a danger magnet. It reads like a Hollywood blockbuster waiting to happen. It's good, but it's also very annoying - more to do with the writing style than the plot. People don't use cameras, they use Nikon 6FSb97s with HJK982.7 lenses, for example. Possibly he makes a packet on the advertising, as it's a trend that's repeated with cars, boats, jackets, shoes, phones, laptops, etc. But yeah, good story.

In Tellyland, lately I am mostly watching The Boy Dominic, which I bought two years ago for about 50p in a Network sale, and am only just getting around to. Richard Todd is believed lost at sea, and his young son Dominic, played by Jim Dale's son Murray Dale, wanders around the Yorkshire Dales in a silly haircut, getting into scrapes and missing his dad. Also starring Hildegard Neil in some slightly alarming make-up, and Brian Blessed apparently auditioning for Long John Silver (but with two legs). They made a sequel a couple of years later, in which both Richard Todd and Hildegard Neil had been horribly murdered, with seems very sad given how jolly hard Richard Todd is trying to get home. I shouldn't bother, Richard. You're safer as a castaway.

(Actually he isn't. He's just been drugged and kidnapped by dastardly foreign types, and is suffering from amnesia. But that probably still beats being horribly murdered in order to give your son a second set of adventures).

It's very well made, anyway. By Yorkshire TV, in 1974. Scarcely anything wobbles.
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swordznsorcery: (Default)
( Feb. 19th, 2017 15:31)
Title: None
Fandom: Buffy The Vampire Slayer (TV)
Rating: G
Characters: Buffy and Giles


prompt: #029: Quote V: "It was a dark and stormy night"



"Could that weather be any more horror movie?" Buffy stood at the window, watching forked lightning zigzag earthward, cringing slightly as an especially ferocious thunder peal echoed overhead. "And I have to go hunt demons. Isn't there, like, a good weather clause for Slaying?"

"Unsurprisingly not," said Giles, stake in one hand, oilskin in the other. "Sorry."

"Seriously creepy weather clause?"

"No."

"You're not helping."

"I am. I'm coming with you."

"Giles, no offence, but unless you're a fang-proof, waterproof snuggle blanket..." He looked typically nonplussed, and she sighed. "Never mind – destiny awaits. And my destiny is pneumonia; who knew?"
Keep meaning to mention a new community at DreamWidth, which I think may interest some of you. It's called [community profile] 100words. Each week (Tuesday I think) there's a new prompt posted, and the aim is to write exactly one hundred words inspired by that prompt, directly or indirectly. Can be any fandom, or original - whatever you like, as long as it's exactly one hundred words. So far it's proving to be quite lively, and there's been some good stuff posted. So come and join! :)
swordznsorcery: (Default)
( Feb. 10th, 2017 16:59)
Title: None
Fandom: Battlestar Galactica (1978)
Rating: G
Characters/Pairings/Content Warnings/Notes: That might spoil it


prompt: #028 - kairos



The cockpit had always been where he belonged, but it fought him more these days. Age endures discomforts far less readily than youth. Some things, however, need to be done. Some journeys have to be made.

The sun was rising. He had no idea which sun, nor which world it was crowning, but the halo of light was exquisite; his timing, as ever, without fault. He pressed the button, and sent the payload flying off into the dawn.

"Goodbye, Apollo." Watching until the casket vanished into the rising visor of flame, Starbuck turned the Viper about and headed for home.





For Richard Hatch, with respect.
.

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