Monday, 28 February 2005

On Fantasy

This is an interesting article, from a Christian perspective, on why people read fantasy fiction. Tolkien or CS Lewis also see key themes of fantasy and myths as reflecting innate knowledge of or yearning after God. Or, as my old flatmate Paul put it, 'Boy born in barn saves world.'

omitted music

TV or radio programmes subsequently released on audio/video often have bits cut out of them for copyright reasons if there is music playing in the background which would have to be relicensed at additional cost. There's a Hitchhiker's Guide scene involving Pink Floyd music which doesn't appear on the recordings. It's the kind of thing fans get worked up about; fans of The Young Ones and Last of the Summer Wine are united by this issue.

History's notable films, reconsidered

McSweeney's regularly has interesting, amusing articles (I'm not sure whether all the stuff that appears on the website has appeared or will appear in the print magazine). This one is 'History's notable films, reconsidered'.


I saw on a news report once a woman explaining just how non-racist her daughter was: 'she is literally colour-blind', she said. I don't think she really meant that.

Wednesday, 23 February 2005

Songs The Beatles covered

Song Writer Version they knew

Please Please Me LP
Anna (Alexander) Arthur Alexander
Chains (Goffin/King) The Cookies
Boys (Dixon/Farrell) The Shirelles
A Taste of Honey (Scott/Marlow) Lenny Welch
Twist and Shout (Medley/Russell) The Isley Brothers

With The Beatles LP
Till There was You (Willson) Peggy Lee
Please Mr Postman (Dobbin/Garrett/Garman/Brianbert) The Marvelettes
Roll Over Beethoven (Berry) Chuck Berry
You Really Got A Hold On Me (Robinson) Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
Devil In Her Heart (Drapkin) The Donays
Money (Bradford/Gordy) Barrett Strong

Long Tall Sally EP
Long Tall Sally (Johnson/Penniman/Blackwell) Little Richard
Matchbox (Perkins) Carl Perkins
Slow Down (Williams) Larry Williams

Beatles For Sale LP
Rock and Roll Music (Berry) Chuck Berry
Mr Moonlight (Johnson) Dr Feelgood & The Interns (actually Piano Red)
Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey (Lieber/Stoller / Penniman) Little Richard
Words of Love (Holly) Buddy Holly
Honey Don’t (Perkins) Carl Perkins
Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby (Perkins) Carl Perkins

Help LP
Act Naturally (Morrison/Russell) Buck Owens
Dizzy Miss Lizzy (Williams) Larry Williams

Bad Boy (Williams) Larry Williams

I'm slowly but surely accumulating the originals of all these, not purposely initially but deliberately now, without spending too much on them. By the time I finish, someone will have managed to licence them all and put them out on a single CD, if they haven't done so already. But it's the thrill of the chase, and the pleasure of the incidental discoveries. 12 out of 23 so far.

'this reviewer'

'this reviewer'? What's wrong with 'I', or 'me'? I find this editorial practice disproportionately annoying.

photo of *the* John

I thought there were none online, but this is still here.

Tuesday, 22 February 2005

john peel and 2:25 of noise

On the day John Peel died, Bethan and I were going to watch Millwall play Liverpool in the League cup (we could both go because my mother was down).

I, and several others it turned out, emailed the club to suggest that instead of having a minute's silence that evening, a more appropriate tribute to John Peel would be 2:25 of noise - playing Teenage Kicks, by The Undertones. Someone brought a CD in, and that's what they did.

During the game a Liverpool fan started a fight in a Millwall stand. Liverpool fans tried to get out of their stand onto the pitch to join in, tearing seats out and throwing them, so that their own disabled fans had to be moved out of their way for their own safety.

The subsequent media coverage focussed on Millwall, not Liverpool, being in trouble because there was trouble at their ground, trouble provoked, it was said, by 'Hillsborough' chants from Millwall fans. (Which prompts a number of questions. Do Liverpool fans have 'Munich' chants for Man U? (Apparently so.) Does a chant of 'Hillsborough' give Liverpool fans carte blanche to behave badly? (Presumably not.) Do fans of other clubs subject Liverpool fans to 'Hillsborough' chants? (Apparently so.) Why is everything different for Millwall? (Because give a dog a bad name, and it sticks.)) And, not surprisingly, no mention of our touching tribute to JP.

Millwall lost 3-0, but people had lost interest in what was going on on the pitch by the end really.

photos of other Iain MacDonalds 11

Here I am, a driving instructor in the Falkirk area. My inability to drive is just the first thing that sets us apart.

mellow music

Listened to my latest Uncut cover CD of new music (pretty mellow, mostly) and then my latest Word cover CD of new music (pretty mellow, mostly), and had the sudden realisation that what is missing from my current musical diet is 3-minute pop/rock songs, stuff with a bit more energy than brains. Not sure what to do about that, really.

Tuesday, 15 February 2005

next time I'll have a boiled egg

Last week I mentioned my wife's cousin, who remarked: "If I have a fault, it's my love of wild flowers." Jean Britton writes from Orpington to describe a visit from her mother, for whom she tried a new recipe. It seemed to go down well with everyone, so she asked her Mum what she thought. "It was very nice, but next time you make it, I'll have a boiled egg."

"That was 20 years ago, but now not only my family but many of our friends still use the phrase." More well-loved family phrases very welcome.

- Simon Hoggart, The Guardian, 9 October 2004.

Monday, 14 February 2005

USA election results colour map

An interesting map of the USA presidential election results coloured in not by state but by county.

Christian rock stars

An article in the Guardian, 'A new breed of rock star: quietly Christian', and a follow-up article from the LICC.

specific nuclear threat

A lot of English people would say, 'pacific nuclear threat'.
A lot of American people would say 'specific nuculer threat'.
It's a funny old world.

Thursday, 10 February 2005

More from Unexplained Laughter

Alice Thomas Ellis, Unexplained Laughter; Penguin, 1985.

Thinking about deadly sin led her to think again about Satan. If you took an ‘a’ away from his name he would be called ‘Stan’. Lydia thought the Prince of Darkness would lose much of his power if everyone habitually called him Stan. She glanced round superstitiously, reflecting that if anyone called her Stan she would determine to get her own back on him.
‘Beuno,’ she said, as he approached up the path, ‘is it altogether wise to be cheeky to the devil?’
‘Oh, entirely,’ said Beuno without hesitation. No other course is possible. If he is afforded the slightest respect it makes him worse, larger.’
‘I know you to be right,’ said Lydia in her reflective pedantic way, ‘but I have not your courage. I might cock a snook at him behind his back but I wouldn’t dash into his path making the victory sign.’
‘Nor would I,’ said Beuno. ‘I wouldn’t seek him out, but if by mischance he should loom up before me I should waggle my fingers at him.’
‘Do you think he knows we’re talking about him?’ asked Lydia, not nervously, but truly more out of curiosity.
‘I don’t think he’s omnipresent,’ said Beuno, ‘and he isn’t omniscient. He’s not the opposite of God, which would mean he’d be as powerful. He has to keep going all the time - to and fro about the world and walking up and down in it. No, I don’t think he’s listening. His presence is unmistakable ...’
‘The whiff of sulphur?’ interrupted Lydia.
‘That sort of thing,’ said Beuno. ‘Very occasionally I have strongly sensed his presence. *His* undoubted presence. But he doesn’t need to attend to much personally. His hobgoblins can cause a lot of disruption, and simple ordinary people are remarkably good at being bad.’
‘Yes, aren’t they,’ said Lydia humbly, thinking of herself. ‘Are you sure that God is omnipresent?’
‘Yes,’ said Beuno. ‘If God is, he’s everywhere, even in the most dreadful situations, rubbing shoulders with Satan.’
‘Stan,’ said Lydia, abstractedly, pulling away at the feathers of the pheasant and strewing them about her.
‘Stan?’ queried Beuno.
‘It’s what I call the devil now,’ explained Lydia recalling herself to the conversation. ‘I keep wondering what he’d do if I wandered up to the edge of the pit and leaned over and yelled, “Oi, you down there, Stan!”’
‘I expect he’d gnash his teeth in impotent rage,’ said Beuno.
‘I would myself,’ agreed Lydia.
- p91-92

Lydia felt unworthy. She also felt the beginnings of wrath. Days ago she had decided to be good - she *was* being quite good - but she was only pretending to be good so far and all this appreciation was as yet undeserved. She wondered how long she would have to keep it up before she could stop convicting herself of hypocrisy.
- p106

‘The only really profound question,’ said Beuno, ‘is *why*. *How* is a question asked by the foolish and answered by the trivial.
- p119

But Betty also knew that there are some things better left unsaid, no matter what the circumstances. Perhaps Hywel in his silence was proving wise. She said so.
Lydia thought about it for a while, before she spoke. ‘What you’re saying *is*,’ she said, ‘that one shouldn’t even whisper it in the wind on the hill-tops because once said a thing can never be unsaid; that expression gives power to thought; that even the clear though unspoken formulation of a nebulous impression may be dangerous, giving it a force and potency which silence or merely a lack of clarification would deny to it.’
- p121-122