Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Ancient Heroes' Musical Taste

As I am a serious classics A-level student, with my friends (Team Penelope bro) we have come up with an idea of the modern music that Greek and Roman characters would have liked.

  • Calypso, the nymph who keeps Odysseus on her island for seven years: She digs motown, all those ballads and love songs. Bet she would have been blaring out "Stop! In the Name of Love" when Odysseus leaves her.
  • Aeneas, hero of the Aeneid and kind-of founder of Rome: Coldplay/Snow Patrol, all of those miserable boring bands- so he can seem dramatic as he sails around.
  • Agamemnon, the leader of the Greek forces in Troy, later stabbed to death in a bath tub by his wife: Arrogant rap. You know what I mean, Kanye West etc. 
  • Oedipus, you all know Oedipus: Glam rock- bad glam rock. E.g. KISS (who actually have some tunes, not gonna lie).
  • Penelope, wife of Odysseus: She likes depressing stuff, sung by women, a la Joni Mitchell (I got love for Joni, that wasn't meant to be an insult) and break-up music like Rumors by Fleetwood Mac.
  • Odysseus, the man himself: The general consensus was that he would have "sick taste"- I agree, though I reckon it would be good stuff from the 70's e.g. Raw Power by Iggy and the Stooges. I totally see that. 
  • Telemachus, Odysseus' less manly son: He likes 90's stuff. Pixies, Breeders, bit of Nirvana etc. 
  • Tiresias, a prophet who appears in Oedipus Rex and the Odyssey: Psychedelic shit. But, like, reaaaaaaaally psych. The kind of stuff mortals can only survive when on the weirdest of acid trips.
  • Dido, tragic heroine: You know. You just know. Yep. Dido listens to DIDO. How unexpected was that?!?!
  • Jocasta, wife and mother to Oedipus (yep, it's that gross): Mum music, e.g. Florence and the Machine, Emeli Sande, Adele etc. 
  • Antigone, Oedipus' daughter and sister: PUNK ROCK! Cos she's rebellious  with a big focus on riot grrrl due to her disrespect of the patriarchal society (FANCY ESSAY POINT ALERT).
  • Ismene, Antigone's sister: She's the complete opposite of Antigone, so bubblegum pop, like Katy Perry etc.  

Sunday, 20 January 2013

On having haters

Ok, so yesterday I got my first (and so far only) piece of hate on youtube. A lot of more interesting and fun things happened to me yesterday, but I'm going to stick to the negative here. The comment was as follows:

"Possibly the dullest video I have seen on YouTube. Could you attempt to speak like a human." 

Nice, right? Here are some things that puzzle me about this troll:

  • The video this guy chose to look at currently has 26 views (it's not like it was on the popular page, is it?)
  • The video was called "It's Been a While" and when you write that in to YouTube, you get 24.5 million hits. (How the fuck did he end up on me?)
  • The video was uploaded 7 months ago, and I had to watch it back myself to remember what it was about. (It's hardly a milestone in YouTube history.)
  • The troll himself seems to have reacted to only 3 videos in his two-and-a-bit years on YouTube, one of them being me. (I've joined a very exclusive club here.)
I'm not going to pretend this comment isn't bothering me, because it clearly is. However, I am proud of my reaction (not just my reply to the comment, which was "thanks babe.") But also the fact that I'm hardly scarred for life by this moment, and if it had happened two or more years ago, I would have been shaken to the core. 

I was incredibly under-confident and bullied (irl, I don't think I really knew how to use internet well enough to get cyberbullied) for two things: My looks, and my voice (which sucked, cos it's not like I can really do much about them). The fact that this guy has singled out my voice would have probably made me extremely angry (I've never been a crier, more of a puncher) and made me even less likely to speak among strangers. Seriously, it would have messed with my head. 

Now though, I couldn't give less of a shit. Maybe it's called growing up (though I doubt it, I spent half of yesterday in awe of stuffed animals) or perhaps I've stopped being so angry and actually started to feel sorry for a guy who spends his life hating on someone he doesn't know. Because honestly, at the time that comment was posted, I was out with one of my best mates looking at freaking AWESOME photographs and having my mind exploded by nature. I feel sorry anyone at home watching a past version of me talking about radio 1's big weekend at that time.

And the final thing, that video is SEVEN MONTHS OLD. The girl in the video isn't me anymore, she's been immortalised on video but no longer exists. That whole immortalising thing is part of the reason why I film, why I write, and maybe part of why everybody who makes things, makes things. I want to look back on that video ad be like "ha, I'm better now", the same way I want to re-read this and be embarrassed by how crap it is. It's comforting knowing you've improved, and that troll of a comment would only have got to me if I knew it was my peak. It isn't. (Although it isn't the dullest video on YouTube, thank you very much.) 

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

The other 26 song lyrics

Remember how I write down a song lyric for every week of the year? Well, I do. I've already written up the first half of 2012, and now it's time to put of that year behind us. Here we go:

Come on baby, play me something like here comes the sun,
In your life you have some trouble, if you worry, you make it double,
I have built a treehouse,
The band are fucking wankers, I'm not having a nice time,
My love is like a Cuban plane,
If I ain't dead already, girl you know the reason why,
God only knows what I'd be without you,
Ca plane pour moi,
I just held you in the doorframe through all the earthquakes,
Psycho killer, qu'est que c'est,
keep on trying to remember that nothing is lost in the end,
I am young, and I am lost,
You and I, divine but not devout,
If I could see all my friends tonight,
My time, like water down the drain,
It's too late to apologise,
But it's Friday, Friday I'm in love,
I set my body on fire so I could be free,
Go, go, go if you want, I can't stop you,
But you'll go out fighting all of them,
This town is coming like a ghosttown,
And I plan to be forgotten when I'm gone,
I love you, oh no,
Roll it up, light it up, smoke it up,
you scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot,
I wait with good intentions

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Book/Films in December


Augustus by Allan Massie 
This was a weird book, written as an auto-biography of the first Roman emperor- except really written by some Scottish guy 2,000 years later... storytelling techniques aside, I found this book (or at least part one) too dense. It takes for granted that you will have a lot of background knowledge of Rome (err... not really) and also a really good memory of names (nope). However, the second part, when everything seems to be unravelling for Augustus at the end of his life, is a lot better- Augustus seems more human and more things are happening. I read this book to get more background for my classics course, and that's the only thing I'd really recommend it for.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov 
This is the most difficult book I've ever read. Not saying it wasn't good, but I felt like screaming "STOP SPEAKING FRENCH YOU PAEDO" every few words. I guess I'm kinda jealous of Nabokov, a Russian writer capable of writing better English sentences better than pretty much everyone, while simultaneously freaking out the society it was written in (and to a lesser extent, current audiences). It is well written, with exceptional turns of phrase, but the first part is exceedingly boring, you are just waiting for Humbert Humbert to do away with Mrs Haze for at least 50 pages. The ending is a little unsatisfactory as well, but it's the two-year travel of HH and Dolores that is the best. I recommend reading it, just so you can impress people with it.

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks 
Ok, so I wasn't disturbed by this as much as I thought I would be / wanted to be. I knew what happened to Frank already (thanks, last year's English students!) but I didn't know about what happened to Eric. JAYSUS WHAT, pretty much sums up my reaction. Anyway, the book is grim, good, and manages to be both character and plot driven. Don't read it if you're expecting long words and elegance, this is first class weirdness.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman 
My sister got me this for christmas, aww cute! It's the only Gaiman I haven't read, since I watched the film first (I don't like doing that), and the book is so, so different. In a good way, mainly (but I missed the transvestite pirate...). It was good, but I wouldn't recommend it if you've already seen the film, which I know a lot of people have.


Sliver Linings Playbook
It was a solid drama, with some genuinely funny moments, and an occasionally banging soundtrack (see white stripes). The only thing that pulls it above average is Jennifer Lawrence's performance, which is actually oscar worthy (she won't win, my money's on Naomi Watts in "we were actually hispanic", sorry, I mean the impossible). 

Looking For Eric
I LOVED IT. Look, it's a feelgood film about Eric Cantona, starring Eric Cantona! HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE IT? He plays a trumpet and everything!

Brokeback Mountain
Look, it was culturally important and everyone in it acts very well etc. etc. but the thing is, I don't really care. I got a bit bored. The only bits that really stood out were the turkey-carving-incident, Michelle Williams leaving Ledger, and Ledger's big speech part. It wasn't amazing, it was a bit disappointing.

Terminator 2
Badass. Watch it man, stuff blows up, it's exciting all the way through, Sarah Connors is actually an interesting, well-written character, and the only problem is that the kid can't act. Seriously, lets the film down a bit. But watch it, it's 80's James Cameron, so you know it's a superior action film. Cameron again makes a sequel better than the already amazing first film (e.g. Aliens). 

Life of Pi
I'm sorry, it was a bit shit really. I just found the script a bit pretentious (so is the book, to be fair), it's an interesting idea, but the whole "twist" is just so annoying (book and film) and UGH. It's just annoying, pseudo-philosophical bullshit. It does look nice though. My problems were just with the book really, I don't know why I dragged myself to watch it. Sorry to everyone who was with me and liked it. 

Godfather part 2
I...I... prefer part one. There, I'VE SAID IT. It was just to long for me, with my tiny brain and short attention span. Ok. It's still a landmark film, and you should watch it, but yeah... sorry. 

Seven Psychopaths
It wasn't as good as I wanted it to be, or as it could have been. I kept waiting for a proper belly laugh moment, like the other McDonagh bros. films manage. This one just ends up sub-tarantino as doesn't quite work. Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell are still great though. Maybe I'm being overly harsh. 

Being John Malcovich 
OH MY GOD IT WAS SO GOOD. So funny, so surreal. Genius, ridiculous film. I love it. Just watch it. Now. Just get past the first, weird puppet scene, and then you'll love it.

Jane Eyre 
The new one with Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska. Now, look, I hate costume dramas with a bit of a passion, but I actually liked this. Wasikowska is actually amazing in this. I have a massive crush on Fassbender too, and he is gorgeous and brooding and *sigh*. Ok, now I'm talking about guys in period dramas. I'M NOT AN OLD LADY, HONEST. 

Happy 2013, wankstains!