It Might Get Loud
I’m assured it’s not too weird to have a favourite documentary, but it does still feel a bit strange to admit that I have one – and that I’ve watched it more times than I can count. I’m not sure why that seems weird; I guess I don’t know that many people who count non-fiction things as ‘favourite’.
I love music history and I love music documentaries. Led Zepellin are my favourite band. I’m a fan of (early-mid) U2, and I quite like The White Stripes. And I love rock music. So Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack White in one place talking about the electric guitar, occasionally teaching each other their songs, and each going on a journey with the documentary maker about their journey to being guitar players… I mean, I was always going to love this documentary.
The moment when Jimmy Page starts playing Whole Lotta Love and Edge and White just stare at him in raptures is everything.
They play Seven Nation Army together. And In My Time of Dying. And, although it’s a deleted scene (WHY), Kashmir.
I really enjoy the background pieces for all three, although I believe very little of what Jack White says (it’s fun to watch but I take it all with a liberal fist of salt). The idea of Page playing muzak and simply revolting from sessional music, and Edge’s horror of the Irish troubles leading to Sunday Bloody Sunday; their sheer delight in music and each other and their drive to keep playing and discovering; it’s all magnificent. I could have had a bit more of them together comparing notes, but I guess I can’t have everything.
Music, women, and listening habits
I was thinking about my music listening habits the other day while I was doing just that. I had realised that new music hasn’t been happening for me for a while: I basically gave up on JJJ a few years ago partly because of the disaster that was the Hottest 100 of All Time, and partly because when we came home from overseas it just didn’t appeal to me any more. Plus, I have less time to listen to the radio than I did a few years ago, when I had a (fairly) serious commute. So, considerably less exposure than say five years ago. The two albums I can remember buying in the last two years are Old Man River, after seeing him on RocKwiz, and Imelda May, after seeing an ad for her album on SBS (while watching RocKwiz).
So, I listen to a lot of the same stuff over and over, and I’m mostly fine with that – it’s stuff I’m passionate about and really do love. What I realised though is that there’s a dearth of women’s voices on high rotation. And why? Well, my immediate reaction was that women don’t tend to sing the sort of stuff I like.
I know, right? Maybe I should listen to Galactic Suburbia a bit more often.
Thing is, I’m not saying that women can’t or even won’t sing the stuff I like – which, for the sake of this post, is mostly rock; depending on who you talk to, the harder end of the rock spectrum, shading into metal. I’m saying that I haven’t found many women who do. I haven’t looked that hard for it, to be honest, because I like what I’ve found and I’m not the sort of person who always needs New Music (my iTunes random playlist just now tossed up the Beach Boys, and I’ve been listening to them for more than 20 years). And since I’ve never actively sought out new music, that means that at least part of the fault lies with the radio stations who have been failing me, and failing those bands that I would like, if they do indeed exist. So now I’m wondering whether there is awesome music that I’ve been missing out on.
(Yes, I am now feeling more sympathy for readers who say that they don’t read books written by women because they’ve never found them. However, the analogy falls down, because while I suppose you could go your whole life reading Heinlein and Clarke (and, ahem, Reynolds and Banks and Simmons…*cough*), readers tend to look for new stuff more often than I, at least, need new music. Also, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a shelf of SF without women in it… but yeh ok this could lead to an argument about proportions etc. Which I don’t want for this post, because dammit! I have a point!)
This post is a challenge: suggest bands I might like! For reference, probably my favourite band in the world at the moment:
(that would be Led Zeppelin)
(the Foo Fighters)
Before you despair of me totally, either for feminist or aesthetic reasons, I do listen to other sorts of music, and that does often include women: Goldfrapp is probably the band I listen to the most, interchangeably with Led Zeppelin, and I love Fiona Apple too, just as examples. Honestly I have eclectic tastes (protesting much?) – but what I’m really looking for is female voices doing awesome rock.
Can you help?
Odysseus’ Last Stand
I can’t decide whether this is a play on Odysseus finally going home, or on the Led Zeppelin song Achilles’ Last Stand. Doesn’t matter, I guess.
Dave Stamboulis, a Greek-American, decides to travel the world. He decides to do this by bike. He ends up riding 40,000km over seven years. This is the book he wrote from his journals and notes afterwards.
It’s a truly remarkable journey, of course. 40,000km?! I read this because my love has found a few books recently dealing with cycle touring, to help get us psyched up for our jaunt this year. It did help with that in some ways, but at the same time there are certain aspects of Stamboulis’ journey that I have absolutely no interest in replicating. For one thing, he meets and marries a woman on the trip… and then separates from her, too, in quite ignominious circumstances. Hopefully seven years of marriage will help us not to face the same sort of trials in our relationship! (I’ve made him promise never to ditch me in an unknown city, though, as a consequence.)
Stamboulis is not a professional writer, so it may seem unfair to criticise his writing. Nonetheless, there are some aspects of the book that annoyed me. He’s inconsistent in whether he focuses on the riding itself, or on the country. This may well reflect his own notes and journals, of course, and maybe he figured this was the more interesting way of approaching the world. Plus, probably in some areas the riding itself was quite boring. It is fascinating to see his perspective on the world: he travels through Kashmir, and through Turkey, and through some of the ‘Stans, and gets a remarkable view of the people and culture. Plus, he finishes up riding through America, and while I’d like to think that he exaggerates the reactions and attitudes of some of his compatriots I’m quite sure he hasn’t. Which is, frankly, terrifying. Also annoying is the here-and-gone discussion of his emotions. And before any of your blokes start shaking your head at such a girly thing to say: he separates from his wife, and for chapter upon chapter she’s not mentioned! This, for me, is simply unrealistic. Perhaps he decided that he wanted to keep that part of his life out of the book, but I would have preferred a statement to that effect – or, if not, then the rest of the book should have been equally emotionless. But it’s not, so it feels inconsistent.
Overall, though, Odysseus’ Last Stand is quite well written. (Odysseus, by the way, is the bike – the same bike for the whole trip, with remarkably few mechanical issues.) It’s generally engaging and interesting, and is certainly inspiring. He’s heavily influenced by Buddhist and Zen philosophies, and this of course impacts on how he views things like materialism, ambition, etc. While I got impatient with some of his philosophising – some of it was a bit hokey, some I disagreed with – he does make some interesting points about interacting with other cultures, with being willing to take risks and chances, and more generally about not simply following the rat race simply because you’re expected to. Obviously, this is something that I do agree with.
This is not a book that will appeal to all. I went through a big travel-book phase a little while back, and am still somewhat in that zone. I would recommend it as a way of thinking about the world, and also to marvel at one man (sometimes with one woman) facing huge differences in culture and language, and making do.
I love Led Zeppelin
I don’t think I’ve said that enough recently.
I love Led Zeppelin.
I am doing some prep (yes, for the second last day of school… sad, eh?), so I’ve put my DVD of “Unledded” on – Robert Plant and Jimmy Page doing a concert about ten years ago for MTV. Page is so, so incredible – I love the triple-handled guitar, it’s so unnecessary! – and Plant is a glorious front man. He has a voice I just love listening to – in his newer incarnation, too, with the Strange Sensations. And their songs! – so listenable. Unlike, for example, early Beatles, which is just crap; and modern pop, or even rock, which so often sounds just the same, one song after the other. Kashmir is on a completely different planet, for example, from Rain Song.
Who, me? Biased? Pft.
1. Put your music player on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS!!!
-IF SOMEONE SAYS “IS THIS OKAY” YOU SAY?
Born to be a Dancer (Kaiser Chiefs)
-WHAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY?
Brother Ray (Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation)
-WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL?
Downside Up (eek!) (from Moonlight Recordings)
-HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
Fig Jam (oh yeh) (ButterFinger)
-WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE?
Love Foolosophy (Jamiroquai)
-WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?
-WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?
Hell (goodness I hope not) (Foo Fighters)
-WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR PARENTS?
Not to touch the Earth (Que?!) (The Doors)
-WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
Sometimes (John Butler Trio)
-WHAT IS 2+2?
Alone (from Chillout Sessions 9)
-WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BESTIE?
Ocean (again – que?) (Led Zeppelin)
-WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
We Haven’t Turned around (Gomez)
-WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?
Lucretia MacEvil (Blood, Sweat and Tears)
-WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
Who Cares? (Gnarls Barkley)
-WHAT DO YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Freedom Fries (Robert Plant and Strange Sensation. Again)
-WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
165 Million Plus Interest (from Ocean’s 12 soundtrack)
-WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
Seven Days in Sunny June (Jamiroquai)
-WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
R-E-S-P-E-C-T (Aretha, baby)
-WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
Fade Together (Franz Ferdinand)
-WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR?
Ziggy Stardust (David Bowie)
-WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?
She Caught the Katy (Blues Brothers)
-WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?
Love Hides (in mysterious places) (The Doors)
-WHAT SONG WILL BE THE SUBJECT WHEN YOU REPOST?
This is hip (John Lee Hooker)
Hmm, doesn’t say much for the randomising technique of my music player, does it?
I love serendipity.
I was just thinking about teaching Anglo-Saxons and Vikings next year, and “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin came through iTunes.
New Led Zeppelin
Well, new for me anyway. I bought “Presence” – which has Achilles Last Stand (there must be an apostrophe in there…) and Nobody’s Fault but Mine, plus five songs I don’t know; and “In Through the Out Door,” which has In the Evening and All My Love as well as five more songs I don’t know. Pretty good, I reckon.
New music, oh yeh
Thanks to various fortuitous events, I/we had some vouchers to spend at music places. Score!
Goldfrapp – Supernature – because Kat had burnt it for me to see if I liked it, and I love it.
Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory – the bro had it on tape (!) and I loved it, and for $10, who can go wrong?
Fleetwood Mac – Very Best of – again, $10… love Stevie Nicks.
Jamiroqai – Dynamite (his latest) – just because I thought I should own some.
Foo Fighters – In Your Honour – because I went to their concert without owning their latest CD, and thought I should.
Led Zeppelin – How the West was Won – all live stuff. 25 minutes of Whole Lotta Love! The price sticker said $40 or something, but I figured for 3 CDs I could deal with it (and it wasn’t real money)… but it scanned at $20! As Darryl says, Gold!
The bro also gave me John Mayall, The Turning Point, for Christmas – I specified the artist, he chose the album randomly. I remembered him from the show Dancing in the Streets and I thought I should get into some old blues. This one is different because there it’s blues minus drum, so you can actually here the bass… and the sax, and the flute…
I just created a new category simply because I want to rave about Led Zeppelin. So, SO cool! I could listen to Led Zeppelin all day and not get bored. In fact, I think I could listen just to Kashmir all day and not get bored – well, not too bored.
How did someone who was barely born in the Led Zep era get so obsessive? Blame the show Dancing in the Streets that was shown on the ABC when I was in Year 12. I loved that show; sucked it up be the strawful; and was heavily influenced. As a consequence, I like Johnny Lee Hooker; I really like Cream; and I love Led Zep. I nearly staed home this weekend just to go to Let’s Zep, a Led Zeppelin tribute band, playing at a pub in Carlton.
I bought the DVD of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page doing MTV in 1995 a couple of weeks ago – I already had the album: wow. Amazing. Sad that Page got ugly, but Plant doesn’t look much different, only older. They did four new songs for the album, and they’re just about my favourites on the whole thing. I also got the Led Zep double DVD of them at 5 or 6 different concerts, plus some TV footage etc. I’ve only watched a little bit of that, since I haven’t really had 5 or so spare hours recently and I figure I should at least watch the entirety of each concert in one sitting, or if remotely possible the entire thing (chances?).
On top of those, I bought Robert Plant’s new album, which I actually haven’t got around to listening to yet; what an indictment. I like that he is still doing stuff – and quite different stuff, I think.
So. Yay. Led Zeppelin.