Tag Archives: music

Not so secret inner 80s child

I am so excited.

Again.

Yesterday, this arrived on vinyl. I got this on cassette as a young thing, and adored it; I have listened to it occasionally over the last few years when I had access to a tape deck (in the car) and was allowed (was alone). Then it died… and then I realised it would be totally awesome on vinyl, so I searched and I found!!

And I still remember all of the lyrics, too. And it is still as good as I remember, too.

It joins my INXS and Boom Crash Opera and Australian Crawl (all on vinyl) for those days when I really need to express my inner bogan.

Across the Universe

Finally saw this yeaterday, with the squister. I loved it! I don’t know what to say about it, exactly, except that it was awesome… the actors were all good, and the music fit the storyline superbly. ‘Sadie’ was clearly channelling Janis Joplin. I loved all the silly little references to other songs (“she came in through the bathroom window…”), and I’m sure there were lots I missed – I’ve never heard of Mr Kite before, and let me say Eddie Izzard is something of a genius. The sets were brilliant, the costumes delightfully stereotypical, and it was not as saccharine as I had at first feared. As a hyped-up, wishful version of the 60s, it worked very well and dealt with some of the issues we now think of as pertinent to the era rather well. The Vietnam bits were poignant… the parallel scenes, and the dropped-in bits, were powerful.

My squister loves Jude. He’s a bit too broody for me.

Space Classics

When we saw that the MSO was doing Space Classics as part of their MSO Pops series, we bought tix as soon as we could. And it was last night; we’ve only been waiting for about three months.

So, a few of the nerdier moments: the trombones and a couple of French horns had glow-sticks strapped to part of their instruments; there were Stormtroopers and Darth Vader wandering around beforehand, posing for photos (a few kids had brought their own lightsabers…); but I didn’t see anyone dressed up who wasn’t meant to be, thankfully.

As expected, the night began with “Sunrise” from Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathrustra – and I still get goosebumps when I hear it. They did very clever things with the lights during this, and in a number of other pieces too: for this, they had a line of lights basically imitating sunrise, which worked surprisingly well. That went straight into the main theme from Star Wars, which was awesome.(1) It just never gets old.

There was a lot of Star Wars, unsurprisingly. We also got Close Encounters of the Third Kind; three Holst pieces (Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter; it may be my favourite set of classical music in the world, which is not that hard, admittedly. It’s possibly that only The Nutcracker Suite would give it a run for its money); J. Strass’ Blue Danube (so lovely!); ET – bike ride and main theme; Star Trek, Thunderbirds are GO!; and Superman. Personally, I think the last two were stretching it a bit. I would have thought maybe X-Files or Twilight Zone would have been more appropriate, and probably more recognisable, than Thunderbirds at least. There’s an ongoing discussion about just how space-y Superman can claim to be.

One of the possible reasons for including Thunderbirds was, of course, audience interaction. That’s right, gentle Reader: if you listen to the Classic FM broadcast sometime in the future, you will indeed hear four sections of the audience count down (begun by the orchestra with FIVE!), and then everyone shout “Thunderbirds are GO!” It was quite funny. In my vast experience of these things, when conductors are allowed to talk to the audience about things other than ultra-serious matters of musicology, they tend to think they’re very damn funny… and stray in to dad-joke territory. Last night’s conductor (Anthony Inglis, if you’re interested), nearly did so. A couple of things saved him. One: acknowledging he’s a trekkie. This doesn’t necessarily save him from dad-joke-hell, but it does at least give him a context (and a reason for including a pre-recorded ‘Captain’s Log’ bit before the Star Trek section). Two: the intro to Superman. He made the audience stand up, and pretend to get into superhero clobber, starting with underwear over pants (including the all-too-predictable stern, “I said on, madam!”), then ripping jackets off. Apparently the audience didn’t do it to his standard, so he had to show us how it’s done: he took off his jacket, and tie, and then – can you credit it, Reader? – ripped his shirt open to reveal a Superman tshirt! We were in hysterics.(2)

And then, for the encore, we got the entirety of the throne room/end credits sequence from A New Hope. Brilliant! With Mr Inglis as Obi-Wan. Also hysterical! But not nearly as funny as when Darth and his Stormtroopers marched in and stood in front of the stage, pointing their guns at the audience – and Darth turned around and, standing directly behind the conductor, started conducting with his light-saber…

Two things to gripe about, though, both in the programme.
a) The Herald Sun ad: “But seeing as though we’re a sponsor…”. Argh!
b) Star Wars is “now officially the fourth chapter”. You what?

Overall, it was a great programme of music. My love is now investigating the 501st Legion and considering a career as a Stormtrooper for charity.

(1) Interesting fact: the Star Wars music was done by the London Symphony Orchestra originally; the main trumpet then is the same person today! Amazing. And when he first played the opening fanfare, he reportedly declared ‘This is going to be huge,’ or words to that effect.
(2) And I couldn’t help but wonder whether it was completely set up – whether his shirt had press-studs, for example – or if authenticity was sought, with buttons flying out over the violas.

Am I that strange?

So when we went to see Indy (which I should blog… sometime…), we went to a cinema with allocated seating. When we got to buy our tix, we were both – shall we say – a bit excited. My love asked if we could be in the middle, and I said “Up the front?” at the same time. The dude looked at his screen and said we could have off centre, near the back. My love frowned and said, “How about up the front?” The dude looked surprised and replied “I thought you were being sarcastic!” So we got row 5. No one in front of us.

Hello?! If I go to the cinema, I want to really be at the cinema: I would prefer not to have anything in my peripheral vision except more screen! How is this such a strange thing? Because there were very few people near us, for Indy.*

Then tonight, my love and I went to IMAX, to see U23D (which will also be blogged, and was awesome). It was IMAX, so we didn’t go too crazy: we sat in the third row, which was quite close enough. There was a couple sitting behind us (who insisted on talking… grrr…), but no one else in our row and no one in front.

Are we strange? Tell me there are other people who sit up the front!

*Except for a dad and three kids under eight. I looked at the kid who sat next to me and told him, gravely, that he hadn’t been born when I started looking forward to this movie. The dad laughed; the kid ended up moving… which maybe wasn’t a bad result   ;]

James Bond and the MSO

We spent Saturday night at the Pops, with the MSO doing James Bond.

It was freaking brilliant. Absolutely overwhelming and hugely enjoyable (despite some bung notes from the main trumpeter… although I just found out yesterday that he had his face smashed in by some random punk last year, so maybe that explains it). They did all of the theme songs, except Die Another Day and A View to a Kill (and Tomorrow Never Dies as the encore, which was good).
The really good bits:
1. Sitting right in front of the double basses, and watching them do their thing – brilliant!
2. Mary Carewe singing “The Man with the Golden Gun” – so trashy, so funny.
3. Realising just how much work the tuba does in the Bond theme itself.
4. Oh look, basically everything except for…

The average bits:
I hadn’t expected there to be a singer, and I had been trying to figure out whether it would make the night better or not to have one. Mary Carewe sang maybe half the songs – a bit less I think. She did some spectacularly well – “Diamonds are Forever” and “Goldeneye” were up there. But I had three issues:
a) She was way too cabaret/musical theatre for my tastes: prancing around, hamming it up.
b) She sang “Live and Let Die” (and is no Paul McCartney, nor Axl Rose!), and “You Know my Name” (and sure isn’t Chris Cornell).
c) For me, she destroyed “The Look of Love” – one of my favourite sappy songs in the whole world. [1]

Also, my love and I had quite contradictory opinions on her costumes: I thought her first dress – a halter-neck affair – was dreadful, unflattering and quite ugly; he thought it was great. The second I thought was stunning – dark silver strapless, which I thought was very flattering, but he thought made her look frumpy! We both agreed that the third dress was lovely, though.

My laugh for the night was from the souvenir brochure. In part, it had this to say:

“With the recent success of the Die Hard, Terminator and Bourne pictures, Bond had to compete with other action heroes.”

Yup, totally with you there… although I’m not convinced that Bond is competing with Terminator for their audience. At any rate, the next sentence reads thus:

“As the Bond series has progressed, contemporary artists such as Wings, Duran Duran, Sheena Easton, A-ha, Gladys Knight and Sheryl Crow have been drafted in to keep up with the times.”

Excuse me while I hold my sides, because I’m laughing so darn hard.

And it was recorded for ABC Classic FM, so I reckon if you looked hard enough you’ll be able to find out when it’s on. In fact, I might do that too….

[1] If you’re confused: it was used in the original Casino Royale, which was a spoof with David Niven in it.

JJJ Hottest 100

My little sibs take voting in the Triple J Hottest 100 quite seriously. I think my bro, Kim, takes it most seriously – but with very little encouragement the squister, Kat, gets in on the act. And so do I. So we have a little email discussion about who’s voted for what, and perhaps get a bit competitive… my bro is quite smug about having guessed who will be No 1 for the last couple of years. Anyway, for the record:

Kat says –
Cog – What If
Foo Fighters – The Pretender
Birds Of Tokyo – Black Sheets
Butterfly Effect – Reach
Dead Letter Circus – Disconnect And Apply
Kaiser Chiefs – Ruby
Peeping Tom – We’re Not Alone
Mammal – Slaves
Josh Pyke – Sew My Name
Queens Of The Stone Age – 3’s & 7’s

Kim says –
Arcade Fire – Keep the car running
Birds of Tokyo – Wayside
Emilie Simon – Fleur de saison
Kings of Leon – On call
Muscles – Ice Cream
Muse – Knights of Cydonia
The Panics – Cruel guards
Silverchair – Straight lines
Spoon – The underdog
White Stripes – Conquest

I says –
Regina Spektor – Real Love
Beck – Timebomb
Bjork – Earth Intruders
Bumblebeez – Dr Love
Chemical Brothers – The Salmon Dance
Cold War Kids – Hang Me Up To Dry
Foo Fighters – The Pretender
Fratellis – Creepin Up The Backstairs
Jenny Wilson – Summertime (The Roughest Time)
Bluejuice – Vitriol

Note the almost complete non-correspondence. We’re not quite that dissimilar, but we certainly have been drifting apart recently in music. There are still some things that keep up together: Foo Fighters; Wolfmother (more the sis and me); Faith No More (I’m still being convinced of the heavier stuff); and Roy Orbison…

Spamalot

I went tonight. It was great, of course. I wasn’t in stitches – having shown Holy Grail to two classes in the last couple of days might have taken the edge off for me – but it was still very, very funny. The bits they’ve added in were magnificent.

Anyway, there was one part I thought I’d share with you. They blow the bunny up with the Holy Hand Grenade, and the scenery falls down to reveal the word BONES in ‘stone.’ There is much confusion, until one of the knights suggests the S might be a 5. So it might actually say B-one-5.

At this point, my stomach dropped.

Then the spotlight landed on B15.

Yup.

The Grail was “under my seat”; after they retrieved it, they decided that the brave peasant needed to be brought on stage, so they could properly say thank you. (They are so LOUD on stage!) So I got to shake their hands, had my name announced to the audience (I checked; there’s about 1700 seats at Her Majesty’s)… and then I won an Arthur for Best Peasant in Melbourne, which means I now have a little statuette of a foot… and a photo with half the cast! Yes, they brought a Polaroid out on to stage.

These sorts of things never happen to me.

I will blog properly about the show itself tomorrow, when I have calmed down a bit. For now… when Patsy retrieved the Grail and went back on stage, part of me was relieved that that might be all, and part of me was just a little disappointed – how dumb is that?? And then they got me on stage, and part of me was embarrassed and really didn’t know where to look (seriously; you can see maybe to the second row); but part of was dead impressed.

Yeh, ok, I’m going to try and sleep it off now. Although given it’s still a million degrees, sleeping might be hard.

Australian Idol

This year, very boring. Seriously: there’s no one very interesting, some of their voices ok, but… meh.

The thing that I have enjoyed is Andrew and James, the comperes. I swear, they are getting funnier every time – and sometimes skating the very edge of rudeness. Certainly in terms of how they deal with the advertising they have to do – it really does look like they are simply reading the lines, and sometimes their body language shows just what they think of the whole deal. I love it! And tonight they sang part of Psycho Killer… very funny.

So yes, despite it being boring, we’ve still been watching. Bit sad… guess we’re just hoping for something interesting. Or we just like heckling… that could be it.

Sleeping Beauty

My friend Kate (read her short stories here) told me about this production of Sleeping Beauty at the Malthouse: “it’s got Renee Geyer in it! It’ll be great!” We went along on Tuesday.

It wasn’t at all what I was expecting. It was all music, no dialogue – and all of it was pop songs (some of which, to my shame, I didn’t recognise). Things like “Little Ray of Sunshine,” “Oh Happy Day,” and “Dreamer.” And “All the boys in town,” by the Divinyls, which I heard on the radio a couple of days later and had to turn off… because I am still a bit too traumatised by the performance to be able to hear that song, in particular, without having flashbacks. Because Beauty (played by Alison Bell, brilliant) sang it as a lament, almost (which is entirely appropriate to the words), and it was so sad.

So the performance starts with a mum and dad wanting a daughter… getting one… doting on her and her getting annoyed at the attention.* Then… something happens, and she either goes back in time or to another world. Weird things happen there. Like Geyer singing a song that is either Eminem or 50 Cent, which was perhaps the weirdest thing of a weird night. That, and the anime section in the middle. I don’t know whether it was anime produced for the performance or not – I would guess not, that it was sections from at least one if not multiple pre-existing films, spliced together for this.

The set was sparse, and they used light to brilliant effect. The performances were all magnificent. And the music was great – apparently one of the people involved was from Boom Crash Opera which, you know, just makes it all good from my point of view. It was a breath-taking performance… and I am still not sure what happened at the end.

*This is my interpretation of it. I am perfectly willing to admit that there are aspects that I simply didn’t get, so my putting it together may be faulty.

Ray

We got the movie Ray for Christmas, and we finally sat down to watch it on Sunday night. I loved it. Jamie Foxx is fantastic – I understand that Ray Charles approved him, before he died, which is cool. (It was weird to hear him sing a Ray Charles song and realise that it was the bit that he, Jamie Foxx, sang in a Kanye West song that I know I should dislike and… just… cant’t.) Most of the other actors were also really good – and it wasn’t half weird to realise that the dude who didn’t look all that old and actually had hair was, indeed, Toby (or Richard Schiff (West Wing) if you want to be pedantic).

It was a lot like Walk the Line, which I guess is unsurprising: they were two of the biggest stars of the latter half of the 20th century, and they both had drug habits that they managed to kick. The difference being that Charles’ wife stuck by him, and vice versa, whereas of course the big thing in Walk the Line is the love affair with June Carter. J thought they spent an awful lot of time on the heroin issue, and then it just ends – fft. I don’t think it spend too long on the drugs, although it was a significant portion of the movie – I think it jut reflects the reality of the situation – but, again like Walk the Line – it does end abruptly, too abruptly for me. Having seen him be a bastard to his family and lots of other people, I would have liked to see him in middle and later life: did he make it up to his family, or did he continue womanising? (He had 12 children, apparently, so….) I was left feeling like he was a great singer, and not that great a person, and I’m not sure how that’s how the director and producer wanted it. I did like, though, that it showed how the drug habit affected those around him, and how people reacted, rather than solely looking at its effect on him.

The other thing that I appreciated about this film was how they did the flashbacks. I thought it was very clever – and a lot more interesting than having a whole section on his childhood would have been.

Absolutely recommended if you like his music!