Singles Original Soundtrack – Various

This is a hugely influential album to me. I don’t know when I bought it but I do remember laying on the floor in the dark with sunglasses on listening to Drown. I guess this album helped launch the Seattle scene into the world. I had seen Alice In Chains before and owned albums by them so this was an obvious extension. I have seen the film but I don’t know if I saw that before or after the soundtrack purchase.

Singles Soundtrack.jpg
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This is a very summer album and one that fills me with optimism. So many of the songs have made me happy or stuck in my head. Some of the songs scare me into dark places.

Chloe Dancer/Crown Of Thorns is a song that is beautiful and haunting. This along with Drown makes for disturbed listening. This is an album I would consider putting on in the background of a dinner party. I’m not sure if that means a dinner party would horrify me or whether I consider this album to be one which is ripe for general consumption. I think none of the songs are potentially offensive.

The strange thing about the Seattle sound is that it pretty much leaves me cold now. I love this album and I really enjoy a few albums by Alice but overall a lot of this music didn’t really tingle my spine. Pearl Jam enjoyed massive success but just failed to do it for me. Soundgarden is the same. Nirvana was good fun while it lasted but I’m not an overblown fan and now I see the sound as tiresome. This is a shame but there’s only so much space in my head and heart and while this album sticks like sticky shit most of the rest of the upper north west productions have dripped off.

Akira (2020 Reissue)

The other night I made sure I went to the cinema because it was the last time I would be able to go to the Cineworld cinema at Rochester for the foreseeable future. I went out of a sense of duty I guess.

I faced quite a problem in deciding which film to see. When I looked at the listings I noticed that Akira was playing and damn I love that film. But there were also some films I hadn’t seen before and maybe it would be better to see a new film rather than one I’ve seen every decade since the late 1980s. Here’s a list of the potentially shitty films I could have seen; After We Collided, Bill and Ted, Saint Maud, Schemers, The New Mutants. I’d already walked out of Tenet and really didn’t want another attempt to see that. I had a conversation with Smith and decided it would be Akira – my fear was that I would fall asleep but it was definitely better than any other film on that evening.

The last time I saw Akira was with Smith at the British Film Institute and I wrote about it in this communication. Until I just looked up that link I didn’t know how far in the past that film trip was. I do know that pretty much every time I watch the film the ending surprises me because I think my brain blocks it out.

The tide was quite high as I drove along the esplanade and I parked in my usual area where there are plenty of spaces but slightly further from the entrance doors. My current parking policy is to park away from entrances and walk, it’s far less stress than finding somewhere close. I had cinema food as dinner – a hot dog, some popcorn and a bag of minstrels, might as well make the most of my last trip. I think I would have liked a massive ice cream but the thought of diabetes kept niggling in the back of my head. After watching the film I would normally rate it on IMDB, but I’ve rated Akira before. The rating system defines that this is a 10/10 film because I have seen it multiple times, bought it on multiple formats and also been to see it at the cinema more than once.

I love this film. It packs so much social commentary into its storyline that it always impresses me. There is always something that happens every time I see this that means the overall movie makes more sense. Except the end. I’m not sure the end every really makes sense to me. I know what is happening but I’m surprised every time.

When I walked out of the cinema I had a real feeling of loss. It felt like the end of an era. I’ve spent so long in that place and have used it as a refuge from my own thoughts at times that I feel a real personal connection with that collection of bricks. I will be sad if it doesn’t open again. I will have to try and find a new cinema and escape venue.

Silver And Gold – A.S.a.P

Way back in the past Adrian Smith decided to leave Iron Maiden and do his own thing. This was a little sad for me as I had always preferred Smith to Murray for some reason and I wondered what Maiden would do to replace him. Smith then went on to produce this solo album and I bought it, except that I didn’t really. At some point Jannick Gers joined Maiden and then Smith came back so now they have three guitarists. Not a classic line up but the longest running line up I guess.

Smith released the single Silver And Gold from the album Silver And Gold and I went to Our Price in the Harvey Centre in Harlow to buy the single on CD. In those days people weren’t trusted to browse real CDs and so the cases were in the shop and the CDs were kept in cardboard wallets in the back of the shop. I guess we were all thieving bastards back then. I took my CD case for the single up to the counter and the person went to the back to get the music disk. Once I’d paid my money and left the shop I looked inside the case and would you believe it?, the shop person had put the CD for the same named album in the case instead of the single CD. I had won “shopping”!

As an album this is, for me, OK. I don’t listen to it often and while I don’t mind it, it’s not something I normally seek out. Sometimes while I write these I have the album playing in the background but I couldn’t even be bothered to do that this time!

Shout At The Devil – Mötley Crüe

I’m pretty sure that a friend of mine, Mark Hodges, gave me this on tape initially. I expect that at some point I went and bought the album but I don’t have my usual clarity on personal album history with this one. I remember liking the Crüe from Girls, Girls, Girls onwards. All that 80s metal came at the right time for my teenage years when humans seem to make most of their musical brain connections. There might be a PhD in there somewhere, I know people ten years older than me who either really love the 70s rock – Pink Floyd – or Ska or Punk, the link between those formative years of brain changing chemistry and the music that rebels at that time seem strong.

I do enjoy this album, I love that trashy L.A. sound but these days I feel slightly embarrassed at the obvious sexism within the industry and songs. I don’t necessarily think that these bands were socially unaware I just think that the zeitgeist was a pretty bad place. Until a few years ago I would have said that the world was heading in the right direction and becoming more tolerant of differences but I’m not so sure now. Hatred seems on the rise and it saddens me. Maybe the only silver lining will be the eventual destruction of most of the population through climate change. Perhaps then those that remain will be able to rebuild a fairer society.

Every Mötley Crüe album has a shit song. It’s almost as though they do it deliberately. There’s Nona on GGG and this album has God Bless The Children Of The Beast. These additions seem to be short songs and utterly terrible. I don’t know why they did it. I’m not sure I care but skip these songs I will.

ShoutattheDevilCD2.jpg
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Have you seen a bunch of men look more scary? The overtly heterosexual band Mötley Crüe going out of their way to shock and horrify the older generations while endearing themselves to the youth of the time by rebelling and scaring the baby boomers. This stuff freaked people out! They thought all this loud music was caused by the devil and tearing their children away from their control. A small secret is that all children seek to provoke and find themselves, they aim to select something to make them different, make them stand out, make them original. The irony of this is that we’ve all been there and some of us tolerate it while others condemn. I’m always curious to see how the next generation finds their “thing”. I’m old enough to have been around the block a few times and have seen the rebellion time and time again. Maybe my professional life helps keep me informed also? The close contact with the next set of teenagers and hearing about how they get their identity. It’s just a shame so many of them seem greedy and a bit “tory”.

If you want to see what shocks the “grown ups” then have a look at the Daily Mail and see what they show of the younger generation. I suspect it’s all about the drugs and parties, especially for the DM because then they can show pictures of young ladies behaving bad and there’s nothing the older DM reader likes more than looking at pictures of young ladies behaving badly. This also goes for the Daily Telegraph. To some extent I think it comes down to the oldies being jealous of the care-free days that they lost and won’t find again. All that awaits is the slow degeneration of bodies into permanently aching lumps of meat before death and so those in charge of society get upset at what they have lost.

I enjoy this album and would recommend it to any of you.

Shake Your Money Maker – Black Crowes

I’ve seen the Black Crowes twice and both times it was pretty good. The first time was at the Monsters Of Rock festival at Donington Park in 1991, I went to this with my sister, Angela, to see AC/DC. The Black Crowes were the first band on stage and I really enjoyed them. I don’t think I knew anything about them prior to that. I suspect that I went and bought their first album after that. I know I had the album on music cassette and then I eventually updated it to a digital copy. The second time I saw the Black Crowes was at Brixton Academy and there are three main things about that I remember most. One; I was in the pit and the crowd collapsed and that was my first experience of that. Two; I’m pretty sure the band had a lot ofwhite fairy lights above the stage and it looked pretty nice. Three; the journey back to South Kensington with SR did not go that smoothly and for some reason we ended up on a night bus heading to Edgware and it was most definitely not Sarf Ken.

This album has a very southern/country feel to it. There’s a nice gentle rolling ambience to the songs. This band’s second album never really struck me as much as the first. I have listen to this over and over. Listening to it as I write this I that the addition of keyboards and plonky piano sounds really adds to the feel. Bluesy Rock ‘n’ Roll.

There’s also a melancholy feel to some of the songs. For me I think this album is a very “summer album”. It fits with beers in the garden and a sunny day. I don’t think this would be a “shit mood” album. I can only listen to it when emotionally happy. It would upset me more if I was down a little.

The Vigil

Because the cinemas are so quiet at the moment it is actually quite nice to go there. They’ve got themselves sorted for Covid quite well with hand sanitiser, face masks, wipes etc. The cinema I go to has a 5 people only in the toilets but you can’t actually see in the toilets to know if there are 5 people so I’m not sure how that will work on a busy day. A lot of the current crop of films out are reissues. The cinemas or film companies are trying to get the world used to the cinema again by getting us to see our “favourite” films. Amusingly a lot of these films are ones I couldn’t be bothered to see again. They are pushing Inception quite a bit ready for the release of Tenet but I hated Inception and won’t be going to see Tenet. I’ve just tried to create a hyperlink to my review of Inception but that term doesn’t exist on this site! I’ve just looked up when that film came out and it was in 2010 which is before this site existed, my dark ages I guess. I can tell you that a friend recently asked if Inception was brilliant or bullshit and my answer was “bullshit”.

The state of the tide of the river Medway was high. It wasn’t completely high tide as I could see some mud bank on the eastern side, the river was also flowing seaward quite fast and so I think the tide was waning. There are times when the river looks still, times when it flows the “wrong” way and times when it looks too fast. These coincide with whatever the tide is doing at that time, but with a small delay the further upstream you get.

River Medway
River Medway – I was going to walk further along for the picture but it was near film time.

After watching this film I rated it on IMDB. There’s a whole convention about what the ratings actually mean and descriptions of such are in this communication. When I can then access my PC I tweet the IMDB result. I gave up Twitter on my phone and so I now only check it when I can access the flight simulator. The result is below:

So, things. I considered walking out of this film but thought it would be a little rude so I stayed until the end. This film was a “horror” and I’m not really into that. Once you give up all belief in supernatural you can then logic away the scary shit and just watch the film for giggles. I can remember being a teenager and seeing The Omen, Poltergeist, Amityville and so on and they really disturbed me. There was something about those films that really shook me deep. I think I knew they weren’t real but the playfullness of the filmmakers affected me, which I guess is the point. While watching The Vigil I had the following thoughts:

I am bored and this film is boring me.

This guy is getting paid USD400 for reading Psalms and he is failing to do that. He made an agreement but isn’t holding up his side of the bargain. I don’t know what the rules are concerning a Shomer but he’s not doing anything. A Shomer is there to read to the corpse and ease the spirit on its journey. How long does this journey take? If the Shomer stops reading for a toilet break is that allowed? Must the reading be constant? What are the rules? Overall this seems a silly idea to me. Anyway, the main character isn’t doing his job.

Overall I thought this film was poor. It could have been really good. But it used the sound and music to increase tension when it would have been harder but more rewarding to really explore the relationship between this character and his religion and the traditions it has. I can’t decide if this film was a cheap attempt at horror or a real exploration of the psyche!

This Shomer has left his protected bubble of Hasidic Jews in New York. We learn why he left I guess and he is part of a support group for people who leave this oppressive regime. He suffers guilt and problems stemming from a traumatic incident along with leaving the community. We learn that he has seen things and takes tablets to help him control his visions. So, this film is about the psychotic breakdown of a man leaving a religious organisation and the mess that the Hasidic caused him. He is troubled by his own demon and it comes to him while he is [not] doing this Shomer job. I might read a little more about this film and, if I’m lucky, it will be a metal breakdown rather than a horror movie. I won’t be letting you know though!

If you want to know some more about strange religious behaviour then just read an article on the Eruv. It’s a piece of string that “extends” the boundary of your property so that you can go outside and do things on the days when God insists you stay inside your property. Why God allows this loophole is beyond me, it’s all rather made-up.

Unhinged

I rated this film on IMDB, there’s a communication with a list of how the rating system works. I tweeted the result.

This film was terrible. I hated it. I considered walking out but was curious how they would end it. It was utter shit.

I think the lesson here is how we blame the wrong people for the things that go wrong. Woke up late? Your fault. Lost job just before retirement payout? Likely the fault of the regulations that are written by your government. Addicted to opiates? Likely the fault of the government. The media spin everything so our anger is misplaced. It keeps the masses quiet. Why don’t Amazon pay any tax? Because of the laws of the land. Why don’t companies pay fairly? Because of the rules of the land. Why is your MP fucking useless? Because individual people are selfish and vote without any form of altruism. Best I stop this before I end up in a downward spiral. This film was shit.

100% Wolf

To avoid the last day of this heatwave, there have been seven days with temperatures in excess of 30C, I booked in to the cinema. The main reason was to enter an air conditioned building for a few hours and relax without sweating all over everything. I went to see 100% Wolf.

On the way to the cinema I noted that the tide was very low. All of the mud banks were visible and the little boats were stuck in their tiny channels that keep them from beaching. After the film I thought about the rating and then did that and tweeted the result:

I gave this film a 4/10 because I fell asleep for about twenty minutes and then proceeded to figure out exactly what had happened to the characters once I’d woken up. I only watched until the end just to see what happened. This is possibly not the fault of the film but the fault of the hot weather and me not sleeping great. Without doing some control experiments I won’t know about which cause it is.

This film surprised me at the beginning as it was an Australian production and I don’t think you see many of those, especially animations. Maybe I’ll try and watch something slightly more highbrow over the next few days. I’ll let you know of course. In the mean time, while the world awaits MSFS 2020 here’s a clip of me going Gatwick to London City for giggles.

Back To The Future (35th Anniversary)

So, I wanted to get out and go somewhere and I normally return to the darkness of the film theatre as an easy escape. There isn’t really a lot of films on at the moment because all the major studios have delayed release of all their films due to the SARS-Cov-2 issues. So, in a sensible move, the cinemas around here are showing classic films to get us to visit. Today, as of writing, the following films are available to watch with my comments after each:

  • Back To The Future (35th etc) – seen
  • Back To The Future II (2020 reissue) – will watch at home
  • Dark Waters – seen
  • Dreambuilders – don’t want to see
  • Goodfellas: 30th Anniversary – maybe
  • Harry Potter II RE – don’t care for these movies
  • My Spy – already seen on Amazon Prime
  • Onward – absolutely not
  • Proxima – seen
  • Sonic The Hedgehog – seen
  • The Dark Knight (2020 reissue) – can’t stand Batman films
  • The Empire Strikes Back: 40th Anniversary – maybe
  • The Greatest Showman – kill me now
  • The Shawshank Redemption (2020 reissue) – maybe
  • Unhinged – really not sure about this isn’t it just Falling Down?

So, there is plenty to see and that’s just today. Tomorrow there’s a different selection of films going on. I might go again at some point. I’ve been going to early showings assuming that the cinema is cleaner than after a few crowds have been in. I’m not sure about the whole opening doors to the toilets thing but I guess if everyone uses hand sanitiser that shouldn’t be too bad. To be honest in the film yesterday there were only five people in that particular screen and I think we all pretty much enjoyed the film.

Earlier in the day I had been down to the river at Peters Village and seen that the tide was quite low. When I checked the tide charts supplied by Wolfram Alpha I could see that the tide was turning and by the time I went to the cinema it would have been around 75% of high water for that day. Sure enough on the way in to the cinema as I drove along the esplanade I could see that the tide was indeed getting towards its highest. There were no mudbanks to be seen.

After watching the film I rated it on IMDB because that is a thing I do for cinema films and there is a previous communication detailing the ratings process here. I then tweet the result on my rarely used (for now) twitter account.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this film again. It was great fun. There are so many aspects of the film that are well thought out and delightful little touches that it was as if I hadn’t seen the film ever before. I couldn’t tell you when I last watched this whole thing, but I can tell you that it was still excellent and it did make me wonder why films weren’t made like this anymore. Maybe they are and I just haven’t found them, or maybe they are and I’m struggling with confirmation bias, but this was a well scripted, well made film where every little bit of it just seems to work really well.

I’ve already bought the box set on Blu-Ray along with the Indiana Jones trilogy and Star Wars (1-6). I will be watching the next few films in this particular series over the next week or so and I can’t wait. I honestly can’t remember much and am pretty sure that the last time I watched the third film would have been in the cinema when it originally came out. We’ll see what I think of it!

Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son – Iron Maiden

This is playing as I write this and also while I composed the previous communication. I guess I have to start somewhere and as a spotty teenager I was descending into Heavy Metal. This was the first Iron Maiden album to be released while I was a fan. Everything else was just catch up, I missed the live released of Somewhere In Time, which gets reviewed soon I guess. My mum bought me this album from out of nowhere. She just came home one day and gave it too me – this was quite strange for my mum.

For me this takes me back to being a fifteen year old and soaking up all the atmosphere and myth behind this album. I would spend ages looking at the artwork, reading the lyrics and trying to figure out what it all meant. This was Maiden’s seventh studio album and it was their first “concept” album. I guess you write a concept album once you’ve been around the block a bit. You’ve got a solid fan base and you try something new. This album is based around the story of the seventh son of a seventh son who is meant to have magic powers.

So, this was the second album with keyboards which for Metal is wrong but that’s not really a worry. If it adds to the song then it’s fine. I think my biggest problem is that the guitar work isn’t that clear. I don’t like the sound of the guitars on this and “Somewhere”. It’s all rather vague. Maybe it’s a product of the time, new sounds, new effects, trying something different, but for me it just doesn’t work. Don’t get me wrong, this is an amazing album and should be rated somewhere near the top but there’s something “missing” for me.

My first concert attended was Iron Maiden on their Seventh Tour. Seeing the band at Wembley Arena was amazing and the set amazed me. It was an amazing first gig. Songs from this album featured heavily as you would expect and I loved it.

  • Moonchild – A good concert opener.
  • Infinite Dreams – I always found this to be quite a romantic song.
  • Can I Play With Madness – not great.
  • The Evil That Men Do – Good but not as good as they think it is.
  • Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son – A tour de force, hints of Rime but still good.
  • The Prophecy – I think this could be my new favourite on this re-listening.
  • The Clairvoyant – Another classic, it’s OK.
  • Only The Good Die Young – Pretty good.