Marshall Crenshaw – Cynical Girl —-Powerpop Friday

The next song in the music library project was found by reading my good friend’s music blog so I have reblogged his article here. As Max (Badfinger) attests, Marshall Crenshaw’s Cynical Girl is the perfect Friday Powerpop song. I must listen to Crenshaw’s debut album since Max and ‘Hanspostcards’ couldn’t have written more highly of it. Cheers.

PowerPop... An Eclectic Collection of Pop Culture

It doesn’t get much better than this. This song was off his self-titled debut album Marshall Crenshaw that peaked at #50 on the Billboard album charts in 1982. Marshall only had one chart hit and that was with Someday, Someway off of this same album…it just shows that life isn’t fair at times. Every song is good on this album…you cannot say that about most albums.

Songs like this… is the reason I do this on Fridays.

Marshall Crenshaw on the song: ‘Cynical Girl’ sounds like it just came off the top of my head in one pass; that’s probably what happened. Quite a few of my songs are like that: I just start singing and playing without any advance thought. But then, with ‘Cynical Girl’ and so many others, the words take time to arrive. I asked another person to take a crack at it first but the guy…

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19/6 – 25/6/21 Ivermectin, Dylan, History & The Solar System

news on the march

Welcome to Monday’s News on the March – The week that was in my digital world.

Talking with Joe Rogan about Ivermectin – Brett Weinstein and Lex Fridman

Video presentation excerpt at Lex Clips

2 days ago Sam Harris released a full podcast A Contagion of Bad ideas speaking with  Eric Topol about vaccine hesitancy and related misinformation. A lot of their disingenuous discussion centred on Brett Weinstein’s Dark Horse podcast and in particular Brett and Heather’s comments about Ivermectin and their questioning of the efficacy of the Vaccines. I won’t add anything more about this except to say Harris’ main premise is that those who are vaccine hesitant also think Covid is harmless to them. This may be the case for some but many many people don’t want either. Brett and Heather’s initial response to the Harris podcast was communicated yesterday on his podcast.

The reason I featured the above link here because it outlines Weinstein’s arguments and the evidence he has drawn upon to feel satisfied to use Ivermectin as a prophylaxis in the meantime. I also use it in lieu of the vaccine until more information comes to hand about the long term health effect of the Vaccines and their ability to protect against new variants of the virus and impact transmission rates of the virus.   English doctor Dr John Campbell published a video 2 days ago which shows an Israel study of Pfizer vaccines efficacy in preventing delta variant infections as 39% and 91% in preventing serious illness. 
(See entire video)

Dylan in the Shadows
Blog article by Richard Williams

Articles by Professional music author Richard Williams are regularly featured here at News on the March. Here he writes about Bob Dylan’s exclusive broadcast event on the 18th of July, marking the first concert performance since December 2019.

‘That was the mood created for Shadow Kingdom: low-key, intimate, respectful of the songs. Acoustic and lightly amplified guitars, mandolin, accordion, double bass or (on a couple of songs) bass guitar and harmonica were lightly woven around Bob’s voice in three or four different settings, all in deep monochrome chiaroscuro and mostly approximating the ambiance of a funky roadhouse: the audience drinking, smoking, and dancing to one or two of the tunes’.   (Read entire article)

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson Audiobook
Audiobook at Story Time

Now, in his biggest book, he (Bill Bryson) confronts his greatest challenge: to understand—and, if possible, answer—the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world’s most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. (Listen to audiobook)

Konstantin Batygin: Planet 9 and the Edge of Our Solar System – Lex Fridman podcast #201
Video podcast at Lex Fridman

Konstantin Batygin is a planetary astrophysicist at Caltech. Anyone who is fascinated by learning more about the Cosmos in particularly the outer regions of our Solar System then this is essential viewing. Konstantin is witty, talented, and interesting. I still have to watch the second half, but I’m highly anticipating it based on what the first half had to offer. (Watch entire podcast)

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Mulholland Drive (2001) – David Lynch

This movie is often cited by critics as the best so far this century and its hard to find that a contentious opinion. Mulholland Dr is a movie I have to revisit every so often so as I feel aligned with it, because after a hiatus I lose track of what it was all about and I don’t like that feeling. Even now as I write this I realise I need to see it again and ‘pronto‘!

After my first viewing I wasn’t overly impressed with Lynch’s usual Macabre storytelling (a la Lost Highway) to f&/k your mind over, but Mulholland has something which lingers and feels ineffable in our lives. As a moviegoer Mulholland is like the antithesis of the aspirational 2016 release La La Land which also I’m a huge fan.

Like La La, Mulholland tells the story of an aspiring actress with high hopes arriving in Holywood. Mulholland not unkeeping with the Coen Brothers Barton Fink reality of Hollywood tells a very different story. Fame can become an illusion and in quest for that grandeur an individual can lose track of what they represent and who they are. An individual is malleable if left to the devices of big corporate and hell-bent on success.

Hollywood definitely isn’t all its made out to be and not only are we seeing that since the commencement of the Pandemic where moviemakers are leaving to make movies in other states and nations because of Californian Tax hikes, but even pre-COVID in light of the Weinstein saga and what it took to make a name. Mulholland like Barton dispels the myth that Hollywood seeks great art at its source. They exposed like no others what this industry is about and how the idealistic individual can become twisted and wrecked in its wake.

IMDB Storyline: Still untarnished by the false promises of the rapacious film industry, the wide-eyed actress, Betty, sets foot on bustling, sun-kissed Hollywood. Brimming with hope, and eager to spread her wings and prove her worth, Betty moves in Aunt Ruth’s expensive apartment, unbeknownst to her, however, that fate has other plans in store for her, setting the stage for life-altering experiences with the unexpected, the indecipherable, and the unknown. Now, in the centre of an elaborate labyrinth of half-truths, faded memories, unrequited loves, and dangerous encounters with the city’s ugly face lies a strange key to a mysterious keyhole, an even stranger indigo-blue cube, the young director, Adam, and one cryptic woman: the amnesiac brunette and devilishly seductive car-crash survivor, Rita. But, time flies and Rita’s opaque past demands answers. After all, both women deserve the truth. What is the secret of the serpentine, dream-crushing Mulholland Drive?

David Lynch doesn’t like interpretations of his work. Just let the art be. I don’t think he even knows where he was going with this movie. Whether or not you are satisfied with a particular interpretation of the plot should be irrelevant to your enjoyment of the film. It’s a great film and one for the ages as far as surrealist neo-noir mystery films. His Blue Velvet is another stand-out in this genre. Mulholland Dr like a lot of Lynch’s films can be like a good wine – he must be savoured and mulled over.

Is it all a dream? The life we live as well?

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Violin Concert in D Op 61 (1806) – Ludwig Van Beethoven

This is the second classical excerpt from The Lugwig Van to appear here in the music library project. It’s a delicious violin piece and one of the most early composed and frequently performed. When I had it playing in the background I couldn’t help but be cajoled into a state of pleasantry and playfulness. Try the same yourself and see where it leads you. It’s a miracle how music can capture and transform the senses!
Strangely enough its first performance was unsuccessful and it faded into obscurity until a prodigious child Violinist (Joseph Joachim) in the London Philharmonic society 3 decades later made it popular.

According to wikipedia: Beethoven wrote the concerto for his colleague Franz Clement, a leading violinist of the day, who had earlier given him helpful advice on his opera Fidelio. The work was premiered on 23 December 1806 in the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, the occasion being a benefit concert for Clement. The first printed edition (1808) was dedicated to Stephan von Breuning.

It is believed that Beethoven finished the solo part so late that Clement had to sight-read part of his performance. Perhaps to express his annoyance, or to show what he could do when he had time to prepare, Clement is said to have interrupted the concerto between the first and second movements with a solo composition of his own, played on one string of the violin held upside down; however, other sources claim that he did play such a piece but only at the end of the performance.

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Crystal (1983) – Elton John

This is the 4th song by Elton John to appear in this music library project and the second song to feature from his 1983 record Two Low For Zero which is my favourite John 80’s record. Crystal begins side 2 of the album in similar vogue to how the title track Too Low For Zero launches the album on side 1 with a heavy synthesizer production. John felt that synths allowed him to write better fast rock songs, having not been entirely happy with such compositions performed on piano. I know this form of sound is awash in 80’s music and retrospectively criticised for it (à la Dylan’s Empire Burlesque record), but I feel John’s songs benefited from the production on this.

We’re caught up in a web, you and I
Since Crystal came between us
The knots of friendship seem to be untied

And it hurts me most to cheat and that’s no lie
She can swing us both forever
In the long run she’s the one who must decide

And if she leaves me handle her with care
Don’t hurt little Crystal
And if she calls you long distance just be there
Oh, Crystal

I have always liked listening to this song. Regarding Bernie Taupin’s lyrics there is something akin to Dylan’s If You See Her Say Hello in the sentiment of the aftermath of a break-up – And if she leaves me handle her with care / Don’t hurt little Crystal / And if she calls you long distance just be there. It’s sad, but its also the expression of a love for the other so reaffirming and requited. It’s truly about wanting the best in every sense of the meaning for the other in the aftermath of a break-up. This reminds me of the projection of energy in the Kundalini Yoga sunshine song:

‘…to mentally pick out a person that you would like to help or heal. As you see this person; as you feel them; have them at their very best; their healthiest, their happiest’.

Reference:
1. Two Low For Zero – Wikipedia

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12/6 – 18/6/21 1st Mass Extinction, Vaccine Origins, Intelligence & Fitness Blender.

news on the march

Welcome to Monday’s News on the March – The week that was in my digital world.

The First Mass Extinction – How Bad Was the great Oxidation Event?
Video presentation by History of the Earth

My early mornings after breakfast are typically consumed by watching a you tube presentation transmitted to my TV. This video about the First Mass Extinction was captivating. I was familiar with the meteor impact which led to the extinction of dinosaurs approximately about 65 million years ago (at the end of the Cretaceous Period), but I had never heard of this extinction event which effectively caused the ionisation (rusting) of the earth 2.5 billion years ago.

This presentation is so impressive with respect to the range of topics covered and quality of imagery. I learnt so much about palaeontology and microbiology. I had to pause the video on a number of occasions to add new vocabulary and terms to my Anki program. I look forward to watching other published videos by the History of the Earth channel. (See entire video)

The Overheard Musings of a Milkmaid
Blog article by Sarah Angleton

I always find Sarah’s posts enlightening and entertaining and this true story about the origins of Dr. Jenner’s discovery of “vaccinia” was no exception:

On May 14, 1796, Jenner inoculated an eight-year-old with cowpox laced pus. The boy ended up with a short-lived mild fever and some temporary general malaise, but was otherwise fine. Then two months later, Jenner exposed the boy to smallpox, and he developed no symptoms at all.‘ (Read entire article)

The Future of Intelligence – A conversation with Jeff Hawkins
Audio Podcast at Sam Harris

When Sam’s topic of conversations delve into the realm of science then my ears prick up. This is where he thrives and his shows are so impactful and immersive. A great listen.

In this episode of the podcast, Sam speaks with Jeff Hawkins about the nature of intelligence. They discuss how the neocortex creates models of the world, the role of prediction in sensory-motor experience, cortical columns, reference frames, thought as movement in conceptual space, the future of artificial intelligence, AI risk, the “alignment problem,” the distinction between reason and emotion, the “illusory truth effect,” bad outcomes vs existential risk, and other topics‘.(Listen to podcast)

Bodyweight Cardio Interval Kickboxing
Video presentation at FitnessBlender

I can’t get enough of the Bodyweight only exercise sessions presented by Fitness Blender. At the commencement of the Pandemic I made a 6 week work-out program which mainly entail sessions from Fitness Blender videos. I have been following them to a tee and I am thankful for the results not only regarding my cardiovascular improvement but helping me maintain my sanity during the lockdowns.

Today’s featured session which was released this morning is presented by a new instructor (Tasha) to the Fitness Blender team. I look forward to trying it out over the coming days. (Watch video)

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Cry Like a Baby (1999)- Kasey Chambers

Fellow Australian – Kasey who I have written about here before released a great song on her The Captain album. How I fell in love with Kasey’s music you’ll find at the ‘I’m Not Pretty Enough‘ post, but her success and influence started well before that time specifically her Captain record.

Kasey is the only country artist that I can remember Australians falling head over heals commercial-wise.

Kasey spoke about noone being attentive about her attributes. In an interview which I’m unable to locate now where she said she was on a bus in the Norfolk Islands which is far removed from the Australian continent and the bus driver who drove them about proclaimed himself to be the Captain and such was his impact on her psyche she thought – I’m gonna write about him. The rest is history.

Soon there after she wrote her first record The Captain which won the 1999 ARIA Music Award for Best Country Album. By the way if you haven’t heard the song – the Captain you are missing out! One of the songs released from that record is today’s song called ‘Cry Like a Baby‘. There is literally nothing about this on the net so I’ll let Kasey do the talking:

Well I never lived through the great depression
Sometimes I feel as though I did
And I don’t have answers for every single question
But that’s OK ‘cos I’m just a kid

Well I’ve seen pictures of my mother
When she looked exactly like me
And I’ve seen all my friends running for cover
Running from something they can’t see

I think what resonated so strongly with Australians is Kasey’s ability to write just what she felt without pretence. The honesty she evoked in her lyrics and demonstrated in her artistry as a singer-songwriter was a match made in heaven during this era in Australia including yours truly who saw her several times in concert. Everyone fell in love with Kasey and ‘Cry Like a Baby‘ was just another honest addition to her catalogue.

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The Phantom Thread (2017) – Paul Thomas Anderson (Friday’s Finest)

Daniel Day Lewis (DDL) chose this movie to be the one he would end his acting career on. This farewell entourage to one of the all time greatest actors left me salivating to see something else from him again; so sensible and nuanced. Unfortunately cinematic art like Phantom in America doesn’t come about all too often. It almost feels like a once in a generation celestial event. Heck, the last time I saw anything closely resembling this style of movie and quality was the 1993 film Remains of the Day which I wrote about early in the Friday’s Finest project and that wasn’t even an American production.

I alluded to Phantom before in a New Years festive piece – Could watching the Phantom Thread become a *new* New Year’s tradition? I always felt the movie deserved it’s own article here. I have heard director Anderson and DDL discuss their interactions when they were writing this movie. Extraordinarily this movie just came from their heads. Yes, they had read and heard of famous costume designers the DDL character was based on, but they created something entirely unique and mystique in its presentation. Anderson did something similar with There Will Be Blood despite it being loosely based on a 1927 book, but in affect he created a whole other beast – incomparable to the book as they both stated.

I wrote in the New Years article how I always felt that Paul Thomas Anderson‘s There will be Blood was a homage of sorts to Orson Welles and Citizen Kane and Phantom Thread was his attempt at doing a Ingmar Bergman movie. I think he pulled it off since every time I see Phantom I am enraptured with his fussiness at getting every scene so beautifully captured like a painter to screen. It’s watching the most fastidious costume designer go about their business and this movie is analogous to Anderson’s manner of perfectionism with his own craft. I mean the guy took over 5 months to edit the movie.

IMDB Storyline:
Set in the glamour of 1950s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) are at the center of British fashion, dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites, debutants, and dames with the distinct style of The House of Woodcock. Women come and go through Woodcock’s life, providing the confirmed bachelor with inspiration and companionship, until he comes across a young, strong-willed woman, Alma (Vicky Krieps), who soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover. Once controlled and planned, he finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love.

Since no one kills anyone here with a bowling pin; and old women attend to their craft like every last fibre of their being depended on it; and people eat their breakfast with such finesse and minimal noise so as not to impinge on others; then it was foreseen Phantom would not exactly evoke the great young audience of You tubers’ love that There Will Be Blood did and that’s fine.

This movie is for mature audiences and I don’t mean that to be condescending. This is for older people who have been around the block or two and admire the sensation of ‘fascinating’ realism when they see it. It’s probable I would not have admired Phantom as much in my youth than I do now. But, I do think The Phantom Thread like Ingmar Bergman’s legacy in terms of film appreciation and refinement will bask its day in glory. Give it a few decades once people get tired of the hyper sensorial vitriol.

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Brokeback Mountain Theme Music (2005) – Gustavo Santaolalla

2 days ago in the quietness of the morning, I saw for the umpteenth time the 2005 movie Brokeback Mountain. I have written here before about this movie and how Daniel Day Lewis described Heath Ledger’s acting in it. There are very few performances I have seen which are as exemplary as Ledger’s in this. In addition, the nuance of Ang Lee’s direction, the editing and soundtrack in this film are just sublime. The latter is the subject of today’s post.

I can’t speak more highly of this movie, despite when I first saw Brokeback I had the least bit penchant of seeing two cowboys rollicking around in a tent. I remember seeing the parodies after its controversial release which had me in stitches, but after subsequent viewings Brokeback Mountain remains one of the most beautiful movies I’ve ever seen. I don’t think sexuality has much to do with it since you just know that such a bond like this could have occurred between two people at any time and any place. It just happens to be between two young men.

As I was watching the movie I couldn’t help but wonder how I hadn’t showcased this music in my project because it’s one of the best original movie soundtracks I have ever heard. Brokeback is difficult to imagine viewing without this sublime atmospheric music. The Argentinian composer Gustavo Alfredo Santaolalla (pictured above) won the Academy Award for best original score with Brokeback. He also won the next year for Babel.

Just an aside, I was searching songs from American Christina Perri for my kids not so long ago because I was so enamoured with her Jar of Hearts which I consider one of the greatest ballads I’ve heard this millennium. It just so happened I stumbled across her official video called ‘The Words‘ which has the uncanny resemblance to Santaolalla’ Brokeback soundtrack theme. Don’t ya think?

In 2019 Eric Clapton invited Santaolalla to participate at his Crossroads event in Dallas, Texas. According to wiki: Santaolalla does not know how to read or write musical notation, nor does he use an orchestra for his soundtracks. He said, “I don’t see myself as a film composer. I see myself as more of an artist that uses different forms to express myself.

Below I have relayed the final scene of Brokeback which Daniel Day Lewis was so in awe of in his Academy Speech.

That scene in the trailer at the end of the film is about as moving as anything I think I have ever seen.’ – DDL

This scene in microcosmic form encapsulates Ledger’s immersion into the role and like DDL I also feel it’s about the most poignant ending I’ve ever seen in cinema history featuring Santaolalla’s unforgettable soundtrack. I adore how Ennis smells his daughter’s jacket just before he places it in his wardrobe. On repeated viewings this movie offers so much in way of the little, but most important things.

Reference:
1. Gustavo Santaolalla – wikipedia

Reference:
1. Gustavo Santaolalla – wikipedia

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Crazy Birds (1993) – Not Drowning, Waving

David Bridie performing Crazy Birds at the Commonwealth Games Melbourne – 2006

Australian singer-songwriter David Bridie (co-founder of his first group Not Drowning, Waving) (NDW) has featured prominently in this music library project, but this is the first song to appear here from NDW. Formed in Melbourne in 1983, NDW combined elements of rock, ambient music and world music; their lyrics dealt with characteristically Australian topics.

The group released 6 albums until they disbanded in 1994. They won Best Independent Release at the ARIA Music Awards of 1992 for Proof, their soundtrack for the 1991 film of the same name. Bridie and fellow members of Not Drowning, Waving, formed a side-project, My Friend The Chocolate Cake, the chamber pop group who have already appeared in this blog.

Today’s song Crazy Birds was released in 1993 on NDW’s sixth studio album Circus, which was recorded at the Rockfield Studios in Wales. The following year they would be the support act for Peter Gabriel on his first tour of Australia.

The ambience which Crazy Birds exudes is quintessentially Australian reflecting rudimentary the bush environment. Also the lyrics harness Aussie plain-speak and synchronise to a tee the atmospheric music. When I hear Crazy Birds I can’t help but reflect on my upbringing in the Australian bush in the greater western outskirts of Sydney:

We rise up with the midday sun
We sleep too much cos the work is done
And my papa says that this life is good
We got not much money but heaps of food
We bask our skin in the afternoon light
We’re eating all the sweet ripe fruit
And Ol’ Brotherboy hangs a tyre from the tree
My sister goes first, she goes higher than me
We’re watching the old crazy birds fly by


This music more than any other I have written about at Observation Blogger typifies what it was like living for me as a kid mixing it in the Australian Bush. I’m indebted to the genius of David Bridie in replicating auditorily how it felt for me growing up.
My own children here in Bogota, Colombia will be able to harness some of what their Australian heritage feels like through music until such time they get to experience Australia for themselves.

Reference:
1. Not Drowning, Waving – Wikipedia

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