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Archive for August, 2010

There’s no song this week. I’m too busy swimming, getting a tan(!) and relaxing this week. Plus we’re going to The Zoo and an Indians game today, so there’s no time!!

See you next week!

xo

A

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The Song: Every Line of a Long Moment

The Man: Roddy Woomble

I don’t have much to say this week. I have a special love/hate relationship with Mr Woomble dating back many years. This song is off his début solo album, My Secret is My Silence, which is great. Idlewild (his band) I adore. This song I love. More than love, actually. Listen to enough to drive other people up the wall.

So, listen to it and love it. It’s perfect. Well, I think it is, anyway.

Every Line of a Long Moment by Roddy Woomble
Every early morning just to wake up and put coffee on the stove
The morning secret code
And every early morning when the night is always crueler than the day
I watched the sea turn from gold into

Every line of a long moment written down in my handwriting
It makes me feel free to do anything
As I look out across the wall
Look out across the wall and into the Atlantic
Look out across the wall
Look out across the wall and into the Atlantic

Every winter morning between clock hands than type out your day
And I become the only light that could ever reach you
And every early evening walking through fields that turn from green into grey
And you can only hear when I shout your name out

Every line of a long moment written down in my handwriting
It makes me feel free to do anything
As I look out across the wall
Look out across the wall and into the Atlantic
As I look out across the wall
Look out across the wall and into the Atlantic Ocean
Until it becomes a sea
Until the north sea’s waves they come to cover me

And I look out across the wall
Look out across the wall and into the Atlantic
Look out across the wall
Look out across the wall and into the Atlantic
Look out across the wall
Look out across the wall and into the Atlantic
Look out across the wall
Look out across the wall

Sorry this is so short – I’m on holiday.
xo
A

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This year I have been a busy little reader, although most of what I have read is either something I’ve read many times before (The Borrowers by Mary Norton) or something I don’t feel is worth recommending (The Sisterhood by Emily Barr), so I am WAY behind on updating the On Books section of this site.

By way of an apology I am going to go ahead and list the recommendable books that I’ve read so far this year in their own post before adding them to that page. I hope you enjoy what I have to say and I hope that you are inspired to read some of the titles.

(First I want to say that my “first few books of 2010” prediction was WAY off. I have completed two of the titles I listed [one of which was very disappointing!], but not the other five. Woops!)

If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor

My full review HERE. After reading only the first few lines of this debut novel by Jon McGregor, not only did I want to lock myself in a room until I finished it, I knew that as soon as I did I would want to start it all over again. A breathtaking masterpiece. Still my favourite of 2010.

 The Book of Nightmares by Galway Kinnell

 By far and without a doubt my absolute favourite book of poetry, ever. Kinnell is an unparalleled master of his craft and this astonishing book-length poem is phenomenally good. A bit gruesome, yes; Kinnell expresses with a fierce imagery the brutality, anguish and horror of 20th century history and yet there is tenderness here, a lyrical beauty rarely found on this Earth.

My favourite section is number seven, entitled “Little Sleep’s-Head Sprouting Hair in the Moonlight” and written for his daughter, Maud. There is such an intensity of love on these pages it will leave you breathless. Kinnell is a genius.

The full text of this book is available HERE, although I only give you the link knowing if you read the text there your next step will be to purchase the book so you may read it over, and over, and over again.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

This is an exquisitely wrought tale of heartbreak, fear and confusion following the lives of African-American maids working in white households in Mississippi in the 1960’s. Moving and unforgettable.

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

I found this difficult to get into though I am very glad I stuck it out. Harsh and uncompromising yet wholesome and uplifting.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Oh, my! Did I ever love this book. Beautifully written; an unflinching account of life in a travelling circus during The Great Depression. Be warned – if accounts of cruelty to animals upset you to any great degree you should stay away. You’ll be missing out, though.

Tinkers by Paul Harding

Stark and haunting. Unbelievably well written. Harding’s descriptive power is incredible – you are able to feel the snow and taste the oranges. When he describes dirt you feel as though you should go wash your hands. More than deserving of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore

I loved this even though I found it difficult to continue at times. A revelation near the end left me reeling for days.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

The Pulitzer Prize winner for 2008. I have to admit that some of the history bored me, but I dislike history in general so that was unavoidable. Oscar stole my heart.

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

A collection of short stories all relating to the central character, an abrupt woman named Olive. It’s a love/hate relationship with Olive, but in the end you adore her. It leaves you with a great deal of unanswered questions. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2009.

Up next? Well, I am still working on The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. I recently bought The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver and Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger, so those are high on the list.

The book I am taking with me on holiday is The Princess Bride by William Goldman because it is light and heart-warming and something I have read (many times) before.

Happy Reading!
xo
A

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sad news

The poet Edwin Morgan died today at the age of 90.

I had never heard of Edwin Morgan until 2002 when he collaborated with the band Idlewild on the final track of their album The Remote Part. The song is titled “In Remote Part/Scottish Fiction” and Edwin Morgan wrote and recorded his poem “Scottish Fiction”  for use on the track. The poem below is copyright the author and taken from HERE.

Scottish Fiction

It isn’t in the mirror
It isn’t on the page
It’s a red-hearted vibration
Pushing through the walls
Of dark imagination
Finding no equation
There’s a Red Road rage
But it’s not road rage
It’s asylum seekers engulfed by a grudge
Scottish friction
Scottish fiction

It isn’t in the castle
It isn’t in the mist
It’s a calling of the waters
As they break to show
The new Black Death
With reactors aglow
Do you think your security
Can keep you in purity
You will not shake us off above or below
Scottish friction
Scottish fiction

I have been a fan ever since, especially after moving to Scotland. His contributions to Scottish literature are immeasurable and he will be sorely missed by many friends and fans.

A Gull

A seagull stood on my window-ledge today,
said nothing, but had a good look inside.
That was a cold inspection I can tell you!
North winds, icebergs, flash of salt
crashed through the glass without a sound.
He shifted from leg to leg, swivelled his head.
There was not a fish in the house–only me.
Did he smell my flesh, that white one? Did he think
I would soon open the window and scatter bread?
Calculation in those eyes is quick.
`I tell you, my chick, there is food everywhere.’
He eyed my furniture, my plants, an apple.
Perhaps he was a mutation, a supergull.
Perhaps he was, instead, a visitation
which only used that tight firm forward body
to bring the waste and dread of open waters,
foundered voyages, matchless predators,
into a dry room. I knew nothing.
I moved; I moved an arm. When the thing saw
the shadow of that, it suddenly flapped,
scuttered claws along the sill, and was off,
silent still. Who would be next for those eyes,
I wondered, and were they ready, and in order?

And below, my favourite Edwin Morgan poem.

The Loch Ness Monster’s Song

Sssnnnwhuffffll?
Hnwhuffl hhnnwfl hnfl hfl?
Gdroblboblhobngbl gbl gl g g g g glbgl.
Drublhaflablhaflubhafgabhaflhafl fl fl –
gm grawwwww grf grawf awfgm graw gm.
Hovoplodok – doplodovok – plovodokot – doplodokosh?
Splgraw fok fok splgrafhatchgabrlgabrl fok splfok!
Zgra kra gka fok!
Grof grawff gahf?
Gombl mbl bl –
blm plm,
blm plm,
blm plm,
blp

Listen to Edwin Morgan read “The Loch Ness Monster’s Song” HERE. It’s absolutely wonderful.

Both above poems are copyright the author and were taken from The Poetry Archive.

xo
A

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unbelievable

I don’t want to offend anyone, but the question must be asked:

Why in all realms of understanding would you buy J. D. Salinger’s toilet on eBay for $1 million when you can buy his biggest piece of crap for $6.99 on Amazon?

Seriously.

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As an apology for making you wait an extra day for Tunesday (I know you’re all on the edge of your seats!), I am going to feature two songs again this week. They’re by the same band, but not sung by the same people.

The Song(s): Get On The Road and The Good Book

The Band: Tired Pony

My adoration for Snow Patrol lead singer Gary Lightbody is no secret, so you should not be surprised that I am featuring his latest side-project, Tired Pony. They are a music group consisting of Gary, Peter Buck, Iain Archer and a bunch of others. Their debut album The Place We Ran From was released on July 12th and has received very mixed reviews. I don’t care – I LOVE it. This is another album which has taken over my life in the past few weeks and just recently I’ve listened to little else. 

As goes with most collaborations, each track on the album is different from the next, with an overall “country-tinge”. To add a delicious icing to an already yummy cake, the album also features vocals from Zooey Deschanel (musically of She & Him) and Tom Smith (from the Editors). In case you don’t know me very well at all, I am quite fond of Zooey and of Mr Tom Editor. Which is why I have chosen the following tracks off the album.

As usual, the lyrics are an approximation.


(another non-video video link)

Get On The Road by Tired Pony

The fire, the wine, the bed and you
In this crimson light I find the truth
And truth is like a punch or two
It hits you hard and knocks you through

So I get on the road and ride to you
I get on the road and ride to you

A kiss like a fight that neither wins
One tender payment for our sins
You are the drug that I can’t quit
Your perfect chaos is the perfect fit

So I get on the road and ride to you
I get on the road and ride to you

From broken farm to broken farm
The engine noise like an alarm
It breathes a thunder in my soul
It starts this race through the dust bowl

So I get on the road and ride to you
I get on the road and ride to you

The wheel it settles in my hands
This is the measure of a man
I point the car at north, at you
My route has scarred the country through

So I get on the road and ride to you
I get on the road and ride to you

Oh, the melodies! His voice! Her voice! I love everything about this song. That’s all I can say.


(an excerpt from studio recording?)

The Good Book by Tired Pony

You were saved by the good book,
I was saved by the half full glass,
So come on take a good look,
Cause this party will be your last.

And they’ve closed down the old bar,
This town’s like an empty box,
And they can’t have gone that far,
Cause I can still see some swinging locks.

When falling feels like flying,
There’s a dangerous hope,
Cause the ground comes at you faster than you’d think,
Lurking in the shadows,
With the bears and wolves,
That’s where you feel the most upon these days.

When you called I was screening,
It confused me that hear your voice,
It was like I was dreaming,
And the ten years became a noise,
I could barely remember,
Just enough to open the wounds,
In the darkest December,
I can howl at the early moon.

When falling feels like flying,
There’s a dangerous hope,
Cause the ground comes at you faster than you’d think.
Lurking in the shadows,
With the bears and wolves,
That’s were you feel the most upon these days.

Please listen to this song. If you only ever listen to one song that I feature, make it this one. The following video is of Mr Lightbody and Mr Editor playing this song live in London. It blows my mind. Be warned, though, if you are prone to ridiculous, girlish crushes on musicians do NOT click on the following link because it will be the end of you. Trust me.

I really like this album, despite the lukewarm reception in the media and press. “Northwestern Skies” is gorgeous and catchy with thunderous percussion. “Point Me At Lost Islands” is lovely. “Dead American Writers” is exactly what you would expect from an Americana, country-tinged album by a Lightbody-led supergroup. “Held In the Arms of Your Words” is luscious and complex and dripping with melancholy. “I Am A Landslide” is one of my favourites on the album, sung by Iain Archer. “The Deepest Ocean There Is” could be an early Snow Patrol song and therefore I like it very much.

Listen to the album if you can, watch the videos I have linked. You can download the album for £5 and I, personally, would pay twice that. If you are in LA or NYC you can go and see them live.  As always, let me know what you think!

xo
A

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tunesday – postponed

I’m sorry but my brain is just not in the right place for Tunesday at the moment, so I am postponing until tomorrow. It will be worth the wait, though. Trust me.

In the meantime

Dream about living here.

Make this and hang it in your office. Or anywhere.

Make this delicious recipe and then tell me what it was like. Delicious, obviously…

Learn how to pirate vinyl records. Why? Who knows…

Agree with me that this article is awesome.

LOVE this.

Be amazed (and completely freaked out) by these photographs.

And simply be amazed at this man and his artwork/hobby. It’s phenomenal.

So, until tomorrow I hope you enjoy these links. I can’t wait to choose this week’s choice for Tunesday! Be excited because it’s amazing!

xo
A

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