Souped-up Drag Boats of Thailand

•June 16, 2021 • Leave a Comment

I saw a short video on Reddit a few months ago that blew my mind and sent me in a fit of laughter. I’ll post that video first because this guy right here, this guy is living:

Little did I know that it wasn’t just one adrenaline junkie piloting/hydroplaning the rivers of Thailand in his modified riverboat, hitting speeds upwards of 70 mph (112 km/h), but there is a celebrated subculture of speed captains and absorbed onlookers supporting this (unregulated, non-commercial, super dangerous) stupid-fun activity.

Thankful to Chad from CB Media for investigating and sharing his insane motorsports experience:

Hamferð — “DeyðIR VarðAR” …Live Metal Performance during a Solar Eclipse

•June 10, 2021 • Leave a Comment

The song isn’t anything you can rattle your head to, but goodness is it a moody mood:

Definitely got SILENT HILL other-world vibes when the landscape of The Faroe Islands darkened to black 😨🕯️

[This post was prompted by the annular solar eclipse that occurred on June 10, 2021, when the Moon passed between Earth and the Sun. Non acoustic version of Deyðir varðar · Hamferð found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOtCrPp7d5w]

Living Colour — “Type” (1990) [throwback]

•May 22, 2021 • Leave a Comment

“The Universe of Story: Neil Gaiman” #awf21 [F]

•May 16, 2021 • Leave a Comment

This morning I attended the Auckland Writers Festival to spend an hour listening to author Neil Gaiman.

He had some great personal stories to tell and told them concisely. I felt the hour to be rather sparse of insight for any practicing writer however, but I put that to the streamlined conversation being steered by the interviewer and by Neil’s enamoured fans at the closing of the hour. Perhaps I was not so naive to all the advice he had to impart that I just found myself agreeing and not so much absorbing. Was great to hear his stories about his stories, where they had appeared and where they had taken him.

After an unsuccessful Hollywood experience trying to adapt Sandman into a feature film franchise in the 1990s, Neil asked Lisa Henson (then studio head of Warner Bros. Pictures) what it takes to make it in Hollywood and she told him, ‘find a circle of friends you trust and can work with.’ Advice that Neil told the room was to him, the equivalent of a thorn being pulled from the lion’s paw. Please keep in mind that I am paraphrasing, but even if I do not do Neil Gaiman’s words justice, his meaning is understandable enough, no? Working relations are important.

Neil Gaiman gave an analogy of how he thought writing was like ladling soup from a worldly pot of stew. Neil is comfortable with sourcing ideas, or rather, inspiration to fuel imagination from other stories, believing that this is how it is done, and he wanted the audience to understand and believe as he does that it is okay and not to shy away from that. I thought that was a bold approach to creative writing and not one I think is all that important, but I supposed he meant, prolonging the longevity of a good idea in your own words and in your own story is what storytelling (or being commercially successful, because he was very concise) is about. Early in his career it was stew for him, but occasionally Neil would get a potato or a chunk of meat to enjoy, to then toss back into the pot, enriching the stew. A silly analogy I think, but a thought provoking one to be sure.

This is not from one of Neil Gaiman’s books, but page 157 from Chuck Palahniuk’s Consider This: Moments in My Writing Life After Which Everything Was Different (2020).

It was funny to read that paragraph again today, because the first Neil Gaiman story I ever read and owned happened to be a withdrawn book from the local library (thanks dad). Not pirated per se, but free nonetheless.

And what a generous stew it is.

Birds of a Feather Are Iridescent Together

•May 15, 2021 • Leave a Comment

Photographer Christian Spencer has taken some remarkably well timed and positioned photographs of hummingbirds mid-flight in silhouette against the sun. The tips of their feathers have refracted the sunlight, producing an image that captures the multiple colours that each wavelength of light has (which changes depending on how it bends, from the point of view of the observer).

These awe inducing snapshots went onto trigger my thoughts about the shortcomings of human sight and how without photography we never would have known, or at the very least, seen and been able to appreciate the speed of light within the beat of a bird’s wing — I find that quite hummbling:

More: https://linktr.ee/ChristianSpencer_ART

Good nature photography always reminds me of what life truly is.

Did you know that birds view the world in wavelengths that the human eye cannot naturally perceive? Birds have additional colour cones in their retina that are sensitive to ultraviolet range. Here is the science behind it:

Links for more info: https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/50/10/854/233996 / https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0065345408601059

STAR WARS x Foo Fighters — “Everlong” [mashup]

•May 4, 2021 • Leave a Comment

So much frenetic energy concentrated into one video, I love it!! Mashups tend to play for comedic effect and are a real hit-or-miss because of that. But this… I like this (full screen)

Michel Gongry’s “Everlong” music video is smart, darkly and always a fun watch, and the song is so damn catchy It makes me wanna jump around and dance every time. I guarantee this five minute love story is one you will never forget:

The Star Wars Bar with Bartender Richard Pryor (1977)

•May 4, 2021 • Leave a Comment

Every star pilot and their droid knows about the Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine, but there are other bars in the galaxy.

A lot of official alien costumes from the films were borrowed from Lucasfilm and featured in this skit as part of the short-lived Richard Pryor Show. It doesn’t matter what Disney says, as far as I am concerned, this is canon!!

DEATH — “Politicians In My Eyes” [♬]

•April 1, 2021 • Leave a Comment

Three black teenage brothers started a band called DEATH in the early 1970s playing punk-rock during the era of Motown — “Politicians In My Eyes” is still as relevant and exceptionally cool as it ever was!

Thoughts & Prayers Myanmar

•March 30, 2021 • Leave a Comment

https://twitter.com/search?q=myanmar

“Gloomy Sunday” [♬]

•March 28, 2021 • Leave a Comment

Billie Holiday was an amazing woman. Before I ever listened to “Gloomy Sunday” and its countless renditions, the title and accompanying story is one I had known about since an early age.

There is a recurring urban legend which claims that people committed suicide while listening to the original song. The original “Gloomy Sunday“, also known as the “Hungarian Suicide Song”, is a song composed by Hungarian pianist and composer Rezső Seress and published in 1933. Since its recording it has been blamed for more suicides than any other in the history of music. In the same decade, the composer himself, his wife, and at least eighteen suicide deaths in Hungary were reported to have had close links with Gloomy Sunday, although urban legend embellishes its more in the hundreds range. This ultimately led to its banning on various radio networks in 1936.

Regardless of whether you choose to believe in the mystery or rather in the social climate of the 1930s in which the song was composed; this is a beautiful piece of music:

The Great Depression had begun and suicide rates were skyrocketing in the U.S. and Hungary. Additionally, antisemitism was taking hold across Europe. He didn’t know it when he composed Gloomy Sunday, but Rezső Seress would later be interned at a Nazi labor camp in Ukraine. He survived the camp, but his mother did not. Prior to becoming a musician Seress had lost his career as a circus performer through injury. He was struggling to make ends meet. (“Rezső Seress.” Wikipedia. August 2,2013.)

This set the perfect (gloomy) tone for Seress to compose Gloomy Sunday. And he did so by putting his heart and soul, his sadness, and his disappointment into the composition. Seress composed the song in the sad key of C minor, and the music alone was said to be enough to make a person extremely depressed or suicidal. Then came the wretched lyrics on top of the music. As the story goes; Hungarian poet, László Jávor, had recently broken up with his fiancée, and his heartbreak served as the inspiration for the mournful lyrics to Gloomy Sunday.

Seress eventually succumbed to his own depression, and jumped from his apartment building in Budapest. He killed himself just after his 69th birthday. His legacy endures:

The Godmother of Rock-&-Roll: Sister Rosetta Tharpe “Didn’t It Rain” Live in Manchester, 1964

•March 20, 2021 • Leave a Comment

Time for a wonderful history lesson, from a woman riding horse and carriage to perform a Rock and Roll show:

Reconstructionist and Literary Jukebox hero Sister Rosetta Tharpe is celebrated as gospel music’s first superstar, the godmother of rock and roll, “the original soul sister.” No better way to celebrate her spirit and legacy than with her legendary, electrifying 1964 live performance of “Didn’t It Rain” at the Manchester train station, complete with her iconic white coat and electric guitar.

The Death Metal Cowboys of Botswana

•March 19, 2021 • Leave a Comment

Yo, Botswana holding it down! Thankful to have found this video about a unique subculture of death metal music and fashion coming out of Africa:

Shot and edited by: Judy Lelliott / Featured bands: Skinflint and Overthrust

Good stuff. Self-expression is a birthright, not a privilege. Dress how you want and listen to whatever you like. And in the same day, coming across this Nigerian wedding reception rocking out to Toxicity by System Of A Down, made me very happy:

Music is a universal language.

I will close this post with a word from legendary British singer-songwriter, Lemmy, best known as the founder, lead singer, bassist, and songwriter of the British heavy metal band Motörhead, for all the black rockers in the world, and everyone else for that matter:

One more thing about Lemmy; last October I watched a Sci-fi/Horror film called “Hardware” (1990), and it was nice to see Lemmy make a brief cameo appearance.

Hardware director Richard Stanley tells us how Lemmy came to be in his post apocalyptic horror movie Hardware, we learn Lemmy’s fee, and his views on acting.

Metal enough for you?

 
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