Friday, October 30, 2009

10 tracks not to slash your wrists by (on YouTube)

There is a cd called "Tracks to slash your wrists by" (apparently). So I thought why not an opposing list? Just from a quick browse through my YouTube favourites:

1. Summertime Blues - Eddie Cochran
You don't have to be tall.

2. Eloise - Paul and Barry Ryan
You don't have to be cool.

3. My Perfect Cousin - The Undertones
You don't have to be intelligent.

4. Itchycoo Park - The Small Faces
You don't have to be able to dance.

5. Anthem - Leonard Cohen
You don't have to be perfect.

6. Angel Flyin' Too Close to the Ground - Willie Nelson and Shelby Lynne
You don't have to be with someone.

7. For My Lover - Tracy Chapman
You don't have to be sane.

8. The Harder they Come - Jimmy Cliff
You don't have to be rich.

9. I Dreamed A Dream - Susan Boyle
You don't have to be young and beautiful.

10. Baby I Need Your Lovin' - The Four Tops
You don't have to ask.

Friday, October 23, 2009

thoughts on listening to songbird by fleetwood mac

the helplessness in fugue between fleetwood's late drumbeat, mcveigh's unrequited bass drive and christine's prismatic love

Fleetwood is an archetypal English character and John McVeigh is a hero for carrying the torch for Christine through it all, even when she sucks up to that abominably cheesy guitar virtuoso interloper. It's a "blues Abba" with Mick, John, Christine and Stevie. I love the way John clutches Christine at about 1:04 into this. You have to realise he's carried a torch for her forever and she's in with the glib mother's boy guitarist interloper whose name I've happily forgotten. She's the biggest eejit for that but she's also mother earth and all the rest.

John McVeigh's explanation of the pull of their music is that the bass leads the way and Mick Fleetwood's drumbeat follows a couple of microseconds (or whatever) behind, which gives it that distinctive flavour (drum usually sets/is on the beat) and empathy with a love scene in the court of a jester king (Fleetwood). (I don't know if I'm making any sense.)

2011: I should add I know nothing about them really, the above is just the way I imagine things might be.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Antony and the Johnsons-You Are My Sister

another version of this. (that was Boy George duetting there of course.) don't know if all the models are transgender - hardly matters. they're beautiful anyway.

...and here's another glorious bit of music:

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Office dogs

They don't do much typing but they are great receptionists

Friday, October 02, 2009

Comment I posted in discussion about plagiarism

I've just read all of this (took a long time!) and I have to say I agree with the very first post by Charlie.

I'm curious which Paul Auster work was the one mentioned as plagiarised. I imagine that could have turned into an expensive legal problem, easily capable of bankrupting a small magazine, by the way. I have a vague sense of deja-vu (ironically?) about Auster and plagiarism allegations - don't know why.

There is no copyright on ideas, nor should there be, nor could there be. Die gedanken sind frei. But that is a different matter to a squalid ripoff between two erstwhile friends who are both writers. If somebody who's not a writer said to me why not write a story about a piano tuner in Ballygobackwards, I think it's perfectly in order to do so and show them the result. However, if the writer said he or she were writing it, I would have to be a right numpty to take it on myself to write the same thing, would I not? No?

Shakespeare reused old stories as the plots for his plays and that's fine. It wouldn't have been so fine to use a then contemporary writer's storylines though. It's almost the norm for books to be based on other "templates", if only as obscure as Homer's Odyssey for Joyce's Ulysses. However, courts have drawn the line at such things as a sequel to Gone With The Wind from the maid's point of view, called "The Wind Done Gone". In a more recent case J. D. Salinger blocked the publication of a lightly veiled "sequel" by some other writer to Catcher In The Rye, in which Holden Caulfield is portrayed aged 60.

I attended a talk by Bernard Cornwell in which he stated that all a writer had to do find commercial success, which was all he wanted, was to take a successful template, change all the names and settings somewhat and send it out and that that's what he had done by transforming the Hornblower novels into his Sharpe series.

His other "big idea" (from an agent) was that publishers wanted a series, and the example he gave was that if you wrote a book "How to look after your pet dog", one copy could be sold to every pet shop and that was the end of you. So - again templating - his suggestion was write a book called "How to look after your Alsation", then an endless series of almost identical ones called "How to look after your Labradoodle" (etc.)

So back to where I started, I'm with Charlie and not Cornwell.

Sympathies to Vanessa.

By the way I read hundreds of stories every year for a competition and I still haven't a clue what to write when faced with a blank page and haven't written anything for ages. It would never enter my head to bother what anyone else wanted to write. As for making money out of writing - there's more to be made washing windscreens at the traffic lights.