Sunday, 18 November 2012

Desert Island disks and books

I though for once I'd write a blogpost that has nothing to do with Politics and very little to do with Germany and started to think about what else I spend my time doing.

My family life I want to keep, somewhat selfishly, to myself. It is my little slice of personal bliss and although I let somethings out and some people in I'd rather keep that mine if that is ok.

I spend a lot of time on trains going back and forth to the Olde Bedlam Sanatorium that is my work place which means I spend a lot of time reading and listening to music. I thought I'd share my favourites of both and why they're my favourites.

So, five albums, five books and five tracks;

Version 2.0 by Garbage. An outstanding album, possibly their best, that has the distinction of being one of the few albums I can play all the way through with only one track skipped.
Shirley Manson (pictured) and the boys (Duke, Butch and Steve) provide a fast paced rock soundtrack with songs like Temptation waits and the superlative Push it. However it will be for the slower tracks You look so fine and the Trick is to keep Breathing which stand out for me, eternally linked to my favourite Star Wars character, Admiral Daala. I was reading the book (Planet of Twilight) in which they wrote her out of the narrative back when I was 17ish.
The album is, a masterpiece with fast guitars, synth underlay, catchy rifts and a good dosage of anger fuelled Redheaded female rage which, apparently is my thing.

Which leads me to the first book Star Wars Darksaber (US spelling). Set many years after the battle of Endor and the sequel to Kevin J. Anderson's Jedi academy trilogy and Barbara Hamberly's Children of the Jedi. Luke Skywalker is trying to reawaken the force in his paramore Callista whilst an evil Hutt crime lord has hired Limelisk, the man who headed the Deathstar design projects to build a new superweapon, the Darksaber. Meanwhile Admiral Daala returns to Imperial space and fights to heal the ruptures caused by the Imperial civil war and strike at the heart of the New Republic.

The next album is More than this by Trading yesterday. Although a relatively recent purchase it's become a rapid favourite. It's very easy listening middle of the road American rock. The song Shattered, which I heard on A Game Of Thrones fan video on YouTube is outstanding as it slowly meanders before building to a powerful ending. Like the classic GooGoo dolls album Dizzy up the girl (which is album #3) the album just plays well with tracks like Love song requiem and She is the sunlight acting as landmarks.

As for Dizzy up the Girl... When I was at Uni it was a phenomenon. Megan, a friend of a friend had heard it & brought it with her. Everyone who heard it bought it. I took it home and my sister bought it! The high point is Iris, which featured on the City of Angels soundtrack and has many fond memories. Name and Black balloon similarly great songs and the relaxed Acoustic #3.

The Sorrows of Young Werther written by Von Goethe in the late 18th century is a classic piece of German literature and details the love of Werther for his Lotte and his ultimate rejection, depression, heartbreak, hurt, resolve and death. I read it during a particularly low period of my life and could really identify with the nature of unrequited love and hurt he went through. As the work draws on Goethe's own personal experiences it is written with great feeling and angst.

One Day is similar to an extent as it chronicles the relationship and lives of Emma and Dexter every St. Swithun's day. I really identified with Emma who is an idealist and hoped to get out of Ini and change the world but got stuck in a string of mundane jobs. I really enjoyed watching the characters develop and grow, I found it refreshing to look at character driven rather than a usual group of flat packed characters in an adrenaline fuelled plot.

Petshopboys Behaviour is my number four. Although Very was the first album I ever bought, Actually and Please have a faster pace with great landmark tracks like It's a sin and Opportunities (respectfully) I'm going for the laid back and introspective Behaviour. The first track, Being Boring, sets the pace and tone as soft melodic and relaxing.

Number 5 is difficult with Pulp's His'n'hers or different class, REM's Automatic for the people, Linkin Park Minutes to Midnight, Limp Bizkit Chocolate Starfish and Alanis Morrisette Live & unplugged pushing for a slot. I'm going to have to select my favourite of the moment; Rammstein Reise, Reise. Nothing like angry German rock to motivate me to do stuff but also there are great tunes like Amerika or Moskau, the title track Reise Reise and Amore. Take it down a notch to the near Accoustic Los and the tragic ballad Ohne Dich which fits in to Werther. At the moment I think it is fantastic.

Brothers in arms is an in depth look and comparrison of two squadrons during the Battle of Britain. 609 Squadron and 1. Jagdgeschwader 53 and how the lives and actions of the pilots were exceptionally similiar on both sides of the Channel. It is made up of stories and recollections of the pilots of their wartime, fears and anxieties as well as victories and heroism. For both sides of the air war it is a must read.

Finally on the book front I'd have to go with The little Stranger by Sarah Waters. Not my usual thing but I read a couple of years ago for the work book club and I really enjoyed it. The chilling ghost story in a post war upper class mansion. Something is targetting the Ayres family one by one. It is also an interesting look at postwar class struggle and the changing face of England in those times. Very, very readible - Couldn't put it down.

And finally 5 tracks I couldn't live with out.

Imperial March - The Empire strikes back Soundtrack.

Alanis Morrisette's cover of King of Pain - Live and unplugged

Runaway train - by Soul Asylum

Broken - Seether feat Amy Lee

My Immortal - Evanescence

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