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Introdcing Genre Jukebox: Led Zeppelin - Immigrant Song

I’ve decided to try something new. I thought I’d start a series of posts about my favourite music that has a “genre” theme — music about mythology, science fiction, fantasy, fairy tales etc. I have a pretty wide taste in music, so expect everything from Enya to the Flaming Lips to Mozart. I think I’ll try to do it weekly.

Why not start off with a bang: Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”. I always imagine this on the soundtrack to the Bordertown movie that exists in an alternate universe.

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file this under "adventures in cooking"

if you’re chopping chillies, and are a complete idiot like me, and you rub your eye — even though you’ve already washed your hands– bathe your eye with milk. Just fill up a glass and stick your face in it, blinking gently. It works instantly, and you no longer have a fireball where your eye used to be.

It still stings a bit, though…

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rest in peace, Pete

“My father said the truth is a rabbit in a bramble patch, and all you can do is circle round it and point and say it’s somewhere in there.”

I first saw Pete Seeger on an episode of Reading Rainbow when I was little (Pete Seeger and Levar Burton, on the same show! What could be better?), and he’s been an important artist in my life ever since. His gentle humor and relentless optimism were as inspiring to me as his courage. I feel kind of sad that I’m living in a world without him now.

One of my favorite tracks is the second video, a version of his song “Well May the World Go” from The Songs of Pete Seeger, Vol. 2. I never get tired of this song, I love it as much for the stories and wisdom Pete dispenses between verses, as the song itself.

Blessed be, Pete. Thanks for the music.

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2013: A review

Hello, internet! How's things? I missed you. 2013 was a quiet year, a very internal year, a year of Working Through Things and not talking about them much. It was better than the previous years, but it was still pretty...challenging.

Here's a round-up of the Good Things about 2013:
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Okay, 2014. Bring it on. I'm ready for you.
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Music memes: dorky Canadians and subtextual lesbians

day 03 - a song that makes you happy

Barenaked Ladies, "If I Had a Million Dollars"

I was really into BNL when I was 15. This song still makes me laugh with its extremely dorky, stoner humor.

If I had a million dollars
We wouldn’t have to walk to the store
If I had a million dollars
We’d take a Limousine ’cause it costs more
lyrics here

30 Days of Tori: Day 8 - Your favourite song from From the Choirgirl Hotel

aka The Lesbian One. from the choirgirl hotel is always an intense experience for me; so many of the songs hit me where I live. Ironically, though it's her most overtly queer song,  "Raspberry Swirl" is one of the Tori tracks that has the least emotional resonance for me. It's fun, it's dirty, it's pure Tori.

i am not your senorita
i am not from your tribe
in the garden i did no crime

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Talula and Young Girl

30 Days of Song: day 02 - your least favorite song

I grew up surrounded by my parents' oldies music, and while there is a LOT of crap in that era, I think Gary Puckett and the Union Gap's "Young Girl" wins hands down. It's both creepy, and an earworm. Pure evil.

I didn't think this song could get any worse until I saw the video. Like, it's bad enough that it's a classic example of that 60s' chauvinist Lolita fetish ("Beneath your perfume and make-up /You're just a baby in disguise" EW GROSS), but the Confederate uniforms and flag just leave me gobsmacked. So...they're racist Confederate pedophiles? What? Huh??

30 Days of Tori: Day 7 - Your favourite song from Boys for Pele

I got my rape hat on
honey but I always could accessorise

This was a narrow contest with "Muhammad My Friend", but I just love the whirling movement of the harpsichord on the track, swirling around the militant drumbeat. The Tornado Mix is great, but the original version is brilliant and fits into the album better. The snarky lyrics are pure Boys for Pele
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Music memes

I've decided to do the 30 Days of Song meme -- and finish the Tori meme at the same time!

30 Days of Song -- Day 01: your favorite song
Okay, I literally cannot decide what my favorite song is, so I'm going with the one with the most plays on my iTunes, which is Tori's "A Sorta Fairytale"

down New Mexico way something about the open road I knew that he was looking for some Indian Blood and find a little in you find a little in me we may be on this road but We're just Imposters in this country you know

lyrics here

I spent a lot of time on the road when I lived in the States, and this song always captures that liminal road trip feeling for me.

30 Days of Tori -- Day 6: Your favourite song from Under the Pink

She knows what’s goin’ on seems we got a cheaper feel now all the sweeteaze are gone gone to the other side with my encyclopedia they musta paid her a nice price she’s puttin’ on her string bean love

I prefer the US video, but the sound quality is terrible, so here's the UK version. The piano breakdown at the end of this song kills me every time, and makes me wish I could play the piano.

I'll try not to have Tori for both answers every time...!
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hello again

I'm not dead, I've just been working 6 days a week for the last 3 months. So, I'm mostly dead, but that's still slightly alive.

Luckily, my work schedule returns to something approaching sanity this month, so hopefully I can return to normal now.

But first I need a long, extremely hot bubble bath. 
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Birthday loot

So, I turned 30 this month. Holy cats.

It was a nice birthday, and I got lots of great stuff:

Tori’s new album, Gold Dust, which is lovely and beautiful and stunning. Hearing an orchestral version of “Precious Things” was a revelation; I really “get” that song in a way I never did before. The hardcore purists may revolt at her shortening of “Yes, Anastasia”, but I love its condensed intensity. “Flavor” is magical and entrancing. Overall, recording with the Metropole Orchestra gives her work a lushness and vibrancy I couldn’t have anticipated, especially since so many tracks had strings in their original versions. A full orchestra really brings a new dimension to the music. (I keep meaning to finish the meme I started. This is why I never do memes, I always forget about them.)

Clannad’s An Diolaim, an old favorite that I’d discovered at the library as a teenager. I’d left the tape I’d made of the album behind when I moved to the UK, and it’s nice to have it back on CD. “Coinleach Ghlas an Fhomair” is a song that’s always spoke to me, even though I’ve never known what it actually means.

Alison Bechdel’s Are You My Mother? I had a glance at this at the bookstore and immediately knew it would be an Important Book in my life. Fun Home was excellent, but Are You My Mother? is her masterpiece. Bechdel’s account of her fraught relationship with her difficult mother is a tour-de-force of structural brilliance, artistic depth, and emotional insight. It’s also a searing depiction of the mother-daughter dynamic caught between the relentless pressure of patriarchal society, and the disruptive force of lesbianism. I can’t really articulate how important it was for me to see someone examine, with ruthless honesty, this fundamental constant in every lesbian woman’s life; and to do it without making concessions to a straight audience.  Also, it’s funny. A must read.

Red Riding Hood. I actually really liked what Catherine Hardwicke did with the first Twilight film, and her version of “Red Riding Hood” is equally interesting. I love a good, lush fairytale adaptation, and I like the subversive psychological elements that Hardwicke introduces into the film — which I can’t really get into without spoiling the twist. Plus it’s very watchable, and Julie Christie as the grandmother is awesome. There were definite nods to The Company of Wolves.

Plus I got lovely soaps and other little goodies. We went to the art museum to check out the new gallery of contemporary art, which was kind of disappointing really, because it was full of that kind of “radical” art that’s so focused on it’s own theoretical cleverness that it forgets to communicate with the viewer. Derivative is the word that comes to mind. But we both were mesmerized by Miriam Backstrom’s abstract tapestry (you can see a picture that doesn’t do it justicehere).  But we had some killer crepes for lunch, and the weather was gorgeous. So a very nice, relaxed birthday.

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31 Days of Tori -- Days 3,4, & 5

A song that reminds you of an unhappy moment/event

Lately I’m sure it’s you there waving 
in the distance, closer. The closer I get… 
Disappointment tears. Yes it tears 
They just have the same color of your hair 
you’re not there

Worst. Christmas. Ever. 

Your favorite song from Y Kant Tori Read

i’m much stronger than you know
i’m not afraid to let it show

There's a real Bonnie Tyler-esque charm to Y Kant Tori Read. This one has aged pretty well in her recent concerts.

Your favourite song from Little Earthquakes

if you need me me and
neil'll be hangin’ out with the DREAM KING

I may be over my Neil Gaiman phase, but I still love the shoutout to The Sandman. I like the dreamy, atmospheric melody combined with the assertive lyrics.