Songs of my life

Have you ever thought about the music in your life? We all have our favourite songs and albums but then there’s the music that we remember because of what it meant to us at certain times in our lives, the soundtrack to our lives.

I wrote a post a while ago about the soundtrack to my life but I thought afterward that it felt incomplete; it was a list of songs I remembered playing during my life but they weren’t all my favourite songs, the ones that really mean something to me.

So I thought I’d do a second list. These are the 10 songs I think best reflect my life, who I am up until now. It was harder to do than I thought but it was a lot of fun too. I wonder what your list would be? 😉

Fall At Your Feet
Crowded House

The finger of blame has turned upon itself
And I’m more than willing to offer myself
Do you want my presence or need my help?

The Scientist

Running in circles, coming up tails
Heads on the science apart

Big Yellow Taxi
Joni Mitchell

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

Under Pressure
Queen & David Bowie

And love dares you to change our way
Of caring about ourselves

Forever Young

Praising our leaders, we’re getting in tune
The music’s played by the madmen

Hard Sun

Bound down and flew away the hours
Of her garden and her sun

Sarah Blasko

You say that our love can’t be a pattern in your palm
You say that our love, you say that our love, is only mapped

Fleetwood Mac

If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well the landslide will bring it down

Waiting On The World To Change
John Mayer

We just feel like we don’t have the means
To rise above and beat it

Where The Streets Have No Name

I’ll show you a place
High on a desert plain
Where the streets have no name

7 things I want to do before I die

The beginning of the new year’s made me think about a few things. Well, that’s not unusual; I’m always thinking. 😉 But particularly I’ve been thinking about some of the things that I’d like to achieve in my life. Recently I’ve decided to have a look at my priorities, so I thought making a list of some of those things might be a good place to start.

It’s just a short list; I plan to add something new each year so it stays fresh. They’re things I’d like to be able to look back on in later years, things that would make me feel I’d achieved something and could remember with fondness. I wonder how many would be on your list?

7) Learn to dance.
I’m a terrible dancer. I always feel self-conscious and awkward. A large part of that is I’m very sensitive to noise, so being near loud music is difficult. But I’d love to be able to dance; to dance with my wife at our reception would be something I’d remember for the rest of my life. Of course, first I’d need a wife…

6) Spend time on every continent.
I’ve always wanted to see more of the world. Over the next 10 years I hope to see more of Europe and the Americas and it’s my dream to see the Pyramids. Eventually I hope I’ll be able to spend some time on each continent. Antarctica will be the difficult one, if you believe Al Gore.

5) Make a pilgrimage.
I’m not sure where I’d like to go yet but making a journey I’d remember for the rest of my life is something I’d love to do. Jerusalem would be one possibility, or tracing Rome’s history… probably what appeals to me the most is tracing Darwin’s route through the Galápagos.

4) Sleep under the stars.
This is probably the easiest one to do but one day I’d love to get out of Sydney and spend several nights under the stars. You can barely see the stars at night here and the sky is never clear; I imagine being away from the city, the darkness would be beautiful.

3) Listen to someone’s life.
I’ve always liked the idea of a speaker for the dead, to use Orson Scott Card’s term, someone who would learn and speak about a life honestly. One day I hope to listen to someone tell me their story, to truly get the chance to know them… and then if someone wanted to know about them after they had passed, to share it so they would live on.

2) See John Williams and Howard Shore in concert.
I talk about music a lot, but I’m actually more interested in classical music than I am pop music. I write to it and I think movie scores are the closest thing we have to the great compositions of the past. For me John Williams’ score for Star Wars and Howard Shore’s for The Lord of the Rings are the greatest scores ever written (Miklos Rozsa’s Ben-Hur a close third). I’d love to hear both performed live, given the opportunity.

1) See all 4 Grand slams.
Tennis tragic that I am I’d love to see Wimbledon, the Australian, French and US Opens live. I haven’t been to the Aus Open in Melbourne yet but I hope to go next year; if things work out well, that might be when Federer overtakes Sampras’ record. Hopefully I’ll be able to see the others too at some stage. Maybe I’ll be able to see Agassi’s and Graf’s daughter win Wimbledon. 🙂

5 worst films of all time

I’ve been looking forward to the release of The Golden Compass next month but I’m starting to get a bad feeling about it. His Dark Materials is one of my favourite series and what I like is that Pullman doesn’t dumb anything down for his readers. I’ve never bought into the idea that it’s anti-religious either; to me Pullman’s criticism is of the dangers that come with blind faith and dogmatism, rather than of religion itself.

But director Chris Weitz has indicated that some of the themes have been watered down; religion and God won’t be referenced directly in the movie. To me that’s ripping the heart out of the story; it’d be like having Star Wars without The Force. And it’s hardly avoiding controversy anyway, with the Catholic League calling for a boycott.

I’ll try to keep an open mind and hopefully it’ll be a good adaptation, but it’s made me think about a few films I really haven’t liked… ones so awful that they still leave a bad taste in my mouth. So here’s my list of the 5 worst films I’ve seen. I wonder how many would make your list? 😉

5) Waterworld
An over-long, indulgent mess, Waterworld was just a chore to get through. The story makes little sense (where’s the sea life that should thrive in the oceans? And of course there’d have to be a myth of “Dryland” somewhere), it’s preachy rather than cautionary, and the acting is awful, Costner doing his nomadic loner thing again. One example that no amount of money can save something if it doesn’t have a good story first.

4) Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles
I’m not a big fan of the Crocodile Dundee films to begin with, particularly how the series succeeds by stereotyping Australian life. The first film was okay, but II was bad and Dundee III is just atrocious. The jokes are tired and predictable, the son annoying rather than cute, and you just wonder why they couldn’t have left it in the 80s where it belonged?

3) Dude, Where’s My Car?
I know Dude, Where’s My Car? has a cult following but I’ve never got it. I don’t mind dumb comedy like Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure but Dude just feels like one long, stretched out joke… only it lasts 80 minutes. Dude, where’s my car? Where’s your car dude? DUDE, where’s my car? Where’s your car dude?… my head hurts just thinking about it.

2) Swept Away
Possibly the only good thing about Swept Away is that it resulted in Madonna swearing she wouldn’t act in movies again. The whole film feels indulgent; the acting is atrocious, the characters have no redeemable features, the editing is bare and choppy, and any humour that does exist is because it’s so unintentionally bad. And there’s not much of that humour either.

1) Battlefield Earth
I rented Battlefield Earth thinking it couldn’t be as bad as the reviews. If anything it’s worse. John Travolta came incredibly close to career suicide with his one-dimensional portrayal of alien Terl complete with dreadlocks, tons of make-up and villainous cackle. The plot is senseless, its symbolism hits you over the head like a hammer (no more so than when Johnny discovers the Declaration of Independence!), and the score screeches like an animal being slaughtered. I don’t think I could watch it again (or read the book) if somebody paid me. In 2005 the Razzies named Battlefield Earth the worst drama of the last 25 years; that might be being generous – IMO it’s quite possibly the worst film of this century.