Autodidact: self-taught

Oct
27
2013

Re-Do Music

by V. L. Craven
Dark Woods 01

Image from the Dark Woods Facebook Page.*

October has been my favourite month since I was old enough to have a favourite month. And this one has been wasted by a prolonged bout with anhedonia, as mentioned in yesterday’s post.

At any rate, I’m calling a Re-Do on October. November is the new October, people. Let’s do this.

To kick things off, here is my Halloween playlist on Spotify . The theme is Evil. You could call it a playlist to commit murder to.

Tracks include:
The American Horror Story Theme
‘Psycho Killer’ – Talking Heads
‘Sympathy for the Devil’ – Rolling Stones
‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ – Tori Amos cover
‘(Don’t Fear) The Reaper’ – Blue Oyster Cult
‘Kiss the Goat’ – Electric Hellfire Club
‘The Garden of Allah’ – Don Henley

‘When You’re Evil’ by Voltaire

and ‘Murdering Oscar’ – Patterson Hood

Squirrel Nut Zippers’ ‘Hell’ is not available, but I’m including it here, because it should be.

And Draco & the Malfoys ‘Party Like You’re Evil’

Another playlist I’m enjoying working on is Autumn is Falling . It’s pretty trip-hop heavy–lots of Portishead, for example. But has loads of other things, as well.

Including:
Most of Tori Amos’ Under the Pink and selections from other albums
Selections from Baxter’s first album
Selections from How to Destroy Angel’s first release
Some Lamb
‘Becomes the Color’ – Emily Wells

‘The Funeral’ by Band of Horses

‘When I’m Small’ by Phantogram

And ‘Black Cat’ by Ladytron

I’ll leave you with a song they don’t have on Spotify, but should. The kick-ass live version of Sarah McLachlan’s ‘Black’.

*As mention in the caption, the photo at the top of the page is from the Dark Woods Facebook Page. If you like photos of forests that are spooky a good percentage of the time, give them a like.

Oct
26
2013

The Craft

by V. L. Craven

The Craft

Bookending this October’s media posts with Fairuza Balk. She grew up into a damn fine witch in The Craft.

When I saw this at the cinema as a teenager I was the only person in attendance and they’d put it in the smallest room so I pretended it was a private screening. I was heavily into my witchy-phase, so I was dressed similarly to Fairuza Balk. Though I didn’t have the funds for the wardrobe, I did my best.

Nancy was my favourite. She had a black noose in her locker.

Nancy's Noose

Her expression also sums up how I felt about school.

One of my fav scenes. Those boots. I eventually acquired a pair and they were not comfortable. I think I may have worked out why Nancy was so cranky. A nice pair of trainers may have helped her disposition.

I loved the way all of the girls dressed and, after seeing the film, tried to mimic them as much as possible, minus the Catholic skirts. I was not a short skirt person.

The soundtrack was one of those rare albums without a bad song on it. I listened to it constantly and still enjoy it. Jewel’s Under the Water was a particular fav. It’s probably the only song of hers I like. Here’s the entire album.

In the film, Portishead’s Scorn (a darker remix of Glory Box) is played, but didn’t make it onto the soundtrack. It’s a great song, though, so here it is:

This wraps up the October witchy posts. Thank you for bearing with me through the lack of other posts. I’m trying to get through this bout of anhedonia  and back to regularly scheduled posts.

 

BONUS!

Lifetime Intimate Portrait Witches

In the 90s Lifetime did a series of Intimate Portraits on famous and important women. One of my favourite episodes was the one on witches. It was narrated by Anjelica Huston. So…all the win.

Unfortunately, there’s only one version on the YouTube and it’s not available to embed, so here are the links.

Part one

Part two

Have a great rest of the weekend and Halloween!

Aug
03
2013

Children by Takuya Okada

by V. L. Craven

Children

Children is a 3D CG animation by Takuya Okada about the programming of children to be well-behaved, silent, clones of one another. It’s not just the kids, though. Everything is a copy of everything else. There is zero individuality. It’s a nice little commentary on society’s encouragement of fitting in, of doing as you’re told. If you are the person they tell you to be you always get 100 percent. That rhymed. That’d be the perfect motto of some dystopian world.

The music is a funeral dirge, which is a nice touch, and the palette is grey-brown. Interestingly, the symbol for individuality is black. I rather enjoy that, since people who wear all black in our society are generally looked at as misfits and many filmmakers would have chosen to make the symbol a bright colour.

I couldn’t find other animations by Okada, which was disappointing, but my Google-fu is notoriously weak, so if you know of any, please leave a comment.

Within the first minute or so I thought, this is a twenty-first century ‘Another Brick in the Wall.’

And there are loads of covers of the song, but Marilyn Manson’s is a personal favourite.

Mar
02
2013

Alan Parsons’ Tales of Mystery and Imagination

by V. L. Craven

This is a scintillating video of the entire Alan Parsons’ Tales of Mystery and Imagination album , inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s own Tales of Mystery and Imagination .

Really, put it on in the background and look at something else.

The full list is:
A Dream within a Dream
The Raven
The Tell-Tale Heart
The Cask of Amontillado
(The System of) Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether
The Fall of the House of Usher [this is a five part, 16 minute instrumental piece]
To One in Paradise

If you’d prefer to press play between songs and actually have something to look at, have the songs separately with videos.

The Fall of the House of Usher is my favourite song from this album. Possibly because it’s my favourite Poe story, possibly because it’s just brilliant.

The Raven grew on me (it’s the first time a vocoder was used in a rock song) though the other two based on poems did not.

The Cask of Amontillado is good (though he mispronounces ‘Amontillado’ GOD). I laugh every time Fortunato sings in a high-pitched, wavering voice, ‘What are these chains that are binding my arm?’ when he realises he’s been chained in a small cubby in a crypt. It makes sense, musically, but I would have been shouting like a lunatic.

Bonus!:
This page has a couple animated videos for The Raven and The Cask of Amontillado, if you’re interested.

Jan
12
2013

The Man of the Week

by V. L. Craven

Saturday next is the 204th anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s birth so this week’s posts will be focusing on Mr Poe, the person who first opened my eyes to the wonderful darkness within.

Today, animations.

First up, ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’, narrated by James Mason, released in 1953.


Next is the trailer for a stop-motion animation of ‘The Pit and Pendulum.’ The full film can be purchased here .


An animation of the Alan Parson’s Project song ‘The Raven’, which uses some of the poem as its lyrics.


Another Alan Parson’s Project song. This one is for ‘The Cask of Amontillado.’ (It’s a little annoying that they mispronounce ‘ Amontillado ,’ but the song is still good and the animation is nice.)


This is ‘The Raven’ read by James Earl Jones, set to ‘Moonlight Sonata’ and includes evocative photography as a slideshow.


Tim Burton’s ‘Vincent’, which references several of Poe’s works and is narrated by Vincent Price, who was an enormous fan of Poe.


And finally, this clever animation of Poe, attempting to shoot the introduction to his show ‘Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination.’

Dec
28
2012

Hoegen and Hancock

by V. L. Craven

Showreel of Gustav Hoegen’s Animatronics

And to think, Herbie Hancock’s ‘Rockit’ used to give me the screaming fantods.

Dec
22
2012

Dumb Ways to Die

by V. L. Craven

 

A Tumblr of gifs from the advert .

And the very geeky parody:

Dec
01
2012

American Horror Story Theme (Extended)

by V. L. Craven

American Horror Story has a brilliant theme. It’s very Nine Inch Nails.

The opening credits are evocative, as well.

Series One

Bizarrely, there’s no opening credits sequence on YouTube of Series Two.

However.

YouTube redeemed itself by giving us, an extended (re: seamlessly repeated x 4) version.

And a dubstep remix:

Also, a very lo-fi, chill remix:

Nov
25
2012

Cup of Brown Joy

by V. L. Craven

 

Wrapping up the series of posts about tea and biscuits, I present Professor Elemental and ‘Cup of Brown Joy’.

Bonus!

Most of the time the local World Market stocks my favourite biscuit, McVitie’s Rich Tea, but occasionally they run out.

Then I break into the factory and sweep armfuls into bags and run like mad

They then carry something called Balacha Marie Cookie, which I thought may work in a pinch.

I was mistaken.

They taste very much of vanilla, which is fine, but not what I’m looking for in a biscuit. They’re very light and delicate, which is also fine but see previous statement. It’s like trying to eat paper. Tissue paper.

Here is a side-by-side comparison:

Rich Tea on the left, Marie on the right

The nearest thing I can compare the Marie biscuits to are Nilla wafers. Eating them only made me want banana pudding.

Thanks for tuning in for this series on tea and biscuits for Americans. Have a cuppa for me.

Nov
17
2012

Psycho Killer by the Talking Heads

by V. L. Craven

Songwriters: BYRNE, DAVID / FRANTZ, CHRIS / WEYMOUTH, TINA

I can’t seem to face up to the facts
I’m tense and nervous and I
Can’t relax
I can’t sleep ’cause my bed’s on fire
Don’t touch me I’m a real live wire

Psycho Killer
Qu’est Que C’est
Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa far better
Run run run run run run run away
Psycho Killer
Qu’est Que C’est
Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa far better
Run run run run run run run away

You start a conversation you can’t even finish it.
You’re talkin’ a lot, but you’re not sayin’ anything.
When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed.
Say something once, why say it again?

Psycho Killer,
Qu’est Que C’est
Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa far better
Run run run run run run run away
Psycho Killer
Qu’est Que C’est
Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa far better
Run run run run run run run away

Ce que j’ai fais, ce soir la
Ce qu’elle a dit, ce soir la
Realisant mon espoir
Je me lance, vers la gloire … OK
We are vain and we are blind
I hate people when they’re not polite

Psycho Killer,
Qu’est Que C’est
Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa far better
Run run run run run run run away
Psycho Killer,
Qu’est Que C’est
Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa far better
Run run run run run run run away

Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh….
Psycho Killer lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

Oct
31
2012

Every Day is Halloween

by V. L. Craven

Songwriters: JOURGENSEN, ALIEN

Well I live with snakes and lizards
And other things that go bump in the night
Cos to me everyday is halloween
I have given up hiding and started to fight
I have started to fight

Well any time, any place, anywhere that I go
All the people seem to stop and stare
They say ‘why are you dressed like it’s halloween?
You look so absurd, you look so obscene’

O, why can’t I live a life for me?
Why should I take the abuse that’s served?
Why can’t they see they’re just like me
It’s the same, it’s the same in the whole wide world
Well I let their teeny minds think
That they’re dealing with someone who is over the brink
And I dress this way just to keep them at bay
Cos halloween is everyday
It’s everyday

O, why can’t I live a life for me?
Why should I take the abuse that’s served?
Why can’t they see they’re just like me
It’s the same, it’s the same in the whole wide world

O, why can’t I live a life for me?
Why should I take the abuse that’s served?
Why can’t they see they’re just like me
I’m not the one that’s so absurd

Why hide it?
Why fight it?
Hurt feelings
Best to stop feeling hurt
From denials, reprisals
It’s the same it’s the same in the whole wide world

© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

**I’ve changed the name of the song in the title, because the correct wording is ‘every day’, meaning each day, rather than the actual title of the song, which is ‘everyday’ meaning commonplace.

Oct
21
2012

The Garden of Allah

by V. L. Craven

by Don Henley, John Corey, Paul Gurian, Stanley Lynch

It was a pretty big year for fashion
A lousy year for rock and roll
The people gave their blessings to crimes of passion
It was a dark, dark night of the collective soul
I was somewhere out on riverside
By the El Royale Hotel
When a stranger appeared in a cloud of smoke
I thought I knew him all too well

He said “Now that I have your attention
I got somethin’ I wanna say
You may not want to hear it
I’m gonna tell it to you anyway
You know, I’ve always liked you, boy
‘Cause you were not afraid of me
But things are gonna get mighty rough
Here in Gomorrah-By-The-Sea”

He said “It’s just like home
It’s so damned hot, I can’t stand it
My fine seersucker suit is all soakin’ wet”

And all the hills are burning
The wind is raging
And the clock strikes midnight
In the Garden of Allah

“Nice car………
I love those Bavarians………so meticulous
Y’know, I remember a time when things were a lot more
Fun around here
When good was good, and evil was evil
Before things got so………fuzzy
Yeah, I was once a golden boy like you
I was summoned to the halls of power in the heavenly court
And I dined with the deities who looked upon me with favor
For my talents; my creativity
We sat beneath the palms in the warm afternoons
And drank the wine with Fitzgerald and Huxley
They pawned a biting phrase
From tongues hot with blood
And drained their pens of bitter ink
Vainly reaching for the bottle full of empty Edens
Branded special for the ones
Who had come with great expectations
To the perfumed halls of Allah
For their time in the sun

We were stokin’ the fires
And oilin’ up the machinery
Until the gods found out we had ideas of our own”

And the war was coming
The earth was shaking
And there was no more room
In the Garden of Allah

“Today I made an appearance downtown
I am an expert witness, because I say I am
And I said, ‘Gentleman….and I use that word loosely….
I will testify for you
I’m a gun for hire, I’m a saint, I’m a liar
Because there are no facts, there is no truth
Just a data to be manipulated
I can get any result you like
What’s it worth to ya?
Because there is no wrong, there is no right
And I sleep very well at night
No shame, no solution
No remorse, no retribution
Just people selling T-shirts
Just opportunity to participate in the pathetic little circus
And winning, winning, winning'”

It was a pretty big year for predators
The marketplace was on a roll
And the land of opportunity
Spawned a whole new breed of men without souls
This year, notoriety got all confused with fame
And the devil is downhearted
Because there’s nothing left for him to claim

He said “It’s just like home
It’s so low-down, I can’t stand it
I guess my work around here has all been done”

And the fruit is rotten
The serpent’s eyes shine
As he wraps around the vine
In the Garden of Allah
The Garden Of Allah lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Don Henly/Glenn Frey/Eagles

Oct
20
2012

Fun Films for October Conclusion

by V. L. Craven

This one didn’t fit with the other films, so it gets its own. The full length video for Michael Jackson’s Thriller is an excellent spooky.

 

And my favourite thing to watch every Halloween (or whenever) was the Making Of special for Thriller.

This series is most of the ‘Making of’ video. It’s chopped up because YouTube wouldn’t allow the poster to put up the music videos shown before and after the interview bits.

 

Photos from the Making of Thriller

Bonus: This isn’t scary, just awesome:

Apr
08
2012

Shuffle Your Music

by V. L. Craven

Put your iPod (or any mp3 player) on shuffle, type the first 25 artists, no skipping because you don’t want them there. Answer the questions.

1. Wings

2. Sia

3. Daft Punk

4. Dave Matthews Band

5. Medeski, Martin and Wood

6. Johann Sebastien Bach

7. Nicholas Hooper: HP & the Half-Blood Prince

8. Billy Joel

9. Jill Sobule

10. Marilyn Manson

11. Nine Inch Nails

12. (Debris) Various Artists: Arctic Circles 3

13. Michael Jackson

14. Two Steps From Hell

15. Mighty Mighty Bosstones

16. Baxter

17. A. Tchort

18. Moloko

19. Bette Midler

20. Air

21. Luscious Jackson

22. John Williams: HP and the Philosopher’s Stone

23. Sophie B. Hawkins

24. The Cranberries

25. Kid Rock

What was the first song you ever heard by 6? I have no idea.

What is your favorite album by 2? Lady Croissant or Colour the Small One

What is your favourite lyric that 1 has sung? “But if this ever-changing world in which we live in/Makes you give in and cry/Say live and let die”

How many times have you seen 11 live? Never

What is a good memory you have involving 20? One of their songs was the first song on the first compilation CD my (now) husband gave me.

Is there a song by 3 that makes you sad? I don’t think Daft Punk is capable of making a song that makes anyone sad.

What is your favorite lyric that 14 has sung? Two Steps From Hell songs only have lyrics in Latin and being chanted by entire choirs.

What is your favorite song by 19? That’s an impossible question to answer. Perhaps You Can’t Always Get What You Want/I Shall Be Released.

Who got you into 22? … I saw the first HP film and wanted the soundtrack, so… whomever chose John Williams to do the soundtrack, I suppose.

What was the first song you heard by 21? Naked Eye

What is your favorite song by 4? Again with the impossible questions… Halloween, perhaps.

What is a good memory you have involving 13? Dancing in my room to Smooth Criminal when I was a kid.

Is there a song by 23 that makes you sad? The only song I know by her is Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover, so, no.

What is your favorite album of 15? Let’s Face It

What is your favorite song by 8? Pressure

How many times have you seen 5 live? Never

What is a good memory you have involving 25? I don’t have any. It’s just a song.

What was the first song you heard by 18? Fun For Me

What is your favorite song by 17? I don’t have one–his work is dark ambient and is all very similar sounding.

Feb
18
2012

You’ll Have to Settle for WUBWUB

by V. L. Craven

I like dubstep. And I’m not ashamed.

My fav Skrillex:

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