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Media Consumed in 2012

Here are the lists of movies/TV watched and video games played in 2012. I'll put the lists under a cut because they are quite long and, frankly, you just might not care.

(Italics denote rewatch/replay etc.)


Movies

My favourite movies of this year were The Dark Knight Rises followed really closely by The Hunger Games. My favourite movies seen for the first time this year were The Lives of Others, The Station Agent and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. My favourite revisit was the incredible restoration BluRay reprint of The Godfather. The worst movie seen this year was Yellowbeard.

My goal this year was to watch 150 movies, which I failed with rather spectacularly. In fact, I didn't even make it to 100, unless you count the things that I watched more than once (The Godfather, The Hunger Games, The Dark Knight Rises, Tinker Tailor soldier Spy and The Station Agent). I was however still pleased with my movie consumption this year as I have neglected film for quite a long time. Huge thanks to fridge_buzz_now for recommending a fuck ton of horror movies, of which I saw, well, 2. But they were good!

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TV

As always, mostly sitcoms, and most of these were rewatches, but I simply don't believe that you can watch Seinfeld too many times. Highlights of this last year was the final series of The Thick of It and the first series of its US counterpart, Veep. In terms of drama, Game of Thrones proved hugely engaging (if not a little tough to rewatch) and Sherlock continued to deliver the goods in a charming and clever way. Best thing seen for the first time was undoubtedly Firefly but what will really stay with me is watching the incredible BBC documentary series about Auschwitz.

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Videogames

I have played more games than are on this list, but these are the ones that I started and finished (or in terms of the racing games, played enough of the form a balanced opinion). 2012 saw Call of Duty continue to satisfy but without delighting, gave my favourite game ever, Metal Gear Solid 3, a loving HD overhaul and saw me enjoy a Halo game so much that I actually saw it through. Without a doubt though, the real delight this year was The Walking Dead, a game which had me in tears throughout as a result of the portrayal of the relationship between a man and a young child. Beautiful.

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Caring. Sharing.

This week I watched, for the 6th or 7th time, Ken Russell's Tommy, a mad vision of The Who's equally mad rock opera of the same name. It's fantastic, but in a scary, odd kind of way. It never sits quite right, whether it's because of the freaky cameo from Tina Turner or Ann-Margaret being covered in beans and chocolate. Anyway, I thought that I should share a trailer or something, but I found one better on YouTube and actually found the entire movie (though with Spanish subtitles) for all of you to have a look at.

Tommy (1975, Dir: Ken Russell Prod: Ken Russell, Robert Stigwood)



Now, the sad thing is that watching it illegally means that you miss out on that absolutely stunning commentary with Ken Russell and Mark Kermode. It's great and something that you should seek out. Well don't worry! By a brilliant stroke of luck, I've found that too.

Tommy with Commentary



Hope that's given some of you some entertainment.

Paranoid movies

I first watched the 1978, Philip Kaufman directed, remake of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers when I was about 17. At this time in my life I knew that I perhaps loved movies more than the average person might, but was yet to find my feet as someone who knew the difference between something that I merely liked and something that was truly great (at this time, subtext and symbolism was easier for me to spot in books than in movies, something that is ridiculous to think about now). Part of my education in loving and watching films did not come from doing GCSE Media studies (which seemed to focus more on the different lighting of different scenes in The Bill) or from a formal Film Studies academic qualification (never made it to university at that age), but from being an insomniac who often watched Mark Kermode's Shooting Gallery on Channel 4 in the middle of the night. It was a great thing to be watching at that age. The artsy short films mixed with Kermode's informative introduction allowed me to get the most out of each of them, and I was rewarded with seeing some of the greatest films that I have ever seen. But the main thing that Mark Kermode and Shooting Gallery taught me was how to watch a movie - how to pay attention to what the camera is doing, how certain characters are lit, what sounds can be heard off camera, the importance and significance of costume design and colour, and so on.

It was after an episode of The Shooting Gallery that I first saw Invasion of the Bodysnatchers. To me, it was a Smorgasbord of things to feast my eyes on and tax my brain with using my new found knowledge. The sound was incredible and unsettling, the camera work and editing are jumpy and jarring and the overall look is washed out and sterile. The plot is a basic sci-fi/horror mashup of aliens assimilating humans and taking over the Earth, but where its strength lies is in the absolute lack of monsters and beasties. Instead the horror lies in the distrust that the characters have of one another and of the outside world. There are many moments where characters complain that their loved or otherwise close ones are different or not themselves, but specific examples are never given as to how. The only cues to something being seriously amiss do not come from things that are in the foreground of the movie, but in the background. Things seen in the distance show a world gone seriously wrong, but those focusing purely on performances of principal characters will miss these. It is within these moments that the movie launches itself into the realms of greatness. As everything is just out of reach and yet very much there, it leads to a hugely disturbing watch that makes you the viewer become both scared and, more importantly, paranoid.

I say paranoid because I do not think of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers as being a horror movie so much as an sticky, uncomfortable piece of cinema that makes you jumpy without realising why. To me, there is something very powerful about the distrust that people have with those around them and find it much more unsettling than scary aliens or even the unseen noise of something like the Blair Witch. And, for my money, nothing does it better than Kaufman's movie. John Carpenter's The Thing comes close, but cheapens itself by visual effects and crappy characters. Perhaps it's my Englishness seeping out of my pores, but I react to things being unspoken much more to things being shouted. As it turns out, I am quite a big fan of unspoken paranoia in movies. I'm not sure what part of the me this appeals to me, but it's something that I often crave. I think that it's because there is simply more reward in finding meaning and twists in things that are not overt; paranoid movies tend to layer themselves like onions with the full story only being revealed after multiple viewings. True horror or suspense comes not from malevolent third parties but from things within ourselves, perhaps simply the fear of fear itself. All I know is that I will take a faceless threat inhabiting the people of San Francisco over Jigsaw any day of the week.

5 other great paranoid films

1. The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)
2. All the President's Men (Alan J. Pakula, 1976)
3. JFK (Oliver Stone, 1991)
4. Glorious 39 (Stephen Poliakoff, 2009)
5. Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese, 2010)

Also consider...

North By Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)
The Wicker Man (Robin Hardy, 1973)
The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
Amadeus (Milos Forman, 1984)

Any thoughts or suggestions? I would dearly love some recommendations for other paranoid movies.

(NB: I did want to post a trailer or a clip from the movie to accompany this post, but there was nothing available. The trailer really does a disservice to this incredible movie.)

February.

I have nothing much to say, but feel the desire to update. So let's just see what happens. I'm what Oscar Wilde said IN REVERSE.

This morning I woke up a couple of times and felt my usual anxiety about being awake (which is nothing out of the ordinary for any of us) but had a sudden realisation that I have, at the moment, absolutely nothing to be anxious about. Yesterday I had to make a phone call about my council tax (which I always hate doing) and they were very accommodating and did exactly what I wanted them to. I also had to call British Gas as I currently spend almost 20% of my monthly income on gas and electricity and wanted to save some money. They were a lot less helpful, telling me that this more or less reflects what I use. I am doubtful of this though, as who the fuck spends £101 a month on electricity? They are compiling a new bill based on my meter readings though, so I suppose time will tell.

My new year's resolution was to watch more movies, which, so far, is going pretty well. I'm slightly cross at myself for only watching two movies this year that I have never seen before, but so far I'm up to 10, so that's not so bad. I'm very thrilled and pleased that Kate has watched The Godfather Trilogy with me, as it means that I can talk about it at length with someone. The depth of those movies is breathtaking. The first one is one of the absolute best movies that I have ever seen. My advice is to watch the entire trilogy twice, in quick succession, as you can spot all of the oh so subtle moments that are littered throughout the movies. Francis Ford Coppola was my age when he directed them, you know. Puts my life into sharp perspective.

I'm very much looking forward to the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, which is released tomorrow. Metal Gear Solid 3 is one of my favourite games of all time and the thought of it upgraded to look smoother and run faster is making me chomp at the bit. I am in a quandary as to whether I want to go out tomorrow and buy a physical copy or simply download it from the PlayStation Network (it's also available on Xbox 360, but for me MGS is, and always will be, a PlayStation game). I tend to prefer to have physical copies of games, but if I download then I can get it at midnight and might even save a small amount of money. I did this with the Ico/Shadow of the Colossus Collection, but I think that might've been on a special offer. Decisions decisions. In other gaming news, Kate and I bought Final Fantasy VIII from the PSN, which I am quite enjoying. It was only £3.99, so it seemed a bit rude not to. I'm also playing Saints Row: The Third, which is kind of fun, but so utterly puerile that it makes me a little bit cross.

No work for me this week as I'm on leave, so I'm having a bit ol' rest. It's great. People go on about the importance of holidays and having time to get things sorted out, but I can't think of much better than having the time to rest, absorb things that I love, go to bed and get up when I want and be around Kate and the cats. Maybe I'm quite easy to please. I do hope to go away with Kate somewhere this year though. We are thinking about going to see my dad in Irelend for our wedding anniversary or maybe just having a couple of nights away somewhere in this country. Nice as resting at home is, there are very few occasions where Kate and I actually get an entire day to ourselves, so going away is nice for that.

Think that's it. I'll leave you with Seals and Crofts.

A catch up

The big news I suppose is that I managed to sell my car for more money than I was expecting. While the past me would've taken the money and bought an iMac and lots and lots of cooked breakfasts, I did the boring thing and paid off a big debt that was eating a fair bit of my monthly wage, paid off the whole of my water bill and paid back some money that I borrowed. I treated myself, twice, buying some amazing Sennheiser PX100 II headphones and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (yeah, I know) but, aside from Christmas presents, I haven't seen a penny. I now have spent all of the money. Yes, I have very little to show for it, but you know, I'm sleeping at night without worrying about what's coming through the door now. And that's a great feeling.

Probably as a result of me getting some great headphones, I have rediscovered my love of music in quite a big way this week. I was watching one of those Best of the Old Grey Whistle Test programmes on BBC4 and watched a performance from a singer called Judee Sill, who I'd never heard of. This was the song that was played:



I don't think I've ever heard anything more beautiful in my life. I went and looked her up on Spotify and listened to her two albums and loved them both, in their entirety. I was compelled by her very sad life.

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From this, I was advised by the amazing fridge_buzz_now to listen to Karen Dalton, Dusty Springfield and Vashti Bunyan. And you know what? It was all amazing. I currently enjoying music more than I can ever remember. If anyone has any recommendations, please share. At the moment, 60s and 70s folk is my bag but feel free to rec' anything.

My cats are both doing well, with Hugo proving to be a lively and friendly little thing who is fit and healthy. Milo is beginning to be more friendly to his little brother, though does still tend to get fed up of Hugo constant need to spar with him. But things are going very well indeed.

I think that's everything. How are you?

"...So am I."

As most of you are surely aware, my favourite song of all time is Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks. But to single something out as a favourite without just reason and thought is rather foolish indeed, so I thought that I should dedicate an entire post (with videos!) explaining my oh-so-strong feelings about this amazing song. If you don't care then please feel free to stop reading now.

Firstly, it would be an idea to hear the song.



My love for this song is pretty plain and simple - I feel that it was written for someone like me. Musically it hooks you in with a gentle but catchy guitar riff followed by a simple, poinient vocal performance by Ray Davies. There is no big chorus and no singalong moments (aside from the "Sha-la-la" before the chorus refrain), no guitar solos and no screaming, fist in the air triumphant vocal flourishes. If one does not take in the lyrics then it comes across as a very very nice song that one would be proud of writing. With the words considered, it becomes the greatest song ever written and recorded.

It is often said that The Kinks' golden era can be bookended with notion of boy meets girl; from You Really Got Me (seething with sexual excitement) to Days (where Davies thinks back on this time with fondness). Interestingly, Waterloo Sunset does not fit into this at all, instead focusing on someone else's story entirely. The focus of the song is the stretch of the river Thames in central London between - I think - Waterloo Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge. The song tells the story of a nameless man watching the people living their busy lives, in particular Terry and Julie, a young couple in love. Like the best storytelling, Davies tells us details about the setting ("Dirty old river", "People so busy"), giving us pause for thought about where we are. This is no tale of naive bumpkins - this is the story of a big city.

But in the big city comes loneliness and isolation. After it is emerged that "Terry meets Julie/Waterloo Station/Every Friday night" comes the single most telling and affecting line in the whole song:

"But I am so lazy/I don't want to wander/I stay at home at night".

Though it might be that the narrator is a malevolent being that miserably looks at the lives of others with disdain, I like to think that he is someone that dearly wishes to have love and a life outside of his window. It seems that life has denied him these opportunities but, being a stubborn and plucky sort, he chooses to believe that it's his choice that he doesn't do these things, simply because of his laziness.

In the third verse, he becomes more vitriolic with his snappy "Millions of people/swarming like flies/'round Waterloo Underground" but then feels sympathy for the young couple in love, saying "But Terry and Julie/Cross over the river/Where they feel safe and sound". London, it seems, it a hive of drone like people clambering to simply get by in life and this is surely for the fools, but where there is love in the air, it sets people free.

The choruses also give an insight into our narrator's view on life. The world spins by so fast right outside his window and it's literally there for the taking, but "chilly chilly is the evening time". Best stay indoors. Might be boring but it's safe. At least he gets to take in the lives of others - of which there are plenty. And (this is vital) it does keep him happy. Yes, there is a sense of regret in missing out on all this fun and live, but it is too fragile and too brief to directly intervene with. The sunset that falls over Waterloo (presumably bridge) is indeed beautiful, but it lasts mere seconds. But from the safety of his window, he sees it day after day.

So yes, clever lyrics and a catchy tune, but what is it that makes this my favourite song of all time?

The thing that sticks in my mind is simply the fact that my favourite place in the entire world (and the place that I would like to scatter at least some of my ashes) is the south bank of the Thames between Westminster Bridge and the Millennium Footbridge. Of all the places I have ever been it is the most vibrant, beautiful and magical. I proposed to Kate here. I visit here every time I go to central London and I never get bored. I have had the great fortune of, on a warm, August evening, of seeing the sunset from the top of the London Eye. It is not a place to go as a group, it is a place to savour with a loved one or alone. It shows the greatest city in the world at its very best.

Waterloo Sunset sounds like the south bank feels. I'm not sure if this is down to retrospect or if there is something deeply engrained in the music that makes it so, but to say that Waterloo Sunset is the soundtrack of the place is selling it short - it is the sound of the place. I find it quite hard to visit without getting Waterloo Sunset lodged in my head while there. This to me is a very special thing.

I'm also an absolute sucker for songs sung by the writer who truly mean what they sing. This is obviously the case of people like Bruce Springsteen, but to have something as delicate and gentle as this without becoming bogged down with emotion or pathos is something very rare indeed. The words of Waterloo Sunset have as much humour of anything that Morrissey has written but falls well short of the sarcastic or saccharine. Ray Davies is an acerbic man, but possesses the most English of all traits - restraint. I'm not saying that this is a good or bad thing, but I will say that it fits in perfectly with the song as a whole.

And that is truly what makes the song so good. Every part of the song fits together so perfectly. Special mention should be given to Dave Davies for his incredibe and considered guitar parts. Truth be told, the bass and drums are actually, technically, a bit crap (there's a woeful timing error in Pete Quaife's bass playing in the first verse), but they serve the song extremely well by remaining simple and keeping out of the way. And, artistically, a rhythm section can't do better than this.

So there you have it - my favourite song of all time, considered and shared, I would just like to share with you some of my favourite verions of the song.

(In chronological order.)

This is a live performance by the Mk II Kinks in 1973. Dave Davies is on special form with some amazingly bluesy guitar work. It also has a great gospel sound that I've not heard in other versions.



Ray Davies from a British TV show at some point in the mid 70s. Possibly my favourite of all the versions that I've heard thus far. (I reserve the right to change my mind at any point, even if that before the end of this list.)



Ray Davies performing at the Glastonbury Festival in 1997. Great stripped down version. Lovely participation from the crowd. Also features an awesome shot of a man at about 2.38, full of emotion. Good economy of the guitar riff. And features Ray Davies in natty flat cap n' mac combo.



Another Ray Davies solo performance, this time from the Electric Proms at the Roundhouse, Camden Town in 2007. This is the full choral version. It's amazing.



I don't think that anyone has actually done great job of covering Waterloo Sunset (not least David Bowie, who's version makes me want to harm others), but there are a couple of nice versions to consider.

Peter Gabriel's version gets a bit silly towards the end, but his voice does make a fair stab and doing the lyrics justice, even if he's a bit wide of the mark sentiment-wise.



Not a great cover by Cornershop, but they get points for location of this performance.



Most contentious of all of the covers is the Eliot Smith one. It's lovely, but manages to miss the mark on more or less everything that the song is about. There's certainly nothing wrong with it, but I simply can't believe the story that I fully invest in when Ray Davies sings it.



Thank you if you read this far and watched some or all of those videos. Please feel free to comment, I would honestly love to know your thoughts.

Cat/Car

Last night I honestly thought that I had killed my kitten.

I was walking down the stairs and he was running around like he does and Hugo literally ran under my foot (with shoe on) as I put in down. I'm a big guy and the weight on him must've been incredible. He yelped and I twisted myself to get off him as soon as I could (hurting myself in the process) and he ran off and hid very fast. We were trying to make light of it, but I felt really guilty. We popped out for a few minutes and when we came back in we noticed that Hugo had used his litter tray. On close inspection I found that there was blood in his stool. Kate did a quick Google search and more or less everyone who had asked communities or online vets about what to do if they had trodden in their kittens or cats had the answer back "check for breaks but they should be fine - as long as there is no blood in the stool".

I was alarmed by this so rang the Out of Hours vet service. They were really nice and I gave them all of the information that I had. The receptionist said that she would have to speak to the vet and get back to me as to whether Hugo had to be taken in. She informed me that it was a standard rate of £120 to be seen before 11pm and £150 after. I said that I didn't have a car and she said that was fine - they offered a pet taxi service for an additional £40. Any x-rays, treatments and/or medication would be extra. This, again, alarmed us somewhat as we simply don't need that sort of money. We waited by the phone for about half an hour before I realised that I'd given the wrong mobile number. I rang back and the receptionist said that she had been trying to reach me to tell me that the vet had said that if Hugo's behaviours were normal and he was eating, drinking and going to the toilet okay then he wouldn't have to be seen. We had to keep a close eye on him though and any deterioration in him would mean that he had to be seen urgently. Luckily, Hugo by this time seemed fine - he's been drinking his water and had some dinner and was playing with his toys and scratchpost. We decided that he was probably fine.

This morning I couldn't find Hugo (he'd been sleeping under the bed) but noticed that he's used his litter tray. Again there was blood. I decided that I would take him to our usual vet (we found they were open Saturday mornings) for his first set of inoculations and flea/worm treatment (which we had to do at some point soon anyway) and mention to them what had happened and have him assessed first hand. The vet was, again, lovely and reassured us that the blood was probably simply down to trauma. She pointed out that there was no way of telling if there was anything internally wrong with him without giving him an x-ray, but also stressed that this was probably overkill as he was acting normally, eating, drinking and toileting okay and seemed so bright and healthy. She said that the reduction of blood in his stool this morning from last night was a good sign. She said that we should monitor him and take him to the emergency vet if there was a sudden change, but said that this was "highly unlikely".

Hugo's been very affectionate today and his normal, playful self. The last thing he did in his litter tray contained either no or barely any blood, so I'm relieved. He's taken to sleeping under the bed which I'm not too happy about, but that's mostly for selfish reasons as I like to look at and stroke him, but aside from that he's the same happy little kitten that he's always been.

I can't begin to explain how awful I felt last night at the thought that I might have seriously injured Hugo. We've only had him for 5 full days and an evening but I already feel like I have developed a strong bond with the boy. Kate and I are soppy buggers when it comes to our cats and we baby them something rotten, but there is a genuine sense of love behind this and the thought of harming one of them is horrible. I know that it wasn't really my fault and that these things do happen if you have kittens, but that doesn't provide much comfort. The important thing though is that Hugo seems to still trust me and is happy to have a cuddle and fall asleep on me. If I lost that I would be terrifically sad.

One good thing from all this is that Milo seems to have calmed right down when it comes to Hugo and actually showed signs of concern for him yesterday. He's a wonderful cat as well. I'm hopeful about them getting on well in the future.

***

In other news, I am selling my car. As this year has been really hard for us financially, the car has been declared SORN (Statutory Off Road Notice) and has been sitting on Paul (my brother's) drive since May as I couldn't afford to tax or insure it. We have our financial situation very nearly in hand, but we need a lump sum of about £600 to really make a difference, so decided that selling the car was the best possible course of action. I spoke to my dad about it when we were in Ireland and he made me feel much better about the prospect. He picked up on the fact that I associated having a car with being a proper adult and simply said that this wasn't the case. I feel good about it because I am taking control of my finances and taking responsibility. I also find owning a car very stressful as they are expensive and go wrong. I think I'll be happy enough without one for a bit. And hopefully, when we're out of this bleak patch, we'll be able to afford to get another one in a year or so. But who knows? I'm not pressuring myself.

It appears from texts this morning that Paul is going to put the car on eBay for me and will sort out any viewings his end. He's really nice like that. He stands to benefit from me selling the car as I owe him some money (and he gets to have some of his drive back) but even so, he often goes out of his way to help me out. I hope that I can repay him in some way at some point.

Think I'm going to pop off and fuss Hugo some more now. Hope he doesn't mind.

Hello.

I asked Kate what I should post about. She said "when was the last time you shared your feelings?". Good point. But we're not going there.

I find LiveJournal a bit difficult, to be brutally honest. Our laptop is currently is a shocking state of disrepair so am restricted to update using my iPhone, which is hardly ideal. I am also more of a micro-blogging sort who finds that bite sized nibbles of abstraction and esoterica are a far better way of processing thoughts than writing prolonged diary entries. Maybe I'm in denial about who I really am and like to hide behind my Twitter persona. Whatever the motive, that is the reason why the last time I updated was before we got the cat.

Aside from the cat, very little has happened over the past x months. I am recording songs (mainly covers) on my FourTrack iPhone app, which I very much enjoy. Kate sometimes does this with me. I play frequently with Tyler and we plan to gig when up to standard. I'm enjoying this repatriation into music more than I expected to. I certainly don't miss being in a band but there is something to be said for the sense of self expression that comes from playing. And it is better when playing with someone else.

This is something Kate and I recorded together:

Her Majesty & The Imposter -- Baby's in Black

Money is tight at the moment so I've not been playing too many new games, though I did pick up a couple last week after trading. One was Vanquish (as yet unplayed) the other was Crysis 2 (played and completed). I decided that I was going to review it and so, with much help from Kate, set up a new dedicated gaming blog. It can be found at http://chiefstreetcore.wordpress.com. My Crysis 2 review is right at the top.

Feb. 9th, 2011

List fifteen of your favourite characters from different series, and ask people to spot patterns in your choices, and if they're so inclined, to draw conclusions about you based on the patterns they've spotted.

  1. Tony Soprano (The Sopranos)
  2. George Costanza (Seinfeld)
  3. Miles Raymond (Sideways)
  4. Elena Fisher (Uncharted)
  5. Malcom Tucker (The Thick of It)
  6. Omar Little (The Wire)
  7. Lester Freeman (The Wire)
  8. Captain Edmund Blackadder (Blackadder)
  9. John Marston (Red Dead Redemption)
  10. Butch Cassidy (Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid)
  11. Inspector Morse (Inspector Morse)
  12. Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock)
  13. Alfred Pennyworth (Christopher Nolan's Batman films)
  14. Harry Lime (The Third Man)
  15. Alfred Borden (the Prestige)

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A song!

A couple of days ago, Kate bought me a Four Track recorder for my iPhone (aptly called FourTrack). I didn't really expect it to work too well (the ones that I have downloaded for PC were laggy and, therefore, useless to record multiple tracks on) but this one is brilliant. So much so that I recorded a song of my own to test it.

The song in question is called

Mountains, Beaches and the Sounds of the City (Click to stream/download.)

I wrote it in about 2001, with the chord structure and ostinato guitar part fixed in my mind but never put together. I can't remember the original lyrics, but I know that they didn't feature the song title in them at all. I revised the song shortly after moving to Northants in 2004, as I felt that the theme of escapism was a good fit with the misery of life at that time. The final lyrical rewrite happened in 2006, after much stability in our lives. I hope that it makes the song more positive.

The title of the song comes from a holiday to California back in 1999 with my dad, which turned out to be a transition from my life as an adolescent to an adult. That two week trip sits in my mind as one of the best things that I have ever done, and a time that I spent with my father that I often look back on with great fondness. The Mountains, Beaches and City simply refers to the topography and landscape of California - a place that I would often daydream about to escape the rigours of every day life.

The song was largely forgotten about until the day before yesterday. I hope that you enjoy it.

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