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Dying for a good tune…

My mind works in an odd way sometimes.
Well ok, most of the time, but sometimes I notice it.

The one downside to the nostalgia I’ve been wallowing in for the last few weeks, thanks to the Facebook page largely populated by those of us who went to the same school, is discovering the number of people who are no longer with us.
I mentioned in a previous post how shocked I was that so many people I knew as a teenager have passed away in the intervening years since school, and the roll call of deceased classmates continues to grow.

Now, this got me thinking about funerals.
Not a very cheery subject for a blog post, I’ll give you that, but bear with me.
Funerals are obviously not occasions to enjoy exactly, but a good percentage of the ones I’ve been to are designed as a celebration of the life of whoever is lying quietly at the front, the absolute centre of attention for the very last time.

And with that focus of attention comes some measure of responsibility.
This is your final big moment, you want to give all those folks that have travelled from far and wide something to remember you by.

Fanatical as I am about it, I think music should play a big part in proceedings and it’s up to you to make sure you pick the right soundtrack.

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But by what criteria should a decent funeral song be judged?
Do you pick a syrupy ballad that’s guaranteed to drag wracking sobs from the assembled mourners, go for something a bit more uplifting, a jolly sing-along to cheer people up, or just stick to a sombre drone and let them sort their emotions out for themselves?

I know Robbie Williams has untold millions of fans, but the apparently endless final curtain calls that have been enhanced by him crooning Angels over the end credits suggests a certain lack of imagination on the behalf of whoever assembled the playlist for the big day. (See also: My Way, We’ll Meet Again, My Heart Will Go On, Wind Beneath My Wings, You’ll Never Walk Alone)
The music for your last exit should be chosen by you, for your audience.

At the funeral of a close friend a few years ago, we entered the crematorium to the dirty riffing intro of Welcome to the Jungle by Guns ‘N’ Roses and left, as her magnificent wicker coffin disappeared, to the stomping pomp rock of We Will Rock You by Queen.
Lots of smiles at that funeral, setting the mood for a somewhat rowdy wake, a gloriously nostalgic celebration of Lori, someone whose character was as huge and outrageous as the music she picked for her swan song.

So, what would you pick as the tune that brought the curtain down on your final performance?
Would it be a song whose lyrics were applicable in some way to how you lived your life, or one which had some resonance with you personally?
Or maybe you’d choose something purely on the strength of its entertainment value to the ones who’d come to see you off?
I can’t see there’d be too many sad faces at a memorial service with the Muppet Show theme as the closing number, can you?

Better still, you could always pick something which only you found funny. After all, there’s no rule saying you have to have a musical track. Imagine the satisfaction of breathing your last, secretly knowing that as your coffin vanished behind the curtain, the carefully unlabeled CD, supplied by you for the solemn moment, would be played and Derek and Clive* would be unleashed on the congregation.

I’d like to think that my current favourite choice for my own retirement from humanity is sufficiently odd to be unpredictable for those who might try and guess it (assuming they’re not reading this and have long memories, that is) and yet recognisable enough to some that it will provide that all-important nostalgia kick.
And it will be timed so the assembled throng have to listen to the whole song too, otherwise what’s the point?

There are any number of songs I could have picked, but I have no special wish to pick an arbitrary Favourite Track Of All Time, like some sort of blockbuster’s closing theme tune.
I’m not even that interested in picking one that most symbolises me as a person, whatever that strange cacophony may sound like.

The song I did pick (see link below) is one that will divide the audience, I suspect.
It’s pretty much a love-it-or-hate-it type of record, and for all I know it’s used at many funerals a week, all around the country, but I doubt it.
Although it’s not a vintage classic, or even by a famous band, and it’s far from my favourite ever song, I’ve always thought it has a rather nice pathos to it that would particularly suit the emotionally charged atmosphere of a funeral. (The date referred to at the start has no special significance, before you ask)
Plus, I’ve never been shy of doling out the occasional spot of advice myself…

So picture the scene; as you raise your eyes to the non-denominational stained glass window of the crematorium and then back to the slowly retreating, budget price casket, the speakers crackle and:

                                 Ladies and Gentlemen…

Aaaaaannnd…..Cut.

(* – contains very strong language. But you know that, because you didn’t read this bit in time.)

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2014 in aardvark, Humour, Music, Personal anecdote

 

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The one nobody reads…

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It’s Christmas day so I’m not really expecting anyone to be sat reading this, because you all have better things to be doing.
But I have the luxury of having a day off with nothing to do.
No gardening.
No DIY.
No shopping.
Nothing.

And nowadays, doing nothing usually means blogging.
Not in the same way as we might mindlessly scroll through our Facebook newsfeeds, occasionally commenting on something, idly channel-hop on TV or stare blindly as we flick through a magazine though.

I’d equate it more with doing a crossword or a jigsaw, something that requires you to interact with the medium you choose to immerse yourself in.

I suppose players of video games (in which I have precisely no interest) would claim the same total immersion in their chosen escape from reality, but even there you are constrained by the limits of the game itself.

Not that I’m claiming any great creative or intellectual superiority on behalf of blogging you understand – I’d be no bloody good at Call of Duty or GTA 5 – just that it uses a different set of cerebral muscles altogether.

On social networks the format tends to encourage spontaneity, which is fine but it doesn’t allow for much reflection or self-editing. So blogging is a bit of a con really. I don’t expect there are too many bloggers out there who think “Hmm, think I’ll do a bit of blogging…” and just run off a perfect post first go.
We all edit and re-edit, before letting the world outside our heads in on our current muse, pretending an eloquence we may not necessarily be capable of in real life.

I’m continually amazed by the extraordinarily high quality of writing being produced by people who are just sitting at home with their laptops, projecting their thoughts out onto the Great Big Internet in the hope that someone will read them.
Why some of these incredible writers don’t have book deals or columns in national magazines used to be beyond me, but now I realise that a lot of them are just happy to be writing, irrespective of whether they have an audience.

And for no other reason than because it’s funny, here’s Charlie Brooker attempting to convince Channel 4 News main man Jon Snow that he should get into gaming and that micro-blogging site Twitter is in fact the biggest role playing game ever.

Ooh, Dr Who is about to start, so that’s enough from me, except to leave you with a couple of festive novelty songs.
Because Christmas wouldn’t be the same without daft records would it?

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2013 in Blogging, Humour, Music

 

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A long, strange and tenuous trip…

At last, we are finally reaching the end of the road to nowhere, so to speak.
After nearly a fortnight of bending connections until they almost snap, digging out nostalgia-packed video clips, classic albums, movies and TV series, there’s just seven more degrees of separation between now and the finish line.

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Whether or not you’ve sampled the delights I have provided for your festive delectation thus far, (and don’t forget you can always come back at a later date – The Tenuous Lynx is the gift that keeps on giving) I for one have really enjoyed this link marathon.
Not only has it given my brain a daily workout, but I’ve found all sorts of stuff I’d forgotten about or haven’t thought about for years, and that alone has made it worthwhile.
Call it self-indulgent, call it contrived, but if I have introduced just one person to something new, interesting, funny or thought-provoking then frankly, my job is done.

So without further ado, let us start at the beginning of the end.

The previous leg finished at The Unbelievable Truth, David Mitchell’s Radio 4 panel show, so;

Mr Mitchell appears on Channel 4’s 10 O’clock Live alongside comedic ranter extraordinaire, Charlie Brooker.
Here he is, holding forth on the state of British politics in 2013.

Also on the show is ex-Kenickie singer Lauren Laverne, who provided guest vocals for oddball dance boffins Mint Royale on this joyous slice of quirky pop – Don’t Falter.
Mint Royale were also responsible for remixing the vintage Gene Kelly number, Singing in the rain, something much of the UK were almost certainly not doing this year due to the extreme weather conditions and flooding we experienced.
Flood (aka Mark Ellis) is a prolific producer, writer and sound mixer who has worked with bands as diverse as New Order, Sigur Ros and The Killers, as well as mixing this year’s new Depeche Mode album.
And here it is in all it’s dark glory – Delta Machine.
Dave Gahan from Depeche Mode famously died (after a drug overdose) and was revived, much like this candidate for happy ending of the year 2013 – The dead woman who woke up after giving birth.
They both came Back to Life and back to reality like Soul 2 Soul did in their funked-up hit of the same name in 1990.

And for our very last link in the tenuous chain, we end with a couple of cartoons.
Everyone loves a cartoon at Christmas, am I right?

Soul Eater is a series of Japanese Manga comics which has been turned into amine cartoons, screened on TV in the West for the first time this year.
Coming up is the first episode, and then for the finale of Tenuous Tina and her Lynx of Love, it’s followed by a true classic of the manga oeuvre, the movie, Fist of the North Star.

All that remains is for me to say that I hope you’ve enjoyed tagging along on this oddity of odds and sods and to thank Ho once again for bringing the Tenuous Lynx to life with his exclusive artwork.

So after 13 posts and 177 links, I’m caging the Lynx and replacing Tina in her display case.

Until next time…

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Diarist’s dozen…

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Yes it’s day twelve, the penultimate trip down the tangent trail towards today’s tenuous target.
We start off by sampling a slice of psychedelic space rock, then our journey continues via some gloriously jangly pop and an inside look at one of the year’s nastiest new TV characters, to finish off with a wealth of audio amusement.

On our last outing we ended by paying tribute to the great scientific minds that helped us to find and identify that pesky little particle, the Higgs boson. So I thought I’d start this first leg of the home straight with an album by one of my all-time favourite bands;

Hawkwind named their 1977 album after some more subatomic particles and you can get your very own dose of cosmic radiation by listening to the whole thing right now – Quark, Strangeness and Charm
And where to go from there but to This Charming Man by The Smiths, fronted by Morrissey.
English actor David Morrissey has had great success in the States this year, playing new character The Governor in zombie thriller series The Walking Dead
…which stars another Englishman abroad, Andrew Lincoln, who had his first walk-on part in up-to-the-minute satirical newsroom sit-com Drop the Dead Donkey..
…which was co-written by Andy Hamilton, creator of Hell-based radio comedy series Old Harry’s Game and presenter of an irreverent documentary on the history and myths surrounding his lead character, The Search for Satan.
Hamilton is also a regular guest on BBC Radio 4’s “antidote to panel games”, the fabulous I’m Sorry, I Haven’t a Clue, now presented by Jack Dee.
But here’s the classic line up, with late, great jazz trumpeter and national treasure Humphrey “Humph” Lyttelton in the chair, recording the show in front of a live audience.

And I’m keeping to the radio comedy theme for my second-to-last choice of 2013 best bits, mainly because I love it and partly because not enough people listen to comedy on the radio nowadays, despite the fact that many of our most popular TV sketch and panel shows started off on the airwaves before making the move to the small screen.

This show is presided over by a man who is no stranger to TV himself, David Mitchell, who has graced this list once already.
Ladies and gentleman, I give you The Unbelievable Truth.

Enjoy, and I’ll return with the final episode of Tenuous Tina and her Lynx of Love tomorrow.

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2013 in Arts, Blogging, Humour, Music, Tenuous Lynx, TV

 

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And on the eighth day…

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Entering the second week in the company of Tenuous Tina and her Lynx of Love, I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever again have a thought which I don’t automatically try to connect to another by way of a tortuous route through cultural references trawled from my memory banks.

That being said, I’ve found some excellent stuff that I would not usually have come across in the normal course of writing a blog post, so I’m not complaining.

And today’s collection of multimedia nuggets are no exception; the full first episode of yet another of my TV highlights from 2013; the original ’80s pilot of one of my absolute, no competition, hands down, top TV shows of all time (no, not Twin Peaks this time); a hit single by the star of that same show AND two complete audio books by one of my favourite authors.

Don’t say I never do anything for you.

If I remember rightly, we ended yesterday on Boss, the drama in which Kelsey Grammer chews up the scenery as the mayor of Chicago.
So today;

A real life mayor who has been in the news of late and possibly the year’s most honest and frank politician, Toronto mayor Rob Ford admitted to smoking crack, although he did point out that he only did so whilst in an “alcoholic stupor”.
Well that’s okay then.
He was interviewed on television by Conrad Black, who was born in Canada but has a British peerage (he is officially Baron Black of Crossharbour)
Orphan Black was a top new science fiction series from this year and it was filmed in Canada but made by the very British BBC..
…and co-stars Matt Frewer, possibly best known as the man behind the glitching rubber mask of neurotic sci-fi cyber-clown Max Headroom and his real world alter-ego, Edison Carter.
Max Headroom provided the vocals for The Art of Noise’s hit single Paranomia and I think that’s the cue for a song.
Take it away Max…

Paranomia is a song about not being able to get to sleep, or insomnia, as the condition is known. Insomnia is also the title of a novel by Stephen King and you can listen to the whole audio book right here.

Bringing me to a much anticipated literary event, the launch of Dr Sleep, King’s long-awaited sequel to The Shining.

So at Christmas, when the turkey has been stripped to the bone and you can’t move from eating too many mince pies, settle into your favourite chair, plug in your headphones, close your eyes and listen to Will Patton read the latest chilling masterpiece from one of the world’s greatest writers.

You’re welcome.

Wow, there was some good stuff in there!
Make sure you check out the Max Headroom link to discover the origin of a cult TV comedy legend and I’ll see you tomorrow for more exhaustively researched randomness.

 

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Tina takes the fifth…

Hello there, welcome to day five of putting all sorts of stuff into a completely different linear sequence to previously.
In other words, a New Order.

No?
Just me then.

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Ok, here we go again.
Yesterday, my fourth instalment in this festive farrago of fabricated flowcharts ended with New Order and their Lost Sirens album.

New Order are from Manchester, as are Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.
Another famous Gallagher from Manchester is Frank Gallagher from Shameless, which came to an end this year.
Earlier series of Shameless also featured a character called Kevin, played by Dean Lennox Kelly, who co-stars in Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel
… a film that stars Chris O’Dowd who was in The IT Crowd, which also came to an end this year.
The IT Crowd first series included cameos from comedy terrorist Chris Morris, who created near-the-knuckle satirical offense-fest Brass Eye
…co-created with Armando Iannucci, whose toe-curlingly crass creation, Alan Partridge from The Day Today went on to star in his own series.

Bringing us to another movie highlight of the year, Alan Partridge – Alpha Papa.

Don’t forget to check out all the links in these posts. They are packed full of music videos, films, whole episodes of classic TV shows, entire albums and live performances, tailor-made to get you through the televisual dross that passes for entertainment over the festive season.
So bookmark yourself some virtual chunks of holiday cheer, compliments of Diary of an Internet Nobody.

Don’t touch that dial…

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2013 in Arts, Films, Humour, Music, Tenuous Lynx, TV

 

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Tenuous Tina and her Lynx of love…

Those of you who have been reading this nonsense for long enough may remember that I did my 2012 end of year review in the form of The Internet Nobody Awards, or TINA’s as I like to call them, which I bestowed upon my favourite stuff from last year.
TV, film, music, gigs, and blogs were all put through my rigorous rating system (all the rules of which are a closely guarded secret, to prevent me having to make them up them falling into the hands of unscrupulous bookmakers) and a lucky few received a custom made virtual Tina statuette.

Well this year, despite failing miserably to convince a single one of my nominees to attempt a daisy-chain sequence akin to my Tenuous Lynx Award from a few weeks ago, and because I enjoyed doing it, I’ve decided to combine the two.
As I write this I’m still working on the details, but as I’m not really one for following rules, (even my own) I’ll probably just make it up as I go along.

For a start, it isn’t going to be a review of stuff that necessarily has anything to do with 2013 per se, more a list of things that I’ve found and loved in the last twelve months, irrespective of when they’re from.

Make sense?
Well, we’ll see won’t we?

So, without further ado allow me to introduce; (fanfare please)

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As we are coming to the end of 2013, I think it only right that I should pick 13 things that I think deserve this deeply contrived and random accolade.
Of course each one should once again be connected to the next by 7º of separation and all the links should be stuff that I like.
With any luck, when the predictably dreadful festive TV kicks in, this list will give you a pre-loaded store of entertainment to fall back on between the few decent films and acceptable one-off Christmas specials that might just sneak in when the schedulers aren’t looking. (I have a feeling this may take more than one post)

But where to start?

I think it’s only fair that Tina herself finally gets some credit. Tina Weymouth that is, for it is her head that adorns the gleaming statuette I created last year.

So;
Tina Weymouth played bass in Talking Heads, who made the greatest film document of a concert of all time, Stop Making Sense, and you can watch the whole movie right here.
David Byrne from Talking Heads made My Life in a Bush of Ghosts with producer-boffin extraordinaire, Brian Eno.
Eno has worked on albums by artists as diverse as U2, Coldplay, David Bowie and James.
James and the Giant Peach is a children’s book by Roald Dahl, who also created and introduced Tales of the Unexpected which scared the crap out of us every week when we were kids.
One thing that’s always unexpected is The Spanish Inquisition
…which is a Daft sketch by Monty Python, who were famous in the era of Punk.

Which brings us to the first arbitrary highlight of my year, Daft Punk’s album Random Access Memories.

So there you have it, the start of a rather unconventional look back at some of the cool things from my year.

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Hope you approve of at least some of my recommendations.
I shall endeavour to provide you with more cultural gems each day in the lead-up to the holidays.
A virtual advent calendar of audio visual delights will be my present to you, lovely readers.

So stay tuned for more from Tenuous Tina and friends, or yule be sorry…

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2013 in Arts, Blogging, Films, Humour, Music, Tina awards, TV

 

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