2018 Film Challenge: 1. Enter The Void

If you’re wondering what this film challenge thing is all about, check out my previous blog post.

So, Enter The Void (IMDB info). This is a film I’d had downloaded for quite a while but kept putting off watching (partly because it’s quite long). I thought that I’d found it via some kind of list of ‘strangest films’, though as the film progressed, it seemed more likely that it was a list of disturbing/bleak films! Pretty sure it was a list that also included Requiem For A Dream (which I watched last year). There’s a line in the film that basically sums up the premise of it: “dying as the ultimate trip”. It’s pretty trippy, though not as much as I’d expected, actually. Overall I enjoyed it, but it’s hard to explain why. It kept my attention for the 2 hours and 40 minutes running time, so that’s no mean feat. I started to write a list of notes/thoughts during the film, as I thought it’d give useful reminders as to what I could write here, but I then decided that it’d actually be more entertaining (and easier!) to just directly post the list here. So, here are the bullet-pointed thoughts that I had whilst watching the film. I’ve avoided anything too spoilery (they’re mostly deliberately vague for that reason). Hopefully it provides a decent insight as to what you can expect from watching it:

  • Starts off with credits – symbolic of moving backwards?
  • Peep Show like, but with blinking
  • Like a Windows screensaver
  • I’m not sure if this is relaxing or terrifying
  • Bit of a pervy floating spirit
  • OK, it just got way pervier
  • Dying as the ultimate trip
  • Ew, no. That surely can’t be a properly performed medical procedure.
  • Don’t zoom in on that!
  • This is all pretty bleak really. Bright lights aside.
  • Now I’m confused
  • Glowing vaginas?
  • Glowing penis!
  • That’s an angle you don’t usually get to see that from!
  • I’m not sure if this is kinda sweet or really disturbing
  • Yeah, disturbing
  • I kinda enjoyed that, I think, but also feel traumatised
Posted in Films | 2 Comments

Looking back and looking forwards

Although the start of a new year is just an arbitrary date on the calendar; it’s hard not to spend some time reflecting on your life and where you want it to go. I never think of myself as making ‘resolutions’, but I’m prone to writing lists of goals/plans/ideals, which are pretty much the same thing. One of my goals for this year is to blog more about general life, so this is the start of that. I’m aiming for 1 post a month, so nothing overly ambitious – I wanted it to be a realistic and achievable target. This has stemmed from my realisation that I miss the days of LiveJournal and how cathartic it was to have that outlet. I’ll aim for less angst on here though (but am not promising anything).

Looking back

I’ve got a couple of old school books where I wrote about my plans/dreams/random-ideas for what my life would be like when I was ‘grown up’. They were only written a year apart, as one was near the start of Year 6 and the other at the start of Year 7. There’s not too much overlap with them though, so I’m going to share both of them, along with my reflections as to their accuracy. This first one was written on 13th December 1991 (so I was 11) and I clearly hadn’t yet fully grasped writing in sentences. This is written verbatim. It had the vague and open title of ‘When I Grow Up’:

When I grow up and get a job I want to be an author and write childrens books and in my spare time sing to my records and listen to them and relax. I like doing these things because I am like my dad. He has written a few books and is trying to get them published he also sings songs and is trying to be famous like that. Me and my sister and my step mum have sung on some of his songs.

Well, I definitely spend a decent amount of my spare time listening to music, singing along and also relaxing, so a big tick there (not that that was difficult to achieve, or ever likely to not happen). I do also still have dreams of being an author, albeit for a more adult audience (I don’t mean in an erotica way, though never say never…). And although my Dad never achieved the level of success and fame he desired, I’m incredibly pleased that he managed to get a couple of novels published.

Also I would love to go around the world on a ferry and buy something from every place I go to.

Yes, a ferry!! Not a cruise ship – a ferry. This can’t have been long after we’d been to France on a ferry, so I’d clearly been quite taken by the experience. Although I haven’t specifically achieved this ambition, I have done a decent amount of travelling. I also hope to do lots more, of course, plus am not against the notion of a cruise at some point.

I would also like to live in Wales some of my family live in Wales and I have visited them there and it is lovely.

Big tick there.

I do not want to get married.

I’m fairly sure that I did actually want to get married, but it was at the age where you’re still meant to find boys a bit gross, so I wasn’t admitting to that.

I want to stay friends and visit Anna like my Mum Hilary and Pamela they visit each other once a year and they have been friends since they were 5.

Anna was my best friend at the time. We drifted apart during Secondary school, though are Facebook friends if that counts? Strangely I didn’t predict the invention of social media.

If I decided I wanted children I would go to an orphanage and get a 1 year old baby or there abouts.

Ha ha ha ha, I love the specification of age. I was also clearly (and accurately) unsure as to whether I would ever want kids, but definite about the aversion to actually giving birth.

I would live in a reasonable sized new house so I wouldn’t have to decorate it.

I love how my ambitions are generally quite rational and achievable (ignoring the current property market, obviously).

I would have a Male and a Female Hamster then I would sell the babies.

Hamsters are still appealing pets to me, but I don’t still harbour breeding desires.

I will learn to drive a car.

No, I really won’t.

I am not going to smoke.

Accurate.

I would like to be very rich.

Note that I don’t say ‘I will be very rich’! I would still like to be very rich. Or just moderately rich. Hell, any kind of rich/wealthy/vaguely-well-off is sufficient.

Moving on to the version I wrote about a year later. This one was written on 8th September 1992 (so I was still 11, though almost 12). It had the more specific title of ‘Ten years on…’, so I was meant to be imagining my life at the grand old age of 21. However, as I clearly saw anyone over the age of about 16 as being ‘old’, I basically wrote it in the same way as the previous piece (though with better formed sentences).

I will let my hair grow naturally so it is very long.

I’m not sure how I could have let my hair grow any way other than naturally… Anyway, this was written when I’d never really had my hair cut, other than the ends being trimmed, and I had dreams of growing it so long I could sit on it. However, I actually ended up having quite a lot cut off of it towards the end of that academic year and it was soooo much better.

I will not wear any make-up except lipstick. I will only put on other make-up if it is a special occasion.

Lipstick’s actually the only make-up I don’t wear!! It never sits on my lips right, as they’re generally quite dry and a bit cracked. Plus it tends to make me feel a bit self-conscious. Not that I wear huge amounts of make-up anyway, but I do like to have a bit of foundation on at least.

I will be a librarian, and in the spare time I have, I will write childrens stories.

Yes, in the 9 months since writing the previous piece, I’d clearly decided / been told that I needed some form of more stable career to rely on, rather than just aiming for the author thing. Librarian was my potential career choice for quite a few years.

I will not be married. I will not have children either. I will not smoke.

All currently accurate.

I will live in the south of Wales in a biggish house by myself.

The house has gone from ‘reasonable sized’ to ‘biggish’! I do live in South Wales, in a reasonably sized / biggish flat, by myself, so calling this a win.

I will be slightly rich by being a librarian.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

I will have a car. My car will be a Rolls Royce.

Note that I don’t say I’ll drive the car! A Rolls Royce is surely more of a car to be chauffeur driven in, right? Plus I’m rich from the famously-high salary of being a librarian, so it all makes sense.

I will try to make friends with people and be friendly.

Awwww.

I will go on a world cruise on a big ferry.

Still with the ferry. At this point I start getting weirdly specific about how often I’ll do certain things…

I will go to the cinema at least once a month. I will visit the rest of my family at least every 2 months.

I don’t manage either of those things that often, though also don’t have the librarian salary, so…

I will have 2 kittens.

I have progressed from hamsters to cats! But still want them in pairs, like Noah (ok, yes, I’ve seen QI, I know they didn’t actually go in 2 by 2, shut up).

I will have a big garden with a greenhouse.

I’ve never particularly seen the appeal of gardening, so no idea what this was about. I think I just liked the aesthetic of a greenhouse. Maybe I was going to hire a gardener, to go with my chauffeur.

I will stay in touch with my friends from school.

Less specific about which friends this time! And I am still in touch with some friends from school, so yay.

I will sell the Beanos I have collected since I was 6 or 7 and they will be worth quite a bit of money.

I’m fairly sure my Mum chucked these away years ago. For a long time they were ‘up in the attic somewhere’. I doubt they’d actually be worth much if I did still have them though.

I will go to pop concerts.

Not sure I’d describe any of the gigs I go to as ‘pop concerts’, but close enough.

I will try to be healthy, fit and slim. I will do exercises every day.

I appreciate my inclusion of the word ‘try’. I still try to do such things. Well, ok, I never really try to do exercises every day – I know myself too well for that.

I will visit museums etc at least once every two months.

Back to the weirdly specific timeframes. Nice notion though.

I will go to either my Mum or Dads house every Christmas. I will visit my sister every Easter.

Ha ha, I clearly felt like my sister should have some form of equitable arrangement to my parents, but at the lack of a Christmas-equivalent, she got Easter. I’m not sure I’ve ever visited my sister at Easter.

After my world cruise I will go abroad once a year on either a ferry or an aeroplane.

Good that I specified how I’d get abroad…

I will wear high heeled shoes.

I very rarely wear high heeled shoes.

All-in-all I don’t think I’ve done too badly so far. Largely because I didn’t really set the bar that high for myself (income aside), but still – I kinda like that I haven’t drastically changed since I was 11!

Looking forwards

I have some plans/goals/ambitions/not-resolutions for 2018, plus also beyond, that I’m going to share here now – mostly because it’ll increase the chance of me actually achieving them if other people are aware they exist. This was my main reason for creating this website and blog in the first place. I’ve never been good at the self-motivation thing anyway, but it’s even harder when you live on your own. If no-one’s around to judge me for spending all day in my pyjamas, rather than spending time writing, then why make the effort? I mean that rhetorically, as of course I know why it’s actually worth the effort, but my pyjamas are oh so comfy. And yes, I could technically spend all day writing, whilst also being in my pyjamas, so it’s not a great example, but you hopefully get what I mean. And yes I am in my pyjamas right now… Anyway, the plans…

2018 plans

Most of my plans/goals are either quite generic ongoing things (read more, play more computer games, do more regular housework, exercise more, keep learning Welsh) or they’re the continuation of projects that have been ongoing for a while (scanning all my photos, copying home videos to digital format, uploading all of my Dad’s music to Bandcamp so it can live on). One of my bigger projects had been to re-create my Catatonia fansite as an ultimate archive of information about the band, scanning all of the magazine clippings I’ve got, etc. This had been an aim for a good few years, though I’d never made much progress. Within the last year or so, I did start scanning things, though this largely made me realise just how time consuming this was going to be. I’ve also never gotten far with the actual web design, plus have lost a lot of the love I had for web design and development in general. It was therefore a slightly mad idea to pay for web hosting and a domain name a few months ago! I thought it would help motivate me, but instead I’ve ground to a halt. I’ve rebelled against myself! I’m just not sure it’d be worth the amount of time and effort it would take. Plus if I’m not really going to enjoy the process, what’s the point? I wouldn’t rule it out as a future endeavour, but I’ve decided not to pursue it in 2018. There are a few specific projects that I will be pursuing though:

  • I’m planning to create my own text adventure game. Quite likely an X-Files themed one (because obviously). This is something I just decided upon today, but am quite excited about.
  • I’m going to start a new novel. I’ll write more about this in a future post.
  • I’ve set myself a film-watching challenge for the year. I’ve got a lot of films I’ve never watched (both on DVD and downloaded), plus have a tendency to re-watch films I’ve seen lots of times, rather than watch new ones, so thought that a list of films to watch this year, as a specific goal, would be good. To help make it more interesting and motivating, I’ll also be blogging about the films afterwards. Not a full-on review, just any general thoughts I have – it can be pretty brief (and probably will be). I perceived it as a weekly thing, so wanted about 51 films on the list (as we’re already in the 2nd week of the year). I wondered if I could watch every film I’ve got on DVD/Blu-ray, but then counted them and realised I’ve got 160 films, so quickly changed my mind on that. Counting up the films I’ve got downloaded, or on DVD/Blu-ray, and have never watched, there are 38. Not quite as many as I was hoping for… However, if I add in any films I’ve got on DVD/Blu-ray that I’ve only watched once before (prior to owning them on DVD/Blu-ray), I get a total of 49 films! Perfect. My plan is to watch a film every weekend (where possible) and then blog about it on Monday evening. I’ve set the watching order via a random number generator (which was quite fun) and have put the list at the end of this blog post.

Future plans

I’m actually going to save these for a future post too (fittingly), as writing this has taken a lot longer than I’d anticipated!

So, as promised, I’ll end with the list of films I’m planning to watch this year, in the order I’ll be watching them. They also say whether I’ve got them on DVD/Blu-ray/sat on my HDD, though this was mostly for my own reference, so I know where to locate them!:

1. Enter The Void (HDD)
2. Blue Is The Warmest Colour (HDD)
3. I Heart Huckabees (DVD)
4. The Handmaiden (HDD)
5. The Fountain (HDD)
6. MicMacs (DVD)
7. Fast Food Nation (HDD)
8. Fargo (DVD)
9. Transcendence (HDD)
10. Memories Of Murder (HDD)
11. Interstellar (HDD)
12. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (HDD)
13. Secretary (DVD)
14. Stuck In Love (HDD)
15. 9 Songs (DVD)
16. God Help The Girl (DVD)
17. 45 Years (HDD)
18. Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down (DVD)
19. Dogville (HDD)
20. The Graduate (DVD)
21. Dancer In The Dark (DVD)
22. Cabaret (DVD)
23. Mr Morgan’s Last Love (DVD)
24. Talk To Her (DVD)
25. Zodiac (HDD)
26. Anomalisa (HDD)
27. Wild At Heart (Blu-ray)
28. Burn After Reading (DVD)
29. What We Do In The Shadows (HDD)
30. Y Tu Mama Tambien (HDD)
31. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith (HDD)
32. Pi (HDD)
33. Paterson (HDD)
34. Man In An Orange Shirt (DVD)
35. Bad Education (DVD)
36. Patagonia (HDD)
37. Magnolia (DVD)
38. 10 Cloverfield Lane (HDD)
39. The Skin I Live In (Blu-ray)
40. Live Flesh (DVD)
41. Mao’s Last Dancer (HDD)
42. The Rules Of Attraction (DVD)
43. Nocturnal Animals (HDD)
44. All About My Mother (DVD)
45. Ex Machina (HDD)
46. Strictly Ballroom (HDD)
47. Breaking The Waves (HDD)
48. Human Traffic (DVD)
49. Cashback (HDD)

Posted in General | 1 Comment

Albums Of The Year: 2017

It’s time for my Albums Of The Year post! I haven’t found it as strong a year as last year, but there have still been enough great albums to come up with a decent top 40. Check them out here.

Posted in Music | 1 Comment

Top 777 Songs: 10 – 01

You can listen to all of these songs by clicking play on this Mixcloud widget:

I can’t quite believe this is the last of these posts. Thank you to anyone who’s read them and posted comments (whether here, on Facebook, or on Twitter) – I don’t think I’d have made it to the end without that interaction. Extra thanks also to anyone who’s listened to any of the Mixcloud mixes. As I can see the stats for them, I know a lot of them haven’t been listened to (other than by me!), but they’re also not going anywhere (unless Mixcloud shuts down, I guess), so should you ever be at a loose end for something to listen to, they’ll be there. If you only listen to one of them, I suppose it should be this one, as it’s my 10 favourite songs, but it’s also probably the least instantly-accessible collection of songs – the majority of them being over 5 minutes long and a couple of them being over 8 minutes long! So the Mixcloud mix is almost twice the length of most previous ones! Still, I promise it doesn’t seem that long and is well worth listening to. What’s on it? Well, let’s see…

10

271↑

Mansun
Six

SixTaken From: Mansun – Six (1998)

“And my life, it’s a series of compromises anyway”

Last time I just said this:

Quite surprised this isn’t higher but there ya go. Brilliant brilliant song.

I’m pleased it’s now got a far more deserving high entry. It’s a brilliant opening track, so I’m really pleased it’s specifically ended up in tenth place, as it also gets to be the opening track on the Mixcloud mix. I could have used the much shorter single version, of course, which I also love and probably listen to more often, but it’s the album version that’s particularly impressive and makes it worthy of its top 10 placing. Six is my favourite Mansun album and one of my favourite albums in general, and this song perfectly showcases why. The video below is of the single version, so if you’re short on time, have a listen to that instead.

09

39↑

Pulp
Common People

Different ClassTaken From: Pulp – Different Class (1995)

“You’ll never watch your life slide out of view, and dance and drink and screw, because there’s nothing else to do”

I see this song as the epitome of Britpop – in the good sense (not that I’d ever personally mean that in a bad sense). The lyrics, the music… Jarvis! It’s just perfect really. I have lots of fond memories of dancing to it at various indie nights, plus also, most recently, at my cousin’s wedding. On the wedding invite, it asked guests to nominate a song that would get them dancing, so I requested this. I think there were only 3 or 4 of us who actually danced to it, including me and my cousin Paul (the brother of the groom), but hey, we had a good time! I also have fond memories of it being played at a ’90s night’ in Toronto that I went to, even though most Canadians didn’t seem to be familiar with it – kudos to the DJ.

08

6↓

Suede
The 2 Of Us

Dog Man StarTaken From: Suede – Dog Man Star (1994)

“Two silhouettes by the cash machine make a lovers dance. It’s a tango for the lonely wives of the business class”

I’ll often mention how the best way to listen to the second half of Dog Man Star is on headphones, lying in bed, in the dark. I did this quite a lot during the period of time when I was living in Stourport, so this album and the last few songs on it always transport me back there. It’s an incredibly beautiful and emotional song. And I do love me some piano.

07

13↑

Pulp
This Is Hardcore

This Is HardcoreTaken From: Pulp – This Is Hardcore (1998)

“What exactly do you do for the encore?”

Last time I said this:

My favourite Pulp song. A lot of my top 20 songs seem to be of the grand and epic variety. Either that or very high energy, bouncy and anthemic. This song’s more epic – but in a kinda sleazy way! Brilliant.

It’s still my favourite Pulp song, plus that’s still an accurate way of describing my top 20 and particularly my top 10. I really love the video to this too – I think it’s partly what helped me fall in love with the song (‘hey, I went to college once, but all they found were rats in my head’):

06

12↑

Suede
Animal Nitrate

SuedeTaken From: Suede – Suede (1993)

“What does it take to turn you on?”

Suede have the most songs in the top 10 – possibly unsurprisingly, even though Catatonia are my favourite band. Animal Nitrate is my most-listened-to Suede song, plus currently my 2nd-most-listened-to song in general (as evidenced here). I’m not sure I can add to what I said about it last time, which is still very much true:

I find it impossible to listen to this song without needing to gyrate my hips and generally shake my bum about – which proves interesting when trying to walk down the street at the same time! So so brilliant to dance to, I’m always happy when it comes up on my MP3 player. Brilliant live as well.

05

147↑

Queen
The Show Must Go On

InnuendoTaken From: Queen – Innuendo (1991)

“Whatever happens, I’ll leave it all to chance. Another heartache, another failed romance.”

Although I knew that ‘It’s Late’ was no longer my favourite Queen song, I wasn’t actually sure what I now considered my favourite Queen song until I did this chart and started comparing all the songs of theirs I considered favourites. This was the winner. Considering my love of epic and emotional songs, it’s probably not that much of a surprise really. Only surprising that it was as low as it was last time.

04

10↑

Catatonia
Mulder And Scully

International VelvetTaken From: Catatonia – International Velvet (1998)

“And as for some happy ending? I’d rather stay single and thin.

Being their two highest-charting singles, it’s quite natural to compare this song to Road Rage. A lot of people will proclaim Road Rage to be the better song, which is a fine opinion to have, and one that you’re well entitled to, but I’m now going to tell you why you’re wrong… Yes, I’m sure that Road Rage is more musically clever – I know I’ve read things along those lines – plus some people might dismiss Mulder and Scully as being too gimmicky, with the reference to Sci-Fi characters, though Road Rage has an equally-zeitgeisty reference point, so unless you’re being snobby about TV/Sci-Fi references (which could be a whole separate rant), I don’t see how that’s a valid argument. For me, the main comparison that makes all the difference, is the emotion of the song, which Mulder And Scully wins hands-down. If you don’t see it as an emotional song then you’ve clearly never listened to it properly. I tend to describe it as my theme tune, which it is for so many reasons. I mean, it’s a song about being torn between finding love and just staying single and thin. Hello, my life! ‘If my bed is made for two, is there nothing I can do? Must we all march in two by two by two?’ Yes, ok, maybe referencing Mulder and Scully is a little bit gimmicky, but for me personally, a massive X-Files fan, who’ll genuinely look to Mulder and Scully for a bit of comfort and clarity, it still manages to pack an emotional punch, whether intentionally or not. Plus that takes me to the additional significance of this song to me, which I described decently well last time, so will just quote that:

It’s also a very sentimental song to me as it’s the song that got me into Catatonia, which has become quite a significant thing in my life. Getting into Catatonia also got me into the indie scene generally and also introduced me to the Welsh music scene. I seriously can’t imagine how completely different my life would be now if I hadn’t gotten into Catatonia. The experiences I’ve had, the friends I’ve made, my personality and outlook on things…it’s quite a scary thought. I still listen to this song a lot and I can’t imagine ever tiring of it.

I like how I say Catatonia had become ‘quite a significant thing in my life’ – a slight understatement, I’d say, but hey. Plus that was before I was personally in contact with Cerys and helping her out with website/social media type stuff! I really can’t overstate how important this song has been to me. Although it’s only in 4th place, in terms of favourites, it’s easily first in terms of significance. For the video, I’m sharing the TOTP performance, as you get massive pictures of David and Gillian, plus Cerys wearing a tiara – win:

03

3

Ooberman
Moth To A Flame

Tears From A WillowTaken From: Ooberman – Tears From A Willow (single) (1999)

“Kinda hoped that my anxiety would turn to ESP and you would notice”

The first non-mover in the chart. The single of Tears From A Willow was the first Ooberman release that I bought, so this song played a big part in my falling in love with Ooberman and them becoming one of my favourite bands. This has been my favourite Ooberman song for as long as I can remember and I don’t see that changing any time soon. I love the changes in tempo, plus the lyrics – that Andy Flett magic – I hope he’s still making music and will be sharing it with the world (hint hint, on the off-chance you’re reading this, Andy). Ooberman speak to my soul in a way that other bands don’t – I’m fairly sure that one of my dating profiles mentions/mentioned how fellow Ooberman fans will get bonus points, as I feel like they’re a special type of person. In a way that now feels symbolic, my ex wasn’t particularly into Ooberman, but did play this song for me a few times during his DJ sets – back when he was trying to impress/please me (mostly before we were actually dating) – he did also buy an Ooberman t-shirt, which I think he only wore once, but which I now have. Anyway, despite him not being a true Ooberfan, I still love that an Ooberman b-side got played multiple times in The City Arms. Unsurprisingly, as the most obscure song in my top 10, it’s not on YouTube, but treat yourself to the Mixcloud mix (when you’ve got a spare hour!).

02

2

Suede
The Asphalt World

Dog Man StarTaken From: Suede – Dog Man Star (1994)

“When you’re there in her arms and there in her legs, well I’ll be in her head”

Yes, you can now deduce that the top 3 hasn’t changed. When certain songs are so cemented as your favourites, it becomes hard to imagine that changing. Weirdly, for my 2nd favourite song of all time, I find it really difficult to find anything to say about it – it’s not so much about personal significance as it is about it just being a breathtakingly brilliant song. Last time I just said this:

My favourite Suede song. Just amazing and epic. It’s about 9 minutes long but it never seems it.

Yep, that pretty much covers it.

01

1

Catatonia
That’s All Folks

Strange GlueTaken From: Catatonia – Strange Glue (single) (1998)

“At least you wear your bruises well. At least you have some tale, something about you”

Of course my favourite song is a Catatonia b-side. Peak Chantal. So as not to repeat myself, I’ll share what I said about it last time:

Surely most people won’t be surprised that there’s a Catatonia song at number 1! I’m sure a lot of people also know that my favourite Catatonia song is That’s All Folks. So yeah, maybe not a big surprise here, but I just love this song so much. Like Moth To A Flame is my favourite Ooberman song, That’s All Folks happens to be a b-side on the first Catatonia CD I bought (the Strange Glue single). So part of it probably is sentimentality, but it’s also just a brilliant song. The way in which it starts off as this beautiful piano torch-song and then decends into madness. I find it very cathartic and if I’m in a bad mood I like to blast it out loudly and scream along. There’s nothing quite like shouting ‘fuck all folks’ and then spinning/stumbling round the room while this music flows over you. I highly recommend it! I also love the fact that it basically became a b-side because Warners didn’t want to put it on International Velvet, due to the fact it’s kinda derogatory towards them! It was also notably missed off CD2 of the Greatest Hits, despite the fact it’s blatantly one of their best b-sides (though all their b-sides were fab of course!). I like that though – I’m pleased it’s only available on Strange Glue as it makes it more of a hidden treasure. However, despite saying that, if you haven’t heard it, I would recommend trying to download it! 😉

It did actually later get released on a Best Of type affair (namely this one, which is a bargain by the way), which kinda bugged me (for the above elitist reasons of liking it being obscure!), but hey, that’s just my inner indie-snob escaping. Plus in this day and age, with streaming services (and, er, YouTube *points below*), it’s not like much stays obscure anyway. Which is a good thing. Mostly. I think. Is it? Whatever. Crank this up loud and enjoy:

Songs that previously charted in these positions in 2005 but have now dropped out of the chart:

None – they’re all still in.

Well, that’s it, the end! Should you have missed any posts along the way, they can all be found on this blog, of course, though if you just want a run-down of the songs, without my wittering, then #Top777 on Twitter, should sort you out (though annoyingly you have to ignore some tweets from a Dutch radio station that seems to have jumped in on my hashtag! What’s that about?).

That’s all folks.

Reminder: You can listen to all of these songs right here:

Posted in Music, Top 777 Songs | 2 Comments

Top 777 Songs: 20 – 11

You can listen to all of these songs by clicking play on this Mixcloud widget:

We’ve reached the top 20! It’s the penultimate post! A few stats before I start the countdown:

  • Only 8 of the songs in the top 20 were previously in the top 20
  • Only one of the top 20 songs is a new entry
  • The top 20 is made up of songs from 9 different bands/artists
  • The top 20 is 25% Welsh bands, 70% English bands and 5% Canadian (yes, only one song is from a non-British artist)

20

55↑

Melys
I Don’t Believe In You

I Don't Believe In YouTaken From: Melys – I Don’t Believe In You (single) (2001)

“The less I seem to care, the more you want me there”

Previously my 2nd favourite Melys song, it’s since become my favourite. As I said last time, ‘I can’t see how you couldn’t love it’! It’s just brilliant. It’s not on any of the albums, though it is on the Dutch compilation Suikerspin, if you’re looking to get hold of it. The below video has the best quality audio for it, plus was done by a friend of mine:

19

75↑

The Bluetones
Marblehead Johnson

Marblehead JohnsonTaken From: The Bluetones – Marblehead Johnson (single) (1996)

“When the skies go clear, the threat of rain is always here with you”

From one awesome single that wasn’t on an album, to another! As I got into The Bluetones fairly late (around the time of Science & Nature), I remember being slightly confused when I first heard them play this live, as I recognised it and it was clearly well known, but it wasn’t on any of the albums I’d bought. I must have looked it up and downloaded it soon after; seemingly from someone who ripped it from ‘Now That’s What I Call Music 35’! I’ve since bought multiple legitimate copies on CD, I hasten to add (plus have it on vinyl too), but it still pleases me that my MP3 copy is tagged as being from Now 35. Anyway, it’s a brilliant song, which I’ve just loved more and more over the years.

18

100↑

Catatonia
Bleed

Way Beyond BlueTaken From: Catatonia – Way Beyond Blue (1996)

“Now his intentions unfold, they’re not what they seem. He only wants to take control.”

I love how punchy and in your face this song is. Plus the lyrics are great and quite easily overlooked. As I was writing the lyric above, I realised how apt it seems in the current climate, with women making a stand against abusive men. This song is very much about that. And it’s awesome. Plus I love the video and the random shark. Actually, I saw the video before I owned Way Beyond Blue, so hadn’t heard Bleed before. I’m pretty sure it was the exact video below, as I taped Sky One Long Play one night. Anyway, because it’s the ‘clean version’, it weirdly cuts out where the swearing’s meant to be, so initially I wasn’t sure whether the lyric was something like ‘do you believe this book’, or whether it was ‘bull…’ and had been censored for the single. The latter being true, of course. Although I just watched the below video and they’ve overdubbed it with the album version, so you do get the swearing! Meh, anyway, enjoy:

17

31↑

Suede
The Living Dead

Stay TogetherTaken From: Suede – Stay Together (single) (1994)

“All up the hole in your arm, is the needle a much better screw?”

A fan favourite – my love for it grew and grew as a result of some beautiful live performances – you tend to get the crowd singing along and it’s just a brilliant atmosphere. Plus it’s a really moving song anyway. Here’s a beautiful performance of it at the O2:

16

21↑

The Bluetones
Keep The Home Fires Burning

Science & NatureTaken From: The Bluetones – Science & Nature (2000)

“That man who would save us from the hurt the world brings, neglected to mention who would save us from him”

The song that got me into The Bluetones. I heard it on the radio and was just bowled over. Lyrically it’s quite emotional, addressing domestic violence, but I also kinda love how it starts off sounding like a Hovis advert. That’s obviously intentional – setting the scene of some idyllic country lifestyle, when really there are problems beneath the surface. Like in Blue Velvet with the picket fences and then the chopped off ear. Hmm…  Has anyone compared The Bluetones to David Lynch before? Is that a first? Anyway, the video brings the added joy of Mark Morriss as a Valkyrie (albeit briefly), which I personally very much enjoy:

15

47↑

Catatonia
Goldfish and Paracetamol

International VelvetTaken From: Catatonia – International Velvet (1998)

“Coming second best is close to ideal”

A lot of my love for this song has always come from the lyrics – they’re just so good – really clever but also emotional. There was a Radio 1 documentary about International Velvet where Cerys talks about this song and says how it’s about being ‘a hyper-paranoid wreck on a bike at 6 in the morning, trying to find company’, which is such a powerful image. Plus it’s musically really interesting and quite different to most of the album – Mark mentions in that same documentary how it just gets going and then stops, which he really likes as it makes you want to play it again. So feel free to play this and then play it again:

14

52↑

Suede
The Wild Ones

Dog Man StarTaken From: Suede – Dog Man Star (1994)

“We’ll shine like the morning and sin in the sun, oh if you stay

Ah man, I just discovered another misheard lyric of mine! I had to pull out the Dog Man Star inlay, as I thought the internet was lying to me (which it often does, to be fair). But no, the lyric I thought was ‘we’ll fly through the sky’s suburban grays’ is actually ‘we’ll ride from disguised suburban graves’. Damn it. I’m so going to just keep singing that incorrectly. Plus listening to it again just now – it definitely sounds more like ‘fly’ than ‘ride’! Anyway, specifics of the lyrics aside, it’s a beautiful song, plus one that Brett often describes as his favourite Suede song. Something I also mentioned the last time I did this chart:

This song’s just so so beautiful. I know Brett said it was his favourite Suede song and I totally understand why. My favourite memory of it is at the end of the last gig at the Astoria, when all the fans started singing it acapella – despite the fact they kept telling us all to get out so they could set up for G.A.Y!

Awwww, I miss The Astoria.

13

81↑

Ooberman
SnakeDance

Hey PetrunkoTaken From: Ooberman – Hey Petrunko (2003)

“How many butterflies have died in growing old and trying to please the ones they least admire?”

I’d imagine this is quite a marmite track! I said this about it last time:

One of those songs that when I heard it for the first time I just went ‘what on earth was that?!!!’. It grew on me more and more though and I very quickly fell in love with it. And it was just amazing live!! Danny playing the violin was just ‘wow’! Brilliant. I especially love the album version.

Yep, it’s a very rare track in that my favourite version isn’t the first one I heard – the extra bits you get on the album version, compared to the one on the Bluebell Morning EP, just take it to another level. It’s also really interesting to read Dan’s notes on it at the bottom of this page. I’d partly love for Ooberman to play live again, in the hope that they’d do this, as it was so good (though I’d take them playing live in any form – with or without SnakeDance). That bit where there’s the pause and then the 3 notes of bass!! Love love love it. Really wish there was at least some video footage or something, but it was pre-smartphone!

12

9↓

The Bluetones
Sleazy Bed Track

Return To The Last Chance SaloonTaken From: The Bluetones – Return To The Last Chance Saloon (1998)

“Climb up here with me and let’s forget about sleep”

I spent quite a while debating which order to put ‘Marblehead Johnson’, ‘Keep The Home Fires Burning’ and this song in, as I love them all about the same. However, in the end I decided that ‘Sleazy Bed Track’ was still my favourite Bluetones song, even if only just. There’s just something about the style of it. I do enjoy a bit of sleaze (in a song!!).

11

NEW
ENTRY

Hawksley Workman
Jealous Of Your Cigarette

Last Night We Were...Taken From: Hawksley Workman – (Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves (2001)

“I’m jealous of your cigarette and how you wanna suck on it, and not me”

It’s the one new entry in the top 20, plus the one non-British entry! Good work Mr Workman. My favourite track of his was actually Striptease for a long time, but then at some point this took over and has stayed at the top. I love how fast the lyrics are and just how catchy it is. The video’s a favourite too:

Songs that previously charted in these positions in 2005 but have now dropped out of the chart:

17. Remy Zero – Save Me (Yes, the theme to Smallville. This is the highest charting song to have totally dropped out of the chart.)

Reminder: You can listen to all of these songs right here:

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Top 777 Songs: 30 – 21

You can listen to all of these songs by clicking play on this Mixcloud widget:

30

316↑

Big Leaves
Synfyfyrio

Pwy Sy'n Galw?Taken From: Big Leaves – Pwy Sy’n Galw? (2000)

My favourite Big Leaves song – it’s just so beautiful. Last time I described it as ‘kinda hypnotic’. It translates as either ‘muse’ or ‘meditate’, so I guess the hypnotic feel is quite appropriate.

29

97↑

Suede
We Are The Pigs

Dog Man StarTaken From: Suede – Dog Man Star (1994)

“Let the nuclear wind blow away my sins”

It’s another song from Dog Man Star, but of course. I love the feel of this song – there’s a wonderful darkness to it, whilst also managing to be a catchy single. The creepy singing children at the end give it a Lord Of The Flies kinda feel, though I also very much enjoy the 1984-esque Big Brother’s watching type video:

28

84↑

The Bluetones
Bluetonic

Expecting To FlyTaken From: The Bluetones – Expecting To Fly (1996)

“When I am sad and weary, when all my hope is gone, I walk around my house and think of you with nothing on”

Another song where I misheard one of the lyrics for years. I thought it was ‘there’s no harm to come out with a certain little smile’, when it’s actually ‘there’s no heart you can’t melt with a certain little smile’. I think it was at a Mark Morriss solo gig that I realised he was singing something different to me, so then went home and googled the lyrics. I still have to actively think about the right lyric in order to avoid singing the wrong one. Anyway, it’s an ace song and one that I’m always happy to hear.

27

NEW
ENTRY

The Divine Comedy
To Die A Virgin

Victory For The Comic MuseTaken From: The Divine Comedy – Victory For The Comic Muse (2006)

“I can feel your heart beating and your breathing increasing. Your folks are out for the evening. I really hope I’m not dreaming.”

By far my favourite song on this album. I fell in love with it pretty instantly. I remember having it as the profile song on my MySpace page for ages (awwww MySpace). I also enjoy how the bird flu lyric instantly dates it to 2006.

26

43↑

The Bluetones
Never Going Nowhere

LuxembourgTaken From: The Bluetones – Luxembourg (2003)

“Your once charming foibles now drive me up the wall”

I found it really difficult to choose a favourite between this and Bluetonic. This won out, I think largely because it evokes more of an emotional reaction – that’s generally a deciding factor for me. It’s another very relatable post-breakup song. And yes, it’s intentionally a double negative – I remember Mark referencing this before they played it at a Birmingham gig I went to around the time of Luxembourg’s release.

25

254↑

The Divine Comedy
Our Mutual Friend

Absent FriendsTaken From: The Divine Comedy – Absent Friends (2004)

“We sank down to the floor and we sang a song that I can’t sing anymore. And then we kissed and fell unconscious.”

In the same way that I struggled to choose between the two Bluetones songs, I also struggled to choose between this and To Die A Virgin. Again this one probably won out because it’s the more emotional song. I’m amazed it charted so low last time though – what was that about? I guess it must have been a bit of a grower. I also love that the demo version (and the live version) includes ‘the sun ain’t gonna shine anymore’, but that it was changed to ‘a song that I can’t sing anymore’ for the album release. For some reason, I always think of the performance of this on Jonathan Ross’ show – maybe that was the point at which I properly fell in love with it. Anyway, I feel like that’s the video I need to share:

24

28↑

Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci
Sweet Johnny

Gorky 5Taken From: Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci – Gorky 5 (1998)

“Why don’t I get my daddy’s car and knock those fuckers down ’cause they’ve gone too far

This has been my favourite Gorky’s song for a long time. I’ve even currently got a poster of it in my living room above the TV. I made sure it was in the background of a photo I tweeted to Euros Childs, of me with a colander on my head. I ended up coming 9th in his colander countdown. Modern life’s weird innit? Anyway, this song’s ace, even if it’s potentially an acquired taste (as evidenced one time my ex played it during a DJ set and most of his friends were like ‘wtf is this?’). The video’s brilliant too, as it’s done by Adam Buxton and Joe Cornish and parodies other music videos, but using toys (of course). I think the Bittersweet Symphony bit is my favourite. If you were a fan of the Adam & Joe Show and haven’t seen this before, enjoy!:

23

NEW
ENTRY

Barenaked Ladies
In The Car

StuntTaken From: Barenaked Ladies – Stunt (1998)

“Once I had this dream where I slept with her Mom. Unless I’ve got this wrong, a secret all along. Unless she hears this song…”

I feel like this has been my favourite Barenaked Ladies song for quite a long time, yet it didn’t chart at all last time. How is that? Had I overlistened to it at that point, or did it not join my favourites until later? Not really sure. Anyway, I love it. Mostly for the lyrics I suppose. Plus it amuses me that I get slightly embarrassed at singing along to the ‘mutual masturbation’ line, even when I’m on my own!

22

14↓

Ooberman
Blossoms Falling

The Magic TreehouseTaken From: Ooberman – The Magic Treehouse (1999)

“I should say I love you. I want to, I want to.”

Last time I said this about it:

My 2nd favourite Ooberman song and my favourite from The Magic Treehouse. It’s the song I tend to use to introduce people to Ooberman. I haven’t met a single person I’ve played this to who hasn’t really liked it! I love the acoustic version of it too.

It’s only my 3rd favourite Ooberman song now, though it’s still my favourite on The Magic Treehouse. It’s mega-catchy and poppy, but the ‘I should say I love you…’ bit will also always stab me in the heart. In a good way. The video’s quite cheesy but I kinda love it regardless.

21

NEW
ENTRY

Cerys Matthews
Smash The Glass

Don't Look DownTaken From: Cerys Matthews – Don’t Look Down (2009)

“Love’s a four-letter word, best left unsaid and unheard, and it will never let you down.”

My favourite Cerys solo song. It’s made it up into the top 10 of my most listened to songs on last.fm, which is particularly impressive considering it wasn’t released until 2009 (though I must have had a copy slightly sooner as scrobbled it twice in 2008!). I partly love it for being so upbeat and catchy, but what really makes it for me, and the reason why it’s my favourite, is the start of the 2nd verse. The part that starts ‘why can’t I believe it when you tell me that you love me?’. I kinda wish that I didn’t relate to it as much as I do, but it’s meant so much to me over the past 8 years – particularly during the 2013-2015 period of time, as evidenced by my listening habits. I feel like it’s part of me. All the love to Cerys for writing it and making it part of my life. I can’t find a decent online version to share, but you can find it on the Mixcloud mix, or ideally you should treat yourself to a signed copy of the album from Cerys’ online shop here. Unless you have it already, of course, which I’d imagine a decent proportion of my friends do! I’m mostly just preaching to the converted, right? Like I need to tell you how awesome Smash The Glass is… pff. Stating the obvious, Chan.

Songs that previously charted in these positions in 2005 but have now dropped out of the chart:

None – they’re all still in.

Reminder: You can listen to all of these songs right here:

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