10 things I love about you (my readers)

When I say, 'about you,' I really mean, 'for you.' But I just can't resist a good 90's teen movie pun, because, I love you baby.

In honor of my ten thousandth page view a couple of weeks ago, I have compiled a short list of ten things I want to share with you. It has, apparently, taken me two weeks to do this. Please enjoy each of these. Consider it as a gift of gratitude for reading this blog in the first place.
The Ten Commandments of Pop Philosophy. You guys waste your spare time wisely.

The list is as follows:

1: A musical collaboration revolving around humorous crotch-wear.

2: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

I finished this about a week and a half ago and am still joyously drifting on the brilliance of the prose. Obviously I can't read it for you - but I am strongly persuading you to sidle over to Amazon and purchase a copy, because it is just so very good.

Despite numerous claims that Lee's one and only novel was actually penned by her equally famous literary friend Truman Capote,
it is hard to feel jaded by any associations of dishonesty due to the overwhelming sense of justice and clarity that are the driving force of the story. Told through the eyes of young Scout Finch, a girl growing up in in the Deep South of America during the Great Depression, we are witness to the triviality of small town life set against the backdrop of the racial injustices of the time. The story of the real 'mockingbird', a black man convicted of the rape of a white girl, is told with such perceptive realism as to make you feel like you are wedged in the back of the stuffy Alabama court room, straining to hear every word of the trial.

"The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentments right into a jury box. As you grow older, you'll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don't you forget it - whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.
- Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird

It's playful, charming, sad, troubling, funny and heart-breaking. It has certainly been the best book I have read for a long while. It really reminded me of our simple humanness - which is perhaps the greatest praise one can give to a piece of art.
And also Happy Birthday to Nelle Harper Lee, who was totally eighty-five at the end of last month.

3: The Execution of All Things by Rilo Kiley.

By no means a new song. But a great one that I cannot stop listening to.
In fact, the whole album is great. Buy that after you buy Mockingbird!

4: Indulging my fetish for nicely packaged products - Tik Tok Rooibos tea.

I love it. And I love the packaging. And you can drink it while relevantly (if guiltily) listening to this song.

5: Random Old Images of Gaga.

Now, I tap my toes to Judas in time with the next person, but I ains't so down with this whole alien/religious thang Lady Gaga's going on about at the mo. It all seems so passe, especially for her. The Judas video is practically a cliche on a pop crucifix, as well as containing some terrible, terrible choreography more in-keeping with Steps than Stefani Germanotta.

I'm fine with her always ripping people off. Indeed, every 'artist' can only naturally be inspired by their forebears and contemporaries. I'm a lot happier with oblique references to Tarantino, Warhol and even Madonna, at least there was no pretense at originality, as with many of her press statements about the release of Born This Way. One of her comments that it would, 'Revolutionize pop music forever,' when all we have seen so far are shoddy, disco-infused replicas of sledgehammer eighties anthems is also fairly presumptuous.

I've been rewatching videos Gaga made when she was relatively unknown and promoting her first single Just Dance. One of these videos is a promo for The Fame album, which I like a great deal more than her more recent, evidently much more cash-infused efforts.

It's fun, kind of stupid, kind of original, kind of art-house, much more intriguing than the whole Born This Way thing, in my opinion. Of course, this is partly because I had no idea who she was or what she was about at this point, only that Britney never did something like this.

There are also three promo videos along the lines of Pop Ate My Heart, My Brain, and so on, which explicitly reference Warhol's pop art videos of the Factory era. She used to play them at her first concerts. They are part of her commentary on pop culture and its all encompassing, darker side, along with Beautiful Dirty Rich and Paparazzi.

It is as if she has grabbed hold of the entire history of pop culture, swallowed it while staring into a fun house mirror, then taken claim to it by force, knowing that it might very well kill her in doing so. These have been the most conceptually astute, musically interesting points of her career for me so far. And I do not think she will be returning to them from the clutches of Mother Monster any time soon.

6: Pop Poetry.

The Poet who first got me all excited about spoken word and slam - Laura Dockrill. I was bigging her up to a friend the other day, and, just in case you've never heard of her, her I am again, bigging her up to you.

This is her performing a satirical poem about try-hard trendy mums and their unfortunate urges to remain young.

7: The English by Tony Ray-Jones.

This wonderful selection of photographs from 1965 really highlight the British in all their absurdity. Ray-Jones wanted to capture them before they, 'Became too Americanized.' No danger of that, if the Friesian-themed picnic is anything to go by. They are on show at the Guernsey photography festival from 1st June.

8 (unexpected number eight!): The real Kryptonite.

At the moment I work in a rock shop. This is not a joke. And neither is this one particular rock. It's called Moldavite and it is pretty much the closest thing in real life that resembles Superman's nemesis.

It was formed when a meteor hit the Bohemian Plateau in the Czech Republic 14.6 million years ago, fusing with the Earth to create a natural glass called a Tektite. It's kind of green, gross and somewhat resembles snot. But the weirdest thing about it is that, due to its extra-terrestrial nature, the atoms in it oscillate at a faster rate than most solids on our planet, thus sometimes seeming warm or inducing a sensation of nausea when held. Of course the rock spiritualists go mental for it, but the facts remain the same - I SELL KRYPTONITE AT WORK!!

9: Have One On Me by Joanna Newsom.

Yes, I am still listening to this.

Listen to it like eight times and you suddenly get it and can't be without it in your life.

10 (surprising sudden final entry!): Southland Tales by Richard Kelly.

We've all seen, marveled/ yelled at Richard Kelly's indie cult debut Donnie Darko. But few of us have repeated the procedure with its clandestine follow-up, Southland Tales.

This seems to me to be for one, quite distinct reason: it's really shit.

I watched it recently and after not a lot of thought came to the conclusion that all the critics were correct to slate it when it premiered at Cannes in 2006. It basically IS Donnie Darko in a slightly different setting, with less appealing characters and situations for us to identify with. Kelly's preoccupation with time travel and The End of The World become overriding and pretentious without really justifying their existence at all.

I won't go into it in too much depth here, other than to make the generalization that any film in which a voice-over by Justin Timberlake was believed to enhance the plot is pretty close to the bottom of the sludge pile for me.

This one dance sequence, however, I found very enjoyable indeed, and might even inspire in me a future post based solely around amusing dance sequences in movies. Watch, enjoy, and don't see the movie.

And I hope these were as good for you as they were for me.
Because those were my ten things I'm into t them moment, direct from me to you.

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