The Soundtrack To My Life. 15/04/2012.

“A Night To Remember” (Audio Book). (2010).
Artist: Written by Walter Lord. Read by Martin Jarvis.
Why You Should Get It: This is a complete and compelling moment by moment account of The RMS Titanic disaster as told by the survivors themselves.

I bust my audio book cherry with “A Night To Remember” last week and it has left me completely stunned.
Highly recommended!

“Cape Fear” (Original Score). (1991).
Artist: Bernard Herrmann & Elmer Bernstein.
Why You Should Get It: Click HERE.

Ah, Bernard Herrmann. I’ve listened to his work every week ever since I got the “Taxi Driver” soundtrack last year! Did Herrmann ever write something that wasn’t completely brilliant? I can’t find any evidence if he did.

This is of course the soundtrack to the 1991 Martin Scorsese film “Cape Fear” and not the original 1961 film of the same name and so, what we have here is Bernard Herrmann’s original score adapted and arranged by Elmer Bernstein.

And it works!
It’s gloriously ominous.

“Left My Blues In San Francisco”. (1967).
Artist: Buddy Guy.
Why You Should Get It: Click HERE.

“A Wasteland Companion”. (2012).
Artist: M. Ward.
Why You Should Get It: Click HERE.

I had to get M. Ward’s “A Wasteland Companion” because last month he supported the brilliant Leslie Feist in Glasgow all by himself and I thought he carried it all off well. When he opened for Feist, Ward only used an acoustic guitar and (I think) a loop pedal and it was really great y’know? He’s a magical guitar player with really interesting and unusual chord patterns.

“A Wasteland Companion” is a very nice album but it’s mostly full-on band material instead of the stripped down bare bones I saw at the Feist gig. It’s probably one of those albums which I’ll listen to a few times before forgetting BUT!
– As I was typing this, I asked my pal Sean if he’d ever heard M. Ward’s material and he said that he has his first two albums which are bare and stripped down so maybe I should go and dig those up before I go any further with M. Ward.

“Grinderman”. (2007).
Artist: “Grinderman”.
Why You Should Get It: Click HERE.

I like Grinderman much more than I like Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds and despite what everybody I know told me, I thought that “Murder Ballads” was a fucking terrible album.
SO THERE YOU GO!

“Romeo And Juliet”. (2001).
Artist: Sergei Prokofiev.
Why You Should Get It: Just click HERE.

“Deja Vu”. (1970).
Artist: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
Why You Should Get It: Click HERE.

“Deja Vu” (or as I’ve come to call it, “Davie Who?”) is a complete classic of an album and I guess now is as good a time as any to explain how I have an almost mint condition vinyl copy in my house.
Basically, I stole it.

Way back in the mid 1990’s my girlfriend’s Dad had “Deja Vu”  on vinyl and he never played it. It was such a hard to find album back then and I could not wait to hear it. I couldn’t even believe that he had a copy nevermind a mint conditioned vinyl copy.

I constantly asked him for a loan of the album or if he could even see his way to playing the album for me. Just once. It wasn’t a lot to ask but he wouldn’t do it so one day I just removed it from his house and moved it into mine. I still have it and I play it all the time but I am sorry that I stole it.
No really, I am!

“The SInking Of The Titanic / Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet”. (1975).
Artist: Gavin Bryars.
Why You Should Get It: Click HERE.

I don’t really have any words to describe how great and profound this music is. If I think of any, I’ll come back and write them down.

“The Godfather PART II” (Original Score & Soundtrack). (1974).
Artist: Nino Rota.
Why You Should Get It: Click HERE.

“L.A. Woman” (40th Anniversary Edition). (2012).
Artist: The Doors.
Why You Should Get It: Click HERE.

I’ve always loved the “L.A. Woman” album and I’ve always loved The Doors. I think every single song on the album is a belter and the remastered 40th Anniversary version sounds AMAZINGLY clear.

Jim Morrison recorded his vocals for this album in a bathroom and you can really hear it in this version. Matter of fact, unless you have “L.A. Woman” on vinyl, you should pick up a copy of the 40th Anniversary Edition.

– But make sure you get the correct edition because strangely, this is the second 40th Anniversary Mix of this album. It was first remixed, remastered and released in 2007. Weird eh? I really don’t know why that was.

The version I’m recommending to you contains 2 discs and was released in 2012.

You May Also Be Interested In:

The Soundtrack To My Life. 13/03/2012.
The Soundtrack To My Life. 04/02/2012.
Balls & Noise.

Advertisements

The Heroic Musicians Of The Titanic.

11.40 pm tonight marks 100 years since The RMS Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean and as much as we all know the story surrounding the tragedy, there has always been confusion and controversy concerning the Titanic’s musicians who all died on that night.

Ever since the sinking, people have debated and argued as to which piece of music was last played by the band on the doomed ship. It is generally understood that the final piece of music played by the musicians was either ‘Song d’Automne‘ or the hymn ‘Nearer, My God, To Thee‘.
But it doesn’t matter.
It’s not important.

What is important is that their names are remembered and that they continued playing as the ship sank in order to keep everyone else calm. Who knows what went through their minds that night as they stood up to death like gentlemen and played beautiful music.

Click on the image to enlarge:

The Heroic Musicians Of The Titanic were:

Wallace Hartley (Bandmaster & Violin).
Georges Alexandre Krins (Violin).
Roger Marie Bricoux (Cello).
Theodore Ronald Brailey (Piano).
John Wesley Woodward (Cello).
John Frederick Preston Clarke (String Bass & Viola).
John Law Hume (Violin).
Percy Cornelius Taylor (Piano).

Here is the ‘Nearer, My God, To Thee’ scene from the 1958 film “A Night To Remember“:

You May Also Be Interested In:

The Story Of Charles Joughin.
“The Titanic Disaster” By J.H. McKenzie.

The Story Of Charles Joughin.

And who is Charles Joughin?
Well, sit back and I’ll tell you all about him.

Charles Joughin was the chief baker aboard The RMS Titanic and April 15th, 2012 marks the 100th Anniversary of the disaster.

When Joughin found out that the ship was going down, he did what most of us would do when faced with an icy horrible death;
He stuffed his pockets full of tobacco and then got completely shit-faced on whisky!

During the sinking of The Titanic, Joughin and the other chefs assigned themselves the task of bringing food and supplies to put aboard the lifeboats. Along with stewards and other seamen, Joughin helped ladies and children onto the lifeboats, although, after a while, the women on deck ran away from the boat saying they were safer aboard The Titanic. He then went on to A Deck and forcibly brought up women and children and threw them into the lifeboat.

Charles was in no mood to mess around.

After knocking back a place for himself on one of the lifeboats, Joughin returned to his cabin where he hit the bottle. Later, he appeared up on the boat deck where he found that all of the lifeboats had been lowered so he decided to go down onto the B Deck promenade where he threw about fifty deck chairs overboard so that they could be used as floatation devices by people in the freezing waters.

Charles Joughin was the very last person to get off The Titanic and he got off with style.

This picture depicts The Titanic’s final moments and at this point, Joughin was at the topmost part of the ship.

He was on the outside of the ship, holding onto a safety railing and instead of dying from fright and a massive heart attack there and then, he rode the ship down like an elevator!

Joughin merely stepped off of The Titanic, into the water and by his own account, didn’t even get his hair wet!

The bad news was that he was now in the -2 degree Atlantic Ocean where the maximum life expectancy in those conditions on that night was 45 minutes but the good news was that he was completely hammered on account of all the booze he’d drank!
YAY!

It is generally thought that Joughin survived in the water for almost 3 hours because of the alcohol in his system.
3 HOURS!

He swam around and treaded water until daylight where he spotted an upturned collapsible lifeboat with Second Officer Charles Lightoller and around twenty five other men standing on the side of the boat. He slowly swam towards it, but there was no room for him. A cook, Isaac Maynard, recognised him and held his hand as the Chief Baker held onto the side of the boat, with his feet and legs still in the water. Another lifeboat then appeared and Joughin swam to it and was taken in, where he stayed until he boarded The RMS Carpathia which rescued him.

Here is a photo of the upturned collapsible lifeboat that Charles Joughin clung to being found by The CS Mackay-Bennett:

In a letter to Walter Lord, author of “A Night To Remember“, Joughin recalled his experience of The Titanic disaster:

“Mr Walter Lord

Dear Sir,
Some secretaries brought to my notice your very splendid article “A Night to Remember” in the current issue of “The Ladies Home Journal.”

Most written accounts were hair-raising scenes which did not actually occur, except in the last few moments when those left behind made a mad rush towards what they considered a safer place, the Poop Deck. Fortunately I was all alone, when the big list to port occurred. I was able to straddle the Starboard rail (on A deck) and stepped off as the ship went under. I had expected suction of some kind, but felt none. At no time was my head underwater. just kept moving my arms and legs and kept in an upright position. No trick at all with a left-belt on.Your account of the upturned collapsible with Col.Gracie aboard was very correct. Most of the crew, were familiar with life boat and Fire stations as they had manned the “Olympic” (a sister ship) previously. Some curious things are done at a time like this. Why did I lock the heavy iron door of the Bakery, stuff the heavy keys in my pocket, alongside two cakes of hard tobacco.

My conclusions of cause: Grave error on part of Captain Smith kept course in spite of ice warnings and severe drop in temperature from 5 P.M.
Loss of life: life boat shortage, for the number of passengers and crew, but many more could have been saved, had the women obeyed orders. In those circumstances the crew are helpless.”

After surviving The Titanic, Joughin returned to England and was one of the crew members who reported to testify at the British Inquiry headed by the Viscount Mersey. In 1920, he moved permanently to the United States to Paterson, New Jersey and according to his obituary he was also on board the SS Oregon when it sank in Boston Harbour. He also served on ships operated by the American Export Lines as well as on World War II troop transports before retiring in 1944.

Joughin was invited to describe his experiences of The Titanic disaster in a chapter of Walter Lord’s book, “A Night To Remember”.

Charles Joughin died after a bout of pneumonia in Paterson, New Jersey on December 9th, 1956.
He was 78.

Sources:
http://www.titanicuniverse.com
http://www.wikipedia.org
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

You may also be interested in:

* “The Titanic Disaster” By J.H. McKenzie.
*  Gin & Titonic.

Gin & Titonic.

Maybe you know that I’m obsessed with The Titanic disaster..
Actually, maybe you don’t know that.
Now you do.

Anyways, I am.
Imagine the look on my face when I saw this!

Titanic Ice-cubes!
Talk about cool?
There’s no way that I’m not buying these!

You can get them for 5 bucks from Amazon HERE.

New York Diary: Part I.

This is the first part of the scribbly writings I kept last month in New York.
It’s pretty much:
“Here’s What I Did On My Holidays”.

New York Diary: Part I.
A Voyeur In Manhattan.

It hadn’t quite sunk in.
Here was me up at 4am today, trying to shave – getting ready to go to New York City!

Me and my Family, heading for The Big Apple to celebrate my Mum’s 50th Birthday which was in January and my 30th which arrives this November.
Pretty good!

The last minute case packing,
The staring at the paperwork,
The drive to the airport,
The check-in and still it hadn’t sunk in for me yet.

It’s 8am now and the four of us are half awake in some bar in Glasgow Airport.
My folks buy me a pint of John Smith.
8am and here we all are drinking in a bar.
Now it sinks in.

The flight to London, Heathrow went pretty well.
Only took about an hour.
I listened to Buddy Guy and stared out at the clouds the whole way.

I’m usually pretty bad on planes.
I always think of crashing and landing in the sea in pitch black and if I’m not thinking about that, It’s a fair bet that I’m imagining what it’s like to be engulfed in burning jet fuel as our plane goes into the side of a mountain like a dart.
I wish I could stop thinking about these things but what can you do.
I asked my Sister if she had only 2 choices, burning up or dropping out of the sky into the sea, which would she prefer.
She said “The sea” and I agreed.

After bumming around Heathrow airport for a few hours we’re finally on the plane bound for JFK Airport in New York.
British Airways treat cattle class like us pretty well!
Each seat has an individual TV screen but I decide to read my book for a while.
I decided weeks ago to read Piers Paul Read’s “Alive” on the plane because I knew I’d think about crashing and death and my thinking was that if I read “Alive” then whatever happened couldn’t be as bad as what happened to those people.
It worked.

After a few hours I checked out the in-flight movie choices.
Last time I visited New York, the in-flight movie was “The Day After Tomorrow”.
Probably one of the worst movies to watch on a New York bound plane!
Anyways, the choice of flicks this time around were pretty decent.
“True Grit”, “127 Hours”, “Black Swan”, “The Social Network” etc…
I heard good things about “True Grit” and I really want to see it but I decide to hold off until I can watch it on a big screen.
Besides, at the bottom of the list I clock “The Godfather: Part II”.
Planes always seem to have that film.
It’s one of my favourites and although I’ve probably seen it 199 times, I watch it for the 200th time along with a Jack Daniels & Coke.
I still can’t believe Michael would whack out his own Brother like that!

After the film I turn on the in-flight progress map and notice that we’re flying over the spot of the Atlantic where The Titanic went down.
That calls for another Jack Daniels.
I can’t sleep on planes.
Unlike my Sister…

We make it to JFK and pretty much waltz right through airport security.
This marks the 3rd time I’ve been to New York.

The taxi ride into Manhattan is great and already I never want to go home.
The driver is a fucking maniac and that’s fine by me!
He uses two things only.
The gas pedal and the horn.

We’re staying at The New Yorker Hotel on 34th and 8th.
Cases dumped, we head out into the town.

I stop for a second to light a smoke and right away some guy gets in my face barking “Two Fifty! Two Fifty!
I don’t know what he means and just as I’m about to tell him to get the fuck out of my face I notice he has about 100 boxes of Marlboro lights strapped around his waist.
Ah, New York!

We’re all completely beat and we decide to get some sleep about 11pm.
I can’t sleep when there’s so much out there so I head out again.

I wandered around Midtown Manhattan for 4 hours before I went back to the hotel.
I took pictures and looked at people and buildings and wandered up and down dark alleys in search of the kind of New York you see in Martin Scorsese films.
I checked out a couple of bars and cafes, got talking to a few people and had one of the best nights of my life.

A voyeur in Manhattan.

%d bloggers like this: