Monday, 10 September 2012

Don't Panic, Just Deal With It

Hello everyone.  If you are ever bad at life, this post is for you.

Lately I have been having a bit of a tough time.  Nothing's seriously wrong, but I've been sick on-and-off for a while, I've been struggling to keep up with uni because of it, work is very taxing (boom-boom) this time of year etc.  When life is busy and stressful everything seems to go wrong, and I find myself making mistakes left right and centre.  Things slip my mind, I lose track of time, I just plain can't get round to things because I have too much to deal with, and suddenly I find that I have really messed up and created a catastrophe.

Usually in this situation I panic a lot.  I think this is because panicking enables me to put off actually dealing with things.  But the more I put it off, the more I panic.  And it doesn't go away.  What I have now learnt is that I just have to Deal With It.

Accept the situation.  Think about what might make it better.  Speak with someone who is in charge and see if they will help you out by extending a deadline or giving you another chance at something, or whatever you need them to do.  Probably they will say yes.  Remember to thank them.

Do it now! In most situations it will take less than five minutes to sort out a solution, even to a major problem, and then you can focus all your attention on carrying the plan out instead of carrying on like a pork chop.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Musings on Music

I haven't been blogging much but I just discovered this fun (if somewhat predictable) list on NME of the 20 Best Tracks of NME's Lifetime.  They should have just called it Songs The Ship Loves, Plus Bob Dylan.  It makes for great reading, and at the bottom there's a Spotify playlist.  I didn't know what Spotify was until 2 days ago, but now I have it and I am listening to the songs for free and I'm pretty sure I won't even go to jail. 

20. Bittersweet Symphony, The Verve
This song is totally great, I love it so much.  I always think of Cruel Intentions when I hear it, which just adds to its appeal since that movie rocked.  (The sequels are no good though, don't watch them.)

19. Like A Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan
This song is okay, but I wouldn't put it in my top 20.  Or even my top 200.  I don't really care for Bob Dylan. Sorry! 

18. Eleanor Rigby, The Beatles
I don't really care for the Beatles either.  I think I have this song on my iPod, but if it came on I'd definitely skip it, every time.  I did enjoy that Yellow Submarine movie a lot though.  But I wouldn't put any Beatles songs in my top 20.

17. Paint It Black, The Rolling Stones
I don't mind the Rolling Stones but this isn't my favourite of their songs.  I think my favourite is Ruby Tuesday, but honestly I don't think the Stones would make my list either.

16. Heroes, David Bowie
This isn't my fave Bowie song, but somehow it's the one I listen to the most because I just find it so emotive.  This is the lowest point of my blog, nerd-wise, but I read a Harry Potter Marauders-Era fanfiction involving this song over a year ago, and I just haven't been able to forget it.  I don't really know why.

15. Common People, Pulp
To me this is a real late night Rage song. It's awesome.  The singer is Jarvis Cocker, who I only just this minute found out is not Joe Cocker's kid/dad/brother/pseudonym.  Oops.

14. My Generation, The Who

13. Seven Nation Army, White Stripes
DOO-doo-doo-doo-doo-dooooo-doo.  This song is in my head nearly every day.  Can't say I really mind.

12. How Soon Is Now, The Smiths
I won't lie: the main reason I love this song is that it's the theme song from Charmed.  Incidentally, I watched one of the later season episodes today and it wasn't that good.  Still, The Smiths rule.

11. Wonderwall, Oasis
Oh, this song is the greatest.  I love it so much.  It reminds me of my high school friend Ryan (hello if you're reading!), who burned it for me.  We were talking about music on MSN Messenger (hello Nostalgia if you're reading! My Desperate Yearning For My Teen Years says hi!) and he told me it was one of his favourite songs and I said I didn't know it.  I had actually heard it, I just didn't know that it was Wonderwall.  Anyway, I guess Ryan said he would give me a copy, but I always say that and I never remember to do it, so I was pretty surprised the next day when he rocked up to the train station with a CD for me! I still have it.

10. You Really Got Me, The Kinks
I really love this song too.  The Kinks are one of my 4 favourite bands (along with Bright Eyes, Meat Loaf and The Cure), and this is one of their best songs.  They sliced up an amp to get that cool sound.  Also the members were aged 17-21 when they recorded this, and it was almost fifty years ago.  That's younger than I am, and I don't think I've achieved anything that could keep people talking for fifty minutes.  At least my name isn't Dave Davies though.

9. I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor, Arctic Monkeys
I really really like Arctic Monkeys, but this isn't my favourite of their songs, maybe because it was so overplayed.  Mardy Bum would be on my list instead.

8. London Calling, The Clash
Another song that I absolutely love. I have the London Calling album on a proper record ("vinyl", as they say) because my Mum used to be a punk. I have lots of others too. Probably that's what I would grab if there was a fire.

7. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, The Smiths
I don't know that The Smiths necessarily deserve two songs when everyone else just got one, but I do really love this song.  There are some amazing letters from Morrissey (the singer) to a penpal, which you can see here, here and here.  If I were in charge, I'd keep this but get rid of How Soon Is Now.

6. Boys Don't Cry, The Cure
I LOVE The Cure and this is one of my favourite songs of theirs, and one of my favourite songs period. The lyrics are depressing, but it still puts me in a good mood because it sounds so upbeat. I have seen The Cure live and they were really brilliant, even though Robert Smith is pretty old by now.

5. Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana
I don't even know what to say about how good this song is but it's so good.

4. Last Nite, The Strokes
I have always liked this song but I don't think I knew it was by The Strokes.  I tend not to know songs that were released in this millennium, not because I'm pretentious about music but just because I'm a dweeb.

3. Love Will Tear Us Apart, Joy Division
I don't mind this song, but when I hear it I'm reminded of that song Let's Dance To Joy Division by The Wombats and I wish I were listening to that instead.  I don't think this song would make my list.

2. Mr Brightside, The Killers
I really really really like this song.  I think the lyrics are pretty clever in a playground-rhyme sort of way (now they're going to bed/and my stomach is sick/and it's all in my head/but she's touching his - chest now...) and the film clip is pretty cool.  And it sounds like they've copied a little bit of Ode To Joy too, which is sort of nifty.

1. Rehab, Amy Winehouse
Instead of making a joke I will just say that I like this song a whole lot and I love Amy Winehouse.  I don't think this is her best song though; my list would have Valerie instead.

I don't know how I feel about the order of those songs, but I think most of them deserve to be in the list.  If I were in charge, it would be a top 25.  I'd make the aforementioned changes, which would bring me to 16, and add:

17. Rockaway Beach, Ramones

18. Paradise By The Dashboard Light, Meat Loaf

19. Killer Queen, Queen

20. Khe Sanh, Cold Chisel

21. You Can Call Me Al, Paul Simon (or maybe Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard?)

22. Banana Pancakes, Jack Johnson

23. Piano Man (full version), Billy Joel (or any of his other songs)

24. Bennie and the Jets/Goodby Yellow Brick Road/Tiny Dancer/I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues, Elton John

25. anything/everything Tom Waits recorded back when his voice didn't sound like Cookie Monster

Oh, and Relator by Scarlett Johansson and Pete Yorn for a bonus round.  Sounds dweeby but I swear it's really good, please give it a listen.

What do you think of NME's list?  What would be on yours?