Friday, April 03, 2009

Day 19: Here comes the weekend

Today's soundtrack: Bob Dylan - Oh Mercy

"So Paul, what are those strange blue boxes running down the right hand side of the screen?" is the question that absolutely none of you have asked me.

Well, I'm going to tell you anyway. They all relate to a website called '' which is a website that (amongst other things) tracks the listening choices of its members. You set it up so that every time you play a song on iTunes (or your own media player of choice) it logs the play and adds it to its own record of tunes you have listened to. It also picks up any songs you play on your iPod/Zen/Zune etc when you synchronise back to your computer.

So what, I can hear you thinking. Well, in tracking all the songs I play, over time it can create 'league tables' of your most listened-to artists, albums and tracks - my overall and weekly charts are shown opposite. It also shows what I'm listening to at the time you are logged into this site. And most interestingly of all, it creates radio stations based upon your own record collections, playing tracks that it has logged randomly. And indeed, if you click on the big 'play' button in the 'BluePaul's Radio Station' box, it will start playing some of my songs for you. Magic! So not only do you get all this writing for free and some lovely tasty recipes to try out, I also let you share in my impeccable music taste. Go on - try it!

Today, fittingly, the soundtrack to my typing comes from my overall 'Top Artist' - Bob Dylan. I have loved Dylan for years (as should you) but I wouldn't say he is by any stretch my favourite artist - I just have more of his material than anyone else. Mainly because he's been churning the stuff out for longer than most, and he's been bootlegged more then most.

Oh Mercy is one of Bob's more recent albums (although having said that, a quick check reveals it was actually released 20 years ago!) and one of his better 'late period' albums. Standout track for me is 'Most of the Time' which was featured in the film 'High Fidelity', although below it's being used to soundtrack a trailer for 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind', which fits the lyrics very well too.

Unusually for Dylan, the song has a very direct lyric that isn't couched in allegory or metaphor. It's a beautiful song about someone just after a break-up, who can deal with the aftermath, 'most of the time'. The clear subtext is that, actually, the singer can't deal with the break-up at all.

First verse goes like this:

Most of the time I'm clear focused all around
Most of the time
I can keep both feet on the ground
I can follow the path, I can read the signs

Stay right with it, when the road unwinds
I can handle whatever I stumble upon
I don't even notice she's gone

Most of the time.

The rest of the lyrics - and the song itself - are here.

I know Dylan is not to everyone's taste, but you should give it a try.

In other news, I've no new recipes to share with you today I'm afraid - we had steak and chips last night, steak cooked on the George Formby Grill (highly recommended, especially with the removeable hotplates) and tonight we've dragged an old curry out of the freezer to watch with our crap Friday night film.

It is tradition at Waring Towers to spend Friday night in front of the telly with plenty of food and booze, watching the worst film we can. Usually one that involves axes, inbred locals with a taste for blood and a stream of young nubiles being offed in a range of imaginative ways.

Tonight's offering is called 'Insanitarium' which sounds like just the ticket. It managed to score a massive 4.9 out of 10 on the IMDB website, which is quite a high score for us, but still sounds promisingly awful. Will let you know just how bad it is.

Well, as Bob Dylan gives way to Graham Parker, I shall bid you adieu. I have a granary loaf to get out of the machine shortly so must tend to that. A good weekend to one and all.

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