Friday, December 31, 2010

Time Out with Phylly

The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali.
Time Is the Keeper 
lyrics and music by Ian Thomas

Everyone has a dream or a wish they would like to see come true
From the time you begin to crawl it's inside of us all
There are always those who go through life with a silver spoon
That can get so hard to take, just sit back and wait
Cause time is the keeper
(Time is the keeper)
Of the dreams you make
(Time is the keeper)
Dreams are the sleepers
(Time is the keeper)
Waiting to awake
(Time is the keeper)
You will get some of the things you want
But in your mind there's always more, guess that's the way we are
We all want to go so far
Patience is a virtue tried and proven, you get what's coming to you
You might as well have a seat, take a load off your feet
I had this album in LP and also (horrors!) in 8 track (I just dated myself!)
For time is the keeper
(Time is the keeper)
Of the dreams you make
(Time is the keeper)
Dreams are the sleepers
(Time is the keeper)
Waiting to awake
(Time is the keeper)
Time is the keeper
(Time is the keeper)
Of the dreams you make
Woah time is the keeper
(Time is the keeper)
Of the dreams you make
Woah time is the keeper
(Time is the keeper)
Of the dreams you make
Oh time is the keeper
(Time is the keeper)

I don't see this version available anymore but there is this one:
for the Amazon.ca link, click here.


Ian Thomas is one of Canada's best kept secrets. I could never understand why he didn't make it big down south (the U.S.) but maybe he just never really wanted to leave Canada. He is still making music and touring around Canada when he can, but I haven't had the pleasure of seeing him perform yet.

There are so many great songs with a Time theme, that if I tried to post a video of all (or even most) of them, this post would be way too long.  So I have picked a few of my faves to highlight and a few more I give passing mention to (with a link) in the following paragraph:

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child (a long way from home). Mostly I know time is on my side -- yes it is! Although I spend so much time on the computer, you might think I have many wasted days and wasted nights. But time after time I find myself finding some bit of information or long forgotten bit of nostalgia on my journey through the past that I might save or pass on to someone else. If it makes them happy, then I am also happy also, but you can be sure that I am having the time of my life!


I had a pretty cool psychedelic video here before, but it has been taken off of Youtube (for some reason).  This is a concert version of the song which I hope you will enjoy.  Please let me know if any links stop working, or videos disappear (or even if I make spelling mistakes!)  I hate to waste your time. :)


Time (1973) / Pink Floyd



One of the few newer bands I totally love is Coldplay. If you share my love of Coldplay and Richard Armitage you will probably like my earlier blogpost Fanvidding with Coldplay. I looked for this song in a fanvid starring RA but couldn't find one, although there was one from Spooks starring Rupert Penry Jones. If anyone out there knows of one, please share it with me.  Or if anyone wants to make one, I would love to see the finished product!

Clocks (2004) / Coldplay


This one is a favourite because I really like the artist (she was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) and also the words and music are very meaningful to me.

Time  (2002) / Chantal Kreviachuk

This video is all the more poignant because it shows Brittany Murphy (in the 2003 movie Uptown Girls) who showed such promise as an actress. Unfortunately she passed away last year just when her career was starting to blossom.

The next video is of another artist whose career ended much too soon. Jim Croce (Jan. 10, 1943 – Sept. 20, 1973) died in a plane crash on his way to his next performance.  The video contains footage of him with his family and his song is so much more meaningful than he ever could have known when he wrote it.

Time in a Bottle (1973) / Jim Croce



This Canadian band has really stood the test of time. This video is from a concert in 2003 in which they sound just as good (or better) than they ever did!


 No Time (1970) / The Guess Who



This next song title could be my theme song. (I am time challenged!) It is very annoying for others but could actually be a good thing (as long as I am late for my own funeral!)

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? (1969) / Chicago


Franco Zefferelli's production of Romeo and Juliet (1968) was such a beautiful movie, I don't believe any version has surpassed it yet. I always found this song entrancing. It was in my sister's piano book and she used to play it often. I was very pleased to find a fanvid of the movie using the song (with words) as the soundtrack. I think in the movie the song was used for the credits but without the words.

A Time for Us


Wow! I didn't realize this post would be so sad. Think of all of what passed before as the death of the old year. And now for some comic relief...

George Carlin explains the concept of Time


I would really like a watch like this! I don't like digital clocks either, George! Really, unless you are timing a  soufflĂ©, defusing a bomb (shades of Spooks), or doing a science experiment, do we really need to be so exact with each minute and second?  When I am outside I am fairly good at telling time with the sun. I am not suggesting that we go back to using sun dials or anything, just that we should lighten up a bit.
While I was in Northern England this year I heard people referring to "half two" which I assume is 2:30 or what we used to refer to as "half past two" (but does anyone say that anymore?). I guess half two is the same but leaving out the word "past".  (How's that for living in the present?)



Phylly's favourite Movies about TIME (not necessarily in this exact order):

Malcolm Macdowell (as H.G. Welles) chases Jack the Ripper into modern day San Francisco via a time machine. It makes for some very amusing fish out of water type antics, some romance with Mary Steenbergen and of course the thriller elements are very well done.

If you haven't seen this movie yet, you are overdue for some excellent entertainment. Michael J. Fox stars as Marty McFly in another time travel adventure where he must go back in time in order to ensure his parent's romance really happens. Unfortunately, his presence complicates their relationship so much that it threatens his very existence. Then there is the problem of returning to the present!

Even though this movie is about an extra-marital affair I can't help loving this movie! Ellen Burstyn and Alan Alda are so endearing as a couple who meet on vacation away from their spouses. It is a love story that is continued  for one day every year and endures longer than most marriages. I love how they change over the decades and how they have to get to know each other all over again. Ultimately they each help each other with their respective spousal relationships which is like a form of marriage therapy. It's hard to explain without seeing it, but the link is to the first part of the movie on Youtube. I also love the song which is played at the beginning credits, sung by Johnny Mathis -- The Last Time I Felt Like This.

Whenever this movie comes on TV (which is often -- probably every February) I have to drop everything and watch it. I never get tired of it! I love the whole premise of the movie. The miserable antisocial bachelor who somehow gets stuck in the same day and must relive it over and over until he finally gets it (and himself) right to win the hand of the fair maiden. By the end of the movie he is every woman's dream! Why he's almost as good as....Richard Armitage?  Nah! Close, but it's still Bill Murray after all! Oh, and did I mention -- it's hysterically funny!

Now here's a time travel romance with two of the best looking stars of the 1970s -- Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. Now I know it sounds smaltzy but it is very well done. Christopher Plummer also plays sort of a villain. It also has quite the cult following judging by the number of websites dedicated to it.
It is very romantic, well acted, touching and surprisingly believable.


What are your favourite movies about TIME?

If that's not romantic enough for you, here is a fanvid of the most romantic miniseries ever, the BBC's North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell starring Richard Armitage and Danielle Denby Ashe. This vid has time as its theme.

Thornton's Sorrow / Spikesbint
 

Wouldn't this be an exciting billboard for Times Square?
(Or anywhere else really!)



Phylly's Faves first Caption Contest
 Can you think up a funny caption for this picture?
Please send entries to phylly3@gmail.com by Friday January 7th, 2011.


Winner gets bragging rights! :)

Make this your count down to the New Year!
Delicateblossom's video 4 Minutes

All the best to my loyal blog readers for 2011!


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Wishes

I have a new video which I would like to dedicate to all admirers of Richard Armitage. It is my Christmas wish for all of us, and for Mr. Armitage too.  I wasn't sure if I would be able to finish this video with all the last minute things I needed to do to get things ready for Christmas. Servetus came to my rescue at the last minute with a clip from North and South to replace one I wasn't happy with.

There are so many wonderful things in the world (and some not) but I choose to see the glass as half-full... :) But nothing is as important as love, so love is what I wish for everyone. This was the great gift that Christ shared with the world so it is most appropriate at this time of the year.  It is for all people regardless of their beliefs, because love must be shared to be experienced in the fullest sense.

I Wish You Love

My best wishes for a peaceful, relaxing or energizing holiday season 
that you can enjoy with people you care about.

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas tunes

Here are some of my favourite Christmas tunes.  By no means is this anywhere near a complete list but these are just a few that are somehow more meaningful to me. I have a warm spot in my heart especially at Christmas for two singers who have absolutely nothing in common. One is a very linguistically talented woman known for her intellectual looking dark rimmed glasses and angelic voice. The other is a smooth talking, velvet voiced sophisticate who somehow seems almost perpetually pickled.
They are Nana Mouskouri and Dean Martin.
If these choices say something about my personality, then so be it! You are free to interpret this in any way you wish!


I love this song when anyone sings it, but to me, no one can sing it as well as Nana Mouskouri.

Old Toy Trains



Here's Dean Martin singing my favourite of his Christmas tunes. He owns this song, as far as I am concerned! However, a little help from Frank Sinatra in this video is always a bonus!

Winter is a Marshmallow World






  I love this French Christmas song and though I prefer Nana Mouskouri's version (Click here), I really enjoy the scenes on this video and also the fact that the lyrics are there to sing along.
This version is by Tino Rossi,, a famous french tenor and film star who had a huge hit with this song back in 1946.


Petit Papa Noel

Apparently this singer and movie star was renowned for making women swoon.
 

Now here is an actor who makes many modern women swoon.  I only wish I had a recording of him singing a Christmas tune.  For all you Richard Armitage fans out there thanks to Santa:


Not exactly a wallet size portrait, eh?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas kicks

Okay...This piece of news is just too exciting to sit on. Richard Armitage Net dot com has posted an article from Woman's Weekly which states that Mr. Armitage's first performance as a child (like many of us) was in a Nativity play. But here's the kicker...as a donkey!  I can't help it! I find this fact unbearably cute!

I'm sure at the time, being cast as a donkey wasn't considered a choice role. However, when one considers the importance of the donkey in biblical history, one can see that without the donkey, the very pregnant Mary would have had a much more difficult journey to Bethlehem.  The donkey also helped the Holy Family to escape to Egypt when King Herod was on his infanticidal rampage.  Then again, a donkey was what Jesus was riding when he entered Jerusalem on the now famous Palm Sunday.  When viewed from this perspective, except for one of the Holy Family or perhaps the Angel Gabriel -- the donkey was a very prestigious role indeed! :)


RA as John Thornton in North and South
Now it makes some sense that such a talented brooder might have something in common with everyone's favourite donkey from Winnie the Pooh -- none other than that sad-eyed little brooder -- Eyore!






RA as Harry Kennedy in The Vicar of Dibley
Not to imply that all donkeys are so morose!  Another favourite donkey of mine is an upbeat, fast-talking scheming donkey from the movie Shrek (voiced by Eddie Murphy).  Richard could certainly handle that kind of personality!




Notice the picture on the wall?
Richard Armitage and Dawn French in The Vicar of Dibley


Now here's a little Christmas ditty about a donkey which is starring another of The Vicar of Dibley's favourite men -- Johnny Depp!


Did you get a kick out of that? 



Now I would much prefer a childhood photo of Richard Armitage in his Nativity play finery, 
but I'll just have to make do with this...




Do you think maybe he is not too impressed with his costume?

(Ohhhh! I am definitely on Santa's naughty list now!)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

In the spirit

In the spirit of the season I have chosen three of my favourite Christmas carols to share with you. They are all three rather mournful, but I find them very beautiful and moving.
 

This first carol is plaintive and full of hopeful desire for the Saviour to rescue his people from darkness and sin. It is very reminiscent of an ancient monastic chant. It is in fact, one of the world's oldest hymns, discovered, translated and modified from an obscure 9th century processional in 1850 by an Anglican priest   John Mason Neale.

 





Now this carol is a personal favourite of mine because it is a truly Canadian hymn and its background tells much about Canada's early history. It was written by a French missionary in order to explain the story of the nativity in a way that the Huron people could understand. Father Jean de Brebeuf also translated his song into the Huron language. The following link explains the story more fully. (Click on the song title).





It is no wonder that this next hymn is a favourite of mine! I had no idea until I did this research that this hymn was inspired by a poem written by the English poet Christina Rosetti which was published after her death in 1904. In 2008, a poll of choral experts and choirmasters voted Harold Darke's setting of In the Bleak Midwinter the greatest Christmas carol of all time!


Slightly off topic here but I am reminded because of the title, to mention this wonderful fanfic about the sweet, shy hunk of an RA character  -- John Standring in a story by Khandy entitled...
(you guessed it!) ... In the Bleak Midwinter.

Richard Armigage as John Standring in Sparkhouse (2002).


bccmee is putting everyone in the Christmas spirit with her lovely Christmas fanvid about 
Harry Kennedy in the Vicar of Dibley.
Richard Armitage as Harry Kennedy in The Vicar of Dibley

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Song for a Winter's Night

It's cold and snowy here in Central Canada. So nice to stay inside where it's warm and watch a lovely fanvid. This one puts two of my faves together -- my favourite miniseries with a song by one of my favourite Canadian songwriter /performers.

Yorkshirewench has graciously allowed me to post her North and South video Song for a Winter's Night by Gordon Lightfoot.

The password is: butterfly
North & South - Thornton/Margaret - Song For A Winter's Night from yorkshirewench on Vimeo.

I hope it will play for you!



Here are the lyrics to this beautiful song by Gordon Lightfoot.

Song for a Winter Night

The lamp is burnin' low upon my table top
The snow is softly falling
The air is still in the silence of my room
I hear your voice softly calling

If I could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
On this winter night with you

The smoke is rising in the shadows overhead
My glass is almost empty
I read again between the lines upon the page
The words of love you sent me

If I could know within my heart
That you were lonely too
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
On this winter night with you

The fire is dying now, my lamp is growing dim
The shades of night are lifting
The morning light steals across my window pane
Where webs of snow are drifting

If I could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
And to be once again with with you
To be once again with with you

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bungle in the Jungle


 Call me crazy, but I really think one of the best stories ever imagined is the legend of Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. At the time it was written in 1912 there really was nothing like it in literature before. An abandonned child is raised by a tribe of great apes in the darkest Africa. He grows to communicate with the jungle animals, and is respected by them as the King of the Jungle.
Oh sure, there was Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book with stories of the boy named Mowgli who was raised by wolves and a bear and a panther. (Huh? I don't think so!) Older than that was the legend of Romulus and Remus, the twins raised by wolves who founded the city of Rome -- but where's the back story? Hmmm? What were those twins doing out in the woods so that wolves could get at them? And what self-respecting wolf would raise a pair of humans when they would make a darn good meal with some leftovers? Not any wolves around my neck of the woods!
However implausible Burroughs story may seem to you, it has a fully-realized plot that is so EPIC, it has been spawning it's own sequels and adaptations ever since.

I was inspired to read the Tarzan books by first reading a collection of Tarzan cartoons that was my favourite book at my local Public Library when I was a certain impressionable age. I wish I could get my hands on that book again! I think it must have included comic book art by Hal Foster. (Please check out the link)!  There have been many graphic artists over the years to illustrate the Tarzan story, but none have been more seminal than Foster. The artist had a fascinating history himself, (which I hadn't known before doing this research). He was Canadian, born in Halifax, Nova Scotia and was a self-taught artist who developed his talent while living in Winnipeg, Manitoba before relocating to Chicago, USA where he finally found fame.



In 1918, barely 6 years since the publication of Tarzan, the story was told in film. It was a silent version (talkies had not yet been invented) but theatre goers were enthralled with the character who eventually inspired many more screen versions. Most Tarzan devotees hail Johnny Weissmuller as the King of the movie Tarzans. I enjoyed the movie Greystoke: the Legend of Tarzan of the Apes (1984) with Christopher Lambert. But, unfortunately there were also many regrettable movie versions, which are also included in this clip:
  
This video shows all the movie portrayals of Tarzan




 My favourite screen portrayal of Tarzan was by Ron Ely 
from the 1960s tv series of that name.
 I have to admit that I had a little-girl sized crush on him. He was so handsome and heroic and well...shirtless! And he actually spoke in proper sentences, not that nasty "Me Tarzan, you Jane" lingo.
(Yes, I know I just started a sentence with AND. If Elizabeth Gaskell can do it, then so can I!)

Here is the opening to Ron Ely's Tarzan television show.



Disney's cartoon version of the story was very well done. I also enjoyed the soundtrack which had many songs by Phil Collins. The following fanvid does a wonderful job of retelling the story.


You'll Be in My Heart / Phil Collins



Now this song doesn't really have anything to do with Tarzan but it brings back many youthful memories.

Jethro Tull  / Bungle in the Jungle


 Some other of my favourite rock songs having  a Jungle theme are: Welcome to the Jungle by  Guns N' Roses and the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen's epic song Jungleland. These songs are very serious comparisons of modern society to a jungle.  A real jungle is probably less dangerous than a modern city.
Which reminds me of the Australian version of a modern Tarzan in the movie  Crocodile Dundee (1986) with Paul Hogan.



The following song was new (to me) and I'm sure very annoying to some, but I think it's a hoot!


Tarzan and Jane -- Toybox


Now here's someone in the RA fandom who has an appreciation of a Jungle theme! This wonderful fanvid by TeaRoseProductions celebrates Richard Armitage as Harry Kennedy starring with Dawn French as Geraldine Granger in The Vicar of Dibley.  If you watch it on Youtube you can change it to HD quality.



Richard Armitage has a pretty good yell! Here he is as Guy of Gisborne in the BBC's Robin Hood (2006-2009). I am sure he would have no trouble yodeling a Tarzan yell!


***UPDATE***
(April 12, 2011)

My first attempt at using my new SonyVegas Movie Studio software. It is very complex and not very user friendly so please forgive the roughness of this video.  Anyway, I wanted to make Guy do a Tarzan call... and here he is....



Not convinced?
Maybe this picture will help you to picture him as Tarzan!


Even HE doesn't look so impressed with this idea! :D


But that's not all!
I received some help in the graphics department from a dear friend who wishes to remain anonymous.

Poor Richard! He looks a bit surprised to be deposited into a jungle scenario!
Now maybe if he had Jane, he might be happier!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A little SoM thing

The Sound of Music and me go waaay back. It was the first (non-children's) record album I ever owned, given to me by my maternal grandmother who lived with us until she died just before my seventh birthday.  I remember singing the songs on the bus on my way to school.
I also remember when our local theatre showed the film they had seats roped off at the front for special townspeople. (That was the one and only time I ever saw such a thing!) Of course our town didn't have a theatre for very long after that, but I digress...
You may have also noticed a little reference to one of the songs from the album on my blog.  (On the tag cloud-- the title is: These are a few of my favourite things...

Julie Andrews was also very special to me. The Mary Poppins record was another of my favourites and I knew all the words to sing along. I actually wished to be just like Julie Andrews -- the way she could sing, her way with children, her cheeky, brave charming self -- that was the kind of person I aspired to be!
 I used to sing to my children at bedtime (after the bath and storytime) and my son especially enjoyed it.  The best compliment I have ever received from anyone in my life, was once when my little guy sighed after a particularly good rendition of ...probably "Feed the Birds", or perhaps it was "Stay Awake" and he said "Mom, your name should be Phyllis Andrews!" It still chokes me up! :)

So it was with great interest that I discovered through my blogger buddies that there was going to be a reunion of the complete cast of The Sound of Music for its 45th anniversary on the Oprah show. She was even having some of the actual Von Trapp family to sing on the show. "How exciting!" I thought, "I must remember to watch it!" Well, the show came and went....and I missed it!
Luckily Charleybrown (who is much more on the ball than me) has several wonderful posts all about it. Here is one of her posts over at Enchanted Serenity of Period Films. She even posted the Oprah episode, so now I have watched it too! Thanks Charleybrown!!

It actually occurred to me before I even heard of this milestone reunion, that perhaps The Sound of Music could be remade for the new century. Of course I love the original, but it might be quite exciting to imagine some modern actors in these iconic roles. For Julie's Maria Von Trapp, I could think of no one else but Amy Adams. She is my current favourite singing movie star. I loved her in Enchanted and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. She has the same fresh faced beauty and joyful, sparkling personality as Julie Andrews and her voice is simply beautiful!
Now I realize that this is just a pipe dream of mine because in reality Amy Adams (born Aug. 20, 1974), and very youthful in appearance, would probably be considered too old for the part of Maria.  But please indulge me anyway...

Julie Andrews as Maria in the Austrian Alps

Amy Adams in Enchanted in Central Park
I can't help but see the similarities here. What do you think, hmmm?





 In Disney's Enchanted, Amy playing the part of Giselle,  begins as a cartoon character searching for her "true love" who is of course, a Prince and very charming.  But after she falls through a hole in her fairytale land, she comes up through a manhole into the middle of modern day New York city.  Her rescuer is an ordinary single parent father (Patrick Dempsey) who has relationship issues with his girlfriend. In this song, Giselle is trying to help him make up with his girlfriend.


What I love about this musical number is how natural Amy makes it seem to just stroll around singing and then get the rest of the world to join in. I have often wished the world would really work like this! Obviously Patrick Dempsey doesn't buy into it at first...love his lines! But by the end of the song, he is enjoying it in spite of himself.


The role of Maria Von Trapp is still a very coveted role as shown by the stiff competition for the stage part in the televised "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" on BBC in 2006 and three years later in Canada on CBC. Here's the trailer for the British show:


Here's another someone with somewhat of a resemblance to Julie Andrews as Maria. I am not too sure that Danielle Denby-Ashe can warble a tune though!

Margaret Hale with similar hat
Maria with sun hat


You must be wondering by now, who I might pick for the role of Captain Von Trapp? Afterall, Christopher Plummer was just wonderful in this role -- tall, dark and handsome, with a brooding masculine charm, a witty sense of humour and even a nice singing voice! Sound like anyone else you know?


Luckily a very graphically talented blogger friend of mine consented to make me several photo manips that are very cleverly done. 
Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews
Richard Armitage and Amy Adams





















Apparently, according to Christopher Plummer's autobiography, his singing voice was dubbed for the movie, but this video proves that he sings very nicely indeed. If the video does not load properly, you can also watch it if you  click here.

Edelweiss - Sound of Music - Christopher Plummer's own voice from Mark on Vimeo.


Here are a couple more SoM things to think about....

Don't they make a lovely couple!

Even if it's not The Sound of Music, wouldn't these two be great in a musical?



Thursday, November 18, 2010

Spooks Series 9 -- Lucas North -- Lies

Dedicated to Lucas North (Spooks / MI-5 Series 9) ** SPOILERS**
It's hard to admit that I've been in mourning for an imaginary character for just over a week now, but I think I've finally come to my senses. What has helped me was the wonder of "music therapy", if there is such as thing, I can testify to its success! I have been reliving the last few episodes by watching some fanvids done by bccmee, Juliet D001, and GiztheGunslinger.  Lucas North, from Spooks / MI-5, I can now let you rest in peace, or not, as the case may be.

I had an idea I wanted to make another fanvid (or musical slideshow as that's as much as I've learned to do so far).  So I was scouring Youtube for music videos with the title Betrayal, or Lies.  When I found the song Lies by The Black Keys, I knew it sounded right, but I had to have a look at the lyrics to make sure. Well, it was like the Spooks writers had this song in mind when they were deciding what to do with Lucas's character this season.  So as much as I don't approve of what happened to his character, and hated the way the plot was thrown together like a vigorously tossed salad with some vital ingredients missing the bowl, I couldn't make myself look away from the screen, so as not to miss a nanosecond of Richard Armitage's magnificent performance!

So I'm over the bitterness. When I think of Series 9 now it will be with this song in my head and a bittersweet memory of a spy who wasn't who we thought he was, or even who he wanted to be.

I just caught the end of a very good biopic the other day The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004).
Peter Sellers was a brilliant comedic character actor who starred in one of my favourite movies -- Being There (1979).

 
What I learned about Peter Sellers was that he was so good at becoming the various characters he created that he believed he had no personality of his own. This reminded me of Lucas / John uttering the words, "I am nothing". The spy known as Lucas North was only playing a role, he was not really that person, but he had played the role for so long and so well, that he didn't know who he was anymore. As with the real life Peter Sellers, this lack of knowing one's self led to many relationship problems, broken marriages, drug and alcohol abuse and if his heart had not given out at the relatively young age of 54, he was probably due for a mental breakdown.  This made me feel a little more sympathetic to the spy a.k.a Lucas. And so I have put him to rest.

Here is my tribute to Lucas North in the BBC's Spooks Series 9:

I will miss the character I thought he was and believe he could have been.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Last Spike -- 125th Anniversary tribute

CPR travel poster
November 7th 1885 was the date that the last spike was driven into the track of Canada's first transcontinental railway (the Canadian Pacific Railway -- a.k.a. the CPR).  Sorry, my post is late by a few days, but I just got the memo!


Actually I missed seeing last week's episode of the Rick Mercer Report. Luckily I subscribe to his Youtube channel and what to my wondering eyes did appear -- but this excellent clip where Rick interviews Parks Canada employees about the Last Spike and rides the rails over some of the most beautiful railway scenery to be found anywhere in the world!


The history of Canada is defined by this transcontinental railroad.  There is a good chance that without the persistence of Sir John A. Macdonald (Canada's first Prime Minister) and the partnership of railway engineer Sir Sanford Fleming and CPR general manager Cornelius Van Horne, Canada would not exist in its present form today of 10 provinces and 3 territories linked together from east to west coast by a fragile network of rail (and now highways).  In fact, it was mainly in order to bring the province of British Columbia into Confederation that started the mad rush to build the railroad in the first place.
Is it any wonder then that so many talented performers have paid homage to Canada's railways?

Here's a famous song called Canadian Pacific by country music star Hank Snow

And one of my favourite songs by Gordon Lightfoot, Steel Rail Blues



Now you know I can't leave without a picture of Richard Armitage, so here he is as
Claude Monet in The Impressionists admiring a train.
screencap courtesy of RichardArmitageNet
*******UPDATE*******
Just had to share this lovely montage done by a dear friend and fellow admirer of Richard Armitage.
Just look at the way she has blended Richard as Claude Monet in The Impressionists with Monet's own artwork and a quote by fellow Impressionist painter Edouard Manet about his artistic vision.

The quote in English is "I paint what I see, not what pleases others to see".
Monet is more appropriate to this post than I at first realized! His birthdate was November 14, 1840 which means that I just missed his 170th birthday by one day!

If you like trains as I do, don't miss my first post on this blog, "I Think I Can"

Friday, November 12, 2010

65 years Young

Neil Young was born 65 years ago today on November 12, 1945.  Yes, that's right, that means he is now officially a senior citizen. Well, it's quite an accomplishment to be still actively touring and creating music for an adoring public for the past 40 plus years! I'm sad to say I have never seen him perform in concert. I missed my chance a couple of times now. :(
Although Neil now lives in the United States, he is still proudly Canadian, born in Toronto, Ontario, he lived briefly in Northern Ontario during his youth and performed in a high school band (called The Squires) when he lived in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I understand that Thunder Bay, Ontario  also has a claim to fame (as the place where Neil first met Stephen Stills).
 He is a singer/songwriter who has been honoured by many musical awards, Grammys, Junos, and even an Academy award for the song Philadelphia used in the film of the same name starring Tom Hanks.

He made a name for himself during the 1960s with his country / folk flavoured Rock sound and most notably for his protest songs against war.  He teamed up with Stephen Stills in the group Buffalo Springfield and then with the supergroup Crosby Stills & Nash who changed their name to Crosby Stills Nash & Young when Neil agreed to join them. Their soaring harmonies and Neil's brilliant songwriting skills added greatly to the fame of that band.
(Neil when young) I like his brooding looks.

Always serious and intense about his music, he was sometimes not the easiest person to get along with. Although he took his music very seriously, he didn't seem as concerned about his appearance and his unkempt, dishevelled appearance is also part of his mystique.

I have enjoyed his music since his Harvest album, released in 1970.  I find his melodies haunting, combined with his warbly falsetto, his sound has an otherworldly quality. But it is his lyrics that really shine. Neil always has something worthwhile to say, but he says it like the poet and troubadour that he is.
There are so many songs of his that I love. I have actually made some fanvids starring Richard Armitage using them. Here is a page at Amazon.com with some song clips you can listen to from his Greatest Hits album.  My personal favourites are: Only Love Can Break Your Heart, Helpless, Needle and the Damage Done, Ohio, Comes a Time and of course, After the Gold Rush.

Because it is this time of the year, here is a song I haven't heard before but it is very much in keeping with the themes of most of his work.  This song is entitled Love and War.

This is one of his newer songs -- It's a Dream. It talks about the memories of his youth in Winnipeg, when he roamed around the banks of the Red River and how things have changed over time. This song touches me deeply and can even bring me to tears.



 This isn't the first time I've posted about Neil Young and it probably won't be the last. But before I'm done just let me say -- Thanks Neil! For all your wonderful music and for your generous spirit to share it with all of us.
Happy Birthday to Neil Young!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Poppies

Linda Granfield. Toronto, ON: Stoddart Kids, 2001
The poppy -- a flower for remembrance. Blood-red, it is at once a symbol of sacrifice and a hope for the future. The flocked red plastic pin with black centre poppy that Canadians start wearing as soon as the Halloween gear is stowed away, has been offered for sale by the Royal Canadian Legion since the 1920's.  
 
Remembrance Day November 11th at 11:00 am we will pause in our work and play and pay tribute to those brave souls who put their lives on the line for all of us who live in freedom.
 
All Canadians are familiar with the poem "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae, a doctor in the first World War from Guelph, Ontario who wrote the poem after his friend was killed in the battle of Ypres, France, 1915.


In this video by Poetryanimations,
we see a picture of John McCrae seem to perform his own poem.
If you watch this video at Youtube, you can read the extensive notes underneath the video. To visit Youtube, simply click on either the video title or the Youtube symbol within the frame.



I don't know how I missed knowing this before, but apparently this poem has been made into a song!
Even if you are familiar with the poem, please listen to the song -- it is quite beautiful.



Remembrance Day is always a very sombre and sad time for those who feel the pain for those who have suffered and are still suffering because of war's devastation. But the symbol of the poppy is one of hope. It is afterall, a part of nature, it has a graceful and strong beauty able to withstand the turmoil that humankind inevitably creates.

Here are some of Claude Monet's paintings of poppy fields.
It seems he must have admired the beauty of these flowers too.




And now, although it may be entirely inappropriate. I am going to include an imaginary character from a television show who is wearing a poppy.  I am actually feeling quite sad about this character right now because of the way in which the scriptwriters chose to write him out of the series. I would like to remember Lucas North from Spooks / MI-5 as he was in the first episode in which he appeared in season 7.

Richard Armitage when he was Lucas North