#ballad���s sketches Tumblr posts

  • kandulce
    23.10.2021 - 3 monts ago

    I have had Final Exam, or Ballad of Vada IV by patchworkpoltergeist stuck in my head for m o n t h s. I cannot do this fic justice; it’ll stick with you long after you’ve finished reading it and you’ll find yourself crying at 2 am when you accidentally break a glass bottle. especially if you’re a Tallest Purple fan holy shit

    I’m working on a short comic about my favorite scene in the fic, but the amount of detail I want to put in this thing is A Bit. I’ve had these sketches for a while; the last one might not make too much sense, so go read the fic to find out the context👀👀

    #the frog is supposed to be glass and glowy #same with the bird! #I’m still working on learning how to draw glass and light and gemstones n stuff #hopefully I can figure out a way to make it come across better #maybe having actual backgrounds might help #I don’t want to be rude; I feel like I have been before #I’m really not familiar with tumblr etiquette yet lmao #I really love this fic #Ahh shit#Invader Zim#Tallest purple#kanart
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  • jonnylovers-in-neverland
    15.10.2021 - 3 monts ago

    Guy Berryman’s commentaries on each song off “Music of the Spheres” on Apple Music!

    You don’t become one of the biggest bands in the world without sticking to a system. In Coldplay’s case, that means starting every album with an agreed-upon title that dictates the project’s direction, from songwriting to production style to visuals. “It allows us a little bit of discipline in the studio knowing what we're trying to build,” bassist Guy Berryman tells Apple Music. “If you're building a building without any kind of architect's drawings, you would just start piling bricks on top of each other.” This preparation particularly came in handy in the case of a paralysing global pandemic. Since 2019's Everyday Life was always intended to be stripped-down and introspective, without the customary world tour, the band already had a trove of songs earmarked for a proper larger-than-life affair and a vision for their use. They knew it would be called Music of the Spheres and they knew it would be helmed by Swedish über-producer Max Martin (no relation to frontman Chris), a partnership they kicked the tires on with the Everyday Life track “Orphans”. “He's just so talented and everything just meshed together so well with everybody's personalities in the studio,” Berryman says. “We had thought ahead to playing in big stadiums.”

    Lead single “Higher Power” could not have made those blockbuster intentions clearer or been a better showcase for (Max) Martin’s trademark pop sheen. The entire project is so imbued with youthful spirit that five tracks have emojis as titles. “Let Somebody Go” features Selena Gomez, while “My Universe” boasts none other than K-pop phenomenon BTS, who could always use some brains to pick as they learn how to navigate megastardom. “I think they're bigger than us,” Berryman says. “We should have been asking them.” Read on for behind-the-scenes tales of making Music of the Spheres.

    “🪐” “That’s an intro piece called ‘Music of the Spheres’. We always make albums as a whole, and we started putting interludes and musical sections between songs, almost like palate cleansers.”

    “Higher Power” “I think people needed to have something uplifting. We wanted to put out this optimism and positivity into everything on this album. The famous story which is going around about this song is how Chris kind of was tapping out the drum pattern on a bathroom sink, and he recorded it on his phone and then went and wrote the song on top of it.”

    “Humankind” “You can sketch ideas out in the studio sometimes, and that was one we were really kind of struggling with before Max took the reins. It didn't sound very fresh; it had a good energy, but was maybe just a little bit too rock for us, and he really gave it more of a modern shine. It could be from just editing the basic song and the song structure or it could be adjusting slightly the rhythm pattern to make it all stick together better.”

    “✨” “It's an interlude.”

    “Let Somebody Go” (feat. Selena Gomez) “It's just a really lovely ballad. And quite early on we realised it needed a female counterpart to the vocal. And we were very grateful that when we asked Selena to sing on it, she loved the song and was happy to do so. Collaborations in general are something that we've done more of recently. We never really used to do it before. When we were younger, we kind of locked ourselves in a room and felt we had to prove everything ourselves. But I think as time has gone on, it's become more interesting for us to work with other people from different parts of the world, different genres. It just adds colour and character to the music.”

    “❤️” (feat. We Are KING and Jacob Collier) “We love the way that sound shaped up with all the stacked layers of vocals; it's almost like a modern-sounding gospel song in some ways. Sometimes as a musician, it's my job to step in and say, 'Actually, the best course of action for me is to not play anything at all, because what we created here has a much more unique sound.' You have to take your ego out of the picture and understand that the best job you can do is leave something alone. Because then it allows the other songs around it to sound bigger and fuller.”

    “People of the Pride” “We started the song probably over 10 years ago and couldn’t really finish it. Again, this was one which Max really helped shape sonically. The way we had it before, it sounded a little bit old-fashioned, almost like glam rock. What Max managed to do was take the energy and layer in a way which preserved that feel but also made it sound very modern at the same time.”

    “Biutyful” “That's quite an interesting song from a production point of view, because it's really kind of pushing the boundary for us in terms of vocal identity. The manipulated voice is almost like an alien character singing this song. Is it Chris' voice? That is highly, highly confidential. Nobody will ever know. It's going to be a big old secret.”

    “🌎” “It’s an interlude.”

    “My Universe” (feat. BTS) “BTS were asked in an interview who they'd like to collaborate with, potentially, and a couple of the guys said they'd love to collaborate with us. A lot of the themes on this album are about bringing people together and taking away divisions and walls and boundaries and all of these human constructs that keep people apart. So we felt like this would be great because it's an unusual collaboration between people who are known to come from a different genre and completely different part of the world.”

    “♾️” “That is not an interlude, it’s a longer piece—a collaboration with an old friend of ours who has been on our albums before, Jon Hopkins. He's an unbelievably talented musician, piano player and arranger. He works in an electronic genre on his own music, so he has the ability to create these very beautiful landscapes in a way that none of us can really do.”

    “Coloratura” “Each album can quite easily be defined by the singles you release on the radio, and it's always important to us when we make albums to include many different moods and textures and styles. So it was important to us, as a counterbalance to some of the poppier songs, to have something which was unashamedly long and complicated. It started off with more of a conventional song structure, then Chris came in one day and showed us the arrangement including all these interludes and sections between the parts we were already familiar with; it was a big challenge to piece it all together. Max's involvement on that song was extremely minimal; if he got hands on it, I think it would be chopped up into something a lot shorter, the chorus 10 seconds in.”

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  • xiaothejun
    02.10.2021 - 3 monts ago

    How would dating WayV members look like:

    This is fictional, pls do not take anything seriously. It’s just for fun.❤️

    (Cr to owners of pics; from Pinterest)

    Kun:

    Cooking together ofc

    Barely eating outside cuz you have him as your private chef

    Teaches you some of his new recipes

    Loves your reaction when you eat the food he made

    Takes you to long road trips

    Also bike rides at night by the river

    Birthday presents always have something to do with planes or skydiving

    Would probably propose to you with a huge “marry me” sign in the sky when you land on the ground

    Shoulder kisses

    Doesn’t look like the clingy type but he probably is when he’s in love so yeah

    Studio dates

    Only teaches you his magic tricks

    You two have an inside joke that he should do a magic trick in which he makes yangyang disappear for a week

    Plays love ballads on the piano and might even write couple of those for you

    Buys you a giant teddy bear to sleep with when he’s not around

    You are basically his inspiration for so many songs he writes and produces

    Ten:

    Dance practice dates

    Loves when you ask him to teach you a dance and loves it even more when you record it in the end

    Lets you do his skin care routine

    Buys you a bouquet of flowers once a week

    Likes trying some of his new sketches on your arms as fake tattoos

    If you are a tattoo person then he would love to sketch some for you

    Gets really excited when you finally get them done

    Always brags abt it

    Is the kind of guy to have you always in his embrace, laying on his chest or lap

    Lots of DIY gifts he put a lot of thought in

    He doesn’t say “I love you” that often but he expresses his love all the time that you don’t feel you need him yo say that

    You’re the first one he shows his choreographies to

    Always asks for your opinion abt them

    And gets excited like a child

    Also when you play with Louis & Leon and he feels like you’re their mother🥺

    Is very supportive

    Like, that’s what a bf usually should be like but he’s very very supportive

    Always there to pick you up, be there to hold your hand etc…

    Sicheng:

    Idk why but I think he’s gonna be such a crackhead when he’s in love

    A clumsy one bc he’s still kinda shy around you, the person he loves

    Idk why but I see him sending love letters

    If you’re studying at the same college or smtg, he’d always leave love notes in your locker

    Is romantic but doesn’t admit or just gets super shy when you tell him he is

    Forehead kisses person

    Also nose kisses

    Loves dancing with you

    Night walks ofc!!!!

    Whenever you two have a dinner with your family he brings flowers

    Also gives very thoughtful gifts to you

    Late night calls

    Basically he’s a night person so you hang out at night mostly

    Getting lost in the middle of nowhere bc he drove to the wrong place

    He just pulls over to take pics @ nowhere

    He’s very shy but once you two get comfortable he becomes the goofiest person you know

    Likes grabbing your hand all of the sudden

    Like, those guys on first movie dates that try to wrap their arm around your shoulders? So yeah him basically

    Yukhei:

    Lots of cheesy messages during the day

    “I miss you baby❤️😘🧸”

    Sudden “I love you”s

    Lots of cuddles and kisses

    Road trips or whenever he drives, he just grabs your hand and holds it the whole ride

    Or your thigh (OHMYGOD)

    Basically just you being butterflied all the f time

    Comparing hand sizes all the time and eventually he intertwines his fingers in yours and pulls you into a kiss

    Long makeout sessions everywhere

    Him pulling you to kisses by your shirt gently

    Morning cuddles are hours long

    He can be impatient in public if you wear something he really likes or slightly exposing and might smirk at you all night long until you get home

    Is actually very sweet and romantic despite his bad boy image

    But he does get protective and jealous if a guy flirts with you or you smile to another guy (out of kindness yeah? No cheating in this club ppl)

    You find it really cute (and hot) when he’s jealous so you might do it on purpose sometimes

    Until you see he’s down to kill the guy who was trying to hit up on you and then you calm him down

    He loves when you pull him closer by his belt while staring into his eyes and then on his lips

    When he does the same with the glaring thing you both lose your minds and end up on bed probably

    Dejun:

    Late evening dates walking with Bella and chit-chatting for hours

    You two making up recipes at 4am from sweet ingredients you find in the kitchen

    He gets angry easily when the boys tease him abt you but he ends up being a blushing mess

    Bella third wheeling you two

    When he’s into a make out session or smtg more than that he would tell Bella to leave the room which you find really cute bc her expression🥺

    Walking Bella tgt

    She really loves you since you’re her father’s girlfriend 🤠

    Loves kissing the back of your hand

    A whole gentleman

    Sings ballads for you all the time

    When you’re away, he face times you before you go to bed and sings lullabies to you until you fall asleep to his angelic voice

    Lots of sweets when you go to groceries tgt

    Always singing loudly in the shower it makes you laugh every time

    Writes lots of love songs about you

    Also love letters that he sends you when you’re away bc he thinks that’s more romantic than just texting

    Hendery:

    Arcade dates all the f time!!!

    Like

    Even if you don’t love going to the arcades

    You do

    Bc you love him and everything he loves

    He likes buying milkshakes for both of you but always uses two straws in one milkshake just bc he likes that moment you share while drinking tgt

    Likes to play with your hair whenever you fall asleep on his lap or just cuddle

    Very clumsy in love

    Like……..

    Will say just things when he’s confused and can’t focus on anything bc of your presence and just slaps himself

    LOVES leaning his chin on your shoulder and back hug you🥺

    Softest makeout sessions tbh

    A fan of grabbing your neck gently when he kisses you

    Or just cups your cheeks

    Gets excited whenever you ask for his hoodies or hats

    And brags abt it when you wear them

    Whenever you’re out tgt with your friends, he always back hugs you so nobody takes you from his reach

    Sometimes says “I love you” randomly and then just does that thing with his eyes and looks away as if nothing happened

    Yangyang:

    Once in a while you just go on a date at the amusement park bc no matter how mature you will get as time passes, your inner childish personality never leaves you two

    He loves holding your hands from behind and place his chin on your shoulder while waiting on the line or smtg

    Does his best to get you your favorite plushie every time

    Random, fast, shy kisses

    Very clingy

    Loves when you use his cologne and steal his hoodies

    Even gives you his hoodies himself or gets you couple ones

    Shopping for clothes tgt!!!!!!!!

    Skateboarding together on weekends

    Sends your selfies tgt on the group chat when nobody asked for it just bc he loves you

    He can be very random and write a song abt your or just little love letters which are very surprising bc he always tries being cool and less the romantic type

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  • solairebella
    10.08.2021 - 5 monts ago

    all about me !! 🤍

    - you can call me by my user solaire or bella <3

    -my pronouns are she/they/her , but honestly any pronouns is fine !!

    - i’m 14 and a march aries

    - my mbti type is infj-t

    - i’m from the philippines and i am filipino

    - my favorite genre of music is r&b and rap caviars i listen to a little bit of ballad and opm

    - my favorite movies/tv shows are stranger things , ocean’s 8 and any studio ghibli movies (i can’t choose but my top 3’s are the wind rises , howl’s moving castle and when marnie was there)

    -i love coffee , books and candles

    - i stan treasure , nct , stray kids and enhypen

    - i like to read and hoping to love writing

    -i’m currently in junior high school

    - i love to dance , rap and sing (although i’m not really good at it 😭

    - my ults in treasure are yoshi , asahi and haruto

    - my biases in nct are johnny , mark , jisung , jungwoo and jaemin

    -i bias jay and niki from enhypen

    -and seungmin and i.n are currently my biases in stray kids

    - i like to sketch too and want to learn how to paint and skateboard lol

    -i love rainy and sunny weathers

    - my favorite season is autumn and spring

    - i can say that i’m an adventurous type of person and i’m interested in a lot of things yet i still don’t manage to actually pick a permanent hobby lol i just love to explore different kinds of things.

    that’s all !! thank you 🤍 (this was pretty bland lol)

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  • luneetoiles
    16.07.2021 - 6 monts ago

    Album Reviews: Fall in Love by Kingo Hamada (1985)

    Hey loves, I'm gonna be reviewing albums as I discover them!

    Kingo Hamada has been my comfort artist for nearly 5 years, as he was one of the first city pop artists I had discovered from the YouTube algorithm. His smooth voice was always something I came back to, in addition to his funky/ jazz fusion songs that were unlike any other artist I had found.

    Many of you probably know him from his single Machi no Dolphin (Dolphin in Town) when it got incredibly popular recently.

    Fall in Love is my absolute favorite album of his, and it's a shame it's the only one he has not released on streaming platforms.

    Let's get to the tracks!

    Track One: Fool in the City

    This song is ELECTRIFYING. The constant teamwork/battle between the bass guitar and lead guitar for rhythm control creates this sense of urgency, like you're in a high speed chase. The drummer keeps the marathon between the two in beat, and Kingo's harmonies make you feel like you're cruising in a hurry. The song builds up into a high energy ending with an abrupt stop.But in a good way :)

    Track Two: Morning Call, Marvin Gaye

    I have to admit, this song took some time to grow on me a bit. It's got a Motown swing to it (the name is a big hint lmao) and is very playful with a big band.There is a strong horn presence that complements Kingo's passionate voice. But what really sold me was the bass guitar break with the synths in the middle of the song for a few seconds. The bass player killed it in this one :)

    Track Three: Charade

    This ballad is so sweet, and was the first ballad I had heard from him. It's a slow, typical 80's ballad with a prominent bass and synth. It sounds like a song a parent would sing their child to sleep to; gentle and kind :) Probably my third favorite track in this album.

    Track Four: Cold Sketch

    Another electrifying rock song in this album. The acoustics in this song are fantastic, and it sounds like it was straight out of a live session. Contrast to Fool in the City, this one is also fast paced but is much more joyful. The drummer takes a prominent role in this song, making you feel like cruising down the road on a summer day. The synth break in this song is also amazing!

    Track Five: Dial 045

    This is my number one song on the album, and from his discography. It's a sultry, sexy (oops I had to say it), and sensual ballad of heartbreak between lovers. This was the first song I heard from him, and it always calmed me but in a bittersweet way. Kingo sings with such sadness and emotion, and the mysterious synth and bass compliment the mood. The drummer outdoes himself with the skillful subtle hi-hat nods, along with the bass player mourning along with the song as well. This song is definitely one of his best, vocally, and creatively.

    Track Six: Gipsy

    This is one of his funkier songs that I'm a little 50/50 about! The saving grace for me is the heavy bass guitar lead that duets with the equally deep keyboard. The song features a harmonica lead which can be a little bit of an earful sometimes 😔

    Track Seven : Once Again

    This song is beautifully joyful. It's energetic, and gives you a sense of hope with the guitars carrying the main rhythm of the song. The piano solo evokes that feeling of hope as the song fades away gently.

    Track Eight: By-Player

    The last two tracks I tend to not listen to that often sadly. By-Player is another ballad on the album, but it consists of a more playful or lazy tone with a heavy piano lead.

    Track Nine: Billie Holiday

    I hate to admit it, I've barely gotten through this song LMAO

    It's a very slow duet with Akiko Kosaka, and it sounds straight out of a K- Drama.

    Unfortunately, the album is not on any streaming platforms but thankfully MasterofOwl on youtube has uploaded a high quality version of it! Here is the album, and go check out his channel, its awesome and full of city pop gems! ♡

    Thank you for reading and until the next album ♡

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  • tyrantisterror
    24.05.2021 - 8 monts ago

    THE A.T.O.M. CREATE A KAIJU CONTEST 3-D!!!

    YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE SAFE!  YOU THOUGHT THAT THE TIME OF MONSTERS WAS AT AN END!  BUT YOU WERE WRONG, FOR NOW YOU MUST WITNESS…

    THE A.T.O.M. CREATE A KAIJU CONTEST 3-D!!!

    That’s right, it’s back!  Celebrating the publication of The Atomic Time of Monsters Volume 2: Tyrantis Roams the Earth! (which in turn completes The Ballad of Tyrantis arc for this series), I’m holding another monster design jam.  The third of such jams, in fact!

    Like the first A.T.O.M. Create a Kaiju Contest, the aim of this contest is to create kaiju that would fit within the setting of my big kaiju story series, The Atomic Time of Monsters.  Think of it as me letting you into my sandbox to play with my toys for a bit, or like you’re being put in the director’s chair of a new ATOM-verse kaiju movie.  That means your entry does have to fit into ATOM’s world, which in turn means that yes, there are limitations to your creativity here.  But limitations can be good sometimes - they can make us explore options we wouldn’t consider when given completely free rein to do what we want!

    (also you don’t have to make a three dimensional image or anything, the title’s just a pun on how the third movie in a monster movie franchise will often be a 3-D film)

    Read below the cut to learn the rules and whatnot:

    THE RULES:

    1.  You are limited to one entry per person.  Work hard and make your entry count!

    2.  Your kaiju must have some sort of description of its physical appearance and its personality - you can submit a drawing or a written description (or both!) for the physical appearance depending on what you’re most comfortable with.  Using the same template/format as my official ATOM Kaiju Files (https://horrorflora.com/monster-menageries/atom-kaiju-files/) isn’t required, but it was cool when people did it in the last contest, so feel free to do so this time too!

    3. The kaiju you create must specifically be created for this contest  - no repurposing characters you made for other, wildly different stories.  This is not “trick TT into drawing/canonizing my main OC” time.

    4. The kaiju must fit the setting and aesthetics of ATOM.  I’ll explain this in more detail down below.

    5. The kaiju should add something meaningful to the world of ATOM. The more unique and interesting your kaiju is, the more likely you will win the contest.

    6. Don’t make your kaiju too dependent on pre-existing ATOM characters - no “Tyrantis’s long lost evil brother who’s the strongest kaiju in the world.” These should be to Tyrantis’s story what War of the Gargantuas is to Godzilla’s movies – heroes (well, monsters) of another story in the same world.

    THE REWARDS:

    I will make pencil sketches of the top 5 entries in the contest.

    I will then make fully rendered illustrations (lineart, colors, & shading) of the top three entries.

    The winning entry will be made into a model ala the ones I’ve been making for ATOM’s core 50 monsters, which can then be shipped to the person who created it (should they be able to cover the shipping costs).  That’s right, your kaiju could be brought to life in THREE GLORIOUS TECHNICOLOR DIMENSIONS!  (Hey, we worked the gag title in to the prizes!)

    THE DEADLINE: All entries must be submitted by July 3rd, 2021.  You can submit it here on tumblr, via the horror flora e-mail, or any other channel you know how to reach me through.  I’m in a lot of places.

    THE GUIDELINES (TO HELP YOUR ENTRY FIT THE RULES AND WIN):

    The smartest thing you could do if you want to win this contest is familiarize yourself with the world of ATOM by, y’know, reading all the material I’ve published on the subject.  In addition to the many kaiju files that are free to read on horrorflora.com, there are now TWO, count ‘em, TWO novels in this series for you to peruse, both of which establish many of the rules of the setting as well as its general themes and tone!  You can get them in either paperback or e-book formatting (I’d recommend the former over the latter since I lack the technology to make a really nice ebook, but if money is an object, the kindle version is only $1).  Here’s the links again if you missed them:

    Vol. 1: Tyrantis Walks Among Us!

    Vol. 2: Tyrantis Roams the Earth!

    However, since I know reading a bunch of stuff is, y’know, not something everyone is inclined to do, I’ll jot some good bullet points for you in an attempt to outline how ATOM works in a brief, easily digested way:

    ATOM is an homage to the monster fiction of the 1950’s and 60’s (i.e. the Atomic Age), and is set in those two decades, albeit an alternate universe version of them where, y’know, monsters and space aliens exist.  If you aren’t familiar with the monster fiction I’m referring to, there will be some reference material provided at the end of this post along with some recommendations for further research.

    Kaiju/giant monsters in ATOM work under very specific rules.  There’s a full description of those rules at this link, but here’s the jist:

    ATOM Kaiju are created created by the radiation of a mineral called Yamaneon, which naturally converts harmful radiation into its own unique energy.  In natural circumstances, it takes hundreds of years of exposure to Yamaneon radiation for a creature to become fully transform into a kaiju (luckily, Yamaneon radiation slows the aging process while speeding up the healing process).  However, an explosive burst of energy - such as the geothermal and kinetic energy released by an earthquake, or the blast of a nuclear weapon - can speed up the process, turning a normal animal into a kaiju within a matter of seconds.  

    All ATOM kaiju can heal grievous wounds within minutes or even seconds, are supernaturally strong and durable, and can convert harmful radiation to harmless energy that they then feed off of.  Kaiju do not have an equivalent of old age, and can theoretically live forever (though their violent lifestyle means that few do).

    ATOM Kaiju generally don’t need to eat unless they are severely injured, getting most of the energy they need from solar or geothermal radiation - but many still have instincts that drive them to seek out food from time to time.

    Most ATOM kaiju stand roughly 100 feet tall (depending on their body shape), i.e. smaller than the original 1954 Godzilla.  There are exceptions to this rule - younger kaiju can be smaller, while exceedingly old kaiju can be significantly larger, but these are rare.

    In general, ATOM kaiju are significantly more intelligent and emotionally complex than people expect animals to be, though most are incapable of speech or complex tool use.  There’s a reason ATOM Kaiju Files have a “personality” section.

    Most ATOM Kaiju are tooth and claw fighters - ranged weapons are a rarity in this setting.

    While the terrestrial monsters in ATOM look strange, they are intended to fit within the taxonomy of animals in reality - reptiles, mammals, fish, arthropods, molluscs, etc.

    ATOM’s mesozoic era was dominated by a fictional clade of crocodile-relatives called retrosaurs, which are based on the outdated paleoart that one would find in the 1950’s/60’s fiction - i.e. when dinosaurs were viewed as trail dragging lizards instead of strange birds.  You can learn more about retrosaurs here (https://horrorflora.com/2016/11/15/atom-kaiju-file-bonus-a-guide-to-retrosaurs/).

    Kaiju appear on every continent in ATOM, but certain areas tend to be dominated by different types.

    North America is mainly besieged by retrosaur kaiju and giant arthropods.

    East Asia is technically also mainly plagued by retrosaurs and big arthropods, though they tend to look more fantastical and mythic - and, often, oddly well suited to being portrayed by a person wearing a monster suit.

    Russia is beset by prehistoric monsters that seem to come from the Cenozoic, particularly the Ice Age.

    Western Europe is plagued by creatures that vaguely resemble creatures from myth, if they were also prehistoric.  Dragon-y lizards, fiery birds, etc.

    Towards the mid-way point of ATOM’s timeline, earth is invaded by a coalition of aliens from different solar systems called the Beyonder Alliance, and as a result a bunch of alien monsters can be found on earth.

    Mars and Venus both host (or hosted in Mars’s case) animal life.  The surviving Martians colonized Venus, and sent some of their kaiju guardians to earth to help us fend off the Beyonders (who are responsible for the destruction of Mars’s ecosystem).  Martian and Venusian kaiju have specific anatomical quirks, which you can see by looking at these kaiju files:

    Venusians:

    https://horrorflora.com/2017/01/03/atom-kaiju-file-29-karamtor/

    Martians:

    https://horrorflora.com/2017/01/17/atom-kaiju-file-39-kemlasulla/

    https://horrorflora.com/2017/01/17/atom-kaiju-file-40-podritak/

    https://horrorflora.com/2017/01/17/atom-kaiju-file-41-sombarvot/

    https://horrorflora.com/2017/01/17/atom-kaiju-file-38-ullawdra/

    Giant robots exist in ATOM, but are big, bulky, and incredibly expensive.  Fancy beam weapons also exist, but are similarly clunky - there are no sleek, elegant machines in ATOM.

    Since the fiction ATOM takes inspiration from was made at a time when interplanetary travel was only just beginning to be possible, its scope is significantly smaller than modern sci-fi.  Alternate universes/dimensions were pretty uncommon because the idea of alien planets still held a lot of wonder to it.  So, as a general rule, don’t try to go farther than the one galaxy.

    ATOM is a setting for stories that are focused on humanity learning to coexist with monsters, rather than humanity destroying them.  A certain level of sympathy is put into almost every creature of its canon, even the ones that are meant to be villains.

    REFERENCE MATERIAL

    Here is a playlist of 1950′s monster movie trailers.  

    Here is some reference material from various monster comics of the 50′s and 60′s. 

    Good movies to track down to understand ATOM’s inspiration and tone include Ghidorah the 3 Headed Monster, Son of Godzilla, Destroy All Monsters, Them!, The Black Scorpion, 20 Million Miles to Earth, Gamera, The Giant Claw, and The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra.

    And here’s the intro cutscenes for all the different giant monsters in the PS2 videogame War of the Monsters.

    #The Atomic Time of Monsters #The ATOM Create a Kaiju Contest 3D
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  • granvarones
    20.04.2021 - 9 monts ago

    in the late 1980s, paula abdul’s popularity rivaled that of her contemporaries, janet jackson and madonna. paula had gone from being an LA lakers cheerleader to an in-demand choreographer that helped catapult janet jackson’s first three music videos from her 1986 breakout album “control” to legendary status. it wasn’t long before paula herself became an r&b/pop diva and MTV music video phenom.

    by the start of the 1990’s, paula was on a non-stop streak of hit singles on both the hot 100 and r&b charts including four chart-toppers — “straight up,” “forever your girl,““cold hearted” and my son’s favorite “opposites attract.“ the multi-format success of these singles helped her 1988 debut album “forever your girl” reach sales of over 17 million worldwide becoming one of the most successful debut albums in music history.

    her 1991 sophomore effort “spellbound,” was on the same trajectory with its first two singles  “rush, rush” and “promise of new day” topping the hot 100. unfortunately, the insidiousness of anti-fatness by mainstream media outlets interrupted the album’s momentum.

    the “promise of  a new day” music video became a source of manufactured controversy upon its release due to the elongation effects of the screen. the video was infamously parodied by the fox sketch show “in living color.”

    titled “promise of a thin me,” the skit ridiculed paula’s vocal abilities, her body and alleged the effects in the “promise” video were used to make her appear taller and thinner. the anti-fat skit further fueled the body-shaming commentary about paulla that was already dominating tabloid magazines.

    things would all come to a head on september 5, 1991. paula was part of the star-studded roster of performers that included mariah carey and prince at the mtv video music awards. in another effort to address the critiques that she lip-synced during performances, paula opted to sing live while performing a high-impact dance routine of “vibeology,” a song that was set to be her next single.

    the performance, which included a play on gender presentation with paula performing in masculine drag and dancing closely with women dancers before stripping into a glass-covered leotard, was immediately declared by critics as “disastrous.” anti-fat and misogynistic jokes about paula’s body were made by radio personalities and numerous news outlets.

    the gravity of the backlash was so immense that virgin records postponed the release of “vibeology” and instead released another ballad, “blowing kisses in the wind.” while the song would peak inside the top 10, it disrupted the momentum of the album. the innovative pop/house track “vibeology” was eventually released as a single in late 1991 and every ally reached a peak at #16 on the hot 100.

    at the end of 1992, paula went on a hiatus to prioritize her physical and mental health. she released her final album to date in 1995. she successfully reemerged in 2002 as one of the original judges on the reality TV talent  “american idol.”

    for decades, some referred to paula’s 1991 VMA performance as the moment her career died. we know that not be true as paula continues to be and do legendary things including championing LGBTQ issues and raises awareness about eating disorders and mental health. don’t sleep on miss paula. she is not only a survivor but a pop music legend who has sold over 53 million records.

    like janet, jody watley, vanessa williams and pebbles, paula abdul’s music was the backdrop of my early teen years. while the hood was literally surviving the war on drugs, AIDS and the crack epidemic, it was r&b/pop divas that served as a source of solace for queer boys like myself caught up in the intersections of that violence.

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  • multifandomfanfiction
    30.03.2021 - 9 monts ago

    You Are My Sunshine Chapter 10

    TITLE: You Are My Sunshine Chapter 10 PAIRING: Marcus/OC RATING: T CHAPTER: 10/? SUMMARY: The FBI is setting up a task force to deal with international art theft and they’re in need of an analyst. Willow Reid, younger sister of the BAU’s resident genius, applies for the job and gets it. She and her new boss, Agent Marcus Pike, get off on the wrong foot due to her overly friendly personality. What will the BAU do when they realize that he’s taken their sunshine away?

    [A/N - Willow gets something she’s always wanted and Spencer and Willow’s fight is put out in the open. Also, our two idiots come to a realization.]

    A few days after Willow and Spencer’s fight, Willow got a call from the curator the team had helped.

    “I have a few spare hours, so if you wanna bring your work with you I can take a look.”

    “Oh, wow. Thank you, sir.” Willow rushed to Marcus’ office and closed the door.

    “Willow? What’s wrong?” he asked her.

    “I got a call from the museum. The curator wants to take a look at my work. So I kinda need a few hours.”

    “Take the afternoon off.”

    “Are…are you sure?”

    Marcus smiled. “Willow, just take it.”

    “Thank you, Marcus.” Willow leaned over his desk and pressed a kiss to his cheek.

    Marcus wanted to turn his head and kiss her lips instead, but he held back. He wasn’t even sure what they were at this point.

    They went to dinner together nearly every night and there were affectionate touches exchanged.

    Willow grabbed her things and drove to the museum.

    “Oh, Miss Reid!” the curator greeted her.

    “Willow, please.”

    “Follow me to my office and we can get started.”

    Willow followed him to his office and handed him her sketchbook.

    “Do you normally focus on figures in your art? Or landscapes?”

    “I draw what I find interesting.”

    The curator flipped through a number of sketches before stopping on one. “Could you do a bigger version of this?” he asked, showing it to her.

    Willow blushed. It was the sketch of Marcus’ eyes she’d done months ago. “Um, yeah.”

    “It would be a commission of course and we’d reimburse you.”

    “You mean you want to pay me?”

    “These are very good. We’d love to include some of them in the next exhibition, if you’re interested that is.”

    “I’d love to, sir! I’ve always wanted to be an artist!” Now she would finally get the chance. She just needed to break the news to her family.

    *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

    With the help of Rossi, she gathered everyone at his house, including Marcus.

    After dinner had been served, Rossi stood up with a glass of wine in his hand. “Willow has something she’d like to announce.”

    Willow looked at the BAU and Marcus. “You know that case at museum?”

    Marcus nodded.

    “Well the curator commissioned a piece and he wants to debut it in the next exhibition along with some of my other pieces.”

    The table erupted in congratulations from everyone except Spencer.

    “Spencer?”

    Spencer looked at up at his sister. “What? I heard you.”

    “You’re not saying anything.”

    Spencer shrugged. “What do you want me to say?”

    Willow’s anger was starting to rise. “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe that you’re happy for me?”

    “Willow, the chances of…”

    “I know what the chances are! And I don’t care!”

    “Spence…” JJ said.

    “No, JJ. Let him say what he wants to,” Willow snapped.

    The BAU had never seen Willow and Spencer fight like this. Sure, they got into disagreements, but they usually sat down and talked it out.

    “Are you sure it’s not him convincing you to do it?” Spencer gestured to Marcus.

    “Hey, man…” Marcus said, about to defend himself and Willow.

    “Marcus has nothing to do with this!”

    “Really? Because ever since he came into your life, you’ve changed!”

    “I have not!” Willow stood up and threw her napkin on her plate. “I am tired of hiding behind a mask. Well, not anymore. I actually get to be myself with Marcus. I don’t have to put up a front. I don’t have to pretend that it kills me every time I’m compared to you. Or how it breaks my heart when someone gives me a backhanded compliment, even when they don’t mean to. Sometimes I wish you weren’t my brother Spencer. Maybe then it would hurt less.”

    Willow stormed out of the dining room.

    Marcus stood up and said, “Thank you for dinner, Rossi. We’ll call you with details later.” He grabbed Willow’s things and followed her to the car.

    The dining room remained silent as the grave. No one knew what to say and all of them felt slightly guilty that they’d never seen the pain they were putting Willow through.

    Willow stood by Marcus’ car, blinking back tears. She jumped when she felt Marcus’ hand on her arm.

    “I know that didn’t go how you planned.”

    “Please. Can we go home?”

    Marcus nodded and opened the car door for her.

    She’d been staying at his place more often than hers. She claimed it was because Spencer didn’t know where he lived, so he couldn’t find her even though they both knew Penelope probably knew his address. But Penelope was the one person Willow could trust not to spill her secret to Spencer.

    As Marcus drove, his hand was on Willow’s thigh rubbing circles into her skin. He could feel her still vibrating with anger, so he switched on the 80’s station.

    Another 80’s love ballad was playing.

    Marcus sang along under his breath.

    Willow looked over at him.

    Marcus noticed her looking at him and took Willow’s hand in his. He finally reacted on his impulse and kissed the back of her hand.

    Willow’s eyes focused on his lips before flickering up to Marcus’ eyes. I love you.

    Marcus’ eyes mirrored hers. I love you too.

    Taglist: @bxnnywriting @sugarontherims @anotherr-fine-mess @221bshrlocked

    #marcus pike#marcus/oc #marcus pike imagines #spencer reid #dr. spencer reid #dr. spencer reid imagines #spencer reid imagines #mentalist#mentalist imagines #mentalist x criminal minds #Criminal Minds #criminal minds imagines #Criminal Minds Fanfiction
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  • carewyncromwell
    26.03.2021 - 10 monts ago

    The next Cinderella AU part is here...and I am so thrilled about this part, because not only do we get a new character (who I’m quite sure you can identify from the sketch above -- only my second time drawing him ever, and I’m actually pretty happy with it!), but we’ll also get a nice serving of drama! Goodie!!

    Robin Hood as a legendary figure first originated through the oral tradition, so its history is a little hard to plot out, but his first reference in writing is a ballad from the 15th century. Although our modern image of Robin Hood is that of a chaotic good heroic figure, his original incarnation was decidedly less saintly -- he was a bandit, and although he did refrain from stealing from women, he was rather violent, reckless, and hot-tempered, as well as flagrantly against both clerics and all nobility. Robin Hood’s backstory of being a disgraced nobleman who turned outlaw after losing his title and land and who remains loyal to the “good king” Richard while opposing the unlawful regent Prince John was added later, presumably to make him a bit more “approachable” to an Elizabethan audience who was more accustomed to hearing tales about nobility (just look at a lot of Shakespeare’s plays from that period -- many of them center around royalty or the upper class). Plays about or referencing Robin Hood then increased in popularity on the British Isles throughout the 16th and early 17th century, until the rise of Puritanism in the 1640′s put a halt to theatrical productions. (Bloody kill-joys.) For more information on the history of Robin Hood’s development, I strongly recommend this analysis done by Overly Sarcastic Productions (...actually, just watch everything on their channel, it’s all great XD).

    Previous part is here -- whole tag is here -- Katriona “KC” Cassiopeia belongs to @kc-needs-coffee -- and I hope you enjoy!

    x~x~x~x

    Carewyn had a lot of trouble returning to her daily routine at the palace the following morning. Getting so close to the border with Orion and hearing about how much scarier it was likely to get on the battlefield made her all the more worried for Jacob’s well-being. Even if the spell Charles Cromwell had paid for nine years ago made it so that Jacob would stay alive as long as he willed it, Carewyn dreaded the thought of what harm, physical and emotional, that Jacob might face. If she only had some idea which battalion he was a part of and where on the front he’d be, then she could always just try to send a letter his way...maybe even ask Orion to drop it off to the camp for her, since his father was an officer. But Carewyn had combed every military roster she could get her hands on, but hadn’t been able to find a single record of Jacob anywhere.

    ‘He must be under another name,’ Carewyn told herself. 

    It wouldn’t be too unreasonable that Charles wouldn’t want Jacob to advance in the ranks on the back of their family name. And really, Carewyn knew full well how displeased her grandfather would be if he found out she was trying to reach out to her brother without his approval -- he could’ve even forced Jacob to take on another name, just to try to make it that bit harder for Carewyn to contact him without his approval...

    Carewyn’s friends noticed a rather abrupt shift in her mood. She was singing as always, but her choices were a bit less upbeat and her voice sounded oddly distracted and nostalgic. At one point, Andre mentioned offhandedly that he’d been designing themed outfits for his friends to wear to his mother’s New Year Eve’s Masque Ball, but Carewyn had trouble putting much attention on it.

    “I’ve already finished some ‘owl wings’ on a cape for KC and a fur-trimmed wolf mask and gown for Erika...I was thinking perhaps a stag for Bill, a dragon for Charlie, and a lioness for Ginny? I considered a horse at first, but I think a pale gold would make her just glow, don’t you think? Yours I’m most excited for, though...I’m hoping to actually make your newest pair of shoes with fabric on the inside for comfort and diamond on the outside for sturdiness, if I can manage it!”
    “Mm...that sounds great,” said Carewyn absently.
    Her gaze was drawn out the nearest window, as far out as she could.
    “...Andre,” she said slowly, “I realize this is very last minute, but...may I have this afternoon off, to go see my family?”
    Andre blinked. “Is something the matter?”
    “Oh no, no,” Carewyn lied with as pretty and reassuring of a smile as she could. “It’s just...well, it’s nearly Tristan’s birthday. My uncle keeps him very close to home, compared to my other cousins...I merely thought I might stop by and bake him a little something, as a surprise.”
    Andre frowned slightly. “You...get along better with your uncle and his son than with Iris, then?”
    “No, but Tristan is only a boy. It’s hard to hold any bad behavior against him. And well, maybe if he and the others don’t know I made it, he’ll enjoy it better.”
    Carewyn could see Andre still looked confused and a little dismayed, so she quickly added, “I’ll be back by tomorrow morning, in time for my rounds. I won’t allow it to interrupt my duties.”
    Andre offered a hesitant smile. “Well, all right...if it really means that much to you.”
    Carewyn’s eyes softened. “Thank you, Andre -- I really appreciate it.”

    Fortunately for Carewyn, Andre wasn’t the best at picking up on other people’s pretenses. Unfortunately for Carewyn, two of his most regular confidantes were his cousin KC and fencing instructor Erika, and they did pick up on Carewyn’s odd behavior.

    “She said she wanted to surprise her cousin with something for his birthday?” asked KC, frowning deeply. 
    “Well, yeah,” said Andre. “I admit, it seemed a little weird to do something so nice without even wanting credit, but Carewyn is an awfully selfless sort. From the way she made it sound, she just wanted to do something nice for him.”
    “And you believed her?” said Erika rather coldly. 
    She whacked Andre’s practice sword out of his hand with her own, making the Crown Prince hiss in pain. 
    “I’ve told you before, Prince Henri -- you all may think Carewyn Cromwell’s nothing like her family, but that’s absolute bunk. She might be more pleasant than them, but she’s not stupid and she’s not honest. Or did you not notice that that weird guy she hangs out with keeps calling her ‘his lady,’ as if she weren’t the penniless orphan of a deadbeat merchant?”
    Erika picked up Andre’s sword and tossed it back to him with ease. 
    “Then of course that guy himself is shady as all get out.”
    Andre frowned. “You mean Orion? Come on, Erika, he isn’t that bad -- I thought he seemed quite amiable, myself. Don’t you agree, KC?”
    “He is,” said KC fairly. “But Erika isn’t completely off-base. There is a lot about Orion that we don’t know -- that even Carewyn herself doesn’t know. She admitted as much to me, after I first met him. That being said,” she raised her own sword and got into position to attack Andre, “I don’t think Orion’s a threat. You would think anyone with the ability to sneak over the palace walls not once but twice would’ve tried to make some move to attack you by now, but he’s only ever come looking for Carewyn. And although I don’t completely understand the reason behind why she’s acting like a lady around him,” she shot Erika a faintly reproachful look as she and Andre traded blows, “I’m pretty sure it has more to do with her own insecurities than because she’s a terrible person -- ow! Damn it!”
    Andre had successfully disarmed KC. 
    “Insecurities?” he said, his eyebrows furrowing in concern. “What is there for her to be insecure about? I mean, yes, she has no dowry, and taking Orion’s wardrobe into account, I’d suppose he has to come from a family with modest wealth -- but Orion seemed to enjoy the Weasleys’ company quite well, and their family is poor. I think they’d make a lovely match, really,” he added with a rather smug grin. “They even matched at the Festival, without realizing it.”
    KC massaged her wrist, frowning a bit sourly. “Yes...but Carewyn is solely under Lord Cromwell’s charge. He’s the one who sent her here. He’s the only guardian she really has. And I think it’s quite clear how much influence he has over his family -- even his daughters who married into other esteemed families still live at his estate with their husbands and children, rather than moving out onto their own estates. And in Carewyn’s case, she doesn’t even have a parent to help shield her from Lord Cromwell’s will. She doesn’t have a penny to her name. So that means, in effect, she’s chained to him, and in those circumstances...well...”
    She hesitated. 
    "Well what?” Andre prompted her. 
    KC looked incredibly uncomfortable. 
    “I didn’t want to say anything before without knowing for sure...but I think someone’s been looking at our military ledgers, documenting troop placements. Everything’s neatly put away the way they should be, but there are more fingerprints on them than before. And usually I’m the only one who has much use to look those up, whenever I’m ready to suggest a new war strategy...”
    Erika’s eyes narrowed very sharply and she got right up into KC’s space. “And you’re only just saying this now?! That information could be critical to Royaume’s enemies! What if that guy Orion sneaked in not just to see Cromwell, but to get his hands on those? Or what if it was Cromwell herself, working in collusion with him?”
    “Impossible,” Andre said forcefully. “Carewyn would never be a spy for the enemy -- it’s not in her character.”
    “And I don’t think Orion would know where those documents would be, even if he did sneak in,” said KC. 
    Erika, however, looked unconvinced as she made for the door. “You can coddle those two all you want, but I plan to tell the King and Queen -- they’ll want to interrogate Cromwell and this ‘Orion Freeman’...”
    “Erika, belay that!” Andre said in a suddenly much sharper and more authoritative voice. “That’s an order.”
    Once Erika had stopped walking and turned back around, the Crown Prince exhaled heavily and crossed his arms in a business-like manner. 
    “I’ll get to the bottom of this,” he said firmly. “If Carewyn is heading to the Cromwell estate, she’ll have to take the road through town, correct? I’ll simply take a horse and follow the road after her.”
    Erika and KC looked startled. 
    “Uh, Andre,” said KC, “you haven’t forgotten that you’re not allowed to leave the palace, have you?”
    Andre smirked. “No. I’m just sneaking out.”
    Before Erika and KC could articulate an argument, he added in a much sassier voice, “Look, I’m doing it whether you come with me or not. I’d appreciate the company if you want to come along -- all I expect is that you’ll dress appropriately. I hear linens and cottons are fashionable for those who don’t wish to attract attention.”

    And so Andre, KC, and Erika made preparations to follow Carewyn...completely unaware that a half-hour earlier, Bill and Charlie Weasley had -- after having a similar, but much more concerned conversation with Badeea Ali about Carewyn clearly lying to Andre’s face -- decided to take their horses and tail their friend themselves. And sure enough, the two eldest Weasleys soon enough found themselves following Carewyn on the road heading northeast, avoiding the Cromwell estate all together.

    At the very same time, in Florence, Orion had finalized his plan. Today was the day he was going to request a formal audience with Prince Henri, as Prince Cosimo VII. As Carewyn had said, he’d need to act fast if he was going to stop his father from finding a way to complete his own ruthless strategy -- the battlefield itself would be a difficult place for Orion to make his case, with so many distractions, but he knew a more balanced, peaceful setting wouldn’t be. And so he wrote a long letter to the King, explaining everything that he had learned from Royaume and its people as well as Florence’s own, so as to make a case for peace. He then had the court magician Severus Snape deliver it to the Florentine camp in his stead, while he dressed in his finest and prepared to leave for Royaume. 

    When he made as if to take his own horse, however, Orion found Skye and McNully waiting for him, a black coach already prepared. 

    “If you’re planning on going to meet Prince Henri, you really should arrive in style,” said McNully with a wry smile. “A good first impression to the King and Queen would help your case by a good 45%.”
    “And you have to know there’s no way in Hell we’re going to let you go out and expose your true identity to the enemy without back-up,” Skye added, her arms crossed over her chest. “
    Orion’s black eyes softened. “...Thank you.”
    As he climbed into the carriage, both McNully and Skye’s faces nonetheless betrayed some hesitation. 
    “Are you sure you want to do this?” McNully asked. “There’s a 74% chance they’ll respond badly to it -- I reckon there’s a 39.5% chance they’ll try to arrest you on the spot and hold you as a prisoner of war...”
    “I carry no weapons with me, and I come with the explicit purpose of diplomacy,” said Orion levelly. “Therefore I’m not an enemy combatant. As long as I follow their direction while under their roof, then any harm they might do me would be violating the conventions of war...and the Royaumanians, for all of their flaws, do have honor.”
    “One could make a case for you having been involved in espionage, though,” McNully pointed out, but Orion ignored him and settled down in the carriage, crossing his legs offhandedly. 
    “What about Lady Cromwell?” said Skye, her voice a bit lower and more concerned. “She’ll find out you’re a Florentine. And not just any Florentine, the Prince of Florence.”
    Something sad flickered through Orion’s confident, unflappable expression.
    “She was going to learn the truth sooner or later,” he murmured. “If our time together has come to an end...then at least I may have the memories to hold onto...and the knowledge that by ending this War peacefully, I may have spared her of more heartache.”
    He closed his eyes and began to meditate, clearly having said his piece on the matter. Skye and McNully, however, couldn’t help but exchange a look that was both anxious and very sad. 
    As long as they’d known Orion, he’d always been a little reckless, but he was also passive and avoided direct confrontation. This plan to directly appeal to Royaume’s royal family, however, required a lot of guts  -- far more than either of them had thought Orion possessed. And they knew such courage could only have been encouraged by one person...the very same person who Orion loved so much that he would choose to follow her example and protect what she loved, even if it meant destroying their relationship forever. 

    Orion meditated during most of the journey to the Royaumanian palace. It was merely fortunate that, as they approached, McNully broke him out of his trance by tapping him on the shoulder and pointing out the window. If he hadn’t, then Orion would not have seen a rather familiar trio of riders on horseback, riding through town past them -- a short, stocky lady with dark red hair and freckles; a very tall blonde with a square jaw and sharp eyes; and a very handsome dark-skinned man dressed in a purple tunic, emerald green pants, and gold-buckled black boots. 

    “Stop the carriage!” said Orion, his soft, level voice nonetheless very firm despite not rising in volume. 
    He barely waited for the carriage to completely stop before slamming the door open and jumping out.
    “Andre! KC!”
    Andre, KC, and Erika all stopped their horses in an abrupt halt and turned around as Orion dashed up to them.
    “Orion?” said Andre, startled. 
    KC looked from the rather finely dressed Orion to the expensive-looking black coach behind him and back. Erika’s eyes narrowed critically upon Orion as he came to a stop in front of them, his hands clasping in front of him. 
    “I...had not expected to see you out and about,” said Orion, trying to put on his most pleasant, calm expression. 
    Andre glanced over his shoulder up the road, frowning deeply. “Yes, well...some business has come up.”
    “Orion, have you seen Carewyn?” KC asked him, her face very serious. 
    Orion blinked. 
    “Not since last night,” he said. He could feel his heart starting to beat faster. “Why? Is something wrong?”
    “Never you mind,” barked Erika, as she turned back to the road. “Come on, we don’t want to lose the trail -- ”
    “Erika,” reproached Andre, before he turned back to Orion, his face visibly concerned. “...Carewyn asked for the afternoon off to go see her family, but it was very last minute, which isn’t like her. And according to what we’ve heard in town, there’s been no traffic down the road toward the Cromwell estate in the last four hours...”
    “So Carewyn had to have been lying about where she was going,” finished KC, her face much more stoic but her voice no less tense. “We need to find her and figure out why.”
    Orion’s eyebrows had furrowed over his widening black eyes. His heartbeat was slamming in his ears as the memory of Carewyn in the woods returned to him -- looking northward, toward the army camps, as if longing to run toward them --
    “I know where she’s gone,” he said at once. 
    He rushed back to the coach, grabbing onto the window frame and standing on the boot of the carriage. 
    “To the northern border,” he urged Skye, who sat in the driver’s seat. “Quickly!”
    “The border?” repeated Skye as a sharp whisper. “But Orion, your meeting with the Prince -- ”
    “Can come later,” Orion told her very firmly under his breath. “Both he and I must get to the war front.”
    He shot a significant look over his shoulder in Andre’s direction. McNully, putting two-and-two together, nodded and inched himself up to the window of the carriage. 
    “If you tie one or more of your horses to the carriage, we should decrease our travel time by a good 21% per horse,” he told Erika, KC, and Andre. “If Carewyn left an hour ago, then with one horse, we should be able to overtake her within an half-hour -- two, within twenty minutes, and three, within ten. Though with Orion on the boot, there’s a 12% chance he’ll fall off if we ride at full speed, so we might have to go at 95% instead -- ”
    KC fixed the blond-haired man with an incredulous look as she leapt off her horse. 
    “Are you really calculating all that on the fly,” she asked, looking as if she wasn’t sure whether to be impressed or amused, “or are you just pulling those numbers out of fat air?”
    McNully couldn’t help but grin. “Excellent! Now I can officially say that I’ve been asked that question over a hundred times before.” 
    Still looking faintly bewildered, KC moved to help Andre, who’d quickly started attaching his, Erika’s, and her horse’s to the front of the carriage with the two black ones already pulling it, ignoring Erika’s incredibly sour and distrustful expression. There was no time to lose. 

    From the boot of the carriage, Orion directed Skye down the same road he’d taken with Carewyn the previous night, Andre, Erika, and KC riding with McNully inside the coach. Once they’d reached the forest, Orion caught sight of a familiar-looking golden eagle with a bandaged wing -- at the sight of the Florentine prince, the eagle gave a loud shriek and flew down into the trees, and Orion urged Skye to pursue him into the woods. The road took them deep into the trees, until at last the eagle landed on a branch over the heads of two familiar-looking ginger-haired men, who were bound with thick rope to a tree. 

    Bill and Charlie were stunned at the sight of such an elegant coach, but were absolutely beside themselves with relief at the sight of Andre, KC, and Erika. Erika immediately yanked a knife out of her ankle boot and set about sawing off their bindings -- once she’d cut Charlie free, he immediately rushed forward and grabbed Andre’s shoulders. 

    “We’ve got to hurry!” he said anxiously. “They’ve got Carey!”
    “‘They?’” said Andre, very startled. “They who?”
    “This band of Florentine bandits,” said Bill, his voice very low and urgent. He kept maneuvering his bindings as Erika cut them to try to sever them faster. “They cornered us so they could try to rob us -- they were willing to let Carey go since she was a lady, but she bartered with the leader, saying that they could take her so long as they left us alone. Claimed that they could probably get more money from holding her hostage than us, given her family...”
    Both Skye and McNully glanced at Orion. The Prince’s face had lost most of its color -- he’d turned his face away and closed his eyes, breathing in and out slowly as he tried to stabilize his emotions. 
    “The bandits in these woods are Florentines, so I doubt they will harm you,” Baroness McGonagall’s words returned to his mind, “but I cannot be sure how they would respond to a Royaumanian, especially one related to one of their wealthiest noblemen.”
    “They took all three of our horses and tied us to the tree so that we wouldn’t follow them,” growled Charlie. “They left us a knife so that we’d be able to cut ourselves free, but it’s so dull I reckon it would’ve taken us hours to do it ourselves...”
    Bill succeeded in snapping the weakened ropes in half and leapt back to his feet, massaging his wrists. 
    “They must have taken her to a camp of theirs,” said KC, her dark blue eyes narrowing. “Even bandits need some base of operation.”
    McNully nodded, resting his arms on the edge of the coach’s window. “The lady is right. Given where we are, I’d say the odds are fairer that it’s southeast of here.”
    “Closer to the Florentine side of the border, you mean,” presumed KC, and McNully nodded again. 
    “They were heading south through the woods,” said Bill. “But we won’t want to bring the coach. They stopped us because they wanted money -- if they have any reason to think any of you have it, they’ll no doubt want to imprison you too...”
    “On the contrary,” said Orion in a very low voice, “this carriage may be just the thing we need, to ensure that they don’t imprison us.”
    Everyone looked at Orion, their faces all a mixture of incredulity and revulsion, but he seemed disinterested in explaining himself. 
    “We must be quick, McNully,” said Orion, and although his voice and face were as level and unreadable as ever, they both betrayed a slight edge. “Time is not on our side.”

    With Bill now sitting with the driver’s seat next to Skye and Charlie hanging off the boot with Orion, the black coach set off again. Overhead Orion caught sight of the wounded eagle again, which shrieked at them warningly -- the Prince thought it must mean they were close, but did not respond fast enough to the trap set out in front of them. 

    The coach rode right through a certain cluster of vines, and within seconds, they had magically sprung to life, lashing themselves around the limbs of the five horses pulling the coach. The steeds reared back, panicked -- Skye immediately yanked out a sword from her belt and began hacking away at them, and Erika and Andre both leapt from the carriage with their own swords to help, but it was no use. The vines only lashed onto them, binding all three of them fast and making it impossible for them to move. And when things seemed like they couldn’t be any worse, without warning, a group of green-dressed men and women had swung down from more vines attached to the nearby trees, surrounding them in a tight noose-like circle and pointing their arrow-decked bows at them. 

    They were trapped. 

    “Well, well,” said a voice from the trees above, “we don’t often see coaches that ritzy out here.”
    The voice’s owner leapt down to the ground. Unlike his companions, his hooded tunic was yellow instead of green. When he lifted his head enough that they could see his face, it was the host of a mischievous smirk. 
    “Especially ones crafted in Florence,” the dark-haired and eyed bandit said breezily. 
    Andre, KC, Erika, and the Weasleys all stiffened. 
    “Florence?” breathed Bill. 
    They all as a unit whirled on Orion. His face was remarkably calm and solemn as he stepped off the coach and in front of the others and faced the bandits’ leader, his hands clasped in front of him. 
    “We do not come seeking trouble,” he said. “We merely come to retrieve a lady who surrendered herself to you. Frame like a robin’s. Hair the color of a red sunset. Eyes the color of the sky.”
    The bandit’s leader raised his eyebrows curiously. “The maid called Cromwell?”
    “That is her.”
    “And what reason would you desire her in your custody?” challenged one of the green-dressed bandits with a cocked eyebrow, a dashing man with tanned skin and dark brown hair. 
    “Wants to ransom her off himself, no doubt,” sneered another woman with messy brown hair and cold magenta eyes. “He probably works for Lord Malfoy -- we all know he’s the sort to make money off illicit enterprises and keep it all to himself, rather than give it to anyone who actually needs it...”
    Two of the other bandits -- a pair of women with long red and short pink hair, respectively -- exchanged a sour look. 
    “We have nothing to do with Lord Malfoy,” spat Skye, vainly tugging against the vines binding her. “We wouldn’t collaborate with that rat if you paid us -- !”
    “Skye,” said Orion in a quelling voice. 
    The last bandit, a very strong-looking man with dark red hair and emerald green eyes, frowned deeply at the leader, who considered Orion carefully. 
    “I know your face,” he murmured. 
    Orion inclined his head, his black eyes boring into the other man’s face. “I’m sure you do.”
    The leader’s thin-lidded eyes narrowed critically -- then they widened, realizing. 
    “Bring out Lady Cromwell at once,” he said abruptly. 
    The others all whirled on him. 
    “What?!” cried all three women and the dashing man. 
    “Jae, are you mad?!” said the woman with the magenta eyes. 
    “Do it,” said the leader called Jae firmly, without flinching. 
    The strong bandit -- the only one who hadn’t questioned the leader’s direction -- grabbed a vine, which immediately retracted back up above them. 
    Jae glanced at the magenta-eyed woman. “Merula, have the vines set them loose.”
    Merula looked rather scandalized. “What? Oh come on, you know how much of a pain it is, to have to recast a spell after it’s broken -- ”
    “Better that we do it now than wait around for the spell to expire on its own,” Jae said dryly. 
    Still looking very reluctant, Merula nonetheless did as she was told, holding up her hand, which glowed with light green. 
    “The terms are now invalid,” she muttered sourly at the plants. 
    The plants sparkled with a similar green flare before falling limply off of the horses, Andre, Erika, and Skye. KC and Bill moved to detangle the now harmless plants from their companions and around the horses’ legs, and Charlie moved to soothe the frightened steeds. 
    Within a minute, the strong bandit was back, holding onto the vine easily with one hand and holding Carewyn under his opposite arm. She had her ginger hair tied back in a loose bun and was dressed in the green peasant dress she’d worn to the Festival and her slightly oversized brown shoes -- no doubt because it was the most comfortable dress for travel she had. Orion was also beyond relieved to see that she was perfectly unharmed -- not a single cut or bruise. 
    “CAREWYN!” cried KC, Andre, Bill and Charlie in relief. 
    All three of the men immediately dashed right over to her and threw their arms around her in a group hug. 
    “It’s all right,” Carewyn reassured them with a small smile. “I’m all right.”
    “They didn’t hurt you?” Bill interrogated her. 
    “You must have been terrified -- ” said Andre. 
    “Where are the horses?” asked Charlie. 
    “Tied up in a makeshift stable over there,” said the pink-haired bandit with a wry grin and a vague hand gesture. 
    “A bit tricky to lug them up into treehouses,” added the red-haired one cheekily. “And no, for the record, we did not hurt Carewyn Cromwell. She may be a stick in the mud, but she’s a decent sort.”
    “And brave too!” said the muscled man, beaming. “She wasn’t scared at all, not even when Merula stuck a knife in her face!”
    “I was only getting fed up with her smart remarks,” huffed the magenta-eyed bandit called Merula. “You’d think she was the Queen of Sheba, with how she acts...”
    “She is a proper lady, to be sure,” said the dashing bandit, shooting Carewyn a rather Casanova-like smile. 
    Carewyn tried to stifle a snort of laughter behind her hand as Jae approached her. 
    “Seems you’ll have an escort after all, Carewyn,” he said, lowering his bow with a slightly more serious look. “I don’t think I can convince you to reconsider, but under the circumstances...well, just make sure you’re careful. I’d hate to hear of Royaume losing one of its only honorable citizens due to their own stupidity.”
    Carewyn inclined her head to him, her blue eyes very solemn. “I’m far from Royaume’s most honorable citizen, Jae, nor from any other country, I daresay. But thank you.”
    Jae nodded. He then looked up at Orion. 
    “By your leave then, your Highness,” he said with an abbreviated bow. 
    He then nodded to the other bandits, and one by one, they all disappeared back up into the trees. 
    None of the people on the ground, however, gave them much mind. All of them had turned back around to face Orion -- Carewyn felt like her heart had stopped still as she stared, taking in his neat ponytail and finely tailored black doublet and hose and boots. 
    “...‘Your Highness?’ ” repeated Charlie, shocked. 
    Andre’s eyes widened. “Then...then you’re...?”
    Orion swallowed, but somehow managed to keep his composure as he nodded. His eyes were locked on Carewyn’s face, never shifting and as turbulent as a black ocean. 
    “King Cosimo’s new heir,” KC breathed, her face flooding with fresh understanding around her amazement. “Cosimo VII.”
    #hphm#hogwarts mystery#cinderella au#au#my art#my writing#orion amari#carewyn cromwell#andre egwu#katriona cassiopeia #other people's mcs #erika rath#bill weasley#charlie weasley#charles cromwell#skye parkin#murphy mcnully#jae kim#merula snyde#barnaby lee#tulip karasu#nymphadora tonks#diego caplan #DUN DUN DUN #oh GOSH orion :< #dramarz ahoy #now what are we going to do...? #will carewyn find jacob? #will carewyn and orion be able to stay together? #how will this impact orion's quest for peace?
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  • fatehbaz
    06.03.2021 - 10 monts ago

    At the end of the poem, the Geats carry the hero’s body from the scene of the battle, “Eagle’s Cape,” to “Whale’s Head,” where they bury the body in an earthwork burial mound on the promontory. [...] Needless to say, no modern critics identify the location of the hero’s funeral at the poem’s end as the Four Lakes region of southern Wisconsin called Teejop (day-JOPE) (“Four Lakes”) by the Indigenous Ho-Chunk people. And yet, relations among Beowulf’s Barrow and Teejop are key for beginning to remap the global geography of the early medieval poem and its modern critical history. [...]

    Although the center of early medieval English studies in the United States was on the east coast [...], the first American translation of the poem was completed at the University of Wisconsin, on the lakeshores of Teejop. Indeed, the poem’s first translation project was steeped in white settler colonialism, which shouldn’t be a complete surprise, if we recognize the poem’s appreciation in North America was always part of a complex network of investments in white Anglo-Saxonism and stolen land.

    -------

    Judging by its unique extant manuscript copy (ca. 1000), the poem’s first readers weren’t medieval, but modern. Rediscovered among Robert Cotton’s manuscript collection at the British Library at the turn of the nineteenth century, early appreciation of the poem in Europe and North America was thoroughly Romantic, nationalist and racist. [...] Early appreciation of Beowulf in North America was often part of this imaginary imperial genealogy.

    One of the poem’s first American readers was Harvard University professor of modern languages Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. In 1838, Longfellow reviewed Beowulf in the North American Review: “It is like a piece of ancient armour; rusty and battered, and yet strong.” The poem is an old, Gothic war-ruin, haunted by ancient spirits of folk heroes, seemingly foreshadowing Longfellow’s own saga of “Viking America,” the ballad “The Skeleton in Armor” (1841). In the same essay, Longfellow also reviewed the famous speech -- “then cometh a sparrow” -- of an alderman of King Edwin of Northumbria, where he argues the English convert to Christianity (ca. 627). Longfellow likens the early medieval English conversion and the modern conversion of Native Americans: “This brave man spake well; and how like an American India!” The alderman’s speaking is like a Native American’s, the Anglo-Saxon “then and there” being like Indigenous peoples’ “here and now.”

    Longfellow also writes, “How much, too, like our Indian names are some of the Anglo-Saxon names, when translated. For example; Ӕthelwulf, The noble wolf; Eadwulf, The prosperous wolf; Ealdwulf, The old wolf; Hundberht, The illustrious hound; Ӕalfheag, Tall as an elf; Dunstan, The mountain stone; Heaburg, The high tower.” On the one hand, white Americans are identifying themselves as “Anglo-Saxons” destined to conquer Indigenous peoples and homelands. On the other hand, the analogy of Anglo-Saxon and Native American rhetorics is part of a general comparison of Anglo-Saxon and Native American histories and cultures across time and space, from ancient Germania to the “Turtle Island” of many Indigenous creation stories of North America.

    For white Americans like Longfellow, the comparison of the Anglo-Saxons and Indigenous peoples was a way of imagining that they -- the modern “descendants” of the Anglo-Saxons -- also belonged “here and now,” as much as or more than Turtle Island’s “medieval,” “barbarian” or “backward” Indigenous peoples. Beowulf’s reception and appropriation in North America were often parts of the same racist evolutionary comparison.

    -------

    The Ho-Chunk people and their ancestors built thousands of effigy and burial mounds in the Four Lakes region of southern Wisconsin, the region being ancestral Ho-Chunk land called Teejop (day-JOPE) (“Four Lakes”), where the Ho-Chunk people have lived and called home since time immemorial. One thousand years ago the region was the center of the Late Woodland effigy-mound culture of southern Wisconsin [...]. To paraphrase Ho-Chunk Nation member Samantha Skenandore, the region has always been sacred ground.

    White settlers destroyed many of these mounds in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries after they forcibly removed many Ho-Chunk and other First Nations peoples [...]. The public land-grant University of Wisconsin-Madison  [...] occupies stolen ancestral Ho-Chunk land on the shores of Lakes Mendota and Wingra. On campus are multiple effigy mound groups built by the ancestors of the Ho-Chunk people [...].

    In the “long nineteenth century,” medieval studies was an important touchstone for antiquarian and archaeological study of Indigenous mounds and the peoples who built them. Antiquarians and archaeologists often compared Indigenous mounds to mounds of classical and medieval history and literature, including the tomb of the hero Beowulf at the end of the Old English poem. At the time many amateurs and scholars alike denied Indigenous mounds were the works of First Nations peoples. Some writers identified Indigenous mounds as the works of Phoenicians, Israelites, Hindus, Welsh, or Norse Vikings.

    These racist theories closely participated in white settler dispossessions and erasures of First Nations peoples and cultures, including strategies of forced removal and cultural genocide. Today they remain critical parts of ongoing histories of whiteness, Anglo-Saxonism, medieval studies, and white settler colonialism.

    -------

    Stephen Haskins Carpenter was the first professor of English literature at the University of Wisconsin where he taught Old and Middle English. [...] His plain, prose translation of Beowulf was his last work before he died in 1878. But [...] he died before he could publish his translation, and so the first American translation was published by [a] University of Virginia professor [...] in 1882. [...]  [F]orced removals and Indigenous resistance continued in the state [Wisconsin] as late as 1874. The same year, University of Wisconsin professor of Scandinavian studies Rasmus Born Anderson published the popular book America not Discovered by Columbus: A Historical Sketch of the Discovery of America by the Norsemen, in the Tenth Century (1874), dedicated to none other than his good friend and colleague Stephen Haskins Carpenter [...]. Anderson wrote: “We can show mounds, monuments, and inscriptions, that point to periods, the contemplation of which would make Chronos himself grow giddy; yet among all these great and often impressive memorials there is no monument, mound, or inscription that solves satisfactorily the mystery of their origin.”

    This kind of racist denial of the origins of Indigenous mounds like the Four Lakes region’s Ho-Chunk mounds closely participated in white settler dispossessions and erasures of Indigenous peoples [...].

    -------

    No legal protections for Indigenous mounds on private lands across the state existed until 1985, and legal protections remain precarious today but for the activism of Ho-Chunk and other First Nations peoples of Wisconsin, for whom those mounds that survive remain sacred sites.

    -------

    Maxwell Gray. “Beowulf in Teejop.” Edge Effects. 16 February 2021.

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  • jeevey
    25.02.2021 - 11 monts ago

    The Gallagher interview in full Sunday 19 June 2005 Observer Music Monthly

    In the car:

    David Walliams: The first time I ever saw you, you were getting into a taxi in Camden. This was probably about 1995. I sort of bowed down and you waved out the window like the Queen, and from that moment I've always loved you.

    Noel Gallagher: I don't remember that.

    DW: Of course you don't remember that.

    NG: It is the kind of thing I fucking do.

    DW: Now, recently I was at the Bafta awards and I saw Johnny Marr and I got his autograph. I was so excited. Who would you get an autograph from? Who would impress you still?

    NG: Neil Young and Bob Dylan.

    DW: Have you ever met Bob Dylan?

    NG: I've never met Bob Dylan but I know Neil Young. We've played with him about four or five times in South America, in Canada and in Paris. He's a top geezer. But Dylan? I don't know whether I'd ever ask him for his autograph or not. I'd definitely go and shake his hand.

    DW: Do you know if he knows about you? He probably does, doesn't he?

    NG: I'd have thought he'd have heard of the name. Whether he's aware of any of the songs or not, I don't know.

    DW: There's absolutely nothing known about the real him, is there?

    NG: Well, he's just put out his book. What's it called? Chronicles.

    DW: Have you read it? You once said you'd never read a book. Have you still not?

    NG: I'm reading a book at the minute.

    DW: What book are you reading?

    NG: I'm not saying.

    DW: Why not? It's not that embarrassing, surely. Is it the Bible?

    NG: No, it's not the Bible.

    DW: Is it something like The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole or Harry Potter?

    NG: No.

    DW: What is it? Is it something that won't make you sound cool?

    NG: No. It's just my missus, Sara... She's got a very superior attitude to books and...

    DW: [sternly]: Tell us what book it is.

    NG: [exasperated]: Noo. I'm not telling you what book it is.

    DW: Is it a children's book?

    NG: No, it's not a children's book. Someone I know was reading this book and I read the back of it and I thought: 'That sounds quite interesting, I'll go and buy that.' And of course I got it back and my fucking superior Scottish girlfriend went: 'That's fucking rubbish, what are you reading that shit for?'

    DW: Who wrote it?

    NG: It's a guy called ... It's a guy called Dan Brown, I do believe. It's called Angels and Demons.

    DW: OK! Well that's all right. What does Sara read then?

    NG: Fucking Proust. I don't know.

    DW: So hang on. You're supposed to have never read a novel but you know who Proust is.

    NG: I know who Proust is but I've never read a book! This is my first ever book. Believe it or not, it is.

    DW: What about the Dylan book?

    NG: I don't know if I can be bothered.

    DW: You'd like it.

    NG: Hmm. I might ask for it for my birthday.

    DW: You're 38 on Sunday, aren't you?

    NG: I am 38 on Sunday. [29 May]

    DW: And you're going to be on holiday. Is that right?

    NG: I'm going to be in Ibiza. DW: Is your life so much better than it was 10 years ago?

    NG: Yes, because 10 years ago we were broke.

    DW: Yeah, but that's not the only thing...

    NG: Believe you me, it fucking helps a lot.

    DW: Do you feel any guilt about being wealthy?

    NG: No. Not at all. None. I was signing on 13 years ago. Absolutely no guilt whatsoever.

    Charity and a caravan in Rhyl; Eminem and hoodies In the dressing room:

    DW: Noel, you didn't feature on the Band Aid 20 record, did you?

    NG: We were in LA recording the new album. You kind of get forced into those things, don't you? But there were lots of people in there that we have a problem with.

    DW: Who?

    NG: The Darkness. Keane. I like Bono. He's a friend of mine. I like Chris Martin. He's a friend of mine. Probably everyone else... I could pick an argument with them.

    DW: Were you asked to do Live8?

    NG: We can't do it. We've got a gig in Manchester that night.

    DW: Would you do it otherwise?

    NG: I'm not sure about this Live 8 thing. Correct me if I am wrong, but are they hoping that one of these guys from the G8 is on a quick 15-minute break at Gleneagles and sees Annie Lennox singing 'Sweet Dreams' and thinks, 'Fuck me, she might have a point there, you know.' It's not going to fucking happen, is it? Keane doing 'Somewhere Only We Know' and some Japanese businessman going: 'Aw, look at him ... we should really fuckin' drop that debt, you know.' It's not going to happen, is it?

    DW: I suppose it's about raising public awareness. Matt [Lucas] and I got involved with Comic Relief this year and it does teach kids that there are people in the world that are less fortunate than us. I don't think you do engage with those sort of issues unless something like music or comedy brings you to them.

    NG: Yeah, I understand. If we didn't have 60,000 people in a stadium waiting for us to come and play already... It just can't happen.

    DW: Did you watch the first Live Aid on telly?

    NG: Yes. I watched it in a caravan in Wales - in Rhyl. And we watched it again on DVD recently, just to see [Paul] Weller really ... with fuckin' no socks on, dancing with no guitar. What struck me was that the boy bands of the day such as Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran could all play their instruments. It's so far removed from the bands of today like Westlife and Boyzone, who are utter shit. I am not a fan of Duran Duran or Spandau Ballet, but now there is pop music and alternative music and there is nothing in between the two. I enjoyed Live Aid more the second time around, I think.

    DW: When I worked with George Michael on Comic Relief, he said that when they were in Wham! they used to listen to Joy Division all the time. When I asked them if there was a part of them that really wanted to make that type of music he said no. He just accepted that they did one thing and Joy Division did another. Are you always looking out for new influences, or can you listen to another type of music and just leave it where it is? What about hip hop?

    NG: I fucking despise hip hop. Loathe it. Eminem is a fucking idiot and I find 50 Cent the most distasteful character I have ever crossed in my life. It's so negative. Eminem's new song about his kid - isn't it the most ridiculous piece of music you have ever heard in your life? I just don't like the dragging women around on dog leads and all that stuff. I'm not fucking having that.

    DW: I don't really get it either. I suppose it's a fantasy that some people have...

    NG: I'm not saying they're directly responsible but that's how you end up with these fuckin' gangs of youths with hoods stabbing people. I'm not saying they need to sit around listening to 'All You Need is Love'. But kids are so fuckin' thick these days that they are very easily influenced, aren't they?

    DW: What do you put that down to?

    NG: I think it's a sign of parents being idiots.

    DW: How old is your daughter?

    NG: She's five ... going on 16. I'm kind of like most dads. I love kids, but I struggle with the responsibility.

    DW: Why?

    NG: Women have nine months more experience than you do - nine months to prepare for being a parent. A geezer literally gets five minutes: when the doctor comes out and says it's on the way now. Up to that point, I thought: 'There's something going to go wrong ... ', and then all of a sudden you're like, 'You fucking bastard!' So I don't give a shit what time my daughter goes to bed or what time she gets up at. As long as it's not before me, she's laughing. I think broken families do breed broken families, though. I do think my old fella wasn't much of a ... I don't remember him ever being a dad dad. He was too busy working. It was a hard life, man. And I haven't seen him in 18 years.

    DW: What did he do?

    NG: You'll love this: he used to put concrete floors in buildings, but in his spare time he was a country and western DJ.

    DW: So you listened to that music when you were growing up?

    NG: I know everything there is to know about Merle Haggard, Charley Pride, Crystal Gayle ... You remember 'Don't it Make my Brown Eyes Blue'?

    DW: Beautiful, isn't it?

    How to write a classic song

    DW: When do you think you wrote you first great song?

    NG: 'Live Forever', in 1993. That changed everything. Before that everything sounded indie.

    DW: You've written standards and that's something not many people get to do. By that I mean that a busker could sing 'Wonderwall' and it would still sound great.

    NG: We call them one of 'those' songs and I have been lucky enough to write a couple of 'those' songs.

    DW: What would you say those ones were?

    NG: 'Don't Look Back in Anger'. 'Wonderwall': that's virtually every bird between the ages of 30 and 36's favourite fucking song.

    DW: Do those songs come really quickly? When Matt and I write sketches the best ones are the ones we write really quickly. The worst are the ones we labour over and re-write and re-write.

    NG: I've played 'Live Forever' so many times, but when I get to the guitar solo I still think, 'Fucking hell, that's pretty good, that.'

    DW: I think 'Let There Be Love' from the new album might be one of 'those' songs.

    NG: I'm not too sure about that one. It took me seven years to write that song. I kind of didn't want to put it on to the album as it's a ballad.

    DW: I prefer your ballads. I'm not so much into the rock thing.

    NG: They're easy to write. I have got half a dozen great slow, huge songs, but I kind of get bored of playing them live.

    DW: How easy was it to let other people in the band write songs? You've only written five for the new album.

    NG: I never sat down and decreed that suddenly everyone else was allowed to write songs. The door was always open. But for the first 10 years, everyone else was completely uninterested. I do think it is important that everybody feels that they are contributing to the direction of the band. I used to get pissed off with people going 'what a fucking wanker!'

    DW: You started working on this album with Death In Vegas as producers. Were you going to make a more experimental record?

    NG: I didn't want to go into the studio without a producer. When I've co-produced I've got sick of being sat at a mixing desk and the rest of the band being sat on the couch behind you being half-pissed. I thought: 'I want to be in a band. I can't be arsed being a producer any more.' Liam hates producers but he had worked with Death In Vegas on one of their records. So it was like something out of Star Wars - we had to get Liam to think that asking them to produce the record was his idea.

    DW: But you scrapped those sessions?

    NG: We just didn't have the songs at the time. Richard [Fearless of Death In Vegas] said that 'It's all about the vibe', but I knew the vibe would only last us about six weeks. We called a meeting to tell him, and when he walked into the pub, Liam said: 'Oh, is that my phone?', and walked off. I had to tell Richard we were going to call it a day. Told him that we needed to write some new songs - and then we weren't able to re-convene. But there's something there for a box set or something.

    DW: Are you the natural leader and decision maker?

    NG: I always assume that role. I'm solutions provider for this band. Liam drives it. If we were in a car, Liam would be driving and I would be reading the map. Gem, the second guitarist in Oasis, pops into the dressing room, and brews Noel a cuppa.

    DW: How does he take his tea?

    GEM: Two bags.

    DW: Two bags?! I bet there is a bit of sugar in there as well. You're so working class!

    Brotherly love

    DW: You talk about your brother with more fondness than I imagined. I have only met him once and that was in the toilets at the NME awards. He came up to me talking in riddles. I couldn't work out whether he was being nice to me or horrible. At the end of it I was quite scared. Did he say anything to you?

    NG: No. He's like that. He was out the other night going: 'This night is like the Passover.' He's going: 'I am you, you are me. This is like the last supper.' The other guy there was going afterwards: 'Fucking hell, this guy is a bit special, isn't he?' I thought: 'Yeah, he is, isn't he? There's another word I could use for him ... '

    DW: He sounds like a holy fool. What about being the reincarnation of John Lennon, or is that just bollocks?

    NG: He did once say that to me. In my mam's front room. He was talking in a Scouse accent for three days. He told me I should refer to him as John and I was like, 'I just prefer cunt, man.'

    DW: Was he being genuine?

    NG: No, he was just winding me up. But you say that he could have been possessed. I don't know. We kind of get on. We are the only two original members left in the band since it started. To go back to the car thing: he is always trying to drive the car above the speed limit and I'm trying to get us to where we want to be without getting killed. That's where the friction comes from.

    DW: Was there a low point in your communication with each other?

    NG: We were never really big communicators anyway. We're northerners. You know what they're like. They suffer in silence.

    DW: Do you open up to each other emotionally?

    NG: This is the closest I ever got. Over lunch in Paris two days ago. There's about 20 of us there, including people from the record company. I'm eating my French onion soup and out of the fuckin' blue, he's shouting: 'Noel! Noel! Have you ever had Viagra?' I said: 'No, I'm only 38, have you? 'Yeah.' 'When?' 'I fucking snorted a line once.' All the crew have stopped eating and are going ...

    DW: 'Fucking hell.'

    NG: What a weird thing to say. He's tucking in to his steak. How does the brain send a message to the mouth and go: 'I am going to ask our kid if he has ever had Viagra'?

    Spinal Tap; Pete Doherty; Ipswich

    DW: Ricky Gervais told me there's a story that Liam thinks Spinal Tap are a real band. Is that true?

    NG: Yeah, he thought they were real people. We went to see them play in Carnegie Hall. Before they played, they came on as three folk singers from the film A Mighty Wind. We were laughing and he said: 'This is shit'. We said: 'No, those three are in Spinal Tap. You do know they are American actors?' 'They're not even a real band?' 'They're not even English! One of them is married to Jamie Lee Curtis.' 'I'm not fuckin' 'avin that,' he says, and walks off right up the middle of Carnegie Hall. He's never watched Spinal Tap since. He'd seen the film and loved it and thought they were a real band.

    DW: I bumped into Neil Tennant from the Pet Shop Boys the other day and told him I'd be interviewing Noel Gallagher. He said I should ask you some Smash Hits-type questions. Like, where do you buy your clothes ... what did you have for breakfast?

    NG: OK, well, what did I have for breakfast? A bowl of All Bran with raisins in it, that I put in myself.

    DW: Are you on a kind of health kick now? No drink and drugs?

    NG: I drink. I haven't done cocaine - any hard drugs - since 1998.

    DW: When was the last occasion?

    NG: It was half-time in a game in the World Cup in '98. My house in the sticks had became like a fucking Rolling Stone's house - just full of people for days on end. I woke up in the afternoon from the night before and instead of having anything to eat, I had a can of Red Stripe and a line of charlie. And I had a massive freak-out and went 'That's it'.

    DW: And you gave up completely at that point? You weren't going to get hypnotised by Paul McKenna [to cure your addiction] or anything like that?

    NG: No.

    DW: What do you make of Pete Doherty? At the NME awards Matt and I were asked: 'Pete Doherty: hero or zero'? I said: 'Let's just say hero - it's less controversial.' But then I thought I should just say: 'hero if he kicks drugs.' Would you like to see him kick drugs or do you think people would be less interested in him if he stopped taking drugs?

    NG: I'd like to see him make a great record. If he makes a good record, he could sprout fucking wings ...

    DW: Did you like the Libertines?

    NG: I bought the Libertines albums and I thought they were a good band - but not one of the new crop have made a bona fide great fucking record. Razorlight, Franz Ferdinand ... I've seen them all and they blow me away, but not one of them has made a record that not only gets the cool kids in Camden going but also the fucking squares in Ipswich. When Definitely Maybe came out, it was right across the board ...

    DW: When was the last time a new British band made a great album?

    NG: I think that [Coldplay's] Parachutes is a masterpiece, although I didn't at the time.

    DW: What changed?

    NG: I listened to it more. And The Last Broadcast by the Doves is beyond 11 out of 10. I was obsessed by those two records for a while. But I only buy something new if a friend's recommended it.

    DW: When was the last time that happened?

    NG: Some bloke was trying to force me to fucking get the Robert Plant album today. He was going: 'It's really, really great', and I was going ... [laughter].

    DW: When was the last time someone brought something into your life that you thought was amazing?

    NG: There's a guy called Edgar Jones. He used to be in a band called the Stairs back in the Eighties. A mate of mine recommended it. It fucking bent my head, man. It's probably one of the best records I have ever heard.

    DW: What's his voice like?

    NG: He sings like Fats Domino. He's a white soul singer.

    DW: Oh really? Like Rick Astley!

    NG: What about you?

    DW: I buy a fair bit. Do you download music?

    NG: No, I don't.

    DW: I do and it's great in a lot of ways, but bad in others because you end up not listening to enough. When I was younger I used to save up, buy an album and listen to it for about two months - and I think that was a much better way to enjoy music.

    NG: You have to go to the shop and physically hand over the cash and then get on the bus and you read the sleevenotes and the lyrics before you get home. I'm against people downloading music. It's a sign of the times, but it's not the way I feel ...

    DW: Do you have any guilty pleasures? Do you like acts you shouldn't like? Do you like the Pet Shop Boys?

    NG: I kind of like 'West End Girls'.

    DW: Do you often find yourself dancing around to an Erasure song?

    NG: No.

    DW: What are your feelings about Abba?

    NG: I love Abba. 'Waterloo', 'SOS'.

    DW: You're not bothered about what's supposed to be cool, are you? What about the Bee Gees?

    NG: I love the Bee Gees, but only the pre-disco stuff. From '64 to '69, I've got all their albums.

    Laughing matters

    DW: [Suddenly] Do you have a Little Britain DVD?

    NG: Yes, I do have a Little Britain DVD.

    DW: So who do you prefer? Little Britain, The Office or Phoenix Nights?

    NG: This is the great thing about British comedy, right. I'm sure this goes all the way back to Fawlty Towers, when you think: 'This can never be bettered.' Then there's The Fast Show. You think: 'That is the funniest thing ever, I cannot laugh any louder than that'; and then The Royle Family comes out and then you go 'fucking hell, man, that is the funniest thing I've ever seen'. And then comes The Office and then Little Britain.

    DW: The Office is the last truly great thing. That'll take some beating. Do you and Liam go around [imitating the Little Britain characters] going 'I'm a lady!'

    NG: Liam hasn't got a sense of humour, fucking full stop. Like with Peter Kay. If you're a northern guy about our age, all the reference points are spot on - you can't not like him. We were on the tour bus one night and somebody put [a] Peter Kay [DVD] on and I thought: 'This is going to be a fucking disaster.' There's a few Mancs in our crew and everyone was laughing their heads off. And Liam's just sat there going: 'He's a fucking fat cunt, fucking shit, fucking fat idiot.' So he gets up to go to the bog and someone goes: 'Why doesn't he like Peter Kay?' Because he'd been to the NME Awards when Liam won a trophy for being hero of the year - and Liam wouldn't go up and fucking collect it. He had on this big white fur coat. So Peter Kay brought his trophy over to him and went 'Ere you are lad'. And as he walks off, he goes: 'Me mam's been looking for that coat.' Fucking uproar! I was laughing like fuck.

    Menswear; being cool

    DW: Do you have a stylist?

    NG: No. Never. I remember once being in a shop in Camden and I bumped into a girl who said she was the stylist for Sleeper. And I was going: 'But they're scruffy cunts! Did they ask for that kind of look?' 'Oh yeah...' That's the lowest - if you cannot dress yourself.

    DW: But today you had your picture taken by David Bailey. Did you not have a long think about what you were going to wear?

    NG: No.

    DW: You're that cool.

    NG: It's not for me to say if I'm cool or not.

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  • drowningbeatss
    26.01.2021 - 1 year ago

    Andrew Cyrille, 78, is a veteran jazz drummer that doesn’t need any kind of pyrotechnics to stand out. Instead, he instinctively hits the different parts of the drum kit with disentangled discernment, almost in a search of the perfect minimalism to rhythmically drive a tune.

    On Lebroba, he is joined by two other giants of the modern jazz scene: trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and guitarist Bill Frisell. All three explorers contribute with compositions and there’s also an improvised number, “TGD”, signed by the collective. This piece unfolds in a crossing of spontaneous trumpet gusts, communicative distorted guitar, and refined percussive enchantment, all disturbed by electronic manipulation. Exhibiting an analogous posture in terms of abstraction of sound and unprompted communication is Wadada’s 17-minute “Turiya: Alice Coltrane/Meditations and Dreams: Love”. It’s definitely a ‘free’, changeable, and unpredictable journey. Whether with melancholy or frisson, the trumpeter is constantly seeking new avenues to explore; conversely, Frisell’s incredible harmonic work sometimes melds with folk and blues melodies; whereas Cyrille's thoughtful tom-tom figures encompass a mix of wet and dry sounds. He’s definitely not a timekeeper but rather a time breaker and rhythm explorer.

    The remaining trio of compositions is utterly melodic. Frisell’s “Worried Woman” is a charmer, displaying trumpet phrases echoed by guitar in a spiritual communion, while the drummer sounds magnificently offbeat as only the masters can do. It’s stunning how everything comes effortlessly into focus both rhythmically and melodically.

    Cyrille’s 8-bar blues “Lebroba” has some melodic connotations with Mingus’ “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” and suggests a march, which the drummer never validates overtly. The luminescent muted trumpet of Wadada, who offers plenty of long notes, combines with Frisell’s witty comping to design poetic sketches. Following the same parameters, the closing piece, "Pretty Beauty", also a product of the drummer's mind, is a sheer delight - a rubato ballad infused by plaintive chords and poignant melodicism, almost channeling John Lennon’s “Imagine” in slow-mo and having Cyrille coloring it beautifully with brushes.

    Cyrille already made history in jazz, but keeps enriching his discography with great recordings and marking the scene with his grandiose presence and availability. His collaborators here are equally outstanding.

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  • phbismuthbeast
    07.01.2021 - 1 year ago
    #Hex Writes#revali#loz#botw #format is all over the place opps #but I like it a lot #like a lot alot
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  • whenitsdarkweilluminate
    02.01.2020 - 1 year ago

    Oslo 2010 – Semi-Final 1

    Host: Norway Slogan: “Share the Moment” Participants: 39 Voting method: 12-point system (50/50 system - combined) Format: 2 Semi-Finals / Grand Final = the top 10 of semi 1 & 2 + the Big 4 + host General Overview: The 2010s decade of Eurovision opens in Oslo; which means a return of Nordic humour! The three presenters are Erik Solbakken, Haddy N'jie and Nadia Hasnaoui, who interject some comedic comments throughout the night. They're also professional in their approach. This trio seems likeable so far. In contrast to previous years, there are no opening acts in the semi finals in 2010. The show begins with a brief video montage and the hosts welcoming the audience, but otherwise we jump right into it! One of the intermission segments involves numerous crowds screaming at cameras, which got annoying and went on too long. The main interval act (“Human Sounds”) is odd and quirky, however. It's basically a series of clips showcasing people creating sounds with their bodies. It concludes with an opera singer shattering an audience member's wine glass lol. The 2010 contest sees Andorra, Czechia, Hungary and Montenegro depart, while Austria and San Marino extend their absences. The only returning country is Georgia following last year's suspension. As a consequence, the number of participating countries is reduced to 39; the lowest since 2006. This was partly due to the global financial crisis of the time. Andorra has yet to return (as of 2020), while the rest will reappear sometime this decade. Starting in 2010, the 50/50 system is implemented for the semi-finals, and not just the Grand Final. Subsequently, this year the juries prevented Finland, Lithuania and (ironically) Sweden from qualifying. Bosnia, Israel and Ireland took their places. The are a few notable disparities between the televote and the jury vote in SF1. For example, the jury-heavy songs include Portugal and Bosnia, while the televote-heavy songs include Greece, Iceland and Russia. Belgium also won the overall jury vote by a wide margin. On the flip side, both metrics ranked Latvia in last place. Another important rule change occurred in 2010. For the first time ever, the viewers could vote during the performances, with the phone lines opening at the start of the show. This will be the case in 2011 as well, until the EBU reverts to the standard 15-minute window in 2012. I assume this change was intended to alleviate the disadvantage of the early running order slots. Quality-wise, this is a remarkably weak semi-final. It's filled with bland and bizarre entries. Indeed, my 9th and 10th qualifiers were chosen by default. Interestingly, nothing from SF1 lands in the eventual top 5, and only two of them are in the top 10. Still, this semi has some classics and fan-favourites. ✓ Moldova: SunStroke Project and Olia Tira - Run Away So the first Eurovision performance of the 2010s is... an Internet meme! (it features “Epic Sax Guy”). Considering that meme culture will largely define this decade, it's a perfect introduction. “Run Away” is campiness done right, without being cringe or pretentious. Mostly because the artists deliver the appropriate energy on stage. Moreover, the performance is immediately eye-catching, thanks to the clothing choices, the excessive eye make-up, the spinning dude with a neon violin, and of course the hip-thrusting saxophonist. The visuals also establish a party night aesthetic. As for the song, “Run Away” utilizes a wonky chorus structure that involves abrupt pauses and blast-offs, supported by a jittery violin and a pulsating motorized synth. It's turbulent but catchy. It's also an escape/release of the anxious claustrophobia expressed in the lyrics. The song breathes melodrama and panic. Elsewhere, the sax riff adds another quirky component to the mix, and the dance/club production is very 2010. In conclusion, “Run Away” is what a novelty entry should be. Strangely, it only finished at 22nd, although SunStroke Project will get a top 3 placing later... ✓ Russia: Peter Nalitch and Friends - Lost and Forgotten “Lost and Forgotten” is a satirical parody of depressing and mopey break-up ballads. Accordingly, the arrangement exaggerates its dreary nature, as the narrator feels ignored by his love interest. The mood is completed by falling snow on stage, and by the band wearing winter clothes. But the pivotal joke happens after the “I'm looking at your photo” line. The lead singer literally pulls out a hand-drawn sketch of his ex. He stares at the photo heartbroken, while a band mate tells him to burn it. It's soooo stupid that it's ironically amusing. Otherwise the melody drags too much, the vocal style is unattractive, and the “wooooo”'s are silly, but the chorus is passable. The folk genre makes it sound better.  × Estonia: Malcolm Lincoln - Siren Is this three joke entries in a row? The Baltic countries love to send these eccentric/trolling entries, but most of the time I do not understand the appeal, and “Siren” is no exception. The staging is beyond bizarre. The pianist is so extra, the spinning camera makes me nauseous, and the dorky dance moves aren't endearing. One of the backing singers collapses at the end too. It just seems “try-hard” to me. Furthermore, the song is extremely dull. The piano-lead verses are too minimalist. The pacing does pick up in the chorus, but that chorus goes absolutely nowhere. It perks up, then resorts to a monotonous rut. Which does capture the theme of feeling stuck in life. But it's aurally unsatisfying. × Slovakia: Kristina - Horehronie How is this a DNQ? “Horehronie” is easily Slovakia's best Eurovision entry, although that's not saying much. The wood-clanging percussion beat is both inventive and addictive. The stomping rhythm really drives the song and keeps the energy afloat. And it illustrates the sounds of the Slovakian forests (which cover 40% of the country, apparently). The title “Horehronie” refers to a popular tourist region there. Kristina views this place as her sanctuary, where she finds peace by connecting with nature. The lyrics, the wooden beat, and the plant-based outfits combine to create that nature imagery. I like the green aesthetic. The pan flutes and the chanting lady are nice additions too. That said, the song becomes monotonous before it's over. × Finland: Kuunkuiskaajat - Työlki ellää Another Ethnic-influenced entry that should have qualified. Finland even reached 6th place in the televote, but the juries tanked it. “Työlki ellää” is just so innocent and jubilant. The song is a folk music jamboree with a bouncy melody, and it encompasses the accordion, the fiddle, and well-timed hand claps. There's also a whirlwind of tempo shifts. The decelerations and accelerations are gimmicky, though, and they're my least favourite aspect. Still, “Työlki ellää” is a fun song. The ensemble delivers radiant energy on stage and spry dance moves. The luminous white outfits complement the vibe. And it feels nostalgic in a way. Lyrically, the song analyzes the songwriting process, the origins of inspiration, and how playing music is a livelihood.  × Latvia: Aisha - What For? Latvia's list of existential frustrations finishes in dead last. Likewise, Finland 2005 and Cyprus 2006 also DNQ'ed when they attempted this theme. My theory is that Eurovision is a form of escapism and viewers aren't interested in facing such heavy subject matter. Indeed, “What For?” conveys a weighty, gut-wrenching tone, where Aisha is despondent by the lack of answers to life's deep questions. For example: what is the purpose of death and suffering. But some of the words are too shallow (ie. “Why are the skies so blue and mountains high?”) or too silly (“But [God's] phone today is out of range”). Oh, and Aisha's vocals are unpleasantly tone deaf in the verses. Yikes. On the positive side, the chorus is salvageable thanks to the sloshing production and the escalations of the “what for”s. ✓ Serbia: Milan Stanković - Ovo je Balkan Bop! “Ovo je Balkan” is so catchy and upbeat. The song involves an addictive beat, a perky bounce, and a flurry of horns that sound characteristically Balkan. It also utilizes repetition and stutters cleverly. Namely the “heeeee-e-e-e-ey” bit, the numerous “Ljubica”s, and the “Balkan Balkan Balkan / hop hop hop” section. The latter is also distorted like a radio broadcast. Milan meanwhile supplies flirtatious charm and a bright smile. He has natural charisma. As for the staging, it fulfills the requirements to be visually complete. For example: the circular walled platforms, the “robotic” female dancers, and Milan's uninhibitedly giddy dance moves. Not sure what I think about the outfits though. All in all, “Ovo je Balkan” is an obvious qualifier. Although the song has a high burn rate. ✓ Bosnia & Herzegovina: Vukašin Brajić - Thunder and Lightning (It's getting exciting). So “Thunder and Lighting” projects a relentlessly, overpowering, “epic”-sounding atmosphere thanks to a dramatic guitar line. It replicates the intensity of a thunderstorm as Vukašin encourages reconciliation with his estranged lover. But there's something underwhelming and basic about this song. I expected more. The structure sticks to a generic template, the instrumentation isn't that dynamic, and the lyrics are cliche. The stage utilizes the smoke machine and flashing lights, though. The dark aesthetic of the 2010 contest suits this one. But overall “Thunder and Lightning” isn't qualification-worthy to me. Ultimately it did qualify, but it was Bosnia's worst result since the relegation era. × Poland: Marcin Mroziński - Legenda What... the... actual... f**k... This is disturbing. Poland obviously went for the shock factor with this staging. The atmosphere is bone-chilling too. The backing singers are creepy, between the shrieking, the apple-biting, the haunting harmonies, and the intense facial expressions. And the performance concludes with Marcin “strangling” one of the girls as her shirt gets torn off. To give some context, the song is subverting the common fairy tale tropes, where the princess doesn't want to be “rescued” by the knight. This changes our perspective of the knight's intentions – he is no longer a hero but a predator. While I appreciate the creativity, the visual representation is unsettling. The screaming is annoying. And the song is excessively intense. Still, the chorus employs a “marching through the forest” rhythm that's enjoyable (ie. the “forever ever and ever” bit). ✓ Belgium: Tom Dice - Me and My Guitar “Me and My Guitar” was the huge jury favourite of 2010. It was enough for Belgium to win in SF1, and to be 2 points shy of winning the jury vote at the Grand Final. But the televoters ranked it 14th. The song foreshadows a 2010s trend: the acoustic male ballad. It's the template that Ed Sheeran, Passenger, James Bay, etc. will soon exploit. While this genre is generally not my thing, Tom delivers a heartfelt, honest, and personal performance here. In the song, he describes the lengthy struggle to break into the music industry and feeling pressured to abandon his dream. Appropriately, the only things on stage are Tom and his guitar. The backing track adds some unobtrusive support though. The minimalist approach allows Tom to express fragile vulnerability. He sounds passionate and driven about his goal. And he's a capable live performer. But, the melody is too dull and plain. Although the “maybe I should get a nine to five” hook is alright. Ultimately “Me and My Guitar” broke Belgium's 5-year DNQ streak, and it became their first top 10 since “Sanomi” in 2003. Considering their last three entries were terrible, this is refreshing by comparison. × Malta: Thea Garrett - My Dream Was Chiara not available? This sounds exactly like one of her ballads, minus the compelling vocal climaxes. Oh wait, “My Dream” was written by the same team that wrote Chiara's 1998 entry, no wonder. This is such a bland, indistinct and uninteresting ballad. The only thing of note is when the angel wings appear behind Thea. And even that doesn't excite me. Otherwise, the song tries to be inspirational but it just isn't. The message is written with generic lyrics and the arrangement is ordinary AF. There's just... nothing to care about here. ✓ Albania: Juliana Pasha - It's All About You Well, this sounds noticeably similar to Christina Aguilera's “Keeps Gettin' Better”, but it's a bop nonetheless. The fizzy electro beat channels the “loud” dance-pop hits of the time. There's a fierceness to the buzzing synths, while the jogging rhythm drives the song. Furthermore, the chorus is an adrenaline rush that expresses Juliana's smitten devotion. She even wants to get engaged? (ie. “make a deal and seal it”). The chorus is easily catchy too, thanks to the well-timed echoes from the backing singers. Elsewhere, the flashing purple lights match the energy. The “we've been down...” hook is decent. And the “cool-down” in the bridge sets up the finale. There's also an electric violin solo; which is kind of random. Still, I feel like other entries have more to offer. ✓ Greece: Giorgos Alkaios and Friends - OPA! I understand how some would find this irritating, but I think it's brilliant. “OPA!” is an insanely catchy song that specializes in the call-and-response format. The “hey!” and “opa!” cheers are the obvious hooks. Specifically in how the two sections contrast – the “hey!” lines stop early to allow an instrumental response (which signifies the rising flames mentioned in the lyrics), while the “opa!” lines are more complete. The chorus then concludes on a bounce rhythm. The song's structure is dynamic in other ways too. The vocals intensify midway through the verses as an escalation tactic. There's growls, the four isolated clangs, and the bridge introduces a traditional stringed instrument, followed by a record scratch. Moreover, the instrumentation blends a marching drum rhythm with Greek elements and 2010-era synths that emanate like smoke. There's a lot going on, but it's cohesive. Giorgos also delivers some commanding/intimidating stage presence. Incidentally “OPA!” is the televote winner of SF1, and it extended Greece's top 10 streak. ✓ Portugal: Filipa Azevedo - Há dias assim This is Portugal's last qualification until Salvador. On first impression, “Há dias assim” seemed like a slow and boring ballad that benefited from weak competition, but it placed 4th in the semi-final. That said, the song definitely improves in the second half, when the instrumentation expands beyond the initial piano-ballad structure. The dramatic transitions and the vocal climaxes are the highlights. More specifically, it's the shifts that lead into the later choruses. Filipia also delivers a warm and personable performance. The lyrics, meanwhile, touch on the themes of loneliness and separation. It's not my favourite entry, but it's amongst the 10 best songs of SF1. × F.Y.R. Macedonia: Gjoko Taneski - Jas ja imam silata Yeah, this is the most forgettable entry of SF1. The heavy guitar line and the chorus melody are both agreeable and inoffensive, but “Jas ja imam silata” doesn't leave much of an impression. It's an obvious DNQ. The song channels 1980s rock music though, which is difficult to dislike. There's even an electric guitar solo! In the song, Gjoko basically declares “I'm better off without you”. He serves some attitude as he invalidates the significance of the relationship. He's already moved on. But otherwise, the guest rapper doesn't add much. And the seductive female dancers on stage don't match the theme. I guess that's one way to attract votes. ✓ Belarus: 3+2 feat. Robert Wells - Butterflies “Butterflies” is a strong contender for my least favourite ESC entry of all time. I despise everything about it. Firstly, it's one of the dullest songs in existence. The vocals are so toneless and lethargic – it's excruciating to listen to. Moreover, the melody moves at such a sluggish pace that it's sleep inducing. The song sounds 50-years out of date; completed by a formal stage aesthetic that includes tuxedos, theatre curtains and a grand piano. The main metaphor (“we're like butterflies flying to the sun”) is lame. The song is about opening up and letting love in, but the emotion doesn't take hold. And then the cherry on top: the butterfly wing reveal! Which is one of the cringiest things I've witnessed in this contest. The drums FINALLY enter during this section, but it's too little too late to salvage the song. ✓ Iceland: Hera Björk - Je ne sais quoi The other Icelandic Björk. So “Je ne sais quoi” is this year's fan-favourite flop (there's usually one every year). Despite reaching third in SF1, Iceland floundered at 19th place at the Grand Final. Maybe the staging was too bland, since Hera and the backing singers are mostly stationary throughout the performance. The camera work and the background lights compensate somewhat, though. That said, Germany also had basic staging, so I don't know. As for the song, “Je ne sais quoi” is an encompassing, 2010-style, dance-pop banger. It sounds like a European chart hit from the time, and not too dissimilar from Iceland's 2008 entry, which Hera was actually a backing singer for. The first verse builds up anticipation nicely; whereas the second verse indulges in the motorized synths. The chorus, meanwhile, is an explosion of “brash” euphoric synths that overtakes the arena. It's a killer chorus. Namely in how Hera belts the song title and the ensuing “oh!”s. She's a talented vocalist and a confident performer. But.... I find that Hera's delivery is more a showcase of skill than a showcase of emotion. It makes this entry seem a little “generic”, even if the production and the melodic structure are slick. My Ranking: 01. Greece: Giorgos Alkaios and Friends - OPA! ✓ 02. Moldova: SunStroke Project and Olia Tira - Run Away ✓ 03. Iceland: Hera Björk - Je ne sais quoi ✓ 04. Slovakia: Kristina - Horehronie 05. Serbia: Milan Stanković - Ovo je Balkan ✓ 06. Finland: Kuunkuiskaajat - Työlki ellää 07. Albania: Juliana Pasha - It's All About You ✓ 08. Belgium: Tom Dice - Me and My Guitar ✓ 09. Russia: Peter Nalitch and Friends - Lost and Forgotten ✓ 10. Portugal: Filipa Azevedo - Há dias assim ✓ 11. F.Y.R. Macedonia: Gjoko Taneski - Jas ja imam silata 12. Bosnia & Herzegovina: Vukašin Brajić - Thunder and Lightning ✓ 13. Poland: Marcin Mroziński - Legenda 14. Latvia: Aisha - What For? 15. Malta: Thea Garrett - My Dream 16. Estonia: Malcolm Lincoln - Siren 17. Belarus: 3+2 feat. Robert Wells - Butterflies ✓ What a weak semi-final.

    #eurovision #eurovision song contest #eurovision 2010
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  • elenora-x
    01.01.2020 - 1 year ago

    2020 has been quite the year for music!

    I have a whole 27 favourite albums from this year and there’s still 10 more that didn’t make it into the list. Above are my top 9 (in no particular order):

    Confetti by Little Mix

    I was just obsessed with every single they dropped for this album. However when the full album came out I was a little underwhelmed with the second half at first. I think it’s because I don’t like Nothing But My Feelings & it put me off. Now I LOVE the rest of the songs! Overall it has an 80s feel but is still so fresh. The vocals and harmonies are stunning ✨ 9.5/10

    Walls by Louis Tomlinson

    Louis’ long awaited debut album 💖 & its beautiful! There’s not one song that I don’t like but some aren’t very memorable to me. His vocals are angelic as always. He definitely met my expectations with it. He has a very distinct style which I’m glad he’s showcasing. The lyrics are great, it’s sweet, romantic and heartfelt. Very British! I love to see it. 9.5/10

    Heartbreak Weather by Niall Horan

    They’re are some songs that I really really love on this album. I prefer this album to his debut. I like every song but some sound quite similar to each other. It’s quite chilled pop, but has some bangers and has a classic NH ballad thrown in. He’s showing off brilliant vocals and very nice lyrical talent! Needs more hype tbh. 9.5/10

    Brightest Blue by Ellie Goulding

    Such a unique album that I didn’t expect from Ellie! I haven’t really enjoyed her music since 2010 so hearing this album 10 years later blew me away. Her voice is amazing, I love the style she’s gone for. There are some songs I don’t love but the ones I do make up for it. She’s just killing it 🔥 9.3/10

    The End of Everything by Noah Cyrus

    Noah has really impressed my with this album. The songs are so moving to me, I love her voice and she just writes so honestly. They just mean a lot to me and will be some of my favourite songs of all time. I would have maybe liked some more though. 9.7/10

    The Anxiety by The Anxiety (WILLOW & Tyler Cole)

    Already in love with WILLOW but this album is just incredible! It says SO MUCH and is really impactful especially for this year. There isn’t a song I don’t like, but you do have to be in a certain mood for some of them. They are very different to anything I’ve heard before, it’s genius. 9.5/10

    Jaguar by Victoria Monét

    This album needs more recognition! It’s so smooth, it’s sexy, it’s cool. I love it!!! I like every song on it. I don’t know what else to add. 9.3/10

    Folklore by Taylor Swift

    Okay... so it’s perfect. I’m not exaggerating, it may be my favourite album of all time so far. I can’t even put into words why I love it so much. I could talk about it forever. It’s magical and it’s painful at the same time. Every song is exquisite! It has my favourite song ever on it (Seven). This woman has excelled herself! 10/10

    Foreigner by Jordan Mckampa

    Just a gourgous album. I’ve loved him for a while and have waited for an album, I couldn’t have asked for better. I really love his voice, it’s so soulful and there’s no one like him right now. More people need to be aware of this album! The lyrics are so poignant as well. 9.5/10

    10. Compilation 1.1 by Celeste 9.1/10

    11. Petals for Armour by Hayley Williams 9.1/10

    12. Plastic Hearts by Miley Cyrus 9.1/10

    13. High Road by Kesha 9/10

    14. Rare by Selena Gomez 9/10

    15. The Bonny by Gerry Cinnamon 9/10

    16. 10 Songs by Travis 9/10

    17. Women in Music Pt. III by Haim 9/10

    18. Walk Like We Do by The Big Moon 8.9/10

    19. aloha by son little 8.7/10

    20. It Was Good Until It Wasn’t by Kehlani 8.7/10

    21. Everything Else Has Gone Wrong by Bombay Bicylce Club 8.5/10

    22. Father of All... by Green Day 8.5/10

    23. ALICIA by Alicia Keys 8.5/10

    24. Barbara by Trixie Mattel 8.3/10

    25. Love Goes by Sam Smith 8/10

    26. Twice as Tall by Burna Boy 8/10

    27. The Album by Teyana Taylor 7.9/10

    I also have 4 Eps I’ve loved from this year:

    1. Freckle Season by Orla Gartland 9.7/10

    2. Piano Sketches by Birdy 9/10

    3. The S(ex) Tapes by Fletcher 8.9/10

    4. Texas Sun by Kruangbin, Leon Bridges 8/10

    Honourable mentions that didn’t quite make it:

    Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa

    After Hours by The Weeknd

    Notes on a Conditional Form by The 1975

    Positions by Arianna Grande

    The Otherside by Cam

    Ghost World by Lauren Aquillina

    KIKI by Kiana Ledé

    Shake the Snow Globe by Russ

    Manic by Halsey

    Chromatica by Lady Gaga

    Edit (2021); I went back and added one more album.

    + 1: The Lion King: The Gift [Deluxe Edition] by Beyoncé 9/10

    ~ It’s far too good not to include so I had to come back & add it in ✨

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