Latest Musical Obsession: Daughter

Hello there.

Long time no see. Or speak. Or write, to be more precise. I’ve come to the realisation that I am having a little bit of trouble keeping up my ‘Music Monday’ post routine. Whilst I really do love writing these posts, the weekly commitment is a little too much pressure. Don’t worry, I will most definitely continue to post my random musings about music, but they will be just that – random. I just want my blog to be fun and entertaining and I want to be able to post what I want when I want. And I certainly don’t want to have to publish something which is not as good as it could be because I feel obliged to do so. I want blogging to be something I enjoy, which believe me, it is, and I don’t want any deadlines or routines to come in the way of that.

Since you’re probably already drowning in your own tears at the mere prospect of no longer receiving your weekly fix of cheesy showtunes and soundtracks, I thought I’d comfort you with my latest musical obsession. Actually, you’re probably breathing an audible sigh of relief because you no longer have to survive my terrible 80’s power ballad posts clogging up your newsfeed each Monday.

Anyway, here is my latest obsession. This song has been on repeat for… well, longer than I care to admit.

 

This song is amazing and I simply can’t get enough of it. Gahhh! I actually bought her EP on iTunes (which is called Wild Youth in case you’re interested), which really says something, considering I never actually spend money on music. I know, I know, I’m a terrible person. Please don’t hate me! But seriously, check out this insanely talented artist and let me know what you think!

Adios amigos!

~Anna

Awesome Albums!

Bonsoir.

It’s Monday, as you have probably gathered, and you all know what that means – music! Hooray! Today, I thought I’d share some of the albums which I can’t seem to get enough of at the moment. As I’ve mentioned previously, my favourite song changes every week, and so do my favourite albums. These are the albums which I find myself listening to from start to finish in one sitting!

1. Breakfast at Tiffany’s Soundtrack – Henry Mancini

This album is absolute gold. I know, you’re probably seriously beginning to worry about my uncanny obsession with film soundtracks, but this one is simply marvellous. Without further ado, Henry Mancini’s soundtrack is certainly a work of musical storytelling genius. As brassy big band numbers rub shoulders with slinkily suave city sophisticate ones, you find yourself submersed within the 1960s New York “It Girl”glamour to which Hepburn’s character, Holly Golightly, aspires. And then, amidst the saxophones and swing rhythms comes ‘Moon River’ – simple, wistful, elegant, and the perfect theme for this classic film! I simply cannot get enough of it!

2. Ceremonials – Florence + The Machine

Okay, I’m a huge fan of Florence + The Machine and this album certainly doesn’t disappoint. I think that Florence is an incredibly unique and talented artist and every single track on this album has something crazy and wonderful to offer. Seriously, this woman has a pair of lungs unlike anything I have ever seen. Or heard, to be more precise. Check it out, check it out! See what I did there?

3. Don’t Explain – Bath Hart & Joe Bonamassa

This is a fabulous album of blues and soul tracks which have been reworked to suit Beth Hart’s powerful, winehouse-like vocals. Think Janis Joplin, but with a little less rock and more soul! With obvious influence from the greats – Etta James, Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles, this album is an intriguing contemporary take on some of the most famous classics! I strongly encourage you to listen to it, even if you’re not a fan of the genre. I think I can safely say that you will be surprised.

Well, there you have it! Some awesome albums just for you! Seriously, if you ever feel like it, give them a listen and tell me what you think!

Which albums suffer the wrath of the repeat button for you? 

~Anna

Liebster Award (Yeaow!)

Good morning all.

Today is a glorious day. The sky is blue, the birds are singing and I can almost hear the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus! I’ve just been nominated for the Liebster Blogger Award (my first ever blog award!) by the wonderful naughtynefarious, whose blog can be found here:

http://stationdeva.wordpress.com/

Being new to the blogosphere, I had to do a little bit of reading up about this award. For those of you who don’t know what it is, the Liebster Blogger Award is designed for those blogging newbies with less than 200 followers. If you receive the award, you are expected to answer the 11 questions provided by the person who nominated you and then devise 11 of your own questions. You must then pass the award along on to 11 other bloggers and so the cycle continues.

Anyway, here are my answers to the questions posed by naughtynefarious!

1. What is your favourite curse word? Explain. 

Well, to be honest, I try to refrain from swearing as much as possible. I find it quite crude and vulgar and I believe that people can be funny without dropping the F-bomb every two seconds. However, I am a huge fan of the ‘Wizard Swears’ from the Potter Puppet Pals, so I suppose ‘Voldemort’s nipple’ would be my favourite curse. That probably doesn’t count as a swear word, but oh well!

2. Do you at present drive your own vehicle or do you use public transport?

Does a bicycle count? Unfortunately, I’m not old enough to drive yet and so I use the public transport quite frequently. Oh, and I ride my beautiful bike whenever and wherever I can! I love it to pieces!

3. What is your favourite vegetable?

This is actually a really difficult question. I love pretty much all vegetables, especially green things, but my favourite vegetable would have to be capsicum. Green capsicum is particularly delicious. I would honestly eat the stuff all day if I could.

4. What is your favourite HUGE word?

That’s easy. My favourite HUGE word is the longest of them all – pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicavolcanoconiosis. Brilliant, isn’t it? I feel like I just gained a hundred brain cells. For those of you who don’t live on dictionary.com and actually have lives, it is a lung disease caused by the inhalation of silica dust.

5. What would be your ideal date?

Wow, I have to think about that. I really haven’t given that sort of stuff much thought. I suppose my ideal date would be a bike ride through a big European city and then maybe dinner in a small, funky cafe or bistro with a live jazz band. Maybe in Berlin or Paris or London. Actually, come to think of it, Venice would be ideal. I don’t know why, but for some reason, this has always seemed wildly romantic and fun!

6. Who is your favourite poet? If you don’t like poetry, then who is your favourite fiction writer?

Well, my favourite poet, playwright and one of my favourite fiction writers happen to be the same person. I have always loved Oscar Wilde’s writing and The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my favourite novels. His poems are so beautifully written and the language is so rich and powerful. Edgar Allan Poe is a close second though! Annabel Lee has to be one of the most haunting pieces of prose I have ever read.

7. What is your favourite film genre?

Gee, tough call. My favourite film genre is probably crime and thriller. Nothing gets me hooked like a great thriller or murder mystery!

8. How often do you use the internet, especially social media? If daily, how many hours do you spend on there?

It depends. During the school term, I use the internet quite a lot for assignments and study, but I don’t spend much time on social networking sites. During the school holidays, I spend more time on social networking sites and waste quite a bit of time on youtube and the like, but I try to avoid spending more than three or four hours on the internet daily when I’m not studying.

9.  Sharks – do you like these gorgeous creatures of the deep, do you dislike them, or are you scared to death of them?

I think I’m pretty neutral about the matter. Whilst I am not absolutely terrified of them, I wouldn’t fancy swimming with one. I do think that they are intelligent and often misunderstood creatures, but I don’t love them like some people do.

10. If you can remember, and you are willing to share, what is the strangest dream you have ever had?

Once, I had a dream that I lived in a buddhist temple and my temple was raided by a group of strange hooded figures. They forced us to work in a puppet factory and their leader, who happened to be my old best friend in cat form tried to chase and kill me in the factory for some strange reason. The puppets came alive and protected me against her and that’s all I can remember. It was easily the weirdest dream I have ever had.

11. Do you believe in any of the following; astrology, luck, destiny, fate? Care to explain?

Well, I don’t believe in astrology at all. I have quite a scientific mind and the concept doesn’t really make much sense to me. I’m sorry if I have offended anybody, but these are just my opinions and beliefs. When it comes to luck, destiny, and fate, I’m slightly more confused. They are such abstract notions and can never really be proven. I suppose I don’t really know enough about the subject to have a valid opinion, but I don’t really believe that the future is set in stone. I would like to believe that the choices we make are our own and not the result of some grand plan.

Well, there you go! Now you know a little more about me! Now, on to the nominees.

My nominees for this award are:

1. http://thehandwrittenlife.wordpress.com/

2. http://mandarox.wordpress.com/

3. http://whitneycarter.wordpress.com/

4. http://myblogexactly.wordpress.com/

5. http://crookedwallflower.wordpress.com/

6. http://literarytiger.wordpress.com/

7. http://cricketmuse.wordpress.com/

8. http://beckysblogs.wordpress.com/

9. http://amyoung0606.wordpress.com/

10. http://shelovesreading.wordpress.com/

11. http://midnightcoffeemonster.wordpress.com/

The Questions:

1. If you could play any musical instrument, which would you choose?

2. What is your favourite city and why?

3. As a child, who was your idol and why?

4. What is your least favourite word and why?

5. Your house is burning down and you have to evacuate immediately. Which three items do you take with you?

6. If you could invite anybody in the world to lunch, who would you take and why?

7. What is your honest opinion about Harry Potter?

8. Beatles or Rolling Stones?

9. What is your favourite smell?

10. If you had an extra room in hour house, what would you use it for?

11. Here’s a tough one for you. If you could ask any person, living or dead, one question and get a completely honest answer, who would it be and what would you ask?

There you have it! Thanks for reading! :)

Once again, thank you naughtynefarious for nominating me – you totally made my day! Congratulations to all nominees and have fun with this!

Ciao.

~Anna

 

Rubber Duckies and Rock Anthems!

Well hello there.

How are you today? Thankfully, my brief fling with the backspace button is over and I can now (hopefully) deliver a decent ‘Music Monday’ post. Today, I thought I’d share some of the songs which I love to belt out in the shower. It’s a lot of fun actually. You should try it sometime.

1. Stay With Me Baby – Duffy

 

Watch out, I’m about to go all ‘Bridget Jones’ on you! This song is absolutely hilarious and it is so much fun to sing in the shower. Yes, the hair-flicking and head-banging is crucial to the delivery. Oh, and don’t forget the contorted facial expressions and exaggerated hand gestures!

2. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

 

Come on, you know you love it. And even if you don’t, I’m sure that you have at some point in your life, felt the urge to belt out the chorus of ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ in the blissful solitude of your shower! Don’t forget the dance moves!

3. Don’t Stop Believing – Journey

 

It is without a doubt that this song belongs on this list. It’s pretty self-explanatory. Although the song is horribly structured – the chorus (which is the only bit that anybody every remembers of this song) only starts an excruciating 3 minutes and 20 seconds into the song, but it is still great fun to sing along to and is described by the LA Times as a “pop-cultural touchstone”. It has the nostalgic chuckle value, the feel good factor and it is universally loved by all karaoke bar owners and Midwestern sports franchises.

4. I Could Have Danced All Night – My Fair Lady (Musical)

 

Since the theme of this week is ‘songs to sing in the shower’, it is vital that I include a song from a musical. This song is so much fun to sing along to, but try not to break the glass! My neighbours are now convinced that my house in inhabited by banshees. I warn you, unless you’re Julie Andrews, you will almost definitely sound like a drowning cat when reaching for those high notes, but who cares?

5. It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

 

This is, without further ado, the perfect shower song. Enough said.

Well, hope you enjoyed that little mix of cheesy shower tunes! Oh, and try not to kill your neighbours.

What about you? Which songs do you sing into your hairbrush? Go on… You know you want to. 

I’m best buddies with the backspace button!

Cello.

Great, I’ve been sitting here for the past hour and I’ve managed to type one word. At this rate, my greatest relationship in life will be with the backspace button. Okay, I can do this. Word count: 35. Quality of post on a scale from one to ten: -1. I was originally going to write a review of John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, which just so happens to be one of my favourite novels, but my current inability to string together a coherent sentence has lead me to change my mind. That post will come one day, I promise. As soon as my brain returns to a state of normalcy, I will sit down, focus, and write a decent review. Today however, I think that it is only fitting that I write about the very thing which troubles me most at present: writer’s block. Now, this is not an issue I normally deal with. Usually, I have far too many ideas and struggle to find the time to get them all down. Indeed, this is very odd for me. Maybe I’m just reaching my post-exam low. My incapacity to process thought is probably just a frustrating after-shock of being forced to memorise a gazillion equations.

Okay, that just took over half an hour to write one paragraph. And it wasn’t even a good one. That is just depressing. Backspace button, I’m breaking up with you. I put in the time and effort and you manage to turn my work into nothing. Over and over again. To anybody who is still reading this post, do you have this same relationship with your keypad? Do you ever sit down with the intention of writing and being productive, but instead stare at a blank screen with mounting feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy? I think the fact that I’m putting pressure on myself to write well and to impress all of you with a read-worthy post actually hinders my progress. So, to all of you writers with difficulty writing, the only piece of advice I can think of is: don’t write to please others or you may end up with something like this post. Write for yourself. Write something that you would enjoy reading, not what you think others expect from you. Gosh, I am not very good at taking my own advice, am I? Don’t answer that. Oh, and don’t let your talent be shrouded by your self-doubt. Yes, nothing will ever be perfect, but you will end up with nothing if you constantly delete your work. Your challenge (and mine) is to avoid the backspace button as much as possible. You don’t have to be the submissive partner in the relationship.

Anyway, I apologise for this ridiculous, totally hypocritical and somewhat confusing post. Once my ability to write returns, I will get to that promised review!

 

 

 

 

Tear-jerking Tunes

Hello all.

I know that the idea was ‘Music Monday’, but I’ll be leaving tomorrow for school camp (sorry!) and so ‘Music Sunday’ shall have to suffice. In contrast to last week’s post about songs which make me want to soar over the moon, today I’m going to share some of the songs which have brought me to tears on several occasions. Get your tissues out guys!

1. Theme from Schindler’s List – John Williams

 

I already know what you’re thinking. Yes, another soundtrack! This song comes from the soundtrack to one of my all-time favourite films, Schindler’s List, which is about the persecution of Jews in WWII. Being half-german myself, this film has always been very difficult for me to watch, but it would be nowhere near as powerful without this haunting melody. The first time I heard this piece, I couldn’t suppress tears – the music is so beautiful, yet filled with so much sadness and anguish. Every time I listen to it, I am reminded of the Holocaust and the unfathomable suffering that these people endured. For those of you who haven’t watched this film, I strongly recommend that you do so. It always chills me to the very bone, but it is incredible nonetheless.

2. Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel

 

Graceful, poetic, inspirational. These words immediately spring to mind whenever I hear Simon & Garfunkel’s legendary hit Bridge Over Troubled Water. I love the lyrics and the vocal harmonies are just wonderful. I was very young when I first heard this song and I have this vague memory of my eight-year-old-self sobbing hysterically in the backseat of the car to this song. For what reason, I don’t know.

3. If I Could – Jack Johnson

 

For some reason, this song has always made me feel incredibly sad. Ironically, the song is short and mellow with a very light-hearted acoustic melody. The lyrics however are a different story and make me want to cry every single time I hear this song. Listen to it yourself and see what I mean.

4. Adagio for Organ and Strings in G minor (Albinoni)

 

Since the theme of this post is ‘tear-jerking tunes’, it’s only natural that I include a classical piece in this selection. I’m probably the only fifteen-year-old you have ever met who listens to Bach and Mozart in her spare time, but being a violinist myself, I have always loved classical music and have devoted a great deal of my life so far to it. This piece in particular has always held a special place in my heart and never fails to stir every possible emotion in me. In short, this is one of my all-time favourite classical pieces and I encourage everybody to listen to it, even if it is not something that you would usually listen to. Tip: turn the volume way up.

Again, another eclectic mix for you! I know, my music tastes are pretty diverse. So, what about you? Which songs make you shed a tear (or two!)?

Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

“I remembered this one time that I never told anyone about. The time we were walking. Just the three of us. And I was in the middle. I don’t remember where and I don’t remember when. I don’t even remember the season. I just remember walking between them and feeling for the first time that I belonged somewhere.”

Stephen Chbosky’s captivating novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower follows the life of sixteen-year old Charlie through his confessional letters to an anonymous stranger. Despite being intelligent beyond his years, he is shy, introspective and socially awkward. He is what they call a ‘wallflower’ – caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. When his only friend Michael commits suicide, Charlie is left alone, until he is taken under the wing of two seniors, Sam and Patrick. They take him into uncharted territory: a world of sex, drugs, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and everything else in between.

I wanted to read this coming-of-age novel in preparation for the movie adaptation (with Emma Watson, yes!) which is scheduled for release in October. I’ll admit, I had very high expectations for this book because it seems to have some sort of strange cult following, but it certainly didn’t disappoint. Although there are certain aspects of the book which frustrated me, the novel is beautifully-written and touches on a wide range of issues from the unique perspective of a boy who dwells on the fringes of life.

I really enjoyed the fact that it is an epistolary novel. I’m not usually a huge fan of novels written in letter or diary form, but it worked exceptionally well in this case. It made it very clear that Charlie is confiding in somebody – as Charlie himself mentions, there is something more real in sending letters than in writing a journal because you know someone else is reading and reacting to it. It was also nice to witness Charlie’s development as a writer throughout the course of the story as his letters become more insightful and well-crafted. The use of the letter form also allowed me to connect with Charlie on a personal level as being the reader, I felt like the recipient of Charlie’s letters or the anonymous stranger in whom he confides.

The writing itself is beautiful. Chbosky writes with such a rich simplicity and the story is told with such honesty and humour. Seriously, some of Charlie’s absurd actions and comments had me laughing out loud.

The characters are unique and well-constructed, particularly the characters of Patrick and Sam. To be honest, I felt a much stronger connection to them than I did to Charlie. Patrick’s turbulent relationship with Brad affected me more so than any of the other relationships in the play. Their situation was so real that I could almost feel Patrick’s sadness and desperation as if it were my own.

As for Sam, I felt a particular affinity for her character. She felt very real and I loved her strong, free-spirited nature. Unlike Charlie, she participates in life, rather than observes the world around her. She makes her own decisions and is not influenced by the opinions of others.

When it comes to Charlie himself, I have very mixed feelings. I enjoyed his absurd comments and insights into the bizarre world around him; however, I think Chbosky was trying too hard to construct him as a shy, titular wallflower and it detracted from his credibility as a real character. For most of the novel, I was under the impression that he had some sort of neurological condition, such as Asperger’s Syndrome, which would would have explained his strange behaviour, ignorance and emotional instability (he cries A LOT!). When I found out that this was not the case, admittedly I was very surprised and almost a little disappointed as his character immediately seemed less believable. All I’m saying is that some of his idiosyncrasies seemed a little too far-fetched for my liking.

That said, I really enjoyed Chbosky’s exploration of Charlie’s depression. It was very real and his torment was very accessible.

The story bears much similarity to J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye (Chbosky admitted this himself after the release of his novel). I think that if Holden Caulfield existed in the 90’s, he would probably have been Charlie’s twin.

Overall, the story is enjoyable and beautifully-written coming-of-age story, with several philosophical insights into modern society. The characters are unique and believable (for the most part!) and the themes are very accessible. I believe that every teenager (and ex-teenager) should should read this book at some point. I look forward to seeing how the movie turns out!

Songs that make me smile (and squeal with childish glee!)

Hello all.

EXAMS ARE OVER! ASDFGHJKKFGSJDAGKSDGFASFGASDLA! Words cannot begin to express how relieved and happy I am that they are over, so I thought I’d let the music do the talking. Here are some songs which make me want to shout with joy from the rooftops!

1. Potter Waltz – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Soundtrack

Yes, another soundtrack. BUT IT’S HARRY POTTER! And it’s from one of my favourite scenes in the movie. This song brings back so many childhood memories and it just makes me want to get up and dance with anything that moves (or doesn’t).

2. You’re the Voice – John Farnham

You probably think I’m absolutely insane for putting this on the list, but who doesn’t love terrible 80’s power ballads? I just love belting along to this song and walking dramatically in slow-motion. In short, this song just cracks me up. Oh, and Colin Morgan and Bradley James from Merlin do an absolutely hilarious rendition of this song. Gosh, I’m such a geek.

3. Mr. Blue Sky – ELO

‘Mr. Blue Sky’ is just one of those fabulous feel-good songs which can cheer anybody up. Seriously, I listen to this song whenever I feel down or if the weather is giving me a touch of seasonal affective disorder. It’s an instant remedy, I tell you.

4. Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles

There’s a Beatles song for every occasion, I swear. It’s an obvious choice I know, but I just have to smile every time I listen to this song. “Here Comes the Sun’ simply radiates goodwill and hope from the very first acoustic guitar riff, bringing to mind someone sitting in a field playing on a beautiful day. Actually, that image is not too far from the truth: Harrison wrote this song in the garden of his friend Eric Clapton on one of the first beautiful days of spring, after deciding to skip one of the nerve-wracking business meeting which were beginning to tear the Beatles apart. Well, there’s some useless Beatles trivia for you!

5. Us – Regina Spektor

I discovered this song while watching the film ‘(500) Days of Summer’, which I absolutely adore. Anyway, I immediately fell in love with the song and bought the entire soundtrack after watching the film. Regina Spektor is an amazingly talented artist with a unique voice and the positive mood of this song is certainly ‘contagious’. See what I did there?

Well, there’s a bit of an eclectic mix for you! Sorry, my technologically-challenged brain can’t figure out how to embed youtube clips! Anyway, hope you enjoy these jolly tunes as much as I do! So, what about you? Which songs make you smile, squeal, or laugh uncontrollably?

10 Bookish Confessions

Salut!

Comment ca va? See, my French is (slowly) improving! Today, since everybody seems to be writing them at the moment, I thought I’d share with you ten of my bookish confessions. I’m not usually one to follow popular trend, but I am completely lost for original ideas at the moment – my brain has officially shut down now that my chemistry exam is over.

Anyway, here they are:

1. I cannot get to sleep without reading at least one chapter of a book. It’s weird I know, but if I don’t read at night, then I find that my mind wanders all night long.

2. I dog-ear my pages. Please don’t hate me! I know that it’s bad for the book, but I always lose my bookmarks and so it’s easiest just to fold the corner over. This is one habit which I REALLY need to break.

3. I do judge books by their covers even though I shouldn’t. If a book has a boring or unattractive cover, I generally don’t read it. It’s just a fact.

4. I have read each Harry Potter book nine times. That amounts to a total of 63 times. I read them whenever I feel unhappy or lonely or when I just want to escape everything. I grew up with these books and they practically defined my childhood. I still remember how distraught I was when I didn’t receive my Hogwarts acceptance letter.

5. My bookshelf is in alphabetical order by author. Yes, this is what I do with my life. Working in a bookstore certainly has an effect on me. I’ll admit it, I do get quite annoyed when people touch my books and mess with the order. God, I sound like such a control freak.

6. I could never burn a book. Ever. No matter how much I hated it. The thought of burning somebody’s hard work, or even their not-so-hard work, is completely inconceivable.

7. I love finding inscriptions in second-hand books. I love thinking about where these books have been, who they’re from, where they come from.

8. Sometimes I get more excited about owning a book than about actually reading it. Strange, I know.

9. I borrowed a book from a friend years ago and I still haven’t given it back because I can’t bear to part with it and I can’t find another copy anywhere. I will give it back someday, I promise, but in the meantime, shhh…

10. This last confession actually takes a lot of courage to admit. I have read the entire ‘Twilight’ series. That’s not even the worst part. The worst part is that I used to enjoy them. I was twelve, okay?

So, what are your bookish confessions? Own up. Come on, I admitted to having once liked Twilight.