Tag Archives: 09

Remembering Why We’re Here…

This marks the first time I’ve missed my ‘new blog every Sunday’ rule. But I’ve been busy dammit!

Stop judging me!

 

 

London Film and Comic is coming up so I’ve been busy getting ready for that. But enough excuses!

What little time I do have is spent actually writing. But I’ve also been thinking about how I got into writing. I’ve always been an avid reader – something inherited from my parents – but what was that spark that made me really want to write? And why? And does it still inspire me? So in essence – what helped me comprehend the power of the written word and inspired me to try and weild such power?

The answer, for me, is below. It’s best read out loud, as with all of Poe’s work.

——————-

The Haunted Palace

BY EDGAR ALLAN POE

 
In the greenest of our valleys
By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace—
Radiant palace—reared its head.
In the monarch Thought’s dominion,
It stood there!
Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair!

Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
On its roof did float and flow
(This—all this—was in the olden
Time long ago)
And every gentle air that dallied,
In that sweet day,
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
A wingèd odor went away.

Wanderers in that happy valley,
Through two luminous windows, saw
Spirits moving musically
To a lute’s well-tunèd law,
Round about a throne where, sitting,
Porphyrogene!
In state his glory well befitting,
The ruler of the realm was seen.

And all with pearl and ruby glowing
Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing
And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
The wit and wisdom of their king.

But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch’s high estate;
(Ah, let us mourn!—for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him, desolate!)
And round about his home the glory
That blushed and bloomed
Is but a dim-remembered story
Of the old time entombed.

And travellers, now, within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows see
Vast forms that move fantastically
To a discordant melody;
While, like a ghastly rapid river,
Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever,
And laugh—but smile no more.

Source: Poets of the English Language (Viking Press, 1950)

————————–

There’s still something about it that sends shivers through me. Sorry, *Poe fanboy alert!*

 

http://www.harkavagrant.com/

 

So give it some thought. What set you on this path? What inspired you?

 

All the best,

 

– Zero Nine

 

 

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Take-That, Lady Gaga, and why I haven’t done any reviews recently…

For those of you that have followed this blog thus far (that’s right I’m on about you three!) you would have noticed that despite my ‘One review a week’ aim, things have been very quite for a while now. Let me explain myself.

Writing, or rather writing regularly and objectively, always makes me feel good. What with University just around the corner (again! :D) it was good for me to get into the writing mood again. The reviews were a great medium to write creatively about things that mattered to me. After my last review I had a number of ideas about albums to review. But then something amazing happened. I started to write prose.

As soon as I got back from work every day I would write until I couldn’t stay awake. And you know what? I’m still writing. I’ve tried to write novels before (who hasn’t right?) but after about three thousand words I’d get bored with the concept, the characters, everything. I’d forget about it all completely. Then I stumbled across something I had started to write about a year ago, I read it with fresh eyes so to speak, it was pretty damn good. So I carried it on. I revived the characters, the plot. I designed the world with more detail and I got stuck in.

I have never felt this way about writing before. It’s like a story is clawing its way out of me. Half the time I don’t even think about what I’m writing. I sit down and let my mind wander and before I know it plot arcs are forming, characters are developing, all seemingly without me thinking about it. It’s a weird feeling. The words are flowing from my mind without any trouble whatsoever. And as it stands I’m nearing 50,000 words and it’s all happened in a fairly short amount of time. I’m aiming for 100,000 as a general goal but at this rate and with how much there is left to tell I imagine I’ll go over that amount.

I’m not saying that what I’m writing is perfect, it may amount to nothing in the end. But I can’t stop writing. There’s a whole world created, a whole set of people, an adventure, that exists now in words that would never have been there without me. In a rather twisted way it all relies on me to exist. To create a world, a whole reality, to have everything that happens there as your responsibility, it feels so exhilarating!

I have started talking to publishers, getting advice from published authors, and I even have artists ready to start working on the cover art and the world map (all good fantasy stories need world maps!), I don’t know where this will take me, but I feel good about it. It feels ‘right’.

That is my reason for neglecting this blog. I will try to sneak the occasional review in occasionally though!

But enough about me. I made this blog site with the aim of reviewing music so here’s a few music related things so that this post isn’t all about me!

First up, Take-That. I’m not fussed on them. Never have been. But one of their newer songs, and the video to this song, has been a pleasant surprise. It’s visually quite Steampunk, or at least some of the outfits are. This caused some outrage from the Steampunk community which I don’t think is fair. The song is really quite good, the video is entertaining, and the Steampunk outfits look good, rather than looking like a parody. This isn’t mainstream Steampunk, it was just an inspired off-the-cuff idea from one of the video directors that fitted the message of the song! And it works.

Which is more than Panic at the Disco can say about their foray into the genre.

So here is the video, Kidz, by Take That:

See? That wasn’t so bad was it? Anyone expecting Gary Barlow (yes I had to google the member’s names) to turn up at a Steampunk convention? No, because the video was just a bit of fun. And fun, coupled with creativity is what Steampunk is all about right?

Next up, Lady Gaga. I have avoided her this long simply because the music seemed to be going over the same ground that pop stars have been star jumping on for a while now. I gave one of her new songs a chance due to its name: ‘Judas’. I find religion incredibly interesting, as most atheists do I’m sure. So I was interested to see if the video and the song matched the name. And it really did. It was basically about a love triangle between Mary Magdalene, Jesus, and Judas. But looked at in a wider scope what it came across as was the human desire to embrace both the ‘good’ and ‘evil’ parts that make us human. In the video these three biblical characters and the disciples were a biker gang of sorts. It may sound lame but it works!

Here’s the video, enjoy:

After seeing this I checked out some of her other songs and got bored very quickly. But this song is still brilliant in my opinion.

Okay, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little foray into my mind and into the more mainstream music area. Sure these songs need no publicity but I found them interesting discussion points when it comes to style genre’s and biblical teachings. You’re own opinions are your own and my opinions are mine. Make of it what you will.

Yours hastily,

-Zero Nine

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Review of KK & the Steampunk Orchestra’s album: “The Magic Lantern”

Summer is here! And as is always the way it is time to latch onto a particular album and claim that it is the soundtrack to your summer.

Well here is my entry: The Magic Lantern by “KK & The Steampunk Orchestra”, is the musical brain child of Kevin Kerrigan; a British based composer, record producer, and sound designer.

It is very rare for a song to really grab me and draw me in. Admittedly I was attracted to this album by its Steampunk connotations but after hearing “Pioneers” I couldn’t get it out of my head! So many Steampunk themed bands seem to be popping up of late and although I wouldn’t consider any of them to be terrible but there are only one or two that I can honestly say that I love.

The Magic Lantern brings back the feeling of adventure and mystery, in a way it reminds me of why I love Steampunk. It isn’t about goggles or top hats (although they are two very fun parts of it!). It’s about imagination. It’s about seeing a whole new world and allowing that world to (healthy) overlap into the real world. It is this sensibility that I feel The Magic Lantern evokes perfectly.

KK’s skill as a creator of music is incredible. In the past he has worked with: Brian Eno, Björk, Tim Booth, Dido, Natalie ImbrugliaJames Newton Howard and many others, he has also made many musical contributions for film, television and theatre. My point it, this man knows what he is doing. Your ears are in safe hands!

Although I will always be a fan of vocal led music it is quite often the case that an instrumental song will move me more so than it would had it included vocals. The lack of lyrics allow the music to truly act upon you imagination. Each song on this album feels like its own little world, each a little segment of reality that you are invited to, if only for a few minutes.

I couldn’t help but imagine scenes to match with each track, I could go on and on about each in particular but that wouldn’t be fair. This is a thinking persons album and although there may be similarities I doubt any two people will see the same world in the same track. I wouldn’t want to influence what you see! 

Naming no track names however I can tell you that this album could transport you to alien worlds, snow layered cityscapes, sad but beautiful wastes, thriving forests and haunted sci-fi amusement parks. Or it could lead you to totally different, even more amazing places.

 That’s another thing that I love about this album. It is so personal. It is your own individual experience. It is an album crafted to perfection but what it uses most is your own imagination; your own ability and willingness to work with the music rather than sit back and allow it to do all the work for you.

As readers of this blog will know, the soundtrack of my imagination is already a position held by another: You Know Who. But The Magic Lantern is most definitely the soundtrack to my summer, and in the running for the soundtrack to my soul! It is an album entirely expressed without words and I admit that I am having difficulty with finding the words to describe it to you.

Perhaps my inability will speak more for the power of this album than I could ever hope to type down here. But whatever the case I sincerely implore you to give it a chance. It deserves to be heard, and you deserve to hear it. In some ways you owe it to yourself. When was the last time you let an album truly into your mind? Get The Magic Lantern, dim all the lights, lay back and remember what it was to dream of more than what there is.

Personally, I’m halfway through “Pioneers” and I just set sail into the aether aboard an air-borne galleon.

I’ll see you on the return journey!

Zero Nine

KK & the Steampunk Orchestra can be found on:

Facebook

Myspace

and the The Magic Lantern is available from Itunes!

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