Compilations

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(my collection of compilations -sorry for the crappy picture)

 

Today I’ve been thinking about music compilations. You all know what I mean with “compilations”. It’s a pet peeve of mine when you can find albums that say “The Very Best of…” whoever the artist is. Because, let’s be honest: who decides what songs are “the very best” of a singer/band? So, in my opinion, the album should be called “The Very Best of *insert artist* according to *whomever did the compilation*”

 

Yeah, that would be a bit ridiculous, though.

 

As a way of illustrating my obsession, that at the top is a picture of my collection of compilations. Like a moth attracted to the light, when I set foot on the music department of a store, I end up attracted to the compilations. They… kind of feel like personal mixtapes, right?? And, in a time when no one records mixtapes for others (SUCH A SHAME), I guess this is the only alternative.

Ok, I’ve got to admit compilations are a good way of getting to know an artist. If you don’t know anything about Frank Sinatra (for example), I guess that album will help you as an introduction. After that, you can find more of his own, in simple albums (so to speak). Therefore, are compilations the new resume of artists?

 

I’m not going to be a music snob and say people shouldn’t buy compilations -because I’m the first one who buys them… BUT I have to admit some of these have let me down (mostly because they use a couple of “important” names to attract the buyer and the rest of the songs are kind of unknown & weird –I’m looking at you, “Pure alternative 80s“)

There are some that are reaaally good (I recommend Bowie’s one -it explores each of his phases and the songs are organized by year periods). I also recommend Jeff Buckley’s (Lilac Wine will forever be my favorite).

A list of these (from left to right, up to down):

1) No1 Hits of the ’50s – 75 Original Chart Topping Hits — I bought this one at a Portobello Market stall. I like it, there are 3 discs and the songs are classics.

2) Louis Armstrong – Qué Mundo Tan Maravilloso — this was my dad’s attempt to collect the albums that a national newspaper was giving each week. He only got this one and Ella Fitzgerald’s.

3) The Platinum Collection – David Bowie — 3 discs (1969-1974, 1974-1979 & 1980-1987) –my favorite.

4) The Best of The Kinks – You Really Got Me — quite good, really. It contains Lola, You Really Got Me, Set Me Free and, of course, All Day and All Of the Night.

5) Lemon Popsicles and Strawberry Milkshakes – It’s a Girl’s World — songs from the “originators of girl power” (with singers such as Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Etta James, Doris Day (!!!) and Marilyn Monroe). The pink cover and the alterated vintage photograph was what attracted me to it.

6) My Way – The Best of Frank Sinatra — shamelessly stolen from my dad’s stash, it’s one of my favorites. Well, Sinatra is one of my favorites.

7) The Jeff Buckley Collection — this is an example of an artist’s resume. I didn’t know Jeff Buckley until I bought this -and then, I fell in love.

8) Pure… alternative 80s — these compilations are quite popular. There are many “Pure… *whatever*”. This one I liked, but I think I won’t be buying more “Pure” compilations anytime soon.

9) Ella Fitzgerald – Lo Mejor (The Best) — I doubt that only 20 songs are “the best” of Ella Fitzgerald. A genious like her can’t be compiled in only 20 songs.

10) Sex Pistols – Agents of Anarchy — again, another cover letter. This was my first Sex Pistols album (and it’s dear to me because I got it at Camden Market). The songs have this raw sound that I like.

11) Marlene Dietrich – Lili Marlene — stolen from my dad’s too. Ever since seeing “Witness for the Prosecution” and “Golden Earrings”, she’s been one of my favorites. This album has 26 songs in total, and… well, they’re really good.

12) Rock ‘n Roll – New York Dolls — I actually bought this because I liked their song “Looking for a Kiss” and wanted to listen more of theirs. It’s a good one.

What do you think of music compilations? Do you buy them?

 

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Age

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I’ve been noticing age and ageing lately, but not necessarily in myself (well, that, too).

The real deal here is looking at my dog (who has been in my family for 13 years now) and noticing how she’s going deaf, her weight has increased considerably and sleeps / likes lazying around most of the time. Her muzzle’s hairs are going gray and her legs tremble when she wants to make a jump.

I’m also noticing it on my father. He… well, he’s never been a healthy person (his anxieties and depression could eat him alive), but those infrequent “bad days” have turned into a normality. He is the best person I’ve met, yet these days ruin him. His mood-swings make it difficult being by his side, his bad temper makes it look like it’s just hopeless and his inability of getting out of the hole that has swallowed him is rage-inducing. I hate seeing him like this. There are certain days in which I think I hate him, but after a while, I realize I don’t, not truly. What I hate is age. What I hate is his illness. And yeah, probably the fact that he’s becoming a bit selfish, too (a side-effect of ageing?) I think I also hate worrying about him.

This leads me to the ultimate fact: I’m growing old. Okay, to be fair, I don’t remember a time I didn’t worry about my parents -I was a very grown-up kid. But realizing I’ll have to take care of them makes me uncomfortable. When did I stop playing with my dolls and signed for the adult life, full of responsibilities and concerns?

To make it worse, this September I’m starting my last year of University. I’ll be graduating in June (if things go alright!!) and I guess I won’t be able to say I’m not an adult anymore.

Cheers!

Invisible Me

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Imagescreencap from “The Princess Diaries” (2001) with pre-Academy Award Anne Hathaway

 

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Well, no, no one has sat on me yet, but twice in two days I have felt invisible to the eyes of someone -ok, to be fair, to the eyes of men, particularly.

Exhibit A) yesterday afternoon, I went to a great retro restaurant with my favorite girl to have a milkshake. The place is awesomely decorated emulating a typical American bar of the 50s. You know, like the one in Grease where Frankie Avalon appears as a guardian angel and all that. Well, at a certain point of yesterday afternoon I started to wonder if I wasn’t turning invisible after all. The waiter, a cute blue eyed guy, seemed to ignore the fact that it was ME who was paying, not my friend. No bad feelings, she’s great looking, but HEY, DUDE, I’m going to be paying you, so please look at me when asking “everything ok, girls?”. Or in case you don’t want my opinion, just ask her. A simple glance would have done, but no -he decided to ignore me. 

I GET IT, my friend is more attractive than I am, but what about “the client is always right” and the rules of hospitality and all that? —please, don’t think I’m bitter. I’m used to it and lately it’s not like I take it personally. It used to annoy me, but I’m past it.

 

Exhibit B) this happened today but has been happening to me all my life, whenever I set foot ouside the house with my old sister. Old as in 9 years older. She’s always been the center of attention: she’s petite, skinny, blonde and uses more makeup than anyone I know (except for a drag queen or two). Saying that she’s like water and I’m like oil would be an understatement. We don’t look related (picture me: tall, broad shouldered, brunette and with my head down most of the time).
So, you’d say I’d be used to not being the center of attention when going out with her, but for some reason, today’s situation annoyed me -a bit. We went to the vet (one of my dogs had a little trouble with her… um, her butt) and OH MAN, you should have seen how many doctors came to help us. THREE DOCTORS. Three vets for just one (tiny) dog. I would have laughed if I hadn’t found it so annoying. Three vets around a tiny dog, looking at her butthole (sorry, had to say it). But I knew they weren’t worried about my tiny dog’s butt -no, no. They were there to take a look at my tiny blonde sister.

 

Again, please, don’t write me off as the bitter ugly friend/sister. I’m not (bitter). But it seems curious to me how those little moments can wreck the confidence of the most self-confident person ever.

This brings to my mind a quote by Dita Von Teese (famous stripper) I recently read:

I’ve said it time and time again. You can be a juicy, ripe peach and there’s still going to be someone who doesn’t like peaches, so you can either submit to someone’s criticism of you, or you can get on with the business of being your own amazing self who attracts other like-minded people that appreciate you.

Well, it’s easy for you to say, Dita. Your “peaches” are espectacular and I doubt anyone in the entire world isn’t attracted to you.

Kidding.
Maybe.

Bukowski, Charles

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we are always asked
to understand the other person’s
viewpoint
no matter how
out-dated
foolish or
obnoxious.

one is asked
to view
their total error
their life-waste
with
kindliness,
especially if they are
aged.

but age is the total of
our doing.
they have aged
badly
because they have
lived
out of focus,
they have refused to
see.

not their fault?

whose fault?
mine?

I am asked to hide
my viewpoint
from them
for fear of their
fear.

age is no crime

but the shame
of a deliberately
wasted
life

among so many
deliberately
wasted
lives
is. 

–Be Kind by Charles Bukowski

 

Many years ago, when I was barely 14 or 15, I remember browsing through my old computer to find a folder with many word versions of great novels -Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, Shakespeare’s plays, even the Bible was there. Exploring the folders, I thought to myself I wouldn’t have the time nor the eye capacity to read every single file -at that time we didn’t have electronic e-book readers, so spending that quantity of time in front of the screen would made my eyesigh ache.

Anyway, one of those nights, I remember stumbling upon the “Bukowski, Charles” file. The titles inmediately got my attention -I was 14, as I said, and reading “Fuck Machine” (La Máquina de Follar, in Spanish, which was the version I read) clearly scandalized me. “Why on Earth would I have that file in my computer??” I probably thought. I can picture myself reading it and thinking “who is this dirty man and why am I still reading this?”. But I think that what really got me was his raw, true way of writing; the “reality” of his words.

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Some years later, I’m still finding bits and pieces of his poems, and wishing to read more of his work. I think that, as a young girl back then, it made a huge impact on me, even if I’m pretty sure my writer dreams were slightly hidden by my self-imposed desire of becoming a lawyer (yeah, we all know how that ended up –I dropped out of Law school just a few months in, after realizing that was not what I really wanted).

Even so, I’m not saying I’m blaming Bukowski for my failed career. But maybe, just maybe, his words stayed at the back of my mind the whole time and reminded me of that kind of writing, the kind that makes you wonder how the hell is possible to express with words those feelings… and, probably, made me want to aim to be a “magician of words” myself.