Going your own way

I was going to have a rant.  I read something about writing process that gave me the irrits, and I was going to have a rant.

But then I got to thinking (it’s my curse, being able to see things from both sides) and I decided that there was something in the advice, even though it irritated me, so I have been giving it some more, less ranty thought.

There will be a post in it, but in the meantime, the gist of what I wanted to say is:

Do what works for you.

If it’s writing like a mad thing, then editing at leisure, do that.  If it’s writing at the kitchen table after everyone is in bed, do that.  If it’s doing most of the work in your head, then writing the thing in almost one draft, do that.  Whatever gets you to ‘the end’ and makes you happy with the result is what works for you and don’t let anyone tell you it’s wrong.

And now, in celebration of doing things your own way, my latest favourite musical group, Walk off the Earth, with a great a capella cover of Taylor Swift’s I Knew You Were Trouble.

I should have got onto them much earlier, as they were the ones responsible for this clever cover of possibly the most covered song in the history of the internet, Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know.

I was amused to discover this little more recent send-up, which made me like them even more:

And finally, perhaps the best example of my point, of doing it your own way, this great cover of the Beatles From Me to You.

Enjoy!

Have a great day – your own way!

Friday (New) Favourites: Les Miserables

I admit I came late to Les Mis.

Despite being a young adult when it was in the theatre in my home town and despite studying French for many years and being a bit of a Victor Hugo fan, I didn’t go.  I don’t know why.  It’s possible that it fell in that window in which most of my money was spent on drinking and fast times. 😉

So when the movie came out I thought it was high time I caught up with this phenomenon.  So I went.  And I enjoyed it very much.  It was visually gorgeous and the performances were, in my humble opinion, excellent.  I thought the decision to use actors who could sing and record them as they acted was brilliant.   Anne Hathaway deserved that Oscar.  Her broken rendition of ‘I dreamed a dream’ was one of the most harrowing things I’ve seen on a screen in recent times.

But the upshot of all of this is that I get it now.  I get why people adore this musical.  There’s a great, sweeping story with love and death and heroism and vileness and more than a touch of madness, yes.  But the main attraction is the music.  It’s magnificent.  It’s infectious.  Indeed, after seeing the movie, I stomped around singing ‘I hear the people sing’ so many times that my darling daughter threatened to storm my barricades and make the streets run with my blood if I didn’t stop.

And it appears I am not alone in loving it.  You must watch this wedding video which is a great testament to the musical, to how much these people like the married couple (because there was rehearsal involved) and what can happen if you leave the choristers alone with the beer for too long…

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Unexpected joys

I was all set to write a post about the 200th Anniversary of Pride and Prejudice – but it will have to wait.  Because last night (that will be a joke in a minute, wait and see) a young friend showed me this video:

And I LOVED it.  This adorable 20-year-old is so clever and talented and FUNNY!  There are few things I like better than funny.  As Lizzie Bennett would say, (note P&P reference!) I dearly love to laugh.  Make me laugh and you’re half-way there.  Half-way where, you ask?  Pretty much anywhere, frankly.  I am absolutely going to learn this song (have I mentioned that I sing?) because I think it will knock ’em dead as a party piece.  My friends are mostly past this stage, but not so far that we don’t remember.  Get a few wines into ’em and I reckon they’ll be joining in in no time.

Anyway, so impressed was I by this young lady that I watched a few more of her videos.  Which is how I came across this one:

And this one made me cry.  I was sitting at my desk, surrounded by mess I need to clean up, almost hyperventilating about all the things I need to do this month (writing! tax! deadlines! eek!) and this song made me stop, forget all of that and cry.  Can a creator ask more than that?  If what I write can do that – take people out of their lives for a bit, have a laugh, have a cry, make them forget their troubles for a bit – I will be very, very happy.

I also like this one, a bit of musical philosophising:

Lucy is on Twitter and Facebook, if you want to follow what she gets up to.  I’m a little late to the Lucy party, it seems, but I have always adhered to ‘better late than never’ – especially when it comes to talent!  And in case you hadn’t found her yet either, I just wanted to share my unexpected Wednesday joy!

Have you found anything that surprised and delighted you lately?

Weddings, Parties, Anything – a few of my favourite things!

Today on the radio, I heard that one of my all-time favourite music groups is being honoured in a hall of fame.  The band’s name was Weddings, Parties, Anything and they’re an icon of the Melbourne music scene.  They were never huge in the charts, but they are well known and loved among Australians of a certain generation and deserve to be better known.

They have a special place in my musical history as I discovered them though this song, just after I first moved to Melbourne.  It references a heap of local landmarks and I remember being so excited when I recognised these new-to-me places in the lyrics of a song.  This video is a very cute interpretation, too! (BTW, the clocks in question are on the facade of Flinders St train station – a traditional place to meet in Melbourne.  Can’t tell you how excited I was the first time I arranged to meet someone there after hearing this song)

Under the Clocks

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Musing on Movie Music

I don’t think it’s Friday anywhere in the world, but I beg your indulgence because I missed my Friday Favourites post and I have some favourites to share.

The other night, I went to the girl’s school Music Festival.  They are very into the arts at her school and they have an orchestra, a concert band, a stage band, a brass ensemble, a percussion ensemble, a guitar ensemble, two choirs… you get the idea.  Hence, a music festival.

It was very good.  No, really, it was enjoyable.  It’s a credit to their music teachers that attending these events is much less painful than you might expect.  And they played an extraordinary variety of music, from the latest rap thing (himself did not enjoy it, but I quite liked it) through Burt Bacharach to Tchaikovsky.  And it got me thinking about music.

Specifically, movie music.  They played a medley from Titanic, which was something like this one:

Close to the beginning of this is the section called ‘Take Her to Sea Mr Murdoch’.  And sitting there, in a fairly cramped auditorium at an Australian high school in 2012, I was instantly transported to the sight of the Titanic setting sail in the movie.  And I didn’t just see the visual in my mind’s eye, I felt the swell of emotion, as well.  The pride of all the people responsible for getting her under way, the glory of her size and newness and the swelling hopes of the people going to the new world for a new life.

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Friday Favourites Goes Geeky

Geeky, and yet, apparently, technically challenged, which is why the Friday post is up on Saturday evening.  Ahem.

Anyway, I just wanted to share with you something which I think is cute, clever and interesting, from a story-telling and marketing point of view.  These will make more sense if you follow Doctor Who, but in case you don’t, here’s some background:

The Doctor is a time traveller.  Rory and Amy are a married couple who travel with him but are at home at the moment.  There is a new series of the show about to start shortly (see below for details) and the makers have created this little five-episode mini-series as a teaser.  They have released one a day for five days.

(I just realised that I should say, for the uninitiated, that Rory and Amy’s surname is Pond (kind of, long story not going into here!) hence the name of the series.)

There are many clever things about this, but chief among them is the several neat little twists that they managed to work in even in such a short format.  Well worth analysing for structure, if you are that way inclined.  But mostly, they’re fun and a great appetiser for all the rabid Whovians hanging out for the new series.

If you are in Australia, the first episode of the new series will be available on ABC’s iView on Sunday morning (2 Sept).  It will be shown on the tele on ABC 1 on the 8th of Sept (Saturday) and repeated on ABC 2 on Tuesday the 11th.  I believe it is screening on Saturday night in Britain and America.  Check your local guides or with the BBC.

Now, without further ado, here are the episodes.  Enjoy!

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What makes a man sexy: what part are we up to now?

So, a few weeks ago, I started talking about what I think makes a man sexy.  To begin with, it was all about the smile.

Then we had the second part, where I told how bravery, commitment and kindness do it for me.

The in the third part, I confessed my predilection for smart, funny and talented gents (not necessarily all at once).

Then there was a fourth one, which was silly, but full of coaty goodness.

Now, due to public demand (one person, I think, but don’t burst my bubble) we will have more coats, but also some slightly more serious analysis of the sexiness of the dudes among us. (I think it’s serious. Don’t judge me.)

To illustrate, I will call upon Mr Darcy:

And a couple of vampires:

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Books for little kids: Catch ’em early and hook ’em for life!

Recently, Chuck Wendig*, writer and blogger about writing, asked for suggestions for books for his little one, who has recently had his first birthday.

I responded over at his blog, but since then, my brain has teemed with further suggestions and I thought it might make a good topic for a post.

(Especially since I have already told him that I have had a dream about reading books to his baby and if I keep going back and adding comments he may start thinking about the logistics of international restraining orders. ;))

I imagine that the readers of this blog are already fully aware of the benefits of reading to young children, but in case there are any who aren’t, let me just say that they are almost impossible to overstate.

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What makes a man sexy: It’s all about the coat…

Previously, these ‘sexy’ posts have been moderately serious, but to heck with it, it’s Friday, so I’m going a bit more old-school with the sexy characteristics today.

Today, it is all about the coat.  Seriously, lads, get yourself a coat.  In support of my argument, I offer, first, from the shimmering firmament that is the work of Joss Whedon:

Spike (From TV’s Buffy and Angel, played byJames Marsters)

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What makes a man sexy? Part III

So what started as an off-hand reply to someone else’s blog post, has turned into a three-part extravaganza on my own little patch of the internet.

I promise I will stop after this one; not necessarily because I have run out of things to say, but because one really must draw a line somewhere and, well, people are beginning to talk…

Ahem. So, without further carry-on, here is my last set of manly characteristics that do it for me.

Intelligence.

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