Category Archives: Music

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg -My Kind of Anti-War Movie

 

There is something self-defeatist about movies that purport to be anti-war spending 90 minutes bathing in blood and comradeship. Violence is its own advertisement. Showing more of it in order to lessen it is akin to invading a country in the name of peace.

Furthermore, like a closet-gay spending an inordinate amount of time ranting against homosexuality, the very people who get their knickers in a twist over onscreen orgiastic blood-letting are often the ones most titillated by it. How else can Gibson’s Passion of the Christ be explained? Extreme violence turned up to a sadistic-11 in the name of all that is holy and righteous.

The truth is Violence and Aggression and Anger and Death are cool. Singing and Romance are not. I say that with a contemptuous sneer, not as a justification for what is considered cool.

Singing & Romance (together) are allowable nowadays only if accompanied by a nod & a wink that advertise how you recognise the inherent uncoolness of it all, but that you are so cool you just don’t care, which makes it acceptable and perversely cool.

But before ironic cool uncoolness there was unapologetic joy and love and beauty and raw emotion without the baggage of the pre-packed Happy Meal mode in which to consume it.

You can fight and complain about what is considered cool -and make a good case as to why it should not be so considered, but the more you do the cooler it gets and the further into Crater of Uncool you dig.

 

Enter The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

 

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Abraham Meadows -John Poland

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We “completed” this song some time ago, but only recently made the video. Possible contender for our forthcoming album?

Personally, I always found it a bit too “word heavy”, but it has definitely grown on me and have received quite a bit of positive feedback. (thanks)

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As usual, music and vocals by John Poland, lyrics by Stanley Rumm.

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Here Today and Gone Tomorrow

It’s been a while since I posted a song by John Poland (ok and me too on lyrics, etc.).
Here’s our latest “finished” one. Nothing really funny here this time I’m afraid, but I quite like it anyway. :)

I say “finished” because we have many more “almost finished”, but not completely so. We have a lot of songs in total and have had to stop starting new ones because we weren’t getting around to completing any. Now we’ve resolved to root-out a decent “album number of songs” that suit each other and get them into one collection ASAP.

…A few months’ time perhaps.

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Alpaca Popstars!

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Confession time: I’ve discovered Alpacas for the first time…

Alpacas. Yesterday.
Alpacas. In a field. Yesterday.

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- – – – – – – – – -

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My first reaction was how come all these camel/llama type animals look like famous singers?

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- – – – – – – – – -

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Have a look for yourself…

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almacca
Paul McCartney!  (almacca)

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Aljagga
Mick Jagger -(Aljagga) and proud fan

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Liam Gallagher, obviously. (algalla)
Liam Gallagher, obviously.  (algalla)

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Witney Houston and Leonard Cohen.
Do I have to say it? …Whitney Houston and Bob Dylan. Together at last. Bob is looking a bit like Leonard Cohen here too don’t you think?

(One mustn’t laugh. Whitney was going through a rough patch at the time)

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Blur -well half of them anyway   (albarn)
Blur -well half of them anyway (albarna)

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Lady Gaga  (algaga)
Lady Gaga (algaga)

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A more relaxed Lady Gaga  (alnotso-gaga)
A more relaxed Lady Gaga (alnotso-gaga)

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The Stone Roses' Ian Brown
The Stone Roses’ Ian Brown

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That guy from Take That  (whothatpaca?)
That guy from Take That (whothatpaca?)

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Have you seen any singing alpacas recently?

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How to cook the nicest pancakes

How to do anything:

“Don’t try and don’t think.”

I went for a pleasant walk in the woods with Mrs. Rumm a few weeks back. During such excursions I like to travel off-path whenever possible …especially when someone with me hasn’t done so before. I find one discovers much more on the road less travelled, don’t you think? Or, if not more, at least different.

The only problem I find with this is in re-joining the main path. If another person witnesses this return their dirty silent judgemental mind throws a wobbly: “They’ve been having it off! Why else would they have gone into the trees!?”

Fear not, though, for before we go any further I shall reveal to you the secret to rejoining the path.

As I told Mrs. Rumm that day, “if anyone sees us as we come back to the path they’ll be searching for signs of a lustful romp” (honestly, we weren’t at it, but it’s OK if you choose to believe otherwise). “Anything we say or do will be assembled together in their minds in such a way as to ‘prove’ this snap assessment.
“So, as we return, if we meet anyone else just say Guten tag, then walk on.”

Well we didn’t meet anyone on that day, but I mention it because it happened on the same day as…

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Marvellous Day

Three months in the making, this video is our most ambitious to date -until the next one!
(coming soon)

If this song + video doesn’t add to your day’s cheer I fear you’re beyond hope.

Tell a friend!

OK, obviously we weren’t filming continuously for three months, but we started it in April and finished it in June. It’s been a long time coming, but now that it’s here I’m very happy with it. I trust you are too -OR YOUR MONEY BACK!

…And just for the record, yes marvellous is spelt with two Ls in the US.

Two Lovers Please

I like movies. I like non-formulaic movies with at least a little thought in them.

I’ve heard good things about the movie Two Lovers -at least enough to make me think I might like to see it. I’m sure it is a good movie, but I won’t be going to see it.

I generally go to the cinema alone. I prefer it that way, but anyway my wife has little interest in movies even if we did get time off together.
So the thought of walking up to the ticket office alone and saying “Two Lovers please” is just too much. I could buy online and collect at the door, but I despise the idea of extra charges for such things -THEY’RE SAVING MONEY BY HAVING NOBODY THERE why should we pay more??

Another film I felt awkward buying a ticket for was “Michael Clayton”. Thankfully I hadn’t realised how awkward it was to say it until I was standing there with cash in hand saying it. It just felt wrong somehow. Not entirely sure why with that one.

Are movies with people’s names harder to say at the ticket desk?

I recall having a similar dilemma paying for Amelie. I think that might have a longer name in some countries (?) but around here it’s just called Amelie. The problem for me there though was the young couple who paid before me asked for two tickets to “Ay-muh-lee-uh”.

Even though I knew it to be wrong I had a sudden burst of …FEAR, is the only word I can think of, that I was about to say it wrong.
It induced a kind of mental stutter that heard me purchasing “One for the same please”.

Have you ever felt awkward saying something or someone’s name?

[By the way, this post was first made (by me)  in a reply to a Jett Loe post in The Film Talk]

Beautiful Rain

Yesterday John Poland and I  (with the help of other invaluable souls) shot another video. Our third. This one is called Beautiful Rain.

As you can imagine with a title like that, the video involved some rain. It was a tough shoot. Not very much went according to our simple plans.  On paper it was very straightforward: There are just two verses in this song, with a small instrumental bit in between.

The idea for the video was this:

1. We see rain.

2. JP sings the first verse while standing in the rain.

3. Gorilla sees JP, casts off his umbrella and begins dancing in the rain.

4. JP sings the 2nd verse while standing in the rain, turning in circles.

That, more or less was the plan. We even had a little actual rain, which was nice. But we knew we would need a little more rain no matter what, so we were prepared with a hose with suitable sprinkler attachment.

We did some practice takes, with rainwear, but only when JP removed his protective clothing and began singing under the falldown did it become apparent that it was too damn cold!

Unfortunately, in the spot we were filming we were unable to run some hot water through a hose, otherwise it probably might have been doable. But within a minute-or-so it was obvious this idea would have to be scrapped.

Take a look at a wet JP:

screenshot1“SMILE JOHN!”

screenshot2“SING THE WORDS JOHN!”

screenshot3“LOOK UP INTO THE RAIN JOHN!”

screenshot4“DON’T RAISE YOUR HAND!”  “OPEN YOUR EYES!”  “SMILE!”

screenshot5“KEEP FACING FORWARD! SMILE! SMILE YA BASTARD! SMILE INTO THE BEAUTIFUL RAIN!!”

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As you can imagine, I didn’t have it easy. Nothing I did or said could make it possible for JP to do it.

Anyway, initially we thought the day was a washout if you pardon the pun, but after thinking about it some more we came up with other ways of doing things. We made some compromises and added some alternative shots. That’s what happens with filming all the time, no doubt.

The important thing is WE WERE NOT BEATEN! We got the shots we needed -well almost all. We just need a teensy bit more -but we’re waiting for the right time to shoot.

Fear not -you will see the final video on here first, so keep checking back throughout the week to see how it looks. And did I mention the song is very nice indeed? Wait til you hear it -another great tune for our forthcoming Happiness Album !

Simply Happy Ringtone!

I know what you’re thinking -“How could I possibly afford a Simply Happy Ringtone!?”

But fret not, because not only is this ringtone very cheap, it is in fact FREE!

You’ve watched the video, below, and sung along on the second listen and you found you couldn’t get the tune out of your head.

Now, take this mp3 ringtone (rightclick/Save-As) and do the same to your friends and enemies. Go forth and infest them with the upbeat positivity of your incoming phonecalls!

(Above ringtone contains the first Simply Happy chorus, followed by the more frenetic final chorus if you haven’t answered by then. If you’d prefer just the final chorus you can download it here.)

Spread the Happiness -Prepare to be hated!