A song for every occasion

I have said it for years (and the BBC show Homes Under the Hammer also proves it, see this blurb about that show): every situation can remind you of a song!

I was watching current affairs on TV and came across a programme on a Belgian channel that had a far-right young Dutch politician I really dislike on their panel. I took a peek (shouldn’t have) and they were discussing something he had said a while back. They played a clip of him saying that women are often left-leaning until they meet a right-wing man who tells her how it really is and she always comes around to his way of thinking in the end… Yes, basically saying women can’t think for themselves! There was a woman on the panel who rightfully accused him of using arguments by men who were opposed to suffragettes a hundred years ago… The pit of my stomach exploded in anger at this politician yet again! I quickly changed the channel, really don’t have to listen to that garbage, and looked up a David Bowie song on YouTube that I thought of as soon as the word “suffragette” was uttered…

This came after I was reading about the latest travel ban news coming from the US, about people being banned from crossing borders after all. It made me think of this Chris de Burgh song, where he sings, “Don’t let go, I want to know, that you will wait for me until the day, there’s no borderline, no borderline…”

Before that I was reading about Richard Armitage and Michelle Forbes going to the ballet together…

Ballet tweet

… and a song from A Chorus Line came to mind…

Yes, it was quite an associative half hour!

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Colin, Richard and a nun’s blessing

In the midst of a diplomatic row between Turkey and The Netherlands (elections here in two days, this is apparently the best time for rows) I like to focus attention on more positive things. So, here are a few pictures I’d like to share from the past weeks…

Captivating Colin Firth graciously and with big smiles received roses (it looks like he’s hugging them too!) and a kiss from a fan, all nicely caught on camera a few weeks ago:

He was also seen in a turtleneck sweater (I love turlenecks!), filming scenes for the Love Actually revival for comic relief, which will be shown on the BBC at the end of next week, I believe!

I am already looking forward to that!

In addition there are also Richard Armitage pics to share. First off a quick sighting this past weekend at JFK, with Richard striding by in a flash (thanks for the find, Servetus!)

Richard JFK march 2017 crop

Whereas there are regular Colin sightings at airports, there are only a few Richard ones, so I really lap these up! There were also some riveting Richard pictures, shared last week, of him with Michelle Forbes and Tamlyn Tomita and dogs…

RA march 2017RA2 march 2017

Apparently shared on Michelle’s instagram account, I first came across it via Moose Turd’s twitter. Especially that first picture with the three of them laughing with the dog has me riveted… A very nice and handsome man laughing with women and a dog – it hardly gets better than that!

And there’s more feelgood stuff! Last night was the season 6 finale of the BBC’s Call the Midwife. One of the main characters, Shelagh Turner (played by Laura Main) gave birth to a baby. After the baby was delivered by Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter), she smiled and said the following blessing (I have put the words on my screencaps):

Call the Midwife Aaron's Blessing

I am not religious but this blessing (called Aaron’s blessing, from Numbers 6:24-26 in the bible) is very special to me. It’s a little longer than the part Sr Julienne says…

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

… and it was my dad’s favourite blessing to say to his loved ones. He said it at my wedding, at my oldest brother’s grave and every Christmas to all his grandkids.

In all the turbulence of the news out there right now, it is comforting to know there is still (memories of) happiness and warmth to go around. 🙂

Doomsday songs pick-me-up

In the news here on Dutch TV this morning: the party of far right leader Geert Wilders (the PVV – ‘Partij Voor de Vrijheid’ which means ‘Freedom Party’ but there’s nothing free about it, in my view) leads the polls. He’s been leading for a few months now and his lead seems to be lessening but still he is leading! We have a multi-party democracy here in The Netherlands where several parties have to form a coalition in order to have a majority to govern. Thank goodness the center right party VVD (which is the largest party now and comes in 2nd in the polls, also one of the current governing parties) has already said there is a 0% chance they will form a coalition with the far right PVV whose main agenda is islamophobia. Even so, I can’t wrap my head around the fact that such a man as Wilders could end up getting the most votes here in our upcoming election in March! Same trend as in the UK with Brexit and in the US with Trump and it is all truly freaking me out! And this coming Friday super-narcissist Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the next US president despite losing the popular vote by almost 3 million votes.

danger

This feeling of danger and doom has me playing all sorts of doomsday songs in my head…

For instance, the song ‘Land of Confusion’ from the mid 1980s by Genesis… I very well remember the videoclip at the time with ‘Spitting Image’ puppets, when we thought Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were questionable…

Or this R.E.M. song that I have always loved and feels more relevant to me than ever… don’t know if I feel fine about it, though…

‘The End’ by The Doors is depressing…

“Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival sounds more upbeat but the lyrics certainly reference doomsday. The lyrics can be taken both literally and figuratively…

David Bowie’s ‘Five Years’ springs to mind (here elections are held every 5 years…) about a world going to pieces…

I also think of Chris De Burgh’s song “Spanish Train”, which is this story about the Lord and the Devil playing cards to win people’s souls and the devil keeps on winning… I only like early Chris De Burgh, he had interesting stories to tell before he became too sappy with “The Lady in Red” and the like… (Not at all about doomsday but check out “Patricia the Stripper” for a funny story and clever rhymes).

And there’s Muse, a lot of Muse, that I am thinking of! Like my go-to song from the time I was going through a downsizing crisis at work and this song helped me release my inner frustration… Naturally, I don’t want to literally shoot some leaders down, but figuratively, yes, I can subscribe to that!

“Hard times are ahead […] your time is now to be heard […] your number has been called”, as sung by Muse in ‘Butterflies and Hurricanes’…

“Time is Running Out” springs to mind, even though it is more personal than the other songs I reference here, but the time is running out feeling is relevant to me…

And then there’s the song ‘Panic Station’: “And this chaos it defies imagination […] you’ve arrived at panic station”

I think of the ‘Psycho’ song, from Muse’s last album, about being part of a war machine…

Or the ultimate protest Muse song ‘Uprising’…

The fact that these songs are out there makes me despair a little less and helps me feel a little better. They tell me: “You’re not alone!”, the same words David Bowie uses in his ‘Rock n Roll Suicide’ song, a song I absolutely love. I still get a thrill at the thought that I have seen the actual lyrics written in Bowie’s own handwriting for myself

There is always hope, right?

Music in a deaf world

Last night I saw the French film “La Famille Belier” at the cinema with a friend. It’s about Paula, a farmer’s daughter with deaf parents, who discovers she has a singing talent. Her family depends on her as a go-between in the world of the hearing and they fear losing her to that world when Paula wants to pursue her dreams in Paris.

It’s a comedy but also a drama and this confusion of genres works quite well. This genre confusion sometimes did make the film feel a little uneven, desperately angling for laughs when maybe they weren’t always needed. Regardless of that, it is a beautiful film and the audition at the end of the film – I defy anyone to not break down in tears at that point. Such a very touching moment!

The film made me think of another (German) film from 1996 called “Jenseits der Stille”. It deals with exactly the same topic, only “Jenseits der Stille” is about a girl who is a very talented clarinet player and wants to go to a conservatory in Berlin. I was only able to find a German trailer for that on YouTube:

This film is up there with my favorite films ever, Famille Belier can’t beat that yet, and I have watched it many times over the years. It never fails to touch me to the core and also features some beautiful Klezmer (Jewish) music by Giora Feidmann (who I once saw in concert).

There are many parallels between “Stille” and “Bellier”, so if you enjoy the one, I am sure you would enjoy the other as well. Go check them out even if they only tickle your fancy a little bit! 🙂