Lazy Luddite Log

30.11.05

Commentary: Favourites

As Maria von Trapp says "these are a few of my favourite things..."

Favourite Movies

I see a lot of movies now that I live close to a cinema that gets movies later than national opening date and charges less for tickets as a result. Even visiting the cinemas alone is a fun way of passing the time. My favourites indicates a preference for effects flicks but I do enjoy other kinds of movies too... honest...

The Court Jester

One of my favourite movies of all time. I was sick as a kid and spent a lot of time and home and back then a lot of 'Golden Era' movies would be played in the daytime. This amazing comedic and musical spoof of the Robin Hood story staring the multi-talented Danny Kaye has something for everyone. "Get it?" "Got it" "Good!"

Star Wars

I was there in 1977 sitting in a cinema as the lights dimmed and the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare played. A parent had taken me - I was only five at the time. A whole new world (a world of worlds) opened to me that day and I have never looked back (except that the trash compactor scene scared me so much that I turned round in my seat to hide my face till the scene was over). Specific criticisms of the six films can be made but I have enjoyed all of them and have enjoyed the experience of having them as a defining part of the times in which we live.

Transformers the Movie

The original animated movie is must-see for any Transformers fan (which I am). An amazing sensory experience full of colour and movement. Mind you I object to the G rating it had. I can remember a cinema full of children visibly shaken by the slew of deaths dealt to well-known and much-loved characters. Definitely PG in my opinion.

I love the new live-action movie. But for me the original animated flick is still the best. The live-action film grounds the Transformers concept in this universe (incredibly well) but the original takes it "Through The Looking Glass" into a trippy universe of whimsical and outlandish worlds and gives the whole story a mythic vibe.

Favourite Music

Queen is my all-time favourite band. The rest of those named in my profile are more a representative sampling than a definitive list. It's difficult to say exactly what it is that unites the music I am into. Anything from the massive half-century-old back catalogue of blues-derived popular music (a.k.a. 'rock and roll') is something I may go for. I enjoy many different variations of that music - metal - rock - pop - soul - funk – as well as older forms like folk and jazz. The musical aspects of a track are usually more important to me than the words sung (half the time the words are difficult to decipher anyway). I like my music to be well-played but will forgive a lack of skill if the music is fun.

Favourite Books

A have never devoured books in the way many of my friends do. I lack the habit of always having a novel on the go. Sometimes I will deliberately hold off till the movie version. Still sometimes there is nothing so nice as getting into bed with a good book...

Lord of the Rings

The writing of Tolkien can be rather plodding but the way in which he depicts an entire world is amazing. There is some wonderful prose here and there and the story itself is a refreshing epic-in-reverse (in this quest the hero must get rid of something rather than win something). The inclusion of maps and family trees enhances the feeling that there is always more to this setting than one can possibly grasp.

It is this 'complete world' quality that possessed my mind (12 at the time) and inspired me to pen my own (very derivative) fantasy epic. But I never even got a tenth of the way into the intended storyline. Then in my mid teens I discovered fantasy role-play games (e.g. 'Dungeons & Dragons') and decided to turn the setting of my story into a game world. Ironically I have since written far more in background notes for 'The Lands' than I ever would have had I finished writing the story. The Lands is now a very different world from that of Middle Earth - the exercise of turning it into a game setting has made it "a modern world in medieval fantasy garb" rather than a misty habitation of legends.

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

Of the many forms this story has taken I enjoy the novel most. It seems to be the best medium in which to explore all the amusing and mind-bending concepts of this story and its sequels. Douglas Adams is witty and incisive and blends science fiction with comedy remarkably well. A set of books I return to every now and then.

Demon Haunted World

Author Carl Sagan is best known for the documentary series 'Cosmos'. In this non-fiction text Sagan examines superstition and the dangers for society that arise from too many of us having a credulous mindset. Along the way the book makes a fascinating survey of astronomy, biology, technology, history, politics and religion. Sagan argues that the open-minded yet critical disposition utilised in 'scientific method' is also vital for the progress and even survival of democracy in the modern world. There should be more non-fiction page-turners like this.

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