Thu. May 23rd, 2024

Had a listen to more of the Beach BoysSmile. I’m slowly getting a sense of the differences between this version and Brian’s version of 2004. I think his version of Child Is Father Of the Man is better. The Boys’ vocals, especially the ‘child’ chant is more like a trial run to Brian’s version, where the vocals are more melodic and better arranged. I also prefer his Cabinessence. The ‘lron horse’ section sounds clearer, whereas the BB’s version is a little grating on the ears. Brian’s solo take on Good Vibrations is great, but really nothing can beat that original version by the Beach Boys. I’m really liking the ‘cantina’ section of Heroes and Villains. ‘You’re under arrest!‘ Is Margarita a woman or a drink? Probably both. And which version of Surf’s Up? Gee, that’s a tough one. Maybe it would be an interesting idea to do an A/B analysis of each song, if I can be bothered to be so trainspottery. And maybe when I’ve decided what I think are the best versions of each song I’ll make a compilation of those versions. Bit of Brian here, bit of Beach Boys there. The possibilities are endless. But no matter which version you listen to, it’s an amazing album. With its modular, cut-up techniques where songs bleed into one another, I think there’s also an argument to be made that Smile was a precursor, if not direct influence on, side two of the BeatlesAbbey Road. Just a thought.


One of Ryoma’s fighting friends

Watched some more episodes of that anime, By the Grace of the Gods season two. I’m still enjoying its gentle approach to story-telling where all conflicts are resolved and seemingly everyone becomes friends. Very Japanese. But the show does manage to manufacture some conflict. We’ve had a rampaging razorback pig, which Ryoma quickly dispatches and his friends subsequently cut up and cook and eat. No animal sentimentality there! And in the most recent episode I watched there were some ‘bad’ trees that Ryoma and friends were tasked with fighting, cutting down and collecting for building materials. You could tell they were bad trees from their frowny faces and their branches that made threatening movements. There was even a boss tree controlling the others which was revealed, once it was ‘killed’, to be hoarding some magic crystals – the key to its magical strength. I don’t think I’ve seen a good tree fight since, well, Lord of the Rings and Treebeard and the Ents.


I tried reading that essay in the British Weird book by Mary Butts called ‘Ghosties and Ghoulies, Uses of the Supernatural In English Fiction’, but I couldn’t finish it. The writer’s style was too florid, too verbose for my liking, and she took too long to get to the point. It happens sometimes, when you encounter an author whose style just doesn’t sit well with you. You tend to see it straight away, their thinking processes seem to be different to yours, and there’s no connection. When that happens I find it’s always better to just accept the incompatibility and call it quits, rather than fumble on and waste your time. I’m really sorry, Mary, this was my failure.

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