by Purple Wyrm on December 12, 2013
I’m a bit late to the party but how good is this?
by Purple Wyrm on December 11, 2013
Well, better late than never!
I’ve been really busy this week – I reinstalled Civilization III and have been conquering the world as the glorious Persians. So much more important than blogging commitments I’m sure you’ll agree.
In any case, this week I’ve decided to focus on two songs that can only be described as epic. Or possibly far too long. Long, epic songs that almost approach prog-rock in their sheer lengthy indulgence.
We’ll start with another from Sheffield movers and shakers of the 90′s, Pulp. Wickerman (from their last album, 2001′s We Love Life) is a phantasmagorical tour of the Steel City and its surrounds with Jarvis Cocker as your guide. Let him show you the hidden rivers that run below the streets, the viaduct that drunks used to jump off and the pressed in plastic letters at the cafe at Forge Dam. Feel the regret and try to track down the sample taken from the soundtrack of classic British horror movie The Wicker Man – I’m assured it’s in there somewhere.
If you’re thinking that the whole thing sounds like poetry, you can hear it as such too.
If eight minutes of Jarvis Cocker isn’t enough music for you, please carry on to our second song, Dire Straits’ Telegraph Road. Taken from 1982′s Love Over Gold it clocks in at an almost unbelievable 14 minutes 18 seconds. It’s not in bad company either, the entire album only has five songs on it, the shortest of which goes for over five minutes.
The interior album art shows a snuffed out cigarette in front of an Amstrad PCW 8256 – which is what a lot of the album sounds like – a dim, smoke filled room at 3:00 in the morning with grit in your eyes and only a monotone cathode-ray tube for company. The recording process got so grim in fact that the band had to cut loose and compose Twisting by the Pool just to stop themselves going mental. But the end result is regarded as one of their best, and Telegraph Road is the crowning glory of the album.
It’s a winding story that starts with the history and development of a town, then meanders off into bleak 1980s post-industrial collapse, which merges into relationship collapse, then wanders into a rocking five minute guitar playout. If this wasn’t enough to make it an epic song, it was also first performed live in my home city of Perth. So there!
Here it is, see you in a quarter hour…
Tune in next week when I may actually be on time for once!
by Purple Wyrm on December 7, 2013
I meant to get back to this much sooner, but here’s part II…
The Council of Necropolis have determined that an evil force – of powerful but as yet undetermined nature – has taken up residence in the heart of the cemetery. It appears to be centered somewhere in the vicinity of the so-called “Avenue of Heroes”, a boulevard of the largest and most impressive tombs and monuments than run down to the largest of the Necropolis’s ornamental lakes. Rather than confront this force head on in a dangerous (not to mention expensive) battle, the Council have decided to place an enchantment over the whole cemetery, a massive Protection from Evil spell that will either drive out the force, or weaken it sufficiently to make a confrontation viable. This is where the Players come in.
The enchantment will be established and maintained via a series of stone pillars placed at carefully selected points within the cemetery. Each will initially offer protection to its immediate surroundings, but as more pillars are placed, their protective fields will grow in both range and power until the entire 5,000 or more acres of the site are covered. The setting up of a pillar requires a complex ceremony featuring elements of both Divine and Arcane magic – this can easily be done during the relative safety of the daylight hours. The final activation of each pillar however must be carried out at the stroke of midnight on a carefully determined date – failure to do so requiring a full month before the activation can be attempted again.
The Council require the Players to carry out these activations. They must venture into the Cemetery, carrying the carefully enchanted capstone for each pillar, and put in in place at midnight, facing down whatever horrors stalk the graves at night. Ample payment is offered, but will be only be delivered in full on a pillar by pillar basis.
There are 26 pillars to be capped in total, starting with those on the edges of the cemetery then moving inwards towards the Avenue of Heroes. Certain pillars present unique challenges – three must be placed on islands in the ornamental lakes and at least one is located with the extensive catacombs that riddle the site. For the enchantment to take effect no more than two pillars may be activated a week, so the task will take several months, during which time the evil presence at the heart of the Necropolis can be assumed to continue its growth.
Are the Players up to the challenge? And if so, what specific dangers and obstacles will they face? Tune in soon for Part III of Necropolis!
by Purple Wyrm on December 6, 2013
What more can really be said, than in the face of great adversity, he did really well?
Rest in peace Madiba. You’ve earned it.
by Purple Wyrm on December 3, 2013
Yes, it’s that time of the week again when I pick two songs for your aural delectation and try to justify some vague link between them – Musical Tuesday!
We start today with a classic late-disco track from 1982, Laura Branigan’s Gloria
It may surprise people to learn the the track was originally by Italian singer Umberto Tozzi. A hit in Italy in 1979 it was similarly successful in various translations around Europe, but it only came to the attention of English speakers with the massive success of Branigan’s version three years later. Take a listen to it, from the perspective of 30 years on the production is a bit dated, but that girl could sing! Sadly she passed away from a brain aneurism in 2004.
My second selection this week is Disco 2000 by those thoughtful pre-emos of the 90′s Brit-Pop scene Pulp. Released in 1995 it was one of the band’s biggest hits and tells the tale of a young man in love with a childhood friend who seemingly can’t see him for all the popular people she now hangs out with (not that you’d realise that from the video clip…). The story is apparently autobiographical, with Jarvis Cocker (Pulp’s almost supernaturally tall and thin frontman who was a hipster back when a hipster was someone cool and interesting rather than a dickhead with a beard and stupid hat) claiming that the only made up part is the woodchip wallpaper.
So, what’s the connection? Well did you actually listen to them? The main riff of Disco 2000 is taken direct from Gloria, with Jarvis even driving home the point by singing “Deborah – Deborah” in exactly the same way as Laura Branigan. This should not be any great revelation – it’s been known about for 17 years – it’s just an interesting way to link two very fine songs, that’s all.
(Good lord, I just realised that gap between now and Disco 2000 is longer than the gap between Disco 2000 and Gloria. Damn I’m getting old…)
Note that I’ve embedded the full version of the song, that includes the Cocker trademark of a slightly strange monologue which is cut from the radio version. They always cut Pulp songs for the radio, Common People is never quite as good without the vicious third verse about dogs and chip stains. Sad.
Finally, some years back I had four concluding notes (something like C B A B) from a song stuck in my head for months. After almost going mad I eventually tracked it down to Disco 2000, the very last place I would have expected. Neat.
by Purple Wyrm on November 28, 2013
I’ve spotted a few people in my logs looking for these lyrics, so, here’s my best shot at them. You’re welcome!
Hampden Parks (Freestyle Friday #7) – E-Dubble
Ay! Ay! Ay! Ay! Ay! Ay! Ay! Ay!
Yeah some days, I feel unfazed,
Like when I’m with my friends with a cup raised,
But come Monday, I got a gun raised,
Suicidal do or die until hump day,
Then I go right back at it like an automatic,
More drinks, more songs, more beats to rap,
For me to shrink, I’m gone, more time keeps passing,
No watch no thoughts at all just a hat,
New era – Rep my P’s and those O’s
Need a Phillies with the orange and black to feel home,
From Citizens Bank back to Camden Yards,
It’s the tale of two cities and trust we go hard,
Trust we go hard?
Yes we go hard,
You said we go hard?
I said we go hard,
Rockin’ my Bob Couseys, stockin’ up on the looseleaf,
The lyrics come easy but the life is a doozy,
And yes I’m choosy and no I won’t settle,
But I still take pop-off over that kettle,
Cuz’ I’m talking bigger picture and yes I’m gonna hitcha with that…
Speak when necessary, no I never been a loud mouth,
Introvert but I insert a few wow-outs,
No Nick Cannon, David Banner when I pow-wow,
Hennessy but hold the hip I’m ’bout to have a brown out,
Clowns runnin’ round with the make up on they face,
To that I’m astringent – I been this way,
New bars, new beats, yeah that’s me all day
New cars, new freaks, no you keep that main,
I’m a business man, in a business, man!
Obstacles made me who I am,
Let loose, no truce, my boots come off,
Once Black Paisley has made my family’s fortune,
With a corner office and the greener pastures,
Sip cheap liquor till’ I’m leaning backwards,
Grip this dream you can see my passion,
Rep my city no beef with Asher,
Blue Bella and Blood help me write the chapters,
I’ll be home soon and we’ll toast the Asti,
Sip mimosas till me no-no my name,
EVA phhhht – I’m gone again!
Back to the mansion and yes I’m home again,
Rockin’ in Hampden and yes you know the name,
Young English – Black Paisley – Irish Toothache, who they be?
Who they be?
Who they be?
Who they be?
Well they be us!
Poor English, screwed up semantics,
I am talking real shit, speak my language,
Celebrate the blemishes, throw away the tentative,
I be on some other shit so go and tell the other kids,
Tell the other kids,
Tell the other kids,
Tell the other kids,
Tell the other kids,
Tell them other kids whatever you like,
It’s freestyle Friday, March 9 19th whatever,
I don’t doo derrrrrr ithat wenthay,
Dooba dooba dabba dooba deeba dub dub,
Rap songs, rap music we do what we want,
Dooba dabba dooba deeba dabba dooba the fronts…
Yeah, now look, I just checked my uh, checked the weather, on my phone, on my telephone, on my cellular telephone, it’s supposed to get up to 71 degrees today! S’posed to get up to 71 degrees. Holy guacamole. Hey y’know it’s not a traditional, saying for a rapper to say but holy guacamole’s underused, and um, what I’m trying to say is – it’s Springtime! OK? We’ve weathered the storm! Happy Freestyle Friday, seeya guys.
by Purple Wyrm on November 26, 2013
With the Dr Who 50th anniversary over the weekend, what could be more appropriate than picking a couple of completely random and unrelated tracks – thus creating a musical gallimaufry* – for this week’s Musical Tuesday?
(well, I could l0ad up the extended 12 inch of Doctorin’ the Tardis, but no one needs that!)
So first up, a catchy little 60′s influenced track from Brooklyn three piece The Essex Green – Don’t Know Why (You Stay)
Despite the cheery tune and soaring harmonies in the chorus the lyrics are a bit grim – but then there are plenty of other great songs like that, so who are we to argue?
Secondly I present a real gallimaufry of a track consisting of a bit of Bach combined with a 12th century student drinking song, played on synth and bagpipes by some insane Germans who’ve chosen to name themselves after a contagious medieval dancing mania. So here is Toccata by Tanzwut (excuse the 40k imagery and terrible spelling, it’s the only decent copy of the song I know of on YouTube)
It sounds scary as hell, but the lyrics (taken from the same source as Carl Orff’s famous Oh Fortuna) pretty much translate as “If you’re not here to drink then get out of our party!”, which is still kind of threatening I suppose, but less so than the treatment might suggest.
OK, I’m done for now. Tune in next week for another two tracks that might have some more effective kind of theme than not having a theme at all.
* I’ve always presumed that Gallifrey – the name of the Doctor’s homeworld – took its inspiration from gallimaufry. Exactly what this says about Time Lord society is up for debate…
by Purple Wyrm on November 25, 2013
Over the last few years the plot for a grand Dungeons and Dragons campaign has slowly assembled itself in my head. For various reasons it is unlikely that I’ll ever be able to run it as an actual game, so I thought I’d make it available for anyone who’s looking for something new and perhaps different to inflict on their playing group. Below, please find part one of the campaign sketch that I have decided to name ‘Necropolis’.
Over a thousand years ago the wise and powerful cleric Angevin passed away after a long life tending to the sick and destitute. His loyal disciples constructed a temple and small monastery around his grave, which over the years became a site of pilgrimage, attracting penitents and miracle seekers from across the known world. Many sick and elderly visitors sought nothing more than to be buried near the tomb of the blessed Angevin, and a cemetery grew up, tended by the brothers and sisters of the monastery, which grew rich and powerful on the bequests of the interred.
Over the centuries the burial ground grew larger and larger, and a town grew up to service the cemetery and its visitors. The great and powerful now sought to be buried there, with towering monuments and mausoleums rising above the simpler headstones. Catacombs and ossuries were dug into the hillsides, water courses were diverted to create streams and lakes, and gardens and shaded avenues were laid out among the tombs, creating a sculpted and manicured landscape to soothe the cares of the grief stricken mourners who now accompanied the bodies of their loved ones on the long trip to their final resting place.
Now the great cemetery covers over 5,000 acres, surrounded by miles of high marble walls. The burial ground and its attendant city – full of shrines, temples, inns and taverns to cater for the many visitors – are united under the name of Necropolis. Governed by a council made up of both businessmen and clerics it is a wonder of the world, and even the poorest beggar dreams of one day going to their rest among the heroes and saints that consecrate its soil.
But, all is not well in the city of Necropolis. The Council has so far kept matters quiet, but rumors are starting to circulate that a dark force has infiltrated the formerly sacred avenues and groves of Angevin’s resting place. The people of the city are loath to enter the cemetery alone, and all but the bravest (or most foolish) will not set foot within its bounds once the shadows begin to lengthen. As the rumors spread, visitors are starting to question whether a grave at Necropolis is such a prize after all, and the Council – for reasons both sacred and profane – has decided that action must be taken.
So it is that the word has gone out – discretely – that experienced adventurers looking to make a profit in both this world and the next should apply at the Monastery of Angevin before the next full moon…
Coming Soon – What’s going on, and what the Council want the Players to do about it!
by Purple Wyrm on November 24, 2013
Now that I’ve had a couple of hours’ sleep I’d just like to reiterate just how much I enjoyed The Day of the Doctor
I have no doubt the internet will be alight with people moaning about how Steven Moffet has ruined everything and should be put up against a wall and exterminated, but I thought he did a fantastic job. The plot made sense (more than can be said for some of his efforts), the interaction between the three Doctors was spot on, Billie Piper looks like she’s had a decent meal since her last appearance, there was a throwaway line referencing the UNIT dating controversy, the cameo from Peter Capaldi was perfect, and the ‘Curator’ – well, normally silliness like that would be totally out order, but, c’mon, it was wonderful!
And the setup at the very end! I hope like hell that’s going to be the story arc for the next season, not just something they deal with in the Christmas Special.
Finally if you’re a fan of the classic series and have half an hour to spare, The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot is well worth a watch. Not only is it fun, it features literally dozens of cameos. You can poke around online to find the full thing, but here’s the trailer…
On with tonight’s repeat, and An Adventure in Time and Space
by Purple Wyrm on November 23, 2013
Well, I for one will be getting up at 3:00am to watch The Day of the Doctor in simulcast from the UK.
Then I imagine I’ll watch it again at the more civilised hour of 7:30pm.
It better bloody be worth it! ;D
5:07am – That was amazing. I am blown away. So worth it.