Tuesday, 23 January 2007

John Doe the 'Paradise Lost' fan

When you create a blog on blogger, it gives you a choice of templates. The following is the "preview" of what the template "Dots" could look like:


So the apparent owner of this blog is a guy called John Doe, from California, whose avatar is a penguin, whose posts consist of quotations from 'Paradise Lost' (yes I did have to google it to be sure, even though I supposedly got into Cambridge to study English Literature... :s). Am I the only one who finds this a little bit creepy? Probably only because I've seen 'Se7en' (which I liked a lot despite the silly gimmicky '7 instead of v' thing), in which the serial killer goes by the name of John Doe. I mean, if that was a real blog, if this John Doe did leave unprompted comments on his own posts - comments that are just more of 'Paradise Lost' - well, you'd think he might be a little strange, right?

Maybe there are a hundred variations on this post from all the others who've started up a blogger account, but I wouldn't know how to find them. Any enlightenment would be cool.

first post


The big hurdle I found when creating this - umm I feel a bit silly writing/saying the word "blog", but obviously I shall have to get used to it - was coming up with a name for it. I read this post a while ago:
Read it, it's really interesting.
So obviously I needed to match up to these really cool names - I mean, referencing Sufjan Stevens, Radiohead, Wilco, all these are really amazing artists, artists that it's definitely cool to like.

So here are a few things that this 'blog' (I still need the inverted commas to get over feelings of silliness this early...) was nearly called:

brothershamus - this comes from my favourite line in 'The Big Lebowski', which I love, aaaaaand is a cool movie to reference. The line is:
Da Fino, Private Snoop: I'm a brother shamus!
The Dude: A Brother Seamus? What... like an Irish monk?

(thank you uk.imdb.com - I dunno how the whole attributing-your-sources works, but I thought I probably should)
It would have worked well, coz I don't think I'm just gonna be writing about music, there'll be stuff about movies too. And other stuff. Buuuuuuut - apparently it's the name of a band, and I don't feel like enough of a proper hardcore Lebowski fan (I've never considered going to one of those Lebowski-fest things where people go bowling dressed as all the characters, far too scary). So that one's out.

movingtonewyork - coz I kinda wanna, maybe, sometime. It's a song by a new (at the moment) band called The Wombats (I might try and get a link to it put here, then this'll be a proper 'mp3 blog', but I'm far too amateur at the moment). Buuuuut this band - I dunno whether in like six months time, anyone'll have heard of them, I hope they will have, but they might just completely fail to crack the mainstream. Or it could go the other way, they could get reeeeeeeeeally mainstream, to the point where it's not cool to reference them anymore. I know that is suuuuuuuch a snobby thing to say, but still. I mean, it was cool to like The Kooks back when they released Eddie's Gun, but now they're all popular, no 'hipsters' like them all that much. Ditto Arctic Monkeys (who I still love by the way), maybe Snow Patrol (I like them too), The Zutons (them too), maybe even Keane, thought with them it seems to have kinda come full circle so that it's almost cool to like them again, as long as you have the requisite hint of irony. Basically, the point is, snobbery is really complicated and really silly, I just wanted to avoid it altogether.

themagicposition - it's a song by Patrick Wolf which I love at the moment, it's just pure pop. Buuuuuut it's also the name of his new album, and therefore it seemed like it'd be too recognisable, not obscure enough, implying that Patrick Wolf is my favourite artist of all time, which, though I think he's amazing and you should all buy everything by him asap, he's not. A variation on that theme was....

inthemajorkey - a lyric from 'The Magic Position' (the song). I liked this, buuuuuut when it's all in one word, no spaces, as it has to be for the URL, it kinda looks like it says "in the majorkey", with "majorkey" as one word, which sounds like someone with a weird accent saying "my jerky". And I don't really know what "jerky" is, I know it's usually preceded by the word "beef", and it's kinda a silly-sounding word too. I get the impression it might be something a bit like "baloney", but I don't really know what that is either, I just heard the two phrases in American movies I guess. (A wikipedia search later:
"Jerky is meat which has been cut into strips with the fat trimmed off, marinated in a spiced, salty or sweet liquid for a desired flavor, then dried with low heat (usually under 160°F or 70°C) or occasionally salted and sun-dried. The result is a strip of a salty, semi-sweet snack which can be stored for long periods of time without refrigeration. Jerky is one of humankind's earliest applications of food preservation. The word "jerky" itself comes from the Quechua term Charqui, which means "dried meat".")
Well, the result of all that is that neither I nor any readers out there (hello! if you're there :) ) will be able to read "inthemajorkey" as four separate words again, though why they'd ever be printed without spaces apart from in a URL I don't know.

breatheme - the Sia song, as used in the final moments of the final episode of 'Six Feet Under', which is probably my favourite TV show. Buuuuuut, it could be read as "Brea Theme" (and "Brea" is apparently a city in California...). And maybe it's not obscure enough either... :s

therestofyourdays - from an unreleased Radiohead song called 'Lift'. That seems more than obscure enough, buuuuuuuuut the sentiment is kinda a cliché, even if only because it’s completely true: the line is “Today is the first day of the rest of your days”. Which is soooooooo-unRadiohead-like, which probably makes ‘Lift’ a really uncool song. Aaaaaaaand, someone might think it’s from ‘Hakuna Matata’ off of ‘The Lion King’, which isn’t a bad thing at all, it’s just – not very indie...

loveandmusic – from ‘The Good Old Days’ by The Libertines (“If you’ve lost your faith in love and music then the end won’t be long”). But it does seem like a description of the content of the blog, and that’s a bit narrow. Aaaaaaaand, I googled it and the first match was this:

And “contemporary Christian music” isn’t very me (unless you count Sufjan Stevens, which I don’t coz he’s way more than that imho).
Also, it’s a music festival film thing with Pink Floyd, The Byrds, T-Rex et al, and apparently a band as well, aaaand an album by Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner.

whoisleftthatwritesthesedays – PJ Harvey lyric, from ‘The Letter’. PJ Harvey is perfect for nicking a lyric off for my ‘blog’ title, coz she’s really good, sufficiently ‘indie’, and I’ve seen her live (whereas I haven’t seen, say, Sufjan Stevens or Arcade Fire, so I’d feeling a bit dishonest coz it’d make out I was an ultra-fan, and I haven’t even managed to see them live). And it’s a good title – coz, y’know, I write these days. OK, maybe it’s a bit too clever-clever, whatever. But it’s too long too.

pictureofasunnyday – from ‘Modern Girl’ by Sleater-Kinney, who are suuuuuch a hipster-y band (I mean, they were referenced in ‘Six Feet Under’, a show so cool it can persuade the Arcade Fire and Interpol to record songs specifically for it’s soundtrack). But I don’t really know much about the band, and to be honest I don't really listen to the rest of the lyrics, I just hear that one phrase and think "Aw, what a lovely happy song", even though I'm pretty sure there's more to it than that. I don’t feel ‘cool’ enough to name my ‘blog’ after them.

wittypseudonym­ – no, far too self-referential/clever-clever/pretentious/rubbish.

shadowlands – my email address. I named it after a Ryan Adams song, the one he was singing when he fell off the stage and broke his arm; I just thought it was a cool word. But it is a bit silly – kinda sounds like the username of a Warcraft/Lord of the Rings fan, not that I have anything against them at all. Aaaand it’s the name of a CS Lewis biopic with Anthony Hopkins, and I’m totally not a CS Lewis fan. Aaaaaaaaand when I explain it’s a Ryan Adams song, I sometimes get so paranoid that I have to say “Ryan, not Bryan”. So, that one reeeeeeally doesn’t work.

OK, that post was faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar too long, and I haven’t even explained the actual name of the blog. But on the other hand, I reached the stage where I can use the word “blog” without inverted commas, as in a couple of lines ago. Which is good.

Well, I really hope someone/some people actually read(s) (at least some of) this. If you did/do, leaving comments, whatever their nature would be amaaaaaazing, I’d feel all powerful and popular. Thank you.