Short Film: With a Piece of Chalk

2012 short film from Germany.

Top Ten Singles 40 Years Ago This Week


Week ending June 2, 1973

  1. My Love-Paul McCartney & Wings
  2. Daniel-Elton John
  3. Frankenstein-Edgar Winter Group
  4. Pillow Talk-Sylvia
  5. Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree-Dawn
  6. You Are the Sunshine of My Life-Stevie Wonder
  7. I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby-Barry White
  8. Little Willy-Sweet
  9. Hocus Pocus-Focus
  10. Playground in my Mind-Clint Holmes

(Source: Billboard Hot 100)

Awkward…17 Worst Things to Say in a Wedding Speech

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(Reprinted from MSN)

By Brienne Walsh

We know how tricky it is to strike the right balance of sincerity and humor in a wedding toast. Add to that equation two shots of tequila and a few glasses of champagne, and things can go wrong, very wrong. To help you save face (and avoid the wrath of the mother of the bride), we’re counting down the 17 worst things you could say in your speech.

The Rough Start

“When I first met the groom, I didn’t like him all that much.”

The “Gee, Thanks” Quip

“We were beginning to worry that you were never going to get married.”

The Never-ending Story

“I only have a couple pages left.”

The Breakup Crack

“The last time you guys broke up, we were all sure it was over. But look how wrong we were.”

The Anti-Marriage Remark

“To a thrilling lifetime together spent watching thousands upon thousands of hours of television!”

The Downer

“I’m really happy that we’re all here to celebrate today, but I’d like to take a moment of silence to remember the 1 billion people who live in chronic hunger everyday.”

The Memory Best Left Forgotten

“Remember that time in college when we made out?”

The No-Filter Comment

“I know shouldn’t say this, but it’s really great that your husband is so rich.”

The Doomsday Two-Cents

“If it doesn’t work out, I know a really good lawyer.”

The Cheating Tip

“One word of advice: Wait until you have kids before you cheat.”

The Divorce Dig

“May this marriage turn out better than your first one.”

The Ex Mention

“I remember when you said your ex-boyfriend was the love of your life, and I’m happy you found another one.”

The Dagger Compliment

“I honestly don’t know how you snagged this guy. You’re so lucky, I can’t believe it.”

The Big Slip

“Congratulations on the baby! Oh wait, have you started telling people?”

The Show-Stealer

“To my sister, I’m so excited to share some wonderful news with you on such a special day: I’m pregnant!”

The Inappropriate Joke

“May all your ups and downs be between the sheets.”

The Really Inappropriate Joke

“There’s a saying that the length of the best man’s toast is how long the groom will last on his wedding night. (Pause.) Cheers!”

Animusic: Mesmerizing Computer-Driven Music Animations

Animusic is an American company founded by Wayne Lytle which specializes in 3-D visualizations of MIDI-based music.

Rather than creating an animation to accompany a piece of music, the Animusic process involves first creating an animated model, which is then programmed to follow the commands of MIDI-programmed music–to “play” the piece.

To fully appreciate the mesmerizing HD video, be sure to watch it in full screen.

Other Animusic videos can be seen here.

DVD and Blue-ray compilations are available from their website.

Songs You May Have Missed #420

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Big Big Train: “Swan Hunter” (2013)

From Big Big Train’s English Electric  Part Two, the sequel to the Bournemouth band’s outstanding 2012 album. As Prog magazine’s review says of this song:

Complete with an utterly mesmerizing brass section, and lyrics dealing with the decline of a North East shipping yard and the bond between father and son…this could be a potentially depressing tale, but with the band’s skillful delivery, it’s actually unexpectedly uplifting.

I’ll let the song’s vocalist, Big Big Train’s David Longdon further explain “Swan Hunter” in this post excerpted from his blog:


Swan Hunter is a song about the inevitable changing world and how these changes impact directly upon local communities.

What an awe inspiring picture this is. The name on the ship says it all. Imagine being a child who grew up within this community, in one of those houses. Seeing these huge vessels grow daily until their launch and another would start to grow in its place. Imagine the relentless sound of machinery and construction workers. Your father most likely would have worked there and probably his father before him. It must have been almost impossible back then to imagine a time when this way of life, would come to an end. When it did end, what would the people do? If this is what you know and it has defined your role in life for generations … ‘what do you do, when what you did is gone?’

There is a parallel here between the shipyards and the collieries. When I was a boy I remember my Uncle Jack going off to work. I remember their stories, the community and way of life which had developed around generations of miners. It was how things were. It was the way things happened and it was impossible from within it all to imagine it ever coming to an end. The closing of the pits in the late 20th century would change everything.

This song centres around a main character. Let’s call him Jim.  Jim is now an old man and he is reflecting back on his life as a shipbuilder who worked at Swan Hunter in the Neptune Yard. Imagine Jim, sitting by his fireside and recounting tales to his son about how it all once was and how much life has changed. Jim accepts the impermanence of material things and the inevitable passing of time.

Swan Hunter was written by Greg Spawton and I. It was inspired by Big Big Train artist Jim Trainer. Jim sent a letter to Greg a few years ago, which detailed some stories that had happened in the Swan Hunter shipyards. Jim’s family had worked in those yards for generations. Greg thought it would make an interesting story and when I wrote the lyrics, once again I endeavored to find the human story of those who worked and lived in the shadow of those mighty imposing machines.

See also:

Songs You May Have Missed #419


Nilsson: “Together” (1968)

One of the many overlooked gems from Nilsson’s early career, when only fellow musicians seemed to be hip to the genius of his music.

Before he ever had an American hit, Nilsson songs were covered by The Monkees (“Cuddly Toy”), Three Dog Night (“One”) and others, and the Beatles famously cited him as their favorite singer.

“Together” itself was covered by British songbird Sandie Shaw:

See also:

Songs You May Have Missed #418


Dispatch: “Never or Now” (2012)

On the roots rock trio’s first album in 12 years, Dispatch trade their previous bouncy groove/jam band ethic for a more mature sound on Circles Around the Sun. And for the first time, there’s no mistaking them for the Spin Doctors.

Learn Guitar With David Brent

david brent

Ricky Gervais has a very Spinal Tap-esque way with a song. It’s just good enough to pass for hilariously bad–or is it vice versa?

Anyway, we’ll be following his series of guitar instruction videos where we expect to learn zilch about actually playing the guitar and a lot about David Brent and a life on the road selling toilet brushes.

Here’s a little flashback to a scene from The Office (the classic English original, of course) when Brent commanders a training session and turns it into a talent show for one.

‘The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald’–a Tribute Video

In the Key of Genius: Derek Paravicini and Adam Ockelford

Born prematurely at just 25 weeks, Derek Paravicini has suffered from blindess, learning impairment and severe autism for his entire life. Despite his impairment, Derek has the unique gift of perfect pitch, and is able to play any piece of music after hearing it only once. In 2010, Derek was featured on Stan Lee’s “Superhumans”, whereupon tests verified his musical ability and confirmed his savantism. He began playing the piano at two, and subsequently attended the Linden Lodge School for the Blind in London. He met a piano instructor, Adam Ockelford, on his first visit to the school; recognising his genius, Adam began to teach him. Derek gave his first concert in South London aged seven. Adam is a Professor of Music at the University of Roehampton, the Chair of Soundabout, a charity supporting music provision for young people and founder of the AMBER Trust, supporting visually impaired children in their pursuit of music.

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