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26. Australia in three words, part 1-“Mateship”

“Mateship” is an Australianism - my American spell-checker doesn’t recognise it – and it’s one that captures something widely held to be distinctive about Australia. Like many Australianisms, the word existed well before there were any Australians in the ordinary sense.

The post Australia in three words, part 1-“Mateship” appeared first on OUPblog.

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27. 9 Years Later

Nine years ago Harry Potter fans across the globe were reading the final book of Harry’s epic journey, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. We had invested our lives in these books and we were finally getting answers. The global phenomenon that is and was Harry Potter culminated in an amazing tale of horcruxes and the Deathly Hallows.

 

This book revealed the appalling lengths that Voldemort would go to just to preserve his life. It also showed the lengths the trio would go to save the wizarding world. We learned things were not always black and white especially in regards to Dumbledore and Snape. We were also left with an epilogue that allowed for closure.

Here we are nine years later. Now we are eagerly anticipating the release of Rowling’s new play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and her film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The wizarding world has also been expanded greatly via Pottermore.

Yet many of us return again and again to those original seven books. As we celebrate the ninth anniversary of The Deathly Hallows many of us can’t believe the impact those books have had on us and continue to have.

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28. Certain Songs #596: The Hold Steady – “Stevie Nix”

Hold Steady Separation-Sunday Album: Separation Sunday
Year: 2005

While The Hold Steady usually get described as being somewhere between Bruce Springsteen and The Replacements, there is a surprising amount of Led Zeppelin in their music.

And while in retrospect, that should be somewhat obvious — the b-side of their first single was a cover of “Hey Hey What Can I Do,” — in 2005, I was totally surprised by the big-ass Zep riff that Tad Kubler unleashed for the epic “Stevie Nix,” which they could have easily titled “In My Time of Living.”

You came into the ER
Dinking gin from a jam jar
And the nurse is making jokes
About the ER being like an after bar

Of course, and given that riff is framing vivid scenes that could be entire songs in and of themselves, you could be excused for thinking that “Stevie Nix” is just another story about the the kids and what they were doing during their unconstructive summer vacations.

Instead, it gets heavy as it gets druggy, as Finn conflates one of rock ‘n’ rolls most enduring urban legends and a real life tragedy:

She said you remind me of Rod Stewart
When he was young
You’ve got passion and you think that you’re sexy
And all the punks think that you’re dumb
The guys around the lockers
Got a story about the stomach pump
And the guys behind the theater
Found a body in the garbage dump

And just like that, “Stevie Nix” completely breaks down.

And as Franz Nicolay makes like Roy Bittan for awhile, just noodling around the piano, letting us know that nothing is ever going to be the same again. And when Craig Finn finally comes in again, the entire mood of the song has gone from aggressive and cocky to wistful and philosophical.

She got screwed up by religion
She got screwed by soccer players
She got high for the first time at the camps
Down by the banks of the Mississippi River
Lord, to be seventeen forever

“Lord, to be seventeen forever.”

I mean, right? I mean, when I was seventeen when I graduated from high school, and I would of course love to have that endless potential and infinite energy forever and forever, but if we could keep the potential & energy but skip all of the subsequent fuck-ups, that would be OK, please and thank you.

She got strung out on the scene
And she got scared when it got druggy
The way the whispers bit like fangs
In the last hour of the party
Lord, to be thirty-three forever

“Lord, to be thirty-three forever.”

Of course, that was the age that Jesus died, and for me, 33 was the age where I realize that I needed to at least and try to become a responsible adult. And so, to me, being thirty-three forever means forever delaying the decision to grow up, once and for all.

Not that growing up (to the extent that I have) in the last 20 years has been so awful, but there is always going to be something about balancing on that precipice of youth and maturity that defined the mid-1990s for me that I’m always going to treasure, especially because I fell in the right direction.

Meanwhile, “Stevie Nix” ends with a long, twin-guitar elegy just so you can reflect on growing older while remembering being younger.

“Stevie Nix” performed live in 2009

Every Certain Song Ever
A filterable, searchable & sortable database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.

Check it out!

Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)

Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page

The post Certain Songs #596: The Hold Steady – “Stevie Nix” appeared first on Booksquare.

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29. “Fantastic Beasts” Round Up: Comic Con, Test-Screening and More

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is coming around the corner this November! Being one of Warner Bro.’s most anticipated films, the film and its cast and crew will be making an appearance (multiple appearances) at this years San Diego (International) Comic Con, SDCC 2016.

Time Magazine included Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them as one of the most anticipated Comic Con films from Warner Bros, along side Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman. Time wrote:

“San Diego Comic-Con isn’t just about comics. The convention plays host to trailers, teasers and panels from Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters…

“This year, Wonder Woman (celebrating her 75th birthday) will vie for first lady of the convention as star Gal Gadot and director Patty Jenkins preview next year’s much-anticipated film; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will usher in the next era of J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world…

“…Between the onstage and on-shelf debut of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the opening of a Harry Potter theme park at Universal Studios in Los Angeles and the upcoming trilogy Fantastic Beasts, the wizarding world is staging a comeback. Eddie Redmayne and Colin Farrell are among the actors that will join director David Yates (who helmed four of the Harry Potterfilms) to give the Comic-Con audience a deeper look at what J.K. Rowling’s vision of a magical, 1920s-era New York.

According to the Comic Con website and schedule, Warner Bros will showcase their highly anticipated releases (Wonder Woman, Suicide Squad, The LEGO Batman Movie, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, etc.) including Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The showcase is scheduled for Saturday, July 23, 11:30 am. Comic Con has posted that David Yates, Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, and Colin Farrell will be in attendance for the panel. Basically the whole gang will be there.

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 10.05.16 AM

 

 

Entertainment Weekly‘s coverage of this weekend’s SDCC events, states that fans will have signing opportunities from the Fantastic Beasts group:

 

“In addition to the panels, there will signing appearances in three distinct areas: the Warner Bros. Booth (Fantastic Beasts, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword), the DC Booth (Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman), and the LEGO Booth (The LEGO Batman Movie).”

 

So far at SDCC 2016, WB and Fantastic Beasts have hosted a wand-training workshop! We’ll keep you updated on more WB and Fantastic Beasts events at SDCC 2016 as the weekend unfolds!

 

 

In addition, MuggleNet reported on test-screenings of Fantastic Beasts that occurred in Chicago this week. They gave a spoiler-free report of how the movie was received by the audience. MuggleNet reports:

  • It is more adult-oriented and interesting to see how adult wizards exist and live in society.
  • That said, this may also be the funniest movie of all the Wizarding World films. The humor worked for the most part and the audience really enjoyed most of the jokes. There may have even been some hidden adult jokes.
  • The Wizarding World in the USA is much stricter and scarier than Britain’s Wizarding World.
  • Beasts will not disappoint, but they do not steal the show.
  • Dan Fogler (Jacob Kowalski) and Alison Sudol (Queenie Goldstein) steal the movie with brilliant performances.
  • It was HIGHLY recommended that viewers know the Wizarding World laws and magical nuances before seeing this film. Muggles (sorry…”No-Maj’s”) will not get any explanations to the magical world.
  • Newt is fighting a good fight, which makes the fans appreciate the magical beasts.
  • Finally, our team was not disappointed and said the fans should look forward to a fantastic new film this fall.

Read more about the discussion focus groups with David Yates, David Heyman and the audience in the full report from MuggleNet, here.

As reported previously, Warner Bros and J.K. Rowling will be publishing the Fantastic Beasts screen play in book form (pre-order here). It was also announced last March that Warner Bros had gathered Publishing Partners, which will work to release Fantastic Beasts merchandise, interactive film-to-page books (particularly children’s books), and more. Warner Bros also formed a Harry Potter production team called the Harry Potter Global Franchise Development Team (HPGFD), and more of that can be read here. The Bookseller reported recently that Walker Books is a part of these publishing partners and production teams, and will be releasing a Fantastic Beasts interactive series. The Bookseller reports:

 

“Walker Books UK will publish a series of interactive children’s books based on the upcoming Harry Potter spin-off film “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”.

“The film, written by J K Rowling, was inspired by her “Hogwarts textbook”, also entitled Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which was published by Bloomsbury Children’s in 2001. It follows the adventures of Newt Scamander as several of his magical creatures escape in New York, and will be released in the UK in November.

“Walker Books UK signed a sublicence agreement with Insight Editions, which has the rights to a global publishing program based on J K Rowling’s Wizarding World, and Warner Bros Consumer Products. The agreement is for “several” titles in novelty and interactive formats that go behind the scenes of the film, and publication will start this October.

“Walker Books UK will publish the books simultaneously with Walker Books Australia. In the US, the same titles will be released by Walker’s sister company Candlewick Press.”

 

The full report can be read here.

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30. Explaining citizenship, racism, and patriotism to the young

“Daddy,” my daughter started as we ate breakfast three weeks ago, “What’s Independence Day?” “July Fourth, the anniversary of when the United States, our country, was founded.” “The parade where they throw candy?”

The post Explaining citizenship, racism, and patriotism to the young appeared first on OUPblog.

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31. Anthony Boyle on Playing Scorpius Malfoy in ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’

Harry Potter’s enduring feud with classmate Draco Malfoy has left many fans curious about the relationships between the rivals’ children at Hogwarts. Anthony Boyle–Draco’s son Scorpius Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child–opens up about Scorpius’ childhood and a surprising friendship in a new interview.

 “He’s grown up in isolation in the Malfoy Manor and hasn’t really spoken to anyone in his peer group. He’s just been alone with his books reading about Harry Potter and Albus and all of these different people.”

SCORP.00_01_44_02.Still004

Anthony reveals that in Cursed Child, Scorpius does something quite uncharacteristic of the Malfoy clan by befriending a Potter.

“Suddenly, Albus comes into the [Hogwarts Express] carriage. Rose Granger-Weasley doesn’t take too kindly to him. She thinks he’s a bit odd, because he is! But Albus [Potter] quite likes him, and the friendship sort of begins there.”

Hear more from Anthony in the video below:

Read the full interview on Pottermore.

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32. Win a Signed Copy of ‘Cursed Child’ from Waterstones!

Like most Potter fans, we’re counting down the days until the release of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child  book so we can all experience the latest installment in Harry’s story for ourselves.  The only thing that could possibly be better than an eighth Harry Potter book? A signed eighth Harry Potter book.

Waterstones has just announced–in what is their grandest contest to date–the chance to be one of seven winners to receive a copy of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child book signed by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne.

This free prize draw is open to residents of the UK, Ireland, The Netherlands and Belgium age 18 and over. The contest ends at 11:59pm on July 30, 2016.

Enter for your chance to win here. Good luck!

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33. Certain Songs #598: The Hold Steady – “Stuck Between Stations”

Hold Steady+Stuck+Between+Stations+-+Clear+399660 Album: Boys and Girls in America
Year: 2006

Welcome to my favorite album of this century.

Actually, (and yes, I’m “actually”ing myself), welcome to my favorite album since Nevermind & Achtung Baby!, which makes Boys and Girls in America my favorite album of the past quarter-century.

And if I could somehow prorate the age I was when this album came out against the age I was when I first discovered all of the albums I would otherwise put into my all-time top 20, it would definitely be in the conversation.

On Boys and Girls in America, their sound thickened. If Franz Nicolay’s keyboards were used for color and flavor on Separation Sunday, now they were an integral part of a thick stew.

It’s all right there in the opening of the first song on the album, “Stuck Between Stations,” which opens with a guitar stab that is almost instantly countered by a rolling piano and a kick drum build into the song proper, at which point Craig Finn essays his thesis statement for the entire album.

There are nights when I think
That Sal Paradise was right
Boys and girls in America
They have such a sad time together

It’s a classic rock ‘n’ roll subject, of course. The classic rock ‘n’ roll subject really, but Finn infuses his tales of young love and lust with a specificity that resonates beyond the individual people he’s writing about.

She was a really cool kisser
And she wasn’t all that strict of a Christian
She was a damn good dancer
But she wasn’t all that great of a girlfriend
He likes the warm feeling
But he’s tired of all the dehydration
Most nights are crystal clear
But tonight it’s like he’s stuck between stations

On the radio

In fact, it resonates beyond generations. I mean, in the age of digital tuners, getting stuck between stations is a near-impossibility, and yet anybody who hears this song knows exactly what he’s on about. And it also helps that Nicolay’s backing vocals come in just perfectly throughout.

And the stinging guitar that Tad Kubler brings in after the chorus doesn’t hurt, either.

There was that night that we thought
John Berryman could fly
But he didn’t, so he died
She said “You’re pretty good with words,
But words won’t save your life”
And they didn’t, so he died

I didn’t know who John Berryman was, but I sure got the Jim Carroll reference, and either way, that verse was funny and poignant at the same time, and has always killed me, maybe because I’m always worried about whether or not I’m going to need my words to save my life, as well.

It’s only a guess, but the mix of wit and full-bore rock — even during the piano breakdown — that defines “Stuck Between Stations” is probably why it’s probably the consensus favorite Hold Steady song as far as the fanbase is concerned.

It’s not mine, but it is a helluva way to begin a helluva record.

Official Video for “Stuck Between Stations”

“Stuck Between Stations” performed lived on Late Night with David Letterman

“Stuck Between Stations” performed live on Later With Jools Holland

Every Certain Song Ever
A filterable, searchable & sortable database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.

Check it out!

Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)

Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page

The post Certain Songs #598: The Hold Steady – “Stuck Between Stations” appeared first on Booksquare.

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34. A First Look at “Fantastic Beasts” LEGOs and T-Shirt!

With the first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie due to roll into theaters this November, first looks at film merchandise are beginning to surface.

LEGO website, Bricks Fans recently released images of the packaging of Fantastic Beasts LEGO sets. The new LEGO sets were advertised in the Argos catalogue in the U.K. The images show Newt Scamander, a LEGO Niffler, and MACUSA. The pictures can be seen below. Bricks Fans reports:

“The [LEGO Dimensions Story Pack based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them] will be available in November and will feature a Magical Congress of the United States of America-themed Gateway to add to the LEGO Toy Pad along with a Newt Scamander Minifigure and Niffler gadget. The book also reveals that [the] Story Packs will retail for £39.99 and will feature a 6 level story campaign to enjoyed based on their relevant movies.”

 

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 11.46.03 PM

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 11.45.39 PM

 

 

Warner Bros. recently released the first official Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them t-shirt. This is the first official piece of film merchandise added to the Harry Potter franchise. It is a simple black t-shirt sporting the official Fantastic Beasts logo fans have seen in the Fantastic Beasts trailers. Warner Bros. described the tshirt, saying:

“This is our very first printing of our very first official shirt for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the upcoming film based on J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World! Orders placed by Friday, July 22nd will ship on Friday, July 29th. After this, the next batch will ship in mid-August.”

 

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 11.45.11 PM

 

 

This t-shirt can be preordered here.

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35. Zika, sex, and mosquitoes: Olympic mix

Zika continues its romp around the world. In its wake, controversy erupted over the Olympic Games in Brazil, with some calling to move or postpone the Games – but is that really justified? Zika has already moved outside of Brazil in a big way. To be clear, the Zika epidemic is dramatic and awful. Mosquito-borne transmission of this previously obscure and seemingly wimpy virus is ongoing in 60 countries

The post Zika, sex, and mosquitoes: Olympic mix appeared first on OUPblog.

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36. Colombia: the embattled road to peace

Is absolute peace throughout a nation ever truly attainable and sustainable? Can a country ever unite as one entity in the face of extreme opposing views and ideals throughout the land, its people unable to achieve the plurality of a single bilateral, collective human interest legislative mandate?

The post Colombia: the embattled road to peace appeared first on OUPblog.

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37. How much do you know about Hypatia? [quiz]

An astronomer, mathematician, philosopher, and active public figure, Hypatia played a leading role in Alexandrian civic affairs. Her public lectures were popular, and her technical contributions to geometry, astronomy, number theory, and philosophy made Hypatia a highly regarded teacher and scholar.

The post How much do you know about Hypatia? [quiz] appeared first on OUPblog.

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38. Brexit and UK company law

Most discussion relating to the referendum result has focussed on the effect that Brexit will have upon our constitutional arrangements or workers' rights. This blog post will focus on the effect that Brexit will have upon the UK system of company law. Unfortunately, the current uncertainty regarding the terms on which the UK will leave the EU (if indeed it does) means that a definitive answer cannot be provided.

The post Brexit and UK company law appeared first on OUPblog.

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39. Suicide and the First Amendment

What does suicide have to do with the first amendment right to free speech? As it turns out, the question comes up in many contexts: Can a state university student be disciplined for sending a text threatening suicide to another student? Can a young woman be criminally prosecuted for repeatedly texting her boyfriend to insist that he fulfill his intention to commit suicide?

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40. Ten facts about the bass guitar

The bass guitar is often thought to be a poor musician’s double bass or a poor musician’s guitar. Nonetheless, luthiers and performers have explored its expressive possibilities within a wide range of musical styles and performance traditions, some of which we chart below.

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41. As clean as what?

In anticipation of the post on clean, I decided to say something about the idioms in which clean figures prominently, but chose only those which have the structure as clean as.

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42. Reading, Writing, and Living Through the AIDS Crisis


Literary Hub has published one of the most personal essays I've ever written, an essay about growing up as a reader and person during the AIDS crisis.

The original title, which doesn't make a good headline and so wasn't used, is "A Long Gay Book, A Life". (I'm always happy for a Gertrude Stein allusion. And quotation, as you'll see in the piece.)

The piece is fragmentary, like memory. It roams across the page, probably an effect of my recently revisiting some of Carole Maso's writings. (Also, reading Keguro Macharia's elegant essays and blog posts.)

Here's an excerpt:
When I was in the eighth grade I wrote a story about a vampire. He was young, roughly my age, entering puberty, entering vampirism. He ached to touch, to kiss, to drink in the loveliness of what he hungered for, but to do so was to admit his monstrosity and to kill what he loved. He feared himself and hated himself.

I don’t remember anything else about that story except how terrified I was to show it to anyone, lest they notice what I was saying about desire between the lines.

But I did show it to my English teacher. She had been sensitive and supportive of the stories I’d written, no matter how weird and violent. We talked about the story for a while. Now, more than 25 years later, all I remember is that she spoke—casually and not in any way judgmentally, without lingering—about the vampire’s desires being a powerful element of the story because they could also be read as sexual desires.

“No,” I replied quickly, lip trembling, “he’s just a vampire. Vampires have to drink blood or they die.”

She smiled and nodded. “Of course, of course,” she said.
Read more at The Literary Hub.

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43. Certain Songs #597: The Hold Steady – “How a Resurrection Really Feels”

Hold Steady Separation-Sunday Album: Separation Sunday
Year: 2005

Despite putting out their records in the era of shuffled playlists, The Hold Steady have had a tradition of ending their albums with an epic, multi-part song.

And given that it was concept album, Separation Sunday is no exception, capping off with the haunting “How A Resurrection Really Feels,” which kicks off with a lengthy curlicue guitar riff as Craig Finn lets us know what’s up with one of the major characters, Halluejah, who the kids call Holly.

The priest just kinda laughed
The deacon caught a draft
She crashed into the Easter mass
With her hair done up in broken glass
She was limping left on broken heels
When she said, “Father, can I tell your congregation
How a resurrection really feels?”

And as Holly’s story gets told, augmented by the guitar riff and even some horns, the guitars ebb and flow until the inevitable breakdown and resurrection of the song into something else entirely different.

That’s when Franz Nicolay’s keyboards starts floating through the track like a ticking clock and the backing vocalists start chanting “Walk on back, walk on back,” like a pair of hoodrat Dionne Warwicks who’d only heard her song on the radio that one time.

That’s when Craig Finn ends the album with the perfect mix of the sacred and profane, looking at this woman who’s clearly had a some kind of epiphany and noticing the exact wrong thing.

Hallelujah was a sexy mess
She looked strung out but experienced
So we all got kind of curious …

After that, Tad Kubler comes in with a long guitar solo fighting for space with the chants of “Walk on back” and the horns and the endless tick-tock of the keyboards, and it’s utterly gloriously sexy mess in and of itself, not to mention the perfect way to end this sprawling, ambitious sexy mess of an album.

Separation Sunday was easily my favorite album of 2005, and probably the 2000s, and if you were to ask me in early 2006, I would have said that it was quite possibly the best album of the decade, or at least in the conversation.

One thing I was certain about, there was no way The Hold Steady was going to be able to top it. Until they did.

“How A Resurrection Really Feels” performed live in 2009

Every Certain Song Ever
A filterable, searchable & sortable database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.

Check it out!

Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)

Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page

The post Certain Songs #597: The Hold Steady – “How a Resurrection Really Feels” appeared first on Booksquare.

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44. Blood: Stories Playlist at Largehearted Boy


One of my favorite sites on the internet is Largehearted Boy, which brings music and literature together.

A core series at LB are the Book Notes: playlists of songs to accompany books.

Huge thanks to the Largehearted Boy proprietor, David Gutowski, for inviting me to participate and create a Book Notes entry for Blood: Stories.

The The, David Byrne, Cowboy Junkies, Washington Phillips, Arvo Pärt, and many more... Read the rest of this post

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45. A voice in the background: remembering Margo Quantrell

The documentary Twenty Feet from Stardom (2013) gave us a glimpse of how backing singers—performers who provide vocal harmonies and responses for featured artists—have contributed to twentieth-century American popular music.

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46. Certain Songs #595: The Hold Steady – “Banging Camp”

Hold Steady Separation-Sunday Album: Separation Sunday
Year: 2005

It starts with that riff: just a couple of Tad Kubler power chords, banging from speaker to speaker until they create a third one and the drums kick in.

And suddenly, the snare drum appears in between those chords for an infinitely infinitesimal moment at a time, and “Banging Camp” is already near perfect before Craig Finn opens his mouth.

But you know that Craig Finn always opens his mouth.

Holly wore a string around her finger
She said it helps her to remember
All the nights that we got over
And besides, it ties her outfit all together
Holly wore a string around her finger

There are strings attached to every single lover
But they still can’t even tether us together
Listen to the back of the theater,
I think they really love one another
There are strings attached to every single lover

In the space of two verses, we’ve gone from a single string to the invisible ties that bind us to our past even when we’ve completely broken them. And the whole time, those two-plus-one chords have never stopped, not even for a second, suddenly, the riff breaks into a lead guitar over Franz Nicolay’s circus organ as “Banging Camp” tries to get away from itself.

When they say great white sharks
They mean the kind in big black cars
When they say killer whales
They mean they whaled on him
’til they killed him up in Penetration Park

But the riff is too strong, so it comes back, as Kubler adds even more guitars and we get to one of my favorite lyrics in all of Separation Sunday, as the hoodrat chicks sing with the riff.

La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la

As the song moves on, alternating between the chords and the build, suddenly there’s a breakdown. You’ll notice that all of these great Hold Steady songs have a breakdown at some point.

At least on Separation Sunday, they weren’t so much about verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-solo-verse-chorus out, but rather verse-verse-almostachorus-verse-solo-breakdown-whateverman.

So on the breakdown there’s a dual guitar solo that sound like rain falling on the banging camps and when the rest of the band kicks in, it’s with churning guitars, church organ and even a horn section taking the song higher and higher and higher, as Finn conflates two different kinds of ecstasies.


I saw him at the riverbank
He was breaking bread and giving thanks
With crosses made of pipes and planks
Leaned up against the nitrous tanks

And he said take a hit
Hold your breath and I’ll dunk your head
Then when you wake up again
Yeah, you’ll be high as hell and born again

And with that, “Banging Camp” just stops dead, dunked under the river.

And when it resurfaces, gasping for breath, it’s with the riff, because what else is going to make a song like “Banging Camp” born again to run?

“Banging Camp”

“Banging Camp” performed live in Minneapolis, 2005

Every Certain Song Ever
A filterable, searchable & sortable database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.

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Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)

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The post Certain Songs #595: The Hold Steady – “Banging Camp” appeared first on Booksquare.

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47. Culloden, tourism, and British memory

As the beginnings of large-scale travel and tourism through Scotland began within fifteen or twenty years of the battle of Culloden, it might have been expected that the conflict would become an early site of memory.

The post Culloden, tourism, and British memory appeared first on OUPblog.

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48. Certain Songs #595: The Hold Steady – “Banging Camp”

Hold Steady Separation-Sunday Album: Separation Sunday
Year: 2005

It starts with that riff: just a couple of Tad Kubler power chords, banging from speaker to speaker until they create a third one and the drums kick in.

And suddenly, the snare drum appears in between those chords for an infinitely infinitesimal moment at a time, and “Banging Camp” is already near perfect before Craig Finn opens his mouth.

But you know that Craig Finn always opens his mouth.

Holly wore a string around her finger
She said it helps her to remember
All the nights that we got over
And besides, it ties her outfit all together
Holly wore a string around her finger

There are strings attached to every single lover
But they still can’t even tether us together
Listen to the back of the theater,
I think they really love one another
There are strings attached to every single lover

In the space of two verses, we’ve gone from a single string to the invisible ties that bind us to our past even when we’ve completely broken them. And the whole time, those two-plus-one chords have never stopped, not even for a second, suddenly, the riff breaks into a lead guitar over Franz Nicolay’s circus organ as “Banging Camp” tries to get away from itself.

When they say great white sharks
They mean the kind in big black cars
When they say killer whales
They mean they whaled on him
’til they killed him up in Penetration Park

But the riff is too strong, so it comes back, as Kubler adds even more guitars and we get to one of my favorite lyrics in all of Separation Sunday, as the hoodrat chicks sing with the riff.

La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la

As the song moves on, alternating between the chords and the build, suddenly there’s a breakdown. You’ll notice that all of these great Hold Steady songs have a breakdown at some point.

At least on Separation Sunday, they weren’t so much about verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-solo-verse-chorus out, but rather verse-verse-almostachorus-verse-solo-breakdown-whateverman.

So on the breakdown there’s a dual guitar solo that sound like rain falling on the banging camps and when the rest of the band kicks in, it’s with churning guitars, church organ and even a horn section taking the song higher and higher and higher, as Finn conflates two different kinds of ecstasies.


I saw him at the riverbank
He was breaking bread and giving thanks
With crosses made of pipes and planks
Leaned up against the nitrous tanks

And he said take a hit
Hold your breath and I’ll dunk your head
Then when you wake up again
Yeah, you’ll be high as hell and born again

And with that, “Banging Camp” just stops dead, dunked under the river.

And when it resurfaces, gasping for breath, it’s with the riff, because what else is going to make a song like “Banging Camp” born again to run?

“Banging Camp”

“Banging Camp” performed live in Minneapolis, 2005

Every Certain Song Ever
A filterable, searchable & sortable database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.

Check it out!

Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)

Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page

The post Certain Songs #595: The Hold Steady – “Banging Camp” appeared first on Booksquare.

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49. Certain Songs #597: The Hold Steady – “How a Resurrection Really Feels”

Hold Steady Separation-Sunday Album: Separation Sunday
Year: 2005

Despite putting out their records in the era of shuffled playlists, The Hold Steady have had a tradition of ending their albums with an epic, multi-part song.

And given that it was concept album, Separation Sunday is no exception, capping off with the haunting “How A Resurrection Really Feels,” which kicks off with a lengthy curlicue guitar riff as Craig Finn lets us know what’s up with one of the major characters, Halluejah, who the kids call Holly.

The priest just kinda laughed
The deacon caught a draft
She crashed into the Easter mass
With her hair done up in broken glass
She was limping left on broken heels
When she said, “Father, can I tell your congregation
How a resurrection really feels?”

And as Holly’s story gets told, augmented by the guitar riff and even some horns, the guitars ebb and flow until the inevitable breakdown and resurrection of the song into something else entirely different.

That’s when Franz Nicolay’s keyboards starts floating through the track like a ticking clock and the backing vocalists start chanting “Walk on back, walk on back,” like a pair of hoodrat Dionne Warwicks who’d only heard her song on the radio that one time.

That’s when Craig Finn ends the album with the perfect mix of the sacred and profane, looking at this woman who’s clearly had a some kind of epiphany and noticing the exact wrong thing.

Hallelujah was a sexy mess
She looked strung out but experienced
So we all got kind of curious …

After that, Tad Kubler comes in with a long guitar solo fighting for space with the chants of “Walk on back” and the horns and the endless tick-tock of the keyboards, and it’s utterly gloriously sexy mess in and of itself, not to mention the perfect way to end this sprawling, ambitious sexy mess of an album.

Separation Sunday was easily my favorite album of 2005, and probably the 2000s, and if you were to ask me in early 2006, I would have said that it was quite possibly the best album of the decade, or at least in the conversation.

One thing I was certain about, there was no way The Hold Steady was going to be able to top it. Until they did.

“How A Resurrection Really Feels” performed live in 2009

Every Certain Song Ever
A filterable, searchable & sortable database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.

Check it out!

Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)

Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page

The post Certain Songs #597: The Hold Steady – “How a Resurrection Really Feels” appeared first on Booksquare.

0 Comments on Certain Songs #597: The Hold Steady – “How a Resurrection Really Feels” as of 7/22/2016 8:17:00 PM
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50. Evanna Lynch Attends Giffoni Film Festival 2016

Yesterday, Evanna Lynch attended the Giffoni Film Festival held in Salerno (Italy), after starring in My Name is Emily, which featured in the Generator +16 competition at the event. Of course, many Potter fans attended the festival to ask questions, but Evanna also had some wisdom of her own to share.

Evanna was part of the Potter community long before she was cast as Luna at 14 years old, so it makes sense that she’d have ideas about where she  would have liked the plot to go. The bonus of being cast was that J.K. Rowling was right there, available to speak to about ideas, and maybe get a few hints at the story along the way. Evanna did not waste this opportunity, telling Rowling a very interesting idea she’d had for the development of Luna’s character:

“I’ve always had so many ideas about the narrative developments that one day I went to the writer to propose her a love story between Luna and the Headmaster … I told her I didn’t mind the difference of age between them, instead, I thought they would be a nice couple. She replied: ‘It’s not about the age. In any case, the relationship would be impossible because he is gay’. That’s how I found out about one of the greatest revelations of J.K. Rowling”

When asked about the decision to cast Noma Dumezweni in Cursed Child (which opens officially on July 30th), Evanna gave sensitive, thoughtful reasoning behind her answer:

“I consider it to be the right decision. Hermione is a libertarian in spirit, she fights for those in difficulty, it makes total sense to imagine her as part of a minority. One of the most beautiful things about J.K Rowling, which for me is a point of reference, is the way in which she uses her characters to send a message”.

She later reaffirmed this answer:

“Hermione’s feature is her desire to help the defenceless, like house-elves, thus it makes perfectly sense her being part of a minority. Such a choice proves that J.K. Rowling wished to give a strong social message through her work. As far as I’m concerned, it’s talent that counts, not skin colour”.

She also had a few words to say about Luna’s sense of social justice:

 “Luna doesn’t give a darn about people’s prejudices, she is a free spirit and she also helped me fighting my insecurities, just like she’s doing with million people in the world. This is the reason why I decided to embrace important causes in my following projects. For example, I acted a wicked girl who hates homosexuals in G.B.F. Because I felt awkward whilst giving life to her pettiness, I understood that my character would have succeeded in proving the premises of the film true.”

Evanna is an aspirational young actress, who likes to take on challenging roles – her troubled character in My Name is Emily illustrates her desire to portray complex characters who tell a story. However, she also sets herself personal challenges in her career:

“I always look for new challenges and I’ve got a long list of actors I’d like to play with. First of all is Benedict Cumberbatch because I’m a fan of his TV Sherlock”

Of course, as a Potter fan herself, Evanna would never give up another chance to play Luna:

“I am not ready to abandon the character entirely and I think I would be jealous if it were assigned to someone else”.

Later she also said of Cursed Child:

“ Should anyone make a film based on the stage play I would whip into it. The truth is that I can’t say goodbye to my character, and I hope to play it again, maybe in an older version”. 

We all know that Evanna loves her cat – her Instagram is almost exclusively photos/videos of Puff, so when a fan awkwardly proposed to her at the event, her reply was believable:

“We’ll talk about it again in ten years’ time, now I’m giving all my time over my kitties, indeed, I wish to open a cattery very soon to welcome them all and spend all my money on their safeguard”

I swear to god she talks to me and I understand her!! ???? #soulmates #bff #LilPuff

A video posted by Evanna Lynch (@msevylynch) on

Lynch also advised young aspiring actors to “read a lot and broadly, stay pure and be yourselves; this will help you in a world that is not always easy”.

She also gave advice to younger fans in the audience:

“Be sympathetic to your parents, explain them your dreams and help them understanding the reasons why you want to experience new things. Sometimes, they might forbid you to dye your hair or wear some clothes but they do it in good faith to protect you. My mother, who is here with me in the hall at Giffoni, gave me strict rules but she also left me free to find my way, so I realised that my adolescence rebellion was not a pique but instead a desire to understand who I was”

Read more over at the Giffoni Film Festival website and ANSA, and see photos of Evanna at the event below!

 

evanna lynch giffoni

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