I had originally stated that music was to be part of this blog. I realized I was sidetracked by other things, and there are hardly any music posts on this blog. That will be remedied in the near future. I have lots to say about a lot of different kinds of music.
Just reviewing some of my blogs tonight, including some that got much better than average responses. For some reason I was looking at them objectively, which is normally very hard to do.
I think at least some of my writing is pretty damned good. I was reading them as if they were not my own. I recall them as primarily being the ones that just gushed out of me with a laser focus and a smidge of wit. I found 3 of those tonight as a cursory perusal.
No doubt like other writers, I’ve beaten up on myself now and then, but not much.
I wonder what would happen if I tried to be a consistent, disciplined writer? I know I’ve touched on this before in possibly a tedious way. Certainly in emails to a few friends, and you know who you are.
I think of Bjorn and Benny of ABBA. For most of their professional lives, they’ve gone to their little cabin on their island estate nearly most days of the year for 4 to 10 hours and work on lyrics and music. Which means less than 3% of their time results in the final, great product, or something like that. Probably less than 1%. And they know that’s likely to happen every day they work.
You have to admire that. Emulating that is so tough. They treat it like a 9 to 5 job, just like the old Tin Pan Alley writers. Or any real professional throughout artistic history.
Basically working a 40 hour week to produce a stage rock opera or whatever once every two years, as best as I can figure, and I’m probably far off in my estimate. Hard for me to scale that since I don’t know what their true output is that results in public shows.
I know that some years back they did a Swedish language show about Queen Christina that played in only Stockholm or something like that. I’d like to see that just for the music.
Some people don’t know the show “Chess” was done by them. You ever hear “One Night In Bangkok” sung by Murray Head? It was a hit for a while a few decades ago. Still stands up with no problem whatsoever. Murray Head sang Judas Iscariot on the original “Jesus Christ Superstar” studio album by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
There was a later version on TV (PBS?) with Josh Groban and other talented people. Great staging and performances.
I think worth a read. I don’t know if you ever saw Alien or the sequels or the prequel. I saw it and at least the next one, though would really like to see the prequel then see the third and however many others there are. Sigourney Weaver was great. But Giger’s design was TOTALLY unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
I think the Alien in that movie was the scariest ever, really. I’m trying to think of anything else I ever saw in a movie that really compares for total effect and originality: nada.
Its biology and scale of superiority to humans was appalling, plus the look of it was pure nightmare. The way Ridley Scott first visually introduces it in the shadows is also totally creepy. This creature was especially terrifying because of the mix of sex and death within it, in terms of the involved way it procreated. Giger’s designs were biomechanical in appearance, but with plenty of sexual ideas for incorporating genitalia sometimes, however usually subtle they were (not always).
But you get really creeped out and softened up well before seeing the creature when you get a load of the interior of the ship. For some reason seeing that in the theater looked better than it ever did on TV.
Giger was hugely influential, plus was just original as hell. When that movie was done he was about 39 years old. Died at about 74.
Sometime a long time ago, somewhere, I saw a lot of his artwork. Stunning to say the least. Wouldn’t want it in my dreams, either, but he was a brilliant craftsman who knew how to get at the core of human fears. It’s not just his general design and fine details, but even the mood created by his shading and shadows.
He has his own museum in Switzerland. He died a week ago from complications after suffering a fall.
He was a trained guy including industrial design. He designed and built two bars in Switzerland devoted to his style and they have some of his pieces. He also did some sculptures. Did a lot of work with films and album covers for bands.
In a New York Times obituary, Timothy Leary, a friend of Giger’s, was quoted as having praised the artist by saying, “Giger’s work disturbs us, spooks us, because of its enormous evolutionary time span. It shows us, all too clearly, where we come from and where we are going.”
If you have time:
Original print that was not the alien, but was the basis for it:
Likely the first preliminary design for the movie alien, or the first submitted by him to the studio:
This pic is not necessarily supposed to be the Alien in the movie, but a variant of that theme (I have no idea if it was done before or after the movie):
Newsweek magazine is stopping print and will be online only. In the past 12 years it’s circulation has dropped 50%. In contrast, Time magazine’s has been 10%. Of course it makes you wonder about similar announcements coming in the next 5 years for any of the mags that have been print leaders in years past.