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  • And life is grand…..

    The world isn’t as shit as some people would like you to think. I just thought that needed saying. We are, whatever they tell you, in a better place now than we were in whatever Golden Age they claim we should return to.

    People are living longer and more productive lives, child mortality rates are down and diseases which could in the past kill or cripple can now be treated effectively. Some of the worst diseases have been eradicated. Provided you don’t take up chainsaw juggling there’s every chance you’ll live longer than your grandparents. Long term the human race is evolving faster than ever as groups move around the world, intermarry and mix their genes in new and interesting ways.

    Freedom is spreading too. More and more people have more and more rights and protections from discrimination. In Britain the Conservatives- once the party of nasty, and occasionally closeted, homophobia- have announced consultation on, and likely introduction of, gay marriage. Racism and sexism are less prevalent than they once were, despite some hold outs. Certainly, some countries have a long, long way to go, but we’re dragging them after us.

    Technology is breaking down barriers and spreading information. It’s harder to get away with doing wrong and easier to bust a lie. I have my moments of Luddism, but I do believe that technology opens up so many possibilities it can only be used for good (on balance) in the long run.

    And there’s more, but you get the picture.

    Of course, we shouldn’t get complacent. We still run the risk of bringing the planet to a point of ecological collapse where it rejects us. There are people who would gladly reverse the positive changes we’ve made, who don’t want others to get the same rights they have. They’re in the minority, and mostly just obnoxious ranters, but they’re loud and some politicians are stupid enough to be scared of them. We need to keep the momentum of progress rolling forward.

    This has turned out a simplified version of what I meant to say, but I think succinct is fine. And it’s all just an excuse to play you one of my all time favourite songs anyway-


  • Castaway Tunes

    So the BBC is asking members of the public to nominate their own 8 choices for Desert Island Discs, no doubt so they can see how the tastes of we plebs differ from those of the celebrity guests. It seems like the perfect excuse to list my choices here as well. In no particular order beyond as I think of them, here are mine-

    1. Echobelly – I Can’t Imagine The World Without Me

    1994 belonged to Oasis but, though I do have a soft spot for the mono-browed brothers, it should have been Echobelly’s year. Better songs, more interesting sound and vastly more attractive and interesting singer. I Can’t Imagine The World Without Me is a perfect piece of ego and joy, it can’t fail to make me happy.

    2. Inspiral Carpets – Saturn 5

    I could have chosen the raw blast of Joe, my introduction to the band, or Sackville, which has the added interest of being about the street I used to study on. But there’s a power to this one. And apart from Sleeping Satellite, how many other pop songs have been about the lapsed glories of the space race?

    Bonus Sackville and Joe videos-

    3. Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine – Say It With Flowers

    I used to have After The Watershed as my Carter song because I pulled to it once and there’s something so wrong about the juxtaposition of the song’s subject and memories of getting laid. And Only Living Boy In New Cross was one of the songs which kept me going in 2001. But Say It With Flowers gave me the title to Sounds of Soldiers, and every radio show needs a plug.

    Bonus videos-

    4. James – Sit Down

    James made many damn fine records. But, really, there was only ever going to be one choice from them wasn’t there? It’s an anthem and it’s beautiful.

    5. Camper Van Beethoven – Life Is Grand

    Because it is. If I ever make a film I want this song over the closing credits.

    6. 10cc – I’m Not In Love

    It gives you shivers. Glorious.

    7. The Wonder Stuff – Ruby Horse

    Another song that gave me a book title (Ruby Red, I’m not mercenary, it really is an excellent song.

    8. Frank Sinatra – New York, New York

    Many many great nights have wound down to Ol’ Blue Eyes’ anthem. It seems appropriate for it to be the last song on the list.


  • And life is grand

    And life is grand

    And I will say this at the risk of falling from favor

    With those of you who have appointed yourselves

    To expect us to say something darker

    And love is real

    And though I realize this is not a deep observation

    To those of you who find it necessary

    To conceal love or obscure it, as is the fashion

    Life is Grand – Camper Van Beethoven

    When I make a film with enough of a budget to licence a few songs, I want this one over the end credits.