Give Classical Music a chance.

No really, you’d be surprised how often it’s used in modern mainstream media.

Video games such as The Last of Us utilized an orchestral score, No Escape is one of the more broadcast themes – it has been featured on Classic Fm and the music (as well as other elements) received an excellence award. I’ve placed an example below for everyone, I’ve never played the game but I was introduced to the soundtrack by the radio.

I feel it’s worth mentioning that the Last of Us isn’t the first time a video game has had it’s music created on an Orchestral scale. Tomb Raider Angel of Darkness was such a trainwreck, but one of the elements that stood out to me at the time was that it was scored. One of the only games I knew at the time with such a detail, bear in mind this was back in 2003. Here’s the making of video.

Below is one of my favorite scores, from the soundtrack of the game, named merely as the main theme. I find it haunting to listen to, and, at the same time it’s not. Anyway, proceed!

Going back even FURTHER in time and I feel I have to mention one of the reasons for this post –  Kingdom Hearts, released in 2002 DIDN’T have an orchestral sound track. HOWEVER, it did feature one of the most awesome moments in a game I had ever experienced. A Night on Bald Mountain.

Originally part of the Fantasia sequences it opens up dramatically. Now, before anyone complains, the idiots that worked on the game managed to delete the soundtrack ahead of the HD remake that was being done at the time, yup, they goofed. But it was for the better, as they roped in Yoko Shimomura. She completely rescored 1.5 with an orchestra and built on an already wonderful soundtrack.

Flash forward to the 3D release Dream Drop Distance. 10 years in the future.

The music for Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance was a collaboration by Yoko Shimomura, Takeharu Ishimoto, and Tsuyoshi Sekito, containing musical compositions from all three. Among the songs included are tracks from The World Ends with You, originally composed by Ishimoto, who remixed them for Dream Drop Distance. [*]

Now, the significance here is quite frankly the world of Symphony of Sorcery. It is based off of Fantasia. Yoko Shimomura was behind the game’s usage of the music and quite frankly probably was the one to alter it for the game’s usage – being able to loop it n all that jazz.

I would also like people to note that a Night On Bald Mountain is also there too.

One of the most awesome parts of the first Kingdom Hearts games replicated very well in the 3DS version. What made me appreciate it better was that the quality of music was far greater. Sure, it’s on a handheld device, but C’mon, the 3DS is probably more powerful than a PS2 was back in the day (don’t quote me on that).

So far, that’s Three video game references. Yup, and I could go on and on about more of them. More recently, more TripleA games have been aiming for a sense of atmosphere and quality, and they have been able to get their games scored well. It’s wonderful to hear them on the radio being as well recieved and respected alongside what we do call classics.

A lot of, no scratch that, practically Any film that John Williams touches has at least one award winning score. You’re a fan of the Star Wars themes? Great, you’re a fan of classical music, as, Williams scored with an Orchestra. Yup, that’s all there is to it in my book. The Superman Theme is one of the most Iconic themes ever (Ranked a low 296)

John Williams’ highest entry in the Classic FM hall of fame. Is currently at 108 and it is his score from Schindler’s list

The highest of John Williams’s 5 entries in the Ultimate Hall of Fame, this first entered the chart in 2000 and peaked at number 48 in the most recent countdown. This is the third highest film score in the Ultimate Hall of Fame.

One of John Williams’ most moving scores, Schindler’s List showcases the master film composer’s staggering ability to turn a tune that captures the essence of its movie. It is yet another great example of Williams’s ability to set a film in the most perfectly sympathetic landscape, producing, yet again, music that stands up on its own when the film is taken away.

I do heartily recommend a read through the entire list from 300-1. Have fun seeing how Williams’ scores match up against each other.

Each single entry explains it’s most recent and common usage. Now, before everyone’s panties get in a bunch… There’s a separate list specifically for movie music. The final 15 will be revealed on November 7th so there’s time to get involved and try and guess which film has the number one spot. There’s already at least two entries by Hanz Zimmer and company (People seem to readily forget that Hanz Zimmer and Klaus Badelt worked on both Gladiator and Pirates of the Carribean – which explains why a certain score of Gladiator is practically Jack Sparrow’s theme.)

No seriously, here’s the two.

My Favorite Classical Tracks (Subject to change mind you!)

Adagio for Strings – Samuel Barber

Danse Macabre – Camille Saint-Saëns

Toccata and Fugue in D minor – Bach

Curse of the Black Pearl/ Pirates of the Caribbean Theme –  Klaus Badelt

Gladiator Suite – Hans Zimmer {Which leads into one of my favorite tracks from the same film. Now We Are Free.}

Whisper of Angels – Amici forever

Time to say goodbye/Con te partirò/Por Ti Volaré – Andrea Bocelli

I will leave you my friends with one of my favorite pieces of music, that… I’m honestly not sure if it IS classical.

Yup, another one from Gladiator. NOTE – The lyrics by Lisa Gerrard are … well, frankly NOT lyrics. There is no English, Italian, or Latin or any translation from any of those languages to another. Anywhere claiming to produce it are morons. It’s on the DVD commentary somewhere that Lisa just made it up on the fly to the music as a placeholder or something and Hans loved it. Soon she became the lyricist and the only person that can translate the syllables will likely never do so or be able to. Here’s a site that’s gone into more comprehensive research on the ‘issue’. Rather… a huge bitching shitstorm of a comment thread that more or less comes to a head with the response I found. Scroll down a few more times to see people pretty much corroborating what I already mentioned xD

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Back for good?

Alright, so… I didn’t lie when I said I had my mojo back…

However, there has been a period of radio silence. Sorry about that.

I’ve started writing for the Byzantine collection again and I don’t know how long this section will end up being. It was going to be a chapter of Hawk and the Shamrock… before I decided it had already ended at a good place, then the St Patrick chapter came out, then, I looked at the chapter and decided to keep writing it. Nearly three thousand words later I decided it was going to be better off as a multi part story… Just, I’m not sure how many parts. And I’m not sure how it will link up with the rest… But it’s there and it’s being written.

Slowly.

I also have a couple of Student side stories that I’m working on for the Blue Arrow. I’m working on the current chapter of it but I have a major decision or two to make.

I have an end goal for Keyah to become who he needs to be. Do I stick to that goal or do I keep the story going on and on till the dead horse is little more than skeleton? Do I make the character I have introduced stick to the brief plan I had for them when they came into the story, or, do I not (no hints to that, the answer may well surprise you).

So yes, working out if the character I do want to introduce will work at all, or if it is too much of a curveball for the universe the story resides in… And… frankly, if you haven’t figured it all out by now… yes, all of them are connected. Seriously, thing is, I’m not saying how. You have to read them to find out. Some hints are subtle, some are sledgehammers to the gnads.

Anywaaaay, writing moans aside – Below is a lil TL;DR basically with people are dicks, and I was ill with a headcold.

One reason for delay was the five weeks I was without a toilet, that drained me to no end… As I had a family friend staying with me on the back end of the toilet fiasco.

Now, my flat might not be the neatest, what with my Tron figurines being all on the same shelf next to Sephiroth and Vincent… etc… but it’s like. I don’t care if they’re not pleasing to the eye as they look cluttered. Small ones on the left bigger ones to the middle, I like it that way so symmetry be damned. Seriously, I had to justify the arrangement of my action figures and small scene sets…

I don’t care if your daughter would do it differently, your daughter has near crippling OCD from what you say so its like… fuck off if you split the sets up they become pointless to display. I have four of the arena set, I’m not sure if that’s the complete set… I think it might be as I went to a lot of trouble to get one of them.

ANYWAY, The boys creeped her out a little, I offered to put their cover over them (I have a ‘scarf’ thingie that is an imitation silky thing with skulls on, it makes for a pretty decent sunshielding shroud) but it was like, oh don’t bother (felt like doing it anyway aaaasss) I got interrogated about them and it was like, Look, back in Manchester there was a doll community almost, enough of us met up. It’s not for lack of trying that there’s no dollmeets up in Tayside.

THEN she pulls apart some of the artwork I had a dear friend draw me. I have the Original Ink of one commission that was mailed over, and one printed ink of another, and in the middle is a mid poster size printed coloured commission. She pulled the one in the middle apart, not only misgendering one of the characters (when it’s blatantly obvious they’re both male as – NO TITS) but is all condescending about the position of one of the characters arms.

She isn’t an artist, and just because one of her daughters wants to be a tattoo artist… it doesn’t mean that she can pull apart something that I adore. From an artistic perspective there’s not a damn issue, and the more I think about it from a physically possible perspective, well, just because she’s not that dexterous doesn’t mean the character in question isn’t either. One of the characters is leaning to the foreground while interacting with the other… it’s like she’s never seen an instance of foreshortening… and a character’s hair actually hiding the part of the upper arm you would see before.

*seeth*

Anyway, that visit annoyed the shit out of me so I decided to tweak the layout of a few things… which… in turn meant turning at least three out of my four rooms on their arse for a while. Unfortunately I became ill shortly after I decided to do this and was living in a mess.

I left for work and came home to a sty, on a regular basis… it’s not a good thing I can tell you.

So I felt like shit, was sleeping in well into the afternoon on my days off… and… Only really recovered this weekend. The wedding was August, it’s over a month after it. It’s taken me this long to actually recover from what a family friend said, alongside working and feeling like shit.

It’s finally got to the point where I can actually type this out and say ‘Fuck you, family friend, fuck you.’ I mean come on, I went to her place and nearly went into a slow and painful anaphylactic shock. That’s right, a home with only one cat was enough for my throat to start closing up on me. Because I was breathing in an overflowing unchanged litterbox for a matter of minutes.

ONE CAT.

My allergies reacted to her home more severely and at an incredibly fast pace as if she had at least four cats and was rubbing them on my skin/making me pet them/making them sit all over me.

If you are happy with your flat smelling of cat piss, I’m good with clutter. I mean, there was a damp issue in her place that she didn’t realise was a big deal until she found an overgrowth of mould that gave her asthma.

I shit you not. A vent wasn’t working properly or something for the kitchen or bathroom… and she let things get that bad that everything under her bed was moulded to fuck.

HOW.

How do you let that happen, now, there’s mould where it’s like… aw shit that must have gotten damp. You know the black spots that come up on white towels if they’re left damp… Then there’s MOULD the kind that is beyond the little spots that refuse to budge.  Here’s a good example that shows she’s not talking out her ass when she says it caused her asthma.

Whenever I shower I use the extractor fan as it’s a small room and built into the place (for good reason) but even if I didn’t have one of those as soon as i could my front door would be open to let out the steam (top floor, and that door is the closest way of getting ‘fresh’ air into the place [compared to my windows] especially in winter, ideal for letting warm air out) and at the very least my entire flat would be open to disperse it. And, guess what, there’s damp extractors. I’d buy one of the dehumidifiers and use it post every shower if I had to.

Hell, every time I have my clothes horses up, even the heated airer! I have damp extractors near them. When winter hits fully I’m going to have one stationed in my bedroom at all times, I saw the condensation once (i’d forgotten to close the blind) and it wasn’t a pretty picture… And that was just me sleeping in that room with the door closed!

If I cook I can’t open the window without climbing on top of the units, so I will always have to open windows at both front and back of my flat to create a wind tunnel in my hall that will help with the kitchen… being aware of that I make sure to keep windows open post steamy stuff and keep the rooms open too…

So its like… your home is smaller than mine and at more risk. I know to check the fabrics in my airing cupboard and wardrobes for damp and moth issues… how in the hell did you not realise to check under your bed for a damn INFESTATION. I don’t keep anything but empty clothes horses and my wash baskets under my bed (empty) my wardobes are airy inside but I check them regular for signs of damp… My airing cupboard has the slatty shelf thingies to help with circulation… but I STILL CHECK.

I can’t afford to keep replacing towels n shit if they get mould on them so god knows why she didn’t. I don’t keep any fabrics in confined spaces where they will get excess moisture on them, sweat for example… It’s so easy to forget in winter, that’s why they have the wardrobe damp extractor thingies, silica gel packs, dehumidifiers, damptraps… So many things to avoid such situations…

Hell, when I lived in a three bed house we either opened the small window in the bathroom post (or in my case during cause it was always easier to adjust to the cooler temperature) shower, in warm weather we left the door open to the room. In cold we kept it shut. Even in a Three Bed House we made sure steam got out. If mum was in the kitchen with a lot of steam in winter it was a window and the middle door shut, in summer it was the rear door open with the middle window open or shut, depending on smell factor.

If we can worry about that shit in a three bed, how in the hell does someone miss something so obvious in a small one bed. She’s now got a medical condition which isn’t going away any time soon.

You know. That almost makes up for her talking down to me about shit she has absolutely no right to go on about…

You know it’s kinda funny…

When I lived with my mother I didn’t see much point in a car n all that because of locale… And I didn’t think much of having to make sure I got home after work when I said my shift was finishing… Except for the times she was on holiday n shit where I could just watch a movie or spend time with people outside of work n junk…

Now I live alone I do whatever the shit I want when I want.

Now I have a car I don’t care how far shit is to get to, I just up and go, from work to the cinema that’s actually beyond my house – as opposed to the one run by a different company than the one I’m a member of that’s between work and home…

I was talking about going after work and I’d have to be on my own. Someone mentioned taking a friend of mine, I simply laughed, it would be too short notice. They questioned why I didn’t bother even asking my friend and its like…

Whenever I give them a lift home they usually have to BE home for a certain time, or they at the very least have to give notice. And, they’re moving house by the end of this month so it’s like, they need to go straight home to sort their shit. I know what it’s like to have parents to have to go home to and explain shit to.

It’s easy for me, I just up and leave the flat when I want and don’t care.

And…

It kinda dawned on me yesterday, and kinda dawns on me so every so often… the flat is mine. I mean, not the bricks and mortar side of it, but… its my home. Mine.

It’s like, this is practically an end goal for me. I have my own place and I’m working and I’m me.

Of course I’ll try and save up more money so I can buy my own place, for various reasons I won’t disclose here I’m pretty close to probably being able to do so if I wanted a fixerupper… And, to be honest, even with a low mortgage a fixerupper wouldn’t be worth it right now. It’d be cheaper than living in the place I’m living in now per month… but, I’d try and get a house if I can – A nice small pokey two bed with bay windows… that’d be freaking awesome. Such places DO exist, they’re just not easy to come by, small families flock to them, people like me rush their asses off to get in them, new builds are typically three or four bed houses these days. I mean hell, a wee terrace would do me just fine, there were plenty of small houses as there it was a densely populated area. Mill towns surrounding a busy city…

Id have to move to a big town to get anything like what I’m after, or a big city… This one is big enough, it’d likely be a flat though which is irritating, unless I get one that’s over two floors… it’s not going to feel that much like a home. Meh, I know what I want, I’d only see it when I come to buy it really…

There’s also the cost of moving to be factored in too, and, it wasn’t cheap moving into this place from what I remember too, I’d be willing to move a lot of the stuff myself, as last time, but the furniture I’d need to get some removal guys, as hell, I’m currently on the top floor and I’ll be damned if I’m moving a fridge and washing machine, even with friends.

Oh well, least my surgeries are partly booked, I mean… provided I don’t gain weight I’ll be fine… I hope.

13. Only to Fall

“Well… Shit…” Keyah blinked owlishly a moment before he went and poured himself a half pint of vodka, he made a gesture to his partner that read ‘just wait a minute’ before he downed half of it. “Alright, so. You’ve been talking to my granpa, and he sent you to someone else…” Keyah rolled his hand a little “And, now, down the line, you’re on hormones, and it’s taken all this time for you to be able to tell me?” Keyah was oddly calm, but there was no accusation in his voice.

 

“… Well it’s not exactly easy to tell the man I’ve been fucking that I’m a woman…” Dean felt like strangling Keyah… more of a fight was expected.

“…It’s not easy to hear either.” Keyah sighed and moved to look out of the window.

via 13. Only to Fall.

Well, whoops!

Now I know why I couldn’t write the next chapter of the Blue Arrow! Dean didn’t want to remain Dean much longer!

I am taking a LOT of liberties with Dean’s treatment and transition to Stephanie… But, I really don’t think that I should have to trawl through more than the ten pages of information on boob growth alone before writing this chapter up.

Dee’s family have big mammaries as far as the women go, Dean’s an averagely heighted slightly shorter man, so any breast growth of his wouldn’t be too hampered by height. There’s also going to be lots of padding going on in most outfits and… yes, Deanna is always going to be given away by those hands. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but a LOT of the transition will happen in the background.

This story is Keyah’s.

He still has sex with his partner while they can both stand it, but he doesn’t have unrealistic expectations. He’s not Deanna’s boyfriend anymore, they’re friends and fuckbuddies that happen to love one another a hell of a lot.

By coming out Deanna has forever changed the dynamic of the relationship. There’s no looking past that.

By communicating with one another they manage to muddle through like they always have done.

I’m a sap for character driven stories, and this is just another chapter in Keyah’s. His support network is growing and he isn’t perfect, but with the right amount of alcohol he’ll be ballsy enough to try anything.

Playlist time-!

Alright, so last time I prepared a playlist on a website for y’all… this time, I’m just going to tell you the CD’s I have in my car and it’s up to y’all if you go look for them. Bear in mind that while some will be released internationally they were purchased in the UK so titles may vary.

I am aware that there will be some overlap between compilation CD’s, however, I select them relatively carefully and try and get differently marketed sets.

I also have an old radio that takes CD’s only. Stations are usually Classic FM… and… sometimes anything else I can get, I can’t stand the dj’s talking over and between the songs most of the time. BBC Radio one just pisses me off most of the time I try and avoid it unless it’s a chart show and the people in the studio shut the fuck up and actually play music. I’d rather endure ads than listen to them prattle on for five minutes between songs because… they simply have to fill the air rather than just playing…oh I dunno, another fucking song! *cough* Sometimes the signal sucks and Radio1 is all I get between the news and other features I care fuck all about.

* Bon Jovi Greatest Hits- Mercury Records [One Disk Edition]

*Classical Voices – Sony Music [Three Disk Edition]

– Features The Prayer by Jonathan and Charlotte, Amici Forever Whisper of Angels, several renditions of Ave Maria, and a few surprises along the way.

*Eddie Stobart Trucking Songs (Sony) [Three Disk Edition]

This one’s far more an easy listening selection with ballads as well as softer rock songs… compared to below.

*[Parental Advisory] Greatest Ever Rock Anthems (Union Square Music) [Three Disk Edition]

– Beautiful People and Last Resort are at least two reasons for the Parental Advisory tag. I have a new temporary song for driving and it is Last Resort, it’s one of the heaviest things I’ll play in the car at all. [This one is the most recent bought of the rock sets and will likely be one of the last compilations as I now have three different sets that more or less cover all the bases for rock music I need]

*The Party Mix – Rock (Sony) [Three Disk Edition]

There’s not actually that much overlap between this and the Stobart set (probably deliberate), and there’s only a couple that overlap to the Rock Anthems set (Poison – Alice Cooper), this one has classics like Eye of the Tiger and other feelgood guilty pleasures.

*Keep Calm and Chill Out (Surprise Surprise it’s Sony again) [Two Disk Edition]

–Warning, when installing to computer tracks 4-17 of disk two could well fuck up. I had to rename 13 of the tracks completely. I think this is because a different version was likely released since the planning stage – one song difference is enough to throw a lot of the tracks off. Girl on fire by Alicia Keys was listed as Say Something by A Great Big World, tracks 5 and 4 respectively… And I don’t know why, just, careful folks, you might get one from the same batch I had.

I’ll admit, looking at the back cover there’s only around four songs I recognized… Listening to the whole thing and there’s plenty of earworms that were all over the radios in stores and whatnot. I love easy to listen to music, it’s a nice bridge between classical and the majority of the stuff I listen to.

*Custom CD as explained at length HERE

Sorry this one isn’t as personal, but I thought it time I mentioned that I don’t just listen to the same CD every day –  I can get away with the same one in for weeks, but I don’t always turn the radio on. My drive to work is a short one and the one to my mothers is one of the rare drives I WILL have music on. I use my ipod more frequently, when I’m walking or trying to sleep etc, and it’s on shuffle most of the time. That has more or less everything I have on it… and… frequently gets pruned down when I get sick of particular songs for sure!

So yes, add a few film scores in the mix and this is pretty much the stuff I put in my ears every so often xD

Just to give him that little more exposure I will also put up a song that Chester See wrote and sung a while ago. The live one is the one I have a copy of –

“Who Am I To Stand In Your Way”

Forgive me
I may have said things
That aren’t exactly
The way that I feel

I told you I’d be strong
I said that I moved on
But it doesn’t take long
To realize

That I’m not over you

But if there is somebody that makes you feel happy
Tends to your heart in the ways I’d been lacking
Then who am I, who am I to stand in your way
To stand in your way
To stand in your way
I won’t stand in your way

I know it sounds crazy
But I need you to trust me
If it’s how it must be
Then I’ll fade away

When it finally feels true
Then do what you have to
Cause I’d never blame you
For not choosing me

But I’m not over you

But if there is somebody that makes you feel happy
Tends to your heart in the ways I’ve been lacking
Then who am I, who am I to stand in your way
That I feel is no longer your burden
If there is someone that can make you feel perfect
Then who am I who am I to stand in your way
To stand in your way
To stand in your way
I won’t Stand in your way

Down the road someone will ask me if I know you
I’ll pause for a moment, I’ll smile and say that I used to

If there is somebody that makes you feel happy
Tends to your heart
The ways I’ve been lacking
Then who am, I who am I to stand in your way
That I feel is no longer your burden
If there is someone that make you feel perfect
Then who am I who am I to stand in your way
To stand in your way
To stand in your way
I won’t Stand in your way
I won’t Stand in your way
I won’t Stand in your way

As a Bonus, a less raw version that I didn’t know existed till today –  (but then, I’ve not really looked at his stuff since Whistle While I Work It came out… and that was a WHILE ago)

Character Soundalikes

I did already construct this post in more detail… but one windows automatic update later and my computer decided to eat it before I could save it.

First and foremost -This list is for fun!

No, really, if you read what I write and don’t think I hear the right voices for my characters… That’s fine! Feel free to comment who you think would be a better fit, and, most importantly keep imagining them the way you feel comfortable with.

There’s nothing worse than having a favorite book adapted and the casting choices be nothing near what you had imagined, or, there’s nothing worse than having one of your favorite books released as an audio book… and a voice you wouldn’t expect to be reading such a subject matter putting voices on for some of the characters (Instead of just keeping one’s normal voice throughout). Sure, the ideas may well grow on you, but, when it comes down to it, you will see your own imagined interpretations before those that others have set out before you.

NOTE –  Appearances don’t necessarily reflect the voices. Kurt Nilsen is quite softly spoken, and then POW a deep country voice that is wonderful for rock ballads – and the range to do much more.

North Star set Complete! // Byzantine, Blue Arrow set Incomplete!

North Star

Stallion – Jackie Chan/Michelle Yeoh

Evangel – Vitas/ Hayley Westenra

Raven – Oded Fehr/Cote de Pablo

Nohen – Kurt Nilsen/Angelina Jolie

Mouse – Alejandro Fuentes/Tara Strong

Soren – Chris Potter

Byzantine

Trey – A near raspy mix of Gerard Butler and Liam Neeson (He sounds like Butler’s speaking phantom most of the time but when he talks to family he sounds more like Neeson) [He’s a smoker and a stout drinker so factor that in no matter what voice you give him]

Chatan –

Riley/Kusinut –

Kiyiya –

Well now… new project?

Thanks to a very generous friend of mine a long worked on project will maybe coming to life!

I primarily use smackjeeves, but if wordpress is easy to use for comics… then I’d love to know! I’d set it up here instead.

– The chapters as I’ve written them will go up on my writings site, as we work on it together I’m sure we will work out the details of how we will do it! And when for that matter!

So, look in and check out the North Star works!