It has been a while since I have posted. Mostly because my life has gone from one of world travel or wandering through the woods to one of a working every day for the man. And while I have a few interesting stories from between the punching of the time card, I do not think I can share too much, due to contractual obligations and privacy standards. You can read that as, "I'd tell you, but I would then have to kill you."
I'm hoping to toss stuff here a little more often than just the weekly photo, but I am not going to make any promises. In the world of Facebook status, Twitter overload, and the latest news on Tiger Woods, I wondered if my posts were just some more noise out there. But heck, it is my noise, and hopefully someone is reading and enjoying it. So the show must go on. Or at least stumble around now and then.
Today I give you this little gem I discovered on a cassette tape in my basement. It is the Christmas greetings from the radio station I could be heard on fifteen years ago. It made me laugh for many reasons when I discovered it. Some of my readers, if they are still coming back, might actually hear their own voices on the clip. And you might even recognize a few others, that is if you were into Christian contemporary music circa 1994. So, unless I post again in the next couple days, consider this my Christmas greeting to you all. In the words of Styper, "He is the reason for the season, He is the reason for today."
A few years ago, I had the chance to see Fool's Garden play an acoustic show at an Irish pub in Freiburg, Germany. Sadly, most of you who read this post have probably never heard of the band. Others might only know them for their hit song, Lemon Tree. You are all missing out. It was a great show, and only made me appreciate their music more.
Well, they have a greatest hits album coming out in a few weeks. They have also recently released a new song, complete with a video to boot. The cool thing is that they have made it fan friendly, allowing their fans to be a part of the video.
Take a look at the video, and see what I mean. Although, you might hope that some technology comes along and helps kill the video star (at least one of them) in the future.
Tonight I was wandering around Toys R Us. Before you alert the local authorities, I was there with my nephew, who is almost a year. But as I was saying, I was wandering up and down the aisles checking out all the cool toys. I think it has been at least ten years since I last was in a Toys R Us, so some things have changed for sure. As I wandered past the toy pianos something caught my eye. There it was, the Little Tikes PopTunes Melody Beads Piano. Forget the toy pianos that play annoying kid's songs all the time. This my friends, is targeted towards people my age who have reproduced or obtained a child from someone who has. This piano plays three pop songs over and over. And when I say pop songs, I mean Wide Open Spaces by the Dixie Chicks, Message In A Bottle by the Police, and my favorite, The Final Countdown by Europe.
Sure these songs might get just as annoying to parents, but this is a step in a new direction. And I am not sure a song about a girl needing to go off on her own, a song about loneliness, and a song inspired by space travel might not be the best songs for a child's first songs. At least it is not another toy cranking out the Farmer and the Dell. Heck, if there were more toys like this, I might consider getting a kid of my own so I can play with these toys. Until that happens, I will just have to keep hanging out with my nephew.
I have no idea how I completely missed the fact that the Eurovision is happening this weekend, but I did. It dawned on me today when one of last years songs played on my iTunes. I did a quick email check and discovered the semi-finals have already happened, and the finals are Saturday.
I usually try to give a listen to all the songs entered, and then pick what I feel will be the top ten. Sadly, I do not have the time right now, as I am getting ready to head into the north woods again. So, I will just go ahead and say that my vote for the winner is......
I say this because I am a big fan of the Lovebugs, the Swiss representative. I am glad that the Swiss finally had the smarts to pick them to represent, unlike a few years ago with DJ Bobo.
Sadly, I will not be able to watch the show, but I have gone ahead and put an order for the double cd of all the songs. And if my prediction is right, I'm seriously thinking of trying to be at next years finals.
A few weeks ago, Ben, my young padawan from a time long ago, left a comment in which he pointed out this video. For those too lazy to click the link, it is a worship leader who has taken the 80's hit You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) by Dead Or Alive and changed it into a worship song. I do not even know where to start with this. Did nobody in his band pull him aside and ask about the logic behind this? "Uh Rick, are you aware that this originally was a huge hit in the 80's, including a big hit in the clubs frequented by people our church despises? In fact, the lead singer probably wrote this about a relationship with another man. And if that is not bad enough, Eiffel 65 and Jessica Simpson have covered this song too." "Yeah, but by switching 'baby' to 'Jesus,' it will change everything. Plus we will have everyone take off their feet because it is 'holy gournd.' And for extra kicks and giggles we will have them wave their 'socks around in the air, like they just don't care,' cause that is the way we roll."
I could write so much about this, but this guy's video does a good job summing it up. Instead, I figured I would take some time to rewrite a few classic songs for other people who are more about the show than the heart of the message.
I must confess that my loneliness is killin' me Now don't you know I still believe That you will be here to give me a sign Love me Jesus one more time. (Britney Spears)
Come on Jesus, light my fire. Come on Jesus, light my fire, You can set my heart on fire. (The Doors)
I'm in love with you God 'cause you're on my mind, You're the one I think about most every time. And when you make me smile in everything you do, I know you understand, God, this love is true. (Milli Vanilli)
Your love is the best medicine Your medicine is what I need Shake it up, just like God's medicine You're the Great Doctor that can Cure my disease. (Bon Jovi)
Ooo, Jesus, I love your way, everyday Wanna tell you I love your way, everyday Wanna be with you night and day. (Peter Frampton)
Doing it all for my Saviour Because He's as fine as He can be Doing it all for my Saviour For everything He did for me. (Huey Lewis & The News)
Say we can sing, we can pray Everything's in His control We can sing, we can pray They're doing it from pole to pole We can sing, we can pray Everybody fold up your hands We can sing, we can pray Everybody sayin' the prayer The sinner's pray'r The sinner's pray'r The sinner's pray'r (Men Without Hats)
Please say a prayer for me now, pray it till the morning after Please say a prayer for me now, pray it till the morning after. (Duran Duran)
His mind was on faith and love and healing some. Because he loved us so much he had to die young. But He made His mark in history. Still ev'rybody says: Rock me Hallelujah Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah,Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Oh oh oh Hallelujah. (Falco)
Go, evangelize and listen, God sent you out on his Great Commission... (Vanilla Ice)
Wow, that was pretty easy, and I am especially proud of that last one. I think I might have to go into the '80s worship revival business. I just need to get me a backup band. Sadly, I think I probably could get a couple gigs with these tunes. But in the end, it would all be in vain. True worship is not about the crowds, it is not about the flashy music, it is not even about the cool worship leader in the front. Worship is really about the heart of those involved. Again, there is someone else who can say it better. In this case it is Jon Foreman in his song, Instead Of A Show.
In my cleaning process, I have come upon a large crate of cassette tapes from a time long ago. For those of you who do not know what a cassette tape is, it is what people used to listen to music before Ipods and even CDs, although not as far distant as the 8-track.
I want to see what is recorded on them before I either toss them or return them to storage. Unfortunately, most are unlabeled. So I have dusted off the old boom box, and am listening to all these tapes. I am hoping to find some of my long lost interviews with several artists, but so far I have found:
1. Answering machine tapes from both my brother and my machines during college. 2. A recording of 20 The Countdown's tribute to Rich Mullins 3. A recording of Jerry Springer's Dr. Talk. 4. A couple tapes where I am driving around talking into a recorder for no apparent reason. 5. My first broadcast on KLRC 6. My airchecks that I sent to radio stations in hope of a job. 7. The theme songs from 1991-1995 summer camps at Miracle Camp. Word! 8. Some salsa and meringue music from my time in Venezuela. 9. A tape I made of Christian music sped up to sound like the Chipmunks. 10. The KLRC Christmas greetings circa 1995 or 1996.
There are some gems that I might even transfer to MP3 for all to hear. But for now I must go back to cleaning.
Once in a while someone comes up with an idea so stupid it might just work. Today, I came across this report about a silent radio station. Every couple minutes it sends your computer or phone gets a message with the title of some potential earworm. I'm guessing it ranges from Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and It's A Small World to Ice, Ice Baby and Hey Ya. (Thank me later for getting that combo of songs stuck in your head.)
So now that that idea is taken, I guess the only thing to do is Christianize* it. Just think of it now, all the great Christian songs broadcast in silence to your computer or phone. I imagine it now. "You just heard Sandi Patty sing Love In Any Language, here is Michael W. Smith with Friends, followed by The Champion by Carman. And don't forget Psalty Saturdays, with twice the Psalty every hour."
Hmmm, maybe it could work.
* Christianize in this case has nothing to do with Christ, but with the Christian Subculture, which according to some really should have more to do with Christ.
So another video has been posted. My friend Chris, asked for either a hunting or sock puppet video. One of these has been granted, the other might still be in the works. If you have any requests for videos of the woods, leave them in the comments.
Also, from time to time I come across an artist that I feel I need to recommend. The latest is Brendan James. There is a long story about how I came to hear his album, but the short of it is that I bought it from him on a bus. When I finally put it in my CD player, I was amazed. So give him a listen, I got a feeling you will be hearing his name in the future. And if so, remember you probably heard it first from me... unless I have been in the woods so long that he is already a household name.
I have spent the last few nights sleeping in a tent on Orcas Island. I came up here for a music festival, and now wonder why I never made it to this part of the world before. There will probably be a greater update on this portion of the trip, as well as the trip as a whole. (Don't worry Dave, I have not forgotten the freighter posts) But for now know that if it were my desire for a shower and a room with heat for the night, I would stay here a little longer. There is only so much that a pack of Wet-Wipes can do to keep you clean. And cheap me did not plan properly for the cold nights. The cheapest and lightest sleeping bag at Target is not always the best option. Luckily for me, Bill Mallonee offered my a spare bag for one night. (How about that for cool name dropping stories?)
So now I sit and wait for a ferry to Canada. Yep, time for another boat ride to another country. Perhaps I should start to see how many countries I can enter by sea. So far.. Ireland, England, Belgium, Greece, Japan, USA, Canada, South Korea and I think France. Not too bad start.
I took this shot during the Duran Duran concert April 17th, in Seoul, South Korea. It was not easy to get the shot, as security guards were constantly watching for the evil people who brought cameras into the concert venue. It did not help that I was in the very front of the crowd. Luckily, I got a few shots off without being caught. You can read more about the concert in my previous post.
Speaking of the contest, I always enjoy reading some of the lyrics to the song. The Irish song this year had the line, "Give us another chance, we're sorry for Riverdance." And while it was full of humorous lines on purpose, several songs are not intentional. The one that threw me the most was from the Czech Republic. The line is "Just like the stars go with the starshine." At first I thought it was just some Eastern European without a great combination of English. I was saddened to discover it was written by an American who has also penned songs for Hannah Montana, Natalie Grant, and the movie Little Miss Sunshine. Sadly, he is not the only American with songs at stake in the European competition, including the gal singing for Poland. Makes me wonder if I have a shot singing for some Eastern European country some day.
Can it be a year already? Time flies when you are throwing clocks out the window. And no, I am not talking about a revolution around the sun since the end of the school year. I am posting about the annual Eurovision Song Contest. In my opinion, it could be the best competition between the nations. Forget the Olypmics, and even the World Baseball Classic, or even the World Cup Speling Be.
For those who do not know about Eurovision, it is a competition open to all countries in the European Broadcasting Union, thus it contains groups technically outside of the European maps I studied as a child. Each country sends a representative to woo the crowd in song. Most countries have a run off to determine the artist, and even the song that will be performed.
This year, forty-three countries are battling for the top spot. Tonight will be the first of two semi-final rounds. Wednesday the second one will take place. The top nine, plus a wild card from each round will join France, Germany, Spain, Serbia, and the United Kingdom in the final on May 24th.
If you are like me, which I highly doubt you are, you can not wait until then to hear the bands. Luckily, you can listen to all the participants now. I spent some time last night doing just that, and have picked my favorites. When the top twenty five are announced, I will make my official picks for the top five, but right now I am betting Belarus, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Malta, Spain, Turkey, and possibly Finland will make it into the finals.
The other day I was reading an article about how Tommy DeCarlo went from Home Depot employee to lead singer of the band Boston. All it took was posting some audio clips of himself on MySpace. It reminded me about Arnel Pineda who recently got promoted from singing cover tunes in the Philippines to the lead singer of Journey. For him the medium was YouTube.
So I'm thinking I should try recording some clips of me singing. Now what bands out there are looking for lead singers?
I also discovered that while Boston is touring this summer, Michael Sweet, the former lead singer of Stryper, will also be sharing time one lead vocals. As a fan of both his work in Stryper, as well as his solo career, I am interested in this piece of information. If ticket prices were not so high, I would consider checking out a show. I just wonder if he will do a mash up of a couple hits from each band, "Honestly, It Is More Than A Feeling"
Today is Scurvy Awareness Day. What better day to announce that in a six weeks I will be taking to the open seas. I have chosen to schedule a voyage on a freighter to return to America. Many have question the logic in this decision. While a fraction of the choice was made in an attempt to never fly Northwest Airlines again, mostly it is because it is there. I have flown across the ocean dozens of times, but for once would love to see it first hand. I look forward to standing on the deck with nothing but blue for as far as the eye can see.
As I prepare for the voyage you can help. I am looking for suggestions for entertainment to occupy my time. Specifically, I'm looking for some good ocean/boat/voyage media. So far I have packed Moby Dick and Cabin Boy. I have also loaded Come Sail Away and Every Ship Must Sail Away on the iPod.
So any suggestions? (Beatings for the first to mention Titanic!)
For a couple years I have been posting videos over on the YouTube. I figured a few random people would watch them, and perhaps leave some stupid comments. So I was shocked when I was asked if one of my videos could be used in a music video. Rafael Gazzi and Paul Sonnenberg created an amazingly beautiful song, and chose my tram ride through Basel to accent their song. When Paul emailed me and told me the song was "about the feelings of longing and hope experienced by an expatriate in a new country," I knew this was a song I could embrace. Be sure to check out their sites, and even leave a comment on their Myspace or YouTubepages.
Arrivals (Noutro Cais) By Rafael Gazzi English lyrics by Paul Sonnenberg
Headlights of a train Has something come to an end Or has something good begun? Beautiful and new Welcoming me like a friend Ah, such colors, and such tones
How much will I be changed? How much will I change? How much, here, will I know and be known? At last, to be known! Will this loneliness always remain? This longing for my family back home? Can I build a happy life from A loving heart alone This heart is all I own
I want to see the sun rise at dawn On other landscapes and yet I still want even more I want to see the sun set upon Other places and yet I still want even more The soft turn of a loving hand Meet the eyes, watch the stars, be the sea Let the waves of love from this heart of mine Embrace all I see
I want to see the sun rise at dawn Over the mountains and yet I still want even more I want to see the sun set upon Other places and yet I still want even more Hear the voice of a gentle hand Striding angels that rustle the trees To recognize the voice of a loving heart When she speaks to me
Last Thursday I took the train up to Seoul to catch Duran Duran. It was the first time in almost twenty years that they were playing South Korea. I figured that they would be a great band to see as my last concert here in the ROK. With that in mind, I scored a ticket in the standing area right in front of the stage. In fact, it was the sixth row of the standing section. Wrap your head around that concept.
So I get to the Olympic Park Gymnasium and pick up my ticket. The security guards then directed those in the standing section to proceed to one side of the venue. Now here is the part of Korean concert going that I will never understand: They then lined us up by ticket number. The standing section of most of the concerts I've attended in North America and Europe are first come first served. Yet here in a country that still struggles with lines at the grocery stores, they have people line up like those crazy "get to know you" games at camp. "OK, this time everyone line up by height. Next by reverse alphabetical order of your middle names." Security guards spent the hour before the doors opened making sure that people were in numerical order. Once the tickets were taken and the doors opened, it was all a waste as people just rushed to the spots nearest to the stage. My long legs, quick stride and determination allowed me to find a spot on the front row.
Now another aspect of the oxymoronic aspect of entertainment here is that you can buy bootlegged DVDs on many street corners, yet they are fairly strict about taking photos at some concerts. Four or five guys, who I guess might be drop outs of the military, were stationed in the front to crack down on cameras. They would scan the audience looking for the metallic shine or unfortunate flash. For some like myself and the guy next to me it becomes a game. The goal is to see how many shots you can get without being noticed. Needless to say, I think I won this concerts game. Although the dude next to me with the SLR wins top prize for both most photos and largest camera used categories.
For those wondering about the show, I'll just say it was everything I expected. They busted out all their hits, as well as the newer stuff. I actually really enjoyed some of the new stuff, even if Timberlake's name was dropped as a co-writer of one song. I was a little worried when I heard that they had forgotten some lyrics at a previous show. I can report they didn't forget the lyrics, just forgot the order. As they closed out the show with "Rio" it sounded like they were trying a round as Simon sang "Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand" while John was busting out, "Her name is Rio she don't need to understand." I'll cut them some slack, as they are pushing 50, have recorded over twelve albums, and the song they were singing was older than some of my coworkers.
A couple days ago, my brother sent me a link to a YouTube video. He just mentioned it hinted that it was Lionel Richie, but said nothing more. Immediately, I skipped on to my next email not wanting to bother with the link. During some spare time today, I decided to click the link so I could at least delete the email. What I discovered was a clip from one of my favorite foreign television shows. No, it wasn't from "Talk with the Beauties," one of favorite Korean shows. It was "Wetten Das?" my favorite show from my time in Germany. I loved the mix of celebrity interviews, stupid stunts, and musical performances. This clip mixes all three of those elements together for something I could watch over and over. Enjoy.
My external hard drive decided to quit last night. Sadly this housed most of my music collection. Due to my frustration, I haven't attempted to fix it. Yet, I still need me some music to listen to. So I decided to try the "Ryancordell's Neighbourhood" station at Last.fm. It takes all the music I have listened to, and mixes a station based around the information gathered. So far, I am impressed, and thinking that I have found my office station. Take it for a test drive, I think you might like it. (That is if you have an eclectic taste in music mixed with a strong dislike of most music labeled "Top 40")
And yes, I think it is cool to have a RyanCordell's Neighbourhood. Now if you would excuse me, I must change my shoes. Oh, I think I hear a trolley.
One of my pet peeves is when people post their "best of the year" lists before the year ends. It is like they have given hope for anything appearing in the last few weeks that might amaze them. Had I made my list before the year was out, I would have failed to included what was possibly the best concert I saw this year. So, now that the books have been cooked on 2007, I can give you my favorites of the year in the following categories:
Books: (read for the first time this year) 1. Travels With Charley - John Steinbeck 2. Under The Big Top - Bruce Feiler 3. Walk On - Steve Stockman 4. The Culturally Savvy Christian - Dick Staub 5. OverClocked - Cory Doctorow (yeah, I am shocked too Dave - just proves I need to read more)
Movies: (Seen on the big screen) 1. Once 2. Into The Wild 3. Stardust 4. Bourne Ultimatum 5. Live Free Or Die Hard
Although I didn't see it in the theater, I must give an honorable mention to Hot Fuzz.
Concerts: 1. The Frames with Sunflower Caravan - Dublin, Ireland (video) 2. Calexico - Fukuoka, Japan 3. Eric Clapton - Seoul, Korea 4. Scorpions - Seoul, Korea 5. Boney M. - Taejon, Korea (video)
And now we begin working on next year's list. Seeing that the Frames concert was a New Year's Eve show, I got a feeling it might make next year's list as well. Especially with the only concert prospects at this point being Bjork, Celine Dion, Helloween and James Blunt. Although, if they were to appear at the same time, I might be interested. Just imagine that collaboration.
It has been great to be back in Europe again. It is great to be able to wander around Dublin or Basel without a map. It has also been fun to have people give reference points like statues to meet up at, and know exactly where they are talking about. I even had one friend give me the wrong address for the Indian diner, but I knew exactly where he meant. I have been asked by several people for directions, and have been able to point them in the right direction. The oddest request was a man who asked me how to get to Trinity College about a fifty yards from the entrance to the college. I pointed to the building right across the street, and laughed as he walked off.
Besides knowing my way around, I also feel at home with the German radio stations. It appears they have not changed their song lists since the day I left. I have actually heard "Anything For Love" by Meatloaf twice in the last two days of driving around the Black Forest. And when Men Without Hats told me, "I could leave my friends behind," I almost had to pull over to do the "Safety Dance." Makes me wonder why I even left this audio wonderland.
I think I mentioned that I have almost three whole days of Christmas music in my collection. It is a rather random mix of tunes. I've got complete holiday albums by the classics like Vince Guaraldi, John Denver, and the Steamroller. There is also the Twisted Sister, Rick Springfield, Barenaked Ladies, Menudo, Partridge Family and Sufjan Stevens albums to add a new twist on the holiday season. And don't even get me started on over 150 versions of Wham!'s Last Christmas, I discovered via this site. Needless to say I have plenty to help with the holiday cheer, and to save me from tears...
But as I have been listening to these tunes, I have become a little disturbed by some of the lyrics in some popular songs. And I'm not talking about Weird Al's "Christmas At Ground Zero" or "The Night Santa Went Crazy". So if any of you have any insight, let me know what they where thinking when they wrote these:
1. "Tonight thank God it's them instead of you" from "Do They Know It's Christmas?" by Band Aid. Sure they recorded this to raise money and attention to the poor in Africa, but this sort of distracts from the purpose a little?
2. "Making my life long sorrow if you caught pneumonia and died" from "Baby It's Cold Outside" by Frank Loesser. While the guy is pressuring his girlfriend to stay the night, he drops this odd line. Sure she would be dead, but how would that make him feel.
3. "There'll be scary ghost stories" from "The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year" by Eddie Pola and George Wyle. Did I miss something growing up? I never remember ghost stories as part of the holiday festivities.
Well, there are probably more, but I have got to get back to my Christmas music marathon. Before I go, I recommend this mix of Winter Wonderland. I only wish I had thought of doing that.
Currently listening to: John Denver and the Muppets -
When I told some of my friends here that I was going to the Scorpions concert, I got mixed reactions. Some questioned my taste in music, others questioned who in the world the Scorpions where. Still others just blamed my extensive stay in Germany for my interest in hearing one of the fatherland's biggest selling artists perform.
All in all, it was a rather good concert. Once again my concert luck paid off, when I purchased one of the cheapest tickets, yet ending up in the most expensive seats. As far as the band goes, I was impressed with their musicianship. I actually had to try to remember the last concert that had guitar, bass and drum solos. To be honest, I even got goosebumps during the introduction to "Wind of Change." They spoke about growing up in the shadow of the Berlin Wall, and writing the song after it fell. Klaus then mentioned that on their first day here in Korea, they visited the DMZ, and thought about how the "wind of change" could easily see a change there too. And then the whistling began...
Although the best line of the night came during the encore. They had played all of their biggest hits, save one. To introduce it, lead singer Klaus Meine announced, "Don't worry Seoul, we will not leave without rocking you like a hurricane" To which the crowd burst into wild applause. Made me wish I could drop lines like that, and for it actually make sense.
Last Friday, I posted that I was going to see Boney M. in concert. I am guessing that the reaction from most was either questioning who Boney M. is or laughter. What I failed to mention is that this is not the first time I have seen them live. In fact they join a short list of bands I have seen on more than one continent.
My friends and I arrived before the show to pick up the tickets. As I have had difficulty with reserved tickets before in the country, I was not too shocked to have to hassle and wait for my tickets to be found. But when the finally found them, there was my name right on the tickets. I tried to pass it off to my friends that I was listed as "Special Guest," and would be the opening act. They did not buy it.
As we entered the venue, someone referred to it as a large "hangar" with a bunch of lawn chairs. The chairs had been set up in sections, and we were in the cheap seats in section "J." At first I thought it was odd that we were sitting in plastic chairs, but the benefits of those chairs were soon to be discovered. As soon as the house lights went down, many around us picked up their chairs and moved forward. Soon section "J" was somewhere around the middle of section "D." When in Rome...
As concerts go, it was a rather enjoyable one. Boney M. played all their hits, save Mary's Boy Child. It was rather interesting to hear the translator explaining the banter between songs, or encourage people to sing along using words they do not teach in SAT hagwans. During the encore, the band encouraged people to get a little closer to the stage, so I abandoned my relocated lawn chair. I made it right up to the stage, where at one point my friends claim Liz Mitchell was singing directly to me.
After the show the group was kind enough to hang out and sign autographs for the fans. A couple of us stuck around and talked with them for a little bit, about life in Korea, working here, previous Boney M. concerts we have attended, and linguistic differences of North America. All in all a pretty good show.
Hello Europe, this is Taejon calling. First I must say great job tonight to Finland for putting on a great show. But what in the world were you all drinking tonight? A little too much absinthe? Ukraine as the second best song? I'll admit that the Serbians did a better job live than I predicted, but I still wouldn't have voted them the best. No, I am not bitter that I only got five right of my top ten. I should have thought more about some of the former republics sticking with their early suppressors. Did not think the Stockholm Syndrome was going to come into play. This can be the only reason that the UK received twelve points from Malta and the seven points from Ireland.
The funny thing is that before the contest only one band emailed to encourage me and my friends to vote. That band came in last. Sorry Ireland, don't blame me, I was out of the EBU's range. Perhaps you can join Iceland in blaming the Eastern European mafia.
Again, don't get me wrong. It was a great show, including the appearance of Apocalyptica and Joulupukki. I look forward to next year's show from Serbia.
Speaking of next year, might I beg Lichtenstein, Italy, and the Vatican City to submit a song. If the Pope does not want to sing for the Vatican City, I'd be willing to give it a shot. Think about it. You know where to reach me.
I hope I am not too harsh to my European friends, but remember you are the ones who supported Hasselhoff's singing career and made "Dragostea Din Tei" a hit song before Gary Brolsoma made it a phenomena, or make that a pheNumaNumena.
After the final votes were in, I picked six out of the top ten for the semi-final round in the Eurovision Song Contest. The stage is set for the final showdown of twenty-four countries. I now give you my votes for the top ten in the final round based on my extensive knowledge of European music tastes, geo-political alliances, and attractive lead singers. Let the record show that I have not been swayed by any emails I've received from bands in the competition.
So here is how I think the final votes will be at the end of the show.
The winning country hosts the following year's Eurovision Song Contest. This makes me wonder if the Ukraine and United Kingdom were trying their hardest to avoid having to foot the bill for next year's party. All I can say is those countries should be banned for a year for those sorry excuses for music.
As my dream was ending the other morning, I was in a subway station and listening to a song I had never heard before. Yet in my dream I knew it was a great song, but when I woke I couldn't remember the tune or the lyrics. Unfortunately, it will never be a hit. Interestingly right before I went to bed, I had listened to what could be one of the worst songs ever. But I think I will discuss that in the next post.
I'm writing tonight about what could be my favorite music competition ever, the Eurovision Song Contest. This year forty two countries will be represented my musicians hoping their song will be named the best. In about a days time twenty eight of those will be in the semifinals. Ten will move on to final round where they will join last years top ten countries, plus the big four (U.K., Germany, France, and Spain).
Last year, I picked my top ten from the start. This year, I'm going to break it up in two parts. Today I'll give you my picks for who will move on to the finals, and then in a day or so, I'll give you my picks for the winner, or at least top five. So based on viewing all the videos and my fine judge of music, European tastes, and attractive female vocalists, combined with a little chance, I give you what I believe will be the ten countries to move on to the final round:
Before I close this out, I give you my top three lyrics found on the Eurovision site: 1. "Itch people will gnaw our wishes" - translated from the Moldova's entry. 2. "You colour me blue, run my passion to read, It's feeling like I've become indigo" - Malta's entry 3. "If there were a hundred women there, I'd ask her to dance, even though I don't dance." - translated from the Czech Republic's entry.
Sometimes I get the feeling my life is more interesting than it really is. Sometimes that feeling is proven to be correct. In my defense I present to you the jury the following:
Traveling to a foreign country for a rock show is pretty sweet. Getting a mention on the band's website (and myspace blog too) is über amazing. At least in my book.
Although I must give some props to "Ashley from Alabama". Let's be honest, if it were just me talking to the band after the show, it would have said something about "some loner that was hanging around after the show like he had no where to go." Plus she is the one who discovered the concert's existence in the first place. If she didn't put the idea of rocking in Japan, I would have spent my time off probably cleaning my bathtub (which I'm doing after I post this) and going to see Eragon.
Now the question is what do I do next to up the interesting factor? Any suggestions?
This weekend I had the opportunity to travel with four ladies to a rock show in Japan. Take a second to soak that all in, and then I'll break it down for you all.
It was a weekend of travel. It started with a two hour train ride to the southern shores of Korea. There we boarded a hydrofoil ferry for what would be a three hour tour. Upon disembarking in Japan, I had to try to explain to the customs agents why I was only spending twenty hours in his country (interestingly enough not the first time I've had this experience). Upon making it through the customs it was off to the bus to take us to downtown Fukuoka to begin the Japanese experience.
Yep, four females actually agreed to spend a portion of their weekend hanging with the one they call Cordell. Sure, this goes against a promise I made with myself eight years ago about traveling to a foreign country with that many women. I made that after an awkward trip to Paris and EuroDisney, and but felt it might be time to rethink that promise. And sure, it probably wasn't the opportunity to spend time with me, as it was going to a concert in a foreign country that was the hook, but this is my blog and I'll spin it however I want. Either way, it was me, four ladies, and a evening of music ahead.
Just like the old saying, "if the concert will not come to Ryan, Ryan must come to the concert." Since the concert offerings are a little limited in Korea, I chose to try another country to fulfill the need to rock and/or roll. I could have gone a day later and caught Boys II Men, but I felt the option of Calexico and Iron & Wine would be a far better choice. I was right. Unfortunately due to weather conditions, Iron & Wine didn't show up until the load out began. But that did allow Calexico to have the full stage for the whole night. They did not disappoint. For almost three hours they played a variety of songs from their collection. Those among us who had not known their material were immediately hooked. Personally, I was even more sold on their talents. I highly recommend anyone with at least one ear to see them in concert.
And to finish up the explanation of that first sentence, I repeat again, we went to Japan. This was my first real trip there, as the airport just doesn't count. I went with few expectations, including hoping to have a few "Lost In Translation" moments as I wandered the streets of Fukuoka. Outside of the concert time, I had a great time. From enjoying a great curry in a Shi Lankan restaurant to wandering the streets late at night or just all the people watching, the city provided a great experience and left me with a desire to return again. Hey look, Yo La Tengo there in February, and Muse is there in March. Hmmmm.
Plus, no one really avoided me like a psyched lone ranger, so I got that going for me.
Well, the Eurovision contest is now over, and I should have been a betting man. While I only picked three of the top ten songs, I did call the winner when I said, "going against the poppy sound could give the win to the Finn." To give those who don't click away from this page an idea of what I meant, here is a photo from the press interview of the winning band.
So today I raise my Finnish flag high and yell out the only Finnish my grandmother passed on to me, "rakastan sua Joulupukki"
It is almost time for one of the biggest competitions to begin, and the excitement is in the air. No, I'm not talking about the World Cup, but the Eurovision Song Contest. This will be the fiftieth year that the countries of Europe have sent some of their finest musicians to compete for this annual battle of the bands. Previous winners include Abba, Celine Dion, and Katrina and the Waves. During my seven years of life in Europe, I became a big fan of the event, and was excited when I discovered that it was this weekend. So excited I stayed up way too late watching the videos of the song entries.
I now give you my picks for the top ten songs: 1. Germany - lighthearted country music from the people who brought us Rammstein. 2. Finland - going against the poppy sound could give the win to the Finn. 3. Malta - Could this be the Richard Marx of poppy music? The video says yes. 4. Romania - I think the video caught me, and the Erasure sound. 5. Switzerland - It is like S-Club 7 from the Alps. 6. United Kingdom - The song is catchy and kitsch enough to win 7. Ireland - One of the more thoughtful songs 8. FYR Macedonia - A catchy song, and if only males are voting this has a shot. 9. Slovenia - He pulls off a fauxhawk. Plus this video makes me smile. 10. Netherlands - Don't be afraid to turn up the Treble.
While Israel and Cyprus might have a chance, they lost my vote by bringing in Americans to compete. Cyprus loses extra points for bringing in a former backup singer for Britney Spears. She also cowrote "Everytime," giving me another reason to send my vote to a possible former Russian republic.
I will be shocked, flabbergasted, taken back, bewildered, dumbfounded, and lose any remaining faith in human reasoning and logic if these even make the top twenty: 1. Iceland - I'm still have forgiven them for giving us Bjork. This now means war. 2. Croatia - I have no words. 3. Lithuania - I feel the need to vote for them to be the winners... of the loser bracket.
So give all those videos a listen and let me know who you are rooting for.
Oh, and before you leave that site, be sure to check out the video for Dschinghis Khan, in the 1970-1979 section. You can thank me later.
Currently listening to: Some of those tunes still floating around my head.
It is time to tell the story behind why I got stuck in Seoul, forced to spend the night in a computer room.
It started a few weeks ago, when I heard that Oasis was going to be performing their first show in Korea. I talked with a couple friends about trying to score some tickets, but our hopes were soon crushed by the information that the show was sold out. We were even told there was a waiting list for tickets that might become available, but it was too long to even bother. Thus the plan to go was scrapped.
Then this week came, and I had already switched my day off to attend the concert. I decided to head to Seoul anyway and see what could happen. Those who know me well, know that when I have a history of odd things happening when I adventure alone like this. Well, Tuesday did not disappoint, as I was able to score a ticket at the door. The sales people apologized as it was a "standing floor ticket," which translated means I would be on the floor. I was a bit shocked to see that my ticket was in section A, which for those alphabetically challenged ended up being the first section on the floor.
There I was meters from the stage, watching the Gallagher brothers work their way through some of their classic tunes, as well as some of the new stuff. Musically they put on a great show, but visually it was less than expected. They also didn't display any of the anger that has been displayed either through fits or verbal assaults that are often associated with their shows. When I told one friend that they didn't even cuss, she said that is like seeing the Pope officiate a ceremony without praying.
All in all it was a pretty sweet show. It is just unfortunate that more performers don't make their way to Korea. And I'm telling you, there are some desperate fans over here. So desperate that Michael Bolton has two shows this spring and Kenny G. just performed his second show in a year's time. Although, it is a shame that I can't see the Godfather of Soul in Seoul.
The fifth and final in the "Stuck in Seoul" Series I'm revamping a post I've had sitting in the draft file for a few days. I'm done at this PC Bong, but you can relive some of the fun by reading all five posts from this fun filled evening.
A friend of mine recently directed me to the text of Bono's remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C. a couple weeks ago. You have to respect a man who understands how fleeting fame is and uses it for a positve impact in this world. Here is a man who could be sitting on the Irish countryside watching the checks come in from his many albums, but no, he has chosen to speak out for Africa, AIDs relief, and poverty relief. Bono once called Johnny Cash "the most male voice in Christendom," and "every man knows he is a sissy compared to Johnny Cash." Well, I guess since Johnny's passing, Bono has decided to take over the role.
Speaking of U2, here is an interesting article on the church of U2 or at least one man's perspective on how a church could learn from four boys from Ireland. I think it is an interesting read. As one who has stood in the front row of a U2 concert, I can agree with some of the ideas presented.
And for more good reading on the band, as well as the message behind the music, I'd suggest you check out Rhythms of Redemption's Walk On section. It is run by an Irishman I've had the fortunate opportunity to hear and meet a couple times. He is an excellent writer who knows music as well as things of faith.
Yesterday while I was driving around I not only heard several classic 80's songs along with the hits of today, but they played the extended mix of the Safety Dance, by Men Without Hats. Yes, the extended mix. Find me a station in America that will play that along with current hits.
And after five years of searching the radio dial for something to go along with my driving, I found a Christian radio station out of France. It actually caught me off guard, as I was kind of praying about some stuff as I drove, and jokingly said, I'll just wait for a sign from you God from the radio, as I flipped the dial. Then as it scanned the dial, the next thing I heard was Rich Mullin's song, "Hold Me Jesus." I basically laughed the rest of the way home. It actually is a really good station, the only downside is a few of the songs are in French, oh, and they play way too much Bryan Duncan. But that is just my opinion.
Currently listening to: Sixpence Non The Richer - Don't Dream It's Over (actually being played on the above mentioned station.)