A note on ‘A Note Let Go’

A Note Let Go

Anyone who knows me well knows that I like my music. I don’t have a particular taste but I do tend to lean more towards the chilled out and laid back genres.

The mothership was also a great lover of music and two of her favourite artists were Christie Hennessy and Duke Special. Christie Hennessy sadly passed away on the 11th December 2007 and I am not sure that my mother ever fully recovered.

I can’t remember her first introduction to Duke Special, but my sister thinks it may have either been through the postman and their daily chats about music, or perhaps through Gerry Anderson and his radio show. Regardless of their introduction, the Duke was music to my mothers ears and she would tell anyone who would listen how great he was.

Luckily for the Mothership my Sister liked him too and she would take my Mum to some of the venues at which he played. The dear old Fathership got dragged along too sometimes, and considering it was not his thing at all, he too seemed to enjoy the shows.

Although I listened to the music on many occasions as my Mum danced around the living room, I never branched out to listen on my own or ventured to any of the shows.

Recently Duke Special teamed up with a band called Ulaid and their collaborative album ‘A Note Let Go’ was the result. My sister on hearing they were going to be playing a show in Belfast asked if I would like to go and much to her shock I said yes. It was time to see what all the fuss was about.

‘The Duncairn’ situated on the Antrim Road in Belfast is an old 19th century church that has been transformed into a shared space culture and arts centre. It is an intimate little venue with wonderful acoustics that enhance the music being played within and to me it felt like the perfect setting for this show.

I’d only had a brief listen to ‘A Note Let Go’ prior to attending, and I was worried that my lack of knowledge would somehow affect my enjoyment, but I needn’t have worried.

Duke Special has a way of drawing you in with his words and arrangements. During the show he led into songs with a story about where the inspiration for each came from, seemingly more often than not from text found in the Central Library in Belfast. Those same lyrics coupled with the traditional Irish music of Ulaid make for interesting listening. and believe me, there was plenty of top tapping and hand clapping during ‘Far Set’ and ‘Little Italy’ and also some tugging of the heartstrings when they played ‘Shipyards of Belfast’ and ‘My Lagan Love’, not to mention the poor dearly departed Dog Fido.

This show was a genuine surprise, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would and it has left me wanting to experience more of what both Duke Special and Ulaid have to offer, whether that be separately or together.

Trust me ‘A Note Let Go’ is well worth a listen, you won’t be disappointed. My personal favourites are Far Set and My Lagan Love, which gives me goosebumps every time I listen.

A Songful Saturday!

Happy Saturday people, what you at? I bet you’re surprised to see me here at this early hour, it is after all only 20.45pm. I’m surprised to see myself…….every time I look in the mirror! Boom Boom!

So why am I on so early, Well it’s like this, I’m listening to music, but not just any old music. I’m listening to my good friend Steve from Talk About Pop Music hosting his Saturday night request show.

If you’re currently blogging and want to join in you can tune in HERE!

Want a song played, well then you can contact him via Twitter @stevesays2014 or leave a comment on his Radio post for this week HERE!

Tune in, sure it’s great craic!

Moving on

Moving On

At some point I am going to have to make the conscious decision to sell all my CD’s. I no longer have a stereo in my room, it had to be removed to make room for the Xbox One. Something new comes in, something old goes out.

When I started work 23 years ago, my Kenwood stacking system was the first thing I bought with my very first monthly wage packet. Since then it has served me faithfully and been with me through every heartbreak, happiness and general hassle. It’s played the CD’s that have provided the soundtrack for my life so far.

Life however has moved on and technology has evolved. I would never have guessed then that I would one day carry in my pocket a little machine that could house my entire music collection, never mind shuffle it at the touch of a button.

I’ve been wracking my brains to try and remember what the very first CD I bought was and I am not 100% sure, but I believe it might have been a little 3″ effort containing Love in an Elevator by Aerosmith. More than likely I had no money left after purchasing the stereo.

Over the years I have amassed quite a collection of CD’s, which for the last couple of years since I purchased an Ipod have been gathering dust. It’s time to consider passing them on to someone who actually wants them, but somehow it feels like you are giving away little pieces of your memory, little pieces of a life lived. While they are not gone forever, because they can be imported to digital, they are no longer there to look at, open and peruse. At the end of the day though does that really matter, as long as I can listen to the music.

What started this train of thought, well the need for extra shelf space and the importation of the amazing album ‘Graceland’ by Paul Simon. I was bopping through every word of this post! Enjoy :)

Movies on a Monday!

I got the loveliest message this morning, that’s always a good way to start the day right?! Am I going to tell you what it said, no I’m not cos it’s private you nosey feckers, but suffice as to say it made me smile!

My sincere apologies to those of you who fought the good fight for the penguins, I am sorry, but as much as I loved the little blue articles they had to go, they made my page look too busy, and me dizzy in the process. That said, I kinda miss them, the plain blue border is downright dull by comparison. I shall just have to keep tweaking, either that or revert to the cats.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

I finally got to see Maleficent today, it was one that I was genuinely sorry to miss out on in the cinema. I like these kind of films, the combination of visual artistry and musical scores that accompany them. Long before I knew of the films existence I heard ‘Once Upon a Dream’ being sung by Lana Del Ray and fell in love. Only after a little investigation did I find out it was for a forthcoming film.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t blown away, but I was captivated, so much so that I did not see the time pass. Parts of it reminded me of Avatar,  especially the bioluminescence in the world in which the young Maleficent lived. It’s a retelling of an old story, with a twist. Unfortunately I do not know the original very well, because while I am sure I read the book, I do not believe I watched Sleeping Beauty from start to finish. It’s a keeper though, so it will be added to the DVD collection at some stage.

I also finally cracked under the strain of yet again having to listen to the extremely loud buzzing noise on my parents phone line and rang BT to report it as a fault. I’m guessing it must have been bad when at least two of their operatives asked was I ringing with regards to the buzz on the line. No shit sherlock eh? Only thing is they have no idea what it is, so they are going to have to carry out line testing. I shall hear in approximately 24 – 48 hours. I just hope they remember to ring me back and not the faulty number, which sounds like it’s on it’s way out with the pathetic little half rings it is giving.

A bit like me really, tis bed time, I am not as young as I used to be!

Good night eejits :)

Music is in the Air!

I love music. It fascinates me. There is nothing else that can alter and sway my emotions as effectively.

Even though I love Rock and Pop I always seem to lean towards the more morose side of music, or as my boss refers to it, ‘music to slit your wrists to’. I class it more as chilled out, the more haunting the melody the better.

I have no idea why it is that these songs have such an effect on me. It is what it is, and the heart loves what it wants. You instantly know when a song has captured your attention, because you stop at nothing until you find out the name of both the song and the singer.

It’s sad to think there are millions of songs out there that would entertain my ears yet I will never know about them. Most things I happen upon by chance. The kind of music I like is not exactly daytime radio material, more like late night alternative.

Soundtracks are also amazing and more often than not undiscovered by the general public. I have soundtracks for movies I have never seen, but they came up under the section ‘People who bought this also liked…’, sometimes it makes good suggestions.

I love that the power of music can transport you to somewhere else entirely. I have found myself on the train journey home, listening to a song while staring out a window down which the rain was pouring, creating my own video for the track playing at the time.

I’m going to put here a list of some of my favourites. I would class these as being melancholy, rather as seeing them as morose I view them as great melodies and tunes. If you listen to a couple and can think of something else you think I might like, then I will be most grateful if you share that thought! Some of these you might already have seen on my Music Bubble page, apologies for the crossover.

So in no particular order:

1. Lana Del Rey – Once Upon a Dream (From the forthcoming film Maleficent) 

2. Massive Attack – Teardrop

3. Elbow – Lippy Kids 

4. Brothers in Arms – Alex Cornish (Original artist Dire Straits)

5. Stem – DJ Shadow

6. Sigur Rós – Hoppípolla

7. Climbing up Iknimaya – James Horner from the Avatar Soundtrack

8. Strong – London Grammar

9. Any Other Name – Thomas Newman

10. The Execution Ballet – The Tudors Soundtrack (I have to thank NBI for reminding me of this one)

11. The Stars Shine in the Sky Tonight – The Eels

12. Sia – Lullaby 

There are of course many more, these are just some of the ones that play regularly on the Penguin Pod! Any suggestions gratefully received :)

Oz the Great and Powerful!

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This may contain spoilers if you have not seen the movie!

I can’t quite believe I am going to say this out loud, to an audience, but, I enjoyed Oz the Great and Powerful more than I did the Hobbit. There I said it, have you any idea how difficult that was for a Lord of the Rings Fan!!

Perhaps the most important point here is that I had no expectations of Oz, whereas with the Hobbit anything less than the regality of The Lord of the Rings was never going to be good enough.

I’m glad this was not a musical as I’m not a fan, and whilst I love the original Wizard of Oz I tend to channel hop just a little when some of the songs come on, with the exception of “If I only had the nerve,” because I’m afraid there’s no denyin, in school I played the dandy lion and can therefore remember all the words.

The film starts in black and white, the same as the original Wizard of Oz. I was at one point worried the sizing on my Xbox was a little askew,  as I had just a box in the middle of the screen, however when you realise the Wizard is in Oz, the screen starts to expand and at the same time fill with glorious Technicolor. I can imagine it must have been amazing for those who were able to view it in 3D.

Oz Banner 2There is no doubt Oz is visually stunning, with it’s combination of breathtaking scenery and vibrant colours.

The story, while perhaps a little predictable still has enough twists to keep you interested and ties in perfectly as a prequel.

The characters are likable and in some cases adorable, my favourite by far being the little China Girl, who had me reaching for the tissues at her introduction. It’s just one of those films that makes you go “Awww” time and time again, unless of course you’re a bloke and like Shady you go “Aww foofy fecking doofy” in a sarcastic tone instead.  I blame the hormones, stuff like that gets to me!

The adorable little China Girl!

The adorable little China Girl!

My only criticism would be that I personally felt in some places it was a little second rate, whether it be the acting or a few of the special effects. It made me think back to Tinman, the series made in 2007 for TV, which for a big budget movie from Disney should not have been the case. 

That said nothing should detract from how good this movie actually is. It will certainly be one I will purchase for my collection, along with a little China Girl if she ever comes down in price!

Super Soundtracks!

I love music.

I love it for the way it makes me feel and how it can change my mood.

One of my bosses says that my music  makes him want to  go and find razor blades to slash his wrists. I can see where he is coming from, I do have a preference for all things melancholy.

Despite this though I have a very varied collection of all kinds of everything and I am always open to new ideas. My In My Music Bubble page gives a fair indication of the current play list.

I tend to chop and change though, I’ll play something for weeks or even months on end and then forget all about it. I make myself weird little play lists like, Chilled, Sad, Dance and Cleaning to name but a few. Each contains just the right amount of songs with a suitable beat for the task in hand.

One thing I keep coming back to though is soundtracks. I LOVE them and rarely tire of them. It’s something about the mix of the music and how it can transport you, different styles and beats blending seamlessly into one. I’ve happened across soundtracks to films I have never even seen, meaning I have to rely on my imagination to supply the visuals. So here, in no particular order 5 of my favourite movie soundtracks:

Red Planet.jpg

Red Planet

This was a bizarre little find. We used to have this music store that every so often would put on a sale where you could buy 4 CD’s for £10. I used to buy them and then sell them on Ebay. More often than not I made no profit. I decided to have a listen to this one before I sold it, fell in love and needless to say it’s been on my shelf ever since. I think I did see the movie, but it obviously was not that memorable.

Best Track: Canto XXX – Emma Shapplin



Shopping in this film is in the form of Ram Raiding. I saw this movie one Saturday night at a friend’s house. We’d all been like, you want us to watch a film about Shopping, wtf! It was nothing like we imagined. I loved both the film and the soundtrack.

Best Tracks: Water Pistol Man – The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, Why don’t you take me – One Dove and Heaven or Hell – Salt ‘n’ Peppa

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Sucker Punch

With regards to the film, I liked it, but I didn’t love it. The soundtrack however was different. Old songs got a new funky twist making them just that little bit more sinister than before.

Best Tracks: Sweet Dreams  – Emily Browning, White Rabbit – Emiliana Torrini and Tomorrow Never Knows – Alison Mosshart.



Not to be confused with the original soundtrack, this is actually entitled More Music  from the Motion Picture and it’s much better than its predecessor.

I didn’t watch Gladiator until a couple of years after it had been released because I thought it wouldn’t be my type of thing. It completely blew me away and I was annoyed I had waited so long.

Best Track – Now We Are Free – Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard



I love this soundtrack. I also loved the film. There are parts that are truly uplifting, but also parts that can make you sad when you remember which part of the film they came from.

Best Tracks: Climbing Up Iknimaya  and Jake’s First Flight– James Horner

This is only a few of the many soundtracks I like. If you have any suggestions for ones I should listen to I’d love you to leave me a comment. I like being introduced to new music!

Only a half smile for the Hobbit!

So last night I finally got around to watching The Hobbit.

Most people I am acquainted with know that the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Final Fantasy Advent Children are my two favourite films of all time. They are the only films that I have watched more than 5 times each, but yet still continue to find new details in each time I do.

I was captivated with Lord of the Rings. I’d not read the books at that stage so I was looking at everything with fresh eyes. I fell in love with the scenery, the characters and the weaving storyline. I felt cheated when the first movie ended and I realised I was going to be forced to wait a whole year for the second instalment, and likewise when it ended and I had to wait for the third.

Now I have the DVD’s, marvellous invention, I find I cannot watch one without having to watch the other two as well.

I have to admit that sometimes this tomboy is a shameless girl, as I always cry in the third movie when the Eagles rescue Frodo and Sam from the mountain after they have destroyed the ring and while being crowned as King Aragorn realises Arwen is still alive. I have also made it known that I want Into the West played at my funeral when it is my turn to shuffle off this mortal coil!


So I was excited to see the Hobbit.

The trailer was a teaser indeed as it had left me wanting more, but it was a long wait until the films actual release date. When the time came I was still recovering from the knee surgery and didn’t feel ready to go to the cinema, preferring instead to wait for the DVD release. When DVD release date came I decided not to buy it just yet and opted to rent it from Blinkbox instead. It had been sitting in my library section there for about 2 weeks until yesterday, it’s just not easy finding a spare 3 hours these days.

I watched it and found I was disappointed, but I am not sure I can tell you why I was, because I am not really sure myself. Although the music is still by and large the same as LOTR, the scenery and the effects as visually stunning and there are characters we have encountered before, it just lacked a certain something for me. Don’t get me wrong it was watchable and I enjoyed it as I am sure I will the others, but I don’t know if at this stage I would be rushing to buy it or watch it again.

I didn’t fall in love with the new characters. I smiled when I saw Frodo, Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel and awww’d when I saw the Eagles, but I felt that’s what I was doing, I was waiting for flashes of Lord of the Rings and they were just not there. Most of the actors have been in various other things I have watched and they are all amazing actors, but I wondered if this was also part of the problem, I am to used to them being in other things and found it difficult to differentiate between the two.

So while I may have been disappointed, that should not take away from the fact that this is a visually stunning treat which will no doubt reap rewards.

Perhaps I will fall in love a little more with each instalment. Only time will tell!