Friday, June 18, 2010

When was the last time a song made you cry?

Posted by lea at 4:01 PM 3 comments Links to this post
In around 1976 (when I was two years old), Billy Nicholls wrote a song called Can't Stop Loving You, which was sung by Leo Sayer in 1977 and reached #7 in the UK singles chart.

In 1980 it was covered by the Outlaws, then again in 2002 by Phil Collins and then in 2008 by Keith Urban.

I mention this because although I'm sure I've heard at least one of those variations in my lifetime, I heard it afresh on the radio a while ago and it brought me to tears. Not the sobbing kind, but the wipe-away-a-tear kind. It's so beautiful and sad... especially the verses. Not so crazy about the chorus.

Call me a dag, but I'm providing the Phil Collins version because that's the one that reduced me to tears, and although Keith Urban's version is fresher, this one has that slow steady build up that kicks you in the guts. If you really listen to the lyrics and you're still not moved, you're made of stone.

What's the last song to make you cry? In fact, has a song ever made you shed a tear?




Lyrics:


Can't Stop Loving You


Verse 1
So you're leaving in the morning
On the early train
Well I could say everything's alright
And I could pretend to say goodbye


Got your ticket
Got your suitcase
Got your leaving smile
Oh I could say that's the way it goes
And I could pretend and you won't know 
That I was lying


Chorus
Cos I can't stop loving you
No I can't stop loving you
No I won't stop loving you
Why should I (even try)


Verse 2
We took a taxi to the station
Not a word was said
And I saw you walk across the room
For maybe the last time I don't know


Feeling humble
Heard the rumble on the railroad track
Oh when I hear the whistle blow
You'll walk away and you won't know
That I'll be crying


Bridge
I'll always be here by your side
I never wanted to say goodbye
I'll always be here if you change, change your mind


So you're leaving in the morning
On the early train
Well I could say everything's alright
And I could pretend to say goodbye
But that would be lying

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A throwback to childhood

Posted by lea at 2:23 PM 7 comments Links to this post
I can't begin to tell you the feelings of overwhelming nostalgia and excitement that ripped through me when I stumbled across the trailer for the new Ramona and Beezus movie. Ramona was not just a staple part of my literary diet when I was growing up, she was my IT girl, the one who represented the clumsy, imaginative and misunderstood younger me.

I read all her books repeatedly, and even wrote to Beverly Cleary (the author) to tell her how much I loved her books and how they made me decide I wanted to become a writer too. It was the first of only two fan letters I ever wrote in my life (the second, embarrassingly, was to Michael Jordan). Imagine my thrill when I received a reply from her in her spidery calligraphic handwriting on that old-style onionskin notepaper! It's one of my prized possessions hidden in a box somewhere so safely I can't remember where I've put it.

It brings back to mind the days of rollerskating outside the house, borrowing six library books in a day (the maximum back then) and going home to devour them through the night, skipping piano lessons to go skateboarding in the park (and finding $50 on the path - SCORE!), grazed knees, forced Korean language lessons on Saturdays and an endless supply of sweets from the cornerstore on the way to school in the mornings. Those blissful, innocent, childhood days.

I think everyone's got a Ramona - some book or movie or trigger that brings back all the memories of childhood. What's yours?

Ramona and Beezus trailer:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Plots that cycle without resolution

Posted by lea at 3:23 PM 0 comments Links to this post
I just finished re-reading Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (it's been a few years since my first read so I didn't remember the ending when I picked it up again), and it reminded me, for some reason, of the George Clooney movie Up in the Air.

I enjoyed both stories, and the characters and plot trajectories are similar insofar as the main protagonists are comfortable in the somewhat semi-detached rut of their lives, and then something comes along to disturb that equilibrium, and they suddenly realise there's so much they're missing out on in life. Their characters awaken to the possibilities of new relationships and then just as they're about to make the inevitable life-changing decision, the situations reverse on them and suddenly they're back to where they started, but just that little bit worse off because now they're aware of what they're missing out on.

Both storytellers (Paul Torday, author of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and Jason Reitman, writer and director of Up in the Air) do a great job of setting up the story and developing the characters, but it's such a shame that just as you're ready to see them off in the next phase of their journeys, there's a sudden stall and they go nowhere. It's disappointing because you enjoy the ride so far, and you want to see them make the leap, but through no fault of their own, the climax they've been building up to suddenly implodes. Then the story ends, and where does that leave us readers/viewers?

I know this is more true to life sometimes than we might want to admit, but that's why we watch movies. I want resolution. I want the baddie to be caught, the good guy freed, the stuck-in-a-rut hero to be liberated. I want character growth. I want a happy ending (if it's appropriate). I want a good story. Don't build my hopes only to dash them. I can't make head or tail then as to whether I really like the movie/book or not.

I'm not asking for a Cinderella resolution to every story, but I hate getting emotionally invested only to see that investment go nowhere. Do plots without resolution bother you? Or is it just me that wants the tidy finish?
 

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