Mikel Ocean Azure

A SOUL IN SHADES OF BLUE.

FAVOURITES and WHY.

This page is to indulge my eclectic tastes and to give a glimpse into what I like and why, if I know why.

MUSIC FAVS - NOT RANKED

PINK FLOYD - "Wish You Were Here".
I know "Dark Side of The Moon" is considered the classic Floyd album and I like it, thought it was so cool the first time I heard it, back in the days of vinyl only.  I even got my Dad to listen to it once!  All the same, "Wish You Were Here" really hits the spot for me.  Partly it's the whole electronica thing.  I was listening to synth music back when it was all analogue and some of the first "hit" albums were things like synth interpretations of JSBach organ music.  Something about the textures and depth of synth sounds has always appealed to me.  The Floyd boys were inveterate tech junkies and creative with it,  Wish You Were Here is full of cool stuff and it all serves the overall theme of the album, nothing is there just for the hell of it. 

Some of my favourite lines are on that album, lines that make me say, "Yes!" every time I hear them.  From the title track..."And did you exchange a walk on part in the war for the lead-role in a cage?"  or from "Welcome To The Machine"..."Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.  What did you dream?  It's alright we told you what to dream."  Fundamental critique of the way society brings endless influences to bear to keep it's members functioning within narrow boundaries of thought and values.  Most of us happily exchange a small part in the war for feeling like the star of our own shallow show.


BILLY JOEL - "The Stranger".
Love this album, music and lyric.  I hadn't heard it for quite a few years, got lost from my collection, when I bought the cd and put it on, brought tears to my eyes, so good.  Some albums seem to reek of an artists origins.  The Stranger feels like snapshots of the neighbourhood Billy grew up.  Now I don't know if it is or not but it feels that way, it feels real.

LEONARD COHEN - "Ten New Songs".
I'm a johnny-come-lately to Leonard Cohen,   "Ten New Songs" was the first Cohen album I ever purchased.  One listen put that album straight into my top ten ever.  The wisdom, honesty and realistic hope that suffuses this album is wonderful, and rare.   Leonard shares the same spiritual tradions as me, Christianity, and he uses those symbols to touch deep things.  He does not say the Christian symbols ARE those things but for those who grew up in that tradition those symbols are our path to the deep things of life.  Not a weak track on this masterpiece.

LITTLE RIVER BAND - "Sleeper Catcher".
I remember hearing the title track from this album at it's tv premiere on the old Done Lane Show.  At the time I thought the song was weak but it was not a mere pop song, it's a real song and all these years later I'm still enjoying it.  Some killer tracks on this and I think the lyric content benefited from the internal debate going on in the band at the time as some of them were new Christians and others were not feeling too happy with the pressure this introduced into the relationships. 

More to come............

FAV TV SHOWS

TOP GEAR - UK
Jamie, the Hamster and Captain Slow, perfect chemistry, jokes that roll on from year to year, epic experiments with cars and other kinds of transport. 

Moments of truth like Hamster falling in love with Jeremy and moments of car lovers wonder like the indestructible Toyota Pickup or Sabine Schmitz  (German Driving Babe) hammering the Transit van around the Nurburgring in (almost) under ten minutes! 

A show with a great sense of fun and genuine affection obvious among the hosts.  Fantastic photography and production values, everything works brilliantly, a lot of thinking goes into all the details and this show deserves it's success. 

I'm a totally non-mechanical car lover, totally NOT a fast driver.  I'm old enough to have owned some cars that a bloke could work on himself without a degree in computer engineering.  Even fixed a master cylinder once!  Used to use lock-grip pliers to change gears whenever the gear lever came out.  But that unimpressive car pedigree doesn't stop me enjoying the idea of fast cars and the whole culture that emerges from that basic idea. 

I laugh watching Top Gear because it touches "childish delight" in me and because the timing of delivery and editing is superb.  Timing is everything.  Seeing actors and media personalities turn into would-be-racers in the bog standard car is another highlight.  Especially when supermodel Jodie Kidd turns in the fastest lap - a beautiful moment of the universe giving the finger to all the macho guys she trumped.

It is a totally impractical show, not about everyday cars at all.  It's about that sense of wonder, joy and fun that can be experienced in that mainstay of western modern civilization, the automobile.  Old cars that survive impossible trips across African countries.  New cars that achieve mind boggling speeds with equally astonishing panache.  Cars that look so good you wish you could marry one.  Cars that can be turned into boats with only a little work and imagination.  Blokes having fun without getting plastered and moments of stopping and looking at how beautiful the world thru which we drive often is.

Love it.



PICKET FENCES

Remember this show - 1992-1996.  Basically one long class in ethics.  Which is why I loved it.  Most episodes were one ethical dilemma turned into two different stories.  The genius was that in one story you would be "with" one set of characters and supporting one side of a dilemma and in the other story you would be in the same dilemma but usually supporting the OTHER side of the same issue.  Ha!  I suspect most of us most of the time didn't realise how the script writers were messing with us but it was SO smart I just loved it.  Seeing Lauren Holly every week didn't hurt either!


THE X FILES

The early years, I lost interest toward the end but in the early years I thought this was amazing tv.  The level of sophistication in the conception, direction, filming and editing was superb.  It was like seeing an hour long movie each week, top quality.  I saw the final (actual) movie and had to admit I was content with the final implication that Scully and Mulder had a future together, maybe even a mostly happy future.


CSI

The original and the best.   Wonderfully understated characters.  An ensemble anchored by the taciturn Grissom (William Petersen) and Catherine Willows (The distractingly fine Marg Helgenberger) for most of it's seasons.  While the subject matter is often gruesome, hard to do a show about forensics without it being gruesome, the characters are written with love and respect and the wit in the writing is consistent and subtle.  It's kind of genius really, the context is all the fast glitz of Vegas but the characters and the story telling are deliberately laid back and restrained.

DR WHO

Which one you ask?  My first Doctor was Jon Pertwee and my second was Tom Baker, my interest fell away then until the recent re-invigoration of that universe with Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant playing the Dr from 2005.  I have a long love affair with SF and when I was a kid there was only two SF shows on tv - Dr Who and Star Trek.  Loved them both.  The freedom that SF gives is that you can tell any story you want, any way you want and the Dr certainly takes advantage of that freedom. 

The title music to the Dr is also important, well, important to me.  It is probably the first title track to a tv show that was entirely electronically created and it has stood the test of time, being ably reworked for the newest series' with great success.  As I sit here writing it occurs to me that the title track to Dr Who might have been the very first electronic music I ever heard.  If it was, it birthed a long indulgence in this stream of modern music for me.

Two companions stand out.  Leela, (Louise Jameson) who just happened to enter the show when I was a teenager.  How could a strong, smart, beautiful brunette in leather NOT make an impact on me!  She was only in the show for two years but she's imprinted on my memory, that's for sure.  Rose (Billie Piper) is the other standout companion, the one that most danced around the whole issue of companions becoming love interests for the Dr.  Have to say, Rose strikes me as the quintessential English Beauty, very much the pale skin and rosy cheeks, right on the border line between girl-next-door and oh-my-god-she's-a-goddess.