Sunday, December 28, 2014

Buddha by Christmas

This year not a Christmas book but a book titled Buddhism by , oddly, a man called Christmas Humphreys.
Christmas Humphreys was a British barrister who prosecuted several controversial cases in the 1940s and 1950s, and later became a judge at the Central Criminal Court, more commonly known as "the Old Bailey".  He wrote a numerous works on Buddhism and founded what became the London Buddhist Society in 1924. His former home in St John's Wood, London, is now a Buddhist temple.  Humphreys was also president of the Shakespeare Fellowship, a position to which he was elected in 1955. The Fellowship advanced the theory that the plays generally attributed to Shakespeare were in fact the work of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.
"Christmas Humphreys was on the bench. Nice fellow, you must know him – a little bloke, wears a wig, you can see the join if you look closely." - Tony Hancock.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Marvin Sings

This months LP is not an LP but two singles: Marvin as well as The Double B Side.

Not to be confused with the Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy theme music (a condensed version of Journey Of The Sorcerer by The Eagles) the Marvin singles were produced by John Sinclair. John was a friend of Stephen Moore (The voice of Marvin in the radio and TV series). They worked together on the songs (Douglas Adams was credited but wasn't involve in the writing of the songs).

The first single, Marvin was released in June 1981 on Polydor Records and included Marvin and Metal Man. The single reached number 52 in the British charts. The second single called The Double B Side consisted of Reasons to be Miserable and Marvin I Love You. This second single wasn't as successful as the first one, and a third single (which included a Christmas song!) was recorded but never released.
For the Hitchhiker movie's soundtrack, a new version of Reasons to be Miserable was recorded by Stephen Fry (singing in the third-person).  In the Hitchhikers radio series Marvin sings a lullaby commonly known as How I Hate the Night or Marvin's Lullaby (not to b confused with Marvin's Lullaby from the TV series How I Met Your Mother).  The lullaby was published in the book Life, the Universe and Everything, in which it is described as "a short dolorous ditty of no tone, or indeed tune."
"Now the world has gone to bed
Darkness won't engulf my head
I can see by infra-red
How I hate the night

Now I lay me down to sleep
Try to count electric sheep
Sweet dream wishes you can keep
How I hate the night"

The line "try to count electric sheep" is a reference to Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which inspired the movie Blade Runner.  According to Don't Panic: The Official Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Companion, Douglas Adams wrote a guitar tune for the lullaby, and thought it should have been released.  I think I agree.  In the radio series, Stephen Moore sings the words to a tune resembling Abendsegen from Engelbert Humperdinck's opera Hansel and Gretel.

The British group Radiohead named their 1997 song Paranoid Android after Marvin.  The Spanish electronic music producer Daniel Canelo named his musical project The Happy Marvin Project also in reference to the character.  The German band Pastell used Marvin's lullaby as the basis for their song Marvin, a tribute to Marvin. As it happened, the first public playing of the song was just after Douglas Adams left the earth so the song seemed to take on somewhat of a new meaning.

Here's Pastells Marvin, a tribute to Marvin:

"Life. Don't talk to me about life."