Philosophy Friday: Dirty Chocolate

You vote with your dollars: why grabbing that chocolate bar at the supermarket probably isn’t what you thought it was!

 

Midweek Music Moment: Joe Cocker

One of the most beautiful ballads to come out of the 1960s, ‘Something’ was written by George Harrison and released on The Beatles ‘Abbey Road’ album.

 

Released in 1969, ‘Abbey Road’ was the 11th studio album for The Beatles: it was also the last album in which all 4 Beatles participated.

 

A huge hit, the song has been recorded by over 150 artists including Elvis Presley, Shirley Bassey, Frank Sinatra, Eric Clapton, James Brown and Neil Diamond (to name just a few).

Although Harrison’s favourite version was James Brown’s, mine is Joe Cocker’s.

One of the greatest soul singers to come out of the UK, today’s Midweek Music Moment is Joe Cocker’s 1969 ‘Something’.

 

 

In 1969, Joe Cocker was 25 years old and his career was finally taking off after great success with his groundbreaking recording of the Beatles ‘A little help from my friends’.

1969 was a standout year for Cocker, as well as releasing his debut album (‘With a little help from my friends’) that same year, he was getting ready to perform at Woodstock and also release a second album (‘Joe Cocker!’) later that year.

Here’s his 1969 Woodstock performance of ‘With a little help from my friends’.

 

Movie Review: The Lost City of Z

‘The Lost City of Z’ is a 2016 adventure epic that follows one man’s lifelong quest to find a lost city in the Amazon.

It tells the true story of British soldier, Percy Fawcett (played with a stiff upperlip by Charlie Hunnam), who sets out in the early 1900s – 1920s to map and explore some of the wildest jungle on the planet.

 

The role of Percy Fawcett was originally slated for Brad Pitt, then Benedict Cumberbatch before finally resting with Hunnam. That’s Robert Pattinson on the left as his main surveyor, Henry Costin.

 

Sienna Miller is a stand out as Fawcett’s feisty, independent wife – who supports her husband to follow his dreams oftentimes at great cost to herself.

 

Written and Directed by James Gray (‘Little Odessa’, ‘We Own the Night’: but this is my first film of his), this stirring movie has underbelly themes of escaping your background and rising above overwhelming odds.

 

Directed with a steady, even-keeled approach, it takes a few minutes into the movie to become fully absorbed with what’s going on. But once I was in… I was hooked.

 

Visually superb, the super-lush cinematography (shot in 35mm) creates a magical, intoxicating environment – which has certainly further fuelled my longtime fascination with the Amazon.

With such powerful visuals, this is definitely a big screen film! (and still playing second run cinemas here in Calgary).

Check out the official trailer here:

 

Philosophy Vlog: Applying the 80/20 Rule

Understanding that most things in life are not distributed evenly and having realistic expectations!

 

Midweek Music Moment: Nils Frahm ‘Says’

Nils Frahm is a German pianist and composer known for his ambient combinations of classical and electronic music. (http://www.nilsfrahm.com)

 

Frahm’s work mixes a range of pianos (upright, grand), synthesisers (Moog, Roland) and drum machines – and he is known for his use of vintage equipment.

 

Although an avid collaborator, today’s Midweek Music Moment is this track, ‘Says’ from his 2013 solo album, ‘Spaces’.

It starts out gently and then slowly builds in intensity – so make sure you give it the whole 8 minutes to get the full effect.

 

 

If you would prefer something a little shorter and simpler (with stunning visuals), check out ‘Re’ from his 2012 album, ‘Screws’.

 

 

And lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention his latest 2016 album, ‘Solo’.

The album was recorded on the M370, the world’s largest piano, built by the visionary piano maker David Klavins in 1987.

 

Movie Review: Pelé: Birth of a Legend

‘Pelé: Birth of a Legend’ is a 2016 biopic about the early days of Brazilian soccer legend, Edson Arantes de Nascimento (aka Pelé).

 

That's Pelé in the middle (looking great for 75) with the two young actors that play him during the film.

That’s Pelé in the middle (looking great for 75!) with the two young actors that play him during the film.

 

Although somewhat predictable with it’s rags to riches storyline, nonetheless this film is a feel good movie with an uplifting theme of finding your voice and embracing who you are.

Chronicling Pelé’s slum childhood through to his 17 year old World Cup fame of 1958, Pelé unknowingly enters a class war when he shows up on the soccer scene with his local ‘ginga’ style – the opposite of ‘playing like the Europeans’ which the Brazilian team was under great pressure to conform to.

 

Pelé's famous 'bicycle kick'!

Pelé reminds his downtrodden Brazilian teammates of the strength of their ‘ginga’ style and wows the world with his now famous ‘bicycle kick’. 

 

Although a little Hollywood-ised (I would have preferred english subtitles and more era-culturally-appropriate music), this is an interesting and heart-felt film for those who enjoy soccer, biographies or even a peek into Brazilian life in the 1950s.

 

The childhood experiences with his friends in the slums were some of my favourite scenes.

The childhood experiences with his friends in the slums were some of my favourite scenes.

 

Available on Netflix and you can check out the official trailer here:

 

Midweek Music Moment: Cheb Khaled

While recently watching one of my top 5 science fiction films 1997’s ‘The Fifth Element’, I was reminded of this wonderful piece of music from popular Algerian singer, Cheb Khaled.

 

 

It’s used during the Korban Dallas (Bruce Willis) police chase taxi scene, ‘If they don’t chase you after a mile, they won’t chase you’.

 

Rai is a form of Algerian folk music from the 1920s that was traditionally sung by men, but these days females singers are quite common.

 

Khaled was the first rai singer to achieve international success and is often known as the 'King of Rai'.

Khaled was the first rai singer to achieve international success and is often known as the ‘King of Rai’.

 

Khaled’s most famous song is his 1993 hit ‘Didi’.

It swept through Arabic-speaking countries and also in several other continents, including Europe, where it entered top charts in France, Belgium and Spain, and in Asia, including India and Pakistan.

 

 

Movie Review: Logan

‘Logan’ is the latest in the X-Men franchise, and the last for a sombre and battle-weary Wolverine.

Gritty and extremely violent, this is the first X-Men to be rated R for it’s highly graphic and brutal violence – some of which is dished out by kids. (This is my only negative comment for the film).

 

Logan (2017) Hugh Jackman FRAMEGRAB FROM TRAILER

We meet Wolverine as a tired, heartbroken and haunted man. He doesn’t heal like he once did and cringes at his superhero fame.

 

Set in a distant future where most mutants are gone, Wolverine (in an outstanding performance by Hugh Jackman) is a broken superhero who suffers from nightmares, alcoholism and a constant simmering rage.

His days are spent hiding out along the Mexican border taking care of a dying and frequently incoherent, Professor X (played with great frailty and yet strength by Patrick Stewart).

 

Professor X is suffering from seizures so severe that they've had to conceal him inside a giant metal drum for protection - and everyone else's.

Professor X is suffering from seizures so severe that they’ve had to conceal him inside a giant metal drum for his protection – and everyone else’s.

 

Their lives in exile are turned upside down when child mutant, Laura (in a spectacular debut from Dafne Keen) comes on the scene.

 

Laura is both fierce and vulnerable. At times enacting a ferocious revenge on those who have harmed her, and at others wanting nothing more than a safe hand to hold.

Laura is both fierce and vulnerable. At times enacting a ferocious revenge on those who have harmed her, and at others wanting nothing more than a safe hand to hold.

 

Boldly directed by James Mangold (‘Wolverine’, ‘3:10 to Yuma’, ‘Copland’), Wolverine has lived an incredible character arc and ‘Logan’ is a game-changing example of how far you can really take a superhero character.

Let’s hope this leads the way for other superhero franchises!

Still playing cinemas and you can check out the official trailer here:

 

Philosophy Vlog: Praise & Blame

How I’m learning to roll with disapproval and not take it so seriously!

 

Midweek Music Moment: Bela Lugosi’s Dead

‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ is the debut 1979 single from English post-punk rock band Bauhaus.

Recorded in a single take, the track is over 9 minutes long and stayed on the British independent charts for over two years.

 

 

Widely recognised as the first gothic record, Bauhaus were known for their dark gloomy sound, although they also dabbled in psychedelic, reggae and glam rock.

 

bauhaus

Bauhaus consisted of Peter Murphy (vocals), Daniel Ash (guitar), Kevin Haskins (drums) and David J (bass). All of the members moved on to solo work after Bauhaus’ breakup in 1983.

 

Bauhaus reunited in 1998 for the ‘Resurrection’ tour and again in 2005, kicking it off with a performance at Coachella where Murphy was lowered to the stage upside down while singing ‘Bela Lugosi’s dead’.

 

 

In 2007, Bauhaus released their first new studio album since 1983 called ‘Go Way White’.

Although a fantastic come back album and very well-received by excited fans – one year later Bauhaus had broken up for good.

When asked what happened, Bassist, David J had this to say: “You have a test tube, and you pour in one chemical, and you pour in another chemical, and something happens. It starts to bubble. Pour in another chemical, and it starts to bubble a bit more. You pour in a fourth chemical, and it bubbles really violently, and then explodes. That’s my answer”.

I couldn’t chose just one track, so here’s the full ‘Go Away White’ album for you to check out – you can hear many of their original influences of Bowie, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Devo …. (to name a few)