The Book (and Band) Meme
Russell Degnan

Having had my bluff called by James with respect to the infernal book meme, which he had modified into an infernal musical version, I shall, reluctantly, do both. There is never a bad time to dissuade people from their misplaced notions of your cultured nature.

1. One book you have read than once

I try not to do this anymore, except dipping in to the odd favourite. I return regularly to The Origins of Knowledge and Imagination by Jacob Bronowski, mostly because I imbibe but don't apply its message.

On fiction, excluding Asterix books, the book I have read the most, by some margin, is Guardians of the West by David Eddings. Sad, but true.

2. One book you would want on a desert island

The suitcase from Joe versus the Volcano comes to mind, so perhaps a complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica, or for light reading, the still not entirely published, complete set of Peanuts comics. Alternatively anything by Dan Brown, so if it became necessary to use it to start a fire I could do so without remorse.

Otherwise, Tolstoy's War and Peace since I skipped his historical essays last time and it deserves a repeat.

3. One book that made you laugh

All books need to make me laugh, else I can't be bothered reading them. No Booker nominees for me then. Rain Men by Marcus Berkmann made me laugh the hardest, but you probably need to be a cricket player to know why.

4. One book that made you cry

Um... I've only read something and cried twice. Neither were books.

5. One book I wish I had written

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome. A brilliant mix of comedy and geography and history. Exactly what all my travel posts are like before I start typing.

Also, A History of Venice by John Julius Norwich. A book so infused with a love of its topic it reads like a tragedy when the Republic falls.

6. One book I wish had never existed

I'm not opposed to recording any thought, no matter how obnoxious. However I will nominate The Princess Bride by William Goldman. It is merely a leech attaching itself to film's better lines, with nothing worthwhile to add.

7. One book I am currently reading

For the longest time now, The Aesthetics of Music by Roger Scroton. An extremely interesting book expressed in the most excrutiatingly tedious and pretentious manner.

8. One book I have been meaning to read

Too many to count, but perhaps near the top: The Fortunes of Richard Mahoney by Henry Handel Richardson, a book about Melbourne that I've yet to find justification for reading in the context of my other Melbourne history readings.

9. One book that changed my life

No fiction to speak of, that I can recall. But The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs for reasons already mentioned.

1. One band you have seen more than once

Not being a big attendee of concerts, I'm lucky to have seen any band once. I've seen Angie Hart/Splendid several times though; and Erica and co.

2. One band you would want on a desert island

A band, or just an album? If the former, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. The latter, implying repeated, endless listens is more interesting. Despite the potential for wallowing in depression for several months, and notwithstanding recent comments I made that OK Computer is better, I can listen to The Bends by Radiohead forever.

3. One band that made you laugh

Humour is under-rated in bands. TISM are the undisputed kings.

4. One band that made you cry

The last tune I recall crying to is Ralph Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis, and not just because it seems to finish on an unresolved chord.

5. One song I wish I had written

Since I believe music should reflect the artist, I am not sure I can think of anything that I'd really claim. Once, however, when I was extremely stressed out I dreamt about a bagpipe symphony. I wish I had written it down, it was pretty awesome.

6. One band I wish had never existed

Band Aid. The super-group that launched the idea of largely self-serving charity songs for otherwise worthwhile causes. If the artists involved released some half-decent music under their own name and donated from that, they'd have not ony raised more cash, but we wouldn't have had to put up with either their endless self-congratulatory preening or their half-baked political ideas. Admittedly Do They Know Its Christmas? is an alright song, if mildly insulting to Ethiopia's minority muslim poplation. We Are the World however, was extraordinarily annoying.

7. One band I am currently listening to

People will find this odd, given my predilection for not listening to lyrics, but I have been listening to Leonard Cohen of late.

8. One band I have been meaning to see

All and none. I'd really like to see Modern Giant if they come to Melbourne. They could be entertaining.

I've also been trying to find Regina Spektor's stuff without any particular success.

9. One band that changed my life

Growing up in country areas, radio was limited to some truly appalling stations, from which I derived much of my love for extremely bad music. Brit-pop, and specifically, Blur, Oasis changed that. Against my better judgement, I've been getting progressively less mainstream since.

10. Now tag 5 people

All seems terribly rude, but perhaps I can convince certain people to update their blogs by nominating Erica, Alex, Ben, Freya and for variety, Bridgegirl.

Finer Things 1st September, 2006 21:46:47   [#] 


The Book (and Band) Meme
Thanks for living up to the bargain, Russ.
These things can be pretty insightful. I used to think you were a pretty intelligent guy but Peanut comics!? I'll never look at you the same way again.
James  2nd September, 2006 19:57:08  

The Book (and Band) Meme
You're welcome James.

In defense of my Peanuts selection, the early works from the 1950s until the 1970s are full of interesting cultural and philsophical points, using each member of an interesting cast. It was only later, that the tired, Snoopy-driven joke recycling became the norm, albeit one that persisted for another three decades. You'll note that the re-runs on United Media focus almost exclusively on this early period. Plus, 50 volumes would make a fine raft, or hut.
Russ  3rd September, 2006 03:25:00  

The Book (and Band) Meme
Ooh, ooh, ooh, I finally got tagged for a meme! It's never happened to me before, and I was beginning to think it never would.

...I mean, not that I care, or anything. It's not like I need other people to validate my sense of self-worth. Not at all.

Alex  9th September, 2006 19:22:50  

The Book (and Band) Meme
Naturally Alex, being part of that small minority that is too cool to blog, but not cool enough not to do it, you need neither receive nor respond to memes.

But you are most welcome anyway.
Russ  14th September, 2006 00:09:59