Monday, June 20, 2005

The Weekly, Volume Six

The Man and His Music (Sam Cooke)
Sometime within the last little while CBC Radio's "Finkleman's 45s" finished (will be finishing?) its 20-year run. When interviewed on "Sounds Like Canada," old Danny-boy said he hated almost all music recorded after 1965. Of course we don't agree with that sentiment, but there's no getting around the fact that the classic pop sound that Finkleman prefers does remain really quite good -- especially in the bright, sunny days of summer. Though Sam Cooke probably doesn't fit within Finkleman's precise pop archetype, he sure did sing a sweet tune, and this best-of collection is a perfect record of the soul crooner's (sadly, too short) career. Choice tracks include "Touch the Hem of His Garment," the ode to high school "What a Wonderful World," and the wonderful duet with Lou Rawls "Bring It On Home to Me."

Samurai Champloo (Shinichiro Watanabe)
From the creator/director of Cowboy Bebop (one of the best television series I've ever watched, in any format or language), Samurai Champloo isn't quite as compelling as its predecesor, but what it lacks in storytelling it makes up in sly humour, slick animation and plain old fun. The 26-part series documents three wandering misfits in feudal Japan and their various travails along the path to finding the mysterious "samurai who smells like sunflowers." Very tongue-in-cheek and loaded with really odd anachronisms (as well as some truly dubious attempts at a hip-hop soundtrack), but worth a peak nonetheless.

The History of the Siege of Lisbon (Jose Saramago)
I'm only 60 pages into this 1989 novel (English translation c.1996) from the Nobel Prize-winning Portugeuse writer, but any book that spends two pages espousing the simple virtues of toast is probably good enough to recommend ;-)

As always, cliquez-vous for more after the jump


Blogger bertmos said...

mugen was too much like spike for my taste. while i secretly did want champloo to be identical to bebop, i was hoping it wouldn't try to cash in on its predecessors fame.
if i knew more about japanese/american history i might have enjoyed the 'inside' jokes a bit more. but i still got a kick out of the baseball episode.
and i just remembered the ex-pat dutch guy speaking japanese. the accent was hilarious.

6/21/2005 5:37 p.m.  
Blogger Punk is Dead said...

Bertmos, I agree with everything you wrote. Once again you have demonstrated that you are indeed wise beyond your years, or some such nonsense.

Another (relatively small) gripe I had with the show is that there were a number of really interesting secondary characters, who appeared in a particular episode, only to disappear and never show up again. I think the program would have benefitted from a recurring secondary character along similar lines as Vicious in "Cowboy Bebop" (to use an easy/lazy example), or even that moustachioed cop that occassionally gave information to Jet.

6/22/2005 1:34 p.m.  

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