Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

So, a very, very, very long time ago, there was this massive explosion. It’s just a cosmological theory, but it’s also been accepted as fact. Our universe was so incredibly hot and dense for a finite time, and it just exploded and expanded and it was bigger than anything ever, because it is everything and it’s always expanding and cooling…

…and it happened. How do we know? Because you’re sitting there, right there, right now, in your comfy chair, or on your couch, or perhaps laying in bed, or wherever or however you read your friendly neighborhood Counterforce. Well, or so we think. It sounds nice. Exploding into being, from essence to existence by way of KA-BOOM! That sounds good, right? But this thing, which we can call “Event One,” it happened, and because of it, the universe as we know it was created.

And then something happened. A serious of events that lead to the total and utter collapse of the universe and all reality. Well, they didn’t just collapse, but they began a severe process of collapsing. But the universe is big and vast and this took a little bit of time. How long? Well, roughly 2,000 years in theoretical time, but in subjective time, about 45 minutes or so.

And all of that happened, and then happened again in tonight’s season finale of Doctor Who’s fifth series, “The Big Bang.” Following last week’s ridiculously intense episode, the universe collapsed, or rather, began the process of collapsing until there was a second big bang, and everything was re-created again.

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The rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used.

YES BECAUSE HE NEVER DID A THING LIKE THAT BEFORE AS ASK TO get his breakfast in bed with a couple of eggs since the City arms hotel when he used to be pretending to be laid up with a sick voice doing his highness to make himself interesting to that old faggot Mrs Riordan that he thought he had a great leg of and she never left us a farthing all for masses for herself and her soul greatest miser ever was actually afraid to lay out 4d for her methylated spirit telling me all her ailments she had too much old chat in her about politics and earthquakes and the end of the world let us have a bit of fun first God help the world if all the women were her sort down on bathing-suits and lownecks of course nobody wanted her to wear…

Ulysses’ Homecoming by Honore Daumier, 1842.

Above is a scene from the 2004 film adaptation of Ulysses entitled  Bloom. It’s part one of Molly Bloom’s Soliloquy, wonderfully delivered by actress Angeline Ball.

You can find part two here.

And don’t forget Kate Bush’s “The Sensual World,” which is lyrically inspired by Molly Bloom (Bush wanted to use the soliloquy itself but was refused permission by the Joyce estate, so she altered it).

And the full text of Chapter 18 of Ulysses, “Penelope,” can be found here.

“I wish, for my own sake, that I had not read it… Joyce has single-handedly killed the 19th century.”

-T.S. Eliot, on reading Ulysses.

The sun shines for you he said the day we were lying among the rhododendrons on Howth head in the grey tweed suit and his straw hat the day I got him to propose to me yes first I gave him the bit of seedcake out of my mouth and it was leapyear like now yes 16 years ago my God after that long kiss I near lost my breath yes he said I was a flower of the mountain yes so we are flowers all a womans body yes that was one true thing he said in his life and the sun shines for you today yes that was why I liked him because I saw he understood or felt what a woman is and I knew I could always get round him and I gave him all the pleasure I could leading him on till he asked me to say yes and I wouldnt answer first only looked out over the sea and the sky I was thinking of so many things he didnt know…

“I was on the platform, my heart going like the locomotive, as the train from Dijon came slowly to a standstill and I saw the conductor getting off, holding a parcel and looking around for someone — me. In a few minutes, I was ringing the doorbell at the Joyces’ and handing them Copy No. 1 of Ulysses. It was February 2, 1922.”

Sylvia Beach, pictured up above with Joyce, standing in the doorway of her bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, in Paris. She was the publisher of Ulysses. (taken from this amazing site.)

That is Nora Barnacle up above, who was, and I love the way that Wikipedia words this, “the lover, companion, inspiration – and eventually – wife of author James Joyce.” An episode from her real life would inspire the epiphanic moment from “The Dead” and the date of her first romantic liason with Joyce – June 16, 1904 – would be forever immortalized in Ulysses as Bloomsday.

I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

from here.

Also from Wikipedia: “Joyce noted in a 1921 letter to Frank Budgen that ‘[t]he last word (human, all too human) is left to Penelope.’ The episode both begins and ends with ‘yes,’ a word that Joyce described as ‘the female word’ and that he said indicated ‘acquiescence and the end of all resistance.’


My Year In Lists, part one: Are we human or are we dancer?

Well, the year is even closer to an end than it was before, and since we’ve been threatening it for a while now, prepare thyself for…

THE Counterforce ULTRA SUPER MEGA BEST ALBUMS OF THE YEAR OF OUR BLOG 2008 OR THEREABOUTS LIST!

part one

Why would there be more than one part? Because while it’s been a kind of not quite fantastic year for music, there have some good albums this year, so we’ve decided to split this up a little. On Monday, we’ll give you the official Best Of The Best, but today, we break down for you, by category, some runners up…

(A much simpler way to sum it up would be… today we’re human. And next week? Dancer. I think.)(LG: Or Danza? )(MS: Hold me closer, Tony Dannzzaaaa!” Okay, sorry.)

Alright, enough bullshit. Let’s do this!

Best album to pretend you’re in a brooding French film about a sad love affair:

M83, Saturdays=Youth.

Lollipop Gomez: And not just any love affair. The saddest one. The film will have a bunch of long, one take shots of you walking down a corridor with a blank expression on your face, while you flash back to all the amazing sex you had, that you’ll never have again. And we’ll follow you into your apartment, where only your cat will greet you and you’ll sink into bed and listen to this album in the dark while staring at the ceiling, snorting a line of Xanax and falling asleep. Yes, I just described every single day of my life.

Marco Sparks: But in the 1980s. Hello, Molly Ringwald-ish girl on the cover!

Best album by an artist that I used to consider wack and probably should still:

Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III.

Marco: Others have have put the surprising effectiveness of Lil Wayne into verbal context much better, so I’m not even going to try. That’s just an invite to fall flat on one’s face. Instead, I’ll sum up this artist and this album on a very personal level: Lil Wayne is the Riki-Oh of the rap game!

LG: All I could ever hope to say about Lil Wayne is summed up beautifully in my favorite essay of the year, I Will Forever Remain Faithful by David Ramsey.  His amazing single “Lollipop” is definitely my favorite song of the year (why? because well… shorty wanna thug? bottles in the club). It’s also where I got my Counterforce nom de plume.

Best album to autotune your broken heart to:

Kanye West, 808s & Hearbreak.

LG: My brother has listened to this non stop for several days now, so I disagree on principal. But Kanye provided some of the best LOLs of the year with his blog. To wit, a quote from my favorite entry:

“I am  sick of negative  people who just sit around trying 2 plot my downfall… Why????  I understand if people don’t like me because I like me or if people think tight clothes look gay or people say I run my mouth to much,  But this Bonnaroo thing is the worst insult I’ve ever had in my life. This is the most offended I’ve ever been… this is the maddest I ever will be.  I’m typing so fucking hard I might break my fucking Mac book Air!!!!!!!!

Best sugar sweet Swedish import you can sing and dance along to with little to no shame:

Lykke Li, Youth Novels.

Marco: I think I’ll speak for Lollipop and myself here and put this simply and succinctly: Just listen to this album. And then you’ll feel it. And then you’ll know what all the people are talking about. And here’s Brittany Julious talking about just that.

Best album to do blow to in the bathroom of a hipster club while wearing dirty skinny jeans:

Crystal Castles, Crystal Castles.

LG: I love this shit. It is sweaty dancing in a bar with a plastic cup of gin and tonic in my hand, wailing my hair around. It’s waiting forever to use the bathroom at a stinky club and finally forcing the dudes fucking in there to get the hell out. It’s making out in the photobooth, fingerless Marc by Marc Jacobs striped gloves, drinking coffee on a walk of shame home at 5 am. It’s youth and energy and dark and all that entails.

Marco: When I first glanced at the above paragraph, the only words I saw were “finger” and “fucking” at first. But I could not agree more with Lollipop. This is (controversial) danceable video game music gone crazy and then it was used perfectly in an episode of Skins, which I loved. I know, I know. Shut up about Skins, already.

Best album that’s been called James Joycean in someone’s end of the year list:

Girl Talk, Feed The Animals.

LG: I guess we’re required to like this, huh? I like the mashup of the 90s hits. I personally have never forgotten Here Comes The Hotstepper. I’m glad to see someone else still remembers.

Best indie dance pop album with a touch of the shoegazery:

Friendly Fires, Friendly Fires.

Best album by a great rapper going electrotechnotastic:

Common, Universal Mind Control.

Marco: It missed it’s originally intended summer release date (and thus vacated it’s original title of Invincible Summer) because Common’s becoming a movie star, but this album still has some hot shit on it.

Best Canadian post-punk caterwaul dissonant soundscape album:

Women, Women.

Marco: For some reason, when people say to me, “Hey, this album sounds like the end of the world,” I really pay attention. Well, does this sound like the end? Maybe only just a little, but in a lovely, poppy sort of way. (I should probably make special honorable mentions for Chad VanGaalen’s album and the Azeda Booth album here, too.) This is their myspace page.

Best Stereolab album of the year:

Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, Stereolab, Chemical Chords.

Best album that I should mention here because I don’t see it mentioned anywhere else and that’s a shame, a real shame:

The Roots, Rising Down.

Marco: As with the last few albums by Jimmy Fallon’s upcoming Max Weinberg Seven, this is not a chill album, but it is a good album, and a tense one, dealing with the racism in the music industry, how fucked up the world is, and a fin de siècle vibe that’s been floating around for a while. The title comes from William T. Vollmann’s massive Rising Up And Rising Down: Some Thoughts On Violence, Freedom, And Urgent Means, and it’s fitting since The Roots have always been about the “urgent means” in our culture.

Best double header by the international tweexcore underground:

Los Campesinos, Hold On Now, Youngster… and We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed.

Marco: Oh, you crazy fun Welsh bastards. Congrats to you for not only putting on a super fun debut album, that’s intensely and immensely likable despite of or maybe because of it’s nuclear level pretentiousness, but then to follow it up with a high quality debut mere months later. Brilliant good fun.

Best Icelandic post-rock super folk party:

Sigur Rós, Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (which translates as With Buzzing In Our Ears We Play Endlessly).

Marco: I honestly don’t know what to say about this band that hasn’t been said before, but better. There’s no super epic “Glosoli” or “Staralfur” here, but maybe that’s because this album feels slightly more grounded, somewhat more intimate, and a tad skittish in a really fun way. Plus, any album that necessitates this perfect NSFW video is always aces in my book.

David Byrne & Brian Eno “Home” (mp3)

Friendly Fires “I’m Good, I’m Gone” (Lykke Li cover)(mp3)

Friendly Fires (ft. Au Revoir Simone) “Paris” (Aeroplane remix)(mp3)

Stereolab “Three Women” (mp3)

Women “Group Transport Hall” (mp3)

Azeda Booth “Ran” (mp3)

Music news: U2 announce the title of their new album (fucking finally), and Brian Eno is going to score Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones. Brian Eno is going to jump Peter Jackson’s not so lovely bones. There. I Said it. There’ll probably not be a second Postal Service album (any time soon), Andy Samberg talks about the upcoming album from The Lonely Island, and Sparks (the liquid cocaine) is dead, long live Marco Sparks?

The Onion AV Club‘s celebrity guest list of best albums of the year. Also, the AV Club talking about the most awesome-ist band names this year. Here’s a nice collection of end of the year lists for just about everything and Stephen King lists some 70s music and some sleaze rock in his top albums of the year, while calling Girl Talk just as dense as Ulysses, but you can dance to it (see above), and citing AC/DC, Buckcherry, and The Pretends as his top albums of the year. Wikipedia is nice enough to give you a rundown of music in 2008, and here’s This Recording‘s top 20 albums of the year, Rolling Stone‘s top 50, and, of course, Pitchfork’s top picks for individual best songs of the year and top 50 albums. All of these lists are decent attempts at being the definitive subject, but we’ll see you back here on Monday for the real deal, yes? Oh yes 🙂