Tuesday, May 10, 2005

stories worth a thousand words #14

A WARTS ‘N ALL AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN ORDINARY GUY

1000 WORDS ON…MY INSPIRATIONS
Written : December 11, 2004

“What’s you’re favourite movie?”
“What music do you like?”
“What football team do you support?”

While I have no doubt there have been far more loaded questions asked in the history of the human race, these have always made me feel immense pressure over the years. With that I always seem to have several different answers for each one, and give one or two examples based on the person asking the question.

Now, at the age of 35, I feel I am finally beginning to come to terms with the fact that taste is definitely in the opinion of the beholder. Since there seems to be even a cool way to spell the word “cool”, ie k-e-w-l, I see now that it’s pointless to feel ashamed about your likes and dislikes, and I’m now finding myself able to cock a deaf ear to all those who sneer at my assorted responses.

Here’s a sample of my favourite things down the years, and I will divide them as evenly as I can into the categories of music, movies, comedy, sport, and literature.

MUSIC
Collecting albums became quite a hobby of mine over the years. I never took to vinyl, and amassed about 600 cassette tapes before I finally gave in to the lure of the compact disc. Easily my favourite band of all time was The Police, and their best song in my opinion was actually never a single; it was “Bring On The Night” from the album “Regatta de Blanc”. I found the combination of the hypnotic guitar riff, Sting’s distinctive voice and the apocalypitc lyrics irresistable, and I used to lie in the dark with my walkman and listen to it over and over. After them I suppose I would have to cite U2 as second best for their consistency and endurance. Honourable mentions should also go to REM, Genesis, The Counting Crows, Billy Joel (mostly for his lyrics), Oasis, INXS, Stereophonics and The Cure among several others.

MOVIES
The first film I remember vividly was Star Wars, the original one, which is now known as “Star Wars IV-A New Hope”. It was back in the days when the only cinemas were downtown, and you would have to get there early to survive the queues which often tailed way down the street. I was obviously hooked on all the sequels and prequels that followed, and the series will finally conclude with the release of Episode III next May.

Teenage flicks that I identified with growing up included “The Breakfast Club” and “Ferris Beuller’s Day Off”. Then came a gap of over a decade when I was going out with Ruth – we did go to movies but not regularly and renting them wasn’t anywhere near as common as it is now. In the past few years I’ve been able to catch up, with “Seven”, “LA Confidential”, “The Matrix”, “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy” being among my favourites.

COMEDY
My favorite types of humour include…

(1) The “oh isn’t that clever” genre,
(2) The “summarize a genre and attach it to the word genre” genre,
(3) The “be ironic about the last example” genre,
(4) The “do the same thing again only using different words” genre, and last but certainly not least,
(5) The “know when to stop” genre.

Monday night, 9pm, BBC2. As a teenager that was the prime slot for cutting edge British satirical comedy. Every Tuesday morning I would look forward to going into school and reliving what had gone on the night before with my classmates. “Not The Nine O’Clock News” and “The Young Ones” were probably my favourites. The first standup comedian I liked was an American guy who lived in Britain called Kelly Monteith. He introduced me to the whole “Don’t you just hate it when…” style of comedy. Other favourite routines include Robin Willams’ “Live At The Met” and Billy Connolly “Wreck On Tour”.

I didn’t discover Monty Python until I started dating MyX, as her friends were fans of them and their zany quotes. “The Life Of Brian” remains a comedy masterpiece in my opinion. Nowadays I have “Little Britain” to satisfy my comical desires, and mentions too have to go to “Fawlty Towers”, “Blackadder”, “Father Ted”, “The Office”, “Friends” and “Have I Got News For You”.

SPORT
Glenn Hoddle was my favourite soccer player growing up. He had the ability to play the game in such a way that no coach could ever teach him. All he needed was a split second to look up when the ball reached his feet and he could place a precision pass whether it be on the ground or in the air, somehow managing to work out all the angles in the blink of an eye. Spurs have had a few heroes since in the forms of Paul Gascoigne, Jurgen Kilnsmann and David Ginola, but none have come close to Hoddle’s genius.

There are two reasons I understand the rules of cricket; the first being my summer of bronchitis when aged about twelve, the second being Ian Botham. All the other cricketers played with the stiff upper lip that is synonomous with the sport; Botham went out and took on everyone that faced him, and got the desired result in the most part.

As for American ball players, I guess I can point to Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Rickey Henderson, Dennis Eckersley, Mark McGwire and Chris Mullin.

LITERATURE
It’s ironic, is it not, for an aspiring writer not to have many literary greats included in his chapter on inspirations before now??? I guess I liked all the usual suspects like Animal Farm and Catcher in the Rye which were on the school cirriculum, but outside class I never had the attention span to stay glued to a book, with the possible exception of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13¾ by Sue Townsend. That would always have me in stitches, mostly because I was around that age when it came out.

© JL Pagano 2004

NEXT, #15 : 1000 WORDS ON…TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR FC

1 comment:

sex scenes at starbucks said...

we like much of the same music and many other popular culture icons.

based on your favorites, I'd make some suggestions:

Movie: Shawn of the Dead-- a British farce of Dawn of the Dead and it's brilliant stuff. And there's the popular indi film: Napolean Dynamite. A glimpse into teenage americana.

Album: Green Day's American Idiot. Best album in a decade, hands down, and it's a rock opera about the state of the US today. (I know you can't care about that, but the tunes rock.)

The book I'm suggesting all the time now is Feed, written by a Brit named MT Anderson. I'm also reading another kids' book (translate fairly easy reading but not in a condescending way): Children of the Lamp. Dunno who wrote it and I'm too lazy to go upstairs to get it. Young adult lit is where it's at lately.
And of course my books... whenever the damn things get bought. Feel free to check out the lame website
http://taming-the-tiger.tripod.com
It's adult stuff.

In order to join the international soccer star name dropping rag (and maybe you haven't heard of him anyway but he's all I got) I live across the street from Marcello Balboa. Apparently he's famous or something, played some world cups and in American soccer. He and my husband go jeepin' together. Nice guy and totally H.O.T.