List mania (NyQuil haze edition)
Sitting on the couch today alternating between working, reading, and sleeping in a haze of NyQuil (soon to add parenting to that list) and randomly came upon this blog entry. It basically plays the old desert island disc game, except narrowed to Radiohead. (I’d pick OK Computer, but hey, In Rainbows is an undeniably fantastic record.)
Now I’ll admit I love games/lists like this more than just about anybody. Top 5 this, desert island that, it’s all good. If nothing else it explains why I identified so much with Nicky Hornby’s High Fidelity since it’s basically a bunch of Top 5 lists surrounded by narrative as if by necessity. This one got me thinking though since it’s exceedingly narrow and specific. Not top 5 or 10, but only 1. If forced to choose, which album, book, movie, etc would you pick for the rest of your life?
The nature of the question sets up some criteria in that it has to be something timeless, something you’d be willing to re-watch/read/listen to for the rest of your life. So you’d need to be careful about falling under the spell of some recent, fleeting infatuation (I mean, I’m a huge fan of Robyn’s recent Body Talk records, but would I want one of those to be it for the rest of my life? I think not.) Anyway, here’s my picks for some random categories I came up with:
Album: Bob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks
By far the hardest choice. Ask me again in 5 minutes and I’d probably pick something different, but the worn grooves on my copy attest to the number of times I’ve listened to it. And I can definitely see taking it to the end times. Not a weak link on the entire record. Layered, mesmerizing at times, and eminently listenable.
Runners up: Radiohead – OK Computer, David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, The Clash – London Calling, Otis Redding – Otis Blue, The Rolling Stones – Exile on Mainstreet, The Beatles – Rubber Soul, Van Morrison – Astral Weeks, Big Star – 3, REM – Murmur, The Smiths – Hatful of Hallow
Movie: The Godfather I and II
Cheated a bit on this one, but for me these are one seamless work. The perfect blend of cast, story, and director. (III never happened, understand? NEVER HAPPENED)
Runners up: Honestly, didn’t really consider anything else, but it would be The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, North by Northwest, Bullit, Shaun of the Dead, Evil Dead II, Jaws
Book: Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
I’ve read this more times that I can count, and it makes me laugh out loud ever time. They always threaten to make it into a movie but it runs into problems every time somebody tries. It has to be divine intervention. Here’s hoping they never do.
Runners Up: Anything by Oscar Wilde, On the Road – Jack Kerouac, Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace, The Old Man and the Sea – Earnest Hemingway, Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
TV Show: The Simpsons
I picked sustained quality over contained brilliance here. Even if you ignore the last decade of development, you’re still left with well over a hundred episodes of genius. My taste for British comedies with 12-14 episode runs works against me here.
Runners up: Spaced, Fawlty Towers, The Office (UK), Seinfeld, MASH
So what would you pick? I swear I won’t judge you (publicly at least).