Category Archives: Music

The Doctor Who Theme

I don’t know why, but I keep watching this video.

Okay, maybe I know why. Nostalgia. In the late 80s and early 90s, I watched Doctor Who on PBS Saturday nights. I started off with the Tom Baker episodes that featured Adric and K-9. It was low budget, but fun. I liked the Fourth Doctor. And then came Peter Davison, the Fifth Doctor. I liked him, too.

But the theme song. It’s unusual. And it’s interesting to see how it changed over the years.

If you watch (or watched) Doctor Who, what did you think of the theme? Let me know in the comments below.

Advertisements

David Bowie Was an Oddity

Today, David Bowie passed away after an eighteen month battle with cancer. It was completely unexpected. No one knew he was sick. He even released an album just a few days ago. I can’t say I was a fan of his, but he’s the kind of person that can affect or influence pretty much anyone in some way.

When I was a kid, and I saw him on TV, there was some kind of attraction to his showmanship. He was strange. He was an oddity. And the fact that many of his songs had something to do with space just made him even more of an attractive singer and musician. I loved space, and he was just one really weird person who kept appearing on TV. I may have only been around five, six, or seven years old, but whenever I was asked who my favourite singer was, I’d say David Bowie. Not because I liked his music, but because he was weird.

And now he is gone. Many people I know were taken by complete surprise. He had this image that was immortal. He wasn’t supposed to die. He’s supposed to live forever. Of course, that’s not possible, but he just gave off that feeling.

I thought this song of his was kind of appropriate for today.

Goodbye, Starman. You were a space oddity.

What Does the _____ Say?

It’s been a couple years since this went viral:

It doesn’t answer the question, does it? What does the fox actually say? And for that matter, what do some other animals say? Aren’t you curious about that? Let’s find out.

The fox:

Rabbits are pretty quiet, aren’t they? Just wait until you hear this:

How about a giraffe? Do they make a sound? This is interesting.

And what about river otters?

And porcupines?

Ever wonder what a wolverine sounds like?

How about a skunk?

And here are some raccoons.

And finally, from Japan, the tanuki, which is also known as the raccoon dog. It’s actually a type of wild dog.

And just for fun, dumb-sounding birds of North America.

What did you think? Any surprise you?

Life in Japan: J-pop

Every country has its own brand of music.  Japan has several of its own, including enka, Visual Kei, and of course, Japanese pop (or J-pop). This week’s question comes from Joanne Corey.

Do you follow any J-pop groups? My ethnomusicologist daughter is writing a master’s thesis on the fandom of AKB-48, so I know that these groups not only perform at concerts and put out recordings, but also have television series, do modeling, make ads, etc.

I’m not a big follower of pretty much any music, I’m afraid. However, on the topic of AKB48, they’re on TV, on advertisements, and pretty much everywhere individually or in groups. Their system is a strange one. They are idols. They are manufactured idols. They’re not well-paid at all. They make minimum wage from what I’ve heard. It’s only after they become popular and go on their own that they start making money.  However, the music industry in Japan is unlike the one in North America. Singers are company employees and have a lot of rules they have to follow. In AKB, they have extremely strict rules. Break one, and they’re punished, and they have to apologise. And like I said, they’re manufactured idols. Think of AKB as a factory. They take raw materials (unknown girls) and shape them into pretty much identical people without much talent. Honestly, they don’t have very strong singing abilities, but they can learn to sing, dance, and act. They’re still not considered very good talents when they finish with AKB and move on to something else. They are idols, and idols don’t need to be talented. Just have good looks and charisma.

As for the fandom, well, they’re a bit strange. Most fans of AKB48 are middle-aged men, most likely single. And they dance.  Crazily.  You cannot unsee it, so I won’t put a video of it here, but if you really, really want to, go to YouTube and search for “wotagei” or just “wota.” These are grown men dancing to music sung by teenage girls. Wildly. Scary. *shudder*

Anyway, I hope that gives you an interesting look into one part of J-pop fandom. There are normal fans, of course, but for groups like AKB48, they breed the lonely, awkward middle-aged male fan.

Have a question about life in Japan? Go here and ask in the comments.

Retired Canadian Astronaut Sings the Most Canadian Song

Former Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield’s brother Dave wrote a song titled “In Canada.”  It’s very Canadian. So very very Canadian. Chris and his brother played and sang the song, and Chris posted the music video to his YouTube channel.  Watch and listen.

Isn’t that incredibly Canadian?

I like Chris Hadfield. He was the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station, he’s done several EVAs, and has probably become the most popular Canadian astronaut (Marc Garneau was the first, though, and he became a Member of Parliament, as well as ran for Liberal Party leadership, and led the Canadian Space Agency, so he could arguably be the most well-known). Hadfield also wrote a couple books related to his astronaut career. I’d love to read both of them.

So, what did you think of the song?