Tra-la-la-lally: Songs of the Week

Oddly enough for me, this week hasn’t been much of a musical one, probably to do with being more preoccupied with my writing than anything else.  There were a couple of songs which I hummed a refrain or two from repeatedly this week, so I suppose those will technically do for this week’s posts, but in terms of recreational music, it’s been an unusually dry week for me.

1 – Gaston – Beauty and the Beast (2017)

I love the songs in Beauty and the Beast, and this particular one is always so delightful to sing.  I like both the 1997 and the 2017 versions of this song, I just put down the 2017 version because Josh Gad and Luke Evans led this song fantastically, and it’s so much fun imitating Josh Gad’s Lefou and Luke Evan’s Gaston.  They really did the song (and their roles) justice.

2 – Piano Man – Billy Joel

My parents recently bought a Billy Joel CD, so I’ve been hearing quite a bit of him this week, and this song stuck out to me as a piano player, even though I’m not after a performance certificate.  ‘Sing us a song, you’re the piano man’ is a line I can definitely relate to – though people don’t ask me to sing, learning that I’m a piano player often leads to people asking me to play them a song(s).  If I had a penny for every time someone asked me if I knew Fur Elise…

3 – Uptown Girl – Billy Joel

Another Billy Joel classic that I like, mostly for its arching melodies, upbeat rhythm, and fond memories of anthropology class.   That was a fun class, talking about social stratification in music and popular culture.  The music video’s also pretty retro too.

And that’s three!  This has not been my most musical of weeks, but I suppose not every week can be a musical bonanza.  As usual, all these songs can be found on good old YouTube, if you want to check them out.  See you next week, when hopefully I’ll have had a more melodious time!

May the Fourth be with you!

Happy Star Wars day!

I’ve loved Star Wars for a long time.  I remember watching old reruns of The Empire Strikes Back on television when I was a little kid and being fascinated with the carbonite scene and the lightsaber duel between Vader and Luke.  Strangely enough, I only ever caught the same last twenty minutes or so of that one movie and it wasn’t until years later that I finally watched A New Hope and all the rest of the films.  Even then, my real delve into the Star Wars universe came during the summer before Grade 7.  I found one of those old Star Wars pocket novels in a thrift store right at the start of summer, gave it a read, and then spent the entire summer reading every Star Wars book I could get my hands on and becoming immersed in the lore.  That was really the start of things for me, and I recall quite clearly, for the first few months of Grade 7, going to school every day with a Padawan braid tucked behind my ear.

Over the years, I’ve dipped into and out of the Star Wars fandom, sometimes preoccupied with other fandoms, sometimes completely immersed once more because of a new novel or fic that I would come across.  My interest was awoken once more when The Force Awakens came out.  The Vice President of my school’s student council was an enormous fan, so for that year’s school Christmas movie, he convinced the staff to rent a private theatre to watch The Force Awakens on opening day.  It was an amazing experience and a fantastic movie (my personal favourite of the SW films), and it reignited my fascination with all things Star Wars.

I have been in a particularly Star Wars mood lately, thanks to Rogue One (another great movie that I loved) and some really fantastic Star Wars fic authors on AO3.  I’ve pretty much spent the past month trawling the Obi-Wan tag on AO3 (favourite still-considered-canonical character!) and I’ve been inspired to write my own fic for the fandom.  I had hoped to get something done for today, but there just wasn’t enough time for the long fics I like to aim for, and I’d rather do a slow and thorough job than a rushed, half-edited piece.  Nevertheless, I thought I’d give a little preview of a character study type thing for Rey that I’ve been tapping out over the past few days 🙂


(As yet unnamed character study fic)

Master Skywalker takes one last look around, at the mountain and the sea and the gulls flying in the sky above, and turns back to her and R2 with a steely look in his weary eyes.

“Then I am ready,”

(He does indeed seem to be ready for the resounding slap that the General delivers upon his stepping out of the Falcon, and accepts both it and the following bone-crushing hug with resigned fondness.  He seems less ready for C-3P0 bustling up and treating him to a long diatribe on every piece of news he’s missed during his exile, but as R2 whistles gleefully, he could do with a thorough update by a knowledgeable being on the current situation)

(She concludes that anyone who says droids aren’t thinking, feeling, sentient beings has sand for brains)


And that’s the sneak peek of a fic I hope to have done in the next week or two!  I’ve also got several far longer AU fics in the works that I won’t go into too much detail about since they’re still in the development phase.  But I do hope to get more involved in the Star Wars community – leave me a comment about predictions for The Last Jedi, characters and scenes you love, general fan things!  I’d love to chat more 😀

May the Force be with you!

Tra-la-la-lally: Songs of the Week

I’m an avid music lover, and I often like to say that there’s a perpetual soundtrack playing in my head.  Usually it’s an eclectic mixture of genres, from movie soundtracks to classical music, pop songs to hymns.  Sometimes they’re connected by a theme or singer, sometimes it’s whatever pops into my head and sticks there.  This past month, the songs that have been stuck in my head all have to do with movie soundtracks, and I thought I’d share some of my favourites here.

1 – Be Our Guest – Beauty and the Beast (2017)

I watched the live-action Beauty and the Beast a little while back, and there were many things I loved about it, not least of which was the Be Our Guest scene, which was also my favourite scene from the animated version and which did not disappoint in the live-action.  The song itself is one of my favourite Disney songs, and I was on the edge of my seat as it played in the theatre.  Ewan McGregor and the other cast members did a great job on it, and I’ve been re-listening to it every day since I watched the movie over a month ago.  Fantastic song, fantastic performances 🙂

2 – We Know the Way – Moana (2016)

I finally watched Moana a couple weeks back, and wow, what an amazing movie!  Definitely one of the best movies Disney has ever made, in my opinion, and the music is beautiful.  One of the songs I really loved was We Know the Way, which was sung in the scene where Moana discovers her people’s heritage as voyagers, and the music just captivated me.

3 – I am Moana (Song of the Ancestors) – Moana (2016)

Another Moana song that I really loved.  It was a very beautiful scene that was well done, and I loved Auli’i Cravalho’s performance.  Myself, I see it as a song of confidence, of becoming sure of who you are and where you come from and where you’re going, and the way that it’s sung perfectly encapsulates the journey to and moment of discovery of who she is.  The composition and music is lovely, and the performance makes it perfect.

4 – Know Who You Are  – Moana (2016)

Yet another Moana song that really touched me when I heard it.  It’s very short, but it just perfectly captures the themes of the movie, and it’s a wonderful contrast to the climactic scene, very calm and soft in the middle of the action and drama.  The lyrics are simple but poignant, and once again, Auli’i Cravalho gives a stunning performance.

5 – Elephant Love Medley – Moulin Rouge (2001)

I haven’t watched Moulin Rouge yet, but I’ve heard good things about Ewan McGregor’s singing and so I thought I’d check out the soundtrack for this movie, and wow.  He and Nicole Kidman make a beautiful duet, and the medley is very nicely put together.  It’s a more recent addition to my internal soundtrack, but I’ve been singing bits of it constantly over the past week or so and I thought it warranted a mention.

And that’s my playlist for the month week!  It can probably be summed up as Moana, and Ewan McGregor damn that man can sing.  If you want to have a listen to these songs, they’re all readily available on YouTube.  Next week (probably) I’ll be back with more Songs of the Week, so until then, au revoir and good listening!

Another Adventure

Hello all!

Strangers from distant lands, friends of old, welcome!  This is AJ, formerly of thevalleyisjolly.tumblr.com.  I’m going to be on this blog for the foreseeable future thanks to some irreconcilable differences with the ol’ tumblr website, which is a little disappointing given the great experiences I’ve had there in the past and the fantastic people I’ve met, but c’est la vie.

This blog is going to be pretty different from my previous one, not just because WordPress functions differently, but I also want to take this is a more quasi-serious direction.  In terms of what that’s going to look like, it means a lot less reblogs and instead more original content posts.  Those will probably be longer and more thought out, so that means content such as writing updates, in-depth meta discussions of things I like, personal musings, and the like.  Posts will be more sporadic, given their length, but who knows how things will turn out?

I’m excited to see where this blog goes, it’s going to be quite different from what I’ve done in the past but I’m hopeful that it’ll be a good change, a new experience to get into.  Whether you’re an old friend or new, I hope you’ll enjoy this rather unexpected adventure too.  See you on the Road, friend!

AJ