At the end of August, as part of the Indy Block Party, I posted my Top 5 Books – in fact Top 6 as the Infinite Improbability Drive was playing up as usual. I had a feeling that another Blog was creeping up on me and here it is – Four more Top 5 or let’s stick with the Hitchhiking theme and go with Top 6 lists. Of course there is a common theme, if you notice.
Top 6 Movies: Should this be in order of favourite or chronological from when they were made or random? You tell me…
- A Matter of Life & Death or Stairway to Heaven in US (1946) – my favourite Powell & Pressburger movie.
- Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03) – the books reimagined and echoing the world I was transported to by the Professor back in 1970.
- Cinema Paradiso (1988) – a moving tribute and evocation of the magic of cinema in Italian.
- Shawshank Redemption (1994) – full of wonderful moments and brilliant acting from Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins.
- Pan’s Labyrinth (2206) – Guillermo de Toro’s Spanish language amazing and captivating fantasy set during the Spanish Civil War.
- Blade Runner (1982) – maybe not a sci-fi classic but there are classic scenes and lines, including the speech by Rutger Hauer’s character at the end.
Top 6 MMORPGS: As video gaming has now been around for 40 odd years, I am probably missing out the early classics that got me hooked. So these are the Top 6 from recent years – ones that I’ve got engrossed in and got characters to respectable levels. Currently I’m even taking a course linking two key areas in my life fiction and gaming – Online Games: Literature, New Media,and Narrative.
- Perfect World – this will always be No 1 as my elf archer asked a beautiful warrior if he could fly with her. And now we’re happily married in real life.
- LOTRO or Lord of the Rings Online – where I got to visit Middle Earth and meet Elrond. What more can I say but I keep going back.
- SWTOR or Star Wars: The Old Republic – set before the Star Wars movies but still a chance to wield a light-sabre and follow a narrative which you can change through your actions. Currently on the run….
- Age of Conan Unchained – based in Hyboria, the world created by Robert E Howard. Adult themes mean semi-naked characters, blood everywhere and challenging gameplay.
- Cabal – a fantasy world with unique armour and weapons. And great dance routines. Wished I had stayed longer.
- Runes of Magic – called by some a clone of the most popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft, but personally found it had better character creation and liked the dual class skill track using parallel areas. Great houses too.
Top 6 Music: this will be far-ranging as music has been around since our distant ancestors expressed themselves on a piece of wood or by singing. Not going back that far but far enough.
- Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin – one of the first operas that I ever saw (at Glyndebourne) and which moved me and still continues too. Wonderful arias.
- Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor – very personal as well as moving music. One of the classic recordings being by Jacqueline du Pre, who tragically suffered and died from multiple sclerosis.
- Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring – ballet music that evokes so many images from the primitive to those from Disney’s Fantasia.
- The Doors’ L.A Woman album – included the track Riders On The Storm which is my favourite Doors’ song as well as the name of my guild in LOTRO.
- Queen’s A Night at the Opera – favourite track is of course the classic Bohemian Rhapsody But there are other great hits on this album such as You’re My Best Friend and Love of My Life.
- Howard Shore’s Lord Of The Rings Symphony – last but not least has to be this symphony edited down from the soundtrack to the Peter Jackson movies. Full of familiar themes and leitmotifs that continue to send tingles up my spine. Essential element of movies that works on its own too.
Top 6 Poems: probably as old as music so the choice is extensive. I have to admit that my interest in poetry has lagged behind other art forms, but there are ones that stand out either individually or as collections.
- Thomas Babington Macaulay’s Horatius at the Bridge – a part of my education that still lives with me as it had such a fundamental effect.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner – another classic poem that caught my imagination while growing up. The words are so powerful and often lines come to mind like: Water, water, every where, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, every where,Nor any drop to drink.
- William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience – a collection of poems that I studied for English Literature and loved, especially as Blake even illustrated with richly illuminated plates.
- Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven – a poem with dark images and wonderful use of words. Another classic.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Ozymandias – far briefer than most of the other poems but in its few short lines as evocative and epic, stirring thoughts as endless as the sands.
- Beowulf – the longest and for many one of the greatest epic poems, but with no specific source for this Old English masterpiece. Yet so much derives from this amazing work including much of our great literature. I read it in English, not Old English, when I was 17 and it was and still is an emotional experience of unbelievable depth.
There is a notable absence of Lord of the Rings from the last list. An oversight, perhaps? I could have cheated and included one of the many verses that J.R.R Tolkien included in his great work, many of which are fine works of poetry. In fact there is a crucial poem at 6 – Beowulf. The Professor wrote an essay “Beowulf and the Critics” – which I have incorrectly in the past inserted the word monster in with Grendel in mind. I read the essay before I had even heard of Lord of the Rings, but it was the turning point, the beginning of my journey down an unbelievable road… a road which goes ever on.
Inspirational Links that might lead to more lists being created:
- Beowulf Close Reading (mybritlit.wordpress.com)
- To War – Reflections on Lord of the Rings Online (worldsofwordcraft.wordpress.com)