El Refugio

A place on the web for escapism.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Alan Parsons Project

I was going to post about Alan Parsons Project on my page, Mythos, Biblios and Videos, but adding sufficient references pointed the way to a page of its own. This is by no means exhaustive, as it points mostly to the works of Edgar Allan Poe, as interpreted by the Allan Parsons Project on Tales of Mystery and Imagination. I've also referenced two other albums, Eye in the Sky, and I Robot. The latter references Isaac Asimov's early Sci-Fi classic, also titled I, Robot. Visit for more info about the late great Sci-Fi author/science popularist.

Read about this album on Wikipedia

  1. "A Dream Within A Dream" [instrumental] – 4:14
  2. "The Raven" – 3:57 (ft. Leonard Whiting on lead vocals, Alan Parsons lead vocal through an EMI vocoder)
  3. "The Tell-Tale Heart" – 4:38 (ft. Arthur Brown)
  4. "The Cask of Amontillado" – 4:33 (ft. John Miles)
  5. "(The System Of) Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether" – 4:20 (ft. John Miles and Jack Harris)
  6. "The Fall of the House of Usher" [instrumental] - 16:10

    1. "Prelude" – 7:02
    2. "Arrival" – 2:39
    3. "Intermezzo" – 1:00
    4. "Pavane" – 4:36
    5. "Fall" – 0:51
  7. "To One in Paradise" – 4:46 (ft. Terry Sylvester on lead vocals, backing vocals by Eric Woolfson)
Orson Welles' narration appears on the 1987 Remix only, at the beginning of "A Dream Within a Dream" and "Prelude".

2007 Deluxe Edition
Disc 1: Tracks 1-11 - Original Album Tracks
  1. "The Raven" (original demo)
  2. "Edgar" (demo of an unreleased track)
  3. "Orson Welles Radio Spot"
  4. "Interview with Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson" (1976)
Disc 2: Tracks 1-11, Original Album in 1987 Remix
  1. "Eric's Guide Vocal Medley"
  2. "Orson Welles Dialogue"
  3. "Sea Lions in the Departure Lounge" (sound effects and experiments)
  4. "GBH Mix" (unreleased experiments)
I Robot (1977)
  1. "I Robot" (instrumental) – 6:02
  2. "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You" (lead vocal: Lenny Zakatek) – 3:22
  3. "Some Other Time" (lead vocals: Peter Straker & Jaki Whitren) – 4:06
  4. "Breakdown" (lead vocal: Allan Clarke) – 3:50
  5. "Don't Let It Show" (lead vocal: Dave Townsend) – 4:24
  6. "The Voice" (lead vocal: Steve Harley) – 5:24
  7. "Nucleus" (instrumental) – 3:31
  8. "Day After Day (The Show Must Go On)" (lead vocal: Jack Harris) – 3:49
  9. "Total Eclipse" (instrumental) – 3:09
  10. "Genesis Ch.1 v.32" (instrumental) – 3:28
I Robot was remastered and reissued in 2007 with the following bonus tracks:
  1. "Boules" (I Robot experiment) – 1:59
  2. "Breakdown" (early demo of backing riff) – 2:09
  3. "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You" (backing track rough mix) – 3:28
  4. "Day After Day" (early stage rough mix) – 3:40
  5. "The Naked Robot" – 10:19

Read the Wikipedia article about Eye in the Sky (album) or the article about Eye in the Sky (song)

Edgar Allan Poe
January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849

Alan Parsons (20 December 1948)

Eric Norman Woolfson
(18 March 1945 – 2 December 2009) 

Parsons Knows: The Tale of Alan Parsons and Edgar Allan Poe
by: Harry Doherty, Originally published in Melody Maker, 10 July 1976
Read the article here.

The History of The Alan Parsons Project

Alan Parsons Official Website
Eric Woolfson Official Website
Alan Parsons Wikipedia Page
Eric Woolfson Wikipedia Page
Alan Parsons Project Wikipedia Page
Alan Parsons/Eric Woolfson Photo

Friday, March 26, 2010

Rever -- To Sleep, Perchance To Dream

"To sleep, perchance to dream--
ay, there's the rub."
Hamlet (III: i:65-68)
Nevermind insomnia, dreaming attacks my mind when I do succumb to sleep, and rest is a faraway thought. Do you dream in color? Me too. I dream songs too, and you surface aurally in my subconscious, floating on waves of melody.  Watch Nova's take on dreams, What Are Dreams? (Season 37, Ep. 7).

Here's my dream mix, Rever:

  1. Dream Lover, Big Star, Third/Sister Lovers
  2. In My Book of Dreams, Suzanne Vega, Days of Open Hand 
  3. Dreaming, Smashing Pumpkins, Bullet with Butterfly Wings
  4. Dreaming I Am, Bob Mould
  5. Sparky's Dream, Teenage Fanclub, Howdy!
  6. Dream All Day, Posies, Frosting On The Beater
  7. Sleep to Dream Her, Dave Matthews Band, Everyday
  8. She Comes to Me in Dreams, Great Lake Swimmers
  9. Dream Baby, Hootie & The Blowfish
  10. Dreams, Fleetwood Mac
  11. Gemini Dream, Moody Blues
  12. Dream Police, Cheap Trick, Dream Police
  13. Dreams, Whiskeytown, Strangers Almanac

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mythos, Biblios and videos

There's a loose theme here, one that would be great as a music compilation, but resources are low. Widening the scope to include videos and short animated films has helped. Hopefully, there will be enough material to really have some fun with this category.

Jabberwocky - Donovan - a musical rendition of Lewis Carroll's poem, as found in "Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There"

Atlantis - Donovan

Star Child (1989) Based on Oscar Wilde's book, Star Child

Old Man and the Sea, Aleksander Petrov (1999)
part 1, part 2 Based on Ernst Hemmingway

Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase, Joan C. Gratz, (1992), won an Oscar 1993

Il Destino, collaboration between Salvador Dali and Walt Disney. Scrapped in 1948, but finally completed in 2003. See this Wiki for more info on Destino.

The Metamorphosis of Mr. Samsa, Caroline Leaf (1977)
Based on Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis

Calypso, Suzanne Vega, Tupelo Music Hall Londonderry, NH 2008-08-14

Tales of Brave Ulysses, Cream, (1968-05-17 Smothers Brothers
Making of Tales of Brave Ulysses

Play this list on HiKit9's YouTube Channel

You thought the leaden winter would bring you down forever,
But you rode upon a steamer to the violence of the sun.

And the colours of the sea bind your eyes with trembling mermaids,
And you touch the distant beaches with tales of brave Ulysses,
How his naked ears were tortured by the sirens sweetly singing,
For the sparkling waves are calling you to kiss their white laced lips.

And you see a girl's brown body dancing through the turquoise,
And her footprints make you follow where the sky loves the sea.
And when your fingers find her, she drowns you in her body,
Carving deep blue ripples in the tissues of your mind.

The tiny purple fishes run laughing through your fingers,
And you want to take her with you to the hard land of the winter.

Her name is Aphrodite and she rides a crimson shell,
And you know you cannot leave her for you touched the distant sands
With tales of brave Ulysses, how his naked ears were tortured
By the sirens sweetly singing.

The tiny purple fishes run laughing through your fingers,
And you want to take her with you to the hard land of the winter.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


As a genre, you'll be hard pressed to find a wide selection of flix relating to swimming/swimmers.  Nevertheless, here are three Four! SIX seven great films (and 2 books) worthy of note in this under-represented genre.


On a Clear Day (2005)    

Frank Redmond, a 55-year old Glasgow shipyard worker loses his job and seeks to find direction for himself. He develops his routine of swimming, and meeting with the guys. As much out of resolve as frustration, he decides to swim the Channel to France, and confronts his demons along the way. Great casting has Peter Mullan starring as Frank Redmond--he does an excellent job of portraying the quiet strength of will. IMDB Try finding it on dvd at Netflix; let me know if you find a streaming site.


An autobiographical film about the  true-life struggle of Anthony Fingleton to become an Olympic Swimmer. Directed by Russell Mulcahy.  Stars Jesse Spencer. Watch the Swimming Upstream trailer on  Watch the movie on Hulu.

From Wikipedia's Article on Tony Fingleton:
Anthony 'Tony' Fingleton is a former Australian swimmer. He won silver medal in 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. He had invitation to participate in 1964 Summer Olympics which he rejected and went to study in Harvard University. He remained in the USA after graduation and has become a screenwriter and movie producer, including the 1991 Rik Mayall film Drop Dead Fred.
His event was 220m backstroke.

 Watermarks (2004)
Watermarks is a documentary directed by Yaron Zilberman featuring women from the Viennese Hakoah swim team during the rise of fascism in 1930s Austria. The film describes the women's success as athletes leading up to the Anschluss of 1938 when the swimmers fled Austria to disparate locations in Palestine, England, and the United States. The documentary ends with some of the women from the swim team returning to Vienna sixty-five years later for a reunion at their old swimming pool.

On the look-out for swimming-related flix, I recently watched a "documentary" called Big River Man, featuring Martin Strel, an endurance swimmer from Slovenia. The movie, lauded for its "extraordinary blend of comedy and drama" documents his "big river" swim of the Amazon River in 2007.  Strel has earned the nickname "Big River Man" for his world-record long distance swims of the entirety of the world's largest rivers--the Yangtze, the Mississippi, the Amazon and the Danube--while drawing attention to the environmental (pollution) issues facing these big rivers. Swimming--being literally immersed in the rivers for many hours--exposes Strel not only to the rigors of long distances, but also to a myriad of river contaminants and pollutants of all kinds.
The Big
The Big Blue  - Le grand bleu (1988)
Jacques (Jean-Marc Barr) and Enzo (Jean Reno) are childhood friends who grow into fierce rivals in the deadly sport of deep-water diving. Jacques is more dolphin than man -- but that's not enough to keep insurance investigator Johanna (Rosanna Arquette) from falling head over heels for him. But can she keep him from risking it all to defeat Enzo and set a new world record? Luc Besson  directs. --Netflix
 Watch the trailer for Le Grand Bleu on Youtube.

Lynne Cox writes about her training as a young open water swimmer. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2000 for Open Water swimming. Read about it at the ISHOF website.


Dangerous When Wet (1953)

A delightful film, complete with calisthenics and song routines. [Ordinarily, I dislike musicals, but if you're going to allow Tom & Jerry animations, then you might have to permit a song.] Swimming popularist Esther Williams starred in this light movie revolving around a farm girl who decides to swim the English Channel.  YouTube has an excerpt with the animated Tom & Jerry (with octopus) scene. And I liked Charlotte Greenwood, as Ma--she's quite a dancer as well!

Esther Williams really popularized the sport of water ballet in her movies. When she was unable to compete in the Olympics due to WWII, Williams worked
at the Aquacade with Johnny Weissmueller (whose movie greats also include Tarzan) (Wikipedia).  IMDb


Heart, The Marilyn Bell Story (2001)

After watching this movie, I read the Wikipedia article about about it, and was struck with the realization that the entire movie was written based on that article. Not a bad movie, it highlights the 1954 accomplishment of 16-year old Canadian, Marilyn Bell, who successfully swims Lake Ontario in a monumental 21 hour effort--WITHOUT GOGGLES!. Marilyn went on to swim English Channel and Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Solo Swims of Ontario Inc.  Hall of Fame devotes a web page to "Marilyn Bell: A Pioneering Canadian Marathon Swimmer". It notes that two books have been written about her Lake Ontario swim too:
McAllister, Ron (1954). Swim to Glory: The Story of Marilyn Bell and the Lakeshore Swimming Club.
Tivy, Patrick (2003). Marilyn Bell: The Heart-Stopping Tale of Marilyn's Record-Breaking Swim.


I am slowly reading Kathy Watson's book, The Crossing: The curious story of the first man to swim the English Channel [Pub. Headline, London, 2000]. Having less time for reading, but stubbornly trying not to plough through books, rather I try to take the time to enjoy reading. This is a good book for that.

Monday, March 22, 2010

13 Songs!

Thirteen songs

  1. All That I Am Now - Assembly of Dust - Some Assembly Required
  2. Don't Panic - Coldplay - Garden State
  3. Easy Plateau - Ryan Adams - 2007-06-28 Fillmore
  4. Hideaway - Beat Farmers - 1991-06-14 Live on Letterman
  5. Light Blue Lover - Assembly of Dust - Some Assembly Required
  6. Lovers in a Dangerous Time - Bruce Cockburn
  7. No Baby, I - Rhett Miller - Fruitfly Summertime
  8. Pale Green Eyes - Thomas Dybdahl, w/ Christel Alsos - 2006-06-12 P3 Sessions
  9. Almost Home - The Reivers - 2008-02-07 Live on KUT (16:09 -
  10. She Comes to Me In Dreams - Great Lake Swimmers - 2009-05-15 Legion Sessions
  11. The Silence Between Us - Bob Mould - The District Line
  12. Taxi - Bryan Ferry - Taxi
  13. Trouble is a Friend - Lenka - Music Videos 1&2
Watch the video playlist version of 13 Songs on YouTube, hosted by HiKit9. Note that some songs shown by video may show stills or have alternate performances differing from those listed above (#6, #8, #9, #11).

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Beach Chalet #1

The Beach Chalet, San Francisco, CA.

Detail from east wall fresco, c. 1930s WPA Project.

Lucien Labaudt supervised and designed these works of art in 1936 which were restored in 1988.

Anchorage Murals #1

Sept. 19, 2009 - Disembarking onto solid ground, never mind a case of vertigo that makes it feel like walking on rough water.  These murals are from Downtown Anchorage, AK.

Down an alley, I found this mural, which occupies a corner and two sides of a smoked salmon establishment. The door to the log cabin is actually the door to the Twilight Zone.

Detail: Native Alaskan Fishing

Robert Wyland paints lifesize  murals of whales and ocean life. This detail from The Whaling Wall Mural that is painted on a JC Penney building:

See the Wyland Murals List at Wikipedia, or the Official Wyland Website.