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ABSENT FRIENDS : BBers rating
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luvly horse



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
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Location: wondering what the hell she did wrong

PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 3:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

spooooong!!!!
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Peter R. de Vries



Joined: 05 Feb 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting to see how personal preferences vary. Here are mine, for those who care.

Absent friends - 8,5
Sticks & stones -9
Leaving today - 6
CHBBird - 7,5
My imaginary friend - 7,5
Wreck of the beautiful -7
Our mutual friend - 8
The happy goth - 9
Freedom road - 6,5
Laika's theme - 6
Charmed life - 8

Some remarks. Firstly, I think the album is slightly too short. Just 10 songs.
I think Freedom's road is the most out of place. It starts out as a country song and then it tries to move into a "normal" TDC song. The result is somewhat schizophrenic to me.
The wreck of the beautiful is a weird, experimental song; it is daring and has a beautiful chorus, I really enjoy it.
I am not bothered at all by Happy Goth's lyrics as some are: I think it's a marvellous tune, and the lyrics are typical TDC tongue in cheek.
All UK-people: ENJOY YOUR COPY TODAY!!
I look forward to reading your opinion's.
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Lazarus



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now i've started the topic & didn't want to post further comments until today.
Hard also to describe in english all my feelings on the new album, nevertheless, i find that:

-Absent friends (the song) is as good as TWFly or SFTWeekend (with the same rhythm&construction, more or less). The MacQueen verse is already a classic & the kick after the OscarWilde break makes me wanna throw my hands in the air, pointing at the sky!

-Sticks & Stones is THE grower of the album. Its musical/sonic construction is impressivbe, building after each verse (listen to the accordion timidly coming in 2nd verse then electronic noises further in the song, etc.. Fabulous!)

-Leaving today is also a grower. Didn't impress me much on first listens then yes, when you know that it's gonna have this huge vocal emphasis towards the end, it makes all sense.

-CHBB is a good pop song, no more no less. Extremely catchy chorus obviously with the Laverne singing. I think it's better sounding with her than with Neil's voice there.

-My I.Friend is cool, just the right length otherwise it'd be boring. Casanova-esque to me.

-Wreck: Still can't get into it. On another hand, THIS is the song that most of us are gonna discuss for the more intriguing. I feel we'll all have our moments with this one. I'm sometimes glad that there's a song i find hard to get into even after 10 listens on a TDC album. Happened to me also with a couple from Fin.

-Our mutual friend is amazing. Probably subject to lyrics criticism by native english speakers (as well as Happy goth) but to me, it's the other stand-out track. The break & reprise after 'no longer then is he our mf" is hair-tingling as well as the Ravel's Bolero-like rhythm. Wonderful.

-The happy goth is excellent. Its construction i weird though.The bridges come strangely, but the verses arrangements are exceptional & the break is welcome.

-Freedom road i didn't like it much for a start. Then i heard the BlackSession version & found it was the best song that evening by far (probably because the acoustic guitar was more clear & heavy souding). Now i understand perfectly how the song grows verse after verse. The strings coming at exactly half the song are killing me, then it ends so softly as it started. Very very good.

-Laika's theme: justifies the "skip" button on a cd player for me. I know that it's one of the standout track for some of you, which i'll not discuss. I can fully understand (or can i ?).

-Charmed life is beautiful. It's already beautiful as soon as "when" is pronounced in the first verse. The notes sung by Neil on some lines are impressive again, just like towards the end of "Mastermind", vocally impressive & all en nuances. Maybe even too short song but what a song.
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blue circles



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 12:31 pm    Post subject: Re: ABSENT FRIENDS : BBers rating Reply with quote

(subject to change with the passing of time)

Absent friends - 10
Sticks & stones - 10
Leaving today - 5
CHBBird - 8
My imaginary friend - 7
Wreck of the beautiful - 10
Our mutual friend - 7
The happy goth - 8
Freedom road - 4
Laika's theme - 8
Charmed life - 10


Last edited by blue circles on Wed Mar 31, 2004 8:09 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Casanova



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, here's my verdict after a few listens.

Absent friends - 8
Sicks & Stones - 8
Leaving Today - 9
Come Home Billy Bird - 7
My Imaginary Friend - 6
Wreck of the Beautiful - 6
Our Mutual Friend - 9
The Happy Goth - 7
Freedom Road - 6
Laika's Theme - 5
Charmed Life - 6

TDC's best album since ermm Regeneration.

A fairly good album, whose arrangements can't really be falted. Indeed, I reckon the arrangements were the saving grace for songs like Happy Goth and Billy Bird, prising them away form mediocrity.

I really like it - and it's certainly a stark contrast to the wonderful Regen.
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Mr Nude



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lazarus wrote:
Our mutual friend is amazing. Probably subject to lyrics criticism by native english speakers (as well as Happy goth)


What makes you say that?
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Paul



Joined: 14 Dec 2002
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not going to give a score to any of the tracks, because that will always depend on my mood. But...

Absent Friends - fantastic. The one that's getting stuck in my head and I found myself singing "Steve McQueen... jumped the first one clean" as I made lunch.

Sticks & Stones - wasn't sure at very first, it's got two such contrasting parts, but it's growing every listen. I really like it now.

Leaving Today - moved me when I heard it live in Glasgow, and brought a tear to my eye with the simple "damn, I know that exact feeling" that came when I heard "I would stay if you asked me, so for God's sake don't ask me to stay". Beautiful song.

Come Home Billy Bird - the one that to me fits in the least with the others, but it's a great tune. Maybe I've just heard it too much lately, and it doesn't have the newness of the rest.

My Imaginery Friend - I like. Don't know what else to say.

The Wreck Of The Beautiful - Beautiful, like Sticks & Stones, with the contrast in it. So many musical levels.

Our Mutual Friend - potential future single if it's shortened a bit, which would be a shame, because it's a fantastic track that sounds great.

The Happy Goth - Again I like. Especially the flurry of instruments at the end.

Freedom Road - Those first four lines I understand, I remember driving back from Glasgow in the morning thinking "it's great to be on an empty road, but it's going to get damn busy later." Really like this song.

Laika's Theme - An instrumental and I love it. It's about a dog that was sent into space to die. It sounds slightly spacey, and haunting. I like the rumbling at the end as well.

Charmed Life - I loved it from the moment I heard the first 30 seconds a month ago. Such a heartfelt, beautiful song.

Overall, so many tunes have so many levels and different little bits that I love. But I just don't get the "Neil's gone back to his earlier stuff" thing. He hasn't, not in my opinion anyway. This is unlike any other album I've ever heard, and I really, really, really like it. And it sounds so deep I know I'll be noticing new bits for ages. Smile
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luvly horse



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

like in 10 years time? Wink

only weak one for me is laikas theme

love love everything else

fave at the mo is mutual friend - best moment so far is the stringy crescendo on "no longer then is he our mutual (DA DA DA DA DAAAAAH) friend

or is it sticks and stones?

hmmmm dunno...
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heyitsok



Joined: 27 Nov 2002
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

when i first downloaded the album (naughty me) a lot of the tracks sounded a bit forced and didnt lend themselves to the songs.
but now i really love it!! woooo!
cant be bothered to rate all the tracks as my mind will change, but i quite like freedom road and thw reck of the beautiful at the moment, sticks and stones is creeping up behind.

and billy bird got to number 25 i see? well done.
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Lazarus



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr Nude wrote:
Lazarus wrote:
Our mutual friend is amazing. Probably subject to lyrics criticism by native english speakers (as well as Happy goth)


What makes you say that?


I often wonder if ever i was native english-speaking i wouldn't find some lyrics by my fave bands a bit dumb, childish or cliché.
OMF's lyrics are really direct, simple, sort of narration of private diary. Could have been just read if not sung, if you see what i mean.
HG's lyrics, even to me, are on the limits of a childish/teenage writing, yet again, it's working well, just like "songs of love" did on Casanova.
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Mr Nude



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's what I like about a lot of Neil's lyrics, though. He sings his songs 'in character', sort of, and adjusts his words accordingly. The songs with his simplest lyrics are some of my favourites. On the other hand, even the playful and child-like 'My Imaginary Friend' features the word 'peripatetically' - which I'd never heard of before hearing the song!

I'm a bit tired so I'm not sure if I'm making much sense. I hope so!
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Flip



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 9:07 pm    Post subject: Re: ABSENT FRIENDS : BBers rating Reply with quote

The start of Come Home Billy Bird sounds more and more 'Promenade-like', every time I hear it. It's to illustrate slowly waking up I think.. It's very good. Anyhow..

Absent friends - 9
Sticks & stones - 8
Leaving today - 4 (Marked heavily down for 'crowing cock', 'no way jose' and general droning. A bit Simon and Garfunkel influenced I think)
CHBBird - 7
My imaginary friend - 8
Wreck of the beautiful - 6
Our mutual friend - 10
The happy goth - 9 (That bass is just fantastic, in fact the whole arrangement is brilliant)
Freedom road - 6 (I do like this, but I think I'll tire of it quickly)
Laika's theme - 4
Charmed life - 9

All in all well worth the wait. Top stuff. I'll echo the sentiment about the weird CD though.. what's that lettering/colour all about? I can't work out if it's some sort of in-joke, or an afterthought.

Incidentally - has anyone mentioned the Beatles yet when referring to 'Billy Bird'? Particularly the demo version.. and of course the faded out 'back to where you once belong' bit...
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Mr Nude



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 9:13 pm    Post subject: Re: ABSENT FRIENDS : BBers rating Reply with quote

Flip wrote:
I'll echo the sentiment about the weird CD though.. what's that lettering/colour all about? I can't work out if it's some sort of in-joke, or an afterthought.


It's designed like one of those heritage plaques you get scattered around commemorating famous people - so it wasn't an afterthought!
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Flip



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 9:14 pm    Post subject: Re: ABSENT FRIENDS : BBers rating Reply with quote

It's designed like one of those heritage plaques you get scattered around commemorating famous people - so it wasn't an afterthought!

Yes. Yes it is.. Well spotted! I wondered why it had the 'written and recorded' so prominent..
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StickFigureNinja



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I dont think I'm able to give them ratings, buyt Wreck Of The Beautiful has really grown me, and I really like My Imaginary Friend, I found myself skipping back to listen to it again more than any of the others.
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luvly horse



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 10:30 pm    Post subject: Re: ABSENT FRIENDS : BBers rating Reply with quote

Flip wrote:
It's designed like one of those heritage plaques you get scattered around commemorating famous people - so it wasn't an afterthought!

Yes. Yes it is.. Well spotted! I wondered why it had the 'written and recorded' so prominent..


god pipdick yer sooo thick! iiiiiiii menitoned it first!!!!!! wheres me BIG CASH PRIZE jenny?

and i pretty much heretoforwhencewith agree with pipdicks ratings there also and as well
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Mr Nude



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 10:35 pm    Post subject: Re: ABSENT FRIENDS : BBers rating Reply with quote

luvly horse wrote:
iiiiiiii menitoned it first!!!!!!


I thought it first, it's just you wrote it down before me! Razz
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luvly horse



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bugger - and i just edited that from noticed coz i didnt wann look big headed

i noticed it before i even opened the case man!!!!!!! beat that! Razz Twisted Evil

(also agree whole heartedly with the cock bit - its a bit painful on the ears)

its littered with utterances from elsewhere (no way jose - what light from yonder window breaks - release me let me go etc) but top marks for getting par-e-pa-tetcally and iconoclastic into a song i say! Very Happy


Last edited by luvly horse on Tue Mar 30, 2004 3:29 am; edited 1 time in total
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www.tom



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Absent Friends - what an opener - bang, straight to the chase. It really needs to be that big an orchestration, but they've got it just right. Kinda appropriate for the beginning of his 'come-back' album, too - I'M BACCCCCKKK! (Imagine as shouted by some actor in a bath with a big beard and a shed).

Sticks and stones - a similar style to Absent Friends, perhaps, but that's no bad thing given the good contrast to come. Not quite absorbed the lyrics yet, so I'm not sure bout them yet.

Leaving Today - Less orchestration, which is fine. This one's growing on me a lot, for all its melancholy.

Come Home Billy Bird - instant contrast, which has to be good. The most like old DC, perhaps. A very welcome bundle of joy after the heart wrenching Leaving Today.

My Imaginary Friend - a different kind of fun from CHBB, it's hard to quite work this one out, for me. Although the lyrics obviously aren't meant to be serious in any way, there's a few disappointments, such as awkward rhymes which Neil is normally so good at working around. A very smutty beginning, on first listening.

Wreck Of The Beautiful. I really can't decide, will listen again.

Our Mutual Friend - a brilliant story, glorious arrangement, the best so far, and really wonderful. One of my favourite DC tracks ever, I think.

The Happy Goth. This could be a bit dire, if done badly, but it's been made wonderful. Perfect arrangement again, nice delivered by Neil, some great touches, and the jazzy moments really make it. Continues my 'track 8 always rocks' theory.

Freedom Road - and the melancholy returns... or does it? I'm not sure - there's a definite bit of chirpiness in Neil's voice, and that bass line is rather cheeky. It's a celebratory song, I think, reflective of the fun Neil obviously had in the states, though there's plenty of fantasy in there too. The simpler arrangement works well after the everything in approach of the previous tracks.

Laika's Theme
The instrumental is welcome here, I think - the album's been pretty vocal heavy, so this is nice, though the slow movingness of it means it's good that it's not too long. Can't decide if I like it yet, though. Kind of prepares you for Charmed Life though, so you pay more attention to it.

Charmed Life - started off in its minimal way, and I was wary, as it lacks a bit, but it really makes up for it in the middle. Still not sure about the bom-bom-bom cadence bit, but the random banjo and odd ending work nicely. An ending that leaves you wanting more.
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luvly horse



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

apologies in advance - just need to say...

fookin banjo fookin rocks! (almost as much as the da da da da daaaaaaaah in mutual friend)

*ahem*
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alan!



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know where I stand - favourite song leaving today, at the moment, and least favourite the happy goth (for once i agree it's a bit clumsy).

that said, it's neil's best album. rock on!!
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Absolute Power
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laika's Theme is brilliant you whinging bastards. Listen to it when you're depressed and on the verge of despair. It's very, very good.

Alternatively think of a dog cooking in space and it's big sad eyes.
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luvly horse



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 1:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Absolute Power wrote:
Laika's Theme is brilliant you whinging bastards. Listen to it when you're depressed and on the verge of despair. It's very, very good.

Alternatively think of a dog cooking in space and it's big sad eyes.


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alan!



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
A very smutty beginning, on first listening.


? all this middle-class innuendo stuff, eh.
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cjmacs



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Absolute Power wrote:
Laika's Theme is brilliant you whinging bastards. Listen to it when you're depressed and on the verge of despair. It's very, very good.

Alternatively think of a dog cooking in space and it's big sad eyes.


Shocked
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Brian Shelf



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 5:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Me opinion

Do like loads with Our Mutual Friend being my fave at the moment.

Journo Opinion

"The Divine Comedy Split" - the headlines two years ago in the music press after Neil Hannon gave 6 musicians the boot from his band. Strange then that the first album since that seems to be more Divine than ever, and even more ironic it should be called "Absent Friends"



I'll probably write more later.
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Gilderoy Lockheart



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right, 24 hours of listening have passed, and I still don't feel comfortable by rating the tracks, as they're all fantastic. I genuinely think it's the best collection of songs Neil's ever put out. I even love 'Laika's Theme', as I thought sad thoughts of that poor little monkey (I thought it was a monkey, although the mention of a dog above has made me think I'm wrong... I prefer thinking of monkeys) floating through the void.

I will, however, mention my orgasmic joy over the title track, 'Our Mutual Friend' and 'The Happy Goth'. Utter perfection, especially the latter. I'd never been exactly mad about it when I'd heard it live, but with that arrangement and those backing vocals... aah, perfection.
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Mr Nude



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gilderoy Lockheart wrote:
I genuinely think it's the best collection of songs Neil's ever put out.


The balance is just right, innit?

And Laika is a dog, although I originally thought it might be a monkey too. 'Laika's Theme' is lovely, it truly captures the essence of a dog floating through space. Whatever that's like.
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Gilderoy Lockheart



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr Nude wrote:
it truly captures the essence of a dog floating through space. Whatever that's like.


Well, it's like that choon, innit?

*wishes Laika had been a monkey*

*actually, I don't - it is better to think no monkeys were harmed in the inspiration of said instrumental* Yes Yes
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Lilypod



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gilderoy Lockheart wrote:
I even love 'Laika's Theme', as I thought sad thoughts of that poor little monkey (I thought it was a monkey, although the mention of a dog above has made me think I'm wrong... I prefer thinking of monkeys) floating through the void.




Laika's Story.

I knew the general story about Laika, but still looked it up again when I got the album. When I was a kid and first found out that they'd sent dogs into space and not gotten them back, I was really upset. Sad
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Mr Nude



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lilypod wrote:
When I was a kid and first found out that they'd sent dogs into space and not gotten them back, I was really upset. Sad


It's upsetting me too - but at least someone's now provided a fitting tribute to said doggy. And she gets a whole verse to herself in 'Absent Friends' too. Out there somewhere, she's woofing away in satisfaction at Neil's efforts.
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Gilderoy Lockheart



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why were all the space-monkeys named Albert? That is peculiar. There's no less than six of the buggers.

*weeps for space-dogs and all the little Alberts*

Sad
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Mr Nude



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gilderoy Lockheart wrote:
Why were all the space-monkeys named Albert?


I'm not sure. Do you think they all crash-landed on the EastEnders set?
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www.tom



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I might have to buy an Albert and call him monkey.

Or the other way round.

Stuffed, of course.

"Stuffed Albert."
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Gilderoy Lockheart



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All things are better when called monkey eg. monkeys, drinks, games, children Yes Yes
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luvly horse



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

maybe they all had prince alberts?

go on tom - you KNOW you want one
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Mr Nude



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

luvly horse wrote:
maybe they all had prince alberts?

go on tom - you KNOW you want one


How do you know he doesn't already? Shocked
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Gilderoy Lockheart



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Doesn't look happy, does he?

Looks quite noble, though. Like a brave Tommy about to go over the top...

*salutes space-monkey*
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Mr Nude



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He reminds me of Ethel Skinner.
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Gilderoy Lockheart



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

*tut*

Everything reminds you of Ethel Bloody Skinner. Give it up, you're never going to meet her...
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