Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Happiness Patrol

“I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex.” -- Oscar Wilde
I've been thinking a lot about happiness recently (as anyone who read my brief paean to Twin Peaks a couple of weeks ago will know). But not Happiness in the sense of a Utopian impossible-to-attain Permanent State. More along the lines of little chunks of happiness dropped into the whiskey tumbler of my day kind of a way. (Although, ideally, I like to take my happiness neat).

Here are a few of the things which have given little upticks to my Joy levels lately:


I spend the vast majority of my day plugged in, largely to drown out the inane burblings of anyone in my immediate orbit. (Sometimes, I remain plugged in even when nothing is filtering directly into my earholes, so that I can exude just the right amount of “Fuck off and leave me alone” vibes. But, shhh, don’t tell anyone).

I’m a voracious, eclectic listener, but it’s a very specific kind of music that always raises an unbidden smile. I don’t mean in terms of genre - I mean stylistically. Artists or (usually) bands with a sense of performance and theatricality and absurdity and fun. And, of course, some serious chops. To wit:

Earth, Wind & Fire
Ian Dury and the Blockheads
Morris Day and The Time
And then there is the ne plus ultra of third-eye-popping visual-sonic confections - George Clinton, Bootsy Collins and the many members of their Parliafunkidelicment Thang. I mean, damn, just Garry Shider, the Starchild himself, on stage in a nappy was a glorious thing to behold.
Scott Pilgrim vs The Prodigy

I’m a huge fan of Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. I already loved Bryan Lee O’Malley’s books before I saw the movie, and I was excited when the first trailer appeared. Prominent in the trailer is the Prodigy’s Invaders Must Die, which made it Even Better Than I Could Have Possibly Hoped For. But here’s the thing - that track didn't end up in the movie. Fortunately for all of us, an obliging fan has cut together a video for the song consisting exclusively of footage from the movie. Prepare to feel the wrath of the League of the Evil Exes! Here is the epic Scott Pilgrim vs The Prodigy:
The Mr. Men

I never really stopped reading Roger Hargreaves’ Mr. Men books. I tend to rediscover them anew every couple of years, losing myself in their deceptive simplicity. (It still saddens me that I don’t live in a world where worms stick their heads out of the ground to say Hello.) A lot of the early Mr. Men animations seem to have popped up on YouTube in the last few years, giving me the opportunity to revel in the expressive, reassuringly avuncular narration of Arthur Lowe whilst humming the infectiously catchy theme tune by Joe Campbell and Tony Hymas.

Of course, all of these things are largely passive pursuits. I just sit back and let the entertainment splash against my pleasure centres. There is a raft of other things I actively do get serotonin sloshing through me, but this is starting to run long enough as it is. I’ll save all of that for some other time.

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