Pandora’s Box

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Being so moved by the events of September 11, 2001. I needed to express my feelings about that fateful day in song. Although it has been more than a decade, my memories of that day and the history that followed are strong and clear. 

I wrote the following song “Pandora’s Box” as a warning to the future just as much as a memory of the past.

Pandora’s Box (click to listen)

Bottles in ice toasting higher places

Blacked out rooftops are included with such.

Weapons of war rise among the towers

Pandora’s Box has now been touched

Burning bridges across the water

Tanks roll there’s trouble along the way

I see the sky’s on fire

Night it seems has turned to day

Basement dwellings amid the thunder

Highlights low tones savor it all

Blinding battles in spite of the weather

Win or lose who can recall

Copyright   ©2012 by Marc C. Miller

Pandora’s Box (click to listen)

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On Songwriting

To me songwriting is all about feeling, its instinctive. It’s abrupt and it comes on like a wave that washes over me.  It is cool and it fills me with a heightened sense of perception. It is a divine spark that empowers. It is mysterious and it is magical.

It is an urge that propels me to create, to explore concepts and feelings through melodies and verse.  It is a powerful feeling that I have no control over. It chooses the time and I must capture that feeling in a bottle before it is lost in a dark hole of the imagination never again to see the light of day. At times it comes on subtly, like a whisper, at others it comes like a roar and I must listen.

Then I must write it down. Sometimes life tends to get in the way. I have lost many a tune driving or on some idle errand. This is the frustrating part that I suppose many songwriters must deal with.  But I would say by far the joys of being a songwriter  exceeds the frustrations.

Like anything else there are many different ways to write a song; sometimes I have a concept idea which turns into lyrics and at other times the music or melody streams through my head where it gets recorded waiting for the words to follow.  At other times both the melody and lyrics stream in at once. These songs seem to have an extra bounce of their own and I get a sense of deja vu.  I really know that I am onto something. These songs usually turn out to be some of my better efforts.

Songwriting is a part of me. I have been doing it for some time. I have amassed a catalog of various flavors of song most are finished. Some I am working on now.  It is an important piece of my life that I would like to share with you.

I will be posting some of my work here on Brown Eyed Music in the near future. Please take a listen and tell me what you think.

Musical note nicu bucule 01 blue1

Marc Marrs

The Day of the Ultimate Tourist

The Day the Earth Stood Still

The Day the Earth Stood Still (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The Day The Earth Stood Still” was a landmark film directed by the versatile Robert Wise that was released along with the cold war, McCarthyism and the Korean conflict.  Told from a tourist point of view there is a deeply ingrained sense of country that’s tied to monuments and places in downtown Washington D.C.

This film vibrates with life; The sights, the sounds of the early 1950’S.  A time capsule with a message reflecting the tenor and times of a war-weary populace.

This movie scored by Bernard Herrmann uses a theremin which gives the eerie shimmering quality that holds the film up.  This film is so tied up with the music it is hard to think of one without the other.  Few movies have those bragging rights.

Shot in black and white it gives the shadows and shades of a deeper fear that only the best cinematography could convey.

Associated with science it awakens a deeper curiosity about what we were afraid to ask.  This nightmarish quality from the deeper recesses of our being is mainly considering the continuing survival of the planet Earth and the religious overtones of a visitor named Carpenter who was brought back to life with a message to save us all that is still very relevent today.

Klaatu Barada Nikto!

Gort (The Day the Earth Stood Still)

Gort (The Day the Earth Stood Still) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Marc Marrs

 ♦    http://www.moviemadnessvideo.com/  (The best independent video store in the world)

The Bridge on the River Kwai

The Bridge on the River Kwai

The Bridge on the River Kwai (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Bridge On The River Kwai is considered to be one of the finest movies to come out the fifties.

When I think about this particular film one of the first things that comes to my mind is the theme in music and script.  It somehow captures the feeling and meaning of this movie’s message. It means different things to different people.

For some reason a lot of folks got emotional about this film. My father got choked up whenever the movie was mentioned.  “Yes, The Bridge”  he would sigh and at that point the conversation was over, at least for him. It was an emotional thing. It was as if he had made the movie himself.  And he wasn’t the only one overly involved with it.

When this film was released in 1957 it was an instant hit and eventually it became a staple at drive-in movies for years to come. This became the first big screen summer escape.

A good story has that extra boost when there needs to be something done, something built or just a purpose that people will remember.  This bridge has all three.

A Frenchman wrote it, The British produced it and David Lean directed it. With such dedication while the film was being shot in Ceylon, an island off the southern coast of India, the director’s wife divorced him on the grounds of desertion during the extended shoot.

This film is about  psychological warfare between two colonels in a Japanese prisoner of war camp during WWII. There was no guard towers or barbed wire, the jungle was enough.  One the commander, the other a prisoner.  They have one thing in common though, building a bridge over the river Kwai.  For the English the task can and will be to  improve morale under Colonel Nicholson’s single-minded leadership.  For the Japanese, it is a do or die project. The bridge must be completed on time or else.

As it progresses this film turns into a heart of darkness involving a reluctant American hero in the form of an escaped prisoner and a crack team of british professionals determined to complete their mission:   Timing is everything, especially in this case.

There is a reason why this film garnered seven of the top Oscars in the following spring. The cinematography is the some of the best I have ever seen. It is well paced and the tension never quite lets up.   More than anything else it is about our highest aspirations and deepest intentions. Danger abounds. Simply spectacular entertainment.

Madness! Madness!

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A scene in the film, bridge at Kitulgala in Sr...

A scene in the film, bridge at Kitulgala in Sri Lanka, before the explosion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Marc Marrs

Alien

Alien (film)

Image via Wikipedia

This is this first terror movie in my memory that disguised itself as Science Fiction. When this film debuted in the late summer of 1979 the caption catch phrase was:

In space no one can hear you scream.

And in theatres across the country,  no one could hear you shivering either.  This movie is cold, ice-cold and full of lots of hardware. Very few films wake themselves up but this one does.

The movie begins with darkness in deep space and a troubling call to Mother. It’s time to wake the crew up. One switch at a time the mother ship comes to life. Its crew members are slowly emerging out of a deep sleep. There is a task to perform and they have to do it.

Soon they find themselves on a planet where once a race of giants lived. Now only the wreckage remains.  It is a literal nightmare.  The climate reminds me of that red spot on Jupiter  where hurricane winds and hostility prevails.  When they left that foresaken place they return to their ship bringing back with them a hidden menace.    At this point a sense of dread begins to permeate the film. There’s trouble afoot and bad news travels fast.

This all becomes apparent when seemingly all is well and then watch out! There’s a major eruption. I may never look at Spaghetti the same way again. That’s what happens when you dine on Chef Boyardee.  What a mess!

This spaceship western ticks out like High Noon only with a gruesome monster picking off each crew member one by one.   Outwit, outplay and outlast in this ultimate survivor movie.

Next summer if the air conditioning breaks down watch this and chill.

Lurking in the shadows

Lurking in the shadows (Photo credit: Alfred Hermida)

Marc Marrs

The Godfather

The Godfather

Image via Wikipedia

 To me “The Godfather” is like a buffet, something for everyone and it tastes great.  I can’t watch that film without eating. It would be a sacrilege to not have Italian food while watching this first rate  film.  It is a movie which promotes a zesty atmosphere, so much so that I threw an Italian Gangster potluck party complete with a paper mache horse’s head on my bed. The flyer suggested “Lavish Attire” and asked the participants to bring Italian cuisine. It was a smash.

 The Godfather is the kind of movie that I enjoy watching every couple of years. It is timeless and it tells a story that says “Without one’s family life is worthless.”  That’s loyalty for you.  “My Three Sons.”

 “I believe in America.” It is the first line of one of the greatest films in the history of American cinema.  “The Godfather” released in the spring of 1972 was eagerly anticipated. No one was quite sure what Marlon Brando would look like in the role of the Don.  He had never played an Italian before on film. The book, a best-seller by Mario Puzo was extremely popular at the time and everyone had their own idea on who  should play the characters.

Brando as Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather (...

Image via Wikipedia

Finding out, I was surprised and disappointed. What did I know?  With the exception of Brando, who were these people? For some weird reason I had envisioned a young Tony Curtis type for the role of Michael.  Who in the hell was Al Pacino?  I was suspicious. All my fears were assuaged after sitting down during the first 20 minutes.

The characters are introduced in the beginning at a garden party. It is the last Saturday in September of 1945 and America is ablaze with hope.  The other two Godfather films introduce their main characters in similar fashion; at the beginning at a party. It is his daughter Connie’s wedding day and according to tradition people line up to ask favors from the mighty. So the Don spends a good part of that day granting wishes in his office.  Can’t he just get a day off?  He’s looking for peace, but life is just one damn thing after another.  “If you don’t mind, I’d like to go to my daughter’s Wedding.”

My favorite part of the movie was Michael and Kay leaving the film :”The Bells of St. Mary’s” and Michael realising that his father had been shot.  The camera follows Kay’s reaction before Michael knows. it’s much as though JFK is coming from behind the Stemonds Freeway sign. At that moment the film changes its tone. Michael is now involved and that involvement will lead him to rule. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Or does it?  Watch the movie and find out and if you already know, watch it anyway.  It’s a movie you can’t refuse.

Always

Marc Marrs

Hershey Bars

The Hershey's milk chocolate bar.

Image via Wikipedia

I was born on the wrong side of the country.  After a bad day I would like to drown my sorrows in a Hershey bar.  Not the kind of bar that you peel off the wrapper, but a bar in which someone indulges himself in drink to avoid his addiction to chocolate.

Even the atmosphere smells like warm chocolate. For the life of me I don’t know how anyone gets anything done there. Slobbering busloads of tourists fill the streets. I may  addicted, but chocolate is their god…..don’t get me wrong I like a chocolate latte as much as the next fellow but I’ve got to go to work and get something done.

Always Marc Marrs

Leap year leap

 I was born at night on February 29th, the day that doesn’t exist 3 years out of 4.  It’s like I don’t have a real birthday. When it does roll around I get nervous. I expect something bad to happen and I am relieved when it’s over and I’m safe till next time.

When checking my I.D. people like to comment on it, they are full of questions. Most want to know what day I celebrate.  I tell them; February 29th. Some don’t like this answer but it is how I feel.  Sure, I can eat cake, get presents and blow out the candles but that doesn’t make it my birthday.

I’ve always liked my non-birthdays. No expectations, no obligations.  I feel younger because of it.  Friends have pointed it out that they are aging faster than I am.   I guess I’ll have to get used to that.

I’d like to hear from anyone who has a leap year birthday.  How does it feel? What is it like?   Let me know.  We can wish each other a happy birthday.

Always,

Marc Marrs