The 25 Best Websites for Music Lovers

Because I’ve recently started learning the guitar, I am all over anything to do with music.

Flavorwire

A couple of weeks back, we published a pretty extensive list of great websites for literature lovers. The feature generated lots of feedback and comment from our readers, so much so that we thought we’d repeat the exercise for music. There are the obvious music sites that everyone reads — Pitchfork, Stereogum, Spin, Resident Advisor (if you’re into electronic music), etc. But there are a galaxy of other sites out there, so here are our favorites: 25 of the sites you may not be reading already, but probably should be. There are loads more, of course, so let us know what you’ve got bookmarked, too.

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The Darwin Murders

A short time ago, I was invited by a friend to write a short piece for an upcoming anthology, published online, called The Darwin Murders. Participants were asked to write a 250 word piece in which they could kill of a character of their choosing, provided the poor unfortunate didn’t/doesn’t exist in real life. (No killing Hitler or Stalin, okay?)

I choose the bane of modern-day small screen viewing, the horror that is the television licence inspector. The editors liked my story so much that I was one of two authors who had their pieces put aside for special mention.

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If you want to find out how and why I murdered a television licence inspector, pop over to Amazon and see for yourself. And don’t stop at me, either. Other writers in the anthology harbour secret desires to bump off their nemeses. At the end of the day, we each have our dark sides.

Don’t forget to look behind you – you could be next.

 

100 Little Things Worth Being Happy About

Thought Catalog

1. Your favorite t-shirt.

2. Your favorite show’s newest season being on Netflix.

3. Your favorite coffee in the morning.

4. Looking out the window while riding the train.

5. Watching a Disney movie.

6. A cold shower on a hot day.

7. Being able to inspire yourself.

8. The feeling you get when you relax your shoulders and realize how tense you were.

9. Fresh flowers and candles in your apartment.

10. Lazy Sundays.

11. Planning a trip.

12. Taking a day off work.

13. A nap when you really need one.

14. Receiving a letter in the mail.

15. Finding something you love on sale.

16. City lights on the street after it rained.

17. Checking things off your to-do list.

18. Your favorite song coming on the radio.

19. Feeling comfortable with someone.

20. Going out to dinner with someone you love.

21. Painting.

22. A fire…

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Required reading, my friends, required reading.

Successify!

This article is from Chiara Fucarino. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to address those with clinical depression or other mental illnesses.

happinessThere are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. The richest person in the world could be miserable while a person living in the slums of a third world country could be happy and content. I have spent plenty of time amongst both groups to have seen it first hand. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.

The question is: how do they do that?

It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do…

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Erin Go Bragh: Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day

Beannacht La Fheile Padraig

Beannacht La Fheile Padraig

Yay! It’s St. Patrick’s Weekend again. (It used to be just the one day, until the marketers, the Irish Tourism Board, and the drinks companies got their hands on it. Now it’s a five-day festival.) So it’s time to celebrate Ireland and the Irish. But please do it right, okay?

John Ford’s The Quiet Man (1952)  has a lot to answer for; and the less said about Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959) the better. Hollywood has always had a slightly different view on Ireland than the rest of us. I suppose marketing what the country is really like is difficult, and not as profitable for the movie studios. But this is a country that has given the world Liam Neeson, Cillian Murphy, Colin Farrell, Gabriel Byrne, Brenda Fricker, Ruth Negga, and the Cusack family among others.

Wrong on so many levels

Wrong on so many levels

We have gifted the world the collective genius of Bram Stoker, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Roddy Doyle and Maeve Binchy. To the music world, no better luminaries than Thin Lizzy, Rory Gallagher, Sinead O’Connor, Van Morrison and, um, Westlife have graced concert stages and turntables.

(We do, however, offer our humblest apologies for James Joyce and Bono. Although I suppose it’s part payback for EL James and Justin Bieber. Ain’t nobody got time for these!)

Our sports stars regularly attend major events, such as the Olympic Games and soccer tournaments, and while we may sometimes over-achieve (except for Katie Taylor, who is made of pure awesomeness), we’re normally good value for money.

Van the Man

Van the Man

Yes, we do have our celebrated alcohol afficionados: George Best, Brendan Behan, Shane MacGowan to name but three. But overall, our contribution to the world of arts and entertainment should more than surpass whatever stereotype and cliched viewpoint there is of us. And while I agree that my country is awash with alcohol and drugs, and that far too many of our youth are following in the footsteps of their elders – thereby running headfirst into a health crisis – I sense a small level of change in our society. It is my hope that in, say, ten or twenty years time, we will have outgrown our addiction to alcohol and perhaps embraced our cultural heritage rather than our history of oppression.

While it’s always important to remember our past, it’s more important to learn from it so we don’t fall into the same traps our ancestors did. We’re better than that. Ireland is better than that. The world deserves and needs what we can offer.

 

A Portrait of The Artist as an ex-Catholic…among other things.

Pope Francis 1, formerly Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina

Pope Francis 1, formerly Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina

So we have a new pope. Well, it’s about bleedin’ time, if you ask me. There should be no such thing as a job for life – not in this day and age, anyway. Either you’re up for the task, or you’re not. There’s no in between. Joey Ratz did the right thing in my books. “I’m too old for this shit,” he said. “Let someone younger handle the pressure for a change.” Fair play to you, Joey; you went up in my estimation when you made your historic pronouncement. Oh sure, conspiracy theorists alike will say you were pushed out because you were a liability, a criminal, a sexist misogynist dinosaur: a relic of the Cold War…sorry, that was Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond…I digress. Again.

Diego Maradona: not a pope, but a football player

Diego Maradona: not a pope, but a football player

So who do we get after Joey? Jorge. An Argentine who is now more popular on Google than Lionel Messi or Diego Maradona. He’s the new spiritual leader of the much-maligned Catholic Church, an institution that’s had about as much bad press as Justin Bieber’s recent concert tour in the UK. He is the new guard, but he’s been getting some good reviews for taking the name of Francis. If I could have taken a new name every time I  changed my job, I’d need a passport the size of the Gutenberg Bible.

But hold on. I’m a Catholic, right? At least I am by right of birth. But does being a Catholic mean much to me? Not at the moment, it pains me to say. I am one of the many lapsed Catholics that only see the inside of a church for weddings, funerals, christenings, when on holiday with my friend Dennis, and when on the run from the police. But there was a time when it was all so different. I looked to the altar for solace, for life’s meaning, for truth. Now I look and think What the fuck?

So why the change of attitude? Did the church come down hard on me for reasons I won’t go into? No. In fact, when I was in my teens, I found a sense of community within a church group. The fact that we used it as an excuse to get shitfaced once a week doesn’t come into it.

The good old days, before the shit hit the fan.

The good old days, before the shit hit the fan.

Okay, it does. But you get what I’m saying. The church had and maybe still does have its uses. I have some close family members and friends whose faith inspires me, though not to the extent that I want to believe in the God that they profess. Do I believe in God? It depends on what day it is, and how I’m feeling. But to me, most times, it doesn’t matter whether I do or not. I don’t think we’ll ever know. Though science professes that such an omnipotent being cannot exist, people of faith say that it’s not possible for God not to exist. I’m somewhere in the middle: he either exists or he doesn’t. It’s a comfortable fence I sit on; I have plenty of company. But your beliefs are your own business. I will respect them, and I will defend your right to them.

Now where was I? So we have a new pope. Good. Whatever your feelings on the matter, give the new guy a chance. If indeed he manages some reform in his papacy, then fair play to the man. If, however, he’s unable or – worse – disinclined to bring the Catholic Church kicking and screaming into the 21st century, then it is incumbent on ourselves to vote with our feet: to get out of their churches and stay out. Institutions like these, if they can’t or won’t reform, deserve neither our time nor our faith, whatever that faith may be.

Good luck, Francis. You might need it. I’d pray for you…if I believed it would work.

Reading Challenge 2013

classics2013As anyone who knows me will tell you, I love reading. There are few genres, few authors that I wouldn’t at least consider (except the current craze for soft-core “Mommy Porn”), and my personal bookshelves are testament to this. But I haven’t for a very long time read what is considered a “classic” in the, um, classical sense. So when this challenge popped up in my email this evening, I was handed an ideal opportunity to do something about this.

The blog, Sarah Reads Too Much, offers readers a challenge. Nothing too dangerous, nothing too fancy, but a challenge nonetheless. Participants have a full calendar year to read a minimum of six classic novels, with an option of a further five. There is a prize on offer for those who go most if not all the way. Click on the link for more details.

I haven’t decided yet what books I will read, but these are the categories on offer:

The Required Categories:
  1. A 19th Century Classic
  2. A 20th Century Classic
  3. A Pre-18th or 18th Century Classic
  4. A Classic that relates to the African-American Experience – This can be an African-American author, or a book relating to slavery, civil rights, or African-American culture.
  5. A Classic Adventure
  6. A Classic that prominently features an Animal – This can feature animal characters or animals in the title (real or imagined)
Optional Categories:
   A.  Re-read a Classic
   B.  A Russian Classic
   C.  A Classic Non-Fiction title
   D.  A Classic Children’s/Young Adult title
   E.  Classic Short Stories – collection must include at least 3 short stories by the same author
The only comment I will make at this juncture is that I’m a little bit scared of reading anything Russian. Does anyone know of a short Russian novel?
Who else is in with me?