Archive for the ‘Kate Clanchy’ Category


Black Sabbath’s second album is certainly their most famous.  I mean, it features “Iron Man,” the first song everyone learns to play on the guitar.

But the whole first side of the disc is pretty famous.  “War Pigs” is a wonderful anti-war song.  “Paranoid” was their first big hit, and I read recently that it was a last minute addition to the album.  And it’s really short, too!

The next track, “Planet Caravan” is, in context, insane.  It is an incredibly slow, meandering track.  Back in the day, we used to skip this track all the time.  But since then I’ve grown to appreciate this trippy psychedelic song.  It feels a bit long, especially when you want to rock out, but it’s still pretty interesting.

And then there’s “Iron Man,” and, well, there’s nothing much to say about it that hasn’t been said elsewhere.   Except of course that it rocks!

Side Two was pretty unlistened to before CDs made it all one side.  “Electric Funeral” is a major downer about nuclear war, but it has an amazing opening riff with a wonderfully wah-wahed guitar.  “Hand of Doom” begins slowly with what’s more or less just bass and vocals.  And then guitars blare forth like sirens leading to some cool heavy sections.  About half way through it turns into this fast rocking song and becomes yet another anti-drug song.  This anti-drug stance is rather surprising given what lies in store in the not too distant future.

“Rat Salad” is a short instrumental.  It’s one half extended guitar solo with the second half comprising a drum solo.  Despite that, the riff of the song is pretty awesome.  The final track is the wonderfully named “Jack the Stripper/Fairies Wear Boots.”  The opening is another cool riff with lots of drums that melds in to a wonderfully heavy, bad-assed song (“a fairy with boots dancing with a dwarf”).  It ends the album very well.

For a record that’s nearly 40 years old, it’s still remarkably heavy and it set a great standard for heavy metal.

[READ: November 29, 2009] “The Not-Dead and the Saved”

This was a sad story about a woman with a dying child.  The child is older (late teens) and he has been coping with this issue for all of his life.  Consequently, he is cynical and more than a little bitter.

It’s hard for me to be critical of the story seeing as how it won the VS Pritchett Memorial Prize.  However, I didn’t find the story all that compelling. I think it was the completely detached narrator (third person distant, I would say) or maybe it was something else. Whatever it was, I just couldn’t connect to it.

[UPDATE:  December 15, 2009.  The story also just won the National Short Story Award.  Maybe I need to re-read it]. (more…)

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