How am I different

In this article I want to share with you one of my favourite musicians Aimee Mann and to discuss what her work means to me and how important it is for understanding mental health.

When I was about 20 years old I watched this film called “Magnolia” and it touched my soul. The feel of the film is very sad but contains some of the best drama I have ever seen on film. The film has some big stars like Tom Cruise, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Juliane Moore. One of the elements of the film that attracted me was the music. On investigating this I found out that the director of this film Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights) was in love with Aimee’s music and so he asked her to score the entire film using her music. The music was like nothing I had ever heard so that inevitably led me to look through her catalogue of music.

I started with an album called “Batchelor No.2” which I believe to be one of the best albums I own. In this album Aimee doesn’t just give you music, she gives you a window to her own personal fears and anxieties. Many music critics have described the music as raw because it has a lot of depressing lyrics though the melodies are not always in a minor tone.

If you are the sort of person who has an inner dialogue that criticises you and tells you you’re not good enough like I do then you can hear this argument in her music. Aimee isn’t always writing about herself she plays the parts of different characters and can be offering advice too.

Lost in Space is one of my favourite go to albums when I’m feeling a bit low. The album is about people who have a drug dependency. Aimee would compare taking taking heroin to being lost in space. The album has a number of fascinating rhymes which really stretch the imagination. Aimee once rhymed “Margaret Thatcher” with “Compound Fracture”. For me the most moving track on this album is titled “Its not” which I have included an excerpt of below:

“So here I’m sitting in my car at the same old stop light. I keep waiting for a change, but I dont know what.

So red turns in to green turning into yellow, and I’m just frozen here on the same old spot.

And all I have to do is to press the pedal, but I’m not, no I’m not”

I find these lyrics beautiful and very clever in the way they play with metaphor to describe a feeling we all have in life. Hidden expectations we are all expected to live up to. People around us who all seem to know the right way to live their lives and know all of the choices they need to make it happen.

I think if you don’t like to think about your music then this isn’t for you, and if you’ve never dabbled in self deprecation then this perhaps isn’t for you but I’d try it anyway. This music might be downbeat but it sends an important message that we’re not alone in how we feel.

I recently found out bizarrely that Aimee in the past lent her vocals to Canadian rock trio Rush for their famous single “Time Stands Still”. Aimee also plays the girl who had her toe chopped off in the Coen Brothers film “The Big Lebowski”

Mental Illness is Aimee’s new album and lends itself to the territory of how people with mental illness cope in their day to day lives. I haven’t yet fully explored the content but I’m excited for what new fruit will come from it.

Aimee is still touring, I had the pleasure of seeing her in London and picked up a signed copy of Charmer. Aimee is such a bright and funny woman that you might not think she is capable of writing such sad music but perhaps this is one of those ironies in life, the funniest can often be the saddest inside. Please give Aimee’s music a try and let me know what you think.

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How to ignore ‘Ghost in the Shell’ super fans!

I recently went to the cinema to see the live action reboot of Ghost in the Shell. Take it from me, you need to see this reboot. I know there are a lot of them lately but this one is fantastic.

Despite what many critics say this film doesn’t hurt the original animated feature one bit, in fact I would say it is a fitting tribute. It is also important to say that this reboot isn’t just a rehashing of the original it is a stand up film in its own right.
The project which is the main focus of the reboot is called Project 2571 which is just to remind us that the film is not portraying 2501 with the puppet master as shown in the original. I must say there was quite a lot borrowed from the originally but visually it was incredible.  Scarlet Johannson was the best person for the role of kusanagi in my opinion and she perfectly nails the downbeat nature of the character.

The world that they created for the film was exciting, colourful and enticing. The world the film was set in almost looked like something that could have been dreamed up by Ridley Scott.
The direction and timing of the films narrative is enjoyably paced without skipping past some of the sentimental and thought provoking moments in the film. The action is well choreographed and despite being a 12A, (which did make me and my girlfriend curious) it didn’t feel like it was lacking suitable amounts of violence.

As most film buffs know The Matrix was influenced by Ghost in the Shell and you can tell that this film has adopted the same sense of style. There is plenty of philosophical dialogue that has the whiff of Renee Descartes meditations which examines the duality between the body and the soul.

I must be honest I have a slight soft spot for Scarlet because I love her acting and also fancy her a little bit so she can’t really ever do wrong in my eyes. I do think though that she will always get a hard time because these dick head fans will always want to crap all over any movie that tries to recreate something we enjoy. Don’t listen to the fans, give the film a try, you’ll realise it has a lot to offer and you’ll be pleasantly surprised