I have been, for absolute ages, meaning to put together a short blog or set of tweets around what makes me happy or cheers me up. The list would be exhaustive, but the intention was to highlight the, ah, highlights. So here goes a truncated list:
The Princess Bride: Surely one of the greatest and most quotable films ever, whilst occasioanlly disjointed and oddly paced, this has had a lasting impact on me since I first watched it. It's humour is unmatched, and the sheer purity of the romantic heart of the story has in many ways spoiled my expectations of love, and of course, True Love. Coupled with a revenge theme, exquisite characters and great timing, this story/film/experience is one I come back to time and time again.
The Goonies: Nostalgic, it hasn't aged as well as one would have hoped, but it's spirit of adventure, love, hope and childhood remains as evocative and as strong as ever. Goonies are forever. Nothing more need be said.
The Last Hit: Surprising this one, but there is something about the film, the characters, the location that continues to ring a soft bell within me. It doesn't leave me happy, but reflective and sometime a little sad.
Amelie: A beautifully shot film, with fantastic characterisation and a crazy storyline, this is probably my ultimate feel-good film. I am almost always left feeling upbeat and romantic as hell.
La Valse D'Amelie: The theme tune to the above, this piece of music strikes with a double-whammy of hope and melancholy, and is probably one of two pieces I will have played when I get buried/cremated/sent to the moon.
We Will Become Silhouettes, Postal Service: The disparity between the bouncy upbeat music and vocals combines bizarrely well with the blackhumoured lyrics to leave me slightly breathless and buzzy. I discovered this when I came across grayharp1 on youTube, dancing away to this track in an totally childish and engaging way. I sing to this a lot.
Faded Sun Trilogy, CJ Cherryh; One of my favourite science-fiction stories, this explores the nature of humanity, war, honour and culture in a very alien war. This is a phenomenal book and one that leaves me bereft of despair and anger, and touched with a certain hope.
The Ascent of Rum Doodle, P Bowman; Fantastical, crazy and absurd. Fantastic and silly. Just read it.
The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho; Against all expectations I loved this book. Another 'just read it', this is definitely one that reminds you of your place in the universe and it is invariable a special one, whatever you may feel.
Crow, Ted Hughes; Dark, dangerous, mythic. As an aspiring writer this leaves me depressed, scared, bereft but also full of dreams. It reminds me that all the wonderful and all the horrible things in the world are carried with us, are part of our mythological, cultural and spiritual framework, invented and fuelled by our collective imagination.
The Raven, EA Poe; Read it aloud. Read it aloud with dignity and fervour and conviction. Now tell me you didn't enjoy that. Now do it again with pleasure.
Bob Ross' Joy of Painting; A cable educational TV series on painting, the combination of the hippy Bob Ross, with his loving gentle humour, and his fantastical paintings with their 'happy accidents', little stories and places for Peebo the squirrel to live, are the perfect, complete and unfailing pick-me-up when I feel down. If you ever get the chance to catch one of his shows, sit down, swtch off your mind, watch, listen and absorb.
I'll stop there before I get overly carried away and this short truncated post become something huge and unwieldy.
So, the final question is - what makes you happy?