First Lines: The God Delusion

Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion argues that any creative intelligence, of sufficient complexity to design anything, comes into existence only as the end product of an extended process of gradual evolution. And since 1) evolution does a perfect job at explaining how complex organisms like us humans came to be, 2) there is no factual evidence for the existence of any god and 3) all philosophical evidence is weak at best, there is almost certainly no god.

Other than that, Dawkins has two other messages: 1) there is nothing wrong with being an atheist, and 2) children should not be labeled by their parents’ religion. There is no such thing as a “Catholic child” or a “Muslim child”. Children have no way of developing such views on the universe and mankind’s place in it, but are being brainwashed with their parent’s beliefs. A “Pastafarian child” does not exist, as it is a child of Pastafarian parents.

My reason for picking up this book — I read precious little non-fiction — well, let’s just say that in the last few years I have become more interested in this topic. Books like Knielen op een Bed Violen (which deals with someone getting lost in obscure orthodox fanaticism) and De Schrift betwist (Maarten ‘t Hart’s columns on the Bible) fit in this pattern, and I kept on seeing recommendations for this book. Can’t say I was disappointed. I found myself agreeing with most of Dawkins’ points, and would probably go as far as recommending this book as well.

Book read
Richard Dawkins — The God Delusion
First line
The Boy lay prone in the grass, his chin resting on his hands.

Public appeal

In the sidebar to the right of this page, there is a link called “Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman lyrics“, and it offers just that: an almost complete archive of lyrics to the songs of Meat Loaf, Jim Steinman and some related artists.

One of those related artists is Ellen Foley. Her debut Night Out (her best album with her most well-known song, “We Belong to the Night”) has been available on CD for a couple of years now, but the other two, Spirit of St. Louis and Another Breath were just reissued (with several bonus tracks) last week.

Spirit of St. Louis might as well have been a The Clash album. It is produced by her then-boyfriend Mick Jones, featuring him and the other three members of The Clash, six of the twelve songs were written by Jones and Clash frontman Joe Strummer, and three others were written by some-times Clash-affiliate Tymon Dogg. The musical styles are all over the place, ranging from punky rockers to French chanson like songs. It’s an odd album. But judge for yourself. Via this blog you can go over here, and download the whole thing. The bonus tracks on the reissue are not exactly essential stuff.

As I just picked up my copy of Another Breath earlier today, I can’t really trust my judgment just yet. My first impression is that, overall, it is a better album than Spirit, although it doesn’t have any real standout tracks. The bonus tracks are three versions of “Nightline” (the single edit, and two versions of the dance mix), the b-side “Beat of a Broken Heart” [mp3 download] and the previously unreleased track “Ghost of a Chance” [mp3 download]. And for the love of all that’s bright and shiny, I can’t understand why they have left that track of the album.

While putting the Ellen-pages for the archive together, I found that there is almost no information on Ellen available online. Except for one incomplete and outdated site, there nothing worth mentioning. Finding lyrics online is also a crime. Only Another Breath includes the lyrics, and apart from the various covers on the albums, only the lyrics to “What’s a Matter Baby?” and “We Belong to the Night” can be found. And that is why I need your help. I think I have made a decent transcription of the Night Out lyrics, but I could really need help on Spirit and the verses of “Beat of a Broken Heart”. So if you have some time to spare, grab the files, and see what you can make of it. Post your suggestions and corrections in comments or mail then to evilnickname [curly thing above the ‘2’ on your keyboard] Any help is greatly appreciated.

We’ll never be as young as we are right now (part IV)

Until a couple of years ago — say, up to 2003 — I would probably have said that I was a Meat Loaf fan first. Looking back, I suspect that the release of the less then impressive Couldn’t Have Said It Better and a (imo) sloppy concert in Amsterdam in April 2003 was the point where I became a Jim Steinman fan first.

Granted, compared to mr. Loaf, Jim hasn’t put much new stuff out there since Tanz der Vampire in 1998, but I find that what has become available (The Batman demos ¹, some of the new songs for Dance of the Vampires, the new songs for The Dream Engine) is far more exciting than what Meat Loaf has released in the same period (CHSIB, Bat III, some live releases). And Steinman has never been known as a prolific writer (he recycles his work a lot: traces of Tanz can be found in his 1969 musical The Dream Engine, Bat II mostly consisted of Bad for Good and Original Sin covers, etc.), or producer. After his productive streak in the 1980s, the last album completely written and produced by Steinman is Bat II. The new Dream Engine material (the band) shows a lot of potential, but after two years of nothing… you do the math.

His recent theater work seems to be more succesful: Whistle Down the Wind was a success in its original London run, Tanz has been a ginourmous succes in every incarnation since its premiere in Vienna ten years ago. On the downside you have of course DofV (I think that it’s great musically and lyrically, but fails completely in the script, casting and execution departments), the canceled Batman musical (the available music is, once again, top notch [full disclaimer: yes, I am an unobjective fanboy]) and the US-touring version of Whiste that has not been received well.

All that aside, Jim’s music gets to me in a way that few other composers have accomplished. It gets under my skin, and stays there.

Thank you for that, and happy birthday, Jimmy.

  1. Do yourself a favour, go to’s multimedia page, and download “(Vespers)Angels Arise/Graveyard Shift”. There is a reason it’s on the top of my most played tracks list for some time now. [ back ]

J’ai de retour

Monday morning I returned home from my trip to the South of France. There are several things that can be crossed of several lists:

  • I’ve climbed a mountain (the Ker of Massat)
  • I’ve been over three cols featured in recent Tours de France (Col de la Crouzette, Col de Port and Col d’Agnes)
  • I’ve visited the Pyrenees
  • I’ve visited Andorra (lucky number 13)
  • I’ve been higher than I’ve ever been (Pas de la Casa in Andorra is at approx. 2050 meters above sealevel)
  • A year late, but still: I went on a holiday of more than a week, to a place I hadn’t been before, and I didn’t go alone
  • I’ve made the mother of all pancakes: apple, Cointreau soaked raisins and bacon bits
  • In the course of ten days, I checked my email only once

Pictures can be found on the usual location.

Since you been gone

As we speak, I am probably on my way back from the south of France, and this post was prepared in advance for your pleasure.

Statistics show that of the mp3s I’ve offered here, the remixes of Bonnie Tyler’s “Two out of Three ain’t Bad” were downloaded the most. I suppose that’s largely due to Pudding linking to them. Let’s see how many downloads this post will gather.

The Steinman-produced “Band of Gold” was the fourth single released from Bonnie Tyler’s Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire album, and was released in three versions: a regular 7″ and 12″ single with the non-album track “It’s Not Enough” on the B-side, and a US remix 12″. I’ll discuss the former two when I get to the SD&FF single roundup, and since I don’t know anything about dance-music, let alone remixes, I’ll just provide the remixes, and let you get your groove on.

  • Bonnie Tyler – Band of Gold (Arthur Baker Remix) [mp3 download]
  • Bonnie Tyler – Band of Gold (dub) [mp3 download]

Apart from these two, there is an additional version:

  • Bonnie Tyler – Band of Gold (Disconet Remix) [mp3 download]

If all goes according to plan, I should be home tomorrow.