Mystery Music March

41 Original Hits from the Soundtrack of American Graffiti

Even though most of us would list Star Wars as one of our favourite films, American Graffiti is director George Lucas’s best work. It’s the perfect marriage of story and period, evoking nostalgia for that moment in the US which straddled the more clear cut 50s way of life and the moral ambiguity that straddled the Vietnam war, the effects of which are still being endured today. It’s funny, smart, sweet, has great performances and above all an amazing soundtrack.

In developing the film, Lucas and screenwriters Gloria Katz, and Willard Huyck understood that for authenticity the music of the period should be omnipresent, creeping out of radios and jukeboxes in diner and cars and in the radio station that Richard Dreyfuss visits at one point. The idea, at least initially, was that each of the scene should last for the duration of a song the nature of which should punctuate was that scene was about. It was expensive, costing at least a tenth of the total budget of the film.

Which means that the soundtrack album is as all encompassing survey of the music of the period as you’re likely to hear. Just look at the track listing:
Disc One

1. "(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley & His Comets (1954)
2. "Sixteen Candles" by The Crests (1958)
3. "Runaway" by Del Shannon (1961)
4. "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" by Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers (1956)
5. "That'll be the Day" by Buddy Holly (1957)
6. "Fanny Mae" by Buster Brown (1959)
7. "At the Hop" by Danny and the Juniors (1957)
8. "She's So Fine" by Flash Cadillac & the Continental Kids
9. "The Stroll" by The Diamonds (1957)
10. "See You in September" by The Tempos (1959)
11. "Surfin' Safari" by The Beach Boys (1962)
12. "He's the Great Imposter" by The Fleetwoods (1961)
13. "Almost Grown" by Chuck Berry (1959)
14. "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" by The Platters (1959)
15. "Little Darlin"' by The Diamonds (1957)
16. "Peppermint Twist" by Joey Dee and the Starliters (1961)
17. "Barbara Ann" by The Regents (1961)
18. "Book of Love" by The Monotones (1958)
19. "Maybe Baby" by Buddy Holly (1958)
20. "Ya Ya" by Lee Dorsey (1961)
21. "The Great Pretender" by The Platters (1955)

Disc Two

1. "Ain't That a Shame" by Fats Domino (1955)
2. "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry (1958)
3. "I Only Have Eyes for You" by The Flamingos (1959)
4. "Get a Job" by The Silhouettes (1958)
5. "To the Aisle" by The Five Satins (1957)
6. "Do You Wanna Dance" by Bobby Freeman (1958)
7. "Party Doll" by Buddy Knox (1957)
8. "Come Go with Me" by The Del-Vikings (1956)
9. "You're Sixteen" by Johnny Burnette (1960) written by Bob & Dick Sherman
10. "Love Potion No. 9" by The Clovers (1959)
11. "Since I Don't Have You" by The Skyliners (1959)
12. "Chantilly Lace" by The Big Bopper (1958)
13. "Teen Angel" by Mark Dinning (1960)
14. "Crying in the Chapel" by Sonny Till & the Orioles (1953)
15. "A Thousand Miles Away" by The Heartbeats (1957)
16. "Heart and Soul" by The Cleftones (1961)
17. "Green Onions" by Booker T. & the M.G.'s (1962)
18. "Only You (and You Alone)" by The Platters (1954)
19. "Goodnight, Well It's Time to Go" by The Spaniels (1953)
20. "All Summer Long" by The Beach Boys (1964).
Sound editor Walter Murch’s selections are just plain scholarly; many of these songs have later turned up on other soundtracks and commercials which is probably where most of us had heard them from. But I would imagine that the non-fiction adult versions of the characters in the film couldn’t fail to be transported backwards to the early 60s, when music still had an innocent quality.

But even those of us who were born a decade later and enjoyed and endured the 70s can still be transported through the decision to not simply include the music of the period but also the patter. The legendary DJ Wolfman Jack appears as himself in the film, imparting advice to Dreyfuss and and also actually appears on this soundtrack, taking requests, joshing about and introducing the records. For all the innovation that the likes of Danny Baker, Kenny Everett, Chris Evans and Chris Moyles are credited with, Jack was doing exactly their kind of zoo radio in the 60s, albeit with slightly less sophistication.

Unlike Robin Williams inclusion on the Good Morning Vietnam album though, which was essentially his dialogue from the film dropped in between tracks and skippable on a cd, the Wolfman is part of the fabric of some of the tracks even singing along and talking over the fade out. It’s almost as though we’re listening to the very radio show from the film or that a recording of one the DJs own shows has been saved and cleaned up or if you in a magical mood, dropped through a time warp. Which makes it one of my favourite soundtracks especially since apart from anything else you can dance and sing along to it.
Liverpool Life Manchester to Liverpool - in just 10 minutes. When and if this does come to pass, isn't that all they'd need to put on the adverts? I can't imagine the fares will be very cheap though, limiting it to business customers and high end commuters. But still. Manchester to Liverpool - in just 10 minutes -- how exciting is that?

Dead Man Walking.

TV One of my favourite television moments ever is during the Quantum Leap episode The Boogieman. It happens right at the end when time travelling hero Sam Beckett realises that his holographic guide Al, who for much of the affair has been omitting certain truths and thoroughly misleading him, is actually a much darker force and might well be the devil working to stop him from carrying out his angelic aim of making right what once went wrong.

It literally makes my flesh creep and that mostly has to do with Dean Stockwell’s performance, a friendly face turned sour, a glint and his eye and some twisted facial muscles suggesting that our friend simply isn’t there. But it’s also because it suddenly increases the narrative landscape of the series, that he isn’t just being buffeted by the time winds but also the whims of metaphysical beings.

It seems probable that Dead Man Walking was supposed to have much the same effect, since the team literally bring Death (or some version of it) to Earth and although there was some idle discussion of whether it was from another dimension unlike much of Doctor Who, no real scientific, however fantastical, explanation was offered (which is something of a change for a franchise which up until now has mostly existed within a rational albeit sometimes magical universe).

The newly resurrected Owen was being used as a conduit for old boney to walk among us and they were following the instruction of an ancient manuscript in order to vanquish it. So far so Buffyverse. To some extent it worked, helped by a wonderful realisation of Death, eschewing the usual cloak and scythe for a gas which was far more reaper 2.0 than the opening titles of Dead Like Me.

The problem was that the bringer of block capitals didn’t push itself through the consciousness barrier. He was dragged into our world by the apparent heroes after bringing their friend back for a quick goodbye and grabbing of a security combination, men and women who on the basis of their previous experiences really should know better. After run of episodes in which have very clearly demonstrated which side of the moral debate our heroes stood, we’re back in the grey area that threaded through the first series and made it so difficult to watch. Unlike Quantum Leap, the forces of darkness in this series might well be the very people we're supposed to care about.

Jack’s always had a certain ambiguity with a very specific idea of how the greater good (the greater good) should be served. Giving up that child to the aliens in Small Worlds being a prime example. Except on this occasion Jack brought Owen back from death because he could, without as far as we could tell knowing what the consequences would be. Which might have been fine had his action not ultimately led to the death of twelve people. This puts us in the position of having to sympathise with heroes who’ve dropped off the moral compass, become the boogeyman (or woman) and I’m not sure that we can or should have to.

Perhaps I’m just touchy and I know this has nothing to do with wanting my heroes to be whiter than white. Even the Doctor has grey areas. And Batman for that matter and that might be what they’re going for. Except the Doctor and Batman materialize or swing into these grey areas for the greater good (the greater good). You could argue that the Torchwood team did exactly what any human being would do, ignoring the wider picture and making the most of the tools available in order to save a colleague. Except, y’know, twelve people. What about their families and friends, eh?

We should applaud the writers trying to be different, for attempting to put the audience on the back foot, since they’ve put us in the position of having to root for characters that have been doing the kinds of things which villains have a tendency to do, in other words, Torchwood reverted to type and became exactly the organisation the Doctor wrinkled his nose at in The Sound of Drums. Notice that in the middle of everything Martha (in about the only scene which justified her presence in the episode) tore a strip from her pal, thereby keeping her on the right side of right, almost ring fencing her from responsibility. But however well written the speech was like perfume within the moral vacuum.

The conclusion of the episode was almost being played out as though the team were battling an entity which they’d had no responsibility for, which had entered into our reality through some other means. The intention seemed to be to portray the team’s detached professionalism, but at least to these eyes it had all the hallmarks of psychosis of the kind some murderers apparently go through when they’ve bumped off a loved one and enter grief.

But I don’t know if that was the intention, that the writers were being that clever. What probably niggles is that I can’t be certain that writer Matt Jones made those kinds of psychological connections and if he did he’s asking an awful from us viewers looking for a bit of excitement on a Wednesday night. It’s ironic that ITV1 began showing the quasi-cop show Dexter later on in the evening which portrays a similar situation. Except in that case, the writers are very careful to make is victims people we’d dislike anyway.

Perhaps I’m just pissed off that just as it looked as though the production team had done something truly exciting like killing off a main character, he’s still walking around and brooding about what it is to be alive, flying about rubbish night clubs in the visual style of Harvey Keitel in Mean Streets. Perhaps it might have worked better if the team had shown a less flippant attitude to his immortality, instead of giving the impression it was just another day at the office, all breezy and business-like.

Perhaps after a run of excellent episodes, I'm disappointed to we're suddenly back in the territory of the first series, with its nervous tone, reliance on Weevils for scares and portrayal of what's supposed to be a professional team as idiots. Not since the truck was nicked in Countrycide have we seen a more cloth headed decision than leaving the glove lying around like its some medical instrument in order to produce an action sequence.

And what was going on with Jack's antics in the teaser? At a time when we should have been mourning the death of a character, we were offered something which looked like a live action adaptation of a Warner Brothers cartoon with the Captain in the Daffy Duck role, wonky camera angles included. I wouldn’t be too surprised if the episode lost my interest and investment right there. All it needed was a mousetrap to be in the box instead of the glove.

With an average episode I probably would have been applauding the treatment of Owen’s predicament particularly the fact that the internal systems related to digestion and erections had shut down. The scene in that police cell was a neat bit of writing and acting, up there with the similar male bonding scene in Utopia (even the projectile vomiting was a bit funny). The episode was well directed too, with only the odd Teagueian camera angle to pull us out of the action or confuse things.

Despite largely having nothing but exposition to say this time, Ianto once again had the funniest moment as he faced down the glove with a hockey stick and Martha, despite being horrendously underused still managed to demonstrate how missed she’ll be not travelling through time in the next series of Doctor Who. Even the Tosh and Owen material was sweet right up to the Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan moment at the end.

Which is probably where the epicentre of the problems I had with the episode lay. From Propp to Campbell theorists on the heroic trajectory have noted that for a story to be totally satisfying, if the hero succeeds through morally ambiguous means, there has to be a penalty (cf. Father’s Day). In order to create closure and for the actions to have consequences, for narrative reasons Owen had to die once and for all at the end during his struggle. But this kind of series television rarely allows for those kinds of absolutes and we’re also back in the situation of not really understanding what the production team are trying to do.

Mr. Gorman’s still under contract, still listed in the main titles and since Martha’s only around for three episodes isn’t going to be replaced any time soon. He’s technically still dead though (and good luck with dealing with that in continuity terms) and judging by next week’s episode has magical powers. Perhaps he’ll finally be offed next week and prove me wrong but I don’t think so. But now that the series has a family friendly version you have to wonder if this is sending mixed messages to kids about human mortality. Why can't they just be content with Torchwood giving us the weekly bit of clear cut good vs evil? Its served Doctor Who and The Sarah Jane Adventures quite well so far.

Mystery Music March


As I write, I’m listening to a recording of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.5 in D major (BWV 1050). Though it’s about the most perfect piece of music as I’m likely to hear, the problem is I can’t put into words exactly why that is. I can use jargon like counterpoint and polyphonic, talk about how invigorating it is to hear what seem to be three different melodies playing side by side only for them to drop away leaving only a harpsichord, to hear so many different ideas being expressed, and how just half way through the allegro my ears are still constantly being surprised. That if this was the last composition left on earth it would probably be enough for everyone.

I’ve always joked on this blog about how I can’t write about music, and I think that opening paragraph proves it. I’m passionate about music, as I suppose we all are to varying degrees but unlike film I can’t put that passion into words. I can’t tell you with any great confidence why something is really good or especially bad except in the most basic of terms. I could quite happily explain at length why I think that Ocean’s Twelve is a highly underrated film but I’m not sure I could convince you of the brilliance of Dido.

Except that I have a sneaky suspicion that actually I can and reassuring myself is what Mystery Music March is going to be about. It’s to put myself in a spot, and challenge myself to churn out thirty odd pieces of writing about music, with a little help from some friends . I’m committing to this on the back of last year’s popular Forgotten Films February which was great fun to do and I'm still getting comments about.

Like that escapade, hopefully the mystery will still be that I’ll be introducing you music you’ve not heard before, and not just that you won’t know what I’m writing about next. Like forgotten films its sure to be a very personal endeavour and by the end of the month you’ll probably be all too aware of how shockingly mainstream my musical taste is in places, although I’ll be very surprised if you’ve heard of everything before, at least in the form I’ll be writing about.

I do envy though people who can translate what their ears hear into words. But I’m also conscious of the fact that most of the reviews I read tend to spend much of the wordage explaining the biography of the artist and influences rather than the work itself; perhaps beyond a star rating there isn’t much more that can be said until the person has actually heard the music for themselves and made their own judgement.

Pop and classical music reviewing do seem to be two different disciplines though. The former is usually a wholly original piece of work, so the writer has to talk about the quality of the lyrics or the sound and if relevant how it fits within the artists career or genre. Much of classical music is a recording of an existing work, and the reviewer is noting the quality of the playing, the choices of the conductor, the interpretation. Listening to Building a Library on Radio 3, in which an expert selects the best recording of a piece demonstrates that this is all a matter of opinion.

Which is all I can do over the next month, offer opinions. Clearly I’m selecting the music and it’s going to be something I’m recommending (with one notable exception) so none of them are probably going to be too negative and I want you to disagree with me, constructively at least. I would also appreciate ideas; if you’d like to write about something yourself, contributions are welcome. But if there’s a track, artist or album you’d like me to write about, especially if you don’t think I’ve heard it before, I’d love that too. If this is going to be a proper challenge, I do need to be, well, challenged.

"Excepting February alone. Which only has but 28 days clear And 29 in each leap year..." -- Traditional

Life February 29th is always a strange place to be. It’s almost as though the whole world shifts into an alternate reality in which everything is exactly the same, except we can look at the calendar and see something apparently impossible. Some employers give their staff the day off apparently (congratulations National Trust) which seems like just the right reaction. If we all have this extra day slotted into our lives we can’t we just enjoy it and perhaps do something we wouldn’t ordinarily do on the other one hundred and sixty five?

But then, not that I’ve jumped out of a plane or anything I always feel like I’m doing something new anyway. Four years ago, I was half way through my stint at the Liverpool Direct call centre, although it was a Sunday, which explains the busyness on the blog. Since then, my crackpot scheme to go back to university actually worked and I have another degree and now I’m working to try and get some experience ready for the next thing. My life’s always been about ‘the next thing’ and I don’t think it’s something which’ll ever change, thank goodness.
TV I've been a fan of the actress Laura Fraser for years -- since Neverwhere probably, so it's always good news when she actually gets some work. She'll be seen twice on the BBC in the next couple of months, firstly in a costume drama about Florence Nightinghale [image], then as Abigail in The Passion, a new tv version of the Easter story (and not as the imdb seems to think Mary Magdalene).

See below.

Meme Saw that Keris had done this and well, you know me.

* Pick fifteen of your favourite movies.
* Go to IMDb and find a quote from each movie.
* Post them here for everyone to guess.
* Strike it out when someone guesses correctly in the comments, and put who guessed it and the movie.
* NO Googling or using IMDb search functions.

1. "She must have really been in love to get to this. How can so many sincere moments, one after the other, lead to such misery... who'd want that?"

2. "I can't help thinking that at some point someone is going to produce a piglet and we'll all have to chase it."

3. "All right, Bub, your fuckin' head is coming right off."

4. "Do I look 50 to you?"
"Well, I mean, you know, only from the neck up."

5. "I did not come to medical school to murder my class mates no matter how deranged they might be."

6. "Here's our man. Yeah, all right. Here's me. Well, the guy playin' me anyway. Even though he don't look nothin' like me. But, whatever."

7. ""I want to squeeze you, lick you, pucker up and kiss you"? You make her sound like a lemon!"

8. "How did I end up with a kid on the other end of the political spectrum? How did I fail? Steffi, get me a copy of my will... and an eraser."

9. "The world's about to end, and here I am, stuck in traffic."

10. "What do you want?"
"I just want to help you."
"Don't listen to him, he just wants to scrape our faces off."

11. "I would love to believe in a universe where you wake up and don't have to to go to work and you step outside and meet two beautiful 18-year-old sister who are also girlfriends and are also very nice people."

12. "I don't mind what you did; I mind how you did it."

13 . "Oh, I'm crazy? Those fuckin' hobbit movies were boring as hell. All it was, was a bunch of people walking, three movies of people walking to a fucking volcano."

14. "A woman never goes anywhere but the hospital without packing makeup, clothes, and jewelry."

15. "You all wanna be looking very intently at your own belly buttons. I see a head start to rise, violence is going to ensue. Probably guessed we mean to be thieving here but what we're after is not yours. So, let's have no undue fussing." Serenity. Well done, Ben!

Have at you ...

"stark raving sane"

It's with a certain inevitability that I'm linking to this article from The Times in which theatre critic Benedict Nightingale broods over which Hamlet was the best. Simon Russell Beale comes out quite well all round. The critics says he's seen forty and reviewed thirty-five. I really need to pull me finger out.

The Twilight Streets.

Books Bilis Manger’s back and front are back is the headline for Gary Russell’s latest literary opus, his first Torchwood novel The Twilight Streets. In a story which drifts through Captain Jack’s past and potential future we discover that in all the world there’s a housing estate in Cardiff the inaccurately named Harkness simply can’t enter, his attempts leading to nausea, unconsciousness and loss of memory – all of the conditions in fact some of us experienced on a Sunday morning during our student days. Though not me. Whilst investigating the regeneration of the area, the Torchwood team quickly discover that Manger is involved and has revenge and the application of clown faces on his mind.

Click to continue. Expect mild language and spoilers.

It might be unfashionable to admit, but I’ve always been a fan of Gary Russell’s fiction writing. Like Steve Lyons, he has the ability to produce Doctor Who stories which perfectly replicate their era, but always with some kind of experimental twist. He’s also gained something of a reputation for, well, fan wank, masses of continuity references drawing up an encyclopaedic knowledge of the series probably developed when he was writing the Matrix Data Bank column for Doctor Who Magazine. My argument is that actually, unlike a lot of writers he produced stories that strive to take place in a coherent universe in which characters realistically refer to and remember all the scattershot of memories and experiences and knowledge they should do as travellers in the fourth dimension. Plus I’d forgive the writer of the Unbound Valeyard starring He Jests At Scars almost anything.

Predictably then in The Twilight Streets, he can’t help himself. Fans will guffaw at a text which somehow manages to reference everything from Doctor Who’s underrated Terror of the Zygons to The Unquiet Dead via Boomtown (explaining what the older Jack was doing whilst his younger counterpart was bouncing around and creating earthquakes in Cardiff Bay). But cleverly Russell also laces the text with new continuity regarding Torchwood Three’s past (another era, another team) and Jack’s involvement with them and much more on who the old man in the Glasgow office is. If there’s a problem its that on this occasion he proves one of the arguments of the anti-Gary camp that his exposition sometimes feels a bit forced and isn’t always relevant to the story. But to an extent that can’t be helped because it is also one of his many sequels.

On screen, Bilis Manger was always a tease of a character, another casualty of the rushed first tv series, far more interesting when mysterious, less so when you discover it’s all about his worship of a mountain sized demon. The Twilight Streets extends his character exponentially, filling in a range of his on-screen blanks and in the process somehow manages to return some of that mystery. At best he has that unhinged quality we enjoyed from Daniel Day-Lewis in the film There Will Be Blood, and it’s never entirely clear whether he’s going to be nice or nasty to whoever in the Torchwood team he’s seeking out. At worst he trolls about like some septuagenarian Treguard from kids tv 'adventure' series Knightmare, popping in to comment on their progress and laugh when that isn’t very far or they're about to die.

Russell’s grasp of the regulars is extremely good (and so it should be given that he’s a script editor on the series). Ianto comes out best, offering some rationalisation as to why he’s a bit bouncier this series. He’s perhaps far chattier than on screen but we find out exactly how he feels about the good Captain and their relationship and his place within the team. Jack is somewhere between his Doctor Who persona and Mr. Broody – he also gets in some useful roof time. Other than Manger and a version of Rhys, the only guest is Idris, a worker for the council who Jack’s got to know very, very well. He’s smart and funny and in fact I was probably reminded of Sam Seabourne from The West Wing. With a welsh accent. And an affinity for Welsh politics.

As a sequel to End of Days then it really shouldn’t be very good. But Russell’s a talented writer and takes full advantage of the printed page, often pulling away from the narrative to reprint the diary entries and news stories and interrogation transcripts Ianto’s carrying about in his large file all of which are actually printed in a different font to the rest of the story. The unmistakable Century Gothic is used too during perhaps the most enjoyable passages in which Russell flashes forward to a possible future in which all of the pent up anger our pals seemed to store in the first series is let out and we see what might happen if Captain Jack’s moral compass and arse kicking boots weren’t keeping the team and their predilection of power weren’t kept in check. Think Star Trek’s Mirror Universe.

Ultimately the conclusion is a bit of a mess, not quite coherently describing exactly how the metaphoric forces of light and dark (which have suddenly made themselves corporeal) are dealt with, and once again Bilis seems a bit wasted even in the Twelve Monkey’s tinged epilogue. Some of the more visual ideas, such as the clown faces, disconnected personalities and mass possessions don't quite have the same shock and awe as text, but the first 200 hundred odd pages are never less than entertaining and as bonkers as a Torchwood story should be.

Torchwood: The Twilight Streets by Gary Russell
ISBN: 978-1846074394
RRP: £6.99
Release date: 6th March 2008
Elsewhere Your 'entertainment' for the evening can be found here. I was going to review this, but apart from the pictured altar, I didn't like it at all and I'm in too good of a mood to spend three paragraphs saying, 'It's well curated but nauseating' when I can do it in five words including a contraction. Like I just did.

"You're making a huge misstep." -- Plainview, 'There WIll Be Blood'

Film Another Oscars missed then through Sky having the rights and not at least broadcasting them on Sky Three so that those of us with a Freeview box could watch. I did my best to get some of the excitement though, when I woke up this morning, I ignored the television and went straight to The Guardian blog where I knew Anna had been liveblogging through the night which was the next best thing.

I was still able to experience the Oscars (albeit in biting satire), gasping at the upsets and surprises in the right order and something of the build up to the Best Picture. I'm pleased that so many Brits have won awards even if I haven't seen any of the films they've actually won awards for and much as I loved Enchanted, I love that Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova won for "Falling Slowly" which was one of my favourite songs of last year.

When the dust settles though, in a few years, after the cineastes and film academia have had their hands on it (writing journal articles with titles like 'In Plainview: Framing Oilmen'), There Will Be Blood losing will like the many Scorsese upsets (Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, Gangs of New York, Raging Bull) be seen as the academy choosing the less important film as their favourite.

I've already it said it once, but PTA's film has the potential to change our films are made. Expect a lot of very interesting pieces of work to come out of Hollywood over the next couple of years. Than again, I said that about Crash which pretty much killed the hyperlink film genre even before I'd handed in my dissertation about it, so what do I know?
Politics Elizabeth Wurtzel writes about the US presidential campaign and in particular Hilary Clinton's image:
"A young woman I respect in northern California describes Hillary as "grotesque." A middle-aged successful artist I know -- herself a bit of a virago -- thinks she's "evil." And my mother, who is admittedly a Republican, is capable of going on and on about how Hillary is in it all for herself, that she'll do anything to win, that she'll kill to push her agenda through, that she's just a disgusting human being, that the sound of Hillary's voice is enough to send her racing for the remote control to turn off her beloved Fox News. The New Republic points out that many Democrats describe Hillary Clinton as "mendacious, brutal, willing to bend (or break) any rule in pursuit of power." And they're on her side."
All of which would of course become a mute point now that Nader's back like a bad penny. He can't really split the vote again can he?
Elsewhere I've begun writing about Liverpool online for, the free magazine which is available throughout the city centre. I can't tell you how exciting it is to see my words printed on glossy paper. I'll link to it if a version appears online. If anyone has any tips for future columns, please let me know.