About Phillip

Phillip Cairns is a beekeeper in St. John’s, Newfoundland, who writes about beekeeping at mudsongs.org.

“Paul” is Fun Sci-Fi Silliness

  Paul is a foolish and fun movie about two British sci-fi geeks who meet up with a little green alien named Paul while on a Winnebago road trip across the US. Paul is on the run from some men in black and needs to hurry up so he can meet with his mother ship that’s scheduled to pick him up in a few days. The movie is plastered with science fiction references (many which I didn’t get), and it’s entertaining trying to spot them even if they don’t all make for hilarious jokes. If you’re a sci-fi geek who doesn’t take any of it too seriously, it’s a good time. The movie isn’t wall-to-wall jokes, and most of the laughs aren’t the laugh out loud kind. But it doesn’t matter because characters are likeable, and every scene is a different adventure and it’s fun.

Hmph. That trailer makes it seem dumber than it is.

Song #5: “Working Class Hero”

My father had some great albums from the ’60s in his record collection, but they were good by default because the ’60s were an exceptional time for popular music (some of the ’70s too). As I got older, though, I realized my father wasn’t the most discriminating listener. He generally bought whatever was popular, and some of it was pretty bad. That’s when I began listening to my brother’s records. I listened to plenty of my father’s Beatles records, but I don’t think my father would have ever bought John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band record. “Working Class Hero.” Fawk.

Song #4: “Dreams to Remember”

I don’t remember when I stumbled on my father’s Otis Redding records. Probably some time in junior high. I think he had Dock of the Bay and The Immortal Otis Redding, both of them virtually scratched to hell like most of his records were. “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” was okay, but “I’ve Got Dreams To Remember” is the song the made me take notice.

My brother eventually bought some double album collections of Otis’s big hits and rare tracks, and that knocked me out too. Songs like “Good to Me,” “Down in the Valley,” “A Change is Gonna Come,” “These Arms of Mine,” “Mary’s Little Lamb,” “Hawg for You” — those songs overflow with soul. It’s surreal to listen to his voice and realize he died when he was only 26. Twenty-six! Jesus.

Song #3: “House of the Rising Sun”

I think everybody who ever learned how to play guitar before 1990 practised playing “House of the Rising Sun” at some point. I know I did. This version by the Animals is the most popular, but once you forget about it and play it like a half drunk hobo in a boxcar, the bluesy roots of the song will take it to another level so that every time you play it, it’s a different song.

My father had The Animals album with this song on it, but I only listened to “House of the Rising Sun” from it. I was recently at a friend’s house who had The Complete Animals best-of collection playing the whole time. It was like the first Rolling Stones record, a bunch of white kids ripping off the blues, but not bad. Just close your eyes and try to not to imagine their silly matching outfits. Think of cigarette smoke and the smell of whiskey instead. Yeah.