Five of the Week #13

The big bad post – number 13. Where I live people don’t like the number 13 and I grew up with that superstition lingering in the back of my mind. However, it turned out that this number didn’t and doesn’t affect my life in any way. What I observed is that the “fear” of the number 13 is more rooted in the elder people than in the young ones. That might have to do with the loss of beliefs or traditions but it’s also got to do with everyone being superstitious in their own way. They tend to be superstitious about things they can understand, things that affect their lives more than a number.
Honestly, that’s the way I think about the 13, too. I don’t see how a Friday the 13th should be any worse than a Monday the 8th. If I walked under a ladder and a can of paint dropped on my head on either day, I’d still blame it on bad luck and not on the respective date. However, I am superstitious. Before each soccer match I put on my left shoe first and I always wear the shirt with the number 6 on it, though the number doesn’t bear any special meaning. And I even got injured (left shoe first & wearing number 6)ย  but still I wouldn’t have it any other way. I would never put on my right shoe first and wear the shirt with the number 8, 10 or whatever. It just wouldn’t feel right and if anything bad occured I’d blame it on my messing up my ritual.
Anyways, this post revolves around five random facts about the number 13 – either making it more evil or less evil, it’s up to you. Some may sound like conspiracy theories but I am just presenting some ideas here.

1. Infernal Bells
The Song ‘Hells Bells’ by AC/DC begins with the tolling of a bell four times. In total, the bell tolls 13 times. It is about the narrator dragging his victim into hell. If you like rock music and AC/DC, you probably like this song. If not, just listen to it. It’s a great song (as are all of AC/DC older songs) and it’s not evil. ๐Ÿ˜‰

2. 13 Letters
My name consists of 12 letters (you have to believe me here) so I am off the hook…for now. However, the names of serial killers like Charles Manson, Theodore Bundy, Jack the Ripper or Jeffrey Dahmer consist of 13 letters. I’m not saying that people with 13 letters-long names are necessarily evil but still it might be something to think about. At night. When you’re alone. And there’s a storm raging outside and…I’m sorry :-). Pretty scary though, isn’t it?

3. A Transition
Turning 13 means the beginning of adolescence. The time when parents start to become difficult ;-). When you listen to music you don’t even like just to annoy others. When girls get interesting as more than just friends. It’s the time when life begins to change a great deal and this change lasts for a couple of years. I’d say it’s the most significant change in life (or at least one of them).

4. A Delicious 13
The most famous cookie here in Germany has 52 “teeth” (that’s what we call these little things at the sides of our cookies). This would be 4 x 13 teeth if the cookie was a square instead of a rectangle. However, the cookies have 2 x 14 + 2 x 12 teeth. Was this done on purpose? Would the cookie considered to be evil if it was a square with 4 x 13 teeth? ๐Ÿ˜‰

5. Enjoy Your Meal
Judas, the traitor, is said to have been the 13th person to arrive at the Last Supper (although the Bible did not number the people present). However, some American presidents did not attend, or tried to avoid, dinner parties where 13 guests were already present. In France, a 14th guest could be hired for any dinner consisting of 13 people. Yes, the hired people were something like professional guests. So, although the Bible does not link Judas to the number 13, it had a big influence over two millenia and I think it still has.


Five of the Week #4

Wednesday again. Seven days have passed in what seems like minutes. When you get older (yes, Ms. Fellow Blogger, I’m pushig 30 :-P) it seems that time is advancing very, very fast. I remember that, when I was a child, I could hardly stand the time I had to wait. It was like “Two days until Christmas” or “One day until the summer vacation” and I just thought “That’s one bloody hell of an eternity”. Things finally changed in the 11th grade. It was like BAM driver’s license, higher education entrance qualification (which is called “Abitur” in Germany) and now I’m not far away from finishing my studies at university. All that in the blink of an eye – or so it seems.

However, I’m not writing to tell you about how quickly time passed for me (although it is true). No, but still today’s Five of the Week are a bit more personal than the weeks before.
People say that music can already influence an unborn child and it influences them throughout their childhood. Actually, it seems to me that music never loses its influence throughout a lifetime. So, to honor music and its influence I’m going to write about the five albums that influenced me throughout my childhood, i.e. until the age of 12.

Today, I’m mainly into Hard Rock and Metal. Of course that wasn’t always the case because there were also other musical styles influencing me, e.g. the radio playing at the breakfast table. Well, to cut a long story short here are the five albums that made me like the music I love today.

1. Barclay James Harvest – Face to Face
I loved and still love BJH. Their music is simply enchanting and John Lees’ singing adds a special magic to each of their songs. ‘Prisoner of you Love’ and ‘He said Love’ are the two songs I liked the most because they made me recognize the band immediately before I got caught in the music for hours. And with hours I mean hours. I could sit in my room, play with my Lego, listen to the music and singing along without understanding a word (as I am German and was somewhere between pre- and senior kindergarten). This could go on for hours without getting boring. Quite on the contrary, sometimes my parents came into my room looking if I was still in it or if I had fallen asleep because of being so quiet.

2. Bon Jovi – Keep the Faith
Yeah, one of my first Hard Rock albums. I’ve been a big fan of Bon Jovi for years. Unfortunately, in my humble opinion, their new songs lack the quality of their older material. But that’s another story.
Keep the Faith is still one of my favorite Bon Jovi records and listening to it never gets old. I think I got that CD in elementary school when I still didn’t speak any English (despite some holidays spent in Ireland). Nevertheless, I could lose myself in the songs, especially ‘I Believe’, ‘Keep the Faith’ and ‘In these Arms’. ‘I Believe’ spreads a certain power that wasn’t lost on me back then. I mean, just listen to the chorus, it’s great and Jon sings it with a power and emotion so that you simply believe with him. It’s awesome.
‘Keep the Faith’ is one of the songs you can recognized immediately. The catchy bassline caught me for the rest of the song and it didn’t get boring over the years. Wonderful.
‘In theses Arms’: Even without understanding any English I could grasp the essential meaning of the song and I liked the guitar intro. And honestly, is there anyone who could sing a ballad better than Jon Bon Jovi at this time? I don’t think so. Although not being their heaviest record it might have prepared me for what’s to come.

3. Die Toten Hosen – Im Auftrag des Herrn
My first live record and one of the few German-singing bands I like besides Rammstein. In Germany there is an unwritten “law” whereupon you have to decide whether you listen to “Die Toten Hosen” or “Die ร„rzte”. I think I made this decision at a very young age (maybe in the 4th grade) and I still adhere to it. I like studio versions of songs but listening to a live version often reveals a special something. This is the case with “Alles aus Liebe”. Listening to the studio version is cool but listening to the live version still sends shivers down my spine. This is what made me stick to Die Toten Hosen for years. Songs from this record filled my cassettes (yeah, I still know cassettes and the Walkman) for years and I spent so many hours playing with Lego (you see, I played a lot with Lego) listening to the Hosen and thinking “One day I wanna see ’em live” and I did in 2005.

4. Dio – Diamonds
The Best of Dio. And it really is a compilation of his wonderful songs. The first song that really got me into Dio was ‘Holy Diver’. I guess I was around 10 or 12 years when I first listened to the song. At this time I understood a bit more English and I knew straightaway that there is a magic in that song you won’t find so often. It was in summer 1998 when I was on vacation that I listened to the song at least once a day (for 14 days) and it never got boring. What fascinated me then and still fascinates me now is Dio’s voice. No doubt was he one of the best singers, if not the best, of his time and genre. Let’s also not forget the drums. The drums in Holy Diver are still a masterpiece, as is the whole song.

5. AC/DC – Live
Another live album. I love the old AC/DC songs and I listened a lot to that album. It was my first and only AC/DC album for a long time and the power of the music as well as Brian Johnson’s voice amazed me. Be it the ‘Thunderstruck’ intro or any of the other wonderfully recognizable riffs, it caught me and didn’t let me go.
At first, I had the album recorded on a mini disc and later on, I got it on CD. That was great.

Well, that’s it. So much music, so many memories. And the good thing is that whenever you listen to an album or a song you can recall these memories. You know such a song, don’t you? If so, tell me. Of course some memories are more pleasant than others but hey, that’s life.