In the second (click HERE! for part one!) of our three part, New Year nostalgia session, we asked some more of our merry writers what defines their lives. Lost in Translation by Charlotte Elizabeth Beer As a couple cavort through a stream of city lights I am left absorbed in a dream like state, wondering of their destination, whether they are really in love, with each other, or just the city they are inhabiting. Lost in Translation takes me on a journey of ethereal cityscapes and bewildering love, it allows me to question the meaning of life, if only from the perspective of an aging man and his beautiful, lost, companion. From the moment I first set eyes on Coppola’s study of love and loss I had fallen hook, line and sinker for everything it represented. Now I know there are film fans who loathe what Lost in Translation stands for. They see nothing in the sparse dialogue and lingering shots of sunrise over the city. It’s all a little art house, a little too romanticised. But for every hater, there is, as always, a lover. Seen through my eyes the film brings to life so many of our everyday struggles. Every emotion, however miniscule, is covered in Coppola’s script; no human feeling is too small to make a contribution to the story. As Bob carries an already sleeping Charlotte to bed I can recall looking on at the tender moment as if I were a part of the relationship, a bystander in their romance, willing them to tell each other how they felt. There is something magical about a film that can wrap us up so tightly in its grasp. What lies at the heart of this film is so subtle you could blink and miss it. And then there’s the key scene. The karaoke bar, where through the art of subliminal messages, we are led to believe that this isn’t just a friendship forged through jetlag, but something with real meaning to the two people it inhabits. As Bob sings Brian Ferry’s “More Than This” to his beguiling companion I get the obligatory wet eye syndrome, plus some goosebumps thrown in for good measure. I yearned for the love to surface, but alas it doesn’t and won’t. It is only allowed to surface in my own mind. I am left in control of the destiny of these two lost souls, and that is where Coppola is clever. She hasn’t chosen a definitive ending; maybe she didn’t have the heart to leave Charlotte standing amidst the bustling Tokyo streets, alone. Maybe she felt what we felt at the prospect of such a magical film ending in a thoroughly unmagical way. But what is left in the final embers of a film burning with such fierce passion is a conclusion that, put simply, is unforgettable. That whisper, it was inaudible for a reason, don’t you dare ask Google to help you decipher it, make of it what you want, end the relationship in whatever way you see fit, and smile. Be happy that you could be a part of such a beautiful story, be it fact or fiction. There are real life Bob’s and Charlotte’s out there, living the exact same tale. Maybe one day it’ll be you. Sonic Youth’s ‘Trilogy’ by Kate Bradley I heard Sonic Youth’s ‘Trilogy’ for the first time when I was madly into Britpop. To hear the cataclysmic explosion of noise after playing the sweetness of Brett Anderson’s voice for weeks on end was quite a shock. To hear guitars that were allowed to be out of tune and New York accents screaming angst-ridden but intelligent lyrics in low-fi was a defining moment in my musical development, as it was to so many people. To hear musicians from a culture I never knew existed – an 80s underground youth culture I could never experience – singing about things I'd never imagined before: it was an escapism I couldn't refuse. It showed me there was a world beyond my door, beyond the sea which separates British culture from the world. The song comes from the New York indie band’s most famous release, their 1988 masterpiece Daydream Nation; I never expected to love it as much as the critics did, or see the significance of it in the modern musical landscape so clearly. But I did, instantly, after hearing this song. ‘Trilogy’, an epic about New York, divided into three amazing sections, still does it all for me. The first part is carried by the yelping of Thurston Moore, proclaiming the city ‘a wondertown’, and the unforgiving screech of his guitar, the second a deliciously laid back yet stormy section about a man getting beaten up in NYC slums. And the third and final finale, a fiery explosion when you thought the wreckage had stopped burning, Kim Gordon moaning, sighing and swearing over punk guitar and drums. ‘Trilogy’ opened my ears to the world of experimental rock, redefined what I think of as my “favourite” type of music, and in my opinion, still matters as much twenty years after its release as it did when it first came out. Pulp – Charles Bukowski by Samuel Valdes Lopez A love letter to bad detective stories (and bad literature in general – it says so in the first page!), Charles Bukowski's swansong feels like a proper goodbye, as if he knew the end was near. Between the outrageous dark humour (courtesy of the protagonist, Nick Belane) and horrid archetypes of the scum of the earth, there lies an immense sadness, a feeling that beneath all madness that surrounds you, the nonsense of the world and its maniacs, there is something else. You feel that life is just a rout, an endless cycle of meaningless cases, grungy bars and easy pleasure, but then comes something as mad as Death itself (contained in a killer babe, of course) requiring you to do some rather strange tasks that feel like a welcomed breath of air (which might be your last). It's not so much as that the book insists in sympathising with Nick (it doesn't), it's just the inevitability of that final bus stop we'll all reach one day. And in that mixture of inevitability and dark humour is where most of my sense of humour and view on life lies: the lonely position of being the one who tells things like they are, without trying to delude myself. Yes, it's a little pessimistic, but it's better to be down in a hole and spy a few moments of light than to delude yourself that all about life is undead boyfriends who sparkle in the light. Click HERE! for part one!