Monday 24 September 2012


Who knows why your favourites are your favourites. 

I was just watching an old episode of 'Louie'. It ended with Louie coming home from a night out. His kids wake up and walk into the lounge, sit with him, then say they wanna go out for breakfast, even though it's 4am. It cuts to them, moments later, in a cafe eating breakfast. It's just Louie and his two girls.

And I love that moment. I can't describe why. It just resonates with me. It's strangely profound and touching.

Doesn't that sound like your favourite moments? I've written over 1000 blog posts, but I'd struggle to give you 100 words about the things I love the most.

We love what we love and we have hardly any clue why.

When you're young, you think it's about taste. You think you know what's great, and everyone else is wrong, or misinformed.

But the feeling that I feel when I hear a recording of Lester Young playing saxophone is not about taste, it's about me. About who I am. Not that I could explain it.

Finding someone who likes the same films or music as you do is a wonderful thing. Why does it happen? Maybe you were both dropped on the exact same part of the head as babies, or maybe you both were brought up by your parents to watch 'Only Fools and Horses', or maybe you both had horrid break-ups and that's why you connect over Joni Mitchell.

The unfortunate thing is that we become conscious of our artistic preferences. We realise we love comedy, so stop watching horrors. We think rap music sucks, then listen only to Dave Matthews for three months. But what are tastes? They're the accumulation of previous tastes and experiences. 

The problem with this is that closely defining your 'tastes' can also kill your senses. Suddenly, everything sucks. You go around hoping for another Lester Young with a saxophone, but it's impossible. It's impossible because you don't know what you're looking for, because you don't consciously know why you love what you love.

You just love it.

A Netflix algorithm can find you a decent movie that matches your tastes, just like a dating website can probably find you another Spielberg fan, but neither of these are likely to capture your heart. There's no way to calculate what things will be favourites.

And I'm talking about REAL favourites. Like those movies you loved as a teenager, the ones that absolutely and completely explained EXACTLY who you are.

Films and music offer small clues about life. Little insights into who you are as a human being on this earth. The film reviewers won't be able to tell you if you'll connect, and the trailers will never capture the magic --- instead, it's about you. It's about where you've been, where you're at and where you're going. If you're extremely lucky, you'll see a piece of you up on the big screen. That's why we go to the movies. It's the hope for insight, for meaning, for a favourite.

When you find a favourite, it becomes a part of your personality, your DNA, you become more you. That's why we keep watching. 

Care to share?


  1. So true. The older I get, the less things measure up - to the point that everything sucks. Love Louie. I'm not sure why either.

  2. "When you find a favourite, it becomes a part of your personality, your DNA, you become more you."
    - What a wonderful way to put it.

    It's like that whole "guilty pleasures" thing. Don't feel guilty that you like a certain film/tv show/band/song. You like it and that's fine. There should be no guilt involved.

  3. "We love what we love and we have hardly any clue why."

    Oh, I don't know about that. I love video games (well, GOOD video games) because they overflow with style, put players in absurd situations, hit hard, and offer myriad rewards. Even beyond that, you could argue that you like something because it resonates with you -- with your ideas and mindset because they're easily associated, or because what's being offered is a treat to your senses and sensibilities. Maybe it's just because I over-think things, but I'm pretty good at identifying why something does or doesn't work for me.

    That little essay aside, I agree with you on the "killing of senses." Speaking from experience, it's hard (hard, but not impossible) to be objective about new or unfamiliar things when you're constantly surrounding yourself with things you love. It's unfair, it's biased, and ultimately it's a part of human nature.

    At any rate, a good post. Certainly made me you can probably guess.

    1. "Even beyond that, you could argue that you like something because it resonates with you -- with your ideas and mindset"

      -- I agree. By my point is that we don't know exactly why what resonates resonates. How some silly little song or some bad movies connects deeply with us personally; that's an amazing thing and it has some mystery to it.

  4. My favorite movies, or songs, or moments are those I find which have touched me in some way, big or tiny. And they've given my heart a little tug or ping. It seems rather simplistic but it seems to describe me and what makes me feel.

    1. Not simplistic at all, that's what it's all about I think.

  5. Couldn't have written it better myself.

    1. Thanks Dave! Good to see you around these parts again, I feel like it's been a while?