Archive for May 2011
I planned to write up this post as soon as I arrived home yesterday, but in truth I was a little overwhelmed, emotionally exhausted, inspired & wanted to sit and ponder Tracy Emin: Love is What You Want. The collection is vast, more than my brain was ever expecting & I came away a little frazzled in a wonderful way.
What I love about Tracey Emin is how she wears her heart, shame, failures, successes, anger, love on her sleeve for all to see. As I walked around the Hayward Gallery I couldn’t help but think there are hundreds of women who have similar life experiences to her, but the difference is she’s brave enough to talk about it, express it. They are hard hitting subjects, abortion, sexual identity, menstruation, masturbation. She is unapologetic, and the unique charm being she’s not doing it to shock, I truly think this is just her core personality. If you are unconvinced by this statement then make sure you watch the personal films titled Why I never became a dancer and another in Room 3, Trauma where she talks about her experience of abortion.
We spent our family holidays in Margate, escaping one seaside town (I grew up in Torbay) to take our holidays in another. Seeing art and film relating to a place I have strong memories about was one thing. But I can relate to her need to escape a seaside town where nothing ever happens from my own teenage years. Morrissey so eloquently summed up what it is to grow up in a small seaside town in Everyday is like Sunday.
I would never label myself a feminist, but as a Woman I am truly grateful that Tracey Emin confronts subjects that have previously been taboo, not considered appropriate or perhaps deemed too private to approach. It is hard hitting, perhaps a times a little vulgar and shocking to some. But if you go with an open mind you’ll definitely find a lot of beauty, the exhibitions title Love is what we want prevails and is the ultimate, overiding emotion I took away with me. ♥
Tips: Book in advance via Southbank Centre to avoid the large queues this is attracting. We were advised to start at the top level and work our way down. It is a lot to take in, and by taking this route you aproach a lot of her poetry and letters last. By the time I got to Trauma my mind was already on overload and I feel that I didn’t take in as much as I’d of liked too. This is the hardest hitting room so if I went again I would perhaps approach the exhibition in reverse.
This is an attempt at a regular feature to be posted Sundays, which no doubt I will neglect when the first big ass hangover kicks in. Thankfully I got drunk early afternoon yesterday, which inevitably ended with me wanting a massive meal so I was sober again by midnight, achievement.
It’s the tracks, bands, videos I’ve been engrossed in and obsessed with this week at random. Click on the word Spotify to go to the mixtape.
- Happy Birthday Bob Dylan! 70 this week. I’ve met many a Bob Dylan fan over the years, kids a decade younger than me in sticky indie clubs, politics teachers who owned every vinyl he’s ever produced, my parents, a lot of people on Twitter it seems. It would be impossible to chose one track but the first Bob Dylan album that I truly connected with is Desire. So my spotify playlist would ideally start off with Hurricane, except it’s not on spotify. How inconvenient! Instead I’ve gone for It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue purely based on what Dylan there is on Spotify.
- I have been playing this over and over and I am so gutted they played in London recently and I didn’t know about it. Massive fail on the live music front. This song makes me involuntary jig my shoulders a lot, the whole song, whether I’m stood up or sat down. Black Lips, Family Tree.
- This band are on my MUST SEE AT ANY COST this year. She reminds me of the person I’d of liked to of been at school, I was far from this don’t-give-a-shit-cool of course. I had bad skin, glasses, my face was basically all eyes, nose & fringe. Still is. Reading this back I sound like a badly sketched Bash Street Kid. Sleigh Bells, Rill Rill.
- I am very excited about seeing Battles, the highlight of my music purchasing week was skipping up to Rough Trade and pondering over the limited edition 12″ of Ice Cream. The slightly manically mental sound of this single is what I imagine the white noise in my brain to sound like.
- This came on when I was sat in The Breakfast Club with a friend drinking whiskey far too early in the day. We knew all the words but the artist escaped us, it’s been in my head all week. One of those one hit wonders long forgotten. Billie Myers, Kiss The Rain.
- Talking Heads are one of my favourite bands, and This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) is my favourite track of theirs and you should all listen to it. That is all.
- This song feels like something Phil Spector should of produced, before he flipped out. Lykke Li goes all sad in a sexy way, Sadness Is A Blessing.
- I have an odd relationship with Julian Casablancas, almost like you’d view a younger brother who frequently makes ridiculous mistakes (dubious style choices, turning in bad performances, getting a bit chubby) but frequently turns in moments of genius. The song 11th Dimension from his solo album is one of those special moments for me, reminding me of why he’s cool really (no, really). I think it offers the best advice ever penned in a song and it never fails to make me pull up straight, be a better person & smile.
- Pearl Jam’s Alive came on the radio yesterday while I was getting ready to go out, I instantly felt like a teenager again and from all the hours spent listening to 6 Music this week it was this track that was the most welcome surprise.
- Even you Beyonce haters should be impressed with the stage production on her performance at The Billboard awards this week. I’ve never seen anything like it. Even my flat mate was taken with it, and to quote him “I think it’s awesome and I generally don’t get much”. It’s not about the song haters, we all know it’s bum. I just think she’s a great performer. ♥
It’s really raining in London today, tipping it down in fact. There is a little corner in London that feels like sunshine though.Topshops Secret Store launched today, collaborating with Wild at Heart florists. I’ve never been a fan of cut flowers, two thoughts immediately siren in my head on the occasions I’ve received them.
- They’ll probably die tomorrow & I’ll have to throw them in the bin. What a waste.
- This is an unoriginal gift.
No longer. Wild at Heart have created some beautiful pieces. Glittery neon jam jars, plant pots spotted, dotted, stickered & sparkling. It is the first time I have seen flowers displayed in such a unique way, it makes your usual florist look like it has no personality whatsoever.
There are plotted pants too, and you can also get a bouquet made up. It’s around for a fortnight so treat yourself or someone who needs to feel special. Its also reasonably priced, I spotted some items starting at £6. I settled for two jam jars crammed with roses, carnations, dahlias, irises (the last two species are guesses so I’m going to stop now in case I get angry messages for not knowing my flora. It was my reward for putting up with an awful boss for the past eight months. I keep glancing over at them every sentence, they’re making me feel really happy.
I did get told off for taking pictures, not by the nonchalant security guard standing by, but by a Topshop staff member. I hope they can forgive me for blogging about this, I just wanted to share it, I spent at least an hour browsing and wanted to buy everything, the staff manning it were also equally sunny in their disposition. Please visit, my illegal photos will hopefully give you a taste… or should that be smell? ♥
I recently threw myself into the iTunes 30 day music challenge, it made me feel merrily schizophrenic (Betty Boo to Foo Fighters! Hell yeah) but there’s a few questions I wished Steve Jobs would of asked. Here are the songs I’d of crowbarred in here given ultimate control…
#31. The song that gets me out of bed even when I want to ignore the world
I could chose a ton of tracks from Arcade Fire that would get me out of bed (avoiding the obvious Wake Up as I don’t want to be that transparent). They’re definitely the band that get me moving on a work day when you really really really don’t want to get out of bed but you’ve no excuses to bunk off. Lolita explained this track as being Cyndi Lauper meets The Knife, I can’t sum it up better than him.
#32. A song from my first ever gig
Because my parents have impeccable taste in music the first gig I was taken to was Van Morrison at Torquay theatre, courtesy of my Dad. I know he’s an old grouch (Van the man, not my Dad who is awesomeness personified) but seeing him live with the tightest band I’ve ever witnessed was such an exhilarating start to my live music obsession.
#33. The ultimate sex song
Truly this is the sexiest song ever penned, ignore Marvin Gaye and a thousand million porn soundtracks. It’s Jarvis who rules the bedroom for me. Ever listened to his Sunday Service on 6 Music? It’s basically radio porn for geek girls, and boys for that matter.
#34. A song from someone I’d like to be a PA for.
I’ve been a long serving PA for some time now, I often fantasise about working for the perfect boss but I nearly always come back to Morrissey. Someone who is notoriously impossible to work for I still think I could easily handle him in comparison to previous bosses I’ve had. I dream about it, seriously. In my dreams he always throws me a brilliant birthday party & doesn’t make me become vegan.
#35. A song for my year so far – 2011
This year has been a really odd mix of highs and lows. The highs being spending my evenings in great company, and getting to see lots of gigs. The lows being spending my days in a miserable work environment. It’s also been a huge year for soul searching, realising my limits, what makes me happy, what I want to change. When this album was released it was this song that literally made my heart stop a little bit. I don’t think a day goes past without me listening to it, no exaggeration. ♥
I am ecstatic that I get to finish on this track, the EP it features on was actually released in February but this song was instantly part of my soundtrack last year and continues to be in 2011 as well.
It’s almost a modern day Beach Boys anthem, calling to arms the smell of summer & what it is to be care free. Also, the lead singer Jonathon Pierce is a front man in the making after seeing them in the John Peel tent at Glastonbury last year. This song was, and remains to be, my anthem.
And so the 30 day iTunes challenge comes to a close. Here it is via spotify which is sightly ironic! ♥
Strangely the first person who pops into my head when I think about songs from my childhood is this genius man.
I know he’s not responsible for the music before all you Muppet purists start wagging your fingers at me. But the opening titles to The Muppet Show are etched in my memory, synonomous with weekend TV & kippers on toast. The same goes for Fraggle Rock, so much so that I still refer to a small cove in Brixham where I grew up as Fraggle Rock after my sister used to tell me that’s where they lived. I still break out in to the theme tune whenever I walk past there.
However, it’s a track from The Labyrinth that makes me think most of my childhood. This song still makes me grin from ear to ear like a complete goon, & it’s also probably responsible for my life long love to David Bowie. He made it acceptable for skinny men in tights to be considered hot, perhaps why I find Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake so sexual as an adult! ♥
I always new this was the track in the 30 day song challenge that I’d find impossible. The reason for this is my naturally defiant nature. If someone thinks I should be feeling guilty over something I will inevitably explain the rationale behind it & end up convincing my conscience I have nothing to feel guilty about.
Example 1: Watching the whole of Fringe Series 1 without Lolita when we were meant to be diving into that particular series together. I figured he’d enjoy my sparkling conversation more than watching a sci-fi with me on the nights we manage to spend together.
Example 2: I should probably feel a bit more guilty about neglecting certain friends, but then I go to (lazily) text them & spot they’ve not responded to my last three messages so figure the ball is in their court & I’m off scot-free.
Example 3: As a child I sold all my Dad’s building materials (he was a roofer) over the garden wall to a passing stranger with an eye for slate bargains. Wrong of me I know, but I was a kid & my only concern would of been where the next panda pops was coming from.
So, I am lost for an occasion I should feel guilty over even though I’m not a Saint & probably let down & do wrong by people all the time it’s never intentional. This song can represent a generic apology to anyone who falls into that category. ♥
I’m massively behind on this now, in fairness we can blame the Royals in giving us all these extra holidays as it gave me a chance to head back to Devon where you’re expected to shun technology & become a twitcher which pretty much sums up my time there. I am now safely ensconced on my bum again overlooking the Jubilee Line sans mac book so here is the song I wish I could play.
I’d take any instrument on this track, I just love it as it sounds frantic, dirty & troubled (insert TfL joke about the Jubilee Line here). Placebo bring out the wannabe musician in me. ♥
We had a tiny upright plonky piano in our family home, my sister started the piano lessons & then I picked it up a little later. It’s one of those hobbies I really wish I had kept up. When I think about my eventual lack of interest in playing I give a little sigh. Oh to be plodding around barefoot with black soles, long unkempt hair like Carole King or Joni Mitchell, bra-less, with towering, unstable stacks of sheet music teetering on edge.
In amongst my scales and Beethoven’s Fur Elise, I had a Bob Dylan song book for piano that my Mum had given me. I cherished playing his songs, even if they never really suited piano renditions. My inner hippy loved playing The Times They Are A-Changin’.
Unfortunately you’re all going to have to hum and do a good deed like Bob Dylan would like you to as YouTube throws up a lot of numpties shambolically performing their renditions and not the man himself *sigh* Of course, chances are if Dad hadn’t given the upright away to Catherine, the milkman’s niece, then I may of been one of these dreary idiots myself so perhaps it’s a good thing I didn’t keep it up after all. ♥
It was a coin flip between this and Grange Hill Cast, Just Say No. Both songs with very serious messages. Don’t do drugs & you can keep your kit on and STILL HAVE FUN (Sadly Jermaine Stewart did not take his own advice & died of AIDS related cancer in 1997). Yet the tackiness of these songs have me laughing every time, drink some cherry wine & keep your pants on. ♥