From Desk Till Dawn

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Archive for February 2012

The Letter ‘B’ Mixtape. Part 2

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As promised here is part 2 of the letter B Mixtape….

And still no sign of The Beatles.

If you’re a Spotify user click here to play the mixtape and if you’re a YouTube purist click here to play the videos.

1. Billy Bragg – A New England  (A voice of disparate youth, I always feel like the person singing this feels like a lone voice, not realising so many people are listening to this and thinking exactly the same. It sounds like a sigh and proves you don’t always have to shout loud to make you message loud and clear).

2. Blur – Good Song (Let us gloss over the shambolic Brits performance, just remember they are great recording artists. I like them most when they’re at their most tender – no pun intended. For fans of David Shrigley he is responsible for the music video).

3. Bon Iver – Skinny Love (For no other reason than a Bon Iver track had to make the playlist and the title of this makes me smile)

4. Band Of Horses – Funeral  (I was late to discover this band, they only really came to my attention when Infinite Arms was released. Adore this track more than any other of theirs)

5. Bombay Bicycle Club – Lights Out, Words Gone (People seem to either love or loathe BBC. They are the Marmite of bands. I’ll stick my neck out as a Marmite lover. I am a terrible sleeper, insomnia is frequently my bed companion. This track is calming and helps me feel restful)

6. Beirut – Postcards From Italy  (People went batshit over Beirut last year, quite rightly so. This is the song that made me fall for them. I love the clash of cultural sounds, it feels like it bridges many countries if that makes sense? The New Orleans horns, The Moroccan drums merging with European strings)

7. Bob Dylan – Hurricane  (Bob Dylan’s ode to the boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a protest song against his imprisonment, eventually overturned. Dylan stuck his neck out after visiting Carter in prison. You have to take your hat off to a man who uses his talent to defend those wronged, to stand by a cause. Sticking it to the man)

8. Breeders – Cannonball  (The second this starts you’re waiting for the bass line. It’s all about that. Simply one of my favourite songs ever. Sounding dirt and filth way before Sleigh Bells arrived on the scene)

9. Band Of Skulls – The Devil Takes Care Of His Own (Still find it hard to believe this band are from blighty! Caught them supporting The Black Keys earlier in the month and their albums have been overplayed since)

10. Bjork – Triumph Of A Heart (Spike Jonze directed the love-story with a cat video. It is insanely brilliant, never fails to make me laugh. She’s a creative force of nature, always amazing me)

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Written by Anon PA

February 28, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Sunday Swoon. February 26th

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It’s been a bloody delightful week…..

1. Utterly smitten with Graham Linehan’s adaptation of The Ladykillers. Brilliant acting from an amazing cast (Peter Capaldi, James Fleet), found myself guffawing over the slapstick humour, laughed a ton and fell in love with the stage design (it’s my future home, in my dreams). Thanks to a twitter tip off from the man himself we had front row seats for the bargain price of £20 per person so if you tweet it’s worth keeping an eye out to see if the offer comes back around. Slick, brilliantly amusing script and visually a real treat. Peter Capladi’s facial expressions alone are worth the visit. Highly recommended.

2. I look at Sleigh Bells Alexis Krauss and think “you are everything I could never be”, by that mean I mean recklessly cool (I have wild abandon down to near perfection, coolness doesn’t come naturally to me). Reign Of Terror is hyperactive, destructive while being supportive and encouraging, storming and stomping as well as comforting. Alexis seems to be pulling someone, kicking and screaming, through a chaotic time. You can listen on Spotify.

3. All credit goes to Chris Owen on Twitter for bringing the above video This Is My Home into my life. I don’t want to say anything other than it was a beautiful reminder that there are good souls out there. Guarantee it will warm your cockles.

4. I took a seaside trip down to Broadstairs with ace friends yesterday. It used to be our family holiday destination growing up so for me personally it was revisiting my childhood. Nothing had changed, Bleak House (where Dickens wrote the book) perches on the cliff, fish and chips, second-hand book shops, the chipped and weather-beaten beach huts dotting the beach, Morelli’s ice-cream parlour dishing up sundaes. Perfect day.

5. A promising ballerina that had to give up her dancing career after a slipped disc and spinal fracture turns to writing music as a way of coping. I was always going to fall hard for Oh Land before even listening to her sing, seeing her live takes it to a completely bizarre and wonderful new height. She came on stage wearing brothel creepers, mint coloured tights and a skin tight pink dress complete with what looked like two slaughtered care bear heads puffed up on her shoulders. Hailing from a creative family she clearly lets performance course through her live shows, not just the costume changes and the constant dancing. A bunch of balloons at the back of stage had constant projections of a ballerina, a dozen tiny wolves and at one point each balloon dotted with her face providing the background vocals.

6. I’m cheating and letting this spill over into 6 swoons this week. The Shins have returned with Simple Song and I adore the track and accompanying video.  

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Twitter presents The National

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I found myself sitting very still at my desk this morning, certain that any sudden movement would send me spiralling into an exhaustion pit. Last night I went to see the Oh Land gig at Heaven (make your own heaven and earth pun, I can’t be assed) and done a lot of accidental wine drinking in plastic cups. She covered The National’s *Bloodbuzz Ohio in her set and gig companion Jo & I both conceded they were a band we knew little of and should probably rectify that given her rendition.

I send many annoying pleas for help on Twitter. Some get little response (who should I call about the dead cat I found on the pavement got two) and some get more responses than I can keep up with (asking if anyone could make me an edible Morrissey cake topper is still ongoing). During my “sit very still in case you wake the hangover” morning I asked what tracks by The National I should listen to and lovely Twitter responded.

That my friends is what an artist doing a cover version and social media can lead to. An introduction to a band you are falling for hard. Like the first time you saw River Phoenix in Running on Empty and thought “hang on a minute”.

The suggestions above were provided to me by @goodstufftom @georgiamof @tomwaitsripoff @theboycarve @hcarrowsmith @Goingundrground and another man I know (IRL) called Gareth (so huge thank you to you all). It resulted in me doing little work and the following playlist which you can listen to on Spotify. Twitters introduction to The National. Enjoy.

*I didn’t know this was the track name, I just assured Jo I’d remember the “money to the money I owe” part of the song. Then we ran into McDonald’s for a wee and got talked at by a lively motormouth of a girl from Wolverhampton who told us the name of the track. Then we got on the tube. Went home to bed. The end.

Written by Anon PA

February 24, 2012 at 3:44 pm

The Letter ‘B’ Mixtape. Part 1

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It’s been tough getting this down to my self-imposed 10 track mixtape so I am splitting this into two posts, this is the first installment. Until I decided to conquer an alphabet playlist I had no idea my music collection was made up of so many bands/musicians beginning with the letter….

And before any smart asses leave comments saying “What the F! You left out The Beatles” I am fully aware of this and yes it’s intentional. I’m more of a Rolling Stones girl myself. That’s what I’d like on my gravestone. “Here lies Hannah. She was always more of a Stones girl”

If you’re a Spotify user click here to play the mixtape and if you’re a YouTube purist click here to play the videos.

1. Belle & Sebastian – Lazy Line Painter Jane  (In John Osborne’s must-see monologue for all music lovers, John Peel’s Shed, he mentions the number 1 rule in music is “all girls like Belle & Sebastian”. So utterly true).

2. Bow Wow Wow – Go Wild In The Country (An old colleague is married to drummer Dave Barbe, there were countless occasions where I clutched this on vinyl but chickened out when it came to asking her to have him sign it. Annabella Lwin was discovered singing at her saturday job in a dry cleaning shop, I don’t feel that she ever really got put on the plinth she deserves for being one of our great frontwoman. I literally worship this track).

3. Battles Featuring Matias Aguayo – Ice Cream (Non sensical grunting and groaning over plonky keyboards makes me smile until I’m sore. One of my favourite tracks from last year. Battles also have the most talented, insane, genius drummer)

4. The Bandana Splits – Sometimes  (I can’t remember which 6 Music DJ introduced me to this band but it was definitely one of them! If you like The Pipettes you’ll like this girl group. Trust me)

5. Bruce Springsteen – Dancing In The Dark (Glastonbury 2009. Bow down to The Boss. “I’m just tired and bored with myself” is one of my favourite ever lyrics, surely we can all relate to that feeling? I’d type more but literally… have to dance when I hear this song and I’m playing it right now…)

6. Black Keys – Howlin’ For You  (I was lucky enough to see these a couple of weeks back at Alexandra Palace and blogged how I firmly placed them into my “Fucking Living It” category. How are they from this generation? I swear Bill & Ted kidnapped them from the 70’s)

7. The Beach Boys – God Only Knows  (Seeing Brian Wilson perform this, a single blue spotlight illuminating this genius made fragile from a life of excess moved me to tears last year)

8. Braids – Lemonade  (There are certain songs I really, really, really want to hear in a field, with the sun setting and a gallon of ciders running through my insides. This song would also make that playlist)

9. Bloc Party – Two More Years (This track has got me though many a bleak time, I can’t think of any other song that whispers such hope tenderly into my ears. Listen to the lyrics “be brave, there’s a right way and a wrong way, this pain won’t last forever,” to “You don’t need to find answers for questions never asked of you”and “I know, my love, this is not the only story you can tell”. Kele should man the helplines, he knows exactly what to say in a crisis)

10. Bat For Lashes – Daniel (I definitely have a ‘type’ when it comes to my girl crushes. Alexis Krauss, Karen O and Natasha Khan. Not a blonde in sight)

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Sunday Swoon. February 19th

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Fourth Sunday swoon. Curry, Art & Music….

1. My love affair with the British Museum is ever-growing, a fortnight ago I fell in love with the Norman Foster roof, I could have laid down and watched the sky turn from ocean blue to velvet-black (curators at The British Museum can you fix it for me to sleep over one night please? I’ll behave). Last night I made a pilgrimage to the Grayson Perry exhibition, I blogged about it yesterday and you can read it here if you missed it. This article in The Guardian by the man himself is also worth a read.

2. After many thwarted attempts I finally got to try out the Kennington Tandoori on Thursday, my soon to be brother-in-law has never once failed with restaurant suggestions and this is his go-to Indian restaurant when in London. I’ve always thought Tayyabs would be impossible to topple from my top slot but after scoffing their Nilgiri Murgh (a chicken dish heavy on the mint, not like anything I’ve tried before) I am hooked. Can’t recommend it enough to any foodies out there. Also adored the map of India printed in their menu (above). 10/10 for the KT.

3. Ever underrated Field Music get my album of the week, it neatly takes me from flat to desk in 35 minutes. This is their fourth album, it’s short and sweet. I love the simple melodies mixed with the complex music on this album. You can listen to Field Music for free here if you’re curious (via Spotify)

4. For the first time in many many moons I gave a flying toss about the song at the top of the charts this week. I tell you what, it was a nice feeling. Took me back to my teenage years spent squatting in front of the tape deck with my hand hovering over play and record, ready to tape the top 40. Also, allowed a tiny bit of faith to creep into my bones over folk showing some good taste (eek! hope that doesn’t sound snobby?). Congratulations to Gotye.

5. Something about Richard Hawley sends me into a proper tizz, weak at the knees, glazed over adoration. He’s popped up on a B-side collaboration with indie cool kids Arctic Monkeys on this track You & I. It’s dirty, gritty, dark and he utterly steals the limelight on this track. 

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Giddy Over Grayson Perry (And Alan Measles)

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Last night I spent an evening in awe of Grayson Perry (and Alan Measles) at The British Museum. Titled ‘The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman’ Grayson Perry curates his work alongside items he has selected from the museum (I was guilty of spending more time and attention on his pieces than the ancient relics from unknown craftsmen and for that I can only apologise). I’m no Simon Schama so instead of attempting an acerbic, witty art review below you’ll find some of Grayson Perry’s words of wisdom that I found fascinating, even reading them outside of the exhibition I’m utterly inspired and art giddy, I feel like I’ve found a modern-day prophet.

Before I pass you over to Grayson Perry however I must recount the hilarity caused when stood in front of his High Priestess Cape with best friend and fellow creative fuck-wit Jo when she said “Ah! I’ve only just noticed the embroidery is headless birds”. No Jo, they’re penises.

“Reality can be new as well as old, poetic as well as factual and funny as well as grim”

Cultural Conversations

“Few civilisations spring up spontaneously or develop in isolation. Cultures borrow and adapt. I enjoy artefacts where this give and take is more obvious and dissonant. New religions try to recruit by using sites and symbols of the belief system they are trying to replace. Craftsmen make artefacts they think will appeal to visitors from abroad. Sometimes they get it wrong in a charming way. Creativity is often just mistakes.”

Magick

“Part of my role as an artist is similar to that of a shaman or a witch doctor. I dress up, I tell stories, give things meaning and make them a bit more significant. Like religion this is not a rational process, I use my intuition. Sometimes our very human desire for meaning can get in the way of having a good experience of the world. Some people call this irrational unconscious experience spirituality. I don’t.”

Souvenirs of pilgrimage

“We all make journeys to see places or people that are significant to us. It is natural to want a keepsake of the trip to remind ourselves and show others. Pilgrims usually travel light so the souvenir may be only a badge, a photo or a signature.”

The man speaks sense. This exhibition is potentially the best I have ever seen, from a gigantic tapestry featuring modern day pilgrim sites (from Westfield, Ground Zero to Glastonbury) to his very own Rosetta Vase quipping “Nice Day Out” and the ever-present Alan Measles (at one point with a small flower perched at the end of his teddy bear willy).

You have a week left to visit art lovers, advance tickets are sold out but I believe 200 tickets are available per day from 9am. Honestly can’t recommend it enough. 

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Written by Anon PA

February 18, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Sunday Swoon. February 12th

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The third Sunday swoon is strictly one for the music lovers out there…

1. Certain bands fall in to the category of what my Dad would call “Those that fucking live it”. E.g. when watching Paul Weller in Hyde Park last year he’d shout “He doesn’t just turn up, he fucking lives it”. This category is reserved for those bands that have the music coursing through their veins, that wouldn’t even exist if they couldn’t make music, they’d explode into a million tiny musical notes and float into space. Seeing The Black Keys this Thursday made me firmly shove them into this group, fantastic gig, happy crowd and snow over Alexandra Palace made a magical night. Also, support act Band of Skulls really impressed me as well, worth checking them out. Caught my other half google imaging them and thought “I bet he’s trying to suss out if singer Emma Richardson is hot”. He was. She is.

2. Ever since Zulu Winter waltzed into my life last year ringing cowbells in Let’s Move Back To Front I’ve been hooked. This video adds to the chill running through my bones this week for We Should Be Swimming. Anyone else hear shades of Duran Duran in this track? If so, does it make you feel guilty happy?

3. I’ve been trying to find the right words since seeing Justice at Brixton Academy this Friday and have been woefully at a loss. Never has a band quite shattered all my expectations and glued them back together in an inexplicable, mountain of brilliance, a structure that shouldn’t even exist. The attention to detail, the false starts that trip up your feet leading you to unexpected tracks, the production leading to a set list that you feel could never be recreated. Potentially one of the best gigs I have ever been to.

4. Album of the week is Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny. It’s called Yours Truly, Cellophane Noise and you can listen for free on Spotify. Love the tone of her voice, she sounds like the tomboy you’d want to befriend as a teen, rough but beautiful. A summer dress with skinned knees.

5. The lad sent me a text message in the early hours this morning telling me Whitney Houston had died, he said “I know she may have meant a lot to you” and he was right. Whitney Houston was one of the first albums I owned, my neighbours would have suffered years of my dull [sic] tones floating down from the open windows of my attic room as I sang her albums from start to finish. Many years later my closest friend and I ditched the initial wariness we had for one another when My Love Is Your Love was released, finding a connection that’s officially my longest ever relationship through our mutual pop tart tendencies. This playlist is especially for Jo as I know she’ll be feeling the upset today (you can play via Spotify). She was an amazing talent and quite simply, it’s just very sad that this has happened. Tragic. 

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