Archive for October 2012
The Letter T Mixtape. Be thankful I decided to drop TLC’s Ain’t Too Proud To Beg from the final 10 as it’s been an ear worm since the weekend, except I’ve been singing ‘ain’t no time to blog’.
I am frantically packing away an entire office as well as cramming in a handover for my new job that starts on Monday. Did I mention the woman I’m replacing has TWENTY pictures of Jason Statham on her desk. I counted them all. All shaven headed, defiant jawed brute of a picture.
The Letter T has proved to be an oral delight and is currently drowning out the drills and traffic of Victoria (I will not miss working in this drab and dross little corner of London. Why the Queen chooses to live round the corner I’ll never understand). From Talking Heads to Tom Vek, TV on the Radio to Talk Talk. The video to Toy’s Lose My Way is also a thing of beauty for the eyes. It’s what I’d like to see behind my eyelids when I got to sleep.
- They Might Be Giants – Birdhouse In Your Soul
- Talking Heads – Slippery People
- The Teardrop Explodes – Treason
- This Many Boyfriends – Number One
- Toy – Lose My Way
- TV On The Radio – Wolf Like Me
- Talk Talk – Talk Talk
- Tom Tom Club – Genius Of Love
- Tom Vek – I Ain’t Saying My Goodbyes
- Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – Your Love
The other week I had a self-indulgent moan and posted Music for Melancholy. In my own way I guess I was exorcising the demons of a frustrating run of bad luck over the past twelve months. Since being slapped in the face with redundancy I have spent the past few weeks putting our families tried and tested work ethic to the test and it’s eventually paid off (that ethic being you work, you pay your taxes, you get on with it… you hear me Starbucks?).
Recently I pushed myself through three tough interviews at one firm to lose out literally by the toss of a coin between myself and one other candidate. On route to my final interview Ken Livingston was sat next to me on the tube and I considered it to be a bad omen. A prophecy fulfilled. Last Thursday, as I trekked my way to another interview I stumbled over a Ferret in Holborn outside the office I was going to, a thought that still makes me smile while feeling puzzled. It was the job I have been offered.
Conclusion; Bitey Ferrets are luckier than politicians. Like I even needed to point that out.
I have to say a huge thanks to my friend Lucy who sat with me during my melancholy weekend and reminded me “You may be having the worst of times but you’re surrounded by the best of people”. Friends and family have nudged me along as well as the music I’ve been listening to. I owe them a million karma points.
This week I banish the melancholy to the bottom of the recycling bin along with the half price bottles of Oyster Bay. This Mixtape is brought to you by relief and a tiny bit of fight (trust me, it’s taken it). The tracks below are some of what I’ve been plugged into during moments of stress and exhaustion, a truly random and diverse selection. I’m sharing it with you in case anyone needs a kick up the bum.
- Doris Day – Keep Smilin’, Keep Laughin’, Be Happy
- Talking Heads – This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)
- Aaliyah – Try Again
- Basement Jaxx – Where’s Your Head At
- Sleigh Bells – Comeback Kid
- Public Enemy – Harder Than You Think
- Ben Howard – Keep Your Head Up
- The Joy Formidable – Whirring
- Mystery Jets – Someone Purer
- The Rolling Stones – You Can’t Always Get What You Want
Derek Jarman teaches me a lesson, mothers ruin and some stunning music…
1. You can always rely on Jack White to come up with beautiful music videos (even if slightly dark and gothic in tone). For I’m Shakin’ we get double Jack in moody blues and blacks. I will never tire of the way he pronounces the word nervous in this track and the subtle colour flicks and changes (nail varnishes changing colours, gloopy blue tears to black) are a joy to spot.
2. As Derek Jarman slowly went blind during his battle against AIDS he wrote Chroma. His love letter to the colours he painted his life with. Yes it is sad, tragic and moving. But more than that it is a lesson to us all, a reminder that looking is not truly seeing. He has made me use my eyes again. “I wrote this book in the absence of time. If I have overlooked something you hold precious – write it in the margin…. I know that my colours are not yours”
3. Despite scrambling to sign up for The Gin Club in Soho’s Star at Night on the day it was announced it has taken me an age to make the pilgrimage to sup on mothers ruin. It was worth the wait and will be a new favourite haunt. Perfect Autumnal setting, cosy and candlelit.
4. Bat for Lashes released The Haunted Man this week. Regular readers here will know I adore her music and all that she stands for (on this instance not just ethereal beautiful music but for appearing in the buff, not a scrap of make up on the album cover). This album perfectly suits this time of year, soundtrack to my autumn.
5. I won’t say anything about Beasts of the Southern Wild other than to say it takes a lot to get me to a cinema so if I recommend a film then it’s usually meant a lot to me, and it’s likely that it’s made me cry. No spoilers. Just that it’s beautifully shot and reminds you of all we’re meant to find precious in life.
The Letter S Mixtape.
I am having a brief respite on a day bookended by two job interviews, done all on a mild to middling hangover and a wonky fringe trim. Music will get me through it. Every indie boys ultimate girl crush St Vincent to a band named after a vibrator. From Sharon Van Etten (possibly my album of the year and my own personal girl crush) to the most perfect love song from Suede.
“Cos on you my tattoo will be bleeding and the name will stain”
- Shout Out Louds – The Comeback
- Supertramp – Goodbye Stranger
- Sleigh Bells – Rill Rill
- Steely Dan – Reelin’ In The Years
- SBTRKT – Trials Of The Past
- St Vincent – Cruel
- Siouxsie And The Banshees – Happy House
- The Smiths – Cemetery Gates
- Sharon Van Etten – Serpents
- Suede – The Wild Ones
I have a new favourite author, there’s a new Rolling Stones track floating across the airwaves, I visited Bedlam and I danced my socks off at a gig. Not a bad week all in all…
1. This week LCD Soundsystem’s Shut Up And Play The Hits was released on DVD. Despite my love of music I’m rarely a fan of live DVDs but this is so much more than standard concert footage. It’s emotional and will serve as a comfort blanket for fans now that LCD have called it a day. I suggest watching it drunk with friends, setting off confetti cannons in your living room while fighting back the tears. Just typing this makes me feel sad. I was at their last ever UK gig, had I been at their last ever gig I’d have been a dancing mess.
2. If I wasn’t in the middle of a frantic job hunt I’d have bought up every David Sedaris book this week after reading When You Are Engulfed In Flames. I have done myself a great literary injustice in only just discovering him and feel like the world has been keeping a secret from me (especially as most of my friends seem to have known about him for years). If you want to smile and laugh at the turn of every page seek him out.
3. Any man who can pull off a full tasselled cape with shoulder embellishments without once breaking into even a smirk is impressive. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs was fabulous at Shepherds Bush Empire this week. Plenty of glittery string and ticker tape being fired at the crowd, fantastic light show and euphoric music made it feel a bit NYE.
4. Steve Lazarides Minotaur exhibition under the Old Vic Tunnels last year was a London highlight. This year he has created Bedlam for free and it was equally bonkers and brilliant. Eerie, playful, sad, relaxing (yes, relaxing. Lying under Doug Foster’s hypnotic video installation yet again my highlight). Photo’s from the evening are on my Flickr page.
5. The Rolling Stones graced the world with a new track called Doom and Gloom this week, which raises my expectations of them being at Glastonbury even higher. I asked Twitter what they thought of it, my favourite response was “it’s OK, they’ve done better”. Like everyone was going to think “Oh yeah, completely forgot about Street Fighting Man, Angie, Paint It Black… What was I thinking!” Of course they’ve done better, that’s not the point. The point is it’s not bad at all, and how amazing that they all still want to record together after all these years? Pipe down naysayers.
I’ve not been swimming for a couple of weeks and I’ve hugely missed it. It’s as much about that moment when you’re changed and plodding along the pavement and realise every muscle feels stretched as it is about being in the water again. But when I’m in the pool it helps clear any cobwebs in my head, almost like a factory reset.
London Fields was the Lido I have been most looking forward to. My mecca of Lido’s as my Dad would have spent much of his wayward youth in this area. It’s London’s only Olympic sized heated outdoor pool and a hefty refurbishment means it’s spick and span (apart from the smell of feet at the shallow end, dozens of damp flip-flops not making for a pleasant pong). The beauty of this being that I can daydream about swimming in the snow or fog as it’s open all year round. It was like swimming in rush hour this morning but it was fascinating to see the different sorts in the pool. Someone teaching his girlfriend to swim, kids club, a woman breaststroking with head action like a woodpecker and a ton of skillful swimmers. London Fields Lido is now my favourite pool by a country mile.
This swim is dedicated to those that didn’t make it to the water today. The crustaceans outside Hackney Central station. RIP.
|People doing serious swimming:||Lost count. A ton|
|Men grabbing their danglebobbins a lot:||2|
|Women swimming in sunglasses:||Just a lifeguard posing in a pair|
|Kids doing classic “bombing”:||0|
|People dipping their toes with iPhones in hand:||0|
The Letter R Mixtape.
Looking at the final ten I have so many memories of seeing these artists live. If rumours are to be believed then I may well be adding The Rolling Stones to that list at Glastonbury next year, a life’s dream achieved.
Roxy Music with a bunch of Mods at Isle of Wight Festival, R.E.M under the stars (honestly, that night is rather hazy, I know it ended with fireworks). Rufus Wainwright at Kenwood House, surrounded my middle-class picnics while we swigged cans of red stripe grinning at Helena Bonham-Carter. The Rakes at the 100 Club, ending in a very odd conversation with lead singer Alan Donohoe that still puzzles me to this day.
This was a tough one, aside from having to pick one track from some of the artists back catalogues featured I had a long list. Some of the artists I painfully left out including Randy Newman, The Raveonettes, Rod Stewart, Rebel MC and Rilo kiley.
- The Rakes – We Are All Animals
- Richard Hawley – Down In The Woods
- The Rolling Stones – Miss You
- Roisin Murphy – Let Me Know
- Roxy Music – Oh Yeah
- R. Dean Taylor – There’s A Ghost In My House
- Rodriguez – Sugar Man
- Radiohead – High And Dry
- R.E.M. – Uberlin
- Rufus Wainwright – Cigarettes And Chocolate Milk