From Desk Till Dawn

My mainly music & nerd bird blog

Archive for October 2012

The Letter ‘T’ Mixtape.

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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.

You can play my letter T mixtape on Spotify or YouTube

  1. They Might Be Giants – Birdhouse In Your Soul
  2. Talking Heads – Slippery People
  3. The Teardrop Explodes – Treason
  4. This Many Boyfriends – Number One
  5. Toy – Lose My Way
  6. TV On The Radio – Wolf Like Me
  7. Talk Talk – Talk Talk
  8. Tom Tom Club – Genius Of Love
  9. Tom Vek – I Ain’t Saying My Goodbyes
  10. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – Your Love

Music for Getting Up And On With It

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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.

London 2012 Legacy. From the Olympic Park

You can play this mixtape on Spotify or YouTube.

  1. Doris Day – Keep Smilin’, Keep Laughin’, Be Happy
  2. Talking Heads – This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)
  3. Aaliyah – Try Again
  4. Basement Jaxx – Where’s Your Head At
  5. Sleigh Bells – Comeback Kid
  6. Public Enemy – Harder Than You Think
  7. Ben Howard – Keep Your Head Up
  8. The Joy Formidable – Whirring
  9. Mystery Jets – Someone Purer
  10. The Rolling Stones – You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Sunday Swoon. October 21st

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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.

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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”

You can play my letter S mixtape on Spotify or YouTube

  1. Shout Out Louds – The Comeback
  2. Supertramp – Goodbye Stranger
  3. Sleigh Bells – Rill Rill
  4. Steely Dan – Reelin’ In The Years
  5. SBTRKT – Trials Of The Past
  6. St Vincent – Cruel
  7. Siouxsie And The Banshees – Happy House
  8. The Smiths – Cemetery Gates
  9. Sharon Van Etten – Serpents
  10. Suede – The Wild Ones

Written by Anon PA

October 18, 2012 at 11:28 am

Sunday Swoon. October 14th

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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.

Lido Love No.11 London Fields

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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 Lido

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.

RIP Crustaceans. For those that never made it

Temperature: Toasty
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
Cost: £4.50

☆☆☆☆

Written by Anon PA

October 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm

The Letter ‘R’ Mixtape.

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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.

You can play my letter R mixtape on Spotify or YouTube. Also, if you haven’t seen the Sam Taylor-Wood directed video to R.E.M’s Uberlin do click play below. It’s a thing of beauty. 

  1. The Rakes – We Are All Animals
  2. Richard Hawley – Down In The Woods
  3. The Rolling Stones – Miss You
  4. Roisin Murphy – Let Me Know
  5. Roxy Music – Oh Yeah
  6. R. Dean Taylor – There’s A Ghost In My House
  7. Rodriguez – Sugar Man
  8. Radiohead – High And Dry
  9. R.E.M. – Uberlin
  10. Rufus Wainwright – Cigarettes And Chocolate Milk

Sunday Swoon. October 7th

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Lots of amazing music, coffee and one night of non stop laughter…

1. Still laughing a week later, every now and again something Rob Delaney said during his sold out shows at Soho Theatre makes me break out into grins and giggles. When he returns next year do go see him (I will be again). I have no words that will give him justice. He is hysterical, charming and I wish more comedians approached jokes about women they way he does. Bravo. A million times bravo.

2. I got to review the insanely amazing SBTRKT (pronounced Subtract for those that have been living in the stars or working on an underwater scientific base) for the equally brilliant Flush The Fashion this week. You can read my review here.

3. What I love about Natasha Khan, Bat for Lashes, is how artistic and stylised her music videos are, you can instantly feel that a lot of love and attention has gone into the production. Whether there’s a tinge of Donnie Darko as she cycles through deserted streets with animals in hoodies or the sadness of a drag queen prowling the stage. In All Your Gold she is resplendent in moody monochrome, moon snapping at her fingertips as the tides turn.

4. As 2012 draws to its close (and where have these days gone, too fast again my friends) the race for album of the year is on and Kindness has never left my top 5 since it’s release. This week, thanks to 6 Music Live I was reminded just how brilliant Adam Bainbridge and his band are. They were my stand out act at Field Day. You can watch this weeks session here. I guarantee it will bring you a world of joy.

5. I had a lovely Saturday morning in Soho, deeply involved in an exciting writing project. The scene was set in Foxcroft & Ginger. As my addiction to coffee grows (this is what happens when you cut down on alcohol) I shun chains and seek gems like this. A cheaper and higher quality cup of coffee served by warm and lively personalities. Food served ranges from cocoa rich brownies, dainty apricot pastries to chunky slabs of aubergine and doorstep oozing, dripping toasties. I also like that they sound like Roald Dahl characters. Find them on Berwick Street.

Music for Melancholy

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Allow me to have a bad day. I am sat nursing one of the many bottles of wine leftover from the M&S dine in for £10 offers that have been collecting in the kitchen reminiscing on the past 12 months.

I got made redundant last August, found a job I was excited about only to discover on my second day that the office was closing down by Christmas. So the panic of finding regular employment started all over again just as soon as it had stopped. After a lot of energy sitting in my uncomfortable interview clobber I found another job by November. I jetted off to Istanbul for an exciting work trip within two weeks of joining them and contracted Tinnitus on the return flight to London.

12 months later I am being made redundant yet again as the office I work for closes. My lovely ENT Doctor who (not Doctor Who, that’s a very different Doctor) has worked so very hard and dealt with all my frustrations patiently and kindly, threw his hands up today and told me he’s exhausted every avenue he can think of to cure it. All of which have failed (regular readers of this blog will know that music is the centre of my universe and therefore my hearing is precious). Add to this the break up of a long-term relationship earlier in the year, which despite the fact I am happier out of that relationship I miss my sidekick and it was a tough thing to go through. Most days I laugh at all this shambolic rotten luck, because of all the wonderful amazing things landing on my doorstep (London 2012 especially inspiring, friends and families support even more so).

The point to all this? None really. I am by nature a glass half full sort. In fact I’m more glass half full, favourite crisps in the cupboard and a bottle of rum under the kitchen sink. I’m not typing this to offer any wisdom other than to say I think it’s OK to have a shit day every now and again, and it’s more than OK to admit it. This post isn’t intended to cause worry. It’s just about that one message, that it’s fine to have a melancholic evening. Drink wine, feel a bit peeved about the hand you’ve been dealt and listen to lyrics. Then wake up in the morning ready to kick the world in its chops and run round the park listening to Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On  A Prayer (I do that).

It’s good to have a soundtrack to wallow in, and beautifully sad music has a magical way of lifting me out of a sulk. Here’s what I’ve been listening to, just in case anyone out there is feeling a bit naff. Music offers a million things to me, that it can be cathartic is just one little element.

You can play this mixtape on Spotify or YouTube.

  1. Bat for Lashes – Laura
  2. Florence + The Machine – Never Let Me Go
  3. Fleetwood Mac – Landslide
  4. The Middle East – Blood
  5. LCD Soundsystem – Someone Great
  6. How To Dress Well – World I Need You, Won’t Be Without You
  7. Perfume Genius – Hood
  8. Anthony & The Johnsons – Hope There’s Someone
  9. Bon Iver – Holocene
  10. Kindness – House

The Letter ‘Q’ Mixtape.

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And they said it couldn’t be done. Well, I thought it couldn’t be done. Ten tracks from the letter Q seemed like a failed mission but thanks to a couple of clever clog friends I got there in the end (thanks Gareth and Matt). It wasn’t easy and some of the tracks you’ll deign to be a bit naff I am sure but there’s ten of them. Which is part of my self-imposed rules, and it starts with one of my all time favourite songs.

For all Queen fanatics out there I know it hardly seems fair having one track of theirs on this list so here’s the link to a dedicated mixtape I made last year.

I am officially over the hump until I get to the letter U.

You can play my letter Q mixtape on Spotify or YouTube

  1. Q Lazarus – Goodbye Horses
  2. Q Tip – Breathe And Stop
  3. Quantic & Alice Russell – Look Around The Corner
  4. Quannum Project – Storm Warning
  5. The Qemists – Hurt Less
  6. Queen Latifah – Just Another Day
  7. Quincy Jones -The Dude
  8. Quasi – It’s Hard To Turn Me On
  9. Queens Of The Stone Age – Go With The Flow
  10. Queen – Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy

Written by Anon PA

October 4, 2012 at 9:36 am