Archive for the ‘Books’ Category
I’ve not blogged for a while. I was thinking today that a lot of the things I put up on my weekly round ups really inspire me (apart for food, that’s just a primal urge I guess). I’m genuinely grateful that music can move me to tears, books can transport me to another place and London never ever fails to impress and engage me. Anyway, it’s been a brilliant week.
1. I’ve had to try to limit the amount I watch the Spike Jonze directed live music video for Arcade Fire featuring Greta Gerwig. The song Afterlife is hugely emotive but I love how dance really adds to the sentiment behind this track. Frances Ha is definitely my favourite film this year and Great is perfection in this creative genius.
2. I’ve just finished Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. I barely put it down. Cleverly told story of an eccentric and brilliant mother told via traditional fiction interspersed with emails linking the characters together from an author responsible for the likes of Arrested Development and SNL.
3. I’m guilty of emerging from most gigs with the glow of alcohol rosy on my cheeks sighing “that was my gig of the year” on most occasions but Villagers at Heaven under the arches on Thursday really was utterly magical. I think it’s a modern indication of a bands brilliance live by the lack of mobile phones you see glowing in the crowd. I barely saw one, the audience rapt and attention focused on being in the moment.
4. Aldwych disused station tour only opens a handful of times a year and we were lucky enough to travel underground on a guided tour with London Transport Museum. Did you know not only did the station shelter thousands of Londoners during the war but also the Elgin Marbles and armed guards kept watch over the National Galleries collection? The station is a listed building, the history fascinating and has been used for films, shelter and drills during the Olympics last year if something was to go wrong with hundreds of people on the tubes. If you ever get the chance to do this don’t hesitate in booking up. More photos on my instagram.
Shortly after moving to east London this year the book A Hoxton Childhood by A.S Jasper came my way from my cousin. At the time of reading I had moved to the area where the book is set, an area where my paternal side of the family were born and raised. I blogged back in May how the words in the post script really touched me.
“Be thankful that you were born now and not then. Go forward, but try to be tolerant of your parents along the way”. A.S Jasper.
This Wednesday my aunt and I listened to A.S Jaspers nephew, Richard Penny, read that exact sentence at the books official reissue in the Broadway Bookshop, along with A.S Jaspers son Terry. A cousin brought this book into my life, two cousins have met after researching their family tree and republished this historical document.
Living in the area, and being lucky enough to wander the streets with my Dad and hear his stories has meant the world to me this year. I walk down Crondall Street and laugh at dad telling me about the “Crondall crumpets” (it seems the girls living on this road were once quite up for it). My dad could run street tours on his life in Hoxton.
Until I persuade him to do this A Hoxton Childhood is a real east end family tale, where people still find something to laugh about when all seems hopeless and doomed, that stood by one another. Christmas is lurking fellow book worms, buy a copy for your families and heed those words I quoted above.
1. Anna Calvi is, for me, one of the strongest songwriters to appear in recent years. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her live twice and to those lucky enough to have tickets to see her at the beautiful Wilton’s Music Hall know that my jealousy runs deep and bitter. ‘Eliza’ is the first new track to surface from her second album ‘One Breathe’.
2. I read a book made for hipsters this week and I’m OK with it. Office Girl by Joe Meno is definitely one for the people of Dalston. People on bikes under the impression they’re the next big art movement. It has genuine charm and I found myself understanding and sympathising with characters I thought I would loathe.
3. I went to see Frances Ha on Monday and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since (my first visit to the tarted up Barbican cinema which is a gorgeous space and only £6.00 a ticket on Mondays). Directed by Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig plays Frances with a deadpan sincerity in the tale of a friendship moving into more grown up stages of life. But mainly I took away from the film that you need to be the happiest version of yourself possible in life. It was inspiring and I’d happily pay to see it again for that feeling.
4. Mikal Cronin’s MCII has been my summer soundtrack. He was spectacular at the Lexington and really hope there’s appetite for him to come back and tour the UK so more people get to see him live.
5. Finally, feels like autumn is almost at the doorstep in Mount Kimbie’s new video for ‘Home Recording’.
1. So I have a huge soft spot for Baz Luhrmann films. I’ve heard people niggling at his adaptation of The Great Gatsby, someone saying they walked out after ten minutes, but I loved it. The party scenes were visually breathtaking, made me feel like I am missing glittery ticker tape in life. The casting was perfect for the characters, Mulligan and DiCaprio as Daisy and Gatsby especially. It stuck close to the original book by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The soundtrack was perhaps a little too much vanity from Jay-Z.
2. The much talked about Parquet Courts played London’s historic The 100 Club last Sunday. Without getting drawn into the whole “is guitar music dead?” question what I will say is it was great to see a band who didn’t look like a Top Man advert, over groomed and too stiff for movement. There was a kid alone (he really was a kid, around 16) right at the front looking like he’d just discovered the greatest band of all time. Eyes unblinking, mouthing every word, rapt with attention. I love seeing that look on people.
3. I always get sucked into these “great summer read” books (I admit it, I even read Dan Brown). I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn in about two days, staying up until the early hours to get to the end. It’s surprising and full of twists without over complicating the plot. I predict a film adaption will follow by the end of the year.
4. Field Day was utter brilliance on Saturday. Perfect weather, great company for the day and some real standout performances from the likes of How To Dress Well, Kurt Vile, Animal Collective and Bat for Lashes. I’ll opt to put a track of hers on here because it was the last crystal clear memory I have. Things after that got a bit gin hazy. The best day of 2013 so far, by far.
5. Lastly a new track this week from bare-footed, natty haired Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Better Days.
Due to gallivanting around Dartmoor and Brixham and lack of internet access this is more of a fortnightly round-up.
1. The first book I read as an East London resident was A Hoxton Childhood by A.S Jasper. An honest and frank account of growing up poor in 1920’s from the voice of an ordinary man. No romanticising the past. It could have been wrote by my Dad from the stories he’s told me and he read the entire book in a matter of hours when I passed it on to him. A beautiful message in the book and interesting to read about the streets that now surround me.
“Be thankful that you were born now and not then. Go forward, but try to be tolerant of your parents along the way”. A.S Jasper.
2. If you ever find yourself in Torbay the only place to have seafood is Simply Fish in Brixham. Menu is dictated by availability from the boats straight in from fishing at a quarter of the price you’d pay in London. Queues rival that of restaurants such as Meat Liquor. My favourite dish is their Tempura Cuttlefish (pictured above). Managed to fit three visits in during my visit home.
3. Janelle Monae is back with Q.U.E.E.N featuring Erykah Badu. Adore everything about this woman and still lament the day I got sidetracked by an ice cream van playing 90’s dance music at Glastonbury and missed her. Makes me want to quiff my hair and deal in monochrome only.
4. Before the Devon adventures and in between moving house I managed to sneak in a couple of trips to Pick Me Up London. Just as inspiring, inventive and batty as it was when I first attended last year. I’d highly recommend signing up to the mailing list so you don’t miss out on it next year.
5. Hot on the heels of (the superior, let’s face it) Daft Punk comes a new track from Basement Jaxx which really minds me of Friends Va Fan Gor Du. Getting my dance on.
1. On the occasions I write about music I always scurry away from attempting album reviews. For the sole reason I never agree with the ones I read. Music is so personally emotive that the only thing I’d have to say is “go and listen to it yourself and make up your mind”. I’ve read some disappointing reviews of Mosquito, the latest album from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, this week. For me their albums are always consistently creative and brilliant. Also, I shall now approach life with all the enthusiasm of a choir master. I also like Karen O’s love child of Willy Wonka and Elvis Presley look.
2. I’ve just finished Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The book behind Bladerunner. I am sure many of you will disagree with me, but I felt that the book was far richer than the film. But then I always do tend to prefer the original texts. Bookworm over film nerd.
3. We’ve all listened to this a dozen times by now? After numerous false starts, fan edits and sketchy Coachella videos. This is the official edit of Daft Punk’s new song Get Lucky featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodger. It has summer written all over it. Now to dream of a surprise Glastonbury appearance.
4. I opted for Place Beyond The Pines based solely on the fact I have ovaries and Ryan Gosling is in the film (thems the rules now). I knew nothing about the plot other than suspecting it was Drive on motorbikes. I was wrong. It is refreshing, surprising and had a soundtrack that spans every possible genre. Tip for the chaps reading this; Inside out t-shirts and bleach blonde hair is very S/S 13.
5. Perhaps lost amongst the Daft Punk hype the new track by Thundercat is worth your ear time as well. Heartbreaks + Setbacks. Pitchfork fawn over it in their review. They have said exactly what I would, but far more eloquently.
1. Polica live wasn’t quite what I was expecting but by singer Channy Leaneagh’s own admission she was finding herself “out of sorts and nervous” at Shepherds Bush Empire this Thursday. But when I’m sat with a rum and coke next to amazing friends watching live music then I’m always going to be blissfully happy. Especially as Wandering Star means a great deal to my closest friend who was there with me. Also epic double drummers are always a treat to watch.
2. I read my first Ray Bradbury book this week and can feel a new obsession coming on. Something Wicked This Way Comes made me miss tube stops, read under the duvet and utterly fired my imagination. For any bookworm who has been as rubbish as I at discovering him treat yourself this weekend. His writing is poetry at times light and in love and at others dark and gothic.
3. Adam Buxton’s BUG is something I instinctively knew I would adore before ever getting the opportunity to see it. Tuesday at Leicester Square Odeon I laughed more in those three hours than the entire month. I’ve since realised that when people have asked what BUG is I can’t do it justice with my summaries. “So he reads YouTube comments out…” is met with strange looks as I elaborate. So just go, laugh and still be smiling about it days later. To quote one enthusiastic Bowie fan mentioned “He is the tasty egg of my breakfast glory”.
4. The BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere played all last week. I don’t listen to audiobooks and only ever listen to 6 Music so this initially felt slightly odd for my brain. But I was soon lost in London Below as an amazing cast (Benedict Cumberbatch, Sophie Okonedo, James McAvoy, Bernard Cribbins and Natalie Dormer to name a smattering). I’m not sure how long it will be on iPlayer for but turn off the lights and listen to it, Dirk Maggs has done a tremendous job and the music featured is stunning.
5. Finally Wilton’s Music Hall will get its own blog post at some point down the line as it is thoroughly deserving of its own limelight. I visited on Saturday for the historical tour and a quirky, borderline immersive, theatre production of The Great Gatsby followed after. This grand but crumbly music hall hidden away between Whitechapel and Shadwell epitomizes why London is such a great historical city, much like Dennis Severs’ house in Spitafields. I am booked in for a further two events so expect a fuller more detailed post soon.