From Desk Till Dawn

My mainly music & nerd bird blog

Posts Tagged ‘Fleetwood Mac

I Dread The Quiet Of The Night

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As I was about to leave the house the other day Fleetwood Mac’s Man of the World came on the radio just as my hand hovered to turn my DAB off. It’s one of those songs that will always stop me in my tracks, the regret croaking out of Peter Green in an act of a heartfelt confession.

I have the added built-in feature of the crackle and static of listening to it as if it was on Vinyl, or an old wireless radio not quite tuned in, because I have Tinnitus. I don’t mean to romanticise it, making it sounds as if a medical condition that strikes 1 in 10 gives a vintage sound to your world because it doesn’t. It’s funny, typing out the words ‘medical condition’ because I think of it as more of an annoyance, something to suffer and endure. Ultimately something I have been learning to live with since November 2011.

Since contracting Tinnitus I’ve had frustrating experiences from GP’s. When I finally got to see an ENT (Ears, Nose and Throat) Doctor I patiently tried different forms of medication. From tipping my head back to administer a salt spray twice a day to getting down on all fours like a dog and pouring a solution that was uncomfortable and felt like it was eroding the skin inside my nose. The gentle, but firm, smack of a tuning fork over my head is a stark reminder that I should have known better. Actually I had never given much thought to looking after my hearing in the same way I’d floss regularly or go to the opticians.

I dread the quiet of night. Working and living in London I have the constant distraction of noise to help drown out the ever changing noises in my brain. The rattle of the tube carriages and the building site currently outside my office window mean I can sometimes tune out of it during the day. It’s hard to describe how the sounds I hear shifts sides, changes tone and pitch. That I’m convinced alcohol heightens it but can’t know for certain, that some days are better than others. On the terrible and unbearable nights I sleep little, in the morning I am bleary eyed, exhausted and prone to make mistakes (from grammatical errors to not paying enough attention when crossing the road). When the sound suddenly changes I have to ask others around me if they can hear a strange buzzing, I’m sometimes thrown by what’s in my brain and what’s reality. This inability to communicate something only I can hear is frustrating and, how I wish I meant this literally, I sometimes end up suffering in silence.

Next time that song comes on the radio, the one that stops you in your tracks because it brings a long-lost lover to memory, reminds you of a cherished friend long gone, makes you sigh, skip, cry or smile with every facial muscle, pause for a moment. Think what life would be like with that melody, specific lyric, cowbell or the plink of piano keys ruined by a constant sound cutting across it. Or how the lack of sleep or stress will affect your life, and perhaps your relationships. If I’ve scared you then that was my intention. If you are in a band, DJ, just love standing by the speakers in venues or you’re one of those annoying types on public transport that listens to your music so everyone else can hear please think about your ears for a moment. It’s my one life regret.

NB: I started writing this post last year. A recent article by Eddy Temple-Morris for Huffington Post and the fact that it’s Tinnitus Awareness Week made me revisit this with a determination to tell it like it is. You can read his article here

Written by Anon PA

February 5, 2013 at 4:55 pm

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

Edge Of Seventeen

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I alluded briefly on my blog this Sunday to two teenage girls we met at the Hot Chip iTunes festival. They were in front of us in the queue and immediately started chatting away. At first we just talked about their love of Madness, how much they liked the tattoo behind my ear, cars (of which I am brilliantly ignorant, that’s Lucy’s department) and make-up. The usual topics I’d expect to cover with two sixteen year-old’s (apart from Madness, that threw me). They also couldn’t get over how old I was. I told them I was 33 (it turns out I am not 33 at all. I am in fact 34 and at some point over the past couple of years I have accidentally been lying about my age. That’s another story I’m still trying to get my head around).

This may also go some way to explaining why at one point I found myself screaming “I don’t even know if you kids think high-fives are cool any more but I’m giving you one anyway”. They humoured me with part pity and part bemusement.

Conversation soon moved on to truancy, let down dads and getting into fights. That’s when, in my drunken state, I imagined a cape falling from the skies and wrapping round my shoulders. I must be a responsible and inspirational person in a queue for a very brilliant band. They had to endure lectures about why they shouldn’t fancy Chris Brown, that if they keep on getting into fights how they need to join a boxing club like Nicola Adams, drugs, careers, school. I covered it all in a breathless whirlwind before the band started, each time something they said gave me cause for concern. We just danced non-stop after that, pausing only for me to give them horrendously middle-aged nods and winks every time boys their age walked past.

I was so determined to make some small impression on these girls, some little dent that come Monday morning they’ll decide not to bunk off school after all  that I didn’t really take into consideration some of the things they were saying to me. When I told them I had a date soon they grabbed me by the shoulders and told me not to sleep with boys on the first night with furrowed brows and a stern pout, it was the most serious I’d seen them all night. When one of them said she had an audition for a talent show she turned to me and said “It’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t work out, life carries on doesn’t it? You just keep putting one foot in front of the other”. Wise words from one so young.

Followed by the other one grinning at me, pointing at Hot Chip and saying “I like the beats”, North Face jacket pulled up over her head, Nike Blazers keeping perfect time. I am in love with that simple sentence. All my music reviews now will have that ode to her, even folk music. I like the beats.

You know, I told someone about these girls and they told me they’re probably already a lost cause. I’m not so sure. After all they burst into song during Hot Chip covering Fleetwood Mac’s Everywhere and with huge grins said “We love Stevie Nicks”.

Written by Anon PA

October 2, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Little Lies

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I’m not a clever political commentator or blogger, I would never be able to wrap my head around the scripts that Armando Iannuci creates if someone asked me to dip my toe into fiction. What I am is an Executive Assistant, have been for too many years I care to count, and one that has been *obsessed with the Leveson enquiry.

So, here I am typing away at my desk listening to our Prime Minister claim he barely recalls what days of the week end in the letter Y, let alone anything of importance to Robert Jay QC (the man fast replacing Jarvis Cocker as the thinking womans crumpet). Of course I have tabs open and a complicated excel spreadsheet to hide my blog if anyone walks into my office, multitasking is key to my job.

Also key to this job is diary management. Given every MP that has appeared on the inquiry has claimed that their diary does not reflect their actual meetings and whereabouts I can only suggest that

  1. They’ve hired the monkeys from the PG Tips adverts as secretaries and dressed them in black dresses and pearl necklaces, which although is an endearing image for some sorts I am sure the Animal rights groups would not be happy about the chimps alternative employment
  2. They’re all telling whopping barefaced lies

After a milliseconds thought I am willing to bet my ovaries it’s the latter.

I’ve had dealings with MP’s offices frequently. More often than not they have a very efficient PA and a second staff member whose job title is “Diary Manager”. That’s their one remit, nothing else. All day, five days a week they make sure every minute detail is in the diary. The where, what, why and with whom. Quite simply, you don’t randomly leave meetings in the diary that get cancelled, rescheduled. Neither do you put meetings in that don’t exist. Lies, lies from tiny eyes. The whole lot of them.

*So obsessed that I dedicated Prince’s You Sexy MF to Ian Hislop’s performance at the Leveson Inquiry on Shaun Keaveny’s 6 Music’s Breakfast show on a feature called Songs Of Praise.

The Letter ‘F’ Mixtape.

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This weeks mixtape is delivered by the letter F. It’s part shoes off folk and part dance on sticky floors. Featuring a track from The Futureheads genius A Cappella album, a Foals track which never fails to give me shivers (the good kind) and a Flaming Lips track for anyone that suffers the occasional crisis of confidence. Annoyingly my very favourite group beginning F weren’t on Spotify so please enjoy the video from Fox below. Noosha Fox, the original girl crush.

If you’re a Spotify user click here to play the mixtape and if you’re in a country with no Spotify you can play via YouTube here.

  1. The Flying Burrito Brothers – Dark End Of The Street
  2. Feist – The Bad In Each Other
  3. Fleetwood Mac – Gypsy
  4. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
  5. Field Music – She Can Do What She Wants
  6. Foals – This Orient
  7. Friends – I’m His Girl
  8. Friendly Fires – Skeleton Boy
  9. The Flaming Lips – Do You Realize?
  10. The Futureheads – Meet Me Halfway

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November 13th Mixtape. For Ghosts Of Gone Birds

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This weeks playlist is dedicated to the fantastic team behind Ghosts Of Gone Birds.

When I was a wee nipper Sunday afternoons used to be all about walking round Berry Head with my Dad. The end destination being the cliffs where a colony of Guillemots used to flock. Our house was covered in ivy, home to what sounded like a million birds all tweeting. My mixtape choices this week are all bird related tunes for childhood memories, our feathered friends and for the ghosts of gone birds.

Please visit this vast exhibition at the Rochelle School in East London and set aside a good chunk of time, you have until November 23rd and it’s free (donations welcome). There is so much to see and the good souls manning the decks are brilliant to talk to. I spent an age outside with an artist who sandblasts, watching him create a flock of birds in flight. By the time I wandered inside I had given him the idea to stencil tiles as he was miffed that his art couldn’t be sold. He has promised me half a shandy if the idea takes off.

Most important is the message Ghosts Of Gone Birds are trying to paint the sky with. They are truly passionate about the plight of our winged friends. I loved going to an exhibition that welcomed photography, saying it was important their message is spread as much as possible. My photos can’t begin to capture the strength of the artists on display, where else would you see a knitted Great Auk by author Margaret Atwood? My very favourite was a whole room of Ralph Steadman cartoons, who is best known for his work with Hunter S. Thompson. Ah, sublime little room of birds, I wish I could have stayed longer.

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. They Might Be Giants – Birdhouse In Your Soul
  2. The Bees – Chicken Payback
  3. Patrick Wolf – The Falcons
  4. The Byrds – Turn! Turn! Turn!
  5. The Dead Weather – 3 Birds
  6. The Civil Wars – Birds Of A Feather
  7. Wild Beasts – Albatross
  8. Pulp – Birds In Your Garden
  9. Goldfrapp – Little Bird
  10. Fleetwood Mac – Songbird
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