Friday, 28 December 2012

Vaughan Williams Christmas Fantasia

Love should be abolished it ruins everything. Okay maybe not the true embodiment thereof. But the word itself. The reason? It's like the Sinatra song: "..then I go and spoil it all by saying something stupid.." Never utter the L word; for cursed ye shall be. And certainly not to someone you have feelings about. It sounds stupid but trust me I learnt the hard way. In reality love between two human beings is the ability to accidentally switch credit cards and not notice until one of you has to pay for something. Realising your mistake you make a rushed call to the afflicted person to explain the dilemma mid train journey whilst being confronted by the ticket inspector. Whereupon you divulge pin numbers so that you're both equipped for future purchases. And most importantly the exchange is painless. You both laugh it off and carry on with your day merry and joyful. Yup, that's something special. Alternatively if you listen to Radio 4 panel shows, then the definition of love is: "Seven consecutive texts with no reply, but not eight -- that would be weird" This being a suggestion sent in by a listener after being asked for their opinion as to what indeed love is. I am inclined to agree with this although it's not a method I would choose but hey, I'm defeatist. I've definitely never been guilty of obsessive texting -- ahem --*must learn from my mistakes* *must learn from my mistakes* *must learn from my mistakes* *must learn from my mistakes* *must learn from my mistakes* *must learn from my mistakes* *must learn from my mistakes* *must learn from my mistakes* *must learn from my mistakes* *must learn from my mistakes* *must learn from my mistakes*

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Grails - Smokey Room

Irony: Those on the dole will inevitably be labelled as hypocrites for boycotting big business while still needing them to obtain food and essentials. Meanwhile the rich shall be deemed green and virtuous; they are the only ones who can afford solar panels and yurts.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Scala and Kolacny Brothers - When Doves Cry

Time for another mopy post. Happiness levels: 53%; approx 20% better than Sat. On Saturday my face was attacked by strange leak from the eyes for most of the day. Situation only slightly improved by the fabrication of punk Christmas cards using acrylic paint and a sponge. Depression levels: Up from last week at about 40%. The only thing that stops me staring into the abyss and falling into it is pizza and chocolate. Up and down up and down up and down. It's only taken me a year to finally get off my arse and get those business cards in the windows. I'm a lazy bugger. I have no one to blame but myself. Violin teaching. Okay I can do this. I don't know why it's taken me so long. Making the business cards was pretty easy, but for some reason I put it off and off, thinking it was beyond me. It isn't. What a wasted year. I've achieved nothing. I can't get angry with myself. It won't help the situation. Okay hello world. Here I come.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Scott Walker Bish Bosch

Why I (most likely) won't have kids Obviously never say never, and no, I am not a baby hater. I think they are cute and respect must go out to parents who somehow manage not to make a hash of growing their dribbling lumps of puke and poop into well rounded and decent people. It doesn't appeal though. For one thing, I prefer cats. Cats stay cute forever and are less likely to wail if you don't buy them an Iphone. And for another: I'm no scientist but I'm pretty sure that the planet Earth already has a sufficient number of human beings. Out of that number I'd deduce that only a tiny percentage of those people are well-fed/happy/satisfied and only a marginally larger number are above the breadline/housed/not manically depressed. The thought of getting pregnant terrifies me. Luckily the way things are going the only way that'll ever be danger is if I somehow run into a guy called Joseph with a donkey and the midwife declares it as immaculate conception. It is terrifying though. Even the most 'in it for the kids', prepared to tie the knot of couples don't tend to last the Winter, and rarely have I witnessed a marriage that didn't involve the most hateful point scoring and competitiveness between two people. Not what I would use to define a loving relationship. One of my pet hates is couples who use their child to 'fix' their relationship. The way I see it, if your relationship is neither emotionally nor financially stable then don't even bother. The child will be a wreck from having to do United Nations-scale peace treaties between the feuding parties. Not to mention scathing relatives who will look for someone to blame when it all goes tits up. Children need stability. End of story. And no amount sticking plaster trips to the toy store and wool-over-the-eyes rounds at the penny arcade will change that.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Alban Berg - Wozzeck

When faced with the choice between hearing an opera from the late romantic period that you have never heard before, or watching football with a pizza bread in one hand and a beer in the other, which do you go for? No really. It's not that easy. By no means is this a 'no brainer'. It is a full-blown, whole cerebrum dilemma of a conundrum. Both have their merits. Both entail dangers and sacrifices. For those who have no interest in opera of which I know there are many, the decision is an obvious one. You settle into the sofa, you direct your peepers towards the funny flashing screen in front of you and you follow the movements of the little men running around on a muddy field like your life depends on it. But for those unfortunates wishing to broaden their knowledge of the finer intricacies that emerged in classical music sometime after the American civil war but before the Third Reich, then my friend, you have yourself a big tit of a problem. I have listened to opera before (on occasion) and I have seen a whole four-hour-long performance of Aida by Verdi. Despite the fact that it may have been necessary for me to close my eyes and half go to sleep during the third act, I remember that it was very exciting. I didn't really know what it was about though ----- it was in Italian. Sub-titles flew across the top of the stage, at break neck speed, on a big sign, but that did not help much. The costumes were made of silk, lace and sequins. The gestures were large and dramatic, and the themes were woeful and tragic; but then of course they were - it was an opera. Back to the subject in hand, the opera that I just listened to was called Wozzeck. It’s by Alban Berg. Wiki's general consensus is that it is about being impoverished, although closer sources inform me that it is about a man who hates a women so much that he kills her. As such this opera is ever the barrel of laughs that I expected it to be. I wonder if she was killed because she didn’t sing soprano?

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Unthanks - Gan to the Kye

Why am I talking to a singing bowl? There's something humbling about monks. The way they go through life contended; serving others without remorse for themselves, never asking for more. Why am I talking to a singing bowl? Maybe because this singing bowl has more intelligence than the entire human population combined. Why am I talking to a singing bowl? Maybe because this singing bowl told me to slow down and think of what I was doing and the reason I was doing it. This singing bowl reminds me of others who live in the world. People who feel. People who think. Already I'm plotting how to post this post; what to write, how to put it in a good light. Am I only writing to 'prove something'? And to whom? Why don't I just shut up and keep a diary like everyone else? No wait...That would be like being a prisoner of war. I'm not a prisoner of war. The singing bowl knows.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Dead Rat Orchestra

There are shadows chasing me. Or that's what it feels like. A worldly guilt that I can't put my finger on. I cook food, and look at it and think, "I didn't sow, farm, or harvest this food. The money that I used to buy it isn't even mine, so how can I eat it?" Well actually not "Can I eat it?" Clearly I can, and have. But the crunch is: When do I have to give back what I have taken? I've taken too much, and not given back. That's why I feel this way. The other day my Dad sent me an email. It was long and wordy. He was concerned that I wasn't fulfilling my potential. He told me that my cv had too many gaps in it (he has never seen my cv) and that employers would "look elsewhere" if I did not appear to be giving them what they wanted. I replied telling him that I was thinking of going freelance, and that I was interested in alternative forms of therapy for treating mental illness like depression and anxiety. Not something I can really tell the jobcentre, but my dad did psychology for his degree way back when he was in my shoes, so I thought he'd understand. I gave him no indication that I'd found a career - how could I? - but I suppose it proved to him that I haven't gone off my rocker yet. Although the scary thing is if I had gone nutso, he probably wouldn't find out about it until it was too late. The only difference between the 'drifters' and the 'freelancers' is that the freelancers have a plan. They know where they are going. I am not business minded, never have been, but I am not stupid enough to believe that I can get better by myself. I neither want to join the rat race, nor do I want to be beaten by it, but I'll have to pick my self up and move if I don't want to be trodden on by it.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Krzysztof Penderecki's Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima

I'm not going to to comment on the music for now, but this is some new material that has reached the humble workings of my ear, and no, I didn't know what the word 'threnody' meant. Right now I'm thinking about mental people and oddballs. More specifically Temple Grandin and her inspiring speech on autism, found here: It's trying at first. She leaps from one idea to another at something like the speed of light, but she does have a point; namely that all ways of thinking are necessary to make a better world. The reason for a personality clash between two people is often because of misunderstanding and misconception. That clash does not have to rule out the possibility that the opposing forces could come to harmonise over time. It interests me how all the different minds link together. Past experience determines how we think and feel. Can't change that. Not out of the question to learn to get along on some level though, like pieces in a jigsaw. In my view the causes come down primarily to -- 1) Genetics 2) Family background/Environment 3) Ambitions (1) is Darwin, Dawkins and the like i.e. the fact that when we look to our parents and ancestors we find that our physical attributes were passed down to us from them, as well as some of our personality traits. Grandin suggests that as we get older, move away from home, meet new people and try new stuff, there's potential for our personalities to change a lot. Scary. A bit like when you meet someone with a strong regional accent and you find yourself mimicing it. As we adapt to a new way of life we come up against the trade off between social ability and contemplative ability. The moment when the thinkers come out of their cave to view the social butterflies in action. They begin to think, "I want that," and for better or for worse they leave the darkness of their bedsit, strewn with takeaway and fad magazines, to swap that time for the company of others. (2). Whether that's right is another issue all together. Should that nerdy bespectacled dude who excels at maths but not at telling jokes learn from the 'in' crowd? Maybe. Instinct warns that natural is best, but sometimes it is satisfying to break down these mental barriers that set up for ourselves. Depends what you're after though. (3). The truly ironical thing is, just by considering taking a new course in making friends, the nerdy sociophobe would have to take more 'thinking' time to weigh up the pros and cons, because if he didn't he might not realise until it was too late that it was the wrong course of action. I don't consider myself to have autism though apparently we are all in some ways autistic. Severe autism can be a very real inability to associate properly with others. I've read that it is a type of hyper sensitivity, like when we hear a noise that's too loud or shield our eyes from the light. This was the point that Grandin was making. These people have to trade off their brain time for the right reasons. You can't force someone to be more social or to feel more comfortable. It has to be genuine, but those real moments are hard to find.

Venetian Snares

Venetian Snares can only be described as classical drum and bass. The immediate collision between two opposing musical approaches.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Domenico Scarlatti

Last night I watched a man smoking out of his attic window. It was therapeutic; the way he inhaled deeply before blowing out the smoke in a long straight cloud. He was a non-smoker as a rule, but was smoking a discrete one for peace of mind. Perhaps he waited for the dust to settle after a family feud. I had a strange feeling that he knew I was watching but didn't care. When the cigarette was done he stubbed it out and threw the evidence out the window. It made me think of back home in my mother's house. I had a window looking out over the walls into other people's gardens. I'd occasionally see people washing and cleaning, or even the next door neighbour chatting idly with some friend or relative, but it was never interesting. I wasn't connected with it, and there was nothing to see. This was different. This was a man feeling down on his luck. And somehow. My feelings mirrored his. It made me feel less alone.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

The Spiral Navigators - Sharrow Festival

The Spirals have come on leaps and bounds since their humble beginnings. Once confined to rehearsing in cramped up rented housing, or dilapidated (and not very well insulated) practice rooms, they are now the pinnacle of psychedelic space rock. Already hot on the festival circuit, with Alchemy and Sonic Rock Solstice to name but a few under their belts, the Sharrow festival -- delayed from Summer to Autumn because of the weather -- is the latest stage to be graced with their psychedelic presence. At this point, any unfamiliar readers will be asking themselves, "Well, okay but who really listens to sixties psychedelia these days?"..............................The answer is quite a lot. It never went out of fashion to listen to Jefferson Airplane, though a worrying number of the younger generation will naturally think of that song by Justin Bieber when I talk about 'Somebody to Love'. A solid combination of guitars, bass, and drums is pretty hard to fault though. Songs co-written by Crying Eagle and Cosmic Andy were interlocked with blinding rhythm guitar, entrancing bass and beautiful vocal harmonies all effortlessly backed-up with Loon's solo improv guitar and a tidy new drummer, who admittedly I know not, but who was very decent. A cracking job by all. Hats off.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Greenroom (Self Indulgent Post #1)

What a dreadful evening. Not the music. That was a-okay. No complaints to make about any of the sets witnessed from my dark corner. But dreadful in that I had one of those moments of despair that I used to get back in the day when I was more anxious and oldschool and depressed. Tonight felt as if despite all efforts I would never fit the bill, never match up, never be good enough at whatever it is I am meant to be doing. In short, it was a write-off. The more I do things, the more I get filled with regret. Where is the joy? Seeing all the freshers - so lively, so interested in everything and each other - made me want to start again. At the beginning. When I was bumbling round halls like a nonce asking people what Kingdom was. I can't remember feeling like that anymore, though I'm pretty sure I felt it once. I really miss when things were fresh and new. I miss laughter. I miss you, whoever you are. I have failed. Maybe my mistake was to go out without an aim. It would have been fine if only I'd brought some kind of memory. Something worth the exchange. Maybe I should just keep quiet until I have something to say. That doesn't suck.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Magick Brothers - Greystones

Music critics can be really mean. Fact. However, here's another fact: those worth their salt are as a rule fully aware at the time of viewing in any venue in any faculty, that whether the music floats their boat or not, it is unlikely they would be capable of reproducing something of equal calibre, when push came to skooch. So, that being said we can assume that about a good say, thirty percent of the audience shared my gut feeling of unease when Daevid Allen of Gong fame, aged approx 84, armed with 120 minutes of new material, stepped up to the stage of the Greystones pub, and promptly yet gracefully, forgot how to play his songs. The performance had begun slow and delicate, with a long poem about smoking in airports, minor scrapes, children, and all the other things that an ancient rocker would want to talk about. Delightful, but not quite enough to assuage that unsettling feeling that this legend of psychedelia was in fact about to do some sort of kamikaze cadenza and pop his elven clogs right there in front of us. He was doddering, like the tin man. He joined his companions Graham Clark (Orchestra of the Upper Atmosphere) and Mark Robson (Kangaroo Moon) on stage in an -almost-- tentative manner as if resigned to being overshadowed and outnumbered by his fellow band members. The audience clapped politely at the end of the solo poetry piece, pleasantly surprised, though expectant of something more full throttle. Perhaps a new rendition of Have a Cup of Tea or some shamanism shenanigans. When it transpired that the band were in fact, if not under rehearsed, then a little less than confident, a sort of cold mist seemed to enshroud the room. Everyone was sharing a communal feeling of minor panic: that the golden age of musical experimentation was dying in this very room as this elderly musician of a by-gone age struggled to remember the first three chords of his set. In the deathly quiet as the guitar strings stubbornly refused to become attuned, audience members coughed, looked down, shuffled in their seats and tried not to meet each other's eyes. It was a strange musical awkwardness that, in retrospect was really quite beautiful, and something that can only come from the unfortunate and organic moments of nervousness. You'll be pleased to know (if you have ever had any appreciation for Gong and its offshoots) that the set 'grew'. Thankfully, Sheffield being Sheffield those who had ventured out to see this rare performance were not the type to poo poo something straight off. Patience, though tried, paid-off in the end. Eventually a varied and understated collection of songs came to fruition backed by Allen and Robson's fiery writing. Lyrical content touched fearlessly upon taboos of the century such as political warfare, slavery and burning rainforests. Sublime digereedoo fuelled the rhythmic trance and Clark's truly ethereal violin weaved in and out to produce a weird tapestry that was as sturdy as it was loose.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Lou Reed - Transformer

I am not new to this album. It is familiar to me. Especially because of the several occasions when I've been reclined in the park listening to 'Perfect Day'. (Not the Trainspotting version.) There's not a lot I can say about it except that it has fond memories. It is interesting the many ways that new music can be discovered. In my most desperate hours it is not out of the question for me to switch on either of my three radio channels of choice (Radio 6, Sheffield Live, Radio 3) and avidly scribble down the names as I hear them. But for me it's those heart strings that contain the best musical memory for me. It's the reason I only occasionally listen to Radiohead, and why I can never listen to Fleetwood Mac -- see last Tuesday's entry for further details. I suppose what I'm talking about touches upon other things like music psychology. It's something I could spend years talking about; indeed there are some people who have and still are devoting much time into learning more about it. Just read 'Musicophilia' by Oliver Sachs. For me music, especially re-treading areas of music heard previously at some point in the past - unleashes small yet pivotal memories and meanings. Like when you're in between two frames of mind but as yet undecided as to which party you should belong with. Everyone has that moment when you are watching Doctor Who and your friends decide that they are going to the pub but you've lost the ability to move until you know whether the dalek is catching up. Obviously I wouldn't be listening to the radio at the same time as watching Doctor Who, that would be excessive, but that is sort of thing that certain songs remind me of. Not the action, but the gradual process that lead to the point of he action.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Eat lights; Become lights - Test Drive

Good morning. I’m going to start the day by listening to some Krautrock. It’s called Eat Lights; become lights. I like this name because it has a semi colon in it. This sort of music is quite good I think. I like it. It sounds like something good. I don’t know how to play the guitar but if I did I would try to play this. This band is from London. They aren’t touring at the moment which is a shame.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Budapest Klezmer Band

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Set Fire To Flames - Telegraphs in Negative/Mouths Trapped In Static

Unlike some of the other conglomerations that appear on this ere blog this band is well known. I tend to avoid overstating the need for obscure bands. If something sounds good I listen to it. It could be an unfinished renaissance string quartet, or it could be the eighties. Thankfully this band sounds like neither. I think it falls under the category of 'shoegaze'. Ever the word that eludes me as people ask me what I enjoy listening to generally. Slower than post-rock but too edgy to be ambient. Hark at the thought of being labelled as 'one of those.' However, I can honestly vouch - hand on heart - that whenever I have attended one of such gigs, never have I witnessed someone gazing at their shoes. That would be hilarious. You'd have to hire someone whose sole purpose was to tempt people to look at the stage by poking them in the chin. Most are at any rate content to look aimlessly into their pint glass. Viewing it fondly you could argue they are contemplating every significant meaning of the universe whilst idly fiddling with hairgel/scarves/random phone apps.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

I heard this band on the radio last night and thought I'd write about it. I'm not listening to them now. That would require moving and ...okay I might move. Now I'm listening to them. So far they sound decent. Not particularly orchestral. If I'm honest that was the only reason I picked them out. Maybe not the only reason. I don't like to seem like a music snob. Ultimately that is what I am. Not my fault. This song is called 'Funny Friends'. It has guitars in it and a steady four four drum beat. I suspect it is synthesised. Now I'm listening to 'How can you Luv Me'. It sounds the same as the last one. Possible mowtown influence? It still doesn't sound orchestral. False advertising that is. Should really turn it off. Aaaah...can't quite bothered.... If this was the seventies it would sound like Fleetwood Mac and that would be awesome. I can't listen to Rumours by Fleetwood Mac because it frees the evil jazz demons. And then the evil jazz demons unleash their wily venom upon their victims and then there are too many evil jazz demons. It's a bit like a zombie attack only backwards. I think possibly I would like 'Second Hand News' to play at my funeral. I think that it would really sum my life up to a tee. This one is called 'Thought Ballune'. It's on their EP. I think it's the same song as the last one but with different words. Wait this tune sounds different: it's called 'Nerve Damage' and sounds like happy punk. I'm starting to feel afraid. I'm pretty sure this is different from the usual mantra. What's going on? Things are..changing...from..what I am used to hearing...cant quite adapt...aaaaaahhhhhh!!!!! Stop changing!!! Everything must stay the same forever!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

That Fucking Tank

That Fucking Tank. It made me feel as if I had a tiny beautiful ( yet deadly) creature living in my stomach. Upon the commencement of the set the creature immediately began to struggle as if it greatly desired escape from the depths of my loins much akin to this: . Thus I was actually obliged to temporarily leave the venue in order to assuage the screaming demands of an imaginary beautiful yet deadly creature living in my stomach that there was no need to feel anxious: it's only That Fucking Tank. This was brought to you by the mutual disdain at a poster that had disgracefully and shamelessly placed frivolous apostrophes all over the place. In the future anti graffiti movement, all wasteful use of apostrophes shall be obliterated using industrial tip-ex pens. Apostrophes will be used in a sustainable environment and punishment for misuse of the apostrophe shall be branding using an apostrophe shaped poker.

Sunday, 12 August 2012


I'm hopeless at games. The only time I remember winning a board game was back in 2005 when by some fluke I won a game of Monopoly. Unfortunately that is probably the least preferred game to win if by aspiring to win you were hoping to gain some shred of credibility. I think I take it too seriously. Alas I lack the mindset to rise above the onslaught of critters that thwart my plans. I'm thoughtful and clever, but not particularly cunning. Part of me wishes that I had a degree in cunningness. If a course in cunningness does not yet exist, someone should invent it. Or maybe there should be a school of cunningness where pupils are taught to fend themselves from bad advice and false friends. Instead of reporting bullies to the head, a personal advisor would appear donning a catapult. They'd then show you to the best vantage perch, and tell you to give it your best shot. The only advantage there is to being a miserable loser is that after a while you are desensitised. Your enemies will be astounded at your resilience and bloody mindedness in the face of danger. What they fail to recognise is that rather than it representing a highly skilled and shrewd player, it merely means that you're just an average player who isn't that bothered about winning. What does a few more coins or glory mean to someone who started with nothing? Very little. Indeed, the pleasant thing about it is that us poor losers are able to recognise that nasty greed streak that lies in the depths of everyone like a coiled snake, before it gets too boisterous. It creeps up on you. You're happily floating along, occasionally managing to just clamber out of last position by the skin of your teeth, and suddenly this horrible urge takes hold. You MUST get that coin. You MUST gain an extra plot of land on the field. And you think, 'What?' Because that wasn't you a minute ago. Just before you didn't even care. And there's that real divisive moment of, should I let rip and just be the most selfish, horrid, miserly bitch that I can, or do I let it pass?

Monday, 6 August 2012


This is a band that I played with in Spring of this year. Should I be sharing this yet? Is it some kind of secret? I assume I have permission as super writer conductor lady has sent me whole album. I'm not really 'playing' on it to speak of - save some token cello bass notes on the last track 'Light Up Yourself'. Thus I feel I have the right to dissect it a bit without seeming scathing/arrogant/as if I'm blowing my own trumpet, which by the way, I cannot anyhow as my playing was dreadful. It took me ages to read the music and even when I had painstakingly worked out where the notes were it was all too fast and I only realised too late that the notes on the second line of the arco section were 'f' not 'b'. Disaster. No really. The writer conductor lady shall remain unnamed for now. Let's call her Mrs Mighty. So Mrs Mighty comes up to me and says "Do you read music?" and I said "It has been known." Thus around three weeks later a ton of orchestral jazz script music lands on my doorstep from Leeds. It's for the cello. I place the music on the top of my to do pile, but for the next week it remains there. Untouched and unloved. Part of me thinks "It's not possible." I ponder the merit of sending an email asking her to find someone else. Then I clear a space on my desk and look up the bass clef. I don't stop until I have written all the notes above the stave. Now to figure out where on Earth they are on the cello. Surprisingly the main problem didn't arise from the notes (except the aforementioned f/b calamity). The real PITA came from the bizarre snake like rhythms and the time signatures which changed approximately every three bars. Which, by the way, were NEVER in normal 4/4. So I practised. I played to the recording. I played without. Sometimes even playing the same four notes over and over until I felt I could bridge the gap. I hardly bridged the gap. But I reckon in some form I did manage to pole vault over some really nasty rocks. Recorded in Spring sometime thereabouts, 2012, Leeds and London

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Diamanda Galás - Live - Meltdown - Royal Festival Hall

There is little point trying to deconstruct or criticise. Anyone who tries shall likely be smote down. Suffice to say I left the venue feeling humbled and oddly sorrowful. I mentioned this feeling to my friend, who informed me that previously he had involuntarily burst into tears at the end of her performance. The venue was nigh on sold out. Not completely, but considering the size of the hall --this was no little pub venue - it was a packed out concert. In true classical style latecomers were not permitted to enter the hall once the performance had started and had to wait for an appropriate wave of applause. I found myself barely able to breathe, let alone talk or move. Good artist - crowd respect there. The clientèle was surprisingly mixed. Obviously there were the die hards and the down and out goth subculture freaks. Then there were the intellectual studenty types (pretty sure my friend and I fell into that one) and a small smattering of punks and normal looking folk. I like to think that Diamanda was in some form pleased to see us. She offered a small favourable smile of gratitude at our standing ovation. I'm pretty sure the rest of the time she just wanted us to go away and die. Aaaah. I love her. Death Will Come and Will Wear Your Eyes 1950 Cesare Pavese. Translation: Marco Sonzogni, David Whitely. Performed by Diamanda Galás, 01/08/2012, London, Royal Festival Hall. Death will come and will wear your eyes - the death that is with us from morning to evening, sleepless, deaf. like and old regret or an absurd vice. Your eyes will be a futile word, a cry kept silent, a silence. Thus you see them every morning when alone you stoop over yourself in the mirror. O dear hope, that day we too will know that you are life and nothingness. Death keeps an eye on each of us. Death will come and have your eyes. It will be like giving up a vice, like watching a dead face re-emerge in the mirror, like listening to closed lips. We will go down into the vortex mute.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Iain Chambers - One Week and a Day

I've been busy doing things of which I cannot speak. I ran with the men of stone who played till they dropped. They always come back. Little blighters. I pick up my bow and fire arrows of wrath. Then I take flight before the ambush. The noise was endless. I whispered sleep at that final moment and not one remained. We took to the night. Some noises are pins and pennies upon a stone. Some noises caught out like metal in the sand. Some noise is silence. I worry. I cannot find a vein of gold inside this rock that is not there. I worry about how to end it even though I did not start it. I worry that it will end too quickly. I’m terrified that the end will never come. I am a creature in a cave that cannot stand light. Golom. Beyond a healer’s magic. Where to throw this burden. Scatter its power. Melt it. Smelt it. Look away from the mirror. I am somebody but not too much of anybody else. The cat is sturdy but heavy and itchy. He feels the burden too. Robert de Niro in a taxi. He has decided the merits of a girl’s wishes among women and candles and men. Her will is unfounded. She must submit to his righteous attack. A noble act of violence. Wasteful yet necessary. A supervised theft. She is in view of the firing line and says naught. With permission. From some higher authority. To shoot.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Nordic (band, folk trio, Sweden) This is a theory that has bugged me of late. As someone who does not sit on the couch and watch in apathy as my brain cell count diminishes down the cathode ray of doom: how in control are we of our ideas? Could it be that those moments of genius are merely images that reflect our environment, like a dream before waking? It's all most annoying. Here we are creating things, coming up with stuff, painting, writing and rewriting. Then the shrink comes along and tells you that it's nothing but a result of the spindled yarn that becomes attached to your sleeve as you pass the hedge on the way to work. Seeing as theoretically the idea would have already existed, just not in anyone's mind yet, it would become nigh on impossible to give credit to a person for pioneering the idea. The person to conceive the new idea would be the one who was first 'confronted' by it. Now the 'idea' seems much more unyielding like some kind of savage dragon creature that pounces into the mind, injecting its victim with its highly contagious and virulent inspiration. How dare it. On the plus side it would really f up copyright laws.


I have a feeling that if I met any members of the RHCPs I'd find them annoying. The lyrics evoke visions in my mind of humanity and love stifled by benders and groupies in short skirts. That said, when one has f all to do theses albums are comforting. It could be that they sing from the stance of someone who has reached the top and realised that it isn't all it's cracked up to be. A lot of the songs reminisce of some moment in the past were things were perfect -- and an intense knowledge that all perfect things make up part of a wider illusion that cannot last.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Kelan Phil Cohran Sun Ra Arkesta

We have a new fridge freezer and the black hole in the kitchen has disappeared.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Sound Dimension - Time is Tight

Feeding off the space in between we scatter our demons.

Burning Spear - Lion

Be careful not to speak too soon. Who's to tell whether it's a stroke of genius? Or a stroke of luck? Or just a stroke.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Mira Calix - Stockholm Syndrome

You're weary. Lay down your head. It can wait. Don't stress. You've mistaken me for the driver. I am not. I am a tiny cog in a machine. I spin around if a bigger cog needs me to. Just so it has enough motion to turn. But when that big cog isn't there I am still.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Pixies Surfer Rosa

It's taken me a while to discover the Pixies. Having said that, one of the few decent friends that I had as a teenager introduced me to them as early as 1998. She made me a mixed tape and passed it to me during maths with a little wry smile on her face. One of the songs was 'Where is My Mind?'. I remember that it was the song I liked the best. I had to keep rewinding back to it. Maybe she knew that, someday, that song would come in handy. But most likely it was a coincidence. For some reason I never pursued my interest in the band beyond that one song until earlier this year. I was in a car with a friend who happened to have a copy of 'Bossanova' in the glove box. The track Is She Weird came on and I became entranced. As soon as I got home I had to play the album. Loudly. On big speakers. To anyone unfamiliar, it sounds like a chanting street mob trying to catch a witch, set her on fire, throw her in a pot, and eat her in a stew. If you think that sounds extreme then you should talk to people who got into Pixies as young impressionable 14 year-olds. Many will now openly admit to having been "terrified".

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Warsaw Village Band - My Fate

The other day I watched a televised football match - it was England v. Italy in the European Cup - and God help me, I cared about the outcome. What does this mean? Does it mean that now I'm normal and the crazy person that instinctively sabotaged all moments of peace and tranquillity is dead? Yes. Yes. It does. And now rise, Sir Lady Sarah for you have been knighted as the Lady of normality with a capital Tea. To top it all off I can no longer watch music videos because they make my blood sugar levels go theme park. It appears I officially have pop music diabetes. Time to eat sausages and get into the sofa. I think the root of it was simple. I didn't think peace was a viable option. I thought that fulfilling my duty as a 'good citizen' meant having my nose on the grindstone. In reality, being a good person is as much about fullfilling the duty towards yourself - resting, eating enough, enjoyment - as it is about 'servicing the community'. Whatever that means. To be honest. If at a particular moment I know that I am in no fit state to be in company (I get an eencie weencie bit grouchy when tired) then surely I do as much service to the community by just going to sleep for a bit. I know that I sound like a lazy person who is trying desperately to justify her reasons for being lazy, and you'd be right. I am bloody lazy. And I am indeed trying to make you see my point of view to no avail. I sleep. I get up. I do something. I spend the rest of the day recovering from that something. Then I sleep again. I am so lazy that I don't believe I merit a lot of the privileges that I have received. I scrounge. And I have not paid back anything that I owe to anyone. And yet somehow I am still here. The only conclusion I can come up with as to why God/Allah/Vishnu has not struck me down with a mighty lightning bolt of doom and failure is that someone in the world is doing the exact same thing as me. Only they don't feel guilty about it. In fact. They don't care. They are laughing at everyone else and asking themselves why other people aren't doing what they do. Which is, by the way, nothing. And the only reason that the other people don't do more like they do is because unlike them they are not LAZY ALIENS. But then that takes us into a whole new territory of who are the aliens and who aren't. And maybe we are all aliens only some of us are much better at disguising it than others?

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Jesca Hoop - Born To

Alert. Alert. This new single is distinctly not Hoopy enough. It appears that Jesca Hoop has sold out. However: 1. When I saw her live last year, I made a few observations as follows -- (i) She appeared to be singing in the venue equivalent of a public toilet. (ii) There were not many bodies there at all, which, naturally didn't bother me being the fan of the more intimate performance, but being the calibre of songwriter that she is, she deserves and indeed ought to have an audience size to match the quality of performance, which, by my reckoning, should be a larger one than what she had. Conclusion Yes, it is sad when artists leave the beauty of their original rustic roots for the more smooth finish sheen of the fast track manufactured music mould, but we have to remember that in order to make wonderful noises, musicians have to eat. Boy do musicians get hungry. It is good to know that a few lucky artistic individuals will manage to achieve what Bjork mentions here: namely, 'Full Artistic Control'. Thus they continue to make weirdly bizaare sounds within the fiercely constricted mainstream and thus the big money makers and the less savvy guitar hobos finally (albeit haphazardly) shake hands. Aaah, what a nice thought.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Martyn Bennet - Paisley Spin

Okay okay hands in air. It was me. I enabled multiple posts using Maconie's Freak Zone.

Billy Cobham

For the first time ever I am listing this artist in my Music Blog because I genuinely think it's alright. That's not what a music critic is meant to do mind. A music critic is meant to tear it limb from limb and then pat it on the back. I'm not one of those. I'm a musicosaurus.

X Ray Specs Bondage Up Yours

I'm young and I like punk. In about six years I estimate that I will have become more moderate and a fan of Daft Punk. When I'm sixty I will live in a castle and listen to Wagner.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs - Sickly Child

Hard House. Minimal Tech. Dance. I like to appreciate these music forms from afar like a maiden upon a hillock viewing a faraway battle. The maiden wishes she could take part in the event but knows when to admit defeat. You have to be realistic. Sometimes these cunning syncopated rhythms remind her of the darkest alleys and the slimy beings that slither about with their fingerless gloves waiting for the right moment to cut your throat and take your money and shake the answers out of you. Sometimes they make her think of golden dragons and shining knights and honour and kings. But we don't live in a world of honour. We live in a world where only those who shout the loudest win. The truth is shredded from newspaper cuttings and spun into a web of nylon frills. The ribbons tighten round your throat till skin matches the colour of the scarlet silk that you use to hold your apples. Inaccessible in appearance yet not invulnerable. The insects bite. The molluscs are ready to feast on purposefully selected nectar strains. Not for taste but for shape and their ability to swim against the currents shrivelling on the vine. No grapes without wrath. A feigned hatred bred from fear. Where love is out of reach only cynicism. Elle a perdu les sciseurs. Mais dès le début elle ne les avais pas. Ce n'était que de l'espoir. Malfondé.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Eddie Kendricks - Keep on Trucking

I place the helmet on my head and fasten it tight. I am aware that I should be feeling some sort of fear. Some sort of apprehension. I feel nothing save the faceless exhilaration of anonymity. If there is no one to blame then there's no place to direct the gaze of confusion. The growth no longer strangled by haze. The vine entwines itself. Born with a mighty lust for the outside rain, grey and warm with rage. It wants to make you believe that you shouldn't have come that you should turn back and go home. But the sky plays tricks sometimes. Yes. The weather does not share secrets easily. A new sign on the Shepherd's Wheel. It turns once again to face the grit. Merciless stone. Grind that bread. Produce a masterpiece to go into the mouth's of the replete. Spit out the crumbs and feed the crows and peck out the eyeballs of the weak. Transparent film shields the secrets from X-ray vision. Men no longer agog as their curiosity disolves. They feel nothing but a vague feeling of nostalgia at the family that faded, the child that divided. The seer now blind. The master now enslaved. And in that world I found one last priestess of the old world. She had walked a thousand miles from Nordic pales to land's end and she will keep on walking. Her hair not grey but silver her skin not wrinkled but impervious. Her voice not bitter but affirmative. I am proof I have seen, said she. My back wheel skids on the loose grains of truth they don't want me going up there to the shadows that move but why overthrow wisdom for ignorance and mediocrity for nothing for nothing? I push and hug the frame like it's my only friend and we make it to the top. And the rain comes down again; tentatively. No longer certain whose side it should be on. Who is the aggressor and who is the victim and who is the thief indeed? Who told the lie? Who was the spy? Who wrapped it up and placed it inside a cake inside string inside a room inside a machine? I shake off the feeling. It was only out to reveal. Not treasure. Something else. I will stop at that place again and this time I will understand what it meant. This time I won't throw it away. Fly through the valley and shamble home and breathe.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

La Rennaissance Africaine

I should really do something. I should be doing something right now. Being the first one to recognise that there are other people in the world who are suffering more than me, I should quit making out that the world is crashing around me everyday. In a way it is, but I can't help the fact that I am jobless and in the middle of an impending house crisis. On the one hand it could be so easily fixed (there are people around this place who might want to move into a dilapidated old house and play scrabble) and on the other it seems like an impossible mountain of doom. Woe is me. There are a few things that I want to do. Of course I want to make my parents proud of course I want to do well. But I'm not a wonder woman, and much as I like the idea of jetting off into the third world to learn what it really means to suffer; to not know where your next meal is coming from; to plant seeds and not know if they will grow; to be thirsty; to be hungry; to never see your work come to fruition; I just don't think I'm built for it. Is there a chance that I will ever find something that I can do? I don't know. I'm good within certain frameworks. I could try teaching in Africa, but I'd have to raise the money myself, at my own pace. Should I work in a pub, or pick fruit? Maybe. Do I want to go there? Or more importantly: do I want to go there by myself? I like the idea of getting somewhere by my own means - on trains and boats, on foot and even bicycles. Is it possible to cycle anywhere? That's the question. Humanitarian Aid. That's what I should aim for. To peacefully resolve difficult situations. No hurt. Just enlightenment. And enough to eat.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Beastie Boys

My cat has learnt how to open and shut draws using his paws. I feel very proud.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Elephant - The White Stripes

Bird Food Achievements today: have consumed an entire pack of Lidl energy bars and a large amount of Ahmad 'Special Blend' (we're out of normal tea as discovered in an unfortunate moment whilst watching Father Ted last night. It was the one where Ted has to explain the difference between 'small' and 'faraway'. I feel for Dougal.)
Anyhow that wasn't the point. The point is: I can't believe it's only taken me 25 years of constant painful interactions between me and various people that I haven't been able to -- for whatever reason -- communicate with on a normal, healthy level (I'm really sorry) to realise that there is another way.
I don't have to be happy all the time. Sometimes I get pissy. And that's when it really is just better that I stay in my cave and consume seeds and green tea. All the while, craning my neck up from my cross-legged floor position at that 'tree of life' picture on my wall and wondering whether or not to buy a frame. It's a very definitive sign of becoming middle class. Ugh.

Friday, 13 April 2012

In Rainbows/Hail to the Thief

What did I do this afternoon whilst I recuperated from a gradually worsening home-made wine bbq hangover? Yes. I had a merrily self indulgent hour of waily Radiohead. I tend to call R'head albums released after Amnesiac 'waily' because somehow they seem to get progressively more so with each album. If that's possible. Congrats for them. It's a talent if I ever saw one.
You know how sometimes you can watch a film over and over, and if it's a real gem it'll never get old. In fact each time you watch it you'll see things that you hadn't done previously. Yeah, that's a good film.
Well I got this from listening to In Rainbows. The audio version I mean. I heard new things. I was left with a completely different impression of some of the songs that I thought I already knew well. I remember being distinctly underwhelmed by 'Weird Fishes' upon downloading it back in 2008. This time I felt really connected to it like I could identify with it completely. It proves how your personal experiences really shape how we perceive lyrics, sounds, poetry and visual art. I guess back then I hadn't undergone the necessary mind-shaping life graft to get the song.
No wonder we are all so prone to misunderstanding one another. I mean, it's really hard to imagine something if you aren't able to contextualise it with your own ideas. It must be the reason that natural splits emerge between different people. Progressive metal-heads like hanging with other progressive metal-heads. It's not that they don't like the other people. It's just that it's a pain in the arse having to explain to the new people what progressive metal is. At least the hard timer metal heads already have some appreciation for it, so it makes it easier all round.
But what if you met an alien who didn't know what love was? How would we describe to the alien the idea of love? Would we talk about the act of love? Kissing hugging and groping and al? Or would we take the more scientific approach and explain in terms of the pairing off of particular beings with particular genes that fit together? It makes me think that some ideas really are too big and mighty to be designated just one word.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Waking Life

Just watched this: this afternoon.
I know that technically this is a music blog but it's only a guideline and anyway this flick has a string quartet in it and salsa dancing. Infuriatingly it's one of those films where if you tried to recommend it to a friend it would be really hard to summarise it and not make it sound lame. It wasn't lame.
It's a strange half painted, half real animation that looks like a wobbly hallucination and which is not adverse to mini sprite-like creatures whizzing across the screen for no reason. From what I could tell it's about a boy that keeps meeting odd characters in his dreams. Except most of the time he doesn't know that it's a dream. And neither do you. And by the by most of these dream characters seem to have a healthy range of opinions on reality, politics, consumerism, the media, religion existentialism. Sorry, ahem, it's been a while since that word cropped up. Go me for learning French and staying conscious during my Sartre tutorials.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Do Make Say Think

I used to listen to this band a lot in a another phase of life, in the past, when I was younger greener and not so wise. Perhaps it is time I revisited this era. I fear some of my memories have become entwined there. Or maybe it's just that my mouth is too small for my wisdom teeth.

Thursday, 22 March 2012


Toady's top-tip: Listen to Opeth and look at pictures of Uzbekistan.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Daisies of the Galaxy

Just as someone bursts your bubble
Fills you with dread
And kills your dream
There will always be someone there
To help rebuild it
And give you ice cream.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Mantra Above The Spotless Meltmoon

This was a band that I saw last night at Soyo bar. Maybe it was just the raspberry martini going to my head but I really enjoyed this band. I had forgotten that it was possible to dance on a Monday night and I didn't just head-bob; I was dancing like a crazy twat.
The drummer was very understated and groovy. Not something you often see in a four-piece indie band. Actually it's unfair to use the term 'indie'. There was a certain moodiness there that was reminiscent of Tomassi-esque grindcore though it wasn't heavy enough to be so. Actually the souring vocals made it sound more like a Sinead O'Connor tribute being ambushed by a bus full of Mars Volta fans.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Penguin Cafe Orchestra

What is art?
This isn't an entirely random question, as I've just been watching this -
Something beautiful? Something extraordinary? Or is it just what happens when someone with a lot of ideas and (probably) too much time on their hands, decides to do something with one of those ideas?