what is it you want from me?

Last time I’m going to write until after the summer so here goes….Quiet night here in the countryside, apart from a hamster chewing on my socks, I’m thinking of a Mark Kozelek sad song about him staring at the ceiling and singing about all the people he has lost in his life. Thinking too of all my favorite writers – Kerouac, Richard Yates, Stefan Zweig and how they all suffered so much. I’m writing poems again, many disposable lines that I just throw on the fire at the end of the day. I’ve kept a few, but I don’t need a poetry collection, throw them all away ūüôā It’s much better to spend 10 minutes writing a poem about the day than scrolling down facebook feeling disconnected. I’ll read a couple of these poems out at poetry club, but that’s as far as it will go.

International Noise Conspiracy once had a song called “abolish work”. The title “what do you want from me” is from a scene in Reality Bites. Ethan Hawke (of course) trying to explain why he doesn’t want to get a job because he wants to be free. Winona Ryder is saying he’s wasting his life and is going to end up a loser like his dad and doesn’t understand why he doesn’t want to get a job like everyone else.

I use to make that same argument as Ethan 15 years ago. I use to read “days of war nights of love” and had this romantic idea about a better world. I still believe it, but the book has now long gone from my life. I guess things change, people change, life is a weird mix of happiness and sadness at the moment, but hope is eternal.

Enjoy the summer. Here’s a song from a few years ago. It’s a bit crazy, but that’s ok…The best things in life tend to be. Oh, and don’t forget to buy the brilliant new Kathleen Hanna “julie ruin” album.

 

Time to let you go

Three songs below, here’s why :

Tonight I’m watching the dvd Norah Jones: Live from Austin, and she’s so talented and so brilliant I always get goosebumps lying on the sofa just listening to her voice. As she sings I’m thinking about things, trying to make sense of sad things – it’s all good. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me, to you, or to anybody but I know what makes sense in life¬†– ¬†it’s astonishing to just be alive and feel free and let yourself be in awe of nature and to¬†surround yourself with¬†words and songs, and “Rosie’s lullaby” is a good place to start.

You can’t get much different from Norah Jones to Dr. Frank from the Mr T Experience. He’s a guy I listened to a lot in the early years of this century. He’s still around, writing novels for teenagers, being all dopey-intellectual. I can’t think of anyone else who makes such happy music, even if he’s singing about his broken heart and how he’s “running out of girlfriends as they keep on running out on me”…anyway here’s “love is dead”

Finally, Elliot Smith. Just those two words have so much emotion to me now, reading¬† about his life, waiting for the film to come out. So many cool songs, it’s hard to choose one but here’s “everything reminds me of her”

xo

 

 

it’s ok I dont need you anyway….

I don’t usually write much about films, except once last year I suggested 7 films for 7 days , but I am pretty excited about the new Richard Linklater film “Everybody wants some” a kind of sequel to one of my favourite films ever made, Dazed and Confused. Pretty much everything Linklater does I enjoy, boyhood and the before sunrise triology – particularly the final one “before midnight”

Something else to be happy about is the new Norah Jones album, out in a few months. She played a concert a few months ago with some new songs, and so if you feel so inclined you can check out a couple of songs below! It’s not the best recording, some kid with a mobile phone I think, but it still sounds pretty interesting.

Finally… I just ordered the twin forks album on cassette. It’s a limited edition 100 copies only thing. I think tapes are the kind of thing I can afford to collect. I tried collecting first edition books but it got far too expensive! Just because it’s Monday, and because I love everything Dashoard Confessional and Twin Forks have done, here’s a video too which feels like a little short film (the sequel is “cross my mind”). Enjoy.

 

 

sadness comes, sadness goes

Tonight I’m listening to sun kil moon’s sad sad songs, and I’m trying to get this poem right I’ve had in my head all evening. Things distract me though like lost car keys and¬†a wild hamster eating my socks, but I’m pretty much awestruck once again by Mark Kozelek,¬†who writes the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard.

Before that, I’m excited to hear that Kathleen Hanna’s little band the Julie ruin have a new album out in the summer,¬†there’s a song you can listen to at the bottom of this post.¬†Just hearing her¬†voice is enough to infect enthusiasm into your life, and I’m happy to see this album is out coming out on cassette. There’s been so many ace albums on cassette recently, I almost feel like going into WHSmith and¬†asking for the tape section.

But Mark…I don’t know, he just makes things ok when things aren’t ok.¬†He could write the saddest bleakest song in the world, and somehow it would¬†make things seem ok, because he’s a poet. Like Thurston Moore once said “sadness comes, sadness goes” but it’s what you do with it that counts. Mark Kozelek creates art out of it.

Good night here’s the new Julie ruin single “i decide” and straight afterwards a mark kozelek song from a few years ago which is one of the most astonishing 7 minutes of music you’ll ever hear.

 

 

the best thing about today

I’ve just come back from a mini adventure in Sheffield, lots of walking and hanging out in the best children’s book shop I’ve ever been to, which I’m also pleased to say is not only jam-packed with radness¬† (we picked up¬†“chitty chitty bang bang”) but also hasn’t updated it’s website for over a year which gives it extra points for me ūüôā

I’m in Sussex for a couple of days then off to Norfolk for a while, where I’ll be buying the wonderful Eastern Daily Press every day, and catching up with old friends. Back just in time to go and check out the Wizard of Oz play down the road, where the waitress from my favourite local caf√© is playing Dorothy!

Anyway, unless you happen to be visiting either Sheffield or Uckfield that’s of little interest, but I will say both books – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Wizard of Oz are exciting and spectacular. Doesn’t matter if you’re 9 or 89, they’re worth reading…

And Sarah Blasko is worth watching too if you can. She’s a super-talented Australian singer, I listen to her records a lot. She’s going on tour around Europe from May, including London (10th May), Brighton (16th May), Paris (19th May)¬†and Berlin (31 May). I haven’t heard her new album yet, but I’m really looking forward to watching her live as she’s original as you can see yourself from this live video from a few years back

Before that I can’t not mention the upcoming Mark Kozelek project. It’s a covers album,¬† and it’s out next month. If, like me, you can’t wait that long you can listen to his version of a song called “Amanda” originally sang by some cowboy guy I’ve never heard of. Doesn’t matter, because this is beautiful.

If you’re looking for something more upbeat, one of the best American girl bands around, Bleached, have a new album out too which I’ve been listening to every day. Good old NPR is streaming the entire thing, and there’s a song below too. If I tell you they¬†wrote it after the singer broke up with her dead-end boyfriend¬†it’s no surprise to find it¬†full of angry garage pop songs, but what makes it different is the a sweet upbeat outlook on the future, trust me¬†this record¬†will make you feel happy to just be alive and like Brayn Ferry once sang “love me, leave me, do what you will – who knows what tomorrow may bring?”

Until next time enjoy these songs!

https://soundcloud.com/proxymediapr/amanda

for the weak

Hi everybody! Grab yourself a cozy blanket and put the kettle on…Oh no, I am so sorry, for a moment there I thought I was a writer at “New Day” newspaper. It’s a UK newspaper that launched this week,¬† and I’ve bought a copy of issues. It’s umm, ok I guess. It’s ultra light with a lot of fun advice (“Smiling is good for you!”) and little quizzes¬† (“Did you marry the wrong person?”). It’s like a mix between¬†Readers Digest¬†magazine and spending a weekend with your oddball but harmless aunt whilst listening to Radio 1¬†newsbeat. Still I love newspapers so I suppose it’s a good thing, and I hope it works out.

Last night I watched “Amy“, the Amy Winehouse documentary. I’ve also been listening to the Elliot Smith “heaven adores you” soundtrack – more of him in a second… I’m also reading a bleak biography of a fantastic Austrian writer who killed himself (Stefan Zweig).¬† I’ve just been sent “love and mercy“, a ¬†film about Brian Wilson I’m going to watch tonight.

Oh happy day…

No, but this is where life is for me. I’ve always being drawn to the broken, the weak, the outsiders,¬†to people who don’t quite fit in, those who have broken families and broken hearts. People who try to make sense of the world with music, with words, with art. Sure it’s fun to tune into Absolute 80’s radio and dance around when I’m doing the washing up, but put on a Mark Kozelek record and life makes sense again. Somebody makes a record, makes a song and It feels real and pure, and I think it’s those moments when you can experience life for what it is, feel it’s presence around you, and you feel connected, if only for a moment, of yourself, the music and of the spinning crazy world around you.

So Elliot Smith…That sums him up, ¬†and I’m really excited about a new tribute album “Say Yes!”¬†out later this year with covers by J Mascis, Lou Barlow, Juliana Hatfield, ¬†Mark Kozelek and Tanya Donnelly…who also has just reformed Belly, a really cool band from the 90’s!

 

And whilst we’re at it here’s a an original song

 

Last of all here’s a Belly song.

 

The politics of hate

No music today, instead I’m going to write a little bit about the American election funfair. It’s so silly, it’s a joke isin’t it? I mean Donald Trump, the “anti-establishment figure” promising a “revolution”. Are you for real? Since when did this become the message? This nutcase¬†was born with the silver spoon, inheriting somewhere between 40-200 million from his dad. We’re not looking at the American dream now. He’s not Bill Clinton, who grew up in poverty white-collar trash to become president.

Trump has spent his life making dodgy deals after dodgy deal, gone bankrupt and exploited others, including the government. He’s riding the capitalism freak-storm and treating people who don’t agree with him like shit. He’s paranoid, unpredictable and plays the aggressive guy to “make America strong again”. Even though America is one of the richest and most successful countries in the world, and still has staggering global influence and prestige. Oh, let’s not forget his views on immigrants, banning Muslims and Mexicans. That’s before we even get to the allegations of rape from his x-wife,¬† whom he seems to have paid off. Want to know more? Try this.

it goes without saying I’d vote for Bernie Sanders. I love that line “Nobody working 40 hours a week should be living in poverty”. It’s powerful but the fact I’m for Bernie is so obvious I’m not going to write about him, but instead I will write about the Republican candidate John Kasich.

If you’re right-wing, Trump isn’t going to help you. Ted Cruz is frankly insane and unstable so forget him. No, you need to get out there and campaign and vote for John Kaisch. Ok, this guy met Richard Nixon when he was back at college, but don’t hold that against him. He’s centre-right I guess, on board with lots of cool Obama polices, and the Tea Party crowd hate him as he’s too liberal for them. He talks a lot about helping those with mental illness and addiction, and he seems to generally care for vulnerable people.

Ok I can’t help it, there are many things I think he’s wrong. His idea of energy, oil, cutting welfare, lower taxes for the wealthy. But then that’s why I support Bernie, but you know, the left doesn’t always win. I’m into discussion, not blind opposition. I think Kaisch is the guy for the “other side”, he’s certainly impressed me. I guess for us living in Europe, he’s like a John Major type. I guess that doesn’t sound very exciting, but I’d rather have him as president than that clown Trump.

Sad news to end about the Independent newspaper closing down next month. I’ve been buying it for years. I’m slightly concerned now the only choice for left politics is the Guardian. The Independent had some great articles, some great writers. I still pick up the “I” paper from time-to-time, but I do like the more substantial articles and in-depth analysis you got in the Independent. I won’t bother with the “internet only” version, and I doubt many people will. Huffington Post is more than enough for me.

If you’re still wondering about the US election, there was a fascinating radio program this week on BBC radio 4 by PJ O‚ÄôRourke, it’s funny and O’Rourke is as always brilliant at this stuff.

It’s half term now and I’m off to Germany.

xo

 

 

new ideas

There’s a little Irish band called Villagers, well actually it’s just one guy. An¬†incredibly talented young man¬†I saw a few years ago on TV looking like the new Conor Oberst, now somehow he’s got older, greying hair, but his music is still poetic, emotional and he sings like the falling snow – crisp, clear, illuminating fears and time itself.

He has an interesting new album out. A re-recording of songs from the past 5 years, recorded in a day. It’s much more musical, an almost classical take on his songs with harp and grand piano included. I think it makes these¬†already great songs¬†stronger. You can listen to the whole thing on his website, or just watch the video below. Either way it’s really worth listening to, especially if you think all music sounds the same these days…

The other album I’m listening to is, of course, the new Sun Kil Moon. It’s very loud. He shouts a lot and swears a great deal. He sings about his day, and hanging out with his girlfriend, watching boxing matches and things like that.¬†I think it’s amazing, but I know it won’t be for everyone. Mark won’t let any of this stuff go up on youtube, but you can listen to a song here from his website.

Finally I must write I’m half way through reading Owen Jones “The Establishment and how they get away with it”. It’s such vital important reading even if, like me, you already assumed the government and big business are far too cozy.¬† Some of the facts and interviews in the book are really inspiring. The book shows how important it is we vote in elections, we get involved in things we believe in, ¬†and stand up for our diplomatic rights and to be critical independent thinkers.¬†It shows how can power¬†can, but doesn’t have to, ¬†lead to¬†absolute corruption.

Last of all, news about a film being made about a young JD Salinger excites me! What happened to those new books of his that were promised in 2015?

 

 

David Bowie.

My wife called me early this morning from Germany to tell me it had just been announced David Bowie had died. I was in the middle of getting ready for the breakfast club, but as soon as it was over – and I’m so happy Monday is my day off –¬†¬†I drove to HMV to buy his last album “black star”. Oh my goodness, it’s a tough listen. I was crying listening to it on the way home. He was nearing the end of his life and he knew it. Every song is about his approaching death, and it’s a piece of pure art. Experimental, epic with some of the best lyrics I’ve heard in a long time.¬†It’s¬†not a record you’d play at a party, more one of those late-at-night-searching-for-meaning ones. I’m sure it will win heaps of prizes because it’s a fascinating and rewarding listen.

At 14 I first heard about David Bowie. It was when the Britpop band Suede were the zeitgeist and they always went on about how cool Bowie was. I quite liked Suede, but knew there was better music out there, so¬† I picked up a second hand vinyl copy of “Ziggy Stardust” from Andy’s Records in Bury St Edmunds. I think that’s the first time I’d ever heard music quite so powerful, so exciting where the songs give you goosebumps, and you feel connected to music and to life itself. It was my favourite album for a long long time. Funnily enough Bowie led me to Lou Reed, also I guy I never heard of, simply because I saw he produced his Transformer, album, and a couple of years later also with¬†Iggy Pop, again he produced “lust fot life” which I saw his name credited on the back of the record in Oxfam charity shop. I thought, who is this guy? Why is so brilliant?

At 16 life was so strange for me. We lived in a big house in the forest , quite isolated really. My parents had divorced, my mum couldn’t cope and my¬†brother was entering a severe mental health collapse, and I didn’t want to grow up and face the adulthood where I only saw broken lives and hardship, but I didn’t want to stay a child either. I listened to “life on mars”, “rebel rebel”¬†and “quicksand”, and it made me think – There is another way to live. Love doesn’t have to hurt. Life doesn’t have to break you….

Where are we now? Well, we’re left with some amazing music.

new music to beat the january blues

Hello. So, here we are in January, and it’s been an electrifying start to the year. I got some great books for Christmas (including Laurie Lee collection and¬†Owen Jones). Aside from the Year 2/Year 3 work I do, this month I’ve started the breakfast club at school too. Sadly it’s not like the film, but like Gordon Brown once said, it certainly wakes you up in the morning.

I don’t have any new year resolutions. I’ve not read a single magazine¬†article about losing weight or going to¬†the the gym, work out, whatever. I don’t have time for that right now, besides I got a wearable step monitor for Christmas, it’s fun but after a while it bores me as I don’t particularly care if I’ve done 5,000 steps or 8,000 or even 1,000 (hey it’s Sunday!). No resolutions as such, but I do however have some poems I need to put together, and I’m continuing the writers course down by the seaside so hope to keep writing fiction.

But perhaps what I’m most excited about this year is the amount of rad music due in the next few weeks! I can’t remember a year I was so excited about new albums in the first couple of months. Unless you count the new New Kids on the Block album when I was 10 ūüôā

So, here’s a list of just a few of the coolest records due out very soon.

  1. Jesu/ Sun kil moon¬†– yes, this is Mark Kozelek’s latest. Yes¬†I spent¬†most hours listening to his songs, so of course I’m excited about this. I don’t care the¬†Koz-Cats saying it’s going to be rubbish and “this is the first mark kozelek album I’m not going to be buying and I’ve bought everything since 1989”.¬† This one is out on 21st Jan you can listen to a song on the sun kil moon website here it’s very “dear diary, today I thought life is sad but I try to look at the nice rainbow and then I¬†feel happy again”, but I like that kind of thing
  2. Nick Zubeck “skydiving” – Ok, I’d not heard of him before, but he plays with Mark Kozelek so straight away he gets my attention. Turns out his music is also pretty nice too. Slow, rich and comforting with the right about of heartache and confusion to make things interesting.¬† Out 11th March
  3. Lily and Madeline “keep it together” – They make really beautiful music, “the wolf is free” from 2014 was my favourite single of the year, it’s all kind of bleak but if your heart is broken there’s nothing better than music like this. Out 26th February
  4. Julie Ruin “???”. Kathleen Hanna. A new record! Nobody knows anything about it, but it’s recorded and ready to go
  5. The Welcome Wagon – If, like me, you really struggle with church check this out. If you dig reading the bible and praying, but find yourself feeling uncomfortable in church and with¬†religion, this is the music for you. It’s, err, Sufjan Stevens’ church pastor and his wife and they make the coolest music (including this one, which is one of my all time favourite songs. Makes me cry every time…but let’s move on)

Finally, I just got the new album from a band called hop along. The singer has a terrific raw shrieking voice, the coolest voice I’ve heard in a while. She’s like a younger cousin of Corin Tucker. Cool name too. It’s worth checking out, so here’s a song to enjoy.

Catch you later…