Nights of Love

Been so caught up in the merry-go-round of school/children/domestic bliss/regretting regret/to-do-lists that I’ve not had time to capture much in writings, either poetic or here. Doesn’t matter, as I read in an essay by the American essayist Mark Grief that people  waste their time trying to write diaries or take photos because people like that…like me….he argues do not fully experience life, but merely live in a fantasy escapism trying to catch time before it rushes on to the next experience. He says better to just drift through…Well, Marky Mark, I’ve been doing that a bit too much recently, and it somehow doesn’t quite fulfil me. Maybe I’m into escapism as I need to record words more than ever these days.

For my birthday I had a HMV voucher so I picked up the latest albums by Neil Young (Peace Trail) and Thurston Moore (Rock ‘n’ Roll Consciousness) Neil Young is  here is railing on in an enjoyable way about how he doesn’t understands the modern world, and he’s angry with too about people messing with nature, native Americans and the workers, and it’s full of energy and protest. Thurston Moore is a nice collection of breezy 10 minute songs, with flowing guitars and a relentless drumming by good old Steve Shelley. It’s got Debbie Googe on too, and it feels like early 20th century sonic youth. That’s not a bad thing. I’ve been listening to it a lot driving to and from work, and it’s got the right balance of escapism and interesting lyrics to keep you focused after a crazy day working in a little school.

Been reading lots of interesting things. Really like this Dutch magazine called Flow. Also got a copy of the always brilliant and funny PJ O Rourke “How the hell did this happen” in which he attempts to understand how the hell Trump got elected. Also the new Gwendoline Riley “First Love” which I’m hoping will win the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction this year, because it’s the best modern novel I’ve read in ages. It’s sad and brutal though, but as I watch “Neighbours” everyday for 20 minute blasts of escapism in sunny Australia with nice happy one dimensional characters, I need to counter it with something like Gwen Riley.

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winter hope

Snow comes, snow goes, reading “the hardest winter of them all” in a bear cave, drinking hot chocolate with my little boy. I spend the day skating on frozen lakes and rivers. I stumble alone around the frosty paths and woods, dreaming of a better world, and the music in my headphones gives me hope. The world’s gone crazy it seems,  this month we’ve seen a nutty new president in town, and we’re living in a world where lies are now called “alternative facts”. We must stand up and fight for truth, for equality and for justice and for the weak and the helpless who are in real danger in this beautiful planet we share.

Then sometimes it’s just good to escape for a little while. I saw La La Land today , and it’s nominated for a ridiculous amount of oscars. It’s fun, but kind of like going to a  birthday party when you’re 5 and overdosing on ice cream, chocolate, cakes, crisps and pepsi.

A better way to escape is through a great indie pop album. I was lucky enough to be aimlessly walking around a record store yesterday, and I picked up the new(ish) Veruca Salt album “ghost notes” and I’ve been playing it relentlessly. It’s catchy, it’s fun, it’s got great little hooks, and their voices fit together perfectly. Here’s a couple of songs to cheer you up, first a slow one about breaking up with someone after one too many arguments, the second a fun grizzly frizzy pop song. So go for what you feel like, or play both. Enjoy!

 

It’s not the greatest album of all time, but neither is La LA Land the best film of all time. They serve a purpose though, and the world is a better place for it.

music video of 2016

So turns out I needed a 6 month break. Everything fell apart, but then it started to grow again in a different way, full of light so strong it could blind me. So, I turn back to music and books, and it’s a good time to reflect on the past year. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be celebrating my favourite music video, song, album and EP of the year. Going to start with video.

It’s been a crazy dark year, and it certainly seems like every music video reflects that. A couple of years ago there were lots of fun bright, breezy videos of people going surfing, or falling in love in the summer. This year it’s all about the end of the world, darkness and people falling apart. Even Lily and Madeline have a horror film for their new video! I’m still trying to make sense of the world in 2016, but I know, like Fontane wrote, there’s no way back. We’re in a Brexit, Trump, broken world. Now need to find the happiness and hope, and joy of everyday life. I’m hoping the music videos next year help bring some of that.

Anyway, here’s the best video I’ve seen. Radiohead. For anyone, like me, who dreams of moving to Camberwick Green…or maybe not, if this is what it’s become in 2016.

 

next week >>>> EP of the year.

 

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’Rourke, 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