I thought this love would last forever…

8 months ago since I last wrote here, some little poem I scribbled in a cafe in Folkestone of all places…

Anyway, I thought I’d just stop. Stop doing things, but then strangely life got more busy and crazy and insane and beautiful. These days I hardly every have a moment to write a poem, let alone a story. My daily bible reading plan that I started at the start of the year says 19th March. Books and clutter fill the house. Laundry everywhere. No meal plan done so who knows what we’re eating later.  As I write this  my 1 year old son rather hypnotically keeps throwing books off the book shelf, but I’m just going to let him explore his creativity. I wanna smash it up, Sam, smash it up. Tidy up times come, tidy up times go 🙂

Still, it’s all good. It’s life, and as crazy as it is it’s still our little life. I guess it’s too early for Christmas films, but I’ve already started watching them. Channel 5. Always the same story, always everything is broken but then saved by the magic of Christmas. I still believe.

I picked up the new Norah Jones EP which she wrote with a bunch of hipsters like Jeff Tweedy. It’s short but beautiful, perfect for the wintertime drinking hot chocolate and dreaming about a better world. I’ve also got Mark K’s latest, more rambling blah blah blah. I miss Red House Painters. Then I’ve been listening to Larry Norman and the Cure. I’ll put some tracks of those at the end if you feel so inclined to check them out.

I’m reading Kim Gordons “life in a band”. Finally reading it, it’s been gathering dust here for a while barchieut it’s a great snapshot of a time and memories swirling with the intoxication of trying to fit it. Then she goes on about Thurston Moore being an asshole. He probably is though….

I saw this and it’s on my Christmas list. Looks crazy good. 10 Years being married to Bets/Ronnie. Means nothing to most people, but those Archie stories keep me sane sometimes.

It’s all sold out anyway, but I was hoping to go and see this interesting looking play God’s Dice in London. While there I was going to check this out about the awful treatment of the Roma people in Nazi Germany, no point hiding from sad things. Doesn’t work.

Anyway, I guess I better go and tidy up those books now. He seems happy, I just hope my Dostoevsky isn’t ripped up. Cool little discussion on Radio 4 the other morning about Crime and Punishment which you can hear here. That book changed my life, I remember reading that on an airplane back in 2001 whilst the plan was filling with smoke and some crazy guy started screaming…it wasn’t me.

More soon. Here are those vids. Better go tidy up those books, just hoping Dostoevsky hasn’t been ripped up.

 

 

Days of war nights of love

Eight months have gone by now, last time I wrote it was Zwischenzeit …a time of in-betweens….now, it seems to never end, uncertainty, My life is stable, but Brexit bores are everywhere I look. I meet someone who seems kind and caring, then they say something dumb like”Oh the sooner we leave Europe the better!” and I just smile and think you are fucking nuts.  Newspaper articles confuse me, so I turn to home life, to snapshot this peaceful view from my bedroom window where I can hide away from life. I listen to music, I read books and I make long telephone calls. Away from politics there’s much to do, like making food for my family (now I mostly skip the analysis I find all sorts of fun things in the newspaper to enrich my life, like the recipe of the day!)

I still believe. I still read adbusters, I still want to break down falsehood and lies and hysteria and all the things that disrupt a life lived less ordinary. I still pray and read the bible, and I still look for meaning. I saw a book yesterday, funnily enough it was after we met my capitalist father for coffee, and this little book was called “Not working why we have to stop working”. At that point my 2 year old daughter starting crazily running around and throwing books around so I couldn’t investigate further. Still I love the title.

Moment of joy >>>> taking the train to London, having the most perfect cappuccino I’ve ever tasted at a little Italian cafe but having to drink it at super speed as it took them 10 minutes to prepare this perfection. So I guess it seemed rude that we drank it in under 1 minute because we had to get to the theatre to see “Home, I’m darling” which was about as enjoyable as a play can possibly be!

Music I’ve finally picked up a Mark Kozelek album I’ve been meaning to buy for months, it’s heavy but enjoyable. I listen an awful lot to the wonderful Tom Petty boxset, and I’m loving the Norah Jones interview in Mojo magazine.

I’m going to write more, much more. It’s how I figure out meaning in this crazy lost but enriching and beautiful world we share.

too late to fix it

Conor Oberst is a guy I’ve been fascinated with ever since I first picked up a Bright Eyes EP back in Norwich in my hazy but happy post uni days dating an art school girl, we drifted in and out of cd shops scribbling Dr. Frank lyrics on paper airplanes and throwing them into open windows….Anyway, that’s another story….Yeah, that first Conor EP “Every day and Every night” it was amazing, it pulled me into another world. Songs like “on my way to work” and “a perfect sonnet” capture your imagination and set your heart on fire in a way few others songs have done since. Then came “Fevers and Mirrors” which just breezed somehow making emotional despair, confusion and sadness feel not just arty, but universal and a gateway to golden eternity.. No wonder Mark Kozelek is such a fan.

So, he’s been around a long time. I saw him once in 2002, he was drunk it was crazy. He made some good albums, some bad ones, and then last year had a mental health breakdown which he captured so brilliantly and elegantly in Ruminations which was by far my album of year. He then went on tour and sang with my hero Mark Kozelek (musically only), and then he releases, quite by surprise, Salutations. This is the re-working of Ruminations, so ok it’s lost it’s rawness, but it sounds more complete – a whole band doing lots of things on it! There are also seven extra songs on. I’m still going through it all but you can listen to it over at NPR now. Meanwhile here are a few of my favourite Conor songs from yeas-gone-by

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 🙂

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 café 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.

 

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?