seven films for broken hearts.

I’m back from an intoxicating, somewhat exhausting but very fulfilling trip to Romania for Open Hands and I think I’m not quite ready to talk about music yet. Sure I could go on about Mark Kozelek and his latest diss song about some idiots in a Canadian festival , but I can’t be bothered. I could talk about how excited I am the 90’s indie pop band lush are reforming. If you never heard of them, check this video out, “The boy has such an ego, he loved to talk about himself every day and every night”. I last saw them in Northampton I guess in 1997… Huh, life moves pretty fast.

So I’m going to stop a while here, and talk about films. I’m not going to think too much about it, but here are 7 films to watch this week that are perfect for autumn nights, wrapped up in your blanket sitting by the fire, eating crisps and chocolate. They’re not in any order, not necessary the best or my favourite films just what’s on my mind. You can watch one a day for a whole week, and life will feel pretty good again afterwards I guarantee it.

MONDAY – What If – it’s got the kid from Harry Potter in. Don’t let that put you off. he also somehow played Alen Ginsburg (and was somehow tottaly authentic and belieable). This is, I guess, a grown up love film that’s kind of funny, kind of silly, but kind of believable too. Sorry,  all I watch are love films, don’t know why, don’t know why….

TUESDAY – What Maise Knew – Some rich parents are splitting up, and you see it all from their little girl’s point of view. Sad, true, but it’s not depressing trust me, it’s full of hope and beauty. The ending is perfect too.

WEDNESDAY – Lore – I tend to spend a lot of time watching foreign films, either French or German normally. The French one’s are always great, and most of the German one’s aren’t bad either. This one, being German is of course about the Nazi regime, and ok this one is a tad depressing, but it’s a good story too and it won lots of awards. Don’t worry tomorrow we’ve got a comedy coming up.

THURSDAY – Funny People – ok bare with me, this is an Adam Sandler film. It’s kind of pathetic really, but this one is a little bit different. For once it’s written and directed by good old Judd Apatow. It’s about an older comedian who is a complete idiot, but somehow it’s sweet too. Hey, I never said this was a list of the best films ever made! Ether that or watch “knocked up”….

FRIDAY – Liberal Arts – there are a few films of this type I really like, but this is pretty good. It’s about a guy in his mid thirties who is kind of drifting along feeling empty with his life then he falls in love, kind of, with a college girl. Things get complicated as you expect. It’s like a soundtrack to a song by the wedding present

SATURDAY – Leap Year – I told you I only watch love films like this. Sometimes life is hard, things are stupid and strange, that’s why films like this are perfect.

SUNDAY – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – So many great 80’s films, this is one of them. It’s Sunday, allow yourself to just enjoy this and don’t think too much about it.


voice + melody = love

I must begin by apologising for long delay in writing. Political (dis) engagement, trips to Sheffield, quick trip to Romania, fun family weekends in London, visits from relatives, working at the school, watching cool films. late night conversations and the like that I’ve simply just had no time to write about how rad the new girlpool album is! 😉 So click on those links if you’re bored, but do come back because I’m addicted to making lists like this :

1. The new girlpool album really is rad. Play it loud and dance away.

2. But the new sun kil moon album is even better. Play it soft and cry.

3. I saw Kathleen Hanna’s band Julie Ruin in Brighton a couple of weeks ago. It was so much fun, the music is so infectious my 9 year old son and I are driving around the sleepy Sussex villages blasting it out at the moment. She’s also, apparently, making a new album and just this week there’s a brand new fascinating interview with Ms Hanna in Pitchfork where she talks about the challengers of making music with a chronic illness and why she’s sick of hearing about her “supportive” husband. She makes a pretty good point really that everyone tells her how cool and great her husband is because he pretty much had to be her full-time carer, and although she says he is of course supportive and totally cool, she said if it was the other way round everyone would expect the wife to be the supportive one for the sick husband, but when it’s the other way round everybody makes a big deal about the “supportive and caring” husband, when it should naturally be this way. She says it a lot better than I have just now. Check it out.

4. I sent my first payment for the Brighton Writers 2 year course. It gives me two years to write a book. It’s suppose to make-or-break writers, and some have gone on from this course to win the booker prize and all that. Others have faded into obscurity

5. I was reminded of just how epic Norah Jones is. I listen again and again to her cd’s, and I’m often so transfixed by the sheer beauty of her voice and the brilliant love-gone-sour lyrics it just gives me goosebumps. She was on David Letterman a few weeks ago, when he did his final shows, and she played an old song that was simply gorgeous. So gorgeous I’ve put it below. Sorry those hoping for the Kathleen Hanna girl punk, or the hipster lo-fi indie of girlpool that will have to come another time.  I’ve always been a sucker for voice and melody and you can’t beat Norah Jones at that….

The fraigle/tragic mind of JD Salinger

la_ca_0828_salingerOf course Salinger was nuts. It’s pretty much accepted now that he actually was Holden Caulfield, and last year I read an incredibly hearbreaking biography which shows just how disturbed and crazy he was, mostly from the results of horrific experiences in the second world war (he was with the first to enter the notorious Nazi concertraiton camp Dachau). This is a guy who told his own daughter “You never really get the smell of burning flesh out of your nose entirely, no matter how long you live.” Without a doubt these experiences messed his already fragile mind up. Still he had “it”. That magic that few people are born with, such artistic brilliance and natural talent that whatever happens in your life, you create art. I’m counting the days till the paperback release of Joanna Rakoff’s “My Salinger Year”, about her experiences as Salinger’s literary agent in the late 1990’s.

Until then there was a fascinating program on BBC radio a couple of weeks about looking at the spiritual life of Salinger which I really recommend you listen to here. He was heavily into Hinduism philosophy, and a rather extreme form of Buddhism. But then again he mixed up elements of Christianity and Scientology. Basically the guy was lost, confused and didn’t know what to do. Life seemed meaningless and empty to him, and he never quite figured things out. Like I said my overflowing emotion towards Saligner is sadness. But then, I’ll read Franny and Zoeey or Catcher in the Rye and just be knocked senseless by the beauty and elegance of those words.

salwroteOnce you’ve heard that cool program you might like to hear a song by a band called Airport Girl. It’s called “What Salinger Wrote“. It’s not on youtube or soundcloud but you can hear it on this link.

I’m off to Romania now for a week for Open Hands Charity. We’ve got much to do over there, and I’m going to pick up a book at the airport to keep me going.Maybe the new Matthew Thomas “we are not ourselves“.

I’m really excited about the new album from Emma Kupa later this month. But I’ll write about that, and the awesome new surprisingly loud single from sun kil moon when I’m back.

bis bald 🙂

where the dragonflies play

15 years ago since the first day of a new century and I had a “champagne breakfast” at a little café in Norwich, and everything seemed possible in that new century. I was dating a girl from art school and we were just kids, and everything soon fell apart. I had a little shop in the indoor market but that closed down too. I left the country and moved to Germany not knowing what would happen but there’s always been hope in my life.

This is a music and books blog. But today I’m going to diverse a little, so bare with me and don’t despair, normal service will resume but…but….but there’s something I need to say first.

I’ve been looking for adventures all my life. Sometimes things work out, sometimes don’t. I make lots of mistakes. I get hurt. I then focus my energy on happiness and fun, but then I can’t ignore the broken world all around me. It’s a constant balance to do something constructive to help others and not just to whirl away the hours reading books. I realized I can’t do one without the other. Maybe some people can, but I can’t.

I was in Germany for a week. It was very enjoyable but intense,  and I went to bed most nights at 3am. I went to Bremen and drank a lot of coffee and made new friends. I spent hours talking about books and poetry. I took my kids for a long walk around the park and we watched the skateboarders. I laughed and laughed with my friends and made silly jokes. I had fun. That’s part of who I am.

But then there’s another part. I get so sad about the world sometimes. I feel so disconnected from modern life I think there’s something wrong with me. Technology bores me. Entertainment makes me nostalgic for purity. I read long magazine articles but I still don’t understand why the poverty gap is so big in England, let alone the rest of the world. Sure I have a charity, we work hard on it every day, and yes it’s rewarding but that’s not the end. I want social justice for the masses. You can read as many complicated books as you like but I’ll sum it up for you in two works – inequality sucks. I’m a member of the Green Party here in England, I’m going to a debate on social inequality in a few weeks. Like I said, it’s all about hope.

It’s crazy but there are moments when you realize how beautiful life is and how precious moments in time are. I try to capture those fragments in poems or short stories. Sometimes I succeed, often I don’t.

I don’t know what’s going to happen to me , you or anyone. Things fall apart, and nothing seems secure in life anymore. But I’m addicted to hope.

Ok. Back to the music and books posts from now on. Thanks for sticking with this rambling little post. no comments anymore, but you can always contact me at the e-mail address on the top right 🙂