Fade into love. Repeat.

Fade into love. Repeat.

Another month, another plane ride to Germany. Like the George Clooney film “up in the air” I pretty much know exactly how to get through airport security without ever getting my bag (or myself) searched. But, boy, can I spot those who are going to get caught out. Like a clockwork mouse I know exactly where to go, the quietest and best place to get a coffee at the airport and exactly what time to get on the plane and the best place to sit (3A if you must ask). I know exactly what the Ryan Air air stewards are going to say, they stick to their script like robots. Once we land I head to the EU only section wave my Irish passport through in Germany so avoid all the hassle of passport control interrogating non-EU British people (why are you here? where are you staying? show me your return ticket?) . In actual fact I can’t be bothered to renew my British passport, I’ll stick to Ireland. In another country I effortlessly slip into my other life – my German life, where it’s just me and two teenage boys, causing havoc in the controlled German cities with only a spaghetti eis to keep our dreams alive. Late nights, early mornings, walking walking walking looking for fun wherever we might find it.

Then, before I know it, I’m home again and life is stable. it’s school runs, drama and music clubs, baking cookies, reading Haffertea hamster books and nursery rhyme records spinning with crazy girls dancing and stepping on lego. Days off school because “it’s boring” as life moves pretty fast….when you’re 6 years old.

Meanwhile and mysteriously there’s still music and books and art and love. Driving home from the airport the other month the radio was playing an incredible song by someone called CMAT. It caught me off guard and I had to stop the car to experience the full blazing effect. I’ve now bought her cassette, it’s rad. She’s rad. Everyone should support her. This is the song

The Welcome Wagon are one of those special bands, so beautiful and tender yet as they have only released 3 albums in about 15 years, any new release is to be savoured and appreciated like the piece of art it is. I was lucky enough to get given a copy of their latest album – Esther – on my birthday. Every song is magnificent. It was hard to pick one, but I went for this

Another song by somebody I’ve never heard of is I can’t get my head around you by Billie Marten. This is another song I heard on the radio late one night driving home fro the airport, it’s perfect for late night confusion – something I’m prone to – and I just dig the gentle breeze and laidback vibes I get from this track.

The final song is a gloomy as hell, it’s probably one of the most depressing albums of all time. All about a broken marriage. Old Frank Sinatra is stuck in a boring town trying to raise 2 kids on his own and his wife has left him. There is no happy ending in this album, only more heartache when Sinatra realizes he will never see his beloved wife again and life aint got much meaning anymore. So, if you’re feeling kind of emotional it might not be the best time for this music, but sad songs are my friends. Enjoy…if that’s the right word…each song is a masterpiece, and I guarantee you won’t get through it without noticing your eyes getting a little bit moist. If you thought you knew Frank Sinatra thing again….

I’ve been reading a couple of quite extraordinary books recently. First one is Summer before the Dark, a snapshot of a little seaside town in Belgium where writers and intellectuals (including the brilliant Stefan Zweig and the hopelessly flawed Joseph Roth) spend one last summer together in 1936 with the world falling apart around them and their dreams of a united liberal and free Europe evaporating day-by-day. It reads like a novel, it makes you feel you’re sitting their at a cafe watching Roth get drunk and Zweig pretend everything will be ok. Throw in a few crazy eccentrics thrown in too for good measure. Best book I’ve read for quite a while. After this book is done I’m going to finally start Meg Mason’s “Sorrow and Bliss”

Zweig (l) and Roth (r) frenemies

Back in the early 90’s I got really into Star Trek – the next generation as a tween kid, I liked the weird kind of intellectual aspect of it, and the slightly odd romances and loneliness of the characters. I also dug the little fun things like a machine that would make you any meal you wanted instantly appear, and a virtual reality holiday deck. So I was strangely happy when I saw old Picard was back on tv. I’m a bit slow as it’s been out a couple of years now, but I’m starting at season 1. It’s really very much in the spirit of the star trek stuff and it’s pure escapism at it’s best.

That’s all. Keep on dreaming of a better tomorrow ūüôā

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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…

 

 

summer songs mixtape

download ashmatic kitty summer mixtape here!

Wait a minute, summer snoozer! Before you jump on that plane/car/boat/scooter and head off to enjoy hazy sunshine beach days and losing games of mini golf and badminton, here is a link to a rather spectacular summer mixtape from the always-cool Sufjan Stevens (and his stepdad!) founded label ashmatic kitty. It’s got new songs from the awesome welcome wagon, shannon stephens, and lilly and madeleine. Later today I’m driving with the fam to, err, Luton. Or at least to Luton airport hotel before flying away from England early tomorrow for a month, but I’ll keep writing music news here.

The first cd’s I ever bought were Elvis Presley’s “Greatest hits” and “The best of Elton John.” Hey, don’t judge me too harshly my musical education had to start somewhere! (my parents stopped listening to music in 1975, the year my older brother was born!). I do still quite like some of the older EJ stuff, back in the day, and maybe he’s new record won’t be so awful? He’s teamed up with the ace t bone burnett for his new record out in September and there’s an intriguing clip of it here.