0

Friday

Woke up had some toast and honey and a cuppa tea. Checked my phone and went back to bed feeling cosy. Fell back to sleep for a while, when I woke I wanted to watch a film. Ash lent me Avatar, but after a quick search it dawned on me I gave it back to her before I watched it.

I decided to watch Tim Minchin’s Ready For This. Phillip gave it 5 minutes before putting his headphones back on. I really enjoyed it though I didn’t laugh. My brother has memorised and sings some of the songs. He prides himself in being able to sing the fast bits. ‘If I didn’t have you’ and ‘Canvas bags’ especially remind me of him. He once got his Kindle signed by Tim Minchin and there’s a photo of them grinning together. Realised I’ve been mispronouncing his name as Mitchin probably because Mitch sounds like a comedian because of David Mitchell.

I remember thinking I enjoy it more musically than I find it funny. I guess that’s still true, but I still find him very funny. I think I was thinking of Shelter From The Storm yesterday because the Storm story on the DVD was in the back of my mind. I was getting ready for it! Completely forgot that there’s a surprise dancing bear with my name.

hqdefault.jpg

Went for a walk and took some photos. Phillip didn’t want to walk and Alex wasn’t in. I always knock on his door but he always seems to be out. Did some more food shopping, which I probably didn’t need to do, but it made my day seem a bit more purposeful.

lily-alone.jpg

Listened to Lily Alone which is really good. It’s nice to listen an audiobook by an author I’m very familiar with. I thought the, oh. Okay I was just going to say I thought the reader had a real respect for Jacqueline Wilson’s style. Checked the box to name the reader and… it’s the lady herself! Well, you can see what I’m saying is true. She had great insight!

Phillip has been watching films today. He wanted to go out to Costa’s (strawberry frappe), KFC (Twister) and Tescos (icecream for the strawberrys I got). I went along too for the drive. Stayed in the car listening to Heart. The reception got better as we went over the hill. Ash might be back because her window is open. Had the strawberries with icecream, yoghurt and sugar. I have that for dessert at my parents and it was nice.

Phillips been telling me about glandular fever which he had in his early twenties and has just started watching another film. Think I’ll watch Desperate Housewives. Gabby has just knocked Victor overboard for the second and fatal time.

Here are my photos from my walk –

IMG_0376.JPG

IMG_0373.JPG

IMG_0375.JPG

IMG_0371.JPG

 

 

0

Sunday

Last night watched Desperate Housewives and some of an Orbital gig on the TV whilst Phillip watched a film on his Ipad. Still into DH and the Orbital gig was great. I feel like a true fan now because I know lots of songs from two albums! I listened to Wonky when I was writing my newspaper blog a few years ago.

At night I found ‘Change your life in 7 days’ hypnosis by Paul Mckenna on Youtube. I listened to it when I was a teenager and found it really worked. It was amazing to listen again. I remember it well. Listened to some Underworld afterwards.

I dreamt I was lost at school, looking after Julia’s baby Alfie as a newborn. When I woke up I thought I had been lucid dreaming. I felt that I was avoiding phoning Julia in my dream because I would wake up. I’m not sure that I’ve experienced it before. I think it’s because I listened to the hypnosis again after all this time. Interesting.

Listened to Irish Ballads as I got ready for my day. Marmite crumpets for breakfast a bit underdone because they were starting to burn on top. The rain stopped and we went out for a walk to Costa. It was cold and windy in a nice way. Ate a Mento. Took some photos. When we got to Costa we found they were shut early.

IMG_0327.JPG

Phillip wanted to go to the other Costa, but a member of staff came out to tell us it was shut too just in case we were heading that way, which was kind of him. Decided to go to Mc Donalds. I had a large tea and Phillip had a mocha frappe. He talked about ages of getting served. He said 14 year olds can drink wine in restaurants if accompanied by an adult. I thought it was 16 but didn’t say so. I’ve just Googled it and I was right.

I’m glad the rain stopped and we got out for a walk. Filmed the Nissan flags flying in the wind. Here they are –

When we got in I showed Phillip my Amazon library of TV and Film. He chose to watch New Tricks! I watched two episodes and he watched three. Apart from once with my Dad and once with Emily, I’ve never watched it with anyone and it was really nice.

Emily called to say Ash is staying in hospital. She sounded really poorly with a sore throat last time I spoke to her. I hope she feels better soon.

The couple Emily is staying with don’t let her drink, but they are away at the moment. Emily decided to drink a small bottle of vodka with coke, collapsed in the garden and sprained her ankle. So shes been in hospital too. Poor Emily. She’s invited me over tomorrow. I haven’t promised but I’ll probably go round to see her.

Had some pasta and trifle for dinner. Phillip left this evening after finishing off the trifle.

Here’s my photos from our walk –

IMG_0328

IMG_0320.JPG

IMG_0329.JPG

Had this song in my head today –

0

I Tried To Leave You by Leonard Cohen

 

I’ve written many songs of parting. Don’t wanna feel that I’m leaving you anywhere that I’m not going. Anyhow, this is a song of staying. It’s one of those delirious songs of monotony called marriage. This is a song written out of my old age, my middle-age, my wrinkles, my weakness, and my failures called ‘Je voulais te quitter’ *

– Leonard Cohen, Montreux, 1976

* ‘I wanted to leave you.’

0

An interpretation of ‘Love is not the answer’

Hot_Cakes.jpg

Today I want to write about a song from The Darkness’s third album ‘Hot Cakes’. As with ‘One way ticket to hell and back’ it’s taken me a ridiculously long time to get from seeing the awesome album cover to listening to the songs. I have no excuse. I discovered the music of ‘Hot Cakes’ about 3 months ago. I am really enjoying it!

However I would say that the erotic possibilities of pancakes are not limited to after they are cooked.

b754529fab77c42803c9fe51b0963e03.jpg

Here’s the song –

I think it’s a brave song which deals with issues other artists have avoided. There is a magic tension between the often stark lyrics and the way they are delivered. I especially like ‘Love is not the beginning and love, love is not the end’. The song forms a circle around the dark or unseen side of relationships. We are moved away from normal romantic imagery and notions, towards new territory. It can be seen as a cautionary song warning that if we idealise love itself, then we are not dealing with love, because love is by nature as imperfect as we are.

I also like the lyrics ‘It can melt a heart of stone and nobody can make it on their own.’

stone.jpg

In some ways these lyrics remind me of The Kooks. They appear to be simple, but they open the doors wide for multiple interpretations. Especially as stone really has a melting point, just a very high one. Similarly people with apparently  stony hearts, can be reached with love, perhaps just requiring a higher dose! The Kooks say ‘She came to my show just to hear about my day.’ Which is also deceptively simple, especially as ‘show’ can mean ‘an outward appearance’- making the line suggestive of any aspect of interpreting body language etc.

I like the humour of ‘and nobody can make it on their own’ – which brings to mind someone attempting to make love to themselves. This line also pins down the observation that love is by nature a shared thing – and even if it only imagined, it is imagined as a shared thing, and that imagining has shared repercussions.

We cannot make a seashell or stone because they are naturally formed. The song returns love to nature and it’s mystery, and rejects the notion that we can take ownership of it’s power. The way that we imagine love is informed by our experience of it. So there is cycling of emotions occurring in the world around us, and the loops the song make journey through various shared aspects of love itself. Throughout this journey there is a refusal to sway to idealise any aspect of love, and I think that’s perhaps what guides the song to make it’s direct hit.

 

0

Hazel Eyes

Today I want to write about my experience of The Darkness’s ‘Hazel Eyes’ from their second album ‘One way ticket to hell and back’.

When the album came out, my college friends recommended it to me. But despite loving the band I didn’t want to listen to it. This is basically because I was terrified of what I call The Evil Train on the album cover. I didn’t want to have anything to do with The Evil Train. Call it artistic sensitivity or being an utter wuss, the end result was the same, I dodged the album like a small animal dodges hooves in a stampede. For a while.

For me trains were a symbol of fate, because they move on tracks. Forgetting that trains can switch tracks, I also saw them as a symbol of predeterminism. At the time I only believed in one possible future, in the same way that there appears to be only one past. This was an idea that gave me a smug peacefulness, and the idea that the train/fate itself could be possessed seemed to attack my philosophy. I pretended the album had not happened, and I did not listen to it.

After college I skipped off to university. Before the tidal wave of ordinary life could threaten to hit me, I ran away with a brain scientist to paddle in LSD etc. He had the impressive goal of searching for a cure for epilepsy. He weighed our recreational drugs with the same attention to detail he possessed in the lab. I felt in safe hands. Unfortunately he had an addictive personality and things slid into chaos. I stayed until he finished his Phd. It seemed that if I left before then he would have been unable to finish. My parents drove me home, and I remained quiet in the car. However once back in the house, and it was safe to do so, I screamed a lot.

One following summer I wrote to a man on a dating site. That day we bounced a few emails, and I found he was able to take some of the pressure off.  We got talking about many things, but especially music. Following my bad trips, I had the idea that I could not listen to certain things. He told me about his experiences with music in general, and recommended songs to me. He wasn’t bothered by the idea that a song could give me a flashback. And virtually holding his hand through a musical landscape, I was reassured that the songs he recommended weren’t going to hurt me.

I can’t remember how we got onto ‘One way ticket to hell and back’, but I explained my thoughts about the album cover. In his gentle way he encouraged me to listen to some of the songs. He hadn’t let me down so far, so I did as he suggested. The song I got stuck on was ‘Hazel Eyes’. I was fascinated by this song and we listened to it on repeat.

I had many questions, which my new friend helped me to explore. As a writer of detective fiction, he didn’t give me the answers, but helped me to explore my curiosity where it took me.

What were hazel eyes exactly? Are my eyes close enough to hazel to also inspire the singer? Are my mum’s eyes actually properly hazel? Does that mean he would like my mum’s eyes more? Does the song suggest that he loves pretty eyes in general, and its not so important if they are exactly hazel tone? Etc, etc. My neurotic thinking had become fun again! And the more I shared it the more fun it was. He seemed interested in everything I was interested in simply because I was interested in it. He said he always wanted to be a rock star, but couldn’t so was a writer instead. Anyway we spiralled together, and my madness found a home in him.

Listening to ‘Hazel Eyes’ again reminds me of getting to know him, and rediscovering I could still enjoy my neurotic nature and share that enjoyment with others.  I had been through a chaos and felt gloomy a lot of the time but the ‘Hazel Eyes’ song reached me through my gloom. I don’t remember much from that time, but I do remember listening to Hazel Eyes. So this means it feels like a porthole into a forgotten time, which adds to the songs fascination for me today. I also love the album as a whole.

 

0

An interpretion of ‘Get your hands off of my woman’

Today I want to write about ‘Get your hands off of my woman’ by The Darkness. The song is from their first album ‘Permission to land’.

I feel like the album came out at the perfect time for me. I had left school, and was trying to conjure up a new optimism that college really would be a different world, where I would be treated better. The defiant spirit of The Darkness really worked for me, and to my delight their music had the same effect on my peers. Just that in itself helped me feel more a part of things.

cafe-1.jpg

I felt very connected to their sound because I also use my anxiety directly as creative fuel. In 2003 The Darkness proved to me that it was possible to do as I was doing, in a way that was popular and fun. I wanted to be popular and fun! So I began to explore. I knew I could follow the current of my obsessiveness, and find humour, but previously this would be a rather private exercise.

I loved surrealism, but I saw it as something I outputted rather than was. I think after listening to The Darkness this shifted and I began to feel more that I was a surreal thing as a person. Where once I would have striven to be perfect and act perfectly, the new idea was that a paradoxical confidence could be found in celebrating my own anxieties. I was now convinced it would be not only acceptable to expose my own spiraling obsessiveness, but that it could be a lot of fun too.

Anyway, I bought the CD and loved it. However at the time I struggled with ‘Get your hands off of my woman’. Actually I’m glad I did, because remembering that, helps me to relate to the confusion some people feel about the band. As a teenager I found the song too offensive, whilst at the same time loving it. This was unsettling and I wasn’t used to feeling so conflicted. The song has a relentless transcendent playfulness which I got caught up in, whilst still being fixed, open mouthed each time ‘mother fucker’ reached my unaccustomed young ears! Did he really say that.

I now think it is a very deep song, and much more than being a literal story about a pub brawl between two men as some have suggested. I think when a crowd is immersed in this song, it is just as much about  re-experiencing our infant trauma of being born, the great separation, and how this contains an echo in all that we do. Life is always about trying to keep hold of things and people, who are taken from us. The scream of the angry toddler doesn’t leave us as we grow up. The original grief twists into new forms. The early injustice we feel, lays the foundation for how we feel about all of our adult concepts of injustice.

To help us suffer more there is the cultural expectation that we will behave and articulate ourselves like grown ups, as we are burnt by painful experiences. I think the song is strung out between these two poles. It contains logical thoughts and explanation, which inevitably burst through to their root of primitive aggression. Yet somehow despite these storms, its a very British song which remains very self aware at it’s most angry. In that way it kind of has the atmosphere of the wildest moments in a British sit com.

During the formative years, we also imagine the world to be like an extension of our mothers. This concept is found in many religions as the idea of the Earth as a mother. I think this is also relevant to the song. As well as motherfuckers of minor fuck ups, its also good to think of what it means to us collectively as a species. If we don’t want to be at the mercy of global motherfuckers, then we will have to be pioneers of a culture where we all care a bit more about our home planet.

I love it that the song can be experienced on whatever level you like, or on many levels at once. In that way it is a mythical song which reveals the changing meanings of any concept. Language can be used as consciously or unconsciously as we like, but by breaking things down and looking at how they are constructed, we can have a better understanding of how our words offend or shock us. An idea you can learn from a textbook, but this song gives the listener a direct, full on experience of meanings in flux, and it’s an absolute pleasure to experience.

0

‘The Endless River’ by Pink Floyd

I am really enjoying Pink Floyd’s new album ‘The Endless River’. People have critised it for being constructed out of old, previously unused material. I don’t think this is a useful critism. In French bakeries you can get all kinds of carefully constructed cakes, desserts and breads, but one of my favourites is the bread that they make with the leftovers.

It was invented for ecomonic reasons, but actually the French everything bread is amazing. They use all the different leftover dough, and make a bread that has many tastes in one. I think Pink Floyd’s new album is a bit like that bread.

I sometimes struggle to listen to Pink Floyd’s other album’s because they demand so much attention. Sometimes they are just plain frightening or their love of chaos takes over and I feel like I’m being battered by it. They normally do some chilled out music after a storm, but the previous pain distracts me from it. I sometimes skip to the more relaxing tracks. For the most part ‘The Endless River’ is without such storms, and this makes it a great album to listen to whilst drifting off to sleep.

Because there is nothing that commands we listen to it, and only it, I feel like the subtlely of the music can make its own journey. It can make it’s unguided journey into the secret places of the mind which are hard to reach and therefore neglected. This album is truely a trip, and on repeat listenings, we know the place better and better. ‘The Endless River’ has a real drifting quality on every level, and the bounderies between the songs are blurred and the music is unanchored.

It reminds me of watching baby spiders floating on the breeze. It’s nature’s solution to all the spiders being in the same place. The music drifts like baby spiders on their silk, and every time I listen to it they seem to land in a different place to build their webs!

Sometimes I think the lyrics on the album are a missed opportunity, and I’m sure they are lots of writers who would want to make a big statement on the album. Pink Floyd have a massive following, so writing the lyrics on their return album

is appealing in many ways – artistic freedom, a big audience, and fantastic music which leds the listener further into the words meaning – even if the words are just ‘Pink is a colour.’ But interestingly Pink Floyd decided not to make the words the main thing on the album. The words point beyond themselves. Don’t look at us, look at this – the music, that’s where the truth is. I think it’s fine. I think if there was some big political statement hovering over the album, then it would feel too much like a mind programming CD. I feel grateful for the emptiness that the lyrics have, because I really enjoy the music itself, and it’s plotlessness and freedom. I feel highly suggestable listening to it, and I prefer to be highly suggestable to myself, rather than someone elses philosophical statement. If you want to add philosophy to the album then just think about it whilst listening to it. It is flexible!

It’s a great album. I think if you are unsure about it, give it a fair trial and listen to it a few times. It gets better!

the_endless_river_2___pink_floyd_by_elclon-d81sa43

1

Joan of Arc’s Understanding

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtwUyDPXROQ

And then she clearly understood
If he was fire, oh then she must be wood.

When I was little and listening to this song, this was the only bit I didn’t like. I enjoyed the drama of her death, but I did not like her clear understanding that she was wood! I think I was at the age when I had just started to identify myself as a girl. I just hated the idea that she suddenly thought she was wood instead. It seemed like such a stupid thing to say. Yes, I could understand that he was fire, but it seemed to be a great, wild leap of logic to mean that made her wood.

I clearly understood she was a girl, and if I had met Joan of Arc at this time I would have told her ‘No, you are not wood. You are a girl, like me!’

I still feel a bit like that. It does seem slightly uncharacteristic that she would say she is wood – or just something to be consumed by Fire. But I think it is about her bravery in facing the very difficult reality of what is coming next. Rather than pretend she is not destined for the flames – she accepts it. I think this could be said to represent man facing his mortality head on.

At the beginning of the song she was in a state of unknowing – as suggested by her dull armour. Now she has met Fire, she enters a state of knowing – ‘clearly understood’. In order to keep the multiple meanings of Fire open, Cohen suggests that what she understands is simply – that she will meet the Fire, and whatever Fire may be, it will be able to burn her very well.

We are forced to combine the imagery of the effect of fire on wood, and it’s effect on our heroine. This is a powerful way to tell the listener what will happen, because it means we use our own experience of what burning looks like – and apply it to a scene we can only imagine.

wood-fired-kitchenherfts-62