SUNDAY #83 – Remember

I know it’s not Valentine’s Day, but I want to quickly revisit the date (because I’m a bored masochist) so I can share a small but sweet story about it.

We all know it’s a con, but it was hard for me to think of it like that when I was standing next to my friend Kelly at a gig she’d (although she insists ‘we’) organised. She booked Dirty White Fever, Saint Agnes, and Yassassin to play our ‘Anti-Valentine’s’ event, and to complete our night we had absolute mega-babes Dream Wife DJing for us.

Never in a million years did I think I’d be dancing around to Robots In Disguise with two thirds of Dream Wife, but that’s how I spent Valentine’s this year, and tbh it topped every date and bouquet of flowers I’ve ever had (2 proper dates, 2 bouquets. Not really that hard to beat, but STILL.)

That’s how I ended the night, but I’d started Valentine’s Day at home, in the kitchen, waiting for the kettle to boil, trying not to think about commuting in to work. My Dad came down the stairs, tapped me on the shoulder, and asked if he thought my Mum would like this:

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Oh mate. My little heart melted. The night before, we’d all been taking the piss out of him because he’d forgotten to buy my Mum a Valentine’s card for the first time in 30 years of marriage. We joked that it was okay, and that he should return home later on V-Day with a last minute card and consolatory offering of Ferrero Rocher.

Well, he surprised us all. Instead, at 10pm on February 13th, he went down to his shed and spent two hours sawing this heart-shape out of a sheet of aluminium. In his haste however, he forgot to engrave “Happy Valentine’s” and instead wrote “Happy Anniversary”. My parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary last year in September (with a lot of selfies in Rome), so technically this gift was late too. Apparently, whilst he was frantically sawing away at this heart, my Mum kept hassling him about being in the shed so late, which is why he panic-scribed the wrong word on to it. When he gave her the heart the next morning she realised that even after 30 years of marriage, passive aggressive guilt trips still work.

What cracked me up is that my Dad had placed the heart in a make-shift paper card that read “Forget me not” on the front.

I’m not in love, and since a big ol’ break up two years ago (which I never even talk about, WHY ARE YOU BRINGING IT UP?!) I’ve been running at full speed from anything that remotely resembles “feelings”. I’ve also seen other people’s romances crumble before my eyes, which adds to my sad and cynical view that true love is a bloody luxury, not a necessity like everyone believes. But, holding that bit of aluminium in my tired hands on Valentine’s Day reminded me that love isn’t dead; it’s just a bit tired and forgetful sometimes.

Also, if my Mum had dark curly hair and my Dad had a bow and arrow and some hair, they’d basically be Robin Hood & Maid Marion in Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves. #RelationshipGoals

 

SUNDAY #82 – Black Eyed

I’m re-bobbed, permanently jobbed, and my body is mobbed with bruises.

I know you shouldn’t really gloat about a black eye, but I’ve never felt so punk in all my life (an admission that immediately removes any punk credentials I formerly possessed). I got lovingly elbowed in the eye socket at Ho99o9‘s gig at The Old Blue Last a week ago. Despite being pinned to the front of the stage and being told by security “NOT TO TOUCH THE MONITORS!”  I felt no pain for 45 minutes and I would happily live that night on repeat for the rest of my black-eyed days.

I really want to upload pictures, but I’m aware that they’re grotesque and no filter will really do these purple/green markings justice.

I look like I’ve been in a street fight (and I felt like it on Saturday morning) but it was the most insane gig I’ve ever been to. It was also insane of me to mix white wine with tequila, but that probably helped me on my journey to black eye city. I’ve been furiously applying foundation to cover up my war wound for work. By day I’m a genuine adult with a job and responsibilities, and by night I’m a juvenile wine connoisseur who finds the meaning of life in a mosh pit.

I probably should have crowd-surfed to safety like the girl next to me did, because I know I bruise like a peach. Not a ripe one though; the type of peach you can’t make an instant thumb-print on. I’m talking CO-OP peaches when they’re freshly picked. You have to squeeze pretty hard before you make a dent on those bad boys (punk credentials have decreased again to -50).

Anyway, during the week I also received some shining news to go with my shiner: I’m being made a permanent member of staff at my current job. This means a) I’m actually quite good at my job, and b) the next time I get a black eye at a gig, hopefully I’ll be living in London, so I’ll have less of distance to commute home with my war wound.

There were a few minor low points this week amidst all the glory. I’d pre-bought dinner on Friday night because I had plans to go out and drink gin and love life after work. Unfortunately, those plans got cancelled last minute, and I got in a bit of a strop and went to bin the pre-purchased food. I decided I was going to storm home, tear my bedroom walls down to some Blood Red Shoes, and if I felt lie it; cry to my Mum – because that’s what adults with full-time jobs and black eyes do.

I approached the bin, ready to chuck my dinner in to it; but then I realised I was being a selfish, stupid arse. I returned to my desk, put the food in my bag, and on my walk home through central London I passed it on to a homeless man. Even when you think you’re having a mildly shit day, it’s best to remember that someone else is probably not going home to a bed, a nice family, and a hot dinner. That’s the kind of punch in the face we all want to avoid really.

 

SUNDAY #81 – DO IT

I’m searching my brain cells for something witty to start this post with, but you’ll have to make do with this pointless sentence because my Mum’s just cooked a cracking veggie lasagne and there’s no way I’m letting that bad boy go cold.

This is just a quick post to gloat about the success of the first ever Gigslutz / Get In Her Ears night at The Finsbury Pub that took place on Friday night. Mari organised four brilliant bands to play for us (Petty Phase, Tokyo Taboo, Young Romance & The Empty Page) and when my Spotify playlist went to hell (never underestimate the importance of a good Wi-Fi connection) Tash stepped in and saved the DJing day. I spent most of the night looking around in blissful disbelief, overwhelmed by how well everything had turned out.

In 2015, I tweeted Gigslutz asking if they were looking for a writer to cover The Great Escape Festival. Just over a year later, I’m part of the incredible Editorial team, and I’m helping to organise radio shows and live events. I could never have predicted how much Gigslutz would enrich my life. Not only have I heard so much brilliant and fascinating music, I’ve met some of the kindest, funniest, most motivated people who make the idea of replying to 100+ emails every week (alongside my day job) a total joy.

When it comes to chasing something you love, don’t give up on it or let it slip away from you. Hunt that elusive, bastard dream down and do what you have to do to make it work for you. Do it. DO. IT. DO. IT. Okay? Because you might end up getting everything you asked for, and you might write sentimental drivel like this in the hope that it might help someone else out.

Keep bloody chasing it. I double dare ya…

2016

DON’T PANIC: This isn’t a ‘2016 you bastard!’ rant or a ‘New Year New Me!’ type of blog. It’s just a list of albums I’ve treasured over the last 52 weeks and some small sentimental paragraphs.

Like most mildly anxious 26 year olds, I’m slowly realising it’s the things you don’t do that you end up regretting, not the things you do do. I comforted myself with this thought on Wednesday morning as I sat at my desk battling an aggressive hangover, doing my best impression of a responsible adult (and not a juvenile doink who’d been out drinking and dancing to 80s music until 1am).

I’ve spent many an hour feeling intensely sad and guilty about some of the things I’ve done, or things that have been done to me this year. Too many fucks have been given to all the wrong people, but generally, it’s been another blinding year filled with surprises, surfing, and even an appearance in a music video…

I just need to get my priorities right. 2017 is all about priorities. I mean, is it more important to a) mime Kate Bush’s ‘Hounds Of Love’ to the next clubbing generation, or b) get a full nights sleep so I can look mildly human the next day?

Lucky I had records like these to help me make these crucial decisions…

DAUGHTER – NOT TO DISAPPEAR

It’s hard to articulate how beautiful I think this record is, but I won’t shy away from trying to explain my obsession with it. Not many bands can write songs about dementia, loneliness, and apathy like Daughter. On Not To Disappear they seamlessly blend these themes to paint a desperately sad, but beautifully moving musical portrait of hidden lives and un-nurtured feelings.

I’ve returned to this record throughout the year, and it’s still a poignant emotional listen.

Favourite Track: ‘Numbers’

Favourite Lyric: “Fighting over the way something was said / Well, I’m still here like a cheap threat” – ‘No Care’

ISAAC GRACIE – SONGS IN BLACK & WHITE

I spent all of 2016 talking about this guy and I’ll probably spend all of 2017 doing the same, so you might as well get on board now.

I was swept away by his ‘Last Words’ when I scrolled across his name on The Great Escape Festival’s website earlier this year, and I’ve seen him live three times since then. Each time has been remarkable, but watching him sing to a packed Waiting Room in Stoke Newington with my sisters really was a goose-bump inducing experience. He recorded that session and released it on vinyl, so now my siblings and I can cry to his desolate, beautiful voice whenever we find it convenient.

Favourite Track: ‘All In My Mind’

Favourite Lyric: How reckless is the heart that bleeds for love / That knows the warmth / that knows the taste / And how blessed is the diamond in the rough / who would offer her embrace” – ‘Burn My Clothes, Bury My Crown’

SAVAGES – ADORE LIFE

Whatever your question is, Savages are ‘The Answer’. I’ve been bounding down London streets and across my bedroom floorboards to tracks from this incredible album. Equal parts aggressive and sentimental; Adore Life is an aural knockout. My attention is forever focused on Jehnny Beth’s cool vocals, Faye Milton’s intense drumming, Gemma Thompson’s abrasive guitar, and Ayse Hassan’s primal bass lines.

When I saw them at The Roundhouse this year, Beth told us that when it comes to uneasy feelings about love we should “fucking do it anyway”. I swiftly adopted that as a personal mantra, and have been trying to build up the nerve to copy her dress sense (bralet and bomber jacket) ever since.

Favourite Track: Torn between ‘The Answer’, ‘Sad Person’ and ‘Something New’.

Favourite Lyric: “I’m not gonna hurt you / ‘cos I’m flirting with you” – ‘Sad Person’

MOURN – HA, HA, HE.

My friend Mari (Gigslutz Editor and all round top human) introduced me to this Catalonian band in 2015, and their second album made an instant mark on my ear drums when I listened to it in June. It blurs chaos and calm in to punk-inspired, grunge-soaked tunes that turn head-thrashing and scowling in to highly enjoyable past-times.

Favourite Track: ‘Irrational Friend’

Favourite Lyric: “If you need someone to trust / You don’t have to involve / A body and a hole” – ‘Gertrudis, Get Through This’

RIHANNA – ANTI

I’m as surprised as you are to find Rihanna on this list. I gave up on her post-Good Girl Gone Bad because I was under the impression she was all out of bangers. With the aid of my friend Rachel, and a press ticket to see her live at V Festival, I soon realised my anti-Rihanna attitude needed some serious re-addressing. Anti was heavily criticised for being a bit ‘confused’, but I genuinely liked it (even if the second half of the record went a bit..soft)

I definitely prefer the angry, apathetic Rihanna who dominates the first half, and I hope her next record goes in the same direction.

Favourite Track: Torn between ‘Consideration’ and her Tame Impala cover ‘Same Ol’ Mistakes’

Favourite Lyrics: “I got to do things my own way darling / will you ever let me? / will you ever respect me? / No” – ‘Consideration’ Ft. SZA

KANGA – KANGA

My brother insisted I give this a listen a few weeks ago, and it’s an industrial pop GEM. Kanga’s deceptively sweet vocals give her lyrics about self control and sanity extra edge, and the crisp recording of the electronic elements and pounding drum beats make this album impossible to sit still to.

Favourite Track: ‘Going Red’

Favourite Lyric: “Part of me missing but what can I say? / I don’t need you anyway” – ‘Vital Signs’

SUNDAY #80 – SHOUT

Number of stomach aches in the last 48 hours: 0
Number of gigs missed in the last 2 weeks due to food poisoning: 4
Number of colonoscopy tests: 1
Eating your Mum’s homemade curry after 2 weeks of living on biscuits: Priceless.

I’ve only gone and survived that bout of infection/food poisoning (don’t think I’ve mentioned it?) As I stuff my face with warm buttery toast this morning, I can tell you that as soon as I’m off these antibiotics, I am ready to throw myself in to winter party season.

Keep that Baileys (or Aldi equivalent ‘Ballycastle’) chilling in the fridge, and assemble the Ferrero Rochers in to a pyramid. I’ll be round to demolish both as soon as I’ve stopped dancing to this…

and I’ll write something with more substance ASAP…

SUNDAY #79 – Karmacoma

Massive Attack’s Collected should be prescribed to everyone who uses the train line between Southend Victoria and London Liverpool Street. The duo’s trip-hop sound will sedate commuters to what is medically known as the ‘cooler than a God damn cucumber’ level, so they’ll be able to cope better when their train is inevitably delayed or cancelled.

Collected is my musical salvation, and it keeps me ‘Safe From Harm’ on my daily commute. If you’re not feeling better by the time you reach second track ‘Karmacoma’, then (no offence) you’re beyond help mate.

I’ve missed two gigs this week because last week’s food poisoning might actually be something a bit more serious. Rather than get sad about it though, I put Jeff Buckley’s Grace on and…got a bit sad about it whilst listening to a seminal 90’s record.

I really want everything to go back to normal, and the best way to do that is to blindly carry on typing these blogs and listening to more seminal 90s records. If anyone’s got any listening suggestions, fire them my way.

I’ll be semi-conscious listening to this in the mean time…

SUNDAY #78 -Grim(es)

Whoever said “sleep it off, you’ll feel better in the morning” obviously never had food poisoning. Well, I’m assuming that’s what I’ve got. I’ve spent the last 48 hours crawling in and out of the foetal position with my eyes screwed shut, breathing through crippling gut pain. I won’t go in to detail, but let’s just say my stomach is as flat as a pancake and everything else has been grim with a capital ‘G’. Fucking seafood.

As with all things though, the bad can be accompanied by the good. I had a blinding Friday night watching The Wytches at Electric Ballroom with my beautiful friend Shauna, so at least the weekend wasn’t a total write off. She also took expert care of me yesterday when last night’s dinner decided to wreak havoc on me. Bless her heart.

When I (eventually) feel better, I’ll put this bad boy on and dance around a bit, and write something a bit more interesting.