Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Going with the Flo*

Lord knows I've gone on about how much I love a kooky female singer/songwriter on this blog.

Throw in some way-out costuming (hello Björk), occasional use of a harp ('sup Newsom), lyrics strewn with violence and otherwordly themes (Amos, I'm talking to you), delivered with utter fearlessness and total abandon, and you've got me hooked, baby.

It almost goes without saying that I was always going to love Florence & the Machine.

I haven't been this excited by a female singer since I discovered la Amos in high school (it seems I have a thing for melodramatic redheads). So excited in fact, that after I got back from her amazing gig on Monday night, I couldn't sleep for the tangle of songs in my head and the aftershock of tribal drumming in my chest. The afterimage of that flame-haired goddess striding the stage in diaphanous gown hitched up to show off her alabaster legs and gold-studded ankle boots is going to haunt me evermore.

I thought the album was absolutely blinding, but live? In person? Let's just say if the album was Florence turning it all the way up to 11, in concert she blew the needle clear off the dial. The lungs on that girl. I was in awe, torn between gawping at the pre-raphaelite vision jerking and prancing on stage and tearing myself away from the balcony for some mentalist dancing. I ended up doing an odd combination of both (I am great at prop-dancing. Chair dancing, bike dancing, balcony dancing - I'm your woman).

The crowd did that annoyingly English thing of standing still for most of the gig (despite Flo exhorting everyone to jump and howl) only to totally lose it for the final song of the encore. What's up with that, English?

It was a spell-binding night of one electric track after another, starting with the dark-eyed My Boy Builds Coffins and ending with the glorious Rabbit Heart. It was truly one of the greatest gigs I've ever had the joy of attending. And that is not an accolade I throw about lightly. If you don't believe me, ask Walks. Or Sincs (I don't actually know either of these people, by the by).

*with apologies to Sweet Nothings for stealing his headline. I couldn't think of a better one. In my defence, I didn't get much sleep.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Epic geek crush

Oh my god you guys, I just stumbled across this hottie on last.fm and I think it's true love or something 'cos I honestly feel such a connection to this guy, and I know he doesn't even know, like, who I am or that I even exist or whatever, but I just feel, like, so strongly about it that if we ever did get to meet, he is just going to know, y'know? he is just going to be like, where have you been all my life? and I'll be like, waiting for you, sweetcheeks!


Or not. But Jeremy Warmsley sure is nice to look at, isn't he? Even if he does remind me a little bit of the boy in The Shining).

Oh, and he's not bad to listen to either.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Melancholy beauty

Breaks my heart all over again. Can't wait to see these guys live.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

How much more can a deeply cynical/hopeless romantic take?

There comes a time in every single girl's life (so far, so frickin' Carrie Bradshaw, right?) when she feels that she is done with the whole search. Done. Over it. She is at the end of her tether, and she just can't summon the energy to even think about putting herself back out there. Her options at this point seem to be:

1. convert to lesbianism;
2. become a nun; or
3. get cats.

None of these options are open to me because:

1. I like boys;
2. I like boys; and
3. I'm allergic.

Picture this scenario. You meet a guy, a lovely, tall, kind-eyed guy who you stumble across in the course of your everyday life and, after enjoying a long and rambly chat outside in the sunshine, pluck up the courage to ask him out for a coffee. He says yes. The stuff of daydreams.

So you meet up for a date in an intimate venue and it's going really well - the attraction is apparent, you talk about all sorts of things, and the more time you spend together the more you discover you have in common. A love of folk music. A disdain of alarm clocks. A belief in the revolutionary power of cycling.

A couple of hours fly by.

And then, just as he is saying how glad he is that you asked him out, and is suggesting that you meet up again soon at a place he knows, you make an off-handed comment about how scary it was asking him out, when you didn't even know if he had a girlfriend or not.

He squirms. He says "What if I told you that I do have a girlfriend? And a son?"


The "date" ends shortly thereafter.

So. Not the worst date I've ever been on (I'll blog about that another time), but definitely in my Top 3 All-Time Shitty Dates. Being single in your thirties sure does suck sometimes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bestival 2009

Man, I am so happy to have left behind my twenties. I struggled through those years really not liking myself very much, not knowing myself very well, and not looking after myself as well as I should have. Thank f*ck I made it to my thirties. Yes, there are also challenges particular to this decade, but I know myself so much better now. I know that I need a certain amount of space, comfort and privacy in order to stay sane. I know that if I start feeling self-conscious, drinking more is not the solution. And if I feel like a cup of tea while everyone around me is drinking cocktails, I am just going to go ahead and get a frickin' cup of tea and I honestly couldn't give a toss what anyone else thinks about that. I LOVE TEA.

more tea and papers

All of this is to lead up to the point of my post today, which is that I really enjoyed Bestival. Way more than I ever expected to enjoy a festival. Yes, it was dusty and dirty. Yes, there was a terribly long and painfully slow queue for the loo's in the morning. Naturally, there were noisy people who made sleeping difficult. And it was so cold at night that my bones ached even with 3 pairs of leggings under my tracksuit pants. At times it did feel like an endurance task.

All of those things are part and parcel of the festival experience, non? I knew what to expect in terms of the level of physical discomfort. I had prepared myself as best I could (toilet paper, baby wipes, antibacterial gel, wellies, my own tent). What I didn't expect was that I would spend quite so much time giggling like a school-girl with my friends; or that I would find myself dancing like an idiot in an outdoor rave one evening, deliriously sober; or that the crowd would excell even my wild imagination with their incredible costumes.

skinny spaceman meets baby alien

Saturday was a constant colourful parade of amazingly outfitted people, like a mass hallucination taking place in broad daylight. There were Judy Jetsons and Ziggy Stardusts and astronauts galore. There was a Lady Smurf, a group of monkeys in space outfits, a female Predator, and a man who simply wore a giant ear on the front of his t-shirt, with a sign saying "last in stock" above it (think about it). There were meteors and mars bars and milky ways and black holes. We saw several Buzz Lightyears but only one with a life-size toy grabber (he was attempting to grab one of the Thunderbirds crew when I last saw him). We were mugged by men clad in full-body (including head and face) morph suits in various hues one afternoon. They appeared like a scary hallucination and, probably sensing our fear, made their way over to hug us en-masse until the day-bed we had been reclining on collapsed under our combined weight.

I think perhaps the secret to a good festival is not to put any pressure on yourself. There were really only a few acts that we made a point of going to see - Florence and the Machine*, Friendly Fires, Jack Peñate, Fleet Foxes - and the rest of the time we wandered happily unfettered by a schedule, lazing in the sun, doing a bit of hula-hooping, but mostly checking out the utterly gob-smackingly amazing crowd. We went to bed when we were tired and/or cold, rather than forcing ourselves to stick around to see the last acts. I didn't even feel guilty laying in my tent on Sunday evening, warm at last after stuffing my sleeping bag with every piece of clothing I'd brought with me, as I was lulled to sleep by the sweet sounds of Elbow playing the main stage.

Go ahead and judge me. My twenty-year-old self certainly would have.

My overall Bestival experience? Much fun and many memories that are making me laugh out loud right now. I would share them with you, but I'm guessing you had to be there.

*For the Flo fans, I totally get "You've Got the Love" now. I had thought it was a bit of an insipid and unecessary closer to an album full of belters, but no: it's just meant to be played to a field full of happy people who are feeling the love, against a backdrop of the gloriously setting sun.


Our Festival Glossary:

Foldies: The Festival stalwarts. People who attended the original Glastonbury in 1970 and aren't ready to give up the dream. Characterised by long greying hair and doped-up smiles.
Fluts: Festival sluts. Generally wearing tiny shorts and big hair, with rings of dark make-up around the eyes. Working their way up to Groupie.
Eninens: Nice n' normals (that would be us). Like a cider (or a tea), are careful not to tread on anyone, bring their own camp chairs.
Festies: Proper dread-locked, bare-footed hippies with dirt caked under their nails.
Frents: the über-cool parents who bring tiny children along to the festival so that they can learn all about the effects of excessive drinking and drug-taking first hand, while being exposed to the educational ditties of the Klaxons.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I bet you'd look good on the dancefloor

I bet you'd look good on the dancefloor

Loving my new magic shoes (they make your feet look smaller). This one's for you, Em!

Monday, September 07, 2009

The fifth rule of online dating is...

...don't neglect the real world. There are a whole lot of options out there. It's easy to become a bit disillusioned with internet dating - if I read one more profile by a "pub lover" who likes "putting the world to rights over a pint", my brain is going to shut down in protest. By comparison, real-world meetings can seem much more straightforward and agenda-free. You like roller-blading? I like roller-blading! Coffee? Simple. Well, maybe not quite that simple, but y'know - the attraction is apparent; you don't have to waste any time emailing aimlessly back and forth; and there aren't a frillion other girls competing for his attention at the same time.

It's good to step away from the screen now and again.

* * * *

Actually, this rule pretty much applies to modern life in general. I read in the weekend papers about an internet rehab clinic that's been set up outside of Seattle, to help people (gaming geeks, mostly) wean themselves off their unhealthy addiction to the 'net. For about a millisecond I wondered if I qualified as addicted (I do seem to spend an inordinate amount of time online nowadays - doesn't everybody with a computer-based job?) - but then I remembered that I went cold turkey for a week in Slovenia and I didn't start getting the shakes 'til day 6.

Part of me is amazed by the possibilities the internet represents (building virtual communities; instant access to vast amounts of information on virtually any topic, yada yada), and part of me is worried about the consequences of living so much of our lives via an electronic interface, not to mention the deleterious effects of exposure to the 80% of online content that is porn/paranoid conspiracies/celeb gossip-mongering/blogs about people's boring-ass lives.

Just typed myself into a corner there. Back-up!

It is rather amazing to have witnessed how quickly the internet has infiltrated every aspect of our lives since we first heard whispers of a "world-wide web" (gasp!) around our High School circa 1991. I was remarking to someone just the other day how grateful I was to have been born into a pre-digital world: one consequence of this was that my generation had a simpler, slower-paced, generally more innocent upbringing. We certainly don't take instant electronic communication for granted. Those post-digital-revolution kiddies are going to freak-the-flip-out out when the grid goes down.
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