Thursday, September 29, 2005

happy geek alert 

it's in the city which always makes me feel cynical and alienated about music so here as a tonic are my top five albums of the year so far

chris mills - the wall to wall sessions
elbow - leaders of the free world
riloh kiley - more adventurous
arcade fire - funeral
stars - set yourself on fire

reviews doubtless to follow... i've had a lack of money and time for exploration plus there's been a tallulah gosh inspired indiepop revival in my heart so its felt like a bit of a lack lustre year for new music thus far. i was getting fearful i may be slipping into jaded seen it all before muso boredom, but of course there's still treasure aplenty... i hope i never loose the thrill of seeking out and hearing something magical and new for the first time (or, rather, may i never stop being threatened and jealous of people who know things i don't. cheers, no.3!)

got to go and get ready for our agm now. i'm in a suit and marie accosted me in the kitchen so blimey its smart shoes and almost coordination too. wish me luck!


things to do: 

get clued up about migration on friday

after the alternative freshers fair

and look forward to the return of the marvellous chris mills


hats off to kitty 

an icon of proper punk rock


i love that grrrrrl

np in my head: the new elbow album. heard snippets on 6music which made me feel tingly; hadn't realised quite how fantastic it was going to be. swoopingly, broodingly, gloriously mancunian in the best possible sense of the word


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

np: these elusive dreams 

my new ad, as mentioned below. possibly too many words but i didn't want to waste anyone's time. and it's written in my favourite font, moms typewriter, on top of a charming Don McPhee photo of some salford lads dressed as cowboys


fancy making some sweet, scary, f*cked up lo-fi countryish noises?

kindreds and collaborators wanted to help manifest the sounds in my head.

a few of my favourite things: the handsome family, psychogeography, richard buckner, social justice, the pastels, huggy bear, tea, trains, chaos, magick, nancy and lee, mischief, trees, syd barrett, de/regeneration, the seaside, belle and sebastian, patti smith, daniel johnston, kazoos, chris mills, sarah records, haberdashery, serendipity and oooh loads of stuff

passion is more important than virtuosity and spirit beats good
taste every time


invisible zines #1 

I don’t want much out of life – social justice, good sex, a signed copy of the madcap laughs, easy stuff like that, but my dearest wish is to get my songs played in a vaguely decent band. Technically I’m not a great musician but much of what I love is about passion not virtuosity and I just want to get the sounds in my head out because truly, I think it could be beautiful.

I have been involved in some horrible musical crimes in the past and I got scared and self conscious and awed by the greatness of my favourite records, so I’ve made loads of excuses not to make music. But that’s silly and frustrating and I’ve never stopped writing and apparently I’m now at the perfect muso age.

I’ve finally plucked up the nerve to put new adverts up in select places around manc and in cyberspace. Thus far nobody has replied, and as a salutatory lesson to myself and for your amusement I present the results of my last attempt at gathering a coven. (It was on yellow paper, purple pen with a bit of wittering a long list of bands I like and a few pretty squiggles.)

No 1 answered by email; He was into the handsomes, described my writing as lemonheadesque and was about to move to Manchester. We exchanged some heart warming correspondence that gave me optimistic butterflies. And then he decided to stay in brighton

No 2 looked like a stereotypical madchester survivor. We drank cheap lager and played together in a soulless dive in Salford. I put my uneasiness in his company down to my nerves; nevertheless I got a mate to accompany me to band practice and never invited him to our house. Although the creepiness never quite subsided I have to admit it felt like we were creating something worthwhile. His guitar playing was astonishingly good and we my little songs merged into a big, dark, crashing wave of noise. I was growing in confidence too and my singing was the best it has ever been. We never connected on any kind of personal level; small talk was hard and that felt strange. I always imagined I’d have to be friends with anyone that shared my musical journey but I started to realise we were working together and that was all that mattered. I was feeling positive and didn’t mind the increasingly strange messages he was leaving me; I was glad of his creative interest. Then I got sick and missed a couple of meetings and his tone got nasty. I’ll spare the drama but it ended in me getting quite scared, what with the texted death threats and nasty emails. Ho hum. Rarely have I been so sad to have my instincts confirmed.

I thought I’d taken down all my adverts after that but happily I didn’t because No 3 has been inspiring in quite unexpected ways. I adore him. He’s also an enchanting tunesmith. However, we have never made any music together ever so for the purpose of this piece he’s fucking useless. And he likes coldplay.

No 4 was a deeply serious and very proficient musician. Working with him was challenging and taught me a lot. He thought my songs were too twee and that I should drink more (!) His playing was bluesy, aggressive and he encouraged me to snarl and pretend to be PJ harvey. I’ve always been honest about my limitations but it was fun and we agreed to give it a go for a wee while. I was surprised how sad I felt when I was dumped by a harshly worded and clearly scripted telephone call

I didn’t actually meet no 5. He rang me up a couple of times and we chatted about influences and ideas; a meeting was arranged but I got a text when I was on the bus saying he wanted to join a pre-existing band because starting from scratch was too much work

I think I scared no 6 off; he was very shy and graceful but I was horribly negative and bombastic when we met and all the things i wanted to say got stuck in my throat

i've always been crap at taking hints but maybe this time...


clue: 5 is the heavenly option 

quiz time.

why have i got pink hair?

1 i've fallen in love with autumn and wanted a suitable plumage prior to hibernating over the winter
2 it's to graphically demonstrate my hypocrisy, striving to live a low impact and hemhem chemical free life and then making myself look as far from natural as possible
3 it's a way of gaining control over my body, having been a bit poorly recently (gosh, carrying a stick brings out a belligerence i didn't know i possessed)
4 i want to come up with the perfect retort to people asking me if its dyed (you wouldn't believe how many have done so)
5 all the above, in hindsight, but actually i just loved the colour and thought it would be cool. not everything has to be psychoanlysed to death you know.

did i mention i'm aiming to post every day for a while? its about self discipline and a need to get over my crippling nervousness about sharing writing.


Monday, September 26, 2005

not being brave, just being 

I’ve been thinking about those statues of disabled children you used to see on the high street; they was a blind boy and another with calipers and a girl with a cane. They all had the same humbrol pinkey beige skin you got with home model kits and they all had a slot in their heads to feed them money. I’ve got a postcard of roadside saints in ireland; mary has the same colour skin and the same impassive stare; imploring and accusing at the same time.

If you gave your sweet shop change to these poor little frozen children, with mournful eyes and silent tears then you were a good person. You were lucky to be able to see where to put your penny and could feel smug that every little helps before you went home to tea.

I assumed they had gone because of progress; a rejection of that patronising, pitiful cap in hand bullshit. It belongs to another age, not a world that values individuals and preaches that we can all be special.

Unfortunately that’s not entirely true. Those statues hold a lot of money and the modern world knows no shame. They were easy targets for thieves and so the poor ickle chillen are hiding from the bad men that want to kidnap them.

I got to thinking about where they were; in my minds eye the terracotta army have a rival. I googled away and asked around; aside from a brief sighting in a colour supplement (a disabled boy in the corner of some trendy artists flat) nobody knew where the figures had all gone.

I’m glad we don’t have to pass those children anymore but still I felt uneasy. Mostly there’s only three kinds of disabled people you see in the media: pitiful, evil and fearful or super heroic and inspirational. They are all extraordinary and all extraordinarily damaging. They all mean something bad and something abnormal and it’s not enough.

When I was a child I wore calipers and spaz was the playground taunt of choice. It sounds sick now I know but I used to love seeing the boy outside the paper shop; he was the only person I ever saw who looked a bit like me. I’m struggling to think about who my role models would be now; the invisibility is all wrapped up in eugenics and scientific claptrap but there is still an aching screaming gap in our collective consciousness.

That’s why, despite everything, I’m just a little bit sad you don’t see those statues anymore, pathetic and damaging as they are. I miss the boy because when I was lonely he was my friend.


a product relaunch thanks to the focus group in my brain 

i'm resurrecting twangorama. I still don't have a computer of my own but i promise not to post about why i'm not posting. I imagine it will be a repository for all the flotsam and jetsam that i scribble on bus tickets and then abandon to languish amongst squashed bananas in my handbag...


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