Thursday, 30 August 2012

On The Road

'the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.'
- On The Road by Jack Kerouac

Cassidy and Kerouac (/Dean and Sal)

Thug Lyfe

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Every now and then I remember how good Emiliana Torrini is and obsess for a while. This time, it was because I couldn't sleep and Bleeder, which I've posted below, is the most beautiful and soothing lullaby ever. I mean obviously it didn't work because I'm writing this at 3 in the morning but if anything did, it would be this.

'Oh, lay with meOh, closer to my body'

I, Pet Goat II

By Heliofant - The most amazing short film I've ever seen. Definitely demands more than one watch, it is absolutely crammed full of symbolic images and unreal graphics. 

Rob Hefferan

Here is another example of an incredibly talented artist. He uses warmth and light so masterfully to capture atmosphere and the life in his subjects that you can't help feeling as if you are actually with them in the painting. These are just a few of my favourites.

Disney Paintings by Thomas Kinkade

I have nothing more to add that can't be explained by the paintings themselves - They are incredible! Evokes all the beauty, romance and fairy tale that Disney portrays in its films and more. I am totally in love with this man, especially his painting of Beauty and the Beast.

Beauty and the Beast
Peter Pan
Snow White
Not sure... But beautiful anyway

If You Forget Me - Pablo Neruda

Translated from Spanish, but still very evocative and poignant.

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

Painting by Marc Chagall

Aleah Chapin - Auntie Collection

I'm not an artist, nor am I knowledgable at all about painting and portraits or anything, but when I saw Aleah Chapin's work I was absolutely blown away. Her collection of nude portraits of those closest to her are not only incredibly beautiful, intricate and intimate but also seem to somehow portray perfectly the love that the artist felt for her models. Her most famous, 'Auntie' (below) won the £25,000 BP Portrait Award and a commission worth £4,000. She is definitely being appreciated!


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Tom Hanks Being A Boss

Uuuurrgghhhh every time, man. Every time.

Tavener is the perfect accompaniment for Plath:

You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.

Daddy, I have had to kill you.
You died before I had time--
Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,
Ghastly statue with one gray toe
Big as a Frisco seal

And a head in the freakish Atlantic
Where it pours bean green over blue
In the waters off beautiful Nauset.
I used to pray to recover you.
Ach, du.

In the German tongue, in the Polish town
Scraped flat by the roller
Of wars, wars, wars.
But the name of the town is common.
My Polack friend

Says there are a dozen or two.
So I never could tell where you
Put your foot, your root,
I never could talk to you.
The tongue stuck in my jaw.

It stuck in a barb wire snare.
Ich, ich, ich, ich,
I could hardly speak.
I thought every German was you.
And the language obscene

An engine, an engine
Chuffing me off like a Jew.
A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.
I began to talk like a Jew.
I think I may well be a Jew.

The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna
Are not very pure or true.
With my gipsy ancestress and my weird luck
And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack
I may be a bit of a Jew.
I have always been scared of you,
With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.
And your neat mustache
And your Aryan eye, bright blue.
Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You--

Not God but a swastika
So black no sky could squeak through.
Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you.

You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
In the picture I have of you,
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot
But no less a devil for that, no not
Any less the black man who

Bit my pretty red heart in two.
I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die
And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do.

But they pulled me out of the sack,
And they stuck me together with glue.
And then I knew what to do.
I made a model of you,
A man in black with a Meinkampf look

And a love of the rack and the screw.
And I said I do, I do.
So daddy, I'm finally through.
The black telephone's off at the root,
The voices just can't worm through.

 If I've killed one man, I've killed two--
The vampire who said he was you
And drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know.
Daddy, you can lie back now.

 There's a stake in your fat black heart
And the villagers never liked you.
They are dancing and stamping on you.
They always knew it was you.
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through.

Monday, 27 August 2012


Wooooohoooooooo, I've hit the 1,000 view mark! People, I'm going big time. Here is a video of a slow loris eating rice to celebrate:

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Surprised by joy – impatient as the wind
I turned to share the transport – Oh! With whom
But thee, long buried in the silent tomb,
That spot which no vicissitude can find?
Love, faithful love, recalled thee to my mind –
But how could I forget thee? - Through what power, 
Even for the least division of an hour, 
Have I been so beguiled as to be blind 
To my most grievous loss? – That thought's return 
Was the worse pang that sorrow ever bore, 
Save one, one only, when I stood forlorn, 
Knowing my heart's best treasure was no more; 
That neither present time nor years unborn 
Could to my sight that heavenly face restore.

- William Wordsworth

Good Headphones Required

Saturday, 25 August 2012

40 Songs That Keep Me Grooving

Yayyy happy songs! These are mostly chilled happy as opposed to energetic happy, but they're the tunes I whack out on a sunny day or when I'm washing up and I need something to keep the ol' spirits up. I tend to listen to quite an eclectic mix of stuff so there'll be anything from reggae through 70's classics to soul and cheesy pop. Even if it's not what you usually listen to, give it a chance on some good headphones and it'll take you right on down to funky town. 

1) Come To Me by The Black Seeds
Everyone needs the Seeds.

2) Magic Man by Heart
You'll be hooked by the sexy guitar.

3) Just The Two Of Us by Grover Washington, Jr. and Bill Withers
How do you give a duck soul? Put it in the microwave until its bill withers. Ha. Ha ha. 

4) California Soul by Marlena Shaw

4) Waltz for Koop by Koop
Koop is genius, all their songs make you feel so GOOD.

5) Feather by Little Dragon
I saw this live and it blew me away (har har feather wordplay). The whole crowd was on their knees for Yukimi Nagano.

6) All Cried Out Redux by Jill Scott ft. Doug E. Fresh
We about to take it from the bottom to the top, AAA-ITE? 

7) Can't Stop Now by Major Lazer
Or pretty much any Major Lazer song ever. I love them.

8) What's Going On by Marvin Gaye
This list just would not be complete without a bit of Marvin.

9) The Beautiful Ones by Prince
And if you love this then check out Beyoncé covering it at Glastonbury - She killed it, as usual.

10) Rapp Snitch Knishes by DOOM
The perfect use of a sample from David Matthew's cover of Bowie's Space Oddity. And his laugh at the end is almost as good as P Diddy at the end of Last Night.

11) Everything is Everything by Lauryn Hill
After winter must come spring - Change, it comes eventually.

12) Squeeze Me by Kraak & Smaak
Best served with sunshine.

13) Bathwater by No Doubt
No Doubt was the definition of cool, I almost died of excitement when I heard they were getting back together.

14) Never Too Much by Luther Vandross
If my future husband doesn’t serenade me with this song at least once I’m not marrying him.

15) Pass That Dutch by Missy Elliott
I could have put any song by her to be honest, it was close between this one and The Rain (Missy Elliott you certainly are supa dupa fly). RUN FOR COVER, MUTHAF***A...

16) Security by Otis Redding
The original driver of the soooouuull traaiiinnn...

17) Good Morning by Guts
This won't be to everyone's tastes, but I think Guts is a genius.

18) October Song by Amy Winehouse
Better than crack cocaine...

19) Pretty Little Thing by Fink
Only know him from the Dear John soundtrack? Well FINK AGAIN...

20) Temperature by Sean Paul
A great song, even if you don't know what the hell he's saying... ANGOLAAA.

21) Millionaire by Kelis and Andre 3000
Got to be funky funky.

22) Easy Skanking by Bob Marley
Of COURSE there was going to be Bob Marley on here.

23) Strawberry Letter 23 by The Brothers Johnson
Just LOOK at them.

24) Ooh Wee by Mark Ronson
People really need to stop forgetting about this song.

25) Let's Get Blown by Snoop Dogg

26) Hope by Fat Freddy's Drop
And also pretty much every other song by them.

27) Work It Out by Beyoncé
I could easily get a million Beyoncé songs into any playlist.

28) No Exit by Gil Scott-Heron
Chill to Gil.

29) Never In A Million Years by Apollo Brown
Makes you feel gooood.

30) Sunny by Boney M.
A necessary classic.

31) Gordon's Gardenparty by The Cardigans
I am the world's biggest Cardigans fan, people need to look past Lovefool and My Favourite Game and find some of their other gems.

32) Certainly by Erykah Badu
Reppin' the Soulquarians.

33) Another Girl by Jacques Greene
The best thing to come out of Canada since Avril Lavigne. No seriously, she's great.

34) Tomorrow by Jono McCleery
The perfect morning groove.

35) Get A Move On by Mr. Scruff
There is literally nothing more catchy.

36) Juxtaposed With U by Super Furry Animals
A staple of my summer playlists for the past five years.

37) Eple by Röyksopp
Never gets old.

38) Feel It All Around by Washed Out
Makes you want to frolic naked and drink nectar from the flowers...

39) Flow by Disclosure
I certainly will get on the flow, thankyou for offering.

40) Little L by Jamiroquai
An absolute 90's hero. 

Friday, 24 August 2012

10 Songs That Always Make Me Cry

Most people who know me know that I have a bit of a penchant for depressing music or films. A great night for me is sitting in bed alone and weeping over Titanic with a large order of chinese. I have actually done this before. How embarrassing. But at least it means that when it comes to tear-jerkers I know my shit. I say embrace it, everyone loves a good emotional release every now and then. 
Obviously each to their own, some people will find different music moves them more than others depending on personal taste and when or where they heard it. For me personally, the following songs or pieces never fail to leave me in a bit of an emotional state.

1) Baby Birch by Joanna Newsom

I know I've actually posted this song before on my blog but I CAN'T HELP IT IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL. Most of Joanna Newsom's lyrics tend to be a bit ambiguous (and a LOT poetic) but it always seems to me like she's talking about an abortion or miscarriage. Usually the tears start at this verse:

'Your eyes are green, your hair is gold
Your hair is black, your eyes are blue
I closed the ranks and I doubled back
But you know, I hated to close the door on you.'

And by the time she sings 'Be at peace, baby, and begone' at the end I am a complete wreck. Uuurghhh I love this song SO MUCH.

2) re: stacks by Bon Iver

Justin Vernon actually went into a sort of hibernation in a wood cabin in Wisconsin to write the album For Emma, Forever Ago after he broke up from a long term relationship, which may be why the songs on it are so so moving. My favourite by far is re:stacks, a simple song where Justin uses only acoustic guitar chords as accompaniment. Like Baby Birch, in which Joanna Newsom plays her harp and sings, the lyrics are cryptic but come across as extremely personal. The final verse especially strikes a chord:

'This is not the sound of a new man or a crispy realisation
It's the sound of the unlocking and the lift away
Your love will be
Safe with me.'

3) A Case Of You by James Blake

As you've probably gathered by now, I'm not too phased by singers with unusual voices. James Blake's, especially, makes his cover of Joni Mitchell's A Case of You all the more sad because he sounds constantly as if he's on the verge of bursting into tears. Every time he sings the chorus it tears me up:

'You're in my blood you're my holy wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet,
Oh I could drink a case of you darling
And I would still be on my feet,
Oh I would still be on my feet.'

Another favourite line is when he sings ''Cause part of you pours out of me in these lines from time to time.'

3) Your Love Means Everything Part 2 by Faultline

I've posted this song before as well... I'll just have to subject you once again to the cringeworthy video specifying that the song comes 'with clouds'. I had to use that one because all the other ones say that the song is by Coldplay. IT'S NOT, it's Faultline. Anyway I've loved this song for years and years, ever since it became an anthem to my angsty pre-teen years. For me, it feels so sad because in a way it's kind of emotionless - It's more still and understated. Like the feeling you get when something's just happened and you're in a bit of a numb state of shock. *WEEP*

'It was a strange reaction
For someone like you to remain so sure
And in a chain reaction
I dissolve and break and then away I crawl'

4) Siegfried Idyll by Richard Wagner

I always feel like you can appreciate music more when you've actually played it, as it requires more of an emotional investment, and that may be why I love this piece so much. I REALLY hope other people can see why I'm so in love with it though because if they can't then they are missing out. Unlike the other songs I've posted, this piece isn't actually depressing or anything, Wagner actually wrote it as an expression of love for his wife. She woke up one morning to the sound of a small chamber orchestra playing it outside of her house, which is why a lot of it is written to sound like birds in the morning. It just brings tears for me because it's so fricking BEAUTIFUL. It swells towards a sort of climax towards the end of the piece and it was actually at the chord at 17:34 in the recording and then again at 18:04 that I almost started crying when I was performing it. It's stuff like this that makes it easy to forget that Wagner was actually a bit of a bastard. 
Anyway, rant over. If  you ever get the chance to see it played (by a good orchestra, don't let a crappy one ruin it for you) then definitely go see it. It's a shame that so many people these days don't appreciate classical music because they just can't be bothered to give it the time of day.

5) Casimir Pulaski Day by Sufjan Stevens

A sweet, innocent song about losing a friend to cancer. While the music itself is light and happy throughout, the lyrics tell a simple but inexplicably sad story about death and doubting faith in God. The last paragraph is particularly telling:

'All the glory when He took our place
But He took my shoulders and He shook my face
And He takes and He takes and He takes...'

6) Baby Mine by Bette Noyes

This is entirely due to the scene in Dumbo. Oh god, it's heartbreaking. Worse than that scene in Up, I swear.

7) In The Shallows by Daughter

In all honesty, singers with voices like hers usually annoy me a bit but this song is so good and her voice suits it so well that she can be forgiven. 

'Come out, come out, to the sea my love
And just
Drown with me.'

8) Threnos by John Tavener

There weren't any good recordings of this on YouTube so I had to use a Spotify link but if you don't have it and then oh my god get it, it's SO worth it for this. I'm a huge fan of John Tavener and there are so many of his pieces, especially choral works, that are haunting and beautiful and amazing. But this piece of sweet cello goodness is just in another league. The word 'threnos' comes from the word for 'wailing' in Greek and that actually happens to be another obsession of mine - like, any song or film soundtrack with wailing voices in and I am sold. Look at the Troy soundtrack, the one for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Passion  of the Christ, etc. The list goes on. 

9) Hector's Death from the soundtrack to Troy by James Horner

Oh god, this list just gets more and more embarrassing but my previous rant about Threnos reminded me of this one. BEAR WITH ME. I know many of you may criticise me for my choice of film and may well just think that Troy was rubbish with its only redeeming feature being Brad Pitt in bum-skimming armour. Don't get me wrong, that was a definite highlight. HOWEVER, the soundtrack is also completely brilliant and when the wailing voice comes in as Achilles kills Hector (which also makes me cry because Eric Bana is too beautiful to die) then I usually shed more than a few tears. Which I can do so when listening to the soundtrack on its own. I refuse to feel shame about this, I cannot be the only one this emotionally fragile.

10) The Road by Zero 7

Zero 7 is one of my favourite artists of all time and very nostalgic for me as well because I've been listening to them since I was about 8 years old. This song is pretty personal to me but I think the lyrics are so comforting and soft. 

'Spirits will climb
Into a time of your design.
All that I know
Never will be told, oh, child of mine.'

Yo-Yo Ma-velous (see what I did there?)

LOOK AT HIS LITTLE FACE! What a genius, this movement can move me to tears. Especially 0:58 of the next video (named Dvorak's Cello Concerto: 2nd Movement (Yo-Yo Ma) [Part 4]). Dvorak, if you were alive I would fall and kiss your feet. Oh and don't worry Yo-Yo, ridiculous names are always good for one's creative image.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

1968 Olympics

On a topical note - Stumbled across this wicked photo of Tommie Smith and John Carlos (American athletes) doing the black power salute at the 1968 Olympics. They both got expelled from the games as a result, just shows how far we've come! 

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Face Dunking Mug

New edition to my list of COOLEST THINGS EVER!! I will not rest until I have purchased one of these:

Friday, 3 August 2012

You'll go to Hell for what your dirty mind is thinking

What I Have Learned Today

So APPARENTLY, prawns and shrimp are the same thing? WHAT!? Shrimp is how Americans say prawn! I have lived for almost twenty years under the impression that I had never eaten shrimp. 
You know what else I found out? That dock leaves don't actually have any medical properties to cure nettle stings. I'm serious, you could rub any leaf on a sting and it would have the same effect as a dock leaf.

I don't know what to believe in anymore.
(The more I watch this the more camp he looks...)

I love my friends.

Baby Birch by Joanna Newsom. Sob.

This is the song for Baby Birch,
I will never know you.
And at the back of what we've done
There is the knowledge of you.

I wish we could take every path,
I could spend a hundred years adoring you.
Yes, I wish we could take every path,
Because I hated to close the door on you.

Do you remember staring up at the stars
So far away in their bulletproof cars?
We heard the rushing, slow intake
Of the dark, dark water
And the engine breaks.

And I said
How about them engine breaks?
And, if I should die before I wake
Will you keep an eye on Baby Birch
Because I'd hate to see her
Make the same mistakes.

When it was dark I called and you came.
When it was dark I saw shapes.
When I see stars I feel in your hand,
And I see stars and I reel, again.

Well mercy me, I'll be goddamned,
It's been a long long time since I last saw you
And I have never known the plan.
It's been a long, long time, how are you?

Your eyes are green, your hair is gold,
Your hair is black, your eyes are blue.
I closed the ranks and I doubled back
But you know, I hated to close the door on you.

We take a walk along the dirty lake,
Hear the goose cussing at me over her eggs.
You poor little cousin,
I don't want your dregs,
A little baby fussing all over my legs.

There is a blacksmith and there is a shepherd and there is a butcher-boy
And there is a barber who's cutting and cutting away at my only joy,
I saw a rabbit as slick as a knife and as pale as a candlestick
And I had thought it'd be harder to do but I caught her and skinned her quick,
Held her there kicking and mewling, upended, unspooling, unsung and blue,
Told her "wherever you go, little runaway bunny I will find you"
And then she ran
As they're liable to do.

Be at peace, baby, and begone.

Jamming session with two guitars, some dodgy harmonies, fairy lights, wine and a stunning view of the sea. Perfect. 

Matt Corr-by

This song reminds me of better times. But more importantly, he is SEXY. Honestly, probably one of the sexiest men I have ever had the fortune to set eyes on. The terrible, terrible things I would do to this man. Watch as he oozes amazingness. 


Listen and weep, my friends. 
(One day I will find a way of sharing songs without having to embed YouTube videos... Meanwhile you can enjoy this  'with Clouds')

The Great Gatsby

Oh, Fitzgerald. You beautiful, beautiful man...

He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning-fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips' touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete.

'Most of the shadows of life are caused by standing in our own sunshine.'
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

I loved the soundtrack more than the film itself... And the film was beautiful.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

'He had formed little by little the habit of numbering his Dead; it had come to him tolerably early in life that there was something one had to do for them. They were there in their simplified, intensified essence, their conscious absence and expressive patience, as personally there as if they had only been stricken dumb. When all sense of them failed, all sound of them ceased, it was as if their purgatory were really still on earth: they asked so little that they got, poor things, even less, and died again, died every day, of the hard usage of life. They had no organised service, no reserved place, no honour, no shelter, no safety. Even ungenerous people provided for the living, but even those who were called most generous did nothing for the others.'

Extract from The Altar Of The Dead by Henry James