Friday, December 28, 2007
Still, my hallucinations were Buffy-related. Silver linings, eh? Yeah, I can hardly stand up but I did totally dust those vampires, baby.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
In less geeky news (but only just) this is my second podcast, made up with popsongs that last 70 seconds or less. It has moments of loudness, moments of fun, moments of perfect anticlimax and sadness. But they're just moments and they leave me breathless. Download it here (25 MB). Apologies for the rubbish sound, again.
Hello, How Are You? - Mad giraffes
Talulah Gosh - In love for the very first time
The Budgies - Winter depression
The Happy Birthdays - Wasting my time
The Motifs - The song that made you sad
Electrophönvintage - Break my heart again
Pipas - The conversation
The 10p Mixes - Silly boy
Colin Clary - Fuckinrighthandman.com
Aventuras de Kirlian - Ayer hice una casa
Henry's Dress - Sunshine proves all wrongness
The Aislers Set - The Train #2
The Orchids - [Untitled]
The Receptionists - Spradley
The Cat's Miaow - One of us is in the wrong place
Marine Girls - Day/Night Dreams
Rough Bunnies - Last night I dreamt I screwed a hen
Girlfrendo - Kisses in the nursery
* surprise song!*
This is totally unchristmassy of me, I know. But Matt over at Skatterbrain has done such a brilliant job with his Christmas mix, so you'd better go and download that as well. Ooh, and the new Pocketbooks Christmas song 'Christmas in your sights' is a real treat. It's got the best 'wooooohs' ever. Mmm.
Monday, December 10, 2007
I have been going slightly crazy about The Deirdres lately. I've always loved them but having finally seen them play live two days in a row a couple of weeks ago, it occurred to me that they are one of those bands that come along while no-one's looking and create something so honest and heartfelt that you can't but notice and gawp at and follow. When I saw them at Christmas Twee the other week, Keir Deirdre came to me at some drunken moment and said "Oh God, people say they like us because we are so twee. We hate twee! I mean, I know you like it and all that, but we don't understand it". Well, if you have seen them on stage you'll know that Keir's word don't make any sense. The Deirdres are the quintessence of twee. And yet, as I found out, they don't even know what indiepop is. They are completely unaware of the scene and the history of it, which is not only strange but also brilliant and fascinating. Because essentially it means that indiepop (and that's exactly what The Deirdres are) exists regardless of the scene and the history. As much as I love indiepop musicians who are also indiepop nerds, The Deirdres' innocence is so refreshing. Mr Honeypop thinks that it's suspicious and maybe they are not indiepop. I wonder if anyone sees my point though.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Download the file here (37 MB) and please forgive the awful sound. I am rubbish at Audacity.
Helen Love - I love indie pop
Town Bike - Trouble fucken rocks
The Tony Head Experience - Debbie one
Bis - Starbright boy
All Girl Summer Fun Band - Tour heart throb
Bunnygrunt - Inanimate objects
Shop Assistants - Fixed grin
The Crabapples - Quality not quantity
The Parallelograms - Orchard Square
Dorotea - Kortedala
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - The pains of being pure at heart
Horowitz - Judy is a punk
Fat Tulips - So surreal
Mika Bomb - Heart attack
Piney Gir - My generation
The Tidy Ups - Left behind
Hope you like it!
Monday, November 26, 2007
More than 10 years later, I found myself in Stoke and it was for pop. Pete, who used to be in The Rosehips, and Ian of The Mittens, were in a band called Horowitz and had also started putting on popshows in their hometown. I had nothing to lose apart from my hatred for Stoke - and I had almost forgotten about that. Stepping into the goth/rock/biker venue, faced by the immense sound on stage and the extra strong double house vodkas, I thought I was in a parallel universe where indiepop had gone all wrong. But it wasn't like that at all - and yes, no-one turned up at that first popshow but we had a brilliant time and stayed up late at Pete's house listening to pop and falling asleep talking about it. It was an important night.
Next time I went up to Stoke for a show there were a few more people there and I saw the Parallelograms for the first time and I kept grinning and grinning until my head started hurting. And the fine tradition of popshow curry started that night as well. Perfect in every way. Locked in a bubble of indiepop, thinking that this is how everything should be, is not a new thing for me, I've always been this way. I just never thought it could happen in Stoke too. The cardboard gravestone was truly irrelevant.
Going back there last Saturday evening, I took some time to walk around the bit of Stoke that's near the Glebe (the venue). The carpark was crammed but the streets were empty. It felt like a Sunday night, all quiet and eerie, threatening even - not that I've ever felt threatened in Stoke (well, apart from the horrible hangovers - bloody Stoke) and then, you know, as my talented indiepop friends started to arrive and there were hugs and jokes and glockenspiels, I knew I was lucky to be there, in that strange jigsaw puzzle of a city. And I know it could have been anywhere, it could have been in pretty Bristol, but it was important that it was in Stoke because indiepop is about politics and there that night, indiepop politics were making the biggest statement I could ever wish for: wide smiles, joyful drunkness, this matters. A lot. It works despite everything. And even the following day, when three wonderful people gave up their time to drive me to the bus station and there were no signs for it anywhere, and we were too shy to ask for directions, I still got there on time to catch my coach and even got a hug goodbye. Things work out in Stoke!
We are as one, we will never die, no we will never die.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Sunday, November 04, 2007
I make a big fuss of small things: like when my friend decided to start putting popshows on in Sheffield, in my head that became a symbol of pop power and his decision was the quintessence of the pop spirit. I am always amazed when people make decisions like that because it reminds me that although we go through our lives alone, there is always a string that connects our hands, our brains, our hearts and moves us all to common directions. I felt like that when I saw and heard the A Smile and a Ribbon album as well: it just seems so big, so important, and yet it comes from hearts set to create small treasures, treasures that we can deal with. And in that sense, indiepop is as political as they come. The sense that people are trying and achieving and the benefits are nothing more than a round of drinks, or a sweet email of appreciation, or a night of absolute perfect enchantment in a grotty pub. We live a relative life. Relatively fantastic. And that scares me.
Here's an early Popguns demo, a small present. Does anyone know what the song is called?
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
My mp3 player follows my thoughts and goes on to play 'She's Gone' despite being on the random setting. I guess that's as random as any song. But they are so absolutely perfect, so effortless, so engaging and real that they could have been anything if they weren't a band. They could have been an art collective or a brilliant football team, a group of friends you meet one night and you fall in love with in one go, or a mourning family at a funeral who crack a smile when the priest says the name of the person they so loved.
They could be anything amazing but luckily they became the most amazing thing they could ever be.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Listening to 'Coming Home' by The 10p Mixes
Monday, October 15, 2007
In a room full of happy people, do you smile? In a room full of people kissing, do you swoon? In a room full of people dancing, do you play The Motifs?
I need to cry until my eyes go pop! because there is so much to let go of but just as it’s all about to burst I turn my head and see the twinkly lights behind the trees and I can’t bring myself to make them twinklier with tears – they are just fine as they are. They hide lives much more complicated than mine, they lit up embraces and swearing, they are part of something so much bigger than anything I could possibly imagine. So I think I’ll just write this and go to bed and hope for a foggy morning that I can cut through on my way to work.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Life is complicated and life is great. I want to dance.
These mind-blowing insights were brought to you by:
- vodka and apple juice
- 'Sleep the Clock Around'
- pretty hair
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
One thing I am constantly asked by people who don't know me is why I like Britain so much. I used to get very defensive when answering the question but as the years go by I get more and more vague; not for lack of a response but because there are too many reasons - some good, some silly, some secret. I'd have loved for everyone who has asked me that question though to have been at St Pancras station on Saturday afternoon though. Train delays on a Saturday are the reason why I love living here.
Bright light coming in
People's eyes wide open, they are sitting there, patiently
Staff being sweet and funny
Someone complaining in a low voice; an 80-year-old man telling them that everything will be OK and it's no-one's fault really, these things happen.
More serenity. No panic. No shouting. No anger. No insults. Just time being thought of not as precious but as inevitable, just as it should be.
I love this country.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
On the other hand, events like autumn are making life officially Good. Battersea Power Station is my proper view from the flat now the leaves have started to fall from the trees and it feels like it's appeared out of the blue.
The gloom was brought to you by:
- The Frost, 'A Song About Us'
- Lack of proper food
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I lack a strong sense of memory and in that way I am not nostalgic. Is it because I'm so far removed from the place where my stronger memories would stem from? Or maybe it's because I'm always striving to avoid nostalgia because I'm desperate for today to be better than yesterday when it's mostly out of my control and an impossible task; but yes, maybe this day two years ago I was in seventh heaven and today I'm only trying to make my day better than it was on, say, Thursday. But I find it very easy to switch off from thinking back to so-called happier times because I'm here and it's now and that's all I have to work with.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
I was reminded yesterday about a conversation during my last summer holiday in Greece in the island of Antiparos, in 1997. A friend of a friend was talking to me about music and said that the only reason anyone would listen to small, unknown bands is to be deliberately obscure. I was furious of course: just because you're lazy, mister, that doesn't make me pretentious. Pfft!
Indiepop is a funny little place. We live in the past quite a lot because we can pinpoint the time when it all started - or so we think. Doesn't everyone have their own indiepop history wallcharts which differ greatly according to age, sex and That Sex? No? You know what I mean though: if you're nearer you forties, you'll probably be wetting your pants at the thought of the C86 tape. Or you could be getting all dreamy thinking about Sarah Records like what I do, or early Creation, or Subway. Or was it Belle and Sebastian that opened up your eyes? And look at us now, with all these amazing bands all around us, the popshows, the indiepop discos everywhere - and not just here. Sweden is Indiepop Heaven, if I interpret what I hear correctly (I haven't been yet). Look at us! You can jump on the train and go see The Deirdres in Derby, or Pocketbooks in Sheffield, or Bunnygrunt in Nottingham, or The Icicles in London. We're lucky because we live in a time of great fun and adventures and a lot of love is turned into songs and bands and singles. We're lucky. So why do we look back? Why do Horowitz need to namedrop Talulah Gosh and Bubblegum Splash in 'Popkids of the World Unite'? Why do The Parallelograms namecheck most 1980s indiepop bands like Razorcuts, The Pooh Sticks and Popguns? They're both brilliant songs but why are they looking back when we have so much to look forward to?
I think it's a code. I don't know if it's the right way to connect to an audience that you think will understand you but that's alright because we can do both. My head gets as messed up with happiness when I listen to Talulah Gosh as it does when I put on Cooties Attack! and that's the truth. It's not reverence that makes me want to play my Flatmates seven-inches, it's pure delight. But that goes for The Deirdres cd-r as well. I love it. They're all important and urgent and, if anything, what we should really be looking at are the bands that appeared at times when nothing else was happening around them and fought it till the bitter end, for the love of pop. Hello The Regulars. You were great.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
I'm completely mental, aren't I? I can hardly watch Corrie and eat at the same time. Who am I kidding? Well, that's what listening to the Aerospace album does to you. It makes you feel invincible.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Been feeling quite lost this weekend and kept catching myself stopping and blanking out. I'm not sure if it was sadness or longing or stress, I can never tell. Last night I had all the lights turned off in our front room and was just staring out of the window for ages listening to Rachmaninov's piano concerto no.3 (in a recording with Rachmaninov himself on the piano), my favourite piece of classical music and something I can really appreciate because I can sing along to it. The sign of good pop. And the sign of a good view, I suppose, if you can sit there for ages, with your head sticking out of the window.
Friday, August 24, 2007
In the last couple of days the subject of doing a house gig (popshow!) came up a few times in conversations while lying on the sofa sipping tea and listening to A House Full of Friends, the Magic Marker compilation. The first time the subject came up I was saying how brilliant it would be if someone else did it so I could go. Now I’m sitting here, thinking about my life a little bit and the great things that I’m lucky to have and all the popshows I get to see and organise and help out with, and my heart starts racing at the thought of having a couple of bands playing acoustically in my tiny front room and maybe 15-20 people attending. Don’t let me go ahead with it: I’ll probably end up wanting to do it every week. You know what a good alternative to house popshows is though? Popshows upstairs at pubs, unplugged and joyous.
This entry was brought to you by
- Rose Melberg singing ‘A Holiday in Rhode Island’ live in Oxford
- A very weak cup of tea
- Saint Trainticketbooking-on-the-Internet
- Science is sexy – you know, when it's cool
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
I'm ridiculously excited about the covers compilation Pete and I are putting together. The submissions I've already listened to are as pretty as the summer sky and totally spot on. I don't want to give much away right now because the rights situation is not clear yet, but if we end up releasing it, it's going to be a beautiful, beautiful thing.
In other news my head and my body ache from the crazy ups and downs of the last few days. There shouldn't have been any ups and downs so I'm not quite sure what happened but, woah, did the madness mess up my head. I feel all floaty and in desperate need of a few drinks but first I need to go to bed, put the radio on and read my book. Drinks, bed, radio, book. Right. Got it.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
I remember being 18 and still in the early, slow years of my indiepop discovery, when finding and buying records was a 6-month long adventure of waiting for the next bi-annual issue of the In Those Days fanzine to come out with recommendations, sending an SAE for the latest Mind the Gap catalogue, saving money, turning it into foreign currency, sending the cash by post and waiting and waiting forever for the postman to arrive... (We used to live in a wooden box you know, all 14 of us. And for breakfast we had a lump of coal.) Back then, I used to pop a tape in my walkman and walk round Athens feeling like I was on top of the world: so privileged, so lucky, so beautiful. This was the music that I had discovered and it was the best music in the world and it was mine.
To feel like this 15 years later is nothing short of a miracle because I get easily bored and I have the attention span of a squirrel. But here I am, playing The Deirdres demo and thinking, yeah, this is brilliant and this is what I'm part of. Whooop!
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Apart from knowing that my favourite band is probably the Orchids and that my favourite song of theirs is 'I Was Just Dreaming', I've always found it very difficult to pinpoint favourites when it comes to music because I get very easily excited and that's the sad truth.
What I never in a million years thought would ever happen though is to not be able to decide what my favourite moment of the last couple of weeks would be. Of any couple of weeks. How many amazing things can happen in a couple of weeks if you're a normal person who doesn't go on exotic holidays and is having a particularly bad time at work at the moment? So many that I was on an empty coach travelling from Oxford to London last night and sighed and said "I love my life". What's that all about?
But I really can't decide between hugs, ohmygods during the Orchids set and singalongs on moving steam trains at Indietracks; Gregory Webster and Rose Melberg singing Carousel songs together upstairs a smelly pub in Oxford; dancing 'til I'm sick to the Aislers Set on an empty dancefloor; defending Sarah Records in a cab heading towards south London; watching a cat taking up all the available space between two popkids sitting drinking tea and moaning about their hangovers; meeting Ralphie and sharing a badge; shouting "muffin!" to the Parallelograms...
I can't decide and I love it.
Ooh and then I got tagged again, this time by That Pete. Well, Pete tagged the label but I can't see anyone else doing it and I haven't got access to our Mysp*ce blog, so lalala.
Here it goes, then: eight things you might not know about me, unless you know me.
1. My first memory is of our neighbour (and one of my parents' best friends) storming into our flat dressed as Santa but with a black beard (his own) and shouting "MwahahaHAHAHAHA!". I wasn't even three yet but I remember jumping onto my dad's lap, shaking like a caught fish and crying my heart out.
2. I can speak four languages but I can only switch easily between English and Greek. Everything else confuses me greatly.
3. I love red things. There is something in my brain that directly links red to happiness.
4. If I'm at a popdisco or a popshow I cannot not dance to a song I love. I like to think it's loyalty when in fact it's just an obsessive compulsive disorder, especially when I do it even though I know I can hardly stand up (be it from drunkeness, illness, tiredness). Last Friday I almost made myself sick dancing to the Aislers Set but I couldn't stop.
5. My first job in Greece was helping my English teacher's autistic older son with his homework. I did it every weekday afternoon for two years in exchange for English lessons.
6. The first time I got ridiculously drunk was when I was 17 and I was at the island of Rodos. The second time I was 31 and in Sheffield.
7. I always think I disappoint the people I love and as a result I apologise all the time.
8. I have now met my favourite film director and my favourite popband. I got hugs from all of them.
I have to nominate some poor souls to do this. I wonder if they'll ever come across this entry...
her him him
Friday, August 03, 2007
The one thing that can keep me going when real life kicks in and I feel ridiculously lonely in my thoughts about how best to escape it, is discovering new songs. Yesterday my friend sent me an absolutely amazing song called 'I'm A Broken Heart' by American duo The Bird and the Bee. It got me rolling again for a bit. Their self-titled album also has another amazing song that's been rattling my brain all day today: 'Again and Again'. They're a bit like The Blow with some Au Revoir Simone, The Aluminum Group and Saint Etienne thrown in. A bit loungy pop electronica. Dunno. They're fucking brilliant, that's all I can say for sure.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Ne retenez pas, résistez pas
Faites vivre ce qui, ce qui doit vivre
Laissez mourir ce qui doit mourir