Friday, 24 September 2010

The Naked and Famous, Little Dragon and a poncho...

Having run out of things to review right now, it's time for some fancies. I won't be blogging my every waking moment on here but perhaps on a Friday, I will share a little of my week; let's see how long I can keep it up?

First half of the week involved lots of bed, not the fun kind, the flu kind which was very boring, culminating in a huge headache all day Wednesday and recovery on Thursday. So it's been a short week really. 

This is my favourite time of the year being the start of Autumn though so despite all the sneezing, I've been feeling that season turn...and a good excuse to shop a bit for some new clothes and think about Samhain which is another favourite festival of mine...witchywoos and pumpkins and the perfect time to buy a new broomstick without people giving me funny looks!

I have two new books to read, reviews coming up of course, the new Niffenegger, of 'The Time Traveler's Wife' fame which is a ghostie story and fabulous so far ' Her Fearful Symmetry'. It has encouraged me to pick up an old story I was writing a few months back so 'inspiring times'! A first for me is a book by Naseem Rahka called 'The Crying Tree', no idea what it will be like but was attracted to the title so watch this space for a verdict.

Other news, hmm due to illness I watched television this week ' This is England 1986', oh bleurgh, left me with the same feeling the ten oclock news does, dispondent and wondering how everyone just keeps plodding on through life's crap... come on 2012 please! Not the Olympics, spiritual enlightenment of course! Was greatly cheered up by Mister Bill 'lovely' Compton of vampirey blood/sex/bits of bodies 'True Blood'.  

I'm now the proud owner of a poncho...and in the words of Vince Noir ' It's impossible to be unhappy in a poncho' which is why I wore it all morning after waking up as the mardiest Melanie on the planet, god knows why? Moon or hormones? Some comfort blanket style clothing magic and The Naked and Famous new single have made me feel much more Friday 'ish' ...enjoy!

Oh and I've written some strange poems this week, a bit on the dark side so will be hiding them amongst my fancies at some point!


And it looks like I'm attending Chazzstock as two tickets have just been pushed through my front door, have no idea what that will be like? Will keep you posted on that too. Happily Fridays all round, here's some Little Dragon, lovelove this lady's voice!


And Breaking news...I haven't blipped for over a week! Sorry loyal listeners... I need to sort this out!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Fan Death - Reunited

Fan Death is the electro collective, Dandilion Wind Opaine, Marta Jaciubek-Mckeever and Szam Findlay, definitely ones to watch with a debut album full of whimsy art pop.

The chosen video is 'Reunited', a wonderfully bonkers impression of 'Little Red Riding Hood' dodging wickedness, stopping off to impress you with some eccentric dancing, not dissimilar to that in the video for Mode's 'Halo'.

After catching the eye of Prince in her 'raspberry beret' and bumping into Adam Ant on a skateboard, you can't help but keep peeking at the whimsical images; a fairy tale meets rock dressed in an electro beat. Spot the 'looky- likeys' in this who consist of the girls' idols; once you notice Martin Gore, you will forgive the dalliance with Axel Rose.

Dead Fan

Quirky and fantastical sounds are to be expected from this debut album 'Womb of Dreams'.

Dandelion and Marta have big voices and with the music ranging from fun to eerie on this debut, it's definitely an interesting project.

Put La Roux, Florence and Natasha Khan in a blender, add some strings and disco beats with some silly dancing and you're still only 'just' there. 'Womb of Dreams' is released by Mercury Records in the UK on the 30th August.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Human Chain - an anthology of poetry by Seamus Heaney

This wonderful collection of poetry from Seamus Heaney is one of retrospection and near death, portraying bygones in his human chain. It feels like he's going back over his life as he reflects in 'Route 110' his younger days working in a bookshop. The collection jumps around in the map of his life, ' Chanson d'Adventure' describing an ambulance ride after he had a stroke;

Everything and nothing spoken,
Our eyebeams threaded laser-fast, no transport
Ever like it until then, in the sunlit cold.

This is followed by 'Miracle' which can only be his recovery and the people in the Human Chain that helped him at the time;

Until he's strapped on tight, made tiltable
And raised to the tiled roof, then lowered for healing.
Be mindful of them as they stand and wait

Heaney always portrays his life in words of beautiful simplicity which makes his poetry come alive, my favourite at the moment is ' A Herbal' an adaptation of the Breton poet Guillevic, describing the mystery and other worldliness of graveyard plants and grass;

Not that grass itself
Ever rests in peace.

It too takes issue,
Now sets its face

To the wind,
Now turns its back.

Memoirs of his parents are in 'Uncoupled', his mother carrying a tray of ashes and his father in an ordinary yet dignified role. He captures the ghosts of three painters, Nancy Wynn- Jones, Derek Hill and Colin Middleton perfectly. This is a poet in the latter part of his life writing words about the end of life and the pictures that flash through the mind, chronicling his memories and thoughts before they are lost in his own mortality. His poems carry the stamp of autobiographical detail, taking you through his phases in life with such undressed intensity, it is hoped these are not his last.

Posttod - Dead in the Universe

Busy busy this week, after covering Fever Ray's new single 'Mercy Street', Swedish band Posttod, emailed with their brilliant track 'Dead in the Universe'.

Posttod are 'new new' with an edge and of course there's some of that Andersson 'feel' in this track, how could there not be? It's experimental, mesmerising and ultimately a noise to like, unlike some of the electro minutia that gets covered.

The video is taken from a short film by Spike Jonze's 'I'm here' and that alone is quite fascinating. A little unfathomable in places and strangely touching; it's all in the eyes for this one and beautifully shot.

Friday, 3 September 2010

The Small Hand by Susan Hill

I loved this book from the moment it was in my hands...yes a bit formulaic but just chillingly fabulous. If you like decaying houses, eerie children who have died tragically young, old and vague photographs, blurry visions with uncertainty over whether some characters are real or ghosts, you will love this!

It is told through the voice of Adam Snow, an antiquarian bookseller, who stumbles upon a derelict house that he feels strangely drawn to. As he walks the gardens, he feels a small hand creep into his own. As the story progresses, the little hand becomes menacing, trying to pull Adam into danger. Susan Hill manages to connect this story to Adam and his brother and their own childhood as you realise this 'little hand' has been following the two men for a long time.

Henry James' 'The Turn of the Screw' is referenced in this story which is no surprise as it does have the same chilling feel and has convincingly portrayed the ghost of a very small child as a threat. Not a dissimilar structure to Hill's other classic 'The Woman in Black' and perhaps even better in my opinion.

It came out yesterday and I've already read it, the literary snob will say it's a supernatural soap opera but I say it's a good ghost story and very Susan Hill... simply spooky and equally, alarmingly tragic.You will be left wanting to put your hands in your pockets next time you're near water.