Friday, 31 December 2010

Ten Fancies of Mine for 2010...

1 It has to be 'A Room of Her Own' a blog inspired by one of my favourite writers Virginia Woolf. It was always meant to be just anything I fancied waffling about, not a diary as such, I hardly ever write about myself. Anyway, if I don't manage to do anything high brow, at least I blog 'stuff' which means a steady flow of scribbling and reading which stops me going mad.

I flirted with tumblr for a bit but decided it was too social 'networky' for my liking and reminded me of the 'book of evil face' but with longer status updates. A like button or faster way to say 'like', basically a 'thumbs up' is fundamentally LAZY! Can you imagine talking to someone and them doing a 'thumbs up' in response; don't tell me you like something, tell me why you like it or at least say 'I like that'. I would say go to the comment box on here but on blogger that seems to be a big old effort of  filling in boxes, moderating it then publishing it, a bit of a procedure and my only criticism.

So good progress in that I write, people read it, I get a tweet response or a lovely email. It feels worth the effort. And a very big thank you to a good friend of mine that nagged me to write for his site and bump started me doing this blogging business...lovelove to you. Little baby steps of progress, hanging on to fences with the odd tantrum along the way.

2  It may not seem a big deal but after years of long hair, I cut it all off and it feels bloody lovely. At first I blamed mercury in retrograde/the full moon/ hormones but now I'm happy with the change. I do miss pigtails but I have just about enough to have very small comedy a pinky red colour of course.

Here lies Melanie, she grew old disgracefully after completely ignoring the 'less is more' argument...pah!

In my head, I now look like this, minus the devil horns as I'm actually angelic of course. And nobody has asked me where my 'machine' is recently or sung 'Cosmic Love' to me on the last train home and thought they were hilarious, not that I don't love Flo of course. Thank you new hair! For more info on Vernon's beautiful image, jump here.

Which has reminded, blog love to  Siouxsie  whose law and commitment to the colour black and nail varnish never fails to entertain me...and where I saw this evil prettiness. Disclaimer..if you watch, I love Morrissey, I'm a vegetarian and the crows aren't real! Sooo cute...there's nothing wrong with the weird!

3  Back to 'like' buttons and lazy contact...Facebook. The year I left it and have never looked back or missed it despite the social melodrama when people notice you've gone. They seem to think you're dead, depressed or missing even though you still have a landline, a mobile, email and a twitter account. If you don't have these numbers and don't know I tweet/blip occasionally then clearly you shouldn't have been on my facebook friends list.

I could write a dissertation on why I think Facebook is evil so will try to be brief, especially as I have 8 more fancies to write about. It's narcissistic, stalker friendly, the contact is superficial, social occasions start to become dominated by it and the need to get a 'hilarious' photograph to share with your friends that shows what an amazing social life you have? Hmmm not over tired, drunk, pre menstrual status updates that generally get you in serious trouble.

On top of that is the moral stance it has taken and big brother aspect of it all.  If you're anything like me, the varied circles you move in can be pretty diverse; put them all in one room with all the opinion/judgement they/you hold,  but you love them anyway...but then allow them to speak freely and overhear every conversation that's being held. No wonder it creates clashes referred to by the deactivation section as 'too many social dramas' shit! Like the Big Brother house, Facebook brings out the worst traits in everyone. So very happily 2010 was the year I was LIBERATED.

4 I tried this thing called 'one hundred new things in one hundred days'. I made it to day ten, not impressed? Well you should be!  I left my comfort zone and cried twice. I tried out 'assertiveness' even though I don't complain officially. I went in a maze and almost had a panic attack, I  left the house without eyeliner and hoped everyone would politely not notice but sadly, 'are you ok?' was the theme of the day. The experiment worked to a point, just being 'mellydramatic'; next year I will sing in a public place and dance the way I feel.

5 rained, it was muddy, the loos were vile, however thank you to my lovely Campervan for making the festival more comfortable and Mister Tinkerbell for making sure I was never squashed in the crowds or landed on my backside in the mud.  No excuse is needed for me to dress as a faerie, well 'Goth Tinkerbell' of course, perhaps one day I will dress as my other pseudonym 'Babooshka'.

Absolute favourite for this weekend was Fever Ray in the Big Top...completely brilliant despite the drunk, dreadlocked crazy man dancing very inappropriately and clearly hearing something very different in his head... and practically on top of me!  It was very funny being back on my little island at a huge Festival and I hope to do it again one day.

6  Chazzstock was another good night at KOKO (formerly Camden Palace of 90's indie club times). A night of celebratory euphoria intermingled with sadder moments; a real roller coaster of emotions from the compare Eddy Temple-Morris and the artists on the bill.

Without being overly melancholic, it was all in keeping with the fun loving side of Charles. Man Like Me were definitely my favourites on the bill that night. And it all successfully launched The Golden Year which if nobody had heard would have increased the tragedy for this young band. So much love for them, I can even forgive Joe's 70's  porn star moustache.

7 Friends...real ones... and festive jollity like me falling on my knees leaving a restaurant; it was the snow, not the wine, honestly! Falling over in your company is mostly an expression of my love for you...or the moon which I am inclined to stare at and fall onto/ into/or over things while saying 'look at the moon tonight'. I have the bestest friends in the world (sob) no names, that's something a facebook application would trick you into doing and would end in a global village drama. After last year's culling of some 'vampires', I now surround myself with complete lovelies that can glamour me any day...mwah x


8 Can I do a blog post without mentioning music? anyway I will condense some gushing into one.Great loves of this year have been Crystal Castles, Ou Est Le Swimming Pool and Jonsi...all fantastic albums and I'm still not tired of any of them.

There have been other tracks/albums dotted about but these three albums stood out, Niki & the Dove most notably so looking forward to more of them. A good year for music and Jonsi...I have too much love for that quirky Icelandic man, his music keeps me sane and grounded basically.

What to choose as favourite video? It has to be the darkly glam 'Celestica'; just gorgeousness and a nice treat with a band that don't really do the video thing. Weird children, graveyard, a hint of a Susan Hill ghostie story, Alice in a nice dress and Ethan smearing stuff all over his face plus a good tune...

What more do you need? Well clearly my next entry, wardrobe items you could not live without...

9 A poncho, the most perfect pair of yoga pants (perhaps I will actually do some yoga one day), a fine shrug, a pair of legwarmers to fill out boots when you have skinny legs plus a pretty fab dress with sleeves that look like wings if you try to dance. All in black. ( I can't dance and I need props even if they are outrageous sleeves)

10 So to really sum up, I  have developed compulsive blogging disorder, made up some new 'mellyisms', written tons, still can't live my life without pink post it notes to remind me to send out the right vibrational stuff, had a few hair/falling over incidents,...oh and Ashes to Ashes, the only thing I've watched this year and not felt I've wasted my time.  I did slightly cry which is top of  my criteria for anything worthwhile I watch, read or listen to...

Of course it was going to get silly in the last few to 2011 and lots of blog love x

Thursday, 23 December 2010

My album of 2010...JONSI - GO

I think 2010 has been a pretty fabulous year for music and among the darlings like Crystal Castles and the sadly and prematurely cut short pop career of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, Jonsi‘s solo debut ‘Go’ is just breathtaking.

I am completely in love with the slow and ethereal build up of his previous music as Sigur Ros and this solo effort delivers more of the same; prominent drums and lush fluidity resulting in experimental and dreamy music and that’s before you even get to his vocals that are hauntingly beautiful.

Lucky enough to have seen him perform, the epic energy of these tracks transfers wonderfully to his live performance; he sings in English for the most part for this album, unlike in his band Sigur Ros that is mostly sung in his mother tongue. The beauty of his music is that the it speaks to you and the move into Icelandic makes no difference in your understanding of a mesmerisingly beautiful and uplifting sound.

Jonsi Birgisson retains that mysterious air whatever goobledigook he sings in; the uplifting drum of the earth, the pulse of nature and wonderment in tracks like' Tornado', 'Go Do and 'Kolniour' that are instrumentally intricate, full of colour making them accessible and catchy but on a deep and denser level that gives way to the more foot stamping anthem proportions of ‘Around Us’. So now I'm having difficulty choosing a track, here's another! Gorgeousness.

Ethereal whimsies with epic climatic instrumentals; it all sounds hard work but it’s not, it’s just perfection and suits whatever mood I’m in so wins my favourite album of 2010 hands down.

Go was out early this year so just get it and it will make you feel a bit lovely I promise!

1 Go Do
2 Animal Arithmetic
3 Tornado
4 Boy Lilikoi
5 Sinking Friendships
6 Kolniour
7 Around Us
8 Grow Till Tall
9 Hengilas

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Romy XX ft Creep

Yes, I kind of switched the 'featuring' order as I lovelove her vocals and don't really know who Creep/Deadboy are (guessing you're brilliant though). It's not the single version which is Creep's debut but this is kind of cooooooool...just listen, I lovelovelove! I've heard it twice on the radio in the last week and felt happy; something new and it hasn't got f**king jingly bells on...hooray. In my love for this track, I've lost all sense of grammar and have start making up words in my excitement! Listen to lovely Romy!

The Creep and Romy Madley Croft collaboration is just very dark yet catchy, clubby dance yet chilled. After some investigation this debut 'Days' from the Brooklyn's house duo is being released on Young Turks. Just perfect if you fancy something a bit different from the festive music currently being churned out and especially if you're a fan of Romy's distinctive voice mixed in with some synth noir and dark new wavy guitar. Gorgeousness.

Listen here to the single version, it's rather lovely too ...

  Days by CREEP

Friday, 17 December 2010

Sister - Rosamund Lupton


My new approach to reading is 'everything and anything'; no more agonising over the shelves in Waterstones and now adopting a  more shopping trolley dash and grab… so last week celebrity centred chic lit, this week a thriller/murder mystery.

Very early on this book grabs you and quite quickly the uninspiring cover and blurb are proved wrong; never judge a book by its cover it does seem. Interestingly a criticism of the novel is that the big focus on ‘missing’ hoodwinks the potential reader, as Tess, the 'sister' is found dead very early on. 

It does switch to a more conspiratorial crime novel, however, Lupton writes it as Beatrice's stream of consciousness in the style of a letter to her dead sister. This keeps it personal and takes the edge of the investigative aspect that can get a bit tiresome in this genre of writing.

And actually to me Beatrice’s ‘missing’ sister was less of  a physicality and more that, Tess, in a sense, has been missing from her in life and through her death she ‘finds’ her. It is clear from the start that Beatrice, although having fulfilled the dutiful role of being a sister, in the sense of ‘real’ knowing, she has cut herself off from Tess as they follow different paths; Beatrice, with the rich fiancé, living in New York and a good job and Tess, the art student, single and pregnant living in a basement in West London.

The words from Beatrice are full of longing and regret from the start, the initial phone call where she is called and informed of Tess’s status changes her life in a moment. Not aware that her sister has already given birth, the sad circumstances elude her and starts to show up glaring gaps in communication between the two girls covering what can sometimes be the devastating outcome of being a mother, from Tess's point of view and from the point of view of the sisters' own mother.

There are lots of twists and questioning of psychopathic tendencies in the many characters in a 'Who did it?' or 'Is Bea delusional in her grief?' kind of way, you do wonder at times if she’s making up people and completely losing all sense of reality, lost in her own fiction.  Rosamund Lupton puts all this into the sub text cleverly and convincingly and it does lend itself to a guessing game throughout while covering some of the difficult sides to mortality and family dynamics, particularly regarding morality and peoples expectations and limitations they then put upon you.

Beatrice’s relationship with the lawyer Mr Wright is very interesting for me with the ultimate in twist that I half guessed reading the novel.  I can say no more without a spoiler, the difficulty of reviewing anything is you want to pull it to pieces but can’t without completely retelling and analysing from your own perspective. What might frustrate some readers is that the ending is kind of open, you decide Bea’s fate ultimately…I liked that choice.

A really promising debut from Lupton, it’s well paced and full of surprises, moving moments and a realistic depiction of loss and determination to find truth. I will check out her next novel which has teasers out already and I would recommend ‘Sister’ even if you’re not the biggest fan of the genre...and male readers, don't be put off by the title!