Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tonight and Every Night

As an internet dweller and person-who cares-about-stuff it seems impossible to read/write about anything other than Ferguson right now. I can't sit here and browse or write about soup or fashion editorials. But it is also impossible for me to write about Ferguson. Everything about the situation is impossible. As a white British woman there is nothing I can usefully add to a conversation about the experiences of black American men facing police brutality but I can't be silent. I don't write much here about current events or international politics but my corner of the internet has been subsumed by Ferguson and everything it represents in terms of unarmed black children being murdered by the state that should be protecting them and I can't ignore that. At the very least I feel obliged to bear witness and link to those better equipped to speak.
“Atticus–” said Jem bleakly.
He turned in the doorway.
“What, son?”
“How could they do it, how could they?”
“I don’t know, but they did it. They’ve done it before and they did it tonight and they’ll do it again and when they do it — seems that only children weep.” 
— To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
The Talk: Bijan Stephens
Different Rules Apply: Matt Zoller Seitz

The Case for Reparations: Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Racism Beat: Cord Jefferson

Is This Working?: This American Life

The Parable of the Unjust Judge or: Fear of a Nigger Nation: Ezekiel Kweku
Words: Roxane Gay

Exactly How Often Do Police Shoot Unarmed Black Men?: Jaeah Lee

#Michael Brown #Tamir Rice #Trayvon Martin #Jordan Davis #Renisha McBride #Roshad McIntosh #Laquan Macdonald #Carey Smith-Viramontes #Qusean Whitten #Dillon McGee #Diana Showman #Akai Gurley #Kimani Gray #Kendrec McDade #Amadou Diallo and on and on...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Summertime Gladness

Once upon a time, seemingly aeons ago, it was summer and it was happy and it was beautiful. On one particularly golden morning and/or afternoon (I can't remember, it doesn't matter), R, mulp and I went to Great Dixter and it was glorious. Clearly I am prematurely turning into my parents whereby an afternoon spent visiting a garden rates as a good time but what can you do? You like what you like and I frickin' love Christopher Lloyd. The original garden design was Lutyens but the insanely luscious, almost chaotic but carefully considered planting scheme is pure Lloyd, now maintained by Fergus Garrett. Flowers upon flowers upon flowers. The long borders and the wild flower meadow. So much colour and texture and barely contained botanical exuberance. It is everything I would want an English garden and my one-day dream garden to be.

I smile every time I see this Venetia Scott Vogue editorial that was shot at Dixter so I thought I would share it here to remind us all that summer happened and it will probably happen again. I think I am going to try and establish an annual pilgrimage to Dixter.




Dream a Little Dream
Vogue UK October 2013
Photgraphy: Venetia Scott
Stylist: Bay Garnett
Hair: Tomo Jidai, Make-up: Sharon Dowsett 
Model: Georgia May Jagger

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Friday Sound: Le Déluge

There is a lot of music around at the moment. I mean, sure, there is always a lot of music around. We live in an age of CONTENT. I always find the YouTube statistics particularly shocking - 100 hours of uploaded to YouTube every minute. That's insane. This might just be because they are more widely publicised and monopolistic than other sectors. I'm sure if Soundcloud/Bootcamp announced how many minutes of music were uploaded per hour or there was some book/news/web writing conglomerate that could give any meaningful estimation of how many words were published every day it would be just as overwhelming, if not more. There is a lot of stuff out there and it is easy to freak out about missing something important and just climb under your duvet and re-read your favourite book from childhood while eating chocolate biscuits and listening to an album from 2007 in an attempt to distance yourself from the horrifying imbalance and existential knowledge that you will never be able to keep up, that you are just a minuscule dot in an ever increasing flood of human culture, and that you will one day die still basically ignorant and alone. YOU DON'T KNOW MY LIFE. DON'T JUDGE ME.

That said/panicked, it does feel like there is a lot of music worth listening to right now and that is probably a good thing. Some of these are legitimately new (as in, the last month, obv this is not the home of the hot take), some of them are older and that's ok. All in your own time. Some of these are from albums but I'm only featuring a single track because albums can be overwhelming. Everything can be overwhelming. I'm clearly feeling overwhelmed at the moment. Here is some music to take my mind off things...

Love Again - Run the Jewels. Heads up, this is RUDE and maybe offensive? It certainly starts out pretty gross but Gangsta Boo brings some great balance in the later verses. And the lyrics are sharp and the production is great and the underlying beat is addictive. I have had this stuck in my head for ages and it is just so inappropriate to even hum at the office.



Twengerbibbytwo - Aphex Swift. Unlike most of the internet I am not a Taylor Superfan. I know, it's controversial, but I cannot wholeheartedly embrace that level of pop/country. It is not where my heart lies nor will it ever be. However. I do have a huge amount of respect for her as a business woman and a craftsman (some weird gendering going on there - business man and craftswoman both sound wrong and business person + craftsperson sound hokie. Language is hard. Businesser and crafter?). I think she makes basically perfect pop songs and, sweet jebus, they are catchy and persistent. Once a Tswizz song has got inside your brain it will not let go, to the point of mild hysteria. I love how reactive and engaged she seems. Her creation of herself as the biggest selling artist of the decade seems super conscious and I admire that even when it kind of creeps me out. She puts in the work and she lets you see (some of) that and that's awesome. I love a hard worker. Anyway, the Taylor I most enjoy is creeper-Taylor, murder-you-in-your-sleep Taylor, if-you-hurt-me-or-my-best-friend-I-will-end-you Taylor, who seems to be a predominantly internet creation but who, I like to think, is based in something real. The Aphex Swift mashup album by David Rees really draws out the creepiness and it's great. Taylor's voice modification is pushed and stretched and cut every which way and it is weird and hilarious. It's. Tiiiiime.



Younger - Seinabo Sey. I managed to listen to a lot or, at least, many repetitions of Seinabo Sey before I saw what she looked like and obviously it doesn't matter what a musician looks like but also she is gorgeous and unexpected and adorable. I like her face. Music crush blown out into full blown girl crush. The video for Pistols at Dawn just came out but I can't resist the folksy hipster charm of the Younger video and it is catchy as hell. Mostly this post is just going to be about amazingly catchy songs. Her voice and register will blow your mind. I can't wait for whenever her album comes out.



Lady fronted girl pop. No, I can't love bubblegum pop but I do love me some less commercial/less tween oriented pop. Whispy girl pop, spacey Scandinavians, 60s girl bands, Fleetwood Rock blues-rock-pop (what genre is Fleetwood Mac?? All music should probably just be that genre). And there are loads of great girls/girl-led bands around at the moment. I haven't had a chance to really get involved with Haerts debut album but I'm very excited that it is here. I think they make pretty perfect pop. 27 Club is trying very hard to be Lana Del Rey but I'm enjoying Ultraviolence/todestrieb/murder-teen era LDR and the lyrics are fun and silly and it is hella catchy (again). I don't have a bunch to say about Vérité but Heartbeat is also catchy and girly and great. All the girls.







To Do List:
  • Gay Dog Food - Mykki Blanco. Mykki's new mixtape is out and I've downloaded it but I haven't had much of a chance to get into it. I love her and I'm psyched for the new release but it is quite... abrasive... and it's going to take some work. I have faith though.
  • Broke with Expensive Taste - Azaelia Banks. Well, I will be goddamned. I genuinely didn't think this album was ever going to be released and now here it is. Only three or four years late? And AB's sound has changed a lot in the lead up time. I've heard a couple of tracks and liked them but I can't imagine how 212 is going to sit next to Heavy Metal and Reflective. Her new sound is pretty aggressive (I mean, it's always been lyrically aggressive but sonically) but HM&R really grew on me so I presume I'll enjoy the album at large.
That's quite a lot of things but if there are other new/not new musicz that I might/probably have missed then do let me know. Only in manageable chunks though, please.