Tag Archives: Music

My Life Soundtrack [Part One]

Everyone has that one particularly defining moment within their lifetime, when music suddenly begins to make sense. When it finally went beyond the point of listening to music, enjoying music and maybe dancing to music because everyone else was; at some point in everyone’s life, music truly begins to resonate and becomes more than just a song. And, as life progresses, they will reach more moments in life where a song can encapsulate a feeling, or a moment or become the defining shape of a memory. Music is one of life’s biggest passions, or at least it definitely is for me, which is why I’ve decided to share it on the blog today!

If you took a look at any of my Spotify playlists, or took a journey through the extensive collection my iPod has to offer, you’ll soon realise that my taste in music could potentially be described as eclectic. It can go from being something relatively cool, to something so uncool that it would make mental health professionals question my sanity. I’m unashamed of my music tastes, regardless, but do air caution as to when I play the stuff that I secretly love. If I’m home alone, the blinds remain closed and my earphones remain permanently in my ears and I spend the day listening to music of varying genre, so I can bounce around the flat, singing at the top of my voice, with no one witnessing my horrendousness but me (and maybe the neighbours who hear me sing). Sober me has a relatively awesome taste in music, but drunk me becomes a bit of a lunatic and eventually, at some point in any evening, I will hijack any playlist with the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack and scream along. That’s just who I am!

I’m not going to write a blog specifically about the songs that I like, because we could be on for hours and all that would do is show you how bloody ridiculous it is watching me make a playlist. These are the songs that I can pinpoint to a specific point in my history and remember why I love it so much; it can be triggered by a memory, an event, a feeling or even a person and then suddenly that song is all about those feelings. With the exception of a few songs, none of mine are inspired by people other than my best friends and times we’ve had together, but there are a few songs that remind me of Brain, which he amazingly thought to put into a soundtrack of his own by finding a bespoke company that creates custom made vinyl music – it took him a long time and a lot of effort and money, but on my birthday I received songs that encapsulated our entire relationship. On Valentine’s Day we listened to this vinyl whilst cooking and we kept laughing at the fact that we remembered the first time we heard each song and which specific memory we had in mind; they were all pretty much matching, which is pretty much the dorkiest thing you can imagine, but I also find it pretty important.

The Rolling Stones – Like a Rolling Stone

Long before my obsession with Bob Dylan began, an obsession with Mick Jagger began festering in my tiny mind. I can’t remember how old I was when I first heard this song, however, I do remember the exact moment I first heard it and when it became more. It was the early nineties and we’d only just had SKY TV installed, back when it wasn’t the extensive crap-fest of horrendously bad TV shows and adverts it is now. My parents listened to a lot of VH1 and I remember sitting in our living room one afternoon when the intro to the song began playing. It wasn’t an epiphany style moment that made me realise I love The Stones or anything, but it was a moment that I’m taken back to every time I hear the song. I think the fact that my parents both loved it at the time, too, makes a big difference.

Mike and the Mechanics – Looking Back, Over My Shoulder

This song is without a doubt the song of our family. When my sister and I were little, we would make up dances to everything that we liked and whenever my dad took this cassette out of the case and placed it in the cassette player, we would sing our little heads off and, very literally, look back over our shoulders whenever the chorus plays. It has been a firm favourite in every family playlist we’ve created and now, whenever we descend upon my parents house for the evening, my dad puts this on for us all to sing along to.

Bob Dylan – I Want You

I knew who Dylan was before I’d really listened to his music, but this was during a time where I was desperately obsessed with Andy Warhol, his factory and his super star, Edie Sedgwick. I was besotted with this entire decade and the fashion of the 1960s to the point where I would wear shapeless dresses with contrasting peter pan collars and wore nothing but dramatic black eye make up with flicks and a perpetual red pout. I began buying Edie Sedgwick inspired, enormous chandelier earrings and contemplated cutting my hair off and dying it blonde. Not much has really changed, because every time I see her beautiful little face, I want do to it all over again. As a result, I was looking online and happened upon an article that coincided with a piece I read about Edie and Bob Dylan being together at some point in the sixties. This article suggested that Dylan wrote Blonde on Blonde about Edie, so I decided to download it and see if it was true. This song in particular is supposed to capture the moment when Dylan met Warhol and I became obsessed with it. I’m a total sucker for gossip, but I’m an even bigger sucker for songs about people and to this day, every time I think about it, I remember sitting in my bedroom wearing ridiculously enormous chandelier earrings, red pout pursed and heavily eyeliner’d eyes squinting, trying to decipher Dylan’s poetry. Not much has changed, except the earrings, except now it means so much more because Brain is obsessed with him too. One of the first things my parents said about him was to express their surprise that he liked Dylan too. My mam said, WHAT? You’ve got to be kidding! But you LOVE Dylan! 

The Weepies – World Spins Madly On

This song is potentially one of my favourite songs of all time and whilst I can’t remember, really, what made me love it so much, I do remember that when I was going through a really tough time, I would listen to this song and I’d feel a sense of clarity that other songs didn’t make me feel. I guess because, in spite of the lyrics, the music and the singing is beautiful and relatively uplifting. Either way, it’s still one of my favourite songs, except again, the meaning has changed.

A Fine Frenzy – Ashes and Wine

For a very long time, I wanted to learn the piano and write songs, not necessarily to sing to people, but just because I liked the idea of being a musician. I had loads of friends who did exactly the same thing, so they were inspirational to me. Turns out, I didn’t really have the patience to learn the piano and I’m rubbish at writing songs, so that fell through. I had red hair at the time and was pretty obsessed with looking up pictures of women with red hair for style inspiration and this is how I found A Fine Frenzy. At the time, I was going through a really shitty time. I was in a ridiculously toxic relationship that made me miserable on a daily basis, but wasn’t brave enough to end things, because at this point in time, I wasn’t really smart enough to realise that my self-worth meant more than a relationship (turns out it would take me another four years to realise this permanently!) it’s such a silly thing to say, but this song made me wish that I was in a situation like this; it made me wish that I was so in love with someone that if someone didn’t love me anymore, that I would love them so much that I would want to fight for the relationship. Sounds a little fucked up, but I guess because I was in such a horrendous place, relationship wise, I guess I wanted more. Passion, maybe. Or even just to be loved, I guess? I’m not sure, but this song reminds me of wanting to be in love and wanting to feel passionate about someone other than Mick Jagger, maybe!

Michelle Branch – Everywhere

This song reminds me of being a teenager and spending endless amounts of time downloading music and making CDs for me to take into my bedroom and listen to on repeat. I think throughout my teenage years, I’d make a new CD every single day, because my music tastes would change so rapidly. I remember I went through a stage where I only wanted to listen to music written and performed by women and decided to look up a lot of new artists that I’d never heard of and whilst I discovered the likes of Sleater Kinney and other riot girl bands, I also discovered this song and whilst I’ve never heard anything else she’s written, I fell for this song immediately and would bounce around my room, singing at the top of my voice, presumably hoping I would be discovered by a music exec just wandering through the countryside one day. Ha.

Liz Phair – Why Can’t I?

This was also discovered during my obsession with female artists, but also because of the 13 Going on 30 soundtrack, a film I was obsessed with when I was a kid. I also put this song on one of the millions of CDs I made and I remember whenever I listened to it, I would make up these really ridiculously dramatic concepts of me falling in love with someone. As you can probably tell by now, a lot of my music tastes evolved due to my sheer adoration for romance. I am a total and utter cliché, and I fucking love it.

The Distillers – Young, Crazed Peeling

My obsession with Brody Dalle begun when I first saw this video during my early years watching PRock, because my mother didn’t want us watching any of the mainstream channels like MTV because, as she said, it was full of misogynist rhetoric that would encourage us to feel like we needed to take our clothes off and loosen our morals in order to get a man, which is something we should NEVER do. But punk music that encouraged us to become raging feminists was something she was fully supportive of. My obsession with Brody developed to the point where my entire bedroom wall was covered in pictures of her. One time my mam asked me if I still fancied boys and I’m assuming she was wishing that I would maybe take my clothes off and loosen my morals to ascertain my heterosexuality, but those are things she’d never say…

Okay, well, I’m bored now so I’ve decided to stop. I might post more, which is why I’ve called it Part One. Maybe I should have structured it better and included the genre surfing I’ve done over the years, but then again, maybe I will just do what I want and you’ll enjoy it, because I tell you too. Have a good day!

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Funny Feminist – Taylor Swift

Image:Billboard

 If someone had said, “you will be OBSESSED with this woman in 2015”when Taylor Swift first came on the scene, I’d probably spit my drink out laughing and wondered what you’d been smoking prior to saying something so entirely ridiculous. Taylor Swift, at the time, was the epitome of everything I disliked in music: An overly manufactured pretty girl with, as far as I could tell from never having listened to her music, absolutely no talent and would eventually be used up and spat out, thus left to disintegrate into a breakdown before she reached twenty five. I didn’t think she was anything other than gossip magazine fodder, but, quite happily, I’ve been proved wrong.

Like many other women in the media in 2014, Taylor Swift admitted that she identified with the feminist movement and really, we shouldn’t have been entirely surprised, given her lifestyle and lyric content in a lot of her more recent songs. I’ve always felt quite sorry for Swift: ever since her dating repertoire became something that the public deemed their property, and pictures of her with different men emerged online and became viral, I’ve always felt like a little cheerleader thinking that she was given a bit of a hard rap. Naturally, a lot of the images shared online were less than complimentary towards her and she was generally slammed with derogatory slurs that branded her a whore or a slut, because she deigned to have more than one lover in her life time.

Some of the imagery included pictures of her and a man, with attacks blaming Taylor for the breakdown of relationships, assuming that she was annoying or she didn’t behave properly within a relationship and that’s why men didn’t want her. Other images compared her to the likes of Katy Perry and Rihanna in another pathetic game that wondered why they weren’t considered role models to children when Swift was, given her bed post clearly had more notches than a Syrian warzone, surely she is the OPPOSITE of what we want our children listening to? Is no one thinking of those poor, helpless children when they buy her albums? The men on the internet are, at least!

Taylor Swift’s treatment by the internet was tantamount to the Madonna and the Whore complex, or similar to stating that when a man sleeps with multiple women he is heralded a hero by other men, but when a woman doing it, she should be sent to a convent for being so wayward and unrepenting of an alleged whoreishness that was she was only branded with in the first place by, seemingly, men. It was another element of controlling young women: “Don’t sleep with men! They won’t respect you!” and thus the idea of the virginal woman is more a virtuous aim for young women, than someone who, you know… Does that she wants to do because she can.

Look who’s laughing now…

Taylor is now worth an estimated $200 million dollars and has made a career in singing about exes who have scorned her. Like the old adage goes, Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and whilst men can sit around and blame Taylor and try to tell us that something must be wrong with her and she mustn’t behave well enough in a relationship to maintain the love of some skeezy celebrity, any woman worth her salt knows that she hasn’t done anything wrong and that her actions and response to all the haters is ‘Shake It Off’ – if that isn’t feminism, then slap my arse and call me a bitch.

In 2014, it seems that her career exploded again and that she is doing better than ever since her relase of 1989 and the singles that we’ve heard from that, in particular Blank Space is the epitome of being a young twenty something feminist. Lyrics include I’ve got a long list of ex-lovers/they’ll tell I’m insane and Darling I’m a Nightmare/Dressed like a daydream – She openly admits that she might be annoying in a relationship and that she ‘gets drunk’ on jealousy and that being insecure in a relationship and calling your boyfriend out for texting other women or generally being a pain in the arse is okay – standing up for yourself regardless of how ‘insane’ your ex-boyfriends might say you are is the key here; she’s letting young women everywhere know that it is entirely okay to be yourself in a relationship and what self-respecting woman can’t stand up and applaud her for that?

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Doris and Her Festive Period

Don’t worry, this is not going to be a post regarding the menstrual cycle of a red wine addict at Christmas time. In fact, it isn’t about the menstrual cycle of anyone and if you thought it was, you have either misread or are following my menstrual cycle far too closely for anyone to feel at all comfortable with. Back off. No, this blog is about what happened during my absence at Christmas time! I didn’t blog at all during the festive period, I very rarely tweeted either, so I feel the need to catch up with some of my internet friends and, quite frankly, brag at how amazing my Christmas has been and how very lucky I am to have the people in my life that I do.

Not many people knew that my birthday was on Christmas Eve too, so the excitement around December is somewhat doubled and I am, generally, quite unbearable and this year was no different. It was my first Christmas in my new home, it was my first Christmas that I was actually looking forward to for many years and it was my first Christmas with my beloved, Brain. Before the festive period had even begun, I had a lot to be happy and grateful about, so I went into Christmas with the biggest smile on my face.

I woke up on my birthday at 6.30, upon realising Brain was no longer in bed and was pottering about the house. Being inherently nosey, I instantly wondered what he was doing, before realising he wanted to put my banners and balloons up that his mam bought for him (because he freaked out at the idea of having to do it, which, honestly, I am foaming about because when he turned 29, me and my manager arranged banners and massive helium filled balloons reading ‘45’ and also One Direction ones, so I thought it only polite to reciprocate that excellent effort), I also woke up realising that I’d moved them and he wouldn’t be able to find them, so when he came back to bed in a huff, I had to fully acknowledge my awake state and let him know where they were. I also decided that I would open presents at this time too. It was my birthday, I made up the rules.

Brain has bought me a lot of presents over the past few months we’ve been together and generally he’s a very good present buyer, but he totally out did himself with my birthday gifts. I received Nora Ephron’s book, I Feel Bad About My Neck, which I happened to tell him about when we were watching When Harry met Sally back in the summer and he remembered, which I found astounding and super thoughtful. He also bought me a mini Dwight (US Office) bobble head, which I can’t help but laugh hysterically at every time it moves – I have wanted one of these for an absolute eternity and it is one of my favourite things of all time. His main present was something absolutely astounding and it genuinely took my breath away and brought an abundance of tears to my eyes, so much so that it is getting a paragraph of its own:

It was a large square that I thought was either a calendar (which I’d have been a bit dejected by if I’m honest) or a vinyl. I thought it might have been a Rolling Stones vinyl, seen as neither of us own one and they’re my favourite band, but when I read the card, I realised it wasn’t that at all. It read “Sunday 1st June” and my heart stopped in my chest. It was the day after our first date and he came to mine so I could cook him some food and we could hang out / listen to music and it turned out to be potentially the best day of our relationship; it was very, very weird and absolutely amazing. We listened to a lot of Explosions in the Sky, so I assumed it was one of their albums on vinyl, which I was SO excited about. But when I opened it, I realised it wasn’t that at all and again, my heart stopped in my chest. What it was, was actually a custom made vinyl with all of the songs he thought best described our relationship from that day until now. I can’t quite remember the tracklisting but it featured so many songs that mean so much to us both and each of us have actual instances when we can remember first listening to songs together. The first track is Semisonic’s Secret Smile which is undeniably our song and naturally, as is our way, it features a few Bob Dylan tracks too. It is by far the most thoughtful gift I’ve ever received and listening to it brings me nothing but joy. It also featured a photograph one of my best friends took of him at a wedding they were both at, so it was even more special: My favourite photograph, taken of my favourite person, by one of my best friends. Very cool and very thoughtful.

I received some other amazing gifts and drank wine, spent time with friends and family and curled up in Brain’s nook and felt pretty damned lucky to have such a mint lad in my life!

The next day was obviously Christmas day and we had to get up even earlier, because we were both spending the day a part, with our families and I wouldn’t see him until the night time, so we got up and opened our gifts together. I never wrote here what I was buying Brain for Christmas because he reads the blog and I didn’t want to ban him from reading it, purely for the sake of essentially screaming LOOK LOOK LOOK. But I got him a lot of Marvel & Dragon Ball Z related stuff, which he really loved, I think, so I’m pleased! He went out of his way to spoil me rotten again and knock me off my feet again and overwhelm me again and make me cry again… It’s like he has magic powers.

The first thing I opened was something that I have been longing for since I was about fourteen; a DSLR camera. Naturally, I know absolutely nothing about it other than it is amazing, but I am happily learning how to take photographs and become better than someone who just snaps shit on her phone and posts it on Instagram. I find it pretty impersonal and that kind of stuff you can’t put in photo albums and create proper memories with, so naturally, I am overjoyed with his gift. Since Christmas, I’ve been practicing snapping photos every day and I’m starting to get the hang of it and have taken some really awesome photos, so watch this space as I might share some in the future. I thought this would be my main present, but it really wasn’t…

I also received a baby Groot who was hand made by someone on Etsy, I do believe and he is so cute, I love him so much that I put him next to my bed so when I wake up I can say shit like ‘I AM GROOT’ and not be strange. I also received an amazing Game of Thrones necklace, which basically means I am Mother of Dragons as it is the Targaryean house banner. I wore it a few times over Christmas because I love it, but the other day when I was taking my scarf off, it got caught and broke so I am irate and need a new chain.

The last present I opened, I thought it was a joke, because all Christmas he had been harping on about getting me some kind of stupid graphics card for HIS PC, so when I opened it and saw a motherboard, I think it was, for a laptop, I was a bit stony faced and like ‘what the fuck is this, bro?’ so poor Brain had to practically shout ‘IT’S A JOKE!’ and tell me to open it. So I did and inside were envelopes:

1. Train tickets departing from Newcastle and arriving in London’s Kings Cross.
2. A Menu for Maze, one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants.
3. A hotel booking at the Raddison Blu
4. Boarding passes for the London Eye
5. Two tickets to see Les Miserables

Needless to say, my breath was gone and tears were flowing from my eyes. Secretly, I was FOAMING that he had out done himself again, meaning that he wins Christmas and birthday, but mostly I was absolutely blown away by yet another amazingly thoughtful, sweet and generous thing he had done for me. He really is my favourite human.

So, in eleven days, I will be spending the weekend with the love of my life in London and I can’t wait. I had to share with you all because it really is an amazing thing that he’s done and I am so, so happy to have such an amazing man in my life.

Normal posting resumes tomorrow, including a breakdown of the general theme of my blog over the coming months. Stay tuned, folks! xxx

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Eminem, Rape Fantasies and Iggy. Oh My.

If you have ever defined yourself as an Eminem fan, you’ll know that he is an inherent misogynist. This doesn’t make you one too, but you can’t deny that his entire career has been spent spewing vitriolic diatribe against women who he deems as people who have wronged him, or simply aren’t worthy of his time. A deeply ingrained, perpetual cycle of inherent misogyny, combined with a blatant God complex will do that to a guy, you know?

Admittedly, I have several Eminem albums on my iPod and I will listen to them on occasion, but I have never once denied that Eminem’s lyrics are steeped with intense unresolved issues with the opposite sex. I’m sorry, ladies, but he hates us and somewhere, at some point in time, we will have all done something to cause Eminem some distress that resulted in a scathing and potentially dangerous rap lyric spewed out with the anger and blind hatred only Eminem has been able to perfect in his career. In his career he has attacked:

Mariah Carey
Kim Kardashian
Britney Spears
Christina Aguilera
Mother of his child, Kim
His own mother
Amy Winehouse
Sarah Palin
Lana Del Rey
Iggy Azelea

To name but a few…

It doesn’t take a genius to realise that the source of his misogyny is inherited from his issues that he has with his mother; his music is steeped with intense rage at how he felt his mother treated him as a child and whilst I can’t argue that he’s lying, he did lose a battle in court when she accused him of defamation, so I guess it’s up to you to make up your own mind of whether the issues were real, or he made them up to give a little padding to rap lyrics that would be a bit bland without them.

I hate you, mom/my childhood was fine/but I still fucking hate you, bitch!*

You also don’t need to have a doctorate in psychology to determine that your adult interactions and relationships with the opposite sex, as well as your general perceptions thereof, will weigh heavily on your childhood. Needless to say, Eminem did not have the best relationship with his mother, so he continued his woman hating ways by pursuing relationships with women who would receive the back lash of his vicious tongue if they didn’t live up to his expectations. His relationship with his first wife Kim was tempestuous to say the least and she has been the subject of many of his songs, consisting solely of violent and damaging imagery to the point where his ex tried to commit suicide when she heard one particularly harrowing song.

Fast forward to 2014, where he has attacked female rapper Iggy Azalea in a worrying discourse that can only be described as an intense rape fantasy featuring the female rapper as his unwilling victim:

“Bitch, shut the fuck up and get in my car / And suck my fucking dick while I take a shit / And I think with my dick so come blow my mind / And it tastes like humble pie / So swallow my pride, you’re lucky just to follow my ride / If I let you run alongside the Humvee / Unless you’re Nicki, grab you by the wrist, let’s ski / So what’s it gon’ be? Put that shit away Iggy / You don’t wanna blow that rape whistle on me / Scream! I love it / ‘Fore I get lost with the gettin’ off.”

I mean, let’s not get into the fact that the lyrics ‘suck my fucking dick while I take a shit’ are perhaps the worst rap lyrics ever conceived, his blatant obsession with his own appendage, especially within the discourse of shaming and defiling a woman would be a Freudian wet dream. I think Christina Aguilera said it best when she said that he ‘must talk so big, to make up for smaller things’ in her video Can’t Hold Us Down.

The fact of the matter is, Eminem simply isn’t relevant anymore and in his desperate attempt to cling onto fame and youth, his renowned vitriol within his songs is becoming dangerous and increasingly worrisome. As someone who has been heralded as a rap God, his sphere of influence is a large one and promoting rape within songs is dangerous, regardless of what your stance on Eminem is. Iggy said it best herself when she likened the rapper to a washed up old man, but there is no denying that his lyrics are extremely relevant when comparing to our ever increasing culture of rape within society.

The fact that he has gotten away with spewing such misogynistic overtones within his music for so long is one thing, but to allow this to continue is entirely up to us – as music fans and as people who don’t think it’s okay to threaten rape or promote rape fantasies on such a huge public forum. Eminem, he’s had his hay day and whilst his music is potentially damaging to a woman’s self esteem, I’m not going to judge anyone who listens to him, but I think as a community, we should be doing more to admonish old rappers who think it’s okay to reach middle age and still hate on women without seeking some kind of advice from a medical professional. I mean, Eminem probably doesn’t care that he is promoting rape and giving out poor messages to the youth of today, but like, Dre should at least have a word with him and tell him to stop being such a fucking desperate for attention, washed up prick, you know?

*One of the reasons I decided not to be come the next big rap artist.

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