Thursday, 24 December 2009

Paper Planes

Sometimes it feels as if the world is
turning in on itself, and that I too
am curling up, folding away, and

learning how to fly.
For we were all born
from the insides of stars,

spouting words and colourforms
and every shade of moth-backed night imaginable.
Even me and my stitches.

And to stardust we’ll return.

Maybe I’ll fade through this filtered sunlight,
back to me at five,
discovering the world underwater:

the sun split and scattered across the surface;
the mouths puckered, full of streams; the skin
that flickered and wavered like a mirage

that was not your own. Floating:
that feeling of weightless freedom.
And maybe -

dustclouds opening across my eyes -
I'll be able to come up for air
once more.


* * *

Another poem. I keep getting random urges to write poetry at the moment, so I'm trying to use this opportunity to work at it. This went through a lot of transformations before it got to this state. I didn't really have much idea where I was going with this one!
Less Plath this time: I hope that means there's more of 'me' in this one.

As always, comments and critique are more than welcome.

And of course: Happy Holidays everyone!!

Monday, 21 December 2009

Sound of(f) 2009

Finally, the whole 'Christmas Number One crisis' is over. And although I’m glad that Rage Against The Machine pipped X-Factor contestant Joe McElderry to the number one spot (being anti-Cowell, exploitation profits and musical manufacture as I am), in general, that facebook campaign really annoyed me. I mean, the idea of a load of people saying ‘fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me’ to Simon Cowell and the establishment is pretty awesome, and I totally back that. But when its tainted with the irony that people have said basically just turned round and said ‘fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me – but I will do what YOU tell me’ to someone else has really taken any sense of success out of the campaign for me. The whole situation smacks of fail. Is this really what our heavily watered-down sense of revolution has come to: self-deluding hypocrisy?
I also found it interesting to read this article at Current.com which says:
‘Both acts are on Sony. Music News reports that the two singles gave the record label a 65.6% share of single market. Indie labels had 2.0% between them.’
A great ‘win’ for real music then? I think not.
Personally, I am an advocate of everyone finding their own music taste, and buying what they want to hear, no matter what others tell them. And if pop music is your thing, then fine, go and buy that. But if not, then don’t fret and don’t feel obliged to conform! There are plenty of great alternative bands out there. Don’t believe it? Here is a selection of some of my favourite bands from 2009.
* * *
Angelspit
I was really excited when I heard that 2009 would yield the release of a new Angelspit album – one of my favourite bands of all time – especially when I ordered a beautiful signed copy! ‘Hideous and Perfect’ is, as always, a wonderful work of musical and visual artistry. The songs’ lyrics and music show the band’s clear creative development, and ‘Hideous and Perfect’ is very much crafted as a self-contained album. Check out the awesome video for ‘Fuck the Revolution’.

Daisy Dares You
OK, I admit, Daisy Dares You is not exactly alternative. In fact, Daisy is apparently set to be a big mainstream success in 2010 according to various newspapers – she’s even longlisted for the BBC’s Sound of 2010. But anyway, I shall be pleased to be able to say ‘I knew about her before she was cool!’ and mean it! Her self-titled track ‘Daisy Dares You’ is pretty catchy dance-pop, and I can definitely see her music catching on. One to watch, for sure.

Fever Fever
Fever Fever are a cool three-piece punk band hailing from Norwich that mix primal rock fury with occasional girl rap and a clear riot grrrl influence. They are a relatively new band, with only a couple of songs released on their debut record and several compilation albums, but their songs have plenty of biting character and are all worth a listen. ‘Numbers’ is my personal favourite.

I:Scintilla
Another of my all-time favourite bands, industrial-powerhouse I:Scintilla, have made some great new music this year. Although I was slightly gutted to hear that the release of their album has been delayed till 2010, the release of their EP ‘Prey on You’ this November cheered me up a lot. I adore the songs on this EP, especially ‘Hollowed’, and it’s made me even more excited for the release of ‘Dying and Falling’ next January. Yay!

Räuberhöhle
2009 also saw another fantastic release from my favourite lo-fi retroclash German band, Räuberhöhle. ‘Deep in the Forest’ is their debut full-length album, crammed with sugar-powered riot grrrl goodness. They’re all great songs to dance around to, my favourite being ‘Angry Dancy’ which officially does what it says on the tin!

Screaming Females
Another punk rock three piece, Screaming Females hail from New Brunswick. Now this is a band with some skillz. Marissa is a truly amazing vocalist and guitarist, and the threesome are perfectly matched to make great tunes. ‘Buried in the Nude’ is a truly amazing song. Go download ‘Bell’ for free from their Last.fm page now!

The Brownies
The Brownies describe themselves as a post-punk, happy hardcore five-piece from Norwich. Clearly influenced by riot grrrl bands like Bratmobile and Bikini Kill, but also taking wider musical inspiration from metalcore, indie and punk, The Brownies have their own unique sound. Ourknife Yourback is a shockingly good album, full of amazing songs. If there is anything that you listen to from this list, let it be The Brownies!

Violet Violet
A riot grrrl indie punk band, Violet Violet describe their music as ‘gossip rock’: ‘edgy, full-on bitching, harmoniously delivered by a feisty trio of sardonic sirens’. Their songs have plenty of kick and energy, and always make a good listen. 2009 has seen the release of another awesome album from the threesome: ‘This City is Full of Beasts’. ‘Love This Band’ has been in my head for days..

Saturday, 19 December 2009

You're

You’re secret,
iridescent like tears;
an intricate spiders’ web
laced tight:
a smile, spliced.
Fair like the weather.

You’re my intravenous jigsaw,
with labyrinthine eyes
sewn shut.
My ball-jointed umbra,
strung sideways
and screaming.

You’re oscillating,
cinereal
you’re fractured glass -
a moon-skulled reflection;
bare and hollow,
black-backed like the undersides of stars.

You’re mute,
blurred at the edges -
a bird with feather flutings
and broken wings
falling
headfirst into sun-split daydreams.

You’re-
You’re –

not alone,
spit sister.
* * *

What is this - poetry!? Yes, this is my fail attempt at a poem...
Lots of recycled images in this one. I'm a little rusty, I'm afraid... This was inspired by Plath's poem (it's always the case!) of the same name, and was written for a writers' group workshop on second person poetry. I'm not sure if I will actually end up submitting this one or not, though: I'd like to see what you think.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

From A Jigsaw-Grrrl To You...

In honour of my friend J finally being able to put Le Tigre's 'This Island' album on her iPod (after months of waiting!) and of me finally completing my Bikini Kill discography last week, here's a tribute to the awesome Kathleen Hanna that I saw recently, and thought I ought to share, just to spread the K-Ha love, if nothing else!



Ever since I listened to Bikini Kill's iconic song 'Rebel Girl', I have been obsessed with the riot grrrl movement. It's girl-positive mix of raw post-punk and feminism are both truly inspirational elements to me, and it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say riot grrrl has helped define who I am today. Thanks to Kathleen Hanna and the many other awesome grrrls like her, feminism lives on!
Keep the girl-style revolution alive!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Blue and White - Istigkeit

video

Here I am now, submerged in blue: a wall of colour and nothing else. Here, time is defunct, because now and here is nowhere, and I am little more than abstract thoughts. There’s a kind of purity about it, a wholeness; smooth white peace like a softmint, with the sting in the mouth too. There’s a sound like the hush of clouds seething between the bones and a floating sensation, like falling asleep underwater.
Beneath the heavens, where opaline skies bite down on treetops, I lie open. I am free. Out of the veil of myopia everything seems crystalline and bright; pure as tears.
I have come here to empty myself; to erase emotion and relieve the weight of exhaustion from my limbs. The endless expanse of blue drains me, washes over my eyelids, and I am infinitely small yet part of everything, and full of so many fractured voices and half-formed words, I find it hard to breathe.
I am learning peace. Locked in my own pearl carapace, I sleep, dreaming achromatic dreams of bird cages, piano keys and sulphuric clouds dragging the lake. And I am rolled flat beneath the waves; a cut-paper ghost, the mouth shutting on nothing over and over. Ice laces the knots of my spine, and I can feel my lungs flooding with silence.
And this is what it is to be whole. Istigkeit: the essence of life, pressed like a flower.
I am beneath it all, beyond it all, as I lie still; watching the clouds passing, passing, over my head.

* * *

Just something short a wrote in creative writing club recently. The theme was colours, so I, naturally, chose blue and white.
Although it wasn't originally inspired by the song, I felt that it fit - and, as I love Babes in Toyland and this is an amazing song, I thought I ought to share it. Even though that meant spending an evening making a video as there wasn't one on the internet (shameful!)...
Enjoy!