Sunday, 9 September 2012

Post-Festival Blues,Cardiff Afterlife & Birthday Bants

I can't remember the last weekend where I didn't drink at least a litre of wine/the vodka equivalent thereof/both, which is kind of worrying but since I've been travelling cross-country seeing new bands and old friends (and old bands and new friends) I guess I can be forgiven. First of all, August 16th brought with it the hideous prospect of RESULTS DAY. I don't need to go into it in detail, but I did well and I got into my first choice, the University of Liverpool, so that worked out pretty well and meant that the following weekend at Beacons Festival could be spent celebrating and not commiserating. We got there and pitched the tent and stuff and it looked a bit like this:
It's funny because I live about half an hour away from Skipton but it's bloody beautiful. Unfortunately the weather didn't quite hold out all weekend but amongst puddle-jumping and getting stuck in the mud we managed to catch some awesome bands, as well as dressing up in fairground-themed fancy dress and getting our eyebrows done in glitter, making DIY vodka cocktails and eating the worlds best mashed potato. Musical highlights included the obscenely talented Willy Mason whose beautiful set had me sobbing my way through my Sunday hangover, Japandroids who I'd really really been looking forward to and who didn't disappoint, and Star Slinger, a DJ I'd never heard of before who played the Sunday afternoon and had us all dancing in Barbour jackets outside the tent at Sunset to Nicki Minaj and 'Crossroads'. Non-musical highlights include the man with one leg who went around spiking people with LSD (you literally could not make it up) selling fake laughing gas to unsuspecting camp-neighbours and The Impossible Lecture, a 72 hour performance piece by Leeds-based collective Indivisible featuring Carianne the Merman (or a lad writhing around on the floor wrapped in tin foil), The Jeremy Kyle Show Live & an hour long dance to Proud Mary. Surreal doesn't quite cover it.

After saying goodbye to the lovely Funkirk Estate I went home for a couple of days to recuperate before my fourth visit to the Leeds Festival. As much as Leeds has the rep for being 'a bit shite', it always feels to me like a sort of homecoming, partly because it's basically in my back garden but also because it's full of all my friends, new and old, getting together to party hard. This year was a bit different as we were camping in the Guest area thanks to a friend of Beth's pulling some strings, but this brought with it coffee cocktails (flat white White Russian anyone?) clean toilets and star-spotting in the bar whose clientele included the Cure's Simon Gallup (unfortunately I wasn't in the bar at this point or I'd have fangirled the fuck out of the world) a couple of members of Los Campesinos! and the Mystery Jets who were totally lovely to Tom's little brothers. Leeds looked a bit like THIS (or the sky did, unfortunately the rest are generally unflattering shots of yours truly and/or friends drinking too much)

I saw about half the bands I was planning on as we spent a bit too much time back at camp drinking Merlot straight from the box but we did still see a good few, personal highlights were Future of the Left, At The Drive In, The Cure, Blood Red Shoes and Los Campesinos! (And most of all seeing BRS drummer/vocalist Steven absolutely losing his shit during ATDI, I love it when bands love other bands). Returning home on the Monday morning to a rainy Harrogate, I spent most of the day moping and drinking blueberry tea before preparing myself for a week of being sat in the office, moping and drinking blueberry tea (I like routine, okay?!) before packing my leopard-print bags and heading off to South Wales to hang out with some fellow obsessive-compulsive Manics Fans. I was, to be frank, absolutely shitting it as although I knew everyone from 'the internet', this was to be the first time we'd met in real life and being a pretty paranoid person I was really afraid that it'd be dead awkward, so I bought a litre of vodka and sat on the train in my leopard fur & eyeliner reading American Psycho, feeling like Richey Edwards and getting slowly more wasted as I neared Cardiff. Upon arrival I got totally lost trying to find the exit to the station, but eventually made it to the lovely Amy's house. Rachel and I were the last to arrive and everyone was a bit drunk which made me feel a lot better about the state I was in. To my absolute relief everyone was COMPLETELY BEYOND LOVELY and not at all awkward, vodka and cranberry ensued (it's a Manics thing..) as well as a candlelit Richey Appreciation Moment, burnt garlic bread and hours of Top Bants (tm) courtesy of Rob and Edmund featuring Banthony Costa, Bant & Dec and Blink 182's Take Off Your Bants & Jacket. The next day we went into Cardiff and spent far too long record shopping before taking a trip to Cardiff Bay which was pretty and looked like this: 
After smoothies at the bay and a glance at the rather disturbing Torchwood memorial thingy, we went back to Amy's for the Big Manics Haus Party, via Lidl where an alarmingly large bottle of red wine and several kiwis were purchased. To be completely honest I don't remember an awful lot of the night but there are few moments worthy of an honourable mention: Ed and I giving each other dodgy Judge Yr'self tattoos, everyone getting 4realed, Rob 'bonging a fag' and just about everyone turning into a hardcore chain smoker (big up to Amy for clearing up all the ends...), Roisin documenting the evening for the forthcoming pastel grunge blog, mine and Nicky's scary knees, deep emotional chats with Rachel during which Ed passed out on a wall, and waking up at 6am to David Mitchell dressed as a woman to find myself an hour later nearly falling asleep with my head in the toilet bowl. I don't even want to talk about the hungover train journey, made worse by the fact that I had pretty much the greatest time ever and desperately did not want to leave, but alas I made it back to Manchester in one piece in time to spend a morbid hour on the M62 (Myra Hindley represent) back to miserable Yorkshire. Here is some highly unflattering photographic evidence of the bants in action: 
 
 
 
 /\ I proper love and miss this lot, peak :( 

After a week of hangover & wanting to be anywhere else in the world than in the office, it rolled round to Friday, my birthday weekend had begun and I could no longer hide from the big bottle of Absolut with my name on it. I had a wonderful and slightly emotional night with my nearest and dearest, my 'speech' was pretty peak (basically I was ordered to do a speech which basically consisted of me saying 'I'm going to miss you all so much' and then sobbing into my White Russian). It was probably the last time I'm going to be together with all my favourite people before I move away for university next Saturday but I reckon the most of it was certainly made. Especially big love for my best friend Bethany for turning up with a bottle of Spanish vodka, Tom for looking after my house and the lovely Leah for staying up to watch the sunset with me and smoking my bus ticket cigarettes without complaining. Also to Hannah for vomming violently but neatly and photographing the evening, Sally for the epic jams and Matt for being the King of Ring of Fire. 

 
 
 

Also big shout out to Ben for this photo ^ it's probably my all time favourite picture, EVER. xxx

Friday, 3 August 2012

'Fortune' isn't the new 'Rumours' but...

I'm kind of sick to death of hearing people talking about Chris Brown beating up Rihanna. Before you think I'm totally mental, I obviously don't advocate domestic violence in any way shape or form BUT after having read this review of Brown's new album, I can't help but think the world has gone slightly mad. --->
 So, Chris Brown is a famously nasty man who beat his also famous ex girlfriend, media darling Rihanna. But Chris Brown is also a musician (of sorts) and I can't help but feel that this review, although I agree with the fact that Brown is a vile man whose music isn't much better, is kind of missing the point. It's not a review. It contains about one sentence judging the record by it's actual musical merits (or demerits as the case probably is, I haven't actually listened to it and don't ever plan to). Even though the lyrics sound a bit shite, people who like Chris Brown's music don't listen to it for the poetry do they? They like the beats, the melodies, whatever. If Brown had done nothing wrong, no one would pay attention to the lyrics because it's just the sort of shite you hear EVERYWHERE. I think Chris Brown is a fucking moron and his lyrics are terrible.  But just because we don't like what people do in their private lives, does not mean that we should automatically disregard their artistic outlets (I find it really funny that I just used that phrase whilst talking about CHRIS BROWN). Take John Donne, 16th century poet and writer. A famously misogynistic bastard who got up to all kinds of no good during his not-very-long life,  and the sort of person who, if I knew, I'd hate. But just because I don't like HIM doesn't mean I have to automatically hate his poetry: I kind of do because I studied it for A Level and it drove me up the wall, but some of it is actually pretty beautiful. Donne probably isn't the best example because we're talking here about pop music, not poetry, so let's try one of the most famous bands of all time: Fleetwood Mac. I'm pretty sure nobody has ever said "Final words: don't buy this album" about Rumours, lauded as one of the greatest albums ever made etc etc etc. Hey, guess what? Lindsay Buckingham beat his girlfriend. Do I think Lindsay Buckingham is a good person? No, not really. He seems like a bit of a wanker to say the least. Do I appreciate Lindsay Buckingham's music? Absolutely. Take The Beatles - John Lennon, again, wife-beater. I don't think it's at all commendable, but he didn't write songs about beating up women, did he? Chris Brown may write about 'super soaking hoes' which is not the most romantic way to talk about a lover, but at the end of the day, that's pop these days, you get shit like that everywhere. In fact I'm pretty sure 'super soaking hoes' came from Soulja Boy. I have no idea if Soulja Boy beats up women. Nowhere has Chris Brown said 'Hey guys, it's really cool to beat up your girlfriends and if you do you'll be cool like me', and as much as I don't think it's a forgivable act, I think that to actually set about writing a review of a record, you have to listen to the record and not the media frenzy surrounding the artist. Chris Brown is not my cup of tea, as a person or as a recording artist, but fans of his kind of music shouldn't be deterred from listening to the songs they want to, just because some reviewer in a newspaper seems to think he can rid the world of violence. I bet whoever wrote that review would flip out if they saw someone slagging off Rumours. Or Sgt Pepper.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

August 1st: I forgot I had a blog

I was browsing around on Twitter earlier and came across a link to a music quiz on a family friend's Blogspot. And I had genuinely forgotten that I even had one, which is frankly quite shit of me even though nobody actually reads this, and so I felt that, for my own sake more than anything, I should post something.

Here's a rundown of the past couple of months:

  • Beth and I went to Southside Festival in Neuhausen ob Eck, Southwestern Germany. It was absolutely fucking fantastic. We flew over to Munich and stayed with my Aunt, Uncle and cousins in a little village just out of the city, where all the houses look like something from Wisteria Lane and everyone has a perfect tan. That night we settled for a when-in-Rome mentality and drank stupidly huge glasses of beer and had pretzels and watched a bit of football with my sports-obsessed cousins (a trait that clearly hasn't made its way over to my side of the family) and had an early night as we had about 302028 trains to catch the next day.
  • By some absolutely crazy stroke of luck we actually MADE IT TO THE FESTIVAL ALIVE with our bare-bones knowledge of German (zvei bier bitte, danke, hallo and that's about it) and a map of the seriously confusing metro system of Munich. But we made it. And it looked like this: 

  • Beautiful or what? It remained about 30 degrees for the whole weekend minus a tiny spot of rain in the small hours of Monday morning and we saw a metric shitload of awesome bands. To be precise:
  1. Willy Moon (proper weird German wannabe Lady Gaga man. Odd.)
  2. Little Dragon (having only heard her? their? song with SBTRKT, I had no idea what to expect. It was wonderful and strange, and a very good call.)
  3.  Florence & The Machine (v. entertaining and note-perfect as ever) 
  4.  M83 (quite good but tent was packed and we danced around outside. They were projecting this pattern on the tent that looked like that movie, Teeth.)
  5. The Kooks (welcome dose of high school nostalgia complete with the more recent bollocks which is undeniably not that bad)
  6. Noel Gallagher's High Flying Smurfs (I'm lying, we just walked past and caught Don't Look Back In Anger. But it was actually alright)
  7.  Mumford and Sons (much to my absolute horror, they were alright, and we had a fun game of 'guess the next lyric' which was way too easy, someone needs to buy Marcus Mumford a thesaurus)
  8. Justice (who were absolutely fucking fantastic beyond belief, I had a better time than last time I saw them anyway)
  9. We Are Augustines (I'd never really listened to them but they were pleasant enough. Nothing to write home about but not bad)
  10. Alt-J (I'm not a fan but Beth is, but we agreed they were a bit disappointing and the guy has a really whiney voice)
  11. Band of Skulls (or a bit of them, anyway. They were good, crowd was a bit shit)
  12. Frank Turner (or again, part of his set. Much better than at the Olympics)
  13. M Ward (I was a fan, Beth wasn't. 'Hillbilly music' apparently. Clearly I'm a secret redneck)
  14. The Mars Volta (I liked them, Beth didn't, but it's okay because we spent their set getting drunk and frantically trying to call Tom so he could hear a bit. He couldn't hear anything.)
  15. The Shins (or a tiny, tiny bit of their set. I'd have liked to have stayed but I can't remember who else was on, but it was someone we wanted to see so whatever, maybe next time. Sounded good though.)
  16. Bat For Lashes (she's so beautiful it offends me. We had to leave early or we'd have missed The xx but she was suitably impressive, definitely buying a ticket for her tour later this year)
  17. The xx (absolutely awesome. They played Take Care. It was awesome. I cried during VCR)
  18. The Cure (I could write an essay about this. They played an incredibly tight set for a bunch of, lets face it, old men. Smith was on top form vocals wise, the sound was a bit iffy cos it was windy, the setlist was AWESOME if you're a Curefan (me) not so awesome if you like The Cure but only know the hits (Beth). Highlights were Shake Dog Shake, Why Can't I Be You, If Only Tonight We Could Sleep and Bananafishbones I think)
  19. Beirut (Beth saw most of their set, I only saw a bit as I stayed for The Cure's encore. They were quite nice, if a little sleep inducing)
  20. New Order. (fucking ace. I can only describe myself during Blue Monday as 'mad fer it'. A particularly embarrassing example of my horrible dance moves.)
  21. Less Than Jake (FUN FUN FUN they are so fun they just make me smile, a lot. We got TOO drunk for whatever time in the morning it was)
  22. Eastern Conference Champions (who were actually really good but had the tiniest crowd ever)
  23. Young Guns (quite good but to be honest I can hardly remember)
  24. Ed Sheeran (lol. Despite the fact that we only went to see him to escape the burning sun and to laugh at him, he actually was pretty good. I don't even care if everyone hates me for saying that. Cried during The A Team, NO SHAME)
  25. The Bronx (who were really really awesome, we lost our sunglasses in the moshpit and ended up doing metal fingers on the big screen outside the tent. Embarrassing but totally worth it)
  26. Wolfmother (we were dragged along by a bunch of German guys we met who plied us with wine and weed. They were fun in a kind of awkward way)
  27. Blink 182 (My inner 12 year old was LOVING it and Germans were buying me beer so my outer 18 year old was, too)
  28. The Stone Roses (Doesn't count because I didn't actually see them but Beth did and she said they were good so this is just going in there as an honorary mention)
Uh so yeah that was absolutely, ridiculously, stupidly fun. The next few days we spent wandering aimlessly around Munich, drinking too much and not paying for any of the trains:


Then we came home and I'm still (a month and a half later) dealing with a bad case of holiday blues. I have a new job in an office so my life is OFFICIALLY BORING AS FUCK. Between then and now I have filled the time by:
  • Buying: Crap for uni. Stuff I'll never use, like a potato masher and a scrubbing brush in the shape of a mohawk called, I shit you not, Sid Dishes. Also, fancy dress costume bits for Rosie's Pimps & Hoes themed birthday. I'm going as 'Stupid Hoe' aka Nicki Minaj... it'll be interesting.
  • Watching: the entirety of Twin Peaks. It remains my favourite TV show of all time ever, it is SO clever and beautiful and scary, and I want to be Audrey Horne so much it hurts me) and more importantly, Not watching: the Olympics. Sorry but it is really fucking boring and call me a grinch or whatever but I couldn't give less of a shit about how many medals we get.
  • Listening: (to) (grammar fail) Willy Mason, Purity Ring, Passion Pit, The Delgados, Japandroids and Simon & Garfunkel.
  • Eating: granola and yoghurt, my new all-time favourite food ever. 
  • Drinking: Cointreau and lemonade, my new all-time favourite drink ever. 
My new friend Sid Dishes

In other news, future plans include BEACONS FESTIVAL (where Beth and I are working as part of the 'breakdown crew' i.e litter pickers and general shit cleaners) featuring Japandroids, Veronica Falls, Toots & the Maytals,  2:54, Willy Mason and other acts who I'm really stoked about seeing, LEEDS FESTIVAL (a.k.a Annual Bramham Pilgrimage). Line up is a bit bollocks but The Cure are playing along with Los Campesinos! who I never get bored of, and The Black Keys and ATDI and Veronica Falls again. Plus we're going for free (HA) so it's nothing to turn your nose up at really. If anyone's actually managed to read all of this, let me know and I'll buy you some sweets.

Ciao x

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Some things.

Here are some things that have happened today:

  • At work, a woman came in and bought a pair of shoes. She was about 45 and was with her friend who was about the same age. After paying for the shoes, she left, went for lunch with her friend, came back drunk as hell and bought another pair of shoes. She said to me, "I know it's naughty but...Yolo!" and I swear to God, I nearly died, there and then. Sometimes I hate the Great British Public.

  • The Grand National happened. I got thoroughly confused as I didn't realise there was MORE THAN ONE RACE. But now I know... I won the pub sweepstake, nice one. I'm not the biggest fan of racing because yeah, it's horribly cruel, but I'm not going to sit and preach cos I'm having a chicken curry for my dinner tonight and I'm currently wearing a leather belt and shoes and make up which was probably tested on animals. I might not be a saint but at least I'm not a hypocrite. 

  • I watched that 'Hole Reunion' video. Eric Erlandson has nothing on Micko Larkin (soz but I just love Micko, loads) but Melissa Auf der Maur is a FABULOUS human being. I'm a huge fan of Hole, I'm not so keen on Courtney Love as a person (she chats shit and has the worst wardrobe in music) but people who hate Hole because they like Nirvana and 'Courtney killed Kurt' need a reality check, it's pathetic, boring and everyone's heard it a thousand times before. Hate them if you hate their music, their songs, whatever, but Kurt Cobain killed himself 18 years ago, leave his memory and his ex wife alone. If you like Kurt, listen to his music, if you don't like Courtney, don't listen to hers. Having said that, the whole Dave-fucked-Frances thing is LAUGHABLE. Shut your massive online gob, Love.

  • I heard the crowds were shit at Coachella, and I'm not surprised. It's cos I wasn't there. Party don't start...

Thursday, 12 April 2012

"You Should Date An Illiterate Girl" by Charles Warnke

I've just read this and thought I'd share it because in a very short space of time, it made me laugh, made me cry, made me hate myself and made me incredibly grateful.

"Date a girl who doesn’t read. Find her in the weary squalor of a Midwestern bar. Find her in the smoke, drunken sweat, and varicolored light of an upscale nightclub. Wherever you find her, find her smiling. Make sure that it lingers when the people that are talking to her look away. Engage her with unsentimental trivialities. Use pick-up lines and laugh inwardly. Take her outside when the night overstays its welcome. Ignore the palpable weight of fatigue. Kiss her in the rain under the weak glow of a streetlamp because you’ve seen it in film. Remark at its lack of significance. Take her to your apartment. Dispatch with making love. Fuck her.

Let the anxious contract you’ve unwittingly written evolve slowly and uncomfortably into a relationship. Find shared interests and common ground like sushi, and folk music. Build an impenetrable bastion upon that ground. Make it sacred. Retreat into it every time the air gets stale, or the evenings get long. Talk about nothing of significance. Do little thinking. Let the months pass unnoticed. Ask her to move in. Let her decorate. Get into fights about inconsequential things like how the fucking shower curtain needs to be closed so that it doesn’t fucking collect mold. Let a year pass unnoticed. Begin to notice.
Figure that you should probably get married because you will have wasted a lot of time otherwise. Take her to dinner on the forty-fifth floor at a restaurant far beyond your means. Make sure there is a beautiful view of the city. Sheepishly ask a waiter to bring her a glass of champagne with a modest ring in it. When she notices, propose to her with all of the enthusiasm and sincerity you can muster. Do not be overly concerned if you feel your heart leap through a pane of sheet glass. For that matter, do not be overly concerned if you cannot feel it at all. If there is applause, let it stagnate. If she cries, smile as if you’ve never been happier. If she doesn’t, smile all the same.

Let the years pass unnoticed. Get a career, not a job. Buy a house. Have two striking children. Try to raise them well. Fail, frequently. Lapse into a bored indifference. Lapse into an indifferent sadness. Have a mid-life crisis. Grow old. Wonder at your lack of achievement. Feel sometimes contented, but mostly vacant and ethereal. Feel, during walks, as if you might never return, or as if you might blow away on the wind. Contract a terminal illness. Die, but only after you observe that the girl who didn’t read never made your heart oscillate with any significant passion, that no one will write the story of your lives, and that she will die, too, with only a mild and tempered regret that nothing ever came of her capacity to love.
Do those things, god damnit, because nothing sucks worse than a girl who reads. Do it, I say, because a life in purgatory is better than a life in hell. Do it, because a girl who reads possesses a vocabulary that can describe that amorphous discontent as a life unfulfilled—a vocabulary that parses the innate beauty of the world and makes it an accessible necessity instead of an alien wonder. A girl who reads lays claim to a vocabulary that distinguishes between the specious and soulless rhetoric of someone who cannot love her, and the inarticulate desperation of someone who loves her too much. A vocabulary, goddamnit, that makes my vacuous sophistry a cheap trick.

Do it, because a girl who reads understands syntax. Literature has taught her that moments of tenderness come in sporadic but knowable intervals. A girl who reads knows that life is not planar; she knows, and rightly demands, that the ebb comes along with the flow of disappointment. A girl who has read up on her syntax senses the irregular pauses—the hesitation of breath—endemic to a lie. A girl who reads perceives the difference between a parenthetical moment of anger and the entrenched habits of someone whose bitter cynicism will run on, run on well past any point of reason, or purpose, run on far after she has packed a suitcase and said a reluctant goodbye and she has decided that I am an ellipsis and not a period and run on and run on. Syntax that knows the rhythm and cadence of a life well lived.
Date a girl who doesn’t read because the girl who reads knows the importance of plot. She can trace out the demarcations of a prologue and the sharp ridges of a climax. She feels them in her skin. The girl who reads will be patient with an intermission and expedite a denouement. But of all things, the girl who reads knows most the ineluctable significance of an end. She is comfortable with them. She has bid farewell to a thousand heroes with only a twinge of sadness.

Don’t date a girl who reads because girls who read are the storytellers. You with the Joyce, you with the Nabokov, you with the Woolf. You there in the library, on the platform of the metro, you in the corner of the cafĂ©, you in the window of your room. You, who make my life so god damned difficult. The girl who reads has spun out the account of her life and it is bursting with meaning. She insists that her narratives are rich, her supporting cast colorful, and her typeface bold. You, the girl who reads, make me want to be everything that I am not. But I am weak and I will fail you, because you have dreamed, properly, of someone who is better than I am. You will not accept the life that I told of at the beginning of this piece. You will accept nothing less than passion, and perfection, and a life worthy of being storied. So out with you, girl who reads. Take the next southbound train and take your Hemingway with you. I hate you. I really, really, really hate you."


Easter and other things.

I haven't posted here in ages. Mostly because I've had a quiet few weeks and I've been focusing so much on dull things like essays and work and University applications that I've really had no time to do anything or think about anything. Easter was a welcome break.

Last Monday a few of us did the pub quiz at the New Inn near school. Liv got alarmingly drunk (a recurring theme, apparently) and thank God I was driving or I'd probably have ended up doing shots of Cherry Sourz too. I took Hannah and Sean home and listened to Japanese Voyeurs for the first time in ages, which took me back to last June when exams were over and I drove everybody everywhere, just for the sake of it. I have £10 in my purse right now and it makes me feel a little bit sick to think about how much petrol I wasted on random trips to Beckwithshaw and Darley - fuck my friends for living in the middle of nowhere. Oh, and we didn't win the quiz, but Liv managed to persuade the elderly gentleman on the winning team to buy her a glass of wine in exchange for an answer. (The answer was Faye from Steps. I can't remember the question.)

Thursday brought with it the hideous prospect of Karaoke Night, where I usually drink for two because Beth's too busy singing to drink, but for some reason I felt it was appropriate to join her, along with Tom and Kyle, for a painful rendition of Pulp's Common People. We did the quiz again on Monday, and after we lost (again) conversation turned to Uni and 'The Future' and other scary things. I mentioned New York again, the ultimate pipedream. I have an Aunt who lives there and she says I can stay whenever I like, but it's never that easy, is it? Beth and I went home and we watched Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona (I've been working my way through his films this Easter, and so far have managed Manhattan (again), Annie Hall (again), Sleeper, Bananas, Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex, Love & Death (which is my favourite, I think) and now Vicky Cristina Barcelona) and it was a really welcome antidote to scaremongering films about going abroad, like Taken with Liam Neeson. I'm looking forward to a week in Munich even more now, first Southside Festival with The Cure, New Order and Beirut, and then three days in a little village outside Munich, where my five cousins live with their dog, a St Bernard called Shakira. (I haven't told Beth about Shakira yet. I want to see her face when I introduce her.)

I had some weird thoughts about stuff the other day. Beth and I were talking about how people use different things as coping mechanisms (and we are a bit worried that we usually turn to gin) and how people might think it's awful that in a stressful situation I'll have a drink or try and sleep it out, but then I thought about how sad it is that other people use other people as emotional crutches. But then how will they cope when they don't have anybody? It made me really sad, when I thought about it, that there are people who depend solely upon other people. If you give a little piece of yourself to all your friends and family, then what have you got left? It reminded me that being a little reserved when it comes to emotional things can't always be a bad thing, regardless of what people might tell you.

Also tonight I watched Wife Swap and it made me incredibly grateful that I come from a really, really normal background. My parents can drive me mental sometimes but if I had to live with any of the people I've just watched for an hour on DMAX, I'd definitely have shoved my head in a gas oven by now.

This has been a little disjointed. Sorry.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

25 Songs Every Teenage Girl Should Hear

Or just everyone should hear really. I've had a super (un)productive day of compiling all the songs I wish I'd known about when I was 12. Of course, that's impossible, some of them weren't even released when I was 12. That's entirely not the point.

25. Rebel Girl - Bikini Kill
24. Express Yourself - Madonna
23. Don't Marry Her - The Beautiful South
22. Trick Me - Kelis
21. Edge of Seventeen - Stevie Nicks
20. Miss World - Hole
19. Cherrybomb - Bratmobile (or the original by The Runaways)
18. Why Do You Love Me? - Garbage
17. If It Makes You Happy - Sheryl Crow
16. Close Call - Rilo Kiley
15. Maps - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
14. Love is a Battlefield - Pat Benetar
13. Combat Baby - Metric
12. Pot Kettle Black - Tilly & the Wall
11. What's Mine is Yours - Sleater-Kinney
10. Hit Em Up Style - Blu Cantrell
9. Lovefool - The Cardigans
 8. Pretend We're Dead - L7
7. Lust In The Movies - The Long Blondes
6.Typical Girls - The Slits
5. Who The Fuck? - PJ Harvey
3. One Way or Another - Blondie
2. Ladykillers - Lush
1.  No Scrubs - TLC

and those that narrowly missed the cut: Wuthering Heights - Kate Bush/Wannabe - Spice Girls/We Are Family - Sister Sledge (and the Babes in Toyland cover) - Kiss That Grrl - Kate Nash / Single Ladies - Beyonce / Fuck Me Pumps - Amy Winehouse / What The Hell - Avril Lavigne / Awful - Hole / Material Girl - Madonna / All of Christina Aguilera's 'Stripped'/ Denis - Blondie / Devils' Spoke - Laura Marling / No Fucking War- Seven Year Bitch / Dear Prudence - Siouxsie and the Banshees /  You Belong With Me - Taylor Swift / School Uniform - The Pipettes

there's no number 4. i was testing you. 

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Why I'm Embarrassed to be a Feminist (and other stories involving bras & the internet)

*Quick disclaimer: I am not an academic expert in any of the following, nor am I claiming to speak on behalf of all of man/womankind or all feminists in the universe. I'm sure there are flaws in the arguments presented (there are sure as hell flaws in the grammar and generally appalling structure) but I'm an 18 year old with a blog and not a writer and these views are my own and not those of the BBC blah blah etc*

I will probably never stand up in front of a group of people who I don't know and tell them I'm a feminist. If you know what feminism actually is you'll think that's ridiculous, but the sad fact is that so many people don't know what the word actually means. This, to many, will sound condescending and preachy and you'll be thinking this is all so obvious but I can think of a lot, and I mean a LOT of people I know who are stuck in the stone age when it comes to feminism and egalitarianism in general. Even my sixth form English Literature teacher didn't actually know that third wave feminism was even 'a thing'. I don't actually understand how anyone can be intelligent enough to get through University and successfully gain a degree but be so completely unaware of actual real world issues, but that's another matter. The problem with feminism is that the word 'feminist' has so many connotations: all feminists are lesbians, feminists don't wear bras, don't shave their legs, feminists hate men, feminists are just women who are jealous of the attractive women who get more attention than they do. All of that is shit. Oh and another newsflash: feminists aren't all women.

Here are some of the stupid things I've heard about feminism (and why I think they're stupid. I'm not claiming to be an academic expert on the subject, but generally someone who is of sound mind unlike the hysterical 'feminists' of Tumblr who all want to lynch Caitlin Moran, or the 'but a woman's role IS in the home' prehistoric types.)

1. Feminists hate men.
This is probably my favourite myth because it's so absolutely hilariously insanely not true. Like, it doesn't even bear thinking about. I'm a feminist, right, because I believe in full gender equality. I also happen to be a straight woman who likes men. Quite a lot, actually. Hanging out with men, being friends with men, having sex with men, you know, men in general. That doesn't mean to say I don't enjoy female company, but when it comes to romantic inclination, I LIKE MEN. Feminists can be straight and feminists can be lesbian or bi or asexual or pansexual or even fancy plants if they really want to.

2. Feminists don't shave, and if you do, you're not a proper feminist.
For starters, if a man claims to be a feminist and he shaves his face, does it make him anti-feminist? (If a tree falls in a forest and nobody hears it, does it make a noise?) No but seriously, this is such a load of bollocks. I'm a feminist and I shave my legs, armpits and all the rest. The issue feminists have with shaving/waxing/otherwise removing body hair is not the fact that it shouldn't be removed, it's the idea that women are expected by society (in most western cultures) to remove hair and those who don't are seen as dirty or ugly. Feminists will argue that it should be the choice of the woman, not of the men (or women) she sleeps with or the culture she is part of,  whether to have body hair or not. I don't know who said this but I read it somewhere (and this is badly paraphrased but whatever) "As a woman, I should no obligation to shave my legs, and as a feminist, I should have no obligation not to". 

3. "Feminists: telling women what to do since men stopped."
Okay. I saw this one one of those stupid internet memes and like died on the spot. Feminism, in it's purest sense, does not 'tell women what to do.' Feminism is a movement which encourages CHOICE for women, in all areas. Choosing whether or not to shave because you WANT TO, not that you feel you have to. Choosing whether to have sex, and who to have sex with. (I'm not going to go into rape in this because I feel like that's a separate argument and I'd be here all year) Choosing whether (financially permitting, and I'm not about to blame all economic issues on misogyny) to work, or not to work. Feminism is about choice, not about telling people what they can and can't do. Secondly, the 'since men stopped' bit is ridiculous. To take a pretty obvious example: birth control. In the USA, abortion and birth control are highly contested issues which pretty much divide the nation in two (obviously there are pro-choice Reps and pro-life Dems but let's just generalise for a second). So let's get this straight: in a society where 'men have stopped telling women what to do' there are a bunch of men (and the US government is largely male) are using a woman's choice over what to do with her body as a political bargaining tool. And you're telling me it's the FEMINISTS who want to control women's bodies.

Caitlin Moran famously said in her book "How To Be A Woman": "Put your hand in your pants. a) Do you have a vagina? and b) Do you want to be in charge of it? If you said 'yes' to both, you're a feminist" and I guess to an extent this is true. I can't see any reason why, if you have a vagina, you'd want someone else to be in charge of it, but I guess there'll always be one and I'm not speaking for all of humanity here. But you don't have to have a vagina to be a feminist. People of all genders can be feminists so long as they believe in equality between genders. (I don't really want to get tied up in transgender issues within feminism though, not because I don't think it's important because it really is, but just because I don't know enough about it to be able to properly articulate what I want to say, but if it's something you want to know more about, welcome to the internet, Google is your friend).


Basically, I'm lucky in that a lot of the people I choose to associate with show even basic understanding of this. Most of my friends would see themselves as feminists and those that don't (hopefully) will once they've read this. But sadly I also know a lot of people, men AND women, who genuinely don't think gender equality is desirable or necessary. And that's sad.
It's sad that we live in a society in which 'feminist' is thrown about as an insult. Every belief system has its extremists, and feminism is no different. There will always be the scary, militant 'feminists' who think a girl who shaves their armpits is a traitor to the cause, and there will always be people who don't advocate feminism. But I speak for myself in saying that, as a straight female who wears a bra and shaves her body hair and likes men (possibly too much), I'm a feminist because when I graduate from university and set about finding a career, I want to be paid the same amount as the males who do the same job as me. I want to be able to choose what I do with my own body, be that with regards to appearance or health issues, and choose what I do with my own life, be it education or work or travelling doing absolutely fuck all. I don't think that it's wrong for a woman to be a housewife and to cook and to clean, as much as I don't think that it's wrong for a woman to be career-focused, so long as it is their choice. Women and men alike should have the choice to live their lives how they want, and be treated as equals. That is the point of feminism.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

February 16th, a series of questions about bands.

Taken from my top 50 artists on last.fm

1. How did you get into 31?
The Breeders - "No Aloha" was on a playlist that was made for me ages ago and I downloaded the album it's taken from, Last Splash, after that.
2. What was the first song you ever heard by 22?
The Maccabees - I can't remember, it was forever ago, but I think it was probably either Latchmere or About Your Dress. In fact, I remember seeing the About Your Dress video with the fingers, so probably that.
3. What’s your favourite lyric by 41?
The Moldy Peaches - Oh god they're just hilarious. "Who mistook this steak for chicken/who am I gonna stick my dick in?" is quite the classic.


February 14th 2012, the least romantic Valentine's Day of all time.

I am not single and bitter. I'm not even single, and only a tiny bit bitter. I really hate Valentine's day, though. It just seems to me like a completely pointless exercise, if you're in a relationship you should be appreciating each other for the other 364 days of the year, not just February 14th. Not that I would expect flowers and cards every day - so I don't expect those on Valentine's day either. I just don't like the idea of being out for dinner in a room full of couples drinking champagne that they got free for booking the table, or spending the day doing "couple things". I'm not really a romantic at the best of times, and V-Day just seems to bring out the worst in me, so I just try to avoid it as much as possible. This year I think I did this better than I ever have before, albeit completely unintentionally.

On Monday, the day before V-Day, I went over to Manchester, where my boyfriend is at Uni. That night, me and some friends went to see Justice at Manchester Academy (who were very very good even if I was way too drunk to appreciate it properly). My friend Leah and I went to a cashpoint at some point during the night, and as I crossed the road to get to it, my ankle completely gave way under my foot, causing me to stumble across the road. (I wasn't wearing heels. I wasn't even that drunk...) but anyway it hurt a bit but it was mostly just hilarious and Leah and I just laughed about it for ages and then she found a bottle of rum in a bush and I think she drank it in the taxi. I went back to my boyfriend's flat where I was staying and went to sleep.

I am making this story far more boring by dragging it out, sorry. I find it hard to be concise.

Anyway, the next morning I woke up at about 6am with a splitting headache and the feeling that somebody had scrubbed my mouth out with sandpaper (I blame the Sailor Jerry*), so I got out of bed to get a drink and brush my teeth. I stood up and walked to the kitchen which is when I noticed the excruciating pain that was coming from my right foot, but desperate for hydration and a toothbrush I soldiered on. When I turned the kitchen light on, I discovered that half of my foot had turned a fetching shade of purplish blue, and cursing my drunken self, I went back to bed. Cut to 11am and I wake up again properly (lazy I know) and Joshua says good morning and then goes and gets me a glass of water (I have him well trained) (I'm joking) but anyway then he gives me a Valentine's card which I am secretly pleased with even though pretending to be all I-thought-we-weren't-doing-Valentine's and it transpires he's bought us tickets to see Green Day's American Idiot musical which I am very very excited about (thank you Josh if you're reading this!) and then I go, Josh look at my foot and it's all swollen and purple and gross. Then Josh's mum rang him and he mentioned my foot, and she said I should probably go to the hospital to get it checked, but being me I was all, "I'll be FINE" and was adamant that I did not need to go to the hospital because I was indeed fine. Then my mum rang me and we had pretty much the same conversation.

3 hours later and we're in the A&E department of Salford Royal Hospital and Josh is amusing himself by pushing the wheelchair that I'm sat in across the room so I go flying. I get x-rayed by a student doctor who looks about 14 years old but has one of the ugliest tattoos I've ever seeen, and then spend another few hours just waiting. I'm quite impatient and I was getting a bit wound up by the whole affair (I was FINE) so you can probably imagine how pissed off I was when the doctor told me that I had indeed broken my foot and I'd have to have a cast. I've never broken a bone before and being unfamiliar with the healing process, I imagined this would last about 2 weeks tops. So off we go to the plaster room (which was IMPOSSIBLE to find) and I'm there in a stupid hospital gown because I'd worn skinny jeans for some unknown reason, and had to take them off for the cast, and this nurse is going on about taking my nail varnish off and I really don't even care, I just want to be out of the hospital. After she'd put the cast on, as a sort of afterthought I asked when I could have it taken off. She said four to six weeks. I nearly died. Then a short, bald man gave me a quick lesson in walking with crutches, and we got a taxi back to the flat, me still in my hospital gown, looking like a prize cretin. Josh kept laughing at me at random intervals throughout the day and reminding me that it was a good job he insisted we went to A&E or I could've ended up being a "Timmy"** forever. He was right but I'm not very good at admitting that I was wrong so I didn't say much. Then we went back to the flat, and ate some leftover pizza. We were supposed to go out for dinner but that plan went out of the window when I became an invalid. Then my best friend, Beth, came over and we watched Shameless with Josh's annoying Australian flatmate, Dave. The four of us, Josh pissed off that I'm the world's crappiest Valentine's Day Celebrator, Beth pissed off because she's tired and hungover, me pissed off because I can't walk, and Dave not pissed off because he's too boring to get pissed off about anything. And we all just sat there, having the least romantic Valentine's day of our lives, and then went to sleep.

Rosie made this for me though:

* I was bought a bottle of Sailor Jerry from both my parents and from Josh for Christmas, I don't know which bottle it was, so I'm blaming all of them for my misfortune.
**exceptionally crude South Park reference, Josh's words, not mine...

Compulsory boring introduction post.

I'm not really sure who's going to read this. I'll probably put a link on twitter and then a few nosy bastards who follow me will have a look hoping to find interesting stuff and then they'll realise I'm properly boring (as if they didn't already know this from twitter/real life) and close the page and not bother again.

I'm Harriet, I'm 18 and I'm from Yorkshire. At the time of writing this, I have a broken foot due (my next post will explain further) and it's 1:30am and I am awake watching Family Guy repeats that I recorded earlier in the event of me being awake when there's nothing on tv. This happens to me quite often. I have loads of other, more productive stuff I could be doing, such as re-reading my set texts for English or a long-overdue History essay but in all honestly all that is wildly unappealing at present.

My main talent is wasting time, I'm REALLY good at it.