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