DAY 81: JEFF…

DAY 81: JEFF…

I was seventeen when I was first introduced to Jeff Buckley. An older, cooler, dude from the cafe I worked in on weekends would lend me stacks of CD’s, of music he thought I should know.

One day he he handed me an album with a pretty faced young guy on the front, wearing a spangled jacket, and an earring. The way he clutched the microphone made him look like an easy listening crooner like Harry Connick Jr. So needless to say, I was reluctant on this one.

But within three tracks of Grace I was in deep, undying, besotted love. How could this man sing like a choir of angels one minute, then be like a howling like a sex wolf the next, then shredding the guitar like Hendrix. All whilst looking like a hotter, prettier, version of James Franco in Freaks and Geeks, as if that were even something I ever thought possible.

As my listens to the album grew into the ten’s, then the hundreds, and I learned more about him via obsessive internet reading and the couple of iffy biographies that the local library had, so did my love for him.

He had everything that a romantic, endlessly-dreaming, music obsessed teenage girl could ever want – an infamous, tragic, famous musician father who died young, a pained and tortured soul as he deals with these inevitable family comparisons, a deep set rage and anguish, good looks, infinite talent, New York kudos, and then, of course, his own mysterious, unexpected, heartbreaking death at the young age of 30, as he was right on the cusp of recording his second album. With his death he left the world one perfect album to fetishise and idolise – his legend and beauty set in stone forever.

Consequently I dearly wanted a troubled and pained boyfriend of my own, who played guitar hilts peeking through his gorgeous lush fringe. Who’d let me wear his musky flannel shirts, whilst he opened his heart and soul to me about his family sorrow, and wrote epic seven minute love songs, for me, about the first time we made love, or fucked, or both.

But now here I am, aged 33, and with a few of those emotionally tortured and pained boyfriends under my belt, for which I definitely blame Jeff for, I think I can say that I am well and truly over that fantasy. It all seems nice and romantic, whilst staring at your bedroom walls, listening to Last Goodbye for the 16th time that day, but in reality I now know it means nothing but long nights of sulking in silence, butterflies in the gut (and not the good kind), arguments in public places, and spending hour upon hour listening to him whinge about his problems and feeling and tears. Oh and so many tears. So many. Some are his, but they're mostly yours. In fact, they're pretty much always yours. Despite all of this, you'll hang on, suffering, convinced you can fix him, you can cure his pain, you can be the one to make him happy. And then in the end, he'll be the one to dump you, and creak your heart, because you know, he told you all along he wasn't ready for this kind of relationship, he never promised you more, he can't do this, he's to damaged and you'll never truly understand his situation and damage…or some other bullshit that he'll cry at you as he walks out the door.

Nope. Give me an emotionally available, happy, kind, and committed type who has a steady job, gets along with his parents, thinks that sulking is for five year olds, and isn’t afraid to talk about, or make plans with you, further than two weeks in advance.

And Jeff? Well I’ll always love his music, the album Grace, and have a special spot for him in my heart that we reserve for all of our first loves. But otherwise, geez, what a huge sulky man-baby he was.

In fact, I’m going to declare it: Jeff Buckley would have been the most insufferable, exhausting, self-indulgent boyfriend ever.

I'd still pash him though.

x

DAY 44: STOP MAKING SENSE…

DAY 44: STOP MAKING SENSE…

I don’t like live concert recordings. 

My life revolves around music.And I love the thrill of going to a live show.But watching the recordings of shows I never understood.

The audio was never as good as the original recording.The visuals kinds repetitive and boring, not when compared with a glossy, artistic, promo video. And anyway, the point of live performance is to see it live. 

The electric atmosphere of thousands of other excited bodies around you all cheering and singing for the same things. The bass pulsating through your entire body. The gross yet also somehow gorgeous smell of sweat, spilt beer and spliffs. The knowledge that at last, you and your idols are in the same room, breathing the same air. Maybe you’ll even get to make eye contact. Your ears still ringing the next morning when you wake. And to say in years to come “I was there”. 

That’s the point of the live performance. And with a recording you get none of that.
But I have one exception: Talking Heads Stop Making Sense.


I first saw it around four years ago, on my clever brothers recommendation. It was a title I’d heard of a ton, but I wasn’t really a Talking Heads fan at the time (or more I hadn’t been exposed to them fully), and as I didn’t like the genre of concert film, there was no reason I’d ever have seen it.

But within the opening twenty seconds…David Byrne, walking onto an empty stage, placing a ghetto blaster on the ground, uttering the words “Hi I have a tape I’d like to play” then hitting the play button, before launching into a stripped back and thrilling version of Psycho Killer…well I was hooked, compelled, in love and have never looked back. 

The music, the staging, the performances, the costumes, the dancing, the energy. Everything is captivating, electric and like nothing I’ve ever seen before or have ever seen since. 

The whole thing is genius, and every second a pleasure. Every time I watch it I go through the entire spectrum of emotions – happiness, excitement, goosebumps, I grin, I laugh, I cry.

It’s the perfect film of the perfect performance by the perfect band. And one of my all time favourites. 

Oh David Byrne. I’d marry you and your grey suit in a heartbeat. 

I now watch it at least every three months. And the soundtrack, I listen to almost every Friday without fail. Often twice. I start my Friday by celebrating in the joy of the end ofthe week, by getting ready to it. And then Friday often ends, at home, after a few wines, with a little dance and a grin to the utterly uplifting Take Me To The River. 

Stop Making Sense, you are perfect. Thank you for being in this world.

x

DAY 40: 1001 SONGS – CHARMING MAN…

DAY 40: 1001 SONGS – CHARMING MAN…

1001 Songs to Hear Before You DieThis Charming Man – The Smiths (1983)


“I would go out tonight but I haven’t got a stitch to wear.”

A song that I know every bar, beat, word and second of. That’s so ingrained in me that I can just close my eyes and I’m there. 

Actually, this lyric I quote above, the utterly fantastic opening line to the song – is my bio on my Twitter account. It’s stuck with me for years. It’s me…but with irony. After all, if you know anything about my online persona, it’s that I have plenty to wear. 

So what a lovely, random, welcome, pick, from this 1001 Songs book.

I have claimed to have loved the Smiths since my mid-teens. But I have actually loved the Smiths since some years later, in my 20’s. I, a devout reader of Q Magazine, kept being told in it’s sporadic ‘GREATEST ALBUMS…” lists to buy the Queen Is Dead. And so I did.

And though I liked ‘How Soon is Now’ and some of the singles, I didn’t really gel with the rest of it. It never buried itself deep in me . And so it sat, scarcely listened to, amongst the balance of my CD’s.

But like most of the greats (Cohen, Cave, Waits…) you just need some age and experience on you to really be able to let them into your heart. Of course a teenager isn’t going to fully appreciate the wit, sarcasm, dryness, bleakness and scepticism of these artists. Yeah you might like the tunes and the knowledge that they hold kudos, but you need some life under your belt to REALLY FEEL THEM.

And every since, the Smith and I have had a long, unfaltering, beautiful relationship. 

The Queen is Dead ended up being one of the very first albums I purchased on vinyl, when I started collecting and swore to only ever purchase the greats. And probably my most played. 

The Smiths and I will never be apart. 

And the opening line to this song will probably always be my throwaway Tagline. 

After all, I figure, that if you ‘get’ it then you’re instantly on my team. 

x

DAY 39: PAUL…

DAY 39: PAUL…

It’s about time to put something to rest. A debate that always crops up around once a year. Everyone has an opinion. Some opinions are based on knowledge. Some are based on prejudice. Some are based on simply trying to be cool. 

But I have the answer, and I want this put to bed for the last time:

Paul was the best Beatle. 


I went through my obsessive Beatle phase when I was fourteen. Like, proper obsessed. And in this phase, which lasted approx 18 months, I cycled through every Beatle being my favourite…it’s okay. I’Ve been there. I lived through it and I’m out the other side. And with me I bring wisdom and clarity. 

My reasons for each round of favouritism were pretty much the same as everyone else’s, regardless of what our age is. I may have been only 14, but I saw the exact same qualities in each member as the most hardened experts.

Let’s run though the reasons why everyone declares their Beatle the best:

JOHN

Pros: The hit-making kudos of Paul without the saccharine and cheese. Funny. Clever. Had god accessories. Wrote Imagine. And most importantly…died young, in sudden and tragic fashion. 

Cons: Wife beating, sexist, cruel, adulterating, pretentious, asshole. Mocked the disabled, and was an total dickbag to everyone he met. Shitty father. Controlling to Yoko. Creepy obsession with his mother. 

So lets just put Imagine and his martyr-like demise aside, and just agree that John is out. To argue otherwise makes you a woman-hater.  

GEORGE

Pros: Wrote Here Comes the Sun and Something. 

Cons: Only wrote Here Comes the Sun and Something. 

This is the hardest of all the arguments. Yes, I agree that George is the COOLEST Beatle, but you cannot give him the crown based on two songs. The most astounding, amazing, mind-blowing thing about the Beatles is how their entire career lasted a mere eight years, and they transformed and evolved in ways that takes other artists decades, if at all! You’ll be lucky to get one Radiohead or U2 album in 8 years. They went from teddy boy pop to LSD nightmares, to hippy zen and released an average of 1.7 albums a year in the process. Yeah there’s the trash songs, but for every Maxwell’s Silver Hammer there’s four Eleanor Rigby’s. On the basis of averages, quantity, and lasting legacy, George cannot win this argument. 

RINGO

Pros: Adorably cute in the runt of the litter in a pudgy and eager to please Labrador puppy kind of way. An alright actor. 

Cons: There’s no blatant shit things about Ringo. It’s just that he’s…Ringo. 

Only Hipsters and people who think they’re too cool and smart to be mainstream argue for Ringo. I mean, pretend that by picking Ringo, you must therefore burn every single other Beatles song from existence, that he did not write or sing on. What are you left with? Yup, enjoy that teeny tiny little album. 

Which leaves us with…

PAUL

Pros: Deceptively simple melodies that seems like it existed in your mind forever yet it wholly original? Sweet and beautiful piano? Catchy chorus? Warm and friendly tones? Wrote Yesterday in a dream? Here There and Everywhere? Paperback Writer? Cute? Talented, great, girlfriends? Wrote a song dedicated to his love for an Old English Sheepdog? Eternally in love with and devoted to his first wife? Loving father? Band on the Run? Yup well that will all be Paul.

Cons: He’s not COOL. Okay. I admit it. You don’t like him because he reminds you of your Dad or your Geography teacher. Ob la Di Ob la da should be obliterated…but why do you go on and on about this song, and neglect to mention any of Lennon’s just-as-numerous shit songs?

Finally, Paul didn’t get shot in 1980. If he did, we wouldn’t be having this conversation and he’d get the artistic credit and recognition that he deserves. 

As harsh and horrible as it sounds, the biggest crime against Paul is that he’s still alive. And how awful is that? I always feel so sad about this fact, but I feel it’s the truth. 

So please put aside your petty, school-kid like bias. Shrugging and saying that PAUL IS SHIT is no better or mature than declaring that POP MUSIC IS DUMB, TAYLOR SWIFT ISN’T A PROPER MUSICIAN or RADIOHEAD ARE THE BEST BAND EVER.

Snobbery works both ways, y’know?

I made you a playlist. The only rule is that you get up and dance for Nineteen-Hundred-and-Eighty-Five. 

x

 

DAY 33: GLASTONBURY…

DAY 33: GLASTONBURY…

DISCLAIMER: I’m hungover and I’m a day behind in my project…so apologies if today’s post is lacking any hint of enthusiasm, sparkle and wit. Someone get me an ice cold Nippy’s?
This weekend is one of my favourite times of the year – it’s Glastonbury weekend. 


I’ve never been to Glastonbury, and to be honest, I don’t want to go to Glastonbury. 

And I also don’t typically enjoy watching recordings of concerts. Viewed through a camera lens, you lose all occasion and atmosphere, and they bore me (except for Talking Heads Stop Making Sense…that’s a whole different thing, and a story for another day).

But Glastonbury weekend is different. 

For the past four years or so, I’ve had a bit of a ritual. A weekend dedicated to this greatest of all festivals. Technology now allows for live streams and BBC provides dedicated channels to ensure non stop, comprehensive coverage. And it’s the best way to spend a weekend.

Whilst the festival might be in the English Summer, here it’s dark and cold. So to haul yourself up and watch hours of performances feels like a valid use of time. Plus the time difference is perfect – as we’re waking, the headliners are heading onstage. By midday it’s all done, and you can get on with your day, or spend the day catching up on the balance. Every year I always discover a few new bands that I end up falling in love with, through this process. 

I think it’s the feeling of being part of something big, a real-time witness, from across the world. As much as I love NZ, we’re often so isolated from things like this – so to know I’m experiencing everything at the exact same time as those who are standing there in that field – well it makes the world seem a whole lot smaller, and like we’re all connected. 

Get yourself a VPN (Hola works great) and head over to BBC’s Glastonbury channel. You won’t regret it.

Perfect for a slightly jaded, hung over weekend on the couch.

Happy Glastonbury!

x

DAY 24: 1001 SONGS – SURFACING…

DAY 24: 1001 SONGS – SURFACING…

1001 SONGS
SLIPKNOT- SURFACING (1999)

The video of for this song that I watched starts with the words “THIS-IS-YOUR-NEW-FUCKING-NATIONAL-ANTHEM” being screamed at a large crowd of scary youths who are treating Slipknot like the second-coming. 

Which seems about right.


Ugh Slipknot. We meet again. Sadly.  

I know this song very well, because I know this band very well. Not even remotely through choice, but through my little brother. He force fed Slipknot onto me every day for around a year, back when I was 16, and he 14. 

Slipknot turned our idyllic riverside house into a war zone. Our poor parents. Our poor neighbours. Our poor pets.

For some reason, that still escapes me, as soon as my brother hit puberty and discovered his love for nu-metal, the only way that he would get out of bed, and ready for school, was to play the dulcet tones of Slipknot, at full volume, every day. We’re talking 7am. Have you heard Slipknot? Why don’t you try that in the morning and see how it goes?

I still don’t know why this became his ritual. 

Was this just his age?

Or despite all his rage was he still just a rat in a cage? 

(See what I did there?!)

At the time, I considered myself much more sophisticated than him, in musical taste, with my Britpop, Radiohead, Beatles, and stacks of Q Magazines. I was the grown up one. So much more mature. 

However I was not sophisticated when it came to handling my brother: 

I’d scream at him to TURN IT DOWN. 

He’d scream back NO.

I’d storm into his room.

He’d force me back out. 

I’d cry. 

He’d turn the music up louder. 

I’d slam my door.

He’d slam his door. 

I’d tell him to fuck off.

He’d tell me to go fuck himself. 

Repeat x 3 

The music was just such aggressive, screeching, gross, masculine, cock-swinging, noise. I’m all for diversity in musical taste, but no one needs that much anger and confrontation in their lives each morning. 

It’s no wonder I enjoy living by myself so much.

Thanks for the memories, Slipknot. Another 15 years apart will be just fine. 

x