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Saturday, 31 August 2013

Last Wednesday (21/08) I saw Easter and Arbouretum at Soup Kitchen

And I experienced the Black Dog Ballroom, a fitting name. I haven't experienced anywhere quite so depressingly awful for a long time.That said, a lot of fun times were had, even in the Black Dog.

I'd not been out to play since the Pine Barrens gig, and Arbouretum with Easter supporting is a pretty nice reason to leave the house, so I decided to trot along. When I say last Wednesday, I mean the 21st, not two days ago. I've been meaning to write something for a week or so, but a curious feeling has been on me, where the only things I wanted to write are not things I care to share, and, given my tendency to over share, it's definitely sensible of me to heed my limited self-censorship radar. The Arbouretum gig was at Soup Kitchen - I don't think I've been in there since before Christmas, when the lovely Ceelpop was in town, and Driver came to stay, and we all got lovely drunk and ended up giddy dancing in Kraak, and some weird boy who looked like a rapist truck driver in training (I think it was the cap and bum-fluff mustache) attempted to drag me over to a pillar for snogging (15yr old in 5th Ave style). I think the level of disgust was evident by me not even apologetically using my usual go away line of "I'm thirty-two and have a kid", instead I looked at him, pulled a face, told him he was too young and ran away, thankfully unmolested in anyway. But I digress... Back to the gig.

I have a tendency at the moment to go to gigs regardless of whether I know people, though it was nice to find I did know some folks at this one. Having arrived a little early, it was nice to sit with folks and have a beer and a chat and generally inflict my company on anyone too polite to tell me to bugger off. One of the chaps at the table was the brother of one of the chaps in Easter. Easter are a Manchester based band, consisting of Thomas Long, Andrew Cheetham, Gavin Clarke and Rich Clarke, and more importantly, they're excellent, and, though the mix on the sound desk last week did them absolutely no favours, they still sounded reasonable. Go to White Box and acquire yourself a copy of Innocence Man. You'll be doing yourself a service. Or something. All I'm saying is that it's a record that gets played from time to time.

Arbouretum were ace, at times kind of folk metal, at other times the darkest, heaviest blues ever. The band consist of Dave Heumann (vocals, guitar, and who I found out later is slightly strange when drunk), Corey Allender (bass), Brian Carey (drums) and Matthew Pierce (keyboards and percussion), and again, despite the dodgy sound desking of the Soup Kitchen, this was an awesome set. I've not seen them before, and even given the technical issues, I was seriously blown away.

After the gig a bunch of folks, including Easter and Arbouretum ended up at the Castle, and drinks were had, and conversations were had,and merriment was made. Somehow I ended up from offering some of the guys a lift home to being in the Black Dog Ballroom (under Afflecks) instead, with some friends and Arbouretum, and this marks the peculiar part of my evening, and the part for which I got, most likely deservedly, soundly mocked. One of my friends went to the loo, and Dave sat down in his place, and started asking about my perfume, and perfume generally. Now I rarely wear perfume, and know little about it, but he just seemed a little bit weird friendly drunk, so I answered as best as I could, then the somewhat stilted conversation went to sibling torture, reasons for scalping oneself (i.e. what was wrong with my life to make me cut off my hair - answer, nothing) and amputee fetishes. I'm pretty rubbish at this kind of small talk, it felt like he was trying to talk about subjects he thought a girl might be interested in, and some girls might of been, this girl not so much, and especially not after having been having lovely interesting and funny conversations all evening. So after running out of things to say, I ran away to the loo, realised it was 3am, and reiterated the offer to the guys of a lift home, but Danny wasn't ready for leaving, and in the style of good friends they stayed with him. But at 3am, and needing to be on form for Kittencat the following day, it was high time I hightailed it, and this is where I realised my folly, and got laughed at. According to the other guys, it was quite evident I was being hit on, and apparently it was naive of me not to notice until it was spelled out to me in words of one syllable. But I was not expecting an instance of "everyone gets less choosy after midnight" that particular evening. Excuses were made, and running away was done, a stocking malfunction occurred on Newton Street and resulting in a midstreet change out of stockings and heels into flats, before taking myself home to sleep for a whole two hours before the start of a new day.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Tonight my own company lacks lustre

I'm a little bit flat tonight. I'm generally pretty good at my own company, but one of the facts of living on your own with a child is that, on nights where you feel keenly that you need to be with other people, you have no choice but to be alone. It's a minor gripe in the scheme of things, and Cattenberg is pretty good at making sure I have chance to go out and see folks. But some nights are not good to be alone, and you can't always predict them in advance.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

As a non-smoker I have to say I fucking love nicotine.

Tomorrow is the last exam. I know shit all, so I'm not hopeful, though I'm not ruling out just about fluking a pass yet - I have one of those newfangled nicotine temporary tattoo stickers on my rear like all the cool kids do. As a non-smoker I have to say I fucking love nicotine. The comedown is a bitch though, so I don't do this so often, but it does seem to be the thing above all others that lessens my inability to concentrate. I've always had a kind of ADD without the hyper element that can ultimately can pull you through those last ditch efforts. It's funny, sometimes I get insanely focused on one thing, mostly I cannot concentrate at all. So, sticker on my arse, keep me focused, and child asleep upstairs, please stay asleep. I need to work tonight.

One more exam bitch. That's all. And then I can watch Breaking Bad.

Panda Pittou

Recently, the kid has decided that she enters and exits the car on her own. Doing this she stands, for a moment in between the two front seats, one hand on each, and leans forward, explaining earnestly "I just need to talk to you for a minute." She gestures that I need to open the front door for this conversation to happen, so I walk round, and open the front door, lean in and wait for what needs to be said. "Panda Pittou." I reply, "Panda Pittou", and the ritual is done, and then she will sit happily in her seat until journey's end.

I have no idea whatsoever what this means. But I like it.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

I would that it were Thursday already

Tomorrow, Tuesday and Wednesday I have exams. I'm tired, my shoulders hurt, and following the most recent Cattenberg flat fall through, I have stress nausea again so once again I'm living on travel sickness pills and migraleve. But... exams will be done on Thursday, Cattenberg will be elsewhere one way or another from the weekend onwards. All I need now is a pretty young thing to sort my shoulders out and make me s cup of tea or three... Nevermind. But at least life will be where it should be, and full time nursery kicks back in in September, so I can have regular swimming and full time studying. Awesome stuff.

You should all invite me round for a cup of tea

If you're local to Manchester city centre. And I know you. (Otherwise you probably shouldn't, or at least, you shouldn't be offended if I don't come) I'm studying in the business school today as All Saints library is shut - I like it in here, it's pretty awesome, though alas it shuts around 6pm. So that would probably be an awesome time for a study break before I go home in the hope that the kid is asleep and I can carry straight on with the work, hint hint hint...

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Pine Barrens Kingmaker album launch night, with support from Wode

After going to see Only God Forgives on Thursday, I ran across to the Bay Horse to catch the Pine Barrens album launch gig, with support from my friend Danny's band Wode and another band called Blastronaut. I'd only heard a smidge of Pine Barrens before the gig, but what I'd heard I liked, and somehow I've managed to miss seeing Wode live also, and heard but limited youtube offerings, so this was all set up to be an awesomely loud, fresh assault on my ears. Exactly what I was in the mood for. Cattenberg's new flat fell through yesterday, and whilst not angry with him (it's not his fault) I was feeling a bit pissed off with the world and generally in the mood to be out watching violent films and listening to violent music.

So yes, the gig. After the cinema Joincey and I skipped along to the Bay Horse, me for the duration, Joincey for a pint. And to give us credit, we did go and listen to most of the Blastronaut set. Proficient enough musicians, but for me it felt boring and dated, like they'd listened to bands like Mot├Ârhead in their teens, and decided that their life goal would be to make music that sounded as near as possibly exactly the same as they could. In this they probably have their fans, not least including their mums, dads and a round of ear plugs, and probably really enjoy doing what they do. But, well, for me at least, they were ahem, a blast o' naught.*

This lack of interesting meant that the rest of the Blastofffuckoff set was spent in the bar, finishing beers, further discussing the film seen earlier, and a host of other things, including really simple stretches to sort out leg issues, and some inelegant demonstrating on the floor in the Bay Horse. Sometimes I shouldn't be allowed out in public.

Next up was Wode. Hearing the music start up (go on, have a play via the soundcloud) the decision was made by me to head back downstairs, while Joincey decided it was time to call curtains for the day. Wode is made up of four Manchester based chaps, who are very lovely and interesting to talk to over a beer, and shall remain nameless - partly because they don't plaster their own names all over online bios, partly because their music speaks for itself, and partly because I forgot one of their names. No doubt they've also all forgotten mine also. This is as these things should be. Wode sit somewhere at the densest, darkest outreaches of Black Metal, but not in a sludgy headachey way. This is a frenetic, creative, tight and unrelenting battery on the senses that is infinitely pleasing. The done thing always seems to be to describe this kind of music in terms of rocks, machinery, metal, weapons, but a) I'm no reviewer, just a girl who went to a gig, and b) often all these terms often seem to be working too hard to try and convince people that a middle of the road band is amazing. Wode leave you feeling pretty beaten (in the most excellent way), they don't need some out dated metaphors about some kind of being repeatedly biffed in the face with some kind of titanium knuckle duster whilst tied to a board moving ever closer to an industrial buzz saw, Batman styley. Actually, Adam West Batman might be a bad comparison, even if you were going to make such a blurb. No doubt these guys would prefer their Batman to be Bale's, fighting Hardy's Bane. To the death. Or something. I'm pretty sure it's not the done thing to grin like a fool at metal gigs, but if I hadn't been in such a stressed mood all that day, that's exactly what I'd have been doing. I'd only heard them via the virtue of the intertubes before, but I'm definitely looking forward to seeing them again.

Pine Barrens. I'd only heard Pine Barrens recently - this came up as a suggested gig on some kind of internet wizardry, and I had a play of a download of Kingmaker, the album launch for which this was the gig was apparently celebrating/promoting/whatever. Pine Barrens are another Manchester based band - defined in some quarters as experimental crust/black metal-influenced hardcore, Black thrash hybrid, what they throw out at you is a highly efficient barrage of well put together loud fuck off. For me it didn't quite have the artistry of the Wode set, but it was a really good set, and they are a quality band. It pleased me immensely, but not enough to fully distract me from my grouch of a mood, so I mooched at the back, pulled a face, and had fun with the loud. But this kind of speed, dark, intense noise should've blown me away, even through the Bay Horse sound set up. It didn't exactly knock me off my feet, but I reckon I'd go see them again. Maybe in another venue they'll be what I want them to be.

Post gig I wasn't quite in the mood to head home, and since Cattenberg was at mine, manning the decks with the caring for Kittencat, I stayed out for post gig beers with Danny, his friend Andy, and the other boys from Wode, then gave a couple of lifts to folks, scabbed a couple of en route cups of tea to counteract the tired before hitting the motorway, got distracted by good chats and accidentally falling asleep (hopefully only for a minute, and hopefully no snoring) on sofas, eventually arriving home somewhere around 4:30-5am? A great night, lovely company, loud music. Yeah, good stuff.

* Sorry, I couldn't help it. I know I shouldn't have. But I had to. I really did.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Only God Forgives is a very red film

Yesterday (Thursday) I went to see Only God Forgives at the Cornerhouse. Joincey decided to join me, and is a civilised cinema accompanier, not wont to talk during, make excessive noise or spill over from his chair into everyone else's space - alas, this is not something that can be said of many folks. I'd heard a mixed bag of reviews of this film, so I went in pretty open minded, but even so this was not the film I expected.

First off, it's very red. For this, though no other reason, it reminds me of Tears of the Black Tiger, a Thai Western that is beautifully, excessively pink throughout. (And I need to watch that again soon, it's awesome). The comparison doesn't hold up in many other areas, aside from this not being a comic pastiche of genres, but the vivid repetitive intensity of the red works on many levels, supporting many of the themes present throughout the film. For example there is a sequence earlier in the film with a girl behind a red bead curtain that strongly mirrors one on the final scenes between the main protagonist and his mother. That the pervasiveness of the red is deeply symbolic of violence and blood, past, present and future, is abundantly clear, and provides a much more subtle effect than scene after scene of gore. The violence you do see is almost more shocking because of this restraint; this is a starkly violent film, though much of the physical violence is off camera the characters treatment of each other is brutal, particularly in the relationships between men and women and central to that, mothers and sons. Kristin Scott Thomas is transformed almost unrecognisably in this film, and in discussions held about the film later on Thursday evening her character was described in terms of a MILF. I don't think it would give away too much of the film to suggest that chances are she'd be willing, so long as she were your own mother. What is similar to Tears of the Black Tiger, and this is a comparison that could be made with many films, is the way in which people can be partially characterised by the weapons they use, the out and out bad dudes killing indiscriminately with automatic weapons, while those presented from a more sympathetic/moral perspective fighting with simpler weapons, swords, fists or at a push non automatic weapons. Repeated sequences closing in on swords mirroring scenes representing Ryan Gosling's arm in the same way lend a certain amount of credence to this. The visionary element of the film lends a a hallucinatory feel to parts, suggestive of prophecy, of truth. It's an ambitious, and massively complex film, well worth your time, visually beautiful and the sound is fantastic. The only thing I would say is that there are moments that would have benefited from either being shortened, or lengthened, and there are occasional instances where there is a certain amount of self indulgent cinematic wanking going on. Be that as it may, it's hugely beautiful, disturbing and thought provoking.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Why you're all bots

My friend was asking about my blog the other day - and as the conversation progressed I looked at stats. And it weirded me out a little. I've had this blog for a number of years, and I rarely say anything interesting and over most of its life (about 3-4 years) it'd only gotten itself a fairly so so couple of thousand page views, at least 500 of these being folks looking for Horse Feathers lyrics. Since March, over 6000, bringing it to about 8000 ever. Now I know about four people read this, a recent friend, my lovely Driver, a boy I had a minor crush on when I was 14 (rest assured dear, nothing major, and it long since faded, I only have one current albeit long held crush and I'm pretty sure it's not mutual) and of course Cattenberg. But no one else does, dear diary, your faux public nature is only a facade to temper my self indulgence, whilst allowing me to reflect/vent on topics that have no place in actual conversation. Whilst people reading it in no way is likely to make me ramble less often or annoyingly, I'd hate to start feeling selfconscious in this space.

So for this purpose, you're all bots from Latvia or Russia (since this seems to be the source of most of the most likely bot traffic). Heck, you probably are really all bots anyway.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

In persuading myself to revise, I have to note an unfortunate truth about myself

My friend sent me a quote “Revision is like foreplay for exams, the more you do, the better results you will get”. I don't know where this quote is from, but I will say that it proves difficult in many respects. When I still did/had the opportunity/inclination to do the sex, the best foreplay was usually a quickie. You see, that's me all over, the thing that gets me excited about anything is instant gratification, and that, I realise is strongly reflected in my academic attitude to date. Revision was always the day/afternoon/evening/morning before an exam, and no more. I think the only time my revision got the full day for an exam was when it mostly involved watching Fight Club several times over. That's not to say I won't work, or can't work, but there has to be enough of the instantaneous to create the excitement in order to want to put the effort in. To know whether it's worth it, you have to feel that it's worth it.

In between the panels. Is that where we are? We could do anything here...

I watched Super the other day - it's on Film 4, and somehow I feel compelled to watch it again.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Discernment

I should be working right now, but I'm having a Facebook chat about stuff with a friend. I accidentally ranted. I thought I'd share. You know, because I'm kind. And because I can. My blog. Yeah. All of that.

Discernment is a good thing - In how you perceive yourself, others, the world, art, everything. Taste is massively important - mostly because you can't help but like somethings and not others, and some people and not others - I guess I'm at a point where I'm way more forgiving and accepting of myself, and that makes me more open and less judgmental/defensive in terms of my attitudes to things. Somethings are awful, but if something or someone is not to my taste, I usually see it as a lack of compatibility between me and that person/thing, rather than any inherent flaw in them/it/me. I don't know. I don't like lots of things. But I try to not like objectively, to discern whether I don't like it because it's shit, or whether it's just not me. Like when you meet people, like mutual friends, or work colleagues, or random strangers, or whoever, and they're really nice. And everyone thinks they're really nice. And I find myself trying to get out of talking to them because they bore the hell out of me and I fucking hate them, for that moment, because there's no one else to take the strain of the strained conversation, because everyone else is at the bar, or smoking, and so I hate them, through no fault of their own, and I make an excuse, and run away, because I don't really hate them, but I don't like them either, and because I don't like them, don't like being different to dislike, being as it is an absence of a feeling, rather than a active response, and I dislike that void of compatibility and conversation, and I transpose momentarily that onto them. And then others return and all is well. And so I can appreciate the value of that person, despite that I could never be their friend. Because taste and compatibility means there is discernment, and a lack of spark, a lack of fun, a lack of anything brings you nothing. Except perhaps an awareness that people are different, and have different tastes, different temperaments, different ideologies, philosophies. And it doesn't mean you can't see what other people would value even if you do not value it yourself. Some people like shit. Some people like different shit. It's good to choose to spend time with people who please you, doing/watching things that please you, or even just whinging about shit in a companionable way. There is no reason to put yourself through the tedium of making yourself appreciate stuff that doesn't work for you. Appreciate that it works for others, and leave it there. Don't judge people unfairly for liking stuff you don't, or being boring as hell. People are individuals. But you don't have to like what they like, or be their best friend. The beautiful thing about the variety of the world means you can find your own spot. You don't have to disparage every one, or everything. Just realise what doesn't work for you, and allow yourself that.

Recent watchings

Whip It - I saw this last night. Excellent female cast, directed by Drew Barrymore, almost a chick flick, but not really. Girls on skates, bashing into each other and learning how to feel good about being good at something, instead of feeling pretty and winning the respect of boys. Because lets face it, who gives a flying one whether a boy respects you, so long as you respect yourself? Bitchin.

Cobra - love it. Though how did the witness not recognise the crazy ass killer cop lady sooner? I never manage to understand that.

Escape From New York - because it's Escape From New York. Enough said.

Leaving Las Vegas - I love Nicolas Cage. I bloody love him. Films where he actually acts though, freaking bonus.

Wild At Heart - see Leaving Las Vegas.

Kuffs - On a bit of a cheesy Christian Slater bent recently, and films with Christian Slater cheesy monologuing AND Milla Jovovich? Bonus.

Serenity - Because it's Serenity

Firefly - Because it's Firefly. Also because I've been watching Castle and felt the need to watch all things Nathan Fillion again.

Super - reviews compare this to Kick Ass, then people get disappointed. People shouldn't listen to reviews, or want their films to be like other films. People are stupid. This film is amazing. Kevin Bacon is the baddie. Kevin Bacon. It's ace.

Green Lantern - Emerald Knights - Nathan Fillion voice over

Death Race 2000 - David Carradine. Sylvester Stallone. Many bare breasts, lots of hilarious deaths. What more can you ask for in a film?

Collateral Damage - The thing in films where the baddie kills your kid, so you kill the baddie, and take his child to replace yours. Or in this case hers, to replace yours. Hmmm.

The Hurt Locker - Great film.

Logan's Run - I do love Logan's Run, and I hadn't seen it in at least a year

The Inn of the Sixth Happiness - Possibly one of my favourite films ever. I think I first saw it when I was about 7 or 8, and I've loved it ever since.

Friday, 2 August 2013

I'll tell you right now I'm in love with you

but, be that as it may, I'm not here to force my twisted soul into your life.




Nicholas Cage night at Cat Lady Towers.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Don't run away from love

Wild at Heart is playing on Film 4 tomorrow night. 11:05pm. Yup. That's my plan. Cattenberg's going on a date, and I will be doing one of my favourite things and watching Nicholas Cage films. Alone, in my pyjamas, drinking tea. Maybe knitting. I rule.

Love is something that always terrified me in my youth, but you push an entire person out of your vagina and suddenly you tend not to sweat the small stuff. Like the possibility of getting hurt. What if it ends. Your own apparent lack of worth. Yadda yadda yadda. If it ends, it ends. You won't know unless you try. If you feel worthless generally, stay single until you find what makes you value yourself again. If you are okay about yourself until someone makes you feel worthless, get rid of them, regardless how convinced you are that you love them/how good you think the sex is/they might be your last chance at what the fuck so ever/etc. People who make you miserable aren't good for you. At all. Ever. Live. If being with someone excites you, makes you feel excited, happy, calm, peaceful, randy as a sex starved goat, what ever floats it for you, grab it with both hands. You may fall in love, you may just have a few weeks of lust filled shenanigans. But live. And share yourself. You feel bigger, better, more for doing so. You are bigger, better, more for doing so. The more you give of yourself freely, the better you become.

Unless of course the other person says it is/was/would be a mistake. Or doesn't fancy you. Or both. And then don't sweat it. It's their loss. And there's always tea, pyjamas and Nick Cage...


Soggy, soppy, barefaced sappy parental boring at Cat Lady Towers

As Kittencat was going to sleep tonight, she threw her arms around me and said, "You are beautiful. And you worked hard. And you tried your best. I love you. You're beautiful Mummy. I've got you. I've always got you." (Obviously I told her each of these things in return, but that's more long winded than I can be bother to type.) And then she grinned, tightened her grip, and declared "We are so happy", gave me a kiss and began to snore.

Yes. We are pretty happy. Life is good.


I seen you without your clothes on before, never thought I'd see you naked

I've been watching Firefly again recently. Firefly is awesome, and I'm guessing this is most likely why it got cancelled. It's a little too intelligent for it's genre. It doesn't over explain, there isn't mad crazy Dawson's Creek style monologuing about teenage angst. It was subtle, witty, intelligent. And so, alas, it was probably over the heads of the standard audience for sci-fi TV.

Lines like this though, I love. There is a big difference between seeing someone sans clothes, and seeing them naked. Naked doesn't mean no clothes, it means open, truthful, strong, vulnerable. It means being who you are. Letting people know you. Just because I've seen your bottom (or for that matter, anything else) does not mean I've seen you naked. Over the course of my life lot of people have seen me without my clothes, although only once as a consequence of strip high card draw. I think there are even pictures of various parts of my unclothed form floating around Manchester (favour for a friend, not very long story, got paid in pizza), but it used to be that very few people saw me naked. Now, that's all I am.

Laziness and exams

I need to update the Interesting things around Manchester bit - there have been interesting things, and I have been to interesting things, but I am lazy and life has been hectic, and I have exams looming and well... Frankly, I haven't been arsed.

I'll get onto it tonight, honest.

Jeepers it's great to be back home

I've been noise polluting all the way home. My singing is bad at the best of times, but with a sore throat and bad chest, my voice is horrific. And since my only musical talent up to now appears only to be the virtue of a good ear, I am more than keenly aware of this. That said, singing is fun. And it matters not so much at whether you are good at something, so much as whether it's fun.

It is good to be back home though. Not because I wasn't having a fun night - I was having a great evening - but my chest is causing my some difficulty, and it's time to get the big gun pharmaceuticals out to drug myself into the coma needed to get through the night without coughing up blood or a lung. They're starting to work, so this will be brief.

Tonight was Pengo at Kraak, supported by Aulos' First Reed, The Infinite Gaah, Usurper and Blood Stereo. Usurper were awesome. I might run through all these guys tomorrow, but for now suffice it to say a great night of awesome, in awesome company. Recently I've met a lot of lovely people, people who give freely of themselves, are open, honest and expect nothing in return. It's a privilege to meet people like that, they are fewer in number than you'd hope, and it's a lovely thing when you are lucky enough to spend an evening in a room full of awesome music in such company.

It was all good, but I'm suddenly feeling quite wasted - I had paracetamol, ibuprofen, and entire bottle of glycerol and a couple of beers between about 9pm and 10:40, and a couple of Migraleve when I got home at a little after after 11pm. Normally I'm a bit better at strict observance of the timings of drug taking, but this cough is vicious. Desperate times, desperate measures.

An update: I was going to update this with more detail on performances, but a chap did it here. Nice words man.