Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Mixtape Wednesday: The 1st Albums You Ever Owned

A while ago I got given this:

Full of headings for playlists, possibly the best present I ever received.

I flicked the book open at random today and it landed on this:-

This is the first album (on CD) I remember owning...

The only music cassette I still own in a mixtape a friend made me when I was 16. It has The Smashing Pumpkins on side A and Green Day on side B.

What are the first albums you ever owned?

Monday, 28 May 2012

UNdane Monday: Street Library

On Saturday night, walking down Brewer Street in the West End of London, my friend and I came across the Jack Spade Lending Library...

Just sitting there in the middle of the street - a cart full of old books. It was unexpected and charming.

We decided to take Jack Spade up on his offer and so we helped ourselves - my friend chose an American book of short stories from the 1950's.

I chose this:

It's not as interesting as I thought. I'll probably take it back soon and choose another one.

The Jack Spade lending library also exists in New York...

(Photograph by Lucas Ramos)

(Photograph by Overge)

Friday, 25 May 2012

Non Scary Post

This morning my housemate walked into the room, carrying the post and laughing. She said 'your friends are great' and dropped this onto my desk:-

Little things can make your week.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Things We Learned In: Our Early Twenties

I came across an old diary entry the other day that made me laugh and realise what a long time ago being 21 was. Doing adult things for the first time was daunting and exciting, and this included voting. Nowadays I know what to do and it's boring, it's mundane. Back then it was exciting and new. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has experienced the following:

5th May 2005

Interior monologue of a first time voter directly after voting

Oh my LORD, did I put those bits of paper in the right boxes?

Should I have folded that other one?

...Was that it?

Oh god, I feel tainted. Why is that?

Hang on, I put a tick. I put a tick. Should I have put a tick or a cross. A TICK OR A CROSS? It didn't say. It actually did not say.

I'm sure a tick is fine. Traditionally a tick means yes doesn't it?

And a cross means no. So surely to put a cross would be indicating that I didn't want to vote for that person?

OH MY FUCKING GOD. Did I tick the wrong box? DID I TICK THE UKIP BOX BY MISTAKE? Oh my god! I'm an accidental racist!

No that's ridiculous.

A tick or a cross? Seriously. I think it was meant to be a cross.

But it DID NOT SAY! So it isn't my fault.

They'll know what I meant.

What THE HELL was that other bit of paper for? Who was I voting for there? Whats that about? There was NO information ANYWHERE about that.

I feel kind of cheated actually.

A tick or a cross?

Oh dear.

Oh dear oh dear.


I went back to my rehearsal room (my rehearsal was in the same building so I went to vote during our break, and they let me, even though I hadn't got my polling card...and didn't ask me for ID...surely I could have posed as someone else?) and asked the others if I should have crossed the box. Someone pulled out their polling card and read the instructions, which indeed said that I should have crossed the box.

I then got on the phone to my mum, trusty advisor in any situation. She went on the electoral website and found out that a tick was okay. But she thought I was an idiot for not knowing I should have crossed instead of ticked. I spent the next minute and a half shouting 'In society, a cross means no! It means no!' and then she said 'ok dear' in the kind of voice a parent uses when they wish to indicate that they do not know how their child managed to grow up so stupid. And then we rang off.

Honestly. They should make it clearer! But either way, my name is now crossed off the list and I have had my say. That woman who got knocked down by the horse would be exceptionally proud of me :)

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Mixtape Wednesday: A Hundred Reasons to be Cheerful

I was in my car the other day, looking for a CD whilst trying not to crash. I found one, popped it in (my car CD player front is neon pink)and this began blasting my ears apart at top volume:-

And it was just right.

'Month of May, it's a violent thing/
In the city their hearts start to sing/
Well, some people sing/
It sounds like they're screaming/
Used to doubt it/
But now I believe it'

In the ambulance this week my crewmate and I decided, as we were blessed with a brand new vehicle that had a CD player, that we needed CDs to play whilst speeding through the streets. We had none, so we found a charity shop that had a basket full of used CDs on the counter. I spotted a Long Blondes album from 2007...

(Also check out Heaven Help the New Girl)

...and my crewmate found the Chicago soundtrack. A happy and slightly bloodthirsty afternoon followed, where we imagined living in the 1920's and what we might have done to our ex-boyfriends if they mistreated us...

It's quite hard to get the music out of your head once you start though. A lot of dancing into patient's houses was done that day and spontaenous breaking out into song in the midst of asthma attacks. I like to think we cheered people up.

I haven't completely recovered from travelling across Tennessee, or wishing I was still there.

In any collection of memorable first lines of songs, 'I've got soul/my mama says so' has to be up there.

Taking the tempo down a bit, this is nice:-

And a friend of mine recommended Lianne La Havas, who sings very pretty songs:-

I'm no good at reviewing music and am very three-worded ('this is nice' or 'listen to that' or 'I love this' etc). A band that will always get a firm, capital-lettered I LOVE THIS from me is Hundred Reasons, and I can't believe it's been 10 years since they released Ideas Above Our Station. If you've never heard it, you must, and immediately. My friends and I would follow the band around London throughout most of that year, going to every gig, every signing. We were in awe of Colin's hair. I named my goldfish Colin and Larry. We could not get enough of the shouty music. The following video is from almost exactly 10 years ago. I simultaneously feel old, happy and amazed that Richard Blackwood would even know who they are.

Tracklist in full:-

Arcade Fire - Month of May
The Long Blondes - Once and Never Again
Chicago OST - All that Jazz
Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers - Gravity
Beach House - Myth
Lianne La Havas - Forget
Hundred Reasons - Silver

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Tuesday's Tattoo: Jimbo's Tattoo Story

I met Jimbo on the corner of Broadway and 3rd Avenue North in Nashville TN. He was playing music with a group of friends and stopped me to tell me he liked my tattoos. Of his tattoo, he said this:

"It's a corn. Abby's the artist (pointing at the woman next to him). She did it with a pin. I've had it about a year and a half."

April 2012

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Mixtape Wednesday: Country, Bluegrass & Blues

My mixtape this week is quite heavily inspired by having been in Tennessee a fortnight ago. No matter how you think you feel about country music, it seeps into your blood if you spend more than half an hour in Nashville and you end up liking it - you can't help it, especially after a night of dancing, honky tonk style, to live covers of songs like this:-

And a little bit of Sweet Home Alabama:-

I went to a show at the Grand Ole Opry (like a loser, it took me a week to learn how to pronounce 'opry' correctly) where I saw Point of Grace performing this song:-

And despite thinking that it wouldn't be my sort of thing AT ALL (and it's still not), it was catchy and I loved it.

I also cannot stop listening to this song:-

(and laughing my little head off. Hilarious.)

Road tripping cross country from Nashville to Memphis was all about appropiate road music. We're talking roll down the windows, stare straight into the sun, overtake a lorry and pretend you're in Dual, open road, whoop at the sky and leave all your troubles behind music:-

(Incidentally, El Camino by The Black Keys was recorded in Nashville)

You also need something you can throw your head back and sing along to, with the memory of your last great night out in your head:-

Down in Memphis, with the humidity and the wide river and the giant blue skies and the neon lights, it's all about the blues:-

And since I've been home, I've been listening to a lot of Jack White attempting to rap:-

Whilst in Memphis, I got played the supposed first ever rock and roll song from 1951:-

And for the way home, there needs to be something a bit chilled out, so you can drift off to sleep whilst watching the scenery blur past you:-

Wednesday Mixtape List:-

1.)Johnny Cash - Folsom Prison Blues
2.)Lynard Skynard - Sweet Home Alabama
3.)Point of Grace - Love & Laundry
4.)Kenny Chesney - She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy
5.)The Black Keys - Little Black Submarines
6.)Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe
7.)Joe Bonamassa - Color and Shape
8.) Jack White - Freedom at 21
9.)Jackie Brenston and the Delta Cats - Rocket 88
10.) Mark Lanegan - Harborview Hospital

Monday, 14 May 2012

UNdane Monday

"Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvellous"

- Bill Moyers

Last week:-

- A four year old with chicken pox taught me all about the Octonauts, something I knew nothing about. Looking them up online afterwards provided entertainment on an otherwise boring late shift...

Although I'm not sure what business a sausage dog has under the sea. (Click to view)

- I wore a black and gold studded skull T-shirt to work under my uniform. Because if you have to do a job that makes you wear a non-stylish uniform, you may as well do what you can to feel like yourself. Other hidden non-uniform items: knee socks with lace around the top, a giant zombie head tattoo on my leg. Hmm.

- Thinking about how operating a coach tour of the M25 (Britain's most despised motorway, largely due to the fact that you can't move more than 3 feet along it without hitting a traffic jam, a deer or someone trying to widen the carriageway using only a high vis jacket and a spanner)is the most UNdane thing I could imagine, I found this Guardian article and it made me smile so much that now I want to go on the next tour...

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Things We Learned In: Tennessee

Wikipedia lists Tennessee as the 36th most extensive and 17th most populous of the 50 states of the USA.

The Appalachian mountains are found in the east, the Mississippi river in the west.

Nashville in the north, Memphis in the south. This was our road trip, set to the sounds of Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen blasting loudly out of the car windows; two girls singing along at the tops of our voices, a very long way from home.

Nothing matters when there's this much sunshine, music, burgers as big as your FACE and nothing to do today but smile.

It started on a dark day in November in London. I was miserable. And we're not talking 'totes bummed' here, we're talking 'lie on the floor, stare at the ceiling, slit your wrists, cry at the meerkat program on TV, hide from the world, get away from me or I'll kill you completely and utterly despairing that nothing will ever be good again' miserable. Yeah, you've been there.

And so, in the midst of all this, I picked up Marie Claire magazine, wondering if somehow, articles about dresses and lipstick could put a smile back on my face. They couldn't. Noone cares that orange is the new pink which used to be the new black. But way in the back of the magazine, hidden among adverts for breast implants, a single page spread with the headline 'Go to Nashville!' jumped out at me. It wasn't much - just a few photographs of women in cowboy boots, suggestions for shops to visit there and a feature about your must-have wardrobe for your trip to the deep south (apparently, spending £177 on a denim skirt from Gucci is a MUST). But somehow, it made me feel better when nothing, and I mean NOTHING and noone else could. So I looked at the headline again. 'Go to Nashville!'

And I thought...okay then.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Tuesday's Tattoo: Tanya's Tattoo Story.

People ask me about my tattoos so much nowadays that I decided I wanted to start collecting other people's. This is Tanya's tattoo story:-

"This is my 3rd tattoo, and my favourite! I had it done on my homeward stretch of 18 months of travelling. Its Maori designed and symbolises the seas and mountains that I’ve crossed and includes a female turtle which represents me! I wanted it to represent the fact that I’d travelled thousands of miles and experienced many different things, but that I was returning to my birthplace ~ I guess just like turtles!! I love the fact that it tells the entire story of my travelling and that it’s original to me!!

I got it done in June 2005 in Rarotonga, The Cook Islands by a man called ‘T’. He is considered one of the best tattooist’s in the South Pacific. His tattoos are true works of art. I remember looking for his place when I arrived and it wasn’t where it should have been due to Cyclone Meena, which hit the island in February 2005 but I asked around and eventually find him in a little hut! His sign described tattoos as ‘Visible Mark’s of Life’s Journey’, which was exactly what I wanted! I very nearly missed my flight due to this man, I came out with my ankle covered in cling film and luckily for me, a guy that I’d done a skydive with in Fiji zoomed past on his moped, gave me a lift to my hostel to collect my luggage and then took me to the airport!!

When I look at this tattoo it reminds me of my travelling days and being free spirited. Although I have returned to my birthplace, I’m not sure it’s home anymore..."

April 2012