Since the epic 7 hour journey from Middlesborough to Bethnal Green on Friday, I've started becoming addicted to something I've never done before - that's right, listening to my iPod.
Those that know me know that it's vinyl all the way with me and that I don't really listen to music on my laptop (only got into last.fm when everyone else was already on Spotify) or whilst I'm on the go. I've always used travelling time as time to think a lot, read and do anything but listen to music. I suppose it's the few hours a day I break myself away from it.
Anyway all the above is now poo as since Friday I've been iPod hooked on every journey I've done.
Here is the latest favourite playlist: Before We Begin - Broadcast Black/White - The Raveonettes Ceremony - New Order Everybody's Talkin - Harry Nilsson Eighties Fan - Camera Obscura Feel Like A Woman - Selfish Cunt Floyd the Barber - Nirvana Gingerbread - Frankie Avalon Hey - The Pixies I Know I'll See You - A Place To Bury Strangers I Wanna Be Your Dog - The Stooges Passover - Joy Division Spooky - Dusty Springfield Ubasti - Futurism Vs Passeism
And also a load of Bird songs including Smear, Only In Death, Silent Hour, Violets of Dawn, False Fright and Just Walk.
I couldn't find Frankie doing Gingerbread but here's him and the amazing Annette Funicello doing what they do best:
I need loads more songs! Let me know what you're listening to and feel free to share your ultimate playlists!
I wrote an article for Artrocker's Vagabondo festival entitled 'Love: ruined hearts and minds' which sums up the way I've been feeling about a few things recently. Having just come back from a few gigs up north, I've returned home to an empty flat and I'm prepared for a solitary weekend ahead.
Usually this fills me with dread but I remembered a book that meant a lot to me a few years ago and have decided to re-read it again. It's Rainer Maria Rilke's 'Letters To A Young Poet.' I love Rilke as he is such a writer's writer. If you are interested in writing then I suggest you read his work as it is very inspirational and sums up the worries, creative mind and positives that embrace writers. What I find particularly comforting, is his words on solitude. Rather than being afraid of it and dreading it, Rilke encourages enjoying it and channelling it into one's own creative pursuits:
'...it is good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; that something is difficult must be a reason the more for us to do it.'
Sometimes things make you feel insecure and unstable when you don't have a proper sense of routine, you are cautious of new people and their intentions and those who you deeply trust can't be around you all the time. It makes you feel on edge a lot and therefore tiny trivial things feel like huge earthquakes until you wake up the next day and realise that you hugely overreacted to absolutely nothing. Also if you feel you are growing increasingly distant from those around you:
'....if there is nothing in common between you and other people, try being close to things, they will not desert you, there are the night stills and the winds that go through trees and across many lands....'
At the moment, I'm trying to train myself to adjust to this lifestyle and the people around me and mostly to have realistic expectations of those around me. Whether anything will change greatly or whether life will carry on as it is, I have no idea. All I know is sometimes by reading the words of others, everything is not as awful as it initially first seemed. Whether I spend the next few days completely alone or with people, I am accepting of both. D-Bird
Dancing, gyrating, body popping. Laugh out loud, dance to the 'Love Shack' barefoot, stick a picture of Beyonce on your face, eat those chips, go to bed in last night's clothes and make up and wake up with an eyeliner mono-brow (hangover optional).
Ring-a-ring-a-roses on the dancefloor, cool. Joining the conga line, cool. Dancing around a handbag like a drunk woman at a hen party, cool. Falling over and just missing the dog turd on the pavement by a millimeter is lucky...and cool. Having a hangover the morning after the night before as a constant reminder of things you wish you didn't do the night before, unfortunate and not so cool. Having a hangover the morning after the night before as a constant reminder of how much fun you had the night before, cool. Eating illicit donner kebabs afterdark, cool. Waking in the morning to the stench of conjuled fat and kebab stink on your clothes, not so cool. Renewing a childhood love of Juicy Fruit, cool. The morning after the night before's first fag of the day, cool. Health implications 5 years down the line, not so cool. Drinking tap water, cool. Bottled water is over priced, not cool. I was told i was 'funky', cool. I was told I was an idiot, this was cool also. I was told I was 'chunky'- I prefer curvy, not so cool. I was told 'lady your skirt is too short', my brain is telling me I need a shorter hem line, cool. I am constantly falling out of my top intentionaly and unintentionaly, I don't care- this is cool.
From My Understanding... Part 1 By X-Bird Magenta Melodrama
There is beauty in melodrama…
What is the fucking point of living life in black and white? Is it not better to understand your misgivings in technicolour? A wave of failures and triumphs illustrated by a rainbow. A shade for every joy, a tone for every sorrow. A colourful life.
Live life like a Hypercolour t-shirt. You come alive when you’re touched, reacting to human warmth with an explosion of colour. Whoever invented those t-shirts was on to something. I remember them being popular in the early nineties during the height of rave culture. Bodies pushed up against each other moving, gyrating to a unified rhythm. Body warmth reacting to the chemistry of the fabric. Everyone in love with each other.
You’re so cool, you wear black. You’re so cool, you think in black. You’re just so damn cool. Bring back the Hypercolour t-shirt, save my sanity!
I want to walk like a fucking rainbow and blind you all with my magenta.
I want to be Joseph in that dream coat, walking around like some big man on a mission from God. I want his life. Even Dolly Parton made a song about a coat of many colours...
It’s all about breaking out and being coloured, any fucking colour you want. I want to be magenta.
It’s funny I talk of colours now as I’m staring at a black and white photo, ‘Le reve des objects’- DREAMING OF OBJECTS. A woman in white, her head out of frame, a cocktail glass filled with black liquid placed where her cunt should be. It’s beautiful. I’m mesmerised by it. The cocktail glass, the liquid, her cunt an object of so called desire. But you know all I want right now is for magenta to take me away and make me colourful. I want to fill that cocktail glass with a rainbow. I want to fill my own personal, impersonal cocktail glass with my own multihued colour explosion. I want to blind myself with colour and live life like a Hypercolour t-shirt and react against your warmth, react against the grain of being alive. It’s all chemistry after all and if I just alter my chemistry maybe one day, just maybe I might be MAGENTA
They look purple but they are actually brown. They make me feel like everything is uphill and a little bit dizzy. I'm going to wear them on tour. Uh-oh. I look really tired here as I haven't slept properly for a week and have been DJing every night. Excuses, excuses....
I'm looking forward to a night in tonight. It's been a really hectic week since Stag & Dagger with loads of DJ sets/club nights. Sick Club last night was amazing fun and all involved had a great night despite the last minute move to Catch. Thanks for that people at Catch! Everyone is recording or on tour at the moment so it was great to see some faces I hadn't seen in a while. Thanks for coming down people!
Afterwards we ended up at Joiners Arms. It's becoming the end of night spot at the end of every night now as it's open til late and the music is pretty cheesy and fun.
Tomorrow we'll be in Manchester for the first date of the tour. We're really excited and have been looking forward to this for so long. I don't mind car journeys that much anymore after our epic drives all over France and just hope we get to stop at a Little Chef on the way as my dad always used to stop at them when I was younger. I'd always demand a chocolate milkshake and would hurl it back up as soon as my dad started the engine.
Good times ahead...
I'm now going to pack some DVDs and CDs for the van. Looks like it will be good road movies like Midnight Cowboy, Heathers, Chris Cunningham videos, Extras and lots of porn. As for music, I have Ciccone Youth on repeat but only have it on vinyl. Think it will have to be the usual staple of stuff like Pavement and PJ Harvey. I wonder what the others will bring.
I'll leave you with one of my favourite songs of the moment. People always go crazy for this in clubs when I play it. Long live The Knife!
I love this song from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Couldn't find an acoustic live version but I suppose this will do:
I'm doing a 5 hour DJ set tonight. I had a major panic attack last night when I was out which I've been getting quite frequently again. Pisses me off. I think it's when I go out by myself and it's too loud and there's too many people and I can't have a decent conversation. It makes me feel uncomfortable, like I'm wasting my time and uneasy. It sucks. Anyway, I'm looking forward to it tonight. I can play a totally random set to a room full of people I don't know.
I had a great time at Decasia last night. It was great sitting in The Griffin with good friends, good conversations and good music....bliss! The perfect way to spend a Friday.
Andrew Not Cool, Charlie Mirrors and I.
I never get presents. I probably never give any too. I get so excited when I get presents and this one was no exception.
I love Charlie from Maria & the Mirrors. We've been randomly bumping into each other lately and it's great to hang out with him. He's got amazing music taste and is such a kind generous soul. He went home to Cornwall for a few days and came back tonight and did an epic DJ set at Decasia playing everything from The Fall to Janet Jackson and dancehall, I really enjoyed it.
He also brought me back a present:
Yes, authentic Cornish scones!
I also got another present from my friend Dario this week - loads of wool.
So that means I'm going to get back on the knitting on tour. ROCK N' ROLL D-Bird
Composed of members of The Mae Shi, Teeth, Abe Vigoda, Chapter Sweetheart and The Birds. Amazing!!!!!
We had a superb time at Stag & Dagger last night. A huge thanks to both Toms from No Pain In Pop. The room was swarming with people and everyone had a mindblowing time.
Next stop for The Birds....UK tour time!! Tour kicks off Wed May 27th at Night and Day Cafe, Manchester. You can grab tickets here and read an interview we did for them: http://www.nightnday.org/detail.php?list_id=1762 D-Bird
We had an amazing rehearsal today! Wrote 2 songs that we love, both have 2 basses.
Hush Start a quiet riot You make me blush I feel like I'm on fire
But I've got a crush on another I've got a crush on another And it feels good
D-Bird - bass and vocals, X-Bird - bass and C-Bird drums.
It's a really fun song. For once I'm not singing about harming myself or others! What's going on?!!
I'll get X-Bird to post up the lyrics to the other new song. It's really heavy! Proper Birds rocking out! X-Bird on bass and vocals, C-Bird on bass and yours truly on drums.
Today just confirmed why I love our band so much. I can go from singing and playing bass to playing drums in the matter of a few moments. I love the freedom and energy it creates. Yes, lots of other bands have started swapping round and good luck to them. We all know who did it first. Just remember that!
I'm really craving one of these right now:
However it's almost midnight and I'm tucked away in bed. I'm going to have to try and dream of one whilst I fall asleep listening to Darklands.... D-Bird
Don't like something because someone said it's good. What the fuck's the point in that? Only like something because it moved something in you which in turn made something in you. Otherwise you will still feel numb when you are wearing the right band tshirt, have bought the right CDs and are hanging out at the right places.
That's even worse than having no passion at all - the greatest crime is having fake passion for things. Then you become obsessed with the wrong angles and create shit music and think you're cool but know you're a twat.
This blog is pure conjecture. I personally use it as a way of talking to people as I can never really communicate well or what I actually want to say unless it's via a written medium. But that is just me and most humans can do the whole conversational face to face thing way better than I can. For me this is the best way I feel people can get to know me. In person I am too intense, I get embarrassed by this intensity and then act distant and aloof in an attempt to disguise it when all I want to do, if I like you, is spend hours around you and in your company. But you will never know that.
Anyway, please don't read this thinking that the artists mentioned are the only thing I like and if certain artists aren't mentioned, then I don't like them. Not at all. Also don't read this and think you need to go away and listen to bands I've mentioned. You may listen to them and get nothing out of them and still feel numb. For me, these artists I talk about have pulled me out of numerous black holes in my life. They could or could not do the same for you. Challenge the words on this page. Don't think these words are right. I may be wrong. I most probably am wrong.
Just whatever you do....Please just make your own mind up. For that is something which must be embraced, celebrated and preserved. One's own beauty of thought. Not mine.
For some reason, I think Alain De Botton would agree. He's a legend and I want to hang out with him.
I really enjoyed last night. Lauren and Kerri are great hosts!
My DJ set last night for those vaguely interested (in roughly the right order):
Bjork - Army Of Me Smashing Pumpkins - 1979 Hole - Garbadge Man The Knife - We Share Our Mother's Health Pavement - Rattled By The Rush The Breeders - Safari Nirvana - Aneurysm The Raveonettes - Attack Of The Ghost Riders Ciccone Youth - Making The Nature Scene Telepathe - So Fine Rogers Sisters - Never Learn To Cry Wildbirds and Peacedrums - There Is No Light Patti Smith - Kimberley The Pixies - Tame Pearl Jam - Even Flow Hole - Jennifer's Body Nirvana - School
Sometimes we get asked about fashion influences/designers we like. We are all into a range of stuff (mostly old band t shirts and vintage - me, and sex shop stuff - X-Bird and C-Bird) however we have come across a wonderful designer based in Brick Lane who we all love called Noki.
He gave us some stuff to wear for shoots and gigs a few months ago and we shall in fact be wearing some more of his stuff for upcoming gigs/shoots. We felt it was important to support local designers and as our requests to wear clothes by well-known brick lane vintage shops were turned away, we were very happy to be taken under Noki's wing and show our support in return.
His clothes appeal to each of our tastes. They are recycled vintage pieces that are really spectacluar. Check him out if you are interested: http://nymag.com/fashion/fashionshows/designers/bios/noki/
We often get asked which bands influence us and if I can be quite honest with you this question always daunts me as I never really know how to answer it. ‘Blasphemy!’, some of you may think as this is a bold statement coming from a ‘musician’ but hey, I’ll be the first to put my hand up and say there is so much about music and sound that I have yet to discover and learn about. After all it was the whole idea of learning and understanding music that got me hooked in the first place.
Mainly when I listen to music I dissect it into different sounds. I can listen to it as a whole but afterwards I will pick out sections I am drawn to. I can be inspired by the tone of a voice or the way in which certain words are accentuated. I can be inspired by the rhythm and the timbre of a drum or the state of hypnosis a bass riff will lull me into. It’s strange because I’ve only just realised that I don’t necessarily categorise music into bands or genres but tend to categorise them into sounds. Of course I can love a song as a whole but it is certain aspects of a song that will keep me hooked. Understanding the way in which I listen to music is such a personal breakthrough for me as before it was something I couldn’t quite grasp. When I listen to music I love I will be utterly engrossed until I decide to stop hitting the repeat button, ultimately I wouldn’t be creating music if I wasn’t in love with it but there doesn’t seem to be one band/musician/artist out there who I deem an inspiration enough to bring me to the point of creative epiphany- this may be because I am more inspired by certain individual sounds that make up a song as a whole.
Some people can reel bands off the top of their heads like free running water then dive head first into a deep musical debate for hours- I am by nature not one of these types and in the past I have been made to feel that I am not a worthy music fan because of this. To be quite honest I have sometimes found people with such profound knowledge on the subject intimidating and pretentious. Thankfully many of the people I have met don't fall into this bracket but still it's hard not letting these few get under my skin. There have been times when I have been caught up in a debate and have been made to feel an opposing opinion was wrong. I feel that all opinions on such creative matters are never wrong as a certain sound or song will evoke different types of emotions in everyone. After all isn’t this supposed to be what the beauty of music is? I suppose I am a music novice who has been caught in the storm completely by chance. I didn’t start dreaming about music until I was in my late teens and before then I can’t really remember what I was dreaming about. I do remember feeling utterly consumed by frustration, resigned to the fact that I was about to live my life exactly as my parents had pre-planned for me (finish A-levels, go to university, get a good job, get married, have kids, get a mortgage..) This frustration only abated when I started making films at 17 it was also around this time that I started listening to music. I guess you could say it from then that I fucked up my Mum and Dad’s 5 year plan for me. At the time I was also really into Andy Warhol’s films and would make short video montages of my friends and I getting drunk and sleeping rough in Trafalgar Sq when we missed last trains home. All my early video work was silent as I found the idea of creating sounds for my own work daunting. At the time I felt music was something out of my league and felt more at home sticking to a medium I felt completely comfortable with. Now looking back, it was all about self- confidence and getting the balls to step out of my comfort zone. When I think about how I used to be I find it absolutely shocking- I feel like it is only now that I have developed a voice, understood the worth of my opinion and developed a fucking personality. Oh dear god. If I try to psychoanalyse why music didn’t have such a bearing on my life until later on, maybe it was because at the time I wasn’t ready for it.
Whilst I was in the waiting room at St Barts Hospital last week, I had nothing else to do but read the Metro back to back for at least an hour. I was pretty stunned when I came across the story of Connie Culp.
Connie is the first person to ever have a face transplant in the US. Her face was blown off by her husband 5 years ago who attempted to kill her and then himself. He failed on both accounts and was sentenced to just 7 years in prison. I will commence my rant about international prison laws another day.
The before the shooting, before the face transplant and after the face transplant pictures of Connie are astounding. I, like a lot of people, have moments of being terrified about the way I look and what people think of me. All my inner insecurities seem so absurdly trivial when I look at these pictures.
I cannot imagine what this woman has gone through - being shot by someone you are in love with, surviving it, seeing him put behind bars and living with the constant physical reminder of what he has done to you plus on top of it all, being ostracised by society because of your appearance - something you had absolutely no control over. In the interview I read, Connie described that one of her lowest moments was when a child said to its mother, "I thought you said monsters didn't exist but there's one right there."
The most startling point about the Culp case is the fact that Connie has publicly forgiven her husband for what he did and is waiting to be reunited with him on his release from prison. I just cannot get over this. Is this a god-like level of forgiveness or just madness? I have no idea. Is it a classic case of Stockholm syndrome where the victim sympathises with the aggressor? Perhaps.
The two points I have taken away from all this is to try and accept myself and my appearance a whole lot more and to also chill out about people and not jump the gun and lose my temper. Whether you look at Connie Culp as the epitome of a modern survivor of a woman or as a slightly confused abused wife, her story must be made an example of and remembered.
We've just got back from a few days recording in Crewe. Everytime we've been somewhere, it feels like we've been away for ages. I think some people are like 'what, so you're back already? Didn't even miss you.' It's odd because we have such long and hectic days that a week seems like a year with the amount of things we do in it.
Anyway, I was slightly perturbed about how everything would go because I was feeling very, very low last week before we went. After Camden Crawl and before Crewe, I had the worst week I've had in a very long time. Nothing particularly happened...nothing was particularly bad...I just fell into a deep black hole and felt like there was no way out. I've realised that the worst thing to do is shut yourself away from people when you feel like that. I tried to avoid all contact with people and when I did speak to anyone, it was pretty negative and confrontational and I have no idea why. I really have to thank my sister, Grace, the girls and Polly for pulling me out of such a dark place. If any of you ever feel like that, do make sure you confide in at least one person.
We've recorded 3 amazing tracks with Tim and his engineer Jim. We are so incredibly happy with them and can't wait for you to hear them!! Tim's studio is a great little hideaway with bedrooms, kitchen and an absolutely massive lounge. We had such a cool time there and had a little party last night as it was the last day in the studio. This involved a few drinks and dancing to a random selection of records. Good times!
I really like Tim. I love how he supports new bands and new music. He's supported our band for a while now and makes every effort to come to our gigs and to hang out. He really gets our music and where we're coming from and this helped make the recording process so cathartic and enjoyable. I hope all of you have the opportunity to meet him at some point.
You will of course be the first to hear/know about the tracks so stay tuned!! D-Bird