j4: (badgers)
On Saturday 6th December we went on a Climate Change March as part of the Global Day of Action. We carried "No new coal" banners, didn't do much shouting (but sang along with Smallbeds' excellent improvised protest songs), and listened to speeches from Nick Clegg and Caroline Lucas before going to find somewhere to defrost our fingers and toes.

I don't know how much difference such demonstrations really make (Kate Griffin asks the same question, and provides a far better commentary on the issues than I can) but going to this one at least meant that I had a good reason to mention climate change in conversation at work, and as a result found a fellow 'greenie' to talk to. I already knew he was a Good Egg but it turns out he was also involved in all sorts of environmental initiatives in his previous job and has good ideas to bring to the newly-formed Energy SIG. So Green Bloke and I have agreed to do a screening of The Age of Stupid at work when it's available to hire, which might be more useful (and would certainly be more interesting) than me ranting at plane-happy colleagues.

We got back from London just in time for the Oxford Bach Choir concert that we'd booked tickets for -- Vaughan Williams, Holst, and Parry, a rich-textured mixture of mysticism and majesty -- and found to our delight that not only were other friends of ours in the audience, but they had brought mince pies to share. Doubly welcome for us as we hadn't had time for dinner, but we made up for that after the concert by nipping to the Organic Kebab Van for an incredibly tasty burger before joining our friends from the audience (and other friends from among the performers) at the Far From The Madding Crowd for tasty beer.

I fear that a culture that includes Vaughan Williams and mince pies and tasty organic burgers and beer (and the internet!) is not globally sustainable, though I wish it could be, and will keep on hoping that it is; but if it isn't, I hope I won't selfishly cling to the specific good things that we have now instead of working towards a fairer future for everybody.
j4: (score)
Chess: the musical
Oxford Playhouse, Thursday 27th November

I wish I'd written at the time about the semi-staged production of Chess that we saw in the summer -- a marvellous birthday present from Owen, who knew that I'd've travelled a long way to see any production of Chess, so a concert performance at the Albert Hall hosted by Tim Rice (and starring Marti Pellow) was the icing on the cake. If I'd had the review of that to refer back to, I'd've been able to compare notes more easily; tonight's production at the Playhouse was very different in all sorts of ways. For a start, it was fully staged, with an incredibly busy stage: I've always thought of Chess as a very static story, but this production managed to fill the stage with dancers and chorus nearly all the time -- which of course threw the one- and two-person scenes into much sharper relief, gave them much more of a sense of showing the private face of public characters.

Probably only of interest to people who know the musical )

For those who haven't heard the musical (and therefore hopefully skipped all the dissection above!), I thoroughly recommend it: it's got a serious plot that's not your usual musical "girl meets boy/becomes famous/becomes a nun/flees Nazis" stuff, it's got clever and witty lyrics, and some really fantastic tunes -- several of which are available on last.fm.
j4: (score)
Forgive me for indulging the pathetic fallacy for a moment here, but I've just spent half the evening in an unheated chapel which reeked of frankincense, watching my fingers gradually turning white from cold and lack of circulation, before cycling home through the dark and the glasses-misting, lung-rotting, half-frozen miasma of leafy autumn wetness, and — to cut a long story short — I'm feeling a little bit sorry for myself. It doesn't help that I've coughed so much that my stomach hurts, and my tonsils seem to have swollen to the size of golf balls. I'm not sure how that would translate into weather; hailstones the size of tonsils, maybe. Let's hope the weather isn't listening.

The unheated chapel was Hertford Orchestra's fault, or rather the fault of the other orchestra which had stolen their usual rehearsal room; actually, I think they were trying to heat it (occasional smells of burning competing with the incense suggested a fan-heater somewhere in a corner), but the attempt at heating was almost as hopeless as the attempt at lighting (a couple of desk-lamps trying to provide enough light for about 10 string players), and the overwhelming impression was of a group of survivors of some nameless horror, huddled around their last candle, trying to play loud music to keep the wild beasts at bay before resorting to burning their instruments to keep warm (sadly there were no violas there tonight so we'd have had to start with 'cellos). The fact that the music was Mussorgsky's "Night on a Bare Mountain" probably helped to complete the picture.

orchestral manoeuvres )
j4: (score)
I have a bit of a dilemma. It's a bit of a long rambly explanation, sorry.

At the beginning of this term I was asked if I'd like to play violin in Hertford College Orchestra, who would be playing Wagner's Siegfried-Idyll, Haydn's Surprise Symphony, and Britten's Simple Symphony. from apparent organisation to total shambles: stressful rehearsals, why attendance is important, and some bitching about conductors )

Anyway. The point is I'm not enjoying it at all; I don't think anybody else is enjoying it either; and the music sounds appalling because there just isn't enough sound there -- honestly, even Haydn doesn't sound convincing with only a dozen people, and Wagner is just out of the question. Okay, maybe if you had a dozen members of the LSO you could carry it off; but, really, it's not like that.

So my instinct is to say "This is not doing me or anybody else any good" and resign now, with 2 rehearsals to go before the concert. HOWEVER: having missed two rehearsals I feel like I have no moral high-ground from which to complain about poor attendance, and it would be hypocritical to cite that as a reason for wanting to give up. (But I did warn them before even joining, and they could quite reasonably have said "no, sorry, not good enough" when I did so; but they may not have been confident enough to say that to a Grown-Up; but that's not my fault!) And if I resign, they will be even worse off than they are now, and I'd feel like I was letting them down. (But that may be a good thing in a way, as it might either make them make more effort to round up their fellow students or push them into cutting their losses and saving everybody a lot of stress and disappointment -- a rubbish concert isn't going to benefit anybody, really.) ALSO I worry that my judgement is being coloured by the fact that I am fairly busy at the moment and honestly, there are more interesting things that I could be doing with my time. But half of my irritation with the bad attendance is that lots of people have made a commitment and then not made good on that, and if I do the same, I'm Part Of The Problem (but at least I'd be telling them openly rather than just Not Turning Up). And ye-es, I could just claim that I had to stop because of work commitments and duck the issue altogether, because as a Grown-Up I have that get-out-of-jail-free card, but that really wouldn't be right.

And if I don't do something soon it really will be too last-minute to drop out; but I fear it's already too late to turn this into a good performance, which paradoxically may mean it's already too late to drop out and the only option now is to grit my teeth and live with the fact that we're going to have another 6 hours or so of miserable rehearsal and then look a bit stupid in public for a couple of hours (but hey, it's not my friends and classmates who'll be watching), and maybe that will make people realise why it's important to turn up to rehearsals.

ALSO (meta-angst) I feel like I'm being so bloody pompous in trying to ascribe so much moral weight to something which is so trivial in the grand scheme of things, but I do think of things in these terms, and even trivial choices are still choices. I blame the Chalet School for this attitude, incidentally.

So, er, your advice and thoughts welcomed...
j4: (goth)
Glastonbury Festival
June 21-24, 2007

If I don't write this up soon I'll never get round to it, and the back(b)log will pile up like the Pilton traffic, so...

Glastonbury was MUDDY. That's the executive summary for those of you who've been on another planet for the last few weeks (or somehow managed to tune out the blah blah blah of festival-going friends). Sadly, the mud and rain and general meteorological misery really did eclipse pretty much everything else for at least some of the time; it's hard to feel the love or find the fun when you're worrying about whether you're ever going to be able to extract your feet from the swamp into which they're slowly sinking.

Despite the mud, we managed to see a lot of bands. In rough order of viewing, with the shortest reviews possible, here they are! )

Apart from seeing (at least a bit of) 35 bands, we managed to do some of the wandering around and seeing cool stuff that makes Glastonbury something other than a music festival. We saw a sand sculpture of a dragon, and sat on tree-stumps drinking hot chai, and admired Banksy's 'LooHenge' which seemed to be sinking into the mud with a big visual shout (unlike the 'real' stone circle, which just sat quietly underneath all the wellies and the weirdness). We got a portrait of us 'painted' (muddy felt-tip on notepaper) by the famous Jackson Pillock.

We watched "American Psycho" in the cinema tent, and heard absolutely everything else in the cinema field as we tried to sleep each night. ("This is England" sounded like a waking nightmare, all hate and misery. "Borat" just sounded like a load of amateurish rubbish.)

Owen wore fairy-wings. I wore my wellies of joy non-stop, and wore bright colours under cagouls. We ate tons of tasty hippy food (and a lot of doughnuts). We hardly had any alcohol for the entire four days, at least compared to some of the excess around us (half a pint of perry for me on the Thursday, hot chocolate with rum in it for Owen on the Saturday, a cup of hot cider each on the Friday, and THAT'S ALL, I kid you not). I ran across 10 metres of ankle-deep mud in 20 seconds to buy the Guardian (and get my free reusable fabric shoulder-bag from them).

On the last night Owen was ill, and we walked all the way to the medical tent and back, and had hot sugary tea in the café at the end of the world in the small hours of the morning, and got quite giggly at what looked like a bottle of MUD, though was probably just a bottle covered with mud. Later in the day I fell in the mud while trying to jump out of the way of a fast-moving tractor. A man laughed at me, but a nice girl gave me handfuls of wet-wipes.

At least 50 people asked me where I got my umbrella hat, offered me money for it, complimented it, or laughed appreciatively. (Seriously, umbrella hats are the best thing ever: your head stays dry, your hands stay free, and you make everybody smile.) A cheerful Scot asked me to do a twirl to show off the hat. He'd forgotten to bring his tent.

And that's about it, really; it doesn't add up to any bigger meaning, any shape or substance, it's just patterns in the mud. 180,000 different Glastonbury Festivals, as similar as snowflakes. It's as much about hats and chips and dancing in the rain as it is about being swept away by music or dazzled by fire. Fun in parts, difficult in parts, pointless and beautiful.

My photos are on Flickr.

Maybe it'll be sunny next year.
j4: (music)
With just three weeks left in which to pack up, up sticks, mix metaphors and move house, clearly the most sensible way to spend the weekend was in the heart of the Midlands, at the first ever Loughborough Folk Festival.

Regulars of Cambridge Folk Festival (and readers of [livejournal.com profile] smallbeds's eloquent rant about Cornbury Folk Festival) will be familiar with the peculiarly middle-class Gazebo-Rage-inducing type of Folk Festival, frequented by belligerent real-ale-drinking Guardian readers and people who don't-know-much-but-they-know-what-folk-isn't (and it usually isn't at least two of the main acts at Cambridge)...

Well, before you get too carried away with vicarious indignation, Loughborough Folk Festival was nothing like that. For one thing, it was indoors, and on reflection, I think this is a much underrated location for festivals. Throughout the weekend I found myself completely untroubled by nostalgic thoughts like "Wouldn't this be improved by six inches of mud?" and "It's good, but I'd feel more at home if I was trying to watch the act through rain-smeared glasses and a forest of other people's umbrellas". This also meant that real sound systems could be used: that is, ones that allow sound to be heard. It's jolly good, this amplification thing. They should patent it.

Secondly, the gigs were seated. Again, I didn't find myself yearning for the uninterrupted view of a bald chap's shiny head, or the smalls of tall men's backs; instead, I enjoyed a clear view of the stage and the performers. Clever idea on somebody's part, there!

Thirdly, there was real ale in abundance -- never mind your usual two-varieties-of-Charles-Wells-and-count-yourself-lucky, we're talking about 12 different varieties including a very nice stout (Grantham Stout, IIRC), which is not bad for a mini-festival in a town hall. (Unfortunately there wasn't really any food to speak of, which was probably the festival's only major deficiency; but with half-hour breaks between most sets there was time to nip out and sample, er, Loughborough's finest -- or in our case nip back to my parents' house for meals.)

Fourthly, there was some kind of respect for the performers. No mobile phones allowed (and I didn't hear a single one go off), no nattering through the gig, and no wandering in and out of the concert rooms except during the applause between songs (as I found to my surprise when we arrived late for one of the acts we'd wanted to see); and a general expectation that you'd sit and watch the performers instead of doing the crossword, eating pies, or playing games with your kids. A bit of a culture-shock after the usual festival fare, but a very welcome one. Imagine, actually listening to the music you've paid to hear!

And now, about that music... Demon Barbers Roadshow; Coope, Boyes & Simpson; Tiny Tin Lady; Tim van Eyken; Rachel Unthank; Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick )
j4: (Default)
Laura Veirs & the Tortured Souls + Thao Nguyen
The Shed, Cambridge, August 4th

Still catching up with the gigs from over a week ago: [livejournal.com profile] addedentry had seen Laura Veirs before she was famous (of course) and recommended her, so we went to catch her at The Shed (the Junction's little sibling, with proportionately cheaper ticket prices) where she was ably supported by Thao Nguyen.

Tortured song )

It was a long way in more than mere miles from the genteel jazz-club atmosphere of The Shed, with its comfortable seats and pre-ordered interval drinks, to the more traditional indie venue of Oxford's Zodiac, with its sticky floors, smoky air, and more or less complete absence of anything bearable to drink (until I spotted the bottles of Newky Brown hiding at the back). But the venue has to suit the band, and this was clearly the right place for the Saturday night's offerings...

Seafood + The Race + Rock of Travolta
The Zodiac, Oxford, August 5th

[livejournal.com profile] juggzy (who proved herself to be not only the unrivalled queen of indie cool but purveyor of the most amazing garlic scrambled eggs) had warned us that Rock of Travolta were past their best, but she hadn't warned us quite how bloody loud they were. Rock & Seafood: all you can eat )

Listen for yourself:
Thao Nguyen [myspace]
Laura Veirs [myspace]
Rock of Travolta [myspace]
The Race [myspace]
Seafood [myspace]
j4: (music)
There are few things as annoying as a boast disguised as a complaint (though praeteritio may come close), so I won't say that I've been to too many gigs recently (see?). It has created a bit of a backlog, though, so apologies in advance to regular readers for the coming batch of reviews.

The weekend before last was the Cambridge Folk Festival; I've never yet been to a bad Folk Festival, but this year we were particularly lucky with both the weather and the music. More about the music! )

Recommended music:
Rachel Unthank and the Winterset [also see myspace]
The Broken Family Band [also see myspace]

Reviews of the festival:
[livejournal.com profile] addedentry reviews more concisely from his own perspective (by which I don't just mean being able to see over people's heads)
[livejournal.com profile] sion_a has some interesting thoughts on definitions of 'folk'
A more balanced review from the Independent, but hey, they get paid to do this properly
j4: (music)
Cambridge people! A friend of mine is organising a concert this Friday in aid of the Leukaemia Research Foundation. I'm intending to go, and I'd love some other people to come with me.

Who?Cambridge Voices, a 16-strong chamber choir with a passion for sensual music, a love of liturgical ceremony, a keen eye for choreographic musical illumination, a devotion to French cuisine and an unconventional sense of theatre. For this special concert a reduced choir of eight voices, conducted by Ian De Massini, will present a dramatic, mixed, multi-part programme, ranging from sacred motets to secular madrigals and close harmony.
Where?St. Paul's Church, Hills Road, Cambridge. [Map]
When?Friday 30th June, Doors 7:30-10:30pm, music 8:00-10:00pm.
Go on then... how much?Pew Seats, £6
Table for 6, £50 (includes 1 bottle of wine and snacks).
I'm aiming to get together a table of 6.
Sounds great! How do I get tickets?
If you want to make up a table with me, please comment here or email me before Wednesday evening.

Otherwise, you can buy tickets from Miller's Music shop / Ken Stevens Instruments, Sussex Street, Cambridge. To avoid disappointment, pre-booking is recommended.


Full details of the concert are on the Raise1000 website.

I went to a previous event in this series, a concert given by the Silicon Edge Big Band, and it was great fun -- an evening of toe-tapping music, food, wine, and generally a really good atmosphere. I suspect this concert will be a slightly quieter affair, but the music promises to be absolutely fantastic. So let me know if you want to come along!
j4: (music)
People who didn't manage to get tickets for the Cambridge Folk Festival (and people who did!) may be interested in the Trowbridge Village Pump Festival. It's about the same price as an adult (non-resident) weekend ticket for the Cambridge festival, the lineup looks comparable -- possibly even better depending on your preferences! -- and camping is free.
j4: (music)
The Organ
Club Goo, The Soul Tree, 29th March 2006

picture of The Organ's setlist [livejournal.com profile] addedentry and I went to see The Organ last night. He doesn't think I'm going to say anything about the music. Now, admittedly, if I try to describe the sounds I risk backing myself into pseud's corner: I could talk about hard drumbeats driving like the stroke of an oar through rising waves of synth and bass crested with the bright whiteness of a single guitar; I could talk about a yearning voice shimmering in the darkness ... but I suspect you'd rather I spared you that sort of thing. Or I could do that old triangulation trick, where I tell you that they sound like the Editors collaborating with the Cure, fronted by a female Morrissey; and let's face it, there's nothing really radical or new in there, so that would probably tell you pretty much everything you needed in order to decide whether you were likely to like them, though it wouldn't tell you how the music surrounds you like star-studded darkness. But then, in the end, none of it tells you anything, and frankly I might have been better going along with Owen's expectations and just telling you that if I was still a teenage fangirl I might well have taken down my posters of Toni Halliday and Alison-out-of-Cranes to make room for The Organ's Katie Sketch (vocals) and 'Schmoo' (bass). So there you go.

There was an almost comically bad support band, too, but since they couldn't reliably remember what they were called, I think I'll spare their blushes and pretend I've forgotten as well.

Evens song

Mar. 28th, 2006 02:23 pm
j4: (music)
The Evens
Portland Arms, 20th March 2006

Last Monday [livejournal.com profile] addedentry and I went to see The Evens. I feel less silly for taking a week to get round to writing a review now I find that the band don't appear to have got round to writing a website yet.

it's great when you're straight-edge )
j4: (music)
The Sultans of Ping
Highbury Garage, 18th March 2006

You know how it goes: I bought "Casual Sex in the Cineplex" as a teenager (on vinyl, of course), and was faintly embarrassed by the jokey smuttiness of the title, and yet somehow proud of being grown-up enough to know about casual sex, to know what "one night of mischeva in a yellow Vauxhall Viva" implied, to know the lyrics to songs about leather boots. Sure, on the outside I was a fat kid with acne and oversized glasses, but inside I was a Teenage Punk From Planet Sexylove.

So fa so good (as fellow 90s novelty punk act Carter USM said, before they got embarrassed by their "Unstoppable Sex Machine" epithet and swept it under the acronym). But it wasn't just the image: it was the songs. They were funny, and you could jump up and down to them, and imagine shouting the chorus out really loudly, and dream of the day when some floppy-haired indie kid would be impressed that you knew all the words to the shouty bit at the beginning of "Where's Me Jumper?", even the 'Latin' bit that didn't make any sense.

[looks at [livejournal.com profile] addedentry shyly from under an imaginary fringe]

So Saturday night was, at least in part, an exercise in time travel. It was going back home and picking up my teenaged self, giving her a gig ticket and a train ticket and enough cash to buy alcopops, and promising to tell her parents that she was sleeping over at my house if they called. And, for the full-on fairy gothmother effect, transforming her 8-hole Doc Martens into 6-inch-platform New Rocks. Cinderella, you shall go to the gig.

And it could have been purely an exercise in ironic nostalgia; it could have been a sing-a-long from the sidelines, with archly self-deprecating dance-moves. It could have been all that, until Niall strode on stage through the dry ice. White vinyl trousers, shiny black boots, white fur jacket, black tshirt, a string of pearls, a curl of the lip ... and the crowd surged forwards, and before I knew it I was shouting all the words and screaming myself hoarse in the gaps between. Oh, there was still plenty of irony; but it was kitsch, it was camp, it was laughing with Niall as he pretended to tease and we pretended to swoon as our fingertips finally managed to brush his fur coat, his pointed boots.

You've been away a long time. ... Good to see you're laughing, baby.

They played all their hits, a non-stop barrage of three-minute punk/pop songs that kept the temporarily-teenaged twenty- and thirty-somethings pogoing, and kept the stagedivers diving for dear life. It was all every bit as good as I'd remembered or imagined: the token harmonica solo was hammed up, the shoutalong choruses were shouted, and jumpers may well have been lost in the melée of the moshpit. After sustaining a degree of bruising from the barrier that I hadn't managed for a good 6 years, and after my glasses got knocked off for the second time (though remaining miraculously intact), I decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and ducked out for a breather... but soon handed my glasses to an indulgently grinning [livejournal.com profile] addedentry and launched myself back into the fray again.

Dancing at the disco! Go go go!

Standing at the front and seeing the setlist spoils some of the surprises, but we all knew they were going to end with "Where's Me Jumper"; what we didn't know is that they'd then play another few songs, shouting their defiance of the curfew in between. "We're going to play ALL NIGHT!" ... "They're telling us it's time to stop. But I don't believe in time! Do you believe in time? I NEVER BELIEVED IN TIME!!" I don't think most of us realised until afterwards that Niall had claimed it was curfew-time fifteen minutes early just for the pantomime of playing on in spite of it: that's showmanship. At the end, he threw his string of beads into the crowd at the end. I was too far back to catch them, but when I rejoined [livejournal.com profile] lnr at the front as the crowd started to disperse, I picked up a handful of loose beads from the floor, diving between people's boots, diving for pearls.

We bounced back to Highbury and Islington, and caught the tube to King's Cross, and then ran all the way from the entrance of King's Cross to the front four coaches of the furthest platform just in time for the 11:11 train, and I don't think any of us turned into pumpkins (though the crowded train was a bit of a squash).

All in all, the 1990s are proving so much more fun this time round.

[see also: [livejournal.com profile] lnr's review.]
j4: (music)
Richard Thompson & Danny Thompson (support: Jeb Loy Nichols)
Cambridge Corn Exchange, Monday 30th January

When I first saw Richard Thompson, at Glastonbury in 2003, he was supported by a full band. The music was all purples and blues and reds flowing over the edge of the stage, and a moth glittered like a slow-motion shuriken in the lights at the top of the tent. I wanted to see the bright lights, and I was seeing them. I have no idea what songs he played, but the set seemed to last for ever.

I saw him again at the Corn Exchange in May 2004 (and completely failed to write about it on LiveJournal), this time performing solo. Every word he sang was crystal-clear. A million notes rained down from his guitar and the entire room remained spellbound, faces upturned in the deluge. I cried at the end of "Vincent Black Lightning 1952". So did he.

With those two gigs to live up to, it was probably inevitable that this one felt like a compromise: neither a spotlighted solo nor a richly textured band, but somewhere inbetween. Don't get me wrong, it was still a superb gig; his guitar playing still effortlessly wrapped the listener around its fifteen fingers ... but at times it felt as though the bass was muddying the clear flowing stream of guitar music. A double shame, really, when either musician alone could have played a great solo concert. The songs (and it's all about the songs) still shone through, though, from the timeless melodic storytelling of "Crazyman Michael" to the bitter politics of "Outside of the Inside".

The set-list was as varied as you'd expect from a songwriter with thirty-odd years of great songs to choose from (though he might just have been exaggerating about the 47-disc boxed set), but the newer songs from the latest album Front Parlour Ballads blended seamlessly with the back-catalogue, instant classics. There was only one song completely new to me last night, but it was a good one: the delightful raft of ridiculous rhymes that is The Hots for the Smarts", during which [livejournal.com profile] addedentry practically had to restrain me from throwing my spectacles at the stage.

Not that the Corn Exchange's seating would have really permitted such fangirlish shenanigans: miles from the stage, our view was unobscured, but it was sometimes hard to feel fully engaged with the music when we barely had room to tap a toe, let alone polka (polka!) in the aisles.

The review we glanced at over the shoulders of the people in the seats in front of us gave Thompson four out of five. I can't really argue with that: he was brilliant, but he could have been better. Or rather (since my glass of gin and tonic was certainly more than half full), just because he's been better doesn't mean he wasn't still brilliant.

Oh, there was a support act, too. )
j4: (kanji)
Yesterday was my first full choral evensong with Peterhouse choir. (There was a shorter evening service on Thursday, with no sermon, no hymns, and only spoken responses.)

It's amazing what the body remembers. The walk, measured and dignified but not too slow, for processing and recessing ("For a proper Anglican procession, you should walk as if you're holding a 10p piece between your buttocks," a particularly camp organ scholar once told me, and I wish I could lose the memory, but I remember him and his lurid Warhol waistcoat every time I walk in and out of chapel); the bow to the altar at the beginning and end of the service. The standing, the sitting, the half-kneeling. The constant awareness, without self-consciousness, of where the body is and what it's doing.

The brain remembers too, though with singing and speaking it's a fine line between mental memory and muscle memory: the whole of Tallis's If ye love me, for which I only realise halfway through that I've not needed to look at the music, though the miracle there is that I've not sung the tenor part by accident; the arcana of Anglican chant; the Apostles' creed; the collects, which are buried somewhere deep enough in the brain that the shivers along my arms at the Lighten our darkness catch me by surprise.

I remember the general confession that we have left undone those things which we ought to have done, and we have done those things which we ought not to have done, and how the simple phrases cut through the modern language of stress and faff and guilt and angst like a knife, like a flaming sword.

What I had forgotten, though, was the pace, and the peace; the way each word is weighed and set in place; the solemn gravity of the dance. There is space for contemplation, or for merciful release from contemplation; there is fragile, precious space between people and words and notes like the inch of air between the flame and the glass. Inside the chapel time slows down, falling like flecks of dust through the candlelit shadows. Even the flurries of activity are quiet: the choir creaks and scurries its way up and down the stairs to the organ loft, depositing bags and coats and folders out of sight; the Master and the Chaplain walk swiftly past, gowns swirling and billowing through the small doorway as the choir rustles into white surplices, fluttering in the gathering dark like wings outside a window.
j4: (music)
This month I have mostly been going out a lot. Below is a quick and dirty write-up of a lot of time, a lot of fun, and probably utter financial ruin.

Broken Family Band; Battle; The Producers; Covert; Editors; Club Goo; Macbeth; The Threepenny Opera; Ladytron )

Song ago

Oct. 7th, 2005 03:46 pm
j4: (music)
[livejournal.com profile] venta is officially the coolest person in the world for, ooh, at least all the rest of this afternoon. :-) The reason for this accolade: in the course of her excellent (recommended, readers!) Friday afternoon Boogie at your Desk feature, she has just successfully identified a song that I loved every time they played it at PANIC but never managed to find out what it was.

The song is "Time Bomb" by Rancid. If it's at all representative of the band's output, then they're much better than the rather inauspicious name would suggest!

It's not as if I needed more CDs to add to my wishlist, but it would be really churlish to complain about discovering more good music. :-) Talking of which, I should also probably take this opportunity to thank [livejournal.com profile] acronym for constantly recommending Pink Flag by Wire, which I finally got round to buying (£5 in Fopp at the moment!). It's great: now a) I know where Elastica got that fantastic riff that kicks off "Connection", the thieving so-and-sos, and b) I can say "they sound a bit like Wire" about all the good-ish new bands instead of having to flounder around somewhere on the Cure / Joy Division axis (AXIS OF GOFF).
j4: (badgers)
Gods, I'm tired. Surely some day soon I'll find the time to rest and recover...? (See subject line.) Anyway, earlier this week I managed to get myself into a minor road-rage incident, which wasn't very interesting, actually. )

Fortunately there's been a lot of positive goings-on as well to offset the hassle. In the last couple of weeks we've been to 3 gigs, 2 clubs and 3 plays, most of which have been great (and the rest of which have at least been interesting in one way or another) so it's small wonder I haven't had time to write them up! I'm not actually trying to beat last year's gig-a-week average, but October's a good time for it: lots of stuff happening to convince freshers that Cambridge is great; my finances picking up again after the summer; the weather grey enough outside that hiding away in dark smoky venues full of beer and guitars seems like a good idea; warm enough to not mind being poured out onto the street late at night with sweaty t-shirts, aching feet and ringing ears.

I've also been pretending (in my head, at least) that I'm a fresher, and signing up for loads of new stuff. tap-dancing and choir )

[Things I meant to write about at some point: gigs, patterns, work, spots, lost songs, and flapjacks. Don't hold your breath.]

Kate news!

Sep. 21st, 2005 09:13 am
j4: (music)
World exclusive first play of Kate Bush's new single "King of the Mountain" will be on the Ken Bruce show today! That's Radio 2, 9:30-12:00. If you're online, you can listen live with RealPlayer.

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