Friday, 6 February 2009

The pub quiz isn’t the only thing being killed by the mobile phone . . .

Last night Mr M and I went to the Waterfront Hall to see Ray LaMontagne. And a wonderful evening it was. He sang like a dream and had a great band, I bought a cute tour t-shirt, the parking was bearable and even the support (Priscilla Ahn) was enjoyable.

BUT . . . .

Mobile Phones at Gigs. What is going on?

Why does half the audience at a gig feel the need to take several dozen photos on their mobile phones of the performer? There are several things I don’t get with this. Firstly, the photos you take on a mobile phone are pretty crappy. Secondly, once you have five blurry, shitty little pictures on your phone of Ray LaMontagne playing the guitar, why do you need 20 more? They are all going to look the same (let’s face it, Ray LaM is not famed for his pyrotechnic stage extravaganzas) and they are all going to be rubbish anyway. I have been to countless gigs throughout my life and I have memories from all of them, I don’t need blurred photographs to remind me of the great/ good/ bad times I had at them!

Why dilute your experience? Why watch from behind a screen? Don’t we spend enough time behind screens? As Guy Debord in The Society of the Spectacle says ‘All that was once directly lived has become mere representation’. Shaky video of one of your favourite artists performing live is a representation, it will not supplant real emotional memories of the event that, let’s face it, you paid good money to see.

You wouldn’t do it at the theatre, why do it at a gig? It must also be incredibly annoying for the musicians in question too.

The sheer tie of the mobile phone amazes me sometimes. Maybe it is because I remember a time without it, but I notice more and more that people can’t seem to go to the cinema/ see a gig/ go out for dinner without constantly checking their mobiles, or texting, or making calls. The thing I love most about going to Crete on holiday is the lack of reason to look at my phone, let alone use it. It’s a little bit of freedom, and that’s what we should try and embrace.

Friday, 30 January 2009

May you never make your bed out in the cold

Two RIP's in one month?

This one was tough. I'm a big John Martyn fan and tried to book him for my venue only last year (the bugger was too exensive!).
I never got to see him live and now I never will. I don't care if he was supposed to be a cantankerous drunkard, I will always listen and I will always love his gorgeous music.

'Love is a lesson to learn in our time'

Friday, 23 January 2009

Home Sweet Home?

So here's the thing, when did houses stop being homes?

Or more importantly, when did homes start looking like show homes? Or hotel rooms?

I have noticed a tendency amongst friends recently, who have redecorated. In the process of redecorating (generally to some cream walls, brown leather sofas and beech wood finishes) they dump/ hide/ give away all personal items, including books and CD's. New prints are bought to match said colour scheme, new vases which sit in sets of three blend in with the rest of the blandness and the local florist must be on speed dial to keep up with the bunches of nonchalantly placed lilies.

Mr M and I live in a house which is coming down with books, CD's and things that mean something to us. Things that were bought as presents, found on a beach or made for us. Nice things. They don't necessarily 'go' with anything, but we love them. Why have people stopped doing that?

I have a friend who used to come to my house and rave about how it was so great to we had our books around us, and how when she moved she couldn't wait to have all her books out on shelves. Well, she's moved to her very large new house. And her books? If they moved with her, I wouldn't' know, as they are nowhere to be seen amidst the Ikea prints and copies of 'Northern Irelands Homes, Living and Interiors'

Someone once sat in my living room and said 'Oh, I just love your wee house, it's so cosy and personal'. I knew she didn't mean it and was actually saying 'You have a tiny house and it is messy'.

I don't care. It is our wee house and it is cosy and it is personal and long may it stay that way.

I'm getting annoyed, I must be feeling better.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

The Lurgy

So, I am into my second week off sick with the 'flu - as verified by the Doctor yesterday and I am officially bored/ depressed/ fed up with my invalid status.

Mr M has been a saint and a saviour, cooking for me, building fires for me, cheering me up and generally keeping me sane.

Isn't it funny - when you are in work, you think that a few weeks off pottering around at home would be bliss. And it would, if you were actually fit and healthy! Even pottering isn't so much fun when your bones are aching, your head is pounding, and going upstairs leaves you ready for a lie down . . .

I read the story on the news last week about the average Council employee in Northern Ireland taking an inordinate amount of sick days and I ranted about how it gave us healthy, hardworking Council workers a bad name. And here I am on day 6 of a potential 9 days off, raising that average with the best of them.

I'm trying to keep occupied with Facebook, reading (Gomorrah - Italy's Other Mafia) and watching back episodes of America's Next Top Model, it's about all my wee sick brain can handle at the minute.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

My Sounds of 2008

Everyone and their granny appears to be looking into their crystal balls and making their tips for the ‘Sound of 2009’. I imagine this is great for many upcoming artists, but isn’t it a shame that I am already sick of Florence and the Machine, even though I haven’t heard anything by them yet? If enough people (i.e. the media) tell me that something is going to be great, you can bet that I will take a dislike to it. Step forward Mika, Adele and Duffy.

So instead of looking forward, I’ll look back with a list of my top albums from 2008:

For Emma Forever Ago ~ Bon Iver
Beautifully haunting and eminently playable
April ~ Sun Kil Moon
Mark Kozelek does it again
The Golden Age ~ American Music Club
Mark Eitzel is back on form to break my heart all over again
How will I Know if I’m Awake ~ Brent Cash
Sun-dappled, 70’s sounding bliss
Alas I Cannot Swim ~ Laura Marling
OK, so it came out in 2007, but she’s the 17 year old I wanted to be
The Stoop ~ Little Jackie
Could be time for Amy to step aside – infectious and clean!
Way to Normal ~ Ben Folds
Not up to his usual standards, but Dr Yeng was worth the cost of the whole CD
To Survive ~ Joan as Police Woman
Utterly beguiling, has been in my head now for months
Seventh Tree ~ Goldfrapp
For personal reasons. . . .
Modern Guilt ~ Beck
Completely underrated, and my favourite driving album of the year

So there you go, that would be the soundtrack to my year – I could also include N.W.A’s ‘Straight Outta Compton’ despite it coming out 20 years ago. Mr M will concur that I haven’t stopped listening to it for the last few months. Although when I try sing along to ‘Gangsta Gangsta’ I do sound vaguely ridiculous . . . . .

Friday, 2 January 2009

Harold Pinter, RIP


It is the dead of night,

The long dead look out towards
The new dead
Walking towards them

There is a soft heartbeat
As the dead embrace
Those who are long dead
And those of the new dead
Walking towards them

They cry and they kiss
As they meet again
For the first and last time

Harold Pinter, 2002

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Take Courage

So, it's been about a year since I last blogged.
Obviously I wasn't ready for it, but I'm all growed up now.

As it is New Year's Day and I'm not one for resolutions, here are a few things I hope to do more of in 2009:

- play Backgammon
- knit
- make jewellery
- paint
- grow my own veg
- go back to Crete
- laugh
- make Mr M happy

and here are a few things I want to do less of in 2009:
- watch TV
- shop
- bitch
- have Facebook envy
- work for the man

So, bring on 2009, time to take courage, as the sign says . . .