Archive | October, 2012

Week 11: Portishead – Dummy

28 Oct

I had this album on tape. TAPE! When Gaga finally joins us, he or she will look at cassette tapes with the same bafflement we look at penny farthings, capital punishment and food set in aspic.

I knew I wanted to do a dance record this week, and I was going to do something more upbeat, but I’m not really in a raving zone. My insomnia has risen up and is shaking me by the tail. The second I wake up, whether it’s due to husband drunkenly weeing in the bath, cat on bedside table sticking its head in my glass of water or strange yelping dog parading up and down the road outside, I am bolt awake, in need of being fed, and then incapable of getting back to sleep again. It was my birthday yesterday (the last one that will be quite so laid back and me-focused for a while) and it was lovely, but busy. And now I am tired.

This lovely trippy, snoozy bedtime record is just what’s needed. It makes me think of one of my own parents, specifically my Dad, who has had enormous influence on my taste in music – though he almost definitely doesn’t realise it. We saw Portishead for the first time on Jools Holland, just before they released the phenomenal single Glory Box. Dad always used to record Jools on VHS “so I can fast-forward the ones I don’t like”. We did agree on some of the same stuff on the programme- these and Elastica really stand out in my mind, plus any really impressive female vocalists. However he never really understood why I loved the rowdy bands that came on like Radiohead and the Foo Fighters and the like. He would resist fast-forwarding them if I was there, but I could still sense the cogs turning as he developed an opinion to be ejected the minute they finished playing (normally “what a racket!”) Even though he didn’t like it, he still got me playing it. I’ll always remember begging him to teach me how to play Smells Like Teen Spirit on guitar and him saying “ahhh, now those sound like power chords. Here’s how you do those…” and from that day on I never really played anything else.

Portishead though. We both agreed on them. I was never really interested in much they did after, but this album is classic. It sounds like womb-music too, an eerie dream-world with Beth Gibbons’ voice floating over it like a beautiful, miserable ghost.

It’s just as good as I remembered it being. I might even go back to bed after this.

Week 10: Neil Young – After The Goldrush

17 Oct


Let me get this straight – I don’t like folk music. This record isn’t folk music. It’s soul.

I listen to this and I listen to Stevie Wonder and it’s the same thing. It’s lyrics and music and truth. There’s nothing twee about this, it’s just simple, beautiful stories.

I do really love Neil Young, and it’s odd that this is my favourite album of his, because it never seems to be anyone else’s. I read somewhere once that it was his most consistent album. Well, be damned with faint praise, but I believe consistency to be an excellent thing. The only song I don’t totally love is probably the famous one – Only Love Can Break Your Heart. It’s still good, but it’s so pop, it’s been so covered by everyone (I can only think of Saint Etienne right now, but believe me). Sat next to the introspection of the rest it feels a little out of place.

So why this record this week? I think I’ve been feeling a bit stressed. We’ve been told we have to wait until 14 weeks to have our first scan, which means instead of waiting a fortnight to tell people I’m pregnant, we now have to wait another whole month. Another month of being hideously ill and exhausted and having to keep it quiet from the world. Another month of having to lie to people, come up with excuses for not drinking or cancelling social engagements (everybody’s going out and having fun/I’m a fool for staying home and having none) and being called a spoilsport when really people should be celebrating with us. This is compounded by the anxiety of knowing we’re in a higher risk of miscarriage bracket, so we REALLY don’t want to tell anyone before we know everything’s ok. We really do need to keep a lid on it. FOUR WEEKS THOUGH! It feels like it may as well be four years.

But this record makes me feel calm.

The first time I heard it, I was in a bad place – in a relationship that was about to break up. I heard After The Goldrush and it lifted me. Just for as long as the record played, I was in a bubble, everything was okay. It completely soothes me, it always has. So let’s go into our bubble for now, little Gaga, and when Don’t Let It Bring You Down comes on, I’ll sing all the words and probably cry a bit because I’m an emotional wobblewart at the moment, and we’ll get through another week of barfaciousness together.

Don’t let it bring you down
It’s only castles burning,
Find someone who’s turning
And you will come around.

Week 9: Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation

10 Oct


Welcome to week one of Radio Gaga. So far I’ve been pregnant with this little swimming alien for nine weeks. I’m guessing it’s pretty healthy at the moment because I feel like I’ve been slapped with a wet fish, and all I want to do is sleep and eat cheese. Apparently this is a good sign.

The only thing that makes me feel happy and stops me wanting to assault colleagues with a stapler (thanks, raging hormones and terminal barfaciousness) is thinking about Gaga paddling about in my uterus and what our lives are going to be like now. All being well, me and this tiny being are going to be spending a lot of time together over the next 20 years. This blows my mind a touch.
When I sat down today for us to listen to our first record together, it felt really proper all of a sudden. A family activity for the family I haven’t even met yet. Crazy.

I know Gaga’s tiny ears aren’t working completely yet, which is why I picked this record – it’s one of mine and Mister’s favourites and if it gets missed now it will get picked up later. Plus it’s nice and noisy so I’m sure it’s getting through in some capacity. Boom! Sprawling, fizzy guitar deliciousness.

The first time I heard this album, it felt like I’d heard it before. As if maybe I’d heard it in the womb. If in any way I can contribute to Gaga feeling like that when it finally gets born and hears it outside of all that amniotic fluid, well, that would pretty amazing.