Archive | January, 2013

Week 24: Now! That’s What I Call Music

27 Jan

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Yeah yeah yeah I know I’m supposed to be picking classic records for this blog, but I have spent the entire of the past week ploughing through the Now! back catalogues and haven’t had a minute to listen to anything that isn’t a poptacular chart topping anthem.

I have been doing this for inspiration. I’m busy making the best wedding present EVER.

Five years of me being in charge of festival and party playlist making means my best friend and I are not only joined at the hip, we’re joined at the iPod. My iPod goes everywhere – including into our handbags to be snuck on at other people’s house parties when nobody’s looking. It is our obsession. The Playlist gets constantly updated with a roster of cheese, classics, cool, disco, indie anthems from our youth, golden oldies, anything you can dance to, scream at the top of your lungs to, or just shout “ohmyGODIrememberthisone!” to.

However. Over the last five months of pregnancy, our late night partying has been swapped for civilised lunching and early nights, and my friend is not only lacking her partner in crime with whom to rave til the dawn breaks, she is also iPod-less.

So the Party Pod is being created.

It’s pink. It’s sparkly. It’s filled to the guts with A DAY AND A HALF of beats, hooks and frankly bloody massive choruses.  And it will soon be all hers. Pleased with myself? Moi? Absolutely.

Groom’s gonna hate it. Never mind.

Anyway, the other news of the week is that I’m now carrying a child as big as an LP (yes! I have waited so long to be able to say this! AS BIG AS AN LP! 12″s of Baby Gaga! HUGENESS!).  There is no hiding this thing anymore, my steely abs are slowly giving up the fight and the bump is nearly out as far as the boobs. I think he’s kicking it out from the inside to be honest – this week I felt something which could only be the warp-speed double-kick of a thrash drummer. From within my own body. Does this mean we’re doing Slipknot as next week’s classic album? I think we may have to.

Week 23: Napalm Death – Scum

21 Jan

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Yeahhhh I finally got my grind/metal fix. I don’t know. I really love some bits of this record, but others just sound like a big old hiss of cymbals. Like one of those wind-up monkeys on speed.

I’m  a total philistine when it comes to heavy metal to be honest. I like flashy bands with big hair and tight trousers, and dirty groove-driven sleaze-rock, and the other stuff I can just sort of sit and appreciate but never really love. A lot of the classic bands like Metallica just leave me cold. If I hadn’t spent most of my life utterly ensconced in the world of heavy music through going to rock clubs and being friends with a lot of smelly tattooed vegans, I’d probably feel the same way about metal as I do about jazz. Mmmm, yeah, nice, I can see what you’re doing there and it’s very clever. It doesn’t toast my nuts though.

Unless it’s Iron Maiden. Waaaaaiiiilllll!

Anyway, it has been Snowing here in such a way that I feel I need to capitalise the word. I did try to drive to the office but it was a bit scary so I’ve finally tackled the complex world of remote access. I had all sorts of grand plans about working from home, most of which involved not doing very much actual work at all (watching a nice film, painting my toenails, having a bubble bath) but sadly none of them came to pass as it turns out I’m still expected to do stressful amounts of tedious bobbins. It was comforting to have a cat on hand to cuddle when I had to phone horrible people though.

The other thing I’d forgotten about “the home office” (laptop, sofa) is that I feel compelled to eat more or less constantly in spite of not doing any actual movement. This is compounded by it being cold and snowy. Who can nibble a salad when it’s like the bloody Chronicles of ruddy Narnia outside? Not this lady. Who can get their car out of the snowdrift to get to the gym? Not I. Consequently I am rounding off a day of peanut butter sandwiches and cereal bars with a fat jacket and beans. I can get away with this when I’m pregnant, right? It’s not like I have to be a fat bridesmaid in a fortnight is it? Is it?

Week 22: Massive Attack – Blue Lines

16 Jan

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Bloody toothaaaaaaache

Honestly, I have never experienced anything more horrific. 48 hours of feeling like someone’s hammering a white hot nail into my jaw with no respite (supermoan coming up, turn over to Countryfile for five minutes if you wish), counting down the minutes til I can take my next paracetemol dose which will allow me to sleep for an hour before being dragged screaming back into my hellish reality for a three hour wait where every second feels like one long, agonising week. Hugging my knees and screaming and crying and fantasising about breaking all my teeth with a hammer. Not being able to eat anything apart from yoghurt. YOGHURT. And not very much of that because I’ll be SICK.

OK, OK, come back now. This isn’t going to be one long downer I promise.

I’m better now, yayyyy! Well, as of this afternoon it’s gone rapidly from excruciating to simply annoying (hurrah for my elephant dose of antibiotics finally kicking in!). I feel like I have been kissed by angels. I want to dance naked in the street, giving out heart-shaped balloons to passers by. Seriously though, is there any bliss greater than the absence of something that was truly and relentlessly horrid?

Anyway, I had intended to play Gaga NAPALM DEATH next. Oh how I was looking forward to a bit of juicy thrash metal! But even I couldn’t tolerate anything remotely jarring when writhing in snotty spasms of mouth-based pain. So I picked the mildest thing I could think of, and that thing was – for some reason – Massive Attack.

I was never very into these when they were first about. The 90s, for me, were pretty much all about raucous guitars played by the art school brats and lumpen anoraked oafs I aspired to be like. Dance music was for pretty people wearing white clothes from Morgan. That was not me. I overlooked an entire genre in my teens purely because I was a genre snob.

Since then, I have learned the error of my ways. I have vowed to never be a judgemental about music again. If you like Kenny G, baby that’s fine with me. I will listen to it all and love it all, however challenging or bland or critically reviled. Good music is good music. This statement may not apply to the work of Kenny G.

Yesterday was the first time I’d ever listened to this album, and, even when in paroxysms of pain, it’s really really good. I lay with my laptop on my belly with a packet of veggiemince slowly defrosting on the side of my face and felt Gaga flip like a little baby sealion to the music.

Ace.

Week 22: John Coltrane – A Love Supreme

13 Jan

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Jazz! Mmmm, nice.

I’ve tried to listen to loads of jazz before. I still don’t really know what I like. I know there are bits I find interesting and bits that I instinctively enjoy, but I’m not sure in which artist they all gather together as one, joyful jazzgasm in my brain. I’m on a bit of a hunt. I’m quite enjoying this record, but I’m not sure it’s The One.

When our lodger moved out last year we had full intentions of turning the attic room into a Jazz Club, with a piano, drums, saxophone, a million guitars and an amazing padded bar with a beach scene on the wall serving cocktails that involved blue bols and tiny umbrellas. We were going to charge people to come to Jazz Club every weekend to listen to our JAZZ and drink our elaborate and violent drinks, thereby making up the £280 pcm we were losing by not having a lodger any more.

Didn’t really work out. We got as far as a room full of slightly neglected instruments gathering dust. Then I got a 9-5 job, which made up the money. Then I got pregnant, so Jazz Club rather boringly needs to be the spare room now.

Maybe one day in the future, when we’ve successfully bred some kind of crazy youth collective of musicians, I will go upstairs into the attic and Jazz Club will finally be happening at last, impromptu and freeform. A small person will be hitting the drums. A smaller person will be hitting the piano, maybe with one of the cats.

I feel like this might be the ultimate jazz noise I’m looking for. Not sure our neighbours will agree though.

Week 21: Rocket From The Crypt – Group Sounds

6 Jan

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I have spent the last week absorbing the Ina May Gaskin book on childbirth, which appears to have tapped into some horrific inner-hippy tendencies I have managed to keep closeted for 32 years. I was always vehemently anti-hippy, my loathing of tie-dye-swaddled jugglers being equal to the fear other people have of tall buildings, flying and being murdered in their beds.

However. Years of being clonked over the head with full-strength drugs (hello resulting opiate addiction!) and unhelpful doctors for my recurring bad back have lead me to discover that if you use your noggin you can sometimes find ways to help yourself that might not mean taking up a horrible, druggy hammer in order to crack the proverbial nut.

I have been thinking a lot about climbing into my own brain to find ways to stop fearing labour and instead have faith in my body to do what it was built to do. About tapping into that meditative, primitive state I get into whenever I’m doing anything absorbingly physical, like running a really tough last few kilometre or pushing out a seemingly impossible strength rep. OK, these are crap sporty references and small beer in comparison to pushing a baby out of your foof, but probably still excellent labour mind-set training.

So now I’m looking out for things that help me get into that state – from the obvious (trust and support from my birthing partner), to the slightly bizarre (leaving my contacts out so I’m blind and in a “feeling” rather than a “thinking” place) and the totally awesome (listening to powerful music that helps me tap into my primal brain). I love Rocket From The Crypt, I’m pretty sure all those Swami label bands make things happen in my cervix, even on a normal day. All the blues progressions, low, hard grooves and incessant thumping drums. I realise this may sound like a reach, but I’m putting John “Speedo” Reiss in my baby-popping toolbox.

And PLUS the words to my favourite song on the record, Carne Voodoo, (although I’m sure this is not what they were supposed to mean) chant to “bring me the head, yeah! Full steam ahead, yeah!” If that isn’t a fucking fabulous birth mantra, I don’t know what is.