Wish I may

So last night, when contemplating the potential awesomeness of a Sufjan Stevens live show, I came to thinking about who I’d really really really love to see live this year.  Then, because I like to torture myself, I was thinking about who I’d love to see live regardless of circumstances.

So, here is a list.  There are dead people on this list, yes.  There are defunct bands on this list, yes.  Basically it’s bands and/or musicians I’d possibly give a limb to see live some time soon, regardless of how many times I’ve seen them, current music producing status aside.  There are musicians on this list that wouldn’t hit my all time favourite list, but because I A) haven’t seen them before and B) have been digging their music lately, they’re here.  So here we go.

A girl can dream, right?

  1. Neutral Milk Hotel.  Although, a Jeff Mangum acoustic set would do just as well.  I don’t think this requires any explanation.
  2. The Mountain Goats.  Yes I saw them in January.  And more than once last year.  But did I ever tell you GREATEST SHOW EVER!?!?  And I tell ya what, if someone said give me your left arm or you’ll never see the Mountain Goats live again, I’d find a way to be right-handed.
  3. Sufjan Stevens – Stories of angel wings and orchestras and other wonderful things have me so excited about the idea of this.
  4. The Arcade Fire – If I hear Wake Up or Intervention live I’m not sure what will happen to my brain.  Some sort of atrophy no doubt.
  5. The Flaming Lips – Their live shows kinda have legend status now.  I want to be one in a sea of thousands of people singing ‘do, you, REALIZE’ etc.
  6. Ani DiFranco – It’s been ages, really.  And I get that she just had a baby, and I get that she’s probably a crazy busy woman, and I get that Australia is a loooong way away from Buffalo NY.  But fer serious.  Please!  Tour soon!
  7. Jeff Buckley – He makes my heart hurt.  He was taken from the world way too early.  To be in the same room as that voice would just be an amazing experience.
  8. Jeff Tweedy.  Live.  Solo.  I’d put Wilco on this list too but I just saw them a month ago and that would be kinda greedy.
  9. The Decemberists.  In a little hole in the wall bar where I can stand maybe 3 or 4 metres away from Colin Meloy.  And they should play that 20 minute song that’s in FOUR CHAPTERS because how awesome is that?!  Not that I’m fussy though.
  10. Pavement – Recent viewing of a DVD has left me kinda sad that I missed this opportunity.
  11. Okkervil River – This is new, but, I am rapidly going all CFG over this band.  Please tour soon.
  12. R.E.M. – Never seen them live.  Really badly want to.  Enough said.
  13. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Or Will Oldham or any of this other incarnations.  Hopefully somewhere like the Hopetoun, in a dark, smokey room, with a crowd that shuts up and listens.
  14. Death Cab for Cutie – I just know, given the right venue and the right crowd and the right setlist, a set from the this band might blow my head off.  Although, considering the awesomeness of some of the solo acoustic stuff I’ve heard of Ben’s lately (including that cover of Palmcorder Yajna HOLY CRAP), a solo acoustic set from Mr Gibbard would do.
  15. Broken Social Scene.  I have it on good authority that their live shows are A-MAZ-ING, and just seeing that many stupidly talented musicians on one stage at the one time would be kinda staggering.

Also –

  • Give me another week and Wolf Parade will be on this list, I have zero doubt.
  • Rodriguez would have been on this list a couple of months ago, and not only that, I would have fully expected him to be a ‘yeah but never’ edition.  Just goes to show, hey?  I can live in hope RE: NMH.

The Bible-black predawn

We have it on indie rock authority that caring is creepy.  I think, rather, caring is kinda scary.  The more you care, the more you have to lose.  There’s a safety that comes from not caring at all.  To live safely though is to not fully live, and d’you know what?  I’d prefer to take the risk.

Good Things –

  • Sufjan Stevens.  Just generally, not really anything specifically, other than the fact that listening to him at work today saved me from possibly hurting someone.  Mr Stevens please tour soon.
  • Sara Lee Ultra Chocolate icecream.  It should be illegal it’s so good.
  • All night conversation that finishes when the dark does.
  • Lazy Sunday mornings + Neutral Milk Hotel.
  • Cold War Kids on Friday night.  Hooray!

Yep.  It’s all very, very good.

I’m holding here a book

So right now I’m reading a book called ‘How Proust Can Change Your Life’.  The reason I picked it up originally was because it is written by Alain de Botton, who did a series on the ABC about philosophers and I really, really enjoyed it.  Generally a book of literary criticism is enough to put me to sleep, but this guy writes with a lot of humour and it’s almost like he’s read everything Marcel Proust wrote (which I’m certain he has) and given us just a best of.  And not only that, a way we can apply it to ourselves.

Anyway, I’m enjoying it a lot.  Last night, when talking to someone about fairy tales, a memory presented itself that had been lying dormant for a long time.  The house I grew up in was always full of mess and kids and dogs and general circus commotion.  It was small, too – 3 bedrooms at a pinch and no really open living areas.  It was so hard to get away from people – and as a kid that really liked her own space, it was kinda nightmarish at times.

In between the lounge and the kitchen, when walking through the house, there was a little hall/alcove thing.  I think it used to be a side entrance, but the door had long ago been shut and not opened in a loooong time.  Along the wall of this little nook there was a bookcase filled with pretty much every book we had in the house.  We didn’t have a lot, but everything was there, along with Mum’s magazines.  With up to 8 kids living in the house poor Mum was always behind with the washing, and this space is where she used to put all the clean clothes when she’d take them off the line.  They’d never get folded or ironed – growing up I remember rummaging through the increasingly large piles of washing in that hallway to find something to wear or socks that matched.

The memory I have is of making my way into the massive piles of clothes and clean washing, burying myself there, and reading things in the bookcase.  I swear I read every book there, including the encyclopedias.  I read Mum’s cooking magazines, I read Dr Seuss books, and I even read all the novels that were way above my head at the time.

Once, laying there in the hall, Mum came blazing through the house looking for me.  I can’t remember why she was looking, but she always blazed.  I remember burrowing way down in the clothes so deep that I hit the floor boards.  There were so many clothes there, and they’d been there so long, that there was a layer of grit down there.  It was dark and cool and smelt musty – I remember feeling alone and invisible and it felt good.  I listened to her storm past me once or twice, until I thought the better of it and came out.

Anyway!  The reason I remembered all this was a discussion about fairy tales, and then I came across this Proust quote tonight –

There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.

I reckon he might be right.

Just got to be

Sunday night saw me back at the Enmore, scene of the almost perfect Wilco gig of a few weeks ago. I was pretty damn tired – a big weekend had left me kinda limp raggy. Fortunately, my company and the music won out over the yawning and the squinting.

I’m actually not going to write a lot about it, but suffice to say that Dan and Patrick lived up to every expectation I had going into that gig. They have quickly become one of my favourite bands to see live, and you’ll rarely get a chance to see such passion and musicianship and out and out grunt on a stage anywhere anytime.

I was saying to Ben on Tuesday, I have never seen someone play the guitar like Dan does. Half the time he was finger picking with his fretting hand, and he was playing a lot of open chords and sliding chords. I couldn’t hear that he had any weird tunings though – he seemed to retune a couple of times, but seemingly nothing too far away from standard tuning. And I know they crank the base at their shows, but holy cow I swear it sounded like there were two or three guitarists up there at various points – I don’t know how he manages the base lines and the guitar licks at the same time, but he does. And I just love that he plays the same guitar all the way through the show (at least, I didn’t notice any changes). It’s just straight up, down and dirty rock and roll.

And Patrick is a machine. There is just no other way to describe it. At one time, between songs, he looked exhausted enough to fall of his chair. He’s like a thing possessed behind that drum kit.

Two highlights from the night for me was the opening of Thickfreakness running into 10AM Automatic, and then later Set You Free running into Your Touch, two of my favourite songs.

Wayne has posted a setlist. He’s good like that.

They come back pretty regularly, and they said they’ll be back soon, so that’s something. I can’t hardly wait.

Random things that are currently eliciting CFG squeals

Firstly, this.  When I was told about this I was excited about the potential awesomeness, and while no one does Palmcorder Yajna quite like JD does, or with the same angsty gusto, Mr Gibbard gives it a red hot go.  You should all go and watch and be astounded at the amalgamation of such genius.

Secondly, Cokemachineglow has posted this interview with my main man, John Darnielle himself.  I’ve been a bit absent from the interwebs the last few weeks, what with moving and Other Things going on right now, so I am very gradually catching up.  At CFG HQ Mountain Goats news generally takes reading priority over ever other thing (with the exception, perhaps, of Brad Zellars’ blog, because I have a mad internets crush on him), and an interview like this makes me giggling and dizzy.  The reason for the giggling dizziness can be summed up thusly – NEW ALBUM OMG.  And this comment – ‘It’s a dark record but it’s more up tempo than you’d think. I’ve got a bunch of new songs and they lean towards the fairly dark stuff.’  Up tempo is good, John.  Very, very good.  I mean, I’m a converted fan to Get Lonely and all, but fer serious.  Bring back the rollicking anthems.

Thirdly, I have been a tiny bit (read: an enormous amount) obsessed with a Wolf Parade song (MySpace warning).  I haven’t been so taken by a song since I first heard One Crowded Hour on the radio.  I tend to do this occasionally – something will grab me by the insides and not let go, and it’ll be an all encompassing, all consuming beast until it runs its course.  I think, though, I’m probably getting to the point where I can listen to something other than I’ll Believe in Anything by Wolf Parade in the car and at home.  Maybe.  We’ll see.  The song is amazing.

Forthly… actually, forthly gets it’s own post.  The Black Keys need their own post.  So there is no forthly.

Note to future self:

You can never completely know.  You never know where you’re going, you never know who or what is around the corner, and you never know the potential joy that surrounds you unless you are open to finding it and then leaving space for it.

Remember to leave the space.  It’s amazing what can happen when you do.

Meet me in the city

Problem with taking some time off from the writing thing, is you never know quite where to start again.  Particularly when you factor in the sheer amount of STUFF that has happened in the last week or so.  So, here is another post in point form, just to kick us off again.  Suck it!  I promise when I’m back at home in the evenings (and unfortunately, due to Plans over the next few days, this will unlikely be until Tuesday or Wednesday) I will get back to writing actual sentences.  Actual sentences that lead into other sentences and make some literary sense.  Or something.

Hang on, did I ever make literary sense?  Or literal sense?  I’ve had far too much wine to be thinking about that.  Oh well.  Anyway –

  • I am an aunty.  Isabell Page arrived on May 9 at around 8PM in the evening.  For some reason, whenever a baby happens (happens? is born) people give you statistics.  So here they are – 6 pounds 12 ounces, 48 cms long.  I’m told this is small.  Anyway, I’ve seen photographs, and I can say without (cough) bias, she is the most BEAUTIFUL  BABY IN THE WORLD.
  • I am IN the new house.  And can I tell you, it’s a revelation.  So much space.  An actual oven that actually works.  My own laundry and clothes line.  It’s the little things really.  Still, the vibe is so very good.  I might not be sure of where I’m headed, but in the mean time I’m going to be very happy here.
  • Tonight I had my first guests for dinner.  We had chicken and wine and we discussed things.  It was really, really nice.  There will be a house warming party, and other various things, I’m sure of it.
  • This is going to be a happy house.
  • Today, due to an unfortunate incident involving a tradesman driving a van who was CLEARLY BLIND, this morning I ended up on an exit from the M2 that I wasn’t necessarily aiming for.  As a result I spent 45 minutes driving around St Leonard’s and Willoughby.  Not so much fun when you’re running late for work.
  • I wonder why it is that whenever I am a bit tipsy I can spell necessary and when I’m sober I can’t.  According to Ben I ask this question every time I’m drinking.  I had no idea.  Note to future self: when you’re drinking avoid the word necessary altogether.  Okay!
  • Tonight I am listening to Sunset Rubdown live and it’s really the most perfect thing to be listening to at this particular time.
  • I should go to bed now though.  Tomorrow I have stuff on.  Good stuff.  But stuff none the less.
  • See y’all after the weekend.

Power down

So at 5pm tomorrow I lose the phone and the broadband. At 9am the following day I load all my worldly posessions into a horse float.

Then, I make a start. A brand new one.

Catch you on the flip side.

Art is hard

I’m still around.  I’m just packing.  Full tilt.  I’ll be back to this thing full time presently.

While I’m here though, I had my first life drawing class in a series of 8 tonight.  I took a life drawing workshop around 18 months ago over a weekend, and it’s one of the best artistic experiences I’ve ever had.  So I’m going again.  The people in the class are great, the teacher seems really good, and for the first time in a long time my hands and my eyes and my mind want to make art.

It’s a beautiful thing.