Shoes

January 31st, 2008

Yes, it will likely be three posts in one night tonight. I figure I’d better get them all in before the inevitable sabotage, as the server security of my web hosting company appears to suck pretty hardcore.

Anyway, last night, while loading CDs into iTunes, I was trawling through old folders of photos on my C drive. There are a lot there – more than I thought. I came across this one –

This is a photo of me and the boy. Well, his shoes and my bag. It’s a good likeness I think. Aha. There are a couple of reasons I love this photo –

A) It’s at the Great Escape festival last year. We weren’t even together then – I mean, we were stepping around one another and what not, but we weren’t actually together.
B) It wasn’t even a photo I meant to take. I think I was just trying to change the setting on my camera or something.
C) Even seeing his shoes like that makes me smile. Is that lame and gushy? I don’t care, actually. Seeing his shoes makes me smile.

ARGH

January 31st, 2008

Dear Hackers,

Fuck you very much.

Regards,

Karen.

Dear Alan,

You’re like some kind of anti-hacker superhero.

Eternal thanks,

Karen.

Racing like a pro

January 21st, 2008

Dear Internet,

Due to live music craziness and other such Life things, I will be absent from you for a little while. Maybe a week or so. It doesn’t mean I love you any less, okay? It just means there’s no room in this girl’s schedule for the National, Arcade Fire, Spoon, Joanna Newsom, long weekends AND the interwebs.

So have a good week. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do and I’ll catch you on the flip side.

Love and such,

Karen.

While it sings to itself or whatever it does

January 16th, 2008

My stereo broke last night. I’m sad about it. Not just because I’m having to play CDs through my computer speakers now (which are actually okay, but, you know) – my Dad bought it for me. He somehow found his way past buying me another blender or a rice cooker or a framed picture of a cricket player – he actually thought about what I love and went out and bought it. It’s not a terribly good stereo – the sound is only okay and the right speaker has dropped in and out since I got it home. It would also look at home on the Starship Enterprise control panel, which isn’t really my style. But it really means a lot to me.

And now the damn CD tray won’t come out. Bah. And I think Alligator by The National is in there, which ultimately means using force.

I AM, however, now faced with the prospect of going stereo shopping. This is a little bit exciting.

In other news, my little cat has developed this thing about my hair elastics. My hair is long, but I wear it up most of the time. I don’t really like it all up in my face. So it stands to reason that strewn about the house are plenty of hair bands and elastics and what not. He LOVES the damn things – he pushes them around the floor with his paws, he carries them around in his mouth, and he collects them in various parts of the house. He actually does this fairly regularly with a lot of things – there was the one afternoon when I came home and found most of my shoes, normally lined up near the front door, stacked in a pile under my bed. Uh huh.

Anyway, recently (like, the last 6 weeks or so), not only does he go around the house collecting these hair things; he puts them in his water bowl. I kid you not – some days I’ll get home from work and there will be 6 or 7 of the damn things floating in there. And I’ve watched him do it – I’ll pull them out and put them in the middle of the laundry floor, and he’ll wander over, pick them up in his mouth one at a time, and calmly drop them into the water. Thereafter comes a hilarious few minutes of him deciding how deep he wants to put his paws in there after them.

He certainly is special.

I am waiting, again, for Friday. As much as I try and live my weeks and make them somewhat useful, they consist entirely of riding shit out until the weekend. And this weekend is theatre and music and time with the boy – all of which will feed my heart and my soul.

An iron fist

January 15th, 2008

When I was 16 I begged and pleaded with my parents to let me attend a week long horse riding camp in the thriving metropolis of Holbrook. At the time it probably had more to do with Angus, the perceived dreamboat of the time, attending, rather than the thought of a week of riding horses and fresh air and the sun on my back etc. (Incidentally, I ended up landing said dreamboat through a cunning mix of nonchalance, following through on dares he never thought I would follow through on, and pretending to like Genesis. If that’s not a recipe for success then I don’t know what is).

My mother held fast for about 2 weeks with a solid no. There was never any money. Actually, there was usually minus money, and the combination of my weekly riding lesson and my brother’s basketball and both my sisters doing gymnastics meant that there was really no money for extra things. And the camp cost a whole 80 dollars – I remember it, because I remember vividly lamenting to her, at least daily, ‘but it’s only 80 dollars!’ all the while thinking that 80 dollars was a veritable fortune and I might as well be asking for a million.

I’m not sure what made her relent. Perhaps it was the fact that I was generally pretty gracious about these things – if the no held out for a day or two, I usually went away. But this time I was a persistent pain in her ass, so I’m guessing she realised this riding trip to the middle of nowhere meant a lot, for whatever strange reason.

So she came upon a bit of a plan – if I found $40, she’d come up with another 40. I’d have to earn that other 40 too, but she’d pay it. So I knocked on every door in the street and offered to wash their car. And really, at $5 a pop I was a real bargain. Presumably I ended up washing 8 of the damn things, because I came up with the money. Actually, I think I ended up earning some by raking leaves or something for the old woman across the road – she didn’t have a car, but I think she liked my get up and go.

So Mum, true to her word, fronted with the other 40. She did, however, make me iron 4 baskets of washing for it. And thus we are lead to the reason I’m writing this post in the first place – I have spent an hour of my precious time tonight ironing. I have this pure dislike for it – it’s up there along with emptying the litter tray and cleaning leaves out of the fish pond. I think that pure dislike possibly stems from those hours and hours of ironing my school uniforms, the uniforms of my brother and sisters, and my Dad’s stubbies.

The week in Holbrook was so worth it though. And tonight I listened to Andrew Bird while I was doing it, so that was kinda nice.

Halle Halle Hallelujah

January 14th, 2008

Dear Sufjan,

I’m really not sure how to find a way through this letter without gushing like my 15 year old self that time I wrote a fan letter to Eddie Vedder. Anyway I still maintain it was totally Jody’s idea and I wouldn’t have done it otherwise, but she hardly had to twist my arm behind my back. Sometimes things in life force the 15 year old fangirl (or boy) out of all of us, and I for one am very glad for this Way Of Things.

I wanted to tell you how thankful I am for what you gave me on the weekend. Well, us. And it’s multi-layered, really, this gift, and it’s not something I can grab with my hands and virtually pin down in the blogosphere for the world to see. Because you can’t pin magic to a page. Even an intertron page. It’s not the nature of it.

I want to know how it is that you made it through your life to this point and you still have that child-like wonder about every day things. You see all the teeny tiny and ordinary things in the world and you celebrate them and turn them into your own kind of poetry. Is it a fight for you? It sometimes feels like a fight for me. Wading through and defending against all the shit that feels like it’s almost trying to turn the world grey. I WANT to live in a world where expressways are fascinating and little grey birds enrapture and people wear reflectors on their clothes and wings on their backs and dance with hula hoops and tell stories about squids and predatory wasps under the sea. And you just make it seem so possible.

And it is, really.

And the music is a revelation. There’s not a lot more I can say about it that hasn’t been said here and here and here and about a million other places. It’s the reason I spend most of my life (and also my salary) seeking out new music and chasing the ultimate live music experience. Because very occasionally, like I did on Saturday and Sunday night, I hit on something completely life changing.

There is a warm buzz in everything that surrounds you. It’s all swirling colours and citrusy light and heralding trumpets. And it’s because you choose to surround yourself with that stuff and live in that world. And you know what? I want heralding trumpets for me from here on in. I mean, it’s not like I wasn’t looking for them already. But it’s a choice, isn’t it. To surround yourself with them. So I choose.

And what is it about your music floating around on the Sydney air that creates magic all around it too? When I got in the cab to go home and spoke to that Indian man about folk music and his family, and when he wished for me a beautiful life before I stepped out onto the street, it all just felt so right. Like how it should always be.

Anyway, thank you. Two words like that seem a little insignificant considering the situation, but it’s all I have on hand really. Well, that and my undying crazyfangirl devotion. And a promise to see you next time around. So it will have to do. Thank you for making music that makes my heart and head sing, for making me laugh, and for being utterly, utterly charming.

You have left me forever changed.

I hope you have a beautiful life.

Karen.

If the green grass is 6 and the soybeans are 7

January 8th, 2008

I dreamed you were a cosmonaut
of the space between our chairs
And I was a cartographer
of the tangles in your hair

I sang the song that silence sings
It’s the one that everybody knows, everybody knows
The song that silence sings
And this is how it goes

These looms that weave apocrypha
they’re hanging from a strand
The dark and empty rooms were full
of incandescent hands

If only every school night was capped with the absolute magic of Andrew Bird. Last night, after 8 hours of time-suffocating stress, I emerged from the eventually-found car park into Hyde Park on a beautiful Sydney early summer evening. I might be terribly biased, but it’s honestly the most glorious park. It’s all about those trees – their bottoms and their tops equally stretched and tangled out around themselves to cover the view of both the earth and the sky. I read somewhere, a little while ago, that they’re dying. That eventually all those magnificent Morton Bay Figs will rot from the inside out, become unstable, and need to be taken down. That, if it happens, will be a tragedy of epic proportions.

Anyway, I digress.

Two nights in a row of Andrew Bird is barely enough. Lucky for me I’m probably also seeing him at the Vanguard on the 28th. While Sunday night was amazingly great, last night was just magical. An almost perfect set list (PLEASE play Fake Palindromes at the Vanguard Mr Bird) combined with that lovely venue (the Famous Spiegeltent) meant I was enchanted pretty much from the moment I sat down. It doesn’t take much to enchant me, granted. I’m a fool for any amount of perceived magic. But stars pushing through almost-black and stained glass windows and velvety drapes and wigs falling from the sky (??) were a given to get me giddy.

And then there’s Mr Bird himself. It’s probably not fair one sole person should contain all that talent – hearing him play the violin pulled a sort of physical reaction from me. His lyrics take you to strange, familiaryetunfamilar places filled with kittens and monsters and the world ending and creatures that evolve before your very eyes.

And he played Lull. That in of itself would have had me delirious.

Wayne has obliged with set lists for both nights and excellent reviews because he is all at once entirely awesome and very organised.

So now the Sufjan countdown is on. 4 sleeps to go. Both Saturday night and Sunday night will find me at the State Theatre hopefully witnessing genius of another kind altogether. This girl is hoping like mad he brings the wings. Because honestly, how can anyone resist a beautiful boy playing beautiful music wearing beautiful wings??!

Not this girl, anyway.

Hmm

January 8th, 2008

I wonder if anyone buys Viagra from clicking on the link of a spam comment on a blog.

Hot hot hot

January 2nd, 2008

So tonight I voted in the Triple J Hottest 100. I sorta did this while I was listening to Lawrence from Whitley play Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot as part of their classic albums over summer thing. Bless you Lawrence. Anyway, to pass the time, I decided to vote. Firstly, here’s what I voted for –

Andrew Bird – Heretics
Arcade Fire – Intervention
Beirut – A Sunday Smile
Bridezilla – Brown Paper Bag
The National – Mistaken For Strangers
New Buffalo – Cheer Me Up Thank You
Okkervil River – Unless It’s Kicks
Paper Scissors – Yamanote Line
Spoon – The Underdog
Whitley – I Remember

Here’s what I was bummed to leave out –

• Anything by Feist.
• Elbows by Darren Hanlon
• Click Click Click by Bishop Allen
• Diamond Dancer by Bill Callahan
• Hospital Beds by Cold War Kids (hopefully this will get in without my help)
• Something off We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank by Modest Mouse (I probably would have gone with Missed the Boat)
• What Light by Wilco – in the end it was between this and the Whitley track. Lawrence, dude, you got the vote because of the Wilco love. Just so you know. Kinda ironic, huh?

10 really isn’t enough, but what’re you gonna do. Also, the helpful list they have there of the songs released this year really isn’t terribly comprehensive. There are songs by Andrew Bird, The National and Beirut that I like better, but I figure if either of them stand a chance of getting in the list at all I’d better run with the herd. I also slung a couple of Australian votes in there – if Bridezilla or Paper Scissors get anywhere in the 100 I’ll be pretty happy.

It’s the only radio or TV music countdown I care about at all. Let’s hope for the number 1 this year is as good as last year.

Umm

January 1st, 2008

I WAS in bed. Honestly. And I couldn’t sleep, and Truman Capote wasn’t helping. So I got up and thought I’d work a little on my last ‘hoorah for 2007′ post, and started noodling around on the intertron. I possibly shouldn’t have, because it took me about 2 minutes to find out that Heretic Pride, the new album by the Mountain Goats, has leaked in its entirety.

As a rule I don’t download. Illegally that is. I make the odd exception, but mostly I just wait and/or go out and buy the album. Besides obvious feelings on money getting to the artist and the people who make an album possible, I like to have something tangible in my hands. Liner notes, album art – something to flick through and pore over and put on the shelves with the rest. Call me old fashioned, but an album to me is a little more than just a listening experience.

So anyway, back to the towering genius that is JD. Tonight, when I found out about the leak, I found the download link in about 10 seconds. I sat with my cursor hovering over that link for honestly maybe 4 or 5 minutes – it was a conscience battle of epic proportions. JD has made his thoughts on leaking and illegal download pretty damn clear, and while he seems to be resigned a little to the nature of it, I’m not sure it makes it cool to go ahead and download the album anyway. But the instant gratification junkie inside of me won over. I hit download, and a few minutes later I had EVERY SINGLE TRACK.

And I am here to tell you that it’s fucking brilliant. All of it. And not only that, it’s the Mountain Goats album I was hoping for – JD passionately singing about tangible, human emotion, and at times screaming his lungs out. Each time his voice hits that point of breaking something wells up a little inside of me.

I just – well, I’ve only listened to it once though, and it’s all a little too much for me to comprehend. I’m not going to write about it properly until February 18. Also, by then I’ll have the CD in all its glory in my hot little hands.

I can’t hardly wait.

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