Tuesday, 20 October 2009

From Pixies to (knit and) Purl

(no eyeballs, or badges, were harmed in the making of this blog)

A couple of weeks ago, my wish for a more Carpe Diem attitude landed in my lap (well, Mr yumps) in the shape of two much-wanted-but-unable-to-attend tickets for an anniversary gig the next night, celebrating one of the finest albums known to my ears and the enlightened few. Pixies took up a four day residency at the glorious Brixton Academy (the perfect size in which to witness the miracle of Good Live Music) to play, in sequential order as God (Black Francis) intended, 'Doolittle',  their second studio album (apparently, 'Come on Pilgrim' was an EP, now tagged onto the kick ay-yass 'Surfer Rosa') They sandwiched this delight in between b-sides that I had never heard before, thereby rendering it a musical education of wonderment rather than witless nostalgia, and tracks from both 'CoP' and 'SR', though, sadly for our night at least, not 'Gigantic'. It was a fabulous gig: pre-band banter centered on tales of Pixies gigs past, shared around like toffee bonbons, and I wondered if this wasn't the first time so many of us had shared a gig together, that perhaps they too had seen them play back in 1990 one hot Saturday night in a sweaty field in Reading. I had practiced the line, just in case I met anyone that had been there, 'Oh I thought you looked familiar!' I got to use it 5 times: result!
It's always tricky when you go to see a band that previously performed your all-time favourite gig, because you know that they cannot live up to that impossible expectation. Surely it isn't possible to feel that same sense of excitement and belonging and sheer thrill from a band at 37 as you did when you saw them at 18: poppycock - it is! There was one moment, I can't remember which song they were playing, where I closed my eyes to completely lose myself in the sound, and I suddenly remembered standing at the Reading festival,  my hair longer and naturally dark, my girth 2 stone lighter, listening to the exact same song, with the same feeling of perfect joy and the same loopy smile on my face: two perfect moments of identical bliss, separated by 19 years. I opened my eyes and realised that this definitely wasn't about nostalgia: Pixies were, and still are, a phenomenal live band. Plus, their bass player is a Goddess, not a token bimbo eye candy, strategically placed to please the company execs. She is gorgeous, mind.
Hearing them live made me notice things I can't believe I'd never noticed before, in particular what a marvellously tight, crisp drummer David Lovering is!  It made me go back and listen to all their albums, which is never time wasted.
To be honest, I don't really know much about the Pixies themselves: it's all about the music, not the image, not the gossip. However, they did put on a visual feast too, playing 'Un Chien Andalou' before they came on stage, then using the small, multiple screens differently for different songs, my favourite being them all smiling and singing along to 'Here Comes your Man' (you'll have to imagine them playing underneath in the glow)

Which leads me neatly (:-/) onto the UK Handmade blog...
I've been writing the 'Lifestyle' section, although at present, its purely about food. If you hanker for some simple yet delicious morsels, chow down, but make sure you play the Godfathers (and Godmother) of Grunge damn loudly as you bake as this will help your cakes rise more evenly.

Now this blatant food / craft pornography (from  my last UK Handmade blog post) not only illustrates spiced apple and walnut muffins but the beginnings of my current obsession. Now no-one warned me that knitting is actually a drug: nowt to do with chemicals in the yarns or the sensual feel of the bamboo needles (or not...) but there's something about each row - "I'll just finish this row and then I'll make dinner / call my Mum / wake the gimp", but, haha! You can't just finish that row! "Oh, while I'm here, I might as well do the next row..." But you can't stop: "Oh...I don't like to finish with a knit row: I'll finish the next purl and then crack on." "Or perhaps I prefer to end on a knit row..." etc etc. It's not as if I'm a fast knitter, particularly as this is my first foray into the Land of Not Massive Needles. I feel like a giant drumming with toothpicks. Anyhoot, I'm having a go at knitting some fingerless gloves from this  pornography.

Ok, I gaffataped knitting onto a blog about music: surely there is no neat way of ending this post in a cohesive manner that effortlessly ties all the loose ends together? Haha! Oh yea of little faith! Behold:

Kim Deal's twin sister (and lead guitarist in their band, The Breeders) Kelley likes to knit. She's even written a rather fabulous book.

And thus, the circle is complete.

Monday, 5 October 2009

A slice of domestic tedium

Please, someone tell me: who the feck chained me to the kitchen sink?! Did some misogynistic ninja, for whom feminism is the real definition of the 'F' word, sneakily do it whilst I innocently made a cup of tea? I don't know when it happened, but it has and I'm not happy.

There is a point when washing up ceases to be fun and it is at the precise moment when the last morsel is swallowed down and the purveyor of said swallow declares themselves 'Stuffed'. When the meal ends, when all that is left is to praise the chef and request tea or coffee, that's when washing up ceases to be fun.  It's not so much the act of washing up that bother's me, more the never ending predictability of it. The knowledge that as soon as it is finished, more will be on it's way, and possibly within the hour. And it's not like other forms of domestic tedium: it's quite startling just how much dust one can live comfortably with without needing anti-parasitic creams, and unvacuumed floors can be strategically ignored just by keeping shoes on whilst in the house (or by utilising stilts in extreme cases). But unless you are rich enough to either have all your meals out, or laugh in the face of environmental apocalypse by using, and throwing away, paper plates (or you are rich enough to throw a complete dinner service away after each meal: oh how very Greek Tourist Trap of you), you will need to wash up.  I have heard people make mention of getting the children to do the washing up: "They love it!" they will cry, "Kids love playing with water!" and that's the problem: plates and pans do not get clean by lil' Bobby playing 'Das Boot' with a pint bottle. (Do kids play 'Das Boot'? They should.)

And I know what you're all thinking: "Get a dishwasher!" Well, apart from the logistics (i.e. we'd have to dangle it from the ceiling, space, or rather lack of, being of prime concern in Casa yumptatious), I suspect that the drudgery would remain: it would still need to be loaded, it would still need to be emptied. It would still need a periodic cleaning with some highly toxic and nasal-hair-singeing ablution. Just as washing machines have taken away the need for 'Wash day' by eradicating the need for excessive handwashing,  it is still depressingly inevitable that a wash needs to be put on. Machines don't erase the problem, they just give it a different shape.

Having said all that, there is a certain satisfaction when the job is done, a feeling akin, I would imagine, to the one felt by someone burying the man they've just killed.

It's your turn to dry.