A few months ago I purchased an amazing little tool called the Wolverine Photo Scanner (see link below for more details if you are interested). The tool scans negatives and slides into .jpg format photos that you can then load onto your computer and post online. So for the past few months I have been scanning all of the negatives I have managed to save over the years and over the multiple moves from country to country and apartment to apartment. I finally finished uploading and labeling them all this week as I had a bit more downtime than usual, with it being Christmas and all.
Anyway, I was making a playlist on Spotify for my sister (it's HERE if you feel like listening to it) and have since been dancing round my apartment (and subsequently at work during a performance of Being Shakespeare) to The Prodigy all day. I still remember the first time I heard them, back in 1994. I think it was the first time I really got into music that wasn't rock/punk/folk/metal/goth/EBM. I was in England during my summer holiday and the video for No Good (Start the Dance) was pretty much playing on a loop on MTV (between Alanis Morrisette, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Blind Melon, Stiltskin, Gun, Blur, Oasis, Alice in Chains and that bloody Wet Wet Wet song). I loved that video (still do actually). Dark and creepy with furious dancers in an underground basement area. Kind of like a visual dance track of the parties I was used to going to. I bought Music for a Jilted Generation that summer, but pretty much only used to listen to a couple of songs off it for a while. My sister also immediately fell in love (although that was no surprise, she was already well entrenched in the underground rave scene in France).
Fast forward a few years and The Fat of the Land came out. I can't tell you how excited I was, especially after having heard Firestarter and seen Keith Flint's new crazy punkesque look and vocals. I like angry music and I like to dance, so couple anger with dance beats and it seemed like the perfect combination. Like dance music for those who are into the darker side of things. EBM and Dark Electro also worked, but there was something really refreshing about The Prodigy. There was that whole controversy about the track called Smack My Bitch Up (and the awesome video that came with it), but that just made me like them more. That track, as well as Breathe are still firm favourites of mine. In fact, I've been dancing to Breathe all day.
That said, I missed out on the album that was released in 2004 (I was too busy living an idyllic life in Israel on a kibbutz while drinking too much vodka), and I didn't even realise that they released another album in 2009. Must get on that as soon as I get home tonight... And I still haven't seen The Prodigy live, which I really need to one day.They should totally co-headline a tour with Skinny Puppy or something... Anyway, seeing as I am back in 1994 now I'm going to move on from The Prodigy for an hour and listen to some Asian Dub Foundation, just to take my mind off the fact that my sister is currently watching the Buzzcocks live at Coachella, while I am stuck at work in Brooklyn.
The Prodigy official site
The Prodigy on Wikipedia
Rutland, England 03/2012, a set on Flickr.
I really do come from a beautiful place in England. The smallest county, Rutland, located between Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Leicestershire. Tiny villages, rolling hills, old, old buildings, village pubs... Here are a lot of photos that I took on my trip. I'll add descriptions over the next few days as I haven't had a chance to do so today.
I miss the England I grew up in today, so I'm just giving in to nostalgia, laughing my head off and enjoying all of the silly outfits and good music (as well as terribly bad music). Here are some gems, enjoy, while I waste the rest of my Saturday watching more and more.
The Stranglers - Golden Brown 1982
David Bowie - Starman 1972
The Rolling Stones - Let's Spend the Night Together
(OK - I know I wasn't born then, but who cares):
The Cure - Lovecats 1983
(I love how they make it painfully obvious that they are miming)
Spandau Ballet (cue snickers of laughter) 1982
First radio hero was of course John Peel. Memories of his voice and the voices from The Archers on Sundays. John Peel is the synonym of a substitute father figure for me. That soft, deep voice, always calm and rich, playing some amazing, amazing music, late at night, during the day, whenever. He gave unknown artists a gateway to a wider audience, because if John Peel liked an artist or band, then he/she/they HAD to be good. All of my favourite artists have Peel Sessions (I used to tape them directly from the radio, and even still have some of the tapes). There were many a time that I used to finish work in the summer in England, and fall asleep to John Peel’s voice. I was living in London in 2004 when he died and was devastated. He was the most veneered and loved radio DJ of all time, especially where I come from, and I wish he hadn’t passed away so young. Can you believe he started broadcasting in 1967?! He went from the pirate radio station Radio London when it closed to BBC Radio 1 and pretty much stayed there for the rest of his life (with other broadcasts on Radio 4).
I think it goes without saying that the UK has the best radio set up, still to this day. But I didn’t really grow up in the UK, so my Radio 1 listenings were limited to before I turned 10, and the summers from my 16th birthday until I moved to New York in 2005. I grew up in France, where in early to mid 90’s there were both NRJ and Fun Radio, two radio stations that actually played GOOD music. I would listen to Fun Radio all day long, especially to Cauet and Miguel’s shows. They broadcast the very last Nirvana live show in full in 2004 (another one that I taped from the radio and listened to endlessly). I would sit on my windowsill by the little stream and listen to them play my favourites while discovering other bands along the way. Although never as good as British radio, they didn’t do a bad job for a few years… Until some internal radio rule decided that rock music was “out” and that it was time to only play the same 10 (bad) songs over and over again. Bye bye French radio…
I didn’t even bother with the radio much when I moved to the US. Every time I tried to tune into a radio station it was the same thing, so what was the point? I was better off making my own playlists and listening to them as opposed to forcing myself to listen to something else that I didn’t want to. Maybe I should have tried harder, but whatever, I didn’t miss the radio anyway.
Until I finally went back to England for a visit this year, and started listening to BBC 6 Music (yes, Marc Riley it’s all your bloody fault!). And I was hooked again. But now, I can actually listen to British radio here at home in New York, because you can stream the shows from your computer. Yes, you can listen to British radio from anywhere in the world. I also started listening to East Village Radio too, and discovered some cool shows, like Andy Rourke’s weekly show, where he pretty much plays whatever he feels like playing, and this often matches whatever I feel like hearing. I suppose that having more time at home now that I am not working insane hours at my old job helps to be able to actually sit down and enjoy the radio again. Suggestions are more than welcome!
Also. Did I mention how much I adore Marc Riley? Well I do. And I totally want to interview my mum about her Radio Caroline listening days...
Here are some links for your listening pleasure:
(taken from the LRB - London Review of Books - website)
This is just a brilliant analysis, review and interpretation of the recent riots in England. I am terribly jealous of how amazingly correct Žižek is, as well as of his ability to express himself so well. I wish I could provide such a clear and concise review of how I feel about the riots, but as I can't, I will let Žižek's words do it for me.
Read it - it's SO GOOD.
I just finished watching this and am still crying my eyes out. Bilal, a Kurdish teen, walked for months from Iraq, to try to find his girlfriend in England. As his attempts to cross the Channel with a handler fail, he decides to try to swim the Channel, and starts training at the local swimming pool. The relationship that develops between Bilal and his swimming instructor resembles an awkward father/son relationship, where the father figure, Simon (played by Vincent Lindon), tries to help Bilal, but obviously feels conflicted about this, as he is going through his own personal drama (divorce) at the same time.
The film also depicts how refugees are treated in France (they are not sent back to their country of origin if said country is at war; but do not have any rights while they stay n France - basically al is done so that they are pushed to go back home again). it is also illegal for French citizens to help or house refugees, and the police can literally search a home without a warrant if they feel the need to.
Heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. I've always liked Vincent Lindon, and he plays his role excellently here.
More information on the movie:
Mars Distribution (French)
This brings up a much larger question... The immigration situation is a huge deal in most Western European countries. Whereas in the past immigrants were pretty much welcomed with open arms (think of the Poles that were taken from refugee camps in Uganda after WW2, and given automatic British citizenship for helping rebuild England; or the Algerians who were given homes and work in France in the 60's and 70's when there were too many jobs and not enough people to do them); nowadays people are either sent back to their countries of origin or, if they are deemed to fit within the status of a refugee (see HERE for the ECRE definition) either are held in detention centers, or left to live on the streets with no status, means of income or housing.
I've heard so many arguments from French and English people about this "situation" (from the far left to the far right), everyone has an opinion about it, but no one has a real solution. In the end it should be up to us to actually HELP people who are running for their lives - not treat them like subhumans. Most of the time people will not leave the country they were born in with nothing except the clothes they are wearing if it wasn't because they were in grave danger of torture, rape or death.
Just something to think about.
I left London 6 years ago, and landed in New York with a couple of suitcases, a new job and what appeared to be a sea of new experiences to have, people to meet and a new life to explore. I never really looked back... I wasn't really happy in London. I didn't enjoy my job that much (especially not the pittance it paid), I didn't really know anyone, and didn't know how to meet people, couldn't afford to do much more than work and eat. I did live in a great house, with wonderful people, but at the same time I missed my mum, sister and brother who were in California, my on/off boyfriend who was back in Colombia (is boyfriend really the word? I don't know anymore), and all my friends in France and Israel. I missed the sunshine and the desert, the "real" coffee, the long nights... I was lucky to have the rest of my family in England, and made regular trips up to Empingham to be with my Nana and Aunt, but I was too restless for London at the time, too full of anger at not being able to live in the US, too full of not knowing what I wanted to do with my life.
New York swallowed me up. A lot happened over the space of 6 years, some of it covered very openly, or more discreetly, in this blog. But now I feel like it has spit me out, the same person, a little older, a little wiser, but with a lot more hindsight, and also, foresight.
I finally went back to England last week for 6 days. 3 days for work, 3 days for myself. It was quite a revelation, in a sense. Everything is still in segmented phrases in my head for now, so that is how I am going to portray it here...
I love London. The buildings, the Tube, the smell of the soap, the parks... The politeness of living in England. Yes, people DO stand to the right on elevators, and wait for people to get off the train before they get on, however busy the platform is. Fruit pastilles. Chips and mushy peas late in the evening.
The countryside... Rutland. The green of the land, thatched roofs, The White Horse and Sunday Lunch. Jacket Potatoes and long conversations with Auntie Louise. Home.
The proximity of the rest of Europe and the idea that Paris IS only a short flight or train ride away.
Charlie and Cristi and Lynn not far - why were we not all such close friends before I moved? Would I have moved if we had been? (Probably, but I still wonder).
QUIET. The ability to actually sit in a pub and have a conversation with people who are not off their faces on something.
People who have known me since I was born. Family. REAL news on television. Really, really old things. Israel being only a 5 hour flight away.
There are more. Just let me get my thoughts together properly. Sometimes I see everything through the opposite of rose-tinted glasses, and I feel like I spent my time in London looking through grey-tinted glasses 6 years ago. Now I have more perspective...