Knoxville Morning in New York City during a weekend in March

Knoxville Morning , a set on Flickr.

I don’t even know where to start on this, and I know a much better story is to come in the following days once I feel a little less tired and a little more able to find the right words for everything (this is definitely one for the Orchard Street tales that I am compiling at the moment, and maybe less so for this blog). All I can say right now is it was a weekend filled with wonderful music, great company and a lot of epic fun – with two really long shifts at work in between. It all started on Friday evening with Knoxville Morning’s brilliant set at Mercury Lounge, followed by some more tunes at the Sixth Ward (including some barstool dancing and a lot of hat switching), moving into another epically long day at Taqueria, followed by more Mercury Lounge, 200 Orchard, Double Down Saloon, Mary O’s and Puck Fair. I’m sure there were other places in between, and much laughter and stupidity at every corner, and more laughter again…

In the meantime, here are the photos I took at the show (see above for a link to the full set) –  I was going to spend time editing them a little to make them a little sharper, but to be honest I like the little blur around the edges on some of them – a little how I feel that this whole weekend has been. I’m also still in love with this lens, it has no zoom, so you need to spend more time actually framing the shots properly, but I like that it gives more of a wider angle than other lenses do. And it reminds me of my film camera, the Canon AE-1.

And here’s a video from the Sixth Ward. Enjoy.


Music Break - Because I feel like it

I haven't written anything for three days and I have been sitting in front of the thinking about something I may want to write about, but I just don't feel inspired. So, this is just going to be a music post. Actually, a music break, rather than a post, because I am not really going to write anything, just post videos of songs that I love immensely.

Oh, and I am now over 1/3 of the way through my novel. And I submitted two short stories to a competition, not that I think they are any good, but you never know, and practice never hurt anyone. I feel I need to focus more, somehow, but my head is all over the place (and I am working ever day for the next 9 days, so that just gives me another excuse to procrastinate).

Talking about work, I'll be working at Darkroom with Eric on Monday night, so come and visit, because you know you want to. 167 Ludlow.

So... Enjoy...

Pulp - Underwear

The Levellers - The Boatman

T.Rex - Children of the Revolution

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - From Her To Eternity

Iggy Pop - Nightclubbing

David Bowie - Life on Mars

Stevie Nicks - Bella Donna

Spiritualized - Medication

Music: Jacques Brel

"Moi je t'offrirai des perles de pluie venues de pays où il ne pleut pas"

It’s not a secret that I spent a lot of my life in France, as I moved there at an early age and grew up there, only moving away when I was well into my 20’s. It will always be the country I first and foremost call home, before England (although it has been a struggle to choose between the two at times). One of my favourite things on earth is literally sitting en terrasse with a café and a cigarette, watching the world go by, or with my head buried in a book or writing in my journal. I dream and think in French as much as I do in English and miss it so much at times that I feel like moving back (until I remind myself why I love New York so much and why I have made this city my home). I grew up surrounded by French music, even before we moved to France I already knew of and listened to some of the classic French singers, such as Gainsbourg, Edith Piaf, France Gall, Juliette Gréco, but when I moved to France I discovered the infamous Belgian singer/songwriter Jacques Brel.And fell completely in love.

You can read a pretty informative biography over on Wikipedia, as I am not going to use this space to rehash it (and wouldn’t be able to do such a good job seeing as I am very bad at paraphrasing content that has already been written… Probably a remnant of the excellent French education I received growing up). I just mainly want to say how much I love Jacques Brel. That voice, full of emotion and power, those beautiful lyrics… Multi-talented and so creative, he not only released 13 full-length studio albums and toured extensively for years, he also appeared as an actor in several films, directed others and adapted, translated, directed and played in a musical. I’m so happy that he recognized what an amazing array of talents he had and made the most of them, leaving us with so many wonderful songs and movies and soundtracks. I also have a secret crush on his Belgian accent, which is deeper and harsher than the French accent (those of you who speak French will probably laugh at this because everyone usually dislikes the Belgian French accent).

I wish I had been alive to see one of his wonderful performances. Sadly he died a few months after I was born, leaving me to just imagine what it was like. He wrote some of the most beautiful and heart-breaking love songs of all time. Enjoy.

The Kills 10 Year Anniversary show - Terminal 5 NYC, 02/11/2012

I LOVE The Kills. I don't think I have missed one of their shows in NYC over the past 5 years, and I honestly think that they just get better and better with every album and every tour. It makes me so happy that they have become SO big over the past few years, selling out Terminal 5 and playing to a super diverse crowd. So many super excited teenagers in the front rows that were singing along to every single word, and little Allison Mosshart lookalikes with their wigs and happy smiles. I love that the kids love them as much as the adults - so much better than idolising any of that manufactured crap playing everywhere. From my spot just above the stage I could see so many happy faces, and this just made the show even better for me.

Anyway, as always they delivered a fantastic performance, adding 4 drummers to about half of the songs on the setlist, all dressed up as old-school gangsters and lit up through the drumkits. The beats sounded fucking amazing, a super powerful sound. I can still feel it resonating through my body. On top of playing many of my favourites, they also did a great rendition of Patsy Cline's Crazy, stripped down, with just Jamie Hince and Allison Mosshart sitting at the front of the stage, singing and playing for the crowd of fans. Awesome. Seriously awesome.

Can't wait to see them again, and see them go through 10 more years of awesomeness!

Thanks Kerry <3

MTV also streamed the concert live HERE
The Kills official website HERE

Songs that cheer my brain

Just because I have been feeling strange all week (and not in a good-strange way), because I'm tired of people being flaky and inconsistent, and because, in general, I dislike the month of January, this post is dedicated to a few songs that never fail to make me feel better.

Tim Buckley - Sing A Song For You:

Rolling Stones - Shine A Light:

Cher - Where Do You Go?:

David Bowie - Five Years:

Tom Waits - Ol'55:

The Cure - All Cats Are Grey:

The Ronettes - Walking In The Rain:

Roy Orbison - In Dreams

Mazzy Star - Flowers In December:

Edith Piaf - Padam Padam:

Jacques Brel - La Chanson des Vieux Amants:

Leonard Cohen - Suzanne:

Stevie Nicks - Bella Donna:

Bruce Springsteen - Born To Run:

Bauhaus - She's In Parties:

Of natural disasters and changes in life... Part 2

I'm going to preface this by saying the following: I am NOT saying that Hurricane Irene was a non-event, or not assuming that a lot of damage occurred and people were hurt. Nobody wants to wish any type of devastation on anyone.

However, Irene was a little bit of a disappointment to a lot of New Yorkers. There we were bracing for a hurricane to hit is full blast, and it didn't really happen. A lot of heavy rain and wind, but that was it really. Maybe the media blew it up, or maybe Mother Nature decided to spare us this time... We will never know, but I do know now, that if we ever have a situation like this again, the city is more than prepared to handle it.
We were all stocked up with food, batteries, candles, water and books, but in the end we didn't really need it. I now have enough ziplock bags with ice cubes to last me a long time!
I have a strange attraction to violent weather, and I know I am not alone in feeling this way. Strong winds resemble what I feel freedom should really feel like... If you get my drift.

And referring to freedom, well, I have done something that I have been threatening to do for years. For the past six years my entire life has revolved around one main centre, and I am leaving this centre, for the unknown. I am doing it in a very abrupt, and maybe not very professional fashion, but after a lot of very long thinking sessions, including conversations with those closest to me, it's the only way. It would be too hard for me to say "NO" if I am confronted with a question about my decision, so I chose the silent way out. All I have to say is that I hope that whoever is left with finishing off anything I started doesn't hate me too much, or at least understand why.

I don't think I need explain my actions any further - but I think that this is the only way I can feel free again - and there is only one reason why I was feeling trapped here. It's a huge change and this is going to make a lot of things different moving forward.

I'm excited and completely terrified.

This song used to describe the way I felt every day - now I am making the change:

Smashing Pumpkins - Galapogos

Always brings tears to my eyes. Recently rediscovered this song and remember how lost I was in 96. Huge eyes that would burn up with tears on a whim, without warning, no real control.

"Carve out your heart for keeps in an old oak tree
and hold me for goodbyes and whispered lullabyes"

(The person who made this video did an excellent job - the movie fits perfectly).


Wanuri Kahiu

I recently read an interview with Wanuri Kahiu in the 51st Edition of Bitch Magazine. What an inspiration! Wanuri is a 30 year old Kenyan woman, who went to university in England and the US, and then went back home to Nairobi to become a hugely promising filmmaker. Here first two pieces of work, From A Whisper, based on dealing with loss and forgiveness 10 years after the US Embassy bombing in Nairobi) and Pumzi, a short sci-fi film based in a world after World War III, have already been critically acclaimed with awards and glowing reviews. I'm really excited for the release of her next piece of work, Ger, a documentary based on the return home to Sudan of former child soldier who became an actor and model, Ger Duany.

Here is a link to the whole article: "The Africa That I Know" in Bitch Magazine
I love her response to the inevitable "why didn't you stay in the US?" question: "From the moment I entered UCLA, I knew what kind of filmmaker I wanted to be. I wanted to make films to take back home. Or films about people back home. And when I tried to write when I was in America, I inevitably found myself writing about films or about characters that were very, very African. So it just didn't make sense for me to stay."

Some more links:
Wanuri Kahiu's Blog
Pumzi trailer on YouTube
From A Whisper trailer on YouTube
Ger Duany

The Pogues, Dirty Old Town, Live 03/15/2011

Terminal 5, my least favourite venue, from the top balcony. I'm, going to get there even earlier tomorrow night to get a spot on the second balcony as it has the best view.
I love The Pogues.