Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Profundity at Music Gigs

Last night I went to see the incredible Frank Turner. If you don’t know who he is, then give a couple of his songs a listen straight away! It was one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to in my life, for several reasons.

Firstly, Frank himself. All his songs are very emotive – they’re more than just wishy-washy love songs. They are intended to be heard, to be consumed and to be sung along to. They are war cries and drinking songs. A lot of his music is politically motivated (I did my A level English Language coursework on his lyrics) and that, combined with his performance creates a very strong sense of collective identity. Nearing the end of his gig (or even during the encore) Frank made a small speech on this point. I didn’t record this and I didn’t write it down, but it has stuck with me. He was thanking us for being there to support him and he made the point about how beautiful a music gig is. He basically said “You come here and you leave everything else at the door. You put aside your differences, of class, of religious beliefs, of political beliefs and you come together as a collective. As one.  As a community of people who just want to listen to some music, to dance, to clap to sing and have a fucking good time. And I thank you for that” (note: this has been paraphrased slightly but this was the gist of it). That really struck a chord with me, how a couple of thousand strangers could all come together, united by one thing. And there wasn’t any hatred that night. There wasn’t any fear. It was just about sharing a beautiful experience with friends. Music gigs really are beautiful.
Secondly, the support. The first support band were ok, as far as supports go they were even pretty good. Not sure I’d pay to see them, but I wouldn’t switch stations on the radio and I might even check them out on line (Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun – although I didn’t remember that from the night, I just looked them up through Frank’s website). The second support act was INCREDIBLE however – although not for the reasons you might expect.

He played traditional, old American-Woody-Guthrie-style acoustic music – and anyone who’s heard Woody will know that’s not exactly pretty or dancey. What it is, though, is powerful. It’s strong and emotive and it tells a story. Tim Barry was probably one of the most sincerely humble support acts I’ve ever seen. He didn’t just say “thanks to Frank for having me” but he told us how much he admired and respected Frank, how much of an amazing performer he thought it was. He said how he was honoured to support him and was honoured to be playing for us and that we’re standing around listening to his stuff. And that in itself was deeply touching. He also said one of the most profound things I’ve ever heard at a music gig (and I wrote this down on the back of my hand when he said it):

“I’m not afraid of dying; I’m afraid of not living”

I thought that was a beautiful sentiment. It summed up perfectly the message of the tour – it was called the “Last Minutes and Lost Evenings” tour which is taken from a line of Frank’s song “I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous” which ends with:

“Life is about love, last minutes and lost evenings, about fire in our belly’s and about furtive little feelings, and the aching amplitudes that set our needles all a-flickering and help us to remember that the only things that’s left to do is live. After all of the loving and the loosing, for the heroes and the pioneers’ the only thing that’s left to do is get another round in at the bar!”

And isn’t that a perfect little sentiment.

Anyway, all of that got me thinking how ridiculous it is to spend your whole life worrying. It reminded me a lot of the view that is expressed by Margo Roth Spiegelman, a character in John Green’s novel “Paper Towns”. She see’s how vapid the world is, she see’s its faults, how “life has become the future”, and how wrong that is. Now I don’t 100% agree with her view – I think you’ve got to think about the future a little bit. But I do mostly agree with Tim Barry.
It’s ok to be afraid of dying, so long as you’re not afraid of living.


Links:  - Frank Turner  - I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous

Currently Reading: The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
The Art Of Writing Fiction by Andrew Cowan

Saturday, 17 November 2012

An Apology, A Memory and A Poem

Hey gang, it's been far too long and I have no excuses!!

Anyone who followed the link in my last post will know that I have miserably failed at NaNoWriMo this year. It's not that I didn't have enough time, or that I couldn't think about what to write (I actually had a semi decent plot arc for Toby and friends). Truth be told I was just lazy. I'd forgotten how time consuming it was to write NaNo, how mentally and emotionally draining it was, how much sacrifice had to go into it, and when it came down to it I prioritised my social life (and to a certain (more acceptable extent, Uni work) over NaNo. I don't necessarily think that's a crime, but I am somewhat disappointed that I couldn't see it through - for Toby's sake as much as my own self pride etc.

Anyway, this post wasn't going to be long or rambling, but rather a memory.

I just spent the last five or so minutes battling with a Parker Pen - trying to release it from its packaging, to be precise - and all the time I kept wondering: "Why do these pens need to be vacuum-packed in plastic! It makes this so difficult! Ow, my hand!!"

Then I remembered my childhood, when I used to receive "Barbie" dolls as presents. One of the most fun parts of receiving the Barbe doll wasn't the clothes you could dress her up in, or if you could cut her hair or whatever, but the act of opening the packaging. Barbie came in a box - almost like a shoe box. Firstly you had to remove Barbie and her background from the box. Barbie was attached to her background by wire ties, and I would laboriously unwind each tie, carefully straighting it out in order to remove it without damaging the background. Them, much like the Parker Pen, I had to  carefully remove the clothing and accessories from the vacuum-packed plastic containers. I would do this delicately, careful not to damage the precious items. I'd then lay out everything, and begin to play. Now, this might sound somewhat arduous for a 4, 5, 6, 7 year old girl, but I loved it. It just hit me, at 18, that the magic had vanished from opening a package. And that made me sad.

In other, less depressing news, I have taken to performing my poetry. I know. Considering that I only really started writing poetry in September, that's a bit of a risky move. But it seems to have gone ok so far. One of my poems (about rape) appears to go down really well when I perform it, but I think I'll post that another time, as I enjoy discussions around rape culture in our society. I say "enjoy", I really mean that I don't think it gets discussed enough - it tends to get hidden away when it should be fore fronted for all its issues.

This poem began as a song, but turned into a beat poem. It's called:

 The Girl In The Corner Looking Nervous

She’s sipping spirits from a shot glass,

Praying the scummy boys won’t touch her arse

But, with a skirt down to her knees,

She’s not showing much arse to squeeze.

And she’s only got subtle make-up on,

Wondering how you can be comfy in a lacy thong.

She hasn’t got up to dance;

She thinks you’ve got to wait to be asked.


The decadence of the scene perturbs her;

The hedonists and perverts

Clamour all around and make her nervous,

The boys and girls offering service.

She doesn’t like the push and shove at the bar

Would much rather be relaxing in some fancy spa.

She’s wearing perfume by Chanel

As if anyone here could tell!


She doesn’t approve of promiscuity,

Although that might change after a drink or three,

But she won’t cause she’s counting her units

And she doesn’t approve of the music.

She thinks all her peers are disgusting

With all their making out and thrusting,

So she just stares at the debauchery with her doe eyes

Sat alone in the corner for the whole night.


And her tan’s not fake it’s from St. Tropez.

And she’s knows just what they say:

“You’re far too prim to be in here love,

Why don’t you take off those white gloves?

Take some bobby pins out of your up do,

Show the other girls how you can move!

I’m not saying you’ve gotta get down and dirty,

But it’s wouldn’t hurt just to be a little flirty,

And you never know you  might quite like it

If only you had the balls to try it.”

Hopefully I'll start posting more frequently again!

TTFN! xx

Currently Reading: The Old Curiousity Shop by Charles Dickens
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
The Art of Writing Fiction by Andrew Cowan

Monday, 5 November 2012


So, for this month I'm taking part in National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write a novel of 50,000 words in November. I won last year, and want to make a streak of it. I'm already miles behind and I'm publisghing my noevl on line in a series of blog posts as I go. Scary.

If you want to read my novel follow this link:
If you fancy taking part in NaNo:
If you're already part of Nano, add me as a buddy! My name is CurlyWurly

TTFN! xx