Posts Tagged ‘Heroes’

Song and Dance

Friday, July 16th, 2010

I do believe in following the signs. First step, I guess, is figuring out what your signs are. I have mine but won’t bore you with the whole list!

The connection between the body and the voice is well documented and any good singer uses the whole of their body to create versatile sound qualities. You’ll remember that I got my favourite books out of storage. In among them is The Mastery of Movement by Rudolf Laban. Simply inspiring.

The other day while walking through Shoreditch, I stumbled across an exhibition at the Rivington. The sign outside said it was several artists’ interpretations of maps.

One was by new Hero List entry Gayle Chong Kwan and mapped the history of Rumba. It is a superb mixed-media piece and includes a large map on the wall with the geographical routes of the dance form and explanations colour coded on it.

Hanging from the ceiling in front of the map is a set of headphones.

Standing listening to segments of interviews from the people listed below with Cuban rhythms playing in the background, you can’t help but start to move your hips. Looking at the map while hearing each piece of anecdotal evidence brought the subject into true perspective.

While listening, I was handed the final piece of the puzzle: a dance card (complete with wrist elastic) with each section/interview paraphrased and some of the dance notation for rumba moves.

The only things missing were some real life dancers and a Mojito.

Kele Baker

Sergio Brilhante

Colette Leong-Son

Susan Hacking

Heather Gladding

Rudolf von Laban

Yvonne Daniel

Curt Sachs

Walter Laird

Monsieur Pierre

Ann Hutchison Guest

Late Entry

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Although it is very near to the end of the year, today I added another entry to the top films I saw in 2009.

Waltz With Bashir is one of the best films I have ever seen. The art, animation and direction is beautiful. It is accompanied by a gorgeous soundtrack and perfectly suited and accurate sound design. It follows an amazing story.

This is horrific and traumatic to watch and shows better than most films and books the truth behind war. “In order to survive war you have to go to irony and dark humour to go on with every day life”

It is very easy to sit here and preach about the horrors of war and about the injustices by the ‘powers that be’ without ever having any direct experience of it. This film examines from a first person soldier’s account (and other individual soldiers’ accounts) the truth of war.

The interview with the filmmaker, which is an extra feature on the DVD, highlights the impact the film has made on his own life and on others who have seen the film. He tells of since the film release, how he now goes to parties or events and ends up sitting alone in the corner of the room and one by one people come to him to relay their own terrible war stories and experiences. He has opened other people’s memories up to them.

Thousands of lives would have been saved if someone, anyone in power stopped the massacre at Sabra and Shatila happening. It could have been stopped at any point. As with the conflicts around the world that continue today.

Ari Folman is a hero, not for his actions in war as a 19 year old novice soldier, but for his actions afterwards as a 40 year old filmmaker.

Chilly, Akira and Cup

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Wow! Where was I?! I love Autumn, November is my very favourite month.

Chilly & Akira

On Wednesday 11th November, I had another wonderful night out in London seeing Chilly ‘Gonzo’ Gonzales with his special guests Akira the Don and Marawa Cup.

From what I’d seen online, I wasn’t that keen on Gonzo from some of his skits on youtube and other than the famous piano battle (which I confess to not watching all of), I hadn’t heard his playing really either.

I WAS WRONG! Chilly Gonzales is an awesome pianist. His songs are hilarious and his new work-in-progress Opera of his own life is of a high technical quality and at the same time brilliant humour. His arrogance and love of women/drink/himself onstage persona work because of his musical skill.

Of course the highlight of the evening was when AtD joined him onstage for a little chat and rendition of his old hit Thanks For All The Aids – which was the best version of the song I’d heard, just piano and two voices. They then did a rap battle to a metronome which was a lot messy, funny and bitchy all wrapped in one.

I know you thought that I was a fan-girl (I am not ashamed) but until you have met my new real friend Katharina from Frankfurt, you do not know the effect someone’s music can have. A few months ago Katharina, who took the photo at the top of this, went along (for a laugh, not really knowing Gonzo’s music at all prior) to Chilly Gonzales’s 27 hour long record-breaking piano extravaganza.

…She stayed for the whole 27 hours.

THEN, she flew for one night only to London (for the first ever time) to accompany me to this show!

To top off all of this excitement I also discovered my new hero: Marawa Cup, hoola-hooper extraordinaire. She is incredible. Marawa came on stage disguised as an unsuspecting audience member, dowdy and uncoordinated. Awkward in the high high heels she was told to wear. As she twirled some hoops she gradually became more coordinated and slowly stripped ~_^ to reveal a lycra catsuit in leopard-print and took her massive curly hair out of its tie. She twisted and twirled hoops round her waist, hoops on her arms and legs, hoops on her neck and hoops in the air all at once. Perfect end to the evening.

After putting Katharina into her cab (to who-knows-where) I walked past old haunts to get the bus (had to visit my potential new home the next day and didn’t get back till 4am!)

Massive thanks to Chilly for putting us on the list and for making Katharina’s long journey worth it.  Huge thanks to Akira for talking to us like we’re human beings (not super-fans). It was also great to finally meet Twitter-friend Sophie without whom I wouldn’t know that I shouldn’t fancy Morten Harkett.

Robotics and Anansie Spider

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Can’t sleep because I am so excited for Saturday, (solo gig number 4); it is an amazing experience for me to be playing at a Lexapalooza event and the line-up is awesome. I still can’t quite believe I’m on the bill – I am half expecting to arrive at the venue with my gear and someone to go “what’s all that stuff for?  you’re not playing here”

This week has been very busy. I’ve been working my boobies off getting a wonderful Limited Edition CD together for all of you lovely people. It is called Robotics and has some home recordings and a couple of live tracks. There’s only going to be 150 in existence. A good friend has done some gorgeous artwork for the front and I’m really pleased with how it all sounds.

The best big brother in the world took me to see Skunk Anansie on Tuesday night in Brighton. It was a small warm-up gig to their big reunion tour and it was amazing to see them performing. Apart from the blokes looking a little older, you couldn’t really tell that they’d been away for so long and they played a couple of really good new songs as well as playing all of their main back-catalogue. One of the new songs we didn’t like (but the crowd seemed to so that will probably end up being a single or something). It was a really great gig. Some of you will already know how significant their music was to me during my teenage years (especially those of you who had to live through my awful attempts to sing their stuff!) so it was brilliant to get to see them live now.

The support band was a bit weird – A Human. The drummer and keyboard/backing vocalist were good musicians but the frontman was like something straight out of some early 90s band. He looked, sounded and danced as if he wanted to be in The Wonderstuff/Ned’s Atomic Dustbin/Sultans etc etc. He even did a really awful Brett Anderson impression for a whole song.

Hope to see you all on Saturday! Do come and say hello – (mine’s a vodka & diet pepsi).


L is for LOVE

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

This week I am housesitting for a friend in North London.

Last night I went to the Buffalo Bar in Highbury to see one of my very favourite bands Something Beginning with L.

I had heard their music online at their myspace but not seen them live yet. WHAT AN EXPERIENCE. They were incredible. Their stage presence, lack of pretention and their tightness as a band is a rare combination.

Jen, Jon and Lucy play guitars and have amazing electro beats and sound fx backing them which Jon mixes live. Jen and Lucy skillfully warp their guitars and vocals through their immense pedal boards. Their very girly close harmonies create gorgeous textures and compliment the immediateness of their lyrics. Without any of these seemingly contrasting elements the music would not be as beautiful as it is, or as hardcore.

Jen has always been one of my very favourite singers and her ability to switch vocally from a childlike innocence to full on screaming rock is astonishing. Lucy’s harmonies are so well held and their timing is so accurate that you can’t hear any gaps between the two voices. Don’t get me started on all their guitar playing and Jon’s production. Wow.

You can buy their single Overcoat on itunes (you should). If you get to see one band this year, see Something Beginning With L.

The support from Small Gang was also a real treat. They are an awesome and very sexy band. Truly great music. You can hear more here.

ATD and ZH

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

This post is specially about two heroes who aren’t on the list. I chose not to include them on the Hero List for several reasons which I will go into great detail about if you ask. They are also friends with each other which just makes it all the more wonderful.

Akira the Don will be one of the most influential musicians of the next few years. He is a highly skilled producer and rapper drawing samples and influences from a huge eclectic song/cartoon/sample bank in his head. His blog is one of the best critiques of Hip Hop around but also holds social and political commentary, reviews of various bits and bobs along with video clips, artwork, photographs, interviews…it is AWESOME and you should all be reading it. He likes beards and comes from Wales. Twitter: /akirathedon

Zombie Hamster constantly surprises his readers, pointing them in the direction of amazing horror stuff, books, comics (including his own Godzilla Boy creation) and music. ZH’s encycolpedic knowledge is spewed out for all to see. Someone recently wrote on twitter something like “what if you found an i-pod on the street/bus, listened to it and found it contained all your favourite music as if it were your own?” – if you throw in film, literature, weird or scary moments from your childhood/adolescence and add some obscure stuff that you love but had never heard of before then you would get this website. ((NB I did tire of Marilyn Manson much earlier than ZH did, we strongly disagree about Rufus Wainwright and I’m a little bit girlier)) Twitter: /zombiehamster

Go and explore both these sites. You’d be fools not to.




Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

I am reading this:


It is about these and other very large mythical/mystical creatures.

The stories were selected by the great Isaac Asimov, he’s also written a forward that explains some of the science behind the fiction (amazing).

Hero List

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

So, I’ve been spending a lot of time sitting in the sunshine and contemplating life, music, science and work. Once I reach any conculsions I will of course post lovely wonderful things up here that will inspire ;-)

I am currently working on a new page for the site. It isn’t ready yet which is why you can’t yet see it but I wanted to tell you about it. The new page will be a Hero List. The list is to accompany my song Heroes Walk (which you can hear by clicking the MySpace page) and will comprise of people who, in my opinion, are living heroes.

I welcome any suggestions or recommendations to read, listen to or watch things to help me pick the first entries to the list.