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{music is my boyfriend}

Word nerd, music obsessive & zombie movie enthusiast. New friends are always welcome.
It's a bank holiday in the UK. You know what this means? DRINKING ON A SUNDAY! Who wants wine? I also have Jack Daniel's and a range of real ale I... aquired. Couple of 100 Things things and a meme, I thought, would go nicely with that:

- 100 Things is now a comm - 100things_index! All the entries (all 1300 of them) have been turned into an index, which you can peruse any time you’re bored and looking for something to read. I’ll be making weekly recs starting in June of particularly interesting, weird and wonderful 100 Things so feel free to follow/join if you want. If you have a large flist full of people doing the meme, it would be a huge help if – the next time you make an entry for the challenge – you include the comm name and/or this little banner: [code me]

- Anyone in the mood to volunteer to help me out with 100 Things permanently? Basically, this will involve coding new sign ups and adding them to the relevant posts (and tidying up what’s already there, if you can be arsed. If not, I'll get to it myself eventually). The idea of making it a comm is that I can give anyone the login to the thingermouse account, and when you’ve got a few minutes, you can code whatever sign ups there have been, and then screen them so all the other mice know they’ve been done. As Judy Garland once said, I can’t give you anything but love in return for this but good deeds bring their own rewards and all that. All you need is some basic coding ability and a selfless heart ♥.

- Lots of new friends! Welcome! Who wants to do a getting-to-know-you meme? Copy-paste this into a comment and fill it in, or take it to your page. People I’ve known for ages are also welcome to play :D.

my answersCollapse )
Song 3: Yes, by Bernard Butler & David McAlmont

Lesson learnt: Sometimes losing everything is the best thing that can happen to you.

[you can’t help someone recover after what you did]

This song has one of the best stories in pop. Once upon a time, there was a Britpop band called Suede, headed up by too fops with raven mops, Bernard Butler and Brett Anderson. Together, they wrote one of the 90’s most killer singles (Animal Nitrate) and one the most defining and forward-looking albums of the era (Suede). And then, while recording the follow-up, they fell out. Big time. Bernard left the studio to get married. When he came back, his things were on the doorstep and the doors were locked. Suede went on to limp through a couple of albums so apocalyptically mediocre I can’t remember any of the titles (although naturally they were spectacularly commercially successful) and Bernard? Well, Bernard wrote the greatest FUCK YOU song of all time.

That riff? That riff is the sound of a man mentally kicking his best mate in the nads while he lies, writhing on the ground. It was exactly what I needed to hear when I was sprawled in a field with a radio, a bottle of Martini, a bag of frozen peas, and a broken heart.

So you wanna know me now, how I’ve been?
You can't help someone recover

After what you did.

If you’ve never been admitted to the cardiac fracture unit, let me tell you, those lines right there in David McAlmont’s egregiously glorious Motown voice are a life raft to anyone drowning in melodrama and misery. He gets it. David and Bernard get it. Knowing that I imminently had to see the person who had wrenched my heart out of my chest and stamped upon it until it looked like chewing gum that had spent a decade on the pavement, I staggered into town, and I had to go to 14 different record shops to find it, but I bought the record, took it home, and played it to death.

So tell me, am I looking better?
Have you forgot
Whatever it was that you couldn't stand about me?

Because yes, I do feel better.
Yes I do, I feel alright.

I feel well enough to tell you what you can do with what you’ve got to offer.

What makes this record brilliant is that it's not just about running into an ex in the supermarket and making awkward small talk – it’s about seeing someone who dicked you over in the street and having to have your mother over even though you hate each other. It's about people, and dealing with them. In amongst all that musical theatricality – the way this record swoops like Bacharach on PCP freaking slays me – is the simple truth that things hurt, and the salient advice to build a wall of fineness around yourself, and if the person who inflicted the hurt tries to peer over the top to see how you’re doing to let themselves off the hook, you tell them to fuck right off.

On and on and on and on and on and on and has no-one said, “Stay away, stay away.”

I'm better.

To me, there’s no certainty in that better. It’s a defiant belief Bernard wrenched out of his soul, that if he played hard enough and made those violins in the background soar high enough, he would be better. Feel better. Do better. Be a better artist. Be better than the person who broke his heart.

Powered by the same belief and not a small amount of anger, I didn’t do anything nearly as worthy or lasting as this record: I went to the pub, got trashed on alcopops, and – much to the amusement of my friends – got off with a guy from school I’d always hated. But once the embarrassment and the two-day hangover wore off? Yes, I did feel better. That's what this record is: a testament to the fact that whether it's a person or a thing or life in general that breaks your heart, you always be better eventually - because of it, in spite of it, and in flagrant, wilful defiance of it.

Give me your list of awesome songs that helped you over your heartache by making you want to kick people in the nads... even if they weren't in posession of any nads. Go!

and a quick apology that I have comments to reply to all over the place, but this week has been mostly coding the index/master post, trouble-shooting, and answering questions. I will get to them ♥.

100 Things rules // Read 100 Things About Anything

100 Songs That Taught Me Everything I Know, #2

So this whole 100 Things thing has taken off in ways I wasn't expecting. I owe comments everywhere and I haven't even started on the index I was planning to make (I might actually need volunteers to help with that unless I take a week off work), but I wanted to post this anyway.

Song: Here I Go Again, by Archie Bell and the Drells

Lesson Learnt: How not to dance, with élan.

[but every time I see ya, I keep running back for more]

I can’t dance, but unlike many people who can’t dance, I do dance. All the time. At my desk, in the kitchen, in record shops, in the street waiting for the lights to change, if the mood takes and there’s a record playing, I will have a quiet little boogie. What can we blame for this? Northern Soul.

When I was at university, I met a guy in a pub called Pete. He always dressed like it was 1940 – he had bowties way before Matt Smith made them cool – and one night, we had a lot of vanilla gin and we went on to a club, a tiny dive of a place with a beer-slicked floor and speakers that gave you tinnitus after thirty seconds. This song came on, and Pete said, “This song’s mint, would you care to accompany me for a brief shuffle across the parquet?” (because he always spoke like it was 1940, too. Although some weird parallel universe 1940 where everyone just spoke a bit more formally with crap slang)

The music was so fast and upbeat that normally I would have cried off, but I looked at the dance floor. It was full of awkward-looking people grinning their faces off and yes, a lot of those smiles were chemical in origin, but unlike the house clubs where you needed gymnastic ability to make the right shapes with your hands and the indie clubs where you needed Olympic endurance to pogo without succumbing to the stampede and the rock clubs where you needed to be, frankly, crazy as well as have abs of steel to enter the mosh pit, the way they were moving looked attainable, even for someone who occasionally has difficulty staying upright on a sofa.

This, I thought, this I can do. Because all you need to dance to Northern Soul is shoes with a lethal lack of grip that’ll see you on your arse if you encounter a kebab on the way home, and to move from side to side and kick as if you’re knocking a plastic pint glass out of the way with your foot. When you get confident, lean back a bit, and if you really want to give it some, spin, then slide across the floor in vague time with the music. Like this:

So to dance to this fantastic Archie Bell and the Drells record, all we’re looking for is: kick, kick, kick, sliiiiiiiiiide, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, sliiiiiiide, kick, kick, kick, spin, land, kick, kick, kick. If you lose your place, it’s perfectly acceptable to bob up and down on the spot and make a loose windmill with your arms for a bit. So that’s what I did, and I’ve been doing it ever since.

It’s not really dancing in the strictest sense, and maybe it’s just because I’m one of those awkward shuffling folk for whom Zumba is a living hell, but when I’m breaking up the washing up with a quick spin to Donna Summer, in my head, I look effortlessly cool.

Anyone get up and try it? How’d it go? It's fun, right?

100 Things rules // join the 100 Things challenge

100 Songs That Taught Me Everything I Know, #1

So I started the 100 Things challenge and it's probably about time I posted my first entry. Predictably, I went with music as my Thing, and more specifically, 100 Songs That Taught Me Everything I Know.

I didn’t have the best family when I was a kid, and often I joke that I wasn’t raised by my mum and dad, but by Morrissey and Dusty Springfield. My parents didn’t teach me how to live in the world or how to be a decent human being; pop music did. This will be a list of records I clung to, tunes I hid in when things were tough, and lyrics that held my hand and showed me that love isn’t supposed to look like screaming and fists. To me, these records were family, a chink of light under a closed door, a promise that somewhere out there were people who weren’t like the ones populating my life, people who were just like me, and I might never meet them, but they were there, and they were proof that however much it felt like it, I wasn’t alone. So let’s start with a biggy:

Song: Pure – The Lightning Seeds

Lesson learnt: Don’t sell the dreams you should be keeping, pure and simple, every time.

[look at me with starry eyes]
Ian Broudie (lead singer of said Lightning Seeds) once said there are two kinds of singers: singers who are good singers, and singers who sing good songs. He put himself as aiming for a spot in the latter category, but he underestimated himself. This isn’t just ‘a good song’, this is – for my money – as glorious a paean to love as any the Romantic Poets ever penned. It starts like a twee pop song, but listen to it, really listen to it, and inside the chipper keyboard-generated trumpets you find a timeless bugle call to dreamers:

Dreams of sights, of sleigh rides in seasons,

Where feelings, not reasons, can make you decide.
As leaves pour down, splash autumn on gardens,
Colder nights harden their moonlit delights.

And I love you.

That right there is pure poetry, but what really speaks to me about this record is the defiance of believing in a thing you can’t see:

I've found a place I'll never leave

Shut my mouth and just believe
Love is the truth, I realise,
Not a stream of pretty lies

To use us up, and waste our time

I can’t count the ways and times this record has saved me. It is egregious in its joyousness, that bass line borders epic, I could write you 1000 words about Cenzo Townsend’s lush-as-any metaphor production, and there are such beautiful images in it – “as daydreams slide, colour from shadow, picture the moon glow, that dazzles my eyes” – I mean FUCKING HELL, that’s magnificent… but why I made this #1 is that as a writer, as a person, whenever things get so tough that I feel like giving up, whenever it all feels like a pipe dream, I tell myself that my dreams are worth keeping – pure and simple, every time.

This is the record that gave me belief in my dreams, and there are no words for the worth of that, just a weird grin-tears-in-my-eye-thing I do every single time I hear this song. I hope you listen to it. I hope you like it. I hope it gives you a tenth of what it gave to me.

This all feels a bit didactic. You are always welcome to tell me about the songs that made you feel the same, or click play and respond however you want this dorky, weird, obscure, rubbish song I inflicted upon you if you never heard it before :D.

100 Things rules // join the 100 Things challenge

100 Things, because our f-page needs YOU!

I've seen various mumblings lately about LJ being quiet, and although many comms seem more active than ever, when it comes to personal entries, a lot of the bloggers I used to read here have left for pastures with word counts leaner. Whether your kink is bondage or baking, Tumblr is great for picture porn, and there's definitely a place for film reviews that read:
Saw #thehungergames. Not as good as book. @lennykravitz, marry me?

But the thing that drew me to LJ was the words, the abundance of words, the LJers who would wax - and not just poetically, but informatively, knowledgeably, and passionately - about their specialist subject, be it film, books, sex, art, equality, that darn boy wizard, design, music, or novelty cupcakes. I've been as guilty as anyone of slipping into the habit of not providing much actual content here - aside from the odd Hipsta pic of my cats doing something stupid - so I throw down a challenge to myself and anyone who wants to play: Blog 100 Things, right here on LJ. (you're also more than welcome to play on DW/Wordpress/any other blogging platform if you'd like to, but if you want to use a banner, you'll need to recode it)

100 ThingsCollapse )

Who’s with me?! For the record, I will be posting: 100 Songs That Taught Me Everything I Know. Be afraid, be very afraid.


! I have moved this whole thing to a comm: 100things_index

If you have a question/problem etc, please leave it here, where you can also sign up. Please DO NOT leave sign ups and links here in this post. I'm unable to collect and collate them and add them to the index if you don't leave them in the correct place.

I know I have a lot of unanswered comments here, and right now I've just spent 8 hours coding on top of flu, so I'm going go and fall face first into a medicinal red wine... and then I will do my best to answer anything pressing. Thank you for bearing with me ♥.

11th Apr, 2012


Owing to the somewhat unexpected success of this, I've moved to 100things_index so I can recruit people to help me manage logging the entries more easily. IF YOU ARE NEW please sign up there instead.

IF YOU ALREADY SIGNED UP the link you need for banners etc may have changed. The ones below have been recoded with the new link. If you signed up here already you don't have to do anything - your entry has been compiled into:

The Index!

Questions, problems, etc can be addressed to me here at the new comm. Please bear with me wrt broken links etc.

[banners & code here]

{Take the 100 Things challenge!}

{Take the 100 Things challenge!}

{Take the 100 Things challenge!}

{Take the 100 Things challenge!}

Thank you - and feel free to come and join the comm - any challenge updates will be posted there by me or a thingermouse, as well as a weekly spotlight on a particularly weird, wonderful or worthy entry, starting June 1st ♥.

1st Dec, 2011

We’re just going to slide right past the part where I apologise for not being around and do this:

Click to join!

From now until Feb 29th, pulped_fictions is hosting a winter writing and art fest for original work. We play in teams, and everything you do at the comm – whether that’s drabbling, crafting, or reviewing – earns you points for your team. I’m heading up team rein_dears, so if you fancy some inspiration to get you through the long dark months, come and play! Existing members can sign up here, if you’re not a member yet click the banner, hit the ‘join’ button and I’ll approve your membership asap.

Also, if you want a Christmas/yule/whatever card, leave me your address here in a screened comment. My laptop died and took my address book with it so even if we card it every year leave me your details ♥.

20th Oct, 2011

Team rein_dears! If you need to contact me and can't find me/don't have me added, you can leave me a message here. Ask for help with anything and I'll get back to you asap. Comments screened. I'll unscreen them to reply, or if it's sensitive, you can always shoot me a PM ♥.

*antler bump*

Recipe Swap!

How to take part:

1. Request a recipe.
2. Leave a comment to let us know what kind of recipe you’re looking for (dinner idea, cake, picnic fodder etc.) and any special dietary requirements or major dislikes you have (veggie, low fat, dairy-free, low carb, no wheat, OMG I HATE ASPARAGUS etc.) using this form:

3. Peruse other people’s and see if you have anything in your cookery arsenal you think they’d like.
4. Leave the recipe in a reply to their comment, ideally with the name of the recipe (My Super Awesome Chocolate Cake, Nigella’s Fab Fudge etc) in the subject line.
5. Have something absolutely awesome you just MUST share even if no-one requests it? Brilliant – leave it in the Everyone Needs This Dish In Their Life thread.

All kinds of recipe are welcome, be it something that starts its life in a packet marked ‘Just Add Water’ or something it took you 14 years at culinary school to master. Useful link for converting those pesky US cups to something us Brits can understand: Cooking Measurement Converter.

If you want to share this with your flist, that’s cool – everyone’s welcome to the food fight. Here’s the banner and the code:

Latest Month

May 2012

& you will believe in love

I may not lead the most dramatic life, but in my brain it's War and Peace everyday.


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