Wednesday, November 27, 2013

jake bugg

I've been listening to the new Jake Bugg record for a couple of days now, and it is really a great album. Is it the best album ever? Of course not. But for a 19 year old who looks like a razor hasn't even touched a cheek yet, he has more heart than most. "What Doesn't Kill You" and "Slumville Sunrise" are driving anthems. My brother insists that if he had been around back in the day, he could've been a Stone, but I think that he's more Clash than anything. The songs pulse through me to grab all of the garbage that's been collected for the day and rids me of it. Everything's alright.

And then there's the ballads. I expected to wince, and wonder at the decision to have him go there. But he surprised me. He reigns in that big howl of his to deliver tenderness. He doesn't lose all of the broad accent, but it softens. It isn't trite or trivial or ... let me think of another 't' word ... timid. There's a reckless abandon, yes, but I think Jake knows what he's doing and the songs are very direct, which shows that he may not have the years, but he has the soul. In one such ballad, "Song About Love," Jake sings, "Is that what you wanted?/Songs about love/Is that what you hoped you would find/Well it's burning inside/But a song about love's not enough." 

How many 19 year olds get that? Apparently, our Jake does.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

stevie nicks

UK Elle September 2013
Isn't Stevie the coolest? She is who I wanted to copy when I was 12 or 13. I had this idea of her before I even knew who she was ... some kind of cool California hippie rocker.

At that same time, I was working babysitting jobs, and I saved all of my earnings for something special. I would carry the cash around as if any second the 'what' was right in front of me to buy. My brother ran high school track, and my mom would drive us around to all of the meets that he ran. I didn't mind. I liked to watch the boys run, jump, and throw. But sometimes the meets ran for the whole day, and even the cutest team couldn't hold my attention for that many hours. Once, I saw a mall nearby, so I asked for permission to go check it out. Across the parking lot may just be the place to spend.

The first store that I ran across was The Limited. It was new to me and as soon as I hit the floor, I knew that I was going to find a treasure. I wanted to buy blouses that would make me feel like a hippie rock star. I wanted butterfly sleeves. Maybe some embroidery. Or pearled buttons.  The first rack that I went to I found my desire. It was a dusty shade of lavender with hints of periwinkle blue and mauvy pink. I think. More than the color, I remember that it was a gauzy sort of floaty cotton. I tried it on and felt like Stevie. I about wore that shirt out for the number of times that I wore it. I didn't care, it was an identity for me.

I went to a Fleetwood Mac concert a couple of months ago. Stevie is a little older and a little stiff, but she is still a butterfly, and her voice brings a depth to the songs that she wrote when she was younger that might not have been there before. Curious, I googled her to see what became of her and the time when I first knew her to now. Hers is a complicated tale riddled with drugs and addiction, men, and a sort of outsider-ness. I don't envy and wouldn't want my magic gauze shirt to lead me to addiction, but the outsider-ness ... sure.

You know what? I'm just going to stop. That's what Stevie is ... never too much, only a taste of who she is ... except for in her music. There, she is. What else matters. That's how a cool California hippie rocker rolls.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Finding Time

Oprah Magazine November 2013
I've said before that my Oprah Magazine subscription rides on Martha Beck's column of no-nonsense, straight to the gut advice. And in this month's edition, it is no different.

I was particularly taken by the paragraph to the left:

We are time-starved people, obsessed with fitting huge achievements into our few years. In the process, we often fill our buckets with things that don't matter or work. But when we give up on trying to change what can't be change, and simply embrace what we love, a miracle occurs. We notice that the moment to be happy has already arrive. It's here, now.

Every day, I sit with a friend at work for lunch. Lately, he has been talking about this idea of time and how it will be the ruin of mankind as it becomes the all-consuming problem of how we don't have enough of the stuff (time), so we race around, busying ourselves in occupation to overfill it in order to think ourselves successful. That may not be exactly what he is talking about, but that's what I've taken away from it. And since I have pretty busy days that end with still things to do on the list, I've paused to consider this. And then Martha weighs in on it.

One thing about what she speaks to is this obsession with accomplishing big things. To that, I say this ... as I reflect on it, the things that I feel most accomplished in are those that are small. I love to write up a little list of this and that and do it. It is usually full of things that have no particular importance or priority, but I know that once I check off each item, I will feel accomplished. I'm looking at such a list right now ... and I've completed all but one item. Pretty good. Will that last item get a check? Perhaps, but I won't lose any sleep if it doesn't because I got most of it done.

The other thing that I've found helpful in this need to feel that my time has been well spent, is to consider what I've accomplished and look for a trend. OK, I did this a few years ago, and it's in line with what I did over the summer ... let's hook those together and make a direction. I have all sorts of circles of connections so that when something new comes my way, I think ... will it fit into what I've already accomplished to make it richer, more layered, or is it wholly unconnected with what I have enjoyed doing and so pass on it. I'm not saying that a new circle can't be born. It can, but usually it happens after several smaller occasions of activities have taken place, and I am able to identify a new trend in what I enjoy doing.

I do think that time is important to mark. I have not worn a wrist watch for I can't even remember how long. And in not wearing one, I feel that I have a better sense of time. Do I ask for the time sometimes? Yes. But when I ask for the time, I usually need an exact minute for a bus or a deadline when my 15 minute give or take won't do. But other things mark time as well. Rituals and tradition are good for this. I'm lucky to have a family that has built a lot of tradition into its yearly life. It's this month, so this will be happening. Having this, clears up a lot of time. I don't have to plan for it. And I know what the deal is, so I'm able to enjoy it. I can be present in it.

The younger ones in my family like to say, 'this is on my bucket list.' They picked it up from the movies, and most find it endearing that they make this list. I'm not so sure about that. For one, they're kids, and kids get to enjoy no-time more than ever again in their lives. Didn't summer feel like FOREVER when you were a kid. What about the wait for Santa? Unfathomably long. They don't need to write bucket lists. They can just fill their buckets with the copious amounts of time that youth and minimal levels of responsibility that are given to their age.

Martha, I'm with you. I'm all for being present, and taking the time to recognize this and that I'm pretty satisfied with a list that's mostly checked off.


Haper's Bazaar  November 2013

Madonna needs a muzzle. And this one is perfect. I thought that it was the same as what Alexander McQueen is showing this fall, but the attribution is to Idriss Guelai Atelier. It is exciting to see Madge on the cover of a magazine again ... it's been a while. But I think that she would have been better off having agreed to a photograph only editorial because she really doesn't have much to say. And her voice comes off stale and detracts from the visceral that we know that she can deliver.

She begins: Truth or dare? That is a catchphrase that is often associated with me. I made a documentary film with this title, and it has stuck with me.

Certainly, I am not in her day to day life, but I really wouldn't think that is the thing that comes to mind over and over again. But the article in her pen goes on to move across this theme that apparently she feels has defined her life: daring. Now I will give it to her that she has been that, but I think that she stretches the point a bit, how very Madonna, and it's told in an uninteresting way. Case in point: And all the homeless people on the street. This wasn't anything I prepare for in Rochester, Michigan. Trying to be a professional dancer, paying rent by posing nude for art classes, staring at people staring at me naked. Daring them to  think of me as anything but a form they were trying to capture with their pencils and charcoal. I was defiant.

No, you're trite Madge.  She has captivated audiences ... the world ... before them all. And wasn't it she who raked in $600 million last year from her latest tour. She's the woman. But there is no mystery in her as she's more that happy to give it up in her musings with a revolving door of affectation. Put a muzzle on it. Madonna, you don't ever have to say a thing ... and that would be so much more provocative.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Broken English

What does any girl need on a dull day? A french man, a trip to France, and, did I say, a french man? Oh, who am I kidding. It wasn't a dull day, it was three. In a row. I've always overlooked this film in the line of titles. I didn't like something about that title, but I was cold, and lonely, and needed a film-powder, mixed in water, and bubble soothing. I took another look at the description and realized that Parker Posey starred in it. And I love Parker Posey. From the first frame of the film, I was in. Where do I begin? I think that as a woman, of a certain age, who lives in a city, with a perspective that doesn't quite fit into the 'norm,' it can easily become out-of-focus. On some days, it's a hum. Everything is in its place and the cells of the human existence are in sync. And then other days, we roll to the flat side of the tire. I don't imagine that this is different for everyone, whichever path that they've taken in their lives. But for those off the convention, it's harder to go through the exercise of checks. Great job. Check. Husband, wife, significant other. Check. Children. Check. Busy days of required attention. Check.  And in the first frame that is Posey's character looking herself in the mirror, I see it. She wonders, how do I fit into this. Or do I even need to care. Sip of wine. Blow out the candles. Out of the door she goes where she'll face a room of required attention, and mother who wonders if she didn't let a good one go.

And then a french man comes into her life. She doesn't even believe it when it happens. And I suppose that I wouldn't either. It takes a step out of bounds to discover that maybe she's found something that she's been looking for ... and afraid to find it. I have watched this movie three times, and I imagine that I will watch it another ... dozen. There's a lesson in it for me. If a french man suddenly pops into my life, I need to pay attention to it, and believe that I deserve for it to happen. 

I do need to watch a few more times as I don't think that I quite have the hang of it just yet. Case in point: I was in Target the other day after work, and I was mucha fucha-ing about the day. My head was down, and I was in a wave that wasn't good for me. I pushed my cart around the corner, and a good looking man and his friend were approaching me. The one pulled on a beautiful smile, looked me in the eye, and said, 'hello.' I guess that I sort of grunted back. I felt like a dinosaur with every pimple that I've ever had reappearing for another show. He shrugged, and I pushed on. About an aisle down, I thought, well jeez. Maybe the french man comes in the form of a nice guy saying hi at Target, and I just blew it by letting everything that was congested in my head show itself in a half-hearted grunt.

I look at myself in the mirror and examine too closely. I just gotta go to Paris as our girl does in the movie and ... be. Even at the end of be, I'll be the better for it for having made a move. And it might just be the exact moment when the french man finds me.