devi: (dancing)

At the club last night

devi: (railway)
Hasty life-update: On Friday accidentally went clubbing, that is, went to gig at the Zodiac which turned out to be a club that just happened to have an hour or so of live band. Rather good club too. Though at first, when I thought people were just doing the 'stand around and wait for the band' thing, was surprised by the random strangers attempting to hug me. Band were Goth As F*ck despite playing breaks and other dancey stuff, I mean, they were called Devil's Gun and their first track was called Raising The Beast and they had a waily girl singer for that 'touched by the hand of Ofra Haza' effect. They should totally play Whitby. Danced myself sober, wheeled my bike up Cowley Road with others who were walking home, ringing in the ears and pleasantly tired in the legs.

On Saturday there was a pub lunch at Iffley Lock where I fed ducks and geese and then there was a murder mystery on a boat in Africa (aka Jo's flat) with no actual murder in it but plenty of intrigue and treachery ([ profile] undyingking, my compliments, wasn't it one of yours?). I was a journalist who was Not All She Seemed and my accent flopped comically from bad posh-English to bad mishmash-American all night. It still fascinates me how in games like these people can put on completely different selves. It's kind of liberating.

Other than that, I've mostly been sitting in the red room working a lot on the travel book. I don't even mean sitting for hours hitting Refresh on my friends page and trying to psych myself up to work, I mean really working, without having to force myself, up to ten hours a day, because I want to. Ten thousand more words in this last week, either written from scratch, from brief notes, or patched together from longhand journals. Editing, formatting, making breakout boxes with information in them, investigating that Amazon Affiliates thing, fiddling with the cover. Also putting together a website on which to pimp self, though this makes me a bit uncomfortable. (Here are my reviews! Here is everywhere I've been published, which isn't really very many places! Buy my book! Go on! Oh dear.) Spent today finding bits of PHP on code websites and bashing them till they do what my site needs them to do. Feeling burnt-out now and nursing glass of wine.

[ profile] carbonunit sent me twenty quid by Paypal before Christmas when I was panicking about money. [ profile] carbonunit is a lovely and generous person, and perhaps might like to know that his money has just covered most of the cost of my domain registration and webhosting for the coming year.

But I still haven't got a job. My CV is out there, I've had a couple of interviews recently with schools who say they'll phone me when they have work for me to do, I have lots of potential work in March and April, but no job-as-such yet. I worry that all this book stuff is just an especially interesting-looking bucket of sand for me to stick my ostrich head in. But I only worry for periods of about five minutes at a time and then I get an idea for something I can add to the text or the site and back goes my head in the bucket again. Yeah.

Whoops! I forgot the main point of this post!: I've been looking at author websites and general web-stuff for inspiration, but haven't found anything that's set my world on fire, and some of the really cool-looking blogs I used to read a few years ago have actually become much more boring. So. Plz recommend me a website that you saw recently and thought looked cool/interesting/unusual/"whoa-I've-never-seen-anything-like-that"/just nicely done? I won't poach their look wholesale. (I couldn't - my web design skills aren't up to it.) I'm just looking for ideas.
devi: (Default)
After a surreal half an hour or so where my new housemate and I were the only people in B&Q, I spent yesterday evening painting my room, with a soundtrack of Sergeant Pepper and Motown.

I’m going with the three plain walls, one red wall plan (thanks for the advice!), but I made an error: I picked a colour called ‘apricot’ because I thought it looked like a more interesting cream, when the point of the neutral colour is that it's not supposed to be interesting. Turns out it’s horrible. It wobbles about on the line between being neutral and being a colour. Finally it decides to try being a colour, fails hilariously, and its friends point and laugh at it. Oh dear. Time to paint over it with plain white. The red wall rocks, though.

This whole business is weirdly exciting. It’s so strange to me to be able to change my own living space that I was almost scared to make the first brush stroke, and hesitated with the brush held hairs’ breadths from the wall, and then had to go through with it because the brush would drip if I didn’t.

A couple of weeks ago, just before catching my flight to Ireland, I went to Herbal to see [ profile] dr_f_dellamorte doing his DJ thing. He was fantastic and I got my groove on to his funky breaks till late into the night and then stayed over at [ profile] ultraruby’s, and when we got up the next morning we sat in her lovely kitchen talking about house-painting and DIY and it occurred to me that I always thought you couldn't have both at once, the nestmaking and the getting your groove on, and that you had to sacrifice one for the other. And if that’s not true, then it’s a whole different world.
devi: (Default)
It was a funny, ambiguous week. Coursework panic at school. Running around South Ken with no time to take a lunch break. An election where everyone I talked to seemed to feel they'd 'voted wrong'. But after all that, yesterday came like a reward.

A Tube Walk first, from Bank to London Bridge and from Barbican to Farringdon. Even though I think the less obvious, less scenic Tube Walks are often better - places you'd never go to otherwise, and more surprises - this one was great. It rained on and off, between bursts of sunshine. We crossed three bridges. Crossing bridges in London makes me feel I'm at the heart of things.

Sitting outside The George pub at London Bridge, with drizzle coming on, we had the 'what would you do if civilisation crashed?' conversation again. Every time I go out lately I seem to end up talking about the Apocalypse. [ profile] katstevens said she'd be the DJ in our post-apocalyptic commune, if [ profile] mzdt could build a bicycle-driven DJ booth. So long as you didn't have to pedal at the exact RPM of the records it might just work.

[ profile] myonlyhome said I was the first person to get her username, and we enthused about the Magnetic Fields, and I told her about the chocolate-hurling incident at the Festival Hall gig. Then, when she saw the Lost Things Saved In Boxes badge [ profile] miss_newham made me, she told me her grandmother had a box in her house labelled "Bits of String Too Short To Save".

[ profile] haggisthesecond was encouraging as usual, and told me about the Worst Novel Ever, and sadly I can't tell you about it, but trust me - it was hilarious.

We walked through some of the prettiest parts of London. There was a wedding going on at St Paul's full of people in spectacular hats. I had a fish-fight with [ profile] tjej and [ profile] miss_newham and lost. We ended up in a sunlit, cosy pub in Farringdon where I found cloudy, appley cider, talked to [ profile] sherod and took a straw poll: should I go on a nightclub expedition with almost total strangers? The general opinion seemed to be yes.

When the tube walk dispersed I wandered around the South Bank for a while, waiting for my phone to ring. Went into Tate Modern to stare at Rothkos with my eyes blurred, and passed a party down on the riverbank at Festival Pier, hundreds of people dancing on the edge of the water.

Then, starting in Bermondsey and ending up in Brixton, the nightclub expedition with almost total strangers. Going on expeditions with almost total strangers is great. Not least because, if it goes well, they stop being strangers. It's really quite amazing that I hadn't met [ profile] julietk before, because she knows pretty much everybody I know. But now I have, and she's got blue!hair! and three beautiful rats (who are sane and gentle and don't bite!) and knows about Stuff from counselling to quantum physics, and is generally Very Cool.

Today has been a day of sleep and films and work (maths tutoring! Thank goodness for penguin mints) and fluffy stripy bedsocks. I've made a playlist for sleepy Sundays, soft music to curl up and dream to.

It's working. Goodnight!

[Poll #490194]
devi: (Default)
So, dear readers, here are the ideas behind that genres poll I did last week.

It starts with something I thought would be a confession, a dangerous one of the sort liable to get me lynched or get objects lobbed at my head. Now the results are in, I feel a bit safer saying it. I like dance music.

Thing is, I also love indie music and (a lot of) goth music and all manner of verse-chorus-verse music, music with lyrics that make sense of life, and it doesn't even have to be well-sung or well-played, if the lyrics are good enough to carry it. I like music that's right next door to spoken word performance, where the music takes a back seat to the lyrics, but the lyrics are shiningly brilliant.

This makes perfect sense to me. Music is for different things, serves different functions. Dance music is for, well, dancing to, that sort of hypnotic wild trance-dancing that strips you of self-consciousness and daily worries and leaves you elated. (Hello [ profile] ultraruby!) And it's for spurring myself to work - I write faster and maybe better with a pulse of beat in the background, with slowly evolving melodies; lyrics are too distracting. It's music that provides a soundtrack for travelling at speed, or for travelling in your imagination. Music with guitars, by bands, with words, is for something else entirely. It's about that twinge in your heart when you hear a lyric that expresses something perfectly. It's music you live through and feel through, music that helps you explain things to yourself, music that puts you on an emotional rollercoaster from hope to misery and back, or that just helps you laugh at life. Music that provides a soundtrack for walking in the dark or standing moodily down in a tube station at midnight.

I couldn't do without either of these things, even though they're such different experiences it seems clumsy even to call them both 'music'. Fair enough, you say. Eclecticism is good. The poll results seem to bear that out.

But back at Dublin City University it was a different story. I didn't know any other eclectics who liked, say, Orbital as much as they liked Radiohead or the Smashing Pumpkins. You were a rocker or a raver, and the rockers and the ravers tore each other to bits in a perpetual scrap on the music boards of the BBS, and never the twain did meet.

And the divide seems to have persisted among my various groups of friends (or at least I thought it had until I did the poll). I've always felt like the lone advocate of electronica among a nation of trad-goths and indie-kids, and when I try to defend it, I'm told more often than not that it's chav music, stupid music, music for people with no brain cells. I reply that they're probably not listening to the right dance music, that it can have intelligence and complexity, that I like it with the same bit of my music brain that grew up on classical and for a lot of the same reasons (Pachelbel's 'Canon' has much the same effect on me as Orbital's 'The Girl With The Sun In Her Head'). But things remain the same: I have a yen to go to dance clubs and no one to go with.

And it looks like the whole world is going that way too. Alexis Petridis wrote recently in the Guardian that dance music is dead. (Though, if you read the article, I think I'm pleased that he says it's going back underground. I'd prefer little underground scenes to great big impersonal superclubs any day.)

So my poll had several purposes. Firstly, to see if the rocker/raver divide still exists, and to find other eclectics. Pleasingly, there are quite a few of you.

Secondly, to see if my flist was actually as anti-dance as I thought, and it's true that the indie/rock/etc people - those of you who chose no dance at all - vastly outnumber the eclectics and the dance-only folk. But there are more of the latter two types than I'd been expecting.

Thirdly, I wanted to investigate my half-formed hunch that people who liked dance would get along with classical, and vice versa. This wasn't borne out at all. In fact, it was the indie/goth/rock folk who tended to like classical, rather than the other lot. I guess I'm on my own there, then.

There's another post bubbling under in my brain, about what clubbing is for, but that's for another day. Thank you all for ticking the tickyboxes.
devi: (Default)
- There'll be time enough for rocking when we're old, my love."

Who's coming to Synthetic Culture tonight?

And a poll, because this has been on my mind lately. Which genres of music do you like? And I mean really like, makes hairs stand up on the back of your neck or tears come to your eyes or your foot to tap uncontrollably or makes you feel all's right with the world, that sort of like.

This isn't supposed to cover all genres. My purpose will be explained shortly. (I should have put in an 'Other - please state' thingy, so please state your others in the comments.)

[Poll #387696]

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