devi: (Default)
I'd like to get in the habit of writing about music. The way people did it on Livejournal is yet another thing I miss about the place; I got some of my favourite music that way, through colourful descriptions of tracks with YouSendIt links by people whose taste I knew I liked. I've always hesitated to do so myself because I thought there were prerequisites I didn't have, but increasingly I think I shouldn't let that stop me.

One of those things was knowing about massive numbers of bands in trainspotterish detail (to the extent that you would be able to name all their members and everyone else on their record label at a pub quiz) and being able to situate each one precisely in a timeline/tree diagram of changing genres, enabling you to make statements like 'X are like Y and Z jamming in the tour bus of early A, heavily influenced by the [genre/style] of B while C was still their bassist'. But over the years I've come to realise I do know a fair few music facts, though they don't all interconnect into a cognitive map; and also that there's something annoyingly rockist (and frankly, willy-waving) about the idea that you shouldn't try to comment on music unless you have that map in your head. And further, that I didn't require that level of knowledge from anyone else to enjoy their writing about music, which meant it was just a self-silencing tactic.

The other 'problem' is that I'm not usually up to date with new releases. I can only take in so much new music at a time, and I prefer to explore it slowly, dumping new stuff into my unfashionably large iPod and munching gradually through it. I often trip over music in there which blows me away, sometimes years after I put it in there and forgot about it. And then there's whatever Spotify decides to play at me, which is always a bit divorced from context. From proper musos' point of view I will have gaps in my knowledge and be very late to some parties. But eh.

So here we go, the Dreamwidth music meme, albeit several weeks after everyone else I've seen doing it (starting as I mean to go on). Including but not limited to assorted dance/electronic, various kinds of psychedelia, folk, 'oh god does this count as indie, what even is indie these days', and whatever the hell the Magnetic Fields are. 

1. A song with a colour in the title )
devi: (artsfest)
Review is here. It does not mention that he had to take the chairs off the tables.

I quite like the whole "exciting dynamism... palpable strain" bit.

Edit: Comments on the entry requesting contribs are now unscreened.
devi: (sunhead)

Maps corner
Originally uploaded by bluedevi



Friday, 9am: [livejournal.com profile] wimble very kindly drives me, my paintings, a large shoebox covered in bits of old map found in a charity shop with a postbox slot in it where cafegoers can put their illustrated maps, and a bag full of picture wire, masking tape, glue, hammers, scissors, paper and assorted folders, down to the Magic Cafe. I've hardly had any sleep. He's on his holiday sleep pattern, so it's a scant few hours since his bedtime. We communicate mostly in "urg" and "arrrr". He helps me carry stuff in, then goes home to bed. Hafiz calls out a cheery hello from the back kitchen where he and his helper are chopping peppers for that day's salad. The cafe is empty, not open till ten, but it feels warm and homely and it's full of classical music and the smell of frying garlic. I feel like shit by most objective standards, my head feels funny and I'm having odd floaty moments, but as I start cutting lengths of picture wire and coiling the ends into loops, standing on chairs to hang paintings from the picture rail, I think damnit, I'm going to enjoy this. And I do.

blow-by-blow account continues )
It wasn't till quite late in the evening that I remembered to take photos, and quite a few people had gone home by then, but they're on my flickr page. And I love this one. It's the warmth of it against the clearly visible rainy night outside.


Table of people
Originally uploaded by bluedevi



And then it was very late and I was very drunk and everyone was going, and I had to try and remember everything Hafiz had told me earlier. Dan followed me around taking note of what I was doing, probably anticipating the many panicky questions I would ask later along the lines of "are you sure I turned off the heating?" I drunkenly did the touch-up on the map paintings and miraculously did not cover anything in paint that didn't need to be. We turned the lights off and locked the doors, with the paintings inside in the dark, and went home.

Sorry the wine wasn't mulled after all - I decided I'd be more use out front than in the kitchen. I had a fantastic evening. Thanks to everyone who came for making it all that it was.
devi: (glow)
I have been looking at printouts of the map paintings for so long that they've lost all meaning. Well, sometimes they've lost all meaning, and at other moments they take on far too much meaning, so that I become convinced they are real actual places. Some, like [livejournal.com profile] the_elyan's trackless jungles full of spirits and riddles, I wish I could go to. [livejournal.com profile] hairyears interpreted the same bit of the same map as a toxic wasteland, left that way by eco-apocalypse due to industry run rampant. You really wouldn't want to make an accidental sidestep into the wrong parallel universe there.

I'm almost done customising them as per people's suggestions (I've even made a tube map for one of them) and compiling them all into a folder. Then I'm going to buy picture hooks from B&Q. My sleep cycle is still all messed up from Christmas. I sat up much too late last night painting round the edges of canvases and doing other little fiddly things and now I'm too tired to be nervous.

Just talked to Hafiz, the lovely fluffy proprietor of the Magic Cafe, and it turns out that not only can I mull the wine tomorrow night but we can stay as long as we like. Party! (Er, you might want to bring a bottle of something yourself if you fancy staying longer than half a plastic cup's worth of time...) Apparently Daily Info are sending someone too. I wondered if it might be someone I know, but no. Erk, have only been painting regularly for less than a year, am fraud, will get reviewed as "almost endearingly shambolic" - oh shut up and sort the picture hooks out, woman.

I've been asked if the paintings are for sale, and the answer is um yes, if only because what Dan calls The Art Heap in my room is burgeoning out of control.

Had to write press release about self this week. Very weird experience.


My mum is also coming over in a couple of weeks to see the pictures and meet Dan. This will be interesting.
devi: (artsfest)
So much to say that I never say anything. But there's this:



Come to the opening night! I'm going to ask the Magic Cafe folks if I can make mulled wine. Failing that, there'll just be plain old wine.

And if anyone else is planning to contribute some people to the maps here (or animals, or whatever creatures spring to mind. Suggestions so far include merfolk and spring-loaded, steam-driven robotic mountain goats), just a reminder - please have it in by Thursday. Stuff off the top of your head very welcome.
devi: (masked)
It is giving me serious pain not to be able to reply to the comments on my last post that include contributions. They all fill me with squee. They also interpret the maps in many different ways, exactly as I was hoping, though [livejournal.com profile] katstevens and [livejournal.com profile] jinty agree on one aspect. More please, though! Come out of the woodwork, secret worldbuilders!

To [livejournal.com profile] earwigmc - I like your idea. I was hoping someone might see it that way. Feel free to do what you said you were tempted to do. Also, I wanna see my comic coloured in.

And now I'm going to balance out the maps by painting some very tiny things, plant cells and amoebas and other microbiology. I might call the exhibition Zoom In/Zoom Out.
devi: (lost)


All this year I've been dreaming of maps, so I thought I'd try to paint some. I started with no plan in mind and a random wiggly line for the coast and built the contours up from there. Of course, they're not remotely as cool as the ones in my dreams, which are part map, part blueprint, part weird schematic diagram. I don't even think they're that interesting as paintings, standing alone. But I have a plan for them, as part of my exhibition at the Magic Café in January, and I'm going to need your help.

There are no people on these maps. No towns, no roads, no names on anything. They're empty landscapes. I was going to see what they suggested to me and draw cities and roads and stuff on with a marker, but then I had a more interesting idea. I want you to populate them for me.

All contributions will be welcome. No matter how small. No matter how mundane or fanciful or frivolous. Anything from a one-line comment saying "I think there'd be a bridge there" right up to an extensive treatise on the history, culture and economy of the land. What I'd be especially happy for you to do is to download one of the large images behind the thumbnails, draw features on it and mail it back to the address in my userinfo. Or just comment on this post – comments with ideas in will be left screened because I don't want people's ideas to influence each other. What I hope will be really interesting about this is what different people will see in the same image.

For the exhibition, I'll compile everyone's contributions and map images into a book which will be displayed alongside the paintings. (Let me know if you want to be credited by username or otherwise.) There'll also be images of the blank map available there, so people at the café can add their own ideas. It might be part of my website eventually. I'll be doing my own version, possibly versions, but my contribution is no more important than yours.

Suggestions to kickstart you. Possibly blindingly obvious. I honestly have no idea how easy or difficult people will find this. )

…basically, anything whatsoever that occurs to you about what might go on in these landscapes. There are no rules or constraints. The colours are only supposed to indicate contours, not necessarily climate. The two maps may or may not be part of the same world. You tell me.

If you like this, please spread the word – I want to get as many contributions as I can. Please get it in by 20th December, to give me a chance to compile it all into a folder, though if you send me stuff before that I'll appreciate it. I'll unscreen comments when it's all over. The exhibition will be running from the 4th to the 31st of January at the Magic Café, Magdalen Road, Oxford.

Thank you!

(Oh, and check out strangemaps, as recommended by [livejournal.com profile] tamaranth, for possible inspiration, weirdness and general map-geek joy.)

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