devi: (Default)
These prompts are very confessional. Or rather, the path of least resistance leads to confessional-type posts, not posts that focus on the music. But anyway:

Today is 'a song that reminds you of someone you'd rather forget about'. I don't think I'd actually rather forget about anyone who was ever important to me, no matter how bad things were. I have a bad enough tendency to repeat mistakes even when I remember them perfectly. But there are times and situations with people that it hurts to go back to, and not in a 'sweet catharsis'/pleasant wallowing way but actually 'ugh, no, that's still covered in knives and razorwire'.

Some strange person on YouTube said they found this song relaxing. But for me this is the sound of learned helplessness slowly giving way to the realisation that something has to change, but also knowing you're too weary to do anything about it right now (and not being sure that anything you can do will help). Apart from the fact that no one involved was working for a man with a gun, and I was dreaming of trains across Siberia rather than space rockets, it's still painfully close to the bone.

Look, a digression! So, music whose purpose is to cause you to feel those kinds of messy, painful feelings. What is its place in your life? When music is wallpaper, when you can pick nearly anything to listen to, and when you can use it for cheering-up and determination and calming-down and generally twiddling the knobs of your limbic system like the Mood Organ in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, do you choose to listen to the sad music? Do you let it play when it comes up on shuffle? Maybe you even seek it out on purpose? I sometimes do without really knowing why. But I wonder whether sad songs on Spotify - not cathartic emotional-ketchup-blast songs that help you process the feelings, but songs like this one that just express how it is when you're submerged - get listened to less, on the whole, than happy, uplifting, calming music. And if this is the case, I hope this doesn't shape what musicians think it's worthwhile to do, like all the forces that nudge artists towards making artwork that sells well on Etsy and works as home decor.

But maybe this isn't even a thing for others. Maybe you all listen to sad music all day without turning a hair. This is something a LJ poll would have been perfect for. Do you choose music based on your mood? Do you try to change your mood with it, or avoid certain music because you think it might? When do you listen to the sad stuff, and why?

See also: Archway People by Saint Etienne. It's like this one except that 'making a move' seems even more inconceivable. 'There are some nice parts of London. You can see them from here.'
devi: (Default)

No music meme today, just this, to go with the previous post.
devi: (Default)
red bug

Look at this little dude. Those deep red wings. Those magnificent antennae, that look velvety like antlers. I've never seen anything like him outside the Burren, where I took the picture.

3: A song that reminds you of summer )
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: (Default)
Hi! Further to the LJ terms of service change thing, I guess I'll take 'try and get back in the habit of posting on LJ' off my to-do list, where it's been for like seven years.

But is anyone still here? Are people going over to Dreamwidth en-semi-masse? Might that wake things up over there a bit? If you're moving over or have already done, come and find me here. I've transferred my whole journal over, which I hadn't realised was possible.

I've never found a place on the internet to replace LJ, and that sucks. Facebook is like those nightmares where you realise you're naked at school and somehow your boss, your mum and your appalling US state trooper cousin are also watching. Sometimes you find some clothes and put them on, but then Mark Zuckerberg sneaks up and takes them off again when you're not paying attention. Twitter is also like that except there's an angry mob on the horizon with guns. Tumblr is like a cosy living-room which looks like it has walls, so people let themselves be messy and vulnerable, but occasionally something you say gets picked out of the conversation and broadcast to thousands over a giant tannoy. Instagram is nice and laid-back but so full of people (very, very not anyone who's likely to read this, mind) saying they're #blessed, or whatever, with rictus grins, that it makes my teeth ache. ('So #grateful to my spirited children who teach me patience every day!' Oh, honey.)

And everywhere people apologise for writing long things. I like writing and reading long things, especially about people's lives, the totality of lives with all their various interests, not the one topic they guess they ought to focus on in order to monetise their blog. Hi, I am an old curmudgeon, and right now I'm kind of revelling in it. Come and join me in my curmudgeon-den. Maybe even come to Dreamwidth.

But for a long time - like, between 2003 and 2009 - LJ was a whole world, and provided the understructure for a whole rich, busy real-world social life. Thanks to LJ my then-partner and I travelled along the US west coast for three weeks in 2005, staying and having awesome times with friendly not-quite-strangers all the way. The LJ poll feature helped me make massive art (I just asked you all what you were thinking, and just like that you all told me, and it became the Collective Consciousness installation). I have so many and different feels about The Ladies' Loos that I can't sum them up, but... that also happened. I got letters from all over the place, via kindly strangers who found them in the street, after posting about my Postwodehouse project in the found-objects community. So much of that decade is bound up with LJ, for better or worse, and most of the time I felt able to speak here more than I've felt that anywhere else. I'm straight-up grateful for that.

OK, I'm out of here. HURRY UP PLEASE IT'S TIME
devi: (Default)

You know those bits in films where the story skips forward and there's an establishing shot showing something that indicates what time we're in now? Newspaper headlines. A pop song. Colour schemes. Jeans suddenly baggy or skinny, hair suddenly fouffy or 'fro. I had a moment like that this summer on the tube at West Ham. In front of me there was a row of people reading newspapers with the Olympics all over them, and some dubstep went 'wommmmm' on my headphones just as we passed a row of wind turbines. Look, it's 2012!

I am posting to LJ from underground, on my commute, with my tiny pocket computer. This morning feels a bit like that. I am wearing glasses. My jeans are indeed skinny. I am listening to an old [ profile] ultraruby mix (British Summertime). My hair is the same as it ever was. Hello world! It's been a weird couple of years. How were yours?

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

devi: (tension)
I wasn't really planning to go to a protest on Wednesday. I knew there was something happening at Goldsmiths but I didn't have the details; I thought they might be occupying the library or something. If I'd known what was going to happen I'd have brought food and water and a flask of tea and worn more jumpers. All the jumpers. But whatever was happening, I wanted to be there for it. I've spent all this time thinking and planning and getting up the nerve to try and get back into academia, then being almost unbearably excited that I was going to Goldsmiths, and now it seems they're having all their funding cut. My plans for the next bit of my life are going up in smoke - but whatever, I don't want to make it about me. Every time I see anything about education on the news I get a sick falling sensation in my stomach. In any case, I got there at 11 to find people gathering in front of the main doors. Only a few hundred to start with. I had stuff to be getting on with, but when they set off for New Cross station I couldn't not join them.

In the kettle. This is long. )

For a while, in late '08-early '09, I was actually quite enthused about politics. Sometimes, though I was wary of the feeling, I had a sense of being part of a great wave; of the system itself changing. Then, of course, the long slow fall of disillusionment. I got enthusiastic again for the election here. I took it all terribly seriously, and it all went horribly wrong. My faith in doing things through the proper channels is dwindling by the minute. But whatever was left shrank still more on Wednesday evening, as I walked back and forth like a bear in the zoo, looking at hordes of teenagers imprisoned for eight hours outside in November for having walked down a street. Seriously, in what universe is that fair?

EDIT: Photos on Flickr here.
devi: (Default)
I'm making lanterns and lampshades, and I want to test them, so what I'd like is this: a bare lightbulb on the end of a flex, so you can loop the bulb end over a rafter to hang down like a normal ceiling light and plug the other end into the wall. I seem to remember the builders having one when my home-home was being built back in the late 80s. But the searching I'm doing so far hasn't turned up anything like it. It's either your standard light fixtures or devices that let you plug lightbulbs straight into American sockets (which seem to be mainly sought after by weed-growers).

Anyone seen anything like this? Several lightbulb sockets on the same flex would be even better.
devi: (mirror eyes)

Hello! I am in London!

We arrived last Saturday after the most nightmarish move I've ever had, part of a horrible few weeks in which we flaked out on some people quite badly (sorry, [ profile] vodka_fairy and Jess; sorry, Dan's mum, who ended up having to pack a load of my life detritus for me while I went off in the moving van). I honestly have no idea how Dan is still sane, never mind out job-hunting and looking sharp in his suit; and I've had a good few moments when I just wanted to hide under the furniture hugging my knees and rocking back and forth until it all went away, somehow. But it doesn't go away, and we did all the things, and we got here.

Since then we've been staying at the staggeringly generous [ profile] rainsinger and Z's place. Dan's been registering with every job agency in sight. We are still house-hunting - well, room-hunting, really. We've been swinging wildly between exhilaration and terror, though luckily enough we seem to be on opposite cycles, so the other can usually talk the terrified one down. We've mostly been staying in and trying not to spend much.

But: strangely enough, I seem to have got myself half a studio space to work in, near Deptford Creek. I'm not quite sure how this happened. Most affordable studio spaces have endless waiting lists, but somehow here I am.

studio blah, and a picture )

And as if I wasn't already on the verge of a hysterical giggling fit all the time, I've landed right in the middle of one of their biggest events of the year. They're having Open Studios this weekend - like Artweeks, for the Oxford people - a part of the Deptford X art festival where all the studios in the complex are open to the public. You can get all the details at the link, but there's a private view from 6pm this Friday, and the studios are open from 12 to 6 on Saturday and Sunday. (The flyer above is wrong about that - it sounds like they're open from 6pm every day, which is LIES.)

London folk: please come! There will be cheap drinks! What I've seen of the other tenants' stuff is very cool! You can see a small part of my Collective Consciousness installation from last year, which I've put back together and hung from the rafters! It's five minutes' walk from Greenwich station.

Oh, London. Underneath it all I'm really happy to be back.

going out

Sep. 10th, 2010 03:32 pm
devi: (poi)
SEPTIMUS: So the Improved Newtonian Universe must cease and grow cold. Dear me.
VALENTINE: The heat goes into the mix.
He gestures to indicate the air in the room, in the universe.
THOMASINA: Yes, we must hurry if we are going to dance.
VALENTINE: And everything is mixing the same way, all the time, irreversibly...
SEPTIMUS: Oh, we have time, I think.
VALENTINE: ...till there’s no time left. That’s what time means.
SEPTIMUS: When we have found all the mysteries and lost all the meaning, we will be alone, on an empty shore.
THOMASINA: Then we will dance. Is this a waltz?
SEPTIMUS: It will serve.

(Tom Stoppard, Arcadia)
devi: (Default)

Originally uploaded by bluedevi

This is the sort of thing that happens when you leave me in the house on my own. I have three million very serious and important things to do, but what am I doing instead? Making lanterns and handmade books. And painting tables, but that's work, of sorts. At least, I get paid if the client sells those.

Once I get a bit better at the stitching, I'm going to make Tempin' Bear notebooks.

devi: (Default)
So yes, the white fluffy scarf.

I used to have a Russian student called Vita, who was smart, funny, outspoken and generally brilliant, though a complete fool for her exploitative twat of a boyfriend in that way that some bright young girls can be, which made me want to shake her sometimes. When she came back to Oxford at the start of term she'd bring me something Russian. Usually caviar or similar. One first day of term, though, she asked, "Are you in Greenpeace?"

What? "...No." (I was when I was a teenager but I let it lapse.)

"See, I got you this," she said, producing the white fluffy scarf and explaining that it would be perfectly acceptable in Russia but on her way back here she'd been having doubts as to whether someone in the UK would want to wear it. It is your basic knitted scarf, but trimmed with so much luxuriant rabbit fur that you can barely see the wool bits. The fur feels amazing. It is a beautiful thing, and I thanked her, but I don't want to wear it.

I know this is not consistent. I'm not a vegan; I wear leather quite happily; I eat meat, though I avoid factory-farmed stuff when I can; but the idea of wearing fur squicks me out. I have heard grim things about the Russian fur industry, but haven't had the stomach to actually look into it. But the scarf sits there and looks at me, and putting it in the bin feels wrong too because then the rabbits would have Died In Vain. (I know, I know.)

I guess I'll just charity-shop it, but I find it odd that this particular thing seems so loaded for me and I don't seem to apply the same principle to all similar things. Is it just that I've been programmed by awareness campaigns about fur and they haven't had any about (eg) shoes? I'm curious as to how others feel about it. And does anyone else want the damn thing? (ETA: this is it. OK, you can see lots of wool in that picture, but wrapped around your neck it's all Tilda-Swinton-as-The-White-Witch.)
devi: (Default)
Thank you all for your kind comments on the last post. We're dashing off to look at flats in London now. Oof. I have been furiously throwing stuff out in an attempt to convince myself that there is order to the universe. And speaking of which: these are two hasty Flickr sets of stuff I'm selling or giving away - I'll add the details, prices and so on tonight.

Clothes. Mostly Monsoon-type things, nearly all size 14, and a lovely but weird coat which is the only designer thing I own but would be better on a taller person (I'm five feet). Some free, most a fiver, a couple (the jackets) eight quid. The white fluffy scarf has a story behind it which is funny and ethically thorny at the same time.

Books and music (some of them). Books range from free to three quid for the big hardbacks. CDs mostly free or a pound a pop.

If you think you might want any of this stuff, you're welcome to come and get it (this Sunday afternoon is the 'official' time, but other times good too) or just let me know and I'll work out the postage.

Right, off to the bus. It's a beautiful pearly morning. Time for the Lemmings voice: let's go!


Aug. 31st, 2010 12:16 pm
devi: (Default)
Dan's dad died on Saturday night.

cut for illness/bereavement talk )

He was a good man, decent and fair to the bone. He worked at the Hartwell garage for most of his life. He liked breeding chickens and fixing tractors. He was shy and jovial and had twinkly eyes and a fantastic shock of silver hair, and was constantly reading out little bits of newspaper the same way Dan is constantly reading out little bits of internet. He was, as far as I can tell, Dan's mum's only friend; Dan's really worried about her being lonely.

I don't really know what to say next. Everything is either too flippant or too dramatic in an inappropriate way. But I think Dan wanted his friends to know what's happening. He won't be at comics pub, but I'll see some of you later.

ETA: oh, you guys. Thank you all. I've pointed him at this post. x
devi: (Default)
Hi! Hello. How are you doing?

I’ve forgotten how to do this. I want to tell you how we’re getting on, but resist letting it turn into a massive, self-indulgent 4000-word epic like I’ve done in the past. There's a metric ton of backstory which isn’t all mine to tell in any case. Anyway:

The short version is that Dan and I are moving to London in mid-September, so I can start a part-time MA at Goldsmiths in October.

the long version )
Anyway, it’s happening, which means several things:

Housing in London: Partly because we haven’t known till quite recently if there’d be one or two of us, we haven’t got a place to live yet. We’ve been looking at flats on the web but it looks as if most estate agents require both of us to have full-time permanent jobs, and that's a bit difficult if you're moving to a new city (or temping or self-employed). What we’re thinking now is that we’d like to find a room in a house share somewhere for the fairly short term, like four or five months, till we’re more established and can get a place of our own. There are various ways to do this, but obviously it’d be brilliant if it was with friends or friends-of-friends. I realise we’re all older now and there isn’t the constant churn of house shares that there used to be, but just in case: if any of you know of someone looking to fill a double room in their house, please do let us know. We’re domesticated and good-humoured, our previous landlord will vouch for us, and I can provide a pile of tax returns and bank statements and such to demonstrate that I do actually make money (and most of my work will come with me to London; it’s location-independent).

Seeing people in Oxford: Time, as ever, has snuck up on me and I keep realising that I’m probably doing things for the last time as a resident of Oxford. Next Tuesday is quite likely the last time I’ll make it to comics pub. On Saturday we’ll be at Gappy Tooth Industries at the Wheatsheaf to see The Evenings reforming for one night only – if anyone’s in town over the weekend and fancies a gig, it’d be lovely to see you there. We’re talking about having a yard-sale/giveaway/excuse-for-a-get-together sort of thing in our house. (Edited to add: how does Sunday 5th September sound?) I did it when I left London and it was great fun, and a good excuse to have people round. And there should definitely be some sort of house-cooling. And hmmm, anyone for Scott Pilgrim some time in the near future?

I might just sell or give away all my CDs, actually. I never got that attached to them as physical objects. I’ve gone to the CD rack maybe twice in the last six months. Last time I did, the first thing my eye fell on was Dead Media by Hefner, which made me chuckle.** I kind of want to just throw almost everything in storage and stroll off whistling, maybe with my guitar on my back like a great big hippy. Stuff. Who needs it? Well, my computer is nice, I guess. I’ll keep that.

*Edited to add: Except [ profile] jackfirecat, who paid me promptly. Thank you very much, [ profile] jackfirecat.

**And isn't even mine, come to think of it.

O hai

Jun. 5th, 2010 02:37 pm
devi: (Default)
Er yes hello. Customise customise customise.

Is anyone there?
devi: (bookish)
Thank you all very much for your comments on my post about naming my freelance proofreading/editing website. It really helped clarify things for me. I think I'd got hung up on finding a memorable name and was stuck on "memorable = dramatic" (as [ profile] marnameow said, "Fire! Melt! Extreme!", which made me laugh). Drama was the wrong thing to convey. If I was sending my precious novel off to an editor, I wouldn't want to feel that it was going to be hacked about by a frustrated-artist drama-queen. A very important part of proofing and editing is being sensitive to the writer's style and not imposing your own on it. [ profile] venta made another piece fall into place for me with the words "brisk and businesslike".

So I took a completely different tack. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Friendly Pedant.

I've included the formatting/DTP kind of design in this site. The rest of my design - the stuff that warrants an artier approach - is going on a separate one. There'll be a copywriting page too when I've managed to dig out enough reviews of my writing.

Also: seriously, how much does Google Analytics rock? I can't stop refreshing it.

Edit: particularly interested in comments from people viewing it in Internet Explorer. I've used a bunch of online IE emulators on it, but I'm not very confident in what they've told me.
devi: (bookish)
Hello Livejournal - I know we haven't talked in a while (though I'm rubbing shoulders with many of you on Twitter and Facebook), but I am no longer capable of objectivity on this. As names for the website of a freelance proofreader/editor/occasional print designer, do any of these appeal to you? Or really not appeal? Boxes tickied are appreciated. Comments even more so.

[Poll #1540094]

The thinking behind each one... )

Edit: I am now being tempted by ''. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME

Music meme?

Jan. 3rd, 2010 02:46 pm
devi: (drink!)
I feel like doing a Decade In Music sort of write-up, but that seems a huge and daunting task. So instead, how about this?

Suggest a year of the 00s in comments, and I'll tell you the ten songs that defined that year for me, and why they were important. I'll include links where I can - to youtube videos or similar - so you can hear them yourselves, or at least to the lyrics if there are any. I'll try to resist choosing the coolest ones and stick to the ones that really meant something at the time (though I can't promise not to do that at all).

And I'd really like to see this turn into a meme, so if you comment saying you'd like to join in, I'll give you a year too. It doesn't have to be ten songs - that just seems right because it's an amount that will probably fit nicely on a CD, and then I can badger people to make them for me ;)
devi: (poi)
Hello again Livejournal! This is what all that what-are-you-thinking-about stuff earlier this year was in aid of:

I have an exhibition, starting on Sunday 4th October, in a vacant shop in Templars Square mall in East Oxford, along with 17 other local artists (that number keeps changing) as part of The Oxford Empty Spaces Project. It features the results of my livejournal survey turned into a big hanging structure made of string and wire, plus some more normal pieces of artwork hanging on the wall. All the details are here.

Come and see! Or come to the launch party on Saturday 10th! Party start time's not settled but there will definitely be one (the organisers are a bit Tony-Wilson-ish, all "no rules! whatever! do what you want!", so I have DECREED that there will be a launch party), perhaps moving on to the Marsh Harrier when the shopping centre closes.

I'll be invigilating at the exhibition quite a lot over its run - if you let me know you're coming, I can give you the guided tour.

Big thanks to everyone who contributed. And especially to [ profile] secretrebel, who put me in touch with the TOES people.

(Please excuse half-made state of website, obligatory art-wanky blurbage, and simultaneous LJ/facebook/twitter spamming. That's it for now.)

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