Category: Music

Weekend Links

“… millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.” 
― Susan Ertz

It’s springtime in London this week, meaning it’s a bit warmer while still very gray and rainy. However, the daffodils are out, and sunlight hangs around until after we typically leave work so all things considered, this is a solid improvement over late season snow storms!

It’s an extra short post for you this weekend, kittens, but an extra juicy bunch of links to make up for it. Come avoid the Sunday Scaries with me with some longform writing and pop culture conversation. The news has been wacky again this week, but I’m determined to stay chipper…if snarky.

Well this is…bloody heartbreaking

I wish I didn’t have expensive taste. But I do. And I love and covet this blazer.

I find Ann Coulter a deeply problematic person and agree with her on approximately zero issues. But this interview with the New York Times is interesting to consider as we are no about half a year away from mid-term elections, because I don’t think she’s necessarily wrong about Trump voters.

Ambassadors share their recommended reads before you visit their countries.

Objectively scary.

A great and hilarious read on the epitome of hashtag GOALS, Eleanor of Aquitaine.

This Bustle post on the modern working woman and motherhood choices doesn’t cover tons of new ground, but this passage struck me: “As women continue to ponder the question of whether or not to have kids, they know the clock is running out — and they also know that the system is not going to change before their childbearing window closes.” I don’t want to try for kids for a few years more yet, but I’ve written before of the financial pitfalls having a child in London set us up for. And I’m keenly aware that even in a country with a significantly more progressive stance on maternity leave than my own, my career is such that if I paused it for up to a year to give birth parent a baby, that is a year that I will not get back professionally speaking. It would be a lie to say I don’t think about this a lot.

What do the aid epidemic, the Mueller investigation, science fiction, and the problem of anxiety have in common? I’ve discovered this podcast and if you are interested in an amazingly intelligent conversation about The Way We Live Now, seen through the lens of culture and cultural pieces, check out the March 29th episode pronto.

And if you’re in a podcasting mood, this interview with Mark Zuckerburg at Vox is a timely one given our current cultural dialog about human attention as a product, what can or should be regulated in the information age, and what makes a business ethical. Editor Ezra Klein asks a lot of pointed and intelligent question, and whatever your opinion is of Facebook these days (I’m not too positive), it’s interesting to hear from the CEO directly rather than just via talking heads. There’s an interesting point towards the end at how Silicon Valley is essentially techno-optimist and Facebook frankly didn’t consider at the outset the dark side of the idea that “anything is possible.”

Relevant to this, is a piece over at WIRED detailing the long history of Mark Zuckerburg apologizing for the “mistakes” of his company and the author calls bullshit. “There are very few other contexts in which a person would be be allowed to make a series of decisions that have obviously enriched them while eroding the privacy and well-being of billions of people; to make basically the same apology for those decisions countless times over the space of just 14 years; and then to profess innocence, idealism, and complete independence from the obvious structural incentives that have shaped the whole process. ”

I feel a sudden, overwhelming need to own a small house donkey.

Well hey, we’ve now come full circle to Mexican rapists as threat device. This man does not have very many ideas to begin with and has exhausted them, all he has is conspiracy theories and stunts. It’s all he’s ever had.

And the Darwin award for the week goes to

This story is wild.

Well this list is certainly instructive!

Molly Ringwald wrote a very good piece for The New Yorker about questioning the media she helped to make (which was genuinely groundbreaking) and where cultural conversations about young people and young women need to go.


Daughter Concert

“For those of you in the cheap seats I’d like ya to clap your hands to this one; the rest of you can just rattle your jewelry!”
― John Lennon

Confession time, we have not been taking appropriate advantage of London in the summer and we need to rectify this immediately. Working from home obviously contributes to the problem, as does the fact that my clients are several timezones behind me and I often have to be at least partially available during hours that most people spend frolicking. Jeff also has a lot of studying to do for the ever present reality of tests, and weekends are largely devoted to the necessary errand running that we haven’t been able to do during the week.

But it’s summer. In London. We need to be outside absorbing as much Vitamin D as humanely and safely possible because the cold, dark days will arrive much sooner than we all probably realize. To that end, we’ve started making an effort to track down as many outdoor adventures as possible, while varying up the routine a bit.

If I’m a theatre girl, Jeff is the resident music guy. When we were deciding what to do for our anniversary this year (travel being out of the budget for a while to go, alas), I picked the midnight matinee at The Globe and he wanted a concert and found a great one.

Somerset House, on the banks of the Thames, has a long history. The site has been home to a Tudor palace, a residence for members of the Royal family and their entourage, and apparently later a barracks. It was demolished and rebuilt in the neoclassical style and has moved over time to house various arts and learning societies and is a popular venue for performances. Particularly in, hey! Summertime! We first heard about the band Daughter on NPR and Jeff snapped up tickets as soon as he found out they were going to be performing.
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Not bad, venue.
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Drinks boys circulated the crowd with these signs and easy-to-spot flags that I probably found entirely too funny, but that I clearly had to document.
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No makeup and summer allergies, but pretty happy to be here!

The opening act was D.D Dumbo, an Australian artist who builds his songs while you listen (see more here, thanks again to NPR’s music reporting).

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A disproportionate amount of my music is tragic or vengeful, the blues feature heavily, so make of that what you will. Daughter makes music that is gorgeously sad and depressing, and the lead singer Elena Tonra has a perfectly haunting voice so she’s right up my street. The band is still learning how to tour and their stage presence could use some work, but the music is the slow, quiet kind that gets its claws into you.

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Just as pretty in the dark. Hopefully there can be more concerts in our future, as this has only been my third ever. My second, incidentally, was my first date with Jeff, so things are working out pretty well so far.

Sing, Choirs of Angels!

“Christmas is more than a time of carols, cards and candy; it is a season of dedication and decision.”
– William Arthur Ward

If you were to open my Christmas Music folder in iTunes, a quick scroll downward would tell you something else about my holiday tastes: apart from being a “purist” I’m also a traditionalist.

You won’t find Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, Let it Snow, or White Christmas.

What you will find is The Cambridge Singers, Hereford Cathedral Choir, and a smattering of various monastery choirs.

You will hear Good King Wenceslas, The Cherry Tree Carol, Adeste Fideles, quite a bit of Handel, Angels We Have Heard on High, Quem Pastores Laudevere, and my very favorite The Sussex Carol.

Mum and used to sing Fum Fum Fum, while baking Christmas treats.  The whole clan, if in a silly mood, could try the Hallelujah Chorus, blissfully murdering time and tune.

Like so many other good things, though, even Christmas songs can’t be taken too seriously.  Because, traditionalist I may be, but dour faced pillar of tradition I am not!

If A Equals B, and B Equals C, Then A Equals Muffin

“Fastidious taste makes enjoyment a struggle.”
– Mason Cooley

The science of Recommendations seems, to me, to be very imprecise.

Pandora, set to my station of summery, party, of-no-artistic-value-whatsoever music, was feeding me a lively stream of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Ke$ha, and other culturally reprehensible choices.  And then suddenly, out of no where, an unmistakable disco beat.  And then, “Ah, ah ah, ah, stayin’ alive!  Stayin’ alive!”  Who ordered the Bee Gees?

Then later on, Small Dog’s personal crack, I was casually leafing through their recommendations for me.  They defy logic.  Wondering what had possessed it to recommend Conan the Barbarian I clicked on it to see why.  Answer: because I once ordered  Planet Earth.