I had no idea Bristol was so cool! Do you ever play that ‘I could live here’ game when you’re on holiday? I was walking around gawping at all the incredible street art, soaking up the cool vibe and constantly thinking ‘this city has everything I need to live well’. Everyone I spoke to was so friendly and happy to help point me in the right direction, be it for great coffee, good food, cool local music tips or the more touristic spots to check out.
Also, because we (7 friends and I) were there for the Dutty Moonshine Big Band album launch we were treated to some epic music both at the gig and at the after party where Slamboree and Dutty crews joined acts and Tore. It. Up! – it was an honor to attend; most memorable after-party ever. Slamboree are on tour at the moment, we came straight home and got tickets for their London gig at XOYO. Crazy talented. The Bristol music scene is legendary, sadly I’m only just fully appreciating this as I say goodbye to the UK.
As this was a fleeting weekend visit, the short time I had in Bristol was spent in the central city area so the pictures here are Street-Art-centric, but there is so much to see and do I think you could easily spend a week…or a lifetime there.
It’s been a long while since I’ve posted anything – I fell down a rabbit hole and have only just found the way out.
Depression – well there’s a life lesson. Turns out that going through a shitty redundancy situation where I got utterly shafted, coupled with an ailing parent and selling your flat to a fussy lawyer, on top of a long goodbye to London and my friends is a lot to handle and can lead to marriage troubles.
Managed to mend the marriage and the rest is now falling in to place but it sure aint been easy. I felt so alone, like I was trapped and smothered, like I was wearing blinkers and all I could see was this swirling overwhelming vortex of all the shit that I couldn’t handle – it choked me, I couldn’t bring myself ask for help and quietly drowned behind a brave face, not admitting to the tears that filled most of my alone time.
It was a friend in need that helped me. She was enlightened enough to reach out at a particularly traumatic time and say she really wasn’t ok. Lightbulb moment. So I spoke with her about my fragility and it helped – it didn’t take much, just someone saying they understand, and it’s ok. Suddenly I wasn’t alone, there was space to breathe and I could do something other than dwell on the negative.
It’s weird, there are people all around that love and care for me but I still couldn’t see the wood for the trees. Normally I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky person, I totally look for the silver linings in life, so the occasional dark patches (the last were post miscarriages and failed IVF) hit hard, I don’t know I’m out of my depth until I’m in over my head.
I write this, not as a cry for help (I’m all good now) but to highlight the value of reaching out, of finding someone to talk to. Depression is alienating, it is temporary but all-consuming and it could easily destroy you if you let it. Choose life. Choose to love yourself enough to get the help you need. We’re all different, what worked for me might not work for someone else but we are all worth the effort it takes to find a way through.
Hit a rough patch? try mind.org for advice on mental health.
Songs for me are like diary entries they capture snapshots of life’s moments – they may not always be autobiographical sometimes they simply sum up thought’s or emotions that were being processed at the time.
Musically my life is a work in progress, I’m going through a phase of redefinition with my style and sound but I came across some older tracks recently and think they stand the test of time…that could be Dan’s double bass – who doesn’t love a bit of double bass:-)
RIP Dan, you were the bestest most badass bass-man I’ve ever know and a true friend, you will always be missed.
This post has been a long time coming, I wrote it up a couple of weeks back then ‘computer said no’ boom, crash, oops I forgot to save it, soooo here we go again….
Beatherder Festival is like visiting a warm, friendly entirely dysfunctional family; loads of people you meet go back year after year, because once you’ve dipped in your toes to test the waters and found it ‘just right’ why wouldn’t you want to bath in it’s charm again and again….and one more time just for luck?
I read somewhere that it’s child-friendly and there were a few broad minded parents with young kids trundling around. After the sights they see there I reckon those kids will turn out one of two ways (1) the next wave of music appreciating ‘addled’ fuck-ups (or 2) religious evangelists saving the world from depravity one sermon at a time.
Saturday is dress up day which adds another fun level to the crazy, though a lot of people stay dressed up for the entire weekend – that’s how I like to roll, way more fun!
Making the leap from a 200,000 people-monster of a festival like Glastonbury to 10,000 people at Beatherder (just 3 weeks later) was a bit of an adjustment. That said, the great thing about Beatherder is its size, everything is wonderfully close, you can flit between stages with ease, not to mention zip back to the tent if you want to grab another layer of clothing in the evening.
I arrived around 7.00pm after working a half day on Friday then jumping on a train, which was a seamlessly easy way to get there from London, especially as Jetman had driven up with all our gear and a couple of friends, so when I swanned in they were just sitting down to a well-deserved cider, before we glittered-up and headed in to the festival.
I now realise that arriving early to a festival, ideally the day before sits better with me, I need time to tune in to the vibe, it felt pretty jarring at first and after a 6.00am start for work and all the travel, despite my best efforts, by midnight I was cream crackered and skulked off back to the tent a little shame faced.
Personally, I think the only way to do Beatherder it to Glamp it. Last time I was there I did general camping and it was fine, apart from the tents of young cainers nearby that were up all night every night shout-talking utter bollocks….and the porter loos were a bit of a walk away.
Glamping on the other hand – you turn up, your tent is pitched, it comes complete with airbed, sheets, pillow and duvet, carpet, fairy lights inside and bunting on the outside; ours overlooked beautiful rolling hills and gave great sunsets. I never festival without my fluffy leopard print blanket and used it as a bottom sheet this time which is so cosy to come back to in the damp chill of the evenings. As well as that there were showers with individual changing rooms, a communal dressing yurt with mirrors and electric sockets for hairdryers and such and proper flushing toilets nearby that you rarely had to queue for, which had plenty of loo paper and sinks with running water and soap. It’s the little comforts in life that make all the difference at festivals!
If I’m completely honest, there seemed to be more young fuckwits there this time, usually they’re corralled into the hard-core trance dance tents but I noticed a bit more aggressive yehaa than before. Thankfully we saw plenty more lovely and beautifully-bonkers people to balance things out, so don’t let that put you off, just beware that there is a small element of that there.
Beatherder is not a festival for foodies – you can find enough sustenance but generally it’s pizza/ burger/ fried. My favourite place for breakfast was Smokey Tentacles in the more quiet shopping area – among other things they do a gorgeous breakfast wrap of quality bacon, caramelised onion chutney, omelette, spinach and mushrooms – even now just thinking about it makes me salivate.
Fret not though, for every yin there is a yang, the food may be considered a bit shit (depending on your level of expectation) but booze is real cheap, the bars plentiful and the queues minimal. hurrah!
Beatherder caters to most dance music tastes, yes it’s a fairly young crowd but there are loads of 30 – 45 year olds (and over) busting their moves; one of the big draw cards (musically) for me was Dutty Moonshine, who did both a dj set and a set with his big band. I’m such a fan – think deep badass ‘can help but shake what ya mama gave ya!’ bass with electro swing overtures, then his big band throws in a full brass section, two singer/ rappers, a cellist, piano, beats, drums and Dutty himself. Anyhoo, don’t just take my word for it, check em out – no matter what your musical preferences, I think this kind of quality shines for all to appreciate.
I also fangirled all over Madam Electrifie (quite literally – we met outside some portaloos, not my coolest moment) she’s kinda under the electro swing umbrella too, never entirely know what you’re gonna get but you can be assured that you’ll have no choice but to get-down to it. I love her mixing style, in this age of computers and digital mixing it’s the skill of layering tracks to tell different story’s that I really admire. I love seeing woman dj’s throw down, she brings tough, sassy, sexy and whole heaping of hell-yeah! to the party
We saw loads of great music throughout the weekend, though worth a special mention were the Faithless DJ set, Dub Pistols, Oh My God it’s the Church! and Kelis – her recent work is surprisingly danceable and when she broke in to the Milkshake song….well, just watch the video – priceless.
So that’s a brief overview of the Beatherder festival – if you’re in to dance music, happy people, glitter, fun, a fab atmosphere and not too much walking between stages then this is a great one to check out. My friends go on pilgrimage there every year. Mum, if you’re reading this – it’s because they’re totally religious and terribly upright citizens;-).
After all the fun festivals and whatnot we’ve been up to this summer, a weekend at home with nothing planned is a wondrous thing.
This weekend was dedicated to music. The Jetman and I have been much inspired by the Dutty Moonshine and Madam Electrifie sets we caught at Beatherder, so Jetman had a go at an Electro Swing/ Deep bass track…. and it’s flipping awesome! I put my two pennies worth in on Sunday adding lyrics and vocals. It’s now a song about encouraging street artists to be more considered with their art and anarchy – I’m opposed to names squiggled on walls but passionate about thought and emotion provoking street art. Art like music is hard to wax lyrical about without sounding like a wanker but I think we got the tone right, time will tell.
As well as that I bashed out a quick and dirty duet with Billy Holiday:-). Found a fab remix of Summertime by Organica which is one of my all-time favorite songs, so I had to have a bit of a sing along – it evolved in to a video of the live recording.
Can’t say I’m comfortable with seeing myself on video but have a strange need to desensitize myself to the process. I’m quite sure there will be people who say ‘who does she think she is?’ or they wont like what I’m doing (Mum thanks for the constructive criticism) but inclinations towards certain aesthetics and musical taste are all about personal preference and there is someone out there who’ll get it…..hopefully.
This is a journey and I’m on the 1st steps, I totally get that there’s plenty of room for improvement but ya gotta start somewhere!
So here’s the Sunday Session recording – it sounds better with headphones and it’s a slow builder of a track. If you have any questions about the recording process message me?
I do this for the love, no money has been offered and no bribes given for a favorable review. All opinions are my own, if you don’t like them, that’s OK, crack on and have a lovely life.
I don’t dispute that sponsored posts may be offered at some point in the future but I will be totally upfront about it and honest in my findings.
All pictures are my own unless otherwise stated.
Nuff said….for now.