Music

How to’s, gigs, songs what I wrote

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.

Laters navigators. x

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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.

Laters navigators x

 

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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;-).

Laters navigators. x

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Glastonbury,  the largest all-field festival in the world – for me it was like falling through the rabbit hole and finding a whole new existence, one where you’re free to be whoever you choose.

I used to be one of the smug ones; I would watch Glasto on those muddy years sipping a chilled glass of white wine on my sofa, safe in the knowledge that the loo down the hall was clean and there was no queue.  Then there were the good years and I’d think ‘wow that looks amazing… but I’m too much of a princess to handle the crowds and the camping.’

Well I’m now back from my 1st Glastonbury Music and Contemporary Arts festival and my mind was officially blown.   I needed a week to ‘process’ and physically recover from the late nights and the um partying but I am a convert, on the band wagon and blowing the Glasto trumpet!

My friends had tried to tell me how cool it was but there really aren’t words to describe the amazing atmosphere and the magic of the place.

Even without the incredible range of music and the fact that all the bands and artists that play there bring their A-game, everywhere you look is eye-candied wonderment.  You could happily wander around, not see any music and still have a great time.

The crowds are alive with glittering festival wear, it’s like a human bizarre of every colour, creed, age and musical taste.   Being united with that mass as one of your favourite bands or DJ’s is throwing down, kicking off and exploding all over the place – well, it’s like your heart is bursting (in a good way) it’s face splitting smiles, unabashed whoops, jumping, dancing and punching the sky.  It’s the very best sort of madness and I got to share it with some of my oldest and dearest friends, along with so many new people I met along the way.

You could argue that most music festivals encourage a certain kind of abandon and to some extent that is indeed correct but I’ve been to a lot of festivals and it is true what they say “there is nothing like Glastonbury”  its uniqueness is tied to the setting and amplified by thoughtful design which adds to the heart and soul of the place.  If you give Glastonbury your all, you will be rewarded with the best time of your life, you will be challenged and you will be changed in a positive way.  Well, that’s been my experience anyway.

We got there on Wednesday, not because we had to rush in to get a good camping spot (oh no – we glamped the shit outta Glasto) but because as it was our 1st time we wanted to have a spell for it all to sink in.  I honestly think arriving on Friday would have been too overwhelming for me.  It took me a couple of days to just get around the whole festival and begin to make sense of the map.

Going in we had a strategy – the plan was to start slow and have a couple of reasonably early nights then build to a peak on Saturday and chill on Sunday – unfortunately the line-up had other ideas for us, so while we did manage to get those first two days right, I got home at 4.00am on Friday and 6.00am on Saturday and Sunday.  It was Epic.

For me Glastonbury was a series of personal journeys.  It shook me out of my comfort-zone, made me open up to new people, made me get over the need for daily showers (there is no way I need a shower enough to queue for an hour or two in the heat with fuck all sleep and a hangover) and it got me over my princess-like toilet requirements.  I am now down with the squat over a longdrop technique and the portaloo hover method.

Glastonbury made me appreciate my life more and it made me feel more connected, to my husband and the friends that went on the journey with me, to hopes and dreams and in a sense to the wider populace (but that could’ve been the Jeremy Corban speech); it also tested my stamina and I’m proud to say that I exceeded my own expectations!

When I started my blog, I knew this year would be a transformative one but now I am beginning to feel it, there is a hard but brittle protection I encase myself in which feels more pliant and loose, like I can breathe a bit easier and am more the self I want to be.  Who knows what another two music festivals, a road trip in Italy, a road trip in Iceland and 2 months travelling in Asia will do to round that off but I am sure as hell eager to find out.

I’m going to post this now, have been dipping in and out of writing it for a couple of weeks; there is so much more to say but I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking and if you have any questions drop me line.

Laters navigators. x

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Sometimes you need to remind yourself that you’re a singer and actually put something out there.

Hi everyone, so Ive just come back from a lovely couple of days visiting friends in the country. Last night we were having a ‘karaoke moment’ (don’t judge:-) and came across this Melanie Martinez version of Britney Spear’s Toxic. It’s my first ever You Tube video and this is just the 2nd take, so please be kind or kindly constructive?

I do recognise there I way too much nostril for comfort:-) but I kinda felt that I needed to get this song sung, get over my 1st time nerves and upload it before I lost my nerve.

Recorded my masterpiece *cough* on an iPhone that was resting against the computer (showing a karaoke website) with sound played through the monitor speakers – budget in a gadgety kinda way.  I know – totally selling it right?  You might prefer to listen with the screen blank?  Just saying.

Enjoy!
Laters Navigators x

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