Thursday, February 20, 2014
Posted by discotheque confusion at 4:00 pm
Friday, February 14, 2014
If you're going to need some sort of musical acknowledgement of the fact that today is St Valentine's, then I guess we should just go for it.
I get it, we go through life with little musical clues just to remind us where we are. From the death-knell of the alarm clock in the morning to the sweet whispers of Bing and David and Wham! and Mariah come Christmas. And not forgetting Cliff Richard and Alice Cooper as you're dropkicking the doors of your school/workplace/airport shuttle bus open to the summer holidays.
Posted by discotheque confusion at 7:30 am
Thursday, February 13, 2014
You know the drill. It's that time of week when the clutter of 'recreational tabs' on my desktop has gone from looking inspired and endearing to plain unprofessional. Sort of like a laptop equivalent of a coffee ring slap-bang in the middle of a clean to-do list.
These are the things that have been in my head, in my tabs, in front of my eyes and in my mouth:
1) Have you seen a better photograph of Frida Kahlo (Yes? No? Maybe? It's cool; it's all subjective!) Either way, this is totally frameable. Go on, glue gun some cheap plastic flowers onto a frame and give it to yourself for Valentine's. You know it makes sense.
2) I found this HELLO keyring on the pavement while I was back in Bristol at Christmas.
3) Oklahoma is one of my favourite shop/cafes in Manchester. These are some of the staff showing some steadfast style. (Nabbed from their Facebook page)
4) Uh-oh, am I late on the Laure Provoust train? I know that sometimes doors may close up to 40 seconds before departure but if it's still okay I'd really like to board and talk about how I really appreciate this Turner Prize winning artist's own appreciation of bottom-shaped ceramics and hilarious wordplay. My local cinema are currently running a really great season of Artist Films in collaboration with the ICA and I went to the Laure Provoust afternoon a couple of Sundays ago and had a ball. It feels like it's been a while since I came across an artist with a good sense of humour; or at least an artist who incorporates their humour into their work. If you click right here you can make a note of the names of Provoust's short films and seek them out yourself. I recommend it if, like me, you entertain the idea of one day maybe making videos or getting paid to project things onto walls.
5) This is a pile of food I consumed a couple of weeks ago. Sometimes you go around to a friends place for dinner and they suggest making something you would never think to make yourself. Ham and Eggs. The boys put a gammon in the oven and then popped to the chipshop down the road for the best kind of potato accompaniment. It was simple and sublime. To top things off, sitting underneath the pile of goodness and painted onto the plate was the face of Pope John Paul II.
6) This weekend I visited my friend Lily in St Andrews and made her show me the ship-like Andrew Melville halls, where she lived when she was first at the University, because I'm always down for eye-humping some pretty/ugly brutalist buildings.
Posted by discotheque confusion at 12:20 am
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Blogging has changed a lot since I started in 2006; there used to be a lot more in the way of conversation between the readers and writers of and that's something that doesn't happen as much anymore. I'm just the same, where I used to leave comments regularly on my favourite blogs my consumption habits have now changed. Mostly I'll just scroll, read and then hop off and do something else. Sometimes I'll tweet the author if it's a post I particularly enjoyed, or share it, but having a little more in the way of conversation after my last post was lovely and makes me realise that there is still a community of really cool people out there. Of course I knew there was all along but it's like we all sort of came out of our bedrooms and waved at each other. I find it refreshing especially at a time when my own interest in 'traditional' fashion blogs has diminished and I'm into reading blogs that feels a little meatier, (able to ride through online fads) and which encourage a conversation. I've certainly had up and down periods with this blog, posting less frequently and sometimes feeling uninspired. I think this is pretty natural given that I started writing it when I was 15 (I'm now 22) but I'm glad that I kept going past the moments that I considered stopping and have managed to transition into another direction and that lots of the cool, inspiring people who have been in contact over the years seem to still be kicking about and reading. So once again, thank you for the kind words and I'll be back with an update soon.
FYI: The photograph is by Philip-Lorca DiCorcia who has an exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield opening at the weekend. I've been browsing through this back catalogue online, but that's not the same as gawping at it right up close, and so a daytrip is in order.
Posted by discotheque confusion at 1:43 pm
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Each year as Valentine's Day edges closer my brain starts to make little anti-valentines lists. How to continue my own tradition of eye-rolling at February 14th in a humorous and simultaneously uplifting way? Which songs could be compiled together into a playlist to best celebrate romance as it actually is? Agonising, awesome, boring, overrated, solitary, 'melt'-inducing, shouty? In previous years I've spoken about the time I went to an alternative Valentine's short film screening with my Mum (in which one of the films turned its attention to incestuous romance) and the inappropriate homemade cards I sent in the internal Valentines postbox in Year 11.
This year I want to write about what romance is to me. Because I'm not anti-Valentine's, and I'm certainly not anti-relationship, but I'm in favour of a Valentine's that celebrates the breadth of romance; the romance that ranges from belly-flutters that you share with people you fancy, to the romance of friendship, and perhaps most importantly (because it's the sort that gets overlooked a lot); the romance of solitude.
This year I'm thinking about sending my 13 year old sister a Valentine's card, because it would be a nice thing to do. But a part of me also wants to write a message in there, that accidentally overdoses on earnestness by telling her "Hey, please ignore this card! I'm telling you that I love you but don't think that if I didn't send it you would be any less loved. Equally, don't let this legitimise you in the eyes of your 13 year old girlfriends, because St Valentine's...whatever" But I also realise this would be sort of like placing a sack of coal under the Christmas tree to warn youngsters of future disappointment and the commercialisation of December. Sometimes you just have to play along.
So once again, I will play along with Valentine's Day, just on my own terms, and that is by writing a lengthly post about romance and what it means to me. I am somebody who is always, mostly single. And because I've always enjoyed my own company, being single is generally my preferred default setting. I often fancy about six people at a time; maybe a bartender or an acquaintance or Cillian Murphy in Broken. Sometimes, like many people I go to bed at night and think, "It would be nice if there was somebody here to lie next to and give a dead arm in the small hours" But mostly I'm really happy to do my own thing. I love getting up on a Saturday morning before anyone else and eating scrambled eggs and hot sauce and reading the papers. I like being able to walk past the cinema on the way back home from work and decide to duck in and watch a film. I enjoy getting into my pyjamas early and reading in bed until I fancy turning the light off.
Last year I read this 'Ask Polly' column which now permanently inhabits a small corner of my brain because it celebrates all of the things that are really great about being single; it celebrates the romance of being alone. Sometimes being alone is crap; but that's the same whether or not you're in a relationship. But being alone and relishing it is one of life's greatest gifts. I loved Polly's response to a perpetual singleton:
"When you're older, you look back on the most "romantic" times in your life—falling in love with this or that dipshit—and they don't seem that romantic at all. But the times when you were single? Those were the truly romantic times! Not when you flirted with this or that stranger or put something in your mouth that didn't belong there. No. When you painted the dining room in your rented apartment that excellent turquoise shade, or when you spent all weekend reading Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose just because you felt like it, or when you threw a dinner party and invited 10 people who didn't know each other and made lasagna that was delicious and everyone got drunk and played the version of Celebrity where you use less and less words, and your friend Steve pantomiming Dodi Fayed has been emblazoned on your brain ever since."
In honour of February the 14th I want to honour romance in all guises, from the platonic to the sexy with some of my own recent memories, interspersed with the songs that celebrate the Great Variety:
1. My first ever backie from a boy. Diwali, November 2010.
My first ever backie, at the late age of nineteen. It's nighttime and I'm whizzing down the Curry Mile in Manchester, nipping in and out of cars, past the woman who plays the accordion, the smell of charcoal grills smacking me in the face and I'm thinking "Jesus, this is fun" which was just as well because I was also considering "I could die any minute now." I'm sitting on the bike seat, holding onto his hips as he peddles, suspended in mid-air. I'm wearing a leather skirt which has riden up around my waist, and I keep sliding off the seat and I know that the drivers behind have a pretty good view of my tights-as-trousers look but it's exhilarating and I'm in my first year of university and the boy I fancy is giving me a backie and we're on our way to meet new friends at the Diwali celebrations in Platt Fields Park.
At the end of the month me and this guys will start going out and there will be a few more nice romantic moments but mostly it will be four months of moody passive-aggressive silences over breakfast and an uncomfortable meeting of his parents. The backie down The Curry Mile will remain in my memory as the lovely pre-cursor to it all, at a time when the newness of university, the city and the beginnings of friendships was at the centre of everything.
2. A lazy solo Saturday, Autumn 2012.
I'm now in my third year of university. It's a Saturday night and I've just finished dinner at my friends' flat above a bar in Withington, Manchester. The amount of meals we've cooked together have mostly merged together; this could have been any number of things, maybe a sweet potato curry or a mean chicken pie eaten at the big wooden table which has Queens Park Rangers carved into it by a previous tenant. There is talk of going to the pub but I feel like heading home to watch a film. I pass the cornershop to buy an incredibly indulgent tub of ice cream. I bump into Jim and his really good looking friend who has just moved here from Australia and decline their offer to join them at the pub. I pile into bed, crack open the tub, watch The Last Days of Disco, love it to the core and spend the rest of the week listening to Dolce Vita by Ryan Paris.
Are my 'romantic moments' the ones that involve me enjoying an easy view from the backseat while somebody else drives? Either way, I'm in the backseat. Driving along Route 1 in California. There are jumpers and pillows in the footwells and a pile of sweating avocados and strawberries and Sierra Nevada and Hoegaarden which we picked up on a bountiful pit-stop. Whilst there we shared a crab sandwich and oysters and tried samples of herb-infused honeys; as ever it all about the food. So it's me in the back of a teal Toyota named 'Shandy', with a hulk of gourmet aphrodisiacs at my side. Jim is driving, Charlie has her feet up on the dashboard. It goes without saying that windows are down, hair is flying, the Pacific is right there, look at it and we're alternating between Burt Bacharach, The Velvet Underground and Black Moon. I am a smug person personified, in love with my friends and the view, with my cynicism waiting for me back in England. We camp the night in Pfeiffer National Park and the next day we take acid (my first time) and hang out, playing in the meadows and running on the beach (and I shit you not, playing Pink Floyd from a set of speakers attached to a rucksack- who do we think we are?) We wade through shallow streams feeling hazy and Charlie keeps wanting to stop to rub the sand out of her toes. Occasionally we return to reality, bumping into All-American families on the trails and getting the giggles when we meet their silent expressions, knowing what we must look like to them. I've fashioned a pair of bunny ears out of a wire headband.
4. The Lady With The Braid by Dory Previn.
Oh, this song, everything about this song. Dory Previn invites her manfriend to stay the night; no, pressure, but it's a long drive and you should stay, and oh, by the way, I papered that wall myself. And I sleep with the window open, is that okay? This is my kind of love song.
5. Being told something nice by somebody who meant it. April 2013.
The steaks we ordered were disappointing but the rest of the evening with my Dad was brilliant; one of those nights we have once a year when we both drink lots of wine and have fulfilling conversation and tell each other dark jokes which toe the line and then sprint beyond it and my cheeks feel nice and hot by the end of the night. My Dad pays the bill and heads back to his hotel and with the right amount of wine in my belly I decide to join two of my guy friends in town; we go to see Mr Scruff at Band on the Wall and we dance and dance and dance. I'm still wearing the same clothes I've been wearing all day, sweat rings appearing on cotton, but it's okay. The crowd at Band on The Wall is always good; a mix of students and flashes of wedding rings; couples who have paid for a babysitter and are having a bloody good time together. Nobody is looking around to pounce on a potential stranger, we're all just dancing and doing our own thing. My two friends are perfect dancing companions; our rounds consist of sharing one can between us at a time. Later on, the right one leans over, somewhat intoxicated but not too much, and tells me how sexy I look. It's not sleazy, he's just telling me how sexy I look dancing; and do you know how good that feels? To be told that you look nice when you're completely in your element and not thinking about looking attractive? I do now, and those few words were all it took to undo the hangups and damage done by the passive aggressive breakfasts that summarised my only real relationship. We continued dancing, to this among other things:
6. Dancing in my living room, last week.
My housemates are all out. Working in bars and restaurants on a Saturday night, schedules stubbornly clashing with my 9-5. I'm cooking, slicing piles amounts of red cabbage, sloshing them with vinegar. Steamy broccoli fried with garlic is cooling on the side. Bulk lunchbox preparation for my meals in the week ahead. I'm working my way through the Arcade Fire back catalogue and throw myself into dancing enthusiastic and alone in the living room, turning the music up louder like a teenager but without parents to shout from the other room. Maybe dancing without any care (even the concern that someone might actually walk in at any moment) is better after last April. I get particularly sweaty and head-bangy to Empty Room, consider it an anthem to fine, fine, solitude and then wonder if I could just dance like this 5x a week to hit my exercise quota.
Posted by discotheque confusion at 1:19 am
Saturday, January 11, 2014
And the view from here. I'm in my kitchen in Manchester, where I've spent much of today reading the papers, browsing the internet, cooking (potato salad, red cabbage slaw and broccolli and chickpea salad) and summoning blog-spiration, which happened when Emily's recommendation landed in my inbox. David Bowie is streaming through Spotify- I've listened to Ziggy Stardust, Let's Dance and Young Americans in full. I started off drinking coffee, then onto rooibos, and now a vodka tonic is at my elbow, squatly in the glass which is packed to the rafters with lime, mint and ice.
Posted by discotheque confusion at 11:42 pm
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Hey! Ready for another slice of nonchalant gift-guiding? It's six days until Christmas. But it's okay, it's okay. Shhh-sh. You don't need to be one of those people that go out on a sweat-filled panic-buy in their lunchbreak. Just buy cinnamon mint toothpaste and city cycling guides and 'badass bitch brooches' online for your loved ones and they'll arrive just in time. Easy.
And if you're somebody that doesn't celebrate 'Christmas' in the christian sense you should just buy yourself a copy of Total Exposure by Las Kellies anyway because it's a pretty good album and you can blast it at home while you potter about doing things that don't involve trying to remember what your distant uncle does for a living.
Posted by discotheque confusion at 3:40 pm
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Posted by discotheque confusion at 11:11 pm
Friday, December 13, 2013
Hello Weekend, you old chestnut. It's come around quickly once again, hasn't it? This week I've been enjoying reading A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf. I've been coming to terms with not having a mobile phone (what- no instagram?!) after having mine stolen last week. Clue: oddly liberating. I've been eating homemade lentil, red cabbage, kale and bacon soup at lunchtimes and working my way through the Piccadilly Records Top 100 playlist, which is stellar.
Now I'll do that thing when I finally tackle the overzealous collection of tabs cluttering my screen and compile them into a snazzy moodboard. Have a wonderful weekend, all.
Hand-rolled cigarette russes with sparkling neon sprinkles- are these not the kittens of the baking world? So small, so pretty, so coo-inducing. I haven't baked for blooming ages (I get more out of cooking these days but that's also because this usually happens when I go down the sweet route..) but these, nestled in a pretty tissue-papered box would a brilliant Christmas present make. Via Smitten Kitchen (you know the drill- only click on that link if you have a full stomach and a spare hour)
Cocktail Boyfriend Jeans The other day my colleague Polly asked "If you could take up a whole new look without any judgement from the outside world, how would you dress?" We pondered everything from promiscuous thigh-high boots to 1920s flappers dresses. Now that I've had the time to reflect I'm kicking myself- of course it would be 'Miami Beach Divorcee', no questions asked. All manicured nails and tassles and big sunglasses and cocktail print flares. House of Holland understands this quasi-trashy aesthetic which my brain likes to revisit. Woah mama.
Like many people, before the obligation of regular homework and the distraction of The Sims and MSN and MySpace I used to spend all my time drawing. I'd draw babies, teenagers, families, groups of best friends; experimenting with how realistic or cartoonish I could make the eyes and realising the more varied a group of people was in size and shape, the most interesting they were. I'd write little bios next to these imagined people and then create stories about them. 'Erin, 14, best friends with Claire, supports Liverpool FC, favourite colour; yellow, likes to eat pasta and hang out with her sisters.' I can't remember how long I did this for but I'm fairly sure it was a matter of years, stopping around the time I went to secondary school. One of the best things about this pastime was that I was completely unselfconscious about having a pen in my hand. now whenever I draw I'm often pausing to decide if it looks 'good'. Later on at A-Level I studied graphic art and got the same pleasure from redesigning the album art for a Beirut album, scanning the insides of envelopes and photographs of my Mum as a teenager, ripping pages from National Geographic and bringing everything together on photoshop. I miss spending so much time cutting and sticking and making but most of all I miss feeling unselfconscious. I'm trying to be better at leaving my laptop at work in the evenings to allow myself time to revisit my pens in the evening. A spate of illustrators websites have been sitting in my tabs recently which has only increased the urge. In particular I've been enjoying Sam Brewster's drawings, which remind me of 1950s children's books and old matchbox illustrations.
YMC brushed wool jumper Goes together with Christmas evening like turkey and cranberry sauce.
Igor Termenon has his fingers in lots of pies. He's the editor of photography zines Girls on Film and Boys on Film and is part of the team behind Future Positive. I've been enjoying going through his personal site, in particular his photographs of Glasgow. For me, Glasgow is the mistress. If I was to leave Manchester for anywhere else in the UK, it would be Glasgow, and Termenon reaffirms why.
Posted by discotheque confusion at 1:17 pm
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Posted by discotheque confusion at 3:23 pm