Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Heading off...

I was trawling through old videos on my computer this afternoon and came across a picture-compilation I made after my last big trip to the States. It's basically just everything I shot whilst there, drenched in sepia and in sequence to some music but it's a great reminder of the excitement I experienced during the whole time away.

In six days I'm going to be embarking on a trip abroad for the first time on my lonesome and I'll be endeavoring to put together a similar thing at its conclusion.

It actually sounds a bit crazy to say, considering I've traveled a fair amount, but this will be my first time traveling without any family - whether blood or band related.

I've always wanted to travel to Europe since finishing high school - my family hails from Britain and I studied European history at University - but I've always been 100% committed to music and where that can take me, so I could never jet off by myself. Until now.

After a roller-coaster ride of a year in a lot of ways, the band has decided to have a month off for the first time in its existence and I decided to make the most of it by booking return flights to London. Presuming the band's plans for the next few years work out, this may be my only chance for such a trip for quite some time so I'm going all out.

At this stage, in my 34 days off, I'll be exploring England, Italy, France, Spain and the Netherlands plus a mystery destination my friends have kindly organised for tune in for some pictures and anecdotes once I get back to a computer!

In the meantime, here is said sepia-soaked video of my last adventure:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Baby's Balloon

Second audio-log! Sometimes music tells the story better than any words...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Everything is Illuminated

I may have just finished reading my last paperback ever.

I adore books and the adventures they take me on but they are not the most perfect companion to my travel-minded soul. So, I have purchased a Kindle - since they finally came down in price - and now I can tour with a hundred books at my disposal for those times in my life where books are perfect: waiting for band members, waiting for soundcheck, waiting for show, waiting for van, waiting in van, waiting for plane, waiting in plane, waiting for sleep, waiting for sunshine, waiting for rain. Books fill the gaps in my life that would largely be otherwise terribly mundane.

BUT - before that sparkling new era begins I must briefly reflect on the book I just completed, Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer.

I was recommended this book by a friend. I'm not sure which one because I ask almost everyone interesting that I meet what books they love and I add it to an ever-expanding list on my phone - a highly recommended pass-time.

I'm not into publicly deconstructing books because I think reading them is a very personal experience, but what I can say is that I thoroughly enjoyed it and it now comes recommended by me - which is a pretty awesome thing in itself! Haha.

Here are a few passages which stood out to me. Don't worry, they won't give away any mystery the book contains but they will give you an idea of where it can take you.

"This was the world in which she grew and he aged. They made for themselves a sanctuary from Trachimbrod, a habitat completely unlike the rest of the world. No hateful words were ever spoken, and no hands raised. More than that, no angry words were ever spoken, and nothing was denied. But more than that, no unloving words were ever spoken, and everything was held up as another small piece of proof that it can be this way, it doesn't have to be that way; if there is no love in the world, we will make a new world, and we will give it heavy walls, and we will furnish it with soft red interiors, from the inside out, and give it a knocker that resonates like a diamond falling to a jeweler's felt so that we should never hear it. Love me, because love doesn't exist, and I have tried everything that does."

"God loves the plagiarist. And so it is written, "God created humankind in His image, in the image of God He created them." God is the original plagiariser. With a lack of reasonable sources from which to filch - man created in the image of what? the animals? - the creation of man was an act of reflexive plagiarising; God looted the mirror. When we plagiarise, we are likewise creating in the image and participating in the completion of creation"

"And this is what living next to a waterfall is like, Safran. Every widow wakes one morning, perhaps after years of pure and unwavering grieving, to realise she slept a good night's sleep, and will be able to eat breakfast, and doesn't hear her husband's ghost all the time, but only some of the time. Her grief is replaced with a useful sadness. Every parent who loses a child finds a way to laugh again. The timbre begins to fade. The edge dulls. The hurt lessens. Every love is carved from loss. Mine was. Yours is. Your great-great-great-grandchildren's will be. But we learn to live in that love."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Inborn inspiration

I think all people have a creative side to them - be it in their own personal way, through music, art, business or science. But I think inspiration is a much more precious and rare quality.

Before we create, we must be inspired and some people go years without being inspired - some just minutes.

Those people lucky enough to be constantly inspired, I believe, may have been born with that quality. And some of those people may say that it's not, in fact, a lucky attribute to have at all - much like beauty, to be inspired could possibly be a burden as well. What those people do have is the ability to communicate human expression in a form that is immediately recognisable and is empathetic to our hearts and minds.

These people, who I believe have this "inborn inspiration", seem to me to have a few recurrent qualities.

There is the age-old discussed person of melancholy - someone born with the weight of feeling all things sad and lonesome. They feel all the highs of a normal person too - but seem to reflect much longer and deeper into the lows of nature. Their way out? Expression.

Then there are romantics and dreamers - people who fantasise about perfect situations in life. People they barely know are blown into flawless sculptures to obsess over and future events are whimsically conjured into unadulterated bliss.  These people find themselves on a constant quest for these situations and the roller-coaster ride that goes with the goose-chase provides all the inspiration they need for a creative flow.

Lastly, (and only because I'm no phsycologist and I'm not writing an essay here - if I was this list may be much longer) there are people genetically predisposed to feel the brunt of humanity's fear for all things different to what is perceived as normal. This is where strange-looking people play their part. It is no coincidence that many of the greatest musicians of all time are not particularly good looking - especially those that were most inspired. Same goes with painters and authors. These people are often born with a physical ailment or are just plain ugly, extremely tall or short, or even just red-headed (this is not a poke). What these people have in common is that they don't fit in and so they either lament this fact and express the thought from the roadside of life or they strive ever harder to be a part of it and create something that will make that change happen.

Now, the true legends of inspiration are born with all three of these qualities - that is where absolute creative genius is sprung. Sometimes I wish I was one of these people, but I know I am not - though I do have elements of each I suppose (dreamer, blind, short....but far too good looking haha :p).

I don't really know where this all fits in as a blog as it's just an observation and one that's pretty obvious anyway - I suppose I just wanted to annotate the ideas in my head. BUT - I recently found a lovely redhead, via my sister's advice, making great pop tunes out of Britain. Her name's Lissie and she's rather like a more upbeat, poppy Laura Marling and if you read this blog you'll know that any comparison to Ms Marling goes a long way. So here's her big single from her debut album to delight your ears: