Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Living in the Material World

I watched this Martin Scorsese documentary on the life of the late George Harrison last night and pretty much all I can say about it is: see it now.

It's a long one - the two parts come together to be around four hours of viewing, but I was stuck on it from the moment it began.

The thing I loved about this doco was that it not only covered the general path of his life but it also went into great detail about his inspirations and what it meant to Harrison to be doing what he was doing.

I also seem to have some kind of morbid fascination with the kind of casual obituary provided by friends and colleagues that comes with this type of film.

In short, I loved it - Scorsese is an undisputed genius and so was Harrison, so it was pretty hard to go wrong on this. Again, see it now!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Another book down

I was recently talking to a fellow musician at an awkward sober industry gathering (most are decidedly non-sober so no one knows quite how to act whilst only under the influence of coffee) and he splurged forth his ideas on inspiration and how important books can be in that process.

In his studies of 'great' songwriters, apparently almost all of them had been avid readers - Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen were thrown around as examples - and I was suddenly reassured and spurned on in my passion for literature. It can be hard to keep this passion while being immersed in an age of internet and gaming and also whilst being surrounded by people who have 100% bought into that lifestyle.

So - I am encouraged and I wanted to share with you my latest read: a book called One Day by David Nicholls. It's the love story of two people who are perfect for each other but who, through life's interventions of distraction and timing, find it hard to live out their passion. It's a very real story, very relate-able and is told in an often candidly hilarious way that balances it's tragic subject. It's a very easy read and was the perfect accompaniment for a recent week-long beach holiday. I wouldn't put it up there as being a classic or must-read, but it's definitely an enjoyable three-and-a-half star book.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Brain Freedom

It's been a busy past few months of planning and promotion of the band's new album and I'm really happy with how it's all going - hopefully the band now has a busy summer of touring ahead of it.

What all this has meant to me is that my mind has been given some licence to explore again. It's hard to really explain how hung up you can get on the creative process and how you don't even realise to what extent, until you can do no more - but that's what happened to me for most of this year, and now my mind is free.

In this time, I've been giving myself a(hopefully!) creative refresh.

I've finished a couple of great books which I can highly recommend - East of Eden by John Steinbeck and Veronika Decides to Die by Paolo Coelho. Both do what I think great books should do; make you ponder your own situation.

I've watched some great documentaries that, again, leave you questioning and inspired - Senna, Pearl Jam Twenty, Upside Down: The Creation Records Story, amongst others.

And, of course, I've been listening to a whole bunch of music, rediscovering older acts like Primal Scream, Leonard Cohen, John Lennon's solo records, Sublime and Supergrass as well as a host of new albums, the highlights being:

* Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire (like this wasn't going to be here!)
* Frank Ocean - Nostalgia/ultra
* Grand Rapids - Faintheartedness
* The Horrors - Skying
* Bonjah - Go Go Chaos
* Mariachi El Bronx - II (summery fun)
* Active Child - Your All All I See
* Terius Nash - 1977
* Laura Marling - A Creature I Don't Know (the love continues I know..)
* Wilco - The Whole Love
* The Jezabels - Prisoner
* Feist - Metals (surprised me!)

I'm lucky a fair few of the above artists are touring New Zealand early next year - so exciting viewings are ahead! I'd recommend you check out ALL of the above artists if you are a fan of melody, stories and soul.

All of these things inspire me and without inspiration I'm pretty lost - so here's to more discoveries this summer and the freedom and time to express that feeling!