Showing posts with label Music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Music. Show all posts

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The Do Book Company and Lectures

Last week I went to a great event held at Bristol's independent record and book store Rise. I've actually been to a few really good in store gigs there - often musicians performing shows in larger music venues around Bristol will do a short set or a couple of acoustic songs to promote the release of a new album or encourage fans to come to a later gig. Personally I much prefer, smaller more intimate venues so sometimes I will prefer to watch the Rise in store performances (especially seeing as they are often free!)

This event was to promote the launch of a new book series released by the 'Do Book Company' - an independent publishing house based in Shoreditch. 'Do Books' are a series of 11 inspirational pocket guide books which aim to create positive changes be it through learning a new skill or craft, a shift in thinking or by giving you the inspiration and encouragement to achieve a goal or dream. Each book is only about 100 pages, making them quick and easy to read and focusing on the practicalities of 'doing' rather than the background theory.

The books are written by speakers from the Do Lectures - which form part of a 3 day festival/conference founded in Cardigan, Wales. Fans of the world famous TED talks will love the Do lectures as they are very similar - the lectures cover a huge range of themes and subjects given by people from all walks of life.

During the promotional launch at rise, the authors of the following four books each gave a 15-20 minute lecture summarizing their book and how they came to write it:

  • Do Breathe - Calm your mind. Find your focus. Get stuff done. - Michael Townsend Williams
  • Do Disrupt - Change the status quo. Or become it. - Mark Shayler 
  • Do Purpose - Why brands with a purpose do better and matter more. - David Hieatt
  • Do Fly - Find your way. Make a living. Be your best self. - Gavin Strange

Each author was so engaging and interesting in different ways and although they only spoke for a short amount of time, I could have happily sat there and listened to them all night! I could have bought the whole series of books there and then but the one that really caught my eye (partly because of the awesome name of the author!) was Do Story - How to tell your story so the world listens. (Written by Bobette Buster)

I'm really into true story telling events at the moment and am pretty addicted to podcasts and blogs like The Moth, Humans of New York etc... Bobettes book offers some great advice on how to tell your own story and how the skills used to do this can be really beneficial to other aspects of your life, be it personal or professional.

The evening was rounded off by a great musical performance by Luke Sital Singh who I had been wanting to see again since watching him perform in the pouring rain two years ago at glastonbury - it was nice to watch him in the warm and dry comfort of the rise record store!

The books are definitely worth reading - as I said they are pretty short so they are accessible for people who are not really into reading and cover a wide range of subjects. I would love to attend the Do Lectures festival and the other events that they are now holding all around the world - however I was slightly dismayed when I went on their website and discovered that tickets for the 3 day event cost over £1200! So I guess for now I will stick with my slightly more affordable paperback book! On a serious note this is something that has been irritating me a lot lately ( - events which are apparently aim to "inspire and encourage discussion and debate between young people from all backgrounds" but are then priced so that only really high earners can possibly afford the tickets) and is something I will write about in an upcoming post.

However I should say that there are a lot of videos on the do lectures website that you can watch for free so do check them out here:

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Reconnecting with music

One of my all time favourite things to do is sit in a car or on a train and listen to music. I often feel frustrated that time I spend travelling from one place to another is time I could spend doing something more important... however it is the ideal time to listen to music because you can get completely lost in a song without the obligation or distraction of something else. The perfect time to just let your mind wander and daydream!

Over the last 5 years I have been lucky enough to see a lot of amazing live music through attending festivals and gigs, but actually in a weird way I don't feel like I engage with music in the same way as I used to. I still listen to all the artists and albums that I have always loved but I rarely listen to something new that really moves or inspires me. I think this is down to the fact that I don't like downloading music for free as it does feel like stealing to me but then I just end up spending spare money on other things rather than buying a new album. Yes I know I could stream music - but that requires a decent internet connection which isn't always possible (especially when travelling.)

A few months ago the hard drive on my laptop went and because I hadn't backed anything up since 2012 I lost any new music I had accumulated over the last 3 years. This was (and still is) pretty devastating but at the same time it has given me the opportunity to have a big sort out of whats left of my music collection - figure out what I am missing and discover some new stuff. So that is my challenge for this summer - I have no music festivals booked so perhaps some of the money I would have spent on that ticket can go towards updating my music library. 

I started today after hearing a track from the album 'Idris Elba Presents: mi Mandela.' Normally I'm pretty skeptical of when actors try to transition to music but I was pleasantly surprised by this offering. Idris Elba Presents mi Mandela is a 14-track album on Elba’s own 7wallace imprint, inspired by Nelson Mandela and Elba's own late father. The music incorporates a variety of South African rhythms and styles, including marabi, kwela, mbaqanga and mbube, mixed in with western sounds. Elba wrote the album whilst Long Walk to Freedom. It is by no means a solo project and features collaborations with Shaun Escoffery, Maverick Sabre, Audra Mae and George The Poet. 

I think the reason I love this music so much because it reminds me of a trip I took to South Africa 12 years ago with my family and friends. It was such a beautiful country to visit and I have many happy memories of that holiday. Next time I get caught up in stupid anxieties and worries I intend to put this on my ipod and get back to some good old daydreaming.

Here is a track from the album I particularly like.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Music I love...

Last Friday I was lucky enough to see Laura Mvula perform at Cheltenham Jazz Festival, which was such a great gig. She sung all the tracks of her recently released album 'Green Garden', as well as doing a surprise duet with Jamie Cullum and as an encore a beautiful version of Michael Jackson's 'Human Nature'. Her band (who were equally brilliant) were made up of her brothers and sisters so I guess she comes from a pretty talented family!

To be honest I wouldn't class her music as Jazz - (it has such a unique sound that it's difficult to put it into any sort of genre) but I was very grateful that she was at the festival performing none the less. She seems to be getting lots of publicity so to have the chance to see her in such a small and intimate venue was really good. Thanks to my Mom for getting tickets!

Also on a separate note she looks so good with a shaved head! I wish I could get away with such a bold (no pun intended) hairstyle but I fear that I have a massive egg shaped head under my hair.

Another musician that I discovered this week is blues/soul artist Valerie June.
I saw her album recommended by a staff member in a record store and just by chance decided to give it a listen and I haven't stopped playing it since.

The song below (Workin' Woman's Blues) is probably my favourite but Somebody To Love is also a beautiful track. She is actually touring the UK at the moment and plays Birmingham on Monday... tempted to get a last minute ticket!

Listen and love :)

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Clifton Hill Antique Costume and Textiles launch show

Last Thursday I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to help out at a fantastic event to celebrate the launch of an antique clothes shop close to where I live in Bristol.

The event was hosted at Clifton Hill House, a lovely big building with plenty of space to accommodate all the different stalls and entertainment for the evening. Guests were invited to explore seven different themed rooms - each styled in a different era. Models dressed in clothes from each decade posed in each room with various props which really helped re create a  great sense of nostalgia!

Downstairs was filled with lots of inspiring stalls, selling vintage jewellery, clothes, crafts and records. Throughout the evening guests were entertained by a dj who played some great retro music as well as the wonderful Marionettes - a 1940's harmony trio who performed live and were absolutely fantastic!

Then at 8 o'clock the crowds gathered for a fashion show! During the day it had been my job to decorate the catwalk so that it would serve as a perfect backdrop for the clothes and models. Sue Fyfe-Williams - owner of Auntie's Vintage China and Jezebel Events had come up with the idea of creating a spring themed catwalk, using some beautiful silk antique shoes to plant spring flowers in and covering the catwalk with fake grass. I spent a very happy day in the sunshine planting all the flowers into the shoes and ensuring that the grass was firmly stuck down so that there were no trips and falls during the fashion show!

When finished I think it did look great and created the perfect setting to compliment the beautiful models and the vintage clothes they modelled.

Music from each era accompanied the models as they strutted their stuff - cheered on by an enthusiastic audience.

The evening really was a great success with a great turnout, and I felt really priveleged to be a part of it. Hopefully it will bring many customers to Clifton Hill Costume and Textiles shops - as well as all the other exhibitors and entertainers who were there.

Be sure to check out the following links for more information and some photographs of the event! - events company ran by Ali Cook and Sue Fyfe-Williams who organised the evening - The Marionettes singing trio - photographs of the evening

Monday, 4 February 2013

Movie Monday - Harold and Maude

I haven't done a Movie Monday in a long while, but last week I watched 'Harold and Maude' for the first time and absolutely loved it so thought it would be a good one to review and recommend for anyone who hasn't seen it. It is sort of an 'anti-romance' so what with Valentines day swiftly approaching, this is a good one to watch if you want to get away from the usual cheesy rom-coms. 

Harold (played by Bud Cort) is a bored, self destructive teenager who is obsessed with death and determined to sabotage his rich Mother's attempts at finding him a suitable girlfriend. He spends his time visiting graveyards, attending funerals and repeatedly staging his own suicide. He meets Maude, a wildly eccentric and optimistic pensioner at a funeral and they quickly forge a friendship as she introduces Harold to the beauty of music, art and doing whatever you want to! 

As the unlikely couple embark on various escapades and adventures together, their friendship grows into a romance and much to his Mother's horror and dismay - Harold announces that he intends to make Maude his wife!

I won't reveal the ending except to say that it is bitter sweet and completely suited to the overall quirkiness of the entire film. Both Harold and Maude are really quite bizarre characters and their whole relationship is definitely a little bit unusual given the 60 year age gap between them - and yet, they are a perfect partnership.

Ruth Cordon is hilarious and outrageous and is definitely the kind of little old lady I aspire to grow up to be! Harold is also acted brilliantly by Bud Cort and I can't imagine either characters being played better by anyone else.

My favourite part about the whole film is the soundtrack which accompanies it which is by the great Cat Stevens. 

The song below is the one that Maude teaches Harold during one of the more tender moments in the film.  I hadn't heard of it before but over the last week I have been playing it over and over again because it is just so sweet and uplifting! Anyway listen to the song, watch the film and enjoy :)

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Beasts Of The Southern Wild

Last night my friends and I went to see the film of the moment 'Beasts Of The Southern Wild'. I had been really excited to see this film as I had read so many good reviews about it and the advert looked so magical and imaginative. It really lived up to and exceeded my expectations and was just so moving and different from any other film I have seen. The acting of Quvenzhane Wallis who was only around 6 when the film was made was absolutely breathtaking... at points I was wondering if the film was acted at all or just an incredible documentary because the emotions portrayed by her and the rest of the cast were so raw and real - it seemed that it would be impossible to stage such a thing. 

The film made me laugh, smile and cry but mostly it just left me in a state of complete awe. There is so much to say about the love and devotion shown by the characters in the film to their homes and each other and the world around them. In other films their flaws would be really played upon to create stereotypical characters that we see time and time again, but here they are real humans whose strengths and flaws don't dominate the story or define them. They live as people do - with anger, pride, devotion and a deep love which aren't just cleverly crafted into a scene to create drama.

Below are some screen shots and a link to the official website where you can listen to the amazing soundtrack that accompanies the film.

If you feel disconnected to the world around you, this is the perfect example of how to truly embrace your environment and world with passion and defiance.

"I see that I am a little piece of a big, big universe, and that makes it right."

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Moonrise Kingdom

A friend shared this link with me earlier and reminded me of how much I enjoyed Wes Anderson's 'Moonrise Kingdom' . The story is melancholic, heart warming and unexpectedly funny with excellent performances from all the cast. I much preferred it to Anderson's other hit  film 'The Royal Tenenbaums', although there is a definite similarity in the tone and style in which the films are shot. 

The poster below is one I found on one of the tumblr blogs I follow daily:
The blog features contributions from lots of different artists and there are lots of awesome posters on there for a huge variety of films and tv series so its worth looking through the archive for your favourite. I'd love to get some of them printed out and they'd make a great present for film fans. Not sure what the deal is with copyrighting on some of them though, so if you re blog please make sure you credit the original artist! This one is by Sam Larson.

Friday, 10 August 2012


I was listening to my ipod today and realised that two of my favourite songs both mention a blackbird....

Two different songs, both beautiful and uplifting... Listen and enjoy!

"You were only waiting for this moment to be free..."

Monday, 6 August 2012

The Importance Of Home....

Never underestimate how wonderful it is to feel at home with someone or somewhere... 

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Latitude Fesitval

Sorry for the absence - just got back from spending an amazing weekend away at Latitude Festival in Suffolk. The festival setting (a farm with a lake and woodland) was absolutely beautiful and there was so much to see and do! The line up this year included the majority of my favourite bands and I can't even begin to describe how spectacular and moving some of the performances were. There are some seriously talented musicians out there and for me it really highlighted how completely unbeatable live performances are - especially when shared with good friends and other fans.

The weather wasn't the best (what else can you expect in this country?!) and inevitably things got very muddy!  However although there were showers on and off - for the most part it remained dry and it definitely could have been a lot worse!

Below are some photos of my favourite performers and features of the festival - some of these are taken from the official Latitude website and some of them are my own.

Bat for Lashes - Photo taken by Pooneh Ghana

Bon Iver - Photo taken by Andy Sheppard

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Photo taken by Andy Sheppard

Elbow - Photo taken by Andy Sheppard

The Lake - Photo taken by Marc Sethi

The Lake Stage - Photo taken by Marc Sethi

Rufus Wainwright - Photo taken by Marc Sethi

Pink and blue sheep!

'Film Postboxes' - These were amazing little post boxes that came in various forms and could be found attached to many trees in the Faraway Forest. Inside them tiny film shorts were projected - often out of the windows of miniature toy cars!

A beautiful acrobatic/ballet performance. The dancer was attached large tethered balloon that changed colours as it floated in the sky over the lake. Truly spellbinding.

The good deed tree. Festival goers wrote down good deeds that they or others had done throughout the festival and hung them in red berry/baubles in the tree!

Latitude was my first proper festival experience and it really was a positive one. Luckily I came pretty well prepared as some of my friends who I went with have been to many festivals! However here are my top tips!

1. Bring wellies! Seriously - at an English festival it is unlikely you will survive without them even if it is a summer festival. The mud was unbelievable - I witnessed several people lose shoes/boots in it and a very upset little boy who was submerged up to his knees! 

2. Expect to spend a fair bit of money on drink and food - bring with you what you can but be aware that you may not be allowed to take cans or bottles into the arenas that have not been purchased on the site. We all became pro's at smuggling drink in passed the attendants who would search bags etc at the arena gates.

3. At the beginning of each day note down the times and places of all the performances you want to see. You don't want to miss anything due to lack of organisation!

4. Prepare a fancy dress outfit! Some people go all out at festivals. There are some crazy outfits and hats you can buy but its good to have something that no one else is wearing. Face paint is easy to pack as well as lots of glitter! I would say though don't bring clothes that you would be really disappointed if they got ruined... 

5. Baby wipes and anti bacterial hand wash!! Lots of it! 

6. Arrange a good meeting place and time in case you get split up from friends. If you have a mobile phone great - but there is not always a signal and batteries will quickly run out. It's also pretty hard to hear your phone ringing at a music festival...

I will most likely do more posts featuring my favourite songs from the festival with some background information on the artists so watch this space. Including a weekly music feature is something I hope to get going regularly on this blog soon! :)