Thursday, February 17, 2011

...why musicians share the same background for their music videos.

See, that's what I said too.

So you're young female musician and you rock, right? You're all busy being yourself, generally taking the music world by storm. You're dropping hot beats while keeping your cool; you're engaging and lovely and you're teaching the young girls of the next generation to keep your top on, be fit, be respected on your own terms and then you go and do this. You go and SHARE your background for your VIDEO with another female artists, thus negating the importance of your individuality and strength in the commercial marketplace that is life. Like, what?!

Don't get me wrong, I love pop music. For all my love of high culture and my ability to separate my Chopin from my Flaubert from my Bach from my Degas, my Dali, my George Eliot and David Hasselhoff, I really heart the tunes of Ellie Goulding and Florence and the Machine. I love their tunes to the point that I wish so dearly wish that I were still a teenager or at least in my early twenties so I could reasonably pine, and feel rejected and behave in irrational ways like the songs of these two songstresses make me want to do. So it wasn't reeeally my current self that was slightly taken aback when the same background showed up in both videos, it was my mid-to-late-teens-early-twenties self. Let's look, shall we? The first is Florence and the Machine's 'Cosmic Love':

Woah! Like, wicked lights slightly blurred by the lens in the camera to make deeply hued hexagons. Nice one, Florence. I also like the fact that you are walking through a forest, in your school uniform while these sparkly hexagons disappear and reappear (and we find out later they are multi-coloured light bulbs suspended from some unseen ceiling), sometimes around you, sometimes on the mirror behind you while you slither around in a black bodysuit with cuts out of it. And that mirror scene - props to the camera person for not appearing in the film at all. Tricky stuff. I love the idea behind this film and the song: 'I took the stars from your eyes and then I made a map'. This line makes me think of lodestars, and Shakespeare, and then it goes onto remind me of TS Eliot's mariner whose eyes were pearls. Yowzah. Perhaps unintended but nice. Nevertheless, I digress.

To Ellie! Lights!

Woah! Beginning of the song you feel like you've fallen back into Florence and the Machine's Shakespeare cum Wasteland epic of a song. And then the song's title is a bit of a misnomer for a while as Ellie dances a bit in front of A light, rather than multiple. Then she dances, or is caught mid-dance I suppose, among computer-generated graphics at which point I'm like 'What?! This woman is making huge money from some record mogul and the BEST you can do is have her pose in front of a green screen so you can paint some poorly wrought graphics around her?! For realze!?' Then, at 1:13 Florence's bulbs show up again and do so intermittently throughout the rest of the video. Leave the rest of the video to be defined by a meaningful graphic here, random, stoic pose from Ellie there, and everybody loves it. And then at 3:05 Ellie is, all of a sudden using her drumsticks as a light sabre! Win! At this moment I would also like to point out the similarity Ellie's shirt in this video is to Florence's in Cosmic Love. Again, record mogul dudes, couldn't we pony out some more cash for different shirts for our ladies? Individuals here? And then Ellie's light sabre breaks and she gets lost in Florence's hexagonal lights.

Right. So now that I have expounded at great lengths about these videos, I have realised (a) just how similar they are and (b) how angry this makes me. Good artists. Distinctive taste and style. Killer sound quite distinct from other things before them (but now infinitely repeated but less talented folk). And the best that could be done for either of them was to share the lighting background? Dudes. This does not a happy Molly make. I can feel my hackles going up, like if these were dude musician there is no way on the whole Planet Earth that their background would be the same. Interesting, no?

Molly is done wondering on this one. But she thinks you should enjoy the videos and watch out for their uncanny similarities.[Another: they're both all alone. Hmm.] [Also, I realise that if these ladies were highly involved in the creative processes of these videos I look a bit like a lemon, but oh well, critical analysis always saw me making real connections where others only saw thin possibility.]

Sunday, February 13, 2011

...what is up with ceilidh dancing and why it hurts so much the next morning.

Well fleet-footed fiends wondering the same as I, last night was a great evening of 'Gay Gordon', 'Stripping Willows' and what all else. It has been quite a while since I attended a ceilidh, let alone one quite of the calibre experienced last night. We swung around, we crashed into each other, there were partner dances and there were progressive partner dances (yes, dear friends, even in a time of Conservative politics and cut-backs) and there was much sweat to be had as well. Good on ya for keeping it on yourself, I say, but so much the better if your sweat flies off you and adds to the encroaching humidity in the place, take part in the dew-like shine present on every dancer's brow and filling the room with a haze of happiness and fun as beer is drunk by the barrel in a vain attempt to stave off dehydration because the water tank, in particular, always seems to be running dry.

So. Ceilidh dancing. I love it. I also love dancing in clubs, but it just doesn't seem to cut the mustard as well as that of a good ceilidh. The reasons for my unadulterated love of this form of dance are many, and I will probably only attempt a few here. From the end I hope to have convinced you that club dancing simply pales in comparison, and while your body aches similarly for both in the morning after they are for completely different reasons.

The First reason I really love ceilidh dancing is because, well, it's dancing. But it's not the type of dancing that you have to get all decked out in sequins and g-strings and spandex and dance shoes and know your 'shuffle' from your 'step-ball-change' from your foxtrot. No my dear friends, all you need is a set of ears and enough confidence is to get yourself on the dance floor. From that the fine lady or man doing the calling on the stage with the band will tell you what to do. And if you mess up, who cares? No one! Hurray! But it's all still dancing!

Alternatively, if you're dancing in a club, there are no set dance rules except for the 'someone grabs someone else and dances with them in full frontal fashion'. While this happens in ceilidh dancing, the caller TELLS you to get closer or go full frontal or whatever with your partner and so it is A OK.

The Second reason I really love ceilidh dancing is because everyone is sweating. Gross, I know, but you also know that the opportunities in life to sweat without explaining yourself are always far and in between. At a club I always. Even thinking about going to a club, as I write this, is making me think I should wipe my brow in an attempt to preempt the beads of sweat thinking of appearing. If you're the sweaty person in a club, especially if you are a girl sweaty person in a club, you get the looks from the girls and the dudes in all the wrong ways like 'Eww, if I were to dance with her, she would be all sweaty and stuff'. However, at a ceilidh, dear friends, sweat is the mark of someone to dance with, someone who will spin you around the floor, and then spin you around again, someone who will strip the willow with you and stick around long enough to make it to the ends of the lines. Sweat at a ceilidh, dear friends, is a mark of pride, glory, and truth in your dancing skills.

However, the main reason I love ceilidh dancing is that it is just such good fun. Full stop.

As for the pain, however, that's a different matter. Like, I know I have calves and hamstrings and quads and ribs and inner parts to my elbows and stuff, but by gum you simply do not remember about them until you wake up the morning after. You lie in bed with a drowsy cloud of happiness hanging above your bed (and mayhap mixed with a cloud of beer-induced stale breath, but that's for another post).

You think to yourself 'My what a nice night I had. My hair is awfully heavy with dried sweat - for I am a ceilidh king/queen/choice of royalty/etc.'

And then you think to yourself 'I must get up. I shall.' And then you do. At which point you hear a yelp from your calves, a slow, deep groan from your hamstrings, your inner elbows are silent in disbelief in the pain you are causing them and your quads simply won't speak to you. That my friends, is a chorus of a body after a ceilidh and it feels good,

Throughout the day following your ceilidh you might sit down, say for a cup of tea, and think 'My, I think my body is feeling better' and then you get up and you feel the off-tone tune of your poor old bod rousing itself from the infernal pain you've caused it.

But once you are upright, dear friends, you stand tall. For all the twirling and swirling and crashing and sweating ceilidhs are good and necessary fun. The original way for the village kids to meet up and dance up and figure out with whom to hook up, the modern ceilidh is a great way to sweat out your beer, crash (oops!) into someone on the dance floor you might fancy and just let your variously neglected body parts be reminded that you know they exist - even if they are wailing in pain for the next forty-eight hours.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

...why really cold weather feels like razor blades up your nose.

Not that I have ever had the desire to put razor blades up my nose, but cold weather does make you think that that is how it would feel like. It is the same kind of scenario as, say, when you eat something that tastes like dog food, but you've never eaten dog food, but because you might have once smelled dog food your olfactory glands get all excited and then your salivary glands get freaked out and all of a sudden you realise that what you are eating is something that tastes the same as your favourite pooches food.

Uhh. Yes.

With the onset of some mad weather on the Southern Ontario Canadian front, my mind throws itself back to a few weekends ago when Ontario experienced its coldest weekend this year, maybe the coldest ever, or at least certainly the coldest since the mid-1990s. Anyway, that was a cold weekend. A lovely, blue-skied sort of weekend that tricks you into thinking it's warm outside because of the sun, but is awfully chilly because no clouds are around keeping the heat near the ground. So I had a coat. I had boots. I was certainly wearing my hat and mitts. However, my hat and mitts are poorly suited to the Truth of Cold that are Canadian winters. Also, my boots although stylish and what my mum described as something that 'Dancers might wear' (thanks Mum!) and my coat was eversochic, I damn near froze my g'nads off. To do so, those bad boys would have had to leap out of my lower abdomen, salute 'Aurevoir!' to their uterine chum and hitch a ride to somewhere hot and balmy. Luckily, Canada is also blessed with homes which heat and double-glazed windows and insulation so all was well. However, between homes and stores and coffee shops and whatever else, I swear there were razor blades nestling carefully in my wee nostrils every time I took a refreshing breath in. Not nice. Makes you really appreciate the fact that you have a warm house to go home to as well. It also makes you happy when it is snowing, too, because the razor blades tend to take the high road as snow in winter equals warmer weather (ie -10 maybe) whereas snow has an awfully tough time of it when it's colder and just stays up in the clouds.

 To clarify:
-20 degrees Centigrade = no warmth (ie cold) = no snow (or -20 = brr = - :;:;:)
-10 degrees Centigrade = warmer(er) = snow (or -10 = :) = +:;:;:)

Clearer? Thought so.

So beyond the fact that I am actually ecstatic about snow and cold and all that jazz, I have no real, logical way of describing the fascinating sensation of shaving implements up my schnoz. I suppose there are some mysteries which we shall never understand. Oh well. Onwards, upwards: chaps!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

...what love looks like.

Sometimes I see couples walking down the street and notice they're holding hands, or little fingers, or arm in arm, with arms encircling each other like yokes around hard-working oxes necks. These small demonstrations, where two bodies touch at the sides somehow indicate to the outside observer that these two humans are 'in love' or 'in like' or 'in a relationship' or 'in something', depending on the stage of their being together. Or the moment. Some people you see are clearly meant for each other. Their mismatched clothes echo the others, the hats they wear, although one might be crocheted and the other knitted, speak to one another and may have, one day, been a part of the same sheep before the wool was combed and coloured and wound into long yarns which now invisibly tie these two people together. Or one listens so intently to the other that all buses, people, clicking boots, birds, dump trucks, cars, rustling newspapers, cups on saucers, spoons ticking, water running are outside them, beyond their ability to care because they are so focused on the other.

Then there are the others: the others who are demonstrating 'love' and being 'in love'. The ones who walk beside the other hand-in-hand, arm in arm, in a vague attempt to appear 'in like' or 'in love' or 'in something'. I can attest to this myself. In the past whilst holding hands, I have found myself wondering what I look like to people on the street, in the shop, in the cafe and wonder if I look like I am sufficiently 'in something' with that person. When this realisation hits me like a pile of bricks I recoil from the idea of love within myself and coil myself away from the situation and realise that I'm 'in nothing' and while I may be demonstrably 'in something', in fact, there will be no love lost on the outside observer and they will have seen me for the 'in fraud' I am. So I recoil from the person I'm holding hands with so as not to confuse their notion of being 'in love' (I'm considerate, yes?). But then again, I've found in these instances that the other individual is too wound up in themselves that there was no chance of us being reciprocally 'in anything' anyway. And so I trudge away at the end of the relationship, and while I don't look like I'm 'in anything' at least I look like myself who has found herself out of love but still 'in hope'.

So what does love look like? I am a very lucky Molly to have some very lovely people in my life who are very in love. Well, at least they look like they are very in love and I base the following statements on them, so if they aren't 'in anything' and I've read it all wrong, then I'll have to re-write this post. These people I know are people that have been together a long while but still get excited to the see their squeeze. Their shoulders go back, their eyes sparkle, their heads tilt in anticipation and when the object of their desire enters the room you can see that then, just for a moment, its them and no one else. Time suspends and their held within each others eyes: in love. And so when you look at them, you wonder if both of them have accidentally stepped on tacks and hold that frozen position in some vain hope that they didn't have the misfortune of stepping so blithely on a sharp object before recoiling due to the pain in their feet. But no, they unfreeze and time starts again and they bask in each other's presence. And life goes on. And they're in love. And to the onlooker, the warmth from both seems to emanate out and warm the dark cockles of my heart.

Love has nothing to do with clothes, or looks, or jobs, or past-times, or haircuts, or favourite meals, or knowledge of languages, or books read, or mountains scaled, or the number of songs you can sing from memory. Love is about the wave of warmth that washes over you, that holds you tight, but lets you breathe freely; a cool spring morning, warm under the blankets and the sun streaming in. Yes, my dears, love is about everything that makes life and twines yourself inexplicably towards someone else.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

...if frowning excessively can cause a 'widows peak' or 'male-patterned baldness'.

So before you get all uppity with me about a very touchy subject for many men, I have a postulation.

I walk to work every day. When I walk to work there is a man I pass who looks to be in his mid- to late-twenties who wears a dark coat. He has a receding hairline. I saw him today and I think his hairline has receded further still since the last time I saw him. When I see him he always seems to be in a frowny sort of mood, eyebrows down in dark contemplation or shot up in some kind of moment of aggravation which serves nothing for his face as it causes  his receding hairline to recede further and make more of an impact on his slowly disappearing hair. Of course I would like to be of assistance to this man and perhaps ask him why he is so glum, but I suppose that would be a little bit weird and probably unhelpful.

"Excuse me sir?"
Looks surprised, but stops. "Yes?"
"Sir, I was just wondering, why do you always appear to be so worried and stressed out about things?"
His eyebrows move slightly downwards.
"Well, sir, I walk by you most days to work, and you always seem to have a furrowed brow, and look worried, or your eyebrows shot up in irritation."
His eyebrows shoot up in irritation.
"Well, sir, I was wondering [slight stammer] if it was contributing to your receding hairline? Your irritation, your stress I mean, that results in your shot up eyebrows..."
He walks away in aggravation and a few more hairs fall out of his head.

WARNING: This is not a good way to 'pick up', 'pull or generally try to flirt with someone. But that is beside the point...

Back to the point: I feel bad for this dude. I know how much dudes worry about their hairlines and until they resign themselves to what seems inevitable (or perhaps now fixable with implants or other technology), hair just keeps on disappearing until it finds a nice stopping point. Now I wonder, if only he could just de-stress a bit, chill out, and smile a little, if his hair would grow back, or at least forget how to fall out of his head and generally stay put.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

...what this year will bring.

So here we are, having toppled inelegantly from 2010 to 2011. Last year was a cracker-jack of events in world politics, the strength of humanity (and its weakness, unfortunately) and general interest. While the youth of the world protested everything from G20s and G8s in Canada to rising tuition fees in the UK, there were huge moments of humanity could be proud. The saving of the Chilean miners made me proud to think that despite the wars and conflicts and crooked politicians (currently deriding Ivory Coast's), the human race finally pulled together and did something incredible for thirty three men trapped in the belly of the Earth who thought they might never see daylight, let alone their loved ones, again.

With every passing year I'm always a bit surprised at my successful continuation in the Land of Adulthood, of which I have been a part for quite some time now. However, I'm still in shock when people address me as "Miss" or "Ms" (depending on the moment) and the stark realization that if I do or say something really wrong, that I will be personally be responsible for my own actions. Interesting stuff. Not that I'm planning to go and do something wrong, or even do on a regular basis (such an exciting life this Molly leads) but it sometimes weighs on my mind that I can officially be jailed for my actions. Regardless, I'm looking forward to 2011. I have already decided that it will be an immense improvement on 2010 because of its status as a prime number and because it is more upright a year than 2010 which seems heavy in its zeroes. With that, I hope that the year will be good, enriching, and surprise me in its strength of humanity and people working with each other, and not against. Oh, and let's keep on working on the environment, shall we? The volcanoes, tornadoes, floods, heatwaves and parched earth of this past year is certainly an indication that we need to start caring a bit more about what we're doing to our faithful Old Mother Earth, eh what?