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!