Thursday, 19 February 2015

Jagaara, IYES & Tei Shi

One of my favourite half term indulgences is losing myself in music and so that is exactly what I have been doing this week. Actually, even the thought of half term gave me a little surge in the final week before the holiday as I looked ahead to festival season to get me through grey days. I wanted to share these three artists in particular as they have provided my repeat tracks to get me through planning, marking, cleaning and tidying but also travelling (of course) this half term. I hope you'll like them too!

Jagaara - Faultline
The modern day Corrs (not at all really, in fact that's probably actually a little offensive), Jagaara are three sisters from my neck of the woods. They are playing Field Day this year, so I discovered them through my 'line-up research'. Currently they only have two tracks, and I adore them both. Faultline is my favourite though, with an eerie yet epic instrumental, gorgeous vocals and a sound that generally gives me butterflies. Must listen! (turns out the video's quite good too; some nice train-track shots and good colours)

IYES - Simmer
Last Thursday I went to see these guys at a most intimate venue in Hoxton, Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen. I'd never actually heard their music before, but a friend invited me along because she knew they'd be my kind of thing! 

I loved the duo's raw sound, their chemistry and the fact that you could really tell they were having lots of fun! Male vocals were really present live, which is something that is missing in their recorded materials, and I did get the giggles over tambourine 'playing' (it is not a real instrument!!) but it was still the sort of gig that made me miss singing SO much and despite having not previously listened to their tracks, instilled a sense of nostalgia in me. They performed a song called 'Lessons' towards the end of the set which was absolutely beautiful, but unfortunately has not yet made an appearance on the Internet. One to watch out for though I reckon!

Tei Shi - Nevermind The End
In contrast to the innocent and straight-up nature of IYES' music, another artist brought to my attention by the lineup for Field Day 2015 was Tei Shi. Her sound again stirs nostalgia within me, with a simple instrumental that has an almost Spring-like feel. On the other hand, her lyrics bring to light a darker side (irony not intended), nevertheless a dark side that makes me feel all empowered every time it comes on as I'm walking along anywhere. In my opinion, the contrast just works! The EP this track comes from, Saudade, is on SoundCloud - enjoy!

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

My happy place[s]

I miss the sky.
I miss fresh air.
I miss aimless wanderings, a leisurely pace, strolling.
I miss space, time, safety and security.

Sand between my toes.
Sun in my eyes.
Mud. Everywhere.

London is magical in its own kind of way, but I'm definitely incredibly homesick at the moment.

The winter has been a hard one. Never before have I found myself wanting to hibernate LITERALLY ALL THE TIME. Yet this year I have become the biggest fan of the indoors; primarily the biggest fan of my bed (luckiest piece of furniture alive... ahem).

Somehow I have found myself swerving between weekends spent working far harder than I like to, or those spent cramming in as many social activities as I possibly can in a desperate attempt to pick myself up from my slump.

I don't know though. The fact that I haven't felt inspired to write lately, despite several weekends full of beauty, has been playing on my mind. As I wandered along to choir rehearsal this evening (the most welcome almost-mid-week slice of respite), I suddenly found words filling my head. And although they weren't the words I was expecting, I thought I'd go with it. So here I am, possibly about to have my first small moan about living in London.

Those rare, sunny days are best spent admiring the patterns the blinds make.

Finished one book...

... sort of started another.

Trying to make 'art' out of my lesson planning.

Days at home are best spent drinking endless cups of tea.

The most photogenic blinds?

I adore it. I really do! But I think when I look ahead to a move in the future (moving into another property, not moving out of London; despite everything, I see myself here for the foreseeable future. Completely) I decided this weekend that I need to be within reasonable walking distance to a green space.

Dog-walks have proved to be a lot more pleasurable than I could have ever imagined!

In the summer, I'd consider myself to be perfectly positioned when it comes to green spaces. There's Finsbury Park, Clissold Park, Abney Park Cemetery, Markfield Park, Downhills Park, to name a few! Yet in the winter when the cold is as bitter as it has been, even on a sunny day, these green spaces seem worlds away. So this weekend, I actually didn't even leave the flat, which would have previously been completely unheard of in my world!

I'm great at making the most of London, if money were no object. But in the winter months, I have not yet found the solution to winding down without spending, and with my New Year's Resolution not going all that badly at the moment, I'm trying to be stricter with myself this year! I'm also great at doing a lot (when I do let myself out, I sure make the most of it) but I can't seem to manage a day where I do some work, and some play.

A slightly over-extravagant day spent in Chelsea; admiring greenhouses at Chelsea Physic Garden

See in an ideal world, I could spend a Saturday doing a little work (like I'm probably supposed to), and then I could go for a leisurely stroll around 'the park' to break it up, or to energise myself first thing in the morning, or to wind down in the evening before eating myself into a sofa coma. Alas.

Half term is fast approaching (THREE SLEEPS), so I'm hoping that I might take a day or two to venture out into the big, wide world beyond my duvet (it does get as far as my sofa with me as well... apparently a very sorry sight) and have a go at unearthing some happy places for those weekends where I need to get out, but don't want to be out out!

I think the problem of late has been that I'm so familiar with what I've left behind in Norfolk, that my mind keeps taking me there. It's easy to think, 'oh, if I was in Norwich I could go for a walk around the lake', 'oh, if I was at home I could play piano for a while', and it is hard to draw parallels here. But ultimately this is still the very beginning of my London adventure. There is still so much to discover.

So, discover it I will.
Consider me on the search for my happy place[s].