September/October Goings On…

To all those dear people still reading my blog…sorry for the delay… Saturday marked the beginning of a crazy new adventure for me when I set off to university with too many clothes and nice notebooks and not enough pens or work ethic (just kidding for any Uni officials reading this. I’m a good girl, pinky promise). I’ll workout more often (workout my liver, that is), eat well (well, nothing) and watch high quality programmes (Doctors – for anyone with a job, it’s gone terribly raunchy of late *prude face*). I digress; September, the last month of my summer, has been a memorable one…

Bestival – 8th-11th Sept

Top 3:

3 – Public Enemy: I might have been swilling lager like a tramp in a Lidl carpark, but I know a good set when I hear one. The ideology behind old school rap and hip-hop remains current; Chuck D and Flavor Flav – taking time out from plugging his new autobiography with disturbing anecdotes and a Twitter competition – made a brief mention of recent events in London, adding a new dimension to lyrics like “power to the people no delay”. Arriving on stage to the sound of “Fuck The Police” from contemporaries NWA, the group showed themselves to be adept cultural chameleons, striking up an easy rapport with the iPhone-toting Bestival bourgeoisie whilst showing an understanding of the frustration, deprivation and consumer culture which have helped to foster the fragmented Britain of 2011. Public Enemy are proof that not all 50-somethings are in Tim Westwood territory, and that perhaps the oldies are the goodies. Cee Lo Green, of the coincidentally named Goodie Mob is another stellar example of an 80s rap star back on the map…there’s never been a better time for a world tour for the mellowed Public Enemy –  80% timid cautionary tale, 20% thorough call to arms.

2 – Missing Pendulum’s set: I’ve had enough of you for one summer, Pendulum-dum-dum-dum-dum-cue-a-loop-quickly-before-they-realise-we’re-mostly-recorded.

1 – Katy B: I’ve never really been on a mission before, although if I did I think I’d come dressed like Katy B. The sartorial wisdom of her bright red hair, tight pink jeans and hoodie would inspire me, bestow me with a ‘whatyalookinat’ swagger and probably make a perfect Vice Mag ‘Don’t’. What works for a credible Londoner like Katy, it seems, wouldn’t work on others. At times she is dangerously close to being an anachronistic parody of Catherine Tate’s Lauren (it’s mostly the hair and the fairly trivial chat in between songs) but mostly, she is fresh, exciting and credible. You don’t come to a Katy B concert, or likewise go to see her headlining a festival, because you want polished pop which The Saturdays can vomit out along with glitter, sparkles and world peace. Her grit is sexy and cheeky, and her status as more just another shining Brit school alumnus has long been confirmed. I bet her friend Olivia (namechecked both before and during ‘Easy Please Me’) is proud to be the subject of a track which is both stunningly sensual and ironically vapid). I think I’ll reintroduce ghettofabulous to my vernacular.

Also loved: The Cure (even though it wasn’t a Friday set I remained in love); the cool Unicef people who took this ravishing photo of me to send to the government as part of a climate change petition….

… The Guardian’s photobooth complete with a crazy dressing-up box; DJ Fresh’s packed-out Bollywood Tent set in which I sustained third degree burns to my back; surviving on lager and bread; Bjork’s beautiful ginger afro wig (basically a bastardised version of my own hair); the ethereal, almost 70s beauty and calm of the Tomorrow’s World field; Alice Glass’ moodiness (quickest CC set ever, perhaps?); Eating Tesco Value bread to the sound of Fatboy Slim’s Praise You in a scene which was more Trainspotting than a trance hipster 101; slipping in the mud at every possible moment; meeting some incredibly talented clothing and/or jewellery designers like Dot Your Teas And Cross Your Eyes (the jumper in the pic below at Crystal Fighters is one of those made by the lovely, quirky Chloe), Wolf and Moon and of course the beautiful boys and girls of Merrimaking who already left their mark on me at Underage when they gifted some fabulous hoods to Bombay Bicycle Club. It’s the little things like having incredible, up-and-coming brands on site which made Bestival feel so fresh and so different to more corporate affairs…that and the spacious (private) shower cubicles. Props to the Da Bank clan – despite the poor transport arrangements and rain at every possible second, Bestival was incredible and unique.

Crystal Fighters, Shepherd’s Bush, 14th Sept

There’s always a slightly awkward moment when someone pretending to be a music writer decides to drink at a gig instead of actually writing about music and consequently misses most of a band’s set because they were being twee and drinking white wine instead of listening. I’d already missed Crystal Fighters at Benicassim so I suppose my behaviour wasn’t entirely surprising…

Here’s me and my friend Soph looking suitably boozy:

The most memorable bits of Crystal Fighters’ Shepherd’s Bush gig on the 14th September were probably 1) being violently (accidentally) elbowed (standing tickets obvs), 2) almost choking on a Neurofen and 3) singing to their most memorable and popular ditty “I Love London” . Whilst I’m here, I might as well add that I have so much beef with venues like the Empire which decide to open their doors ridiculously early (e.g.: 2 hours before a headline act), leaving silly people like me to predrink half to death. Here’s an incredible review from someone more capable than myself.

The Guardian Young Writers

I was lucky enough to win a place on a two-day Young Writers workshop at The Guardian this September, where I learnt all about pitching and how to get into editors’ heads. Even though I’ve been writing for what seems like ages, like anyone, I find it difficult to condense my ideas and adapt them in order to get those all important commissions. The workshops were so helpful, and I’m so proud of my classmates who’ve since been commissioned like Hannah Slapper, who wrote this incredible piece on Roman Polanksi. Formulating ideas has never been so fun.

DOS and DONTS of filming your music video abroad

After the troubles in Ireland, it seems that Ri Ri’s a bad girl gone somewhat worse. Here are some simple tips for any chanteurs and chanteuses who don’t wish to cause offence in foreign lands. My advice if you see a prudish farmer? Just keep running.

DO:

–         Blend in: Britney Spears recently picked a deli in West Ealing as the location for her ‘Criminal’ video. Her secret appearance was later lauded, and a shrine made of Wilkinson magic mops and jay cloths erected in her honour on the pavement (I’m still working on that). Rihanna take note – not even Battersea Dogs Home will let you get out your puppies in public, so don’t do anything, ahem, flashy.

Get cultured: Adele’s new video for ‘Someone Like You’ is a black and white, Nouvelle Vague-influenced affair filmed in Paris. Plans are said to be underway for a Coach Trip special where she and Luc Besson moodily discuss Monster Munch in a layby.

DON’T:

Ignore the political: Uh oh. Unfortunately, after Britney left the aforementioned deli, she went to Stoke Newington Town Hall to film scenes. With a gun. It might have been a fake, but with the London Riots still a recent memory it was a little insensitive. Plus someone could’ve mistaken her crew for one of those gangs who steal highlighters and treasury tags instead of Armani jackets and BlackBerrys.

‘Borrow’ from your surroundings: Joe ‘Eyebrow’ Jonas used to be one third of the pre-Bieber trio famed for bringing purity rings and properly medicating your diabetes into the mainstream. Like Adele, he decided to get all grown up and film his new video in Paris. Unlike Adele, it seems he couldn’t think of his own ideas. I don’t know what’s more shocking – the fact that he may have ripped something off (we thought you had integrity in that eyebrow, Joe) or that the source material is a saucy French arthouse flick with the vomtastic title ‘For Lovers Only’..

The awkward moment when Joe Jonas didn't slip into the lava and is still alive several years later

…If in doubt, watch this for a masterclass in cultural cohesion:

HJ

xx

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Twenty Four

Even more January greetings from hannahjdavies.com…I realised that it would be a cool idea to keep a track of how many posts I’ve made by occasionally quitting with the ‘oh-so-ironic’ names and actually just telling you a number. So here we are: post number 24. Yeah, I was gonna make a Jack Bauer joke there but I think a Dane Bowers one might be more appropriate considering that the ‘singer-songwriter’ has just come second place in this year’s Celebrity BB.

Is it just me or…

1) Does Dane look weirdly like Anthony Costa? Are they, in fact, the same person?

2) Does a “Dane Bowers” sound like a specially bred sheepdog?

3) Am I the only person who heard this:


on loop everytime he engaged in parlance with other members of the house? It’s stuck in my head like a tapeworm.

Anyways, I digress, Alex Reid – the loveable ‘doofus’ of the house came out on top (not a reference to his new adult flick) – and Dane has seemingly gone back to being a ‘singer-songwriter’ for the time being. Whatever that means. Swedish voyeur Jonas aka Basshunter has presumably flown home, so us girls can breathe easy for a sec without having to worry about him re-enacting the moment when he left a pencil lying around for a helpless lass to chew on…which had been up his friend’s “area”. Should always observe that rule about not chewing borrowed stationary, right?!

Meanwhile, foul-mouthed ‘Lady’ Sovereign’s raison d’etre was to shock us with her childish behaviour, and then slag everyone off for “treatin’ me like a child!” She really made a (corned beef) hash out of staying popular in the house. Not sure if it was just me who thought that this Daily Mail pic looked like Davina “Peter Pan” McCall had gone all Fantasia on us and spawned an evil, (younger) twin?

Shawwwwty Sov. And her delightful older lady-friend, Run(ningawaycoveringmyears) DMC

Annoying Davina actually went in to the house, albeit for 48 hours, but the real stars of the show were big-lipped billionairess Ivana, who was duped into thinking she had won a business award, and Dane, whose chilli-themed attempts to ruin dinner for a task were actually met with culinary compliments. He went on to fake a nightmare in order to win the task, but to be honest I doubt anyone in the house was getting sweet dreams with oddball Stephen ‘Alex’s Brother’  Baldwin’s cautionary Biblical tales and glammma modull Nicola T’s spooky premonitions that something was wrong with her baby daughter.

Anyways, I digress; but this is a little scary:

 

Celebrity Big Brother 7 was one to remember, alright. We had a bit of everything, really, including wrinkly Ronnie Wood’s ‘girlfriend’ Katia, who bore a striking resemblence to a creepy doll and didn’t really have a lot to say for herself.


Sisqo was surprisingly cool. Guess I would be chilled-out too if I’d been living in the bargain bin of Asda since 1999, right next to all that Birds Eye.

Moving swiftly on…

Are the KIDS united?

I hate book-ending ‘pop culture’ posts with ‘culture posts’ but here we go…

Jacob Wheldon is your average 16 year old.

Until his parents took away his copy of COD this week, he could happily spend hours online and his penchant for Facebook is undeniable. He loves Cheryl Cole. Oh, I almost forgot…he’s a musician who was sharing a stage with Bloc Party when most of us were just getting to grips with the idea of ‘indie music’ rather than dance compilations of Billie Piper and Sonique (I do genuinely own a few of those). For all intents and purposes, Jacob has been Lo Fi Culture Scene since the age of 13, although he caught up with me to talk about his future now that the band are on a hiatus…

Here’s a tasty portion of vintage Lo-Fi if they’ve escaped your radar, with “ABSTRACT” from 2008:


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Hannah J Davies: “Abstract” was written when you were rather young…is the girl in question real, or was she a composite figment of your combined pubescent imaginations?

Jacob Wheldon: I write all the lyrics for the band, i think “Abstract” really was a large overreaction to friends who were starting to drink/do drugs/smoke for the first time. The girl is basically just a metaphor for what I hoped it wouldn’t do to my friends. I still hope it doesn’t, but i’m less worried now.

HJD: Officially best hidden drug ref since ‘Golden Brown’ in that case. Your video for the new single “Waxwork” was filmed at Bush Hall, which is a beautiful venue…do you prefer ‘haunts’ like this to the commercialised ‘chains’ of venues *coug&h O2 Academys etc?

JW: Definitely, with no disrespect to any of the O2 Academies we’ve played, we are not fans of them at all. Bush Hall is the venue I use to put on all the shows that I promote, it’s a beautiful venue, and the people there are the best people to work with. I think it’s a shame that there aren’t more venues like it.

Lo-Fi with “WAXWORK” (’09), as heard on Radio 1. Ring the changes…:

HJD: Do you ever get any weird fanmail?

JW: We get a lot of strange messages through our Myspace, most prominently from Japanese fans as their English isn’t great, but all of it is really appreciated.

HJD: Do you think having four out of five members with curly hair impoves your indie credentials or makes it harder in a way…besides avoiding cities with high humidity you must get a lot of people assuming that you are a standard Kooks/The View cover band?

JW: Yeah a surprising amount of people comment on all of us having curly hair, i don’t really know what it does for our ‘indie credentials’, we get a lot of people relating us to The Kooks, which i don’t see as a bad thing at all, though many do, but i loved Inside In/Out [The Kooks] [Ed: can I join…please?]

HJD: What has been your favourite track to play live with Lo-Fi?

JW: Favourite track to play, in all honesty was our cover of “I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas at our school’s Battle Of The Bands to end the night in November, and that was incredible. But of our own songs, probably a song called “Yes”. It gets people dancing and people are usually singing along with the chorus before the end of the song, even if they’ve not heard it before.

HJD: Finally, where does Jacob Wheldon go from here?

JW: I’ve got to get my GCSEs out of the way – we all do. For the moment i’m doing a lot of lyric-writing, and some songwriting. I’m working on with a guy called Dean Tynan which i’m very excited about, then soon we’ll [Jacob and Lo-Fi members Angus, Tom M, Tom H, Callum] be getting back together to start writing for whatever the name of the next project will be. I’m also starting to write for a website called Get Your Ears Out, reviewing a few shows and introducing some new bands. I’m hoping to do some more promoting as I did a few shows last year at Bush Hall to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust so i hope to do a few more this year. I also want to get involved in some form of acting if i can as soon as possible…so i’m busy as ever.

Sounding off:

Jacob on… the disposable music industry:

Haha, well i would say that i’m very separate from the others [members of the band] in that, i got very very bored of guitar music about 6 months ago, and as a result have just looked elsewhere for new music. It’s not just pop music that i’ve taken to, but there was definitely something that intrigued me as to the way [pop producers] Xenomania work. They seem to have some kind of formula to writing great pop songs, and it was intriguing to see how they’d managed to do it for so long without really having to change a lot in terms of style. What interests me about pop music is the core of the songs and the melodies..I think if you can look past all the over-production and the auto-tuned vocals, a lot of it is very good stuff or else the people who wrote the songs wouldn’t be paid to write them.

Jacob on… the lowest point of Lo-Fi:

It was probably an internal thing at some point. It’s not like we don’t get on, but there’s always going to be arguments in any relationship. It keeps things fresh and exciting, though it’s important not to let it turn into an episode of Hollyoaks, which has happened on occasions.

Jacob on… freebies:

We got a lot of free albums and studio time from labels who wanted to sign us which was quality, we were delighted with it. Our booking agents also get us absurd amounts of guest passes to various shows which we are eternally grateful to them for.


Jacob on… mixtape heaven*:

Bloc Party – So Here We Are

Coldplay – The Scientist

Bruce Springsteen – Thunder Road

Mark Knopfler – Sailing To Philadelphia

Curtis Mayfield – Move On Up

*subject to change…every few minutes 🙂

 

– Thanks to Jacob Wheldon. Lo-Fi are represented by 13artists and Kids records.

VICE VICE BABY: Noam Chomsky

Before I go I better talk about VICE. I’ve – rather excitingly – just become part of their new Blog Network (you can find a list of the other Vicetastic members here.
This just means that, from time to time, I’ll cover new and exclusive content from Vice and VBS, but it doesn’t mean that my output won’t remain typically hannahjdavies!

Firstly, VBS caught up with Noam Chomsky recently…you can watch the full interview here, and below is a little teaser of the esteemed academic and ‘father of linguistics’ talking arts, speech, protest, Bad Religion, Obamarama and Americana plus much more, all with his usual eloquence and Conservative brand of anarchism.

Slightly more sense spoken between Obama’s online publicity guru Kate Albright-Hanna and Chomsky when they caught up in Dublin where he was giving a lecture, than happened here in 2006:

Chomsky proves himself to be a thought-provoking speaker in both interviews, although the latter certainly sheds more light on the world of politics and arts than Cohen did, although oddly enough, he is also Jewish and has a pretty good degree behind him so maybe they talked more enlighteningly off-camera.

Do watch Kate Alrbight-Hanna and Noam Chomsky having a truly intellectual interview here.

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Adieu til next time,

x x x x

NB: Don’t forget to send me some feedback if you have any, as well as feature ideas…hannah@hannahjdavies.com!