Saturday, 28 June 2014

Still here...

I haven't blogged much of late. Not for any ominous reasons - just haven't felt like it. There is always something more pressing to be done - or I've kind of felt like blogging about something inane, or just a two minute rant, nothing that particularly tickled my fancy. You know those kind of months that just slide on past you - and there is nothing really worthy of note, nothing major to go - oh yes, that was mega/exciting/insightful/insane - I MUST blog about that. Mind you since Prince, nothing could quite be as exciting as that... *sighs*

And yet. Great things happened - all in the little moments. Like:

1. Husband and Sproglet bonded over world cup games (as an aside - wasn't that Brazil v Chile match insanely good tonight?) and Sproglet was BEYOND excited to stay up and watch England's second game. He watched the first part at our mate Dave's house - along with Dave's older son who is Sproglet's age. Sproglet used his birthday money to buy them gifts (unbeknownst to me - on Dad's watch) of football stickers and a slinky - later telling me that 'it is nice to give give things to people.' Bless him. He also stressed when he discovered another kid was having a birthday party on the same day as his - worried when he heard that out of 4 kids invited to both parties, 3 were coming to his. He didn't want the other kid to feel bad. My son amazes me all the time - and before you think I am up my own arse about how great my kid is - remember I also have Sproglette, who doesn't give a fuck what anyone thinks and decrees the world should jump to her tune - so trust me, it aint down to my parenting skills, that my son is such a nice kid. The Diva (as I also call her) complained that 'you serve corn every day for dinner. I have had enough.' (Not true). She also stood naked at the top of the stairs when a little boy she loved left after a play date - sobbing and begging him to 'come in the bath pleeeassseeee, or have a sleepover in my bed.' Her technique with boys has GOT to change...

2. Husband and I had a couple of epic rows and then he got his hair cut and I kind of swooned a bit. He is still quite cute in a certain light. Marriage is so freakin' tough - and I wish more folk talked about it and admitted how they'd love to be 21 again at a bad disco kissing some hot boy who they met 5 minutes ago, downing shots - but at the same time, don't want to be anywhere else.

3. Something I was working on wasn't working - so, after fretting a bit -  I threw it to one side and began something else, which is nearly completed! I sent it to a couple of people whose opinions I value and trust - and who I knew wouldn't dress it all up in cotton wool - they'd lay it on the table straight... Taking the time to read my work, be supportive and to be encouraging (and complimentary thank the lord) - really made my month. That, along with a few other moments made me realise - again - that giving people your time is the best thing you can give them. Which is also why, I'm only giving it to people who add value to my life. Life is too freakin' short.

4. I found a red lipstick that works after all. By Nars - called Cruella. Fabulous. I also got a woman to bleach me into next week - I am BLONDER than ever. I love it.

5. Told you it wasn't exciting stuff - why are you still reading? Although today I read a fab interview with Ethan Hawk who had struggled in his career with the fact he had/has the ability to do commercial work - that more people saw The Purge (some dire horror) on the opening night than would have seen the entire Before trilogy (which I loved). But the artistic stuff never pays the child support. He clearly has wrestled between fulfilling his artistic desires or paying the mortgage. He envied Brad Pitt being able to do a Malick film - and everyone paying to see it - i.e. that Pitt can do artistic films that DO make money... It interested me no end because one never images Hollywood stars (though I think Hawke would loathe being called that) struggling in any way... He also said he thought he'd hit a 'magical place' at 23 or 28 - when you find yourself - but instead it has been a slog and he said he felt like 'a cat, I keep having to survive and land on my feet.' It oddly made me feel less alone.

6. Babble axed 50% of their writers, but kept me on. They are focusing on less quantity and more quality - which thrills me. Hoo-rah. Blogging is a joy - when you have something to say...

7. I realised that I love cake and food and wine and life too much to ever seriously diet. Plus every woman (bar one) that I know, who lost drastic amounts of weight - immediately looked about 10 years older facially. If I have to chose between my face or belly - I go face - and the plus side is I get to eat cake too. I've started running more to try and balance this out - it de-stresses me - but the first 15 minutes are worse than having a smear test. Really.

8. The constructed reality show I've been working on is about to end - and I'm sad as it has been hilarious - more fun than I ever imaged, to do. It has also made me insanely grateful to NOT be in that era where you are seeing someone but it isn't 'exclusive' and 'he says he doesn't want a relationship and I don't want a relationship either... but we are sleeping together and I think he really likes me so what does that mean' bollox. Just a minefield. How do folk date?

9. Nothing in the world is better than a cold beer and salt and vinegar kettle chips at the end of a long day. Nothing.

10. Jack Thorne's 'Let the Right One In' is nothing short of amazing. Go see. Better and funnier than the original film.

See, nothing major, nothing of note. I promise not to blog again until I have something vaguely interesting to say.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Play that funky music...

                                   The empty stage - raw and ready. Who needs gimmicks?

It begins in those teen years. You pick your band, your singer, your hero, your 'team' and that is it. Hooked for life. Unshakable loyalty to the bitter end. Those tortured years filled with endless growing pains are made marginally easier simply by playing their music... the stylus getting stuck in a groove, the vinyl warping with over-use.  You know every word, every note - have poured over the inside sleeve to memorise all the B-sides... Their names are scrawled on your study files, their posters adorn your walls. Nothing comes close to the years when you have the time and the pocket money to worship so religiously, to devote yourself so entirely to one hero.

It began for me in '84 and I only wish my teenage self could have imaged just how close she'd be to her god, 30 years later.

I went alone, but wasn't worried - with fellow tweeters telling me where the gig would happen and how to get tickets - there was a general comradeship amongst the fans: selling tickets at face value to others, trying to help people lay their hands on golden tickets etc. I immediately met a couple next to me - turns out they were brother and sister (later it turns out they know old mates of mine in York and even my cousin!). They offered me a tin of gin and tonic - all terribly civilised now that most fans are 30 plus... I queued from maybe 4:30 - doors opened at 5:30 and even had time to get drinks - and still was 3 people from the front.  This, my 4th ever Prince gig - was the first I had to don my specs!  My new BFFs had never seen him before and were beyond excited - but even they weren't prepared for the epic-ness of the next 2 hours...

A little after 7pm out he came (heels, natch). The intimate crowd went nuts and he kicked off with a string of hits - one segueing into the next. I could see every single expression on his amused face - behind two blonde women who had even seen him gig at Paisley Park, at his home. Turns out he drinks 'Prince water.' AMAZING.

For the next two hours, it was nothing short of electric. Here's the thing about his purpleness: he aint in it for the fame (1D) the pretentiousness (Coldplay) the money (U2 - and before you berate me, where does Bono store his cash? Hmmm methinks Monaco...) - he is in it purely to get his funk on. He is up there on stage having the time of his life - he loves the music, is lost in the moment. 3rd Eye Girl were everything the Revolution were and then some. These kick ass women were incredible - especially Donna Grantis (sweating to death in a sprayed on leather catsuit) on lead guitar. His first encore ended with an 8 minute Purple Rain guitar solo - the crowd woo hoo hooing with all their might. At that point the tears came and all I could think was 'please please let this not be the last time I ever see you play.' Prince is 56 next week and here is is playing for over 4 hours at 2 gigs in the same night... What if he never returns to these shores again? And boy is he tiny. I think if I hugged him I would squeeze him to death. His afro is easily as big as the rest of him.

                                                 Prince climbing on a speaker (as you do).

There were hits galore, a string of less well known songs for the hard core fans and an amazing version of Joni Mitchell's 'a case of U.' Frequently he referred to himself in third person, even asking if 'Prince should play that funky music?' He updated Kiss from 'Dynasty' to 'Real Housewives...' His second encore felt like it was almost just for him... as he pounded the keyboard, then picked up his guitar, even twiddling the odd nob on stage. Then he stood and thanked us all in a heartfelt manner, clutching his chest and saying 'I will never forget tonight.' (According to other fans he hasn't done that this year at any other gig). He came back on stage and released a handful of purple and white balloons, they soared up to the roof and then he was gone.

We left and envied the crowd busting to get in for show 2. As I walked through the Camden puddles I felt immense love for my husband who had said, '£80 a ticket? It is PRINCE Suzanne. Go! He is your icon.' He was right. Never in all my life have I been to such a gig. Yes, the crowd all looked a bit knackered towards the end - everyone mainly over 40 and thinking about long journeys home; yes, it has been manys a moon since Prince had his hay day - the topless oiled days are gone, replaced by polo necks and bizarre tabards, BUT no one comes close when performing. No one can whip a crowd into the same frenzy - some 30 years later.

It began in '84, on a tape deck, my step-sister having recorded the charts and 'Let's go Crazy' was in at no.4. All I ask, Prince, is please don't let last night be the end....

                                                        3 heads from the front. Amen.