Wooly Vintage

After yesterdays depressing post, lets talk about something a little bit cheerier: Music I've been digging recently. A bunch of friends recommending stuff to me, my own google-fu and the festival I attended recently have stocked up my ipod with a bunch of cool new rad tunes which need to be shared with the world (It's been a while since I've done one of these post, so there are a lot of artists to get through!) 

Potato Potato: At the start of the year I met a very lovely lady called Merryn Jeann. She's a beautiful singer/guitarist and songwriter (and was also kind enough to put on a house show with Shapes during our EP launch tour). I was recently stalking her artist page on facebook because she uploaded some demo's of her solo stuff, and came across some posts about her old band, potato potato. With their silky, flowing guitar parts and 4 part vocal harmonies, their sound is the musical equivalent of dripping complementary ink colours into water and watching the clouds of pigment swirl.

Eros: Now, after massaging my ears with the lovely sound of Potato Potato, I stalked their facebook page and came across Eros. This is a stunning one off duet release from a couple of peeps who used to be based up in Byron Bay. This folk duo have created a 6 track ep of intricate guitar lines and stunning vocal harmonies. 

The Bean Project: Now this quirky duo actually found me. They contacted shapes earlier in the year for a gig, and after looking up their links I fell for their classic folk songs with whimsical french horn detailing. 

Catriona McKay: Is a scottish harpist and composer who writes beautiful intricate folk songs. The album I've been listening to, Starfish, is kind of like the Goat Rodeo sessions, but with a harp as well. 

Colour: Remember how I went through a little bit of a math rock binge? Well, this is yet another band to add to my growing mathrock audio collection. This band contained tangled hair before they were tangled hair. Their music has everything I used to love about brit pop as a teen, with none of the stuff I hate about brit pop. 

Greshka: I love me some good old weird ass gypsy/klezmer/fusion music, and that's exactly what Greskha deliver. It's really fun, a little silly, and contains the best (and only) dulcimer I've ever heard. What could be better? :D 

Kalidad: Describe themselves as Mexican heavy metal, and whilst I don't necessarily agree that they're "heavy" I can hear the metallic influences in their delicious folk-fusion writing. I'm a bit of a sucker for spanish oriented classical/flamenco guitar lines, and Kalidad certainly offer that and more. 

Quantum Milkshake: There are very few bands which I would describe as "genera defying", but Quantum Milkshake fits the "genera defying" bill. They're a jazz/everything fusion band with shifting time signatures, complex harmonic structures and detailed use of texture mixed with a little bit of genius and a little bit of madness. They also have a flute in their band (everyone knows that bands with flutes are the best types of bands) To top it all off they recently released their first album, which is a bunch of fun!

Space Cabonara: These dudes are best summed up as dreamy psychedelic trip rock. Their music is clever and beautiful, and so very very lush. I can't help but crave pasta every time I look at their name. 

Tinpan Orange: I was lucky enough to see this stunning folk trio at Perisher Peak festival (which I played with the Button Collective a few weeks ago). As much as I dig their recorded sound, this is a band which is best heard live. The atmosphere they make together is like nothing else I've seen, and when their leading lady lets the fiddle loose, goodness, there are no words. Great band yo. 

So that's some of the new stuff I've been listening to recently! Enjoy :D 

Olive lemon

I've seen a bunch of people super excited about the extra February day we had yesterday and I must say, I kinda don't get it. Yeah, it only happens once every 4 years, but it was just a day, like any other. 

Anyway, this is what I wore on the leap year. It was finally cool enough for me to wear the other vintage piece I picked up in Lismore, and after much frustration trying to style it (I don't have much olive in my wardrobe/many colours that go well with olive) I finally settled on this bright yellow kilt. 

I was a bit apprehensive about the combination when I first put it together, but the longer I wore it the more I liked it. Looking at these pictures has also cemented it as a winner in my books. 

This is definitely one of the more unusual shirts I own. It's double breasted, with an unusual neckline (which  can be worn in several different ways.) The construction of the sleeves are also amazing - they're constructed from the same panel as the bodice.  

Anyway, enjoy your slightly belated March! (Autumn is my favourite season, so I know I will!) 

Daisy Chains

If you're friends with me on facebook, you would have seen me sharing quite a bit of stuff about why the Sydney Lockout Laws are pretty darn terrible for the city. On the outside the laws say "We're making a safe space for the community" but the reality of the situation is much more complex. 

 If you don't already know, the laws stop bars/clubs/venues from letting people in after 1:30am, and stop bars/clubs/venues serving spirits after 12am and alcohol after 3am in the Sydney CBD area in an aim to curb "alcohol fueled violence". The laws were hastily thrown together after the 2012 murder of Thomas Kelly and the 2013 murder of Daniel Christie. These deaths were avoidable and tragic, but happened well before "Lockout" in their prospective years. 

Now, I would be lying if I said that the Lockout Laws haven't achieved their goal. Violence is down by about 40 percent in the CBD. But at what cost? Foot traffic is down 80 percent  (Now, I'm pretty terrible at math and can't do the equation, but that means proportionally violence has increased) Countless Bars, Pubs and Clubs are shutting down (Not even Kabab shops are safe), taking with it hundreds of jobs for both bar staff and musicians. More than this, the violence that was in the CBD has now spread to other areas in Sydney. As well as "getting rid of the violence" the lockout laws are killing the city. 

I personally am not really sure about the argument that Australians have a uniquely violent relationship with alcohol. I've read some very compelling well sourced articles either way, but lets say we do have a problem. There are other ways to fix rather than saying "no you've been bad, now nobody can have it". For instance, increased public transport with more police and more/better education at a high school level (I remember my classes about alcohol were "it's bad for you, so don't drink. Think the alcoholic equivalent of abstinence only education). The installation of a night mayor (like Amsterdam and Paris) to be responsible for making the nightlife vibrant AND safe. 

"Why are people complaining about not being able to get drunk at 4 in the morning when there are more important issues" you may ask. The answer to this very valid question is that it's not actually about getting drunk and partying. The lockout laws signalled the last straw between Gen x/y and the Baby Boomer generation. 

This article says it best, but here's a summary: the Baby Boomers who are in power have locked younger generations out of great educations, home ownership, pensions, fair welfare, and stability, but now on top of this, they have made it abundantly clear that we are not "mature" "responsible" and "moral" enough for recreation. The protests about lockout are more a reaction to our rights to being adults and using public space being chipped away until we're left with a conservative totalitarian government that rule every aspect of our lives in the name of "morality" and "safety". When we were growing up, they talked about us being "cotton wool kids". Now that we're adults, the generation is insisting of keeping this same "cotton wool attitude" for "our own good".  

As well as keeping us safe "for our own good" these laws are laced with political agenda. Did you know that in the whole "lockout area" there's a rather large space exempt from the laws. This space is in the location, and shape of the Star City Casino  as shown in that handy dandy map to your right. Other venues that have exemptions from lockout are only allowed to stay open as long as they stop selling alcohol and the only form of entertainment are poker machines. (I don't know about you, but this seems more than a little fishy, especially considering the Star City Casino has a reputation as one of the mostly violent venues

I'll finish by saying this: The politics behind lockout are extraordinarily complicated, and there's a lot of information and miss information to be had. Make sure you question your views and do your research, because the reality, and what the government wants you to think is reality are two very different kettles of fish. 

 

EDIT: If you want to join in the action to keep sydney from becoming the suburbs you can do so Here (Reclaim The Streets) and Here (Keep Sydney Open)

Periwinkle

When I was in Lismore, I stumbled across the cutest vintage clothing store called the Treasure Trade.

I purchased two pieces in that shop, neither of which I've been able to wear (the clothes are made for colder weather, which is rare in the Australian Summer) 

Yesterday it was chilly enough for me to wear one of the pieces! This is such a perfect and comfortable dress. It's made of chiffon, and has elasticised wrists and waist. It's a tiny bit see through, but that's nothing a slip can't fix. 

The colour is really unusual as well. Too purple to be considered blue, but too blue to be considered purple - basically a perfect periwinkle. 

The skirt of the dress has wonderful movement. I pretty much twirled in it all day. 

On a more serious note, it seems some people need to have a good talking to about personal space and body autonomy. 

I played a gig last night with my band. During the break I needed to use the loo, so I went into the stall area and waited for a stall to free up. The toilets at this venue were unisex. 

Now, normally when you're cuing for the loo, you let the other people in the room have all the space they need. This is the sort of basic respect I expect from people in the stall room. 

So this guy walks into the stall waiting area, and proceeds to put his arm around me in a very familiar way, whilst trying to pick me up at the same time. I'm ashamed to say, I only stiffened up and shifted away. I didn't use my words, but then again, I have a fairly good reason. This guy was twice my weight. I didn't know him. I didn't know if he was drunk, and I didn't know if he would get violent, so I politely and awkwardly sent out the "go away" signals.  

When I finally got into the stall I took my time so that I didn't have to run into him on the way out. He was washing his hands in the basin when I exited the loo. Again, he tried to make conversation. The creepiest bit was when he finished at the basins, he went to the door, turned back and stared at me for an uncomfortably long time, opened the door, then stared again before exiting the bathroom. 

I should have said something to the bar staff, but I was too shocked at the time, and unfortunately too used to this sort of behaviour from strange men. The more I think about the exchange, the angrier and more disturbed I feel as well, both at strange bathroom guy, and at me, although quite frankly I shouldn't have to say anything because it shouldn't have happened in the first place. (man, that's a run on sentence) 

Compared to many other instances of inappropriate touching, this is quite mild, but I don't care. The fact that someone thought this was appropriate is disgusting. It really shouldn't need to be said, but if you don't know the person you do not touch them. Ever.  

If you're non-male person and someone does something inappropriate, speak up. Let them, and everyone around you know that it's not ok, because if we don't, the people who behave this way will continue to be disgusting, and our tiny children will think it is ok. And that's not cool. 

That time I wore purple at the jazz festival.

shoes Yesterday was a very long, but very fun day. The Jazz orchestra I play with (The New Empire Ballroom Ragtime Dance Orchestra) played 2 sets at Newcastle Jazz Festival. The performances were really good. (The crowd was great, and we were really tight/ in tune/ mistake free)

looking up

This is what I wore to travel to and from the jazz festival. I wanted to wear something comfy and floofy, which is how I ended up with this outfit (which is both hella comfy and hella floofy)

wind flick

I wasn't able to stay in this all day. Part of the orchestra's "thing" is that we play 20's music as it would have been played in the 20's, which includes period accurate clothes, makeup (and sometimes instruments like the weird and wacky stroh violin )

looking away p

face

I managed to convince some of the orchestra to come out into the sunlight and take some photo's with me in costume which was fun. So yeah, this is half of the New Empire.

half an orchestra

Our costumes were put together by Ashley, who is a thrifting and seamstress extraordinaire. Half of our dresses were thrifted as is, and the other half started out their life as very ugly garments, which were altered into submission.

less than half giggles Being sexc

One last thing I want to talk about is posture. I was playing a gig with Vanishing Shapes the other evening when an old man came up to me and said "I'm only telling you this because you're pretty. You need to hold your shoulders high and keep you're back straight so that you can be beautiful". Now, posture is something I've been working on a lot this year (so that my flute and singing gets better). Due to me not really caring when I was quite young, my "default" posture is quite slumped over.

Practicing good posture for extended lengths of time at the moment causes my back to ache. When I'm performing and my back starts to ache, I do whatever I can to quell the pain, which in some cases means having awful posture for a while (it way be hard to play properly with bad posture, but it's worse trying to play with pain). This particular night I had been carrying heavy stuff all day, and I was sore and tired, so I let my posture slip so I could be comfortable.

I'm not really sure what my point is, but that man's comment really got on my nerves  this week (especially in the second half of the New Empire's second set yesterday. I had to let my posture go a bit so I could finish the set). I don't understand why people think it's their place to comment on what you "should" and "shouldn't" be doing with your body. Yes, my posture isn't great, and yes, it's terrible for my health, but I'm working on correcting it. No, I don't expect you to know, but it's none of your business in the first place.