‘Do you wanna be in the business?’ – 10 songs about the music industry

I read Mike Love’s autobiography last week, the lead singer from the Beach Boys who isn’t Brian Wilson. It’s actually a wonderful read, and a fascinating one at that for anyone supremely interested in 1960s America. In it, Love documents the sudden rise of the Beach Boys as ‘America’s Band’ after Life magazine ran a cover feature about California’s surf craze. So, writing to a brief almost, the Beach Boys signed a deal to produce seven records in something like two years, on the theme of surfing, girls and cars (Surfin’ USA, California Girls, Little Deuce Coupe respectively). While I was reading it I could help but listen to the band on repeat, which got me yearning for summer during a time in mid-March where we’ve been seeing blizzard-like snow. The interesting thing about the Beach Boys is that Pet Sounds and the re-imagined Smile Sessions aside, they have only around 15 hits that have kept resurging every 10 years or so, as another generation discovers their music and makes out with their boyfriends in the car to it. The memoir also recounts the band’s infamous lawsuits throughout the years which got me thinking about the workings of the music industry since the ’60s. So I made a PLAYLIST of songs about the curious, sneaky inner goings-on in the biz (scroll down for related lyrics*). You can listen to it here.

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Here are a list of other books that I have hugely enjoyed since the turn of the new year: Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney; Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton, Rookie on Love by Rookie writers and contributors; Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I’ve tried to get into Goodreads as a way to easily share and get recommendations on what I’ve been reading, but I JUST CAN’T RATE A BOOK OUT OF FIVE! I just rate ALL the books I’ve read out of five, mostly as a pat-on-the-back to myself: Well done you! Five stars for reading a book!


I went to Newcastle for St. Patrick’s Day to see my dear friend and Girl Chat co-host Chloe Trayford. It were a right belter. Here’s some art I saw at the Baltic Gallery that I give you full permission to use as your phone wallpaper.

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On the train home, I watched Beats Rhymes and Life, a documentary about A Tribe Called Quest available on Netflix! Watch it! It’s great! It’s so great I had no idea my train arrived 40 minutes late and I got the full price of my ticket back. All good news.


Other things that I’ve been up to: Saw the motherfucking GOAT Milo at Birthdays in Stoke Newington at both his sold-out shows in London a couple of weeks ago. I don’t have any photos. He did completely different sets both nights and it was probably the most life-affirming duo of shows I’ve ever seen (no hyperboles, trust). It was quite otherworldly to be stood at the front of the crowd and see someone be so creative so spontaneously and with such conviction. If you’ve not heard him yet, I suggest you do so wherever you listen to your music. If you want to support independent radio, here’s an appearance he did on NTS Radio. He steps up around 14m 30s, but listen from the start to hear an insanely good Busdriver track.

OK, I have a terrible cold and I’m out. I’ll be back soon having done some REAL writing.


(P.S. Here’s all the lyrics related to the music business in the linked up playlist, in case you didn’t believe me).
*1. Check the Rhime – A Tribe Called Quest
“Industry rule number four thousand and eighty
Record company people are shady
So kids watch your back ’cause I think they smoke crack
I don’t doubt it, look at how they act”

2. Paint a Vulgar Picture – The Smiths
“Best of! Most of!
Satiate the need
Slip them into different sleeves!
Buy both, and feel deceived
Climber – new entry, re-entry”

3. Free Man in Paris – Joni Mitchell
“I was a free man in Paris
I felt unfettered and alive
Nobody was calling me up for favours
And no one’s future to decide
You know I’d go back there tomorrow
But for the work I’ve taken on
Stoking the star maker machinery
Behind the popular song”

4. Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe – Kendrick Lamar
“You shut me down, you like the control
You speak to me like I’m a child
Try to hold it down, I know the answer
I can shake it off and you feel threatened by me”

5. Re: Animist – Milo
“Showboat rappers get stood up in their studio
I heard Wal-Mart signed Jason Derulo
Then dropped him cause he couldn’t sell crew socks
And refused to adopt the umlaut”

6. W.O.E is Entertainment – Jurassic 5
“Welcome to the wonderful world of entertainment
Where life imitate art and people get famous
Welcome to the world of showbiz arrangement
Where lights, camera, action is the language”

7. We Walk – The Ting Tings
We can’t be honest
We call it off
We got the choice if it all goes wrong
We walk, we walk

8. Have a Cigar – Pink Floyd
“You’re gonna make it if you try,
They’re gonna love you.
I’ve always had a deep respect and I mean that most sincere;
The band is just fantastic, that is really what I think,
Oh, by the way, which one’s Pink?”

9. Country House – Blur
“City dweller, successful fella thought to himself
Oops I’ve got a lot of money
Caught in a rat race terminally
I’m a professional cynic but my heart’s not in it
I’m payin’ the price of livin’ life at the limit”

10. Show Business – A Tribe Called Quest
“Let me tell you ’bout the snakes, the fakes, the lies
The highs at all of these industry shing-dings
Where you see the pretty girls
In the high animated world
Checkin’ for a rapper with all the dough
If you take a shit they want to know
And if you’re gonna fall, they won’t be around, y’all
So you still wanna do the show business?”

June edition: Things on the internet that are worth their URLs – 7/6/17

Some things you can look at on the internet other than this blog post: a list, by me. 

Why, hello there! I’ve been meaning to post something on here for so long, but then other things always crop up (Food shopping! Commuting! Clipping my toenails!) so it gets pushed down to the gutter of the to-do list.

Alas, while I’ve been knees deep in spreadsheets, sorting out my personal finance – when I should be packing a lifetime’s amount of hedonism into my newly entered 21st year – other people on the internet have been making some REALLY good shit, some of which I am honoured to share with you here.

There’s some serious stuff re: tomorrow’s impending election (duh duh duuuuhh), enthusiast audio #content in podcast form and a beautiful article about the process of making an album that’s going to be one of the greatest of 2017, because Our Lady Patti Smith has a test pressing in her sacred hands and she is SMILING:

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So rather than this blog post being a DESTINATION this evening, think of it as some guidance within the vast abyss online that is the World Wide Web, pointing you towards URLs worth your time. But if you’re reading this on Thursday, and you’re a UK citizen, stop scrolling right now and go and VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! I’LL MAKE EVERYONE WHO VOTES A BUTTON BADGE OR SOMETHING! WELL, NOT EVERYONE OBVIOUSLY, BUT YOU! YOU! VOTE! VOTE! BUTTON BADGE! VOTE! TAKE AN ‘I VOTED’ SELFIE IF YOU HAVE TO! AND I WILL MAKE YOU A BUTTON BADGE! JUST GO AND VOTE!

Anyway, and on that note:

If you want to see how women across the UK have been feeling in the run-up to this snap general election, watch this video series from The Debrief interviewing 20-somethings across the UK about their thoughts on the policies, the parties and the politicians themselves (why does alliteration always induce so much smugness?) This particular link brings you through to the article about Derby North, the most marginal constituency in the UK. But – as you’ll see in the video – the marginal seat doesn’t spark the sort of enthusiasm and excitement you’d think a two-horse race might. Vice has also released a video about the upcoming election, focusing specifically on the issues that Brexit has pushed aside, and ones that don’t feature heavily in the manifestos, including homelessness, climate change and ‘forgotten cities’. It fucking breaks my heart when Vice journo and hilarious human being Amelia Dimoldenberg hears from a group of Stoke lads that every single nightclub in town has closed down and she’s like, “What!” My hometown is a bit like that – or was heading down that way for a bit, anyway – and while it might not seem like that much of a big deal, it can have such a detrimental effect on the city and the people living there, it’s mad. (Ooh, just so I can share this again because I think it is excellent, Vice also ran a feature called ‘Home Coming‘ where its writers revisited the places where they grew up and it makes for COMPELLING stuff. Or maybe not. Idk. I’m obsessed with the idea of growing up in a dead-end town, so much so, I WROTE A PLAY ABOUT IT! But I can’t link out to that cause it’d be a 30-page PDF. If you missed it at the time, you’ve missed it. Anyway. Anyway.)

If you want a podcast, listen to these wonderful pop music musings on Unbreak My Chart. It’s a half-hour chat between two music writers, Fraser MacAlpine and Laura Snapes, having a jolly ol’ time talking about the top 10 singles in the chart that week. They also talk about new releases across the genres, so if you’re too cool for Bieber, you can be mildly content with the fact that they also mentioned Arcade Fire and Liam Gallagher in the last one. It’s not at all sneering or pretentious, just two people bouncing off each other, reveling in the glory of all things pop. With great adjectives! As shown by the outpour of emotion following the tragic terrorist attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester last month, and the OneLove megastar concert last weekend, this podcast places the importance of pop music highly – right where it belongs. 

If you want to read about how the creative process isn’t any one thing, read this interview with Robin Pecknold about Fleet Foxes’ upcoming album Crack-Up. FF frontman and indie-folk dreamboat Robin Pecknold spoke to the New York Times about ‘getting out to get back in’, in preparation to record an album that is so hotly anticipated by me, and others, that I GENUINELY HAVE A REMINDER ON MY PHONE TO GO OUT AND BUY IT.

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Kyle Johnson for the New York Times

In it, along with other juicy revealers as to why Father John Misty packed up and left, he dishes out this gem for anyone who is ever considering recording an album/creating something, ever: “[We thought] If we’re going to do this, it has to be something that’s not going to make us want to kill ourselves.”

And on that note, I’m out. Not in the way you’d think I mean by saying ‘on that note’ – but logging out. Bye.

Getting stuff done by just mooching about, happily; a useless post by yours truly 24/8/15

Campers grill pancakes for breakfast, National Geographic, December 1965

There’s this bit in Broad City where Alanna and Abbi sit next to each on separate laptops all night and then go to Facetime each other, forgetting that they’re in each other’s company and SCREAM. That’s like me at the moment but I end up Facetiming my own laptop, clocking into myself and my reality in some horrified, 2D truth that I essentially live on the internet. I’m not even major-ly internetty. I don’t use Tumblr and only tread the boards of Reddit when I wanna have a cry at some cute puppies. But still. Itchy eyes.

I’ve been doing a lot of writing in the evenings over the past two or three weeks so not only am I on screen all day at work, I come home to the harsh whiteness of Word and continue in my duties to The General Words. And here I am again. Damn, writing bug, you got me good!

I don’t mind it at all of course. I’ve just finished writing my first ever play. It’s 24 pages long. It’s part of an ‘open submissions’ project where there is a chance it might be performed as a rehearsed play reading. Here’s to hoping. Writing has been supremely enjoyable over the past few months – I’ve really fallen back in love with it.

I bought my first electric guitar this month too! It’s been a supremely busy and very expensive month but I’ve reached the end of it in a very good place. I’ve wanted to get one for so long and have been deliberating over what I want it to look like and sound like by poring over people’s eBay reviews without ever stepping into a music shop myself.

I had a bad day a few weeks ago re: the affairs the of the heart, so got a bus into town and bought myself this guitar. I knew it from the minute I saw it. Sounds ace, too. Sometimes I tuck it up in bed with me. One day I’ll stop looking at it all day and actually get up and play it.

Must go before my eyes go square.

P.S Natasha Khan released this today as part of her new SEXWITCH project. Listen to it, then read all about it in an interview with the lovely Laura Snapes.

http://pitchfork.com/news/60902-bat-for-lashes-discusses-debut-sexwitch-album-shares-helelyos/

I’ll get round to writing my thoughts on it once the whole record’s out.

I’m off to Amsterdam on Thursday so will be writing something about that, too.

Although I have decided that I’m not going to bring my laptop during the trip and revert back to journal writing for a week – I miss it.

On the flip side, and until then,

T.A.L x

“I love you, Internet- but I just don’t like you anymore” & “my old friend, the scrapbook”

Hey! In this post I’m writing about the Internet! All users of the Internet definitely will find this interesting. Oh, wait- that’s you, isn’t it?

I wrote here before about the headaches of the Internet, which you can read about  here.  In the post, I started to tap (har har tap, as in tapping on the keyboard) about my agg with this beast, which I said I’d write about soon. Today is soon! Before you get all righteous and suspicious…like, “Hey, this chick SAYS she has itchings with the Web, yet she’s writing a blog!! She’s using the internet! She’s a hypocrite!” I’m not I swear, I love the Internet!

I love the internet as a thing, without the internet I wouldn’t know about half of the books I’ve purchased cheaply for pennies on Amazon, I wouldn’t have been bothered to learn the guitar, only being able to learn old stuffy songs in dusty books on the top of Dad’s wardrobe, (like, I can maybe see why people like Simon & Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence, but please can I learn the chords to this instead? Oh wow, I can?! Gee, thanks Internet!)

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Just to prove it’s all I do

Ugh, I love it so much. But I deleted my Facebook this week. I was sitting on my bed, listening to Horses, (again, all I ever do is listen to Horses) and I remembered what I said once, I must have been about 12. I said, “Oh, yeah I’ll delete Facebook when I’m 18, so I can live without having to document everything on line, and actually start to live.” So I just did. Now, my friends would laugh at this, my best friend once saying that I used to delete my Facebook more than I had a period, but now, we have so many other cool ways to utilise the Internet (hey WordPress! Hey Twitter!) I thought, why should I feel obliged to have it? It’s not creative, it’s no longer for me. Sure, I used to get my thrills from sending potential crushes pictures of baby seals, but this technique didn’t ever work- apart from one who replied with “is this a virus”

Anyway, that’s not what I wanted to write about. There are other ways of documenting your life, on PAPER form. (HEy you’re writing a blog you’re jfsiahfakk…)

I found my old scrapbook earlier! I think I started this around 3 years ago, and I have about 7 free pages left. They’re just scrappings of old magazine pages that I thought too precious to chuck away, but they’ve brought back a hella memories of my different tastes, and how my likes have changed. Lookee here:

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This is from the first page. As with all first pages, one always feels obliged to make A HUGE EFFORT so I even went 3D with it, by terrifyingly taping worry dolls down to the pages. I love the first few pages, because they showed that although I didn’t know what I wanted to do whilst scrapbooking, I was enthusiastic, and now when I look at everything altogether, those first pages seem so different, but still sweet.

Next, is this page about SUBCULTURE, which probably came hand in hand with my discovery of riot grrl and No Doubt. So, I’d fallen for Courtney- and these ‘Pamflet Commandments’ were my life mantra for a while. Pamflet, a former zine and now a website, was my first real education into feminism and how it’s the best lifestyle choice.

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“WWCD?”

And then comes the frantic scrapping, going out buying old poetry books, ripping and sticking. DH Lawrence remains a favourite poet, which I no doubt would have forgotten about if I hadn’t pasted him in my book.

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Also: fashion I liked, once. And still do. Hey, it’s in the book- I’ll always have a thing for everything in the book.

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Documented here is the first time I used COCKTAIL sticks for nail art. I’d badly and neatly scrapped a page full of Jean Seberg, after watching ‘Bonjour Tristesse’ so fucked it up with gross old nail art sticks. Better.

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Sometimes just for newspaper articles I’ve enjoyed:

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And now for the greatest thing of all. By this time, I’d pretty much got the hang of old magazine cut outs, I wanted something else that would feel a bit more personal to me. You know those pictures that you’d never post to the internet because you’re not in the right angle, you have too much sunburn, your smile is a bit too teethy? They’d make it into the book.

Prom photos that didn’t make the cut:

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And when I went to Barcelona with my friends. I have so many great photos, but these ones were too dark, or blurred- but now I prefer them for their imperfections. I think we try so hard to forget that some things aren’t completely perfect, everythings photoshopped, drunk status updates deleted. They still happened, moron.

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On a really drunk shopping spree through a souvenir shop, I tore this “100 euro” note off a toilet paper roll….id won the lottery

 

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And that’s that. I still have my seven or so pages to fill. It’s nice, because most of it is essentially rubbish, but when things are all collated together that you really like, you end up really really liking your scrapbook.

I’d love to hear about your guilty memories stashes.

Keep reading, and thanks for doing so.

Tara X