Par trīsdesmit sekundēm pagātnē

Vakar man bija tā iespēja iekāpt laika mašīnā un doties pāris gadus tālā pagātnē – uz laiku, kad zāle bija zaļāka (dažiem: lētāka), dienas bezrūpīgākas un mūzika – dusmīgāka. Uz laiku, kad gan man, gan maniem draugiem muzikālās mīlestības bija tādas grupas kā Dashboard Confessional, Something Corporate un Jimmy Eat World. Un, jā – arī 30 Seconds To Mars, kas ir arī šī stāsta galvenie varoņi. 

Pirms koncerta manī virmoja dažādas emocijas un domas – sākot ar dilemmu, ko varētu nosaukt “Mazgāt matus vai tomēr iekļauties pūlī?”, beidzot ar cerību, ka tiks spēlētas “vecās dziesmas”, kuras es zinu. Mati tika izmazgāti, vecās dziesmas nospēlētas. Bet dažas. Un neīstajās versijās.

Kopumā koncertu uzskatu par diezgan vāju. Tik vāju, ka vienubrīd mēs pat vairāk izklaidējāmies, cenšoties saskatīt vienā no tehniskajām telpām esošo TV, kurā tobrīd tika translēta hokeja spēle. Bet, kā jau visam, arī katram koncertam ir savi plusi un savi mīnusi.

Man nepatika nepieklājīgi ilgā “priekšspēle”. Saka jau – “jo lielāks mākslinieks, jo garāka pauze”, bet viņi nav ne tik lieli, ne tik ļoti mākslinieki. Gaidīšanas laikā arēnā valdošo atmosfēru spilgti raksturo šie divi tvīti: pirmais, otrais.

Parasti man viena no svarīgākajām lietām jebkura koncerta laikā ir pirmās 10 sekundes, kurās mākslinieks uznāk uz skatuves. Tām jābūt pietiekami iespaidīgām, lai pār maniem kauliem skrietu ne tikai pāris skudras, bet visa skudru ferma. Nebija. Jeb, kā @jaredleto teiktu – Fucking Nebija.  Jā, tā ir vēl viena lieta, kas man nepatika.

Man laikam vairs nav 15. Nē, patiesībā – man pavisam noteikti vairs nav 15. Līdz ar to – lamāšanās absolūtā nevietā man šķiet vienkārši muļķīga un dur ausīs. Un es absolūti piekrītu šim ilustratīvajam tvītam par @jaredleto runas stilu un komunikāciju ar publiku. Ir vietas un brīži, kad rupjības ir īsti vietā – lai izceltu, pasvītrotu, izpaustu emociju. Un es neticu, ka viņš domāja par “fucking” katru sekundi.

+ Man patika skaņa. Šoreiz man tiešām patika skaņas kvalitāte.

+ Man patika arī tas, ka, šķiet, otrās dziesmas laikā no “debesīm” nokrita lērums sarkanu piepūšamo bumbu. Par šovu runājot…

+ Vienīgā lieta, kas man šovā patika – video fonā, kuri šai grupai nenoliedzami sanāk visai kvalitatīvi, lai neteiktu vairāk.

Visādi citādi šovs bija diezgan paviršs. Bija sajūta, ka mazajām valstīm viņi sniedz šova ekonomisko variantu. Un man nepatika arī visai necieņas pilnā attieksme pret skatītājiem – lai gan, izskatījās, ka jaunajām meitenēm šī attieksme tīri labi gāja pie sirds. Tevi uzaicina uz skatuves, izpreperē un tā tu tur stāvi.

Starp citu, visu koncertu mani nepameta doma, ka es esmu nokļuvusi reliģiska rakstura sanāksmē. Dziesmās bija tik daudz atkārtotu vārdu, ka tas jau robežojās ar zombēšanu (FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT, NO, NO, NO, THIS IS WAR, THIS-IS-WAR!), pārāk daudz ērģeļmūzikas, lai tas jau nebūtu aizdomīgi.

Kopsavilkums: Kā jau @artisdvarionas koncertam sākoties minēja@jaredleto paštīksmināšanās izrāde.

– Should I grow my hair long?

– How the “f” should we know? Ask your mom!

Pie Humberta

Humberta puiši ļoti skaisti uzrakstījuši par to, kāpēc grāmatnīcai-bufetei “Pie Humberta” būtu jāpastāv, kā arī aprakstījuši vienu no iespējām risināt šo situāciju.

Piekrītu viņu teiktajam, bet gribētu vērst jūsu uzmanību arī uz to, ka Humberts gandrīz vienpersoniski šobrīd veido vidi, kur satikties jauniem cilvēkiem, kuriem interesē kas vairāk par Džoniju Bravo, Džastinu Bīberu un pārējiem popkultūras brīnumiem (nejaukt ar Sandru Brīnumu no dueta “Sandra”).

Humberts ir ideāli piemērots cilvēkiem, kurus interesē literatūra un pārējās mākslas, cilvēkiem, kuri grib izklaides vietās iegūt ko vairāk, kā tikai vēl vienu džeimsonu ribās. Humbertu var sanākt (un pat ieteicams) lietot bieži, jo tajā notiek krīzes apstākļiem nepieklājīgi liels kvalitatīvu pasākumu daudzums. Iespējamās komplikācijas – daudz jaunu paziņu, jo tā ir vieta, kurai 3. mēnešu laikā jau izveidojies konkrēts pastāvīgo apmeklētāju loks, kuram aizvien pievienojas jauni.

Kad pirmoreiz pabiju Humbertā, draugam teicu, ka vieta ir burvīga, es tikai baidos par tās (finansiālo) nākotni. Viņš piekrita. Te nu mēs esam. Negribētos, lai “Pie Humberta”  vietā rudens beigās gozētos kārtējais dārgo apģērbu veikals vai apdrošināšanas kantoris. Nerakstīšu te nekādus iedvesmojošos tekstus, vien piebildīšu, ka putniņš man pačiepstēja, ka puišiem ir lieli plāni, kurus viņi (un jūs) gribat redzēt realizētus.

Vāzēm un vilkiem

Peter and The Wolf (c) Rock Insider (www.rockinsider.com)

Pirms pāris dienām Ilze mani iepazīstināja ar Youtube kanālu WatchListenTell, kurā apokopotas dažādu (dažu – kādreiz, dažu – joprojām) mazpazīstamu muzikantu dziesmas ar burvīgiem, speciāli šim projektam uzņemtiem video. Tajā bija arī, piemēram, šobrīd ļoti labi zināmās Florence & The Machine 2008.gadā iedziedātā dziesma “My Boy Builds Coffins” un Two Door Cinema Club pazīstamās dziesmas “Something Good Can Work”  lieliska akustiskā versija. Kanālā pamanīju arī par uzlecošajām zvaigznēm Latvijā jau nodēvētos britu puišus Stornoway, kurus nesen varējām vērot spēlējoties Latvijā, festivālā Positivus. Tātad – visai precīzi paredzošs kanāls, vismaz pus-indie un galīgi indie grupu lauciņā.

Tomēr pats lielākais ieguvums no šī kanāla, manuprāt, ir grupa Peter and The Wolf. Jā, tagad laikam populāri saukt grupas pēc principa “cilvēks + dzīvnieks”. Atceries Noah and The Whale?

(Iespējams) par godu Sergeja Prokofjeva bērnu stāstam nosauktajā grupā ir trīs dalībnieki – viens jazzman, viena punk babe un trešais… trešais ir solists-līderis. Kopā viņiem sanāk fantastiskas dziesmas-stāsti, ļoti melodiski, vietām melanholiski kliedzoši, vietām kliedzoši pozitīvi. Jebkurā gadījumā – pēdējās dienas klausos tikai viņus un esmu visnotaļ sajūsmā. Piestāv vasarai, riteņiem, agriem rītiem un mazliet apvītušām puķēm vāzē uz palodzes.

Noklausies pāris viņu dziesmas MySpace – īpaši iesaku singlu “Chemistry Set” no pēdējā albuma “Golden Stars”.

Keane – Night Train EP

Šodien manās ausīs nonāca jaunākais austrumsaseksiešu (izcils vārds, ne?) Keane veikums – Night Train EP (oficiālais iznākšanas datums – rītdiena, 10. maijs).

No saldās meiteņu mūzikas, man Keane vienmēr bijusi teju mīļākā mūzika – Tom Chaplin vokāls, vieglās melodijas un lipīgie teksti kaut kā vienmēr spējuši mani pavilkt.

Bet par jauno EP.
Night Train EP ir Keane ceturtais studijas ieraksts (pirms šī iznākuši vēl arī Hopes and Fears, Under The Iron Sea, Perfect Symmetry) Man šķiet, ka Keane nekad vēl nav sadarbojušies ar tik daudz viesmāksliniekiem. Jaunajā albumā katra otrā dziesma ir ar kāda viesa piedalīšanos (somālietis/kanādietis K’naan, japānis Tigarah). Pie tam – tie ir MC un reperis,  kas arī nav Keane stilā, lai neteiktu vairāk. Protams, ir forši, ka mūziķi nestāv uz vietas, dara ko jaunu, bet šoreiz man tas šķiet mulsinoši. Tomēr – Stop For A Minute viņiem izdevusies forša. Tāpat arī Looking Back. Mazā meitene manī (kura klausās Kanye West & Mr. Hudson) spiedz un dzied līdzi.

Ir dziesmas, kurās baigi jūtama norvēģu popa veterānu a-ha ietekme, piemēram dziesma Your Love man tiešām liek atgriezties Roundhouse, Camden, kur pērn notika iTunes Live Festival un man bija sanāca redzēt a-ha dzīvajā. Dziesma My Shadow ir ļotiļotiļoti Keane stilā ieturēta. Un ne tikai tāpēc, ka pieminēts viens no grupas frequently used words – “shine”. Arī tāpēc, ka ir visi “ūū”, “āā” un viņiem tik tipiskais pus-pozitīvais smeldzīgums (atceries Hamburg Song?).

Jā, kopumā, kā jau rakstīju Twitterir okei, bet biju gaidījusi vairāk. 3/5

Rūdolfa mantojums – check!

Vakar, par spīti skepsei, aiztipināju uz “Rūdolfa mantojumu”. Skepsei tādēļ, ka man lielākoties nepatīk vēsturiska fona filmas. Ne pamatskolā, ne vidusskolā, nedz arī augstskolā, neesmu izcēlusies ar īpašu entuziasmu vēstures un ar to saistīto procesu apgūšanā, līdz ar to manas zināšanas ir diezgan virspusējas. Interese ir bijusi, bet nekad neesmu bijusi droša, vai spēšu atšķirt, piemēram, otro no trešā reiha, tāpēc vienmēr esmu turējusi muti ciet. Tomēr, pat man, vēstures dundukam, šī filma izraisīja ļoti pozitīvas emocijas.

Filmas pirmajā daļā, kamēr Streičs tikai ieskrējās, bija mazliet vienmuļi. Tomēr klausīju Toma ieteikumam un pievērsu uzmanību detaļām un tradīcijām, kas nelika vilties. Vēlāk, kad Kārlis (Artūrs Skrastiņš) pazuda no “skatuves” un Emīlija (Rēzija Kalniņa) kļuva par metāla (nu labi, dzelzs) lēdiju, palika pavisam interesanti un daudz izteiktāk parādījās sižeta aprises. Bija ļoti labs humors, forši jociņi, mīlīgi tekstiņi, kas filmas beigās rezolvējās ļoti labā garastāvoklī.

Man patika:
+ Tērpi! Tērpi! Tērpi! Rēzijas kleitas un Rūda zābaki! Es tādus zābakus gribu! Un tādas jaciņas! Nē, nopietni!
+ Aktieri. Nevaru iedomāties labākus. Dumpis bija īstajā vietā. Rancāns bija īstajā vietā. Arī Kalniņa un Skrastiņš bija absolūti īstajā vietā. Nudien. Un brīdī, kad tajā visā ieslēdzās Vitālijs Gavrilovs ar savu brūzi “Gavriloff”, palika īpaši jauki.
+ Humors. Neuzkrītošs, bez lielām ambīcijām, bet ļoti, ļoti patīkams.
+ Scenārija veidojums. Bija crescendo, kulminācija un nobeigums. Un tas viss diezgan forši apspēlēts. Tas, ka sākumā bija vienmuļi… Es dodu kredītu un saku “tā tam bija jābūt!”.
+ Mūzika. Man vēl visu vakaru drebelīgā balsī skanēja galvā “Dāaažu skaaaistu zieeeduuu, Gaujaa kaaaisiijuuu….”.
+ Dzejnieka varonis. Man ļoti sen nevienas filmas varonis nebija izraisījis tik spēcīgas emocijas. Sākot ar pamatīgu smieklu vētru, beidzot ar to, ka es teicu “Ja viņš tagad man būtu blakus, es viņu nožņaugtu”. Kaitinoši, smieklīgi un visā visumā – perfekti.
+ Vide. Tas, ka mēs ietrāpījām īstajā seansā, lai redzētu, kā notiek pensionāru klubiņa kino apmeklējumi. Tas bija tik izcili piemēroti un jautri, kā blakus sēdošās tantītes sajūsmā sasita plaukstas, skumjos brīžos vilka ārā savus pašdarinātos mutautiņus un ik pa laikam viena otrai dunkāja sānos, kad bija kāda īpaši “jokaina” aina.

Man nepatika:
Koka priekšmeti. Zin, man tomēr zuda ticamības momentiņš, kad Emīlija no otras mājas atnesa Rūda bijušo šūpulīti, kurš izskatījās kā tikko IKEA nopirkts. Man būtu gribējies vairāk nobružātības visos kokos. Es pat Streičam varēju aizdot pāris tā laika priekšmetiņus, man lauku mājās mētājas pāris lādes, silītes, pudelītes un pletīzeri.
– Es pati neticu, ka to saku, bet – specefekti. Nu, domāju, ka bija vietas, kur varēja drīzāk iztikt bez vai lietot mazāk, nekā izmantot tos, kuri tika izmantoti. Īpaši vietā, kur Rūdis kāpa lielajā smilšu uzbērumā (kalnā!) un tad devās pāri tam. Izskatījās mazliet pēc Windows Movie Maker noslēpumu atklāšanas mēģinājuma.

Ņemot vērā, ka sakautrējos palūgt Martcore, vai varu aizņemties viņa foršo filmu vērtēšanas sistēmu, izmantošu veco labo acu došanu. Uz latviešu filmu fona – 8 acis. Uz vispārējā – 6.

Filmas treileris (vai kaut kas tāds)

Eirovīzija paliek aizvien kvalitatīvāka!

Šodien izlēmu, ka vispārējai erudīcijai jānoklausās tie mākslas darbi, ko mūsu brālīši un māsiņas iesūtījuši superīgajam Lielās Eiropas konkursam. Labi, ka bija pēdējā dziesma. Citādāk, citādāk… Es pat nezinu.

1. Lauris Reiniks – Good Morning Lullaby
Vienkārši un ļoti, ļoti garlaicīgi. Es pat neko daudz vairāk nevaru/negribu pateikt.

2. PeR – Like A Mouse
Tas pats Lauris Reiniks, tikai trīskāršots, turklāt ar neciešami daudz viena vārda atkārtojumiem. Ja esmu kaut ko palaidusi garām, un tas tagad ir ‘on top’, apsolos puišiem pateikt, ka viņi ir stilīgi. Un kāpēc, pie velna, ir jāņaud dziesmas beigās?!

3. H2O – When I Close My Eyes
Nē, šito es esmu ar mieru klausīties tāpat reizēm. Varbūt. Fonā. Bet piedziedājumā balsīm tomēr nebūtu jābūt tādā disonansē. Piestrādāt, satjūnēt un fonā apdrošināšanas reklāmai. Aizies.

4. Dons – My Religion Is Freedom
Man šķiet, ka es to fona samplu esmu kaut kur jau dzirdējusi. Un no Dona es gaidīju vairāk, sasodīts. Īpaši pēc pēdējā albuma, ar kuru viņš pat man, kurai Dons organiski nepatīk, lika paklausīties, ko tad puika sastrādājis. Bet īkšķīši augšā par ‘nemaz ne uzspēlēto’ pielīšanu Eiropai (LOL). Es par to vietu, kur tiek tulkots nosaukums visādās valodās.

5. Projekts Konike – Digi digi dong
Projekts kāds? Ko? Man šitais atgādina to Spānijas Eirovīzijas dziesmu pirms pāris gadiem, kur tas mazais vīriņš dziedāja kaut kādus pašizdomātus tekstiņus. Eu, puikas, Ziemassvētki bija pirms mēneša.

6. Aisha – What For?
Ok, viņas dziesmas nosaukumā ietverto jautājumu es varētu uzdot viņai pašai. Jo šis viss liek man šausmās saķert galvu. Un skaļi raudāt. Starp citu, uz Mis Andrejevu attiecas tas pats, kas uz PeR puišiem. Atkārtot ir kruta. Ok, I get it.

7. Kristīne Kārkla-Puriņa – Rišti rašti
Nevaru teikt, ka man baigi patīk balss, bet ē… Kaut kas tajā dziesmā man drusciņ pat patīk. Success! Eu, bet kāpēc Vītolu ģimene ar visu govi nepiedalījās?

8. Ivo Grīsniņš-Grīslis – Because I Love You
Kāpēc man šī dziesma atgādina ļoti sliktu Barenaked Ladies – If I Had A Million Dollars rīmeiku? Uz Šlāgeraptauju! Nākamais!

9. Kristīna Zaharova – Snow in July
Tas tipiskais Eirovīzijas bītiņš apakšā ir vienkārši paralizējošs. Balss jau meitenei smuka. Elli U drusciņ līdzīga. Ai, davai, sūtam šito.

10. Triānas parks – Lullaby For My Dreammate
Vienīgā foršā, bet, dies pas, nesabojājam cilvēkiem nākotni, sūtot viņus uz Eirovīziju.

Bet vispār baigi labi! Malači, puikas un meitenes! Šlāgeraptauja ir kas izcili stilīgs.

And the winner is…

This year is almost over and an evaluation is almost inevitable. I sat and thought about the things I can evaluate and came to a conclusion that there are so many, I just can’t deal with this boredom I could cause you. I just couldn’t sleep at night if I had done the crime of wasting your time with the evaluation of my life. I mean, really, who cares what’s the best food I’ve eaten this year? Or the best daiquiri I’ve drunk? I wouldn’t. So, I’m just going to do what’s best for all of us and skip that awful part. So, followed by a really loud drumroll… Here are the music “yeah’s” and music “no way’s” of this year.

– “Sleep well” album of the year:
Norah Jones – The Fall. I would call it a “no way” if it wasn’t so plain and modest. It didn’t disturb my good night’s sleep at all, because I just didn’t notice it. So – here goes… an inconspicuous “yeah” for all of you insomniacs out there.

– “Two good singles” album of the year:
You won’t believe me on this one probably, but let’s face it – I Gotta Feeling and Boom Boom Pow were the only two good singles from this year’s Black Eyed Peas album The E.N.D. They were good, okay, they got us all moving and jumping up’n’down, but we all know it’s not enough. If I would rate singles, it would be a definite “yeah”, but for the album there’s a big, fat “noooo way”.

John Mayer - Battle Studies (c) Sony Music

– “Quite boring, but decent” album of the year:

John Mayer – The Battle Studies. And I’m really sorry to say this, John. Continuum is still the best thing you’ve created. You’re still gorgeous, I still love you, but I think the routine has hit the relationship. The good news is – you can still get back on the track. Who Says proves it. Anyhow – this is a “yeah”, despite all.

– “Jump-around-shake-your-arse-like-you-just-don’t-care” album of the year:

Jamie T – Kings & Queens. In comparison with Panic Prevention, this is a downhill, obviously, but it still holds the obvious charm of Jamie T and his own style. There were tracks I loved, there were mundane tracks, there were the weird ones as well. Maybe, as time goes by I will love the tracks I hated at first, as it was with Panic Prevention. A single I just can’t fly by and not mention in this case is Sticks’n’Stones – amazing, full of energy and an obvious success. So yeah, I do give it a “yeah”. And I still want to see him perform live. Preferably Sheila and Northern Line, though.

Jamie T - Kings & Queens (c) Virgin Records

– “It was good, but let’s not take this any further” album of the year:

Susan Boyle – I Dreamed A Dream. Well, this is just sad. Okay, it was great how she rocked Simon’s socks off at Britain’s Got Talent last year, but why, and this is a serious WHY, did she have to record an album, for God’s sake? And yeah, I know everyone has a right for their 15 minutes of fame, but didn’t hers tick out when she performed the third time of the song from Les Miserables? Oh well, but what do I know… Everyone, hurry to get your copy of copies!

– ALBUM OF THE YEAR. As simple as that.

Jamie Cullum – The Pursuit. I am convinced that a lot of people will listen to Jamie Cullum, the young boy (well, not so young anymore as he turned 30 this year) from Essex, in the future the way we listen to Frank Sinatra now. With honor, appreciation and admiration. Despite the critics who are on to Jamie about him “making the jazz pop-ish” I think that we are actually experiencing the birth (yes, and I’m sure he’s only in the early stages) of a legend. The first time I heard The Pursuit, I thought “Okay, not a lot of new stuff, but it’s decent at least. He hasn’t made the world’s best album, but he is still not breaking his own levels of mastery”. Then I heard it again, and again, and again… And I fell in love. I’m still listening to The Pursuit every single day and it still gives me goose pumps. So “yeah”, this is a very loud “YEAH” for fabulous Jamie Cullum.

Jamie Cullum - The Pursuit (c) Universal Music

I’ve got some “yeah’s” to give to Dave Matthews Band for Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, Amerie for In Love & War, Mika for The Boy Who Knew Too Much, Arctic Monkeys for Humbug, Ida Maria for – Fortress Round My Heart, Royksopp for Junior and Muse for The Resistance. And some definite “no way’s” for Eminem – Relapse and some of the very unfortunate comeback attempts from The Backstreet Boys and Take That (YES, INDEED!)

How to: kick the recession. A few possibly considerable ideas.

Chillax (c) Austra Javalde
Chillax (c) Austra Javalde

It’s the 6th day, since I’ve stepped on my home soil in Latvia. It has been a lot of fun, a lot of reunions and a lot of surprises. Majority of them very positive. Some of them not so positive – with recession and all. But I’ve pretty much understood that everything lies in your small and beautiful mind.

The most important thing is to walk the streets minding your own business. Get a large pair of headphones if you must. Put Belle & Sebastian on. Fantasize. Imagine. Plan. Make strategies. If you’re close to bankruptcy, use your imagination to come up with new ways of using the things you already have and don’t use. Don’t go to the clubs, make an in-house party with movies, cheap booze and clothes swapping. Play Monopoly or even hide-and-seek if you must. Even at hard times people have always somehow managed to get through. This is not a war, when you are losing the ones you love to the bullets and hatchets. No-one’s coming into your house and taking your children away, you know. It’s all in your head. Yes, the one that looks suspiciously pale today because of the reckless binge-drinking yesterday. The one that wishes that this was still Sunday. The one that possibly wishes you still had a job and money to pay your debts. Well guess what? This is not going to be a How to earn more money lesson. Because I’m no good at that. But I know one thing I’m pretty damn good at. Positive thinking. And imagination, come to that.

Don’t talk about the crisis. Even if you’re at a pub and there is an uncomfortable silence between you and the person you want to talk pants-off. Talk about anything – refreshments (did you know that a hot tea is much more refreshing in a hot day than a cold coke?), music (well, I don’t have to give you ideas on this one, right?), Facebook (did you know that Facebook has recently launched a faster and lighter version called Facebook Lite?) or even me (did you know that I just spent the longest summer of my life? Eight months!)? Just change the subject. It’s not that difficult, I’m sure you can handle it.

– Spend more time with the kids. Even if you don’t have them. No, please don’t stalk kids on the streets, you’ll end up in jail. I’m talking visit your friends with kids and talk to them, hear their opinion kind of time-spending. You’ll find it refreshing and positive. And as Reamonn sung – this life is so complicated, until we see it through the eyes of a child.

– Watch TV shows. Sitcoms. Scrubs, Friends, How I Met Your Mother, Black Books, The Big Bang Theory… These are my personal favorites, choose yours. Read books. The last really comforting book I’ve read is A Cat Called Norton: The True Story of an Extraordinary Cat and His Imperfect Human by Peter Gethers. You can borrow it, if you want. Turn the boring trolley bus rides in a world of your own. Put headphones on. Read. Don’t listen to others mumble about the sacking and hunger.

– Get out of the city. Go to the countryside. If you don’t have a countryside house of your own, invite yourself to one of your friends houses. Collect apples, plums, potatoes and camomile – it’s the right time. Make apple pies, plum jams… anything really. You’ll have a good time now and delicious treats in the winter.

– Tidy and clean your house. The poorer you are, the cleaner your house must be. Come up with new ways to make it even more personal. You have to feel at home at your home, don’t you?

– Meet old friends at weird places. Drop a line to a friend you haven’t seen for years and invite him to a picnic on the roof. To a clothes swapping party. To a gallery run. To a free concert. I’m sure you can come up with even better ideas. The main idea is – surprise people pleasantly, please! They’ve probably had enough of unpleasant surprises already. Stop drinking bad coffee at Starbucks or Double Coffee, please!

– Meet foreigners. No, I’m not talking about British stags who take a leak on the Freedom Monument. I’m talking about Couchsurfing.org, for instance. Offer them “Tea or Coffee and a show-around”. Hear their experiences. You’ll broaden your mind and have a great time. Not to mention, you’ll definitely do the possibly a bit lost traveller a favor, by showing the best places not mentioned on the tourist guides.

– Avoid reading news. I know this one is controversial, because you have to be a bit up to date, but still. If you do read them, read them as fiction novels. Don’t imagine those things happening to yourself. I’m not suggesting you to live as a Tibetan monk, or pack your bags and move to your imagination apartment, I’m telling you not to let all those bad things too close. It will do you no good.

So, anyway, the deal is – imagine, fantasize and create. Do you remember the line from Everything Is Borrowed by The Streets?

I came to this world with nothing, and I’ll leave with nothing but love. Everything else is just borrowed.


Know-how: Porto delights and clashes

Psst... | Image © Austra Javalde (2009)
Psst... | Image © Austra Javalde (2009)

There is a beautiful small town in the North of Portugal, which just got trashed massively. As I’ve mentioned before, I have lived in Porto, Portugal for about four months now. Quite some time and yet, there is so much that I explored during these past days and so much I learned about the wonderful Portuguese people. But let’s not rush forward too fast…

Why the particular week?
There are a lot of reasons why this week was The One. But the main reason is the visit of a good friend of mine, also known as the Party Chipmunk of Latvia (Almighty). He might not have £100000 fun himself, but everywhere he goes, magic just happens. If he goes over to Porto for Sao Joao, you can count on the best celebration ever. If he goes to an unknown jazz club, there most certainly will be a DVD on with one of his favorite artists. He laughs. He jumps around like a Happy Bunny and sings along. He’s not a very big fan of hammers. He’s awesome humble and shy.

What happened exactly?
Well, I’m not going to tell you everything, mates! But this is just because at one point my memory just fails me. You know I’ve got nothing to hide from you. So – here goes…

Day One
The best view ever: two Latvians struggling with the lack of sleep. He had spent a night in London Stansted and I was too worried that I might oversleep, that I just couldn’t sleep at all. Although, we had a lovely walk to some of the sights, like Sao Bento rail station, the bridge of Luis I and Vila Nova de Gaia. When you come to Porto, make sure you cross the bridge of Luis I (that’s the only one the tube crosses, quite easy to spot) and go a bit up to the small park on the other side of river Douru and enjoy the splendid view on the whole cidade do Porto. Some say that the only good thing in Gaia is that particular view and port wine. Not sure that I agree, but we certainly tried both and I can say that the view causes much less unbearable headache in the next morning, than the port wine.

Day Two
There are quite a few Latvians in Porto. One of them is a really good friend of mine and she works at a wonderful bar at the seaside called Praia dos Ingleses (Portuguese: English Beach). Spontaneously, we decided to drop by and in the mean time check out the ocean. It turned out to be the absolutely right thing to do and we had a wicked time. Imagine – the ocean, waves, stars and cold beverages. Don’t quite remember the way home but it was very, very late. Here’s a tip: if you ever visit that bar – don’t buy rum & coke, it’s oddly expensive, choose something else. For us, the choice was gin & tonics. I think I can still taste juniper in my mouth. Ah, I almost forgot – before going to the beach, we saw one of the most awkward buildings in Portugal – Casa de Musica – the house of music. It’s the central place of the majority of the musical events – mostly Portuguese and world music. Moving forward to…

Day Three…
…took my breath away. I reckon I had never seen so many people in one place doing things so incredibly odd and lovely at the same time. Why? This is the day of the midsummer festival in Portugal. It’s called Sao Joao in Porto and Braga, two small towns in the North, and Sao Antonio in the rest of the towns and Lisbon, the capitol of Portugal (well, duh!). I can only tell you about the traditions of Sao Joao – been there, done that. At the celebration day, the anticipation is in the air. You can see trade folks on the streets selling plastic hammers, basil pots and garlic blossoms (I had no idea, they were so big!). All of the things mentioned before are essential celebration attributes, apparently. I’m going to elaborate on the hammer only. Buy one, you’ll need one. Even if you don’t like them at first, you will catch yourself paying that one or two Euros for it later. All of the people just walk the streets hitting each other with those hammers. They make a cute squeaking sound that will ring in your ears long after the party. It’s a lot of fun and you just have to give in. Also, there are wonderful fireworks at the Ribeira (Riverside) part of the town and when they end, people start walking to Castelo do Queijo (The Cheese Castle). It’s located in a huge roundabout, which is the central part of Matosinhos, the part of Porto with all the surfers, fisherman and ocean lovers. After the parade to ocean, you can write off the next days, because you will simply be half paralyzed, especially in the feet area.

Day Four
Waking up at about 2pm, after arriving home at about 7am, the first thought was: where are my shoes? Portuguese know how to party. They just do. This was the day that was supposed to be dull and sleepy, but it turned out that my friend had done his Googling and found a small jazzy-blues bar at the area of Sao Bento station. On our way to the club, he dragged me into a fun fair with those awful little cars with whom the biggest challenge is to hit as many other vehicles as possible. I was insanely afraid in the beginning, but surprisingly it turned out to be lots and lots of fun. When we got to the club, it turned out that there is no jam session after all, because everybody is sleeping after the yesterday’s party. We still went in to have a few beers and we ended up very pleased, because they were showing the live concert of John Mayer, which is a love we both share. Met some really nice Portuguese musicians and had an awesome time.

Day Five
The lack of beauty sleep is finally beating me, so we went to the nearest Wifi spot to get some internet and have breakfast and split our roads for me to sleep, for him to keep exploring. Instead of sleeping I finally managed to clean the enormous mess my room had turned into and read some case studies on the journalism ethics, because I’ll have to do the impossible – I will have to pass an exam after a week of hardcore parties. Let’s see how it works out.

Day Six
Being a good girl and skipping the amazing sightseeing ride to study for the exam. Waiting for my flat mate to wake up and plug my internet back to where it belongs. As I said I’m in Porto for about 4 months now and there is one thing that I would like to teach them, there is one tiny thing that I would never get used to, if I lived here permanently. Majority of them doesn’t understand the significance of internet. I’m pretty sure, that’s because they don’t know how to use it ways that will make a difference and help them do things better and faster. Thank god, my course mates stand beyond others. As for myself – I just need my permanent internet access. It’s not that I’m planning to use it all the time, it’s just – I need it to be there, be available. Is that so hard to understand?

Keep your eyes peeled, more details & pictures coming soon! And I’m more than sure
you don’t want to miss them! By the way, if you’re fortunate enough to be one of the approx. 1,4 million Latvian speakers – check out the videocasts, that we made..

(All of the characters are fictional and if you see any connection with reality, I advice you to call your shrink immediately)

Who needs love when they know you at the Mac Store?

Amanda Palmer doing a show | Image © Creative Commons, ProdigyBoy (2008)
Amanda Palmer doing a show | Image © Creative Commons, ProdigyBoy (2008)

I’ve known Amanda Palmer for just a little while now, but she has definitely made an impression. The first surprise about her was one of the styles her performance is characterized – punk cabaret. Intriguing enough, right?

Yes, she will probably disturb the most of you. Yes, you might not be able to tolerate her. But it’s impossible to ignore her, once you’ve seen or heard her.

She’s powerful, she’s beautiful in a disturbing way and, the most important – she is herself. Whether you read anything about her, listen to her music or just look at the pictures – you get the impression that she isn’t faking it. And in the mean time, she represents almost everything that’s wrong with this society. I’m not saying she’s the American Amy Winehouse equivalent, I’m telling you she isn’t afraid to walk around with a clumpy mascara or her eyebrows fixed in a weird way. She isn’t afraid to sing about the lies and hypocrisy.

As always, some information on her:

Amanda MacKinnon Palmer (born April 30, 1976) is a performer most noted for being the lead singer, pianist, and lyricist/composer of the “Brechtian punk cabaret” duo The Dresden Dolls.
The Dresden Dolls project begun, when Amanda Palmer met drummer Brian Viglione. In an effort to expand the performance experience and interactivity, Palmer began inviting Lexington High School students to perform drama pieces at her live shows. Currently, the Dirty Business Brigade, a troupe of seasoned and new artists, perform at many gigs. The invited costumed characters mingle with the crowd before and during the show, and veteran groups sometimes join in with a choreographed stage act. Life-sized marionettes, coin-operated boys, living statues, and other undergroundlings greet fans while circus and burlesque draw the audience into the Dolls’ music, creating a participatory atmosphere that allows the audience to experience numerous types of art simultaneously.
Concerning her solo carrier… Palmer’s solo album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer, was released on 16 September 2008. The title is a play on an expression used by fans during Twin Peak’s original run, “Who killed Laura Palmer?” A companion book of photos of Amanda looking as if she were murdered will be released in June 2009 featuring photography by Kyle Cassidy and accompanying writing by Neil Gaiman.
Some personal stuff on Amanda? She identifies as bisexual. “I’m bisexual, but it’s not the sort of thing I spent a lot of time thinking about,” Palmer said. “I’ve slept with girls; I’ve slept with guys, so I guess that’s what they call it! I’m not anti trying to use language to simplify our lives.” “I actually tend to like really femmey girls,” Palmer said. “You can deconstruct this with armchair psychology and really nail me, but I like girls about my body type and about my mix of masculine and feminine.”Amanda MacKinnon Palmer (born April 30, 1976) is a performer most noted for being the lead singer, pianist, and lyricist/composer of the Brechtian punk cabaret duo The Dresden Dolls.

The Dresden Dolls project begun, when Amanda Palmer met drummer Brian Viglione. In an effort to expand the performance experience and interactivity, Palmer began inviting Lexington High School students to perform drama pieces at her live shows. Currently, the Dirty Business Brigade, a troupe of seasoned and new artists, perform at many gigs. The invited costumed characters mingle with the crowd before and during the show, and veteran groups sometimes join in with a choreographed stage act. Life-sized marionettes, coin-operated boys, living statues, and other undergroundlings greet fans while circus and burlesque draw the audience into the Dolls’ music, creating a participatory atmosphere that allows the audience to experience numerous types of art simultaneously.

Concerning her solo carrier… Palmer’s solo album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer, was released on 16 September 2008 and reached #77 in the United States of America. The title is a play on an expression used by fans during Twin Peak’s original run, Who killed Laura Palmer? A companion book of photos of Amanda looking as if she were murdered will be released in June 2009 featuring photography by Kyle Cassidy and accompanying writing by Neil Gaiman.

Some personal stuff on Amanda? She identifies as bisexual. I’m bisexual, but it’s not the sort of thing I spent a lot of time thinking about, Palmer said. I’ve slept with girls; I’ve slept with guys, so I guess that’s what they call it! I’m not anti trying to use language to simplify our lives. I actually tend to like really femmey girls, Palmer said. You can deconstruct this with armchair psychology and really nail me, but I like girls about my body type and about my mix of masculine and feminine.

I must say, not only she’s capable of composing influential music, but the lyrics are worth a book print. E.g. her single Leeds United and the lyrics in that one are just a perfect reflection on our wonderful society.  Apparently, she just knows-how.

Get the latest Who Killed Amanda Palmer?, read the lyrics, think, dance and enjoy. It’s worth to face it.

Here is her home page for more information on her.

Thanks to the Happiest Bunny of all for sharing this!