Latest Posts

The 2017 Diaries: GE17

Britain EU
It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but today is the General Election here in the United Kingdom. As an American/EU national living (and working, and paying taxes) here, I can’t vote. But I have paid close attention to this election. And this election is giving me literal chills.

Actually, it made me cry.

I queued up outside a local public school to vote for Hillary Clinton on a chilly November morning last year. I was ecstatic. Elated. I was voting for the first woman president. We, as a country, were standing on the edge of a wonderful, new, exciting world of possibility. We were about to take a massive turn. And we did, but not for the better. I cried every day for a full week following the US election results. I cried with my friends, I cried with my mentors, I cried with my mom and my uncle. I cried on the bus on the way to work, at work with my coworkers. I cried. A lot.

When I relocated back to London, I felt a strange sense of self-imposed betrayal – that I had left my country, my friends and family, in peril. That I should have done, should be doing, more. But my life is here in London, so I returned to it.

I never liked Theresa May — not that one has to *like* a politician for them to be good at their jobs. There was something creepy about her – she almost made me give David Ike’s conspiracy theories some merit. She was reckless with every European nationals’ futures, cosied up to Tr*mp way too much, and her party stands squarely against my socio-economic policy opinions. I also never really liked Jeremy Corbyn. He was too inconsistent of a speaker – not like Bernie Sanders (the man I wished was my president) – and I didn’t think he worked hard enough for the remain campaign. I wasn’t sure he’d make a good PM, despite how badly I want Labour to be in charge of the government.

“Labour is the voice that says: ‘You don’t have to take what you’re given. You may be born poor but you don’t have to stay poor. You don’t have to live without power and without hope. You don’t have to set limits on your talent and your ambition – or those of your children.”

But none of that matters, because I can’t vote.

I try to withhold my opinion around people I’m not close to. It feels, strangely, like I’m not allowed to have one. I contribute to and benefit from the NHS, but god forbid I want our government to put it first. I am an EU citizen, but god forbid I want our government to secure our safety and futures. I am a woman, but god forbid I want our government to stand firm with its human rights laws. I am half Jewish, but god forbid I want our government to make this a country safe for Muslims, people of colour, and, LGBTQ+ folks.

Personal passions aside, in casual conversations about voting I towed the very British line. I expressed some personal opinions (May is jeopardising my entire future) and doubts (I don’t think Corbyn can scrap tuition fees) but resigned myself to simply watching from the sidelines.

And then I saw this.

And, you guessed it, I cried. Actually, I wept.

Of course, this video is supposed to play on (any decent human being’s) emotions. But boy did it work on me. The myriad feelings and memories of the 2016 US election, the aftershocks, the continued violence and hate was thrown into sharp contrast against… this beautiful, diverse, wonderful depiction of what Britain is – could be. Even writing this, I can feel that tightening in my chest, the sting in the bridge of my nose – the warning that I’m about to tear up. Being hopeful is a dangerous thing, it seems. Wanting more, wanting better, is a dangerous thing. But I do. I want more for the country I have fallen in love with – its incredible peaks and valleys, its stony shores and bustling, multicultural cities. Its sheep lined hills and Sunday nut roasts. I love this country. And because I love it, I want better for it.

Ida Wenøe: Time Of Ghosts – Gigslutz

The striking, bleakness that opens Ida Wenøe’s ‘Lyla’, the lead single from her new album Time of Ghosts, is breath-taking – a whip of cold wind that sucks the air from your lungs. It is no surprise to learn that Wenøe is Nordic. There is a stripped down, bareness to her sound that seems fitting to the modern perception of what it means to be Nordic. Yet, Wenøe’s dulcet voice offers a warmth and solace despite the melancholy lyrics.

Wenøe skilfully combines the sounds of Americana with English folk undertones, all shadowed by the noir-ness of her Nordic background. Time of Ghosts is a journey through a new kind of folk. One that puts to rest the Mumford & Sons pop-edge in favour of a bare honesty. Opening track ‘Changing of the Seasons’ is a soft and pleasant, albeit quite long, introduction to Wenøe’s sound. That particular melding, heavy on the Americana in this instance. Not only sonically but also in its themes; changing seasons, train stations, journeys.

Read More…

Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit @ St. John Hackney – Gigslutz

It’s hard not to equate a gig to a spiritual experience when it takes place in a church. The acoustics are perfect, the audience is rapt, and the lighting is usually simple, but effective. This was the case when Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit took the stage at St. John at Hackney. This is the only time I will mention this hackneyed metaphor, because what Flynn and his band delivered wasn’t divine or heavenly: it was human. Real, down to earth musical talent that just so happened to take place in a holy space.

The set list was comprised of old classics and more recent material. It was clear that the die-hard fans had already memorised the words to the newer songs. Yet, even during the most well known ones, the audience sing-along wasn’t as overwhelming as one might expect. Whether out of respect for Flynn, or simply wanting to hear his dulcet singing, not the kid next to you, one can’t be too sure. The few moments where the audience let loose came during ‘Tickle Me Pink’ (who can’t resist singing along at the top of your lungs to “when you’re dead”?) and ‘Brown Trout Blues’, where Flynn let the audience take over for the last hurrah of “I know what I’m called, it’s just you got me, you got me stoned”.

Read more…

Laura Marling: Semper Femina – Gigslutz

For months the public has been teased with a variety of singles from Laura Marling’s much anticipated Semper Femina. After mounting anticipation, it has arrived, and shattered every expectation.

Written during a self-confessed ‘masculine’ time in Marling’s life, the opening track ‘Soothing’ is just that. It is strikingly dissimilar to the singles released so far, and to Marling’s previous work. It is pared down, with blood-thumping percussion. It whets the appetite for Marling’s introspective work, whose title translates to ‘Always Woman’.

Read more.. 

Electronic Jungle – CC Magazine

The musical ecosystem is a close and co-dependent world. Its biodiversity depends on very disparate species, mechanisms, and players all working together. There are a lot of ways to become part of this system; a person who interacts with music, whether on a professional or consumption basis, is part of that ecosystem. As a music journalist, I am a professional consumer of music. I make a living and spend most of my free time enjoying, writing about, listening to, and critiquing music in its many forms. But I also spend a lot of time just listening to it because I love it… click image to read full story

click image to read full story

The 2017 Diaries: Nevertheless, She Persisted

Nevertheless She Persisted Coffee Mug, $15, etsy.com/rebelleheart

What a feminist rallying cry! In a week of weirdness, I have to say that there have been some kick-ass things going on, not only on the internet, but also in -gasp- real life. There were a few things that had my feminist heart a-flutter, so instead of picking one and writing, here’s a little list.

  1. The Big Salary Reveal: 12 Real People Discover What the Pay Gap Looks Like – Glamour Magazine ponders the gender pay gap. This is a particularly good article – its research addresses the disparity between white women and women of colour, its videos are easy to watch (for those of us with no attention span), and it features one of my best friends(!) eruditely shedding light on an issue that definitely needs some illumination.
  2. Sen. Elizabeth Warren & Coretta Scott King – just being bad ass women in general, Warren attempted to read King’s letter before being shut down. This gave rise to a new feminist rallying cry: Nevertheless, she persisted. Now being paired with images of other female heroes (Rosa Parks, RBG, Harriet Tubman, etc.), these three little words are going to be around for a long time to come.
  3. This Land Was Made for You and Me – this NPR article digs deep into the more radical original version of the folk tune, and I love it. While I definitely wish the more political verses had been recorded, I’m still happy to see musicians flying in the face of politics; better late than never.
    There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me. The sign was painted, said ‘Private Property.’ But on the backside, it didn’t say nothing. This land was made for you and me. – Woody Guthrie
  4. The Doctor is a Gender Neutral Title – Please, for the love of god let some of this speculation be true. Of Vulture’s list, my votes go to Olivia Coleman or David Harewood.
  5. And finally…
    https://twitter.com/samscenarist/status/828039559250325504/

*header image: Nevertheless She Persisted Coffee Mug, $15, etsy.com/rebelleheart

Take it From Me – Oh, Comely

I am a professional listener of music. Years of practice in self-isolation, my headphones lost beneath a mass of curls; hidden – during class, on walks, in the locker room at swim practice. Before technology had caught up with my sleuth listening capabilities, I carried a disc-man around in a knit turquoise bag. I could fit three jewel cases inside with it. Each day, three different CDs. One morning, a classmate nicked it off a bench and hid it. When I realised it was gone I burst into tears in front of our entire middle school. Sobbing, I searched for my homeroom teacher to fix this egregious trespass. Only when the disc-man was safely in my hands did the crying stop. I was 12. I should have been embarrassed, I was embarrassed by nearly everything – but I wasn’t this time. Music was everything.

Read more…

The 2017 Diaries: Hooray For Queen Bey

It’s only February and already I think it’s safe to say that most people, at least the people I am most often in touch with, feel about twenty-three years older than we did at the start of the year. Which is why I am taking a moment to be very, very excited about this news:

I am probably the only person ambivalent towards Beyoncé as a musician. I don’t dislike her by any means, but I’m not over the moon about her either. I do think that she is a powerful, feminist icon. Beyoncé is unapologetic, which is something I think more of us need to be. Especially in an era of fear-mongering, the dismantling of women’s access to healthcare, rampant racism and xenophobia, and reversals on the slim progress we’ve made for LGBTQ+ folks, it is important to celebrate the little things that are good.

Beyoncé having twins is one of them. Besides, as a brilliant writer friend of mine also points out:

Many of us are out there protesting, are writing to our representatives, and raising our voices, but a key element of resistance is self care. If self-care means celebrating that an outspoken, undeniably talented, woman of colour is bringing twins into the world, then that is beyond okay.

So, I care. I care because we need to be able to remember to laugh and be happy and celebrate the good things that are happening right now. And because carrying twins is from what I can tell an incredibly difficult thing (ok admitting all my knowledge comes from This is Us and that was triplets but YOU KNOW), and I can only imagine Beyoncé will continue to be the incredible feminist inspiration she always has been.

 

Laura Marling: Wild Fire – Gigslutz

As Laura Marling’s sonic self continues to evolve, she remains true to her greatest strengths. Newest track ‘Wild Fire’ (taken from the upcoming Semper Femina), builds upon what has always made Marling stand out. Her slightly off-kilter intonation highlights her poetic lyricism, as a wholesomeness underpins the melancholy, and a twinkling, jovial piano accompanies her crooning “do you cry sometimes?”. It is this juxtaposition that Marling has always known how to use so well.

Read more…

Not Your Grandma’s Coffee – How to Properly Use a Percolator

Everyone has their favorite method of making coffee, but few readily admit to loving the percolator. While using a percolator has gotten a bad rap from coffee enthusiasts, there’s something homey and comforting about making a cup of coffee the way our ancestors did, back in the day. Luckily, with a few tricks, the coffee you get to drink won’t taste like it, too, is an ancestor – best relegated to the past.

t895lypu1ec-irene-coco.jpg

The three key elements to any good cup of coffee, but particularly with a percolator, are these: Water, Ratio, and Temperature. When using an electric machine or a pour over, we generally have guides – a measuring spoon, a scale, notches on a carafe. Percolators, especially old ones, offer none of these luxuries. Making sure you have the right amount of water, and the right ratio for your taste of coffee to water, will ensure that your coffee isn’t too weak or strong.

Filtered water is of course ideal. Fill the bottom well with the right amount of water for how much coffee you want to make. Add grounds to the insert with the stem. Be careful about your ratios! Percolator coffee tends to be stronger, so trial and error may be your best bet for figuring out your perfect cup of coffee. Screw the top on – depending on your machine you may have a globe/dome, or if you’re like me and using an heirloom, it may just be another metal pot. Now to the stove.

Temperature is a fickle mistress. Percolators demand a strict range of temperature — medium heat, a slow burn to almost boiling, but not ferociously bubbling. You can peak in the lid every once in a while, but be careful – unless you have a modern machine with a window, you run the risk of sputtering coffee getting all over your hands. Once its bubbling slowly, and the coffee is funnelling out, keep a careful eye as you percolate. The longer it goes, the stronger your coffee will be. A pro at this method could probably walk away from the stove, but first timers may want to stay.

If you live life on the edge, go ahead and pour your coffee straight off the stove – but watch out for grinds that may slip into your drink. You can also unscrew the top and pour from that separately, so as not to risk it. However, with this method, you must be careful – the pot will be scalding, and you don’t want to burn your hands.

Done right, percolator coffee is smooth, strong, and comforting. It’s good for the environment, and if you’re lucky, connects you to an ancestral history of coffee lovers.