Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Don't live too publicly?

'We live in Public' doesn't come across as pleasant or comfortable viewing, it does however pose a few questions about the domination of the internet in our everyday lives. How necessary is the world wide web to us and how influenced are we by what we view? Since moving to Bristol, I have slowly began a natural transition to reduced internet usage. Choosing to read books, walk, hang out locally and pick up the phone to friends, rather than sit for hours at a time interacting via the web. My internet consumption flitted between keeping up with what everyone else was doing, documenting what I was doing, or rather how well I was doing for the purpose of self-promotion and whether I was missing out on anything. Take a step back and can see the bubble for what it is, a self perpetuating machine that distracts you from life. Consider how important being in the bubble actually is, what you gain and what you lose.*

Media feeds us a belief that being happy is measured by commercial successes heavily linked to fame and wealth. The film explores the concept of broadcasting entire lives over the internet from taking a dump to having sex, every aspect of ones character is uncovered to the nth degree with bleak results... the film provides a moral tale for an ever developing modern society... you can see more recent comparisons to the initial project Pseudo by exploring reality TV (more notably Big Brother), celebrity magazines and to an extent social networking sites.

* disclaimer, the internet is a valuable research tool which I use daily, I have however modified how I use the web, choosing to find a more healthy balance in its usage.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

This means WAR.......

Warpaint more addictive than Florence and the Machine, and with equally more edge to boot, hailing from the US, Los Angeles to be precise. The quartet, which is three girls heavy have been kicking it state side for a few years now. I cannot wait until they jump across the water to play here. Fingers crossed they land in Bristol, otherwise a journey to London will definitely be in order. I have only heard good things especially about there live performances. Keep an eye on these guys, they are ones to watch...

Here is a taster of Elephant performed live...

Worst and Best of Bestival...

I think I must have been the only person at Bestival that wasn't completely blown away by the event… arriving on the Saturday meant that I had failed to get completely wasted with the rest of the collective and wasn't suffering at all, in fact I was mostly trying to convince everyone how up for it they were. Everything was slightly spacey and my body clock was out of sync. Don't get me wrong I had an excellent time, yet there were a few major gripes that let it down.

1. It was my first time and although i'd planned to go in 2007 I still hadn't made it, so there was two years of build up and people tales of festival joy already in the sack of unperceived expectation.
2. The sound on the main stage was shocking, with reverb the bass feedback was of a school boy embarrassment standards.
3. As already mentioned the Friday/Saturday out of sync scenario.
4. OK so lots of people like them blah, blah, blah, but I think I completely missed the Doves, Elbow, phenomonem and consequently didn't really feel they were saying anything to me
5. The biggest gripe was the ridiculous non-escape at the end which encompassed a lengthily uphill bottle neck, the straddling of fences and jumping of ditches, only to snake every corner to discover a new, even longer queue. It an additional four hours to make my escape only to be greeted by massive lines of people awaiting the ferry home… shudder.

In the spirit of fairness I would like to point out five things I did enjoy about Bestival

1. Seasick Steve main stage, he followed Lily Allen which was the perfect contrast, pure old school blues of the highest quality, nice crowd too. Here's a clip from Bestival two years ago, playing a pretty similar set!

2. A dash to see Speech Dabelle (yes, mercury prize winner) compare extraordinaire, lyricist and not a bad rapper, backed by a solid band including a ice cool guy on double bass. Proving that mercury are still doing something right if they can pluck someone from the underground... haha to those who have already sold out...!
3. The W.I. (yes women's institute) tent serving tea at 60p, packed, efficient service from nice old ladies in pinnies.
4. Ibiza vibes from Jazzie B at the Rizla stage, sun shining, place was nicely packs and everyone was getting down.
5. Sunday in general the day when everything seems to come together, people get to the right level of smashed and all appear to let there guard down… you can make many a friend with a joint in your hand.

All in all not a bad weekend on weather and entertainment counts, I guess no festival is ever plain sailing, however this one did feel like more hard work than the other two I had attended over the summer. Lots of good feedback for Kraftwerk which I sadly missed, I think if I'm honest I'm more gutted about missing Miccachu and the shapes though… ah well there will be other times.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Adventures of a long distance runner

As I was tucked up in bed, sloth like, watching Homes under the Hammer, I became inspired to go for a run. The destination was St Andrew’s Park of which I had heard good things about, yet was put off by the great big hill I had to climb to get there, Ashley's Hill. Upon scaling Ashley I was breathless pausing to take in the view of the allotments and the city below. I was transfixed by the beauty as the green patterned sea unfurled, accented by hues of yellow and pink. St Andrew's Park is like the park of your childhood, mature trees, winding paths, a instant sense of calm and an area populated by rather excited little children, happy that finally with the return to school the play area is no longer dominated by those bigger than them.

On one of the lawns was Project Bicyclette setting up for a gentile busking session with a sound system ran solely on bicycle power. There 2K sound system was out of sight used mainly for free parties and fundraisers. A rather friendly Springer Spaniel took a project manager stance, majestically overseeing everything.

The journey home (downhill) was a far easier, spurred on by my endorphins I searched for a more challenging route. A detour into the forest (aka man-made woodland trail) along the functioning railway line and past the mound (a popular viewing point, with many a campfire to be found once the stars takeover the sky), I stopped in awe of a overwhelmingly whimsical save eccentric house, with stone animals, junk and woodwork spilling over itself to take your focus. I heard a crack of the bush behind me turned around and a fox looked me in the eye, wow! It look far healthier than those I found wandering round Tufnell Park, yet not quite as well kept as Fantastic Mr Fox*.

Last stop on my adventure was punctuated by a full steam jog to St Werburghs Farm, on Saturday we consumed breakfast at the café followed by a wander around the site, a sow lay there panting almost in labor, I wanted to see if she had survived her ordeal, upon arrival there was no sign as to her fortune, further enquiry lead me over the fence and inside the sty with the farm hand as my guide to the heat lamp where the piglets lay and suckled from exhausted looking Mother, today perfect tiny piglets, three were to remain the rest off to the farmer to fatten up, tomorrow freshly slaughtered bacon in the café…

* I took in the trailer for Fantastic Mr Fox, disappointed to discover a British staple given a brash, mass market Hollywood/American makeover, such a waste.