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Pale Ale, Payne and Creepy Dads

14 Jul

After a hiatus for wedding season I am back to review some recent releases. We have already bickered today about my hatred of The Smiths (I KNOW I KNOW) and the reviewing process hasn’t even begun. I like to think a bit of underlying resentment in a relationship keeps things spicy, right? We had a couple of weeks of socialising (I put ‘partying’ and then realised that was a wild exaggeration) and enjoying ourselves in other parts of the country. Obviously that caused a massive shift in the family routine that meant that our children didn’t sleep for a fortnight. Being a parent is worse than being a Catholic in the penance dept. Have one nice Saturday night out where you drink and dance like you did pre kids and they wake up at 6am the next morning and are awake then, until Wednesday. But hey! Now I am seated firmly on the sofa with a can of really unpalatable IPA from a pretentious but fashionable micro brewery in Berlin and ready to rumble.

I wrote the notes for these reviews about a month ago so who knows if they are funny or not. I’ve been sort of hiding from them because I am pretty sure that the latter is the case but I hope that what the horrible IPA lacks in deliciousness it makes up for in strength and at least if I’m pissed I will find myself funny regardless of what anyone else thinks. Strap yourself in, it’s going to be a wild ride (probably not…)

 

Howie Payne: The Brightest Star

6/10

Another bloody ambush! Stevie LOVES Howie Payne, he quite often abandons us to go and watch him play in Liverpool (I say quite often, maybe twice?) Anyway, he likes Howie Payne more than he likes hanging out at home with his exhausted wife so how am I supposed to say anything negative without causing bad feeling?

I want to like it and I don’t dislike it. It just doesn’t thrill me, it is really nice and light and bobbles along with a friendly, train like rhythm. It is sunny and mellow and the opposite of everything I hold dear. I like sarcasm and irony and scepticism so as much as it is a very jovial and easy listening piece of music, it doesn’t push my buttons. The video gave me a mild headache and I can’t imagine what you do when this is played live. Do you stand with your hands in your pockets and grin or wave them madly, but slowly above your head like you are having a religious epiphany? I wish I knew. To be totally honest, on second listen, I liked it better. However, like a mediocre outfit or kissing someone you don’t really fancy, it didn’t do much for me.

 

Songhoy Blues: Bamako

8.5/10

I didn’t know any background to this band on first listen so my thoughts were originally based on first impressions. I am into it, it has a 1970’s cop show, theme tune vibe. It is fast paced and funky and made me jig about in my seat (upset the dog) Something about it grabs me, it is raw and cool in a way that a lot of western music isn’t these days. It reminds me of hot, sweaty nights and making music because there is nothing else to do.

After first listen I learnt that the band was formed to escape war and fight back against the jihadi regime that had control of Mali and banned music. I think that, quite often, some of the best art/music/literature is created when there is uncertainty and unrest in somebody’s life (Woodie Guthrie, Bowie, Ian Curtis) Conflict, whether it is emotional or physical, breeds a need to express and escape into something beyond a harsh reality. The main lyric of the song is ‘let’s go out’ it is a call to arms, a protest song. In a place where just leaving your house or listening to a band can get you arrested or killed, the most rebellious thing you can do is enjoy yourself and some of that unbridled release of passion and anger bleeds into the song and makes it so much more than just another record. I enjoyed it twice as much the second time around.

 

The Kills: Wait

9/10

I loved this from the start, it is reminiscent of Loretta Lynn. Quite a departure from the Kills stuff I have heard before. Unfortunately it has a bit of a creepy dad essence coming from Jamie Hince. Allison Mosshart looks like his cool, indie daughter who he has persuaded to let him sing on her new record because he once shared a joint with Wings and can play ‘Stairway to Heaven’ on the guitar nearly all the way through. I imagine he tries to fist bumps people and calls everyone ‘man’. He used to be/is (???) married to Kate Moss so maybe I am totally off the mark as she is supposedly cool…but I’m not.

The song itself is a joy, it is totally traditional and effortlessly rich and textured. Mosshart’s voice is a treat. It reminds me of the first time I heard ‘Youth and Young Manhood’ and it changed my life. In reality I was at a caravan park in Lowestoft with my mum and dad but in my head I was in the deep south discovering how it felt to have my heartbroken by a man with a beard. I am sold and will probably listen to it endlessly for a month and then never listen to it again as is my way. Luckily for the rest of my family I have zero musical autonomy in my house so I have to sneak into a corner and listen to anything I like on headphones before someone finds me and makes me listen to the ‘Trolls’ soundtrack or Brian Ferry. Send help, I am a musical prisoner.

 

Another week, another review. The horrible ale has been drunk and now I don’t care that it tasted like a gone off Lilt, I just wish there was more of it. A bit like this review. If you like it, share it. Follow on Instagram lauren.lawless  if you enjoy self indulgent pics of my children and things I have eaten- I know I do.

 

Blondie, Big Thief and Bad Reggae.

4 Jun

I am back, like a lingering smell the review has returned! Is it good. Is it bad? It’s hard to tell. Like a ripe Brie, some people love it and others are repulsed. Anyway, plenty of smell analogies there to be going on with so we will move on.

Last week and this week have all been music that Stevie has mixed opinions on which makes for an exciting (in the scheme of a stay at home mum, exciting) Mr and Mrs style competition. Will we like the same songs? Who will be offended first/the most? It is a risky Russian roulette of music reviews and marriage that could end in death or passive aggressive muttering and I am not sure which is worse. Next week is all music that he genuinely loves and as I have already stealthily acquired a chicken coop against his wishes, I may well find myself on the end of a particularly barbed comment about which way up I leave the spoons on the drying rack, if we don’t agree.

Hopefully this week I am safe and our family will remain intact…for now.

 

1. Blondie: Long Time

5/10

I LOVE Debbie Harry, she is and was so fit and cool. Those pins, that hair and the attitude! Sadly this is not reflected in the latest release (sorry to pull the rug). It starts with the promise of original, true to form Blondie. I was pretty excited and the video uses sunglasses as a clever way to disguise that anyone has aged since 1985, because God forbid celebrities should succumb to the ravages of time. Opening reminds me of that Christmas song ‘Christmas Rapping’ without the ‘clever’ pun. It is fun and lighthearted and then we trail off into a damp squib of a chorus- massive let down.

It’s not very edgy. It is mum-friendly, but not me mum-friendly, my mum mum-friendly. I saw a video of a load of middle aged women, dancing to a tribute band in their white cropped trousers and nice blouses the other day. They had been at a wine tasting and I thought how much they would love this song. They would be kicking off their mules and really letting loose to this one.

I was disappointed and maybe I expected too much as it is a good effort but ‘I can make everybody want to be your friend’ sounds like Debbie is singing to an over indulged toddler and I get enough of that in my day job.

 

2. Big Thief: Sharksmile

9/10

This is superb. It has so many delicious, guilty pleasure influences. It has hints of Journey and Dolly Parton with a splash of Lana Del Ray minus the excessive pouting and remains totally current and gloriously understated (deffo been watching too much Masterchef) Also reminds me a bit of early First Aid Kit which is a firm favourite in our house.

It is really hard to put your finger on why some songs speak to you in a way others don’t. At the risk of being cliche I can imagine listening to it on my way to a dive bar, with the roof down, late at night in America. It is all the angst and excitement that I imagine you get when you might meet you soul mate over a bottle of Corona (I am busking here). It is hard to picture anything more extravagant than that after several months of being in bed by 11 pm and driving an SUV crossover with the ‘Trolls’ soundtrack played on a loop for eternity but escapism is what makes any amazing song such a treat. We will be free again one day…right?

 

 

 

3. Wrongtom, The Ragga Twins: Woah.

4/10

Oh God, it is so not for me. I feel bad for even saying that because I get the feeling that in it’s field people probably really rate it. Unfortunately I don’t get it at all. It is repetitive and lacks any of the warmth or charm I associate with Reggae and Ska. It has a sexy, 80’s sax vibe going on in the background which jars with the pounding juggernaut that is the the melody. I sort of wonder when the appropriate time is to listen to this? Stevie likes to walk home to this which isn’t totally ridiculous.

Potentially it would be a really great tune to listen to when you have taken a load of speed and want to walk to Brighton to see a mate you knew 3 years ago. It would definitely keep you going for a while but even in that scenario, eventually you would begin to feel like you are being hit over the head and the crushing realisation that Brighton is 150 miles away and you never liked that lad anyway would set in. You’d be left just standing, listening to a really aggressive song that you don’t know any of the words to.

So, yeah, that.

 

 

 

 

If you like this then share it! I am beginning to find that I like writing the negative reviews a lot more than the positive ones which sort of sums me up as a person.

 

 

SO it begins…

26 May

This is a new endeavour so let me set the scene a little. Stevie, my husband, plays me songs on a regular basis, he is well into discovering new music. This usually happens when I am blindly scrolling through Instagram, feeling sorry for myself because I am not a 19 year old, Italian millionaire. He plays a song on the tele or whatever and then we get on with our lives; either worrying about our small, sleepless children or discussing the whereabouts of the box of nails which has been missing for several days now. The coat rack has fallen down and we have no way to reattach it, it is a complex and difficult issue.

It came about that I was moaning (an unlikely tale, I know!) about not writing enough at the moment and he suggested I write a review of 3 new songs from a variety of people he chooses. There is a formula and a set schedule which is gruelling and exhausting so I won’t go into it but all in all I am excited.

So here are my first three reviews. Bear in mind that I have no musical knowledge, I am just dead keen on the sound of my own voice/typing.

 

1. Snoop Dogg: Mt. Kushmore

8/10 (I drew a smiley face in my notes!)

I liked this. As a middle class, middle of the road, nearly middle aged, midlander I wonder if I am cool enough for Snoop. I feel like, potentially I am the opposite of everything he stands for but hey, is that not what life is all about?

It has a 90’s hip hop vibe, kind of retro and current at the same time. I spent a lot of time wondering if weed is still cool these days? It was cool when I was 16 when getting out of your tree on literally ANY substance made you the king. Weed was the holy grail because it was illegal but not actually scary enough to do you any physical harm. You could appear dangerous and gangster without being either of those things. Snoop is still pushing blunt culture and loving it, it would seem!

It makes me want to do really unattractive mum dancing. The kind of thing I see all the popular you-tubers doing but definitely couldn’t and shouldn’t pull off. It’s a dancer, anyway and to be honest, I wish I cared enough not to throw some embarrassing shapes. So does Stevie who gets to watch the videos I send him of my dancing when he is at work.

I didn’t appreciate “I slip my dick in yer daughter” but overall I’m a fan. Better than ‘What’s on yer plate’ from Cbeebies which is what I usually have stuck in my head. A welcome relief.

 

2. Kasabian: You’re In Love With a Psycho

6/10

 My initial thoughts are that Kasabian are a bit shit/smug. That is definitely my preconception. Originally I gave this 4/10 because I agreed with my original assumptions but actually, on subsequent listens, I was kind of into it. I mean, deffo a bit smug but the song itself sticks in your head and it is pretty light-hearted and entertaining. There are some big names in the video which makes me hate them a bit for trotting out their celeb mates to add gravitas to a song that doesn’t have or require any complexity. “You’re in love with a psycho and there is nothing you can do about it” ain’t winning an Ivor Novello anytime soon and no amount of Stephen Graham will change that.

I can’t remember any Kasabian songs to compare it to and I wondered if that is because they are a bit beige but then I found the milk on the bookcase the other day so this would suggest that it is more a case of my brain being slowly destroyed by 3 years of parenting on zero sleep or nearly 30 years of wine binges. Neither of which are Kasabian’s fault as far as I remember…

Stevie used to get mistaken for Serge from Kasabian so maybe that’s why he likes it but for me it was only alright. I sort of ran out of stuff to say about this one because my feelings are pretty mediocre about it all. It isn’t groundbreaking but I didn’t loathe it. High praise indeed!

 

3. Aldous Harding: Imagining My Man

9/10

I whole heartedly love this. She is exactly the sort of woman that Stevie would leave me for; dark, ethereal, strong-featured, bit weird, all his top qualities and she is musical. You would imagine that this would make me hate her, so it is testament to her talent that I adore it.

This song reminded me of all the female singers I liked circa 2006 when I had just got into Joni Mitchell and Martha Wainwright. I am totally into the amazing lilting voice and how effortless it seems. There is a lot of conflicting ideas and maybe that is why it is so hypnotic. The vulnerability coming from a woman who appears to be very strong, it is very feminine from someone who is quite androgynous. I put down my social media and pay attention when this song comes on which is impressive. Normally someone or something has to be on fire or the one year old has to be at least 4 steps up the slide ladder before I am roused from the brain sapping powers of celebrity Twitter spats.

1 point off because I have never been the sort of person to peak too soon, unless it involves a buffet.

 

There you have it, my thoughts on music that nobody asked for but everybody got. I have posted this before Stevie has seen any of it so I hope it doesn’t end in divorce or there won’t be one next week, which would be a shame.

Feel free to read and share and follow me on Instagram if you love pics of babies and food (who doesn’t? Monsters that’s who)

 

Angsty Mum! Firsts

25 Jul

I haven’t blogged in a while as I have been busy having babies. This has been particularly life changing as one would imagine. I’ve gained 4 and a half stone TWICE, I have slept less than I did when I partied constantly, I have eaten more pork pies than most people have eaten in a life time and I haven’t fitted into a pair of designer jeans in nearly 3 years. However, I am probably the most comfortable I have ever been. It is crazy to think that I used to go into meltdown when I gained a pound, if I had to leave the house in an outfit that made me feel fat or if I thought I looked too boring and now I will happily walk down the street with someone else’s sick on my back. I have complete responsibility over the life of two other people which is quite surprising when I am the sort of person who would wake up fully clothed under a radiator that was 4 feet from my bed. I couldn’t get myself to bed but now I am charged with getting two incredibly resistant, tiny women to stay asleep.

I don’t do this alone, I do it with the help of my long suffering husband. Once upon a time he used to have to lock me in and hide the key in a suitcase when I was drunk and unruly so I didn’t run off and now he has to talk me through why I am not a terrible person because I called the oldest child an idiot when she deliberately trod in dog poo (no one came out of that well)

This weekend was the first time I had properly drunk since I fell pregnant with our youngest. A whole 14 months of moderation/abstinence. I’d forgotten who drunk me was and my word she’s a drag (imagine patsy from Ab Fab but with more crying) We spent the day in the sun at a food festival and I hadn’t drunk as I was driving. Whether it was the heat or the simmering resentment of watching other people doing what Brits do best-getting carried away because the sun has been out for 2 minutes-I decided Prosecco when I got home was the answer. I also realised that I couldn’t turn up to the BBQ we were going to that night with an open bottle of wine so I’d have to buy another. Then I drank them both. I am definitely less terrified about being drunk when the kids are in bed. I’ve got over my fear that I might drop one down the stairs or out a window if they wake up in the night but I have not managed to over come the fear I get the next day that I may have in some way let them down by being a drunkard. Basically the more children I have, the more people I am creating to stand in judgement of me. I am pretty sure that my 4 month old doesn’t care that her mother is sweaty, anxious and bloated due to her hangover or that I spent a lot of time drunkenly describing why I hate Nigel Farage to people I barely know but you can never be too sure.

 

 

 

New Year, New Me? The truth, the whole truth and nothing but…

20 Jan

IMG_9412

So I have been neglecting my blog a little, well a lot since last year and I have missed it. I think sometimes you need to take a step back and have a look at the reality of life otherwise you will forget to live it. I have been living life like a lunatic, I got married in August and settled down to the suburban ideal. Weddings are not without their niggles and it is rarely the things that you stay awake worrying about that will cause problems on the day. It tends to be the unforeseen and unpredictable elements and people that rear their ugly heads on the day. In reality though you kind of have to just go with the flow, don’t expect too much of anything and you will never be disappointed. I have spent every single New Year that has been planned and anticipated for weeks with a sense of blah. The night will never be as electric and you will never look as enigmatic or the food will never be as good or the music as cool or the people as sexy as they were in your mind on December 29th or if that isn’t your bag then the porn you downloaded won’t be as hardcore as you anticipated or the popcorn you bought will be slightly stale…what I am getting at is that you will feel slightly let down and cheated by your over ambitious imagination. The same goes for your wedding day and life in general. I am not suggesting that you should remain cynical and uninvolved with the world ‘just in case’. The expectation of a fall is often followed by just that as we all know but you should be prepared to lose control, handover the reigns to the universe and think fuck it, what will be will be.

It has been a long and difficult process to get to this point of view, my battles with OCD and anxiety have been well documented in this blog and really I am a meticulous planner, I had lists and table plans and more lists and spent hours scouring the internet for florists and dresses and bridesmaid shoes (nearly killed me) I was a hideous bridezilla at the rehearsal ‘don’t speak to me, I just need you all to leave me alone or I will cry’ and the following dinner. But what I took from my wedding day was that if you believe that no matter what happens you will have an amazing time and it will be a truly magical day then it will be. You can breathe deep and just let go, it is a terrifying and liberating feeling. I promise. With an attitude like that you can spill so much wine over yourself that your fingers go pruney, chase Ukrainian tourists with video cameras from your wedding venue and forget to speak to at least half your guests without a care in the world (I also managed to break the strap of my dress during the first dance and bleed all over said dress pre photos)

My therapist told me that your truth is the truth. Obviously this is a very broad statement and if your truth involves deliberately hurting others or anything illegal then perhaps you should skip this section but widely speaking if you are happy and content with your lot then you have enough. That is what makes us all so unique and it leads to a wonderful place where nobody can really alter your reality. There are certain papers that I no longer read and certain people that I don’t associate with because their influence lead me to feel badly about my looks, finances, life choices etc. I have been led to think that I am not thin enough, rich enough or successful enough by outside elements but if you can believe that you have plenty then you do, if you believe you are good at your job then you are, if you believe that you are beautiful then it is true and if you believe that the world is going to the dogs then it is. It works both ways and the truth is a very powerful thing.

What I am trying to say is, that in this day and age when life is so stressful and expensive and our expectations of the future are either very high or very low it is important to remember that being happy, being content and being a dignified and decent person is enough. If you know these things to be true then the character of life; the excitement, the pain, the unexpected detours and the heartache, the wins and the losses are what makes it all so special…just like the drunken arguments, the ruined shoes and the tears of joy on your wedding day.

A Letter

8 Apr

I haven’t written a blog since before Christmas, in the last few weeks a few things have happened and I wanted to share something. I will set the context first. I suffer from anxiety and have for a year or so and I am starting to get better and this has caused a lot of problems with my dad as the past has a lot to do with the way I feel at the moment. I had an argument with my Dad, sort of, over Easter. It was the last and biggest in a long line of issues that have caused many spells of not speaking. I haven’t seen him or been in contact in any way since so I wrote him a letter to tell him how I felt about the things that have happened in the past 15 years that have led us to where we are today. When I read it back I realised that the things I had spoken about in the letter to my father were about me and the pressures I have put on myself as much as they were about him. I found it very therapeutic so I wrote a letter to myself too.

I decided to share it with all of you because most things written in the media for men and women is designed to make us feel bad so that we will go and buy the products that will ‘cure’ our ills. We are too fat, buy the diet pills. We are not fabulous enough, buy the bag. We are too old, buy the wrinkle cream. It has taken me a long time to realise that in reality you don’t need anything. Success and happiness are relative. I have stopped reading the paper and magazines at recommendation of my shrink and I have started paying attention to real life.  

Bare in mind that I may not believe everything I write in this letter but I do my best to read it often and take it on board. I hope it might have some affect on your life. Be kind to yourself.

To You,

Life is very hard at the moment, you are stuck between the comfortable misery that used to be life and moving forward to getting better. It seems super difficult and confusing right now because part of you wants to stay in the familiar drives and expectations of people that you have become used to. But the other part, the strong and clever part would like to step into the future where it is OK to be you. Who has the right to put boundaries on who you are and what is right or wrong. 

Things to remember are:

You are a nice person, apart from some petty theft in the past, you have never done anything that would be considered bad. You care about people, you work hard and even if you don’t you are not a bad person. You are still valuable and sometimes you need to realise this and put yourself first. You are important and just as important as everyone else. Stop putting their needs before yours. 

Also, some people are not very nice-this may be because of their own history but you must accept that this is the case because it will make life more kind and contented to understand that no matter how nice you are some people will never return the favour. If you are able to see this then you will be able to to forgive people from the past and stop trying to please these people. If they don’t consider you to be their equal then that is their prerogative not yours. Always remember this; your opinions are valuable.Everything is actually fine no matter how overwhelming it seems. 

These things are truths:

  • Your family love you
  • You have a home
  • You have a brain, strength, bravery and spirit
  • You are funny and fun
  • Your other half loves you as much as you love him
  • life’s little surprises are to be enjoyed-being a victim will only make you more susceptible to catastrophe
  • You will not end up penniless or homeless. No matter what happens life will end up working out
  • The worst has already happened and you coped brilliantly
  • Success is personal, as long as you feel your life is successful it is unnecessary to compare it to others. No matter how rich, thin, funny, talented you are there will always be someone to be jealous of.
  • Jealousy will not make you happier. Being content with who you are and what you have will leave room for you to grow and to see the opportunities available.

Finally

  • You are capable and beautiful.
  • A size 10 is not fat! Eating is fun and should be enjoyed, don’t feel guilty!

 

Everything, EVERYTHING is within your control and capability

Lots of love You.xxx 

Love, Lies and Eastern Europeans; A Practical Guide to Romance

6 Dec

My first trip to Liverpool

I am still relatively new to the area where I live (2 years and a few weeks) I love this city but I came here by accident really. If you believe in fate then that could be held accountable I suppose. Moving here was potentially the most stupid thing I have ever done.
I met a man in Brighton we became friends and then he moved back home to Liverpool. Within 3 months I had started a long distance relationship, ditched my job and my flat and the life I had made for myself, eventually moving 300 miles to a city I had only visited a handful of times to move in with this person. It all seems impulsive and romantic but in reality it could have blown up in my face and left me jobless and homeless, full of regrets. I would never advise somebody to do it because there are very few success stories in this category. The best advice I would give anyone considering a similar move is so far from romance it is ridiculous. Remain sensible. This is laughable given the context but when it comes to any relationship you have to tell your emotions to just shut up for a second. Being sensible is not sexy or alluring but it is a bloody good way to protect yourself. I had to brush away all the Hollywood ideals I had about love and romance and decide that in reality life can be a lot less shiny. Despite being bombarded by ‘reality’ tv as a western society we are so willing to believe the rubbish we see in books and films. The success of Twilight is a great example of the nonsense we will devour. Why do we do it? Because we are hopeful and because at the moment Great Britain ain’t so great so we throw ourselves into a world where everybody is beautiful and love conquers all. This is preferable it would seem to a world where everybody is poor and depression conquers all.

A year before moving I had been well and truly screwed over by a boyfriend. It wasn’t what he did to me it was what I allowed to happen. I am sorry to tell you this but in relationships we allow a lot of things to happen to us, not necessarily consciously but we let people treat us a certain way based on how we feel about ourselves and the preconceptions we have about relationships. When I look back at the sort of shit I let him get away with I am astonished. He lied, outrageous and unbelievable lies in order to see his ex girlfriend. I once believed that he had been held captive by a group of Eastern Europeans in a house not far from his flat (I KNOW!!!!) He claimed they hadn’t taken his phone or IPod because they were too old and that they had let him go because it was ‘nearly christmas’

I believed that. I also believed that he went to band practice every week despite the fact that he couldn’t sing or play an instrument and that a few condoms went missing every now and again because he carried them on his person just in case he and I got carried away. We never did.

My mind is blown that I was cool and unquestioning of these things, even when he let me borrow his phone and I saw hundreds of messages from one girl I still didn’t twig. The heart is a blind and insanely loyal creature if you allow it to be. Nobody wants to get hurt and we are very good at putting our blinkers on to prevent that.

So when I moved to Liverpool on a whim I left my rose tinted glasses at home and took a practical approach. I paid the deposit on our flat so that if we broke up I had a little financial security, we got two bedrooms in case it didn’t work out we could still live as friends. I made sure I went out and met people so that I would have a support network that didn’t involve his friends. It all seems very morbid and negative but I still do it today. Our finances are combined and he pays the rent whilst I pay the living expenses but anything more long term like credit cards or overdrafts are kept separate because I don’t believe he should be saddled with my debt if we split up and vice versa. Luckily we are very happy and settled. He has been an amazing influence on my life and moving to Liverpool kick started my modelling career again. I haven’t had to use any of the precautions I set up upon my arrival which is great but I have to say that it takes the pressure off. I am secure in the knowledge that we are in it for the long term (we have a dog that will live until we are 40) but I am also aware that if it all goes tits up I have a back up plan. It’s hardly ‘Casablanca’ but I always thought Rick was a bit of knob for letting Elsa mess him about like that anyway.