Posted by: Ele Quigan | March 28, 2014

A love letter – Ele Quigan

So today marks a bit of a change on my review blog – a foray into my own writing. Erm feels a bit nerve racking to share with the world, but here goes!



I’ve written a few “Dear John” letters, emails and texts in my life, some with valid reasons, most with not, yet somehow this feels the hardest to write amongst all of them.

We were enemies at first, I hated you from a far, I guess jealous of what you held. I think it was what was in my head I feared most? Some made up idea of what you were, not how you really are. You in your ivory tower of hopes and dreams, of expectations, not something I could grasp, until suddenly I did.

When we met, it was like we’d been friends all along, for some reason the fear dropped. I moved on, you moved on, and we became entwined. I’m struggling to decouple myself from you, I look at myself now, and you’re a part of me. Sometimes I struggle where to see where I end and you begin – you’ve been part of a huge emotional change. A positive one.

Pieces of you reflect in my day to day now, confidence boosted, a slightly more out there attitude, a slightly different approach – I think it was always there underneath, but with you it came out, even my make up is brighter. In time I had hobbies like Roller Derby, I listened to music again, my fashion took a more quirky turn, my attitude brighter, but always with my consistently cynical edge.

It’s funny, how sometimes you’d bring out the most interesting parts of people and culture. Me, who was new and didn’t understand as much of your North/South divide, amused colleagues with fauxpas, assuming one place was another, not understanding the entrenched feelings of bipartisanship with vocal comments from both parties. I’m very much a ‘Norvener’ based on our time together, and if I’m being really honest, I like your East side the most.

Your East side showed me your best side, multicultural, experiential, creative, exciting I can’t put it all into words. The food, the markets, the clubs, the gigs, the independent shops, the walks. I pity those Southerners sometimes, as while a lot of people I know seemed to congregate there, they never realise all you have to offer. Or they just like feeling comfortable. Or like the familiar. Places that don’t change.

The culture you bring crosses borders, crosses languages, brings people together. Over our mutual love of food I’ve found so many new favourites. There are new textures, untranslatable flavours, each spice a new experience – who knew that spice was made to go that way or went so well with that. We’ve been in pop ups, gone back to favourites, experienced all 3 types of stars, we’ve travelled the globe within the central line together. I still can’t pronounce Samphire.

There’s dark sides to you, dark, chilly sides. Faced with an ever entrenched view of concrete coloured sky and listless sun, a sad, depressed cloud comes over you for months at a time. Embittered winds turn my face to my feet, to trudge through this everlasting season – at longest 8 months, at shortest probably 7. Or maybe 6. It’s impossible to be with you when you’re this way. Everyone around you is affected, looking at their own feet (lest they poke out your eye with their slow walk and oversized umbrella). You’re grey to your soul, and when you finally break out, the world is a very different place.

When you’re good – you’re the greatest on earth. You bring out happiness, innate chatter, smiles even. The first time it breaks out, there’s a collective sigh of relief. It’s there, hidden away, under depths of darkness, grey and bad attitudes, and then when you least expect it – suddenly everything changes.

My favourite sign of it are the crocuses. Their purple and yellow nodding heads pop up seemingly out of nowhere. A sign of things to come, the world will be colour again. The endless grey will soon be done, and back to your bright shining self. I’m always inspired to join your crowds in parks with my winter white legs at first sign, another 2 sausages out to bake and burn with all the others. But of course everyone tries this too early, wrapped in blankets in March, it’s never really nice enough till May.

There’s parts of you I’ll never forget, public transport must feel like giving birth every morning with all of us nestled so close, under pressure tightly packed, but no-one speaks. Are these your arteries? Or your soul? It’s where you see a mix of the best and worst. Laughter and tears. Anger, frustration, fear – I’ve seen the bystander effect myself, been handed tissues when in tears, given seats, shared a smile. I still view this with a sense of wonder and amazement – “Where is everyone going?” – “why are they here?” – “why is it silent”. It’s always the same, but never the same. Same time every day, but different people. Whole carriages of unfamiliar faces, same journey different lives. The same journey every day can feel like hours or seconds. I like your Overground parts best.

You’re full of light in the dark, spinning your blue wheel of beauty that’s the background to so many photos, selfies, instagrams. You’re pristine, elegant, modern. This whole skyline thing is an everlasting juxtaposition to your original self and new self. A chameleon. You show your age at the best of these times. And also your pride. Your power and your glory. I could stand upon your bridges and send wishes out forever, and look at your castles watching for princes.

I don’t want to say goodbye. But it’s time.

I love and adore you but our time together must end. It’s too easy to turn alongside you in a whimsical life of something new and different everyday, with days turning into weeks turning into months; it’s been 5 years. I have grey hairs now. I’m too old for the late nights, midweek hangovers, retweets of pop ups, feeling like everything is packed into every week to make sure I don’t miss out.

It’s so easy to fall into a bubble with you – my reality has become something completely different, that the standard life I’m supposed to live (house kids job holiday) is as far away. I see this life through peoples posts on Facebook – it’s never been tangible, updates from other people in a series of words and pictures from a place I’m still not sure that I belong, I’ve never yearned for that; but now it’s time to join them.

I won’t miss your dark moods, specially the ones that start at 3:30pm during the worst of times. I wont miss your concrete, your weird mixture at times of both silence and noise. But I will miss you more than you’ll ever know. Like I said at the start, you’ll always be a part of me now, I’ll often reminisce. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be back – but I hope to. To see where you’ve grown, changed, but mostly to see how you’re exactly the same.

London, I love you, but now it’s time to go.

Posted by: Ele Quigan | March 21, 2014

Dune and Dune Messiah – Frank Herbert

After another voyage through slightly depressing, award shortlisted fiction (see previous review), I decided to journey back to my roots. Rather than Vampire associated fiction, across the universe to Sci-Fi, one of my favourite novels growing up – Dune.

I’m not sure why it had been so long since I’d picked it up, I’d read all of the recreated prequels, but never gone back to the first one. I remember even trying the next one (Dune Messiah) but found it much more boring, which I guess makes sense – it’s more political and intrigue based, nuances of which I think went over my head all those years ago.

I’d read most of it on a flight to Sweden, heading to a music festival, making for a slightly bizarre experience. The first night of Sonar, I came across a girl with the brightest, bluest eyes I’d ever seen. “Fremen” was my first thought. “Spice Melange” the next.

Wandering around the various rooms later that night, the same thoughts kept surrounding my head, like I’d weirdly managed to blur the facets of fiction and real life, looking for Alia & Paul Atredies in people and behaviours.

Dune felt fresh, much more nuanced than I remember, more epic and more subtle. Sure in some ways it does feel slightly dated, but that doesn’t take away from it, more I guess like you’d look at an old but loved movie (I’m looking at you Labyrinth).

What did I take from it? More concern about management of Earth’s finite resources. We are overfishing, using too much oil, and polluting the planet more and more each year.

Actually the other thing I took from it was CHOAM or Combine Honnete Ober Advancer Mercantiles, which is a company managing most interplanetary exports, most importantly The Spice. I’m not sure if Frank Herbet envisaged a future which is more a Plutocracy than anything else, however it’s seemingly insightful on that point. Worried about the single control of a finite resource, of course it becomes part of a much bigger issue, causing wars, strife within the population, and within those who have it in reach, wealth beyond wildest dreams.

There’s also the drug side of The Spice – I guess it can almost be compared in a sense to Soma – the hallucinogenic drug from “Brave New World”. Everything comes at a price, with Spice phenomenally addictive, effecting prescience, features, the whole world around.

It’s worth a reread if you haven’t picked it up for a while, and I’m definitely going to persevere through the rest of the series.

Posted by: Ele Quigan | March 17, 2014

The Lowland – Jhumpa Lahiri

Reading a full book on a flight and corresponding trip can be amazing. You’re going on two journeys really, the one in your head, plus the “real” one as well.

It’s always a bit exhausting, as you arrive often more tired than usual, sometimes a bit upset or off kilter depending on what you’d just been reading, and this is exactly how I felt after this.

We were heading to Stockholm for a festival, 3 of us, flying cheaply which of course means your airport is 100 km from your real destination. From airport to flight to hotel, probably at least 3-4hrs reading, which these days is just on what I need to get through a book without speed reading.

After banning the iPhone from bed it’s been great to get back into it. Admittedly reviews are piling up (this one’s a month old), and choices always running slightly thin.
This is from the booker shortlist, typically interesting, sad, and across an interesting period of Indian history.

I don’t know too much about the background, or sense of where and when a lot of the books content started, but it left me with a sense of loss and displacement and feeling very far from home.

With a mixture of dislike but understanding for the main protagonists, they were human in a way that you don’t normally see, but also with their own heroics that at times made complete sense, and then no sense at all.

The politics were at least interesting when framed against the current Ukraine crisis, communists deciding the only way forward was for more violent action, terrorist attacks – and then of course found out.

The differences between life in the US and India are gently displayed in the book. Half-way through, the main protagonist returns home, to a world of colour and bright, smells and tastes across food, water and air; but also a profound sense of loss, and feeling that while he has moved on from what he once was, there are tugs and pulls trying to push him back, take shape in the old form. Say and do the old things.

I know that feeling. By jumping far from home and the life you know you grow and change, but every visit back you feel stuck in the middle. No longer belonging or being as one place, but some bizarre cross between the two.

The book is beautifully written, I think reading it in one sitting helped. The stark contrasts between characters and backgrounds and time slowly sifting through behind it all made for a moving experience.

While the end or at least the single thread throughout wasn’t a surprise, but it did leave a lot unanswered. That’s a good thing I guess?

Posted by: Ele Quigan | February 7, 2014

Junky – William S Burroughs

I’ve been sitting on this post for a few weeks now, and the surrounding impact of losing Philip Seymour Hoffman just made me put it off even further.

It feels weird to write again about something I’ve never experienced, never understood, peaking in through someone else’s words, trying to attach or even discover an element of something that’s far from reach.

It feels weird to be reading all of these articles looking for reasons for addiction, experimentation, blaming prohibition, demonising behaviour, but some asking for reviews of laws, some asking for expanded support, but still at the end of the day these articles are just words – another life was still lost.

It feels weird to be pushing myself through this same fiction route again, like its own weird addiction, like I’m on a search for something but I don’t know what I’m looking for. Understanding? Pushing myself to look at others experiences to put a name to the things I feel like I see on the street everyday? Real life is less glossy than fiction. Real life screams of death and desperation and last resorts. Fiction makes the whole thing sound larger than life. I almost want to use the word ‘fun’ – however inappropriate that is.

I feel like it’s surrounding everything I’m reading, seeing, being at the moment. Maybe I’m looking for it? The desperation on the streets, the halfway houses I see everyday on my commute, sheltered by my headphones and stream of music, I at times wish for a camera, knowing full well I’d never raise my hands to attempt a shot. Because what am I shooting?

The streets around my area are amazing yet degenerate. I love them, but it’s often so depressing. It’s an insult to see average house prices around £500k yet still so many people stuck and in need of help. The addict who has been sitting next to Bethnal Green Station for the last 4 years is still there. He’s looking a lot worse of late.

These places have always existed. I think that’s what struck me most about Junky, is that it could have been written yesterday and still be relevant. The lingo hasn’t changed. The people haven’t changed. The cycle between junk sick and well hasn’t changed. The addiction hasn’t changed. So what has?

There’s still (if anything I’d say even moreso than ever) a fear of the unknown. There’s even more judgement. There’s an us and them mentality of “not in my backyard”. Even when there are several regimes that have been proven to help (Portugal, Switzerland, Norway) continually governments squash these back, with the view that ALL is bad – rather than looking at overall harm reduction.

Making it a crime to have a disease is something alluded to by Russell Brand in his brilliant article in The Guardian posted yesterday , people need help & support not prison. Otherwise, like all through Junky, it’s a never ending cycle of dependency, relapse, rehab/detox, relapse, dependency.

The book? Oh yeah back to that. It’s really good – honest, frank, dark – I think next I’ll read The Naked Lunch, classed as one of his best.

Interestingly Junky is this months Guardian Bookclub (which I’ve just joined) book – will be interesting to see their thoughts on it too.

And Will Self’s commentary about Junky, offering an interesting viewpoint.

Posted by: Ele Quigan | January 31, 2014

Tune of the week – The Cure Friday I’m in Love

This isn’t my favourite song by The Cure.  Not even close.  But it’s my favourite song today.

Elder brothers are the reason I got into The Cure, otherwise it makes no sense – I mean they had two albums out before I was born, and have been producing music for 4 decades.  I can’t even comprehend that in my 32 year old head.  But I guess having their music around the house sparked an interest, that over the years turned into love and adoration.

I’ve seen them live once, back in NZ, at the terrible (at least for sound) venue Vector Arena.  Ear plugs in, some songs were completely unrecognisable.  The lead singer, no longer the waif-like youth he used to be, threatened to dash those years of teenage angst, replaying some tracks over and over to breakups, depressive episodes, and occasionally just to remember that there was more to whatever feeling I was trying to distance myself from – but it was one of the most amazing gigs I’ve ever been to.

I have two favourite tracks, which I thought were polar opposites but on listening again they really aren’t.

Tape.  It’s one of their shorter songs, famous from their 1992 Show tour – which I think one of my brothers had the video or even CD for.  It segues straight into Open (from Wish), but I dunno – it’s anticipatory, it’s excitement building, there’s a single long sung note that I probably sang to myself open-mouthed in the car to far too many passers by.  It’s also interestingly has the same drums as my next favourite, and also the same drums that got me into Florence + The Machine…  The harmonics at the start are perfect, there’s just enough to suck you in and suddenly the song has built into it’s crescendo flying you through into something else…

The Caterpiller.  How is this song seriously 30 years old?  Fluffy, bright, yep there’s those drums again.  I found this on  Staring At The Sea, their early singles collection.  Radio-friendly (like Friday I’m in Love) I guess this is The Cure at their most approachable.  It’s interesting, not trying to say too much – it’s probably my age but listening today I’m wondering what happened to music like this – but maybe it’s just that I don’t know where to find it any more.

Another concert was announced yesterday – which I was lucky enough to get tickets to – at the Royal Albert Hall.  So today, this week, all weekend – I’ll be re-listening to all my favourites, albums back to back, reliving those years of mis-spent youth, remember tears and high school regrets, reminiscing for years gone by, ‘Letters to El(ou)ise’ on repeat and wondering if I’ve really left all that behind.  


Posted by: Ele Quigan | January 25, 2014

Straight White Male – John Niven

The challenge with other people recommending you books is that you’re never quite sure what sort of experience you’re going to have. This comes up in book club occasionally, people love and hate different things, and of course if you absolutely hate something that someone who’s opinion you genuinely respect, it should be something handled a little delicately.

So what do you do? Start to quietly judge the person who suggested it? Look at why you hated it, and consider if that’s why they loved it? Start to nit-pick the book even further (e.g. it’s sexist, misogynistic, ridiculous) and then think “Oh my god are they actually like that?”

So, Straight White Male. I can’t work out if it was just really well done satire, or whether it was the easy read, entertaining, male equivalent of a romance.

Premise – Successful screenwriter who has had 2 failed marriages is facing huge tax bill and either has to cut down on the excesses of his life, or receive an award for a previous novel which includes a year teaching placement at the university where his ex-wife works.

You can see where this is going.

Sure there are absolutely interesting bits, it becomes a bit of a treatise on screenwriting around actors/directors. Maybe the satire when over my head but it just seemed to be not really saying anything by the satire? Sure there’s a couple of interesting rants but nothing that really struck me as insightful…

SO, friend who suggested this – I still think you’re one of the most insightful people I’ve met, and no – I’m not judging you from a far (I promise, even though I mentioned it earlier! I’m really not…) however I really really really hated this book.

Book recommendations anyone?

Posted by: Ele Quigan | January 25, 2014

Tune of the Week – Blue Monday

There’s been a bit of coverage in your standard Brit papers this week on the supposedly most depressing working day of the year - Blue Monday.

Sure it’s a bit of pseudo science during what’s usually a slow news time of year, and everyone is a bit cold, grey, miserable. The loveliness of Christmas and hangover of New Year has worn off, work is the same old drudge that you’d let yourself forget for 2 weeks…

It’s not like late summer in NZ, which is nearly my favourite time of year at home (that’s Autumn, but beside the point). I’m finding myself more and more longing for the seemingly never ending summer nights, bbq’s in the backyard, salads made with fresh herbs and veggies from the garden, cold beers, good friends…

So anyway, Blue Monday is obviously a famous track, released in 1983. The thing is, I genuininely think this track has never really dated.

It’s crazy to think I was 2 years old when this track came out, it was my ring tone through my mid-20′s, and through various remixes and releases seems to pop up occasionally in random places. (I’ve just seen the 1988 re-release got to number one in NZ? madness).

It’s got a theme that is instantly recognisable, guaranteed a huge cheer from any club/set/mix where it’s dropped. A good friend of mine dropped it perfectly into a mix a few years ago, guaranteed to put a smile on your face a this time of year…

Posted by: Ele Quigan | January 19, 2014

The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

So this book has caused a publicity storm for a fairly unknown painting. I guess similar to the way Dan Brown has reinvigorated loves for Leonardo di Vinci, the illuminati, Florence and various places and items, people flocked to see this mysterious piece of art in the flesh.

It’s always strange seeing much talked talked about art for the first time. I vividly remember seeing the Mona Lisa, the painting moving before my very eyes, smiling and not smiling (I find it incredibly hard seeing so many people saying “what’s so great about it” I still think it’s one of the most incredible paintings in existence). I’ve spent many hours in quiet and busy galleries all over the world looking at familiar art. I loved The Starry Night – it was so green? Which you never see reproduced in pictures, and painted so quickly you can see he canvas underneath.

Caravaggio is another favourite, and after walking miles through the Uffizi, beyond the first half which was nothing but tourists (which even at booking an 8am entrance seemed to be just as busy & stressful when you’re just trying to quietly look at something incredible). His room was being rebuilt, so the small amount of works were right near the exit. It felt like a converted cloakroom, the Medusa stared at you as you stared back, daring a painting to turn you to stone.

The statue of David, towering over with such grace was mindblowing, but I preferred the Medici Chapel sculptures, Night and Day, Dusk & Dawn

There’s so much more I’ve seen, and I can see the attachment to a single piece of artwork, and why in the dark of tragedy (terrorist attack in the museum that takes place at the very beginning of the book) why a small piece of art could be surreptitiously taken, maybe to protect? Maybe to treasure? Maybe to hold on to, to take place of those loved and lost.

Without sounding cheesy, this book is great. Incredibly sad, it imbues loneliness and strife but never in my opinion became trite. It is dark, very dark, but with little elements of light and humour that carry it through. The characters are flawed, difficult, rambling sometimes without cause, but that adds to the authenticity of a story that is otherwise completely fantastical.

I guess similar to Requiem for a Dream which I also read this week it has that ‘American Dream’ feel, orphan do well, triumph over extreme adversity (maybe that’s just a trope easily exploited for dramatic intent), but with serious drug addiction & alcoholism attached.

The end had a chapter long soliloquy, weirdly reminding me of John Galt’s long speech in Atlas Shugge (it’s pages long) but it’s an exploration of love and loss, hope and death, and trying to make an understanding of life, working with the cards you’re dealt.

There’s a beautiful subtlety to this work that I don’t remember from her others. There’s a sad conversation between the protagonist and his best friend about behaviour that you suddenly realise must have been happening all along, but as with only hearing through the protagonist (who could never remember, he gets blackout drunk), you understand you’re getting that filtered side of the story. The first time in a long time that you’re aware (in such a human way) that you’re only seeing this from one side.

There’s some lovely quotes throughout the book, I think some people may hate the writing, to some it may feel superfluous or overblown, but I’ve always loved this style. It seems more fluid and explorative, that you truly get a sense of the whole thing rather than just being allowed a peak or a snapshot.

“We looked at each other and just laughed; everything was hysterically funny, even the playground slide was smiling at us, and at some point, deep in the night, when we were swinging on the jungle gym and showers of sparks were flying out of our mouths, I had the epiphany that laughter was light, and light was laughter, and that this was the secret of the universe.”

Here’s a brief interview with Donna Tartt, I’m at times amazed that it took 10 years to write, but that also makes sense. It’s layered and glorious, believable within such an unbelievable constraint.

Posted by: Ele Quigan | January 18, 2014

Requiem for a dream – Hubert Selby Jr.

As I’ve said a squillion times, I’m not one for depressing movies. Often quoted by friends as “the saddest movie of all time” I’ve stayed clear of Requiem. Curiosity always kills the damn cat right? So I decided to see what it was like to read.

It was incredible. I was for some reason really surprised at how well written it was? Metaphorical, frustrating, “believable characters” (I’m putting that in inverted commas because it feels trite against the subject matter…), following what feels like a demise into the inevitable. “We’ll never be like that”

They say you can never have a casual heroin habit.

And that you can never have a casual habit with longer term prescription opiates (weirdly this crosses over with the other book I read this week – The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt).

And while I’m not so sure about prescription Amphetamines – I can imagine it’s somewhat similar. A sense of clarity can be addictive, or a feeling of a different kind of love, or a different sense of self (or even a different sense of world), or even an easy way to relax, why else would people do drugs more than once?

The American Dream (or even just hope) is different for everyone. I think that’s the saddest part of the book was watching the hope dissipate and an ever creeping sense of despair as the book slowly circles into the point of no return.

I’ve managed to dig out an old article Hubert Selbert Jr wrote that was printed in The Guardian just as the film was coming out that goes further into why he wrote it, the inspiration.

I wanted a strong relationship between Sara and Harry to emphasis the nature of the problem. Most addicts are people with families, hopes, dreams, the same as anyone else. Most addicts are not living on the streets, stealing for a fix. Most are middle class people with love in their lives who go to their doctor and pharmacist for drugs. It could be said that Sara’s love was suffocating, oppressive at times, but it was also grounded in wanting the very best for her son.

Sara (the mum of Harry, one of the 4 key protagonists in the story) is the most interesting character in the novel. Dying to be thin is possibly an oversimplification, while she is living in abject poverty, but her ideals (to be on TV, to be famous) seemed to still have a lot of significance now.

There are addicts in all areas, I think the next emerging addict group could be the unprescribed students, parents, adults buying brain performance drugs, articles like this probably don’t help “Healthy people should be able to take the anti-hyperactivity drug Ritalin to boost brain power, a UK ethicist says.” Surely working at a higher level of brain power is addictive? why would you want to go back to a murky and befuddled mind? It may further put a separation between those who can afford “smart” drugs and those who can’t – and who know’s what other drugs might be on the horizon.

The only time I’ve had ritalin (which was about 10 years ago) it had the opposite effect, trying me out and making me feel more relaxed and chilled, which freaked me out. Isn’t that what it’s supposed to do to kids who actually NEED to be medicated? Did that mean there was something wrong with me? Am I the slightly hyperactive sometimes, kid who struggles with going to bed, always jumping between things and thoughts and constant rumination and a lack of concentration OH MY GOD DID I JUST CONVINCE MYSELF I HAVE ADHD?

I don’t think I have ADD/ADHD (I’m a catastrophist at heart so it was relatively easy to at least talk myself into it for a bit), but I do think there’s a bit of an issue with a society that medicates for all issues, isn’t that the beauty of modern medicine tho?

The only part about the book that really genuinely bugged me was the piece about shock therapy. I was incredibly anti it previously, I thought the idea of it was awful, and had visions similar to the book (being awake, tied down, unable to make it stop if you felt better), and I have been very much corrected by a Psychiatrist friend of mine. She’s mentioned there is absolutely a time and a place for it, you’re heavily sedated when it happens, and it can genuinely, honestly help in conditions.

Given the complexity of the brain, and squishing down my own personal media-driven prejudices – that’s got to make sense right? (why am I getting the comparison between the brain and jumpstarting a car? that’s the only analogy I can think of…)

Another interesting side part (beyond the constant search for the ever reducing quality of high) was the concept of a full drug drought. I remember reading about the Heroin drought of 2010/2011 – it’s worth reading about

Guardian article (I think one of the first mainstream media to talk about it)

BBC article about the research post the drought

And to close – a slightly different drought – caused by war. I wouldn’t normally close with the words of someone else, but given a story about addiction, desire for the next hit, despair and desperation, it says more about addiction than I could. Do take time to read his whole post tho – it’s incredible.

A brilliant post from a user experiencing a different drought

I crawled into bed and cried. I was ill and so out of sorts I just cried at the world, and for the first time really cursed the fucking war, and even more passionately than the humanitarians, I wanted an end to all the bombing and devastation. But my tears were not for humanity, they were for me. And personal tears are always more genuine than any others. All tears are personal. Really.

Posted by: Ele Quigan | January 17, 2014

Tune of the week – Bonobo, Cirrus

I’ve been sick this week, so mostly in bed Monday and working from home Tuesday – has reminded me like I said in my first post, how close music has entwined itself into our lives.

What’s interesting about standard evenings at home, is the usual debate on “what shall we listen to?” It’s a seemingly endless conversation between “I feel like something light, maybe electronic-ish, a bit chilled, background music” that jumps between “Omg you have to hear this” to “jeez did you really think that was dinner appropriate?”

It does mean that we settle on a few old favourites, The XX, random hiphop, downbeat from home (Fat Freddy’s drop, Salmonella Dub, The Black Seeds) albums we’ve discovered and loved (Bombay Bicycle Club – Flaws, Tycho – Dive), the odd bit of Radiohead (and to be honest that’s more my bag) and this.


I can’t even say how much we thrashed the album Black Sands. Played a few times a week, I’m not even sure how we discovered it initially. And this week, as I was looking for something I to play along at home I put on (seemingly, on repeat) his 5th album The North Borders.

Unsurprisingly, my favourite track on the album is Cirrus.

Bright, uplifing, gentle – to me this is the epitome of decent, well structured music to play around the house. I don’t seem to get sick of it, and its familiarity breeds a sense of comfort when I hear it.

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