Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The boat that definitely rocked and the public who do not.

Recently I watched The Boat That Rocked for possibly, the millionth time. I wish it was required viewing for the nation because it's so completely brilliant that even I get a sense of nostalgia from it, and it's set 30 years before I was born. However, it was a commercial fail at the box office and received a surprising amount of mixed reviews. While I cannot account for the minor aneurysms those critics must have been suffering, I believe I can shed some light on the film's unpopularity with the general public.

That film portrays something Britain lost a long time ago and will probably never get back. Kids listening to the radio in bed, so quietly their eager ears are pressed against the speakers so no sound escapes their magical, rebellious bubble. Teenagers getting together, not to oh so originally hack each others' facebook, but to listen to the latest Kinks until it's scratched and/or they've run out of beer. Adults spending all night at gigs, then calling in sick the next day. We don't have to try to listen to music anymore. It isn't banned, it isn't forbidden. The closest we get to living on the audio edge is 4music's pathetic Ed Sheeran edits, where the word 'snowflakes' is removed. Snowflakes! God forbid a child should repeat the word snowflakes! 

The Boat That Rocked captures the beauty of how our country used to defy the musical rules. It started with the pioneer bands, who made the music they wanted to and released it knowing full well it wouldn't get any radio play. Nowadays if a song hasn't appeared on Radio 1 or a car advert, it hasn't made it. This film was deemed 'a commercial failure'. A failure. Why was it? Because it didn't make 10 million in the first day? Because someone from The Daily Mail didn't like it? I liked it. It re-ignited my passion for music, it made me want to write this. The film may be fictional but the idea behind it was real and the fact is, we no longer make the effort to listen to music that they did.

The presenters of pirate radio risked fines and jail, as did the listeners. They broadcasted from offshore ships to avoid prosecution. They broadcasted what the public wanted, and what the public really wanted, was rock and roll. I find it both hard and sad to try and imagine Britain today rallying together, in secret, to do something the government won't allow. And I don't mean revolting against pension cuts, or striking for a 3 day weekend. I mean something fun. There would be, and is today, a select few who would take a stand, maybe their videos on YouTube would get a few thousand hits before they were removed, maybe there would be protests. 

Times have changed, culture has changed, and music has changed. I hope bands today still feel euphoria knowing the screaming crowd below have travelled to see them, because this is one of the few ways we have left to show our appreciation. There is a line in the film which often leaves me wondering:
'Young men and women will always dream dreams, and put those dreams into song.' I can't help but be dismayed at how wrong half this quote is. No prizes for guessing which half, because I'm pretty sure 'Damn girl, damn you'se a sexy bitch' are not the inspiring dreams of Akon. Chart music, the music that supposedly represents the public's musical taste, is dire. X Factor demonstrates we no longer care about what comes out of artists' mouths, as long as it rhymes and they have dolls out in time for Christmas.

It's a tragedy. 
I alone can't do anything to change it. When 'Killing in the name of' trounced the X Factor winner to Christmas number 1 in 2009, I felt like we'd achieved something mildly hilarious, and for a moment, music fans were united in their dislike of Joe Mcelderry. But i'll finish now, and turn my attentions to these time machine blueprints, because it's the only way I'll ever experience the true sense, of rock and roll. Next stop, the swinging 60s. 

The Kinks. A proper, proper decent band.

Monday, 19 December 2011

The Kooks go out on a high*

*quite possibly literally in Luke's case

Female hormones ran wild last night as The Kooks played one of their last gigs of 2011.
Support came in the form of Scoundrels; four guys from London, so far so generic, but who turned out to be pretty bloody good. A country/blues influence is evident in their music and a little research reveals the band spent time in Louisiana, writing, recording and soaking up the laid back Louisiana groove. Lead Vocalist Ned Wyndham reminded me of a darker haired Eric Hutchinson; several songs struck me as similar to early Kings of Leon. Sadly too often support bands give you the chance to nip to the bar, and discuss what song you think the headliners will open with. Not this time. Scoundrel's talent and quirky songs left me drink-less and their attractiveness left the girls next to me squealing, yes, painfully squealing, with delight. I blame you for the scream-induced ringing in my ears boys, but I will be buying your album.

What I liked most about The Kooks setlist was that they weren't afraid to take it right back to Inside In/Inside Out. Many bands seem to forget that the majority of their fans have been there from the start, and we don't care if you've had 2 albums since then - we want naive and we want it now. Predictably, but still brilliantly, naive was the final encore number, and the rest of the setlist consisted of a perfect balance of all 3 albums.

Luke Pritchard's shirt was ripped from the start (no complaints) and his mannerisms suggested something other than creative juices were flowing backstage. But who can judge, at 26 he's already selling out around the world; simply rubbing the microphone down his chest gains him rapturous applause. He's talented too, several guitars and a piano made an appearance during the night. For 'Seaside' it was just Pritchard, alone on the stage so the rest of the band could 'go and have a beer.'
What a nice chap.

The Kooks know what they're doing. As with many bands of their genre, the lead singer takes the attention. Pritchard strutted up and down like he owned the stage - and he did. Looking up at the balcony seats, well, they might as well have ditched them, everyone was on their feet; I even spotted a suspiciously middle aged couple miming along to Shine on. Their confident stage presence and seamless song changes prove they've got it together as a band. Cheeky little glances between the boys give you the impression they are genuinely happy to be here. And while the most of us can't even speak coherently after several beers, Luke manages to carry a whole show, and carry it well. Kooks, I salute you.

p.s check out because they really were pretty decent.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Rachel's smothering killed the cat*

Time out from the angry rants, time to tell you that I love cats (cue the eharmony girl style emotional breakdown).
I was recently challenged to sway an opinion on the animals, but I believe you are either a cat or dog person. You can like both but deep down you probably resent the smell of your dog or the claws of your cat. So sorry, I am to be deeply disappointing about this. You can be apathetic, or you can hate them so much that when Edgar tried to murder the Aristocats you felt slight arousal. But you can't deny that they are hilarious feline f***ers, so instead of my mediocre writing abilities I give you a cat, in a pot, dressed as a lobster...meow.

*DISCLAIMER- I have never harmed a cat.*

Friday, 9 December 2011

Malthus is my controversial homedawg

In simple terms, Thomas Malthus believed that population increases faster than food supply, reaches its peak, and has to be brought down again in a population crash, like famine or war. It's a pretty harsh theory, basically implying that the thousands of deaths that stem from disease or natural disasters like earthquakes are cruelly convenient because they bring down our numbers. There's then enough to go round for those who survive. Sinister swings and roundabouts.

But Malthus has a valid point, one I tried to argue before the angry glares of my classmates shut me up. It does make sense, and I can't be the only person to have occasionally thought: 'Hey that disaster was tragic and heartbreaking but at least all the victims are at peace rather than having to deal with the aftermath...' There's no easy way to word it, either way I come out as Cruella De vil.

My brain is a realist, I feel the same way about 'first world pains'. They are first world problems! Don't get me wrong, I'm one of those people who'll pause guiltily in the middle of a meal as the latest WaterAid advert comes on, but I'm also the person who'll carry on eating when it's finished. I have, and will continue to, donate to charities for those far worse off than me. But I refuse to spend my life feeling bad about every meal I don't finish, every luxury I buy. I was lucky enough to be born into a good, financially stable family, have I committed a crime?! It would seem that way.

'My Laptop's running out of battery but the charger is upstairs. #firstworldproblems'
Yes, this may seem mundane but haven't we all felt this way at some point?
'I have a car but petrol's so expensive #firstworldproblems'
Am I to pedal a rickshaw to school just because I worked hard to learn and work hard to pay for it? No! I study geography, I understand the explosive population growth we're experiencing. But a little part of me, and secretly a little part of you too, often wonders where the millions of pounds we donate every year actually goes.

I could argue this for a long time, but my coherency and ability to structure an argument will disappear and my arms will start to flap. For now I leave you with this, because in my world, this truly is an issue.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Bad Rachel

My last post was an unacceptably long time ago, so sorry invisible followers.
A lot has been happening recently; I got my AS results, (2 As, no please, no applauding)I started year 13, my final year of sixth form and began the scary task of applying for University!
Oh, and I dented my car.
The University thing has really given me food for thought, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life, but it turns out 'Anne Hathaway in Devil wears Prada' is not an accredited degree... So I visited Universities, chatted to people in the 'media' industry, got through several bags of walkers sensations and finally, finally, I am getting somewhere.

Personal Statements. If I never have to hear these words again it will be too soon. Trying to convince Universities that I really do want to study media/journalism with them has proved tricky, with a 4000 character limit, and banned use of bold or italics.
If only they could see the glisten in my eyes as I lovingly stroke Elle magazine, THEY WOULD KNOW. We hear so much from the Government about the lack of qualifications in young people, yet for those of us who really do want to learn more, they create the Takeshi's Castle* of application forms, and command us to write a motivational speech in Latin and deliver it by Owl before they'll even consider us.
I propose a change to the system - spend a day with me Mr Ucas, see how much effort I put into my work, see how much I want this. Don't judge me by the fact I haven't spent a week's work experience writing for the Prime Minister. If you saw our local paper (aka 'small leaflet with local butcher ads') then you'd understand why I'm desperate to get out.

But the personal statement must be written, and apparently folding it into an origami dinosaur isn't going to impress them, damn.

*If you don't know what this is then you should either Youtube, or probably just end it all now.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

ich bin ein Berliner

So very exciting to be heading to Berlin on Monday!
Since the depressing (but needed) acceptance of my body's inability to tan, have decided city breaks are the (oh so chic) way ahead. As this trip was my idea, it has been left to me to plan it. Conveniently, the hotel is situated in a highly regarded shopping area, which will mean numerous trips and euros spent, SHAME. Want to do the historical side too, day trips to concentration camps, though not massively uplifting, are on my list; for some bizarre and slightly disturbing reason I am fascinated by the German war...great news for the family. East side gallery will be explored, plenty of wurst eaten and some dodgey gcse German attempted.

Auf Weidersehen pet!

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Take notice.

It is very easy to be fashionable when everyone can see.

Lady Gaga is praised for her outrageous style choices - but they work because we see them, we see them in pictures, she's out every night parading her latest meat-based creations. Would she dress differently if she were a 9 to 5 office worker? Of course, because then, no one would see.

We dress to impress...other people. Argue all you like, when it comes down to it, what other people think does matter. And if nobody is going to appreciate the length you've gone to creating that look today, why bother? Fashionable people surround themselves with other fashionable people, so that when they wear that coat, or stride out in those heels, people notice. People see.

if you can't get deer...

It's hard. Sometimes I imagine outfits, or try them on and think - this would only look good in a picture, I can't go out like this. If I were in a forest, surrounded by stuffed deer and expensive handbags, strategically placed to look oh so avant garde, then this outfit would be perfect. But when I have to sit in classrooms all day, there is no point investing in the leather fetish trend - the air con doesn't work and I do not want to melt in the common room. Age also has something to do with it. Elle magazine do copious 'what to wear to the office' pieces, but somehow turning up to geography in silk wide legs, a wool blazer and oversized clutch seems ridiculous.

ChloƩ Resort 2012 Fashion Week Photos 528606
just on my way to english lit...
 So I will wait. I'll wait until I reach the point where I can fling down a trench coat onto my desk without being met by glares, from various people whose papers I have just blown everywhere. My trouser suit time will come. Someone will notice, someone will see.

Sunday, 17 July 2011


Passed said driving test! Adventures will commence promptly. First trip in the car was yesterday to.....ok it was to the Co-op but everyone has to start somewhere. Feel like I still need to ask permission to go places but I DON'T.


I could just go, anywhere, right now. RIGHT NOW. I feel a bit shaky. I can't even cook bacon, how am I supposed to drive myself anywhere?! I've lived in the same place for 9 years now and I still don't know which lanes to be in at traffic lights. Moved all my CDs into my car yesterday, can now finally achieve my dream of being one of those people who can say things like 'Oh, that CD? Darn, its' in my car, hang on, i'll just grab my keys..'
I HAVE KEYS NOW. More than just a house key, oh no, these are my CAR KEYS. These, when swung nonchalantly round my fingers make me look oh so cool and sophisticated.

And then make me look a bit of a prat when they fly off.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Never heard back from NME,

Need to get ready for Leeds festival (moment to be kool). Must get myself a tent, some form of clothing, and probably a way there. After failing my driving test, don't cry for me, please, I have re-booked it for ******** But I'm not telling anyone. Recently chatted to someone who does journalism at University, we bonded over our mutual hatred of Tumblr and mutual love of Kings of Leon (old material, of course, cause we're fookin indie). When I've passed said test (please lord) I will go out on an adventure and then I might have something worth writing about. Thought of a good topic t'other day but I have since forgotten.


omfg my knees are so fucking indie.
p.p.s these aren't my knees, unless you are a knee-pad specialist why would you take a picture of just some knees. Maybe whoever took the picture started collapsing.

Monday, 13 June 2011

We want to live like common people.

Just applied for Work Experience at NME. Am not telling anyone, because by doing that i'll get my hopes up, as I imagine these places are as rare as a sober Lindsey Lohan. But since nobody reads this, I am safe! Oh small pleasures.
If I do get in (careful rachel, dreaming big here) I will stay with my Uncle and pretend I actually live in London and am ultra-hip and totally COOL. Fabulous.

The title has nothing to do with this, I just have the song in my head.


Thursday, 2 June 2011

I pledge my allegiance...

Am going out tonight to watch a play in my villiage.
Already it sounds f a b u l o u s. In true style am going to down the end of my Smirnoff and stagger over; apparently we get supper halfway through (?!) Another rumour is that it will be salmon.... I do not like salmon very much. Not very much at all. There won't even be a convinient dog to feed it to, might try and sit near a bin.

In the summertime I will update this much more, I might even be doing interesting enough things to fill it with GOD FORBID. I will pass my driving test and I will go on an adventure. Probably to the nearest beach but an adventure none the less. On a more positive note, bought some shorts t'other day. Feel very patriotic in them, but for the wrong country unfortunately. Go Obama.

Friday, 13 May 2011


'Haven't posted for a while.'
Bit of an understatement, it has been over a month... Not that there's much to report, I was going to Kenya until I found out the price, My first A level exam is on Tuesday (moment to lol.) Theory test tomorrow, soon I'll be a free man, first stop Hartsholme park, I have a big cliche fantasy of a drive-in picnic.

Maybe I will come up with more things to say in the summer, perhaps this will become a summer blog! That would be nice, nice and summery. Perhaps a change of background. Watch this space, anyone...

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

I love music in a non cliche way.

Hurrah for Leeds Festival!
While MCR headlining still disturbs me, I'm pretty happy with the rest. Seasick Steve, Cage The Elephant, Frank Turner and Noah and the Whale are where it's at for me. Might go see some of the more hardcore bands so I can pretend I'm a mad bastard. I heard a rumour Red Hot Chili Peppers were headlinig which got me very excited, but those hopes were crushed by that piece of yellow paper...

On the topic of music, you'd think living in a house full of musical instruments would make someone super awesome. No. The drums are fxcking loud, the keyboard is dusty, the 3 guitars are my brother's and I sold the clarinet. There was a trumpet about at one stage but that's disappeared... In short, when I read articles where artists say they 'grew up surrounded by music' it doesn't impress me. Mate, please, my dad has Classic FM on when I get home and my mum listens to Take That's album at an annoyingly loud volume. My brother plays his drums and blasts 'DEATH4EVA' or something similar from his ipod.
I too, am surrounded by music.

Monday, 21 February 2011

eff em ell.

Still 3 followers. Two of them being the same person isn't great. All of them being friends who I told to follow me isn't any better... On a lighter note, LOVING Neon Trees at the moment. Must listen to more than one song though, YouTube converter here I come. Don't tell the police xoxoxoxo

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

sorry, brb.

Was just about to do another post but Brooke Knows Best is on and hey, I don't have any followers.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011


johnny cash is my favourite person. catch 22 - being born later would mean he was still here, but would the music be? discuss.

Monday, 31 January 2011

i'm allowed to like Ke$ha.

how could you not love this?!

It's hard to accept. It took me a long time before I was willing to admit it, but yes. I love Kesha. There's no denying it anymore! She's hilariously awful, her songs are lyrical genius, ('looking sick and sexyfied' is a prime example...) and bless her soul she looks like she's been camping, ALL THE TIME. But there's something about her oh so wonderful tunes that make me happy. She's easy to listen to, and I can pretend no longer that I don't enjoy when she starts sounding like a dying robot.

It's not just Kesha either. Ever since getting a DAB radio I'm finding chart music harder and harder to resist! Tinie Tempah is my one true love, everything that comes out of his mouth is perfect in my eyes. And I want all of his jackets... I used to hate the top 40, for a while mainstream music was absolutely shocking, and all I ever listened to was my little bands, discovered through 'related artists' on Spotify. (moment to love Spotify <3) I still do. A good British band over American rappers anyday! But I've given up the fight against the tide of *shudders* pop stars. I love The Saturdays, I secretly love The Wanted. Alternative music will always be my number one, but I'm done hiding.

*Disclaimer: I will never love JLS. Ever.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

It's in the jeans.

Ordered some new jeans from ASOS, classified as 'rust coloured'. They sound delightful, right? Well they are, for some reason just having jeans in a colour that isn't blue or black makes me feel so much better. Also recently purchased some camel coloured ones from Toppers. They just seem to work. Am tempted to invest in the green trend, but since everybody seems to have a pair I might give it a miss. Nothing more frustrating than a trend exploding, especially after you know you were doing it weeks before! How am I to pave the way in fashion when everyone in the common room is a clone of one another?!
I have the answer.
Next stop, multicoloured jeans. Joseph would be proud.

Friday, 14 January 2011


To steal the words of James Morrison (other people probably say this, but he's prettier) 'is there anybody home?' Wish more people I knew had blogs that I could stalk. Am following a fair few but gaining nothing in return. Once more I struggle on, Indian for tea tonight, nom.

If I was a pug, I would look like this...

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Thank you ladies

Saw 'Made in Dagenham' last night at the theatre, that film works so much better when you're surrounded by the people of that era who get all the jokes! Though viewing slightly ruined by an old couple behind me who kept having to tell each other what was going on... The theatre had even managed to score Billy Ivory, an all round jack of all film trades and the writer of this film. His introductory speech was insightful, and he was in no way let down by his wonderful film.

I've grown up in a time where women have the vote, have (mostly) equal pay and are (mostly) no longer spoken to like they're less intelligent, and we're constantly bombarded with demands from previous generations to apprectiate what they did for us. But it's hard, isn't it? Hard to appreciate something that you've not experienced. Of course I'm glad they did it, glad they fought for our rights but I can't turn round and say 'wow, i'm so grateful for those women' when truthfully, I don't often think about it.

In years to come, we can't still penalise women for not thinking about the uproar of the 60s all the time. We've moved on, the world is a very different place now. We can't keep dragging things out of the history archives and desperately try to remember them all out of guilt. Just accept that they were powerful, inspiring women, they protested and fought and ultimately, changed social standards. We are thinking about it. Let us live the life they set up for us.