Today I was out a lot. And deliberately left my umbrella at home thinking: “It’s not gonna rain, and even if, it’s not going to be so bad.”
Well, it rained, and it wasn’t so bad, but I was mad at myself nevertheless. Since I have a perfectly fine umbrella. I got it as a gift from my father, lost it recently, but then found it again, since it was still where I forgot it.
The whole thing made me think about this awesome umbrella that touched my japanophile heart:
Fantastic, right? So I decided to look around and get an idea of how much more awesome umbrellas can be, if designers invest some practical, functional or utterly ridiculous thinking in their creative process.
So there’s the bamboo version, the stand-by-itself version, the aerodynamic withstand-every-storm-version and the version for happy couples. Cute.
Then there is also the non-traditional variation, that toys with all our assumptions about umbrellas, and the one that makes you either feel like more of a man or like some punch-in-your-face-hooligan umbrella holder.
I’m still happy with mine. Even more so when I carry it with me.
There is even more umbrella craziness, you can check it out over here.
Mmmhh, yummy, avocados!
I love to eat them. Spread out on a slice of brad, a little onion, some salt and pepper, topping it with slices of tomato and cucumber: delicious!
But I discovered that I also love to plant them. For two simple reasons: It’s easy, and the avocado trees are pretty. That is not to say I would never have tried it, if they were ugly and the process difficult, but I’d probably never have gotten to the point to write a blog post about them.
Here you get a glimpse on my little avocado-forest. Charlotte Roche’s audio novel “Feuchtgebiete” made me finally give planting avocado seeds a try. I had heard dozens of stories of how you have to build an elaborate construction of little wooden sticks, placed carefully in a jar of water, so that half of it is always in while the other half is always out, and wait till the damn thing grows.
I decided to not want to put myself through so much (yeah, sounds like the most terrible effort ever, right?), so I modern-timely as I am googled how other people do it. It’s fairly straightforward: Put the seed in some potting soil so that the pointy part of the seed still peaks out, keep it moist and put it where the sun shines. And then wait. Sometimes the seed cracks incredibly fast, sometimes it takes longer, but as soon as the little tiny trunk with the first leaves sneaks out it’s only a matter of weeks until your own little tree has grown to respectable heights.
Meet the family:
The first one is one of the younger trees and therefore growing and glowing. The second one is actually also my second ever planted one and recently, as you can see, grew a little tired. But that happened before, so let’s hope it’ll get back on track. The lush third one is nursed with lots of love and sunshine by my caring flatmate. Thanks!
Here we got three youngsters in very different stages of development, the one on the bottom obviously just makes its debut to The World. The second one is also a younger one that grew incredibly tall but somehow just keeps losing all it’s leaves. I admit, it might have to do with too much water… Isn’t the top one just darling? And notice how it boldly starts with multiple trunks. Adorable.
Ah, life and death, so close together! The only non-tree (or more of a not-yet-tree), a cute little seed that still waits for its necessary crack. And my first ever avocado-tree that unfortunately did not survive, since it drowned in my love too much water, and did not recover. RIP.
Not pictured is one little avocado tree that I gave to our neighbour, to care for and love it. So: Greetings from afar!
I’m kind of glad that I don’t give them names. Makes me feel sane.
Occasionally, music just finds you. Or me, in this case.
I really had no clue what I was in for, when I listened to a Florence and the Machine song for the first time, but somehow it sucked me in, made me like it, made me buy it, and finally made me fall in love with it. And now I sit here and tell you: sheer genius! Praise the woman!
Seriously, everyone probably knows this feeling of “wow, what an amazing album … except for maybe that one song”. You know, the one you skip, the one you just can’t really like or appreciate. That ruins the whole album-listen-through-thingy for you. Here it is: The Album That I Love From Beginning To End. Yeah, take this! Written down even. I love every single song on it, and believe me, I tried to convince myself to get to that point with loads of other albums, but this one: instant success. And probably still the only one.
Florence’s voice is just amazing. She’s got unbelievable vocal abilities combined with a uniqueness that makes it instantly recognizable. I got my Lungs copy on vinyl, because a) I love vinyls, and b) because I don’t need to be able to skip a song and c) my record player has the best soundboxes in my room, so drums and all sound just better with it.
Florence Welch apparently wrote lots of the songs over a longer period of time, performing them here and there, working on them again, finally assembling the final material for the album and released this gem in July 2009 in the UK via Island and Moshi Moshi Records.
Though very successful in the UK (being one of the bestselling albums in both 09 and 2010), she’s still basically unknown in Germany and from what I’ve gathered in the US as well.
Now prepare, because I give you a song-by-song rundown of the album, complete with ranking in personal love-order. I’ve decided to leave out reviews of the special edition songs, although two of my all-time-all-Florence favs belong to them, because I’m just going to force that upon whoever cares in the future and thus limit post size and enlarge topic options. Oh, efficient me.
Awesome opening for this album (or for any album IMHO). Instantly recognizable as single material with luring verses, driving beats and claps and a chorus that is probably made of The Force. Initially I liked this song but it really took a few (read: 739) listens to realize that this is my second favourite song of the album. Doesn’t it just make you want to get up and shake your everything, while stomping the earth with your bare feet, shouting along to the chorus. And yeah, the “stop-the-music-pretend-song-is-over-then-start-again-with-full-force”-trick is old, but hey, it works. If it ain’t broken…
(Oh and yes, there are two videos for the song. Apparently they weren’t too thrilled about the first one. I’m undecided on which I like better…)
Run fast for you mother, run fast for your father, run for your children, for your sisters and brothers.
Rabbit Heart (Raise it up)
Love how this song is so very different from Dog Days yet keeps up the exact same energy. And yay!, harps! Awesome. What I like about Dog Days I like here even more, the contrast between the singing in the verses and the screaming (you may also call it: shouting) of the Chorus. And the harps. And how they clash with the drums. Kinda like the Dresden Dolls with different instruments, right? Right. In my album internal ranking it just makes the top 5.
Who is the lamb and who is the knife?
I’m not calling you a liar
Tamburines and drums and piano. And harps and claps and angel choirs. Sweet. But what really makes this song are the über-neat lyrics. L.O.V.E. And it’s definitely a big plus that she throws them sorta acapella at you in the beginning, isn’t it. Makes me listen and want to sing along. Which I do. Often. Ranked at no. 7 on my chart, but really only because all the other songs from 1-6 are so awesome, they cannot be anywhere else.
I’m not calling you a liar, just don’t lie to me.
I’m not calling you a thief, just don’t steal from me.
I’m not calling you a ghost, just stop haunting me.
Behold: My least favourite song of the album. Which is to say: I like it. It’s powerful, got that driving force and actually I more than just like it. But this whole album is so fantastically superior, that a song that I really really really like has to be the one I like the least. Makes sense, right? Listening to it makes me realize again how much of an acoustic drum person I am (I probably made all people in the world actually knowing something about music go like: ?!?). Just, you know, drums, that sound like real drums, like somebody hits them, punches them, kicks them and uses them like that for a whole song. Additionally, I’m totally oblivious to what the whole Beat-Literature thing was about, so I wonder, what exactly does FATM’s “Howl” have to do with Alan Ginsbergs “Howl”? Anybody care to enlighten me?
My blood is singing with your voice, I want to pour it out
Kiss with a fist
Definitely has a different sound to it than the rest of the songs, and I remember having heard Florence say somewhere, that this is one of the first songs she wrote and – I assume – recorded. The rest of the album developed in a slightly different direction, nevertheless it blends in perfectly, right there between Howl and Girl with one eye, who are both more of the moody kind. KWAF is basically a pop song with infectious lyrics about the wonders of violent relationships, garnered with scruffy guitars (and yes, drums) which is presumably the main reason, why it sounds different than the other songs.
You gave a kick, I gave a slap, you smashed a plate over my head.
Girl with one eye
is in the same category as I’m not calling you a liar and My boy builds coffins for me, since it has clever twisty lyrics and puts the focus on hearing and understanding them. Very acoustic-y, sit depressed in my garage after one and a half bottles of whisky kind of feel to it, which I love, but what also makes it slightly less accessible than the happier aforementioned two songs. Plus, I’m not sure if the song wouldn’t have been a bit better without the grand last build up choir-y finale.
I took a knife and cut out her eye.
I took it home and watched it wither and die.
Here it is. The first one. The first song that I ever heard by FATM, instantly connected to imagery, since I caught it via some youtube-link to the video. Which is cool. I like the video a lot. For a long time I was not sure if I liked the song, but since it was the only one of hers that I knew I listened to it a lot. Long story short, I love it, too, but it kind of fell behind others on the album, ranks #6 (which as you know by now basically says nothing). I wish the drums had a little for oomph, you know, for their prominence (hey, it’s named the “drumming song”!).
But as the water filled my mouth it couldn’t wash the echoes out.
Between two lungs
Nice intro. Slow paced, more and more instruments. Cute. And again: mentioning of lungs. Well the album title is well chosen, since every other song is about breathing, lungs, drowning, sighing and all sorts of air or non-air in human bodies. I like the build-up in this song, when it picks up the pace, slows down again, picks it up again, a little more playful now, adds a little background choir and breaks out full force. Nicely done. #9
The air has filled me head to toe, and I can see the ground far below
Harps. Harps. Harps. And drums. And sweet romantic lyrics. First few listens it was one of those tracks to me that I liked but didn’t care obsessively about. Little did I know, here it is: My ultimate Florence and the Machine Lungs number one supersong. How I love it, I can’t even tell, so before I ramble on about how awesome it is check for yourself. Have to confess though, I’m underwhelmed by the video for it.
The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out
You’ve left me in the dark
My boy builds coffins
Mentioned it before: Like Girl with one eye and I’m not calling you a liar it’s all about the lyrics here (at least for me), with more guitars than on your average Lungs-song. I like how the playfulness of the music counter-balances the depressive mood of her singing. It sounds much friendlier and happier than you would probably guess by reading the lyrics alone. Actually I see so much potential in this song, that I wonder why it never became a proper single-release. There is something very iconic about the imagery it uses, right? I mean, “my boy builds coffins…” No. 8 on my very official and never-changing ranking.
One of these days he’ll make one for you.
My #11, simply because like Howl (and Blinding, thinking about it), it lacks this very distinctive chorus or kick-ass catchphrase that makes most of the other songs instant stick-in-my-brains. It’s still an awesome track with very uplifting energy, and listening to it always (like, right now) makes me think: Is it really my second to least favourite of them all, isn’t there…? Well, no. Here it is, here it stays, in all it’s goodness.
You can’t save me now, I’m in the grip of a hurricane, I’m gonna blow myself away.
Tie in at 10 with Girl with one eye. Why exactly? See explanation under Hurricane drunk, and just like HD it’s one of the songs, that when I listen to it, I think: This is so much more amazing than I remembered. The pressing drums, their punch, the mourning mood of her voice, yet it’s firm grip on my attention and emotions. It’s like being pulled down into the realm of the dead – we might just name it Hades – with more and more urge and force, draining me of all my emotions. Sounds dramatic, but yes, I find it to be really haunting.
No more dreaming of the dead, as if death itself was undone
You’ve got the love
Right after Cosmic Love and Dog Days, this one places itself firmly in the top three. Sad and happy, depressing and beautiful at the same time. I feel like repeating myself after Blinding. But – as basically with all FATM songs – it’s all about the emotions. I can oh so identify with screaming out what she just screams out there. Which might have to do with me having love in my life that makes me feel like that. And all the usual suspects are there: drums with oomph, harps with twinkle, choirs with drama. I could drown myself in that song. Nothing beats listening to it late at night, when everyone else is fast asleep, sitting in my window and smoking a cigarette (which we only smoke in tribute to Florence, naturally).
Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air, cause I know I can count on you
Yes, that was it. Already. But no more tears, there’ll be more Florence + the Machine, promised and signed.
The weather outside reminds me: summer is officially about to be over here in Berlin. Which sucks.
Rain and wind and leaves and rain and grey. Blargh, but you know. Also reminded me of an awesome summer outfit I wanted to get for myself, but haven’t yet.
There’s several reasons why I don’t have it, no.1 being that it’s a 2011 collection, no.2 that I’ll not be able to afford it even in my dreams and no.3 I haven’t had the drive (yet) to go out and search for a similar sort of trousers in random thrift stores. And two more outfits that I would love to wear, if only the sun came round again (but instead, it’s going to be umbrellas):
But alas, no more dawdling. Writing this is both excitingly beautiful and intimidatingly terrifying, because to hit off this category of talking about movies plus things that I love I chose my all time favorite movie MURIEL’S WEDDING. Beautiful because, duh, well, I love it so much. Terrifying because this is the first time I review a movie, so I’ll probably suck terribly at doing this, posting it thinking that I did pretty damn well, coming back to it in months time realizing how dreadful it is. Nevertheless, here we go.
MURIEL’S WEDDING was released to theaters in 1994, it’s an Australian film directed by PJ Hogan and the first major starring role for the amazingness that is Toni Colette, who kinda made her way to Hollywood later on and now stars in the successful TV series “The United States of Tara” that won her an Emmy last year.
“Since I’ve met you and moved to Sidney I haven’t listened to one ABBA song. It’s because now my life is as good as an ABBA song. It’s as good as Dancing Queen!”
Loving that movie to me means that I basically acknowledge how much I often dream about my life being some sort of ABBA song hoping for the day I stop dreaming just to realize it has actually become as perfect as an ABBA song. Metaphorically speaking, that is. Don’t get me wrong. I love ABBA and I even like Dancing Queen, but there’s better examples, to speak for me personally.
Muriel represents all the people who know what it means to feel inferior, unable to cope with that. And as most people do, she resorts to lying, building up the fantasy of a better life not only in her mind (mingled with bridal pictures and ABBA tunes) but for all of them surrounding her, she tries to convince herself, that her life has become better by making everyone else believe the same. So far so good, but what makes this movie so emotionally rewarding is the unavoidable self-realization moment: because lie all you want, YOU still know it’s all a lie.
So the moment Muriel tells her hunky swimmer husband “I cannot be married to you any longer” (who is so out of her league and still they just had sex, because, well, he wanted it), shows up at her family’s home and says “I’m taking responsibility for what I’ve done, but Dad and all the rest, you gotta do the same” and finally goes to Rhonda and her Mum’s saying “come with me, and you know why?, well damn, cause I’m your very best friend in the world” all the fancy dream-bubbles of a better life burst just to be replaced by a Muriel that truly is a new and improved version of her former self.
Not to forget: the movie is basically a comedy. It is beautiful to see that the movie makes fun of all its featured characters while at the same time taking them serious, treating them as human beings. And heck, no one gets spared. They all say/do/think stupid things, but are never not taken seriously as human beings. Ermh, except for the Princesses-gang, but you could argue that this is because they themselves never realize when they do something stupid, nor get ever called out for it, except for maybe in the end, when we get a glimpse on them having some sort of insight into what their lifestyle really consists of.
A scene that sums it up pretty nicely is the one in hospital. Right after a night full of flirting, sex, semi-sex and hilarity, crowned with the shock of Rhonda having no feeling in her legs any more, she and Muriel talk to a doctor. “It’s not caused by too much sex, is it?” she asks the doctor about the tumor he’s just been talking about. And both her and Muriel exhale with a relieved grin, revealing all their naivité about this situation, when he says “no.” Then he goes on to say “We don’t know what causes cancer.” Comic relief, take that!
Amongst all laughter and ABBA songs there is a lot of sadness and tragedy in MURIELS WEDDING, quite understandably so in a movie about finding oneself. Because quite a few people never manage to and get lost along the way. While the Princesses-gang is more of a comic example of that and serves mainly to make us feel better for realizing where the true worth of a person lies, there is also the tragic fate of Muriel’s mother. Her portrayal by actress Jeanie Drynan is really one of the highlights of the whole movie. Being the abused, deceived and deluded wife and mother to the family she brings out a few grins and smirks here and there, but it’s mainly the despair and hopelessness that makes up her story. “I need help.” she tells her husband, and all he does is turning up the volume of the radio. She gets no recognition whatsoever from her kids (except for Joanie, we could assume) due to all of them being unable to escape the mantra their dad has been pouring over their heads all these years: you’re worthless, you won’t make it.
I just said, that the portrayal of Muriel’s mother was one of the highlights, when in fact, it’s the whole family, who represents one of the major highlights of the movie. Overlooked for the fact that they are hardly driving the plot, her siblings are these mysterious beings (that remind me of the Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby) we all know: People whose faces seem blank and whose lives we imagine to be as blank and bleak their appearances. Their isolation from meaningful (in the sense of empowering) human relationships due to their exclusion by visual default from society marks them off as losers. And while we experience Muriel’s fate and her overcoming this predisposition by taking charge, by taking risks and by finally coming clean and telling the truth we only get momentary glimpses into the lives and minds of her siblings, who themselves have built up fantasy worlds of their own in their minds. Will they ever find the strength? Will Muriel one day reach out and help them find it? It’s hard to tell, but it’s impressive with how little screen time and seemingly absent acting these characters become powerful and lasting images of what we all might be, if we never get told that we’re beautiful creatures.
David: “What kind of person marries someone they don’t know?”
Muriel: “You did.”
David: “I want to win! All my life I wanted to win!”
Muriel: “Me too.”
Just how spot on is that piece of dialogue? Yes, I know, very. Don’t we all want to win? Realize our dreams? Be loved? Rich, beautiful, married, successful? I don’t know about you, but that’s what I occasionally dream of too, and this movie reminds me how easy it is to forget that all that really matters is keeping close to the truth – even if it hurts – and stick to the friends who really are your friends– because they enrich you in ways hard to imagine. Keeping that in mind I’m hoping for living out the rest of my life sitting in the cab like Muriel and Rhonda at the end of the movie, Dancing Queen playing in the background, screaming “Goodbye, Porpoise Spit!” out of the window. And then that smile.
What better way to start blogging than to present crappy photos of plates? And it also double-functions as an introduction as to what you might expect to find here amongst all the eclecticism.
This is a pretty random collection of plates that we own in our flat, and yes, they’ve grown dear to my heart. Aren’t they just the prettiest plates in the world?
Fun fact about Miss Kitty here: I have her since I was a little kid. One of my aunts wanted to smash it at the eve of the wedding party of one of my cousins. Well, she did actually. But I assembled all it’s parts and glued them back together, and it’s been with me ever since. One of those things I cannot let go of.
I know that technically not every presented item is a plate (the first image only shows a tray…yes), but you might have guessed that I love pictures on plates (and trays, for that matter). Most of them are flea-market finds, others – like the Stitch-plate – I bought because I had to. I love all things Stitch, we’ll eventually get to that.
I saw the tray on another blog and fell in love, went to good old IKEA and bought one for myself – and one for a friend. I hardly ever use trays … but I love them! If only I were not too lazy to just eat or drink where I stand or sit.
Me, all over the place is basically about me being all over the place.
In other words, it is one of those self-indulgent blogs that I just created merely to be able to write about what I like and what I like to write about, pretending it is of interest to others as well.
While it certainly is a vanity project, it is a lesson in self-discipline at the same time. Time spent, thoughts wasted – why not channel my everyday life into a blog and see if I can make more sense of the things I do/say/think/wish? Why not try to force myself to meet The World more alert and opend-minded?
This is the experiment, I welcome you to be part of it.