A Charmed Life


17 Comments

guess who’s coming to dinner

blogA funny thing happened to me while I wrote this post. I got me some happy. You see this year so far has me in a bit of a funk and so I thought by writing something I might get my mojo back but after hours of trying to find my muse it just proved impossible in my current state of mind. So I settled on something completely trivial and guess what happened! In writing this there has been the desired lifting of spirit. Now that I’m feeling happier, today’s post –

If you could invite anyone to dinner who would you invite? Would you choose an entertainer, an intellectual or someone you could stare at dreamily across the table? I have been asked this many times and I am pretty consistent in my response, after all dream guests are dream guests for a reason. Unfortunately all my guests have transitioned so there will be no sampling of my roast chicken with creamy butternut squash and chilli in this lifetime but in a parallel universe…

At the best of times I do not preach at the altar of Oprah but where we do joyfully coexist is in our love for Maya Angelou. An angel walked on earth and her name was Maya Angelou, this is what I believe to be true. I so revere her that in all probability no one would actually get fed at this dinner because I would want to stay engulfed in her embrace the whole evening. Ms Maya came into my life when as a teen I read ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ which is an autobiographical account of the first 17 years of her life. In the years since I have voraciously read much of her work. This woman lived.

Having survived sexual abuse as a child, she would eventually become an author, poet and activist as well as a mother after having worked as a prostitute, fry cook, dancer, performer and journalist. Her participation in the civil rights movement saw her work with both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X and what these men never got to see – she lived to see an African American be President in the country of her birth AND not only did she live the most extraordinary life, she was blessed with the gift of storytelling… the voice, the cadence, the words, the grace when she spoke it was with her heart and her soul AND as if all this didn’t already qualify her as the perfect dinner guest, she is one classy broad, one you could easily see yourself having a glass of whisky with. I  describe myself as a lover of words, a history buff and an activist and as such Ms Maya has been an invaluable teacher to me. Oh to hear her velvety voice in person…

Then there is Queen Elizabeth I my favourite historical figure. During her reign Elizabeth was able to establish stability and economic growth in England, fashion her kingdom into a major world power, nurture the idea of nationalism and champion the arts (this was the time of Shakespeare and Marlowe). She achieved all this being a woman at a time when women were seen as weak creatures of vanity lacking in intelligence. Today the idea of feminism and equality is topic du jour but can you imagine being the Queen of England in the 16th – 17th century successfully exercising your power in a man’s world AND of course I would have to ask if was she really the Virgin Queen? Why she was if she was? If I had a court full of men at my disposal there is no way I would stay chaste. It would be such a terrible waste no?

♂ Bullish arrogant toff  – that’s how Christopher Hitchens would come across to those who first meet him and quite possibly to those who knew him too AND he would not give a monkey’s. Christopher Hitchens was not interested in playing nice and I loved him for it. I came to know him through his editorials in Vanity Fair, a magazine I have read since I was 15 years old. He taught me an invaluable lesson while I was still in my teens, he made me realise when we ingest information all we really do is take on an opinion.

I want Hillary Clinton to be the next president of the US, I base this on the information I have gathered via various channels but for every pro Hillary sound bite out there, there is an equally opposing offing and by no means do I think she is flawless I just like what I see. Christopher Hitchens was not a fan of the Clintons, of Hillary he thought her hawkish and fake and he questioned her experience, connections and the origins of her foreign donations. Here we disagreed but of Mother Theresa he offered a criticism which I have also come to believe; of her saintly image he said she was an ally of the status quo, that she wasn’t interested in eradicating poverty and that ‘her cult of death and suffering’ depended for its effect on the most vulnerable and helpless like abandoned babies or the dying who supply the occasion for charity – she needed these people to exist so she could exist as Mother Theresa.

He was an atheist, socialist, Marxist and his work helped me form a more secular view. He didn’t just spout criticisms, when he wrote it was after thorough investigation; he actually went to Calcutta and spent time with Mother Theresa and he even underwent waterboarding to prove it was indeed a form of torture. As a dinner guest no doubt he would come across as a bullish arrogant toff but one thing I know for sure is this contrarians’ contrarian would never let the conversation lag.

♀ When I was about thirteen I saw a picture of this woman; her braided hair was piled on her head  atop of which sat a crown of flowers, her piercings eyes pitch black, her lips full wearing bright red lipstick – what distinguished her from the females in my life was that she also had a distinct unibrow and a faint moustache – this image fascinated me. It was so outside my norm, it made me feel oddly haunted and within me a fire had been lit, from that moment on my burgeoning inquisitive nature knew no bounds, anything that was considered taboo or wrong no longer was. It was also the moment I fell for Frida Kahlo. Frida and her art fascinate me. I can look a painting of hers for hours trying to decipher the meaning and because her work is autobiographical it is as if by interpreting her work you are by extension interpreting her life. A life marred with continual physical and emotional pain, her art deals with the idea of beauty, sex, abortion, miscarriage, gender inequality… all issues that get people hot under the collar today, imagine what it must have been like to be a crippled woman in the first half of the 20th century in Mexico. I certainly would love to have that conversation.

Rather predictably David Bowie is my last guest. To have been in his presence… just to have had one real conversation… he is was such a man.

I wonder what my selection says about me – each of my guests is a strong intelligent charismatic individual who lived their life by their own rules – do I want to be like them or surrounded by them or both. Hmmm something for me to ponder… as for you dear reader I would love to hear about your dream dinner guests over in comments.

Sat Nam

Also in the news: Well done to Super Bowl 2016 champions the Denver Broncos and to Coldplay for a fab halftime performance – any theme that involves love I’m in – the first six minutes were mint, shame the other two had to be included though, there can never be enough of Chris Martin’s high voltage energy in my book #SB50 #WillManningRetire #BelieveinLove ♥ I had high hopes for the Syria peace talks that were meant to take place this month in Geneva and am sad that they ended so abruptly with no actual resumption date. The time wasted in bureaucracy just increases the death toll. And it is important to note not at all refugees are Syrian, many come from Africa and Asia so any resolution has to tackle the issue on a broader scale #RefugeeCrisis #GlobalCitizen ♥ Market turmoil continues, are we on the brink of another global recession? It’s a bit scary #DominoDancing ♥ and lastly a bit of a rant… so the most unique mind blowing artist of this generation dies and what does the music industry’s most prestigious award show do – roll out Rent-A-GaGa. Lady Gaga for a David Bowie tribute – are you fucking kidding me? Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. I feel so vehement about this decision I initiated albeit unknowingly a mini twitter war with her ‘monsters’ as her folk like to be called. The point is not whether she has any talent but that David Bowie was everything Gaga isn’t – he was a unicorn she is a wannabe. The Grammys have missed an opportunity here, it should have been his peers, those he loved and admired. Big Mistake. Since boycotting the Oscars has become a thing this year. I say boycott the Grammys #GagaAPoorMansBowie #GrammysSoWrong


3 Comments

my favourite ‘bit’

What would be the point in having my own blog if I didn’t indulge in my favourite things now and then AND because I want to spread some cheer today I’m sharing my all time favourite ‘bit’ of cinema with you. This ‘bit’ only lasts two minutes and twenty five seconds and is nearly fifty years old; and recently I was thinking wouldn’t it be fun to see it again which in the age of you tube means there is no reason why that couldn’t happen but for whatever reason I didn’t actively seek it out, instead the universe provided the opportunity when, late one night rendered unable to sleep I switched on the tele and there it was – the very scene from the film To Sir, with Love which I hold so dear.

When you think of warm and fuzzy childhood memories you never really know if the reality is as good as the memory you hold. The first time I saw this movie, I was home sick from school. I remember feeling very snug lying in my parent’s bed sipping milo, flicking channels until I found this film. The film itself is really pretty rubbish – acting is average, story so so and Lulu’s hair and voice grates on you after a while, it falls into the same bucket as Dangerous Minds, Freedom Writers, The Ron Clark Story; where a teacher begins new job teaching a tough class and through the course of the story inspires the students to turn their life around. For whatever reason I persevered through it and to my delight I discovered this gem of a dance scene towards the end of the story. Over and over I can watch this ‘bit’ and still get the same pleasure out of it as I did that first time. I know the scene so well now, that I can dance the scene as Mr Thackeray or as Pamela to the letter.

Why do I love it so? Well there is the distinctive music, dance, and fashion which encapsulate my vision of Britain in the 60s, an era I love. There is the Sidney Poitier element. This was the movie that introduced me to him and he is so fine in this scene. There is this innocence and hope; a teacher willing his pupils to believe in themselves like he believes in them and a student ready to bloom. AND best of all there is happiness. I think that is why I treasure it, it is a happy moment and it makes me tingle with happiness to watch it. Have a look and let me know if you think it is completely naff or if it made you want to put on your best mod outfit and get into the groove.

Sat Nam

Also this week: Continuing to keep the refugee crisis foremost in our minds because knowing about something doesn’t change it. After the compassion explosion a few weeks back, the situation remains the same for too many so sign petitions, attend peaceful protests, donate, pray… whatever you can – just DO #LetsgetTogetherandFeelallRight #OneLove • Meryl Streep I love you, when you talk, I listen. Not sure my heart bleeds for you only earning eight million compared to Robert Downey Jr.’s 80 million in the last year, talk about first world problems BUT I totally have your back in your battle towards achieving equal rights for women #GirlPower • Speaking of kick arse women – Amy Schumer, what a revelation, you slay me #ProperFunnyChick •  Another kick arse woman… the legend that was Jackie Collins (did I really just have to write that in the past tense) oh to have had access into your mind, thank you for introducing a thirteen year old me to smut #LuckyIsMyHomeGirl • And the Rugby World Cup has commenced, we all know who will win of course (she says with fingers and toes crossed) #goABs #WhateverHappensAlwaysaProudKiwi

 


7 Comments

this kiwi girl muses about… that kanye guy

Is Kanye any good? Madonna must think he is, she has chosen to work with him on two albums to date and his albums sell AND they sell really well, so there must be something there however, I’m still on the bench about it for apart from ‘Gold Digger’ I don’t know his music. His narcissism, the tacky choice of wife, the disrespect he showed Taylor Swift (at the 2009 MTV awards) and Beck (at this year’s Grammys) and tanking at Glastonbury are all I know of him and knowing this doesn’t exactly motivate me to take a listen to his music. Or go see him live, earlier this year a girlfriend and I were discussing whether we would go to Wireless, but upon hearing Kanye would be headlining I kyboshed the idea. I believe the words ‘no way in hell’ were used (thankfully she agreed so no one missed out).

Music is littered with rebellious, controversial and naughty characters but Kanye does not come under any of these handles. Kanye is Kanye and he uses his platform for Kanye. I think that is what I abhor the most. Don’t get me wrong I am not saying there is anything wrong with ambition and confidence, Taylor has an abundance of both and still manages to stay classy. Nor is there anything wrong in chasing the cash, Beyonce and Jayz are very clear that they are all about their brand. Where it goes wrong for Kanye is that when it comes to role models he’s up there with other unsavouries like Kate Moss, Putin, Katie Hopkins, – people to NOT admire or aspire to be.

I saw him once, I walked past him and his entourage outside Harvey Nicks. He looked little in amongst his group, that’s what I remember, little with an energy of self importance. So Kanye, by all means declare yourself ‘the world’s greatest living rock star,‘ similarly in 1984 Madonna told Dick Clark ‘I want to conquer the world,’ but the thing is – like Madonna has – you need to be able to back that shit up, or else you will find that all you are is ‘the greatest living twat.’

Sat Nam


5 Comments

flamingoes

flamingo

I’m a sucker for a questionnaire, not the EDF Energy/Vodafone ‘how may we improve our service’ variety, I’m more about the ‘let’s talk about you’ ones. I love them so much that a few years back a good friend who lives in LA sent me one for my birthday, with a message that read ‘You’re a such a fussy bitch to shop for, I have no idea what to get you for your birthday, but I know you will get a kick out of this,’ and she was right; and now come every November it has become tradition for her to send me a questionnaire. What can I say; for some it’s a Hermès bangle for me its a questionnaire… actually on second thoughts I’ll take the bangle as well as the questionnaire 😉

I don’t really know what it is about them I love exactly, maybe the self evaluate element or the distraction they provide or just that they are a bit of a laugh; what I do know for sure is it that ever since I found out the flamingo is my spirit animal I see them everywhere. Like everywhere – street art, posters, on a cocktail glass, social media, clothing, on Eastenders and I’m not one for coincidences!

Anyways I’ll ponder over the significance of these sightings another time. The following came into my inbox recently and it took me right back, to years ago when I used to watch a show called Inside the Actors Studio during which these questions were asked by host James Lipton to the guest towards the end of the show and without fail every time I watched an episode I would rattle off my own answers as if I was being interviewed, kind of not surprising seeing as I love a questionnaire but kind of reductive seeing as my answers pretty much stayed the same every time. So ten years later these are my answers to the Pivot Questionnaire today:

  1. What is your favourite word? Grace, it is what I seek in others and it is what I expect of myself.
  2. What is your least favourite word? Nice, when there are so many beautiful words available in the English language why would you ever settle for the most unimaginative of them all.
  3. What turns you on? Rambunctious laughter. 
  4. What turns you off? Meanness.
  5. What sound or noise do you love? The sound of someone I love breathing.
  6. What sound or noise do you hate? The sound of my own voice when I’m on a rant.
  7. What is your favourite curse word? It would have to be fuck, I say fuck me a lot. Fuck is a great word. Versatile. To the point.  
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Musician – either the piano or saxophone.
  9. What profession would you not like to do? Anything in the military and anything that knowingly makes it okay to kill another person.
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? ‘You done good, you’re my favourite’

Now over to you, have a go at answering them yourself and enjoy the distraction (feel free to share in comments).

Sat Nam


6 Comments

this kiwi girl muses about… the words of others

lovewriting
What would Gwyneth do? Not sure how this turn of phrase came about but this is a ‘thing’ on social media; and while I think she certainly knows how to rock a frock and has some very cool friends, I’m not sure I see her as an aficionado of anything in particular, but then again these things do tend to take on a life of their own in these days of twitter, instagram and the ilk.

I do often use the expression though, only depending on my mood I replace the Gwyneth bit with one of the many writers who inspire me.
You see, I like to write.
I have never really given much thought to whether I am any good at it.
I just like to write.
And it is a privilege to be spurred on by so many greats.
 
Dr. Seuss taught me that just because a word is not in the dictionary does not mean it is not a word. The art of whimsy came to me by way of Enid Blyton and C.S. Lewis, not that this was a happenstance for I was born a dreamer but reading their books stretched my imagination beyond the world I was growing up in.

Jane Austen instilled in me the premise of the sisterhood and the strength which came from within that bond. Through the steely yet passionate character of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte gave me a heroine of my own sex to admire; whilst the autobiographical storytelling by Maya Angelou taught me that the heroine or rather shero I should believe in was me.

A spiritual awakening of sorts came by way of The Alchemist and more poignantly By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept. These works of Paulo Coelho along with much of his work throughout the 90s resonated in my soul, even though it would still be another decade before I would consciously walk my spiritual path.

Speaking of spiritual awakening, when I read this sentence ‘Davie brightened up as the insidious comfort of the plum jam stole into his soul’ written by Lucy Maud Montgomery (in the second book of the Anne of Green Gables series), I had my first epiphany about the power of words to evoke emotion for this one sentence stole into my soul and still remains there today.

The discovery in the importance of the structure of a sentence came from the journalistic stylings of Ernest Hemingway and Joan DidionBryce Courtenay’s stories interwoven against a historical backdrop ignited my interest in history. The poetry of Paolo Neruda versed me in romance in a way Keats and Byron had failed to ignite. F. Scott Fitzerald taught me to love a narrative, Kipling gave me my love of prose, from Tolstoy I learnt perseverance and from Wilde irony. On and on it goes for many great writers have lived and still do today.

In my wildest dreams I could never wish to be as good as them nor do I aspire to be, as I said I just like to write. Sometimes though when inspiration is not forthcoming and I suffer bouts of writer’s block I call upon these maestros and say to myself what would (insert here) do? If I feel melancholy I ask what would Dickens do? If I feel a want for romance I ask what would Neruda do? And eventually from no thought comes my muse and I know in no small part that it is down to invoking the spirit of the said writer. Got to love those winks from the universe.

Sat Nam

And lastly before I leave you, I couldn’t resist jumping on the bandwagon, especially as it is my favourite magazine  – Caitlyn Jenner in Vanity Fair… simply stunning #yougoGIRL #BeautifulMomentinHistory


11 Comments

club tropicana

clubtropicana
A few posts back I mentioned Desert Island Discs and since then I’ve been asked either one of two questions; what did I mean by Desert Island Discs or what would my selection be, so…

Desert Island Discs is a radio programme that is on air on BBC Radio 4, on which the featured guest is asked to choose eight pieces of music, a book and a luxury item that they would take if they were to be cast away on a desert island.
Now you know what it is, onto my selection but first you need to know it will be a cold day in hell before this could ever be a reality. Club tropicana it definitely would not be and I’m not someone who would survive that kind of situation on account of –
*MOSQUITOS and creepy crawlies in general and
*I do not like being out in the sun (sensitive skin) and
*I have no survivor skills; I was never a girl guide, never managed to stay motivated enough to finish the Duke of Edinburgh award, and have never been able to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together (and actually if your name is not Bear Grylls is that even really possible?)

But in a parallel universe where anything is possible these would be my choices.
eight pieces of music
In choosing these songs I thought about the best case scenario of being on a desert island (like there is one!) and I figure if I was to try survive it I would need to stay positive and motivated so I chose these songs for the happy vibe they give me; and then because my shortlist came to over 50 songs, to help narrow them down further I opted for their theatricality, because if I’m going to be alone on a desert island you can be sure I will be channelling my inner rock goddess, singing to my heart’s content with no fear of anyone telling me to shut up or threatening to kill me (thanks bro, still haunted by what you did to my favourite Madonna poster all those years ago!)
♣Dreams by Fleetwood Mac. I couldn’t survive without bringing a little Mac with me, and I imagine I’ll be doing a lot of dreaming on this island so this song seems appropriate.
♣Cruisin by Smokey Robinson. Every time I hear this I find myself in a duet with Smokey.
♣Sound and Vision by David Bowie. Click here to read why.
♣Nessun Dorma from the opera Turandot by Puccini sang by Luciano Pavarotti. Have to have some opera on the island to keep things a bit civilised; although this isn’t my absolute favourite opera, it’s the one I feel I can do the best impression of.
♣Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush. Such a sexy song. I like the idea of prancing around to this.
♣Because the Night by Patti Smith. If I could go back in time my era of choice would be New York in the late 70s/early 80s – the years before AIDS; I’d dance at Studio 54, be photographed nude by Robert Mapplethorpe, hangout with Keith Haring, Andy Warhol and a not yet known Madonna and watch legends like Blondie, Talking Heads and Patti Smith perform at CBGB. This song is all about dirty sex for me, so if I’m not getting laid I might as well have something with me to remind me how good it feels.
♣Happy by Pharrell Williams. The title says it all plus one and half years on and I’m not the slightest bit over it.
♣Into the Groove by Madonna. What? Did you really think I would get myself deserted on some island without her? She’s been with me since I was ten years old, I’m not about to be without her now. Click here to read why this song still does it for me.
Castaway favourite: If all my music were to be stolen by a monkey and I could only save one disc it would be Dreams by Fleetwood Mac. The Mac are always my go to when I’m feeling happy or when I’m feeling blue or just cos.

a book (you are automatically given the Complete Works of Shakespeare and depending on your preference an appropriate religious or philosophical work).
It’s a tossup between
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Pros: It’s my favourite book, and who knows how long I am being cast away for so it has to be something I never tire of and I already read this at least once a year so it’s got staying power. And what a great role model for someone trying to survive on a desert island; Jane survived an unkind aunt, Lowood Institution, the Moors and a crazy woman. Cons: None. It’s my favourite book.
The Oxford English Dictionary. Pros: Firstly being cast away is no reason to be a dunce and secondly I’m a word geek and take great pleasure in reading the dictionary. Currently I’m working my way through words beginning tri (yes I’m ace at Scrabble, if anyone wants to Words with Friends with me my handle is Ree2311).
Cons: I maybe a word geek but it is a bit geeky to take a dictionary.
and the winner is… neither I’m not stupid, I’ll take a How to Survive on a Desert Island for Dummies guide along with my Shakespeare and Bible.

luxury item (it can’t be a living thing or be of use in escaping the island or allowing communication from outside)
I did consider notebooks and pencils so I could continue with my musings but I have chosen a more practical item -> a bath with a supply of fresh water for it has multiple uses. It can be used for shelter, to sleep in, to store water and of course to bathe in.

Alrighty that’s me ready to cast away, now over to you.

Sat Nam


8 Comments

i’ll be a rock & rollin’ b*tch for you

magic

After a recent conversation with a relative about her wee ones going to their first concert (1D who else!) I got to thinking about the younger me; the me who compiled the above list on the back page of her address book when she was 17 (got to love the ‘before I die,‘ I was so made for reality tv). I’ve been thinking about the passion that girl had for music, how she would lay in bed imaging being in the crowd watching Bruce Springsteen perform on the back of the Born in the U.S.A. album and being at the final Wham concert at Wembley. How although she had had only little concert experience, she knew she would get through that list and then some.

‘Without music life would be a mistake.’~Friedrich Nietzsche

I am fortunate my dreams came true and I have seen a great many artists in my time, including those on the aforementioned list save for T. Rex (on account of Marc Bolan no longer being with us) and David Bowie. Yet when I think of those artists on the list I’m thinking of them in their heyday and that’s really who the 17 year old me wanted to see. Some rockers stand the test of time, take the Rolling Stones still touring every few years, still selling out stadiums around the world to pretty much the same setlist; their formula works for them and their fans alike. Subsequently there are those acts who seldom tour like Barbra Streisand and George Michael but when they do, still give their fans the experience they want; both examples proving time doesn’t matter.

Until it does… I’ve seen Madonna many many times and I will be seeing her again later this year on her new tour but I never saw her on her Blond Ambition tour (1990) and that to me remains her best NOR did I get to see Spandau Ballet with all five original members, ditto Duran Duran AND I have loved seeing Stevie Nicks perform many times both on her own and with the Mac but I still have a hankering to hear her sing before the drugs made it impossible for her to hit the high notes. Then there is David Bowie…

‘I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.’~David Bowie

I’ve written about my love for Mr David Jones before, he’s one of my dream dinner party guests. I find him sexy as hell, I like the movie choices he has made (I used to have Labyrinth on dvd until I lent it out to a friend and by lent I mean she totally stole it!) l thought his appearance in Twin Peaks made perfect sense BUT mostly I love the conceptual artist he is and so to see him live has always been an ambition of mine; but it is as my favourite incarnations of him that I truly want to see – Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, The Thin White Duke, Pierrot and even Jareth the Goblin King – not as an ageing rocker. Although let me be clear if he ever does plan to perform I will ensure I am present, front and centre wherever in the world it may be.

But I’m not holding my breath, as the years get on it is looking increasingly likely that I need to be content with my memories – a weekend way back when in pajamas with one of my closest friends watching some of his movies back to back then dancing to our favourite songs… bumping into Iman in the ladies at the Dorchester and the beautiful lady smiling at me (seriously she is so so beautiful, her skin is luminous)… coming second in Mastermind (work function for charity) specialised subject David Bowie (and may it be known I only lost by one point)… seeing the David Bowie retrospective at the V&A – AND his music, and what music! When I think of his body of work I think it might just be okay to not see him perform live for he has gifted me (and you) so much already.

‘I had to resign myself, many years ago, that I’m not too articulate when it comes to explaining how I feel about things. But my music does it for me, it really does.’~David Bowie

Some of the favourites:
Modern Love/Lets Dance This was my intro to DB – in the 80s and these tracks are so of the 80s and I happen to love 80s music. It wasn’t until years later I would learn that these were produced by Nile Rogers in doing so making total sense to why I found them infectious and ‘makes me party.’ Nile Rogers has a distinct sound that is to my styling I could never be disappointed by Nile.

Sound and Vision What I love about this song is the lengthy guitar and synthesizer instrumental at the beginning, and how his dulcet voice blends with the music. This one would be one of my desert island discs.

The Man who sold the World I first heard the Nirvana version which in itself is bizarre for I am not a fan (I think it must have been on MTV or VH1) and it was out of a conversation about how this one song might be their one redeeming factor that I learnt that it was a cover of a DB track. The DB version is much much better (but then again I would say that). The instrumental is brooding and if not a little strange but I love it.

Heroes The perfect anthem song. Inspirational in both the English and the German versions.

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars I had to include the entire album not because I love every track but because the album is a story and to understand the character of Ziggy and lyrics of the songs like Moonage Daydream you need to hear it intact. There so many standout songs; the already mentioned Moonage Daydream with it’s fabulous first line ‘I’m an alligator,’ Starman, Suffragette City, Five Years and eponymous Ziggy Stardust. I’m not surprised that DB originally entertained thoughts of this album being a soundtrack to a musical or movie, the theatricality is evident throughout. Great album.

I think I will end there as what started out as a bit of fun has turned a bit Sophie’s Choice for me. I keep thinking what about what about… what about what a true genius he is! It really does warm my heart knowing I live in the same world as David Bowie.  #Bowiesuperfan

Sat Nam

 

 


5 Comments

when nothing goes right… go left

I am left handed and in all my years I have hardly given it a thought, until last week when I received text messages out of the blue from some random¹ about being left handed.

Totally weird coinkydink!

So now of course I can’t stop thinking about being left handed.

There are quite a lot of us out there, we are said to make up about 10% of the world’s population and we have been bestowed a day, given for the celebration of being left handed -13th August- whoever creates these days needs to work on their marketing as I never got the memo and I feel cheated, of what exactly I have no idea but I feel cheated nonetheless.

The word left is from the Anglo-Saxon lyft, meaning weak or broken so it’s no surprise then that as I have read through the history of left handedness, we are not portrayed in a positive light in practically any culture. The Scottish use this saying when describing an unlucky person ‘He must have been baptized by a left-handed priest.’ If you are to believe information that is available: We left handers are scaredy cats. The Devil is left handed (i.e. in religious paintings he is depicted as being left handed). We are three times more likely to become alcoholics and have mental disabilities, but on the up side we adjust more easily to seeing underwater. We are better at multitasking. We are creative, innovative and have a greater chance of being geniuses. Lefties also make better sport people (southpaw anyone?)

Only a couple times in my life do I remember being left handed being an issue. One time was when I was in India when I was four; we were in Mumbai at our family home where many of my mother’s elderly relatives lived. In an Indian home the elderly are much revered and their word considered gospel, counter that with the fact that in Indian culture the left hand is considered unclean because it is supposedly used to clean oneself after one uses the amenities; you can imagine how little four year old me trying to eat with my left hand went down (think lead balloon). On an elder aunt’s say so, in an effort to coerce me to eat with my right hand I spent the rest of my stay eating meals with my left hand tied to a chair. Needless to say there was more crying than eating done on that particular trip.

Other times I thought about it was when I was at school like when handwriting with an ink pen, writing left to right with ink is messy and smudgy for a leftie, same goes for writing on a blackboard OR when sitting on the chairs that are attached to a writing surface, I either had to get to class early to find the one left handed chair (think needle haystack) or sit on the edge of the chair side-saddle.

That’s where my memories end, for you just get on with things don’t you and you ignore all the little, everyday inconveniences; you don’t think about why can openers exist to cause you pain or why you have to manoeuvre your body so you can swipe your card with your left hand on the tube turnstile or how awkward it is to take a selfie/use a camera or why you have to twist your arm to read the measurements on a measuring cup or why spiral notebooks are the absolute worst to use or why the only guitar lesson you ever had was an awkward experience thus thwarting your rocknroll career before it ever got started.

As I ponder on all this now I still don’t think it a big deal that I am left handed but I do rather like the company I am with… MARILYN MONROE Oprah Winfrey ALAN TURING Friedrich Nietzsche BART SIMPSON Julia Roberts MARK ZUCKERBERG Julius Caesar PICASSO Nicole Kidman BARACK OBAMA Diego Maradona BILL GATES Mozart RICHARD PRYOR Winston Churchill DAVID BOWIE Amitabh Bachchan PRINCE WILLIAM Lewis Carroll GOLDIE HAWN Kate Hudson JOHN F. KENNEDY Jr. Caroline Kennedy HILARY SWANK Bill Clinton MICHAELANGELO George Michael ARISTOTLE John McEnroe JON STEWART Leonardo da Vinci ROBERT REDFORD Albert Einstein JIMI HENDRIX Benjamin Franklin GANDHI Diane Keaton BACH Robert de Niro Rembrandt DAVID ROCKEFELLER Angelina Jolie FRED ASTAIRE Babe Ruth JOAN OF ARC Ronald Reagan BEETHOVEN Napoléon Bonaparte EMMA THOMPSON Prince Charles HELEN KELLER Charlie Chaplin CARY GRANT Buzz Aldrin JUDY GARLAND Mark Twain EMINEM Henry Ford MARIE CURIE John-Paul Gaultier

No, not too shabby company at all.

Sat Nam

¹To the mystery person who arranged for me to get these text messages – thank you for giving me something new to think about but you can stop now, it’s not interesting anymore.

 


7 Comments

this kiwi girl muses about… falling down

livingforlovelyric.jpg

Madonna had a fall while on stage last Wednesday night at the Brit awards, in case you didn’t know. Want to know what I was thinking immediately before and after? That was a rhetorical question, you don’t really have a choice – this is my blog after all. Right before she mounted the podium I was thinking ‘how does she dance in those six inch heels?’ Then after the fall, once I knew she was alright I thought ‘man is she going to be pissed that happened after all that rehearsing.’ There wasn’t much thinking in between those two thoughts, it was all over too quick.

I didn’t think too much of the fall but judging by how alive media outlets have been over this I’m guessing it was a slow news week or maybe it just proves me right that despite all the naysayers, Madonna is still as popular as ever.

So she fell, so what? Falling down is something I do too often to ever get embarrassed about or make a big deal of. And she’s not the only famous person to fall publicly. Madonna’s fall came less than a month after that of Robert Mugabe. The Zimbabwen dictator oops president fell down a set of steps after speaking to supporters in Harare, and then in true despot fashion he promptly suspended 27 bodyguards for not catching him on the way down. What’s that? You say you didn’t hear of it, that would be because some press photographers who captured the fall were forced to delete their pictures by security personnel.

Then there is Hollywood darling of the moment Jennifer Lawrence who fell not once but twice. The first took place in 2013 as she went onto the stage to collect her Best Actress Oscar and the second time was walking down the red carpet at the following year’s ceremony. Yes Katniss might be the Mockingjay but you might want to stand far far away from her when she’s handling her bow and arrow just in case she takes a tumble.

shoesThen there is what I believe, the most famous fall which occurred in 1993 during Vivienne Westwood’s Paris Fashion Week show when Naomi Campbell fell spectacularly as she tried to manoeuvre the runway wearing these insane platform heels. I say insane because that’s the word that entered my mind when I saw the very same shoes up close and personal in an exhibition; and after seeing them I’ve always thought it just as well she did fall otherwise the shoes would hardly have had their moment in fashion history and these shoes deserved to be noticed, wouldn’t you agree?

Want to know what I’m thinking now? ‘wonder if any of the Royals have had a fall?

Have a grand week and be sure to watch your step.

Sat Nam


7 Comments

she’s all that

shesallthat.jpg

It’s my favourite time of year again. No not my birthday or Christmas or even time for a summer holiday… hmm actually it’s not even Madonna’s birthday so okay… it’s maybe my fourth or fifth favourite time of year…. regardless I’m très excited because it’s Oscar time. This year is rare year for me in that I haven’t seen nearly enough movies to have clear favourites but that hasn’t stopped me from indulging in a little Meryl.

Meryl Streep is a bit of a crush of mine. If she is in something it will pique my interest but I didn’t realise how much I liked her until the other night when I watched Kramer vs Kramer and Its Complicated back to back. There is a reason she is the most nominated actor in Academy Award history; whether it is a support role (Kramer…) or a so-so movie (It’s…) or the lead, she rocks it. I first noticed her acting chops in the miniseries Angels in America in which she played a few characters and I remember thinking how versatile she was and also how seamless the transitions were, which was no small feat – it was a complicated drama with interwoven stories about a serious subject matter. With Meryl you can tell it’s all about the work and of course it helps she is bloody good at her craft; but what endears her to me is that as good as she is she doesn’t seem to take herself seriously, you cannot not love a woman who upon receiving her last Oscar for The Iron Lady exclaimed ‘When they called my name I had this feeling I could hear half of America going, “oh, no! Oh, come on why – her! Again!”’ Emily Blunt who has acted with her a few times, recently described Meryl as ‘a real broad – great fun’ and I believe it.

 “Why are women… so much more interesting to men than men are to women?” Virginia Woolf

On the subject of girl crushes, for as long as I can remember I’ve had them, can you blame me? This planet is filled with fascinating women and it is not only the domain of the male species to admire them. Along with Meryl I’m currently also crushing on the following ladies:

Sgt. Olivia Benson (character on Law & Order SVU). No I haven’t suddenly regained any respect for the folk in blue but I do hold a soft spot for Benson. Okay she’s not a real person but considering my disdain for police in general, Benson is my dream of what a truer copper should be like, played by the gorgeous Mariska Hargity, Benson is a totally badass cop when it comes to solving ‘sexually based offenses which are considered especially heinous’ which she couples with a gentle empathy, a duty of care for the victims of sex crimes, something real life law enforcement seem to lack.

Christiane Amanpour. My favourite all time tv show which I have written about before is Gilmore Girls. In the opening scene of the very last episode the main characters Lorelei and Rory meet Christiane Amanpour who Rory has long admired. The first time I saw this I was like ‘that’s me in Rory’s shoes,’ the way she acted when she met her hero… talking a mile a minute, gushing over Christiane’s accolades, thanking her for being her – exactly what I would do. Christiane Amanpour CBE in case you don’t know is a journalist, known for extensively reporting from the front lines of war for over 25 years, as well as interviewing many key figures on the global stage; her strength lies in her sincerity and search for the truth AND she’s not afraid to ask the hard questions. I’ve always fancied myself as a journalist, so I guess you could say Christiane is the person I wish I had the courage to be.

Gigi Hadid. I first caught glimpses of this cherub when she came on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills as her mother Yolanda Foster is on it and in the last two years I have found myself following her on social media watching her rise (and rise) in the modeling world. That she is stunning is a given but it is the vibrancy of her youth a joie de vivre that she oozes that I am especially attracted to. Her sister Bella (also a model) is pretty easy on the eye too.

There are so many women I could write about, ones I know, ones I would like to know… so many women so little time… it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside to know that I live in a world surrounded by strong, capable, beautiful women. And speaking of strong, capable, beautiful – Julianne Moore for Best Actress¹ please.

Have a great week,

Sat Nam

¹for Still Alice a beautifully made, poignant movie about the early-onset of Alzheimer’s disease with believable performances by all the cast.