Music Tuesday

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no, this is not a new category of the blog (maybe)…

What to listen to today? AM by Arctic Monkeys (2013)

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Random Sunday Story: Not a good time

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In Sir Philip Sidney’s words: “Fool, said my muse to me. Look in thy heart and write!”. But it seems to be incredibly hard to compose a phrase after witnessing literary greatness. 

 

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The days had been drifting by and the thought of having to hold a pen over paper was as painful as a needle through sensitive skin. Books piled on his bedside. Plants remained unwatered. Pen. Paper. Music. You need to write, you have a deadline. He had disconnected the house phone, and his cell had been off for almost a week. Those previous seven days had been spent on bed, reading, sleeping, staring at the ceiling. He had eaten cereal, leftovers and had been drinking litres and litres of coffee. But his pen was still untouched. His laptop had been turnt on, but he only had watched porn and had googled the randomest things: “how long does it take a dead body to stink?”, “ways to kill someone making no sound”, “how many painkillers are needed to kill a person?” and, his favorite, “can a person survive by only drinking coffee and eating cereal?”. The answer was no, obviously, but he had smirked at the responses online. One guy from Minnesota affirmed he had survived with cereal and coffee for almost a month. He assured he felt fine, but ended up having a bit of a nervous twitch as a consequence. A woman from Japan said she had survived half a month drinking tea and eating ramen. This was more plausible.

His hand was shaking when he finally decided to turn on his cellphone. After a little while, it started to beep, signaling the undetermined number of texts and missed calls. His hand shook heavily as he went through the texts. “WHERE ARE YOU?”, “I NEED THE DRAFT TOMORROW” and “YOUR REPUTATION WILL BE RUINED” hurt his eyes and made his head pound. The blank page was terrifying.

As if phone had sent a signal to his agent, his name appeared on the screen and his cell began to ring frantically. His brain panicked and went through different excuses to tell him. “I’ve been ill”, “My mother died”, “I found out I have an evil twin who wants to kill me and I’ve been hiding from him in Costa Rica”, were as ridiculous as the truth: “I’ve had no inspiration to write the second book of what is supposed to be my successful saga”. He picked up the phone instead.

“Yes?”, he answered, trying to sound normal. How could one sound normal at a time like that?

“YES? YOU JUST PICK UP AND SAY YES?”, his publishing agent was about to explode. “Like, I’ve been trying to reach you for a whole week! You were supposed to turn in your draft THE DAY BEFORE YESTERDAY!! Are you aware of how many people are counting with you for this book??”

His hands were shaking again. “I know”, was all he said. “I’ve been… ill”

“You’ve been ill? oh, why didn’t you say that before, it changes everything… EXCEPT IT DOESN’T! You have deadlines and if you want to be a serious writer you need to meet those deadlines. The publishing house wanted the draft and you haven’t submitted a single line yet. What have you been doing? They paid you a month ago”

“I know, I just… I haven’t been inspired”. The agent was silent now, probably too offended to say anything. He thought of something. “Listen, give me a day. Give me a day and I will get out the house and have written a chapter before midday tomorrow. I know a chapter is not an entire draft, but it’s something, right? I have… I have some ideas. I know I have them. I just need to pick up the pen and start writing”.

“You better write on that laptop, stop being a retro-hipster-writer. I need that draft by tomorrow or they will chop both our heads off, and I seriously need this job. And so do you, as I recall”, said the agent. “Send me whatever you can as soon as you can, I have to keep them happy somehow”.

“Thank you. Thank you, I will. I will write as fast as I can”. The agent had hung up already. But his chest now felt less heavy and the prospect of having 24 hours to write a decent piece felt incredibly relieving.

The first thing he had to do was take a shower. Then, he’d get dressed and would go out to have a proper meal. After eating, he could go to that little café he liked so much in the main road and sit there all afternoon to write. The blank page had to be conquered. To the horses!

 

the fashion lover

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People that know me are aware of my love for fashion magazines and clothing in general. I’ve been told I’m a great shopping partner, as I like to give advice in a not so pretentious way. I make constructive remarks, I pay attention to the trends and I think I’m a good critic. Personally, I tend to be simple/old-fashioned, as I usually go for the basics and try to keep it classy with a twist. But this entry is not about me, it’s about fashion magazines.

I’m a HUGE consumer of fashion magazines. And before you judge me or say I’m shallow or materialistic, let me explain. Fashion magazines with their pretty colors, make-up, clothes and sceneries have always been a huge inspiration to me. When I was younger (14-15), I loved buying teen magazines, but somehow I found it wasn’t enough and started buying fashion magazines: Glamour, Elle, Marie Claire -never Cosmo- and, occasionally, Harper’s Bazaar. The thing is, I loved seeing street-style pictures with rad girls wearing the latest trends, their OWN interpretation. Editorials have always been fascinating to me, and I’ve usually loved reading the columns of remarkable women who I had no idea who they were but whose words I loved reading. I kept being a critic both at their words and their clothes, but I think that built up my fashion sense and style -and hell, even my personality.

I have a huge trunk full of old issues of my favorites, and every once in a while, I loved making collages (with scissors, glue and imagination, in real life, not with Photoshop or any other tool online). Then, it evolved to my polyvore account, where I love diving into the zillion of items and imagine I’m creating my own fashion magazine.

The problem with fashion magazines is the reader’s background. Fashion magazines are influential. I don’t 100% agree with their point of view most of the time, and I find myself eye-rolling every once in a while when flipping through their pages. I like to believe that, in spite of being a huge consumer, I understand the risks of fashion magazines. I understand how the stereotypes shown on their pages are perjudicial for young minds, but I still believe they can help you if you’re able to notice the problems they convey. Fashion magazines can build your opinion on such issues as feminism, stereotypes and social diversity. For example, I constantly find these magazines patronising how to “properly dress for work while being a modern woman” –which usually means the magazine will display 100 ways of dressing for an office job. What about other women who don’t have an office job? what about cooks? or what about waitresses? Another thing is the contradictions: “you gotta like yourself!! you gotta like your body! laugh! live! love!” and then, a few pages later, they explain to you how to have the best booty or a face free of wrinkles.

 

Here’s the thing. They can be dangerous. The other day I read 2 old issues of one of my favorite magazines. They had a column written by Miroslava Duma, the Russian entrepreneur, and another by Naomi Campbell, the supermodel. These two women are admired by millions of girls around the world. And what was my surprise (I honestly don’t know why I was surprised, though), when I read that Lady Duma affirmed that one day she “simply had no time for eating” and that she still felt guilty after eating TWO! M&M’s for lunch. TWO M&M’s. Yet she still felt guilty. And she hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast (and it wasn’t a great one). Then, to Lady Campbell’s column, I stared at the words terrified, as she had been spending the day only ingesting detox juices. Like, how can a woman of 1.77cm survive just by drinking detox juices?? those deets horrified me, but see? I’m a sensible woman and I can spot the problems with fashion magazines.

Don’t swallow every single idea that they throw at you. Understand what you’re about to believe and think it through before fully accepting it as normal. There’s no normal.

Random Sunday Story: Saturn

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image via Jacob Marchio on Flickr

 

The night of the 5th of July, a group of strangers leaded by an astronomist jumped on a mini bus and drove to the farest mountain in the farest little town. The town, inhabited by only six hundred people during the winter, was now slowly reviving due to the families returning to spend the summer in their old family houses. Generation after generation had spent their summers in a humble town, away from the polution and chaos of the city, and now was growing accustomed to the sporadic arrival of rural tourists.

The group of strangers on a mini bus arrived at almost 8pm, when the sun was already setting and the heat was slowly receeding. The astronomist announced that he would go up the mountain and would prepare the three telescopes he had brought for them to look at the constellations. The rest of the group would hike up the hill in an attempt to remain forever young. “This is so healthy”, murmured a panting woman as she quickly climbed the mountain. For some reason, it was hard to believe her, as her face was now an unbecoming shade of purple. It was like a pilgrimage to the God’s den, a penitent route for the humans to remind them about their mortality. The hour they would spend walking and panting would help to make them realize how minuscule they were in comparison with the entire universe.

The astronomist was a gray-haired man with a nervous twitch. He was young, maybe in his thirties or early forties, but his pale wrinkled skin made him look a lot older. He drove a white car and wore a blue jacket. Gray, white and blue, like the universe.

The group of seventeen strangers that rode in a mini bus reached the top and wondered about the meaning of life. They ate supper and readily gathered around the astronomist, who started to point up to the sky and explained the constellations. Afterwards, it was time to look through the telescopes. First, they saw the Moon, in a bright yellow, full of craters and terribly big. Then, the astronomist introduced them to Saturn. Not every stranger understood what he was saying, but a few of them were able to see a mini white spot surrounded by a white ring. If they squinted, Saturn took full form, far far away, little yet big. One of the strangers got goosebumps thinking of her own insignificancy. Saturn, which was 120,536 km wide, was now reduced to barely a centimeter wide through the lens of the telescope. The average height of the strangers was 1,70m. They definitely were ridiculously tiny human forms full of organs, blood and overthinking.

At the end of the night, the group of seventeen strangers that rode in a mini bus realized that they, like every other living form of the universe, were merely tiny bacteria in a huge pattern of an unknown framework.

 

 

Ed Sheeran – X (Multiply)

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Ed Sheeran - X (Multiply)

This album came out last Monday 23rd and I’m already addicted to it. Maybe I’m a bit biased, because I certainly love Ed Sheeran’s lyrics and voice, but I assure you this album is pure gold. So far, my favorites are “Don’t” (which is supposedly about fellow singer Ellie Goulding), “Nina” (about a past love), “Bloodstream” and “The Man”. Give it a try if you can, I’m sure you won’t regret it.

Random Sunday Story: Lacy Lace

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Lacy Lace was only fourteen when her parents found her lifeless body laying on the left side of her bed. But it didn’t matter for her, as she grew to love the cemetery she was later buried in. The green grass grew all around her grave, the elms provided a great shadow above her and summer days were spent in bliss observing lost lovers who had misguidedly entered the cemetery. Lacy Lace looked upon them with marvelous delight. Their bodies full of life and breath provoked a strange warm feeling of despair in her. Morgan Moth, her neighbor from the grave next to hers, sat in silence every time an old lady arrived to set flowers on her dead husband’s grave. Morgan Moth was an old lady herself when she passed, but no one ever brought her flowers now that she was dead, just as no one had ever brought her flowers when she was alive. Lacy Lace knew that her neighbor didn’t like to share her life story with anyone, but she had guessed she was a lonely woman from the envious yet wishful way she observed the lovers or the families that often came into the cemetery.

Lacy Lace was only fourteen when her parents found her lifeless body laying on the left side of her bed, but now she was much more. She was a ethereal spirit, a soul without a vessel, a chilly feeling down living people’s backs. Lacy Lace liked to greet their parents in this manner every time they came to visit her. Maybe that was why they had not gone in a very long time. She wondered if they had found bliss somewhere else, just like she had found bliss in a grave. After years of suffering, laying on the left side of her bed, Lacy Lace had found bliss in death.

That day, when the cemetery guard had closed the gates at 5pm, as usual, Lacy Lace spied him through the bushes and spotted him hanging a sign on the entrance: “Breath should be held when passing the cemetery as breathing is disrespectful to the dead”. Her breathless giggles were manifested in the crowing of a crow, who also seemed to find the sign extremely funny. As usual, David Daith locked the gates and returned to his little barrow at the center of the cemetery. He passed the graves of his lifeless friends and greeted each of them. “Good night, Maggie May”, “Sleep tight, Morgan Moth”, “See you tomorrow, Lacy Lace”.

Lacy Lace liked the guard. He was tender in his grave cleaning. He liked to trim the bushes in peculiar forms and one of his favorite pastimes was cutting flowers and bringing them to abandoned, unvisited graves. Lacy Lace had seen him bringing peonies to Morgan Moth’s grave once, and had noticed the gleam of her eyes when she had noticed them after returning from her silent wandering. He never touched her own grave, though.

After silently replying to David Daith’s farewell, Lacy Lace approached the cemetery gates, like she usually did at night. She fitted her invisible head between the bars and sighed, as dawn was her least favorite time of the day. Moments crept upon her like breath had crept away from her the night she passed. She thought of the new sign adorning the gates, and would have liked to write something else: “Watches should be stopped when passing the cemetery as time is trivial to the dead”.