Category Archives: Blog

Poetry for Mother’s Day and Others

What do you get mum on Mothering Sunday?  To be honest mums rock and deserve treats all year round, but for the sake of tradition and all the high street gaudy, garish pink satin bows and disposable greetings cards with “mum you’re one in a million” (which should more truthfully read “…one in millions”) that you are bound to be buying in some form or other, we have to do the whole singing and dancing shebang on just one day a year.  Sorry mum.

A few years ago I became acquainted with the passionate independent publisher Candlestick Press, based in Nottingham who produce the most beautiful poetry pamphlets that are keepsakes to be read time and time again.  They are far from disposable and mean a great deal to the reader.  Like greeting cards, they come with their own envelope and a bookmark on which the sender can write their message and can be kept on the bookshelf forever.

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There are countless themes on offer, from pamphlets containing poems about chickens, poems about ghosts and poems about gardens to poems about revenge, poems about bedtime and of course, poems about mothers, entitled Ten Poems about Mothers.  The range is huge.  I can highly recommend these as perfect, meaningful and affordable gifts that say a great deal more than chocs and cut flowers any day.

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Happy Mother’s Day mamas.

Anna x

 

 


Real Fans #3

Thanks for checking out my previous photos of fans.  Sometimes capturing the spirit of the fans either in words on in pictures is just as interesting as gleaning the passion and dedication of the artists themselves.

I’ve got a few more photos to share at a later date, and I dare say, I won’t be able to resist taking a quick snap of some others in the near future!

fan on shouldersHave a great weekend everyone!

Long Live The Fans!

Anna x

 


Real Fans #2

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Fashion at its height, Sonisphere 2014 – Photo Anna Ghislena


Real Fans #1

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Sonisphere 2014 – photo Anna Ghislena


Shall I compare thee to…?

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Music fans, readers of poetry, viewers of art – do you compare?

Making comparisons in every day life seems natural.  People compare themselves to others all the time: judging their own performance at work or socially; judging their own views against someone else’s; judging their own appearance in comparison with someone else’s; judging their child’s progress at school against that of the neighbour,  the list of comparable situations is endless.

Read about new or up and coming bands and you’ll find they are always compared to other artists in their genre.  Is this fair?

Copy and articles in the media compare bands and music artists to each other.  Captions in magazines introduce groups with the words “For fans of…”, or “Sounds like…”, and liken them to other artists.  This gives the listener an idea, but the suggestion will always be embodied in the listener’s mind.  Why should a band’s sound be twinned to someone else’s in order to be recognised?

There can be no denial that similarities can be identified.  Take Australian rock band Airbourne, notoriously likened to AC/DC .  Lots of the components are there including two brothers, copycat riffs and a lead singer who appears to model himself on a mix of Angus Young’s lead guitarist antics and Bon Scott’s loveable cheek, wit and raspy vocals.  But take away those saleable characteristics, put on to entertain the crowd, and it’s the music that is different.  They do have their own exciting sound, despite it being peppered with something familiar.  Examples of other bands in multiple genres could be dragged up for pages and pages to come, but every one of them is different on some level, it’s just discovering how the sound affects the ear on a personal  level and subsequently how it moves the listener.  Surely that’s what it takes to be a true fan?   I like Airbourne.  I like AC/DC.  I don’t like Airbourne because they have been likened to AC/DC.

Can poets be compared to each other?  Look at the current poetry and spoken word scene, huge and ever growing in popularity.  Many London poets have been witnessed ranting along in monotone modern London  dialect, a little bit street, a little bit middle class, sharing messages about political concern, personal opinion, dilemmas, glitches in our social systems and either make light of them or or target the audience with soapbox fury.  The familiar strain seems to be, who can shout the loudest?  Then again, all their words are valid and their work is listened to and applauded, because they cannot be compared.  Each one has something different to offer and listening hard, or reading close, will open minds and stimulate.  The beauty in each one can be identified as something unique.

Can authors be compared to each other?  Can painters or designers be compared?  Probably, but please try to ignore the comparisons dictated by someone else, it’s lazy.  In writing about bands for the last three or four years, I have been guilty of making a comparison or two myself.  I will do my best not to in future.

There will always be something in a style that stands apart in each group or individual.  That style will catch the eye if we want it to, regardless of any similarities marked alongside anyone else.

Long Live The Fans!

Anna xx


Sons of Icarus – Barfly, Camden

So while the kids are on a sleepover at a friends, I’m off for a little loud music therapy.

Freezing cold, wet Camden on a Saturday night – love it!

Warm, boozy Barfly – love it!

Upstairs, cramped space, low ceiling, PA buzzing – love it!

Earplugs in, Pepsi in hand (I’m such a rebel!), band are on! – Love it!

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Sons of Icarus, hard working young guys with a set full of chunky riffs, play to a happy crowd and show off their long awaited debut album.  This album, Beyond the Sun, has been in the pipeline for years.  Sons of Icarus first came onto my radar when they became the first ever competition winners of the Marshall Ultimate Band Contest back in 2010.  I then interviewed them after an intimate gig at the CroBar for Stereoboard in 2013 when they told me their album release was imminent!

Over two years on and they have just released it!  Obstacles get in the way all the time for these bands, but determination and hard work plus the will to achieve drives them along.  And you know what?  They are good!  The place isn’t exactly heaving.  These guys need a little recognition.  The album sounds great.  I’ve played it loud in the car already (yes, the kids needed stimulating after their “all nighter” at the friend’s house) and I shall be reviewing it soon, track for track.

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#RIP Heroes

So, happy new year everyone!  What a way to start.  The funeral of Motorhead’s Lemmy took place yesterday and David Bowie died.

I can’t quite believe I just wrote that.

DAVID BOWIE DIED.

“Don’t be too sad.” said my kid, shutting the car door.

“Don’t worry, I won’t.” I said, and returned from the school run this morning with tears rolling down my face, snot pouring from my nose, the roads, flooded by the rain.

I’m still leaking now, as I write.  I can’t bear to play the radio because it’s all Bowie stuff and I will only make this post short as I will probably short circuit my laptop if any more water gets in between the keys.

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THE HUNGER, David Bowie, 1983, (c) MGM/courtesy Everett Collection

I am so pleased to have grown up in my teens listening to and watching David Bowie.  He influenced my love for music.  I was fascinated by his ever-changing style and my friends and I were besotted by his screen performance in The Hunger, a film that we would watch over and over again, never tiring of his soft voice and exquisite looks.  Probably one of my most guilty Bowie pleasures was The Laughing Gnome, that my friend and I used to listen to back at her house on a school lunch break, and we would wonder, why did he do that one?  But it had us in stitches every time.

Lemmy’s passing, now that was a sad day too, but one that I had seen coming having read reports of ill health during 2014/15.  It is, however, a sign of time moving along, little bits of our present that, beyond our control are now past and I feel a little panic at this.

I saw Motorhead play a few times, loud and fast.  Too loud.  Very fast.  The last time I saw Lemmy in the flesh was at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards in 2013 when he received the Golden Gods award from Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver, and Loaded bassist Duff McKagan.  I and all Lemmy’s fans can be comforted now knowing that they will be seeing him again soon in the forthcoming rock and roll movie (the loudest silent movie on earth) Gutterdammerung, due to be released at events this year.

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Thank you Bowie for giving me a love for music and creativity.

Thank you Lemmy for giving me tinnitus, I will cherish it forever 🙂

Long Live The Fans

xxx


Gutterdammerung -Preview

On Thursday 12th November 2015, I went to the live preview for fans of Gütterdammerung, self proclaimed as a “dark fairytale” and the “loudest silent movie on earth”.

At the time I am writing this, the Gütterdammerung website reads:

“Dear Rockers

In honour of the victims in Paris and our friends from EODM, we have decided to keep our showcase trailer offline for 7 days.

Our showcase on the 12th was an amazing gathering of rockstars and fans both in film, on stage and on the tribunes of the London Forum.
A celebration of rock and roll brotherhood and togetherness with a crowd singing loud as one voice. Rock and roll is the sound of freedom.

Rock and roll will always sound louder than Kalashnikovs.
The Voices of freedom will sing louder than the voices of hate!

Our thoughts are with Jesse, his band, his crew
and all victims of terror worldwide.”

In respect of this statement, I am not posting a link to the trailer for the movie but will be writing a feature for Stereoboard.com nearer to the time of release.

So, “the loudest silent movie on earth”.  Intrigued by this concept and by the fact that the cast list includes some of the most iconic, influential characters in the world of rock and roll, I dragged my buddy along to The Forum in Kentish Town, London, to find out more.

Greeted at the door by mysterious hooded monks who marked crosses in black ash on our foreheads, we gave way to keeping an open mind and tried not to let the words “pure cheese” dominate our thoughts.  After all, when the likes of Slash, Iggy Pop, Josh Homme, Henry Rollins, Lemmy, Tom Araya and Jesse Hughes are all part of the cast, you wouldn’t imagine that this might be some kind of spoofy pantomime, would you?

When the film rolled, we were treated to excerpts of scenes from the movie which is due to go on tour accompanied by a live rock band next year. Directed by Bjorn Tagemose, Gütterdammerung is shot in the style of the classic 1920’s Hollywood movies of the silent era.  Beautifully shot, the black and white photography is crisp, clean and atmospheric and effectively highlights the conflict between good and evil in what I am hoping will be a clear story-line.  With cliches taken from every orifice of the heavy rock world: naked celestial virgins, religion, rebellion, wild and dusty plains, banished guitars, the film explores a world without sound, extreme in its quest for purity.

Instead of a lonesome piano accompaniment, a live rock band, fronted by up and coming rock showman and talented vocalist, Jesse Smith, take control of the mood.  Their presence is cleverly entwined behind the screen, their shadows, larger than life and placed in such a way that their reactions to the action on screen appear almost 3D.

In between the scenes where we are introduced to the acting skills of Eagles of Death Metal’s Jesse Hughes (who plays the bounty hunter) and Tuesday Cross (who plays the “bad girl”) Henry Rollins (who plays the Priest Svengali) and Iggy Pop, wings, horns and all, (who plays the fallen angel “Vicious”), we were treated to live sets from said members of EODM, an appearance from Henry Rollins and a surprise guest appearance from the high priestess herself, Grace Jones (who plays “the ultimate nemesis”).  I have never been so close to Grace Jones and am sorry to say that I failed in getting a decent photo, it was a moment to savour and feast with the eyes instead of fumbling about for a perfect shot.  She commanded a rendition of “Nightclubbing” (Iggy Pop) with total supremacy.

Following this was a very tongue in cheek Q&A hosted by actor Kevin Eldon.  I was hoping for some clear and meaningful insight into the making of the movie and it’s concept, but to be honest, I was none the wiser when the questions, delivered in a comedy fashion, were disappointingly answered in a similarly nonsense way by the panel (Jesse Hughes, Henry Rollins, Borjn Tagemose).

So first impressions?

Well, it could be considered as just a glorified music video but on the other hand, it’s an interesting concept, captured as a visual and audio thing of beauty.  When it tours in 2016,  I recommend an open mind and expect to embrace a bit of corny acting by some game rockstars.  This is something quite out of the ordinary; its a totally crazy, gigantic piece of rock and roll heaven and hell with a sniff of ‘spoof’ sprinkled on top.  It is stuff that will have you glued to the screen if you are a fan of all artists involved.

And as for the storyline?  Well I have a hunch that rock and roll never dies and that above everything, it will be returned to glory.

Long Live The Fans!

Anna x

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Solidarity

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I saw members of the Eagles of Death Metal perform in London the night before last, Thursday 12th November.

It was a special event.  They happily entertained in their tongue in cheek way and delivered their famous own brand of heavy rock, leaving everyone wanting more.

Today, I am finding it hard, along with the rest of Europe, to come to terms with the image in my mind of a darkened, crammed concert hall, rocking with devoted fans, fuelled on music, vibe, love, camaraderie and then, the ensuing terror they experienced, caused by mindless acts of violence.

My heart is in my boots today, my thoughts and prayers with the people of Paris and of those who have lost their lives.  My thoughts, are also with the Eagles of Death Metal, their crew and the fans who attended the gig at Le Bataclan yesterday evening.

The memory that this unfathomable atrocity occurred at one of their gigs, will be with them for the rest of their lives and every time they perform in the future, they will remember this terrible night.

I look forward to seeing the band play again soon.  I look forward to this, knowing that music always brings people together and helps to heal pain in people’s lives.  It provides opportunity for union, understanding and always, solidarity.

Long Live Rock n’ Roll   \m/

Anna xxx


For the record

My local vinyl record store, Empire Records, is one of the places where I first started reading my poetic creations.  It was the place where it didn’t matter what you had to say and I discovered, with my hands shaking so much that the white pages before my eyes impressed the sensation of double vision on several occasions, that people actually seemed to enjoy what they were hearing.

Sadly, the events stopped due to one thing or another, and I lost the platform on my doorstep and the comfort of performing to regulars.  Even more sadly, Derek, the store’s owner and the most quietly cool dude I have had the pleasure of meeting, lost his life to cancer earlier on this year.  He was so kind towards me and my awful nerves.  His fantastic record shop is still going strong, showcasing the very best vinyl and occasionally inviting musicians to play live in-store, from the likes of the folk songsters, Dodo Bones to punk’s compassionate angry man, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes.

So, you always wonder what you can do to make something better in eventualities like these.  Nothing really, words are not usually going to make much of a difference, albeit offer some comfort to those who bear these losses, but you do want to do something.

empire records  It’s not much, but today I went into the shop with my words, in the form of a box of copies of The Will To Gig, my new mini anthology of rocking poems and popped them on the counter next to the Mount Vernon Hospital collection box, inviting customers to take a copy in exchange for a fund-raising donation for the pot.

So, if you are passing Empire, pop in and grab a copy.  Thanks everyone.