Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Gas Mask

Back in January 2009, my cousin Nadine committed suicide by putting a hose on the tail pipe of her car.
This had quite an effect on me.
It's funny the first thing that entered my mind on hearing the news was a gas mask and it started a burst of writing, drawings and designs based around this symbol of danger and fear.
SO here is a collection of the stories and images starting with the story I wrote about Nadie pretty much the same day I heard the news.

Life in a Gas Mask

It was hard to live your life with a gas mask on.
Distorting the words you wanted to really say and clouding the sights you wanted to see.
Nadine knew this.
For the last 30 years it had destroyed her marriage and alienated her children.
Alcohol seeped through the mask and diluted the bondage and made the mask a little easier to ignore.
Medication didn’t work when she took it and everybody told it did when she didn’t.
Then one day Nadine took the mask off and it was all so clear .
In her car with the windows up and the hose connected to the tail pipe.
As the cockroaches, mice , spiders and rats ignored the purring motor in the garage till the fuel run out.
Clarity was brief and so was the answer.

When in danger always copy nature.

The gas masks were always the first thing ripped off as soon the “All clear” sounded.

No matter how many times Thomas heard the second sirens he always felt a sense of over whelming relief as opposed to the warning sirens which filled him with the deepest dread and fear.
Surprising since they sounded exactly the same.
He often wondered if he ever slept through the first sirens and awoke to the second whether his mind would be able to tell the difference?

Best not to tempt fate.

All the other families where packing their gas masks back into their belt canisters and were making an orderly line out of the bunker.
No one said a word not sure what to expect when they reached the surface let alone the streets or their homes.

Thomas thought of his train set and his soldiers then automatically thought of his Dad, no letters for a couple of weeks had caused some distress in his Mum but Thomas was getting used to not having him around, Mum was a bit of a soft touch and let him stay up late.

As the entered back into the dull Saturday afternoon that was London’s early spring plumes of smoke were rising in the far distance and sirens could be heard, but just faintly.

“Looks like Islington got the brunt of it”
Thomas heard someone say.
Obviously no one had relatives over there because everyone walked hurriedly towards their homes in silence.

Thomas found himself dropping back, now certain his home will still be there when he got back (his mother however needed proof and rushed onward) He noted the rats had got a bit game and where boldly scampering on the rubble left by builders on one of the vacant lots used for clean ups of the bomb sites.

“I wish I was a rat” thought Thomas “No one to tell me what to do. Climb into small holes if the bombs come and not have to queue up for food with ration cards”

Thomas studied the rats as the went about their business and whilst tapping on his gas mask canister realised how much the neighbourhood looked like rats when the sirens wailed .How they all scurried to the bunker holes to get away from the blitz with rat snout like gas masks on their faces.

“ I wonder when the government’s gunna eventually fit us with little tails” Thomas thought and gave a little snort at his own joke.

On the way home Thomas passed the grocers who only opened every other day and looked in the window to view the half empty shelves.
Dairy products had been in short supply recently and the milk ration was low but just visible below the counter Thomas could see a block of yellow cheese.

He must make sure he makes Mum get up early tomorrow to queue uo to get some.

Lately he really missed the taste of cheese.


A favourite Sigor Ros piece featuring GasMasks

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Couple of quick album reviews

Pajama Club - Self Titled Debut

The Pajama Club
Neil Finn gets better with change

It seems the only constant in Neil Finns life is his marriage.
After so much fame, fortune and musical metamorphoses, whether it be Split Enz, Crowded House, The Finn Brothers or the many musical collaborations on stage he has had with the members of bands as diverse as the likes of Pearl Jam, Radiohead and The Smiths Neil Finn still manages to shine as a pure 100% nice guy and super talent.
This nucleus of the Pajama Club was created at home in New Zealand when Neil and Sharon Finn were basically mucking around in the home studio to have a bit of fun as married couples do when the kids have left the nest.
From these bass and drum tracks (Neil on drums. Sharon on bass) Neil constructed the songs that appear on the album.
The fact that neither Finn were playing their preferred instrument makes the construction of the songs even more magical as they don’t have the technical discipline one picks up with an instrument played with proficiency. Thus there are little quirks popping up all over the place. That and the fact Neil Finn is one of the leading songwriters on the planet adds to the mix.
Sharon is no slouch in the singing department is just a wonderful vocal match to Neil as his brother Tim.
The songs kick off with the almost tribal beat of Tell Me What you Want, and listening to the lyrics reveals a sexy under belly . The Pajama Club actually shine brightest when Sharon and Neil share vocals, Songs such as Tell Me Golden Child and Go Kart are some of the best songs I’ve heard this year,
Others like Diamonds in her Eyes and TNT for Two reinforces the strength of this album.
In a nut shell this album is simply better than the last two Crowded House albums and the Finn Brothers release.

Neighborhoods BLINK182

Blink182’s first album in 8 years thanks mainly to a “hiatus” instigated by Tom DeLonge to start Angels and Airwaves. Neighborhoods carries on from where Blink’s last album finished and incorporates what the members learnt along the way with their solo releases- A&A, +44 and Travis’ solo album “Give The Drummer Some”

The album is exactly what American popular music needs right now and has been justified with a debut at number 2 on the Billboard Top 200 album charts.
And rightly so, this album is chock full of melody, killer riffs and powerpop to dance to.
The opening track GHOST ON THE DANCE FLOOR with its future single hook line crashes out of the speakers and never lets up for the rest of the album.
Those who are quick can get the limited release with 3 extra tracks, one and interlude to HEARTS ALL GONE and the other two FIGHTING FOR GRAVITY and EVEN IF SHE FALLS leaves you wondering why they were excluded from the intial release.
Other strong stracks are the first single UP ALL NIGHT, WISHING WELL andKALEIDOSCOPE.
Some say their best album so far, every listen makes me think so too, but I still have a soft spot for the last release when the band really grew up.