30.4.12

MYTHBUSTERS: on the alleged horrors of final year

It seemed like my birthday party more or less lasted about 10 days in some form or another, and though it seems like aaaages ago now that lots of wonderful people turned up to our gaff dressed in their Finest Fantasia Threadz (we had Chernabogs and Yen Sids, rainbow ladies and grape-bedraggled wine gods, unicorns and sparkly fawns, dancing Chinese mushrooms and amoebas.....obviously the previous post was effective), I suppose it really only was like 3 weeks ago. True to form I've achieved a delightfully measly amount since then and I'm having a real hard time resenting that, because I'm off to Paris in a week's time to see some gigs and burying your head in the sand is so much easier when you're in a pretty place where you don't understand what anybody's saying and can just thwart the worries with PASTRY and LOUD NOISES.

So I sort of feel like it's dangerous to even admit to thinking this - but, well... I got told time and time again by basically everybody I know that has graduated before me (so basically all of my peers and a frightening amount of people my brain still classes as children) that final year is the suckiest, lamest, shittiest, most horrific time of your life, EVER. Like, I was setting myself up for damage control against suicide tendencies and a year-long sense of impending doom. No doubt, there have been doomy parts: I have indeed found myself crying in front of tutors (this was as much tactical as it was genuine panic and frustration - art tutors go into autopilot when confronted with human emotion), and there have been moments where I've had to extract myself from my housemates because THEY'RE GOING TO TELL ME IT'S ALL GOING TO BE OKAY and IT CLEARLY FUCKING ISN'T...... but well, actually, I think they had a point all along and it probably will all be fine, y'know? Higher education is actually one big funny hilarious joke anyway! My art tutor, the head of our course and a man who probably earns like alotta dough to tell budding artists about the vitality of art and the 'operacy of making' and 'exploration of materials'....well, his favourite band is COLDPLAY, and he EMPLOYS OTHER PEOPLE to make his art for him. He looks at you like you've just asked to purchase his firstborn off him if you so much as say hello (this really really is not an exaggeration, ask anybody on my course to impersonate his 'reaction to greetings face'), and I doubt that he'd be able to describe in detail one piece of work I've ever made. I'm sure if he was pressed to do this, he'd blame this on my inadequacy as an artist. I have paid approximately £11,000 over the past four years for the privilege of receiving this guidance. Total LOLZ!

But basically, I have arrived at the conclusion that the only way to fight against this BIG HEAP OF SMELLY BULLSHIT- which is exactly what it is, and no tutor is going to convince me otherwise this late in the game - is to enjoy making stupid shit and find a way of contextualizing it as my art. This is likely to be the last time in my life that I receive a loan to make art. Somehow, my loan this year has stretched to financing global gallivanting to see awesome bands and meet some amazing people. So yeah, that's another lie: final year isn't all poverty and living on beans. I went to the Bahamas! I'm going to Paris next week! (Student Loans Company do appear to have gone a bit gung-ho and potentially overpaid me...I understand my position is probably somewhat unique) This week, I've mainly been making a giant pair of papier mache hands and discussing my rap collab with my housemate whilst rolling around in a giant bag of beans that we're fashioning into fairy bums, whilst occasionally stopping to drink wine/paint our mural/watch Saturday Night Telly/have an impromptu living room wrestling tournament with some fellow artists/make burgers/play an 11-strong full-blown Articulate TOURNAMENT that WILL descend into mayhem. I literally cannot think of a more idyllic life. It's sort of ridiculous actually. And if you wanna ask me to contextualize: Matthew Stone: 'Optimism As Cultural Rebellion', Rirkit Tiravanija and his orgy-filled Apartment (obvz my version is probably a bit tamer), Andrew WK and his whole philosophy on Everything ('party hard'?? duh go watch his lectures). Like, I've thought it alllll through. It's totally art! It's failsafe!

I suppose it might not prove to be totally failsafe - I mean, I might ACTUALLY FAIL, but I think I probably won't and if I don't I'll probably have another lovely party about it or something and if I do fail it's because my tutors are obviously massive chumps so I WIN AGAIN! HAHA! FINAL YEAR RULES!

3.4.12

no excuses

Man, throwing parties is hard work. I'm turning twenty-one again next Monday, and after a string of depressing shitty birthdays, I decided to take matters into my own hands and organise some sort of do. I decided to make the theme Fantasia, based on the fact that it is a brilliant film with a baffling amount of scope for stupid ass costumes.

Now y'all are hollerin' at me all like 'Lauren! Gimme ideas for costumes I dunno what to be!' Like as if I have time when I am planning multiple costume changes for myself! Man! So in the name of people having NO EXCUSES in terms of costumes, I'm giving you a rundown of ideas. Man I thought I'd given a wide enough brief for people to go crazy! Seems like some of you just want life making easy. Hell, come as Mickey Mouse if you wanna! I promise nobody will call you predictable. PROMISE. Because obviously I just did that now to get it out of the way.

So here we go....

A CONDUCTOR


Maybe you wanna keep it classy and formal, and I would definitely welcome that notion with open arms. Everybody envies Leopold Stokowsky commanding that badass orchestra, shaking hands with Mickey Mouse (BORING), and when he has a little chat with that string thing. 'Ho ho ho, don't be shy!' Crack out yer dickiebow and tailcoat and party like it's 1940.


YEN SID


This mean motherfucker. I think I'll be pretty disappointed if nobody takes this opportunity to be the original badass Disney bruiser since....well, Walt. Cape, hat, sneer and MASSIVE BEARD absolute necessities.


CHERNABOG


Also known as Satan, but mainly known as CHERNABOG, which is what I'll probably be calling my firstborn. LITTLE BABY CHERNABOG. I wanna see someone go ALL OUT with this one.


A FAIRY


There are like a billion awesome naked fairies that make the seasons change and do stuff in awesome ways. It's so easy to be a naked fairy. Though I will say that I am going to spend at least a portion of the evening as the icy winter fairy, so don't do that because that would be like, super embarrassing. FOR YOU.


A DANCING MUSHROOM


What could be more adorable than a little dancing mushroom hailing from the Orient? Though again I will warn you, my housemate is coming as the little mushroom (his name is Hop Low), and my housemate is very little and dyspraxic and basically you will never be Hop Low in her company, because I have a feeling that she may actually be Hop Low.


A FLOOOOOWWWER!


There are so many frickin' flowers in this segment of the film. Hell, come as the big white one if you're feeling all superior. OOH JUST GOT THE SUBTEXT THERE. Walt, you scamp! Jeeeeesus.


AN AMOEBA


Pleeeease, somebody come as the amoeba. I have no idea how you'd manage it but I may make some sort of prize for whoever is brave enough to tackle this challenge.


A SEXY FISH


Check out the tail on this saucy lady kipper. Another housemate has dibs on this and she is super sexy AND fishy so tread/swim carefully.


A DINOSAUR


Oh wow, well this came up when I google'd fantasia dinosaur. If this ain't inspiration I dunno what is? Make reference to the bit of Fantasia that most kids had to FFW. SCARY SHIT! Be the tuff T-Rex, the sad Stegosaurus or the chillin' Diplodocus, whatever takes your fancy.


BACCHUS GOD OF WINE


This fuckin guy! Drunken unicorn sidekick also an EXCELLENT look.


A CENTAUR


Lol Deviantart <3 basically I'm really bored now and have like a million other party things to do like buy hay bales, arrange fairy lights, cajole the cute boy I saw at the skate ramp to lend me his rollerblades (SO COOL) for my costume, finish a massive wall mural, make party snacks and chips and dips and eggs and steaks, but whatever: be a faun, a cherub, Iris the rainbow goddess, ZEUS THE KING OF GODS (!!!), that other dude with the lightning, A DANCING HIPPO, an ostrich ballerina (also gonna dress as that so be careful), a saucy fez/cape-wearing alligator sex pest.... YAWN THIS SHOULD BE THE EASIEST COSTUME PARTY EVER!

For those of you still lacking in inspiration and in the Leeds area, I'm having a pre-party screening on the Thursday and if y'all ask me real nicely I might make burgers. Come one, come all, bring wine! FOR ME!

NO EXCUSES PEOPLE <3

14.3.12

STEAK AND BJ DAY

Dunno whether it's a combination of this milestone holiday, or procrastination sending my brain towards subjects that have as little as possible to do with with WERK, but I've recently been thinking about how pitiful my this year has been in terms of dudes. I'm actually really bored of it now. It's just kinda difficult because whilst I have the 'urges' in my brain probably as frequently as a 14-year-old-boy, I also have the social skills to match. It's very very sad, I have a lot of love to give. In the spirit of LOVE and GENEROSITY, I have compiled a list of men here that I would definitely cook a mean steak for.

Andrew WK might even be my favourite man.


Devendra.


Young Matt Dillon (he hasn't aged well)


Hendrix arguably aged worse


Cobain <3


OH GOD. Young Tom Waits. He still looks great but he's too terrifying. Young starting out Tom Waits must've been THE ultimate fox.


John Dwyer. Couldn't even look directly at him on the Bruise Cruise. Every time he walked past me I think I held my breath. He can never know how much I love him.


Heems on the right in a lovely little duffle coat


Heems gets two <3


Diego Luna > Gael Garcia Bernal. Though I'd definitely be more than happy for both of them to drive me around the Mexican coast, even if they were stupid and made lots of fart jokes in Spanish that I could barely understand. It's not like that's never happened before. Then I could trick them into the threesome thing. Sadly the same cannot be said of that.

*sigh* back to the dissertation

10.3.12

EYE OF THE TIGER

Illustration by Dina Kelberman of Wham City fame

So, it would appear that I have reached what is commonly known as Crunch Time with this whole uni business. In 3 months time I shall be free, FREE AS A BIRD, and I will have at least a few blissful weeks of Summer, where my slovenly lazy lifestyle will be completely justified, EARNED even. For once. Maybe. Of course this all depends on my capability of doing the thing, the stuff, the work, which lately I’ve had my doubts about.

Final year has seemed like a series of mini-epiphanies followed by bouts of LIFE-ENDING PANIC, punctuated by long, aimless periods of idling away time staring into space. The long, aimless bits mostly. This week I pretty much convinced myself that I have ADHD and went about trying desperately to get hold of some Ritalin or Adderall or SOMETHING to stop me getting distracted by everything from going shopping (particularly bad form of procrastination due to no money) to staring at the washing machine wondering how many rotations it does per second if it’s going at like 1400 rpm (23.3 reoccurring, which I obviously had to work out without a calculator because then that would make it easy and take less time and WE DON’T WANT THAT!). And then I wondered how can something rotate THAT MANY TIMES in a SECOND if it takes me 2 HOURS TO EAT BREAKFAST. None of this has been vastly conducive to me getting my dissertation wrote as I’m sure you can imagine. And that 12,000-word baby is to be handed in in less than 3 weeks. How did we arrive here, man?!

Other manifestations of my reluctance have included throwing a million dinner parties, drinking all the alcohol I can find in my kitchen until six in the morning, frequent ‘self-abuse’ (oversharing? NAHH), potentially developing an overactive thyroid and needing to eat approximately every 10 minutes, reading Rookie Mag religiously (Tavi is MY GURL), meditation (joined a meditation group lol, still waiting for it to really take effect?), watching videos of Beyonce for ‘inspiration’ (I’m okay for that to continue)…. The list is endless. It’s awful. Also keep getting distracted by thinking about how mind-bogglingly AMAAAAZING this Summer is definitely going to be – festivals, sunshine (I hope?), week-long periods of inebriation (which will all be afforded via me potentially selling my body to science, more on that another time…), and other exciting brilliant things potentially including having a JOB that will let me do FUN THINGS for LEGIT REASONS. We’ll see how all of that unfolds I guess.

But really – really really, I gotta face the facts and accept my main achille’s heel of procrastination – motherfunkin pissyshittin FACEBOOK. So tonight my friends, I shall be deactivating my account for as long as I can stand it to be done for. I mean it. Really really. So you’ll have to hit me up on email or on my phone, which I’m not very good at answering (not a lifestyle choice so much as general ineptitude). Y’all who might need my number should have it. Actually no that’s not true nobody knows my number apparently. OH WELL. Let’s see how my social life hilariously crumbles away. But yeah, I’m hoping it means I’ll blog a bit more because well, shit – how else am I gonna procrastinate?

More illustrations by Dina Kelberman because she pretty much articulates my tardy brain way better than I will ever be able to because I am too tardy. Dammit!









19.2.12

PROBLEM!

I really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really REALLY DO NOT CARE ABOUT MY DEGREE ANYMORE.

If anybody can share some wise words with me about motivation or feeling inspired? Maybe point me in the direction of some sort of inspirational video lecture on TED or something? That will change my perspective on life? And propel me towards greatness? And maybe even stop me wanting to spit at my tutors every time I cross them in the department? That would be rad.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHH

17.2.12

VOMITING INFESTATION CRUISE 2012

What timezone am I to find myself in, on a day where I go for a 'nap' at 7.30pm (got up at 4pm), to wake again at 1.30am, eat dinner, and then sleep again from 3-6pm? I think I might currently be existing in Samoa's lost day or something. Literally have reached the point of no return - none of this routine makes any sort of sense anywhere in the world. I need fixing by some sort of sleep expert, if this degree is to ever be finished. Farcical.

Obviously I think the thing that tipped me thoroughly over the edge was my ridiculous voyage to the Caribbean over the past couple of weeks. This time last week....well, actually - pretty much precisely this time last week I was in the midst of a pretty hardcore Bad Sushi Vom Sesh on the high seas, when I should've been shakin' what my momma neglected to give me with N'Awlins Bounce Babe, Vockah Redu. Gutted. This digestive failure was also timed pretty well to thwart my involvement with THE BRUISE CRUISE DATING GAME, which I obviously signed up for because I figured well, WHY NOT? Not being able to be more than 10 metres away from a bathroom was WHY NOT my friends. I guess I am destined - as I had initially indeed thought - to die alone. Shame.

So yeah, to any of you 2011BC MASSIVE that couldn't make it this year - DON'T WORRY. I was in no fit state to party hard like old times. It was a fuckin bummer and I was really pissed off and I did kick many a bathroom door, faceless corridor, spangly elevator, bedazzled retarded carnival imagination fascia in hilariously impotent lonely frustration in between crying and puking on Friday night (a bit like this but with less somersaults I guess). It all started off so promisingly: I was stealing drinks left right and centre and was actually pretty drunk by mid-afternoon just in time for the HOLY SHIT DOUBLE WHAMMY of The Dirtbombs and Thee Oh Sees. Super stoked. I hate to even say this at all ever about this band, but The Dirtbombs....for me....were kind of disappointing. I know I know I know I just shouldn't even be such a lame-o killjoy: I just know that last time I saw them, they were so MINDBOGGLINGLY BADASS that I actually starting crying during their first song, and that still happens on a pretty regular basis with amazing gigs so like, I KNOW I'm not suddenly above highly embarrassingly earnest displays of emotion at garage rock shows. They were pretty out-of-tune and the vocals were painfully-too-quiet (a problem all weekend) and they just didn't seem in sync with each other? I mean, it was still GOOD. But I guess I expected to be moved to tears again or something. Sorry. Tough crowd?

Obviously no such problem with Thee Oh Sees for whom it seems obsolete for me to even say anymore about. I mean, I'm nearly in tears just watching them SOUNDCHECK. There's just that overwhelming buzz in the room that Something Good Is About To Happen. And now they have two drummers and that is obviously as brilliant as you would imagine it to be and more (watch out dirtbombs!). John Dwyer also wore my hat for a bit and I proceeded to die of happiness. They absolutely KILLED IT at the pre-party the night before. My face was hurting from smiling so much afterwards. Basically, they are the best live band playing today. End of. Oh and also probably on record too. It's beyond ludicrous how much I love them.

So, SATURDAY AT THE BAHAMAS I dosed up on some trusty Mexican painkillers, determined to power through the busy day at the beach (I know tough life). The sea was awesome and I bobbed about in the turquoise waves and reluctantly turned down the plentiful rum that was being offered my way. FRUSTRATING! But there was some good hustle with the Bruisers, and they proved themselves to be a similarly super smiley friendly bunch as with last year. Woulda been nice to have some fellow foreigners, I think pretty much everybody else was from the US, and after a few days I was so aware of my hammy Britishness that I would've refrained from talking if I didn't find it so impossible, but the novelty aspect seemed to win me fans (wearing fairy lights in your hair and commandeering impromptu Twister sessions in the library will also achieve this, viddy photos!). The Togas played on the Saturday night at SeƱor Frogs and they were awesome and I love Ty Segall so much and wish so much that he was my goofy older brother. He was ridiculously bashful when I tried to tell him that Goodbye Bread was my favourite album of last year when we briefly spoke on Thursday, like as if he genuinely wasn't even slightly aware of how excellent he is. And then he fuckin' delivered a set like that with The Togas and again on guitar the following day with Mikal Cronin. And then continued to be all unassuming and bashful and lovely whenever I bumped into him in the all-you-can-eat-buffet. A prince amongst men.

Sunday was the day that things started to improve healthwise (though I had by this point cultivated some impressively gross-looking bed bug bites all over myself from my stay in Miami, VICTORIANA CHIC?), and so by this point I was pretty determined to at least drink something. This did not prove to be difficult when my roommate Aly woke me at 5am - Fredovitch of the Shrines in tow - and demanded I come upstairs and party. Obviously I put some clothes on and obliged, and emerged from my bathroom to find Fredovitch dressed in pretty much all of my clothes, so we went up onto the deck and chatted 'til like 8am, discussing how we would style him for Sunday's fine dining. So later that day obviously this happened:

Yes, that is Fredovitch wearing my dress and hat, with Jello Biafra from the Dead Kennedys. This sort of thing could only happen on that boat.

Like I say, Sunday was the day that things started to improve. The weather was fucking terrible and the boat was all over the place, but Quintron and Pussycat were AMAZING, probably my highlight of the weekend (even trumping Thee Oh Sees), and Vockah Redu and his Cru got up onstage with them and everyone was like WHAT'S HAPPENING and started dancing like crazy....and then King Khan and the Shrines were also brilliant and Neil Hamburger was tasteless and hilarious and I managed to eat some food. We partied on into the small hours, we danced on-deck for Quintron's swamp deck party, we played Twister in a 'library' (the cupboards with the books in were locked, clearly for display only; the boardgames however were accessible, obviously), we ran around trying to socialise with as many bruisers as possible before debarkation, everyone ate breakfast pizza and I avoided so much as looking at anything in the buffet.

So, in conclusion I should probably just let the pictures do the talking. Obviously, the 2011BC massive were horribly missed, but I still had heaps of fun, but next year I AM FUCKING TAKING MY OWN MOTHERFUCKING FOOD. Future Bruisers can learn from my mistakes. Once again, I make the bad decisions so you don't have to! New post no doubt coming soon: How Going On An Extravagant Holiday to the Caribbean Can Spectacularly Fuck Up your Higher Education.

All photos by the wonderful Ian Witlen and darling Monica McGivern - I had the spectacular fortune of spending most of my weekend with these excellent photographers, viddy more of their work HERE (Ian), and HERE (Monica).


Carnival Imagination docked into the port of Nassau, the Bahamas, the place that god forgot. Literally, last year within 5 minutes of getting off the boat we were offered crack. Ladies, if you are left drunk and unattended for like a minute, you probably WILL get raped. Grim as fuck. Nice beach though.



Gettin' down for The Dirtbombs and Thee Oh Sees, before The Sickness.... :-(


Introducing new BFFs from BC2, Miss Aly Gore and Miss Lindsay Griffith! With some dude!


I have been wearing the hat since in the hope that I too will become a genius.


In the words of spirit brother Seth from Superbad, 'looking into his eyes...... is like the first time you heard the Beatles'. WORLD'S BEST MAN


Vockah Redu doing his thing. Literally the most beautiful human being I've ever seen, he looks like he's carved out of stone. Sadly I missed his set due to puking/turning my bowels inside out. Less beautiful.


Definitely a favourite moment of the weekend was when Ian, Monica and I were trying to find something to do after the SWAMP DECK party, and we found that not only was the library unlocked, but it had TWISTER in the cupboard, still somehow in cellophane?! I immediately ran around trying to find people to tell, it took me around 0.034 seconds to get these lovely gals involved. TEAMWORK!


It didn't take long to descend into silliness. 'IF I'M OUT I'M TAKING Y'ALL OUT WITH ME!' is a new tactic I will be sure to remember.


This is Vockah Redu's reaction to Twister, and my reaction to looking into the face of the World's Most Beautiful Man. What a great day!


Aaaand of course I was re-united with World's Best Woman, Emily! These outfits were not planned. I didn't even realise how hilariously matched we were until I saw the pics.

Shelly and Stella of Denver, ultimate transmittors of good vibez


I was so troubled when I found out this lady was also on the boat. I considered trying to talk to her but literally every time I looked at her with any vague intent to do so, I literally STARTED TO CRY. She smiled at me one time and I sent her a love heart and she laughed. I think I cried again after that.


Ty with The Togas. Best drunken version of Helter Skelter I've ever heard.


THE KING!


Aaaaaand here's me, fooling you all into thinking I'm not ill. CHILLIN' LIKE A VILLAIN!

nehru jackets

Before I dive headfirst into trying to summarise a most bizarre week on the high seas/in the Bahamas/Miami/Mexico, I figured I'd cut to the chase and talk about the most important bit - the music that so enjoyably soundtracked my trip. And weirdly it wasn't garage rock for the most part. I bought my mate's old iPod the day before I left and made it my priority to stock it up with a few mixtapes I'd been meaning to get my ears around.

So Das Racist are pretty big these days and I'm guessing/hoping you'll have heard of them. Which is why I don't understand how Heems' solo effort only has like 1,000 listeners on last.fm? This needs changing - I haven't even managed to get through the whole damn thing yet (25 tracks) because frankly the first half has been killing it for me. Good to know I'll have a whole other half to enjoy for when/if I tire it out. IT IS SO SO GOOD. Bangles, in particular, is the smoothest thing I have heard in forever. And NYC Cops, man. Some pretty terrifying statistics set to the most devastating production I've heard from anything by Das Racist yet.




Also, LOOK AT HIS LOVELY FACE. What a babe. Get it!