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Links & Stuff #4

Sunday, July 20th, 2014 | Filed under: Links and Stuff

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I actually end up with fewer links when uni’s out. Less procrastination, less screen time. Here’s a few cool things since last we linked, though:

As I said, short links post. Plenty of cool things, though – hope you enjoy! And stay tuned – I’ve been working on some other content (wow), so you can expect some mixtapes, an excessively lengthy personal essay about music, and some photo posts soon.

Enjoy your Sunday, guys!

I went to see Lorde and now I have thoughts

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014 | Filed under: Music

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I went to see Lorde play in Sydney on Saturday night. Being me, I can’t just go to a concert. I have to go to a concert, analyse every element of the experience intensely, form lots of opinions, and write a bunch of words about it on the internet for about three people to read. It’s just how I work. I don’t feel at all qualified/organised enough to call this a proper review, though, so consider it a Part-Introspective-Rambling, Part-Review sort of type-y thing, yeah? Cool. Let’s do this.

First and foremost, despite later griping, this review is not meant to be a wholly negative thing. Lorde’s performance was fantastic. I’ve been watching her performances wherever I can find them online for most of the duration of her fame, and she has improved so much. Her dancing especially has grown into something fiercely passionate and beautiful and enthralling. She uses her hair as an extension of her body. The way she moves perfectly embodies her sound. Her storytelling is exquisite, both in song and between them. Complemented by beautiful lighting and an incredible support act (Safia were new to me, but blew me away), I have very few, if any complaints for Lorde herself or the performance delivered. They were everything I had hoped for.

The venue and the crowd, however, were not. I’ll be brief about the venue, because if you’ve been there, you probably know what I mean. I was warned about Hordern Pavilion’s enormous mosh and poor views, but even so, I think I underestimated it. And perhaps in a different crowd, in the right kind of crowd, the nature of the venue wouldn’t be such an issue. In this particular crowd, though, the venue only fed into general crowd shittiness. And that’s my greater gripe, because even though this was a reasonably calm and safe crowd (no-one was being crushed by the mosh or anything, no-one had to be lifted out), the way so many of the people there conducted themselves sat very much in tension with the ideas that I personally have taken from Lorde’s music.

Perhaps I just have strange high standards, but I’ve always seen the magic of concerts as being partly the solidarity with so many other anonymous humans who exist for that moment in co-feeling with you, connected by the music and the ideas that you love. I’ve felt this solidarity at a number of concerts, but perhaps never more strongly than at The National earlier this year. The unique and glorious thing about that concert is that The National doesn’t really have incidental fans; it has people who live and breathe and drink in the sound, who know every word to every song, who fall into a reverent hush for the quiet songs and joyously belt out Mr. November and laugh at Matt Berninger’s terrible crowdsurfing. At The National, the experience I had was of a crowd that was one. People got it. People connected. People respected the music and the performance and the people.

Maybe that experience was unique to that particular concert. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that fans of The National tend to be of a slightly older demographic than fans of Lorde. Perhaps it was the venue, or a combination of these things. Perhaps that’s too much to hope for. But that concert set a high standard for me for concert attendance – something essentially on par with a religious experience – and none of that was present at Lorde on Saturday.

Here’s the thing. Maybe I read Lorde differently to other people, but I’ve always found something very profound in her music. I’ve always found depth and meaning in it, a kind of existential comfort, and crucially, a sense of immense solidarity over the experience of being liminal and teenage and fluid and hollow and negotiating growing up. The solidarity has always been what’s important to me. Lorde’s music is anthemic because it expresses that depth of feeling and solidarity so perfectly. So I expected, in a way, for the fans and the crowd to reflect that solidarity.

How wrong I was.

More so than any crowd I’ve been in, this crowd was selfish. Selfish like tall-people-pushing-to-stand-right-in-front-of-short-people-without-a-touch-of-remorse-or-awkwardness. Selfish as in a free-for-all for grabbing a view and a glimpse of Lorde. Selfish as in talking loudly through songs. Selfish as in filming the entire time on smartphones, blocking the already obscured view of the people the smartphone-wielders had already pushed past.

Even more, this crowd was rude. It was a study in deindividuation at play (nerdy psych student times). People yelled not only between songs, but through them (I don’t mean yelling the lyrics, I mean shit like “marry me Lorde”). A girl behind me continuously yelled things like “you have a perfect body, fuck me Ella” and “You’re so hottttttt”. These things sit uncomfortably with me. I don’t care that Lorde couldn’t hear them. It was still a disservice to her, and to her fans, and to the people who were there respectfully, to reduce all of that talent and meaning and hard work and, y’know, real fucking person into a body, into an obsession with attractiveness, into a selfish call for attention.

I have no power to stop these things, but I wish it had been different. I wish that people could come together in a crowd with respect and reverence and passion. I wish that it was general practice, and not just a rare occasion with a fantastic crowd, for people to be quiet during the slow songs, for people to refrain from yelling non-lyric shit/talking in the middle of songs, and refrain from yelling dehumanising and insensitive things altogether. I wish that it was generally accepted to maybe take a snap or two with your phone, but then to put it away, and be in the moment. I wish it was a given that people would be aware of their space at things like this, aware that raising their phone blocks someone’s view, aware that there’s not room right there for you to push in front without crushing someone, aware that if you are tall you can probably suffer to stand a little further back, let some short people forward, help everyone enjoy it. There is such a potential for collective good at concerts, and it goes ignored. Especially at a concert of an artist whose predominant theme is solidarity, I expected – hoped f0r – better.

Lorde is not responsible for the behaviour of her fans, perhaps not even aware, but she has some power to stop it. If you ever have that power, if you ever command the stage, please consider these few things. Firstly, scrutinise the venues at which you perform. Where possible, opt for quality over capacity. Do what you can to make it a beautiful and not just a lucrative experience. Secondly, use the power you wield for some good – remind your audience to be aware of themselves, of those around them. Remind your audience that when they raise their phones, they block people’s view. Encourage your audience to make sure people don’t get crushed, and that shorter people can see. Encourage your audience to quiet for the beautiful still songs. Encourage that kind of spiritual solidarity and co-feeling that concerts like this should be.

Maybe I’m just an idealist. I’m going to cling to the ideal, though. I’m waiting for the day when I return to see Lorde again, and when everyone sings “we’re on each other’s team” in unison, I feel it.

mixtape: seventeen

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014 | Filed under: Mixtapes, Music

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coverI’m eighteen today. Or will be. I’m writing this in the past, because 8tracks is a Royal Pain and I wanted to not spend my birthday fighting it, and also because eighteen-year-old me is probably out doing something cool. So thoughts on “adulthood” will reach this blog later, when I get back. Right now, at the time of writing, I’m in my last few days of being seventeen, and I’m deeply nostalgic, because hey, this is me. I get nostalgic over throwing out post-it notes, half the time.

I like being seventeen, even though “being seventeen” is incredibly arbitrary. I suspect that a large part of that liking comes down to the fact that seventeen is a particularly pleasing word to me, for some reason. Eighteen, not so much. I think I have some kind of prejudice against even numbers. There’s also the fact that eighteen is so strongly associated with “adulthood”, and even though I relish the extra freedom I’ll get (perk: not having to walk to a debating teammate’s unfamiliar house in an unfamiliar suburb alone at 2am because everyone else got into the bar), I dislike being confronted with change.

There will potentially be more introspective rambling about existentially fraught numbers at a later point, but for now, I’ll let the mixtape speak for the feeling. Rather than being an anticipatory mix, like so many of the birthday-related mixes out there, this one’s pure nostalgia – a sort-of-commemoration of the experience of being seventeen. This is not a terribly original mixtape – there’s only so many songs that mention the word “seventeen”. Nonetheless, I present to you a selection of seventeen songs I’ve loved and listened to to various degrees throughout my year of being seventeen, all of which feature the word seventeen in either the title or lyrics. You can listen to it here on 8tracks, if you feel so inclined, or you can read the tracklist/some memorable lyrics in my shitty handwriting below.

track list

 

lyrics 1

lyrics 2On another nostalgic note, my 18th birthday marks this blog’s fourth. Four years of writing to about four readers. You guys rock (and I need to pick up my game!)

 

 

 

Links and Stuff #3: Brought to you by Extreme Nerves and Self-Doubt

Sunday, July 6th, 2014 | Filed under: Links and Stuff

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Hey kids. Today I had a family function because my birthday is soon, and it was, like every family function, hectic and loud and full of people Making It About Them. But the food was good and my small cousin is adorable, so it was a pretty swell time overall. Also in news this week is Extreme Self Doubt because I’m in the process of cobbling together an application to write for a student paper, which is not even important except that everything I write gets overthought and overwrought and worried about to the nth extreme. My capacity to write is simultaneously one of my most prized and most doubted/scrutinised characteristics. Stressful stuff.

Phew, mini brain-dump over. On to the links!

And there we are! If you are reading this/clicking these links, give me a shout in the comments below. It’s nice to be reminded that you’re not a solitary voice shouting into the void.

Until next post, friends.

Getting crafty

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014 | Filed under: Photoblogs

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In a time-honoured tradition that can be charted through the pages of this blog, I got sick pretty much immediately once semester finished. Consequently, I’ve spent the intervening week curled up in my room in huge fuzzy jumpers drinking tea and stuffing around on the internet. I also missed last weekend’s links post, which was obviously sorely missed by my zero readers.

I did get two vaguely productive things done while sick, though. I spent today trawling through HTML and CSS to deliver this semi-new, mostly just tweaked layout. I think it’s an improvement on the last one, but I imagine I’ll be sick of it eventually. Notably, this layout has multiple posts on the one page, so you can scroll and read to your heart’s content (for five posts, then you’ll have to turn the page). It’s lovely and reader-friendly…now all I need are readers, heh.

The blog hasn’t been my only creative outlet, though. Yesterday, in a fit of questionable and possibly fever-induced decision-making, I decided to make some, uh, collages. I think they turned out pretty cool, though, so here: feast your eyes.

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