Monday, 17 September 2012

Inspiring shit: Neil Gaiman

It's been a while, but I think it's time for another installment of Inspiring Shit. Which doesn't mean it's shit. That would be weird if it is also inspiring. I should just stop talking nonsense right? Right.

Today's inspiring shit is about Neil Gaiman. He is an author. He writes weird and awesome stuff about Gods and falling through the cracks. Basically, he is a fantasy writer who creates worlds far different from our own, in a humourous and scary way.

Even if you're not the fantasy/sci-fi kinda guy (or gal), you might find that you actually enjoy his work. He is one of those rare authors who can switch from brilliant jokes to the most gruesome scenes and back again, without it seeming forced or strange in any way. He has a way with words which has impressed me, and naturally his stories are very appealing and imaginative.

As a student teacher, I have always found it hard to find literature that appealed to pupils. Kids who are 12/13 years old are a very hard audience to please. Whenever I used works from Neil Gaiman, I discovered that the children actually thorougly enjoy them. Especially Coraline is a very popular story for their age category. It sparks their imagination, is a haunting tale with a strong female lead character.

I guess most people are appealed to dark stories in a way. It enables us to explore the corners of our mind we usually shy away from. Neil Gaiman introduces us to them. I was very much afraid of death before, but reading a novel like the Graveyard Book, where death is presented as something that goes hand in hand with life in a funny and witty way, that fear is fading.

My favourite novel of his is Neverwhere. It was the first book I bought written by him and while I was reading it at the airport, I lost every track of time and nearly missed my flight. I won't go into plot details, you can read them here if you like: click me

If you're a comic book lover, you might probably know the Sandman series. I have always wanted to read it, but haven't got round to it yet. I was, however, very much inspired by this poem:

“All around me darkness gathers,
Fading is the sun that shone,
We must speak of other matters,
You can be me when I'm gone

Flowers gathered in the morning,
Afternoon they blossom on,
Still are withered in the evening,
You can be me when I'm gone.”

I like the deep and dark poems like this. They make you think. And as Neil Gaiman is a clever guy who has a lot to say, there are some other quotes I'd like to share;

“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up.” 
This quote is also from the Sandman series. It appeals a lot to me because I am in a way afraid of love as well. It's difficult for me to let myself go and open up completely. Ah love, such a peculiar thing.

"Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly." 
This is probably my favourite. It has inspired me to dream and to not be afraid of making mistakes anymore. Yes, things might go wrong, but maybe, just maybe if you dream enough, everything can change in a good way.

I am drifting off again. I will conclude this post by saying you should run to your local book store tomorrow and pick up some of his novels. For starters, I'd advice Neverwhere, American Gods and The Graveyard Book. If you're a fan of short stories, get Fragile Things or Smoke & Mirrors. And most of all, just enjoy the stories, and if these stories are not to your liking, enjoy other stories. Isn't that what we all need in life anyway, to fill our hearts with dreams and desires and magical places? Life would not be worth living if we wouldn't have any stories to tell...

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Seeing the same artist over and over? Shocking!

I get to hear these questions a lot: Why do you always go to gigs of the same artist? Isn't that boring? Are you obsessed or something? I used to feel the need to defend myself. These people were waiting for an explanation. To them it seemed oh so strange that someone would spend money on actually travelling to a show of their favourite artist in whatever corner of the world and shock horror, doing that multiple times? Weird. But is it weird though? I don't think so. For many people, like myself, music is a saviour. It inspires. It makes you happy. And it doesn't matter which artist you like. Sometimes music or an artist changes you in a positive way. And what's better than to actually go see a show of that artist to show your support and sing along to the songs you fucking love with like-minded people? Besides, no 2 gigs are ever the same. Different things happen. And those small differences are always the most memorable ones. So no, it is never boring. Another thing those people can't seem to grasp is that you do not have to be obsessed in order to go to multiple gigs. Yes, there are always obsessed fans who collect everything, dedicate their whole life to a certain artist and basically spend all their money on a popstar. They will do everything to get close to the artist and sometimes, things get ugly. These are the kind of fans who will break down in tears of their popstar is dating someone, because that means they don't have a chance, or fight with fans of other artists when negative things have been said about their darling. I do not see myself as such a fan. I don't collect anything, I buy the albums and go to the shows. That's about it. I like to communicate with my friends whom I met through the artist, but I am not dedicating my twitter and facebook profile to my favourite artists. I like to keep my own identity. I won't do anything extreme to get near an artist. If I get to meet them, that's cool, but I wouldn't go to their hotels, to the airport or wherever they may be in town just to see them. So whenever people call me obsessive, I just laugh it off because they have no clue about what obsession is at all.

The point is, it is my decision to see those shows in whatever country I like. It is my money after all, and well, I think I am allowed to spend it without having to justify my decisions? Some people like to hang out in the same bar every single weekend, drinking all their hard-earned euros away and forgetting all about what happened the next day. I'd rather take that money, go see a show with my friends and keep the memories.
So, do I regret going to the same show over and over? No. It's a part of me. It are moments where I can be completely free and forget about all worries. It's what makes me happy. So no matter what people say, if you want to see the same artist a million times, don't let anyone stop you. Just do whatever makes you happy.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Piano music

I am a sucker for piano music. It's probably the only instrument that can bring me to tears when it produces a beautiful melody. There is one artist I like in particular. His name is Yiruma. And because I am a sharing kind of person, I will share some of his most beautiful melodies with you.

That's all for today!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

L'oreal Studio Line Sessions

Hey kids! It's been a while since I've done one of those blogs and well, while I'm at it, I might as well tell you all about the happy events of yesterday.

As you may or may not have known, but I mentioned it quite often on Twitter so you didn't know, then shame on you, it was the L'oreal Studioline Sessions gig with our favourite popstar, Mika! I don't know why I just said our. That only makes it seem like I have multiple personalities. Aaaanyways...
After weeks of not knowing if we could go because of ticket issues, ya know, we got the green light. Yay! Otherwise I would've just went there anyway to see if I could get in, but hey, certaintly is always so much better for the heart. So, the remaining weeks, Niko and I planned everything from outfit to make up and were just being excited little fangirls until the day finally arrived.
At 11.30 Niko arrived from Far Far Awayland, drank all the iced tea and fucked up my make up. After a few attempts it looked okay and he continued to curl my hair and spray a fuck load of hair spray in it. It worked though, for the first time in my life, my curls did not magically disappear within 5 minutes. Because we had nothing better to do, at 1.30, we left for Amsterdam in the bubbles mobile!
Amsterdam welcomed us quite early. It took a while for us to find the venue, but when we did, I was fucking glad they had a cafe next to it. We basically spent our whole day sitting there. I freed a wasp who couldn't miss me and returned again, had nacho's and drinks and chatted about everything. It would have been fine with me if we could've just stayed there forever, but Niko wanted to queue and as we had been there for ages, we might as well go to the front then.
The fact that it was guest list worried me somewhat, because how were they going to organise the drama? Luckily, it went okay, we got in, we got to the front and all was well. He was half an hour late, but hey, what's new?

The gig was good, he sang quite a few new songs and the moments he had his eyes open were magic. During the uptempo songs, he really gave it his all, while during the slower songs, he mostly had his eyes closed. But hey, that's fine. The audience did talk through the songs they didn't know, which was slightly annoying as it brought back memories of the Q-music showcase. It was fun though, he was really close and way too short.

After the gig I caught up with some people I know and haven't seen in ages, before heading outside the see if we could meet him. We got a goodiebag, which was the main reason why I was there and we walked around the building to where the trucks were.
It did not take long for him to come out. His mother came out first and was lovely as always. This meeting went quite well. We were asked to form a line and people mostly obeyed. He was in a good mood but in a hurry. When he came to us, he first spoke to the others, commented how great Niko looks and then he asked me how I was as usual. I replied after which he said: "It's always good to see you again." My heart melted. We joked around a bit with the buddha I gave him (to wish him good luck for the album, because I am a thoughtful person) and he said that it wasn't TOO scary and I was acting very hurt and turned my back on him once again. We made up though, because that's how we roll.

After we were done, we walked to the car, dropped Nielo and Linde off at Central Station. Then, Niko and I drove off to the horizon. The end.

Btw, here are pics of the most important part of the evening, The goodiebag:

It included a promo cd of Celebrate (which I first thought was just a lame copy, but it is actually official and not for sale!) and some random bottle of L'oreal stuff to make your hair matt and wild. Who doesn't want wild hair after all?

The only video I took:

Mika - Step with me @ L'oreal Studio sessions 3-09-2012 from Ingrid Chant on Vimeo.

That's all folks.