God, I love this woman. I love that she is like no other musician. That her music conveys so much beauty. Her voice so much emotion. I’ve loved her since I first heard the Sugarcubes track Hit (one of the greatest pop songs of all time) back in 1992. However, it was her first single Human Behaviour, as a solo artist that I rushed out and bought on 7″ (yes I am that old) that cemented my lifelong obsession and adoration of the Icelandic singer. Yet, she is more than just a singer. She is an artist, a songwriter, a performer and a composer. Her innovative and eclectic artistry has spanned a 30 year career and I have no doubt that she has a lot more to offer. Her artistic style is so remarkable that you can currently catch a Björk exhibition at MoMA. Tragically, I still haven’t seen her live and can we please not talk about the time she played a Glastonbury that I was attending and heroically drunk on Somerset cider, I didn’t quite get round to making it to the NME Stage in time to watch her. Don’t. It’s almost as bad as the time, I didn’t quite get round to watching David Bowie at Glastonbury (you can’t possibly despair of me as much as I despair of myself).
Favourite Björk album: Homogenic (1997, no.4)
And here are all my favourite Björk songs. There’s a Spotify playlist at the end as per.
15. The Dull Flame of Desire (2008, did not chart, Volta)
14. Triumph of a Heart (2005, no.31, Medúlla)
13. Like Someone in Love (1993, album track, Debut)
12. Army of Me (1995, no.10, Post)
11. Human Behaviour (1993, no.36, Debut)
10. Unravel (1997, album track, Homogenic)
9. Pagan Poetry (2001, no.38, Verspertine)
8. Big Time Sensuality (1993, no.17, Debut)
7. Come to Me (1993, album track, Debut)
6. All Is Full of Love (1999, no.24, Homogenic)
5. Isobel (1995, no.23, Post)
4. Jóga (1997, did not chart, Homogenic)
3. Venus as a Boy (1993, no.29, Debut)
2. Bachelorette (1997, no.21, Homogenic)
And my all time favourite Björk song is…
1. Hyperballad (1996, no.8, Post)
The one that almost made it: Cosmogony (2011, did not chart, Biophilia)
Don’t forget to tell me your favourite Björk track below.
See you next week for top Suede tunes!
For other musical artist top tens click on the link:
Once when I casually mentioned in passing my attendance at university, it was met with a scoffing dismissal “Pah, I went to the University of Life, mate. No amount of education can teach you that”. True, BUT…..This wasn’t the first time me being a graduate has been criticised and met with an assumption that I know less about life because of going to university. It begs the question, do people who do this, think people stop living and experiencing life when they attend university? Like many students, I held down a part-time job during term time and worked full-time during the holidays as well as -of course- studying full-time. I met and lived with people from all different backgrounds. And I worked my tiny derriere off to obtain my degree (unlike the lazy stereotype that all students are lackadaisical). None of this is “not learning about life”. Also, university is for only 3 years (4/5 years max) of one’s life. If it truly does take you away from learning about life, it really is only for a small amount of time. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t by any means think that going to university is a superior life choice. I’m not some kind of arsehole that walks around thinking they’re better than anyone that hasn’t been to university. And of course, being or not being a graduate is not an indicator of someone’s intelligence. I knew plenty of people at uni, who I would squint at and wonder how on earth they managed to get into university and there are countless people I know who are very clever and successful, but did not attend uni (my husband being one of them). There are many life choices people can make and university is just one of many. So here’s the thing, why is it ok for some people to openly criticise my life choice of going to uni? And to criticise it in a way that demeaning my character seems to be the motivation. I give very little fucks whether you’ve been to uni or not. Why do you give any that I have? We’re all different and all make different choices about our lives. Just because something is the right choice for you, doesn’t mean that it is for everyone. Relax. Like I said, I really don’t think people care what your choices are regarding your education (and if they do- they aren’t worth worrying about). Literally, all people care about is whether you’re a wanker or not. And insinuating that I know less about life than you do because I studied for an extra 3 years than you, is you know…a bit wankerish.
Something to be cheerful about:
It ain’t all going to shit you know. In this week’s news:
sandwich chain Pret A Manger has opened a new hostel this week that will provide jobs and housing for the city’s homeless. I worked for Pret for several years and can vouch that they have always cared for the homeless. In its infancy, any left over sandwiches would be bagged up and taken to local shelters. Nothing would go to waste. Pret hopes this hostel will be the first of many to open across the country. What a great idea to break the cycle of homelessness.
scientists have said the ozone layer is continuing to recover well. The northern hemisphere is due to be repaired by 2030 and the entire layer by 2060. This is due to global reduction of harmful gases. Great news, but drastic action is still needed to help further protect the planet from climate change.
goat yoga is a thing of the past. In England, you can now do Alpaca yoga. Yep, in sunny Devon you can now do yoga classes in a field of fuzzy alpacas and mediate amongst the herd in a mindful manner. Sign me up!
Whether you have depression, have suffered from it in past, know someone who is suffering from it or just want to learn more about it (and life), then please stop and read this book. Beautifully written by Matt Haig, who relays his own personal experiences with depression and anxiety. It will make you laugh and cry in equal measures. One of those books that you feel everyone should be made to read.
Something to watch:
Roma won the BAFTA for Best Film this week (and Best Film not in the English Language, Best Cinematography and Best Director). I absolutely adored this film. Honest, moving, sweet, artistic and at times funny. After I watched it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Whilst, I’m still not 100% sure it should have won the Best Film category, it was most definitely worthy of the other three wins. You can watch it now on Netflix and if you’re a fan of films like this, then I guarantee you’ll love Roma.
Something to cook:
Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cake
Has it been Valentine’s Day this week? Well as you know, I’m not one for romance (you can read about it HERE), but I do like any excuse to bake. So, every year (if I can be bothered), I make this chocolate raspberry heart cake originally created by Annabel Karmel and slightly amended by me.
A not very good (and old school Instagrammed) photo of my chocolate raspberry heart cake
180g soft butter
180g caster sugar
180g self-raising flour
30g cocoa powder
3 large eggs
2 tbsp milk
200ml double cream
100g dark chocolate
30g unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 160/180/gas mark 4. Grease and line the bottom of a heart shaped tin (or whatever cake tins you might have at hand. I got my silicone heart shaped tin from good ole M&S)
Chuck all the cake ingredients together. Take Mary Berry’s advice and make sure everything is at room temperature. If your butter is still hard and cold- melt it in the microwave for a few seconds. Give everything a jolly good mix.
Whack it in the tin and bake it in the oven for 35-40mins. Take the tin out and leave for a couple of minutes. Then take the cake carefully out of the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.
Now, let’s make the icing. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl over the pan of simmering water. Then leave to cool.
Next, the filling. Whisk the cream until stiff. Mix with a good handful of the raspberries.
Once the cake is cooled. Carefully, oh so very carefully slice in half. Then slather a bit of raspberry jam on the bottom half. Then dollop the cream filling on top. Then place the top half on and carefully press down.
Slather more raspberry jam on the top half.
Once the icing is cool. Paste it on top of the cake and around the sides (if you like or leave the sides “naked” if you prefer that look).
Cover the top of the cake with the rest of the fresh raspberries.
Stuff it into your face and enjoy every mouthful.
Sharing this cake with your partner is not compulsory.
Something to help save the planet with:
Beeswax Wraps kids pack of 4
Beeswax Wraps: Every little helps, eh? These little gems have been fantastic. I literally haven’t used any cling film since I bought them (coupled with silicone lids I also invested in). These beeswax wraps cling to food, just like cling film. I use them to wrap sandwiches, snacks, cheese, halved veg and there’s probably lots of other ways you can use them too. You just clean them along with all the rest of your washing up and when you have used them so many times, you can no longer use them any more, they are compostable. I’ve had mine for 6 months and there’s plenty of life left in them. Buy them HERE.
Something to enjoy from the Blogosphere:
Go have a read of this blog post HERE. It is one to cheer you all up. Features a mum who is now my role model quite frankly.
Seriously, don’t mess with her.
Something to listen to:
Just Another Playlist #1- A weekly mix tape of an eclectic collection of tunes (maybe to listen to while you make the cake)
Something to laugh at:
Look no further than the SimonCowellsShoes.jpg Twitter account HERE. I am so thankful for this account. It is exactly what the internet is for.
And lastly, these french bull dogs with googly eyes are EVERYTHING:
***Don’t forget you can sign up to receive this monthly newsletter straight into your mailbox. Just click the little “Follow” box at the bottom, right hand side of the screen and enter your email address***
See you next week for the top Björk tunes (and Just Another Monthly will be back in a month’s time)!
Whilst many were fighting over who was superior- Blur or Oasis, there were many sitting to one side of this musical battle wryly commenting that it was in fact Pulp, that was the better band. Some may have said this just to be different or because they were sick of hearing about Blur or bloody Oasis. However, there was a good point to be made with that statement. Pulp were one of the best bands of the period and for me personally one of all my all time favourite bands. My affection for them started when I first heard Razzmatazz all the way back in 1993 and rushed out to buy the 7″ single. Imagine my joy when I discovered they had already been knocking out tunes since 1983 and there was already quite the back catalogue for me to delve into. But, for me, it was with their 1994 album His ‘n’ Hers that my love for Pulp really peaked. It is still to this day, one of my favourite albums. I was lucky enough to have caught them live several times, but my favourite concert of theirs was when they supported Blur at Alexandra Palace in 1994. I was right at the front and was mesmerised by their performance and Jarvis Cocker’s delectable charm. Whilst, Different Class was a fantastic album, my love for Pulp did wane some from This is Hardcore onwards.
Favourite Pulp album: His ‘n’ Hers (1994 no.9)
Have a gander at my selected favourite Pulp tunes below and let me know which are your favourite.
15. Lipgloss (1993, no.50, His ‘n’ Hers)
14. Something Changed (1996, no.10, Different Class)
13. My Legendary Girlfriend (1991, did not chart, Separations)
12. After You (2013, no.101, non-album single)
11. Mis-Shapes (1995, no.2, Different Class)
10. My Lighthouse (1983, did not chart, It)
9. She’s a Lady (1994, album track, His ‘n’ Hers)
8. Disco 2000 (1995, no.7, Different Class)
7. Masters of the Universe (1987, did not chart, Freaks)
6. Bar Italia (1995, album track, Different Class)
5. Acrylic Afternoons (1994, album track, His ‘n’ Hers)
4. Do You Remember the First Time? (1994, no.33, His ‘n’ Hers)
3. Razzmatazz (1993, no.80, non-album single)
2. Common People (1995, no.2, Different Class)
and my all time favourite Pulp song is…
1. Babies (1992,1994, no.19, His ‘n’ Hers)
The One That Almost Made It:Birds in Your Garden (2001, album track, We Love Life)
All the interchangeable covers for the Different Class album (the three of them dancing was always my favourite).
Don’t forget to tell me your favourite Pulp track below.
See you next week for the very first Just Another Monthly. A monthly news letter, that will feature something to cook, something to read, something to buy, something to watch, something to laugh at and something to listen to. Plus other stuff that I might get round to cobbling together. Hope to see you there! The following week will feature all the best tunes from Björk.
For other musical artist top tunes click on the link:
Imagine, you’re at school and you feel a little different from everyone else. Not in a way that makes you special or some kind of teenage maverick genius. Just a bit different in an ordinary way. You find solace in music. You obsessively read NME, Melody Maker and Select every week. Holding on to every word spoken by every musician, like these music publications are your version of the bible. You enthusiastically bang on about your favourite songs, your favourite lyrics and your favourite guitar riffs to your bemused friends, who are wondering why you aren’t just satisfied with listening to the Dirty Dancing soundtrack like everyone else. Then you meet someone at school, who is just like you. Is as obsessed with music as you are. Who happily listens to you endlessly talk about music, who has as much to say about it as you, who listens to all your recommendations and loves them as much as you do and who is magically also obsessed with the same British band. A band who released a mediocre debut album (in 1991), but you both love them anyway. It was their championing of subculture that got you both, it was their lyrics, it was the sound of their guitar, their trail-blazing celebration of British culture and yes, it also happened to be the prettiness of their lead singer and bassist.
I’m talking about Blur of course. It was my friendship with my fellow Blur loyalist and our need to see what else was out there outside of our hometown that led us to following Blur around on their tours, somehow ending up at their after show parties (uninvited), where I may or may not have done the following: vomited on Damon Albarn’s Adidas trainers, gifted Alex James with a poem a wrote about stars (CRINGECRINGEFUCKINGCRINGE), my friend and I drank their whole rider of wine without their permission, Graham gave me a packet of cigarettes when I’d just asked for one, I questioned Emma from Lush on when her baby was due (she wasn’t pregnant), I tried to kiss Food Records boss Andy Ross, I actually did kiss Phil Daniels in exchange for an access all areas backstage pass for me AND my friend and my mum accosted Damon outside a venue they had played at, much to mine and my friend’s horror as we were just leaving a Blur’s aftershow party feeling particular cool. That quickly dissipated seeing my mum wagging her finger in Damon’s direction. Damon and Dave were always very kind, polite and respectful. Graham was bit of a dick, but in a funny and likeable way. Alex was just a dick (but so pretty). We went on every tour of theirs, but the access into their parties soon came to an end once they became hugely successful. There was no sneaking into aftershow parties at Wembley. Quaffing riders aside, from the first album their music went from strength to strength until for me personally it dipped a bit circa 1995. From 1997, Blur returned to form with a new sound and one of their best albums, reinventing themselves in a way that their key rivals Oasis were never capable of (for the record the notorious “battle of the bands” in 1995 between Oasis and Blur when they both vied for the no.1 slot, was just embarrassing. Both records were equally dire). Blur have been together for 30 years now and in celebration of this here are my favourite songs and albums by them. There’s a Spotify playlist at the end for you all because I love you.
8. The Great Escape (1995, no.1)
7. The Magic Whip (2015, no.1)
6. Leisure (1991, no.7)
5. Think Tank (2003, no.1)
4. 13 (1999, no.1)
3. Blur (1997, no.1)
2. Modern Life is Rubbish (1993, no.15)
1. Parklife (1994, no.1)
Top 20 Songs
20. You’re So Great (1996, album track, Blur)
19. Sunday Sunday (1993, no.26, Modern Life is Rubbish)
18. Under the Westway (2012, no.34, non-album single)
17. Beetlebum (1997, no.1, Blur)
16. Entertain Me- Live it Remix (1995, B-side for The Universal and original version from The Great Escape)
15. Tender (1999, no.2, 13)
14. Popscene (1992, no.32, non-album single)
13. There’s No Other Way (1991, no.8, Leisure)
12. Theme From an Imaginary Film (1994, B-side for Parklife)
11. Young and Lovely (1993, B-side for Chemical World)
10. Coffee & TV (1999, no.11, 13)
9. Battery in Your Leg (2003, album track, Think Tank)
8. Out of Time (2003, No. 5, Think Tank)
7. End of a Century (1994, no.19, Parklife)
6. No Distance Left to Run (1999, no.14, 13)
5. Sing (1991, album track, Leisure)
4. Girls & Boys (1994, no.5, Parklife)
3. For Tomorrow- Visit to Primrose Hill extended version (1993, no.28, Modern Life is Rubbish)
2. Song 2 (1997, no.2, Blur)
And my all time favourite Blur song is…
1. This is a Low (1994, album track, Parklife)
The one that almost made it:The Wassailing Song. This was given out free on 7″ vinyl at a Christmas Blur gig I went to in Fulham in (if my memory serves me right) 1992. It’s a cover of a traditional British Christmas song and this vinyl was one of my most prized possessions. However, I have no idea where it is now (sad face).
This post is dedicated to my mate Angela. My fellow Blur loyalist.
Don’t forget to tell me your favourite Blur tune below.
See you next week for my top Pulp songs!
For other musical artist top tunes click on the link: