29 December 2011

Clenched Soul

an appropriately melancholy poem by Pablo Neruda. reminds me of a quote in Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye - I'm as happy as a clam, firmly closed.

things are never as they seem, people put on appearances because everyone's supposed to be happy.

even if they're not.

We have lost even this twilight.
No one saw us this evening hand in hand
while the blue night dropped on the world.

I have seen from my window
the fiesta of sunset in the distant mountain tops.

Sometimes a piece of sun
burned like a coin in my hand.

I remembered you with my soul clenched
in that sadness of mine that you know.

Where were you then?
Who else was there?
Saying what?
Why will the whole of love come on me suddenly
when I am sad and feel you are far away?

The book fell that always closed at twilight
and my blue sweater rolled like a hurt dog at my feet.

Always, always you recede through the evenings
toward the twilight erasing statues.

27 December 2011

2011 in review, with a heavy heart

I haven't posted here since the Stone Roses reformed (no North American dates YET, those wankers), and that was a long time ago (over 2 months ago) but I've been busy.
  • starting at the end of October 2011 TGTF became the Guardian Music-endorsed TGTF, showing up regularly on their "Best of the Music Blogosphere" blog roll. (at the time of this writing, my Top Gigs of 2011 is still sitting on their blog roll, which is pretty cool for Casiokids, Dutch Uncles, White Lies, the Joy Formidable and the Coronas, b/c they got attention I'm sure they weren't expecting.) in early December I was asked by two members of Delphic WHY I was still hawking TGTF badges on my holiday in Manchester and the answer was, "we are now the Guardian-endorsed TGTF, I have a reputation to protect!" this included making sure we had plenty of not just content but GOOD content for them to choose from. which meant many, many late nights for me.
  • speaking of that holiday, I was away for my birthday in England for 16 days but was ill for 14 of them. so my plans to do a lot of poetry and songwriting went by the wayside of trying to stay in as physically fit as possible state for 10 gigs, hanging out and drinking with friends and colleagues, a lot of sightseeing-related walking, and travel between 3 different English cities. to say I was wiped by the time I returned is an understatement. somehow though I managed not to take a single day off work since I returned. (yes, I am such a good little employee.)
if you were wondering what those 10 gigs were, they were:
  • Dutch Uncles Now Wave show (Fiction supporting) - 02.12.11 - Deaf Institute, Manchester, England - my There Goes the Fear review
  • Example (Fenech-Soler supporting) - 01.12.11 - Apollo, Manchester, England
  • Exit Ten (A Thousand Autumns, Tomorrow We Radio, and Fei Comodo supporting) - 29.11.11 - Fibbers, York, England - my There Goes the Fear review
  • Billie Butterfly fund 'Magic in the Air' charity show featuring Everything Everything, I Am Kloot, and Badly Drawn Boy - 28.11.11 - Comedy Store, Manchester, England - my There Goes the Fear review
  • City Reign EP launch (Stella Marconi and Modern Alarms supporting) - 26.11.11 - Gulliver's, Manchester, England
  • Blonde Louis homecoming show (Monaco Bears and Camus the Cat supporting) - 25.11.11 - Plinston Hall, Letchworth, England - my There Goes the Fear review
  • Cashier No. 9 (Kowalski supporting) - 24.11.11 - XOYO, London Old Street, England - my There Goes the Fear review
  • Pete and the Pirates (The Catcher 9 supporting) - 22.11.11 - Buffalo Bar, London Islington, England
  • City Reign (Wire Trees and Ulysses supporting) - 19.11.11 - Bull and Gate, London Kentish Town, England - my There Goes the Fear review
  • I Dream in Colour single launch show (Heroics and Anchor and the Dove supporting) - 18.11.11 - Bull and Gate, London Kentish Town, England - my There Goes the Fear review
  • I got to interview Marc Riley for TGTF inside the new BBC in Salford and who should walk in but Stuart Maconie?!? hugs and photos ensue. I never could have predicted that happening. I'm still amazed thinking about it. and he remembered me from my letters and me Tweeting him? what are the odds of that?

  • going back to the Guardian coverage, we suddenly had a lot more interest from potential writers. I am finding this good and bad. it's great to have interest. but gee whiz, if you plan to contribute somewhere, be sure you respond to your editor's emails. I can only assume you don't care or you're too busy to respond - and therefore not a good fit - if I don't hear from you. that has been pretty frustrating: maybe because I'm a woman, some people think I'm a pushover. not in your life. but I've picked up at least one good writer who is a friend of a regular contributor, so that's good...

  • but I can tell, it's a tough road ahead in 2012. I'm trying to not let this spectre of being tops in the Guardian's books hang over my head...like it already is. it is hard being me. I don't think anyone realises how much I put into the blog, how I sometimes lie awake at night thinking about how to make the site better, how to help my writers achieve their dreams, how I'm going to start a new campaign to promote a fledgling band I believe in and how exactly I plan to do that. I didn't mean for it to happen, but the blog has become my life. I'm not whinging: I'm very proud of what TGTF has become under my leadership and we still have leaps and bounds to grow and become even better. it's like when Elvis was saying he was jealous of the Beatles being a group: when you're the person running something big, you can have lots of supporting players, but no one but you knows the pressure of keeping things in tip top shape. and it is a lot of pressure.

  • it's become very clear that one important thing has to happen before I can even *think* about leaving America for England. and that thing - something that could actually happen, versus something that will never happen, like me getting cured - is not going to happen anytime soon, so I think I can kiss my dream of living in England goodbye. and surprisingly, I'm okay with that. I had such a violent shock to the system on this trip that I'm not really sure when I'll return. if I do, I'm guessing it will have something to do with my dear friend Matt Abbott, whose presence I miss daily.
I'm going to work on trying to post more here in 2012, starting with one of those a "song a day" memes. I already know it's going to be tough work - not for the posting aspect, but for the choosing of the songs.

I learned something important this year, which I should have already predicted from the pain I experienced some 399 days prior. something still weighs so heavily on my heart, after the knife went in and then was twisted. it is so big it threatens my mental acuity, my health, all my future relationships. I can be in a public place, in the middle of a crowd, on an airplane, in an elevator...and I will start to cry. it's not right. everyone says I'm so strong; if only they knew. this is me, after years of fighting like my father said I would always have to. sometimes I am tired of fighting and being the strong one, I need someone to lean on. and the one person I want to lean on...I can't. he has no idea...and I have no way to tell him.

sometimes I feel like it is going to engulf me like a huge, oncoming wave with no warning: cold, painful, unrelenting. and sometimes I don't care that my life would end if it did. sometimes I just pray at night that my eyes will not open again, because then I could be sure all the pain would dissolve.

you can have all the right words prepared. but they are useless if you're never given the opportunity to say them.