Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflection on 2010, new hobbies, less bands.

Last day of the year, always a good one to look back right? It's the oldest cliché in the book of course, I'm trying to be a little original here but I'll probably fail.

isn't she pretty?Favourite new hobby:
Lomography. Analogue love if you please. I've always loved taking pictures. With my digital camera I already shot a lot of pictures and since a few months I finally have a mobile phone which takes excellent pictures as well. But Lomography is something else, taking pictures with an analogue camera, plastic cameras, replicas of the cheap models of the 60s which have no limits to your creativity. Where a digital camera will instantly adjust your image, analogue won't. With Lomography you shoot from unusual angels, use multiple exposures if you please, play with light, there are no rules! When my sister bought her Diana F+, which holds a 120mm film and produces breath-taking results, I bought a disposable camera with red flash. A new hobby is born. So far I own a Holga Pinhole camera (35mm), Diana F Mini (35mm), a Fisheye (35mm and my favourite toy at the moment, I must mention it's pink!) and a Diana F+ (120mm, the Edelweiss edition) and I always try to take a disposable camera with me. Bringing away the films and especially picking them up is a little party. Best new thing I took on this year and something I will take into the new year for sure.

Favourite new music discovery:
Of course there was the birth of Wild Flag and knowing that 2011 will produce at least two albums with Janet Weiss is something to be really excited about. But my favourite music discovery is Marina and the Diamonds. Her appearance this year went a little unnoticed by me. I knew she was out and about but that was about it. But it took a live concert to open my eyes, which happened a few years back with Kate Nash as well. The second Marina stepped on stage she got me. She is real, the songs are amazing, Marina is amazing.

Regret of the year:
Listening to new bands. There are thankfully exceptions to this, but do I regret to test-listen to a lot of new bands this year. This is the new shit, this is such a great band, so inventive and creative. Most of the times these descriptions caused my ears to bleed. I rather miss out on a good band than ruin my good mood with awful music. Stop thinking you're better than the 80s. Plug in your microphone. Label your music if you must with something that's actually true. Using drugs is not making your band appear cooler. Play music you actually like. Then we'll talk.

Music hero of the year:
This can't be any other than the person who's music and other work I love since a little girl and having seen for the first time this year. Ernst Jansz. His show was a big ode to Bob Dylan who's songs he had translated for his latest album. I do not like Dylan. But this show was interesting and entertaining just by the way he did it. And not just that, I met him. Meeting your childhood idol is something amazing. And he was amazing. One of the best moments of 2010.

2011 is looking good as wellFavourite reunion:
Reunions have been plenty this year but my favourite must have been Pavement. Seeing these guys play live was a true treat. It was still early enough in the year for them to at least display the joy they had in playing together again. To see the King of Slackers in action himself was a treat. Malkmus played his guitar with such ease and almost disinterest, just wow. Another happy reunion this year was the one of former Sleater Kinneys Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss. New band but oh wow. Bring it on for 2011! Which is to say as well for Malkmus current band, the Jicks.

Favourite trip abroad to see a band:
It was only one this year but it was of the best. I went to London by myself in July taking the fast train. I had to start the trip a day early because on the actual travel day, the Dutch national football team was being honoured in Amsterdam and there was no way getting OUT of the town. Hmmpppfffff... In London I met up with my sister and we had an amazing time in London, I had forgotten how London is a great city with a lot of hidden secrets. The purpose of our trip were The Cribs who would play without Johnny, but the first two albums in its entirety. What a gig! Old skool to the bone, soaked in sweat, bounced as much as possible, like a Cribs gig should be.

guess who's a cat-person as well?Re-inventing the wheel moment of the year:
That wasn't such a long time ago. While listening to the radio, Top 2000 obviously, I made the most pointless statement of the year. "You know, just like you have cat-people and dog-people, you also have Rolling Stones-people and Beatles-people". At the time I said it I felt like I had just made the most clever comment ever, but of course even I had to admit that everyone knows (me included) that this is the case ever since the 60s, which makes this statement really pointless. I'm a Beatles-person, in case you're interested.

The Music I hate.

Listen, if you ever going to make a song that's about how much you love music, how much it means to you and how it is everything, which it is, you better do me and the rest of the population agreeing with this statement a favour - MAKE SURE IT ISN'T AS AWFULLY DREADFUL AND HORRIBLE AS 'MUSIC' BY JOHN MILES.

That's all I can say about this. 'Music' is the most painful song about something beautiful. Massive fail. Dear musicians, you can do better, do it!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

This is burning an Eternal Flame

If you read my blog before or if you are lucky enough (or not) to know me personally, you'll know that I'm a fan of the band The Bangles. The fab four of the eighties, those four women who had so many hits in the eighties, the band with lead-singer Susanna Hoffs, that band of the song 'Eternal Flame'. Of course 'Eternal Flame' is the highest entry of the Bangles in the top 2000 at 427 and has been in the top 100 in that very list once and of course it's a beautiful ballad. It was that song that made me fan of the band, even though I always sang the chorus of 'Manic Monday' unaware it was the same band and secretly (not even sure why that was a secret but young teenagers are even weirder than teenagers) loving their version of 'Hazy shade of winter'. I got their 'Everything' album, the album that features 'Eternal Flame' and I loved it. I played the single 'Eternal Flame' so many times it actually turned grey. The b-side of that 7" was the non-album track 'What I meant to say', a raw rock song, not sung by Susanna Hoffs but by the Peterson sisters Debbi and Vicki. Every Bangles fan will be able to tell you that Hoffs is not the lead singer of the Bangles, all the women sang. In 1989, 'Eternal Flame', my 'Eternal Flame' ended up being the biggest selling single of that year. And I was proud.

In 1989, the Bangles split up. The final straw in the friction between the members was the release of 'Eternal Flame'. That, however, is my version. The story of the split of the Bangles is not one to tell in one paragraph, there's a back story to be told. But, if you ever needed to tell this in one sentence, you'd use 'Eternal Flame'.

'Eternal Flame', even though it's the song that turned this girl a fan and glued to the television every time the video appeared on screen (which was an awful lot those days, we still had an MTV that played music videos), is by far not my favourite song by this fab four. It's not even because of the split association. It's a nice song, it's lovely, it's highly romantic. But on 'Everything' you'll find one song, which comes right before 'Eternal Flame' that is even more beautiful, romantic, heartbroken that that, it's Michael Steele sung 'Something to believe in'. That song is gorgeous. Steele's warm, bluesy voice is amazing, which is also evident in the first song of side B 'Glitter Years'. The Bangles are no matter what a rock band. They made fantastic pop songs, but their rock songs are so much better.

Still, I'm really pleased by 'Eternal Flame' featured in this List of All Lists here in the Netherlands. Be it the one that isn't their best and doesn't do the band justice for what they really were. It's the one people remembered and still cherish. People still remember the Bangles and that's great indeed.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Riding the Bicycle Race during the Top 2000

According to my mother, and who would know better than her, my first ever favourite song was by Queen, 'Bicycle Race'. Things could be loads worse than that of course. The song was released in 1978 (I was 2 at the time) and my mother was a big fan of Queen, playing the album 'Jazz' a lot of times (also on that album, 'Fat bottomed girls' and 'Don't stop me now'). And according to my mother I always asked for the bicycle song and when she played it I was dancing in the living room, it were the bicycle bells in the song that appealed to me most probably.

Even though both my parents have an embarrassing record collection (my dad loves German Schlagers, think Heino and Udo Jürgens, my mother also owns records by Barbara Streisand), I think my love for rock music comes from my mother. I can recall sitting in front of the record player with my mom and playing LPs, mostly Queen, but also Janis Joplin, Bee Gees, Michael Jackson (Off the wall and later Thriller), Kate Bush and Kiss. I remember taking her singles to my room and rocking out to one of the Kiss songs and wondering about the men in make up on the sleeve.

When I started to develop my own taste (at the age of 5 or 6) I got into reggae and ska, considering I was crazy about the song 'Pass the Dutchie' by the Musical Youth and my unconditional adoration for Doe Maar. My mother was very supportive of that, getting me the albums and most notable the '4us' album which a lot of kids back then were told by their parents to take the album back to the store because of the swearing on the album. My mother however told me I had to keep it because the swearing was educational, noting that the swearing was placed in relation to heroin and the song is the biggest and most in your face anti-drugs anthem this country has ever known.

But my love for music started with Queen. Like I said, could have been worse. Loads worse.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Doe Maar in the Top2000

The Top 2000 is a trip down to memory and if there's several songs in the list by the first ever band you loved, you can't help but dust off the albums (or in my case desperately trying to get more songs on MP3 and loud them to my walkman) and enjoy them all over again. In my case I've spent plenty of time on my bicycle listening to Doe Maar. The Netherlands' most popular band ever. They played a mix of ska, reggea, pop and a bit of punk and sang their critical, free-thinking, relationship, political songs in Dutch. The band introduced merchandising in the Netherlands. They produced such a demand for the band that they had to call it a day. And when they did I sat crying in front of the television. I was 8 years old but I can still see them in the dressing room. For a very long time I had a serious gap in my music history, apparently I said goodbye to music when they split (must have been the time I read every book about the weather our library had in stock).

Doe Maar songs are a document of the early 80s in the Netherlands. I'm not here to give a national history lesson but we all know the phrase 'history repeats'. Their songs are relevant all over again. I could always relate to songs as 'Pa' (about how you're not like your dad wanted you to be) and 'Ruma Saja' (about how you're also a stranger in your father's country, I was able to tell this to the singer of the song, Ernst Jansz, earlier this year which was one of the best moments in my life), but songs such as 'Doe maar net alsof je neus bloed' (about closing your eyes for what's going on in the world) and 'De bom' (The bomb, chorus goes little as 'Come on drop it already, it's going to happen anyway, it doesn't matter if you run') are relevant again. They have timeless classics everyone older than 30 is able to sing along effortless. That's what makes a great band. I'm really not a fan of Dutch music, but Doe Maar, I have to admit this once and for all, is a part of me.

Here's 'De bom', a song that captures the main aspects of the band the best. Curiously it never appeared on an album.

Top 2000 songs - We All Stand Together (video)

It's Top 2000 time in the Netherlands and it's one long trip back to memory lane for the most time. As I was making my bed last night with of course the radio on, this came along and made me wonder why on earth this song was only at 1190 and why we have Coldplay twice in the top 10. If there's one pop song that has it all it's not Bohemian Rhapsody, Music (by John Miles) or even God only Knows (and it's certainly NOT Viva La Vida), it is this one. I chose to show the clip with Paul McCartney in it instead of the long version which featured in the Rupert film because even though the Beatles are featured most in the Top 2000 list (and very righteous so), their highest entry is only at 24 with Hey Jude. Enjoy this classic piece of music history.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The world's easiest tax-raise defence. We got 'em!

I've been relatively on the politic front. I spit out an occasional frustrating discontent but that's it, at least as far as I know. Dutch Politics is making me ill and I can't allow a bunch of idiots who somehow have to run the country ruin my health. What I have followed though is the tax raise on theatre and concert tickets, going up from 6 to 19%. That's quite a lot. This happens mid-season. No one had really the time to prepare themselves for it. The consumer will have to pay more which the theatres won't see. If a consumer has to pay more they might not spend their money on tickets. Well, it's a long list of arguments why this tax raise is the stupidest things since electing Bush jr. and I won't bore you with that. The reason why I'm writing about this in another anyway.

This raise is one of the most talked about issues in The Hague at the moment and today the government confirmed once more that they won't turn this back, the tax raise on tickets is definite. They're still confident it will make them 90 mln euros. Which is probably the calculation with current sales. But even that isn't what stirred me this time. No. Not even the fact that it's mainly the PVV of Geert Wilders who keeps hammering at this tax raise isn't it. Oh no. It's that one small little thing our minister of Finance has said to justify their moves.

"These plans were part of our election campaign all along."

The theatre and concert goers are for the larger part NOT THE ONES WHO HAVE VOTED FOR YOU! That's by far the easiest defence of 2010. Congratulations.

Here's the best edit of 2010: the tax raise on concert, festival and theatre tickets will be postponed until July 2011. Alright!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

All I want for UK Christmas Number One is...

have you heard?I'm going to be very controversial here but I want Matt Cardle's 'When we collide' to be the UKs Christmas Number One. If only to piss off all the Christmas number one campaigns flocking the internet right now. The UK Christmas Number One seems holier than Jesus in the UK so it's a big deal. In the past novelty songs made it to number one, Westlife made it to number one and, you will not believe this one, Christmas songs made it to number one. But, the X Factor ends just before Christmas. So logically, the kiddies who voted their winner will spend more money for the winning song. It ends just before Christmas, just before the end of the year.

Now, I can understand people don't like X Factor, I'm not a big fan of the show myself and usually only watch the auditions. I can understand that you get fed up with an X Factor winner getting the holier than thou Christmas Number One. Is this music? Argue all you want about that. Is X Factor about music? No. X Factor is a competition between the judges who each have their own group to compete with, the female singers, the male singers, the over 25 singers and the bands. The contestants are their pawns. Their weapons if you want. And they use music. So saying that your not a music fan because you watch X Factor is a bit harsh. Back in the day people jumped through hoops and fell into a kiddie pool with dishwater to win a microwave, now people sing in order to win a record deal.

When Alexandra Burke killed Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah (I refuse to say Jeff Buckley, it's by LEONARD COHEN, if you don't understand that, you might want to check your music library) with which she won the X Factor in 2008. As a reaction people downloaded what they claimed the original by Jeff Buckley which made it to the top ten with Burke making it to number one. Cohen thankfully charted as well. In 2009, revolution! No more X Factor number one! Let's all download 'Killing in the name of' by Rage Against The Machine! Revolution indeed, RATM actually became that year's Christmas number one, ironically the key in that 90s classic revolution song (totally killed by this campaign) are the words 'Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me', and by doing exactly that it became a hit (and RATM riding the wave, shamefully). So, with that success, let's repeat that for 2010.

Bad idea.

The number of individual campaigns is insane, to make that work you got to work together. Every fanbase roots for their own band. Good on you and good for the band who will make an extra dime but stay realistic, a group of 50 will not make a Christmas number one. Matt Cardle won with 'When we collide' which is a over of 'Many of horror' by (shock oh horror) indie band Biffy Clyro. To download that song as a statement, be my guest. Biffy Clyro will be the very last to say anything, here's a band with a nice Christmas bonus. Ka-ching! Then there's John Cage ('cleverly' dubbed Cage Against The Machine. Yes, I yawned) 'Silent single' which is 4.33 minutes of musicians standing in the recording room, but not doing anything. I actually understand what you're trying to say but come on! Grow up! They mean this seriously and well, no. Just no. It's just dumb. These people do not understand X Factor. With an eye on the mid-charts, many people don't get the silent single either. And hallelujah for that.

This Christmas, buy what you LIKE. What song is good? Get that. And if you hate X Factor that much, do yourself this favour: buy 'Surfin' Bird' by The Trashmen. It's the one anti campaign that makes sense. Haven't you heard?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tour of Duty or For what it's worth (a flashback)

one of the reasons why I watched Tour of DutyAs a young teenager I enjoyed watching the US war TV series 'Tour of Duty'. It was the close friendship the Vietnam soldiers maintained that made the show what it was. Every week I sat in front of the television to watch the 'adventures' (it's a little wrong to call it adventures, this is war and not quite Indiana Jones) of Zeke Anderson, Danny Percell, Marcus Taylor, Ruiz, Duncan and, of course, Myron Goldman. The show didn't focus on the actual war cruelties on fight, but more on other issues such as racism, suicide, fragging, terrorism, civilian deaths and drug abuse. It made the series human.

What also heaviy featured was the music of the era. Sixties music. The theme song was 'Paint it black' by the Rolling Stones. This song will forever be connected with how the helicopters landed on the field and the actors jumping out with their shot guns and Zeke looking back over his shoulder, pausing and showing the name of the actor (Terence Knox, in case you're interested). A few years later I was at a Rolling Stones show and waited patiently until they played this song and went nuts for the few minutes it took. The show was a huge success in the Netherlands and was shown on Veronica, then still part of the Public Network. They knew how successful it was, not just the show but also the music and always being a music pioneer (Veronica originally started as a pirate radio network, making radio from a ship at sea, just outside Dutch waters), they released a few compilations, releasing the music from the TV series, a mighty fine collection of the most delicious sixties tracks. Even as a young teenager I wasn't too keen on 'modern music', so that cassette bought from my own money was played constantly. As always, the first part was better than the follow ups. And on that tape was Buffalo Springfield with 'For what it's worth'. I instantly fell in love with that song and I'm both surprised and worried about how valid the words still are today.

I had to think about that just now, as it played on the radio. I had to think of the TV series. I decided to share this song here. Very fitting to my sixties mood I'm in at the moment. Enjoy this (sadly) timeless classic.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Where Garage Girls come from

The raise of female fronted garage rock bands is great. Vivian Girls. Dum Dum Girls. Best Coast. Grass Widow. Girls at Dawn. Pens. Veronica Falls. Las Robertas. You may argue they kind of sound the same but if they would drop the reverberation imagine how great that would be. Sure, it might be exactly that what makes current garage rock (male voices are doing the same) garage rock but The Splinters don't use it and they sound genuine and absolutely great. What a band they are, the Splinters. Pure garage rock. But are the new generation garage rock bands, or lo-fi as they probably prefer, fronted by women something new and so 21st century? I'm sorry, but it's nothing new.

look familiar?Because, for instance in 1980, there were the Bangs. Not to be confused by the 90s band The Bangs, though in sound you'd love both. The 80s Bangs were three LA girls who shared their passion for 60s music. Beatles, Mamas & the Papas, Simon & Garfunkel (they would later in their career have a hit single with a cover), The Seed, The Byrds, the Randalls, these girls loved harmonies and they loved 60s garage. They released a fairly (underground) successful single 'Gettin' out of hand/Call on me' and were the darling of the Paisley Underground. They then did something the now generation garage rock bands don't - they got themselves a bassist. They rocked, they had fantastic voices which sang in harmonies and yes, they looked sexy too. If the Dum Dum Girls had been living at that time, they'd probably look and sound like the Bangs.

As the Bangs got more known, another band with the same name got aware and threatened to sue the girls. They renamed themselves and recorded a self-titled EP: The Bangles were born. Their debut EP was filled with 5 garage rock pearls and the future looked bright for the four, but not before firing their bassist and hiring a new one. With their new bassist they recorded a long player which was released in 1984, 'All over the place'. It sounded raw and sweet. The Paisley Underground was proud of their very own Fab Four as they were dubbed. The girls enjoyed their sweaty gigs and were giving their new bassist her very own moment, the Seeds 'Pushin' too hard'. It was a highlight of their shows.

Then something happened which might be typical for that time and probably wouldn't happen anymore, mainly because record labels will not spend their time and money into turning small bands into mainstream chart toppers. Record labels are not interested in that anymore. The Bangles were signed to a Big Label and damn you Prince for having an interest in the Paisley Underground and the Bangles.eye for marketingHe wrote them the power pop tune Manic Monday. Add a marketing campaign for Susanna Hoffs Big Brown Eyes and you have a more successful version of the Go-go's. The rest is history. The Bangles released 'Hazy shade of winter' an old-school Bangles version of the Simon and Garfunkel classic for the now cult movie 'Less than zero'. Also 'Everything', their 1988 album, featured heavier songs but also spawned their biggest hit 'Eternal Flame' which launched the band into a break up. The band had turned into a huge success but not the way the girls had wanted to, not to mention they agreed on.

But before all that, before it all was over, the Bangles were the pride and joy of the Paisley Underground, their jangle pop-folk-garage-rock with punkish hooks was a delight and it still is today. Whenever I hear the early Bangles stuff I sigh happily and wish reverberation was never invented. Sure, it gives a lo-fi 60s sound, but you can accomplish that without. Do it girls, I'm begging you!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Play Live Wish List for 2011

Even though the ticket prices in the Netherlands will be considerably higher next year due to complete ignorance and misjudgement of our government, I'm still looking forward to gigs and shows to go to. Even though going to shows will mean I'm paying to pave another highway and other things not needed, I still love music and still want to experience the beauty of raw and pure music enjoyment. But, if I already have to pay more which won't go to the artists or the venues, I have but a few bands I really really want to see in 2011. So, here's my Live Wish List for 2011. The highly unlikely bands of course.

The Cribs
Thumbs up if you like a two-year-breakFour months ago the Cribs went on a 2 year break. I didn't believe it at the time but it kinda really looks like they're doing it. Never mind 50% of the band posting Global Words of Wisdom and Other Signs of Boredom on Twitter, 25% being bored in general (or so we could conclude from, again, Twitter) and the remaining 25%? We can only guess (no Twitter), but probably they are enjoying their break. I think it's fairly safe to say that 75% of the band wouldn't mind to cut down the 2-year-break and here's my plan: get yrselves (all 100% of you) to a god-lost barn in Oregon, lock yourself up and TOUR the outcome next year, in 2011. I don't neccesarily need a new album, I just want to see these guys play live again. I'm having bad withdrawels.

Wild Flag
My heart skipped a beat by reading this band plays Birmingham next year, but of course they meant the town in America, not England. But you know what, instead of playing in venues called 'Sticky Fingers Rock 'N' Roll Chicken Shack' (I'm not making this up! It's in Little Rock), can I suggest playing in 'Paradise', 'the Milky Way' or in 'Bittersweet' instead? Oh, and they're all in Amsterdam. The Netherlands - I didn't mean New York.

When does my plane to Amsterdam leave?Quasi
These guys are soooooo good, I really would love seeing them again. No indie kiddos around either, just perfect. Do the funds stretch? Let's hope so.

The Jicks
Apparently there's a new album in the works and halfway done since early 2010, I don't see why this band shouldn't make their way to the Netherlands.

So far I've given Janet Weiss three oppurtunities to go tour, she will love it.

Boston Spaceships
Look, this band hardly ever plays, they don't have the time as they are releasing album after album but I really wouldn't mind seeing them in Paradiso Kleine Zaal, it would be absolutely perfect.

Wild Nothing
Went to see them this year not knowing what they really sounded like and I got to say, I absolutely liked what I heard. I want to see them again. To see and hear if they can surprise me again. And if their record collection still primarely excists of records by The Smiths and The Cure.

Kate Nash & Marina & the Diamonds
Power women! Solo singers with something to say. You can't see enough of them, can you? I love going to a Kate Nash show, there's so much raw power coming from the stage. And Marina, she stole my heart. I need to see if she takes good care of it.

All Smiles
Seeing Jim Fairchild with Modest Mouse this year was an absolute treat. Such a joy to see this man play. If All Smiles makes it on tour and across the Atlantic, it would also be a good chance to have a good look at mister Joe Plummer. You can't hide on a small stage.

I refound my love for this Swedish rock band. I lost it because they forgot to rock. I would be absolutely delighted to see them play again, though they tour rarely now and only in Sweden. It's time El Cheapo takes it from Amsterdam to Gothenburg. Or Stockholm, I would even do that.

Monday, December 6, 2010

All the best albums lists in the world don't come close to this

As always in December, the Best Of This Year lists come out. I never agree with these lists but I always read them just to see what's supposed to be good or hip or whatever the standards are and if someone, if just one person, lists one of the albums I enjoyed so much this year.

Each and every list I read so far lacked my personal favourite and best album of 2010, Quasi's amazing 'American Gong'. Even the 'Overlooked' list.

Do I really have an exclusive taste? Or do people think my taste is shit? Where are The Corin Tucker Band? The Vaselines (yeah come on, they are quite known aren't they?)? The Thermals (big in the Netherlands? If you say so Thermals...)? Kate Nash? I'm not completely off this world when it comes to music or am I? Let me put one thing straight right here right now, I don't aim to be. It's completely irritating to go to a record store and not finding the records you like because they are too 'alternative'.

You can't help liking what you like can you? So whether my taste is exclusive, shit, difficult, edgy or whatever you want to call it, it's my taste. And my taste is good enough for me. And Quasi released the best album of 2010, that's one thing I will not argue about, it's simply the way it is.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Whistling through winter cold wonderland

Let's get one thing straight. It's cold outside. It's cold in my bedroom. It took me a lot of courage this morning to get out of bed, it wasn't all that pleasant. It then takes me a while to get dressed, with all the layers and then, after I had my morning coffee, it takes a while to put on my legwarmers, scarf, mittens (I'm currently considering putting gloves underneat) and my hat. And the Doc Martens of course. I'm wearing an incredibly warm workers safety jacket in bright orange with reflecting stripes. By that time I look like an orange Michelin woman. It's -6 degrees. Bring it on! One step outside and the wind blows straight through all layers of clothing. I knew -6 was supposed to feel like -15 today. Scratch that. It doesn't matter how cold it feels like. Freaking cold = freaking cold.

It's a challenge to battle the wind, not because it's freaking cold but the wind is heavy, very heavy. And because of the cold the acceleration on my bicycle doesn't work. I like to cycle heavy. So now, this is quite a struggle but you know, once you got some speed it's actually not so bad. Not bad at all. Sure it's cold but you keep warm regardless. Unless the wind blows straight through everything, you shiver and you keep going. And, there's my walkman and as we all know, music keeps you warm.

We used to be badd-ass and garage you knowIn summer I'm known to drive straight into a ditch being in total awe about the music on my walkman, apparently in winter I'm rocking out on my bicycle, whistling (I can't whistle so it's rather a bad idea) and singing along, bopping my head along. Where one should think it's best to pay attention to the road to avoid the slippery parts, I rather move like a groundkeeper in a video of Nirvana. Whether it's In Bloom, the teenage sound of the Rondelles, the Cribs' rage against society or the sweet garage rock of the Bangles (they used to have a life before the artist then primarely known as Prince wrote them a little tune about Mondays you know), I really get into the music and rock my way home. Weird. Shouldn't I not shiver my way home? Or is this a natural reaction to keep warm?

Either way, despite me fully appreciating the music on my walkman (mittens = not being able to use the skip button, you gotta deal with whatever song comes on), you may still feel sorry for me getting on my bicycle and driving through -6 but feels like -15. It's still cold.