Sunday, 31 December 2017

December 2017

As with most Decembers, it feels like it's been a lot. The nature of this silly project means that pretty much every month I'm like 'wait, that happened THIS MONTH?' but it feels particularly so this month.

Back at the start of the month I headed back to Brighton... much of my heart still resides by the sea.

It was my boss’s 50th birthday, and because he’s lovely, everyone from work was invited to his lovely big party. I travelled back down for this especially, but also managed to cram in a lovely lunch, a visit to the Rodhus open studios and a short zine fair at the Rose Hill Tavern before his party. Got to see LOADS of lovely people I’d missed in just one day, which was intense and wonderful.

Back home with a bump though I guess.

And then an even bigger bump, in which, having been ignoring the ever increasing smell of gas for over a week after Alex and Justin both insisted they couldn’t smell anything (the smell was hitting me every time I walked into the house), finally called the hotline. They have a meter to read these leaks, and anything over ‘0’ is worthy of investigation. They evacuate at a reading of 20… The reading in our kitchen was 98. Apparently I was lucky not to have blown the place up just by sparking up the hob or turning on electrical devices (which I had obliviously been doing all week.)

After nearly a month without hot water in August (remember that?) and repeated boiler trouble before and after that, this was apparently finally enough to scare the letting agent/landlord into action, and we now have a brand new boiler, but seriously, I am so done with renting. SO DONE

Oh no

It did a big snow. Quite into it, tbh.

Had a lovely time at the Egg Factory’s Eggsmas extravaganza, I was among lots of wonderful local makers selling our wares ready for Christmas gifting (or self gifting). Rather than another picture of me tabling, I decided to draw every dog that visited the fair, because Hebden Bridge loves dogs.

And then I went back down to Brighton again. I wanted to get in a week’s work at the office (rather than my usual remote working) before the end of the year, but mainly I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss the work Christmas do. Jonny and Kris very Kindly let me stay at their lovely new place, and I squeezed in a traditional post-work Wagamama with my post-work-Wagamama buddies Hannah and Gemma, to catch up on all the hot goss.

Bits and bobs of nice Brighton things. I just quite enjoyed drawing this one.

CLEARLY the inevitable sitation here is that I would come down with a horrendous cold on the day of the work Christmas party I'd been so excited about. Powered through to the best of my ability.

For the first time visiting Brighton this year, albeit probably cold induced, was really excited to come home, and by home, home means Hebden Bridge. This is probably a good thing.

Still can’t draw myself/people, but damn it I will persist

I remember when I was a kid, my mum once told me that a cold lasts 3 days. For some reason I really took this to heart despite EVERY COLD EVER proving this to be an absolute lie, and meaning I have spent every cold since then filled with resentment about how much I am suffering when in fact a week or more is entirely normal (right?)

Sprouts grow on this kind of aggressive looking mace like construction and I’m not generally a violent person but if I had to fend off an aggressor with a vegetable, I think it would be either this or a really large, firm butternut squash. Or wait maybe a sliced chilli straight to the eyes. Now I'm thinking about this too much.

Being vegan is generally great, but there are a few very specific Christmas things (that aren’t even that irreplaceable or even good) that I do miss…

I’m still running, but I had to stop for like a fortnight as I was too busy in Brighton and then ill with the cold. Climbing back up that literal and metaphorical hill. I wish vanity wasn’t such a powerful motivator, but there’s no doubt that it’s one of the main things that keeps me going when I don’t want to run, I wish I could just love my body no matter what shape it was, but the fact of the matter was that I never did despite years of trying, and for the first time in my life I feel content with both the shape of my body and what it can achieve. So I will persist. Even though running is horrible. But also great. But mainly horrible.

Happy anniversarymas to us!

Christmaaaaaaassss…. Was quite nice actually. Chill, cosy, and there were ducks. Just how I like it.

Time for some Justin-based body horror! Sorry not sorry Justin.

I still miss living in the city where I can just go window shopping all the time — whenever I get the chance to go shopping now it always feels rushed and stressful because I’m trying to squeeze too much in, and this was so exception, but I had fun spending my Christmas money in Leeds on silly trsouers and a dress so summery that I absolutely MUST get to warmer climes in 2018 at some point.

This is a not very good drawing but PEOPLE CAME TO CHRISTMAS II (Northern edition). Loads of people had to drop out at the last moment because a) unexpected very heavy snow, and b) it’s winter so everyone is ill, but there were still 10 of us, and it was very lovely.

Rolling into 2018 just now. I hope your New Years are all filled with warmth and optimism for what's to come...

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Emma's best music of 2017

So for the last few years now, I've done my own end of year music lists, even though I am just me and not any kind of competant music journalist. Just a casual opinion haver, hello. Music is a huge part of my life, and despite it probably being a bit self indulgent, I just want to tell everyone about the things I've loved over the course of the year.

This year, I decided to make a zine, because I have been making a lot of zines this year, and I figured that would be a nice way to share my feels. If you would like a copy, pop me a message on twitter or instagram (I'm @undividual on both). It's a cute little lo-fi, B&W A6 24-pager and the cover looks like this:

I've written a bit inside about my favourite albums, favourite things other than albums, and songs.

I'm not going to share all those words here (grab a copy of the zine off my if you want to read all that nonsense) but here are my lists...

Albums I really liked in no particular order

LCD Soundsystem — American Dream (They’re back)
Karriem Riggins — Headnod Suite (Mostly instrumental electronica)
Milo — Who Told You to Think??!!?!?!?! (Verbose rap genius + beats)
Open Mike Eagle — Brick Body Kids Still Daydream (Rap concept album about vast demolished Chicago housing project)
Iglooghost — Neo Wax Bloom (Noisy chaos)
Moses Sumney — Aromanticism (Soaring emotional feels)
Baths — Romaplasm (Queer electronic pop with so much heart)
Clap Clap — A thousand skies (African tinged electronica)
Jonwayne — Rap Album Two (Endearing grumpy rap with feels)
Thundercat — Drunk (Sprawling jazz electronica concept masterpiece)
Kendrick Lamar — DAMN. (It’s Kendrick, innit)
Sango — De Min, Pra Voce (Latin-American infused electronica)
Blanck Mass — World Eater (Throbbing hypnotic drone)
Clark — Death Peak (Weirdly cheery doom-themed beats)
Eureka the Butcher — ¡Eureka! (Bleeps + bloops w occasional rap interludes)
Vince Staples — Big Fish Theory (Rap + beats + feels)
Nocando — Severed (Rap + beats and feels but totally different to above)
Swet Shop Boys — Cashmere (Indian-American/British-Pakistani political rap)
Dday One — Journal Extended (Instrumental, sample-based beats)
Tyler The Creator — Flower Boy (Angry-but-charming rap)
Wiki — No Mountains in Manhattan (Fresh words+beats out of NY)
00110100 – 0181 (It’s Four Tet tho, right?)
Four Tet — New Energy (This is definitely Four Tet)
Mount Kimbie — Love What Survives (increasingly guitary electronica)
Portico Quartet — Art in the Age of Automation (Jazz, back in quartet form)
Bibio — Phantom Brickworks (Ambient abandoned industry concept piece)

EPs/soundtracks/mixes/anything else

Gila — Pick Six EP (Heavy hypnotic electronica)
Drake — More life playlist (I love Drake, you love Drake, we all love Drake)
Daedelus — Wears House Mixtape (Nostalgic rave/jungle mix tape)
Silicon Valley Soundtrack (Did anyone watch this? Was it any good?)
Mono/poly and Alyss — Union EP (Soaring electronica w gorgeous vocal lead)
Kamasi Washington — Harmony of Difference EP (A warm, comforting embrace of jazz)
Nidhogg II Soundtrack (Bleeps and bloops, mostly courtesy of Mux Mool, to accompany your pixellated jousting)
30/70 — Elevate EP (Blissed out jazzy electronics, for fans of Hiatus Kaiyote)
Joe Armon Jones/Maxwell Owin — Idiom EP (Blissed out jazzy electronics — more on the jazz and less on the electronics, but still plenty of both)
Yaeji — EP2 (American-Korean producer out of NY making some of my favourite dance music this year)
Ross From Friends — Don’t sleep, there are snakes EP (Hazy, fuzzy synths from either the best or worst named new act this year)
Kintaro — Universal EP (Playful rap/hip hop)
Lone — Ambivert Tools (Vol I and II) (A+++ bangers start to finish)
Alphafox — Before You’re Gone EP (More heavy beats from the fantastic Dome of Doom label)
Lima Footwork Compilation (If you like Footwork and want to listen to more music from Peru, I got u)


Dublab (Now 18yr old LA station, this year newly on local terrestrial airwaves! Archives full of wonder, something for everyone — I seek out JukeBounceWerk, Ruby Yacht Radio, Daedelus’ Entropy Sessions, Teebs V I E W P O I N T S, Awesome Tapes from Africa, plus loads of other standalone special guest shows)

6Music (Weekday daytimes are mixed, but some of my favourite UK radio comes out of this station ­— Gilles Peterson on Saturday afternoons, Jarvis Cocker’s (soon ending) Sunday Service, Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show (he can be annoying but he plays great music), Nemone’s Electric Ladyland, Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone, and basically (as previously discussed) everything Tom Ravenscroft does.)

The Future Beats Show (Every Wednesday at 9pm, although I usually catch them at some point during the following week on Soundcloud.

The Late Junction on BBC Radio 3 (I don’t listen nearly often enough, but the team at the Late Junction are doing fantastic work)

Huw Stephens on Radio 1/Radio Cymru (I used to listen to Bethan and Huw on Radio Cymru every night before I went to bed during a certain period of my teens. I’d drifted away from both Radio 1 and Radio Cymru in recent years, but was lucky enough to meet the man himself this year, which reminded me a) how utterly lovely he is, and b) how always ahead of the game he is, now make a point of trying to catch his shows for new sounds, particularly out of Wales)

The World Service (It’s not music, but can we just take a moment to appreciate the incredible diversity and comforting quality that is ALWAYS going down at the World Service. I mostly listen very late at night when sleep evades me, and always learn something new and interesting before finally dropping off.)

What I’ve been running to

In all honestly, mostly kind of silly over-the-top EDM mixes with loads of drops and euphoria in a way that I’m slightly ashamed of, but honestly I’m not sure I’d have succeeded/got as far as I have without them. Here are some favs, you can download from the links.

Callie Reiff — Stoop Kids 002 feat. Infinity Blade
Two Fresh — Diplo & Friends Mix
Tha Yellow R Kel — Road to London
(I’ve also been listening to this while not running, it’s just a great UK grime roundup from a year or two ago)
Mono/Poly — Mono-Poly mix 2015
Benzi — Get Right Radio 2015 Edition
Too Future. Guest Mix 051: Electric Mantis
Rinse FM Podcast - Machinedrum w/ dBridge, Om Unit + Fracture
Brasstracks mix for BBC 1xtra

(Seems like on some of these the downloads are no longer working, but they are all still live to listen to anyway!)

My Top 51* favourite tracks (*There was space in the zine so why not)

Yaeji — Raingurl
Lone — Looking Glass
Sam Gellaitry — Jungle Waters
Jogger — Superstitious
Iglooghost — Super Ink Burst
Sylvan Esso — Kick, Jump, Twist
Thundercat — Friend Zone
Clap! Clap! — Ode to the Pleiades
Jonwayne — These Words Are Everything
Kendrick Lamar — Humble
Clark — Butterfly Prowler
Lapalux — Rotted Arp
Eureka the Butcher — Rap Songs
Hudson Mohawke, Remy Banks — Passports
Karriem Riggins, Jessica Care Moore – Suite Poetry
Azealia Banks — Can’t do it like me
Msafiri Zawose — Nzala Urugu
Photay — The Everyday Push
Photay — Aura
Alyss — Pyramid
Open Mike Eagle, Sammus — Hymnal
Baths — Yeoman
Salva — System 
Lord RAJA — Zoro
Heems — Blades
Leandro Di — Higher Than House
Moses Sumney — Lonely World
Eprom — Oksana
LCD Soundsystem — How do you sleep?
Unno — Drink that butter
Chimera — Palais
Talib Kweli, Anderson Paak — Travelling Light
Kintaro, Anderson Paak — Mk
Kool A.D. — California Grapevine
Bearcubs — Underwaterfall
Sango — A Chamada (Ritmo Muleke)
Danny Brown — Kool Aid
Geotheory — Luvbot
Gila — Pick Six
Vince Staples — Crabs in a bucket
Swet Shop Boys — Birding
Milo — Magician (Suture)
Machinedrum, Rosie Lowe — What is This
Daedelus — Capulet/Throttle
Four Tet — Daughter
Little Dragon, Denzel Curry, Twelve’len — High
Holly x Razat — Higher
Baths — Human Bog
Kamasi Washington — Desire
At The Drive In — Hostage Stamps
Iggy Azalea — Mo Bounce 

Live Music in 2017

I haven't seen as much live music this year as I would have liked, but maybe more than I expected to given my new living situation. Here is everything I saw this year plus bonus pictures...

March 26th, Tyondai Braxton, Deaf Institute, Manchester (It was my birthday and I went to a noisy noisy noise show alone and sat at the back by myself and had a thoroughly wonderful time)

April 20th, Daedelus, Oval Space, London
(Okay let’s just get this out of the way, I just go and see Daedelus whenever he’s in the country, often multiple times, because he is just that good. You should too.)

July 20th, Saul Williams, Islington Mill, Manchester
(I last saw Saul Williams a day or two before the referendum last year and it was one of the best things I could possibly have done in that moment. He remains an utterly vital voice for these nightmarish times)

October 14th, Lapalux, Daedelus and Iglooghost, Village Underground, London
(This was a pretty incredible lineup, and Village Underground is a great venue. I will never deal entirely well with a 10pm – 4am show but I did my best. All three bought their A-game, very lucky to have witnessed.)

October 20th, Daedelus and Darkhouse Family, Kongs, Cardiff
(Went to Cardiff. Made friends with Huw Stephens. Ate some great curry. Walked about in the wind and rain a lot feeling thoroughly content. Darkhouse Family new Welsh discovery that day, Daedelus always sublime)

November 3rd, Jane Weaver, Trades Club, Hebden Bridge
(Kier came to stay and said we should go see her. Not really my thing but she did a wonderful live show, and delighted to finally make it to see something at our wonderful local venue the Trades Club. Many more shows to come for sure!)

November 9th, Danny Brown, Victoria Warehouse, Manchester
(Actually it was Run the Jewels supported by Danny Brown but I left after Danny Brown because a) trains, and b) nothing could possibly top that)

November 16th, Teebs, Soup Kitchen, Manchester
(Finally caught Teebs live, as wonderful as I could have hoped for and a super endearing human to boot)

Anyway, if you're now feeling like 'yeah yeah yeah whatever but I can't be bothered retyping all that stuff into Spotify to actually listen, you can click these links for my best songs and best albums playlists (which I tend to keep updating even as I find new stuff I missed during the year)

Thursday, 30 November 2017

November 2017

It is still early days but I am remaining strong in the face of winter. Busy helps. Lots of busy. Maybe too much busy?

Kier came to stay, and took me and Alex to see Jane Weaver at the Trades Club (our local, impressively good, small venue). I’m not particularly a fan of her work but she was weirdly intoxicating live, helped by a pretty stunning visual show. I had fun.

Kier achieves the special accolade of being one of few people who have been to visit TWICE since we moved! Clearly can’t get enough of the north, that boy.

Yeah, I keep falling over. (Although since drawing this I haven’t fallen over once, which is a relief, maybe I’m not totally losing my dignity) (Did totally lose my dignity at least 4 times in the last month though)

FREELANCE FEARS! (Things have picked up since I drew this though, and long may they continue to do so, because I am not good at dealing with uncertainty)

In that (very brief) quiet window, and needing to occupy my brain, I threw myself into a few too many personal projects which I am now desperately scrabbling to wrap up in time for ridiculous self imposed deadlines. Yay!

This is not a great drawing but I just wanted to share that Danny Brown was just INCREDIBLE live, like, top 10 shows I’ve ever seen. Absolute hero.

Lovely Saturday outing with Grace and Vicky, friends from my North Wales college days who’ve both ended up in Manchester (only 45 min from Hebden Bridge!)
We’ve all been so busy this year it’s taken time to find a moment for a proper catchup, but so glad we are now.
And then Justin’s friends Nick and Ailie (and their two beautiful whippets) came over for dinner, which was very lovely.

Some days you just feel some kind of way

But then inevitable crushing comedown of course

I am running and it’s still not fun, but it’s SOMETHING and so I persist. 10ks more often now. Feeling strong.
Also, making friends! I met Sarahjoy at Quaker church and she’s GREAT.

In my early attempts at Hebden Bridge friend-making I started going to the Ladies Circle. It's kind of good but also kind of like a cult maybe? I'm not quite sure but they sometimes do fun stuff and I sometimes still go, and life drawing is great, I really need to go more often.

So much live music this month, what a joy… Lapalux, Iglooghost, Daedelus (twice), Jane Weaver, Danny Brown, Teebs… Just when I’d started thinking I was getting lazy about going to shows, I have been super motivated. Teebs was GREAT and super endearing too. Such a joy to finally see him live after so many years loving his work.

Very much enjoying the work of Hot Tod Hot Dogs and Hot Sauces, my new fav local food people, who have started running pub-up vegan hot dog kitchens at various spots… For the next few Wednesdays they’re going to be at our local (and best pub in Hebden Bridge), The Fox and Goose, hmu if you wanna join me sometime!

Sometimes it’s like this.

My Sundays when I’m not off having adventures have fallen into a particularly lovely routine. I get up and take Charlie for a run, then go to Quaker church. I potter through town after, check out the charity shops, grab some groceries, and then get a Burrito from my other local food hero… Uh, the burrito guy? I should really learn this name. Anyway, I eat my massive burrito, catch up on all the chores I’ve not had time for during the week, then wash my hair and refuse to leave the house again for the day. I’ll usually then cook a big tasty Sunday dinner for Alex and Justin, and all is well and right with the world.

In the interest of balance…

Sarah and Megan came to visit for the afternoon! (Sarah is one of my oldest school friends and it’s still VERY disconcerting to me that she has a child. We’re grown ups, aren’t we.)

Got really excited about Pocket Camp, the new animal crossing game on iPhone (still am quite excited tbh). This is a terrible drawing, because I WAS PLAYING TOO MUCH POCKET CAMP (In all honesty I was actually playing not nearly enough pocket camp because of other commitments like WORK and DOG WALKING and HOUSE TASKS, UGH)

Dog ownership, eh. (Charlie loves sticks. Not having them thrown for him, just selecting them off the floor, or having them suggested to him, and then happily carrying them along for a bit)

Yay mum time!

So here’s the thing. We have to move out of our house in the middle of next year. I am turning 30. [whispers] it might be time to think about buying a house. I am tentatively looking at houses. I have fallen in love with a house that might flood. OH DEAR.

(Also it snowed and we went to the Todmorden Lamplighter parade, which, for Brighton locals, was a bit like the Burning of the Clocks, but kind of… maybe, better, and easier to actually see the things?)

Still thinkin’ ‘bout that house. It’s amazing you guys. It’s decorated like the ultimate grandparents house and initially I liked it ironically, but actually I think I like it for real. Someone has decoupaged pansies around the bathroom door. It’s got about 5 different varieties of ever more garish pub carpet throughout. It has THREE TOILETS. It has a room that appears perfectly designed for skyping and hiding and crying which I’m calling the Skyping hiding crying room. It’s spread over four floors and has two front doors. It has THREE TOILETS FOR GOODNESS SAKE. And if I just hold off on the avocado toast for a couple of months maybe I can actually afford it (with some fairly heavy help from my parents, hello)

It’s TMI time, but I just wanted to say that if you’re a lady and you’ve never tried out a moon cup (other brands available) because you think it’s too gross, but you’re still using pads or tampons, please let me tell you that you are straight up WRONG every alternative is like 100x grosser and I have no idea how I got through my teenage years without one.


(But seriously, hello Brighton, hello December.)