Amy

Amy-Winehouse

When I heard there was documentary film about Amy Winehouse being released I knew I had to see it. I’ve been a massive Amy fan for years and my Back to Black album has been played to within an inch of its life. I was lucky to see Amy perform at the N.I.A. in 2007. The concert didn’t get off to a great start as she arrived on stage 40 minutes late (it later emerged she had been to see her husband in prison earlier that day), but to be honest I forgot all about that as soon as she started singing.

Listening to Amy Winehouse sing was an absolute pleasure, her voice could take songs to places that you didn’t even know it could go. One of favorite vocals of Amy’s is this version of ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’, her voice gives me goosebumps every time I listen to this. Her vocal runs are just ridiculous.

I went to watch ‘Amy’ with my parents on Wednesday at the Electric Cinema in Birmingham, which is the UK’s oldest working cinema. It was the perfect setting to watch a film like this, there’s something about going to see it in a big multiplex cinema that wouldn’t feel quite right.

The film was created using candid film footage taken by family and friends throughout the years. From a young 14 year old Amy singing happy birthday to her friend to the infamous last gig in Belgrade.

I feel strange saying it was a “good film” considering the inevitable way it ended but after reading interviews and hearing clips from Amy’s family and friends I think this is the truest portrayal of Amy we will see on screen, because who better to show us the real Amy than Amy?

One of my favorite moments was when Amy is being awarded her Grammy, her face was full of awe when she saw Tony Bennett on the screen coming on to present the Song Of The Year award and looking at her Dad, “Dad that’s Tony Bennett!” For me this almost summed up Amy, just a girl from North London with a huge passion for music and a remarkable talent.

At times it was a difficult watch, especially when you see the footage of a clearly unwell Amy being constantly hounded by the press and being ridiculed in the media. This was someone who was very publicly dealing with her demons yet for some reason everyone thought she was ‘fair game’.

Whether you’re an Amy Winehouse fan or not i’d definitely recommend going to see this film. it shows the rise and fall of a musical icon and of course the incredible talent she possessed – which is something everyone can appreciate.

5 Things That Made Me Happy This Week – 6th June 2015

I’ll be honest, at the start of this week I couldn’t think of one thing that made me happy let alone five. I was in a really crappy place in my head, you know one of those moods that’s kind of hard to shake off?

Thankfully as the week progressed I sort of naturally came out of my rut and by the end of work on Tuesday I was feeling a lot better.

The rest of the week has been pretty good and I’m feeling a lot more positive and sort of more determined than ever now to get to where I want to be, which is never a bad thing.

1. Family time 

As I still live at home I invariably see my parents everyday but a lot of the time I’m busy in my own little world, usually trying to tick things off my ever growing ‘To Do’ list. Recently I’ve been making a bit more of an effort to spend time with my parents, we had the weekend together in London a few weeks ago which was really great to get away as family and not have any stress for a few days. This Sunday I’m off to a vintage fair with my Mum and throughout the week my Dad’s been teaching me a few tricks on my new ukulele which has been nice. Life can be pretty hectic, so it’s always good to take time out and appreciate those around you.


2. Trying new things 

After a very long period of neglect I recently picked up my guitar again and taught myself a couple of new songs, one of them being this version of Patsy Cline’s ‘Strange’, by my future husband Alex Turner.

However despite being a fully grown 23 year old adult, I still have the hands of a 5 year old child, which means I can find the string spacing’s on my guitar a bit hard to reach. Because of this my Dad suggested looking into buying a ukulele and their also a little bit easier to learn to play on.

As luck would have it I walk through the ICC every day and the Symphony Hall gift shop has a whole range of ukuleles for sale, so on Wednesday lunch time I went and purchased the lovely little number you can see below. So far I’m loving life with my little ‘uke’ and have managed to learn a couple of songs already, which I’m looking forward to popping on YouTube once I’ve mastered them and there’s no chance of me looking like an idiot – cause you know people love to anything to criticize and all that jazz.

 

3. Me time 

After being at work all day sometimes its nice just to have a bit of ‘me time’ and give yourself a treat, cause why not!

On Tuesday I bought myself some lovely flowers (I also bought some for my Mum as well, what a babe), and then treated myself to nice long bubble bath and a face mask which did me the world of good. And then this morning I went and got my hair and eyebrows did like the princess I am. In all seriousness my roots, definitely had an ombre thing going on which was not cool…


 

4. New surroundings

My new job is based in a lovely part of Birmingham city centre called Brindley Place, which is right by the canal side and close to venues like the Barclaycard Arena and the Rep Theatre. It’s also surrounded by a LOT of tasty cafes and restaurants, which you’re a massive food lover like myself can be both a blessing and a curse as I’m probably going to end up bankrupt and obese. The other day I got an absolute dream of a lunch from Carluccios, honestly I’d thoroughly recommend the aubergine pasta bake it was SO much better than the sad Tesco meal deal I had become accustomed to. With my new job I get an hours lunch, so it gives me plenty of time to have a stroll around and explore my new surroundings. On Thursday, I went and enjoyed my homemade garlic and chilli mushroom burritos in the sun whilst working on a new blog post, the perfect break to get me geared up for an afternoons work.


5. Parks & Rec 

This week I’ve been having a bit of a Parks and  Recreation binge. For those of you who don’t know what the hell I’m talking about Parks and Rec is an American comedy set in the Parks and Recreation department fictional town of Pawnee. The cast includes the amazing Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, Aubrey Plaza and Chris Pratt, who is excellent as the lovely but dim witted Andy Dwyer. I was feeling pretty crappy at the beginning of this week and watching this help cheer me up a lot. It’s just so clever and so funny, every member of the cast is just on their A game. Like seriously there’s not one weak character in the whole show, which is really rare! If you haven’t watched Parks and Rec yet I definitely recommend it!

Paul McCartney – Back In The UK

Paul McCartney Out There London 23rd May O2 Arena
After three years of absence (and me writing countless tweets about it), Paul McCartney has finally brought his ‘Out There’ tour over to the UK and somehow I managed to see him not once, but twice in the past week!

Paul McCartney Out There London 23rd May O2 Arena
Last Saturday myself and my parents went down to London to see Paul’s first UK show since 2012 at the O2 arena, which was an amazing night, combined with some nice sight seeing during the day. And then last Tuesday I got a message from a Uni friend saying that she had two free tickets to Paul’s Birmingham gig on Wednesday and would my Dad and I like them! I had to read the message about three times as I actually couldn’t believe that we were being given two FREE tickets to see Paul McCartney! I rang my Dad as soon as I go tout of work and asked him what he was doing tomorrow night, his said “well we’re going out to dinner to celebrate your new job aren’t we”, to which I replied “We’re not, we’re going to watch Paul McCartney instead!” To say my Dad was elated is a bit of an understatement and he said he wouldn’t quite believe it was true until he had the tickets in his hand.    Paul McCartney Out There 27th May Birmingham Barclaycard ArenaFor both gigs we had really great seats, London centre row just off the floor level and at Birmingham end row floor seats so we could scootch out into the aisle a little bit and have a clear as day view of the stage. The set list stayed the same for pretty much both concerts and included the hits that you expect to hear such as ‘Let It Be’, ‘BlackBird’ and ‘Yesterday’, as well as songs from The Beatles, Wings and Paul’s solo material. Interestingly Paul left ‘Yesterday’ until his very last encore which I’ve never seen him do before. His staging was also more elaborate than previous shows aswell, for example during BlackBird he was on a slowly raising platform which was a nice moment in the set. Two songs I’d been looking forward to was hearing live were ‘New’ and ‘Queenie Eye’ from his latest album also called ‘New’ and they didn’t disappoint.

You can find the rest of the set list here.

 

Paul McCartney Out There 23rd May London O2 Arena

On both occasions Paul performed 40 songs over 3 hours  which is quite unbelievable , I mean come on the man is 72 years of age!

At the London show Paul also got a couple of people to join him on stage. Firstly an American man who wanted Paul to sign his wife so she could have it made into a tattoo (very jealous) and then Dave Grohl joined him on stage to perform ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ which was a great surprise. Even though Dave Grohl is a legend in his own right you could see him looking at Paul like ‘Oh my god this is Paul McCartney!’

I really don’t know if I’ll get to see him live again as it’s took me 3 years this time, but at 8 Paul McCartney concerts at 23 years of age isn’t bad going and I’ll always have memories of seeing one of the greatest songwriters this countries ever produced and sharing those moments with my parents.

Did any of you guys get the chance to see Paul’s Out There tour, what did you think? 🙂

Paul McCartney Out There 27th May Birmingham Barclaycard Arena
My ‘slightly’ creased McCartney tour t shirt

 

Paul McCartney Out There 27th May Birmingham Barclaycard Arena
Loving life with my dad at the Birmingham show

5 Things That Made Me Happy This Week – 22nd May 2015 

1. I Have A New Job 

As of Tuesday I will be starting my new job as a Marketing Executive, although I’m sad to be leaving my old job as I got along so well with all of my colleagues but it’s onwards and upwards from here!

My new job gives me a lot more added responsibility which is obviously essential to progression in my career. And although it’s not all about money, I’ve also got a cheeky pay rise which is a nice added bonus. As a person I hate standing still both personally and professionally, so this opportunity is one I couldn’t turn down.


2. Paul McCartney

So tomorrow I’m going to London to see the musical legend that is Paul McCartney for the 7th (yes you read that right), time. Anyone that knows me knows that I’m a huuuuge Beatles fan and I’m beyond excited! The last time I saw Paul perform was at the Royal Albert Hall back in 2012, which was his last UK concert. Since his album NEW came out in 2013 Paul has left his UK fans waiting with baited breath as he went across the world with his ‘Out There’ tour and now it’s finally coming to the UK. With Paul now aged 72 I feel like this is probably the last time I’m going to get to see him live so I’m definitely going to make the most of it!

3. Friends 

Yesterday I got to see my friend Kari who I haven’t seen for nearly a month. I know its not that long especially since I haven’t seen three of my best friends since August last year due to them being on the other side of the world, (SIGH, why did I choose to stay here again?), but it was really nice to catch up over dinner and cocktails, it’s suprising how much can happen in 3 weeks. We couldn’t decide what to have for dessert so OBVIOUSLY we had to pick both and have half each because why the hell not ay, who needs a summer body anyway..

4. My Week Off 

So in the interim of leaving my old job and starting my new position I’ve been working from home this week and it’s been a welcome week of relaxation if I’m honest. This weeks given me the opportunity to actually tick off some of the things on my ever growing to do list. Most importantly its given me time to recharge the old batteries and have a bit of ‘me time’ which is always nice. Oh and I’ve maybe, just maybe developed a little addiction to Mad Men..


5. My Blog  

As you can probably tell I’ve majorly neglected my blog this past year, its always been at the back of mind and I knew I would get back on it at one point which is why I renewed my domain name back in December, but having so much spare time on my hands this week I decided enough was enough and that I need to get back out there. Not only that but I’ve started reading a lot more blogs recently and some of the content out there is fantastic and it sort of makes me want to up my writing game a bit yano? Obviously I’ve got a long way to go as this is only my second ‘new’ post but I’m looking forward to hopefully building my blog up and strengthening those writing skills of mine.

Hope you all had a great week, bye for now!

Finsbury Park

After months of waiting the day of the Arctic Monkeys at Finsbury Park finally arrived on 23rd May. After taking the early train to London and finding the Hotel we made our way down to Finsbury Park along with 40,000 other Arctic Monkey fans.

The weather had been less than desirable during the week but thankfully the weather managed to stay dry so I don’t need to put on my oh so flattering orange kagool.

The first band up were Royal Blood who are a two piece band from Brighton. In my opinion they were a great band to open the show with, they really got the crowd warmed up. I thought Mike Kerr the guitarist was excellent, I can only imagine how long he’s practiced for to get that good!

Next up was Miles Kane, a close friend of the Arctic Monkeys and someone who I have wanted to see live for a but have never had the chance. Miles really got the crowd going with songs like ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’, ‘Inhaler’ and ‘Better Than That’.

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The third and final support act were Tame Impala all the way from Australia,  I hadn’t listened to them a lot before the gig but I enjoyed their set even if it was a little more laid back than I think some people anticipated.

Finally at 9pm the band we came to see entered the stage to the riff of ‘Do I Wanna Know’ which instantly got the crowd going. Alex and the band were looking effortlessly cool as always as they played their way through most of AM with some classics such as BrianStorm, Cornerstone and Crying Lightning thrown in. One of my favorite moments was when Alex performed an acoustic version of  ‘A  Certain Romance’ from their first album. Having been a fan of the band since their early days this was a nice moment hearing an ‘old’ track at such a huge gig as Finsbury Park. It was great to hear my favourite tracks from AM played live, after playing my vinyl to absolute death these past few months!

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Finsbury Park was an amazing gig and one I’m going to remember for years to come! There’s no doubt in my mind that Arctic Monkeys are the biggest British band in the world and their only going to get bigger.

The Vinyl Countdown

Like most things the way we listen to music has evolved over the years. These days you can carry your whole music collection around in your pocket and apps such as Spotify give you access to thousands of tracks at the push of a button without having to spend a single penny.

However with all this progress in technology there is still one format that has a place in a lot of music listeners hearts, the mighty vinyl record. Although not as favored as in its hey day, vinyl has become increasingly popular within recent years and has seen a significant increase in sales, not including the vast second hand market. Record Store Day was created in 2007 as a celebration of independent record stores and sees numerous artists releasing exclusive material on vinyl.There are even vinyl listening parties like ‘Classic Album Sundays’ in East London ran by DJ Coleen Murphy, where music lovers switch off their phones, and  listen in silence to a classic album on vinyl .When speaking to thepositive.com, Murphy said the goal of the group  was to “Just listen and just experience the music as fully as they possibly can.” 

After playing my Dads vintage sixties player to death, I got my very own record player for my 21st birthday and since then I’ve built up a  small ever growing vinyl collection. Although I love the convenience of YouTube and Spotify, sometimes its just nice to sit down, relax and listen to music without it just being background noise.

My Dad's player from the sixties.
My Dad’s player from the sixties.

Like many others I feel music sounds a lot warmer when played on vinyl and. I love the crackling sound that the needle makes when you first place it on the record about to engage the grooves of the first track. Listening to vinyl can be a nostalgic experience for many, evoking fond memories  of days gone by and for people like myself its great listening to tracks on the format they were originally intended to be played on.

My treasured record player
My treasured record player

Its not just the records themselves that interest people but the artwork that comes with it. Many album covers such as The Beatles ‘Sgt Pepper’ and Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ have become iconic and are seen as standalone works of art. Retailers such as Urban Outfitters now sell vinyl photo frames allowing you to adorn your wall with album art.

As life long fan of music I enjoy listening to music on all formats but I’ll always have a special place in my heart for vinyl. How about you, do you enjoy listening to vinyl or do you think its a format past its sell by date?  Let me know in the comments box!

 

 

Song of the day – Amy Winehouse ‘Me and Mr Jones’

Todays song of the day is Amy Winehouse’s ‘Me and Mr Jones’ from her brilliant album ‘Back to Black’. This song is said to be about the rapper Nas whose last name is Jones (making him ‘Mr Jones), they also shared the same birthday (‘Mr Destiny, 9/14’).

Amy is one of my favourite artists and I was lucky enough to see her live before her death. Not only did she have that wonderful soulful voice but she was also a talented songwriter who poured her inner turmoil and emotions into some beautiful songs.