down down under the earth goes another lover

I’m writing this from a new bedroom, in a new neighbourhood, with a new Macbook, in the company of a new teapot. Some things haven’t changed though — I still can’t manage to go to bed early.

Yesterday I had to buy a bus card for the first time, since I live much closer to uni now, and don’t need to catch the ferry anymore. Auckland Transport has been implementing new transport card systems, and it seems like they are trying to unify everything. But it’s still an absolute shambles. In all the other countries I’ve visited, if you qualify for a concession fare — student or otherwise — you show your ID card at the time of purchase, and will then be charged a reduced fare from that point onwards. However, Auckland Transport seems too incompetent to pull this off.

I know that some people cheat the system and try to get away with paying lower fares, but the level of student-ID-checking that’s going on is just ridiculous. I don’t know why they can’t just apply the discount from the point of purchase! Instead, I had to queue up to buy a card (have my student ID and sticker* checked), then queue up elsewhere to get hold of an application form (on which I filled in my student ID and sticker details), then queue up once again to hand in said form, THEN have my student ID and sticker checked yet again. Seriously — do they want students to take public transport or not?! This whole process wasted a lot of time, not to mention the inefficient chain of bureaucracy that this is, and the unnecessary number of people they had to employ in order to supervise this. I don’t understand why having person at the ticket booth checking people’s IDs and stickers does not suffice!

To make mattes worse, I came home to register my card online… only to discover that the $20 credit I had paid to be put on it isn’t there. Thank goodness I kept the receipt, but now I have to make yet another trip out of my way to Britomart (it’s a train station/transport hub) to sort this out. I hope whoever I have to deal with tomorrow is quick-witted enough to remedy this quickly, if at all.

So much for life being easier if I didn’t have to deal with the fiasco that ferrying has become.

*We have to go and get a new sticker either at the start of every year or semester, which verifies that we are enrolled in enough courses to qualify as a “full-time student”, in order to get a student discount on public transport.

I could bet all the riches that I ever had, Rushing the night like a shark babe. Would it be bad if I had to set the alarm, Cos those thrills that run up my back

Laneway festival was only two and a half weeks ago, but it already seems like a long, long time has passed. Funny how some of the most fond memories of events that were once looked forward to so badly can fizzle out into a patch of pleasant-blur. It was a shame that I couldn’t see every act that I was interested in – the boy and I had to cull our choices down and make our own timetable to run by. We had a great day, but I can’t help but feel that it could’ve been better. To be honest, yes, I loved the music, but I was let down by a handful of things and I’m just not sure how great of an idea it is (the festival’s finances aside) to expand the festival by so much. I’ll get pinned for elitism again, but I just felt it was such a shame that majority of the crowd didn’t seem that into the music at allin fact, most people appeared to be hardly familiar with the music at many of the acts! To clarify, the reason I say it’s a shame is because the bands have come such a long way to this corner of the world, only to be met with largely static and unengaged crowds. It’s also a shame because I think that many people would’ve enjoyed themselves more whilst bearing with the scorching sun and heat, if they were more familiar with the music – rather than just the typical one song that eeeveryone seems to show up to half these sets for! Plus, I always find that being amongst the atmosphere which a very enthusiastic crowd of “fans”-that-are-actually-fans create is one of the most amazing and indescribable feelings in the world. It just kinda sucked that for most of the afternoon, only a handful of other people actually moved, danced and sang along to song after song, to the bands that we’d long-awaited for.

It had been discussed many times between the boy and I as to who would be the “dark horse” band of the day, akin to Blonde Redhead’s set last year, which just blew us both out of the water, and we’ve been even bigger fans since. Whilst the boy had initially vouched for Cults, I’m afraid to say it didn’t take them long to disappoint us. Sometimes I think that perhaps I ought to lower my expectations, but then M83 at the end of the night quashed that thought before Intro was out. Technical issues didn’t help the opening of Cults’ set, but even after that was fixed, it took Madeline a couple of songs to warm up her voice and cease singing flat. I’m sorry, forever a music student’s woes! But I’m happy that I was right and Yuck played an amazing set (at which I was that lone idiotic-looking fan that sang and danced along to everything with my boyfriend), and they played every song that I had hoped to hear.

Nitty gritty details and complaints aside, it was a great day and we had a lot of fun. It’s also obvious that I’m trying to wrap up this blog post because, oh no, it is once again almost dawn and I should sleep… Semi-Laneway-related playlist with more details is at the bottom!

We ferried into the city for the festival, and were lucky to be one of the last people that managed to get on. Being Auckland Anniversary meant that there were a lot of events in town, and the ferry simply wasn’t big enough so lots of people were left behind at the marina.

Hair tie = wild-hair-in-the-wind prevention technique.


 And because I’m too lazy to take photos myself, I stole these off web-stores instead. Here is what I wore: lace up boots by B Store with a harness vest by Friend of Mine, worn over a white singlet and white denim cutoffs. My mother reckons that the back of the vest is, in her words, “a bit scary looking”, aka rather BDSM-suggestive – and isn’t it just? I love it though, and I’ve worn it out to random places ever since I got over the fact that I’d constantly get asked about it. These are also the shoes that I wore to the Dan Deacon show, four days after Laneway. I know it seems silly to wear heels to a festival (believe it or not, it was the boy that convinced me to wear them), but it was totally worth it for the extra height. I usually don’t have much trouble seeing at concerts, but I definitely had a better view with these babies on! And I managed to stay upright, even with all the potholes in the grass at one of the stages, so it was fiiine.

1. Hold On – SBTRKT
SBTRKT’s album is forever going to be associated with playing CS for me; I’d gotten into both at around the same time, and it became a bit of a ritual to pair up the two. So imagine how surreal it was to see him live on a patch of uneven grass, with the early evening sun dipping to just above the stage-line and yachts just metres away to one side. Very different to holing up in my room, hours spent cursing at getting kills stolen!

2. Shook Down – Yuck
Oh this song! This heartbreakingly-sweet, sweet song! This band! I love them! Go listen! This is a lot of exclamation marks!

3. Vomit – Girls
Another let down of the day: Girls’ set got cut short because they were running behind schedule (not their fault) and got booted off. I was happy that it happened after they played my top-two songs though – this, and “Lust For Life”. This is a bit of a sombre song, but I just love it. I love the sound, the lyrics, and why/how he wrote them. In Christopher Owens’ own words: “As a dog returns to his vomit, so does a fool return to his folly. You can be very aware of how crazy you’re being sometimes, and be very aware of how you’re not able to help yourself.”

4. How I Know – Toro Y Moi
Underneath his trademark sunshine-evoking sound actually lies a lot of uncertainty and grey space, and I guess that’s why Toro Y Moi stands out to me. The boy’s very into his music, and I don’t know, we’ve never discussed it at length (yet), so I can’t say for sure, but I think we like him for very different reasons. Or at least, I like him for what I think are underrated and often-overlooked reasons. The line “You don’t seem sure/What you want to happen now” puts so many of my life’s moments into a warped nutshell that it freaks me out.

5. Serpents – Sharon Van Etten
This is a song that I fell for the first time I heard it, and then fell out with it upon the second… I guess I’ve been trying to figure out ever since what it was that I heard in it that very first time.

6. Sparkly – Young Magic
This is a poor description of the song, but what came to mind for me was that it sounds like a chilled-out version of the album In Rainbows. I know, I knooow, what a dumb thing to think and to say. But it’s a spacey song that still somehow manages to stay a little intense, just enough for you to still be listening to it, even if you intended it to be background music. And I like what a dead and muted sound the “percussion” is, yet it’s been produced with a little depth to it.

7. Never Heal Myself – Cults
I’m just a sucker for songs that say “[so] fuck you”, especially when its been sonically portrayed in such a deceptively sweet way. The link is to a live video of them performing… if only they played that well at Laneway. Although I was glad that Madeline managed to warm up by that late stage in their set that she didn’t miss the top notes anymore.

8. New Map – M83
M83 are sooo soooooo soooooooooooo good live. The kind of performance that sounds just like the record but somehow manages to outdo it, you know the sort.

9. Snookered – Dan Deacon
This makes me want to cry. Enough said.

can’t help myself but count the flaws

It’s the middle of the night and I’m meant to wake up in less than 6 hours, so this is just typical of me, but I have an urge to share and so here goes.

ONE: I wrote this poem last week called “in place of a love letter”, so please go read it and let me know what you think.

TWO: I finally got two rolls of colour films developed yesterday (man that was expensive!) and I’ll start to slowly post them up, but here are two of my favourites:

Sunday Ritual #1 – taken on Kodak UltraMax 400 colour film; self-timer, Nikon F3.

Sunday Ritual #2 – taken on Kodak UltraMax 400 colour film; self-timer, Nikon F3.

THREE: PLAYLIST. The main thing about this playlist is that I will be seeing 7/9 artists below next January at Laneway Festival. So, hell yes, yes please! This is definitely one of my favourite playlists that I’ve made so far, even if I say so myself.

 1. Tyrant Destroyed – Twin Shadow
I love this guy’s music, and more importantly, his lyrics. I sound like such a bitch, but do you know how rare it is to find an artist to have decent music and lyrics? I guess that’s mostly what it takes for a band to be in my “top” list – amazing sound AND lyrics. I’ve been listening to his album on repeat and repeat and repeat. I seriously just can’t stop listening. This is an amazing album opener, so I thought it’d be a good place to start a playlist.

2. Still Life – The Horrors
I’ve already seen The Horrors before, last year, but I know that next year will be better. Last time, I was stuck in the photo pit (chasing these photos, by the way) and so I just didn’t really get the chance to soak them in completely, since I was rushing around the Big Day Out like a madwoman on a tight schedule. Plus, with a new album under their belt this year, I’m curious to see what the mix of their set will be – how much older stuff they’ll play, and if so, which songs. For some reason, this song reminds me of The Verve’s Bittersweet Symphony. It’s a key thing, probably.

3. Asterisk – M83
Was saying to the boy the other day about how I can’t believe I ever fell out with M83. I guess it was during a time of my life where I needed something livelier – less shoegaze, post-rock sounding, I suppose. But obviously I’ve fallen back in love with them, and this will always be one of the top songs for me – it’s such an in-your-face contrast to the rest of this album, I love it. Might want to turn your speakers down if you don’t want a fright though.

4. All Alone – Toro Y Moi
Another song off Toro Y Moi’s latest EP was featured on my last playlist a while back, but I just love this EP too much. I seriously hope that he plays this EP in its entirety when I see him. It’s the perfect getting-tipsy-off-beer-and-dancing song for a summer music festival. Seriously, seriously digging this shit. If anyone comes up to Auckland for it and sees some girl in blue Docs jivin’ to him, that’ll be me.

5. Go Outside – Cults
This link goes to the MTV-made video, so the grand intro isn’t actually part of this song, but the video is just too cute, so watch it! It features Dave Franco (brother of possibly if not my only celebrity/actor-crush-figure, James Franco) and Emma Roberts (an actress in her own right, I suppose – ahem – aka Julia Roberts’ niece). She’s three months older than me, but I swear, she looks so young! Or maybe I just look old. Crap. Anyway, it’s an adorable song as well, and I can’t wait to see Cults either.

6. Broken – Disco Inferno
Definitely not seeing Disco Inferno next year (in case you didn’t know, their first album was released the year I was born), but it’s a nice song nonetheless. And very “Amanda-ish”, as the boy would say.

7. Funeral Day – The Mint Chicks
Sadly The Mint Chicks aren’t about to play together again any time soon (as far as I’m aware), but Kody and Michael have teamed up with Bic Runga to form Opossom who are playing at Laneway, so that shall be an eye-opener, as usual. I got nostalgic whilst driving home with the boy from uni today and put on the Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No! album and instantly felt like I was 16 again. All those nights spent quoting the Mint Chicks in txt messages, the high school years of unrequited love, teenage angst, and going along to their shows just to thrash about, and hope like hell that Kody doesn’t fall of the latest stack of PAs or railings that he’s decided to climb. Ahh… good times. By the way, even though it’s 5 years old, I still love this album to death, so if anyone wants to listen to it, the whole thing can be streamed from here.

8. Within and Without – Washed Out
I wonder what on earth Ernest Greene will play at Laneway. I don’t care. He’ll be in the afternoon rather than night – most likely – and hopefully I will be experiencing a nice relaxed buzz with my favourite hand holder tightly holding onto me. I find Washed Out’s real name funny – Ernest Greene just sounds like… such a great blank and neutral sounding pseudonym to publish a book under, if you know what I mean? It’s even more amusing to me because my English students are revising The Importance of Being Ernest for their external Cambridge exams at the moment.

9. Crystalline – Bjork
The drum(machine) breakdown at the end is like an ear orgasm. No, multiple. I just wished that it was drawn out longer, but I guess this way it’s not over done. Ahhhh, why couldn’t I have seen Bjork now rather than all those years ago when she was just a visual and sonic spectacular, rather than something I actively listened to and vaguely understood? Wasted youth, I say. I’d say the same about seeing Sonic Youth as well, if I had just seen them even 6 months later, the experience would be completely different. It’s funny how these things work.

I think that with the best bands and artists, seeing them live always makes me fall in love with the more. Even if I already adore their music already. Now how to become one of them?