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Archive for August, 2009

I have been re-reading the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald this summer. He is one of my absolute favourite authors. The way he portrays his characters, is simply marvelous. Everything is so lavishly detailed, from the locations to the clothing, so it almost feels as you were there.

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The pages are filled with stories of decadence, faded youth, passion, decay, class, excess and destruction. His stories are so sad, yet beautiful and haunting. Fitzgerald´s style is unbiased and clearsighted, yet desillusioned. He filled his novels with bits and pieces taken from his own life, which makes it even more tragic. F. Scott Fitzgerald died thinking he was a failure, yet he is one of the most loved authors, and his books are considered classics. They have captivated readers for decades, and most likely will continue to do so.

“When Dick knocked she had just dressed and been watching the rain, thinking of some poem, and of full gutters in Beverly Hills. When she opened the door she saw him as something fixed and Godlike as he had always been, as older people are to younger, rigid and unmalleable. Dick saw her with an inevitable sense of disappointment. It took him a moment to respond to the unguarded sweetness of her smile, her body calculated to a millimeter to suggest a bud yet guarantee a flower. He was conscious of the print of her wet foot on a rug through the bathroom door.”

Excerpt from “Tender is the Night”  by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Summer is ending, and soon comes fall. It´s that time of the year, the one I dread. The time for getting a coat, or jacket, to keep me warm during fall and winter. Ever since I can remember, I have felt an extreme anxiety when it comes to jackets. Every time I have to buy a new one, I set out to get the perfect one. Endless visits to different stores in search of a warming shell, while trying to figure out what I really want. This happens far too often though, because every time the same scenario repeats: After a whole day of shopping I get tired and irritated, because I don´t find a single thing that I like, I grab a jacket that isn´t heinous atleast, and that´s it. Then I realise it is quite ugly, the shape is awful, and it does look really cheap. So next year I have to go through the same thing, or perhaps two years later because I feel bad over buying that godawful…thing.. and wear it just because.

Thankfully, I am older and hopefully a bit wiser, and do know what I like. I have also worked out a strategy that worked really well when I was shopping for a jacket for spring. It must be clear now that jackets are a huge stumbling block for me. Why that is, I do not know. Anyway, thanks to the internet, this procedure gets somewhat easier. No need for marathon-walks while sweating and swearing, and trying not to go insane. I have begun doing research. It is just wonderful, and much better than go totally unprepared. For the last few days I have browsing different webshops for the perfect jacket/coat, or atleast something that will help me find it. This helped me to select a few criterias that my future garment should hold:

 a. Fit – It must, must, have a good fit. No shapeless mass of fabric for me, thanks.

b. Quality – The material  must be of a good quality, I can´t stress that enough. I like wool, or a wool/cashmere mix. If the material is of a high quality, the garment will last much longer. Therefore there is no need to buy a new jacket/coat for a long time.

c. Price – Now, here is the tricky part. I do not want to spend a fortune, simply because I can´t. But I want something that is nice, and has a better quality, which can be hard to solve. The key here is to find a good ratio between criteria b and c, and I am guessing it will be the hardest part. But with a little luck, and good reasearch, it will work out.

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This jacket, or coat, should have longevity. That should probably be one of the criterias, since it is very important to me. Since my style really isn´t changing that much, just evolving a bit, I want this to be sort of an investment piece that will last. I do not want to own hundreds of useless garments, which is a complete waste, just the things I really do like and treasure. I think it is more economical to spend a bit more on a few things that last, than to buy masses of cheap pieces that will look awful after just a few uses. This specially applies to things like coats, shoes and other things that one considers investments. Ofcourse I do buy high street brands as well, but I try to avoid it when it comes to certain things in my wardrobe.

Because longevity is what I aim for, my choice of style is what I consider a classic; a pea coat, or a duffle/toggle coat (or jacket). It´s a style that I have liked for many years, and which I think goes with almost anything. It might be considered safe or boring, but for me it is timeless and stands for a certain aesthetic that I adore. My researching has payed off, atleast to an extent; Burberry and Gloverall has some interesting items that I will take a closer look at, but the search will go on until I feel satisfied. There is a bit more time left and it has to be used wisely until I am certain the search is over, because after all, the point of all of this is to not to have to go through all of this all over again.

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This lack of inspiration is quite frustrating. Everything seems dull, but all I long for is something, anything, that will awaken me from this slumber. It might help me figure out what to do, how to proceed with this never-ending quest for the right career. A career that will make me happy, and keep my mind stimulated. But for now I will settle for a good book, or a movie, that will keep me company while I wait for this to happen.

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This past weekend I attended the Way out west festival in Gothenburg. It was on it´s third year, and every year they have managed to create an amazing line-up. Past acts have been among others;  Erykah Badu, Kanye West, Primal Scream, Lykke Li in 2007, the first time the festival took place, and in 2008 Franz Ferdinand, Neil Young, Sonic Youth, N.E.R.D, Fleet Foxes, Lykke Li and Kleerup were a few of the artists booked. This year they managed to book Anthony & The Johnsons, Glasvegas, My Bloody Valentine, Robyn, Bon Iver, Ladyhawke, El Perro Del Mar, Fever Ray, Lily Allen and Jenny Wilson, just to name a few.

My previous festival experiences have been of the traditional kind – one travels to some field in some small town somewhere, sleeps in a tent for three days, eats crappy food while not getting enough sleep. This was when I was younger, so I don´t think that is an experience that I would like to go through again. It is needless to say that I am one of those who completely likes the concept of the new festival, the one that takes place in a city, and that does not have a campsite. One can enjoy the bands, go and eat decent food at a restaurant, and sleep in the comfort of a bed, and actually get some sleep.

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Glasvegas

As with every time I have attended a festival, I missed a few acts. One I particularly wanted to see, but couldn´t, was Bon Iver. I also missed Jenny Wilson, whom I had been looking for to see perform. I did get to see quite a few bands though. Robyn, I had seen before, several times, so this time I watched from one of the bars. It was a good performance, but not really up to her standards. She got amazing reviews anyway. Some of her guests included; Kleerup, Lykke Li, and to everyone´s surprise – Dr Alban. He had some hits in the early 90´s, but I wouldn´t say that his music has aged well.

Another performance that stood out for me, was Glasvegas. I liked them, but I didn´t really fall for the hype. I thought they were alright. I went to see them anyway, and I´m glad I did because it was great. They managed to create a wonderful atmosphere, even though I didn´t get almost anything of what James Allan said. Fever Ray was another brilliant show, but I didn´t really see much since she played in a tent, and we had to stay way back. But this woman can really create this really dark, and suggestive atmosphere with everything from the lighting, to the costumes, that creates a perfect backdrop for her music.

The band that was the main reason for me to go, was My Bloody Valentine. And all I can say is: Wow! It is quite amazing that noice can sound so beautiful. Their music is sometimes called dream pop, and it is a really accurate description. I have only heard them on record before, never live, and this blew me away. The experience was physical, the way the noice they create just strikes you. Really powerful. Unfortunately, the singing was almost impossible to hear. Yes, it is supposed to be like that, almost like one of the background instruments. Just something to complete the sound, to create that dreaminess. But this was something else, you couldn´t hear almost anything, which destroyed the overall impression a bit.

So what else did I think about? Except that the food was way overpriced (see, that is why the location is perfect – just leave and have some food somwhere else), everything was overpriced to be honest, and the beer tasted like water, there were a lot of impressions to take in. The average age was quite high, comparing to other festivals, so it was a good mix of different age groups. Something other that was positive, was that people weren´t that crazy drunk that they usually are on festivals. I noticed a very clear style profile on the way people dressed, almost like they were all made in the same factory. Speaking of style, I noticed Roland Hjort of Whyred in the crowd, which I ofcourse told my friends about, but they didn´t have a clue of who he is.

I am wondering which bands they will book for next year, something great I presume. I just hope they take care of some minor issues, like that some acts play in different clubs around the city, which can make it hard for people to see them. The clubs have limited capacities when it comes to how many people they are allowed to let in. It makes the festival as a whole feel a bit scattered. Then, there is the food-issues that I wish that they will somehow improve. I am planning to attend next year, and hopefully I will have a great time, just like I did now. When it comes down to it, all that matters is that the bands are great, and that some wonderful friends are there to share it with you.

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Madonna

As I have previously mentioned, I saw Madonna live a couple of weeks ago. This was the second time for me, the last time was during her “Confessions tour” in Amsterdam. Even though I consider “The Confessions tour” a better tour overall (songs, perfomance, wardrobe etc.), I had a much better time this time. First of all, I didn´t go alone, I was with friends with whom I always wanted to attend a Madonna concert with. Second, we were right infront of the stage. I could literally see her pores (which, ofcourse, were minimal!). The third factor, was ofcourse the fact that it was in my hometown.

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Since “Hard Candy” isn´t one of my favourite Madonna-albums, I could have been without some of the songs from it. And I didn´t like what she did to “Vogue”. It´s amazing though how I have managed to forget details from the show, even if it was only two weeks ago, so I will stick to a broader review. I expect a lot from a concert by Madonna, I know what she is capable of, and how she can create a performance that jogs all the senses. Her shows are almost like a theatrical experience, where she combines music, with art, with dancing, with fashion and everything else that will fit the theme and create a complete experience. This is something she really proved she could master during the “Blond ambition world tour”, and what made me a complete fanatic. I liked her before, but what I saw, even at the age of nine (on TV ofcourse), completely fascinated me. I am no longer that kind of a fanatic, but sometimes those feelings can blossom up.

“The Sticky & Sweet tour” does not come up to the levels of “Blonde Ambition”, I would say it is probably one of her weaker tours. I know what she can do, so I had expected more, instead of what I got. That theatrical feeling wasn´t there, and the choice of songs could have been different in my opinion. Her strong side is also to choose amazing costumes, which I feel she has done better in the past. If I had to pinpoint what I felt the show lacked, I would say imagination, and that creativity she is known for. It felt very standard somehow, but nonetheless it held a high standard; especially compared to other shows.

One might think that this was a horrible show, sure it had it downsides, but it never was downright bad. To tell the truth, I had an amazing evening, and I was really impressed. To think of all that hard work, to plan such a performance and then take it around the globe..I could never do that. Everything is meticulously planned, so the preparations must be quite something. And then to actually go through with it, and make sure that every single thing works every night, I can´t even imagine what it must be like. I am wondering how she can keep up like that, perform for two hours every night, rehearsals, working out, taking care of her children, and while doing that manage this whole circus, without giving up. I am 23 years younger than her, but I was completely exhausted after that night. Completely!

One thing that did surprise me, was how amazing she looked. I didn´t think she would actually, because this was not a photoshoot where everything was photoshopped, and I stood this close to the stage. She truelly did look amazing, and her body is too toned for words. I was happy that I did get some really good photos, because that usually never happens, so it was a nice bonus. Overall, this concert was amazing. Yes, it had it´s flaws, but taking everything in consideration, it was a special evening which I will remember for a long time.

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After two weekends, filled with music, I am now happy and quite worn out. I need to get some rest, some perspective, and then I will summarize two amazing weekends filled with one of the things I love the most. Well, two, friends and music. Anyway, it has been great, but it will be hard to put into words.

Meanwhile, here are some videos of a few of the acts I saw these two weekends. They do not do them justice, it´s a completely different thing to actually be there, but sometimes it just isn´t possible so it is a good thing that one can watch snippets online or whole concerts on dvd.

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Tonight, I am going to see Madonna live, for the second time. This time I wont be alone, and it will be in my hometown. I can´t wait!

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