Category Archives: Music

Rising from the ashes…

I have discovered that my work computer, which does not allow me to access Facebook, YouTube and other fun stuff, does allow me to access my blog, which is therefore now back in business!

Life is pretty good at the moment. This week I have been to see a fantastic production of Oliver at the Drury Lane Theatre and a classical concert at St Martin-in-the-Fields, and so have hardly been at home. When I can think what to say, I’ll post something more informative!

Being Alive

Last night, the Proms saw an absolutely wonderful concert to make the 80th birthday of arguably the greatest living composer and lyricist, Stephen Sondheim. For those who’ve not come across him, his most famous work is probably the musical of ‘Sweeny Todd’.

One of the songs last night was all about the risks of relationships and intimacy. It’s no secret, thanks to TractorGirl(!) that I’m thinking of proposing soon. It’s a big decision, and listening at the same time to a friend who has been turned away by someone they really liked has made me think about relationships. Sometimes, when we’ve had big rows or something has gone wrong, I’ve caught myself wondering about whether being single wouldn’t be easier. This song from Sondheim catches the risks, which I’ve come to the conclusion are more than worth taking, as while loving involves getting hurt, sometimes deeply, it can (and does with TractorGirl 😀 ) bring so much goodness and wholeness:


Confusing categories

Me in my favourite tie in a characteristic pose

Just a little moan really to distract me from preparing for my viva (on the 8th June – prayers much appreciated!) and applying for jobs.  

I like to wear ties.  

Lots of people seem to assume that doing that is about trying to make a statement about my sexual orientation or gender identity. However, for me, it’s really not about that at all. Yes, I can’t deny I enjoy messing with people’s heads a bit because gender stereotypes and what is considered ‘appropriate’ for each of the sexes seems to be so ingrained, but wearing a tie doesn’t mean I have a deep-seated longing to be  a man. I don’t – I’m perfectly comfortabke with my gender. Nor is it an expression of my sexual orientation – I started wearing ties before I got around to the ‘being honest with myself’ about all that.  

Originally, I got the idea from Kate on ‘The Apprentice’. I thought she looked good and thought I’d give it a try. I wore one to Church one Sunday, and apart fr0m one person (who has a strange gay-guys-don’t-like-lesbians thing going on), everyone complimented me on looking smart (and in one case, sexy, apparently), so I’ve stuck with it.  

I suppose how one dresses does reflect something of one’s personality (or, at points in the past, bank balance and Northern tightness!) and so I guess one could say it is an expression of my eccentricity, but really it’s just because I like them. I like the smart look and it brightens up a shirt. Ok, so with some advice from TractorGirl and others, I’ve got better at choosing ones that look more feminine and coordinate with my shirts, but I still don’t even see the problem if it looks a little masculine. To put it bluntly, I have feminine hair and, ahem, a rather large chest. I don’t think I can really be called stereotype butch. Even if I did, so does k.d. lang, and she still looks sexy.  

Rant over, now to apply for another job and get back to work… oh, and here’s a fun interview with the aforementioned k.d. lang. Enjoy!  


Confessions of a Would-Be Folkie (and kd lang fan)

Before I started going out with TractorGirl, I was never particularly into folk music. Classical or 1960s cheese was more my scene. However, over the last few months, I’ve got quite into folk.

It started with a quiet evening spent in TractorGirl’s flat watching a DVD of a Ralph McTell concert. Next thing I know I’m being dragged to a gig by Show of Hands at the Gala Theatre. The supporting act for the evening was Flossie Malavialle, a French singer who came to England in 2000 to improve her English and ended up in Darlington, like, on the English folk scene.  While I liked Show of Hands, I much preferred Flossie and ended up buying her Tour Collection. Ever since then, I’ve been quite a fan of ‘French Bint’, as Tractorgirl calls her.

A little while later and I made my first trip to the Sagein Gateshead to hear Martyn Joseph. Decided that he wasn’t so much my cup of tea, but it was still a fun evening. Most recently, I’ve seen Fairport Convention twice, once in Durham doing an ‘acoustic evening’ – which just meant they sat down(!) – and once at the Sage, supported by Flossie. I also heard Joan Armatrading at the Sage and learnt the limits of my synaesthesia – I passed out at one point as the combination of the volume of the music, lighting and the Media Player-style backdrop was too much. I sometimes get sensory overload when bombarded with too many stimuli but that’s the first time I’ve flaked out!

My favourite gig recently was in a little parish church with Maddy Prior and Nick Hennessy. He told stories and played such diverse instruments as the harp (which I’d never heard used as a solo instrument before and was really beautiful) and a suitcase! She sang some random songs about ravens. The nicest part of the evening was sitting next to TractorGirl with her just resting her head on my shoulder. It was lovely being so close, feeling her hair brush against my cheek, while listening to great music. One of those moments you don’t want to end…

Over the last few months I’ve also discovered the music (and drop-dead-gorgeous looks) of kd lang. My favourite song at the moment is ‘Constant Craving’, with which I  leave you: