Originating but deviating and later continuing from this post here. This is part 1 of what will be many.
There is a world- a library, of sorts- that never closes its doors or switches out its lights. It’s a world where stories are treasured; where snippets and tales built on a whim are lovingly collected and cared for in sprawling, dimly lit rooms and stretching corridors. If you are the type likely to tune into the muted chatter of couples in coffee shops, or to catch the whispers shared between best friends before they are lost on the wind, then you may already be aware of its existence. It’s said that the library can be found of one’s own accord at any time, if only one looks properly for it.
There is one room in particular- the room in which you find yourself on your very first visit, in fact- oddly reminiscent of a cinema foyer. Mirrored ceilings faithfully return your perplexed gaze, and the sweet smell of popcorn hangs about the air, despite there being no sign of any staff around. Millions of books rest upon a chaotic labyrinth of shelves, and the paths you take in an attempt to find the exit always seem to result in dead ends. You anxiously wonder if there even is a way out of… whatever it is you’ve stumbled into. Your footsteps are muffled on the patterned carpet.
You glance to the side and see a black leather-bound volume, lined with gold edges. A strange stab of curiosity gets the better of you at this point, and you carefully remove the book from the shelf before the opportunity to think better of it arises. Turning it over in your shaking hands, you notice that the volume has no title on its cover or spine, but rather a small collection of sigils arranged around a larger glyph placed in the middle of a circle. Confused, you briefly ponder upon what you are about to read before opening the book somewhere in the middle, set to preview its contents. To your surprise, the pages are blank.
Wank, arguments and hate have been literally flying about on my dash ever since the panels.
I think we just all need to remember that everyone is entitled to an opinion, and that some people are a lot more eloquent in their expression of their opinions than others. Not everyone is brilliant at putting their point across in a debate.
If you think someone is being rude or hateful, don’t retaliate in a similar manner- it just makes it all worse. Just stay calm and try and diffuse the anger. This fandom’s divided enough, it’s time we tried to make peace.
We’re not going to change each other’s minds, so maybe we should try not to be so venomous to each other.
I know. I’m just a quiet blogger- why does what I have to say matter? It doesn’t. Not really. But I’m pretty certain we never do ourselves or our opinions justice by being aggressive and hateful.
I know a lot of people are angry about the way Meg was killed off yesterday, and I can understand that- she’s been around since Season 1, in & out of the Winchester’s lives in such a way that she is just as entwined into the show’s narrative as other characters who were given far more dramatic exits.
However, you could see it as a kind of symbolism. While she may mean something to us, Meg is just an end that needs snipping as far as Crowley’s concerned. Killing her is no real hardship, and her unceremonious death just goes to show that. It could be argued that it’s to help us as audience members re-distance ourselves from Crowley and remember how much of a threat he is- the very casual, business-like method of killing seems to carry its very own alienation technique, and perhaps it was thought we were weren’t taking Crowley seriously enough as an adversary.
However, more importantly for me, on Meg’s part it also carries a kind of bitter irony. This episode is unarguably the closest to human she’s ever been, (we see her empathising with Sam, or at least trying to, if not fully getting it, and hell, if her feelings towards Castiel don’t speak volumes then I don’t know what does) but all this means jack squat when she’s got an angel blade brutally shoved between her ribs. I always feel that the casual kills are the most disturbing/inhumane- it’s almost fitting for Meg to die this way after we are shown a more human side to her character.
But hey, maybe I’m talking crap. I just needed a break from Drama Coursework.
A eulogy for Craftmanship
You ask me if I hate you.
How could I, love,
who wore my soul inside his skin-
the man I carved from marble
with slips of wrists
to half-filled glasses?
No; I saw too much of me
when your head fell to your knees.
A chisel to your temple? Penance;
For creating something worthless.
Not even he could scream:
"I am lonely! I have nothing!
Is this all you can give to me?”
How crushing, then, it is to be
the artist who can’t face her piece
and tell it she regrets him.
I wish I remembered more about being little.
The whole bank of memories surrounding my childhood home are bleached with the hazy light of a late August afternoon, although I am aware that this is completely inaccurate, as Warehorne, Kent is one of the least likely places to be bathed in eternal sunshine. I only really seem to remember lounging in the front garden with my neighbours, with whom we share a lawn, trying to decide whether it was warm enough to warrant bringing out Sally- a huge plastic spider who actually had a hosepipe up her ass and was in fact a kid’s sprinkler toy. The best part of summer was when we would all play “jump through the water” together in our cutesy flower-patterned swimsuits, and squeal in delight as water droplets caught the light and sent rainbows shooting across our visions for a fraction of a second before falling to the earth.
However, the memories still in perfect clarity to me are those of the Venture Scout holidays. My parents were both scout leaders once, and not the dorky, pedantic kind you might imagine; the couple kept a friendly, close-knit group of teens who we saw grow up and take off on their own diverse and exciting expeditions. To me, they were extended family. A lot of the old Ventures are still friends of my family today- one is even the godmother to my younger sister Alex.
Coming with the group on their camps and trekking holidays to Wales and the Lake District was part of my life as far back as I can remember. The scouts enjoyed doting on me, and just generally made a fuss over “Pam & Derek’s daughter”.
I… am sorry.
I don’t write enough. I know this.
Another problem is that over the years I’ve become cripplingly shy when it comes to sharing what I write, and that really needs to stop because otherwise I can’t see myself doing that much with my life.
I told a friend once that nobody had more faith in him than I did. I’ll admit that yeah, at the time, I meant every word. I acknowledged his arrogance and his sense of entitlement for what they were; a glue to keep the fragmented pieces of a self-esteem together. And I had faith that he was good at heart, and that a lying, thieving bitch like me could atone by remodelling in his image.
Turns out he never deserved the way I would bend over backwards for him. I shan’t again make the mistake of believing that people are any more than people; every last one is black and rotten and crawling at their very core.
Shit Poem 1
I miss the way he smiles
and shakes his head a little
just a little
when he asks
what he would do without me
And I guess
I’m glad I’m rid of
The way I’d laugh
at the question
he’d crash and burn.
English task: automatic writing
The letter trembles in my grasp. I read the printed script again for what feels like the thousandth time. Tears fall upon the words deep regret, causing letters to blur and run; the ink spreads across the page like the blackest blood.
I try to conjure up the image of the man referred to as First Lieutenant William Johnson. The soldier, the decision maker, the stranger looking uncomfortable in his stiff new uniform standing in our doorway. But I divert to thoughts of my Will Johnson; his smile after taking the first sip of his morning tea; the warmth of his hand in mine during chilly autumn walks. His laughter. All these seem obscured by a thick layer of frosted glass- they had been ever since he left. The images are dull and blurred, infuriatingly so, but there nonetheless. I look again. Killed in action. The glass cracks and shatters; my legs give way beneath me and I sink to the floor. A hole rips itself open in my stomach, and I curl up, arms wrapped around myself, holding in Will before he spills out the hole and is lost forever.
I lie on the floor this way for hours.
Sum 41- Screaming Bloody Murder
It’s not especially common to hear “Sum 41” or “mature” in the same sentence- hell, even the same piece of writing, but that’s exactly where they’re headed on their 5th studio release, Screaming Bloody Murder. After 2007 album Underclass Hero was deemed a failure by critics and fans alike, it’s good to hear the band are beginning to pick themselves up again.
First track Reason to Believe draws the audience in instantly; it’s obvious from the word go that Sum 41 have attempted to improve upon past mistakes. The album opener is somewhat anthemic, dramatically building before flowing easily between rhythms and textures. These stripped sections of piano and acoustic guitar are present throughout the album, and provide a much needed variety which helps to show off just how the band have come since 2001’s All Killer No Filler. It’s during these parts we come to acknowledge that frontman Deryck Whibley has really advanced as a singer as well as a songwriter; his recent divorce from starlet Avril Lavigne has provided some heartfelt lyrical content that captures the raw emotion of the music.
The album’s title track and following number Skumfuk make it clear that Screaming Bloody Murder is well produced as an album; the overall mix is full and satisfying- in other words, Whibley’s work is technically sound. Jessica Kill is also one of the stand-out tracks, with the main hooks bringing out the nostalgia of long-term fans due to its strong similarity to Still Waiting, a single from earlier release Does This Look Infected?
However, the strive for musical diversity leaves some songs feeling disjointed; Holy Image Of Lies is a perfect example of this, as the focus of the listener flits uncomfortably, with nothing really standing out until the final 30 seconds or so. Screaming Bloody Murder has clearly taken influence from bands such as My Chemical Romance and Green Day in various aspects of the music and vocals. For example, Blood In My Eyes, seems like it would be more suited on American Idiot than a Sum 41 album, and Time For You To Go flowing in a similar vein to the modern My Chemical Romance sound.
Screaming Bloody Murder is a fairly long album- at 14 tracks totalling at around 50 minutes, it feels a little too long for comfort; some songs act purely as filler, for example the truly average power ballad What Am I To Say, and Sick Of Everyone, which seems to blend into its surrounding tracks with nothing original to define it. As the album reaches its final numbers, the audience may start to feel that the second half of the album is not as strong as the first.
Despite these issues, Screaming Bloody Murder is a fairly solid record; the metal streak Sum 41 have experimented with in the past blossoms when mixed with pianos and acoustic guitars in a pleasing mix of records that should leave fans relieved that the band have put the days of Underclass Hero behind them, grown up, and moved on.
A Skylit Drive- Identity On Fire
It’s safe to say that Identity On Fire, the third full-length effort from Californian six-piece A Skylit Drive, is a rather unbalanced record. Singer Michael ‘Jag’ Jagmin definitely overdoes things; his abnormally high vocals dominating almost every track on the album, leaving the listener desensitized to their impact in no time at all. On the flip side, it is easy to enjoy the few songs where there is a good balance between those high-pitched shrieks & the deep growls of fellow bandmates; If You Lived Here You’d Be Home is a fine example, with a varied combination of dirty & clean vocals which does, on the whole, sound very impressive. The album is lyrically sound- significant literary progress has been made from previous releases, which include 2009’s Aldelphia and Wires… And The Concept Of Breathing, released back in 2008. The electronic element to ASD’s post-hardcore sound is put to good effect this time round, helping to add variety and individuality to some similar-sounding tracks. The guitar riffs are enjoyable, but are often drowned out by Jagmin’s operatic- and often unmemorable- vocal melodies that appear borderline dog frequency.
There was potential for this record to be brilliant: unfortunately the end result is relatively disappointing.
Alexisonfire- Dog’s Blood E.P- November 1st 2010
After striking a nerve with some of their fans last year, Alexisonfire return to the fray this month, bringing with them their follow-up to the controversial Old Crows/Young Cardinals; Dog’s Blood, a belter of a record that welcomes the band back to their roots, but with an added level of maturity that’s not to be sniffed at.
The title track is six minutes of pure power; dripping with fast-paced guitar work, the E.P opener reverts back to a sound similar to AOF’s earlier releases, and hails an onslaught of screamed verses from frontman George Pettit like a hero returning home. The melodic break provides a strangely unnerving edge to the track, with Dallas Green’s only vocal contribution to the E.P sending a chill through the bare bones of the interlude before plunging back into the chaotic pace of the chorus, neatly combining Dallas’ haunting melody with the gritty screams of Pettit in a way that Alexis fans have come to know & love.
Following in contrast, “Grey” adopts a slightly blusey rhythm and a slower pace than its previous- while the guitar melodies are simplistic, wailing & spacey, they take nothing away from the overall strength of the track- in fact, their juxtaposition to the heavy background guitar and the harsh screams of Pettit adds a darker edge to an already sinister theme.
“Black As Jet" is another brutal screaming number, by far the fastest song on the record, with an energetic guitar solo that gives way to an intense, if not slightly rushed song that cuts out vocals completely at its halfway point, and continues in the same vein until the end of the track. It’s hardly Alexis’s best track, but it sets the mood well for "Vex”, an entirely instrumental piece that features beautifully crafted guitar melodies, the likes of which Alexisonfire have not seen for a long while. The rhythm is charismatic without getting carried away, and wraps up the E.P perfectly.
The distinct lack of vocal input from Dallas on this release, after four albums & 10 years, is unsettling; however, it’s made up for by the admirable guitar work seen in this E.P, which some would say was missing from the five-piece’s last album. All in all, Dog’s Blood is a solid E.P that not only reflects the sounds of past albums, but experiments with new styles in such a way that many will be left confused as to what genre Alexisonfire are aiming to achieve. Nevertheless, this has to be the best E.P around at the moment, and is definitely worth a listen.
Inju5tice- Highworth Grammar School, October 10th
It’s not every day a chart act comes to play a live show at your school, but at Highworth it has started to become something of a common occurrence. Although their debut album isn’t released until October, Inju5tice -the boy-band tipped to become one of 2010’s biggest breakthroughs- have no trouble in creating a buzz amongst the students they’ll be performing to later on. As I make my way down to the hall, I wonder if Inju5tice will deliver as good a show as those before them: Eliza Doolittle, who, since visiting Highworth in February has released the hit single “pack up” and an impressive debut album; You Me At Six, the up & coming UK rock band who took to our “kinda wobbly” school stage alongside notorious rapper Chipmunk at the Myspace Bash back in December. not e
Any queries in my mind about Inju5tice are soon answered as I enter in on their rehearsal. Within seconds I’m met by polished harmonies, well-timed dance moves and a mic check executed with total professionalism. The guys themselves are endlessly dynamic, eager to answer any questions I’m about to throw at them with much the same level of enthusiasm as I had seen onstage. After all the introductions, group hugs included, we finally get down to business…
Highways: I heard you were brought together when you all applied to an ad in a magazine- did you know each other before that?
Luke: No, we didn’t know each other before that. Harry & I knew of each other, we’d met before, but apart from that we didn’t know each other at all.
Harry: Yeah, we [gestures to Luke] were buds before a little bit…
Luke: but now we’re best friends!
Kyle: We’re all like brothers, I’d say.
Highways: Who would you consider to be your influences & inspirations?
Harry: Our influences & inspirations? Well, Bands like the Backstreet Boys, N-Sync…
Luke: We’ve all got different inspirations as individuals, but we all really like the backstreet boys!
Chris: We all grew up listening to them & we all aspire to be like them someday- That’d be amazing!
Highways: So you’ve just come back from touring in Scotland- How have audiences on tour been like so far on the UK tour? Do you have any favourite dates so far?
Luke: We’ve done some big shows like in between the school tours… We’ve done Freedom Festival, Blackpool, Bridlington Bash, that sort of thing.
Harry: We’ve gigged with the Saturdays, Robbie Williams, Alesha Dixon, Olly Murs, all the big ones! It’s been completely amazing.
Kyle: We’re doing the school tour, but around we get these bigger gigs as well, where we get to perform to bigger audiences & show them what we’ve got!
Luke: I think if I had to pick a favourite show though, I’d definitely choose Bridlington, the Bridlington bash was pretty awesome!
Highways: Sounds like it’s all happening for you guys right now! What can we expect from the debut album?
Chris: Well, you can expect a set of damn good tunes!
Matt: the album’s taken a long to time to get perfect, but we’re very happy with it, and we hope you guys will be too! It’s a real feel-good album, and it definitely plays on the influences we were talking about earlier!
Highways: Any insights on how you came up with Inju5tice as your band name?
Chris: Basically, there a lot of girl bands on the scene, and no boy bands, we felt the industry was saturated by female solo artists, girl bands & things like that, so we just thought: “you know what? It’s an injustice, there are no boy bands”
Kyle: and we added the 5 to make it a little more unique, and because there are 5 of us, but we came up with it just out of nowhere!
Highways: Do any of you have any favourite tracks right now, maybe by someone you’ve toured with?
Chris: Oh, DEFINITELY Long Long Way From Home, by far! It’s out on the 26th of September…
Matt: Your favourite track by somebody else!
Luke: I love Maroon 5’s new song Misery, I think that’s really good.
Harry: He [Kyle] likes The Saturday’s Higher, I like that as well-
Kyle: Yeah, I do, but you just fancy them…
Matt: I really love listening to Olly Murs’ new song right now!
Chris: I really like The Saturdays too actually, it’s a good song.
Highways: So aren’t we all Saturdays fans then?
Matt: No, they’re all right… I really like The Wanted actually!
Chris: I know it’s not new but I also really love a bit of Bad Romance by Lady Gaga, it’s great when you’re feeling like a little monster!
Highways: What’s the best piece of advice someone’s ever given you?
Kyle: Robbie Williams! [The rest of the band don’t hesitate in agreeing with him]
Matt: He told us never to stop being friends, no matter what it is we may fight about- it’s not worth splitting up over.
Harry: He told us never to give up, and stay friends, because you’ll regret it when you wake up one day & realise you don’t have those all-important friends standing next to you.
Luke: We’re living in each other’s pockets all the time, so we try not to argue with each other, and even if we do it’ better to just get over it, because at the end of the day it’s just a petty little argument!
The single “Long Long Way From Home” is available to download now. Inju5tice’s debut album “World’s Most Wanted” will be released on October 19th. See www.inju5tice.co.uk for more details.