The National, British Summer Time, Hyde Park, 12th July

Perfectionism is a difficult trait. As a self-confessed perfectionist it should be an idea that I struggle to affix to things knowing my own issues, yet The National always slip through that net. It’s their own fault honest, not the ridiculous amount of things that I emotionally attach to them, so tied to missed opportunities and well pretty much everything. But, what better way to let that shine than on stage at BST Hyde Park 9even if they were only supporting Neil Young). I mean just look how beautiful that stage is…

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A support set may have been a greatest hits set, but who could complain when listening to Matt Berninger’s emotional baritone and his somewhat unnerving screams on earlier songs  ‘Abel’ and ‘Mr November’ off “Alligator”, with the latter even including Matt’s customary foray into the crowd. Despite us being smack bang in front of him, he hurtfully went to the opposite side of the sizeable crowd gathered. I’m taking this as a personal affront (but one that shall be rectified come November at the O2!).

Tracks from the most recent album “Trouble Will Find Me” were similarly drenched in emotion, especially ‘I Should Live In Salt’. Even with the sun beating down on the crowd, there was still the sombre mood stereotypically attached to the band. Bringing out both ‘I Need My Girl’ and ‘This Is The Last Time’ was always going to be a winner in my eyes, because yes I do still affix them to that excellent Mindy Project appearance (I still can’t quite get my head around the fact that The National, well Matt, watches The Mindy Project!), but they retained that beautiful heart stealing quality that is so stunning on record. Yes I nearly fired, so what?!

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My own personal highlights included ‘Sea Of Love’, if just for the sheer amount that the song means to me in so many ways, and everything they played off “High Violet” because that album is perfect in my eyes. ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio won out over ‘England’ for the title of most beautiful moment of the set , even with the latter’s use of the screens in the background to create the rainy backdrop we so readily associate with this country! The twins dedicated ‘Bloodbuzz…’ to their father who had flown in to see them from said state, tearing at my heartstrings as the band only can, with a rendition that was so clean and perfect it made me want to fly over to visit the middle-of-no-where state (not my words, but those of my new plane friend Katie, who was amazed that a band came from Ohio!). I suppose it doesn’t help that this has pride of place on my running playlist at the minute either…

Ending on ‘Terrible Love’ was a masterstroke, an opportunity for yet more raw emotion from the entire band. Heart wrenching, gut wrenching and every other wrenching you could think of, my tear ducts almost betrayed me at this point and let the flood out, but that thankfully waited until I was safely on my way home, and I somehow managed to keep it together. The same probably cannot be said for seeing them at the O2 in November when they wheel out ‘Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks’ but I really shouldn’t be held responsible for my actions when it comes to that song.

But enough of that. For my first time seeing The National (a crime yes, to say how much I love them) it was more perfect than I could imagine. My love for the band has increased exponentially and I do kind of just want a mini Matt Berninger or Bryan Devendorf just to carry around with me, it would make my days at work a lot better! And don’t even get me started on Mistaken For Strangers, I think that needs a whole other post!

The brilliant thing is though, that this perfect weekend has taught me a lot more that I could have ever imagined too. It took the band until they were almost 40 to really break through, so why am i spending my life currently attempting to get somewhere I might not even supposed to be? I’m 23, I don’t need my shit together yet. So now I’m concentrating on the stuff I love rather than falling back into the pattern of busting my gut at work for nothing. It’s someone else’s turn now. Get ready for me writing more, reading more, doing more and just generally adventuring. The world is my oyster, or so the cliche says…

 

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Friday I’m In Love #1

In an effort to actually write a bit more on this here blog (especially since my hours have been cut at work and I need something to do) here is what I hope is going to become a more regular feature, essentially me writing about various things that I love and writing on a Friday so I can shamelessly use The Cure’s lyrics. So here goes:

TV: With my extra day gained this week, I’ve watched things I’ve been meaning to watch for a while i.e. binge watching The Office US and my long waited rewatch of The Mighty Boosh. The latter I’ve not watched for nearly 2 years at least and watching it all again from the beginning is bringing back some excellent memories. Should I also worry that I know most of the episodes by heart? As for The Office US, I’ve long loved the series and felt a watch was long over due, I missed Jim and Pam. Do I need to say anything more? It also goes hand in hand with my next talking point.

Things to do: My TV watching is coupled hand in hand with my attempts to cut down on my jumper knitting time. So far I’ve managed a sleeve in just over a week, but when I want it finished by Record Store Day I have to get moving! Especially as I somehow managed to get the day off work (now just to decide between Jumbo and Crash for the day!).Definitely not helping myself by currently working on 3 projects! I’m also attempting to get a little bit healthy as I really do need to lose weight by now so I’ve been attempting to do Yoga every night this week. It’s actually been really helpful in calming me down and getting me to sleep easier, something I thought would never happen given how terribly I sleep.

jumper copy(The aforementioned jumper. I’ve ditched the patterns on the sleeves though.)

Wants: Attempting to save at the minute is really painful as there is so much I want and it all costs a ridiculous amount! Number one on my wish list is this dreamy Fred Perry bag, which matches the purse I bought myself recently! Its a decent enough size to fit my laptop in, just incase I ever want to venture out with it, and plenty of other things too. I do love a big bag!

Number two on the wish list is this dreamy coat from Urban Outfitters. Damn ever leaving there and not getting my employee discount anymore! Coats are a big part of my life (we live in England and it’s always cold!) and this one is pretty spot on. Combining my love of a good herringbone, a nice neutral colour and the perfect shape. What more could a girl ask for?! It looks ideal for mid season dressing, as well and layering up in winter with plenty of jumpers! Putting my skills together yet again!

In things that I have crossed off my wish list, I’ve finally found a really nice navy nail varnish! Considering a large percentage of my wardrobe is a) Navy and b) Paisley, this is something that I’ve needed for a while. The one I went for was the Barry M Gelly one in Balckberry (available here), a varnish that I’ve found doesn’t chip as much as the rest of my collection does! I’m also trailing a new eyeliner, possibly my 4th of the year so far, so we’ll see how that goes and I’ll update!

Music: Next week sees me head out to see the NME Awards tour for the first time in a couple of years, and mainly because of these guys here:

The days might be getting longer and lighter, but its still cold enough out there for me to enjoy one of my beloved winter bands, Interpol. Having never seen them before I’m far too excited and to stick them on a tour with the amazing Temples, Royal Blood and my new favourites Circa Waves, NME have really hit this one out of the park! (I also just got far too excited at almost completing this week’s NME crossword). Since money’s tight at the minute it’s sad that my gig going has to be reduced (I mean how else am I going to run off with a boy in a band?) but when theres line ups like this I at least feel like I’m getting my money’s worth!

My other music obsession this week is the lovely Elbow. It’s album release week for them and it’s a bloody excellent album. Elbow are a bone of contention between me and my Dad’s comparative music tastes, since he is stupidly averse to them (sorry Dad, it’s one of your only flaws) and though he may say its yet more Elbow by numbers, its actually mostly a dream. Occasionally you are wrong Dad!

So that’s number one of this little feature here done! Eventually I will get really good at this again and I might even manage to make this weekly! Anything you want to see with comment, find me on Twitter (@EmilySolan) or drop me an email, which can be found on my about page! Now time for me to put my thinking cap on for another feature that you may well see next week!

Whenever She’s Feeling Insecure…

I may be shocking at keeping up with this regular post writing thing, but we’ve hit my least favourite week of the year. Not only that, but its managed to be combined with stock take. I’m really enjoying my life right now, as I’m sure you can imagine (hello 11pm finish and 7am start, send me to sleep stat). But to the topic in hand, my hatred of Valentines Day. Its not even for the reasons that people expect, aka I’m bitter and lonely. I’m not, I’m actually pretty much fine now I’ve finally come to the conclusion that no one wants me. I mean look at me: I’m currently sat in bed having eaten fish and chips and I’m listening to the football in football pjs. Just what every guy wants to wake up next to. 

I’m not one to bang on about how miserable my love life is, because well we haven’t got time for that really. It’s a very long story that just involves a fair few dickheads, a fair amount of objectification, some really really horrid moments and quite a few times where I’ve been made to feel (and to be honest, I’ve been) ignored and feel completely unwanted and inadequate and quite frankly like nobody will ever want me. It’s a good job that I have some of the best friends a girl could ask for. It’s hard to feel optimistic about this week when there’s a barrage of advertising reminding you that yep, you’re alone, and images like this that make you fell like you’re the smallest, most unwanted thing in the world (or is that just me?)

(Yeah, I’m never going to look like that…)

That’s the problem with Valentines. Expectations. This is severely not helped by working in a lingerie store where its expected that you’ll spend your night looking stunning in flimsy pieces of lace and having the time of your life. It’s total fun to paste a smile on my face and ask people their plans and tell them how amazing it all sounds. Just what I’ve always wanted to do with my days. This isn’t  y idea of fun. I’m not pretty, I’m not skinny and lord I don’t do sexy, you’ll instead get a super serving of awkwardness with a dash of uncomfortableness just for good measure. God knows I’ve tried to change, but when every moment pretty mush seems to end up with rejection you just kind of give up. I’ve faced the fact that I’m not the pretty one, my sister is stunning (a great confidence boost right there) and I’m never going to be skinny as a) food is excellent and b) I can bake cakes. Who needs anything else in life?

At the minute I’m plagued with questions of what my plans are for that dreaded night. Bed and Ben & Jerry’s is the only possible plan and I’m fine with that. Those two are the only two I need in my life right now with the excessive stress of work and I’m going to have an excellent time switching off after another stupid shift to watch a film (please suggest some to me at @Emily_Solan). And how else to celebrate? Well when payday arrives next week, I get to do some shopping and treat myself to excellent treats for me and my room, such as this: http://www.wearedorothy.com/shop/song-map-original-open-edition/ (so perfect). I might even force someone to come to the fair with me. Oh and the LEGO movie is out (dream Valentine’s date right there, LEGO geek for life!)

At least I have a long list of gigs to distract myself with, including Johnny Marr at the Brude (oh how I love that place), The Manics, Franz Ferdinand, the excellent NME tour, Temples, The Orwells, We Are Scientists and Warpaint next week. Who needs anything else when there are boys with guitars to stare at?! Let’s just not discuss the fact that Queens Of The Stone age have announced a date in Chicago at my favourite venue and I’m not going. Harrumph…

(You never know, I might change my mind and post a soppy ridiculous post this weekend, you shall have to see)