Sunday, February 27, 2011

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue - Feb 2011

Something old:
David Bowie- "Oh! You pretty things". I have this song in my head and on the I-pod again!! I can't stop singing along with and loving it. It is off his 1971 LP 'Hunky Dory'.

Something  new:

The man is back!!  
Gil Scott-Heron - 'Where Did The Night Go'. This is off his recent LP - 'I'm new here'. Trainspotter note: this Lp has been remixed by Jamie Smith from The Xx and released as 'We're new here'.  

Something borrowed:

I know nothing about this group- The Bad Plus.. except that they have done a live cover of an Aphex Twin track called 'Flim'. Originally a track on the 'Come to daddy' EP. Give this a chance to do it's thing, from about 1:35 onwards is when I started to take notice and think.. ‘yes’ they get this.

Something blue:

If this song was a colour it would be blue-
Nico and her sublime version of ‘These Days’. Something that I have lately been re-listening to a lot.
'Please don't comfront me with my failures, I had not forgotten them.'

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The wind

The air I have breathed out has been taken someplace north easterly,

carried along by the wind.

Someone I may never know breathes me in, as I breath in another.

Perhaps I inhale a friend or enemy.

Perhaps I inhale a past love, or someone new who returns not my love.

How strange that tomorrow we will act as if nothing has happened,

after such intimacy.

I will go on being ignored by him,

and cursing at them,

for they are still my enemy and you still refuse me your love.
matthew schiavello  2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The good the bad and the ugly - Feb 2011

The Good: Friends disclosing personal and hilarious information over dinner.

Recently I was at dinner with a couple of friends and as we paused for air during a now unmemorable conversation, one of the friends casually said, “I lost my virginity when I was 14 to a 16 year old amputee”. Not only did this have absolutely nothing to do with the topic of conversation, but my friend carried on as if she had just casually mentioned that she needed to pick up milk on her way home. My eyes bulged out of my head and I had to backtrack- “WOAH!!! Hang on a minute, did you just say….???”. Obviously the other friend and I then asked a million questions, including- ‘wasn’t this illegal?’ (the age difference, not the ‘having sex with an amputee’ bit). Anyway, the thing that makes this hilarious is that the amputee is missing a hand (I think she said that he has the whole arm down to the wrist), and she didn’t realise this until SOMEONE ELSE pointed it out AFTER the deed was done. My friends excuse for not noticing was that the amputee was wearing a long sleeve t-shirt so ‘it was hard to tell’. Ummm.. yeah. 
I asked her ‘how could you not tell that he was only using one hand to touch you?’ (where I then began to manically demonstrate this at the restaurant- the other diners must have thought that we were insane), anyway, her answer was ‘no’, she didn’t notice. I did wonder if she thought him marvellously skilled at undoing a bra with only one hand (maybe she thought he was showing off?)… but as he was wearing a long sleeve t shirt, they probably didn’t bother going to the effort of taking all their clothes off to do it. Does that make it lazy sex?. Or is that when you can't be bothered putting the effort in? Or is that when you start and stop and take your time?

So dear reader if you are ever at dinner with me, feel free to disclose anything personal and hilarious, just be prepared for a "that’s FANTASTIC!!!!” and then for me to ask a million questions (p.s. thank you to my de-flowered friend for graciously letting me share this story!).

The Bad: The work toilet.

I work in small-ish office and we have two unisex toilets (YAY!!!). One thing I hate and that freaks me out is seeing who has come out of the toilet just before I am about to use it, or worse, someone seeing me leave and going in straight after me !!!!!

I don’t want to smell what my boss has done in the toilet, or see any signs of his visit that may have been left behind (ladies you know what I am talking about, the fella’s seem oblivious to this, as I always seem to be cleaning up after my male colleagues for fear a female colleague seeing me come out of the toilet and then going straight in, will think that I made that mess!). 

See, the problem for me is that anything I know that Joe Bloggs has done in the toilet is just going to stay in my brain. What’s worse is that if I am in a mood and my boss leaves a reminder of his ‘visit’ behind, I can see myself pulling him up on that. Alternatively, if I am in a particularly caring mood that day and there is a considerable odour left behind, I am likely to strike up a conversation about it with the person in question and ask if they are ok,what did they eat and do they need to a) see a Dr, or b) change their diet.

As for me, I don’t want people to know the details of my ‘visit’ to the bathroom. It’s just too intimate (well close friends know all about my bowl movement dramas and joys) and please don’t go all Freud on me either and mention the stages of psychosexual development, in particular- the anal stage, (I am not a fan of Freudian analysis).. This is about privacy, not issues that I may or may not have with ‘giving and receiving pleasure’ (which my counsellor and I may or may not be currently working through).

The ugly- The no carb diet.

In an attempt to reclaim my wardrobe, I have embarked on a two week no-carb diet. I have been given lots of support and advice from D & R and if I don’t loose enough weight by the end of the fortnight (which is ok if it doesn’t happen), I know that at least there is the likelihood that I will be up on some form of assault charge. Not being able to eat bread, pasta, rice or MUESLI!!!! (which I sometimes have twice a day!! YUM!!) has lead me to being cranky all day and wanting to attack people.. and I mean anyone and everyone!!! 

Day 1 saw me on the verge of going mental and biting people in the street, because I was so damn hungry for carbs!!!!! (I am serious here).

Day 2 saw me wanting to punch out anyone eating a sandwich in front of me

Day 3 saw me stay indoors for safety’s sake

Day 4 I am at work god help any customer snacking on carbs in my presence, because I will jump this counter and either kick them out and give them a life time ban from the store, or wrestle them and their carbs to the ground, possibly biting them in the process, because god knows I can’t bite into a yummy sough dough sandwich at the moment!!!

Grrrrrr !!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The new couple

They sit in a busy café and smile across the table at each other. Retelling the story of how they met, squabbling over whose facts are more accurate. ‘It’s all about the details’, apparently.

 Two pairs of hands sit on the table top close to one another. A passing waiter distracts me and when I look back their hands are now held. They sit beaming at each other. The details of the story are suddenly insignificant and forgotten.  All that matters is this moment. 

I silently wish them all the best and hope that this lasts for as long as it can. I am glad that they are brave enough to do what I never could- hold hands in public and show the world their love. Perhaps they are naïve, but for now, I would like to think them brave.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Friends, Explosions in the sky and the unexpressed - Repost of a piece originally posted on 17/04/2007

The friend who inspired this post from 2007 is going off again for another long trip overseas. I started to think about how I will miss him and remembered this post from four years ago. He also gave his permission to add his reply to the post. Do you know how I know this man is a dear friend? We can be very honest with each other, sometimes getting into heated discussion and never have I stopped loving him because of it. He pulls me up when I need to be (which is often) and it is always done from a positive place. There is mutuality there, as there is love.  So J.B.G. have a safe and wonderful trip! This is for you, in all of it's original awkwardness...

"Friends, Explosions in the sky and the unexpressed"

Why don't we tell our friends how much we love them? I have close friends that I have known since god knows when, and yet I don't think that one of us has seriously said to the other 'I love you'. Is it a gender specific thing? I am gay and haven't said it to gay or straight friends and vice versa, So it doesn't seem to be based on sexual preference. That's why I wonder if it has something to do with gender. Do women say "I love you' to their female friends?, or to their male friends? Is this a widespread phenomenon or do I just happen to be in a group of emotionally inexpressive people? Myself included.  LOL

My friend John is leaving for a 9 week trip overseas. Back to mother England, the Midlands to be precise and then off to soak in the culture of the other countries around Europe. Though I am happy for John, I also feel very sad. We talk often, on the phone, on the net, sometimes face to face. John lives about 5 hours drive away from me (most of it driving at 100 kms an hour). He is a very close friend who has given me great advice, feedback, an ear, a shoulder and more. He has many aspects I admire. He is honest and genuine. It dawns on me that I am sad because an important part of my life will be gone. 

The stereo plays softly, it's just after midnight. The post-rock group 'Explosions in the sky' are on. The LP is called "all of a sudden I miss everyone", and I do. The music slowly builds, peaks, creates a space before building and then climaxing beautifully. The tracks are all instrumental. Sometimes noisy and sometimes loud, but always in context to the whole. The tracks take you on a sonic journey In which the texture embraces you gently as it meanders along to its destination. It creates an environment, a mood and it makes a point. None of the tunes are throw away or filler, they are all important. I close my eyes and I let it take me to a place within, to a place in my heart, my core. I think of John and my sadness is heightened. Track three begins, it is 13 and a half minutes long and is called "Its natural to be afraid". I let it enfold me gently. Its title prompts me to reflect on why I feel sad, and how important John, and indeed, how important all my friends are to me. I realise that I have never really expressed this thought to any of them. Sure a few times in an intoxicated state I would spurt forth all manner of thought and in a slur tell my mates how important they are and how much I love them… but never have I done so sober, and I am sober 99.9 % of the time. 

I sit back and listen to track 5 "catastrophe and the cure". My favourite track is next, "So long, lonesome". It is beautiful. In my mind I change the title to "So Long, John have a great holiday", and I promise myself that one day I will tell my friends just how much they mean to me.

Currently listening :
All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone
By Explosions in the Sky
Release date: By 20 February, 2007 

"So long, lonesome":

The reply-

Hi Matthew

What can I say -all that stuff about me - I blush. What you have written about other things though is fine and you are right we don't say how we really feel often enough. I still have probs though with love. I admire many people immensely, but do I love them? I think not. See I think love is not about admiration love is a word associated with those feelings which drive you mad when someone is near you and you can't touch them; drives you mad when they are a minute late home or for a meeting; love is about the person who listens and tells you how it really is; whose very presence in a room stops your breath and makes you feel wonderful from top to  bottom; love is when you can lie together for hours and days and say little but say everything. That is why I never use the word lightly and I suspect most others feel like that. Love as a word is over done in America and is in danger of losing its value. I can' bear the thought of it being used here in such a light manner, because it will be devalued and we shall need to find another less dramatic way of expressing our most basic feeling. Four letters but when used to express what they really imply the most powerful in the world.

Enuff of this

Go publish and thank you

luv ya 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hottest 100?

This year, Triple J's Hottest 100 had quite a few people puzzled over the number one spot- Angus and Julia Stone's 'Big Jet Plane'. I listen to the J's when I am showering etc.. so I am sure that I would have heard this song, but it just didn't pierce my psyche. Nor did it impress upon the many others who complained about this song being voted number one. Obviously myself and the other puzzled complainers are not in touch with the multitudes who listen to the government youth network and who voted Angus and Julia into the top spot! In fact, I don't think any of the ten tunes I voted for made the top 10!! Crikey I am out of touch!!

Anyway, a list of the tunes voted in at 101-200 was published on the Triple J website and after checking it out I decided to compile a selection of 10 tunes (from those voted in from number 1-200) that personally rocked my world... and though I personally voted for Joanna Newsom...alas... the youth of this country did not.. (geez I am feeling more my 39 years of age each day!!!).

The numbers next to each of these tracks is their ranking in the hottest 100 (and then numbers 101-200)

10. Mark Ronson & The Business Intl. - Somebody To Love Me {Ft. Boy George & Andrew Wyatt}

29. Illy - It Can Wait {Ft. Owl Eyes}

31. The National - Bloodbuzz Ohio

50. Hot Chip - One Life Stand

78. Gorillaz - Stylo {Ft. Bobby Womack and Mos Def}

      104. Caribou - Odessa

      119. Grinderman - Palaces Of Montezuma

      149. LCD Soundsystem - Dance Yrself Clean

      160. The Drums - Forever And Ever Amen

      168. Crystal Castles - Celestica

      and now... sneakily added is number eleven!!!!
      Joanna Newsom- 'Jackrabbits'.  This is such a beautiful piece of music with lovely lyrical imagery..I have no idea why the youth of this country didn't vote for this... maybe because it lacks PHAT beats and synth sounds?... never fear at least it got a vote from me!!!

      Tuesday, February 8, 2011

      Cause to smile.

      I sit awaiting my lunch to arrive. I stare aimlessly at some random point in space and then just start thinking…My mind races from one idea to the next and for no reason in particular it decides to stop and explore one idea over any other. I start to think about the things that cause me to smile. My mind wonders back over past experiences. I look about the café, it’s not my usual place and for just a moment I feel a little vulnerable...I draw a deep breath and close my eyes. I sit in silence. My mind is clear and still. I invite in what ever wants to come. There is no pressure or expectation, just me in a half full café, open to whatever may be.

      I recall; a firm hug from a once close friend that I hadn’t seen in a long while, the smell of pasta sauce bubbling away on the stove, looking a fool in front of my friends and then us all suddenly laughing deeply, the kindness of strangers in places where we did not share the same language, reading Emily Dickenson’s 'Because I could not stop for death'  aloud in the bath, looking out of the train window as rain fell lightly over the French countryside, my brother aged four or five climbing in to share my bed because he was scared, the sweet taste of a strawberry plucked from my garden, an email from a friend in New York arriving right before my eyes, bees buzzing around pollinating everything in my garden, the warmth of the sun on my face as I walk the neighbourhood listening to my walkman, lines from 'Cyrano De Bergerac' , hearing the opening bars of Neil young’s ‘heart of gold’, Lines from 'Pride and Prejudice', My dad telling me that my garden looks ‘ok’, placing a brand new record onto my turntable, being still and just listening to the outside world, a heartfelt ‘thank you’ from a client, the sound of the rain on the roof as I lay in bed with a past love, Section 6 of Walt Whitman’s Song of myself’, country drives, looking out across the sea, life itself...

      The waiter arrives with my lunch. I stop day-dreaming and find that I am amazed that so many things came to me and yet I have only begun remembering. This thought makes me smile even more.

      Life is full of beautiful moments. We live them and then they remain, waiting to be remembered.

      Saturday, February 5, 2011

      The benefits of dating someone less attractive than yourself.

      Ugly partner Versus Beautiful partner… If you are ever faced with this choice then take some advice- always go ugly! Or for the politically correct, go the ‘attractively challenged’. ‘Why’ ?... but surely the answer is quite obvious… no? ok… well let me clarify an important point to begin with… If you only want a moment or two.. then the choice is up to you, but if you are looking for something more lasting, then go ugly.

      Most people know where they sit on the beauty scale ( I wonder if it’s more of a bell curve with beautiful being above the 95th percentile ).. anyway, essentially the scale has beautiful at one end, and ugly at the other… Personally,  I am no fool and I know that I am further away from the 95th percentile than I am closer to it… well actually ignore me for once  because I am a bad example,  I am outspoken, honest and defy the rules… of which I should explain. ‘The rules’… not only do people generally know where they sit on the beauty (or lack thereof) scale, but they usually act accordingly. A person who knows that they are beautiful, expects to be appreciated and you had better know how lucky you are that they are in your life!!! This applies to any one of lesser beauty to them. The ugly person.. well, those poor souls are just grateful to anyone for having them!! They are well aware that they sit on the wrong end of the beauty scale, so will cherish you and count their lucky stars till it’s all over. Of course this only applies to people who are more attractive than they are.

      So when it comes to dating- short term, very short term, or very very short term, choose who ever rocks your boat. But, when it comes to a lasting relationship, it makes sense to choose someone less attractive than you- because you will be cherished and valued more!… and frankly the less attractive they are the better!!!! (obviously this needs to be done within reason…let’s not go all crazy here, you know that you can have too much of a good thing), just remember -it’s all about the benefits! Date ugly, be happy!

      Wednesday, February 2, 2011

      The art of communication- pen friends

      What is it about the written word that leads us to dreamily gaze off into the distance, blush, or be filled with warmth?  The written word can inspire, outrage, anger or send us off to sleep, all dependent on the which words are used and our imaginations.  Recently a line as simple as ‘It would be swell if you would consider…’  caught my breath. Even out of context it does something to me. No I am not a boozer for words, drunk on consonants or syllables… It is the question-the promise of what could be, the humility that lies behind and the hope imbued. But then I am one to always read too much into things (pun intended).

      This snippet of inspiring text was written to me by a pen friend from the other side of the world. We have never met, we write, we share and try to be as honest as we feel safe enough to be.

      It is winter where he lives and snowing. He describes ‘The purity of a perfect white palette’, he sends me photos of sunsets and images from his walks through town. He shares his story and his day. He uses the English language skilfully and I am often ashamed of my feeble replies. He takes the time to do the one thing that we too often forget to do, that we are too ‘busy’ to do, he takes the time to put his thoughts down. His words are composed. He doesn’t just bash away at a keyboard hoping the right sentiment or keys are hit. The art of writing letters might be dying, much like the mode of horse driven transport, but the art of communication is not dead, we just need to remember to respect it, to respect the reader and ourselves, to write like it means something and to let it come from within. When I read his emails I am transported to his home-office looking out at the snowflakes as big as cotton balls, drifting sideways across the window... I am in awe and waiting patiently for the next sunset.