‘Swapping Kaia’ can be read in The Lake‘s March issue. Please follow the link below, and stay tuned for more:
To publish any work is to go into battle. Battle with all the nay-sayers and the people that would gladly smack your work down. You have to fight for the existence of your work in a way that most of humanity will never understand. This means day after day after day, each bloody and heartbreaking step. And the fight never ends.
You also have to be in control of your work. Like The Slayer, every word like her every action must be planned, must be part of a strategy. One wrong move, one miscalculation and the fight can be over.
The poet must trust her instincts, just as The Slayer must. If her instincts tell her to go in a certain direction then she must. The battle cannot be won if fought on her opponent’s terms.
And just like The Slayer, the poet’s victories will probably never be acknowledged by the world as most of them happen in those small battles that nobody sees. But it is her calling that she must fight the fight without hope of reward. Humanity depends on her.
And congrats Lee Ann for your Grammy nomination, The Way I’m Livin’ for Best Country Album 2015.
So, after being up half the night deliberating over my next project, I opened my daily email horoscope this morning and this is what it said, (I’m not shitting you)…
“At the moment, Capricorn, the planets are aligned in a way that encourages communication and the written word. Therefore, you may feel like taking the plunge and writing that book you’ve been thinking about for a long time. It will probably be a great success. You’re very gifted when it comes to this kind of creative activity. Go for it and stop making excuses!”
Timing, or what?!
In the 1960’s and 70’s, California was the crucible (I just mis-typed that as crubcicle – what a gorgeous word/accident!)… anyway! California was the crucible of popular culture and the home to some of the most influential and successful musicians of all time – Joni Mitchell, The Beach Boys, Neil Young, CSNY, Carole King, the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Carly Simon, Phil Spector, Jefferson Airplane, to name but a few. It was, after the demise of ‘Swinging London’ the most important dot on the global, musical map.
How times have changed. Although Los Angeles, along with New York and London, is a powerhouse of the music industry, the place where all the money is made (albeit not on the $$$ scale as in decades past), it cannot claim to be the hotbed of creativity that it could in the days of the Laurel Canyon set. The output of California’s community of musicians in recent years has failed to produce the kind of talent or innovation to rival its forebears (I would draw your attention to Katy Perry as a case in point).
Although arguable that Nashville has taken Laurel Canyon’s place as the songwriting Mecca of the United States in recent years (it seems to be the one seat in the US where its artists are trying to break down cultural walls – the job of the artist), its creative output still falls prey to market pressures and well-tested formulae (although, there is hope for the future in the new direction taken by veteran Lee Ann Womack, and enthralling social realism of Angaleena Presley’s American Middle Class).
No. In 2015, the eyes of the musical world have been unexpectedly and delightfully drawn back to a big island with a tiny population that sits between Europe and the North Pole, by the woman who undoubtedly made it famous in the first place. Iceland. And the artist? Well, Björk… of course. Vulnicura has literally set the music press on fire this year, and not just because it was ‘dropped’ two months before its planned release date and kicked the legendary artist back to the upper reaches of the international charts. What marks her latest set as different from the standard fare in the charts and what she has been praised for most, is her brutal examination of human emotion. How often is an album actually praised for speaking about human truths? Not since Joni Mitchell, is the probable answer.
But while the eyes and ears of music lovers are on Björk’s home soil once more, chipping a little deeper into the ice reveals a music scene that is on the up. Look beyond Vulnicura, look beyond Sigur Rós and Emiliana Torrini and what lies within is a chilly, twenty-first century crucible/crubcicle of musical diversity and promise to rival the California of the 60’s and 70’s. Iceland, perhaps more than any other place on the planet punches way, WAY above its weight, creatively speaking.
So join me, if you will, on a magical mystery tour of some of the Iceland’s very finest. Perhaps if they were in California they would come to the attention of the world at large and become the definitive soundtrack of our times; but for now, let’s just enjoy the satisfaction that comes from knowing about something special before the rest of the world catches on, just as foreign visitors to Iceland feel about the country these incredible artists hail from. So, enjoy!
(Please note: I do not own any rights to the music or videos shown below and am not claiming to. I make no money from this webpage or the showing of any media content therein)
Rökkurró – Sólin Mun Skína
Samaris – Tíbrá
Muted – Special Place ft. Jófriður
Börn – Bara hrós
HALLELUWAH – DIOR
When I’m gone, a few things might remain. A few impressions on a few hearts of how I loved. Which is completely. Which is a vision beyond all faults, which is forgiveness beyond all the things that were wrong. Beyond all that I should have to forgive. This is how I loved. Without a putting myself first.
When I’m gone, a few will remember the story of how I gave myself to others. The story of how others took what was not theirs to claim. The story of how I knew no better but to give all of me. I forgive those that took. I break under the force of their desires as I broke in their arms. I forgive them all.
When I’m gone, I’ll leave a mess behind. Records scratched by passion and time. Books with page corners folded. I’ll leave the jeans speckled with woodland mud that I meant to clean. I’ll leave films on pause that I meant to finish and food I meant to marinate and cook with love for you. I’ll leave thoughts I meant to put down on paper and breath in my lungs intended for words of comfort, love and wisdom, such that I have.
When I’m gone my dreams will go with me. I’ll share them until I can no longer.
When I’m gone, the impression of all that love will make a stain on the earth beside me, it will nourish the soil as it nourished me, it will feed the worms that feast on my remains or fan the flames that dissolve me into eternity. Until then, it all is yours.
When I’m gone, I will be in esteemed company. Friends I have lost, dreams I have forgotten, hopes I have given away. They will be my family. Until we meet again. Such great souls have passed, each a part of our living whole, and I will be the next missing piece. Until we meet again.
We will meet again as we meet now, in this moment. Bon voyage. Bonne chance. Until then….