Monday, 26 March 2012

Nature of Dust






I love listening to the stories of my parents’ pasts. Each tale is intriguing – rubbing another smudge off the time before they were ‘my’ parents and I was ‘their’ child. Their adventures, losses and previous relationships all existed before my brother or I were even whispers.
With my mum the memories ring with eclectic characters and a rapid succession of different homes. My dad talks of climbing trees in London parks and sneaking out to gigs on school nights. He saw The Clash, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Buzzcocks, The Human League and many other bands that I classify as great ‘late seventies and early eighties music’ – whereas he merely sees them as the artists of his teenage years. What is personal memory to him is intangible history to me. And yet it is history that I listen to regularly.
I’m afraid that my own recollections will prove to be woefully short on live music (although amply replaced with LFW-attending and book reading), for several reasons. My rural location, and lack of transport, is one of the most problematic. Another is a general love for singers who are either dead or who no longer tour, which rather limits my chances of recounting thrilling experiences of live performance. Perhaps I'm slightly over-exaggerating, as I have been to the Big Chill twice, but I'm still something of a recluse in comparison to my peers when it comes to seeking out and travelling to see favourite bands.

A rare exception to the rule happened recently. I went to see Laura Marling at Birmingham Symphony Hall with my friend Ellen. The journey there was supposedly straightforward: train - walk - arrive at destination. But it was a plan that was skewed not only by a late train and an unreliable map, but also by leaving through the wrong exit! My usual instinct for direction was lost (as were we) as we wandered through the shopping centre, out onto the street and declared our disorientation. When we finally arrived at the Hall, the lights outside glittered like something from a Fitzgerald novel, and we had just enough time to climb the stairs and stealthily eat cookies before the lights dimmed and the support acts tuned up.
The first was Pete Roe. He had a low key, Nick Drake-y kind of feeling. The second, Timber Timbre, was (as described by Ellen): “The kind of bluesy music I’d listen to while lying on my bedroom floor on a rainy afternoon”.
Then, of course Laura Marling herself. Her music is articulate, moving and exhilarating. Each of her three albums has a different signature – almost a taste, or something to be visualised. That distinctive feel made itself known throughout the evening’s numbers. She was by turns rousing, and thoughtful – accompanied for two thirds of her set by an equally talented five-piece band. There was a particular moment of magic when she harmonized with her co-performers, and flecks of light were scattered like dust. ‘Magic’ is an over-used word, but completely apt here. I felt engrossed in every note that she sang, mirroring the lyrics in my head and crossing my fingers that each song wouldn’t be the last. Favourites – Alpha Shallows, Salinas, Sophia – echoed out through the rows and rows of red seating like scalloped hems. Live music is special precisely because it catches the audience in a net, keeping them enthralled. Marling’s voice was the silver thread that meshed us together.

Like many of my favourite singers, there is a strangely wild quality to some of Marling’s songs. You can take a girl out of the countryside and sit her down in Birmingham, but you can’t stop her from bringing the rural with her to the city. The outfit pictured is (aside from the heels) a recreation of what I wore there, with the focal point being the very delicious Nadinoo Bird shirt - which you may remember having seen me wear for the 'Sound of the Woods' Nadinoo video. Each winged illustration is labeled and carefully coloured, so that I feel like I’m wearing the ‘Observer Book of Birds’ whenever I put it on – which is often. The patchwork shorts were from a charity shop, and the jacket was also sourced second hand. Many thanks to Nadia for the shirt, and to Laura Marling for a night of music that will always remain memorable. 

43 comments:

AVY said...

Rainy afternoons on the bedroom floor, that's heaven.


/Avy

http://mymotherfuckedmickjagger.blogspot.com

Polka Princess said...

It's always wonderful to get to listen to our favorite musicians live or see our favorite actors at in action....such experiences form memories that we cherish forever and that we live & relive (in true deja vu style) for years to come! Maybe, one day, you'll be telling the tales of that musical evening to your children...or even grand-children... :)

Toshiko Shek said...

you look absolutely amazing and i love that nadinoo blouse!
itsnother-itsme.blogspot.com

Page Song said...

lovely outfit!! :)

Rosa Fay said...

My-my, you are getting more and more beautiful with every post!
Love Laura Marling's music!

Caroline said...

What a beautifully written and articulate post- as always. Your blog was one of my main inspirations to start my own, and clear evidence that you don't have to be a 20 something Fashion student/model from London/New York to really do well as a blogger! Your style- both of writing and fashion- is wonderfully unique, and I love it! xx

alexandratherese said...

So much here that I agree with Roz! Laura Marling is indeed a treasure and it is testament to her pure love of the music she creates that she hasn't fallen into the trap of celebrity music culture - by which I mean she is (thankfully) still known more for her songs than for what dress she has worn to a particular awards ceremony. Her music is filled to the brim with emotion - as music should be. It should manage to sound completely fresh as well as homely and comforting every time you see it - the contrast of these too feelings making the listener hang on every syllable and chord until that final, lingering note.

I share your sentiments about being unable to have a live experience of your favourite artists as many are deceased or long past their touring days. So many people from Sixties groups to Eighties power songstresses. What I wouldn't give to see Frankie Valli and the original Four Seasons in concert belting out "Sherry" and "Rag "December '63"! The front runners of today's music industry will not ever, in my opinion, match up to some of the legends of the past few decades - when the music was what mattered and everything else came second.

Have a fab week, Alexandra xx

Christobel Amelia Hastings said...

You write beautifully, it's a rare find for me to come across a blog that synthesises great creative writing and striking images.
I love your point about uncovering the hidden narratives belonging to our parents. I think absorbing those memories is incredibly important in shaping our own identities. Great observations!

http://calico-casa.blogspot.co.uk/

Bella Q said...

I hope you get to see more live music in your youth- although I think that "your generation" (christ I sound like a grandma saying that!) has more dj, or recorded music in your culture (skrillex, anyone?) but I hope your youth will be steeped with zeitgeist-y cultural events. How cool of your pops seeing the music of MY youth- but I was a churchmouse at the time- so none of that colors my youthful memory banks.

PS: LOVE the blazer. And the top. And the shorts. And all together. Rock on, kitten.

The Fancy Teacup said...

I am so enamored with Laura Marling's music. You will definitely have beautiful tales to tell when you are older, you are such a lovely girl with a wondrous spirit and enchanting writing skills.

www.TheFancyTeacup.com

Rizza Lana said...

Loving their stories too. :)

Your legs are just endless!

stephanie said...

this photography is incredible! I don't get the chance to see a whole lot of live music either, the show you went to sounds amazing though :) I love your jacket and your shoes, this is such a pretty, elegant kind of a look.

Shophopper said...

Ah! Laura Marling visited Brussels last week and I bought a ticket at the very last moment, even though I'm on a tight (self-imposed) budget. I was glad of the decision. She's a great performer as well as a talented songwriter. I was pleasantly surprised by Pete Roe - I had low expectations, and he surpassed them with ease. The past few weeks have been marked by amazing performances: Randy Newman, Laura Marling, and two weeks ago the magnificent Joanna Newsom. If you have a chance to go see her, you really should. She is writing music history even though most people don't realise it, and in 40 years your kids will be jealous you witnessed her early years. She's incredible, and will only improve with time, I'm sure.

Your pictures are lovely, as ever. I like how you arranged them. The sequence gives the pictures a dynamic feel - like you're a spring chicken excited about the turn of the seasons, but not quite knowing how to ventilate your energy. :)

SACRAMENTO said...

You are wearing birds, my dear Rosalind, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
I am so much into different type of prints away from the flowers, stripes, etc.
How wonderful a double chocolate Magnum lolly on a stick by the river, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Stephanie Hoff Clayton said...

Roz, you are a great story-writer, whether it's a tale you've spun yourself, or auto-biographical (such as this post).

Your choice of landscape is, as always, beautiful.

I can relate to your dad's taste in music in his late teens. I also liked The Clash, Siousxie and the Banshees, The Human League... Good stuff!

Katrina said...

I am very much like you when it comes to music and attending gigs. I`v only been to one concert ever - The Black Eyed Peas in Dublin. But I wish I could go to festivals!!!
Such beautiful photos - you have the best photographer ever! Or do you take photos yourself? I think I read in one of your posts that your mum takes them?... Am I right?

>'.'<

Josie Davis said...

Love this outfit! your blazer is so cute!

Lacee Swan said...

You're so cute!! I love that blazer, and how you are wearing it!!

Giancinephile said...

Laura Marling! She's such an amazing musician...

And those heels are stunning on you!

Izzy/Bella said...

Hi Rosalind,

As usual I have a whole checklist of comments, so perhaps that's how I'll just go ahead and comment from now on :)

1. I'll have to check out Laura Marling on youtube. I also love haunting, female voices. I love Carla Bruni's albums in their entirety. I don't know if you speak French (I'm half-French if you didn't know), but I think you can still experience their modern fairy talish/ folktale sensibility without understanding what she's saying. I also wonder if you've encountered Coco Rosie? They're a sister act that sings in the "absurd folksinging" genre or something like that. Their videos are gorgeous, too. I feel like you'd love them...

2. I love how you surprised me by bringing up magic after all! I thought based on the title your essay would be about Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials :) I think music is a kind of magic, too. I wish I were a better musician, but I have so many friends who are spectacular musicians in NY I understand my limits which brings me to...

3. Focusing on writing! That is something I really love, and I really appreciate your comments on so many of my posts that are more focused on writing and reading. I'd love to hear your thoughts on my flash fiction story if you've had a chance to read it. I noticed a lot of British readers either didn't like it at first or warmed up to it later, so I hope you don't hate it! It turns out that the denouement didn't make sense to them since in British English "tearing up" means "ripping" not "about to cry".

All the best,
Izzy
www.misadventuresofme.com

Kirstin Marie said...

Beautiful. That first photo of you is stunning, your legs look so incredibly long. I always love going to see a musician I enjoy perform live. It's such a treat.

Fashionistable said...

Live music is great, glad you made it to the gig before it started and didn't get too lost. That was a wonderful outfit for your night out. Xxxx

daisymay aka Chantele said...

That blouse is great! Very different!

Daisy Dayz
Cross-Jones-Photography

Jean at www.drossintogold.com said...

I loved your description of the night out. As a reader somewhat senior to your parents (I'm pretty sure!) I loved what you said about them as well. As I read, I imagined my son and daughter echoing the sentiments.

Your outfit looks wonderful, in this setting and in my mind's eye of the city setting. I've never been to Birmingham, although I have a friend from there. I'm sure she'll be happy to give me a rousing description of her neck of the woods.

Glad you enjoyed yourself. I just came back from New York and totally related to your disorientation bit.

Hope Adela Pasztor said...

You are so beautiful! I love the way you take such simple fashion elements (tights, a button-down shirt, shorts, and a blazer) and turn them into a unique and chic ensemble. That's something I've always admire about you. I guess I've always been one to focus on statement pieces, but beautiful basis should defiantly become a branch of focus. Glad my side bun hairstyle was inspiring! =)

http://pinkchampagnefashion.blogspot.com/

Thea vintage said...

Such a lovely blog! Your hair is fantastic!

http://theas-vintage.blogspot.se/

Fashion, Art and other fancies said...

How beautifully you paint pictures with words, dear Rosalind. Laura Marling's music - another thing we have in common.

adrielleroyale said...

Seriously, your writing is just exquisite!! It's like the moments you describe are from a novel that I can't put down! And your pictures always make me wonder what you're thinking about in those moments - it's like everything you do tells a story and draws me in. :) You are so talented and such a gifted writer that I am truly humbled that you would even care to grace my page with your presence! Great reading, great post! Thank you for your pursuit of excellence :) It truly is appreciated and inspiring.

SACRAMENTO said...

You are in todays post,my favourite march inspiration, dear Rosalind.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

SACRAMENTO said...

This comment is for you onmy post today:
Yael dijo...

All images are wonderful!!!

The first one is my absolute favorite! Why? Maybe because her face is like porcelain? Her eyes, eyebrows nose and lips are so perfect, they leave me breathless the longer I look at them! Maybe because I feel that only she and the owl communicate? Maybe because they are both very beautiful, but the beauty is still, cold, without emotion? Am I wrong? It looks like a painting! Is this a photograph?
My eye is drawn to the speck of yellow, and to the lovely ornament and color of the chair. Purple is not my most beloved color, but it is right on place with this blouse - or is it a dress? I admire the background, going from anthracite to black, forcing all the other colors to stand out.
Oh, I almost forgot her hair! Look at this full wavy hair...
WHO is she? ........ :-)

Vix said...

You are just gorgeous and put real meaning into the saying "endless legs".
I think each generation feels like they've missed out on seeing bands live. I used to envy my Mum having gone to the Isle Of Wight festival, seeing the Beatles and the Stones play live whereas younger people envy me seeing Siouxsie, The Smiths, The Buzzcocks and Echo and The Bunnymen.
There's acts I've seen recently that have left me in awe at their brilliance, Amy Winehouse in her prime, Kanye West at last year's Big Chill, The Foo Fighters, Babyshambles...I'll never tire of music and the joy it brings me.
xxx

Melanie said...

I don't know which I like best - your writing or your style and photography. I suppose they are all part of the same package. Stunning.

Zorian said...

Love the photos. Great post.

100%soie said...

oooh my god, you have such long legs !!! these pictures are stunning, I love your blog, spending time on it is such a great moment !!! thank you for these beautiful pictures of you !!!

http://100pour100soie.blogspot.fr/

Not Just A Pretty Dress said...

Live music and concerts are something that I've started enjoying only recently and I agree with you that certain performances can have a 'magical' atmosphere. Once again, you have mentioned a singer that I'm going to check out...your reviews make me so curious! And as for the shirt, it has such an original print and it looks perfect for you.

Ida Ayu Melati said...

I like your warm photos :) and sometimes the sunshine in west side of the globe is making me jealous. Here in the east, Indonesia, the sunshine is not warm. but hot. hahaha...

Scarlett B said...

your shirt is so nice:)
i love your blog xo

http://www.sugarandbrownie.blogspot.co.uk/

Soccer Mom Style said...

I'm glad you finally made it to the concert. I'm sure you'll have plenty of your own wonderful stories to tell your children.
all pieces in this outfit work so well together! The shirt is my favorite.
xx
maya
http://byebyesoccermom.blogspot.com/2012/04/sporty-chic-team-usa.html

AngeliqueDama said...

Amazing pictures! What a great style!
P.s-Your legs are amazing:D

Fashion Tales.... said...

That's one of the things that I recently miss doing, going to live shows has always been good memories w/ my friends and I. I hope to do more when I am not so busy. You've great music selections!

fox hunter said...

that's awesome, love the blouse and the haaaair is so sunning aaah!

xxx

Misha said...

Firstly need to comment on that dreamlike hair of yours, amazing! I didn't actually go to any music festival until two years ago in my life and felt I was missing out, and they are indeed the greatest experiences. I do frequent a lot of local and not-so-local gigs and there is this adrenaline rush that is totally worth it listening live to musicians. Then again most of the musicians I'm into are small, humble indie artists in UK or the States while I'm here in Australia....

Kathleen Lisson said...

You have the best bags.