Hans Zimmer – European tour, London 07.04.16

Coffee, Pirates of the Caribbean and an entire day off work to emotionally prepare for the legendary Hollywood composer’s first European tour. When we arrive, the arena is packed with fans from across the globe all chatting about their favourite Hans Zimmer scores. The woman sitting behind us is telling a story: she met him at the Batman vs. Superman premier and he is apparently very nice.

There is a light, rhythmic thumping as people take their seats, and then he walks on. It is clear the atmosphere is electric and the audience excitable. Zimmer sits down and begins with Driving Miss Daisy. He is joined on stage, one musician at a time, until the piece is in full swing and then the first curtain rises, revealing his band. There is applause. The piece, flowing into Sherlock Holmes and Madagascar is jaunty, it is fun, it is pumping up the audience. Then the third curtain rises to a roaring applause and utter delight – his orchestra and the Crouch End Choir. He has, in the most perfect way, pulled us all in for the Zimmer ride.

There are no movie scenes, and very few pieces are introduced – it is not needed. Instead, the show is littered with anecdotes and nods to his friends and Hollywood greats: one Scott brother waking him up with phone calls (Ridley), the other to whom he pays tribute (Tony). He talks about his inspiration and stealing Alehsey Igudesman to play his music. He draws attention away from him, and shines the spotlight on his friends who make up the stage. They are all inimitable.

Together, they create something epic: rising scores and euphony of sound transporting you across the African savanna to the mystic Isla de Muerta. What makes the performance is the high-fiving, hair-whipping and cello-spinning. Everyone on that stage is having fun; they are passionate and they are talented, and this translates into the audience experience.

Zimmer’s white shirt is lost after the interval. Joined by Johnny Marr of The Smiths, the band have a jamming session with Rain Man before pulling us back into the darkness and tension of The Thin Red Line. It was deafening. It was moving.

The music evoked hurt and hope, sadness and awe. Aurora – for the Aurora cinema shootings – was sad and stunning. It was Zimmer’s way of putting his arms around the audience in what is a troubling time for the world.

He finishes with Inception – he lifts us up and brings us down. It is the high of the Zimmer ride, and then the slow come-down as he ends, solo, playing Time.

These were the parts of the performance where the audience ceased to exists – everyone on that stage disappeared into the realms of superheroes and space. It was light paired with sound – a light show that heightened the experience and highlighted the combined talent of those on stage. It was a performance which painted Zimmer as a rock star and genius. It was sublime.

Let me nap

It’s 7.45am. For the last half hour I’ve been listening to two women on the back of the otherwise silent bus talking. Right now they are talking about shoe polish. Shoe. Polish.

I’m so tired. I can hear their voices through my headphones. I’m not even sitting close to them.

I’m not a monster, I’m all for talking to strangers on the bus, but it’s 7.45! Everyone else is trying to sleep. (More of a coach than a bus, hour journey, sweet kip.)

And now someone else has jumped on the phone (sorta loud and obnoxious). And for one small moment it worked to quieten the women.

No, they’ve started again.

The other person has started back up also. The women have stopped.

The person has stopped. The women have started.

Oh heavens, they are all just trying to talk over each other.

You know how people say everyone they ever loved left them? And you’re like ‘such a cliché!’ Everyone I like at work is leaving. Dammit.

So, remember that job I interviewed for and completely cocked up? Well, I did get it and I joke about not trusting my boss’ judgement, but, interview skills aside, I’m pretty competent and amazing at it.

Including my temp time with the organisation, I’ve been there 10 months and there’s been a lot of change. Firstly, the Director I worked to left. This woman was brilliant – mouth like a sailor, a mischievous glint in her eye, tough as a tonne of bricks but nurturing. I felt really looked after by her and the Head of Service (the guy who interviewed me for the permanent role). He was still around and continued to be helpful, and funny, and let me just get on with it.

The second person to leave was my first proper friend at the place. The girl is super smart and has the most brilliant anecdotes and the best way of telling these Jonna-isms. A gold-hearted kind of person that you just gravitate towards.

A couple of others I adore have admitted their plans to leave and are interviewing.

And, today, my boss (the Head of Service) left.

This guy is awesome – 20 years working through the public sector, speeches and farewells by people who he didn’t even manage just showing us all how beloved, approachable and special he is, staying late to finish off the last piece of work and making recommendations to protect the service and staff.

I’m going to miss him.

I mean, he’s going to work down the road and will be in and out of the building, but dammit, I’m going to miss just being able to lean to side of my computer when I have a question, and him pop his head to the side to answer, his random humming, the striped shirts and brolly, the guardian newspaper every morning, and cheeky smile he always had on.

I feel quite sad about it.

And a little teary, but I cry at everything.

Mothers

What is it about Asian mothers and their ability to create drama out of anything? Or any mother’s ability at that? Is out less a mother thing and more a woman thing? Because God knows I could. And actually, as much as I hate to admit, have done.

I’m very aware of it and try to better myself. In part, my mountain-making skills tend to come out when I’m irritable or want to be alone, so I know it’s something to work on… Something that’s not me, something not to be my immediate defence strategy. The other part of this self awareness is that I don’t want to be like my mother. Or your mother, or any mother-lover. Bruv. (Sorry, I had to. It just felt right. I hate myself for it.) Essentially, I don’t want to be that kind of person: overbearing, and crying over spilt milk.

I love my mother and actually she embodies many qualities and virtues that are praise worthy. Aspiring to be the kind of woman she is would be commendable: strong, loving, hardworking, respectful and respected. But dammit, I don’t want to flip out because someone dropped some yogurt.

Seriously, mothers everywhere: get over it. It’s not a big deal. That’s all.

Butch Walker at the Borderline

Fresh off his flight, after a hellish two days trying to get here, Walker walked on stage at the Borderline in Soho, no introduction necessary, sat down and began to play. The audience, completely silent listened to him open with Afraid of Ghosts.

If I was to sum up the night, the performance, the music in a few words, all I can say is: the guy shreds.

Bar Summer of ’89 and The 3 kids in Brooklyn, Butch Walker played completely solo and the level of musical talent the man encompasses in inconceivable, even to his fans. You could listen to this guy everyday from Southgang to The Black Widows and still be left speechless by how skilled he is when you see him live. He is ridiculously good on keys, not something you expect from someone whose guitar-playing leaves everything to be admired and praised. And I know he can sing, but listening to him live, it is a completely different experience – he has one of those voices that wrap around you, taking you in, and let you drift off in them.

He played his father’s favourites, and audience favourites, moving between the softer, slower Afraid of Ghosts tracks to his older, faster stuff. Frank Turner joined him on stage for Summer of ’89, which was a nice treat for all. The gig was littered with little moments of magic like the audience singing along to Mixtape, and a single girl hitting the echo line “I talk to me” in the most perfect way.

The especially wonderful thing about the show, after the beautiful music, was the community atmosphere – it wasn’t just the well-behaved audience, or the way Walker made us laugh and cry, or the way he spoke with us, telling us stories and keeping us hanging on his every word… It was the sense of respect – for each other as well as the artist. His fans really are like a family, and a very welcoming one at that.

And then, around 10.30pm, Walker disappeared off the stage.

He came back, picked up his guitar, and told us about his father. He slowed it back down, and played us the last song he ever played for his dad. And it was almost indescribable. It was like being in a movie, or imagining what fictional characters feel in their fictional, emotional-heightened, anything-is-possible worlds. There he is on stage, having shared something so personal, and the audience, in perfect harmony begin their low hum. It was as if a feeling of collectiveness washed over us, and it was the perfect end to the night.

Grrrr

I’ve been so angry lately. Irritable and agitated. I feel like swearing. Really loudly. Just screaming profanities out into the world. However, it is very unbecoming of a young woman.

I want to smash the guitar that has been left in my bedroom, but strangely enough, not the violin. But it is not mine, so I searched cheap guitars for the purpose of having something in which I could channel my anger and rage, and maybe after getting it out of my system, I’d be able to get to the bottom of whatever is pissing me off and let it go. But that poses two problems: one, I wouldn’t want to break into tiny pieces something that might have meant something to someone once, because people have attachments to their instruments, right? Two, I already know some of the stuff that is pissing me off and I’ve never been any good at letting things so when I know them to just come back up again.

It’s not even huge stuff, it’s all the little stuff adding up: my time not being respected, people arguing politics with me – like, fuck off, I’ll vote for whoever I want and really, do you think screaming in my face is going to bring me around to your arguments? I mean, I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know all things politics, so my decision is based on what I do know and how it fits with my views. You would have much more success in getting me to change my vote by educating me on the things I don’t know. And I’m open to learning; I love it.

It’s people not arguing fairly: bringing up what I did when I was thirteen really isn’t fair, and yeah, it pisses me off. If I’m trying to keep calm, be an adult and resolve the issue at hand, why are you trying to argue with a teenager? Would it be easier to put me in the wrong and yourself in the right if you reduce me to being a child again?

It’s knowing that even if I could brush off these things, they are enforced on me by others. I am dreadful when I’m pissy, but I’m conscious of it, and I’m trying to actively be better. I don’t know. I don’t even know what I’m saying. I’m just sort of rambling. All I want to do is swear and get some of this annoyance out of my system.

Fuck.

Fuck fuck fuck.

Hooked on a feeling…

“I can’t stop this feeling, deep inside of me…”

I wish it was like that, you know, that kind of insatiable, gnawing, fizzy, tumbling, lovey feeling. That feeling that builds up in your stomach and makes trumpets play in your head. But I have a feeling, and although similar to butterflies of infatuation, there is no object of my desires.

This oddness is leaving me restless and unfocused. I am making silly mistakes and stumbling, mumbling my words. I am on my way to that love-sickness. But it scares me, makes me nervous. If there is no-one for me to focus my energy on or to daydream about the feelings won’t play out; I will not have refuge, the chance to hide away from a pretty face and get some rest.

It is unnerving me.

The spring is finally bringing about sunshine and warmth, and strangely, I didn’t feel the sad nostalgia I associate with the perfect weather. I haven’t yet felt like I’m wasting my days or reflected on how I am waiting for life to start. It was looking to be a good intro to summer… and now this has happened. We’ll see how I get on.

Cousins, comparisons and ‘the real life’

My cousin is turning 25. He is in a long-term relationship and has just left his finance job to start his own business. I am 26 and still living like a student, in that I watch too much Dexter, don’t go to the gym and am known as ‘that girl that always buys desserts’ at my local Tesco. Probably. I have a sneaking suspicion they talk about me in that vein.

I like my cousin enough. He can be really intense sometimes but overall he’s a cool guy. Hardworking like, personable and on the ball. Which makes it all that much awful comparing our lives. Not saying that I am lazy but I could do with being as driven as him. But I like sleep and there are not enough hours in the day to be ‘on’ all the time. That, and I don’t know what I want.

Constantly failing at things makes it so hard to really find direction. Even if I was good at something, one thing, maybe I could put my energy into that, know that I had a purpose, be driven to some end, but alas, being a serial disappointment and constant failure has made me lose sight of any discernible talent that I may have had many years ago.

Also, being a stupid teenager helped, in that I wasted too much time focusing on really stupid things and not enough on the things that I could have done well. Like chemistry or biology.

My cousin has known for a really long time what he wants to do. He went and got his business degree, and experience in finance and is making it on his own. He is ‘on’ all the time, working, going on holidays, having fun and moving forward. He never stops, yet he has time to think (that intensity I was telling you about) and also time to just enjoy life.

I’m not like him. I don’t know what I want. I want everything, I want to do everything. I want to be a scientist and an artist and charitable and shrewd and carefree and innocent and savvy and knowledgeable, and all of these things, but I am so lost, and whenever I try I just end up disappointing myself, and resigning myself to what looks like, in this moment, the ‘real life’.

Job interview

I prefer the term ‘screwing up’ to ‘failing at life’ because: one, the idea of failing at life is immensely depressing; and two, it sounds a bit #basic. And yes, I use the hash tag ironically. If I didn’t I would probably be fine with the term failing at life.

I am a serial disappointment. I screw up in immeasurable ways. My most recent screw up: a job interview. Twenty minutes, five questions in, taking a sip of water, my hand starts to shake. Not normal jitters but quite violently. And then my eyes started to water. So there I am, the two interviewers looking at me while I wipe my eyes, assuring them I am not crying whilst answering a question on something that has gone wrong, what actions I took, and what I learnt from it.

This is before I forgot how to pronounce ’empathetic’ and used the word ‘mantras’ to describe the one-worded values of the organisation. So much for those excellent communication skills I boasted on my CV, in my cover letter and in question one of the interview: what strengths, experiences and skills do you bring to this role?

I blamed it on a mixture of being under the weather and having a lot of nervous energy. This would have been fine. I could have lived with this, justifying yet another failure to myself. It would be OK and life would go on as usual. So, after this interview I went back to work. It’s a short contract. I was interviewing for the permanent role. The interviewers – the same two that had sat in a room with me trying not express horror/laugh – then came up and sat down at my bank of computers. It was awkward.

I wasn’t getting this job. I knew it, they knew. Hell, I knew before I even went to this interview that I had very little chance of getting this job. The internal candidate I was up against was competent, skilled and experienced. She knew her stuff. And strangely this had put me at ease – interviewing for a role I knew I would not get with interviewers I had been working with… I could practice my technique, get honest feedback. I could make use of this opportunity. Instead I screwed up.