Night Star

23 Mar

Whenever I look up into the sky and see your bright beauty,

I wish I could be you,

gleaming happiness in the dark, vile regions of the night.

Happiness…

22 Jan

This month Fearne Cotton and the listeners of Radio 1 put together this encouraging manifesto to help people to stay postitive. It’s certainly puts a smile on my face – January is such a gloomy month!

happiness manifesto

Christmas Lights

21 Dec

What is Christmas?
A cacophony of cheesy lights and shouty decorations
to brighten December’s somberness;
sludges of gaudy wrap and sentimental greeting – card and mistle berry,
bring steep sherbet highs and transient exhilaration.

What is Christmas?
Party surplus, glitter strain,
colds heady and extreme,
bills novel fat, and a slice of familial indigestion,
winter gloom sandwiches with mean slivers of sunlight between.

Too much, Christmas!
A hamster blurring a wheel, forward and again,
pastry frilled pie and slitted roll,
prettily inscribed card and tinsel starred tree,
gifts multitudinous, from broad bottomed pockets and those in shallower vein.

Slow down, Christmas
Re-write yourself anew,
be calm, be cool, companion and confidant;
a place for us to be ourselves,
me together with you.


Candles in the Night: JPWOriginal Photo: JPW

Autumn

10 Nov

Autumn again;
sombre nights
super chill,
Dumb dense fog weaseling through mortar and wool,
Siberian sleet showers

Sadistic and cool.

Glass covered pavements;
crisp neon hillsides bristling with leaves
courageous cumulus skies,
firework patchwork
bonfire thrill
laughing leaf fest-
ival –
cut through disease, dampness and
ill,
’til the lights of glad Christmas come.

IMG_3282

Gone

15 Aug

The sun scorches my eyes,
butterflies scatter,
lilacs half in bloom,
sea arriving disco blue;
time, train wheels chug endlessly on,
drawing me away,
further from you.

One day everything will be over,
not just this holiday.
Will I feel brighter then?
Will the sun be more constant –
blissfully unchanging;
eternally antidotal
against unfaithful summers
too soon gone.

Muse @ Emirates Stadium, 25.5.13: Soul Music

8 Jun

The last time I saw Muse was back at Wembley Stadium in 2010 on their Resistance Tour. I didn’t think I’d be blogging about them again after that, in fact I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to see them again.  White Lies, Biffy Clyro and them all on the same bill? Awesome sound set up by Skan? It was quite simply, the show to end all shows.

Except, I have gone to see them again. Largely at my sister and brother in law’s insistence. (I did love their new songs but was convinced they wouldn’t measure up to before.) This last Saturday in May however, is proving to be impossible to forget – I feel compelled to describe it. The last time I talked about one of their gigs, I reckoned they were “all about the music.” See link.  Now, I’m not convinced.

The afternoon didn’t start particularly well; we made the mistake of trying to get across London via the M25 on a bank holiday weekend. Result: what should have been an hour journey took three, and I ended up missing the support act I wanted to see, Bastille. My consolation? Dizzee Rascal, hardly the best warm up act for an alternative rock band, esepcially one as beloved as Muse.  After a few scant minutes in which to collect our outraged selves, they took the stage. The atmosphere didn’t feel especially buoyant – a good part of the audience were propping up the bar apparently to avoid the Rascal – there was a rather limp explosion, a half hearted cheer, and there they were. I blinked. Was it really them? There was no proud entrance down the walkway, no protesters waving flags, no over grandiose gestures to herald their return to UK stadiums; it seemed an apologetic entrance for a band of their stature.

For the first few songs I bit back my disappointment, the venue was much smaller than last time, the sound set-up nowhere near as good as Wembley, no-one was standing up in our section, they seemed nervous, Matt making a false start at the beginning of “Super Massive”.  Fourth song in though, they launched into “Knights of Cydonia” and I said to myself, ‘I’m blowed if I’m sitting this one out.’ The rest of the stadium was obviously thinking the same – there was a roar and it collectively leapt to its feet.

Everyone, even those high up in the nose bleeders, knew all the song words, something I’d not experienced at any of their previous shows, or indeed at any of bands I’ve seen over the years. Singing streamed back and forth across the stadium, creating a hugely resonant – and magnificent – wall of sound. It was strangely moving. These songs seem to mean a heck of a lot to a huge number of people; everyone sang along with conviction, often with arms aloft, as if their very life depended on it.

Muse have more songs to draw on than ever and whilst previously it was the classics such as “New Born,” “Time is Running Out,” and “Knights of Cydonia” that used to give me the shivers, tonight some of their newest felt the most profound – during “Survival” and “Uprising” I nearly sent myself flying head first over the seats; my brother in law said his stand out track was “Liquid State” – a winning performance from newly streamlined Chris of one of the standout tracks from “The 2nd Law.”

There was plenty of spectacle too, some relating to the state of our world, bankers kicking the bucket, a businesswoman guzzling from a petrol pump and some just ridiculously wonderful fantasy – forty foot light bulb with acrobat beneath, Charles the steam spurting robot; however the most stunning thing about this show was Muse’s performance itself. Whilst Chris is stepping out of the shadows to become a skilled songwriter and singer, Matt has also raised his game. He’s always been rather a reserved showman; if you’re lucky he will mumble a few embarrassed words between songs or trash his guitar like a guilty schoolboy behind the piano.  I don’t know if it’s because he’s been hanging out with Bono or if he’s genuinely feeling happier and more comfortable in his own skin, but tonight there was an extra dimension to his performance. He was connecting with the audience in a way I haven’t seen him do on previous tours; it was like an invisible barrier had gone, enabling him to project a host of emotions from the songs. During “Follow Me” he fell to his knees, in “Madness” jumped off stage to pick out different members of the audience to serenade, lay on his back, pouring out his heart during “Blackout.” He ran this way, that way, determined to sing to every single section of the audience. I vividly remember shouting,“Fight, fight, win, win!” idiotically –  Matt standing miles down below, punching the air. They also seemed to be finishing their songs differently; instead of directly launching into a new song, they finished with a flourish and paused, allowing the song to “breathe” and the audience to fully show their appreciation.

My sister Sue and I have a long standing joke about Muse, saying they may as well walk on stage with paper bags on their heads – their music is completely out of this world, we couldn’t care less what they look like.  After this show, I’m forced to withdraw that statement – I do mind now, quite a bit. It’s not just about the music any more Muse, it’s also about you – you seem to have found your souls.

Photos  1,3,4,6,7, 9 – Ru, 2 and 8 – G. Craig,  5  – http://www.muse.mu

Set List:

(The 2nd Law: Unsustainable)

  • Supremacy
  • Supermassive Black Hole
  • Panic Station
  • Bliss
  • Resistance
  • Animals
  • Knights of Cydonia
    (Man with a Harmonica intro)
  • Dracula Mountain
    (Drum and bass jam)
  • United States of Eurasia (Matt with piano on B-stage.)
  • Dead Star
  • Monty Jam
  • Feeling Good
  • Follow Me
  • Liquid State (Chris on B-stage)
  • Madness
  • Times is Running Out
    (House of the Rising Sun first verse.)
  • New Born.
    (Ashamed outro.)
    B-stage:
  • Unintended (on catwalk)
  • Blackout
  •  Guiding Light
  • Undisclosed Desires
    Encore:
  • The 2nd Law: Unsustainable (With the Robot Charles)
  • Plug in Baby. (With Sweet Child o’ Mine outro)
  • Survival
    Encore 2:
  • The 2nd Law: Isolated System (extended version.)
  • Uprising
  • Starlight
    (Chop Suey!)

Between Worlds

14 Apr

It’s snowing again,

And I’m trapped

Between the place I’ve left behind

And the new.

We’ve been here  five seconds;

Too many years spent in the old,

Building visions apparently unrealised.

Here is virgin,

 Unfamiliar,

Mint raw as the snow layering our back lawn,

Immaculate –

Yet to be stamped upon;

Exciting, perplexing,

We’ve not been this way before.

And the memories of our past burn glacier hot,

Stiletto sharp, trying to prise us both apart

Inevitably pointless,

Like the icicles suspended from the house next door,

Soon to thaw in the fever of long lusted after Spring rays.

Photos: Ru