Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Something Completely Different

Oh to make people smile! [and to look on slack jawed with amazement].

The saw is a truly bizarre and wonderful instrument. There's this brilliant scene in Delicatessen featuring saw and cello. Actually, Delicatessen has a series of musical scenes and is well worth watching because it's funny and really touching.

Maybe Vera can learn the saw next?

Counting the sleeps!!

I’ve been really busy of late. I haven’t had a proper lie-on-your- couch in front of the t.v. weekend since January…but that’s ok. So something is happening this weekend…Coal is going to Langebaan!!

I have my bags ready and my dog all packed up. It’s going to be an adventure, (we will take video and photos) and I’m planning what to cook for dinner(s). YES…you heard right. This band likes to eat well, which in my opinion makes for happy musicians. I can’t think when I’m hungry and the prospect of singing on an empty stomach is enough to make me cry. It’s like playing Irish fiddle sober…never going to happen! We also can never make it through and entire weekend of biscuits and tea alone…although I’m sure we will have those too.

Enough about food! We are going to spend time rehearsing, writing and cuddling the Oscar.

Today…it’s back to work. I’m making a tail coat as part of a rather fetching Tuxedo . It’s for a lovely Burlesque dancer and I’m rather proud of the result thus far. I’ll post pictures of the finished result once it’s complete.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011


My grandmother is visiting from Johannesburg and has been dead keen on seeing Andre Rieu, so she forked out an eye twitching amount of money so I could help her navigate the maze of Grand West.

The performance was probably best described as joyous - which is, surprise, not entirely up my alley. Nearly every piece of music was selected for the 'joy it brings'. I know this because Andre Rieu took every possibly opportunity to tell us this. Also, loads of cheesy jokes - mostly surrounding not-so-sly drinking of J├Ągermeister by the brass section, also a bit about an anvil that only seeing is believing [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxaH1254mvA] - this video is from a performance in Vienna and is *exactly* the same as what I saw on Sunday night.

Incidentally, when searching for the above video link, the first suggestion by google autocomplete was 'Andre Rieu... wife' and then again later 'Andre Rieu... wife Marjorie' so he must be a real hit with the ladies!

Hammy jokes notwithstanding, the music was beautiful and it was wonderful to hear & watch some very talented, classically trained musicians. I could have done without the 7 encores though!

If you can get by the stupid joking in the video posted above, it's actually a great example of how amazing the orchestra is. That Andre Rieu can play perfectly while kicking a sledgehammer out of the way is testament to how good he is.

As my caveat: I don't know why I prefer moody depressing music, but Nick Hornby wondered in High Fidelity whether we listen to depressing music because we're depressed or if we're depressed because we listen to depressing music. I vividly remember lying on my bedroom floor in the dark, age 14, listening to Siamese Dream by The Smashing Pumpkins and feeling overwhelmed by the beauty of that album - even though it's probably some of the most depressing music I've heard. Just last week in the car I was bawling my eyes out listening to Soma, brought on mostly by the crescendo half-way through. I also think that it's wonderful that I'm turning 30 this week and I still actively listen to and have as much of an intense emotional response to a song / album I first heard when I was 14!

Anyway, I'm going to try my level best to get out and see more varied musical performances this year, so this was good start :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cherry red

I adore the nerdy librarian chic going on in this pic. And the red dress/hair/shoes/brille, of course! So sexy serious.

Her name is Fan Bingbing (yeah) and she's a Chinese singer.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Arts and Crafts

It’s been a long while since I blogged…so here goes!

As you know I am a Corsetiere, which is a lovely old craft involving the excavation of gorgeous patterns from the depths of history and re-creating them for the pleasure of both client and myself. I just love creating things with my hands and if I find a pattern which is particularly old, the thrill of bringing it back to life is better than toasted Hot-cross Buns and tea!

My fashion excavations are not limited to ladies archaic unmentionables, however. I have recently discovered a men’s tail- coat pattern dating back to the 1800’s and I love the process of re-drafting the pattern and finding just the right fabric to recreate this beauty.

In fact I love anything made by hand. It is something that I think that modern folk have taken for granted. If you are used to buying your clothes or gifts from a store that has them spat out of a factory at a rate of knots, I expect you to balk at the price of hand-made goods. But here’s a challenge: find an easy project for you, anything creative will do. Now take time gathering all the bits and pieces that you will need to complete that project. Then reserve time to sit and truly enjoy the project. It doesn’t matter how easy or how difficult it is, you are on a journey of discovery. Once you are finished, sit back and appreciate how much love and care went into your creation. That is priceless…even if it wouldn’t sell on Regretsy.com.

So I will include a recipe for my favourite smash together dinner, for those of you who are too busy to cook. It’s cheap and will make your partner want to marry you!

Refried Beans with Nachos:

Serves 3-4

3 x tins of Red Kidney Beans drained and washed.
1 tin of Mexican tomatoes
1x chilli chopped finely
1x clove of garlic mashed…more if you really enjoy it
Half an onion finely chopped.
1tsp Coriander powder
1tsp Cumin powder
1 garlic and herb stock cube.

Fry your onions, garlic and chilli with your spices in a little oil.

Add the beans and the tin of Mexican tomatoes

Dissolve your stock cube in a quarter cup of boiling water and stir into the beans.
Now mash the beans roughly with the back of the spoon. You don’t have to pulverise them, just smoosh them a little.
Add pepper to taste.
Simmer for about 10-15 min and then serve on a generous portion of Nachos. I prefer the plain salted, but the Spicy Tomato ones aren’t bad.
If you are feeling really decadent, top this off with cheese. Pop your plate under the grill to melt the cheese. (Only of it’s oven proof!)

Dollops of Guacamole are a must!


Monday, March 7, 2011

Marching On

We start our weeks off perfectly by getting together at the rehearsal studios every Monday night. We have been working really hard over the past couple of months - getting Ross up to speed with our existing material and writing some new songs too. We've been particularly productive in the past 2 weeks though and will have at least two new songs for you all by the time we get back on stage.

Speaking of which, we are in the process now of planning our first gig since Art's retirement. We have no idea where yet, but it's tentatively scheduled for the end of April - which is actually quite soon. At the end of March we'll be venturing out to Vera's father's house in Langebaan to set up our equipment for a weekend of song writing and practicing. We'll make sure to take photos and the like, which we'll share on our flickr account

We're also busy preparing our merchandise and investigating recording so very soon you'll be able to listen to us anywhere [while wearing the t-shirt]! In the meantime you can still listen to some of our semi-acoustic set on our Soundcloud. Headline Artists also has a soundcloud, you can take a listen to the great bands we share a stable with there too [http://soundcloud.com/headlineartists].

Oh also, if you don't know anything about Ross [shame on you!], you can find out more here:
http://www.myspace.com/campbellross; and listen to the amazing Benguela here:
http://www.benguela.co.za/; and read what he writes here:

We'll see you all very soon, and don't forget to sign up to our mailing list to keep up to date! We will arrange for free merchandise and other treats in due course so don't miss out :)

I'll leave you with this wonderful song, which embarrassingly is from the Twilight soundtrack, but amazingly has made it on to national radio playlists and *that* is well worth celebrating: