Fleetwood Mac at Wembley

Last night Dan and I saw Fleetwood Mac play at Wembley Arena in London. They are doing two shows here are part of their big reunion tour and with their Rumours line-up (apart from Christine McVie) it seemed worth the exorbitant price.

There was no opening act, but that was ok because Fleetwood Mac played for over two and a half hours - a feat considering they are all in their late 50s or older and Lindsay Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood played like maniacs the entire time. Stevie Nicks has always been the star of Fleetwood Mac for me, second only to the torrid emotional history of the band, which, even now, seems to inform so much of their chemistry on stage. Even though it probably isn't so, it feels like every lyric about lost love is about the sad end to the relationship between Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham. The way they move around and connect with each other on stage is either a very clever act to engage the audience or they made a terrible mistake all those decades ago when they broke up.

Lots of people would say that the personal history of people in a band shouldn't matter, but Fleetwood Mac's music is saturated in a kind of emotional regret and angst, somehow made all the more poignant because they are old and they can't go back.

Apart from a few embarrassing moments when Lindsay Buckingham got a little too 'rock star' on his guitar solos, Stevie Nicks twirling around in her strange goth bird-wing dresses or Mick Fleetwood trying to turn a long drum solo into a kind of weird rave song with synthesizer and all, it was a great show. My favourites were and will probably always be Landslide, Dreams, Rhiannon and Sara. And watching the poignant exchanges between Buckingham and Nicks as she sang "I'd go anywhere, anywhere, anywhere ... when you build your house, well then call me home."

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Next Time You Say Forever

If I could pick one super power it would be to sing like Neko Case. Recently I've been obsessed with her newest album Middle Cyclone and just over a month ago when she was in concert at the Barbican in London, I was pleased to find her voice just a hair-raisingly beautiful in person.

From the song Next Time You See Forever,

I hear the tiniest sparks in the tenderest sound.
Diving music, drowning the sound,
Waltzing with the hairs upon my arms.
And your fire flood alarm, and you tremble, and you stumble, and you scrape up your palms.

I can't stay here to hold your hand.
I've been away for so long
I've lost my taste for home, and that's a dirty, fallow feeling ...

The next time you say forever, I'll punch you in the face.

Image from Awkward World .

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Isadora Duncan

From the time I was five until I turned about 14 I took ballet classes. I was never very good and though sometimes I hated it (like when the pointe shoes made my toes bleed), mostly I loved it and the crazy Miss. Carnrick who taught me. Apart from an obvious lack of natural ability, I am also not really physically right to be a ballerina. By the time I was 14, it was abundantly clear that I was not to be a waifish, long-necked, swan-like creature. I am not tall and I am not particularly graceful.

I still love the ballet and the stories of the eccentric dancers who populate its history. One of the most intriguing to me has always been Isadora Duncan. Born in America, Duncan danced in Paris, Brazil and Russia and was probably best known for dancing barefoot (smart lady - those shoes hurt). But it wasn't so much her life that I was always the most interested in, but her death. According to Wikipedia:

Duncan's fondness for flowing scarves which trailed behind her was the cause of her death in a freak automobile accident in Nice, France, on the night of September 14, 1927, at the age of 50. The scarf was hand-painted silk from the Russian-born artist Roman Chatov. The accident gave rise to Gertrude Stein's mordant remark that "affectations can be dangerous."

Duncan was a passenger in the Amilcar automobile of a handsome French-Italian mechanic, Benoît Falchetto, whom she had nicknamed "Buggatti" (sic). Before getting into the car, she said to a friend, Mary Desti (mother of 1940s Hollywood writer-director Preston Sturges), and some companions, "Adieu, mes amis. Je vais à la gloire!" ("Goodbye, my friends, I am off to glory!"). However, according to the diaries of the American novelist Glenway Wescott, who was in Nice at the time and visited Duncan's body in the morgue (his diaries are in the Beinecke Library at Yale University), Desti admitted that she had lied about Duncan's last words. Instead, she told Wescott, the dancer actually said, "Je vais à l'amour" ("I am off to love"), which Desti considered too embarrassing to go down in history as the legend's final utterance, especially as it suggested that Duncan hoped that she and Falchetto were going to her hotel for a sexual assignation.

Whatever her actual last words, when Falchetto drove off, Duncan's immense handpainted silk scarf—a gift from Desti that was large enough to wrap around her body and neck and flutter out of the car, became entangled around one of the vehicle's open-spoked wheels and rear axle. As The New York Times noted in its obituary of the dancer on September 15, 1927, "Isadora Duncan, the American dancer, tonight met a tragic death at Nice on the Riviera. According to dispatches from Nice Miss Duncan was hurled in an extraordinary manner from an open automobile in which she was riding and instantly killed by the force of her fall to the stone pavement." Other sources describe her death as resulting from strangulation, noting that she was almost decapitated by the sudden tightening of the scarf around her neck.

The beautiful image above is from Mushin.

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What I've Been Up To

I have been writing for The Januarist and about all manner of absurdities. It's a lot of fun because I get to explore the strange little things I am interested in and it's quite different from the more person stuff I tend to post on here. A bit about The Januarist:

The Januarist is written by a bunch of people who like to juxtapose the past with the present. We’re not a die-hard group of nostalgists, but recognise the value in things oft-forgotten or superseded.

There are some really great writers involved including the lovely Friday Films, my handsome man and some others.

I'll still be updating this blog regularly (or as regularly as I've ever done). Things have been crazy in the last few weeks with a work-related trip to New York and Boston and then this last week spent in Canada as I've been upgrading from my Holiday Makers Visa to a five year UK Ancestry Visa. Thankfully, it came in quickly and I'm on my way home to lovely London tomorrow.


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Oh, Canada.

I've been in Toronto, Canada since Sunday night sorting out my UK Ancestry Visa, which thankfully was approved and was mailed back to me yesterday. I am staying with the lovely Crystal and Luke and my time here has been a good opportunity to reflect on things. For the last four months or so, I've been watching the allowable working time on my UK Holiday Maker's Visa tick down to almost nothing and though I've always known the Ancestry option was there, it was still a big, scary mystery. You actually have to apply from the Visa from within Canada, and they take your passport away, which is scary. My life is in London now - a boyfriend I adore, my flat, my things - and the feeling of being unable to go 'home' was terrifying (especially given that they tell you the Visa will take between five and 50 working days to process). The experience has given me a new appreciation of the UK. For all my griping about their funny ways (and my goodness, there are some strange habits and customs), it has slipped from becoming a place I am staying to a place I am living. Now when I tag a post to 'homesick', I am no longer referencing Saskatchewan.

So now I have my visa and I am good to work and live in the country for five years and for some reason I still feel incredibly panicky. I've been worried about this Visa for so long and I am still worried, but now it's about something less tangible. I'm sure the fact that I've spent the last day or so reading The Wit of the Staircase by the brilliant but crazy Theresa Duncan isn't adding to my sense of security.

Someone say something reassuring.

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Do We Really Need This?

I love the Sex and the City television series but, let's face it, the movie was shit. The sequel to the movie will be even worse. They are going back to the 80s for Christ sakes!

Is anyone actually into this?

Image from The Frisky .

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