Saturday, 15 December 2012

I Just Wanna Be Sixteen

When I was 16 I made myself fuckloads of mix-CDs, I think that they were either to listen while doing tractor work, or a collection of my favourite songs in case my computer broke. Imaginatively named 1 through 6, with an extra CD full of my extra super special favourite ever songs of the moment (accidentally labelled as a Frank Turner compliation), they are the most eclectic mix of music I have ever heard. It’s kind of unsettling to listen to but mostly strangely fabulous.

This is a tour of my favourite CD of these, number 4:

What possessed me to include this in my favourite songs ever, I shall never know, but I am bloody glad I did because it is a brilliant intro to a CD. Particularly when followed directly by:

Ha. Got you. Yep, second track was Rick Astley, of course. (This is the point where I hope you clicked the link, or I just look a bit mad...)

This is a bit of a curve-ball after the 90s moment, but it epitomised being a teenager for me. I got introduced to Bright Eyes by one of my best friends, fell in love with them and projected myself wily-nilly all over this song. But I stand by the fact that although Oberst’s stuff can seem purposefully profound and forcedly meaningful, I still think he speaks the truth.

I think I remember liking this originally partly because in the video she rode a huge horse whilst wearing some crazy all-in-one outfit. But I haven’t watched the video since, so I may be wrong, and in any case, it is a class song.

Because who didn’t love that song in 2008?

Before he became Ben Hudson and Kanye’s darling, Mr Hudson had a fucking good reggae/hip-hop/jazz/whatever-the-fuck-genre-you-can-think-of band. Go and buy their album because every song is self-depreciating, full of steel drums and awesome.

For further information, see Music and Lyrics. A classic* film.

I remember thinking Grease had the best opening titles ever. This was before I had really seen any other films.

This song makes me think of two things:
1. Crude synonyms for vagina
2. The year 10 German exchange trip - getting up at half past 5 for school and eating fried pasta with sugar for breakfast. My partner loved The Bloodhound Gang and pork-pie hats.

I listened to this song incessantly because I had the biggest crush on a guy called Joe. The link was tenuous at best. I now appreciate it is actually a good song in its own right.

I don't really have the words so let me tell you a different, slightly related story instead.
When I was about ten I asked my parents if I could make a mixtape to listen to in the car when we went on holiday. The said yes, expecting some mild pop I expect. The first song on the mistape was My Neck, My Back by Khia and the last song was Milkshake by Kellis. Ever since I realised the content of those songs, I have been horribly embarrassed about playing music in my parents’ cars.

Leonard is the sexiest octogenarian there is and I love him. That having been said, the change from Shaggy to Leonard maybe the strangest music change I have ever heard outside of the Kelsey’s jukebox.
He works that fedora
      13.   Around the Bend - The Asteroids Galaxy Tour
I am still not sure if this is a good song, but it was used in an iPod advert and is quite boppy and so it reassures me that I didn’t only wallow in self-pity in my mid-teens.

I always thought that when I was an old woman, that is where I would want to be sat.

There was an interview in the Telegraph magazine with Natasha Khan and I wanted to be just like her. I’m still working on it…Apart from that, Daniel is a glory. It is one of those huge, empty songs that are perfect for driving at dusk.

The Hives was, I think, the second gig I ever went to. It was me, my best friend and our boyfriends of the time and me and my boyfriend wore matching trilbies. I don't think I actually like The Hives very much.

This was never going to be a strong look.
I wasn’t a waitress in a cocktail bar; I just wished I could be so I could meet my man there and have drama. Now I work in Evolve and I feel that it isn’t quite the same.

      18.    Foxes Mate For Life - Born Ruffians

Every so often I forget this song and then I rediscover it and it makes me inexplicably happy every time. I think that this is a very appropriate song to have ended the CD on. It is a quiet song, could be described as twee but it’s subtle. It sums up the way I (and probably a lot of people) felt at 16, disillusioned, confused and really wanting to believe that love would sort it all out in the end. On top of that it is a very soothing song, the kind of aural hug that everybody needs sometimes.

And besides, who is to say that foxes don’t mate for life because they are in love?

So that's that, an eclectic collection of music, but if you play it back to back, it may be amusing for at least ten minutes. I hope. It's been interesting for me to rediscover what I used listen to, and how much it influenced what I listen to now.
Except Prince.

Until January, happy December y'all! :)


*To clarify: A. Music and Lyrics was crap. B. I have an inordinate amount of love for that film.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Some Winter Reading.

Hey Offbeatles!

 I hope you're all looking forward to whatever celebration of the Solstice you will be partaking in this year! (I am personally fond of Saturnalia). Even though term has ended, and Idioteque won't grace the Terrace bar for another 4 weeks, Offbeat hasn't forgotten you! And while we can't be there in person, we have scoured the far reaches of the internet for you. So without further ado...

...Here are the best webcomics you might not have heard of.

A Lesson Is Learned, But The Damage Is Irreversible.

Philosophy, drawn in Photoshop.

I don't want to say it's the best webcomic ever written, but it's certainly the one that I've never grown out of. Written by novelist and critic, Dale Beran and drawn by indie gaming icon David Hellman (best known for drawing Braid), the  explores some of the deepest concepts ever tackled by comics, all while being hilariously funny. What's more, the duo just returned from a 6 year hiatus, so yeah, that's kind of cool. If you're into comics, David's panel layouts will be a breath of fresh air from the usual design. Dale is also famous for THIS, which deserves a mention. The issues are usually self contained, or done in two parters, so jump in anywhere.

Read it here: A Lesson Is Learned, But The Damage Is Irreversible

Hark! a Vagrant.

Rejoice history nerds, there is a comic especially for you!

Written by the ever wonderful Kate Beaton, the comic is the best kind of immature, and while a lot of the humour revolves around historical figures and events, the comic is just as accessible to barbarians like myself.  It doesn't follow a story arc, but there are a few recurring characters and some short stories, but you can pretty much just hit "random" over and over without feeling like you're in the dark.

Read it here: Hark! A Vagrant.

Dresden Codak

An epic, dedicated to nerd culture.

Written and drawn by Aaron Diaz It's largely a rant about transhumanism and the fall of biological "man" in comic form. So, yeah. It can come across as a little preachy and over dramatic, but the stories are engaging and the characters are interesting. It follows major story arcs, lasting real time years as Diaz slowly produces a comic at a snails pace, and the characters remain constant throughout, so it's worth reading this one from the beginning. Terrifyingly well drawn, and pretty well written, the comic is fantastic to read, though lacks the sense of humour of most of the others on the list, it's worth reading for the art alone.

Read it here: Dresden Codak

Pictures For Sad Children.

Haters gonna make some good points.

Aside from being the subject of TUMBLR DRAMA, the bizarre and singular John Campbell likes to draw comics about stick men with low self esteem. It's bittersweet, insightful and often downright disturbing stuff, but never fails to be funny in the process. Apart from a weird storyline loosely based around T.S Eliot's "The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock" (yep) the comic tends to run in self contained stories or three panel sprints. The archive is catalogued from the first comic, but you can skip ahead if the story of "Paul Who Is A Ghost" stops making sense.

Read it here: Archive

Rice Boy

I'm still not sure what happened.

Rice Boy is a surreal fantasy epic written by Evan Dahm. It's incredible, and to call it "fantasy" is to liken it to a world of clich├ęs and basement dwelling D&D players. It's more like the result of the best kind of acid trip, and is incredibly well told, constantly pushing the boundaries of the bizarre realm of Overside. It's definitely worth reading from the beginning, but give yourself a whole evening, curl up with some tea and I promise you won't regret it.

Read it, and associated stories here: Overside

Well that should be enough reading material for this Solstice/Wintermas/Fawnstold.

Have a good one!
Love Offbeat. x

Monday, 3 December 2012

Offbeat: Week 10

Week 10

Idioteque  Wed 5th Nov [Terrace Bar, Campus]

It's the last Idioteque of term! Moreover, it's the last Offbeat social of the term!  It's going to be grand. You should be there.

Other News

Bandsoc are teaming up with RockSoc and PunkSoc to put on a music showcase of local bands. It's tomorrow and it's free! Check out for more details.

As a heads up, we will be hosting another wonderous CD swap early next term, so keep note of any music that catches your eye over Christmas!  There will be more details about this released closer to the time.

In the mean time, as this is the last email of term, Offbeat wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

We hope to see you on Wednesday!

Lots of love,

Offbeat x