Monday, 26 December 2011

The Best Songs of 2011

This is, of course, my most humble opinion, but these are the songs that made my year: I listened to them over and over again, watched the clips on YouTube repeatedly, had them stuck in my head for much of the year. I constantly offered my iPod earphones to friends, saying "You have to listen to this!" and presented them with the opening bars of these songs. It will be close to impossible to think of these songs and not associate it with this year, and vice-versa.

1. VIDEO GAMES - Lana Del Rey
I still remember the first time I heard this song, which is unusual for me. I was in the car on the way to my piano lesson and flicked the radio over to Triple J for a change. The dj announced they were playing 'Video Games, Lana Del Rey'. At first I was distracted as I pondered whether Video Games was the song title or the band's name, and then I listened closer and thought, 'Hang on...this is good.' It grew on me slowly, this sad, strings-driven lovesong, and by the time it was on the second chorus, I was turning it up and listening hard, enraptured. I was determined to Google it that night, but, once home, I settled down on the couch to watch Ringer. In the final scene of the episode, a beautiful song started playing, and I realised it was the same song from that afternoon. It was like the universe was telling me to Google it. I did, learnt more about Lana Del Rey, and fell deeply in love with this song.
I've listened to it so many times, yet it never feels old. Each time I listen to it, something new strikes me. This is a song so beautiful, it sounds as magical as it did when I heard it first time around. I've spent so many days and nights listening to it: in bed, on the bus, at school...this is truly the song of my year.

2. DEFEATIST - Cameras
Close runner-up in the most-played stakes is this haunting little gem of a song. It was the video that caught my attention and left me riveted when it first played on Saturday morning Rage, but it would be nothing without this song. The vocals, the instruments, the rueful, broken-hearted lyrics ("For a minute I was wondering if you'd come around...") - it's all stunning.

3. IT'S NICE TO BE ALIVE - Ball Park Music
How much do I love this? It's a song about the end of the world, for optimists. Dark, sad songs might be beautiful (see previous two songs for proof), but sometimes to listen to something that's just full of joy. Joy is something this song has in spades, encouraging everyone to relax and see the brighter side of life. "Chill out, it's alright, kiss me, it's nice to be alive."

Ok, so pretty much everyone in the Western world knows this one, but for good reason, and I'd be lying if I wasn't one of the millions who listened to this over and over and over.
(Should I link it? Should I? Everyone knows it...oh, why not?)

And...yeah. C'est tout!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The Fictional and the Fashionable: Anya Jenkins

Because I'm one of those people who watch TV shows/movies and go "Oh my GOD, I love what Person X is wearing!"
Also because it's the holidays, I have time on my hands, and what better way to spend time than by ruthlessly hunting through screencaps to get pictures of adorable outfits worn by fictional people?

First up: Anya Jenkins, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Born about 1000 years ago as Anyanka, Anya was a vengeance demon who brought pain and suffering on wrong-doing men. Long story short, she ended up in Sunnydale, California, being, in her own words "newly human and strangely literal", and providing the show with an outspoken and hilarious voice.
Plus, she had some pretty nice outfits, too.

From "Two To Go", season 6
The Peter Pan collar! It's delightful.
"All The Way", season 6
The Halloween episode that was boring as.
On the bright side, we got Anya's costume.
You can't see them, but she has rollerblades.

And the hair!
"Beneath You", season 7
She may have gone back to her vengeance demon ways,
but that is an adorable dress. And hair.
Only screencap I could get of the whole outfit.
The shoes!!!

"Hell's Bells", season 6
Despite it being the saddest ever wedding between an ex-demon and a human,
Anya looked gorgeous.
Screw you, Xander.
"Once More With Feeling", Season 6
Fluffy (heeled) slippers, and a red satin bra-and-shorts combo.
The perfect outfit for when you're under a spell causing you to sing and dance in your living room.  
It sure beats Xander's oversize silk pyjama...thing, which makes him look about 45. 

"Selfless", season 7
During the Russian Revolution, in her vengeance demon days
Looks so elegant, you'd never suspect she and Halfrek had just
been on a vengeance spree. Apart from, you know, the blood.  

"Hush", season 4
However, even Anya had her share of style fails.
That's an alright-looking jumper, though, you say...

 ...And then she turns around.
Not even vengeance demons are immune from the Season 4 Styling Curse.

"Fear, Itself", season 4
To finish, Anya in her first Halloween costume.
She's dressed as her greatest fear.
Because, as we know, "bunnies aren't just cute like everybody supposes..."

I might do more of these.
Z :)

Saturday, 10 December 2011


So everyone's blogging about Christmas holidays in the snow, or at least the cold. Turkey, snowball fights, rugging up in front of the fireplace, etc. And while I have witnessed a cold Christmas (England, 2008), Christmas for me is something you associate with summer.
Am I alone down here at the bottom of the world?
Christmas, for me, is all about the beach, drinks in the sunshine, BBQs and ridiculously expensive crayfish. You can rock up in thongs, and hang around in the backyard getting sunburnt and wearing those crappy-but-loveable paper hats you get in the Christmas crackers. Christmas, for me, is when you know the summer holidays have truly started.

Speaking of summer, you may have guessed from the caps-heavy post header that the HOLIDAYS ARE HERE. School is over for 8 weeks, hallelujah. I passed all my exams (even Year 11 maths methods, which is nothing short of a freaking miracle!), and now I have no obligations (um, apart from holiday homework), no major plans and nearly two months of freedom stretching before me.
Let the summer begin!


Sunday, 6 November 2011

Blatant Procrastination

Soooo close to the end of the school year.
I have absolutely no patience for end-of-year coursework. I just want the exams over and done with, so I can take the summer.
Summer summer summer. I swear I can smell it. I want the holidays now.
Got to keep my head down, study hard for just another week, live through exams, then I can relax. But I keep getting distracted making playlists of summer songs and trolling Tumblr for photos tagged with 'summer love', and gosh. Summer, why aren't you here?
I want the hot air and the bright blue sky and the sun that shines down until well into the evening. I want to taste salt water on my tongue and spend my afternoon cleaning sand off my eyelashes, towling it off my legs. I want to laugh about our stupid bikini tans. I want to go to the supermarket and buy a tub of ice-cream and a packet of spoons, then sit on top of the primary school playground eating it with the group. I want to lie on my towel in the sand, feel the sun beating down on me, stare through the sunscreen-grease-thumprints on my sunglasses lenses. I want to run towards the water and then realise it's way too cold. I want to have sand and salt tangled in my hair from too many days at the beach. I want to take my camera everywhere I go, take photos of everyone laughing happily, even if half of them turn out to be blurry or have my thumb in them. I want to not have to care about schoolwork for the first time in forever.
No worries, no cares. Just sunshine and friends and days that never end.
Please summer, hurry up.
Got to keep  it together for 4 more days of classes, one week of exams, a few extra other class days, 4 days of orientation. Then I'll have summer.
Then the summer will be mine.  

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Escaping the Tower - Mookychick Feminist Flash Fiction

Once upon a time, a princess was locked in a tower...
'Hang on,' said the princess. 'What am I doing here?'
'Um', said the narrator, 'some witch put you there, remember?
'But why?' asked the princess.
'So a prince can rescue you', replied the narrator.
'Well, I'm pretty sure it's easy to escape from here. Look, there's some conveniently-placed foot-holes in the brickwork.'
'You aren't meant to notice that. That's for the prince.'
'Well...can't I just climb down now and save him the bother?'
'...No. The prince will come, and after he rescues you, you can marry him!'
'What if I don't like him?'
'Of course you will. You'll be eternally in love with him!'
'Can I change my mind?'
'No! You're only meant to have one love your whole life, duh.'
'What about Prince Charming? Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White...he sure gets around. No one calls him a slut. Why is that? And why do you assume I want a prince? Maybe I prefer princesses instead, think of that?'
'Bloody hell,' said the narrator. 'Can you just shut up and be rescued?'
'No,' said the princess. 'I don't think I will.' And she climbed out of the tower.

This is an entry for the Mookychick FEMINIST FLASH FICTION competition. Enter now.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Defeatist - Cameras

I have no idea why I love this.
I think it's all the elements thrown together that make it so perfect. The black and white, the unplaceable time period, the lack of special effects, the beautiful lingering cinematography, the desperate love, the crooked fairytale.
Not to mention the song itself, which manages to obliterate your heart. That guitar and those vocals and the wrenching chorus all combine to make 4 minutes of sweet and beautiful agony.
It's the story of a wolf, and a girl. But it's not what you think.
I'm running out of praise. Just watch this. Several times.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Band Appreciation: Ball Park Music

Australian band Ball Park Music specialise in quirky, cheerful indie-pop. Their first major album, "Happiness and Surrounding Suburbs" is being released soon, after a couple of years of EPs and singles buzzing around the Rage-level indie scene.
My favourite songs of theirs are -