My laptop is a giant radio plugged into the sky.
Once upon a time I thought of my computer as a tool, now it’s a conduit bringing to me wonderful things people have made.
Late night working has meant headphones. A midnight trip to 8tracks.com and a roving finger led to listening to the soupy twist mixtape, amongst which tunes I heard Slow Club for the first time. Like discovering music all over again, remember that feeling when hearing a song just put a big stupid smile on your face; made you feel great; like aural sunshine: Slow Club.
For a nu-folk related group it’s a playful name with it’s allusions to traditional values, there is of course a real slow movement, expanding now on it’s original theme of self cooked organic food. I was first made aware of slowness and in particular the way technology has encroached in our lives with it’s demands of increasing response time, via the “Speed” Doors of Perception conference. Making time for oneself has been something I’ve been grappling with ever since, and more in earnest during the last year. There is an irony given this post was triggered by working well into the night.
Here’s three tips from me for dabbling in slowness:
1. Go out for a weekend without your mobile phone. Experiencing only what is around you.
2. Go on holiday without a camera. Experience the vacation only as now moments, without focusing on representing the past in the future.
3. Walk home one evening instead of using your usual mode of transport.
In spirit of giving something back I’ve added a mixtape that doesn’t stray too far from the nufolk / electrofolk / folktronica path
One of the songer songwriters I featured is Amy Crawford, I’ve singled her out first of all because I think she too is great – I have a thing about a sort of mythical Warren Beatty, Carol King lives next door, I left my mirror shades in my jean jacket under the palms by the pool Los Angeles – and I think she might too. Have a listen and see if you agree.
And the second reason is to point out that not only can you listen to her at the equally-splendid-for-discovering-new-music site thesixtyone, Amy has very kindly allowed us to download most of her tracks for nothing. Spread the word, share the love. www.thesixtyone.com/amycrawfordmusic
All this folksy vibe, slowness and making music brings us to etsy.com. A site I’ve been aware of awhile now for it’s great Flash interfaces but recently ‘re-discovered’ in it’s true context – a market place for people who make things, by hand. A great time sink and a fabulous present source, from twee as fuck to trendy than thou.
The level of service you get from buying things direct from those who create them is unprecedented, and I like the connection I get knowing that the objects I buy have been created for me, by someone, not just produce waiting on a shelf for anyone.
So here’s a big shout out to some recent purchases for wedding anniversary presents: Yoko’s “weird” craft knitting (a minnie bow ) from etsy (who shipped abroad by request), and some delightful handmade retro-styled lingerie from emmajaneclothing.com (lace is thirteen years and when Emma Jane became aware of the reason behind the sale she added lace, gratis, to the second pair), see what I mean by service.
And finally, for my present I got brought a ninja bunny hat. OK, it is a mass produced product, slightly against the grain of this post, but it can’t really be that mass produced given it takes a certain sort of person to want to wear one. Luckily for my wife, I am that kind of person. Fantastic for cycling, you can even pop your bike lights into the ears between rides, and get this – they pop a squeaky thing into one of the ears – Bunny Wearz you rock! (This post would have had some photos of the things I brought but I’ve chosen the slow route of wet photography so have to wait to finish the roll and get them developed.)
My laptop is a giant antennae plugged into the sky. Isn’t the internet great?
Muxtape is dead, long live Muxtape. Before moving on let’s all give thanks to Justin Ouellette for creating it and inspiring the alternatives, my favourite of which is 8track.
Yes it’s Chriiiiiiistmas, and the black santa hat is staying on till Boxing Day. Not in the mood yet? Bah humbug, I give you Snow Fever —
Juliobesq’s eight tracks of Christmas and doo wop
The love is alive and well on 8track but if you want to hunt further alternatives Wired have this informative post.