Friday, 10 April 2020

got everything and nothing in my life: the return of musing + lyrics

due to unforeseen circumstances, i.e. a global pandemic, i find myself making a return to this poorly neglected blog.

originally it wasn't my intention to stop writing altogether; i've gone weeks without writing and always come back to it eventually, but after yet more job-related frustrations following my last post in december, it seemed like a waste of time to spend hours writing about pop music knowing it (probably) won't ever become a full time thing. 

then in january i had yet another disastrous phone interview, but the incredibly nice woman i spoke to told me about a digital marketing training course i could complete online which would later lead to a work placement and hopefully a full time job at the company or somewhere similar.

it didn't take me long to decide this is what i needed, as i was tired of being told by numerous employers that i lacked the relevant digital marketing ~skills~ at each and every interview i attended (though it does beg the question; why ask me to go to an interview if they already feel i don't have enough experience??), so i signed up, paid for the course out of the savings that have been a life raft the last two years and ploughed through the course, anxiously awaiting the final test.

i've notoriously been terrible at any kind of exam but luckily this was multiple choice, and when i took the test in march i managed to get 93% - not bad when the pass rate was 80%. i then received a congratulatory email and was told the "careers team" would contact me about a placement within ten days, and that was when corona hit.

of course the moment i was about to get my life together, the entire country (and the world) went into lockdown to try and control the spread of the virus, so naturally my placement has been delayed until further notice. 

a few months ago, this would have felt like The End of the World, but thanks to my (now) beloved sertraline, the well-being course i completed in january and the one-on-one therapy i finished just yesterday, i feel slightly more equipped to handle my fear of the unknown, both for my own future and that of the planet too.  

if anything, this is the best i've felt in a long time as my years of Being Depressed have prepared me for the last few weeks of isolation and "social distancing", something i've been practising on and off since i was a teenager. 

while the more mentally stable among us struggle with the lack of human contact and fear of the unknown when it comes to job security and health-related issues, i've managed to relax slightly as i realised that all the things i used to worry about are now out of my control and i no longer feel the need to blame myself for any of these circumstances. 

i'm clearly not the only one who feels this way, as this article from the daily beast showed when it went ~viral~ on twitter a few days ago, racking up thousands of likes and retweets while hopefully providing an insight into what living with mental illness is like for those who've never experienced it. 

for those who are used to having a stable 9-5 job, this abundance of free time is probably quite distressing as all the structures of their daily routines have drastically changed, but for me it's provided an opportunity to get back to doing what i really love, which is writing about music. at the risk of sounding incredibly cliché, life really is too short to not do what makes you happy, even if you're not getting a paycheck from it. 

i'm incredibly aware how lucky i am to be able to stay at home and pursue my passion, and like everyone else i have immense respect for those whose work is still deemed essential, particularly the NHS. 

as a result, the sweet release of pop music now feels more important than ever as several gigs i was looking forward to - including harry styles, pet shop boys, litany and the long-awaited return of 3OH!3 (!) - have all been postponed. 

luckily i got to see the 1975 for the fifth (!) time in february and it might just have been their best show yet, partly because of how close we were to the stage - i'm certain matty made eye contact with me for most of frail state of mind, though in my cow print denim jacket i was probably quite hard to miss - and the live debut of their soon-to-be-released next single, if you're too shy (let me know), which is all my 80s dreams come to life. 

then in february i experienced what was eventually dubbed "winter pride" as the gay population of manchester turned out to see carly rae jepsen and kim petras over three nights, followed by after parties put on by pop curious? and girls night out

it was a slightly chaotic time, but finally hearing run away with me live after so many years and getting to scream the words to every kim petras song - particularly the surprise inclusion of do me on the sunday night - were some of the highlights of my entire life. 

my last foray outside was to see hannah diamond for the third time in march (mainly to hear concrete angel again) and thinking about it now feels like travelling back in time to an alternate universe.

i'm intrigued to see how we'll all cope once we're let back out into the pubs, clubs and live venues we love. will we be more conscious of those in close proximity to us, or will we carry on like nothing ever happened?

i can guarantee i'll never take going out for granted ever again, and am counting down the seconds until i can throw some glitter on my face and dance with all my favourite people, though i just hope our beloved LGBT venues across the UK will survive the lockdown and come back even stronger. 

in the meantime, i've been eagerly following charli xcx's every move as she continues to be pop's leading pioneer when it comes to releasing music in the digital age. she already helped bring the mixtape format into the pop world with number 1 angel and pop 2, before dropping her full-length self titled debut album in september last year, and this week she announced her next project would be released on may 15th. with a working title of how i'm feeling now, charli has been sharing the entire creative process of the album via twitter, instagram and zoom, including lyric ideas, demos and album artwork

the first song was released yesterday, and i continue to be amazed at charli's ability to take what was just a few snippets of a song scribbled on paper with a sharpie into a synth-laden, super-emo banger titled forever

written just before quarantine began, this track details the highs and lows of a long-distance relationship, but charli has said the rest of the songs will deal with all the emotions that arise from living in isolation.  

working with her long-time collaborator a.g. cook and producer BJ burton, the track wouldn't look out of place on a 100 gecs album, and i'm praying a collaboration with the weird and wonderful twosome (who i wrote more about here) will also feature on the album. 

while this innovative way of working is nothing new for charli, who has always loved collaborating with and elevating her fellow artists to stan twitter status, i'm curious to see if others will follow suit and create new projects entirely from the comfort of their own home. 

one of her contemporaries has already jumped on board; troye sivan took a DIY approach to his latest release take yourself home, enlisting the help of his friends and online followers to create the album artwork and lyric video all from his home in australia.

i'm sure it won't be long before pitchfork and the like begin declaring this way of working "the future of music", confirming what charli's devoted fans have always known; she's ahead of her time, and everyone else's too. 

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