Archive for Music

Pole Dancing/Fitness: Beginning and Thoughts.

Towards the end of last year I got involved with Pole-Dancing at The Studio in Wellington. This largely came about because of attending performances that my lovely girlfriend was involved with (shows that were mostly focused on Burlesque and Pole routines).

Actual pole dancing is very cool and is quite a different beast then what you may immediately think of, strippers and strip clubs being the more common associations. I’ve never been to a strip club and now that I’ve seen burlesque and pole dancing routines, I’d never want to. You want to see naked bods that you can’t touch, look up some web-cam girls on teh interwebs. If you want to see quality of performance, awesome feats of strength, grace and acrobatics, look up some *good* pole dancers.

What sparked my interest in getting involved was going out to a show in Petone with some of Sarah’s friends from the Studio. It was a really fun night out and the people I was with were all involved with dancing. So when it was announced that they were gong to run an ‘amateur’ pole competition where the audience were invited to compete, the people that I was drinking with basically ended up representing the competition. They were a bit drunk and there were some falls, but they certainly made it look like a whole bunch of fun.

I’m really obsessed with music, and by association movement and choreography. My thoughts tend to enjoy taking a piece of music and then choreographing some kind of action sequence, dramatic moment, or fight scene in whatever context my mind tends to be focusing on at the time. Usually whatever RPG has most recently been occupying my thoughts. A number of the dance papers that I took at university were answered with similar thoughts and there were a couple of projects where I really got to let my imagination loose on piecing together a theoretical dance recital.

I find myself doing similar things, only now with potential pole routines in mind. Of course, they tend to be pretty ambitious and far beyond any skill I may hope to develop myself. But it means that I listen to music and will be able to recognise pretty quickly whether any given track would be appropriate for a pole routine. Basically, pole has weaseled it’s way into my unconscious reaction to music that I’m listening to. This particular phenomenon actually happened before I started doing anything myself, so I figured I ought to at least give it a go.

But what’s it all about? As a boy with limited flexibility I thought I was a bit daft to want to get into pole. I mean, a lot of what you do is just gymnastics on a vertical plane. However flexibility is not quite as pivotal for guys as our strength tends to lie in what we an do with our upper body. Which is not to dismiss the importance of flexibility, but I’ve got to work with what I have and work on what I don’t have. What I’ve found so far is that it’s really good for building strength through your abs/core and upper body, we also tend to do conditioning which reinforces that. When I don’t have to run away for a bus, we also do a fair amount of stretching at the end of the class, which I can only imagine is helping to improve on my limited flexibility.

Another aspect of pole which is not immediately apparent to the untrained eye, is the amount of bruising one must experience as you become accustomed to staying on and moving around the pole. Anytime a new part of your body is being heavily utilized to support your weight while you are in the air, it is quite likely that bruising will follow.

For me, it was a slow build to get where I am today. I’ve got a few moves in my repertoire but I’ve got a long way to go yet before you’ll get to see me outside of the studio. If you want to see what awesome male or female pole dancing looks like, there’s plenty to see on the Youtubes. Also, if anyone has any favorite videos and wants to share, post a link in the comments.

If you want to see some mental pole dancing, the 2009 Miss Pole Dance World winner, Felix Cane is always guaranteed to impress.

And if you’re curious about what it is we do, then please check out the linky at the top of the page for The Studio Facebook page. We’ve got an Open Pole Night coming up this Friday evening where you can have a couple of drinks, see some folk in action and try it out for yourself. It usually starts at 7pm and goes till around 10. There’s a $5.00 entry fee too.

And here’s a bonus something extra which I think is totally hippening; The Foals acoustically jamming away in the park with ‘Red Socks Pugie’

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A couple of complete unknowns

Well to me anyway… Todays post consists of a two tracks from two bands that I know absolutely nothing about, but have stumbled across in my various travels. At this stage I plan to acquire more knowledge and obtain some of their albums but this is what we have for the time being. Both these entries have an indie bent but likenesses differ pretty significantly.

The Pounding- Doves

I’ve listened to a few of their tracks since first hearing them at work. This track is one of my favorites and so far I’ve been able to listen to it over and over. I’d compare them to Athlete or Snow Patrol but they defintatley have their own unique flavour. I can’t seem to get enough of the marching rhythm they’ve employed for this track.

Knights- Minus The Bear

Another amazing wee gem, and suprisingly I discovered this track from playing Saints Row 2 for PS3. I can’t think of exactly who these guys remind me of, but they have some good friends in Bloc Party and Incubus. Strange combo I know, but the guitar definitely smacks of Mike Einziger’s style. This one has a truly addictive quality to it, which has only left me wanting more.

Check it and enjoy ūüôā

Bouncy Bounce Bounce

Which is what I’ve been doing while I listen to my fun music pick of the week, Los Campesinos!. If you’ve not heard of them, they are this ridiculously fun, seven piece, indie pop band from Cardiff, Wales. They play the kind of music which is best served live to maximize the bopping potential. Yes, bopping, everyone does it (those who don’t wish that they did but instead must find solace within their empty empty souls).

I’ve been listening to them alot via Youtube channels at work and deicided to pick up an album tonight, so I got their first one Hold On Now, Youngster which is currently banging along to this post. To sum up it up as succinctly as possible; it’s racy, bangy, charming, happy (in style, not necessarily in the individual song content) and a little bizarre. I don’t think I’ve had as much fun with the lyrics of a song while listening to genuinely great music at the same time.

Anyway, the album is proving a win at the moment. Why don’t you check out some of their tracks on Youtube, their videos tend to mirror their style incredibly well:

Death To Los Campesinos! (cutest video in the world)

We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives

One of us dressed as a zombie
one of us dressed as a pirate
one of us dressed as ninja,
four of us dressed as schoolgirls…

Love it. And the sequel video:
You! Me! Dancing!

And for another random musical pick, why not take a standard deviation from Team Campesinos to these guys:

Moved house…

So the last week has seen an upheaval of my normal weekly routines, this is because I’ve moved into a new place. As of Friday night passed, Myself and Conan are installed in Sefton St, Wadestown. Some of you may know the place as Luke and Sam’s old Wellington flat, so those people will know where to find us.

It’s been busy trying to get everything organised that we will need to live (the problem with previously living in a flat which was fully stocked), but it’s all worked out in the end and we even promptly had internet and power sorted. My older brother was a huge help with the moving aspect of things on Friday, lending his driving skills to our cause. My mum helped out a whole bunch on Saturday by taking me around town to pick up the majority of the things necessary to have a working kitchen.

I still need to get hold of a heater and laundry hamper; for the flat we still need to get hold of dehumidifier and some seating for the lounge area. Currently our lounge consists of a giant pillow, and a not so giant pillow. Otherwise, it’s looking good at the moment.

So once again you need to suffer through my excuses for not giving you a music update (to be fair, the 48 hour Film Festival stole an entire weekend too!). In my next entry I’m going to be talking about an old favourite, Snow Patrol and a band that I’m currently digging, The National. Stay tuned for that in the not too distant future….

Get something new to listen to.

Over the recent months I’ve become somewhat of a music whore. I’ve been finding it really rewarding just to expose myself to a variety of different bands on the off chance that I might like what I hear. It’s been pretty successful and I’ve liked a lot of what I’ve heard so far.

We all have our absolute favorite of bands, the kind of obsession where any of the following apply: We must collect their entire musical catalogue, see them live whenever it’s at all practical, watch TV shows or rubbish movies just to see one of their tracks used and then discuss whether or not it was used appropriately, constantly talk about how awesome they are to all your friends (not noticing them rolling their eyes in unison).

I feel this way about a couple of bands, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to answer the question of ‘what music/bands do you like?’ in anything less then an essay. I think this is a good thing, a really good thing. I’ve always considered that having a very diverse range of interests make you a much more interesting person. It also feels good to know that what you are currently listening to has been informed by your own investigation into awesome music, or otherwise having received recommendations from alternate sources to whatever happens to be in the top 10 charts.

I keep meaning to post more often, but that doesn’t always pan out. From this point I’m going to post at least once a week with my favorite album for the week as well as one of my long standing favorites. So if you are looking for something awesome to listen to, check back here on occasion for some inspiration.

You could also be hip and develop your own musical tastes by killing some time at Last.fm (or other such sites). Alternatively you could check out this fun little site that creates maps of similar music: Tuneglue. Just enter in a band you like and then you can expand it to show a web of 5 or 6 similar artists. Crikes! You say that you already know one of the similar artists in the web?! Expand that to show even more links to new bands! ūüôā

Time, I can has more?

Hardly wishing to neglect my blog, it just seems as though there has been a lot going on or I have otherwise not been motivated to talk about all the interesting things I want to report.

But here I am, I find myself with some time to address this issue.

As most of you who know me and have heard me talk about music, you will likely be aware that I have quite the obsession with Bloc Party. I would go as far as to say that they are my favorite band and have been so for quite sometime. For the longest time I’ve thought that I had a rather complete collection of all the tracks that they had released, though today I find that this is far from the case.¬† I was looking around Itunes today and realised the extent to which Bloc Party songs have been remixed. I have quite a few amazing remixes of what are already fantastic songs, but I stumbled across a whole bunch I’d never heard and instantly loved.

I find that when you have a music obsession like the one I do, you want to collect everything you can. Part of it is so you can compare the extent of your fandom to other fans.The other part of it is that you adore everything that said band has ever released (regardless of it’s quality) which also means that any new song you can get is the new thing you can thrash as you’ve already well-thrashed everything you’ve got.

Recently my Sassie pointed me to the music blog Tympanogram. I’m glad I came across these guys as they seem to have some similar preferences to my own and I suspect it’s going to be another successful way for me to expand on my musical tastes. Recently one of the authors wrote an entry on some Bloc Party rarities which included a couple of available files. I had already accumulated these tracks through various means, but I left a comment mentioning the fact that I had not been able to find the track Cavaliers and Roundheads. In response to myself and another commenter, I now have the trackCavaliers and Roundheads so a big shout out to Tympanogram, thanks dudes.

I know now that I have a lot of collecting to do, which is a good thing, as it still means there is plenty more for me to experience. As a parting note for this entry, I recently learned that the music video for one of the latest Bloc Party singles One Month Off is a homage to the early stop-motion nursery rhyme projects of Ray Harryhausen.

I will provide you with some links to check these out yourself: Mother Goose Stories. Now compare this to Bloc Party’s One Month Off. Very cool.

More from me soon.

It seems like there is a lot going on…

It seems as though there have been a lot of events and various things that have happened since I’ve posted last, though I’ve not mentioned any of it on here. So I will cover various things that I’ve meant to write about in slightly less detail.

After the Star Wars game that I mentioned in my previous post, Giffy and an entourage of friends came down and picked me up to take me up to Waiterere. I stayed over the night and enjoyed the small amount of time that I had with my friends and my Sassa. The highlight for me was swimming in the ocean for the first time this summer. It was kinda overcast when we went out, but thankfully I was peer pressured into it. I love ocean swimming, but mostly only when the beaches are unpopulated by other people, except friends. So while I was a bit skeptical at first, the crashing waves and the presence of friends made it really fun.

I also celebrated my first ever Valentines this year, which turned out to be a relaxing and very lovely affair. In every previous year, I’ve been single come valentines day, so it was a real novelty for me. I’ve never really had anything against the occasion like many do, generally I didn’t even acknowledge it as it’s not really an event that single people get much out of. I mean sure, you can spend time with friends, give a valentine to a secret crush etc, but ultimately the kind of expressions and feelings associated with the day are most rewarding for those in an existing relationship.

I enjoyed being able to do a whole lot of little things¬†to treat my special lady. And not big surprises all at once, but things that would reveal themselves¬†over the course of¬†the day. I also received some very sweet presents too and as I had no prior engagements that weekend, it was nice to be able to relax. It was the same weekend where Jenni linked to a page on http://www.asofterworld.com, which is the first time I’d come across it¬†and I¬†spent a couple of hours browsing through all the old posts. There’s something about¬†the images¬†that makes me really fond of it, but I can’t put my finger on¬†what exactly¬†at the moment.

I’ve auditioned for Stagecraft’s upcoming production of Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s easily my second favourite of Shakespeare’s comedies, after Twelfth Night, so I thought it would be fun to put my¬†monkey back in the box that is¬†stage acting and see what happens. It turned out that the Director was running group audition sessions which meant that I actually had *fun* at an audition! Usually auditions are tedious things where you need to prepare a random monologue and perform it cold in front of¬†a scrutinising panel¬†maybe consisting of¬†director, producer and stage manager etc. This archaic form of auditioning is not really conducive to finding people who are best suited for a particular role, so I’m glad it was different.

I was a bit rusty at first and the passgaes chosen were¬†not cut in any form, meaning¬†they were¬†fairly convoluted in places.¬†I still had a lot of fun, especially since Grant and Regan were auditioning at the same time as me. Apparently they have 80 or so people lined up to audition for the show, so the director indicated that no one is guaranteed a role. This was also quite daunting as our audition group were talented, animated and as a whole, competent stage actors. That being said, there is still some hope for me getting role, as only about 20 of the 80 people auditioning were male, which means I’ve got better odds for being offered a role ūüôā

We’re going to be trucking through the remaining¬†filming of Winding City, starting this Sunday. I’m¬†a bit¬†nervous about the whole thing and while the projects’ been pretty cool, I’m looking forward to these first episodes being over and done with. The reason being is that we started in November when I liked my hair, but since then¬†I’ve wanted to get rid of¬†this long, annoying, and frankly unattractive¬†do for a long time. I was a bit miffed that all 4 episodes of the show have been written as occurring¬†on the same night, so I need to wait till all the filming is complete before I cut it off¬†:/

Finally, here’s the intense¬†awesomeness that is White Lion (maybe they are just called Lion?) doing the theme for the original Transformers movie. It’s a must see and must hear for it’s amazing hair metal-ness:

Reptilian Complex

Generally speaking, I don’t often recall my dreams much after the point where I wake up and prepare for any given day. I did have a dream last week which I recall part of relatively vividly.

I think for the most part it was inspired by having watched Almost Famous the night before at Movie Night. I was the new drummer for The Strokes and we were touring around bars. The rest of the band were really laid back and really supportive in showing me the ropes. I already new all the new songs but was still learning the old repertoire. Suddenly some kind of conflict broke out with another band present and it was decided to resolve the situation by having a rock off (naturally). Unfortunately, we had to play the old stuff so I stood back as the vocalist took over the percussion too. To be honest, it’s pretty weird, considering the fact that I’ve no idea what any of the band are like and only a rough idea what they look like.

I must say that it was a pretty sweet dream regardless, but it’s a perfect opportunity to bring up the fact that I recently added Room On fire, to my Strokes collection.

It’s the second Strokes album and was released (ages ago in October 2003). It’s an important album to mention as the single Reptilia is what sold me on the Strokes. Many will attest to the addictive quality of the killer guitar riffs that erupt from the beginning, right the way till the end of the track. The energy of which is matched by the steady but powerful rhythm section, the raspy, seething vocals give it an amazing edge that completes the package.

All that being said, I also love the other singles that were released from this Album at the time, 12:51 and The End Has No End.

I think what impresses me the most is that The Strokes have an amazing consistency of quality across all three of their album releases. I would like to say that Room on Fire is my favorite album they’ve released, but that’s only because it’s the one I’m listening to at the moment.

The Strokes

Looking at Is This It, I loved the tracks Take It Or Leave It, Hard To Explain, and Soma. Listening to First Impressions Of Earth, A whole bunch of tracks stand out (You Only Live Once, Ize Of The World and Electricityscape). I’m always impressed with a band where it’s hard for me to decide which album is the stand out, usually a band’s style is so liable to change as they are taken in different directions by new influences.

Not so with The Strokes. Far from stagnant when it comes to variety, it really goes to show that their is no point in changing a good thing, especially when that good thing is a rock styling which seems to span generations of fans.

Nothing is too OTT for Muse

We were listening to Muse at work and I proposed to my workmate Adam that nothing was too over the top for Muse. Because their songs are always so uncompromisingly epic, any ridiculous scenario that you put the band in seems plausible. Quotes from this conversation include:

“I feel that Matt (vocalist/composer) and the guys from Muse should inhabit a mansion located on the moon”.

Muse would enter their gigs in any of the following ways:

“rickshaws carried by giant ¬†robosapiens.”

“Individually, but by various different jet-packs.”

“Horse-Drawn carriage, but instead of horses, the carriage is drawn by beautiful women in faux Victorian outfits¬†riding motorcycles.”

“Out of the Tardis.”

Muse, live in concert.

Muse, live in concert.

Nothing is too OTT for Muse, if they could arrive by a single bolt of lightning I would not be at all surprised if they did.

 

Currently Listening- Why don’t you guess ūüėČ