July 22nd, 2009


Thoughts on Female Appreciation Month

I've been wanting to write this all day but events conspired against me.

Today is Day 9 on this lil' ol' project and I've been observing myself.

At Conjecture in Adelaide last month, callistra came up to me and told me how much she enjoyed reading New Ceres Nights. She told me that she liked it because nothing in the book hurt her and she didn't feel like she had to be on guard or on the defensive whilst reading it. That was such a moving and touching compliment and I have been holding it close ever since. But the truth is, it's only in the last couple of days that I actually know, on an emotional level, what she means.

See, I've gone cold turkey on Triple J. It's been 9 days since I listened to it at all and a couple more days where I was slowly walking out the door on the station. I've also been listening exclusively to female vocalists over that time. And I feel different. I feel, like nothing is offending or hurting me and that I have a space to just spread my arms out and whirl around, taking in the sky and the ground and breathing in the air. Just ... I dunno, being me, body and soul.

When I think about it, there was a lot about Triple J that bothered me - mostly in terms of the presenters. I was mostly listening to morning and afternoon shifts and I found Marieke an honest offence. She's clearly an intelligent, articulate, witty woman and yet on the morning show insists on being the Boob - in all meanings of that word. She always goes for the low brow humour, plays the silly, flirty woman in interviews and just makes stupid, one dimensional cracks. She was offensive to me pretty much every morning. And then there's Dools who is not funny. And gets a show to himself, yet he can't carry it single handedly so they pretend we don't notice that they shuffle in and out a series of funnier people than him to fill up airtime. Except a lot of them were not funny and were kinda offensive.

So yeah. Stop listening already GJ!

So I did stop listening. And all that crap accompanying me in and out of work is gone. I am less stressed and anxious and annoyed. I don't even care if people don't merge properly. Whatever.

As for the music, I've been retreating into a world of appreciating female artists whom I like. I'm not putting them up here as alternatives to the Triple J Hottest 100. My only statement would be that there are a tonne of female artists, offering a full range of genres to choose from and who contribute to the scene, and have done for decades. And to ignore their contribution is sexist.

But I've also moved on from that - the anger, the hurt, and so on. And I've realised that getting involved in that discourse, at that level, detracts and derails me from contributing and doing my thing. And I've thought a lot about that and I think this whole thing has freed me from the getting caught up in the feminist education and information type discussions. I'm not going to do them anymore. I am going to be more choosey about the people I hang out with so I can avoid having to do them - everything has a price *grins*.

This project has also reminded me of things I am good at. And every time someone posts a female appreciation month post, I get to sit and listen to music they like, and find maybe someone new to go and discover. So the month so far has been filled with music that I like, and finding new music to like, and been a space full of inspiration, encouragement and creative stimulation. It's no surprise that my mood has been optimistic and forward looking and that I have been quite generally productive work wise.

I've learned a few things about myself - I like a lot more country than I thought I did. I don't own as much music as I should. I like music made by people I admire. I like music that has a voice, or argues a cause or stands to defend or speak out for a cause. I like meaningful lyrics. And I seem to like quite a lot of piano and vocals. I'm going to see what else I have and break out of the female vocalist type acts - though not today and probably not tomorrow :)

This project has also gotten me thinking about after the month is up. I don't know if I am going to have had a chance to talk about all the music I like. And I like the idea of maybe continuing these posts at a once a week frequency. Maybe spend those looking into new music which would fill the gap that Triple J was offering me. I'm still kinda interested in how i will go self programming my music everyday. When I headed off to work in "the real world" music listening dropped off my radar. And I think that in part negatively impacted on my general mood. I am finally going digital, albeit sloooooowly, so perhaps I will have a full ipod with which to deal with this problem.

This project though has changed me, and for the better, which is always a good outcome for an experiment! Thanks for coming along on the journey!

Female Appreciation Month Links

Bit more of a wrap up of what's round today

vodkandlime appreciates 6 Excellent Ballads
babalon_93 appreciates Sonic Youth - Kool Thing
kaelajael appreciates the Andrew Sisters and lilysea is also appreciating female artists in some flocked posts
martinlivings thinks that only males make the kind of music he likes but does appreciate Tori Amos
pharaoh_katt is still keeping track and notes we have 57 posts already for Female Appreciation Month and appreciates Jewel, Natalie Imbruglia and Emilie Autumn

And Florence and the Machine, who burst into the wider public consciousness when singer Florence Welch, clambered up the stage rigging at Glastonbury this year, was one of five female performers among the 12 artists chosen for the shortlist of the Mercury Music Prize>. The eccentrically coiffed electro-pop star La Roux – aka Elly Jackson – will also be among the favourites to win the award, which was last won by a woman in 2002 when Ms Dynamite took the prize.

Simon Frith, chair of judges, said this year's list reflected a revolution in the music industry that was enabling artists – and women in particular – to break free of the confines of a record label.

The Mercury Prize shortlist:

Kasabian - West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
The Horrors - Primary Colours
Friendly Fires - Friendly Fires
Glasvegas - Glasvegas
La Roux La Roux
Florence and the Machine - Lungs
Bat For Lashes - Two Suns
Lisa Hannigan - Sea Sew
The Invisible - The Invisible
Led Bib - Sensible Shoes
Sweet Billy Pilgrim - Twice Born Men
Speech Debelle - Speech Therapy



Things were too quiet here and I noticed Benji had left the room some time ago. I decided I'd better get up and see if he was waiting by the door to go outside. I walked down the other end of the house and there's sharp movement as thought someone thinks they've been busted doing something - had he not moved like that, I wouldn't have gone to check and seen that he'd gotten into the treats cupboard!

I suspect he's no good at bluffing at Poker either.


Female Appreciation Month Day 9

Kate Nash - Made of Bricks

Another album that got me through my first few months post breakup. I think if you like Lily Allen and/or Regina Spektor, you'll probably like Kate Nash. I love her accent. I love her honesty in songs like Dickhead (Why you being a dickhead for?/Stop being a dickhead/Why you being a dickhead for?/You're just fucking up situations), Mariella and Mouthwash.

This song, Foundations, pretty much summarises it all, she just "gets" it. I love it.

I love this song too - Pumpkin Soup:

It's probably quite an angry album really. It's why I related so much to it just after my breakup and probably why this is the first time I have pulled it out to listen to it since. That, and um, I never put CDs back in their cases. Ahem. There's some lovely songs about first love on there too.

I also listened to Dido today - only No Angel though, since I didn't really bond with her second album. BIG confession: I first fell in love with Dido through the WB TV Show Roswell which had Here With Me as its theme song. Perhaps I'll leave the confession there :) and embed the song:

I bought No Angel, played it incessantly and whatnot. And then Dido had a resurgence (with me) when Eminem teamed up with her on Stan. Here's both versions cause I love both versions!!

Live Acoustic version cause I couldn't embed the official one. This one has a huskier, less touched up voice sound:

Dido and Eminem perform Stan live (though it's a verse short, I think):



Music of course evokes a lot of memories and feelings. I've noticed I've become quite introverted in the last week, mostly for the reasons I think I covered in the last post. But as I delve into some of the music of the early 2000s I realise that most of the music reminds me of the ex - music I was listening to whilst we were together, music that we discovered together, music I listened to that he hated, music I listened to because he hated, music I hate because he loved it. All that fuckedupness. And I think probably today was the first day that I delved into music I loved from back then. Tomorrow I am going further in.

It's hard when you were with someone for so long to fully move on and leave it all behind. I like a lot of that music and I want to take it with me, without him. I wonder if I can just leave him there. Sounds easier I think than it actually is.