Goodbye Genie

When waking up this morning I, like most of us was shocked to learn of the death of one of the worlds most touching, talented and gentle comedians of our time, Robin Williams.

I first discovered Robin Williams at the age of 6 when watching the Disney animated classic Aladdin, ‘Group hug, kiss the monkey…fur ball!’ I loved Genie, he was my favorite character and still is and yes…I still no all the words to all the songs!

Next was the second children’s classic, Hook, dapper and daring as grown up Peter Pan and oh how I wanted to be Julie Robert’s punky Tinkerbell!

After the standard awkward teenage stage we all inevitably run into with our eyes shut, I rediscovered Williams (thanks to my mother in a plea to bring me back down to earth and watch something half decent and not another teen movie!) in The Birdcage, now one of my favorite films. A classic tale of a gay couple who own a gay club in Miami Beach, Williams’ is front of house and his partner Nathan Lane or Albert Goldman is the drag act everyone flocks to see. A stunning performance from all involved, including Gene Hackman who plays straight laced Senator Kelly.

Aside from the comedy, Williams was actually a very talented character. In his early days, Williams was one of 20 students accepted into the prestigious acting school Juilliard at Freshman level and was then one of two who progressed into their advance program. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Good Morning Vietnam and eventually his talent elevated him into the Oscar Winning crowd when he took his golden statue home for Good Will Hunting.

Williams had a talent to evoke emotion in us all, be it happiness or sorrow and his talent was dipped perfectly in pathos that his audiences adored. Needless to say we have lost a talented and great man, but he will not be forgotten.

Goodbye Genie x

BANKS beauty

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I suppose you’re starting to notice a trend here. Music, health, music, health. Soon to follow will be beauty and a smidge of fashion (there are lots of fashion bloggers out there and I’m not trying to compete for that crown, my wallet would cry for a start!) but for now I have one last post for this month about music. We’ve had two for the boys, The Weeknd and the one and only Prince, so now to join Lana is a new girl on the block, from America but often mistaken for one of us Brits, her name is BANKS, which is also her Instagram pseudonym – hernameisbanks, which makes for great images.

Any who, Jillian Banks is an American singer song writer from LA. She actually toured internationally with The Weekndin 2013 and has made big sounds in the music world already. Named as Artist to Watch by Fox Weekly, I strongly advise you take their advice. A little bit London Grammar, a little bit Lauryn Hill, her music is very distinctive…already.

The first song I heard was This Is What It Feels Like and it felt good. With a very low, enchanting voice her music almost echoes through you and I felt like I needed to listen to it in a dark room to really appreciate the depth of her lyrics or on a dreary day driving through a grey hilly landscape. All of her songs are beautifully written and the darkness you can hear is a reflection of her life lived in her parents divorce. It’s be written that she was unsure of who to talk to or even how to talk about it, hence why she’s filled every line of each of her songs with life and passion and it really is just oozing with emotion. But not that sappy, sad, pass me a tissue emotion. It’s tense, prickly and lonely emotion, but glossed in her incredible voice marrying perfectly together.

Her songs have almost become an obsession to me, my Spotify playlist of her EP’s and one off tracks honestly never gets boring or repetitive and it’s almost magnetic. Her lyrics stick in my mind but not all day like when you get an ear worm of a song lodge in your brain, it’s more like an imprint, something permanent in a good way like a relationship that works. In that sense I guess you could say she connects with her fans through her music and her music means more to her than just vanity.

There is a realness in her lyrics, she talks of her troubled childhood and the rockiness she lived through, not knowing how to feel and scared of feeling something new, but she also connects with you on a personal level because she talks about real life. There’s no fluffiness here, which is similar to The Weeknd in the sense that you don’t need to read between the lines with either of these musicians because they enjoy the rawness of their art. Her music is very honest and her influences such as Lauyrn Hill and Erykah Badu are evident in her songs. There is a vulnerability in the voice, but something tells me she’s through to the other side now.

She’s rising up, although she hates managing her own social media she wants to connect with her fans and I’d recommend you try and connect with her, just in time for the release of her first album, Goddess – September 5th 2014. You won’t be disappointed.

Waiting for the Weeknd

Dropped with little narration, new material has landed on our lap from the beautiful Canadian export Abel Tesfaye aka The Weeknd. His trademark smooth and sultry tones swim perfectly through the new single, Often, which I can promise you will be on repeat for me until further notice.

 

An assortment of blatant dirty lyrics, counteracted with the soulful sweetness of his voice, makes for an expected hit in 2014. With little noise since September 2013 when Kiss Land was released, I’m sure this single will be happily received and finger’s crossed, some more new material may be coming our way soon. Watch this space…

 

American Woman

Elizabeth Woolridge Grant aka Lana Del Rey arose from of a fold of her former introduction into the music world. An image of bleach blonde hair and a varsity jacket now she is a perfect mannequin of puffed lips, pointed red nails and edgy tattoos. A cinematic sounded surrounded by a smoke screen of glamour and lust, which she effortlessly turns into poetic song lyrics.

The thought behind becoming a signer was coloured by the idea of creating love around herself, a small community she could create by meeting new people. Her first signing with 5 Point Records was short lived as she bought herself out of it after just 5 years claiming it was a non-starter, probably due to the fact that her EP Kill Kill was ‘put to bed’ soon after it’s release and quickly she admitted defeat and ventured down a career path to help those looking to be rehabilitated back into the community after drug or alcohol abuse.

In 2011, after struggling with the help of her father to publicise her next self-titled album, she met with Ben Mawson, her current manager. They moved to London for a few years to concentrate on her career and so it began…

In 2011 she sauntered onto our screens with the intoxicating and beautiful Video Games. Accompanied by a smoky, sultry video with cinematic artistry, sun and young love.

To follow was a spectacular album Born To Die selling 3.4 million copies in 2012. The Paradise edition of the abovewas released in late 2013 selling 67,000 copies in the first week.

Young & Beautiful, written by Del Rey for Baz Luhrmann’s film adaptation of The Great Gatsby was next to address the limelight and shortly after this the pre-hyped release of her short film Tropico aired on her official Vevo. A statement from Del Rey coined this as the closing chapter to her first album.

Panned by some critics for being anti-feminist and pro-prostitution (which I believe to be a misinterpreted, prudish view of her fantasies) it’s clear to see that her work has undoubtedly caught our attentions, for good or for bad and this week saw the anticipated release of her third album Ultraviolence.

Still cinematically characteristic of Del Rey, the 15-track album is hauntingly beautiful with a perfect split of beauty with glamour and lusty addiction. Releasing 3 songs separately before the entire album only increased my excitement for the arrival of the completed set. In her songs you can hear her fascination of a glamorous world, a story world of painted images that exist in books and films and for some in real life and it really is fascinating. She has no qualm about naming one of her tracks I fucked my way up to the Top and you better believe the feminists will be all over that, but really, is she as bad as Rihanna dry humping a golden throne in a thong bikini? Del Rey is writing but not living this story in the public eye. Rihanna’s blatant display of vulgarity is something she was never previously about.

Ultraviolence has a note of darkness, like the previous album, but recently this darkness has been in the papers when she interviewed with the Guardian writer Tim Jonze. After questioning, she admitted that many of her idols are the greats who have died young, but confessed it was more about their personas and achievements that she idolised, their death was merely an added note to their stories. Understandable, and if you listen to the lyrics of her songs, it’s clear to hear a girl infatuated by the lifestyle and beauty of fame and drugs and addiction. As beautiful as these lifestyles sound, they often like their lead roles do, like Jimi or Janis, not so glamorously but what an end to the stories. I just believe this acceptance of dying early that Del Rey has admitted to is just part of her desire to live life like her songs portray. Tim Jonze can’t be blamed for what he wrote, it was merely the exact words to come out of her mouth – but this really shouldn’t taint her for you. She’s Hollywood, aren’t they all a little crazy? One thing that can be said, she’s dedicated to her image and her persona – just listen to her lyics.

Aside from the suicidal acceptance and anti-feminist views, the album is superb. Beautiful and dark with some excellent indulgent tracks, admittance to wanting all the things in life we shouldn’t really own up to, power and money and boy, she wants it all. You’ll want it all too and you’ll want to wander into her story garden and just not take that left turn to work on Monday morning.

Purple Heaven

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On the 23rd of May, something incredible happened to the noble northern city of Leeds. Some sort of cloud appeared over us, a thick smog of hazy indigo and then a dark and dramatic smattering of heavy rain from the heavens. Taxi’s we’re fully booked and all shops had allegedly run out of purple clothing and accessories. The night had finally come, the day when one of the greatest music legends of all time was to grace our new stage at Leeds Arena in a three piece purple 70’s inspired ensemble, bell bottom flares, heeled boots and a purple sleeveless fur jacket like your Mother (or if you are me, your Father) wore back in the day. And so it began…

Introduced to the stage by his three lean, beautiful and oh so very talented female collection The 3rd Eye Girl,the excitement was ravenous and I was already stopping my heart from leaping out of my mouth! Here I was, about to witness history, which is what one of the female collective told us when she asked politely that we do not take any pictures because “you can’t live the moment through your camera” which I have to say was pretty true. What’s worse than watching a concert through someones shiny phone screen or even worse, someone’s large iPad screen? Then it happened, the thick, deep, heavy bass plummeted down through each body occupying the arena and a thrill of excitement darted round and round until…he was there, in front of his perfectly crafted symbol microphone stand singing “Are we gonna let the elevator bring us down, oh, no let’s go!” 

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The next two and something hours were filled to the brim with classic Prince songs, soulfully reincarnated and excellently executed. The man really has got stamina and at one point he decided to rid himself of his guitar causing one stage hand to leap across to catch the falling instrument like a new born baby falling from Michael Jackson’s arms! I’m not sure what the outcome was, my eyes were firmly fixed on the man himself.After launching the beautifully crafted guitar, he rocked out for the remainder of the song with his own perfect set of moves that surely would have had even your grandma rocking out! I mean I really was blown away.

I have to say the 33 song set was probably one of the most comprehensive overviews of his career I had seen and probably everyone else attending. It’s also fair to commend his latest work, with the sound of unfamiliar songs hitting the arena, I certainly wasn’t disappointed. He has recently resigned with Warner Bros , so do watch this space.

Then he went and did it…something I was’t expecting but I am so thankful for. The mood was calm as everyone rested from the on-going purple party who starred in wonder of this amazingly talented man, waiting on his every note until he graced us with his, original version of Nothing Compares To You. This is something I will never forget.

The night moved on, too fast in my eyes, but with such satisfaction. I didn’t leave the floor once for fear of missing, something…anything! It really was one of those moments where you really just want him to be looking straight at you when he walks towards one corner of the stage and serenades the over whelmed crowd of fans. One thing I noticed, that seemed strange I hadn’t understood this before was how skillful he was with his guitar. He belongs up there with the greats, Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton. I suppose I have always been so won over with his lyrics, his image and his voice that I have overlooked his skill with the 6 string.

Overall it’s fair to say I have never been so impressed with an artist. His stamina, happiness, talent and epic history burned through that night and with such enthusiasm for his work and his fans. He was still the Prince I had discovered when I 12 years old riffling through old music collections of my parents and he was still the Prince I loved when I really understood just what he was about.

There really is only one way to round this up and that is, if you ever get the chance to see this musical marvel, snatch the opportunity tightly and don’t let go a visit Purple Heaven is well worth any price.

Plectrum Electrum will be released later this year. http://vimeo.com/61739791 

Let’s get Lippy!

lips4 It really is about time I began to populate this page with words and pictures and you know, things that make you think about…things! This really is a space for me to note down all my thoughts, ideas, opinions and if you feel that you agree with me then that’s even better – but really this is a place to empty my brain onto a web page for good, for bad and for the ugly!Writing has always been something I’ve turned to throughout my life, be it to vent a frustration, to live out dreams and fantasies about undiscovered worlds and made up realities or to adventure around the subject of love through characters you can only dream of being or one day discovering. I love listening to my imagination run over time thinking of stories to tell. Until now, I’ve never really had a way to voice this though, getting published is somewhat a hard task and normally without an agent there’s very slim chance of catching anyone’s eye. A lovely thought to survive by your pen but a little unrealistic. But we’re not living in 1800’s anymore so at least women can and will write.

My own creative writing is something that I tend to keep to myself, but the chance to use my skill for writing in a conversational blog is something I’ve been meaning to do for quite a time now. I left university almost 3 years ago now and without the dedication of my writing tutor and that pesky full time job I have, I’d say my writing has suffered of late and not been given the proper outlet. I love that there is so much possibility out there to get your voice heard and I love that there are so many things to talk about. So do sit tight, I promise that the vast, white abyss of the Jam Jar Journals is about to be exploding with colourful insights, glittery ideas and shiny reviews.

I’ll be taking my time to review the things I love, new purchases, books, people, events. I’ll also be using this space as a place to voice my opinion, which some of you may disagree with as is only natural, but everyone should have their say and I hope, if you disagree with some of things I feel or believe in, then it’s just a way to get you all thinking about things from a different view point.

So, beyond the obvious, the answer is yes, to a question not yet asked, but I Know you’re all thinking it. I’m another blogger, joining the vast and sometime anomalous world of the blogging sphere but unlike everyone else, I’m aiming to give you something you can just enjoy reading. Wait, that is like everyone else I suppose. Ok well, look at it this way, this blog is as much for me as it is for all for you. I’m not trying to stand out from the rest of the people like me, I just want to take some time everyday to tell you what’s keeping me interested in our blooming culture and exciting society.

Enough rambling now, the next post will be much more constructive, with a strong theme and a great ending. I hope!

So excuse me while I get lippy…

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