Music

Soothing

This is the video for the lead track from Laura Marling’s new album due out on March 10, the same day as her concert in Glasgow.

Laura Marling Semper Femina translation Loyalty among women

The album is called Semper Femina.  Lucky I studied Latin all these years ago…also handy for trying to read the dates on the credits of old films.

 

It sounds as if she is right back on the horse after the mis-step of the last album, which I still find difficult to listen to.

She has also written and directed the video for Soothing.  It is certainly a very, er, interesting film, the like of which I may not have seen since the VHS years.

Should be a really intriguing album, which her press release describes as “a beautiful, compelling collection of songs that explores Laura’s take on femininity and womanhood.”  Yousa.

Music

She’d probably never gone away…

…but it was great to see Laura Marling’s solo set last night at The Pleasance Theatre. And great to know that after the mis-step that was the Short Movie album, she has some exciting new songs.

She mentioned the Bannerman’s show in Edinburgh many years ago.
There’s another show at The Pleasance Theatre tonight before she opens for Neil Young in Glasgow on Sunday.

 

Gigs · Music

Bruce Springsteen is 63. I am not. And yet…

Bob Dylan In Show and Concert!

The other day I was sort of relieved not to be able to get very good tickets to see Bob Dylan “In Show & Concert!” (he’s had so much fun with variations on that ridiculous phrase over the years) in November.
Why relieved? Well if I had succeeded in getting anything in the first ten rows, I would have had to have gone on what has become the incredibly wearing schlepp to the Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow. It’s a nice venue, but it takes ages to get there (and back) from Edinburgh, a city which sadly has nothing in the 4,000 and up concert venue line, although for trams, we will be fine.  Three nights of Dylan in Edinburgh would have been a no-brainer if travelling time was less than four hours (as would, recently, Rush, Neil Young, maybe even The Who…)
As for the Laura Marling shows in London…despite the kind offer of a place to stay in Tonbridge, I just couldn’t get the energy together for what will probably be the greatest shows ever. Even though you know this, sometimes you just have to let it go.

Grand Eagle Hotel

Age encroaches. We’ve lost a lot of good people too early recently so I wouldn’t make light of preferring ageing to its alternative while I still carry only one life threatening condition. Still, it’s rushing by…let me illustrate with a few examples.Yellow school satchel

I really like these reproduction school satchels in brightly coloured leathers that are out just now; I doubt if a male with even as developed a sense of style as I have could get away with one in Gorgie, Edinburgh, so it’s probably a no-go for me.  However my eye was caught the other night by one getting on a bus, attached to a woman has been a friend of mine for a long time. I noticed how old she looked, then realised this was not unsurprising given that I am only about three years older than her.
She didn’t come upstairs, so we didn’t make conversation. At the level of gallantry my brain was on, that’s probably just as well, and I was listening to Laura Marling’s new album. A lovely woman nonetheless.
Yesterday, I was speaking with another old friend on the phone, who came out with a sentence I had not yet come across in life, viz, “I need to buy a dinner suit.”
When I asked him why, he said he was fed up with hiring dinner suits. This was taking a weird twist, I felt.
“Why do you hire dinner suits? For business things?”
“No, for parties. You know how it is…”
“No.”
“Well, people invite you to these things and expect you to dress in a certain way…”
I had to point out that no party I had ever been invited to had required the penguin suit; a dinner suit to me is a combination of one’s clothes and slovenly eating.
We were clearly on different planets at this point. What have I lost here? Or what have I gained? I will never wear a dinner suit…I will never play The Dane…

Bruce Springsteen Wrecking-Ball Tour

Finally, going to see Bruce Springsteen in Glasgow tomorrow evening needs two days off work; one to make sure I have descended on Hampden in time for the show and a second because we’re staying over to have a relaxed journey back. I remember the days I would have been driving my orange Mini to Hampden and back, overtaking BMWs on the M8.
So for the second consecutive set of shows in Glasgow, I’ll be missing Bob again. At least we’ll always have Barrowlands.

Music

Even better than expected…

Laura Marling always in the kitchen at parties

 

So after the long wait, Once I Was an Eagle was available this week.  I know I could have listened to it streaming on The Guardian website last week, but I’d rather scarf up the few remaining “event” releases that the old model of the music industry can cough up, as well listening in the correct spirit and frame of mind.

Having listened two or three times since Monday, early impressions are that Laura Marling has followed her muse resolutely; this is a deep and wide album which will doubtless leave some of the fanbase behind.  It is a bigger leap than even I expected.

N’mind; she can probably do no other than that which her heart and sensibilities demand.  Nor should an artist as resolute (that word again) on the path she has chosen.

So what does it sound like?  Mostly like I imagine the rumbling of earthquake sounds as the fragile mantle is threatened by the turbulence of what lies beneath.  The mumbles, the weird enunciations, the sympathetic growling of producer Ethan Johns’ ambient noises all contribute to the atmosphere of discomfort LM creates; there’s something on her “my-ind” here, which is almost inarticulable, but has to come out…

There’s months worth of study here; I’m loving it so far.

Postscript

In 2017 Laura Marling looked back on Once I Was an Eagle, answering questions and playing live in front of a studio audience for the Radio 4 podcast Mastertapes.

Laura Marling Once I was an Eagle - BBC Radio 4 Mastertapes