Four bands/singers who inspire me

As I am trying to develop my blog and talk more about art in general, I thought now is the time to tell you about some music I love. I have hundreds of bands and singers I like, so I had to reduce to a top four. I was about to present five but I don’t want the article to be too long. Below, you’ll find some information about them, as well as links to their Spotify pages and my favourite song for each.


1/ Sigur Ros

Born in 1994 in Iceland, the band quickly became famous around the world, thanks to the singularity of their music style. For instance, Jonsi (the lead singer), plays the electric guitar with a bow. I could do research to tell you the exact music genre, but that’s not funny. I think we could call it psychedelic, post-rock.

I have seen them live in Lille a few years ago and to this day, it is still the best concert I went to. They pay a lot of attention to the atmosphere, playing with lights and displaying clips on a screen.

Talking about the visual aspects of Sigur Ros, they have done many things over the years After an international tour, they went back to Iceland and played in different places around the country for free, to thank the population who made them who they are. They made a film, Heima, which gives a great overview of their music, as well as landscapes of Iceland. They also asked famous filmmakers to create clips for their album Valtari, and the result is amazing, and available on the band’s Youtube channel. More recently, they organised a festival in Reykjavik, in the beautiful Harpa (I have some pictures of the building, just click).

I could talk about them for hours, they are definitely my top 1.

Link to their Spotify : HERE.

Favourite song : Ekki Mukk (Valtari album)


2/ Antony and the Johnsons (now Anohni)

Antony Hegarty created the band in 1998. I actually do not know a lot of the history of the band, but I don’t think it would make a difference to know anything. What is special is Antony’s voice, which is one of an angel (I could have said the same thing about Jonsi in Sigur Ros), a voice so powerful that it made me shiver many nights. I have written many poems listening to Antony and the Johnsons.

Antony also worked with many artists I love, including Lou Reed, on the album The Raven (for those who love Edgar Allan Poe, it’s amazing), Björk and Leonard Cohen among others. Okay, I’ll quote CocoRosie too !

As Anohni, the music evolved to an experimental electronic genre. Even tough I liked the album Hopelessness (2016) a bit less, I was still enjoying the powerful voice of the artist.

Link to their Spotify : HERE.

Favourite songs : Hope there’s someone // Fistful of Love


3/ The Smiths (I am actually listening right now)

If you love British Indie rock bands from the 1980s, The Smiths is perfect for you. With Morrissey as lead singer, the group quickly became top of the charts.

What I love about them is how they mix genres, making each album a unique piece. I mean, if you listen to “This Charming Man” and “Asleep”, you’ll understand what I mean. Some of their songs are very melancholic while others can be more joyful.

Influenced by the Punk movement, The Smiths also used their music to convey political messages, including their views on Thatcherism or on the treatment of animals (Meat is Murder, 1985).

Link to their spotify : HERE.

Favourite song : Asleep


4/ Pink Floyd

Okay, I feel like if I tried to explain what Pink Floyd are, I would make a fool of myself. First, because I think they are famous enough ; second because they are so many different things. So I won’t go into details on the history on the band, which can be easily found online anyways.

Pink Floyd make me dream.

Every album is unique and you can really see an evolution between the early period and the most recent works. As I do not want to describe each album, I will just focus on two, that have really inspired me.

The Dark Side of the Moon is maybe the most famous one (after The Wall). It is thanks to this work that I have discovered the band. It could work as a single song, each track following the previous one with perfection.

Atom Heart Mother dates back to their early period (1970). With a 23-minute suite as a first song, it is a trip of the mind through different genres, including some opera voices at some point. The last song, “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast” even includes recording of sounds of chewing and cutlery hitting china. It is definitely an experience which goes beyond music itself.

Okay, I only said two albums but I just want to make a reference to Animals (1977) because it was inspired by George Orwell’s Animal Farm and I love both works so much.

Link to their Spotify : HERE.

Favourite song : Echoes (23 minutes)

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Creative Writing Story #2

The sound of freedom

We had to choose a piece of music we liked or a food that was linked to a memory and write somthing about it.

Worried, Jack looked around him in search of his parents. All he could see instead was a crowd of tourists in a hurry that were coming and going by the carousel. Nobody seemed to notice that he was alone, they were all obsessed with their cameras, trying to find the perfect angle for the perfect souvenir photo.

On most other days, he loved Montmartre, its old merry-go-round and he loved to watch the crowd walking by the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. But it was different this time, he was lost. His parents had disappeared.

Jack decided that he should sit on a bench to wait for his parents. They would soon realize he was missing, wouldn’t they? He approached a bench on which an old lady was sitting. With a surprising energy, she was throwing breadcrumbs to the famished pigeons around her. Jack became quickly angry against everyone around him when he realized his parents were not part of the crowd.

The sun was shining in a cloudless sky and a chilly wind was blowing away the few leaves that had already freed themselves from the trees. It was a common weather for a day of October. The wind made Jack shiver. He had hardly protected his hands in his pockets when he realized that he still had biscuits his mother had given to him. In fact, he was starving.

The biscuits were envelopped in some silver foil, as his mother would do on a school day. Jack loved the texture of the foil and the delicious perfume of the chocolate that flew away up to his nose when he would unwrap the biscuits.

When he was sure that the old lady was gone, and so were the pigeons, he softly unwrapped his snack. He approached the chocolate biscuits to his nose to feel the perfume but he felt nothing. The magic was gone. Even the music arising from the carousel, that sweet music of his childhood, started to annoy him. Undoubtedly, Jack was angry.

He put the biscuits back into the foil and squeezed them so strongly that he could feel them break into crumbs. The ball he was holding in his hand gave him an idea. Since his parents were probably on their way to find him, he should have some fun in the meanwhile.

He stood up and walked to the carousel. Some mothers were placing their children on the fake horses of the merry-go-round. Jack waited for the carousel to start turning and he quickly jumped on it. Nobody noticed him. He took hold of a steel bar that was holding a white wooden horse. Again, he unwrapped the biscuits that were now in shreds and placed them with the foil on the back of the animal. Then, with a loud and childish laugh, he started throwing the crumbs on the tourists that were innocently walking by the attraction.

The show was hilarious. The confused tourist, hit by the biscuit, were glacing around in search of the guilty of the attacks. Jack was taking malicious pleasure in throwing his snack on them. The music of the carousel was resounding in his ears so loudly that he could no longer hear the voices of the people around him.

Jack was about to throw the last crumb he had to an Asian tourist when he felt a pressure on his arm. Suddenly, the carousel and the music stopped. Jack turned around to see who had ended his game. What he saw terrified and comforted him. He was not lost anymore, but it was an angry and ashamed father that had found him.

Project Anonymous : the article!

Remember a couple of months ago, in relation to a project that I called « Anonymous », I created a questionnaire via Google. I asked anyone who was willing to help me to reply to some questions on life and money. Two months later, I finally have the courage to write an article gathering the answers. I even did charts!

First of all, before I give you a description of the different (and amazing) answers I received, I would like to intoduce the people that replied. To keep the project as « anonymous » as I could, I did not ask for many details on the social environment of the volunteers. Indeed, as most of the answers come from my social circles, the less details I have, the less easily I can guess who answered.

I have to say that I was not reaally surprised when I saw the distribution of the answers according to age. As I said, the answers come from people I know, or from people that study in the same university as I do. It was then normal that half of the answers come from people aged between 20 and 30. The reason why I give you a chart is for you to have an idea of the categories of people that answered… Most of them are students. Consequently, the answers are to be studied according to this variable.

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The second chart I give you concerns the gender of the volunteers. When I created the questionnaire, I intentionally add a third choice, apart from male and female. I know that there is a debate about the question of gender in many countries these days and my opinion is that male and female are concepts that were created. I do not cast doubt on a third gender or a fourth one. If someone disagrees, I would love to hear your arguments. Back to the figures, a majority of answers come from female even though the difference is small. I also received answers from people that considered themselves part of a third category, but no detail was given.

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Then, what seems important is the places the volunteers come from. We all have different cultures, different educations and these factors are to be taken into account when dealing with questions on happiness and love. Once again, the answers come mainly from places I know, such as France where I am from and Ireland where I currently live. As for the other volunteers, for the most part they come from Europe, and a few from the United States of America. I have tried to represent the percentage of answers in a chart and on a map, yellow representing a small amount of answers and red being a consistent number.

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Now, let’s enter the heart of the project. I will start with the end of the questionnaire. I offered different themes and asked the volunteers to rate them from 1 to 5 according to the importance they attach to these themes. Volunteers were asked to rate their interest in literature, poetry, cinema, music, nature, video games, sport, party, art and career. I was not sure what I would do with the numbers afterward but I felt that I should ask these questions. I have made a chart (again) showing the average of interest in the different subjects.

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What I noticed and found interesting is that even though the age average is low, the interest in video games is the lowest. This does not show in any case that there is a decrease of young people playing video games but perhaps that the people that answered are not geeks. Contrarily, they seem to have great interest in artistic and literary themes. Music makes the worlds go round and so does the cinema! Indeed, they are the two themes with the highest rate, with an average grade of 4,3 and 80% of people granting importance to them in their lives (people that voted 4 and 5). As for the other themes, I let you have a look on the results. As I said before, I was not sure how to deal with the numbers but it is good to have them.

What is your definition of happiness?

I have hesitated a lot to know how I would present the results to the open questions : should I make a summary of the replies or should I just list the answers. The difficulty of doing a summary is that I have asked the volunteers to tell me if they were happy, based on their definition. With a summary, the answers for the second question seem meaningless. So, I will make a list of the definitions, followed by the reply on whether people are happy or not.

  • a simple life surrounded by positive people, YES

  • deep breathing, NO

  • do whatever we want, whenever we want without hurting anyone, YES

  • Being able to be yourself and enjoy your life, do things with people who love you for who you are and not feel lonely or scared or depressed, NO

  • feeling alive, NO

  • feeling good, KIND OF

  • eternal life, YES

  • do whatever I want without being judged by society, KIND OF

  • being surrounded by people you love and who love you, are happy to see you, will cheer you up when you feel down, will ignore any petty squabbles and know you’d do the same for them, NO

  • not worrying that I’d let people down, not on an emotional level – failing tests, not getting jobs, etc, YES

  • acceptance and loving friends, NO

  • when time doesn’t have any sense anymore, YES

  • having things that I care about, KIND OF

  • freedom, fullness, YES ANS NO

  • love, NO

  • being able to do the things I love and have a roof over my head and food, good friends and a nice family, NO

  • do things without second guessing, having friends without thinking they hate me, SOMETIMES

  • having everything I need, YES

  • existence, YES

  • fulfillment in most areas of my life, YES

  • to love the way you are and to love how things are going and to feel so good that you want things to stay that way. Feel good with oneself and accept whatever life offers you, YES

  • unconditional love and acceptance without the need to categorize anyone, success in helping others, KIND OF

  • enthusiasm and peacefulness, SOMETIMES

  • being yourself without caring about what people will think of you, NO

  • happiness is a fake feeling, NO

  • sense of wellness, contentedness, feeling of safety and inner self-”reassuredness” (I love people that create words), YES

  • joy and serenity, NO

Now that you have read every answers, here is a summary of the replies concerning people’s feeling on whether they are happy or not. We all have different definitions of happiness and a bit more than half of us think we are happy to a certain extent.

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 What is your definition of true love?

Here, I will not make a list of the answers but a summary instead. On the one hand, there are people that believe in true love and others that think true love does not exist. Among those who don’t believe in true love, some told me that they thought there were different forms of love and that none of them was more true than another, and I agree. I will not create a debate here, I did not ask the question to find a perfect answer but to learn a bit about people’s views on love.

Among the answers of those who seem to believe in true love, most of people think that it happens when you find someone who know you can spend your life with or when you are ready to die for. In most cases, it means a total presence in the other person’s life, implying that you accept that person for who they are and that they accept who you are in return. Trust, respect, comfort and sincerity are important aspects of the relationships described in the answers.

If there was no money, what would you do?

Here comes a crucial question. Indeed, if money did not limit your possibilities, what would your dreams be? I have already developed this question in another article and I am currently working on a new project with a friend on the subject (update to come soon). I will also sum up the replies, as most of the volunteers agree on their views. A part of the people that replied would just (as they say) live their lives. What I understand here is that in both cases (money exists or it doesn’t), those people already feel like they live their lives as they wish. Some others dream of travels, explorations, creation. In other cases, people would share with others and try to create a better place. Among the answers I found funny : lots of sex, create money and be a rich “bastard” and “hide because we’re all going to die.”

What makes you angry?

I love this question because it shows how we all are different and it reminds us to a certain extent that we should not blame people for their reaction because, YES, we all are DIFFERENT! Here the answers are : injustice, disrespect, arguing with people, stress, people, rejection, ignorance, inequality, poverty, fascism, capitalism, “myself”, Hermione Granger (people who think they know everything), narrow-mindedness, intolerance, posh people, French people (a French person said that!), modernity, and letting people down. One person told me that he/she could not be angry.

Do you have secrets haunting you?

I will start here with a chart gathering the answers. As you can see, a majority of us have secrets. We can agree that sometimes, keeping secrets is good for us, but in other cases, people feel hurt about what they hide for whatever reason.

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Among the people that replied ‘yes’, some told me what their secret was. As this is anonymous, I think I can share them. Someone feels that they don’t who they are and that they feel they take advantage of a sort of “fake” love they give to others for personal gain. Someone feels ashamed about certain acts such as cheating on a partner. Another person feels like they have too many secrets, among them are disordered eating, self-harm, anxiety, mental illness in the family, etc. Someone does not care about people. Finally, I received a few answers of gay people that are still in the closet and feel haunted by this secret.

Conclusion

I am really bad at conclusion so I will just say one thing : we are all different (you already knew). Yep, nothing else. If you wish to help me conclude, please, feel free to comment above or send me a private message (malher.mathieu@laposte.net).

I would like to thank everyone that participated in the project. I really appreciate your sincerity and I hope you have enjoyed reading this article. I apologize as always for any grammar or syntax fault in the text.

As for my next project in collaboration with a friend, I’ll keep in touch with you but I am really excited.

Live…

This is a very complex and difficult subject I chose to discuss tonight. I mean, all my writings are part of this subject to a certain extend, and this article may seem a little too general. I am not planning to write a novel yet, so I will try to be as brief as I can, without forgetting the main ideas that made me want to write this.

Recently, I talked to a very good friend of mine, and I explained him that I was afraid of not living for real. Indeed, I am always waiting for something in the future to come. Let’s take the example of my year in Dublin. Since I am in university, for two years now, I have been waiting for this moment, this special time when I finally go abroad. As I expect this trip to be special, I feel like all the time which separates me from September is “a waste of time”. I know I could make some efforts and try to enjoy every moment, but I just can’t. This scares me a lot because I am afraid this could happen to me for my entire life.

Also, I wanted to discuss another point which distresses me. How can you be sure that you are enjoying your life if you are not exposing the real you. We all have our secrets, things we hide to protect ourselves or others, or just because we don’t want to deceive people. Of course, we could learn to live with these secrets and reach a certain degree of happiness. However, as far as I am concerned, I am often wondering what would my life be if I revealed some of my secrets. Would life be better? I still have no idea. The only way to know is to tell the truth, to get real, considering any situation it may lead to, good or bad. As we say in France : C’est plus facile à dire qu’à faire!

What’s funny now is that at the exact moment when I am discussing “life”, my brother announces me that I am going to be an uncle in few hours. Anyway.

I know that I could work on these subjects, for myself, and try to make more efforts in participating in life, in enjoying every moment, in getting real and eventually live the life corresponding to my expectations. I just hope that I will be courageous enough to achieve this life before death grabs me.

I thought it could be interesting to tell you which songs I have been listening to while I was writing this article :
Radiohead – Fake Plastic Trees
Sigur Rós – All Alright
Sigur Rós – Von

I find my inspiration listening to Sigur Rós

I thought of many ways to say this but there’s not a hundred of them. I must make it clear, quick and simple : Sigur Rós is the best band I have discovered so far.

Those who know the band won’t ask me why, I assume (unless they dislike it, which I doubt). For people who don’t know the group and are curious enough to check it, I can only encourage you to do so.

Before I knew their music, there was something missing in my life, I was lost in the ocean (cf. Sæglóþur). And then, I discovered Svefn-g-Englar (some of you may know it from 2001 Vanilla Sky). I couldn’t find the words to describe how I felt when I first listened to this song. It was a magic experience, like a dream.

This dream continued when I discovered Valtari. There is no need to say (I say it nevertheless) that I literally felt in love with the music, especially the song Ekki mùkk

My point here is that if you’re (like me) in lack of inspiration sometimes, you can find in their music the comfort you need as well as serenity.

ALL ALRIGHT