Well, it didn’t take long for the reality of this project to set in. Have you tried watching TV and not seeing men? You’ll wear out your remote, I tell you. I’d turned over to Mythbusters when I got home for light, brainless viewing without thinking, but it took me a beat to realise what I’d done. Flicking around, I ended up turning the TV off entirely rather than contend with the mass of Y chromosomes on display (figuratively, of course). There are worse fates, certainly, but it was an early insight into how hard this experiment might be.
The next clue was my music collection. Previously, I’d thought myself quite inclusive — plenty of women, for sure! But now the list was staring back at me, and it suddenly seemed so small. It was too early in the morning to be told by your iPhone that you’ve been lying to yourself. The glass-half-full perspective is that it forced me to give a few more listens to the second Best Coast album (better than I remembered, but still a bit aimless compared to the first one), and pull out the Lemuria album that I’d acquired at some stage in the past few years (sweet, crunchy power pop of the exact kind I worried I’d miss without access to Surfer Blood or the Lemonheads). The other positive is, of course, the new-found liberty to buy more music, which I duly exercised this evening.
I grabbed Sky Ferreira‘s debut, Night Time, My Time, and Laura Mvula‘s album from last year, Sing to the Moon. I’d heard a little of Laura’s record at work, but hadn’t had much chance to dig into it. The Janelle Monae-style soul flourishes had stayed with me, but slipped my mind, so I was thrilled to have my friend Lamar remind me of it and give me a second turn. Check out the first track and its neat little papercraft/flipbook video, ‘Like the Morning Dew‘.
Another friend, Catriona, had been lovely enough to make me a Spotify playlist to help me on my Ladyist journey (you can have a listen here). It’s a nifty mix of the familiar, the foreign, and a few foreign artists with whom I should have been familiar by now: case in point, Joni Mitchell. As a direct result of Catriona’s playlist, I had ‘Both Sides Now’ in my head all day, so I capitulated to both years of pressure and my internal radio, and bought a best of. I’m not usually a Best Of type of listener, but Joni’s collection is so big that I thought an overview would be a good starting place. I also grabbed Chelsea Wolfe‘s album, Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs mainly because I like the cover (my reasoning can’t always be deep and meaningful).
On a brighter note, I very nearly missed my bus stop coming home this evening, so lost was I in Patti Smith‘s autobiography, Just Kids. Have you read it? If you haven’t, grab a copy now, regardless of your feelings about her. I’ve always admired Patti’s music more than I’ve enjoyed it, but I find myself enraptured with her writing. Even if you knew nothing else of her, you can hear the poet in the way she writes, though her prose is nothing so flowery or pretentious as that might suggest. I’ve been in a bit of a rut with reading lately; it saddened me to reflect on how much I used to read compared to my more scattered reading habits nowadays. Just Kids has me wanting to cram in time for it at every opportunity, though: waiting at the bus stop; getting coffee; on my break while I eat. It’s captivating, and a pleasure, and I can’t wait to finish it. (Can make a slightly old-fashioned suggestion, grab a physical copy if possible. The paper stock is soft and lovely, ready to soften at the edges and brown under your fingertips, showing all the signs of a well-loved book.)