Letter #64

Good morning / afternoon / evening,

I hope you’re well. Autumn is nearly upon us, and that means that there’s been an influx of new music released this week (August is always a quiet month for new music). My musical education, like most, is filled with influences, but there are a handful of people who’ve had a significant impact on me. David Mancuso, John Peel, and Theo Parrish are three of my musical idols. All three feel particularly pertinent this week, as it would have Peel’s birthday, there’s a new in depth interview on Mancuso and NY nightlife (part onepart two), and also an oral history of Parrish’s Sound Signature record label – so this week is dedicated to them.

In true tribute, the mixtape is uncompromising. You’re going to love it ❤️.

PLAY
🌪 TL;DR section 🌪
Stuff to do: 
📚 The notes 📚
It’s been a busy week, so the notes are short this week. However, I’d like to draw your attention to a few books I’m reading at the moment; the first is John Peel biography Margrave of the Marshes (which I’m reading for the third time), the two absolutely brilliant Matt Haig books – Notes on a Nervous Planet, and Reasons to Stay Alive, and the brilliant book on Basquiat that my dad bought me (thanks dad).

I wanted to share a few short notes too. There’s a feature on the NY Times on pop music that seems to have been shared loads this week, if you haven’t read it already, then I’d recommend it, but expect to be frustrated (at least that’s how I felt. The writer seems to have a completely binary view of the ‘mainstream’ and the edges. I think it totally fails to grasp that the critic, the curator, and the artist’s job is to draw lines between different parts of the cultural map – they all very literally help us navigate the new and understand the old, by making it more comprehensible and pointing out the connections.

I wouldn’t usually share something that I felt so negative about, but I really feel that this type of snobbish bullshit causes more damage than it fixes. It creates a them and us, and forces people to pick a side. It lacks sophistication and understanding that the world isn’t two different colours, but shades on a spectrum, and in doing so it loses the nuance of what makes art beautiful. There is something for everyone.

As always, if you’ve read to here, thanks for indulging me ♥️.

See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day

Letter #63

Good morning / afternoon / evening,

I hope you’re well. This week is a Bank Holiday special, and hopefully the mixtape will provide the perfect soundtrack to your long weekend, and since my working week was relatively normal this week, the rambling notes are back! 🎉

If you’re new here, then this explains everything. The basics are that there’s a playlist if you click the red button below, some links to interesting stuff below that, and some rambling notes below that.

The mixtape this week was one of my favourite to put together. Massive soulful, sunshine vibes.

PLAY
🌪 TL;DR section 🌪
Stuff to do: 
📚 The notes 📚
There’s a long running joke with my family and friends that the only music that I dislike is “comedy music”. Music that is cringingly novelty, or comedians singing songs. There’s such a small pool of music that I actively dislike, but “comedy music” makes me feel like I’m physically turning inside out. I’ll give you an example, as much as it pains me; Tenacious D. Even finding that link hurt. I love good comedy, I love good music, but put them together and my insides can’t take it. The most frequent accusation that gets levelled at me is; “you just don’t like music to be fun, you bloody goth”. Which I think is pretty unfair. You all know about my love of upbeat disco, I love a little kitsch pop music, and I wouldn’t say I had even the vaguest elitist tendencies. I love music. Just not comedy music (or most country and western, while I’m in the mood for a confession).

I don’t think this is about me taking music too seriously. As I mentioned last week, what I really enjoyed about Sylvia Patterson’s book (I’m Not With the Band) was the unbridled sense of joy she takes in music. She never takes music too seriously, but equally I think if she clicked that Tenacious D link above, she’d puke. The more I’ve thought about it over the years, the more I’ve realised my distaste is because I want music to mean something. To say something, and for the artists to hold beliefs and views that they’re trying to communicate through their music. To me, songs like the one above aren’t cultural critiques, they’re send ups and the musical equivalent of sour Haribo. Tasty for about five minutes, then your tongue is burnt. Maybe that analogy doesn’t work.

Anyway, on meaning in music (or lack of), there’s an excellent moment in Patterson’s book where she’s interviewing Mumford and Sons, and Marcus (the lead singer) says “We’re not into being influential in culture, I don’t want people to listen to what I say, really. I don’t think it’s important. If they listen to our music, cool, but I didn’t sign up to be some sort of cultural leader or inspiration or … spokesman for a generation, fuck that!”. Much like Patterson, this sent shivers down my spine (and not in a good way). Mumford and Sons have / had an enormous platform – whether they (or I) like it, they are part of culture, and as such have a responsibility to create or say something of meaning. Some of our greatest pop artists understood this, and have used their platform to say something meaningful. i-D put together a collection of the five most culturally significant VMA performances – and even Brittney and Christina knew of their cultural responsibility.

This doesn’t mean that music cannot and should not be fun, and it’s equally important that music can provide us with an escape. Music (and art more broadly) doesn’t have to be worthy, but it should have some meaning, otherwise why does it exist? For me, the role of art within culture and society is to communicate ideas – and art has been a vehicle for meaning since before even language existed. If there aren’ any ideas behind the art, is it still art? Or is it just well-dressed attention bait? A shiny product parading as art in order to part people with their attention or money. This comes back to something I’ve written about before – which is the idea that the line between ‘art’ and ‘product’ is blurred the second that the ‘art’ isn’t from the culture it purports to be from, but is instead is a collection of signals that are deployed to suggest authenticity.

This idea of ‘fauxthenticity’ is something that is becoming a white hot conversation in electronic music at the moment. The (re)emerging label of DJ as ‘selector’ is creating a cottage industry of ‘DJs’ who are more focused on buying up the rarest records to act as sort of ‘trophies’. This echoes back to the Northern Soul scene on blank cover stickers on labels, and it’s not a knew phenomena, however the difference now is that the ‘digging’ aspect has been largely removed, and now the route to rarities isn’t the search, but the bank balance. When almost everything is available to anyone, anyone with enough money can buy into the game. This has lead to an emerging breed of people who are treating music as a Panini sticker book collection, rather than finding new music to share with people. In the latest edition of The Vinyl Factory’sexcellent Crate Diggers series, Red Greg talks about his motivations around collecting music and playing it out rather than hoarding it at home; “it’s very macho and competitive, which I really don’t like”. When the focus moves from finding new music to share with people, to finding rare records to tell people you own them, feels like big game hunting, rather than setting up an animal sanctuary.

The positive side of everything being available (for the right price) is that there’s more music to search through than every before. DJs like Red Greg, Gilles P, Theo Parrish, Bradley Zero have an even greater abundance of music to dig through and share with an audience. I was reading an article on the present state of museum curation (as seen through the lens of the Smithsonian), and was struck by the following quote “curators are custodians of the past, but they must also collect the present in anticipation of the future. They grab hold of ideas, and attempt to illustrate them with physical objects”. When we think of dedicated DJs like those mentioned above, the idea that they’re custodians and the past and the future feels really powerful, and bang on the money. They build their reputation (and therefore authenticity) by sharing what they’ve found, and presenting it in a way that makes total sense in the moment – providing both an escape, and an introduction to new ideas. In the book Diaghilev and Friends, one of the worlds most respected and revered curators Han Ulrich Obrist talks about J.G. Ballard calling the best curation ‘junction-making’ – and Obrist himself sees curation as being “a patchwork of fragments”. As I was reading that I couldn’t help but remember hearing Theo Parrish playing free jazz next to a Terrence Parker classic – and thinking, for me, that’s threading together fragments, to make something bigger, to create something meaningful, and ultimately, to create a moment that matters.

As always, if you’ve read to here, thanks for indulging me ♥️.

See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day

Letter #62

Good morning / afternoon / evening,

I hope you’ve had a lovely week. I had a cracking few days in the Alps last weekend (and ok, maybe there was a little lamp post tying), then back to work with a bang. The music this week is built around a bunch of insanely soulful songs I’ve found this week; Bill Withers, The Emotions, Sade, the new Lovefingers remix of LCD Soundsystem, Mndsgn, Hugo LX, and an absolute pearl by our dearest and sadly departed Aretha ❤️.

It’s got some serious soul to it, so dig in, and ease yourself into the weekend.

PLAY
🌪 TL;DR section 🌪
Stuff to do: 
📚 The notes 📚
After what feels like months of long old hours, things are easing up a little at work, and over the course of the next few weeks I want to put together a few letters that dig into some of the topics and ideas that I’ve either nodded to in the letters I’ve sent over the last few months, or things that’ve been whirring around my head.

After finishing the Sylvia Patterson book, one thing that felt prevalent throughout is her constant sense of fun in music. Not necessarily in the music itself, but her boundless energy and enthusiasm. Not taking anything too seriously, but equally respecting the art of music. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot. I’d like to explore it more.

I also want to think more about the role that ‘tastemakers’ (I hate that phrase) play in the role of culture. I think there’s a lot to explore in the often misused idea of the ‘selector’ and ‘curator’. If we take the original concepts, do those things still apply to a DJ with a rotary mixer and Discogs account? Or should they mean more.

I’d also look more into the impact of anonymity and mythology in music and culture. MF Doom, Burial, Bjork. These people create worlds that either totally hide or partly obfuscate their own identity. What does it mean to be totally hidden? Does it create a vacuum for misattribution of influence? Does that even matter.

Finally, I’ve been thinking a lot about finding meaning in music, and escapism (both together, and alone) through music. This is something that I’ve got a lot of thoughts on – but all of them tangled.

Anyway, I should do a bit more thinking and a lot more writing, and you’ll be getting both barrels over the course of the next few weeks.

As always, if you’ve read to here, thanks for indulging me ♥️.

See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day

Letter #61

Good morning / afternoon / evening,

I hope you’re well. As you read this, I’m most probably in the middle of the French Alps on a stag party – think more ‘civilised swimming in lakes’ than ‘tying friends to lamp posts’ 😂.

This meant I had to start prepping the letter and mixtape a bit earlier this week, and I did, but then the unthinkable happened… The draft playlist I’d spent ages pulling together vanished. No back ups. Start all over again. GAH! So I decided that instead of trying to rebuild the original, I’d take the handful of tracks I remembered and build out from those and see where that took me. Hopefully you’ll love it.

Before you begin, I have a favour to ask. If you like this letter and mixtape, then please share a recommendation on Twitter and Facebook (this is the link to share – www.lwstd.co.uk/letter)! I want to keep growing this thing of ours and continue bring in more and more interesting people just like you ❤️.

PLAY
🌪 TL;DR section 🌪
Stuff to do: 
📚 The notes 📚
As I spent so much time rebuilding the mixtape, I’ve not had loads of time to write the letter. I did, however, stumble upon something brilliant this week. BoingBoing published a memo from John Cage to students and teachers, which was a set of rules for creativity (originally written by Sister Corita Kent). I wanted to share them, as 1) I think they’re excellent, and 2) there are lots of echoes of thoughts from the last 60+ letters – from commitment, to trust, to testing thoughts, and through to taking everything in. Rules for life, I reckon

Rule 1: Find a place you trust, and then, try trusting it for awhile.
Rule 2: (General Duties of a Student) Pull everything out of your teacher. Pull everything out of your fellow students.
Rule 3: (General Duties of a Teacher) Pull everything out of your students.
Rule 4: Consider everything an experiment.
Rule 5: Be Self Disciplined. This means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self disciplined is to follow in a better way.
Rule 6: Follow the leader. Nothing is a mistake. There is no win and no fail. There is only make.
Rule 7: The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It is the people who do all the work all the time who eventually catch onto things. You can fool the fans–but not the players.
Rule 8: Do not try to create and analyze at the same time. They are different processes.
Rule 9: Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It is lighter than you think.
Rule 10: We are breaking all the rules, even our own rules and how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for “x” quantities.

Helpful Hints:
Always Be Around.
Come or go to everything.
Always go to classes.
Read everything you can get your hands on.
Look at movies carefully and often.
SAVE EVERYTHING. It might come in handy later.

As always, if you’ve read to here, thanks for indulging me ♥️.

See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day

Letter #60

Good morning / afternoon / evening,

Well hello. How are you? I hope you’re good. I hope you’ve had a glorious week. After months of intense work, this week eased up a little, and I saw my girls, and got some sleep. I’m even writing this sat at home (rather than the train), and listening to this week’s mixtape. It’s a bumper edition.

This week is all about being an outsider – both in the feel of the music, and in some of the artists themselves. I was going to say that this week won’t be for everybody, but I thought that last week and you proved me wrong ♥︎. You’ll love it.

PLAY
🌪 TL;DR section 🌪
Stuff to do: 
📚 The notes 📚
Since writing about him in Letter #58, Lonnie Holley has stuck with me. This is for lots of reasons, but the one that’s been playing on my mind for a couple of weeks now is this idea of being an ‘outsider’. It’s not that the concept is new to me, nor is it that I think Holley is a particularly pertinent example of what it is to be an ‘outsider’. I suppose I’ve never really thought what it means in the broader context of music, arts, or culture. The traditional definition of an ‘outsider artist’ is someone who’s either self-taught, or naive with regards to their craft. The term itself comes from Jean Dubuffet’s idea of art brut (raw art), and has been used to describe artists (including musicians) either operating on the margins of culture – or those suffering from mental illness.

It’s not a particularly clear term. It feels like something that’s often misused, abused, and I’d say it’s also often used with an air of condescension too.

The first track on this week’s mixtape is from Daniel Johnston – the track is beautiful in its own right, and doesn’t need to be categorised as either ‘outsider’, or art brut. However, Johnston is nearly ubiquitous with the idea of ‘outsider’ musicians. He was definitely a front runner to the ‘lo-fi’ indie movement of the late 80s / early 90s, and both his recording and singing style are unconventional, but to suggest his work is ‘naive’ is derogatory and patronising. Equally, Johnston’s bi-polar disorder is often fetishised, and almost glamourised – again, dangerously equating mental illness with creativity and genius. Johnston had been writing and publishing music since the 1980s, but Kurt Cobain thrust his work into the mainstream in the 90s when he wore a Hi, How Are You‘  t-shirt in a TV interview. A documentary then followed, which Johnston was unhappy with, along with the mainstream music media camping out in his yard in Texas.

In its broader cultural context, to be an outsider is to be on the margins, to lack any sense of belonging – literally to be outside, with the insinuation that you’re looking in. To me, it suggests a sense of ‘otherness’, and a disconnection from established values and norms. The Dada movement, Duchamp, and even Picasso could be described in this way, but their impact on mainstream culture was equally as enormous as their impact on the margins. They may have existed on the margins for a time, but their ideas quickly became adopted and adapted, filtering into the cultural mainstream. So does this mean being outsider is transient, until the time when (and if) your ideas propagate broader culture, and your influence goes beyond your own work? I watched If I Think of Germany at Night on Boiler Room’s new platform 4:3, which felt like a celebration of the fringes of culture – and some of those artists regularly play to tens of thousands of people – does being defined as an ‘outsider’ only count just before your successful with a broad audience? Do you have to be niche?

There was a brilliant BBC Radio 4 documentary on the myth and mystery of Aphex Twin recently, and in the first few minutes David Toop describes the power of the mystery and ‘outsiderness’ that Richard D. James has created:

“[…] all of that created a kind of mystery – very quickly it becomes difficult to distinguish the way you’re perceiving the music, to the way you think about him as a person. And if there’s mystery there, it really really appeals to a certain type of fan. They begin to think that someone is speaking to them, exclusively. It’s a very powerful thing.”

In rejecting the accepted norms and values of both mainstream and dance music culture, James has undoubtedly cast himself as an outsider (in the broadest sense), and he’s definitely self-taught, with a self-proclaimed naivety when it comes to using some of the gear he has. Rumours of new Aphex Twin material sends huge ripples of excitement through music culture – and the myth undoubtedly adds to that, but is that about creating an illusion of myth? Is it about playing around with our perceptions and the artists story? He may cast himself as outside of culture, but his influence on the inside has been enormous. Has James’ position as an outsider changed from ’92 to ’18?

There was a great interview in The Quietus with Nine Inch Nails that looked over how Reznor’s story has developed, and how intertwined his personal story is with his music – and something that felt pertinent was his never ending desire to create and add something to his culture. He talks of trying to reinvent his process through applying a more naive mindset – which feels like trying to put himself outside of culture to add something of greater value. This reminded me of an Iggy Pop interview I saw a few weeks ago, where he talks about his fears of becoming incorporated into culture, which drove him to move city, and start hanging out with more outsiders. There are also those artists that seem to be outsiders, and appear to have a less explicit impact on culture. Pariah (who’s debut album is excellent) is one of those artists – with his influence on culture outlined perfectly in this review on Resident Advisor. It’s never as clear cut as ‘inside’ or ‘outside’, especially over time.

Culture (and how it develops) is such a fluid and ethereal concept – which makes understanding and describing who sits outside of the culture, and who is inside it difficult. What I reject, I suppose, is the idea that anyone can sit totally outside of the influence of culture. You may not be ‘recognised’ as a contributor, but that doesn’t mean you’re not a recipient, and ultimately our individual involvement in culture is a symmetrical relationship. Most of us take from culture, use language, icons, images, and ideas to embellish our sense of self, and provide us with a sense of (almost tribal) belonging. No one is ever a true outsider, no one is untouched by culture. We are all the sum of our cultural influences – both explicitly, and implicitly, and both chosen, and imposed. I think the best thing we can do is try to create something of true meaning, and forget this condescending bullshit notion of being inside or outside of anything.

As always, if you’ve read to here, thanks for indulging me ♥️.

See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day

Letter #59

Good morning / afternoon / evening,

I hope you’ve had a cracking week! It’s been the hottest week I think I’ve ever known in London, and it doesn’t look like it’s cooling down for a while. With that in mind, I thought I’d theme this week’s mixtape around sleazy funk, soul, and synths. ‘Hot town, summer in the city’ indeed.

There is a distinctly 80s vibe to it, which now I’m writing it down, I’m not sure why I equate high temperatures and the 80s. Or sleazy music, for that matter. I’m not usually big on a lot of 80s music, but I’ve dug deep this week, pulled in some classics (Prince, INXS, New Order), and found some great new new music (The Internet, Gambino, Pional). I think you’re going to love it ❤️.

PLAY
🌪 TL;DR section 🌪
The huge work project that’s been keeping me busy finishes today, so the letters will be back to normal length again next week. For this week, though, you’ll have to put up with something a lot more laconic.

Stuff to do: 

As always, if you’ve read to here, thanks for indulging me (kind of) ♥️.

See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day

How this works

Now, if you’ve clicked this link, then you must be new here. This page explains how Love Will Save the Day works.

The red button after the pleasantries links through to that week’s mixtape. The mixtape is always thirty tracks long, and the order is intentional – so it’ll sound better if you listen without shuffle on. It builds and, hopefully, flows. Each week I pick songs from a really long list of stuff that I’ve found that week – sometimes it’s brand new, sometimes it’s old – but it’s always music that I think is brilliant. The music varies a lot week by week, so you might not be into it every week, but stick with us.

Below that is the TL:DR (too long, didn’t read) section, which is a collection of links to interesting stuff I’ve found this week in culture. It’s in bullet points so you can read it even if you’re short of time. Below that bit is where I usually write some rambling Notes that are loosely themed around stuff I’ve found, thoughts I’ve had, and sometimes more explanation of some of the music that I’ve included.

The email lands at 11am every Friday, and if you like it, I’d love for you to share it with your friends ❤️.

If you’ve got any suggestions for interesting links then please reply to the email and send them! Equally, if you’ve got music that you’d like to share then we have a collaborative playlist for music. Sharing is most definitely caring 😊.

Letter #58

Good morning / afternoon / evening,

I hope you’ve had a lovely week. There’s lots of new people joined this week, so welcome 😊. I hope you love this as much as I love putting it together (I’ve also explained how this all works a bit further below too).

The thinking that’s gone into this week’s mixtape has been dominated by my discovery of Lonnie Holley (thanks for the recommendation George), and you’ll hopefully see the ‘outsider’ and deep soulful echoes throughout the whole mixtape.

This week’s TL;DR section is filled with great stuff from you – thank you for sharing!

PLAY
🌪 TL;DR section 🌪
Stuff to do: listen to this wonderful mix on The Nova Show from one of our friends (hi Tony!); find some brilliant new newsletters thanks to another friend of ours (hi Gemma!); dig into this brilliant collection of films and documentaries on 4:3 on Boiler Room (thanks Craig!); learn about the forgotten women of Bauhaus (thanks Dad!); order this book exploring the cultural DNA of Radical Essex; listen to Francois K’s worldwide.fm tribute to Larry Levan on what would’ve been his 64th birthday; look at these photos charting the evolution of skateboarding photography; listen to Mos Def and Talib Kewli talk about what hip-hop means to them; look over this photoessay of Hackney from the 70s and 80s; listen to Moodymann’s first ever interview (with Gilles P) – it’s a classic; read the first part of the inside story of Primal Scream’s Screamadelica; and finally, listen to surrealist art hero Marcel Duchamp talking about the act of creating, and the meaning of art.
🔩 How this works 🔩
Now, if you’re new here, then this is how it works. The red button above links through to this week’s mixtape. The mixtape is always thirty tracks long, and the order is intentional – so it’ll sound better if you listen without shuffle on. It builds and, hopefully, flows. Each week I pick songs from a really long list of stuff that I’ve found that week – sometimes it’s brand new, sometimes it’s old – but it’s always music that I think is brilliant. The music varies a lot week by week, so you might not be into it every week, but stick with us.

Below that is the TL:DR (too long, didn’t read) section, which is a collection of links to interesting stuff I’ve found this week in culture. Below this bit here is where I usually write some rambling notes that are loosely themed around stuff I’ve found, thoughts I’ve had, and sometimes more explanation of some of the music that I’ve included. This email lands at 11am every Friday, and if you like it, I’d love for you to share it with your friends ❤️.

If you’ve got any suggestions for interesting links then please reply to this email and send them! Equally, if you’ve got music that you’d like to share then we have a collaborative playlist for music. Sharing is most definitely caring 😊.

📚 The notes 📚
This isn’t a particularly lengthy set of rambling notes this week, but I did have a few things that I wanted to share. George (one of our founding members) sent me a track by Lonnie Holley this week, and it blew my mind. I then went through his whole back-catalogue, and I’ve fallen totally in love with his music (check out the track on the mixtape). So then I started researching more and more about Holley, as I know / knew almost nothing about him, and what I’ve found has only served to intensify the feeling of admiration.

He’s a very interesting character, and this NY Times feature goes some way to explaining more about him, his story, and his view on the world. I’m still trying to find more about him, but there were a few ideas from the NY Times piece that really leapt out; the first being a thought from Holley’s ‘manager’ that “all music is improvised – just at different speeds”. The idea of improvisation has always appealed – the idea of creating something in the moment, for that moment, that is relatively ephemeral – but Holley has taken the idea of improvisation and turned it into a way of living. There are almost Buddhist echoes to his view on the world, but from everything I’ve read so far, his way of living is often misinterpreted as being that of a performance artist. To me, listening to his music and looking through his art, it doesn’t feel like a performance, it feels like a representation of him as person, and his approach to life – maybe that’s splitting hairs, but it feels like ‘performance artist’ misrepresents and underplays his view of the world.

This was echoed again when the journalist talked to Holley having “the air of someone not fully present, but only because he was picking up signals from elsewhere”. To me, this felt like something that could’ve been said about Sun Ra, or Miles Davis – people who took as much of the world in, and created something beautiful to put out into the world. This idea of having a highly curatorial view of everything is hugely appealing. How many interesting signals or ideas do we miss because we’re not paying attention, or because we’re paying too much attention to the wrong thing?

Maybe it’s Baader-Meinhof syndrome, but I felt parallels with Holley’s view on this excellent clip of David Lynch and Patti Smith talking through their view on creativity and their process. Smith talks about taking in as much as she can in order to create something new, and Lynch frames his process as having one piece of a puzzle, but not knowing what the complete puzzle should look like – and using each piece to explore the possibilities of what could be. I love this thought.

A lot of my job involves finding new solutions to old problems, and vice versa. I like fixing things, and I’m really fortunate to have a job that puts value of that. I get to work with some really smart people, but one of the mistakes I see often is an obsession with learning everything about a single area – people often think that to fix something, you have to know everything about the thing you’re fixing, and that a creative solution will come from that. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it does. But often the best and most creative solutions com from left of field. I’ve always encouraged people I work with to read about everything but advertising – and I’ve mentioned here before the idea of the adjacent possible. The more we expose our brains to different situations and out of context ideas, the stronger our brain becomes at making new connections between problems. Creating something new is about looking everywhere but where you’d usually look. Anyway, I’m rambling.

I also watched a brilliant monologue from Theo Parrish this week too, and in this short film, Parrish talks about being far from home, out of his comfort zone, and being used as a source of cultural insight. It feels like there’s a connection to Holley, but my brain is too tired this week to make the full connection. It’s worth a watch, and touches on lots of different aspects of culture, music, appropriation, authenticity, and the boundaries between the edges and the mainstream. I’m still digesting a lot of this, so I’m going to come back to it, but I’d love to hear your thoughts.

As always, if you’ve read to here, thanks for indulging me ♥️.

See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day

Letter #57

Good morning / afternoon / evening,

I hope you’ve had a good week! It’s busy (still), but lots of interesting stuff going on in culture, and some brilliant music this week. After a few weeks of more experimental mixtapes, this week is packed with some brilliant dub, soul, disco, jazz, and house music. Along with some surprises 🙃.

I think this week’s mixtape is a good one for sunny afternoons. The letter, however, is back to being short as work is crazy still. While there’s no rambling notes, you do have a bumper edition of TL:DR.

PLAY
🌪 TL;DR section 🌪
Stuff to do…
As always, if you’ve read to here, thanks for (kind of) indulging me ♥️.

See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day

Letter #56

Good morning / afternoon / evening,

I hope you’ve had a thoroughly bloody lovely week. It’s still insanely busy at work – but I won’t bore you with that for a third week running 😂. As promised, there’s a few things I’ve been saving up for the last few weeks, and this week’s playlist is filled with utter bangers. You heard me.

I’ve spent the week listening to music that gives me an instant surge in energy (even at the points when I’m most exhausted). If you’re getting ready to go out, working hard, or need an instant pick me up, this week’s mixtape is for you. It takes no prisoners, and makes no apologies.

BUT before I give you the link, I have a request. This week a friend (hi Frith!) told me about a show on Netflix called Nanette. I try not to be too preachy. I try not to be too demanding. But please, for the love of all things good and great in the world, please watch this. It’s the most powerful, enlightening, infuriating, anger-inducing thing I’ve ever watched in my whole life. I beg you, please watch it. It’s had a profound and immediate impact on me, and I’m going to watch it again this weekend.

PLAY
🌪 TL;DR section 🌪
Stuff to do: read Rave On, it is excellent; if you’re in the North of the UK then get yourself down to By The River Brew Co; read Ways of Seeing (a gift from my excellent mother in law); listen to Blawan’s excellent Essential Mix; listen to this brilliant interview with mixtape favourites Emanative; learn more about the art of sound in film; read this great New Yorker piece on George Clinton; listen back to Tina Edwards’ excellent worldwide.fm show with Nubya Garcia; learn more about Alexander Nut’s record collection; sign up for a class in storytellingwith Pixar; and if you’ve got kids, get yourself down to Fabric (seriously).
📚 The notes 📚
A few weeks I wrote about mental health, and it seemed to strike a chord. I’ve had so many people get in touch with me about since sending it. Some people have shared their own stories, and a lot of people have shared more links, and some people shared their personal coping mechanisms too. It’s touched on in Nanette, and I wanted to share some of the brilliant pieces that been written recently too.

The first was this reflection on personal mental illness experiences from Hannah Jane Parkinson in the Guardian. Parkinson’s personal story and views create a clear delineation between poor mental health, and mental illness, it’s heartbreaking to read what she’s going through, but important to move the conversation away from awareness and into action, and equally important to create a distinction between poor mental health and mental illness.

Matt Haig also shared his personal experiences with anxiety in the Telegraphrecently, and this is definitely worth a read. His story feels especially pertinent (personally), as one of the triggers for his anxiety is technology overload (more below). James Blake (who I mentioned in Letter 53) opened up about his experiences with mental health, and talked about triggers too. He also landed a brilliant point about the dangers of conflating creativity and mental illness (again, also mentioned in Nanette – seriously, it’s great).

I was also a bit disappointed with myself when I wrote about mental health. While I might’ve mentioned my personal experiences, I didn’t share my coping mechanisms, and I should’ve done. So I thought I’d share them today.

Meditation: last year I was using Headspace twice a day. It was a personal revolution, and then I dropped the habit. I’ve started again, recently, as I didn’t really notice the massive difference it made until I stopped. Two weeks back in and I’m already noticing a huge benefit.

Space: when I’m really busy, I have to carve out time (even if it’s just five minutes) to go for a walk on my own. As I’ve grown older, I’ve realised I need a bit of space sometimes. This is most likely connected to the whole introvert extrovert thing.

Technology: I installed an app a few months ago that showed how many times I picked my phone up, and how much time a day I was spending on my phone. I was properly shocked. There are loads of studies about blue screen and sleep, but cutting down my phone time gives me an immediate effect and sense of calm. I can’t really limited my screen time at work, but I’ve got to learn to curb it at home.

Reading: I try to read as much as possible (I’d rather read than watch telly, but would rather listen to music that read). Depending on what I’m reading, it helps me sleep, gives me a bit more mental flexibility, and (depending on the subject) a bit of escapism. It also feeds this newsletter 🙂

Talking: I’m trying to talk more openly about how I feel with regards to my mental health. I will keep doing this here.

Anyway, I’ve prattled on enough, and I’ve got work to do. As always, if you’ve read to here, thanks for indulging me ♥️.

See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day