I have four particular pals to whom I’ve become a primary source of providing advice to in matters of the heart. It’s been really fun for me because up until about three months ago (when my non-existing expertise was initially enlisted) my advice – in this capacity, especially – had never once been sought. This was mostly due to the fact that I wouldn’t necessarily be one that gives advice easily, or well for that matter. It’s not that I was Scrooge-like with imparting wisdom in the past, more so my ability to accurately dissect a scenario or group dynamic, see both sides of a situation and then provide a positive or impactful solution to said problem, no matter how small, was near impossible. I don’t have the most logical brains when it comes to certain circumstances. That was until recently, when I discovered that I’ve actually become kind of decent at boosting the morale of a friend to just “do it.” No, sadly, I haven’t been sponsored by Nike despite the fact that I’ve been such a good sport.
I found it really strange for my opinion to be appreciated and listened to by these four people because they are all so incredibly intelligent and extroverted, yet there was an aspect of their lives that turned them into completely different versions of themselves, respectively. To see the effect that someone can have on another person when there are romantic inclinations involved is so intriguing when you’re not the one that has to then act upon advice. My What’s App chats have been dominated by messages and memes that go between words of validation; “You both clearly really like each other, just keep it chill. Enjoy the time you spend when you’re with them. Be grand”, to “No, please no. Don’t send another text, please keep it chill.” The latter recipient will always receive a little extra encouragement in the form of a #SaltBae meme that loosely relates to where she is in her relations.
Being in this position has been made easier because in the last year I got better at looking at situations and dynamics that I experienced or were first hand. I also recently finished reading Simon Rich’s collection of short stories about love and relationships, The Last Girlfriend on Earth. The combination of the two – living it, reading about it and relating to the emotions – has made me feel slightly qualified to help my friends. Even though I’m currently only standing at a fifty-ish per cent rate of success with what I have suggested to my friends, I’m sure Cupid had to deal with his fair share of missing the target.
Pizza has been a constant companion when these conversations happen face-to-face. In the last two weeks I’ve consumed so many mushroom pizzas in the same restaurant that the waiter, on a night when I wasn’t telling a friend what they should wear on an upcoming date and actually out with my own boyfriend, noted with a friendly expression, “Ah, you were in here the other day!” That’s the price you pay when your office as a freelance romantic councillor doubles up as a pizza place.
Basically what I’m saying is, Valentine’s Day is on its merry way and should you find yourself in a predicament of love then just send me an email and I can even sort you out with a cosy corner to enjoy a pizza for two. I know a good place.
Cass McCombs – ‘I’m a Shoe’ (Anti- Records)
Another long video by McCombs from his Mangy Love album released in that latter half of last year. Cass has just left the Green Isle after giving a tremendous performance in Dublin at the beginning of the weekend. This is one of the more subdued moments from that album and the video reflects the sombre simplicity of the composition with a series of shots of sparse landscape and the singer skateboarding through the desolate plains.
Young Thug – ‘Wyclef Jean’ (Warner)
Young Thug is the Willy Wonka of hip hop. However, he isn’t the most literal man alive. For one thing, he’s not that young and he looks like quite a nice chap not a thug. When he says, he wants ‘mad bitches’ he doesn’t mean it in the Tracey Barlow sense of the word, he means several scantily clad, attractive ladies. Young Thug wants to make this video magic without actually turning up for the shoot. It was made in spite of and as a homage to his rap/rock star behaviour. The director sends up the whole situation, using the ostentatious imagery dreamt up by Young Thug and simple text to explain the lunacy of the situation. The song is terrible, so bad, a parody of a bad hip hop track parodied into something actually enjoyable.
I Have A Tribe – ‘After We Meet’ (Groenland Records)
The now Berlin based Irish act I have a tribe return with a lovely arts and crafts stop -motion video again directed by Myles O’Reilly. It accompanies a re-tooled version of ‘after we meet’ one of the many highlights of their album. The photos being decorated in the video evoke nostalgia and the retro look and home made feel of the video compliments it perfectly. I love the way at the end it shows the band sitting around actually doing all the glitter, buttons and painting that we see in the video. This video makes the song better and the new version of the song suits the video better than the original would have with the beat and bass bouncing along nicely giving the song an added air of lightness. Can’t ask for more than that.
Lab Coast – ‘Back To Your Future’
Lab Coast’s latest video is a low-stakes adventure: boy picks girl up from work, boy shoplifts a chocolate bar, boy and girl eat said chocolate bar in a graveyard, then go to a party. Overlaid with a warm-toned filter, the video is a sweet snapshot of a relationship where two people are charmed by each other’s everyday actions. The video doesn’t aim to be provocative, instead taking you along on the couple’s journey. This matches Lab Coast’s lo-fi fuzzy sound, as a fast-paced narrative would distract from the music. The video almost feels like being amongst friends, particularly the party scene – it could easily be a dreamy Instagram story put up by someone who just wants to document a good time.
-Grace de Blaca
Timber Timbre – ‘Sewer Blues’ (Arts + Crafts)
The Canadian group, formed in 2005, are one of the most under appreciated bands of the last decade. They have consistently written and released some of the most interesting and enthralling music throughout their time as a band, which has produced five albums, the sixth on its way later this year. ‘Sewer Blues’ is the first glimpse into Sincerely, Future Pollution. It’s ambient and addictive and the video is equally intriguing.