Here, Native America manages to shift things up by tackling the hit single as a jangly, lo-fi charmer with sweet, sing-a-long lead vocals and gorgeous choral backing vocals replacing the original’s airy synths. It’s the kind of cover that feels off the cuff, but absolutely loaded with talent - like some lifelong friends who’ve played together forever, breaking out an acoustic cover around a crackling campfire on a late autumn night.
Me reading my favourite poem, To The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me by Mindy Nettifee
I did a thing for The Poetry Foundation’s Record A Poem thing, where you can record yourself reading your favourite poem and post it to their group. They’re also doing a thing where you record yourself reading an excerpt from Coleridge’s Rime Of The Ancient Mariner and they will choose bits of readings and stick it all together and make a thing. I’m using the word thing a lot at the moment. Anyway, I love reading out loud and it is distracting me from awful things happening right now so I thought maybe you’d like to hear me reading this wonderful piece and being all English and wotnot. And if you like my silly voice and fancy hearing something else let me know. Keeps me busy when I’m not at the hospital, yeah?
And if you want to read along with me:
To The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me
I am writing you from an eight foot snow drift somewhere south of somewhere. I would call, but I lost my phone two days ago at the ice rink pity party that was really just me, a frozen lake, some cheap Russian vodka and a depressed polar bear. (Those guys are dark.) I still have six waterproof matches and what Vogue Magazine assures me is twenty extra pounds of body fat. No, I am not proud of myself. No, I am not “done with my obsession with Survivalism.” But I am sorry, I am sorry we fought. You were right when you said writing poetry is not a real skill applicable post-apocalypse, and I said but who will tell the good stories, and you said guys who can fish with their bare hands. It turns out that’s really hard. Trout are ticklish, and my hands do not have to do what I tell them to, some sort of freezing cold water clause. I have nothing but the time and space I’ve been pining for now, and I am using this opportunity to try and remember why I thought this was a good idea. I think it had something to do with Escape, which has permanent offices in the romance division of my brain and ground troops in my solar plexus. The flight instinct comes on quicksand, muscles out all rational thought, starts Morse coding my limbic system with complex dots and dashes for strange verbs that mean, roughly translated: “joyous chewing your leash off,” and “fire without readiness or aim.” It always feels so right to go, like it’s the only story my body knows by heart: the creation myth of Alaskan shorebirds, the bedtime story highways whisper to dirt roads, the real reason horses sometimes obey. You really wanted to marry me didn’t you? My eyelashes are soaked now. I’m beginning to think I will never see you again, that I will never see anything again but the twenty yards or so of visibility in stark panorama around my broken sled. I feel like an idiot, but I’m not scared. You’d think I would be scared. These are the soft frozen fields tundra vacations too, the great white quiet. No one to distrust. I deserve this. You would be amazed how much light there is. The stars stay out all night. Each snow flake is a mirror.
Mum’s operation went well and she’s awake and alert but very tired. She’s still a bit confused, still loses words, and it won’t get any better than it is now. But she’ll be home in a couple of days and able to look after herself very soon after that. And then we all carry on, until we notice the deterioration again in a few months. Until then, though, we will take her places she loves, take her places she’s always wanted to go. We will have fun with her. And it will be OK until it isn’t and so.
So what do you do when the consultant surgeon tells you your mother would have a couple of weeks to live without the surgery and a few months to live with the surgery? You hold on to your little sister, who is red-eyed and in shock and you buy cigarettes and wine and go back to your mum’s flat and you smoke in the freezing cold and talk about everything and nothing and drink a whole bottle of cheap shit brandy and cry a whole lot and stare at the stars and write something on the internet and then go inside because the cold has eaten your fingers. And then you go to bed and hope to sleep and you think about your mother who is dying and who will be gone so so soon and how you will fucking well make her last days spectacular and full of beauty and love. And so. That’s what you do. That’s what I’m doing.
My mum had breast cancer year before last, and surgery. You may remember that.
I had breast cancer last year, and surgery. You’ll likely remember that.
And now we have this devastating bullshit.
After two weeks of increasingly odd behaviour, losing words, becoming ever more confused and forgetful, mum was diagnosed on Wednesday with a massive brain tumour in the frontal lobe.
She had been deteriorating very quickly, to the point she was unable to care for herself, so for the last week I’ve been with her. Potent steroids have reduced the swelling in her brain and her crazy cognitive and behavioural symptoms have lessened considerably so she’s able to function, but heartbreakingly also able to understand what’s happening to her. She keeps apologising to me. I feel so sad and scared and angry.
I’m taking her to hospital this afternoon for neurosurgery tomorrow. In the meantime I’m distracting my self with college work, reading comics.
I have no idea about prognosis, but this is some serious shit.
Baby goats dancing, dogs doing stuff, otters being silly, daft things, or send me a story, I like good stories - anything to stop me crying because I’ve been crying for almost 24 hours about things that have just happened and it’s getting boring so if you could just post some of that for me or anything really I am tired of feeling so goddamn sad and I would really appreciate it. My eyes would appreciate it too. Thx, love you.
So I handed in my first assignment for my Horticulture diploma, a description, justification, proposal, whatever you want to call it, outlining my year-long investigative project. I’m investigating the viability of creating a wildflower meadow, experimenting with different native wildflower mixes (science!) and hopefully creating something to increase the biodiversity of my plot at Stanmer Park and make the college bees happy. The bees are major stakeholders in this project, so I have to keep them happy.
We can get one of three marks for our work: pass, credit or distinction.
I got my marked paper back on Thursday. I flipped over the pages, my heart way more excited than I’d expected, only for my face to fall when I read that the mark was ‘D’.
WAT? I thought. I’ve never got a bloody D in my life, for nuffink. I checked it again. Definitely D. I folded the paper away, stuffed it in my bag and carried on with the lesson, feeling deflated.
As there were no comments on how to improve my miserable D, I asked the tutor. He looked at me as if he’d never seen me before.
"But there’s nothing else you need to do."
"But it’s a D!", I wailed.
"OK, well I’ll see you next week, Justine."
I stood there a while longer as the rest of my classmates packed up and my tutor sidled away, looking worried.
I wondered whether he would take off any points for me being such a Dork. Dickhead. Drongo.
Anyway, I’m apparently doing really well at school, you guys.
“Every time a man yells
you are seven years old again
and he is packing that suitcase
once more. Picking you up by the neck,
teaching you obedience. To be soft,
like the belly of a fish
exposed to a knife.”—Clementine von Radics (via clementinevonradics)
All my life I never found the words for this feeling. These are the words.