Music

I’m not a naturally musical person. I’ve never been that good at piano even though I persevered with it for four years. I’ve never been that into music, not like some of my friends. It’s just always been a bit ‘meh’ to me. But I think that’s because I’d never actually realised what stuff I liked. I’d not done enough research to realise that pop isn’t the only type of music out there. But in the last kind of five or six months I’ve suddenly discovered all this music I now absolutely love. So I’m going to do a list of my all time favourite bands/albums/songs because really I am a music person, it just has to be the right kind of music.

 

Vampire Weekend

Members: Ezra Koenig, Rostam Batmanglij, Chris Thompson, Chris Baio.

Albums: Vampire Weekend (2008), Contra (2010), Modern Vampires of the City (2013).

They sing about a place called Cape Cod a lot. Vampire Weekend are like my first band. They’re the first band I really loved. I remember back in 2010 being so so excited for their second album. What I really love about Vampire Weekend is that I knew about them before anyone else and I watched them go from being this little group who did some songs and were fresh out of college to one of the biggest indie rock bands on the scene.

Favourite Song: I can’t decide. A-punk, Campus, Unbelievers, Step

 

The Airborne Toxic Event

Members: Mikel Jollett, Anna Bulbrook, Noah Harmon, Daren Taylor, Steven Chen

Albums: The Airborne Toxic Event (2008), All at Once (2011), Such Hot Blood (2013)

I’ve not found anyone else who has ever heard of this band. But they are so good in a screaming yelling kind of way. You can relate to the songs so easily and they just have a really unique sound. My uncle gave me their first album for my birthday two years ago and to start with I was so so unsure. But then it just hit me how amazing they were and now I’m a big fan

Favourite Songs: Hmm… Gasoline, What’s in a name, This is London

 

Arctic Monkeys

Members: Alex Turner, Matt Helders, Jamie Cook, Nick O’Malley, Andy Nicholson

Albums: Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006), Favourite Worst Nightmare (2007), Humbug (2009), Suck It and See (2011), AM (2013)

This is a recent revelation for me. I heard something of theirs on the radio then a friend lent me all the CDs. What can I say? Alex Turner is such a babe. His lyrics are just so clever. I feel like every song has some clever little joke or mocking remark making fun of this culture where everyone tries so hard to be cool. Also the actual melodies are so cool as well.

Favourite Songs: Mardy Bum, Fluorescent Adolescent, A Certain Romance, Arabella

 

The Wombats

Members: Matthew Murphy, Tord Øverland-Knudsen, Dan Haggis

Albums: This Modern Glitch (2011) A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation (2007) Girls, Boys & Marsupials (2006)

I love The Wombats. It’s that kind of music you can just scream at the top of your voice and dance wildly to. I find it’s good motivation to do some revision.

Favourite Songs: Techno Fan, Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves), Walking Disasters

 

Haim

Members: Danielle Haim, Este Haim, Alana Haim (Dummer: Dash Hutton)

Albums: Days are Gone (2013)

Haim make me want to do more things with my sisters. Imagine being in a band with your sisters. It would just be like on big long sister holiday. I also love their music. It’s just fun and lively and perfect for listening to in the shower and when you’re getting ready in the morning.

Favourite Songs: The Wire, Don’t Save Me

 

The Vaccines

Members: Jay Jay Pistolet, Freddie Cowan, Pete Robertson, Árni Árnason

Albums: What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? (2011), Come of Age (2012)

Again The Vaccines are fun and most of the songs are so happy. I’ve only got the first album but I’ve heard some of the songs on the second and I love them as well. They mention specific names a lot which is surprising because usually people just sing ‘girl’ or ‘darling’ instead of Eleanor or A.M.A.N.D.A Norgarrd!

Favourite Songs: Norgarrd, If you Wanna, Wolf Pack

 

Chvches

Members: Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook, Martin Doherty

Albums: The Bones of What you Believe (2013)

Chvches is pronounced Churches and is sometimes written with three horizontal lines instead of an E as well as a V instead of a U. They’re Scottish as well which being Scottish I love! J I don’t really know how to describe their music but it’s quite electronica-y. There’s a lot of electrical sounds rather than instruments but the lyrics are so clever.

Favourite Songs: The Mother We Share, We Sink, Lies

 

Of Monsters and Men

Members: Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, Ragnar þórhallsson, Brynjar Leifsson, Kristján Páll Kristjánsson, Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson, Árni Guðjónsson

Albums: My Head Is an Animal (2012), Live from Vatnagarðar (2013)

Of Monsters and Men are from Iceland but speak English, in their songs anyway. The songs seem to be full of metaphors and I don’t have much idea what some of them are about but the music is lovely. The only two I have any idea what they’re talking about Little Talks and Dirty Paws. Little Talks is about a girl who has depression and is perhaps suicidal and they boy is trying desperately to stop her doing anything stupid. That’s what I got from it anyway but I really don’t know. And I think Dirty Paws may be about war and how it really is pointless and there’s so many better ways we could be spending time and better things governments could be spending their money on. I could be wrong, and probably am, but that is just what the songs say to me personally.

My Favourite Books

I’m going to pretend this isn’t the first time in forever I’ve updated and do a list of my all time favourite books. Don’t worry though because I’ve been writing all week and I will update at least every second day this week.

Okay, these are in no particular order. I couldn’t possibly put them in an order.

 

Mortal Engines (and the sequels) – Phillip Reeve

All the Harry Potters (but Order of the Phoenix and Prisoner of Azkaban are my faves) – JK Rowling

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Princess Diaries – Meg Cabot

One Day – David Nicholls

Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins

The Handmaid’s tale – Margret Atwood

Before I die – Jenny Downham

The Fault in our Stars – John Green

Never Let me go – Kazuo Ishiguro

The Hobbit – JR Tolkien

Ballet Shoes – Noel Stretfield

The Little White Horse – Elizabeth Gouge

Charlotte Sometimes – Penelope Farmer

The Wee Free Men – Terry Pratchet

How to be a Woman – Caitlin Moran

 

My life list

So I’ve seen a lot of blogs where people write bucket lists and I thought, ‘Oh that looks fun. I’m going to write one of them.’ You know as you do. So here you go, the list of everything I want to do in my life. Starting now and finishing… well at the end of my life:

  1. Finish School
  2. Go to university – train to become a lawyer
  3. Live in Edinburgh (on my own)
  4. Visit every continent
  5. Fly first class
  6. Make a patchwork quilt
  7. See Vampire Weekend live
  8. Go up the Eiffel Tower
  9. Visit Harry Potter World
  10. Go to New York
  11. Go to Australia and see koalas and kangaroos in the wild
  12. Go at least a week without using electricity
  13. Read some Shakespeare
  14. Sleep outside no matter how many midgies there are
  15. Go to Italy and eat real Italian ice-cream
  16. See the Northern Lights
  17. Live somewhere out of the UK
  18. Trace back my family tree (see if I really am related to Robert the Bruce or not)
  19. Get so ridiculously drunk I can’t think (just to see)
  20. Go in a hot air balloon
  21. Go to Cornwall
  22. Go one day without saying a single word
  23. Do something huge for charity
  24. Be a mother and a grandmother (I sometimes wish I could just skip the mother part and just be a grandmother but, sadly, that isn’t the way the world works)
  25. Fall in love
  26. Get my ears pierced again
  27. Get my hair cut short (it grows back honest)
  28. Master the art of origami
  29. Read Lord of the Rings
  30. Read Pride and Prejudice
  31. Do a foreign exchange
  32. Have a whole day where I’m only allowed to say yes
  33. Sex
  34. Learn to drive
  35. Go in a limo
  36. Meet a celebrity
  37. Meet a famous writer
  38. Be in a play
  39. Buy a house and decorate it the exact way I want
  40. Make homemade perfume
  41. Own a thousand books
  42. Fill my head with beautiful knowledge about everything
  43. Buy a nice camera and take beautiful photos
  44. Stay awake all night and see the sunrise
  45. Write. Lots and lots and lots
  46. Get a cat and call it Cat (Breakfast at Tiffany’s anyone?)
  47. Be glamorous and don’t wear jeans so much.
  48. Read a book in a Parisian café
  49. Ride on the subway in New York
  50. Buy an iphone (It’s a material world)
  51. Go to a festival (I would probably hate it, all that mud, but you have to try these things)
  52. Watch all the Harry Potters in a row
  53. Be part of a serious trial at an important court (preferably as the barrister but giving evidence wouldn’t be too bad)
  54. Go to an active volcano
  55. Do something amazing for Carol because she’s done so much amazing stuff for me like China, skiing, Paris and everything and she deserves credit
  56. Stop expressing myself so loudly and always voicing my opinion. Let other people talk too.
  57. Go vegan for a bit (just to see what it’s like)
  58. Watch ten consecutive episodes of Buffy in a row
  59. Stop caring about what other people think
  60. Take Marianne to the rainforest
  61. Do yoga
  62. Date someone in a band (Maybe not You know who Steph… :p )
  63. Join the drama group and do something worthwhile at school for once
  64. Get As in my exams
  65. Be spontaneous at least once in my life
  66. Complete this list

So there you have it. Everything I want to do. Ever. Anyone else have anything to add? Have I missed something important?

Discovering Herbal Tea

So I never used to drink tea. I just didn’t like the smell of it. The taste was alright but the kind of sour, milk old lady smell just made me gag. So whenever I got offered tea or felt like some kind of before-bed- type drink I would stick to milk.

But then, a couple of weeks ago, I discovered herbal tea. My mum has been drinking peppermint tea for a while but I never fancied that. It tastes of toothpaste for crying out loud. Who wants to eat toothpaste!  So anyway I just went on drinking my milk and feeling like a six-year-old. But then my mum couldn’t get her usual peppermint tea. They’d stopped making the kind she liked or Tesco was out of stock or something. She came back from the Saturday morning shop with armfuls of different herbal teas to replace her beloved peppermint. And of course she couldn’t drink all of them herself so I decided I would try each one and rate it out of ten for the pleasure of all you herbal tea drinkers out there so that when the supermarket stop selling your favourite you can come to my blog and find out which one is best.

Twinning’s Apple Crunch – This is beautiful for the first few sips. Then it gets kind of weird and not so good. 6/10

Cranberry & Blood Orange – You would think cranberry and blood orange would taste really strong but this doesn’t really taste of anything. 4/10

Warming Camomile & Spiced Apple – This is my all time favourite. The bitterness of the camomile and the sweetness of the apple and spices totally compliment each other. Gorgeous. 10/10

Reviving Nettle & Blackberry – Nettle tea! What? It’s actually surprisingly good 7/10

Camomile – Too bitter. It also kind of smells weird. 3/10

Cherry and Cinnamon – Mmm…. I like this one. Beautiful colour as well. 7/10

Strawberry & Raspberry – Bleugh… Too sweet 4/10

So there you have it. If you’re ever swithering between herbal teas you now have an easy guide to tell you which ones are hot and which ones are not.

China.

A few months ago I was in China on a school trip. It was, I have to say, probably one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever, well, experienced. It wasn’t so much the old Beijing hutongs or the mile high Shanghai skyscrapers. It was the feeling of being somewhere I’ve never been before and never would be again. The feeling of being somewhere where millions of other people had walked and would walk but that I, Elspeth Nicholson, would only walk across once. It was the feeling of being part of this huge crazy planet we call the Earth and knowing that my life at home in Scotland wasn’t the least bit important. What was important was this massive rich country letting its old people starve to death. China is an important country and I felt like I was, by being there, experiencing something terrible and wonderful at the same time.

There was this one day in Shanghai that was probably the best day of my life. The days were packed with tourist-y activities and we visited about five different places each day broken up by dingy Chinese restaurants for lunch and dinner. We weren’t expecting much of Shanghai. We’d all been a little disappointed by Beijing though no one would admit it. We were expecting more blocks of dull flats and mad traffic. How wrong we were. The first day in Shanghai was different. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining (or as much as the sun can shine – through the smog of Chinese cities) and we were happy to be able to wear one jumper rather than three.

We went to the Oriental Pearl TV tower first. It was a weird looking building with a huge spike coming out of its top and three spheres at intervals as you went up. We were going to the second sphere which was 260m up in the air and higher than all the surrounding buildings. You could tell it must be pretty high as you went speeding up in the lift. People all around me were complaining of their ears popping as we ascended. Suddenly the lift juddered to a stop and the doors opened onto a huge round glass walled room. You could see everything for miles out of those windows. As one of my friends pointed out, we’d probably never seen so many people all at once. Looking out of those windows there were thousands of people down below. A person hiding behind every window in each block of offices. A person in every car. Being up there and up above everything and looking down on all those people made you feel like God. Like you were in charge of this little bit of the world.

The TV tower

The TV tower

Feeling like God

Feeling like God

Looking Down!

Looking Down!

And that wasn’t the best bit. Later that day after a surprisingly nice dinner, we went for a walk, all splitting off into little groups. We walked up some steps and were shocked when we got to top of them and saw this view:

Inspiring skyline

Inspiring Skyline

It was amazing. Breathtaking. Stunning. Awe-inspiring. There were no words. There still are no words. I couldn’t describe the view of those lights even if they were right in front of me. The picture does in no justice but you get the idea. I have to admit, I was nearly moved to tears. So was my fried Beth. We stayed there for a good ten minutes after everyone else had left – leaning on the railings in silence. Just looking at it and thinking.

On the last night we went back to that place. I felt weird. Looking out over the river at that amazing skyline. I felt sad to be leaving Shanghai but happy to be going home. I felt weirdly indecisive. I felt like my life was on pause and I was in between two places. The old me and some new version I haven’t met yet.

Blogging

I’ve always liked the idea of a blog. But I’d always thought I’d never have much to say. Here I am though, on a snow day with nothing to do except physics revision, carefully picking through different themes and trying to think of a good name for my new blog. I don’t know what I’ll write about. This and that I guess. Little things that happen to make me smile. Who’d want to listen to the ramblings of a fifteen year old teenage girl though? Not me that’s for sure. I’ll try and be adult in the things I post. I won’t do stupid bitching or about how I’m in love with a boy who’ll never love me back. I’ll post my thoughts on life. I’ll post things in the day which made me cry with laughter. I’ll post about funny things my friends have said or what subjects I enjoy most. So read. Read and enjoy. You might laugh. You might even cry.