Goodbye February!

Music

I think it’s fair to say I’ve been listening quite a bit to Deaf Havana. Specifically the 2017 release All These Countless Nights. And all because of a t-shirt. Don’t underestimate the power of a band tee. Apparently.

Here’s a taste:

Also, obsessed with this Casey video:

His hands. It’s hypnotizing.

Reads

Kristian Gidlund + Annika Lantz – loved both!

In general, concerned about how little I’ve been reading lately. I need to reprioritize my time.

Wearables

No more more knits. I beg of you! Cannot stand it. But I also cannot stand being cold. Dilemma!

No more eyebrows. I did mention how I’ve just given up on brows, didn’t I?

More shoes! Remember these ones?

vagabond boots

These are not shoes made for Swedish winter. Yet, the only thing I’ve been wearing since it started snowing. (I.e. January.) I haven’t loved a pair of shoes this much since early 2000 when I had a pair of knee-high 10 cm platform boots with embroidered dragons (yes, I’m sure you’re jealous now).

I’ve considered getting a second pair as a back up. Can’t quite justify it tho. Was tun!? Bought a different version of the same shoe instead. Also on sale, 45% off, mine for a mere 550 SEK, which is a find I will tell you.

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In other words…still working on becoming a more mindful shopper.

Favorite eyeshadow combo: yellow and purple. Lovely matte yellow shade from H&M and purples from the Sleek Vintage Romance palette.

On the screen

The Mindy Project. I was going to start watching the new season of Vikings, but ended up binging Mindy, which I’d completely missed for unknown reasons. Obviously I love it.

Vikings. Yes I did get my HBO subscription back. Aaand..is it just me or is the second half of season 4 just, not very good?

Girls! Do I have to expand? And the third episode; one of the best episodes of all the episodes ever. In my opinion.

There’s also a podcast, funded and produced by Swedish radio, about each of the episode of Girls, which is money well spent. I mean really, if there is one thing I want my taxes to go to it’s this.

True Blood. It’s as if I’m trying to catch up on TV shows in general. Yea, yea they’re old, but I haven’t been watching anything except for YouTube for quite a while now.

Food

I just keep thinking about how much I love vegan food. Like a lot. It’s exactly like this:

Glad alla hjärtans dag önskar vi på Vegokoll 💚 #vegan #vegokoll #vego #djurensrätt #inspiration

A post shared by Vegokoll (@vegokoll) on

However. Have to start buying my veggies according to season. Had a bad aubergine experience.

Miscellaneous

Architects went on a short tour. Which is fun for all, whether or not you’re attending a show. They sure brighten up my Twitter and Insta feeds.

I need more sarcasm in my feeds. Already looking forward to their North American tour. Not that I’m going. I’ll be right here. Hoping for a Swedish date soonish. It’s looking bleak tho, innit?

Tried a core class for the first time. It was hard. Spent most of the class thinking “GAWD, ISN’T IT OVER YET?!”. Unfortunately not unexpected. Unfortunately because I need it, so I’ll have to go again. And again. And again. Until it gets easy.

Signed a piece of paper saying I’m buying a new flat next year. Yea. It just seemed to make sense. I can’t keep holding on to an apartment just because I am in love with the kitchen. Or the wallpaper in my bedroom. As much as I hate it, I have to realize the location isn’t exactly ideal anymore. Not sure I won’t live to regret it.

Plans for March

Spend time with kitties! Fucking best plan I’ve had in a while. I miss having a cat soso much.

Also maybe take Provera. Because this has to be PMS. I can’t take it anymore. How do people even live with regular periods??

Reading the books; A book about smear tests, menstruation and a bit of cancer

Remember this book?

die ärzte meerschwein annika lantz vad ska en flicka göra

Not the Meerschwein, the normal-sized one, Vad ska en flicka göra? by Annika Lantz.

I’ve finished reading it and I loved it.

This is also a book about cancer, like I kroppen min by Kristian Gidlund, which I mentioned not too long ago. Led to me sort of expecting it to be kind of like Kristian’s book.

Obviously it’s not. In so many ways. This is a different kind of brilliant altogether. Two main differences contributing to the genius of this book:

  • It’s a funny book. Laughing out loud kind of funny. Just ♥♥♥
  • It’s very graphic and describes in detail what happens to the body when you treated for cancer. Horrible and interesting all at once!

I’m not going to lie though, I did struggle a bit at first. The first half of the book is not about her illness at all, it’s about her life as a kid, in general. I’d been told it was about her cancer diagnosis so I was confused. And a bit disappointed. I’m not overly interested in children nor tellings of childhood.

But then she entered puberty and got her period. There’s an entire chapter about menstruation. An entire chapter! On menstruation! Now that’s on my list of interests, right at the very top.

A few of my favorite parts on the subject:

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He squeezed my tender breast and said that it was engorgement. “But she’s sixteen”, mum said, who never struggled with sharing relevant information. “Oh”, the doctor said. “And she’s not breastfeeding, because she hasn’t given birth”, mum said. “Oh”, the doctor said.
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I knew you couldn’t go swimming with a sanitary pad – if for no other reason then that it was the size of a tanker and would sink like a stone the second it started taking in water.
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I’m not going to lie – I didn’t change my sanitary pad. … I usually use a sock these days.

Let’s pause for a minute. Annika has read Liv Strömqvist’s Kunskapens frukt, it’s a graphic novel and I own it. Obviously love it.

However, unlike Annika, I was’t affected by Liv pointing out what a waste of the Earth’s resources sanitary pads are. And how they’re not biodegradable. I don’t even remember this particular part at all.

In my defense, I don’t use sanitary pads but tampons. Which are probably not great either. Really should make sure to get informed on this subject.

See this is another reason I loved this read; it teaches me things and and makes me think. Even though it’s not the point of the book at all. It’s just a happy side-effect.

OK then! Enough side-tracking.

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“But then what is this slime exiting my body attempting to down the neighborhood once a month?”
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… “smear tests are an imprecise instrument” (oh!?!) “they only catch eighty percent.” (OH YOU DON’T SAY!)

…did you know this? I honestly thought smear tests were, well, fool-proof? Maybe I just didn’t read the fine print?

Also. They way she talks about her tumor, it’s brilliant!

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This tumor must be thinking we’re morons the lot of us! How it’s been sitting there giggling while my gynecologist has been directing the ultrasound around my pussy like some sort of conductor.

To avoid confusion, the transducer used for vaginal ultrasound, it ain’t the size of a conductor’s stick. But how I wish it was. One of the many perks of PCO; you get to have a peek at your insides via vaginal ultrasound. Funfunfun! Especially if one of your ovaries is playing hide and seek.

Final words on this book before I manage to get off track again:

If you heard her radio talk back in June, you’ll recognize the topics and large parts of the book. Which is not a bad thing at all. Unlike Kristian, her talk is well worthwhile. Bit like stating the obvious, considering how talking on the radio is her main profession, she should be quite good at it.

She also manages to cover more ground, she goes beyond the cancer, while still managing to give us all the horrible details, by which I’m not saying this is a better book. It’s just different and could well make a difference in your life.

If I was grading it I’d give it top marks: should be translated and required reading for one and all!

New in my playlist • February 2017

I feel the need to explain what I mean by new in my playlist. I clearly don’t listen to new music exclusively, or even to a great extent. It’s not new in that sense.

What it refers to is songs recently added to one of my many playlists, songs that I haven’t been listening to much lately; only sometimes never listened to before. I like the mix of brand new, old favorites, and songs I’ve known for a long time but only recently come to love/like.

So far this month, I’ve made two new playlists.

The first is a Thrice playlist. My own personal best of Thrice. It’s basically all of To Be Everywhere is to Be Nowhere + a few random songs from previous releases.

This one is a track from their 2011 release Major/Minor: Disarmed.

Initial reaction before listening to the song: is it a Smashing Pumpkins cover?! Obvs no, becaue the SP track is called Disarm, it’s not past tense, but my brain don’t think like that. Clearly a new track to me.

The second playlist compiled was an update of my sad-song playlist. Don’t we all have one of them? This time I decided to just scrap the old playlist rather than update it and make a completely new list.

The one track that always makes this list: The National’s Sorrow. Not only because it’s called Sorrow, but because of the lines Sorrow found me when I was young, sorrow waited sorrow won. It’s basically mandatory to include it. Plus, brilliant song, lyrics aside.

I’ve also added an old Tori Amos track, Gold Dust. For me just a mood. The only part of the lyrics I seem to remember, despite having listened to this track hundreds of times by now (I have it on CD which is saying something), is We held gold dust in our hands. Which only demonstrates my lack of attention when listening to music.

Band with highest track count in this playlist: Portishead. I sometimes love them and sometimes not so much. Regardless, their debut Dummy has to be one of the many things making ’94 a great year in music. As a whole, such a brilliant album.

There are (surprise surpirse!) also a few tracks that were released this decade on this playlist.

Elliphant’s Could It Be was released in 2013. In general not my type of music, too much reggae, but this track I love.

And Kristian Gidlund quoting the line beväpna dig med vingar (arm yourself with wings) in his book, resulted in adding Beväpna dig med vingar by Thåström.

Is the fact that he references a song I already know and like yet another reason to like Gidlund’s I kroppen min? You bet!

The I Dare You book tag

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A girl can’t just sit around waiting to be tagged can she!? I saw this tag in my feed and it looked like such fun I’m just blatantly stealing it and dragging hitherdither with me.

Let’s go!

Which book has been on your shelves the longest?

We’re not off to a good start. I’m confused as to whether this means the book I’ve owned the longest, or the book left unread for the longest.

Let’s go with the first, I might be able to work that out somehow. I’m fairly sure it’s the Swedish translation of Stephen King’s Carrie. I have it in English too, because yea, I love it? Wrote a thesis on it I did.

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Probably one of my least favorite covers ever. The book tho, so much love!

What is your current read, your last read and the book you’ll read next?

Since I recovered from my reading slump I’ve taken pride in only reading one book at a time.

Yes well, I’m back to old habits. I’m currently reading three books: Kim Gordon’s Girl in a Band, Amy Tan’s Saving Fish from Drowning and Annika Lantz’s Vad ska en flicka göra?

My last read was Kristian Gidlund’s I kroppen min, which I told you about on Wednesday.

I think I’m due for some chick lit next.

What book(s) did everyone like and you hated?

Pretty much any book on any reading list ever. I’m a very critical (read: negative) person, especially when it comes to books picked by an authority (fancy word for teacher). I’m going to nitpick until the end of me, whereas my classmates are more interested in a positive mindset. Not sure why. Is it because they’re being tactical?

I could give you a reverse though; a book I loved that everyone else hated. The Autobiography of My Mother. I LOVE this book. My classmates hated it with a passion. Possibly because of the menstrual scene. It’s how I remember it anyway. It was my favorite scene.

I remember this book as being frequently gross while having a lanuage that reads like poetry, and the main character, Xuela, I love her. Which must mean she’s either bitter, tough, or sarcastic. Or all of the above. It’s been too long, I should schedule a reread.

…and I just went to get it and lo and behold! There’s actually an accurate description of this book on the back:

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So I’m not imagining things! There actually is a rhythm to the language.

If you haven’t read The Autobiography of My Mother, you really should. If for no other reason, then to see whose side you’re on.

Which book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?

I’ve been telling myself I need to read the latest Stephen King for years now. Y e a r s. It’s probably not happening.

I used to love Stephen King, and I’d like to think I still do. But it’s been a while since I read one of his books.

Which book are you saving for “retirement”?

None! What if I never retire?! I could miss out on some brilliant stuff! Also I’m impatient. If there’s a book worth reading I’ll read it now or never. Plus, I like my books short, why would I save a short book for my retirement?

…unless. Unless that’s when I’m finally going to finish Ein Meerschwein Frisst die Erde Auf, the Die Ärzte biography.

die ärzte meerschwein
Just look at this beaut!

Best start my body building for that though. The weight of it. I swear if you can get a good hold on it, it could well be used for workout.

die ärzte meerschwein annika lantz vad ska en flicka göra
Normal size book vs Die Ärzte. Think encyclopedia. Actually, there are encyclopedias that are smaller. 

Last page: read it first or wait till the end?

I’m not usually that interested in knowing the end, I’m more interested in finding out how the characters get there, so it would make no sense to read the last page before the end.

But.

If the story bores me, I could read the last page to see if the story is going anywhere good at all, to see if I should stick it out or not.

Acknowledgements: waste of ink and paper or interesting aside?

Complete and utter waste of ink! Having to read acknowledgements by scholars as a job, and edit them, it’s not helping. Their language is never as bad as when they write acknowledgements.

Which book character would you switch places with?

What character wouldn’t I want to switch places with!?

But oh, the Prague in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. That Prague, I am so in love with. (Still haven’t finished this book but shhh!)

Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life?

Mists of Avalon – sitting through my thesis seminar wondering how it was even possible these people (my classmates) were going to be teaching English. But you know, they do. The cockiest I’ve been in my entire life.

Name a book you acquired in some interesting way.

Le Petit Prince I got sent to me from a girl in Scotland. The most generous person I have ever met. At the time though, we hadn’t met, it was a LJ friend. Did meet her later when I moved to Scotland, which, coincidentally was where she lived. She was lovely. She probably is, but we lost touch.

Have you ever given away a book for a special reason to a special person?

Mmm…no. I’ll put that on my to-do list. Although it rarely works out does it? It’s like trying to introduce people to your new favorite song. They never get it. Must be because I lack social capital.

Which book has been with you to the most places?

Feminist Political Theory at least looks like it’s been with me to most places!

Had a bit of an accident when I was moving once. Packed a box, stood it next the refrigerator which I was defrosting. Clever.

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Still covered in bookmarks and underlinings. Can’t even remember what this particular bookmarks is about. 

Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?

That is a beast that does not exist I’m telling you. High school is an endless parade of shitty books.

However. I felt like Under det rosa täcket was on my own personal required reading list, and if I recall correctly I didn’t like it much at all at first. Fortunately, I have since seen the light. It introduced me to my all-time favorite Dirty Weekend, safe to say I love Under det rosa täcket.

What is the strangest item you’ve ever found in a book?

Nothing. Nope. No. Nothing weird in my books.

Used or brand new?

I like used books. As long as they’re readable and not falling apart then I’m good. It’s just that lazy streak in me. I don’t buy nearly as many used books as I should on account of it’s just easier to go to Adlibris, type in what you want and presto! Book in your hand. Pretty much.

Have you ever read a Dan Brown?

I’m not 100%, but I think no? Pretty sure no. If yes then I don’t remember it. Which isn’t saying much, the majority of books I’ve read I don’t remember. Would it make you feel better if I said yes? I could go either way, my taste in books is by no means sophisticated.

Have you ever seen a movie you liked better than the book?

I know I have! But I can’t remember what it was.

I did like Warm Bodies the movie better than the book. But then I wasn’t overly fond of the second half of the movie either, still though.

A book that NEVER should have been published.

The Backyard Babies biography comes to mind. I’ve repressed what it’s called and I’m not going to google it either. Two pages of this book and I was furious about how insanely bad it was. And I LIKE this band. Or used to. Until I read the two first pages of this book.

Also love biographies about musicians in general. But this. JFC.

Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks being excluded from this question?

Not hungry, but I really want to make bannocks when I read Carol Goodman’s Incubus. They sound delicious!

Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

There is literally no such person. Although, to be fair, most people I surround myself with that could recommend me books usually go “you probably wouldn’t like it”, so I’m not exactly drowning in advice here.

What it does mean though! Is that these are some sensible people who have some knowledge of my taste so I should be able to trust them to recommend me books there’s a fair chance I’d like.

Gee that has to be the most boring possible answer to this question.

And on that note!

Reading the books; A book about dying

Jag kommer bara att lämna dig en enda gång.

I don’t know what happened. I was reading Kim Gordon’s Girl in a Band, and we were getting along fine. But then I suddenly found myself completely lost in Kristian Gidlund’s I kroppen min [In this body of mine]; neither of which, to my knowledge, were in my TBR list. Or even books I’d consider reading.

The two books are based on his blog where he describes preparing for the end, what it’s like to live knowing your days are numbered.

Så jag säger att samma ögonblick som hon vill berätta något för mig blir också samma ögonblick som jag kommer att finnas där för henne. […] Det kommer inte att vara samma sak säger hon.

Kristian wrote I kroppen min when he was dying from cancer. As if I need to tell you. Feels like I’m the last person on the planet to read this pair of books. Late to the party and all that. It’s some excellent writing this is. In fact, some of the best writing I’ve encountered in a while. Nice rhythm, excellent use of words and metaphors, he’s a master at the pop cultural reference, always well-thought out and relevant. And he doesn’t even need any of it, because he’s got a story that’s rarely told, he could have just relied on that. But this is a good read from a purely artistic point of view. She said as if it was not a matter of personal taste.

I like how he writes. He could have been writing about anything for all I care.

I’m actually surprised. The books were published in 2013, the same year he passed away, and I’ve been actively avoiding Kristian in general.

In part because I’ve not been interested in sad stories like this one, but mainly because I had the misfortune of seeing this guy live with his band Sugarplum Fairy aaages ago. They were opening for Depeche Mode. Such a poor fit, they cannot possible have the same fanbase. I for one did not enjoy their music at all (“Are you seriously telling me we have to stand for this band???”). In other words, I was in the ‘your art does not interest me’ mode.

I was wrong. Well partly. My interests are slightly changed. At this point in time; perfect match.

He writes in his book how he found his writing voice when he got his first diagnosis. The pieces suddenly fit. Surge of creativity. Makes me think of this guy, talking about a similar experience. There is an echo of my favorite band in his words, in what he writes. Which definitely affects how I perceive this book.

I read both books on the screen, bless my library for the availability, but I enjoyed this read so much I feel the need to own. When doing research for the purchase I noted that the German translation of the book is Nach mir das Leben. I have to say, excellent work on that translator’s part! Beautiful sentence + makes me think of this piece of Neubauten lyrics Nach mir die Flut, nach mir tornados, nach mir tsunamis & säuberungen, nach mir die härte, die kälte die dürre die glut, which seems infinitely appropriate. …kinda want to get it in German. Just a little bit.

Because I’m trying to be a bit more of a mindful shopper this year, I’m holding off on the buying and in the mean time I’ll read a book on a similar topic: Annika Lantz’s Vad ska en flicka göra. It’s about her being diagnosed with cervical cancer despite having been to every one of her smear tests.

Probably shouldn’t be reading that book on account of being slighltly on the hypochondriac side but I’ll risk it.

…did also listen to Kristian’s radio talk, Sommar i P1, having read the books. Doesn’t do his texts justice I feel. Love these books much? You bet!