On current events

Super stoked about the Supreme Court desicion in the States. USA has little to do with Sweden and our own policies, which we take great pride in when they are held up as an example for the rest of the world, but it’s still a country with some almost 300 million people in it and the ruling that all states must allow two adults in love to wed is big, and awesome. I didn’t even know they could do that, I was expecting some odd 20 yrs more or something because of separate states, so when George Takei posted the news (that’s where me, miss Nerd, first read it) I just had tears of joy coming down my cheeks. 26th of June was a fantastic date. Almost thought fb changed your profile pic automatically  to a rainbow one there, wow (but I never did seen as my profile pic is from my performance at West Pride so, come on, dude…)

And on a personal note, on that very day I had a night out with my musicians and I think for the first time in forever it just didn’t feel strange to go “We’re talking here, leave us alone” and “Go away, just go the f*ck away, you’re being effing offensive” (to a guy hugging and touching me when it was clearly not OK, uttered by my bass player and me). May seem like an obvious thing, but yeah, the first time it felt totally OK to say it. A proof of the progress feminism gives us, even me who seems outspoken, everyday.

And Zara Larsson and Bråvalla the day after. For those of you not in the loop, this 17-year-old pop artist made some statements about how she hoped the festival scene was gender conscious and met a lot of hate for it. But she rocked her performance and people, among them the male head acts, cheered her on. I never understood the hate and clear irritation against her, but I think it has a lot to do with the fact that she’s 17 and already shows some great music biz/feminist courage, and that’s a thorn in a lot of sides who could never muster that courage at 17. Personally, I find it a hell of a lot more productive to be inspired and cheer her on, no matter how big or not at all big of a fan I am of the music and whatnot. You go girl, and all that 😉

Photos: As a former student of The Science of Religion, it’s a fun time to visit Swedish “road churches”. It’s churches that are totally unlocked everyday during the summer so you can visit them and have a peek. This one in Öglunda has a Jewish menorah. Surprising but purrdy! 🙂

Also, me with my first proper balcony flowers. I’ve tried before, but I think I bought those forms of flowers that don’t withstand the sun very well. I love that I have sun all day on the balcony, but there are downsides. I planted these two months ago, still alive and well! 🙂

  

A hairy question

I am getting more and more respect for Miley Cyrus. That’s right, you heard me… What makes me cringe is that armpit hair on women is still headline news in 2015! Are we really not further along?

Reports that women sport armpit hair is still met with comments like “so unfeminine”, especially disrespectful in Miley’s case as she has identified herself as “gender fluid”. Not cool, dude!

Me? I’ve tried growing it out but I got a wimpy pile of small hairs and unless I can get a respectful bush like Patti Smith on “Easter” I say never mind, shaving it looks better -for me-.

I do get attracted to men shaving armpits and such, not that I have any preferences in body hair and honestly, none of my bee’s wax, but men shaving their armpits quickly show me a person who doesn’t care about what society thinks, worry about being “unmasculine”, they clearly do what makes them happy and that’s sexy as hell.

http://hollywoodlife.com/2015/06/24/miley-cyrus-armpit-hair-diss-photographers-photoshop/

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Maria testar / Maria tries

I’ve had some requests for some “Maria Testar” (“Maria tries this”) segments on my blog after I tried to be a mermaid. For some reason a lot of experiments leave me undressed. Well, here are two Maria Testar:

1. A bit more child friendly, Maria tries to figure out what the hell highlighter means. I get them in my make up boxes or along with concealers and I just have no idea. Apparently they, surprise, highlight things like cheek bones and so on. So I watched a video and put some on the face. I mean, sure, my cheek bones stand out more, but I’m not sure if that looks better than them not doing so? Comparing with a no-makeup photo, I look like I’ve had loads of unsightly surgery cher-style, not sure I agree that I need it.

2.Rufus Wainwright claims to compose in the buff with a glass of wine. Alright then, let’s give it a go! Oh dear. Cold. Cold and yet sweaty in all the wrong places. Bits are hanging where they shouldn’t and I can’t concentrate on the piano. Is the seat supposed to glue to my butt cheeks like this? Oh, my, I feel a urinary tract infection coming on, what have I forgotten? Oh, the wine, of course, the wine will make it all feel better! Gulp gulp… hey?! What am I doing on the floor? Oh right, the balance act of a piano stool when you’ve been drinking alcohol… OK, I think I’ll just… zzzzzzz

A sad, naked, possibly plaether-allergic and sleepy drunk. That is where trying to follow Mr Wainwright’s direction will get you. So… maybe do your own thing when you compose?

Give me more tips on “Maria Testar”, if you want! 🙂

  No make up
  More make up + highlighter Well, this composing session went well!

They say you were something in those formative years

We all know there’s a very big tendency to post a lot of quotes in social media. Some good, some bad, me, I tend to skim through them and maybe keep some from some really awesome people, you know, like Mother Theresa, Gandhi, NOT Voltaire :P, the occasional John Lennon, Freddie Mercury and Beyoncé (sue me…). But most of the time I’m not the quote girl. I did do a dissertation paper which got some excellent grades in The Study of Religous Sciences, where I quoted Master Oogway from Kung Fu Panda, there’s your take on how deep my quote tendencies go. My special aversion goes to the “Ignore your past” quotes.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, living with complete nostalgia is bad. “Oh, my golden days”… I mean… COME ON, you don’t get to say that under the tender age of 80 if you don’t enjoy not living. And holding on to your beefs and obsessing five plus years later does you more harm than good. Gonna give you a quote here, sorry, but it’s true: “Holding on to grudges/anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”// Buddha. Seems ok for me though, I like Buddha, decent chap. And obsessing about a lost love some three plus years later “We’re meant to be, I don’t care that she/he has a steady family life with another person now”, well, I think it might just be stifling you and preventing you from finding another love or lovely thing, like music, to focus on (I’m not gonna say everyone needs the standard love relationship, it’s archaeic).

But the occasional dig through your past can be fun, thoughtworthy. You can compare your present day to your past and see how far along you’ve come, be reminded of awesome things you’ve forgotten and maybe even realize you’ve always had a strong identity, something we all need to be reminded of at times.

Midsummer weekend was family weekend, and let me tell you, my family has done a number on my old childhood room. Granted, it hasn’t been mine for twelve plus years, but it used to be a decent guest room for me to come and sleep in during my visits. Then, somewhere along the way, it became the dumpster for “things we don’t need but can’t get rid of”. I haven’t said much, as I said, haven’t felt like my room for a long time, but this particular weekend I stumbled, I stepped in dirt, I awoke weird insects and I woke up with an oily layer on my skin, in spite of sleeping with the window open. Yuck! “Enough is enough! I’m gonna frickin’ clean!”

Now, don’t judge the group too hard, recycling centrals aren’t easy to get to and they have no car living in the Gothenburg area (you don’t need one in tha biggy city, folks). So I have a upper hand in cleaning it out and being able to get rid of the junk with a decently big car (being one of them country folks). So I just started rummaging. And the things I found… oh…

My old CD:s. The old chair I used to sit in, next to my record player, writing my songs at the tender age of 14. The occasional cool records that just slipped in there, even as a teen, the Beatles, the McCartney solo records, the ABBA, The Tori Amos, The Simon and Garfunkle, Hole’s celebrity skin. The charity albums (always wanted to help I think) Remembering TLC:s old awesomeness, still applicable. The godawful metal albums I’d listen to dying my hair black and the black black and more black clothes and posters. The wall I used to put my keyboard against and just compose, compose, compose. An old Madonna poster, all greasy and old from the adhesive, with hair styling tips. Yes. Even the Backstreet Boys, Cleopatra, Spice Girls, B*witched (that’s how they’d spell it). My goodness. My fist crystal ball (yep, I used to do some fortune telling). The levi jeans shorts so tiny in the waist I’d use them as beer can coolers today.

And the crop tops. Dear lawd, the crop tops! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ashamed of my tummy. It’s in better shape now than some of my teenage years, and worse than some of the others, obviously, but it’s so not my style anymore. Least of all because they tend to not cover my boobs if I so much as lift my arms at present day. I know “from-below” cleavage was trendy for a while, but I’ve never been a fan 😉

And the 10-öre (currency) long gone. My hands were so tiny last time I used it that I remember it as much bigger.

It all just makes me go “wow” and remember I have some history, some things to remember that I’ve forgotten. Some things to forget that I shouldn’t remember. It’s an inspiring journey for sure, I’m sure a song or two will come out of it.

What I mean is, say you’d play some old Tori Amos today. “In my platforms I hit the floor”. So 98, I think she’d written “High heels” instead of platforms today, but that’s the exciting bit. Or the fact that old fashioned Greg “burns his CD:s” means something totally different than throwing them on a bonfire today. With technology striding forward so swiftly,  I think there is some value in studying what we used to do, it’s pretty incredible. How annoying of an intro to a song would the old “connecting to the internet and shutting off your phones” signal be? 😉

As a good contrast, I watched the first hour of “The zero theorem” with wifey yesterday, and I was like “Is it just me, or are they all partying with their I-pads instead of eachother?” On another note; I’ve noticed Terry Gilliam almost always puts little people/people with dwarfism in his films, cudos for representing!

Anyway, the room looks better, I’ve convinced the family to put their junk in a pile for me to pick up instead, and I won’t be oily next time I have a sleep-over. At least ONE reward for digging into my past, for sure! 😉
  I love my crop top. I really do.
The old 10-öring 🙂

She’s got the look #2

Today has been one of those boring days where my instruments are being fixed, my work computer is having its battery changed and I end up in semi-meaningful discussions to pass the time. And hey, it’s raining, so no going for a swim with my bass player, something that usually keeps me from getting involved in them 😉

This is the original article that a friend posted, a male feminist, if that makes any difference, with the comment: “Why do you HAVE to say anything, sleazeball?”
http://www.hd.se/nyheter/sverige/2015/06/14/vanta-en-sekund-innan-du-spelar-ut-gubbsjuke-kortet/

It’s basically a married man calling out on his right to compliment strange women for their looks when he’s riding the train. Well, yeah, it sparked conversation. Most of it sensible. Then there was this dude who tried to diagnoze the women finding this uncomfortable with borderline disorder. I mean, first of all… whathehell, dude… Second of all; are women with this and similar illnesses really uncapable of determening when they are uncomfortable? I guess so, seeing as a rape charge, where the woman had screamed til her throat swelled up and she couldn’t scream anymore, was dropped. Being on anti-depressants, she clearly didn’t know that she was really enjoying it, right? The stupidity of some astounds me. He also accused the women’s movement of putting ideas in women’s heads. Seriously, wow, I mean, really, wow. Sometimes I’d love for there to be a permit to use a keyboard and the Internet. “You’re just too dumb, you have to use smoke signals til you can be in a furnished room!”. Wouldn’t that be lovely…

Here’s the problem; a LOT of the times women are judged firsthand on their looks, secondly on their personality and skill, day in and day out. If that wasn’t the case, the compliments wouldn’t be bad, but it’s so far from not-being-the-case at the moment that we need to change it around altogether. And again, if this wasn’t the case, there wouldn’t be a lot of strangers feeling the need to throw a compliment like that out there, it’d be mostly people you know.

I would love for y’all to join me in an experiment, to compliment ANYONE, man or woman, purely on something they’ve accomplished or something good/important/thoughtworthy they’ve said for the next three months. If complimenting a stranger’s looks doesn’t feel odd after that, then by all means, go ahead.

And on a personal level, how do I feel about them? First of all you have to understand. I don’t see what others may see. I’ve lived with this body and face for soon-to-be 31 years, I still see the little nerd who wanted to be “A veterinarian or a pop star”, who went through her awkward puberty stages and who’s just sitting there with her cool comics and the new record from the Spice Girls, dreaming big and writing songs. For a short period of time I did have a focus on this aspect of me, and it made me ill, like brain-and-heart-almost-shutting-down ill. The only thing improving was my voice, as I took singing lessons and the voice isn’t really dependent on a sturdy build. If you need an illustration, just look at the pic below.

So I have to be weary today that I do not start focusing on that part of me again. I’ll gather knowledge of my angles, aesthetically interesting pics, and sometimes even just throwing that out the window to work on other things important for the project/photo/video. And I’ll work out and (most of the time) eat good for a video/gig so my body can open up the way it should without ihibitions in the way. But that’s about it. And one of my greatest wishes is that priorities for women in society shifts closer to this as well. Because OK, I can do it, but having company helps.

Having said that, I still say thank you when a compliment on my looks comes my way. The latest one from one of my musicians working with me “Sorry, but my first thought when I saw you was DAMN she’s HAWT!” (I had received compliments for the music before this, so it did feel pretty OK). But I try not to reflect on them. Partly because I don’t want to get sick again, partly because I don’t want to feel bad should the looks disappear, I would like to appreciate my other qualities so much that it doesn’t matter. Too bad, but not all bad, know what I mean?

So please, join me for the next three months in just complimenting someone’s good work, someone’s smart opinion, someone’s admirable kindness and big heart. If you’re still a shallow bastard afterwards, it was just meant to be 😉

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West Pride 2015

I am so humbled and honoured to be part of this almost every year. I love West Pride, I really do, and the growth of the festival has made me so happy. Celebrating us all being ourselves. We touched the subject going to Gothenburg with the musicians: “I have this and this insecurity, but I thought; hey, f*ck it today.” Indeed.

And today marked a bit of a difference, adding guitar with shy JM Erikson, and choir. It really was different, in a good way. Our meeting was one of those good co-inkydinks. We just noticed eachother, having lots of friends in common in social media (both old ones from gymnasium and new ones, she resides in Gothenburg and I am from there), having a lot of the same opinions. Finally she sent me a friend request, and I’m no stranger to taking friend requests of people I haven’t met, or for that matter sending them, if the person just seems decent and awesome. “Hey, you seem cool, let’s be friends!” That was just sorta it. She was looking for drummers, I tipped her off, she said: “Already in the studio, but thanks, though, let me know if you need guitar and choir!”. “As a matter of fact I do, for this West Pride gig”. And we just went from there.

The audience was completely shaded. And by that I mean no one dared to actually go up to the square and stand in the front, because it was just too damned hot, our audience was completely to the left in the beer tent, but at least 100 + people and I sold some physical records yet again, always a pleasant surprise, but I do think anything physical is making a big comeback as people like to own something tangible.

And how effing surreal is it to wait for Mona Sahlin (Swedish well known politician) to exit the stage so you can go up there? Like she’s your opening act. Oh, yes, pretty damn surreal.

   
                    

  

Less work, more play.

Final day of Ekehagen work. While I truly enjoy every minute of working outside, getting to hug the cow, the pigs, the sheep and watch the wild boar bah bahs grow bigger, there is a relief in not doing double shifts (like working 8-22 like today) anymore. At the end of the day, you are happy but so exhausted. I’ve promised to come visit during summer with the friends who were jealous of all my “this is where I work” photos (because it really is very beautiful). If nothing else I need my own little snuggly Lovart. Yes, they sold wild boar soft teddies this season. And just as I was going to buy one, they sold out. Lovart made quite an impression on the kids I think. Even one of my work colleagues at the other job, upon hearing me talk about him, went; Ooooh, I gotta meet him! So of course I need my own Lovart, and will come back this summer to get one. As final work days go; not bad. Lurvely weather, lots of time, great kids, although an unusual problem arose. A teaching assistant from today’s class was so good looking I couldn’t look at him without Barry White playing in my head. The bastard even let his hair down and shook it all shampoo commercial like. Cue Barry White again. I really think you should ugly it up if you’re gonna come to Ekehagen, and not distract the nice guides 😉

From now on, more time for music, which is both sad (as I said, love the job) and a great relief. Songwriting has been going strong though, have some lyrics to the latest song I wrote, Wolf Man. And yes, there is a double entendre in “Sheep (Cheap) Suit” and how I spell it.

He’s so true, he’s so raw, he’s so blue, he’s so naturally kind

And when tables do turn and they will you will think you’ve lost your mind
So take your time to come around
You will find you’re not alone on the other side

Before he tears you asunder
His sheep suit’s going to burst
Can I get to you I wonder
Not if the wolf man gets you first

He’s so good, he’s connected I would but I’m not on his good side
If you don’t dance the dance he assigned you you’re pushed right of the slide

Before you know what hit you
Come on baby do your worst
You just know that I’ll be with you
But the wolf man’s with you first

Terrible work environment. Just horrific…

Home taping is killing music

The gig was early, but went really well! 🙂 At 1.30 p.m. I graced the Uppåner scene, a bit apprehensive. “Sh*t, there’s mostly old folks and kids, and my lyrics contain nasty words up the wazoo”. And the presentation I had written was a mistake. I thought I’d write some really pretentious sh*t, you know, like the ones music magazines like Uncut do. Lots of big words. And our presenter was practising his Swedish, let alone pretentious music magazine stuff, so it basically came to a halt at the first word; Siouxsie and the Banshees. Hell, I hardly knew two weeks ago how to pronounce it. I had googled the spelling not to make an ass of myself. I just kept thinking; “poor kid, and I was going out of my way to make this a brilliant piece of 50-word presentation”. Just goes to show, do your own thing. I’m usually nowhere near this douche-y when writing my little pieces. That would’ve payed off today 😉

So I just went “uh-oh” and expected very little of this gig. Partly because of the facts I have previously mentioned, partly because of the time slot (I know the arranger and he needed to fill the space after a cancelation so he contacted me) and partly because it was just me, the piano and the bass player. But as it progressed, I could tell people where sitting down and listening intently and really liking it, something that always feeds your energy as an artist too and makes you perform even better. A tired reporter who had snapped shots with her mobile phone on the other acts all of a sudden brought out the good, big camera and started snapping. And she even bought the albums (yes, plural) after the gig. One member of the audience said: “I don’t know much about music, but I can just tell you should be playing for bigger audiences”. My answer: “I don’t care how big the audience, as long as I get to play my music and make people happy”. “I know, that shows, and that’s precisely one of the reasons you deserve a bigger one, trust me!”.

Backstage talking to arrangers, mentioning our drummer was away at another gig: “What strange priorities when you’re this brilliant”. Let me just tell you, musicians and artists don’t think like that. First booked, first played. If you’re a pro anyway, if you genuinely love what you do, it’s not about the “best thing” and honestly that’s the kind of people I wanna be working with. Trust me on that one. It might be what makes or breaks us one day. The honesty.

I kept on selling records throughout the day, waiting for Malin Andersson to play. Look up Malin Andersson and Small Town, I was a pretty decent lyrical assistant on that 😉 Anyway, Malin is quite awesome, and constantly evolves, so have a listen and marvle at the fact that her partner Andy Potter is related to Harry Potter! 😉

I really have been selling a lot of physical records. It makes me question the “CD is dead ” thing, because all of a sudden, I’m forced to consider second prints of my stuff! I never would’ve dreamed of it two years ago, but I think there’s something about just owning something tangible. People like it.

And about the compliments I received; Yes, no matter how sure you are of yourself and how great your confidence is, they are always a joy to hear. Don’t skimp on them, ever. They are never a waste, be it someone world famous or someone who seems confident, they are so very appreciated. Keep ’em coming.

  Where you’ll always find me after a gig, next to the animals, of course!
    Janicca Hermansson with her supercool green cord            Ivory Dogs  Mile      Tibro Surroundings      Malin 🙂

Til the cows come home

Starting your day off with cow snuggles is not a bad way to go.

Meet Yster, a slightly windy eyed cow at Ekehagen who loves snuggles, scratches, druling all over you and for some reason… selfies? I swear, when she hears that click noise and sees that screen it’s posing all the way. As you can see in the last pic when she’s done nozzling.

Anyways, playing tomorrow at Uppåner Festival so be there! 🙂



Rehearsals

I started the day a bit shaky but I swear there’s some healing power in music ’cause rehearsals just calmed me right down. I think it’s the getting to do what you love thing. Well, that and the oxytocin your body produces when you sing and hug people (we’re a huggy bunch, us). Also, we had some delish danish and croissants as I had forgotten the other “fika” and there was a Pressbyrån nearby. I’ve never met someone who can have angst problems after eating a danish 😉

The vile vitamin/immune system drinks I’ve been on have worked their magic too, voice a helluva lot more up to speed now than last rehearsal! 🙂 Still doesn’t keep me from making faces and mumbling: “oh that’s nasty” while drinking them, but making it a bit more worth it.

After rehearsals I took a sunset walk, what with all the rain the colours have really come out by now! Amazing.