thoughts and ramblings of one scottish teen

Archive for October, 2010

20th October is Purple!

If you have not already heard, or seen around twitter, facebook and tumblr (and various other places on the internet I’m sure) today, everything is turning purple. You may have even seen many people wearing purple today in the street. I do hope you have.

 

Today is a day of raising awareness. Today is Spirit Day. Today is the day where all of us who support the equal rights of all sexualities and want to fight against homophobia are standing up and making sure our voice is heard, along with so many others. There is no place for homophobia in today’s society, it is wrong and disgusting to treat people any differently because of their sexuality or gender preference – we are born this way! Unfortunately it is still so predominant all over the world. A tiny number of States in America have legalised gay marriage, something that is yet to happen in Britain (in my opinion, civil partnership is not enough progress. Why can’t they just make it marriage. That’s like saying ‘you can have things like us straight people, but not the same because your love is different’ which is wrong and silly). Although this is positive progress forward, we still have such a long way to go yet.

 

More and more things are coming to the media’s attention though, and on a national level more people are speaking up and protesting against this oppression, and I really do hope this carries on, because we need to stand up and fight for equal rights!

 

Many people have said “why only do it for one day?” or “how come this gets such special attention?”

Well, it’s not as if I only support equal rights today, it’s just if I did this every day, people would get sick of it and it would not have the same impact. By choosing ONE day to unite and speak out together, all us supporters have a much stronger voice. So maybe we won’t turn things around in one day, but it might be the start, it’s positive progress forward it is not? I think yes

Also, if you are going to complain that this day gets special attention and is unfair on all other people who suffer in the world, I’m sorry but if 7 suicides in what, 5 weeks, is not enough to show that something is seriously wrong, then you need to step back and have a serious reality check. It’s awful that it’s gotten this far, but at least something is being done, people are trying to make progress! Yes other people suffer in the world, and I’m not saying they are any less important, but this is clearly something that has had such an impact on so many people for it to cause such a stir.

 

So I implore you to wear purple or do something to show your support today, if you support equal rights for all sexualities. I certainly do, and I look forward to the day when this will happen.

 

an interview with Sgt. Bird

When I first found out that a good friend of mine – and extremely talented musician – Stu Henderson had started a musical duo project with his friend Nathan under the working title of Sgt. Bird, I was very excited. If you have never heard his music you may not understand why, however I have had the pleasure to not only download some of his older compositions (links at the end of the article) and hear small samples of music he has sent me every so often, but I have also heard and seem him play in person. I have been playing piano for about 10 years but I can safely say that my playing does not match up to his talent. Music is definitely a gift he has been blessed with in my opinion, and not just in his piano playing as he owns and plays a wide range of instruments.

I do not know Nathan, the other member of Sgt. Bird, however I get the impression that he is of similar musical ability. As a member of the band Ginger Little Guinea Pig, he also has a handle on a broad range of instruments and although there are only two members of this project, combining their talents of both music and technology, the previews of their upcoming songs that I have heard so far are rich and full of so many different effects, ideas and little creative details. It was therefore my pleasure to have the chance to set up a little interview with the duo, and hopefully give you an insight into Sgt Bird in the run up to the release of their first records.

Sgt Bird, lovely to have the pleasure to interview you! You are a fairly recently formed duo, how did the whole project and idea come about in the first place?
Basically we met in January when we worked together in the band for a play. We got talking and always joked that we should just collaborate by mixing both our styles of music together, and then recently – we just randomly decided at 1 in the morning that we were going to write a song together. Since then it’s just turned into a full-blown project with a name and everything. 😛

Well that’s fantastic how ideas have been made into a reality so quickly! Tell us more about the people behind the project – who are you and what do you each bring to the group?
Okay so Nathan is a guitarist, lyricist, lead singer in a rock band and other things who plays many an instrument. Stu plays the piano, other instruments, and produces all of our stuff. But it’s really hard to distinguish particular roles in this. We both play equal amounts of instruments, we write lyrics equally and record/engineer and produce the music together.
Stu: (and personally it’s way better than me doing it all by myself. I get lonely! xD We have such a great dynamic and it just…works really well.)

Sounds like a great dynamic in the duo, you both seem to be equally very talented across a wide range of musical areas. Would you say that you both generally agree on most things or have there been any face-offs in the recording sessions? haha. I’m exaggerating of course, but do you both have similar musical styles or are they quite different?
oh god yes we’ve been in disagreement about a LOT of things, but they’ve eventually been resolved or compromised. It’s not really a case of different styles, most of the time we completely whole-heartedly agree on everything, but sometimes there are just certain things that one of us doesn’t like and the other one does. it’s never caused any problems though, and it helps to talk ideas through, rather than just argue. 🙂

Do you both have similar tastes in music that you listen to? And are there examples of significant artists or bands that you think have inspired or influenced you at all?
the weird thing is we both listen to a lot of different music, but our tastes are similar? it’s hard to explain but we will agree mostly on what sounds good. we may not personally listen to that kind of music all the time but we can pretty much appreciate anything. Anything from heavy metal, to electronic stuff and classical, indie rock…folk music. Literally anything. Mostly stuff we use for inspiration actually. We wouldn’t say that a particular band/artist has directly influenced our sound (not that we’re claiming to be completely unique, its just not intentional) it’s more a mix of both our musical backgrounds over the years, and everything we’ve learned. 🙂

That’s quite a broad range! Does that make it difficult to define your music do you think, or how would you describe your music so far?
It makes it really hard to describe, if we’re honest – but we both usually hate when musicians claim that their music can’t be categorised, or that it’s completely unique. It sounds really pretentious, especially if that’s not true and it fits easily into a genre. We never set out to completely defy genre but for us, it IS difficult to work out what it is. It has mixes of blues/jazz/folk/rock/electronica/ambient music/classical/french impressionist/minimalist piano .. just everything we listen to. Basically, we don’t know what genre it is, but if anyone has any idea, then they can feel free to label it how they like. Alternative/Experimental maybe?

You’re currently working on a song that’s in it’s finishing stages now, Filmstar/Astronaut. Without giving too much away, can you tell us more about it and anything else you’re both working on just now?
Well, we’re just putting the vocals to it now and fixing things here and there – but it should be done soon. It’s basically a song about someone’s obsession with celebrity and being noticed, but not really being too bothered about why. In the end he get’s extremely desperate and some pretty dark things are mentioned. It’s kinda like a story, which is always a good way to write a song. We’re going to work on a few more songs together and hopefully piece together an album or an EP by the end of next year. In terms of other stuff we’re doing, we’re going to be doing a cover of MGMT’s “Kids” and perhaps a ukelele/trumpet cover of “Mr Brightside” by the Killers. Not sure if these will go on the album but they’re just for fun after all. 🙂

it sounds like you guys don’t take your music TOO seriously. obviously you’re both passionate about it but still enjoy it and have fun with it. do you have a particular goal or vision for the future of Sgt Bird, say in the next few months or years?
You pretty much hit the nail on the head, I mean we don’t take ourselves seriously AT ALL. But then again we’re serious about the production side of it and making it sound awesome. We’re not rushing it, but in terms of instruments, and general feelings of songs, we are pretty silly. Anything goes really as long as it sounds cool. Our plans for the future are just to keep writing together, being generally awesome and maybe in the future performing live at gigs and things. That would be really cool.


Sgt. Bird currently have their own website, as well as tumblr and twitter links. There you can find more posts and also previews of current projects from the boys.

http://www.sgtbird.co.nr/

Stu and Nathan also have their own respective musical projects and any available links are provided below. Nathan unfortunately uses the internet far less, and so there is very little for him YET although a search of Ginger Little Guinea Pig may provide some results. Stu’s album can be downloaded from his bandcamp however.

Stu:

twitter – http://twitter.com/#!/soundslikestu

bandcamp – http://stuhenderson.bandcamp.com/

– http://stuhendersonmusic.bandcamp.com/

National Coming Out Day UK tomorrow (via Eccentricity; doorway to felicity)

National Coming Out Day UK tomorrow So tomorrow is Coming Out Day, an opportunity to take a huge step towards being more open and true to yourself. Some people do laugh at this day and exclaim "Why come out on one specific day when you can any day?" The idea is, the day is for those that feel oppressed by the people around them, living in fear that they would be judged, ostracised, despised. We're not forcing them to come out, we're reassuring them that our opinion would remain una … Read More

via Eccentricity; doorway to felicity

intolerance in the 21st century?

Hello all

As you may or may not be aware, certainly all the internet sites that I am a part of, have been awash with the news of a surge of teen suicides. 5 boys in America, in the past 3 or 4 weeks, have taken their own young lives due to being bullied for being gay. Yes, that’s right. Sexuality is something that none of us have control over, biologically. We may deny it or try to supress it due to sickening beliefs in society that there is a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ person to love, but at the end of the day, it is something we can no more determine than the colour of our eyes or the tone of our skin.

On Wednesday, the body of 18 year old Tyler Clementi was found a week after he posted his last facebook status saying: “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry”. There are many more sources, to read more here, here or here if you so wish. This was after his so called ‘friend’ and room-mate hid a webcam in his room when he was with other men and posted the stream live on the internet. Although his friends may or may not have intended to act maliciously, the resulting torment that was unleashed onto poor Tyler obviously still had a devastating effect. On Tuesday, a 13 year old Seth Walsh from California died after trying to hang himself in his back yard. Less than a week before that a 13 year old Texan Asher Brown shot himself. Both of these boys were also bullied and tormented over their sexual orientation. Yes, THIRTEEN year old boys feeling that there was no way out at all but to take their own lives at such a young age. Just a couple of days ago, 19 year old Raymond Chase took his life, hanging himself in his room. A few weeks earlier, 15 year old Billy Lucas from Indiana also hung himself after constantly being picked on at school for being different and gay.

These are just some of the horrifying stories that have come to light more recently, although they are no means the first, nor, sadly, will they be the last. In a discussion with one of my lovely friends, I agree with the statement he made: “I can’t stand people being forced to commit suicide for -being-“. This is exactly part of the point that I am trying to make. I do not understand why anyone’s sexuality should define them solely as a person. I am bisexual, but I am also short, a woman, blue-eyed, Scottish and a whole multitude of other things. You don’t see anyone being picked on or ostracised from their community for having the wrong colour of hair, or being being pushed to suicide for having green eyes. Perhaps you don’t understand what it is like to be a different sexuality. I will never know what it’s like to be gay or straight, as a bisexual woman, but I accept that my sexuality is not the ONLY or the RIGHT one. Our entire world and population is diverse, and we, as good and moral human beings usually accept all differences, so why should this be any different? You don’t have to be gay to support gay rights.

I am lucky to have never really suffered the horrendous abuse that I hear about. Homophobic attacks on close friends and strangers alike always move me, reading the articles about these suicides had me in tears at the vile and disgusting people in the world that cause these things to happen. However my sexuality has not gone unnoticed. My relationship with my father took a dent upon my coming out, thankfully nothing too major, but I should not have to be thankful for his ‘mild’ intolerance. It is still intolerance. If you do have any question or queries about anything you do not understand, I welcome them all, but if you do not understand then in my opinion you have no right to judge or say anything offensive. If someone else being gay offends you, then gosh darn it’s a sad sad time when 10 years into the 21st Century people are still intolerant of other people basically existing. I am trying not to get sarcastic or angry but it really does sicken me. Some people are not able to fully come to terms with their sexuality or even be open about it due to fear of how people might react. They are afraid of people close to them, friends and even family, which is think is so awful and sad that you have to hide who you are from even the people that are supposed to love you the most. At the end of the day, you are still the same person and it does not change anything.

In the generations previous to ours, we have had women fighting to gain their equal rights in the world – the suffragettes movement. Then more recently, racism was tackled and wiped out to a large extent across the globe. I say this is the time for our generation to sit up and really do something about homophobia. Yes, a lot has been done already and people to a large extent are far more tolerant then they were, but these horrible deaths and thousands of other cases that go unreported just show that not enough has been done and it needs to stop right now! People need to be taught basic humanity. Personally I feel that the dominance that religion still has in a society that is not so reliant on it as we used to be does not help. I realise that not everyone shares the views of some extremists and there are many other groups and individuals that are just as intolerant. That is also a topic for another blog, as I realise this one is getting rather long.

I do implore and call upon the other people of my generation to stand up and really fight against homophobia, spread the love that knows no boundaries! If you have anything to say, any questions or feel that you yourself are struggling with anything raised in this blog, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or ask for my e-mail where we can talk privately. I hope that I have covered everything and these are just my opinions as always 🙂

Love + peachhugs always