I’m actually having a pretty good day today. I’ve had a nice string of them recently. However, on good days I often think about bad days. Not in a way that makes me sad. But in a way that makes me smile. Any bad day you have will eventually lead to a good day. I like to be thankful that I’m experiencing a good day. And whilst I know I’ll have more bad days in the future, I try to push that from my thoughts and just live in the present. Don’t question it. Good days also make me respect the bad days. Because sometimes they are needed. Sometimes we need to completely reset and the only way that happens is by having a truly rubbish day. So I want to focus on that day. Because I think on those days just being by yourself and having a good cry can be really healthy. You should never suppress tears. You also don’t need a reason for crying. People will tell you the opposite but they are wrong. If your body and mind are telling you that you need to cry then do it. If you are able to release something, whatever it is (maybe a bit of stress, some anger from something that’s happened that day, or maybe you just feel like you’re drowning a little less today), then you’re that little step closer to having a good day. And a good day doesn’t have to be the goal, working through the bad days step by step is impressive enough. But having that little inkling of future adventure or warmth or contentment might just push you forward. So to help you on those bad days I’ve compiled a playlist of 100 songs To Cry Your Eyes Out To. Because we all know there’s no better combination of sadness and slow, atmospheric, acoustic music. So close your door, ignore your notifications, lie down and just breathe. Maybe you need to get up and dance when the moment takes you. Maybe you need to thrash your head to get the energy out. Maybe you fall asleep as you listen and feel refreshed when you wake. Whatever it is, these songs are here to help you. I hope you find some new favourites. Personally, the only two songs I might possibly ever need to live are I Shall Cross The River – The Black Atlantic and Human – Of Monsters And Men. They allow me to breathe. I’m sure you have some of your own. I hope this playlist does something for you. Moves something in you. And then who knows, maybe tomorrow will be better.
I first heard about Hamilton a few years ago and naïvely assumed I wouldn’t enjoy a rap musical. It was only last year, when my friend came to visit, that I was forced to listen to Yorktown and You’ll Be Back whilst having a giggly catchup. And the result? I fell asleep that night with the soundtrack on my Spotify. I have not turned it off since. For real. My Spotify Wrapped for 2018 was illuminating, to say the least.
Over the past year I have become, what can only be described as, obsessed with this musical. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anything more perfectly written. Every time I listen, I’m again baffled at what I fucking genius Lin-Manuel Miranda is. That guy.
The exact day I first listened to Hamilton is the exact day I started talking to my boyfriend. I convinced him to listen to this soundtrack because my mind was being blown. He told me later that he didn’t really want to listen to it and he only did because I asked him to. The result of that one? Oh, he’s as obsessed as me. So this musical has kind of been there with us the whole way through our relationship. One of my favourite memories from the start of our relationship is driving around the Lakes singing along to Hamilton at the top of our lungs. (We still do that often.) So then at Christmas when he surprised me with tickets to the West End show I have never been so excited. I was completely not expecting it and then immediately wish I’d thought of it myself!
Skip to last weekend and we saw it. We actually saw it.
And it was bloody incredible.
If you absolutely can, get yourself there. We had previously been apprehensive to see it because we are so unbelievably attached to the original Broadway cast. I mean, they’re the ones you listen to on the album. What if these weren’t as good? What if they just didn’t have the same chemistry?
Well fear not.
All our worries were completely unfounded. Of course there are differences. Some lines are sung differently and some words are emphasised in a different way. It would be completely unreasonable to not allow for such change. But as a whole, this show was amazing. Completely true to its Broadway original. If you closed your eyes there was several characters that you could not have heard the difference in.
George Washington was the absolute star for me. His voice was so deep and commanding and perfect. Dom Hartley-Harris is everything Christopher Jackson made the character and more. He really is the general of that show. Lafayette/Jefferson was another highlight. Daveed Diggs is my favourite from the original cast so I was really nervous. But Jason Pennycooke brought so much sass and humour to this role that I was easily won over. My other favourite of the night was Eliza. Rachelle Ann Go was perfect. The way she sang Burn you could really feel the pain in Eliza’s storyline. For a small woman she can certainly demand the attention of a room. She was captivating. You could have heard a penny drop at the end Stay Alive – Reprise. I was definitely holding my breath. Eliza is just such a heartwarmingly good person.
I think it goes without saying that both Burr and Hamilton were also epically cast. Such great chemistry as a pair; Dear Theodosia was performed beautifully.
Top Songs: Right Hand Man, Wait For It, Helpless, Satisfied, Non-Stop, Cabinet Battle #1, The Room Where It Happened, One Last Time, I Know Him, Burn, Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story.
You know, so all of them. But no, the songs were incredible and seeing the choreography only enhanced them. The amount of steps and combinations that ensemble remembers is impressive.
So yeah, we had a bloody excellent time. We drank some beers, bought some merch, and danced our way through the show. We’re only gutted it’s over now. If you haven’t already listened to Hamilton I seriously implore you to. Hairspray has been my favourite musical for over fifteen years but last year Hamilton knocked this off the top. You will not regret it.
The ENTIRE Hamilton Soundtrack – Duh
Proof that Liverpool is the best city, I’ve got the next few weekends sorted for you.
Starting in 2008 as part of Liverpool’s Capital of Culture celebrations, Brazilica is a parade that celebrates Brazilian music and culture as well as the magic of carnival. The parade sucks in around 30,000 visitors each year; this is probably due to the intoxicating atmosphere. There’s so much going on between drumming bands, samba dancers, colourful costumes and intricate floats. The parade begins on Abercromby Street and will wind down through the city and end in Williamson Square. The event will also host live Brazilian/Afro Latin music on a stage at the waterfront. It’s not to be missed! The event is free. http://brazilicafestival.co.uk
Liverpool International Music Festival (LIMF)
@ Sefton Park, 21-22nd July
As always this is one of Liverpool’s biggest events of the year and you should be there. The two day festival showcases music from many countries and cultures to celebrate the vibrant history and diversity of our city. This year LIMF has named their theme ‘Co-Exist and Connection’ which seems like an excellent idea to explore this year given the current world political climate. It’s also a great way for Liverpool to celebrate it’s ten year anniversary of Capital of Culture. Artists include Basement Jaxx (DJ set), DJ Jazzy Jeff and Jax Jones. Tickets start at £5 and under 11s go for free. http://www.limfestival.com
Pride is always guaranteed to be an excellent weekend. As it’s still quite a new event in Liverpool, the event continues to blossom an get bigger and better each year. Ran by an entirely volunteer-led charity Pride aims to combat homophobia and transphobia in Liverpool and across the world. Their website states their core values to be FREE, INCLUSIVE, VISIBLE. So whether you’re part of the LGBTQ+ community of just an enthusiatic ally, this weekend is not to be missed. Whether you want to be in the colourful parade through our streets or celebrate from the side of the road it’s up to you. The march will start at Liverpool Central Library and twist though the city to end on Tithebarn Street where a main stage will be set up full of excellent performers including, Atomic Kitten and Sophie Ellis-Bextor. This year Pride will also be hosting events on the Sunday that are more casual, family-friendly. Sunday is about learning, experiencing and making a difference. This event is free. https://liverpoolpride.co.uk
There’s just something magical about the summer, don’t you think?
T-shirt Weather – Circa Waves
We’re finally starting to see some sunshine here in Liverpool so I thought it was about time for an Indie Liverpool pt.3! To match the warmer weather I thought it would be perfect to share with you some of the excellent beer gardens and roof terraces Liverpool has to offer. To all you parents though, this article is not going to be very kid-friendly so start digging out those babysitter phone numbers now!
An oldie but a goodie. If you remember from the first Indie Liverpool I mentioned this pub as a perfect independent location to visit in our city. You may also remember that I mentioned it had a beer garden. Well it was winter then but now that we’re heading into summer this is a must-see! The atmospheric beer garden is situated right in the middle fo the city with many tall buildings around it. You get a great slice of blue sky there though and it’s just a sublime place to sit with a scrumpy cider and bask in Liverpool’s glory. http://www.yecracke.co.uk
Now again, if you’ve not managed to get to this venue yet after it was mentioned in a Indie Liverpool pt.2 you might want to get it on your list. HUS’s rooftop terrace is the best place to while away your evening hours. From the rooftop you can see the beautiful Liverpool skyline including St. John’s Beacon as well as a lovely slice of the Mersey. The terrace is fitted with a grill, some lovely grass and some twinkly lighting making it the perfect place to spend sunset. https://www.facebook.com/HUSLPOOL/
There has been many reincarnations and renovations of the great venue Kazimier and whilst the main indoor music venue was closed down a couple of years ago the excellent sister location Kazimier Gardens is still going strong next door. This boho kind-of-indoor, kind-of-outdoor bar is brilliant for a mulled wine or gin and tonic alike. Whether you’re huddled in the bustle of excited conversations or the entranced crowd of a bluegrass show this venue is a must visit. All the wooden furniture and wild plants give the location a great outdoor feel whilst really being in the centre of town. https://www.facebook.com/KazimierGarden/
OH ME OH MY
This Water Street venue boasts one of the most intoxicating views of Liverpool with their roof garden, Goodness Gracious. The good news is they’ve opened it for summer again! From the top you can see the whole front and all the Graces. With the same owners as Leaf on Bold Street you know this venue is going to deliver. So whether you want something casual and creative or something a bit more classy, this is the venue for you. https://ohmeohmyliverpool.co.uk/roof-garden/
Other honourable mentions (I know you want a bar crawl really!): Heebies, Red Door, 30 James Street, The Peacock, Constellations, Botanical Garden, District, The Lodge, Pump House, Free State Kitchen.
Pt.4 is coming.
In The Morning – The Coral
The long-awaited second instalment of Indie Liverpool is here. In case you missed the first one, I’m just telling you some of my favourite independent bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants, cafes in Liverpool. If we’re honest, this series could go on for another sixty-three parts because there’s just so many boss places in Liverpool! I’m glad a get to call it my city and I’m glad I get to show you some of the cool hideouts. Enjoy.
HUS – If it’s a great pint you’re after, look no further – HUS offers the first Tank Beer in Liverpool. This new venture by the Baltic Social owners has Scandinavian vibes, a rooftop terrace (I’m super excited for this to reopen) in the business district and amazing cocktails with chilli in them. Weird, I know, but worth a try. https://www.facebook.com/HUSLPOOL/
The Egg Cafe – An awesome hideout off Bold Street if you can hack the winding stairs up to the cafe. It’s BYOB as all the best places are, just pay a contribution. The Egg is one of Liverpool’s original vegetarian hangouts featuring many classics on the menu as well as new rotating mains, very quirky and excellent anytime of day. I would definitely recommend the garlic bread meal after years of eating maybe eighty of them. Offers Independent Liverpool Card Discount. https://www.eggcafe.co.uk
Leaf – Whether it’s food, tea or a boss gin cocktail you’re looking for, Leaf has it all. Obviously named after their tea, this venue offers a ridiculous array of lose leaf teas just waiting to be brewed for you. With a relaxed atmosphere in the day time, Leaf also turns into a pretty busy bar at night with live music. I don’t think you could go wrong with any time of day. Offers Independent Liverpool Card Discount. https://thisisleaf.co.uk/liverpool/
The Grapes – This hideout is a must for any good city centre pub crawl. It used to be known for the squish you’d have to endure from one side of the venue to the other but after having a facelift last year, the pub now boasts almost double the amount of seating space as well as an upstairs roof terrace. Fair warning, it will still get crammed in the evening, what can I say, everyone wants to go here! There’s not much to say about The Grapes other than that it is quintessentially Liverpool. It’s good booze and good people. And what more could you want? https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grapes/160498220633965
Matta’s – Something a bit different. Matta’s is not a bar or a restaurant but a supermarket. Why is it on the list? Because it has literally everything you could ever want. It has all your bougie grains and nuts available in bulk. It also has a wide range of vegan essentials that you can’t find in many other places, for example Vegenaise! The grocer also offers almost every spice, herb or condiment you could dream of including a lot of great international foods. Offers Independent Liverpool Card Discount. https://www.mattas.co.uk
Pt.3 is coming.
Mersey Paradise – The Stone Roses
This is a frequently asked question, right? And it seems straight forward enough. Maybe to some it is. But I find it impossible. The sheer volume and variety of music. How could you name a favourite? Or even a handful of favourites. I tend to have a few bands or genres ready for people. They find it easier to have a tangible answer. But honestly what kind of music do I like?
It depends on the day. It depends on the season, on my mood, on whether I feel like dancing, on whether I’m cooking or cleaning, on whether I’m drinking, on the weather, on who’s around me, on if I want to smile or not, on if I’m trying to drown something out. And I don’t think I can be the only one. So, no, I don’t think that’s a simple question.
I was sat on a train yesterday and I decided to put Hozier’s album on. No reasoning, it just called to me as I was scrolling. My mum was the one who introduced me to him so I haven’t listened in a while. And as I sat there listening to Jackie and Wilson it hit me. My music taste is the music taste of my family. My family love music. Actually, that doesn’t seem a strong enough emotion. I’m not sure I can articulate how my family feel about music. It understands them. And they understand it. Now in a family of six there is a crazy amount of crossover but there’s also wild difference.
There’s U2, Pixies, Childish Gambino, Nick Drake, Fleetwood Mac (all formations), Elvis, The Specials, Chic, Spice Girls, SG Lewis, All The Luck In The World, Feeder, Genesis, Beyoncé, Travis, Snow Patrol, The Velvet Underground, The Selecter, The Jackson Five, The Eels, Frank Ocean, The Lemonheads, The Lemon Twigs, Green Day, Bowie, Of Monsters and Men, ABBA, The Beatles (obviously). And that’s barely the tip of the iceberg. My whole life I’ve been surrounded by music. And yeah, I find my own music too. Sometimes. But often really I just pick and choose different parts of my families archives and throw it together to make the absolute insanity that is my Spotify starred playlist. I trust the taste of my family so I know I’ll love the music I choose. It feels like a hug when I listen to a song and think of how I ever first heard it and realise my brother messaged me it. My family have led me to some of my absolute favourite music, all from their different corners.
And I think it’s more fun that way. How can you say you only like indie rock or pop or reggae? What do you do when you experience an emotion that doesn’t fit your genre? It seems mad to cut out vast sections of the musical palette of the world. Just so we can fit into a meaningless box.
So I’m happy with not knowing when people ask me. Some days I listen to Of Monsters and Men or Snow Patrol, sometimes I listen to jazz or Blink 182. I also love a good soundtrack like La La Land or Hairspray. I also like Dua Lipa and Ed Sheeran. Some days all I listen to is Fleetwood Mac from their Blues days. Sometimes Bowie does it for me. For some reason I love Childish Gambino whilst I’m idling hours away in my room. When I drive with my sister it’s whatever the radio throws at us cos why not? If I’m cleaning I love something like Years and Years or Betty Who or Troye Sivan. In the shower it’s always All The Luck In The World cos it’s my favourite album of all time. When I’m in the car with my dad it’s anyone guess. Could be The Beatles, America, Walking On Cars even The Thrills. Sometimes you just need The Strokes. And sometimes I need The Thermals to remind me of a simpler time. Is there never not a good time for Beyonce? If I’m drinking with my other sister it’ll be ska or rock and roll or disco. Other times I’ll listen to a playlist I’ve made of bands I know one song of but just haven’t got round to exploring yet. On a sunny day it’s Best Coast. When I miss my brother it’s a playlist he made almost a decade ago called ‘This’ll do nicely’. And when I think of my mum it’s U2. Always. I live for the variety. Makes every day different. I don’t see that changing ever.
And you thought I could pick just one song for this post?
Sometimes I look up from my own thoughts and realise it’s been eight months and I have been doing the same thing every day. Whether that’s not replying to friends messages for no reason, watching eight seasons of Friends in less than six weeks or realising you haven’t done that thing that’s been on your to do list since last year. And it’s kind of exhausting. Exhausting to always be doing the same thing. To stagnate and never change. But it’s hard to convince yourself to change. Sometimes it’s easier to just watch the weeks and months pass instead of taking part in them. I think it’s good to switch up your routine but I don’t think it can all be done at once. So maybe we just pick something really small and alter that. I have this thing where I hear a new song that I love and then I will just put it on loop for like a week. Then I’ve killed it so I have to move on. The problem with doing this is there is no variety. There isn’t even any albums. And whilst it may seem like I’m listening to new music, I’m not really. At my rate I may just get fifty new songs a year. Which may sound a lot to some people. But to someone who usually always has music on that seems like a very small number. And I don’t want to only listen to the music I already know for the rest of my life. So yesterday I put on the first album by The Vaccines whilst I was walking to work. I’ve been to one of their gigs before with my siblings. I’d say I enjoy their music cos I like what I’ve heard. But then I thought, wait do I even know all their songs on their first album? Turns out I didn’t. But it’s a fucking good album. Wetsuit and Lack of Understanding are boss songs. As well as the more well-known songs like Norgaard and Post Break-Up Sex. I’m going to move on to the second album soon. To build my knowledge. But for now it’s been nice switching up my day by bringing some new music into it. Baby steps.
Wetsuit – The Vaccines (duh)
If I have to see this cliche in floaty white text over a sunset or the bikini-clad arse of some woman one more time I’ll probably vomit. Having said that, it’s perfect for this week’s self-care post. So we’ll go with it.
Yeah you’ve guessed it; this week’s challenge is simple. Put on your headphones or airpods or google brains – whatever the kids are using these days – set your volume to a level you know your mum would tell you off for then blast any song that is going to get you moving. I don’t discriminate based on genre. If you want some heavy metal that’s cool with me or if you need some Ariana Grande you do you. I’d probably go for some ska or rock and roll or even some eighties dance. I’d leave the folk and the prog rock at the door but hey, that’s just me. If it’s some weird Kate Bush dancing you’re going for today then something slower might be perfect.
It just has to really get every bone and muscle in your body twitching til you’re pulling some moves that no one should ever have to witness. Make sure you’re in a room alone, wait til it’s dark and close the curtains if you’re really self conscious. But just get into a space where you can be the best freak you know how.
Now singing at the top of your lungs is not mandatory but it’s enthusiastically encouraged. You might want to make sure there’s no one in the whole house for that one though. My dad doesn’t need to hear that.
And that’s literally it guys, simple.
Dance until you’re red in the face and needing a shower. Or dance til you’ve got out all your stress or anger. Dance til you’re laughing at yourself and just living your best life. Dance til you realise life is short and we need moments like this. Dance til you’ve exhausted your playlist. Oh and look at that. I’ve made you a Spotify playlist to get you started. That’s convenient.
Now go dance, my little weirdos. Unapologetically.
Liverpool is my hometown and I feel pretty stoked to come from here. The people are boss, we’ve got tons of history and culture and if it’s hedonism you’re after you need look no further. I’ve been back here for about a year since finishing uni and in that time I’ve spent most of my wages on drinking too many pints and cocktails and trying every veggie meal the restaurants have to offer. Liverpool has a great independent vibe that is only growing so I figured I’d share with you some of my favourite indie spots across the city. These are cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, clubs. Anything boss, basically. So whether you’re from the city and looking for something new or new to the city and looking for something quintessentially Liverpool, I got you.
Ship and Mitre – I’m putting it out there, this is possibly my favourite pub in Liverpool. Simply, it does what a pub should, serves great booze. The energy is addictive, relaxed. Being on Dale Street it’s also walking distance from the financial district so if anyone’s looking for a Friday pick me up they’ve got cask ales, craft beers, scrumpy ciders. http://www.theshipandmitre.com
Down the Hatch – Standing on the ashes of the legendary club, Le Bateau, I had reservations about this new veggie/vegan restaurant. Located in a basement on Duke Street I was pleasantly surprised. The interior is atmospheric but cosy, the food is comfort – DTH boosts a veggie junk food menu. If that’s not enough the cocktails are amazing, definitely try the Scouse 75. Offers Independent Liverpool Card Discount. https://www.facebook.com/downthehatchLIV/
EBGBS – Heebie Jeebies little brother, completely renovated last summer, the venue is a dark, basement, biker style bar that homes Liverpool’s longest running indie club night, Liquidation, on Saturday nights. So let’s dance to Joy Division, Bowie and the Bunnymen. Offers Independent Liverpool Card Discount. https://www.ebgbs.co.uk
Ye Cracke – One of Liverpool’s oldest pubs on Rice Street, off Hope Street, The War Room section is actually a listed building. The place is steeped in history; the pub was Lennon’s old watering hole when he was at art school. Also offers a large beer garden where you can waste the hot days away. Just so you know, it’s pronounced ‘The Cracke’ if you don’t want to sound like a prick. http://www.yecracke.co.uk
The Brink – The first dry bar in the UK, The Brink focuses on being inclusive. It’s a recovery social enterprise and often houses local artists, poets, musicians. They have a great range of mocktails and other juices for just £2.95. Extensive menu, offers an afternoon tea and is great for vegetarians. Offers Independent Liverpool Card Discount. http://thebrinkliverpool.com
Part Two is coming.
Paperback Writer – The Beatles