Archive for December 2012

Hurts 'Sunday' Symbolism and Exile Preview



I'm very excited to welcome and hear the new album by Hurts titled 'Exile', which is released on the 11th March 2013. Their last album 'Happiness', is a huge favourite of mine and the same goes for the band itself. In terms of my taste in music, I often find myself drawn to provocative music as I enjoy disputing the meanings behind a song with myself and others. One of the greatest feelings to experience in life is love and the anguish caused by heartbreak which is why they always make for great songs. However, I often find these songs a little cliché as these songs in particular are mass produced by the music industry, probably because they sell the best. Money aside, I had yet to hear a song about the woes of every day life, like rising energy prices or industrial global impact...that is until my favourite band Muse created a song about the sustainability of raw materials and energy. I digress, I found an instant connection with Hurts, not only through the beautiful yet haunting vocals of the Mancunian duo but through their lyrics and videos.


One video in particular titled 'Sunday', fascinated me and had me searching high and low for the meaning behind it. Eventually, I discovered it was a modern day interpretation of the Ancient Greek 'Orpheus & Eurydice' myth in which Theo is Orpheus, the woman whom appears in the video is Eurydice and Adam is Hades. Basically, the myth is that Orpheus's wife Eurydice dies. He is able to retrieve his wife by going into the underworld so long as he manages not to look back when he leaves which he unfortunately does, therefore losing her forever.

In the video you can see an array of beautiful instruments being played, these are what make the music that "softened the hearts of Hades and Persephone". This music allows Theo and the woman to get back to the upper world but they can't look back until they reach this upper world. Unfortunately, Theo comes across a mirror and as a consequence, looks back into the underworld and loses his wife forever.

The whole affair of not looking back spans the entirety of the video; mirrors feature above the car crash in the beginning of the video, a framed mirror takes the place of the woman in the arms of Theo after the crash, a mirror appears in the underworld which Theo looks at, the women playing the instruments in the underworld keep placing their hands over their eyes, the road sign by the car crash says "DON'T LOOK BACK" in Russian-style lettering, and the word 'MIRRORS' is spelt out in Russian letters at the very beginning of the video.

Also, Adam is seen in the car wearing a badge with an electricity symbol for 'Earth Ground' which is described by Wikipedia as "a common return path for electric current, or a direct physical connection to the Earth" which could be an analogy for the underworld and upper world. When Adam touches the badge for the first time, Theo enters the underworld and the second time, Theo leaves the underworld. Other important connections to the myth include the jackals which represent Anubis whom is the Egyptian god of the dead and the Russian car in the beginning which is a Volga - also a river in Russia which could have a connection to the River Styx, the river one must cross to get to the underworld.

This video is truly one of a kind and something that brings a lot more depth to the song. It also gives a good representation of the artistic ability of this band.

The trailer for Exile is dark and features a bald woman holding something in her arms with nothing on but a piercing expression. She has an eye tattooed onto her chest which could signify many different things including The Illuminati and New World Order, a popular conspiracy theory. Panning out from this woman, we see two formally dressed boys, a live puppet with a sack over their head, a stormy fight between the boys and men of different ages, the boys whom are now two cleanly dressed young men, an S&M scene, a presumably dead body and Theo and Adam whom in hindsight, were being represented at different ages in the form of the two boys. The trailer is short but chilling, making the excitement for the new album even greater. The song that features in the trailer is called The Road and is already available to download. I have already purchased my ticket for the upcoming Manchester gig, however - I do not know as of yet whether the infamous Richard the opera singer will be joining them on tour.

The Bow Coat



Last week, saw the mid-season finale of New Girl where Jess's choice of outerwear in the episode 'Santa' was a turquoise blue, moat collar, bow 'Suzette' coat by Kate Spade and retails for around £460. This coat reminded me a lot of the 'French Serge' bow coat featured in the Ugly Betty episode 'Bad Amanda' by J. Crew which retails for a much more affordable £220. Statement coats are a must-have, especially during the winter season as the cold often means we don't get to show off what we're wearing underneath - so take this as an opportunity to "wow" with beautiful outerwear and with winter being the season of Seasonal Affective Disorder, a pop of colour is sure to lift the mood of many, so it may actually good for people's health too.


111 New Bond Street



I've been very blessed to have been invited to two interviews so far, down in London with some fashion companies. I'm hoping to get my foot in the door in a head office position down in London as jobs in the North are so sparse, I'm having to look far and wide for anything remotely worth fighting for and have so far, found myself in several situations in which the prospective employer's own personal agendas have been insincere. 

On my second trip down to London, I picked up a couple things. One purchase very obviously, was from Victoria's Secret whom welcomed their New Bond Street store as their UK flagship store this year. In November, it was reported that Victoria's Secret was planning to open two new UK stores in 2013, one in Leeds and one in Manchester which I'm beyond excited about. No doubt the Manchester store will be less extravagant than the glass-knobbed drawers, mirrored spiral staircases and black crystal hallways of the London flagship store, but it will still have that certain 'Je Ne Sais Quoi' that Victoria's Secret exudes. I'm a strong believer in wearing good underwear; I think it's important to indulge in well-fitted brassieres and seductively-detailed knickers, regardless of what you throw on on top. Lingerie can do positive things for your confidence and self-esteem, and I believe that the staple under-garment can be an empowering tool. 

I also picked up an embellished sleeveless t-shirt from Camden Market. I fell in love with it as soon as my eyes fell upon it. A lot of the stalls in Camden Market are duplicates, selling wholesale stock from Korea but the stall I purchased this from was quite unique in that although the stall sold printed t-shirts bought in bulk, they would also embellish the odd design to create one-off pieces. The stall only had two embellished t-shirts; one was a black KISS t-shirt which was also beautifully stitched and the other was this white Charlie Chaplin t-shirt. The t-shirt is oversized, sleeveless and made from thick cotton. The design is printed and embellished with sequins and pearls. I've never seen anything quite like it and I've completely fallen in love with it.

I'm very happy with my two purchases and excited at the possibility of moving down to London (although I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit terrified). Life has been hectic lately what with Christmas coming up and completing assignments for an on-line course I'm doing. As some may know, I was studying An Introduction to Computer Science at MIT but it turned out to be a lot harder than first anticipated and a lot of established Computer Scientists expressed how naming it 'An Introduction to...' was misleading as those with a background in Computer Science already, had also been finding it tricky. I don't know what  possessed me to think I could complete a course with a prestigious University currently holding the #1 position as the best University in the world. There must have been something in my coffee!

Why People Self-Sabotage Their Happiness

I came across an interesting article not too long ago about people's obsession with what is described as 'masochistic equilibrium' by author Karen Salmansohn. This is where people have become comfortable with distress and discomfort, not because they enjoy it but because it has become their norm and as a result, any deviance away from this produces anxiety. In this article, Karen gives useful advice on breaking free from these reigns and changing the way you behave.

Confession time: For many years I used to be what I call an “enterpainer.” I loved to entertain friends with my pain, sharing amusing stories full of woes and miffed-ness.
One day I discovered a psychological concept which really woke me up—and motivated me to change my “enterpaining ways.” I’m excited to share this concept with you, because I believe it might motivate you as well.
The concept? “Masochistic equilibrium.”
When I first heard these words, I immediately wondered what they meant. I found out they represent a truly important psychological theory—one which clearly explains how and why sometimes a person’s comfort zone might actually be to stay in discomfort.
It’s like this: As a child you learned habits on love and happiness from your parents. If you learned that love comes with yelling and insults, then being in a relationship with too much peace and too many compliments might actually inspire anxiety. Snagging an abundance of joy might also trigger you to self-sabotage your happiness in order to maintain that “masochistic equilibrium” which you learned in your childhood. Or you might simply choose scenarios from the get-go which bring you lower levels of love and bliss.
Basically, you grew up in your childhood learning to feel comfy with only a certain level of happiness. Maybe you grew up used to eighty percent happiness. Or only seventy-five percent. Or seventeen percent. When this concentration shifts—even if it’s upwards—you will then start to feel twitchy, because this new zone feels so unfamiliar. As a result you might instinctively want to do something self-sabotaging, so you can shift your happiness concentration back down, down, down, down, down to your familiar zone—your“masochistic equilibrium.” Or, as mentioned above, you might simply choose situations right from the start which bring you a familiar level of pain, so as to match the“masochistic equilibrium” you grew up with.
How do you break free from the shackles of “masochistic equilibrium”?
You must one hundred percent accept that you do a lot of the goofier things you do because of negative childhood brainwashing—what I call “brain dirtying”—because your lens to the world gets dirtied with negative beliefs that you must wipe clean. Then, and only then, can you clearly see new paths to getting the life you desire and deserve.
One of the best ways to wipe your braindirtied lens clean is to seek alternate positive lessons in past pain. I call this possessing “pain-a-ramic” vision: You see the problems of your past with a full 180-degree positive perspective.
How?
A) Relax your mind. Breathe deeply. Enter a meditative state.
B) Dare to think about your most painful incidents.
C) Force yourself to answer the following: What is a positive and/or lucky way to learn from the past and thereby attain some gain in my pain? List five positive lessons—so you can start to forgive your past—and move forward in a more positive direction.
After you get done blaming your past for present pain, you must also accept some responsibility. After all, you’ve been an adult (or adult-ish) (and maybe even just plain ol’ doltish) for a while now. Although your troublemaking subconscious has gotten you into some painful relationships and challenging situations, the time has come for you to show your cerebrum who’s boss and stop allowing those painful misadventures.
How?
A) Next time you’re tempted to settle for a pattern of pain, repeat the following mantra: “I am not my past behavior. I am not my past failures. I am not how others have at one time treated me. I am only who I think I am right now in this moment. I am only what I do right now in this moment.”
B) Find examples of consistently happy, loving couples, and truly happy people. Spend as much time as possible with them so you can start to shift your belief system to what “normal love” and “normal happiness” are. Over time, you will begin to view highly positive situations as examples for your new normal. The more you witness positive examples of love and joy, the more opportunity you will have to change your belief system about life—and thereby start to change your “masochistic equilibrium.”
C) Talk with any family members you feel that you can be open with about this concept. You’ll find that the more you can be honest about repressed feelings and share them, the less troublemaking your subconscious will need to be.
D) Recognize that you have triggers that remind you of past pain and might thereby create a downward spiral of negative thinking and behavior. Clear your life of these depressing triggers. For example, you might want to remove items from your home that your ex-spouse has given you.  Instead, get “trigger happy” and focus on positive triggers that remind you of all your happy relationships. For example, you might want to put up photos in your home that represent happy times, happy people, or happy philosophies you want to live by.
E) Finally, there’s an added sneaky reason why painful patterns form: a theory √† la Carl Jung. He believed that our lives need meaning and purpose. If we don’t have meaning and purpose, we acquire a bad habit in order to create drama and excitement—so we feel like there’s something interesting and entertaining happening in our life—even if it’s a bad exciting thing.  Jung’s name for these patterns of “enterpaining” situations was “low-level spiritual quests.”
The good news: You can more readily dump negative patterns of “low-level spiritual quests” by developing “high-level spiritual quests”—a driving positive force that drives you forward. For example, it’s easier to dump negative patterns in love (which give you drama and “enterpaining stories” to tell) , if you develop a  exciting hobby or passion-project to serve as your “high-level spiritual quest” (which then gives you excitement and happy entertaining stories to tell).
Personally, I discovered lots of reading and writing of books, which then filled my life with  far more entertaining things to talk about, and lessened my need for“enterpainment.”  However, “high-level spiritual quests” can show up in a variety of forms. You might consider taking up cycling, skydiving, painting, scuba diving, or international cooking. You might start training for a marathon. Or plan a trip to some place exotic.
Who knows? Maybe in the process you’ll meet an incredibly wonderful person (or people), and you’ll have some of your most entertaining stories ever told to share!