30 November 2016

Opeth Fanfiction?!!?! (an Opeth kind of post)

Just one more post about music memes and I'll stop, I promise.

Anywho, I thought I was a pretty self convinced Opeth fan - one who can sing all the drum, bass, rhythm and lead guitars, as well as main and back vocals (+ lyrics) throughout an entire concert, as well as know all the tracks on the set list (just a snippet of how incredible their concert was last week, can blog about it for days), as well as know all the albums by heart and consider more than 50% of the songs to be their favorite Opeth songs...

But boy was I wrong, apparently I am not entirely a crazy Opeth fanatic (for one, I don't even own an Opeth shirt, shame on me, and don't own their entire discography on vinyl or cd, so at least I have something to strive for).
Furthermore, I do not make crazy-ass Opeth memes, which is a shame, since they pretty much describe ME:

But there's more - and when I say more, I mean there's something more hardcore than just making harmless memes about music.
And it is what I like to call Opeth Fanfiction, specifically crossing Opeth's frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt with Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree etc).

Back story: Åkerfeldt and Wilson are known to work in the past, especially for Wilson producing Opeth's (finest) album Blackwater Park, thus having quite a big impact on Opeth's musical style. Wilson is known for moody (unexciting) music, which fitted with Opeth's dark and melancholic world very well. Åkerfeld's clean singing and Wilson's vocals sound very similar as well, as can be heard on the song Bleak from Blackwater Park.

In short, the collaboration was a success. Looks like some people took it to the next level, bringing you the perfect prog musician gay crossover. Don't say I didn't warn you...

I love Opeth more than any other band in the world with all my heart, and I love to dwell into the realm of homosexual fiction writing every now and again; but I have never in my right mind thought of crossing my favorite musician, as much as I love musicians in general, and long haired men in particular. 
And that is my friends, a brand new kind of crazy, and I just want to find the person who did these memes and hug them.

I am well aware of the world of metal memes and music memes and sure, I was crushing on Opeth's former guitar player Peter Lindgren when I first started listening to the band when I was 15, but this stuff takes musician crushes to a completely new level... Maybe because I have never thought anything of Mikael Åkerfeld.... jeeeez he's like you're swedish metal uncle.... *shivers*

 Last one to top it all off:

Quoth the caption: Mikael above, Steven Below.

I'm out!
All memes found on Prog Snob.


24 November 2016

The Pleasure and Sorrows of Prog II

Click here for the previous post.

Just when frustration with being a lonely progressive rock lover leaves you with enough emotions to write lyrics for an entire Van Der Graaf Generator album, there is suddenly hope ahead.
Let's begin with what I first stumbled across - an entire Wiki How on the subject of "How To Enjoy Progressive Rock (with pictures!)":

Let me get this straight - someone took the time to actually write an 11 step article about how to enjoy progressive rock, with descriptions on key genres and bands, their albums, the "meaning" of progressive music both musically and conceptually and here I am sitting here speechless!

A part of me was forever grateful, but that was a small part, since writing a post this long without mentioning Van Der Graaf Generator is a fucking crime. Hello, theye're only one of the best prog bands out there! 
As well as recommending a 3-disc compilation of Genesis as a first step is a hell of a bad idea. If I'd have started with Genesis' more popier songs I would have never given that band a chance. Thank you for directing me to the point where Phil Collins ruined the band, I will hate this band forever now. Any Genesis fan who's in their right mind will tell you that the core of Genesis are a few albums like Foxtrot and Selling England By The Pound, making them indeed to be "the" prog band.

Secondly, I really do hope most of the info there was written in tongue-in-cheek, because of sentences like:
"did you know that Led Zeppelin's classic track "Stairway To Heaven" is actually a progressive rock song?"

But seriously, I was so happy to come across that Wiki How, some of my favorite steps are:

- Before listening to the music, learn and memorize the various and styles (or sub genres) of progressive rock.
Did you hear that? FUCKING memorize!
- Watch performances by progressive rock groups on YouTube, to further appreciate the talent involved.
- One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the progressive rock community is to attend a progressive rock music festival, if one is held in your area.
You know, my town in Israel had one like, every month. Great times, great times...

But wait, there's more - I have accidentally found a Facebook page dedicated to prog memes! Memes! Of course! Why haven't I thought of that?! There are so few of us we might as well gather online, hate on popular music, post about the same fucking 10 bands religiously and worship musicians who play as fast as their hormones can take them!
I was very happy to see people worshiping Opeth the same way as I do, but every meme phenomenon calls for exaggeration, and this page is no exception.
Inevitably, it's called Prog Snob:

this is how you truly make a Genesis meme!

I adore the Spongebob references

I could go on, but I have spent way too much time on that meme page laughing hysterically. So when you're ever feeling alone, just remember there's someone out there who spent their time doing this:

That's enough internet for today, so here's my favorite one:


22 November 2016

The Pleasures and Sorrows of Prog I

Click here for part II!

Nothing says "forever alone" than loving an unpopular music genre, be it post punk, deathrock or some weird techno subgenre. This post is dedicated to one of my biggest music loves - progressive rock.
But to make matters more interesting and exciting, I have decided to  e l a b o r a t e  on how it feels to like prog whilst being a part of a certain subculture, in this case - the goth/alternative subculture. In other words - I am going to complain passionately and discuss my favorite music. But worry not, as the following post will be a lot more fun.

As you may already know through countless mentions of bands and songs on this blog, progressive rock is one of my favorite genres, and some of my favorite albums and songs are prog. My favorite band, Opeth, are prog (more prog metal, if you don't count the latest albums): I have been listening to prog metal and 70s prog rock as a teenager with my group of friends during middle and high school and I've been listening to Mars Volta religiously in the past couple of years.

The most frustrating thing about liking different music genres whilst hanging out (or assigning oneself) in a certain subculture is finding people with mutual musical interests. Except for one friend (and now 1 more, who is being converted to like prog!) I know virtually no one who likes post punk and progressive rock (except for Boris of course). I don't know any metal people, so maybe liking progressive metal is more common in the metal scene, but there is a limited amount of progressive metal I can stomach in the first place, not to mention goths are focused solely on the 80s and beyond and not so much on 70s.

The Cure in the 80s
Pink Floyd in the 70s

Plus there's the fear (and sadly I have made the experience as well) of being judged for liking a certain music genre that goes outside of the "goth box" - fuck you for making a face when I say I like metal music, or classic rock. People focus on the image you convey with your style or when you visit goth parties they think you like only goth music. If I'd liked only goth music I'd be literally dead by now, and not in the cute romantic goth way.
Plus I feel that when people in the goth subculture like heavier music they need to hide it or make it come across as "guilty pleasure music". Fuck that too - my love for Genesis is stronger than your love for Winklepickers, ok? Also I see no harm in wearing fishnets or whatever and listening to prog. Have you seen how dark and theatrical Peter Gabriel looked like in his heyday on stage!?! No, because you have been blankly staring at your drum machine, making cheap disco music with one button.
And speaking of drum machines, and more specifically - synthesizers - I have been loathing minimal synth music and telling everyone all about it, but simply because the sky is literally the fucking limit when it comes to what you can do on the synthesizer in progressive rock. And I am not talking about insane Keith Emerson solos (some people can't calm the fuck down), I am talking about beautiful atmospheric sounds that can convey not only emotion but also tension in a very good composed song (aka Pink Floyd).

Peter Gabriel of Genesis

I am not saying everyone in the goth subculture are discriminating against people with different musical preferences, but I am saying they're more accepting towards musical genres that have more to do with goth, which makes 100% sense, but we don't all enjoy punk bands out there, and should I really elaborate on why some of the most famous and notable rock bands of all time are prog bands?

Perhaps I love prog so much because I spent my entire childhood and teenage years listening to classical music - my mom would put cds on and play the piano, and from age 10 I began playing the recorder and studying baroque and classical music, and that has turned my musical perception and understanding of it completely around.
And it all comes down to prog rock fans, who are generally huge music nerds who either have something to do with music theory or classical music, hence making them incredibly snobbish.
Oh, I have been that route alright - knowing music theory, analyzing the songs, thinking I was the only person around me who really understood where the best music was at.
Progressive rock provided me what no other rock music did - complex rhythms and beautiful harmonies and musicians with incredible skill to look up to, without them having to wear a suit and tie in a "high society" philharmonic orchestra.

Funny enough, prog wasn't the candidate to replace classical music for me, as that demanded something a lot more heavier in the simple and minimalist sense of the word - aka punk 77, post punk, dark electro and other metal genres, which I still proudly love.

Flip it around and you have prog people who hate on 4/4 time signatures, worship the fastest drummers/guitarists and look down upon popular music and the people who listen to it. That's pretty much how a lot of classical music people I studied with back in the day were acting, and that wasn't cute either.

John Petrucci & Jordan Rudess of Dream Theater

As my friend (the one who's being converted) said: "goth is lazy music", in the sense that once you listen to progressive subgenres like prog metal, post hardcore or mathcore, minimalist music that's being made with 1 synthesizer with the excuse of singing about "heavy" themes and dressing like (allegedly) no one else does, gives the impression like the people who're making it are investing no effort at all into the composition and diversity of the music, which if you ask me, can very well be achieved with 1 synthesizer. The question is, are you riding on the same wave as the bands before you or are you truly giving a though to create something unique? That is the one thing I don't get about the various wave genres, which are very interesting and unique genres.

The different aspects of what makes music to be "good music" is as subjective as anything in life itself, so I might as well end this post on the following note:
I like different music genres, there's no going around it for me, and there's no way in hell I can ever be satisfied with one music genre for the rest of my life. A kind of musicgenreamory, if you will. 
And I hate being judged for one of the things I take a certain amount of pride in: When questioned about why I like a certain genre, is for me the equivalent of being questioned about my identity, about who I am, as if I need to validate something about my individuality. 
Fuck those people. they don't know what they're talking about, and I said it before and will continue saying it again: don't let a certain stream, be it music, literature, fashion etc. dictate your entire life and put you in a box. 
And who will put you in a box exactly? Firstly, you yourself, but also the people you hang out with. Fuck those people, they are missing out on so many musically various adventures they will die of boredom in the court of the crimson king.

the most beautiful thing you'll heard today: The Mars Volta performing Asilos Magdalena

For more subculture related posts, click here.


19 November 2016

Breaking in Dr. Martens - the HARD way

It's time for me to make the post I thought I'd never make. As we all know, Dr Martens are the coolest shoes, also known for being one of the shoes hardest to break in, especially for people who usually buy cheap shoes, like me.

The reason I bought Docs in the first place is as follows: I've been having some orthopedic problems for a while this year, which ended up in me having to get a pair of orthopedic soles. And if you've ever had orthopedic soles or having to wear some now, you know that the only possible way of wearing them is to wear shoes at least one size bigger than what you usually wear.
And so I had to face the fact that aside from a pair of falling apart sneakers, literally none of my shoes was fitting the soles. Not even my winter shoes, which I thought were initially wider/longer.

It was already the beginning of Autumn and I realized I had no proper winter shoes (and no proper shoes in general). And since I have to wear my soles at all times anyway and having some money put aside - I've decided it was the perfect time to invest in some proper shoes that, with the price taken into account, will last me a long time and will fit my soles.

So with that being said, I am a size 38/39, and bought my Docs a size 40, which fit perfectly with the soles in.

Trying out Docs in the store and actually wearing them for the first time are 2 completely different things. This was my first pair of Docs ever, and I braced myself for what was to come.
I looked up some "how-to"s on how to make the breaking in process easier, and decided to refrain from hitting them with a hammer of filling them with wet newspapers (as some tutorials suggest).
Instead I thought the most reliable method was to actually wear them, little by little; to suck up the pain and just let the damn shoe get adjusted to my foot.
This was indeed the HARD way, but how are you going to break in shoes by not wearing them?!

Breaking in shoes is an individual process, so listen to your feet when you're doing it and see which places scream "help me" more than others!
In my case, the first to "scream" were the backs of my heels, especially the lower part. The hardest part of a boot is the back part and the bridge just before your toes start, so it's not surprising. My heels were the only part that had trouble, my pinkie toes usually suffers as well, but with Docs it was not the case! I was impressed...

1. Stack up on plasters/ band-aids
I never though the world of plasters was so diverse up until I had to search for some quality ones. The only plasters you will be buying are gel-plasters, the ones that create a gel barrier between your skin and the shoe. I bought these 2 kinds:

The one on the right is a plaster for high heels, which I've also used, as they are especially made for the back of your heel. And yes, there were times where I wore both kinds on top of each other.

I also had some "normal" plasters for milder calluses, but specifically waterproof ones, since they stay on the foot better and you can leave them on the skin for a longer while. Do yourself a favor and don't buy the classic brown with dots plaster, they sit poorly on the skin and are pretty much the worst plaster ever, might as well use them for the sake of "look at me I have a cut and I covered it up" scenes in tv shows...

2. Wear them for a little at a time
Going to town for errands ? Probably not the best idea to wear your new Docs (or any new shoe, for that matter). I read that you should wear them inside the house at first, and that's what I did. It was all nice and dandy when I just sat at home in front of my computer, but just a short trip down the stairs was a completely different story. We live in a student dorm campus and have a basement for laundry in a different building, makes for a 1 minute walk. So I took my Docs for a walk every time I had to do the laundry, and let me tell you it was hell compared to just sitting with them at home. Every slight various movement of your feet will alter your shoe tremendously, so go out for short trips: take out the trash, check the mail, etc... (I don't drive so I don't know how it is to drive with your new Docs).

The first actual walk with the shoes was terrible, not because of the back of my heels - that part was plastered safely, but because of the front lacing: simply lacing them up felt a bit uncomfortable at first, but that goes away quickly compared to what my heel had to endure. 
Also, different movements of your feet will bring different pain sensations: just when I thought the back of my heels were getting better, I attended a concert with the shoes and while rocking to the music back and forth, experienced a different irritable sensation in the front where the lacing ends.

I pretty much wore them only with plasters for the first 2 weeks. There was no going around it - my skin was very irritated and the gel plasters helped to make it heal. If that sounds gruesome then you should also...

3. Have soft backup shoes
As mentioned before, the only shoes that fit my new soles were old sneakers, which I comforted myself in every time the back of my heels started to look grim (of course you can wear any other type of comfortable shoes you have in between wearing the Docs, but I literally had no other option). This gave my feet the chance to relax and the skin to get (a little bit) back to normal. After the first couple of short "breaking in" trips with the Docs I stopped wearing them for a whole week to let my feet relax.
But the fact that I had to wear either my ragged sneakers or my awesome Docs has speeded up the breaking in process, as I didn't retrieve to other stylish shoes that might have fitted better with my outfit/the weather.

4. The Socks
I think this is the most individual part of breaking the Docs in. I read that you should wear the thickest socks in the world and you will be pain free. I've tried that, but it felt horrible - thick socks usually sit quite loose on your feet, and it made my skin rub even more and the shoe feel especially tense. I also read that you should in no way wear normal stretchy socks (like the kind you can buy in every clothing store) because they will rub your feet as well.
The best solution I found was to wear stockings and 2 pairs of "normal" socks on top. The stockings provided a kind of barrier and 2 pairs of regular socks really don't make your foot that different, while still being soft enough against the shoe. Make sure to wear socks that sit tightly and don't move around.
If you feel like wearing really thick winter socks helps you more, then keep doing that.

Pictures like this have horrified me in the beginning, as in no way I could wear 1 layer of fabric underneath my boots, not to mention fishnets! But wearing socks over stockings really does the trick for me, and I still wear my boots that way.

There were time where I was desperate - my calluses were horrific an my feet were hurting, and I thought that nothing in the world could make these shoes from hell any wearable. But as I wore them more and more things got easier, and the really fit you like a glove!
Here are some final thoughts:

  • Breaking in Docs will take you about a month, at least. I haven't tried other methods except for just wearing them, maybe someone out there has other tips and tricks?
  • I haven't tried lacing them up differently each time, I heard it helps. But what I did notice was lacing them all the way up made them fit my feet better. I personally love to leave 2 holes unlaced at the very top when wearing boots, but that made matters worse. Even that little change of lacing the 2 holes has made all the difference for me.
  • I wouldn't recommend buying second hand shoes, as every shoe fits the person and their feet (and feet are very different, so are the shoes that fit them, even if they all look the same). In my case this was essential since I needed a solid shoe to be wearing my soles with for orthopedic purposes.
  • There are vegan Doc Martens out there, the ones I bought are leather. I don't know how the vegan version feels like, so sorry about that.
  • This post was about the classic Doc Martens boot. I own another pair of the original 3-eye which are yet to be broken in, and the only times I've tried to wear them I've faced different challenges than with the boots, so I will wait before my boots will be completely worn in before I'll start working my way towards the 3-eyes, which look stunning! 
After all this time and pain I can say that I've managed to break in the shoes quite well. It will still be a while before they will give in completely, but it has been 2 months after purchasing them that I am plaster and double-sock free. And of course they look badass with everything I wear, no question there.

Do you wear Docs? How long has a pair lasted, and do you own multiple models?


12 November 2016

BaNd news: our EP is out

This week we have released our first EP with our alt rock band, Girls Like Us.
The EP was recorded in the summer of this year and consists of 4 songs (I sing on the last one):

  1. (it's not) Sex
  2. Not Enough
  3. Thank You
  4. Burning Burning Burning

You are welcome to give it a listen and you can also support the costs of making it by purchasing it through our bandcamp.

Artwork is done by Boris.

This is our first and last EP, as since late October this year the band is no more. Sadly, we have broken up due to many reasons, mostly being creative differences.

I would have liked to elaborate on why the band is not continuing, but there are so many different factores that go into maintaining a band that I don't want to bore you to death as well as not include the point of view of everyone that was involved in the band. In other words, I don't want to gossip.

I initiated this brakeup though, as I wasn't satisfied with the musical direction we were going, and as I got more free on the bass I realized that I yearn to make heavier and more progressive music, something like progressive rock or metal, as this is the music I have almost always listened to and I've always known that this is the kind of music I really want to make. As a result (and additionally influencing my decision) I have declined a lot of the music Boris was composing (which are mostly acoustic ballads) with the reason that I wanted us to sound heavier. But in this constellation it wasn't going to happen. I felt bad for dismissing a lot of Boris' songs, which with the passing of time were piling up, and I knew he really wanted to play them. With that being said and other things at play, all 3 of us have decided to part ways (musically).

back cover of the CD, also done by Boris

I hope you'll give the EP a listen. I am proud of what we did and hopefully we will play another gig and try and sell a few copies. I am happy to have learned so much about being in a band and about music making through this project. I am currently in search for starting a new heavier band, so let's hope that works out.


10 November 2016

Blast from the Past:10 Years Together in Love

Boris and I have met on November 10, 2006, ten years ago. We fell in love instantly.
He was the person I have been looking for, have been wishing for every night before I went to bed; have been fantasizing about and imagining a beautiful guy with long dark hair looking like a dream. And I found him.

2007 (there are no pictures of us from 2006)

I have been emotional today, since I am so happy. Boris and I went through a lot, but we've always stayed together. We were and are madly in love, we went through difficult times and even broke up in 2010 for more than half a year, but we never counted it, because we were always together. 
New Year 2009
I am so fortunate and I am the happiest to be with him. He is my best friend, my biggest and only love, my inspiration, my family, my lover and sometimes my girlfriend/ boyfriend.

We have changed so much, we have changed together.

Spring 2009, last year of high school
2010, army time. Pre-breakup

2012, living together, working to save money to move to Berlin
It feels like when we just met, we were children. And we look like children too. I can safely say we grew up together, discovered ourselves together, listened to all the music, watched us and the world change. I could never forget it and give up on it. Boris is the only person with whom I feel like my true self, who understands me, and I understand him and accept him for who he is.



4 November 2016

Tattoo Idea - A Sleeve of Dogs!

So I've been telling this idea to all my friends and they kind of joke about it with me, and I don't deny half joking about it myself, but if you know me well, you know I LOVE dogs.
Dogs make me happy, I love thinking about them, seeing them, pretending to be them at home (Boris as I howl frequently) and really wishing I had one (but current circumstances don't allow).
In short, I have been obsessing over dogs since I was a kid.

So it got me thinking... I don't have any tattoos yet, and as much as I would like to be true to myself and have like an ankh or a pentagram with roses somewhere (or better - Opeth's O!), I would really be true to myself if I'd tattoo a dog!
But wait -  just one dog? There are so many that I love - borzois, corgis, huskies... here let me show you:

Borzoi & Australian Shepherd

Corgi, Black German Shepherd & Shiba Inu


So then Boris jokingly said - you should do a sleeve of dogs! And I thought: "omg, that's the best idea ever!" So when I'll have an unlimited amount of money to spend, I will definitely make a full sleeve of dogs!

I was bullied in elementary school for loving dogs. I don't recall acting in any strange way like barking or anything, I just loved them and drew them all the time, so other kids (only boys) made fun of me and called me a "bitch" and referred to my hair as "fur". Kids will bully you at school for jut about anything, even for something so harmless! 
It didn't stop me from loving dogs like crazy for a second, so tattoing dogs will be a healthy closure, maybe it will even help me deal with all the trauma and feelings of worthlessness that I have been piling up over the years, who knows?

I am pretty picky with tattoos and mostly I like them on other people, but I do like Art Nouveau tattoos, so imagine an art nouveau dog sleeve, with many dogs in motion, merging and interlacing, with swirls around them.... wow...
Another challenge would be a style of drawing... I don't like realism and I don't like hipster styled illustrations, so I've been looking at some vintage dog illustrations instead:

So maybe, maybe...
Did I mention I liked foxes too?

Urgh now I don't know what to get...