TIËRNY – Lonely Are The Brave

I made no post yesterday. I feel a sense of personal disappointment when this happens. There was good reason though. I woke and after a call to 111, Sarah quite rapidly took me into the local accident and emergency department of the nearest hospital. My leg had locked overnight at a 90 degree angle. I couldn’t straighten it at the knee. I wasn’t in pain, save for if I tried to make it straight. Then, the agony was excruciating.

I heard yesterday that Helen McCrory has passed away. I’m not one for TV series; my attention span isn’t up to much but would count Peaky Blinders as one of my all-time favourites. You can’t help but adore the family of rogues (lovable) that it observes. Polly, the part that Helen plays, is a strong matriarch that you grow to respect. Helen’s passing at the tender age of 52 reminds us all of our mortality. 

And when I was holed up, leg outstretched in a splint, only able to hobble slowly on crutches from room to room, the grief for somebody I only know on the screen was compounded. 

I was planning to feature TIĒRNY’s ‘Lonely Are The Brave’ yesterday. I had it all planned out in my head before the necessary diversion took over. But in so many ways, it fits better today. TIËRNY is from Liverpool and describes her genre as gothic alt-pop. On ‘Lonely Are The Brave’ we find her exploring themes of love, loss and isolation. When I watched the video (and in advance of hearing about the news about Polly), I couldn’t help but think about the religious menace, the adverse humanity, on offer in Peaky Blinders. 

It would appear that I’m going to be forced into watching more TV series in the coming weeks as I find ways to rest my left leg. 

StanLei – Wake Up

It seems kind of obvious that Sonic Breakfast, a blog with the tag-line ‘Music musings with your muesli’, should feature a song called ‘Wake Up’. The breezy chorus of the tune and gentle, laidback beat could be perfect fodder for those still yawning, dabbing the sleepy dust from their eyes and trying to get their arses into gear for an inevitably busy Wednesday. 

But it doesn’t take long to realise that StanLei’s ‘Wake Up’ is asking you to do so much more than to smell the coffee percolating in your cafetière. This is a protest song, a call to arms that’s urging us all to take much more interest in the political, environmental and social issues of the day. “We are all in this together so why cant you take a minute before you sit back down, put your blinkers on and settle in it“, says StanLei in the song before another chorus kicks in.

StanLei (‘stan-lay’) – real name Jennifer Stanley Smith – is a singer songwriter and producer based in Toulouse. Leaving the adopted hometown of Bristol to spend years travelling as a nomadic seasonal worker, Jenny looks to have now settled in France. It’s from there that her debut album will be released, hopefully in April. 

Having spent one unexpected night in Toulouse back in 2018, I obviously hardly feel qualified to wax lyrical about the place. But the city did seem to have a vibrant energy and an ‘alternative’ culture that marked it out from other parts of a slightly dated, stuffy France that I’d been previously travelling through. “Toulouse is a really cool city, it even reminds me a bit of Bristol.“, says StanLei when I mention my sole visit. “I’m actually in the countryside outside Toulouse now though so 2020/2021 has been a bit more bearable here I think.”

Being free to travel across France (or to drive across any Continent) seems a long way away right now. But that surely doesn’t mean that I have to self-isolate without talking about the things that really matter. Today is a day to begin to ‘take back my power.’