A star amongst the stars

Herba’s and Pö’s monthly blogging project ‘Mach was’ is back again from a summer hiatus and the newest theme is “Mach was mit Sternen” (“do something with stars”). Basically that means I could make this post all about me, as my name, Esther, means ‘star’!

But I’d rather not make this about me, I’ve already self-indulged enough by making an Esther-video. I’m going to make this about David Bowie instead! Space and stars always make me think of him and he made a lot of songs featuring space. His first hit was Space Oddity and he made many more ‘space songs’, like Life on Mars, Moonage Daydream, Ashes to Ashes (which was a sequel to Space Oddity) or my favourite latter day spacesong of his called Spaceboy.

However, this ‘Mach Was’ is not about space but about stars, so for this post I’m showcasing some David Bowie star-songs. His most famous, breakthough alter-ego had “star” in his name and was called Ziggy Stardust. Ziggy is an alien rockstar who has come to earth to warn of the end in 5 years time (Five Years is a brilliant storytelling song, by the way, which has nothing to do with stars or space, but is worth a mention). I love so very many of Bowie’s songs, but the Ziggy Stardust album is my favourite.

Ziggy Stardust album

Without further ado, here are some cool David Bowie ‘star’ songs:

David Bowie (and Ziggy Stardust) shot to fame after performing Starman on ‘Top of the Pops’ in 1972…

From the Ziggy Stardust album we also have the Ziggy Stardust titular song…

And Lady Stardust

And Star about being a rock’n’roll star…

There were star-songs on other albums like the sweet song The Prettiest Star from the 1973 Aladdin Sane album…

In 2003 there was New Killer Star…

And in 2013 there was the brilliant The Stars are Out Tonight with the awesome Tilda Swinton co-starring in an awesome video…

And of course, right when he died so unexpectedly, he released his final Blackstar album with a 10 minute song also called Blackstar on it. It’s very depressing and I still find it difficult to watch, but also somehow fascinating and very artistic…

The man even fittingly had an own star constellation dedicated to him after his death…

If I believed in an afterlife, I’d like to think that that is where he’s hanging out right now… a star amongst the stars.

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Something Human & The Dark Side

My favourite band Muse has a new single out called The Dark Side. Released 3 days ago, it already has over 2 million views on YouTube! They are doing something different with this new upcoming album. It is somehow softer in music (almost sounds more like pop than their usual rock) but it still is a little dark in tone. The last single, Something Human, came out in July…

I’ve got to say, when I first heard it, I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it. It’s fine but not really Muse, I thought. The vocals are Muse but not quite the music, I’m missing what I call their “singing base guitars”. However, on repeated listening it has grown on me.

Now we have their newest song as well, called The Dark Side and it’s made in the same sort of style as Something Human.

It all has a bit of a 1980s vibe and as the 1980s was the decade of my teens, music of that era is happily nostalgic for me. I like that they’re trying something different. The songs aren’t up there with my Muse faves yet but I am very curious about the new album. Muse’s albums have a bit of a storyline and I wonder what this one will be. I see two songs they brought out earlier (Dig Down that I have already blogged about here and Thought Contagion) will also be on the new album. Those songs seem more old-Muse than these two new-Muse songs. Intriguing.Simulation theory albumTheir new album will be out in November, which means that there should be a new tour next year! I’ll be there. 🙂

The real Slim Shady!

Yesterday evening, Mr Esther junior and I went to see Eminem perform live in Nijmegen in the east of the Netherlands. My son has been an Eminem fan for about 3 years now and this concert was the gift he got from us for his 17th birthday. He is the only one of his friends who really loves Eminem, so, as they are no fans, I said I’d love to go with him. I’m not a rap or hip hop fan at all but through Es jr’s influence I have started to really like some of Eminem’s songs and found myself excited to be going to this concert as well! Of course, my excitement was no match for Es jr’s excitement.

We got there quite early, in the afternoon. I got Es jr a commemorative concert t-shirt which he absolutely loves…

We walked around, got drinks and something to eat and then secured ourselves a nice little spot. Es jr didn’t want to go up too far in the front, he doesn’t like the pushy crowdy element when close to the stage. It was quite hot, so while waiting and chatting we shielded ourselves from the sun for a bit.

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The evening started with two rap acts to warm up the crowd. Finally, at around 9.20 pm, Eminem started his concert and Es jr was in seventh heaven. This was pretty much our view – good view on the screens and we could see Eminem (encircled in this picture) jumping around and rapping on stage.

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He had an MC/side-kick to help whip up the crowd and sing along with him and it was a great concert! He sounds great live, just like on his recorded music and really gave his all to make the concert a good one. Eminem hasn’t been to the Netherlands in 15 years, so him singing ‘Without me’ where he sings “Guess who’s back? Back again? Shady’s back, tell a friend!” seemed extra topical.

For those who don’t know, Eminem is also nicknamed ‘Slim Shady’…

He sang a lot of great songs, some of his greatest hits…20180712_213524_resized… and Es jr could rap along with pretty much all of them! He was also not shy to stick up his middlefinger together with thousands of others when asked to do so by Eminem.

Eminem has this one song where he does a really quick rap in the song “Rap God”. In fact, I understand that that song is in the Guinness Book of Records for being the hit single which contains the most words.

There was a beautiful section where Eminem sang some duets with Skylar Grey, songs that have been recent hits from his latest album. Skylar Grey really has a great voice! He also did this song with her from 2000 called “Stan” about a stalker fan…

As the sun set, it all looked even more beautiful.20180712_223703_resized

The last song ‘Lose yourself’ (one of my fave Eminem songs) was beautifully lit and beautifully performed, a perfect end to the concert.

It ended with a few fireworks…20180712_225316_resized… and it really was over all too soon. In fact, that may be my only gripe: the concert lasted barely 90 minutes. I’m used to concerts being a little longer than that, would’ve been cool to have a little more. No matter, though, we were very grateful for all that we had seen and heard and Es jr really was very happy! “I can’t believe Eminem is here, so close to us in the flesh!” he beamed at me during the concert. And: “Best birthday gift ever!” he exclaimed afterwards. This concert certainly is a memory to treasure, for Eminem and for sharing that with my son. 🙂

American Idiot coming to the UK

So, Trump is coming to the UK and the British are deploying their sense of humour to protest him. First, there’s the big baby Trump balloon that will fly over London…

There is little chance Trump will actually see it because he is avoiding London during his visit, but the man is aware of this, it’s been all over the news, so in my eyes the protest has already succeeded. I read today that there is a petition to also fly the baby balloon near the golf course in Scotland that Trump will be visiting. Ah yes, peaceful protests such as these really make me happy!

What I also love is that there is a campaign going to make the Green Day song “American Idiot” (originally about George W. Bush) number 1 in the UK during the Trump visit.

The song is already climbing the charts, so it’s already working. I don’t know if the song will make it to number one, but just all this talk about it and the surrounding enthusiasm, makes me happy.

Yesterday Richard Armitage tweeted a little protest himself, protesting a US Embassy statement telling Americans to watch out for the British…

RA Twitter protest

In my experience in London and in Europe there is no animosity against Americans in general, there is animosity against such an idiot president! If anything, I always experience great sympathy for Americans who have to deal with such a man as their president. Americans do get questioned on their view on how such a man was elected but I have never known any animosity against Americans just because they are Americans! This US Embassy statement is yet again an example of how divisive this US president and his government are. There are daily examples of how divisive Trump is, yesterday’s NATO summit was another display of Trump’s ignorance and insults.

I really wouldn’t be able to bear meeting such a man because I’d have no hope of a positive outcome for such a meeting. Bullies just can not be reasoned with, is my experience. I truly can’t understand how anyone can support such a man. I know many of the arguments and feelings of why people support him and I understand the underlying concerns, but there is no way in my mind that Trump is an effective answer to any of those concerns. (Note: If you are a Trump supporter please don’t try to convert me in the comments or on Twitter, there is no convincing me that this man is doing any good in his country or the world at all! You won’t convince me and I won’t convince you, so let’s leave it at that).

This evening Mr Esther junior and I are going to an Eminem concert. Eminem is also very anti-Trump…

He’ll be in London the coming weekend, so I wonder if we’ll hear any protest from him when he’s there as well.

Should Trump ever visit The Netherlands, I’ll be there, protesting, because in my eyes the man is a danger to the world. Meanwhile, from behind my laptop, I wholeheartedly support all humourous and peaceful protests against him!

Young man!

Yesterday was my son’s 17th birthday. We had dinner with our IL’s and next weekend we have a party with my family (we keep the two worlds and families separate for reasons of sanity). Yesterday, as I was walking behind my two kids after dinner, heading for the ice cream shop to get some good scoops of ice cream for our dessert, I really wondered where the time went. I saw two tall young people walking ahead of me (my daughter is almost my height, my son is almost a head taller than me)…

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… when in my mind my kids are still like this in a way…

small kids

I know it’s a huge cliché, but time really does fly!