I'm actively trying to cross everything off my list before my 30th year comes to a close, and last weekend I was able to cross #5 off the list.
Last weekend was one of the best weekends I've had in a while. It was one of those times when everything comes together, perspective and possibility are present, and I'm thankful for spending the summer in Canada. Cheers to summer weekends (and weekdays, if you're really lucky) filled with good bands, beers, and love.
The Ottawa Bluesfest has been going on every summer for a few years now. Ottawa's always been somewhat of a second home for me, and I've had the privilege of seeing bands and musicians like Great Big Sea, Joel Plaskett, the White Stripes and Tegan and Sara live at the Festival. Last Friday and Saturday, two of my all-time favourite bands (from the past four years at least) were playing back to back. It meant taking off two days from work (when I shouldn't have) and spending money I don't really have. But I couldn't not go.
Camera Obscura and Belle and Sebastian are both from Glasgow and both truly amazing. If you don't know them, please get to. That's what youtube is for, right?
It's one thing liking a band when you haven't seen them live or even watched any of their videos. I got to know them from their music and lyrics. I was given one of each of their albums on a usb stick, they went straight from my computer to my music player. Then I fell in love and bought everything I could from them on iTunes. And I could imagine as I took them around with me on my iPod. Then you finally get to see a band live, and it seals the deal.
When I arrived in Shanghai for the start of my backapacking trip last year, the first thing I did was buy tickets for the Maglev Train, got on the train, sat down and listened to "Boy with the Arab Strap" on my music player. I crossed through the outskirts of Shanghai at 400 km an hour, into the city I'd always dreamt of going to and let Belle and Sebastian take me there as the city slowly unveiled in front of me. I think I listened to Camera Obscura's "My Maudlin Career" album almost exclusively my first summer in Korea, wandering around trying not to get lost on the Busan subway and feeling a little disenfranchised. But the music helped me get through it all.
I listen to "Rollercoaster Ride" when I'm having an emo morning. "Another Sunny Day" when it's a happy morning. When boys break my heart, I let Tracy sing "I Don't Want to See You" to me. When I just want to dance around I have Stuart Murdoch singing "I'm a Cuckoo". Basically if my life had a soundtrack, it would be mostly indie bands from Scotland.
I think I've told you all about Donghai. It was the neighbouring city of Nanshan, the city where I taught in China. My two volunteer friends worked there, Rupert and Harry. I'd go to their campus most Fridays after school was out. It was Rupert who introduced me to Belle and Sebastian and Camera Obscura. Thank you, Rupert. I will always remember my first month in China when I'd go visit them. After a long week I'd travel to their campus and to their apartment and everything was put into perspective. My week of teaching, my week of small town industrial China, my week of grocery shopping at the Bo Shang and trying to stay vegetarian while being fed some of yummiest food at my school's cafeteria. All of it unravelled in front of me as I walked up the stairs to Rupert and Harry's apartment as they played "Dress Up in You" on their guitars. I never ceased to feel at home, and to feel delightfully content during those moments.