5 Recommendations: June ’20

shadow of a hand on a wall in sunset light. Warm tones. A shadow of a butterfly is also visible.

Welcome to another summary of things I’ve enjoyed recently. I’ve been making a massive effort with listening to music this month, I’ve always been terrible at knowing how to find anything I might love so I’m throwing myself into a variety of playlists, searches and recommendations. Honestly? It’s stabilising. I feel like I’m getting to know myself all over again.

Tracy Chapman

I’ve had her saved as an artist to go back to on Spotify for SO LONG. This is one of my most irritating habits: saving stuff for a “later” which never comes. Fortunately this live performance of Fast Car (linked above) came up underneath a YouTube video I was watching.

The performance was so touching. In a way that I never find in anything with a massive light show and a hand full of corseted dancers. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a place for all that fanfare but there’s something about a single performer and an acoustic instrument quietening an audience that catches me every time. (Can also recommend Jewel’s (early) live performances for that feeling).

I must admit that, so far, Fast Car is still my favourite. But I think I need to listen to everything she’s released 537,000 (/many many many) more times before I make any final decisions on favourites.

Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of The Worlds

What was I saying about loving that quiet acoustic feeling? Uh, this is a bit different. As you can tell by the title, it’s a musical version of The War of the Worlds story. There was eventually a stage show but the original album stood alone and is an absolute show in itself. It’s part rock, part theatrical and a touch “hang on that’s a bit classical,” when the strings kick in. I first heard parts of it years ago when my dad would put the record on, but I hadn’t listened all the way through on my own until recently. It can be hard to get through as someone prone to migraines and headaches, but when I can listen I’m totally absorbed. It plays through as one story though it is split into tracks. The drama of The Eve of War and The Spirit of Man will always stay with me. Then Forever Autumn is a little softer (there are versions of it released as singles which are even gentler) but still full of emotion. It also makes sense of why my father is so unapologetic in all his theatrics and antics… It makes me want to throw my arms about and sing along with all the energy I don’t really have!

Black Lives and Voices Matter: an art exposition

I mentioned this fund-raising video on Instagram, but only for it’s fund-raising purpose (now closed because of Google’s guidelines… Google it!), not for any of the art featured within it. The above version of the video is still up though and I wanted to share a couple of my personal favourites of the featured artists.

This song, Transcend by Nyota Parker:

[WARNING for the video there are FLASHING LIGHTS at a few points. Not full on strobe lights but very flickery in places]

I really enjoyed her lyrics talking about politics (because everything’s political really), music, gender and identity. There are so many I’d love to quote, especially from the first verse. From “…Made a revolution, They use constitution as cushions for, what they really doing, You queuing up, while they’re shooting you up, Ayo, don’t drink the poison, Just ’cause you’re thirsty enough,” to lines with humour that made me smile, like saying karma comes & goes around “Just like a donut”. (If you need the full lyrics written out they’re on ‘Genius’ click here -will open in new tab)

Secondly -and moving away from music- I wanted to share

this art by @BeckysSketchBook.

They sell a range of prints and other merch as well as stickers which are really affordable (somehow I never use stickers though? If I can think of somewhere I’d use them I’ll definitely be putting in an order). [Image description for the Instagram post shared above: a digital painting of a slim Black woman crouching on a small patch of grass, she’s wearing denim shorts and a green top with sheer sleeves. There’s a succulent plant growing from her back. Which is incredibly cute and gives this wonderful balance to the image, rather than being creepy like it sounds when described by me!]

Lastly, I’ve been trundling along with the flow of enthusiasm around signing petitions recently so want to end this post by sharing a few which have stayed on my mind. There are many popular change.org (don’t donate to them by the way! Donate directly to causes) ones which you’ve probably already seen so I want to focus more on sharing UK government ones for anybody living here. Our government have a commitment to responding to these, which they don’t with change.org. Of course these petitions are all connected to my opinions and beliefs and it’s up to you to decide what you do/don’t want to put your signature to. I’d suggest having a scroll through active petitions on the UK (or an equivalent if you’re somewhere else and country has one) website regularly to find things you care about.

UK GOV PETITIONS:

Condemn the US government for the use of force against its citizens: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/323863

Add education on diversity and racism to our school curriculum:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/323808

And on a similar note, Teach Britain’s colonial past as part of the UK’s compulsory curriculum:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/324092

One I accidentally tried to sign twice, Introduce Mandatory Ethnicity Pay Gap Reporting:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/300105

A CHANGE.ORG PETITION

on a different topic, but something I’ve mentioned wanting in the past and as recently as last month’s summary posts: A direct call to Instagram, asking they integrate features into their app for adding captions to videos on IGTV and in stories:

https://www.change.org/p/instagram-call-to-instagram-to-add-an-in-built-captioning-feature-to-stories

This would be invaluable in terms of accessibility. If you are sharing content online do consider how people are accessing it. Captions written onto stories with the text feature currently available needn’t be lengthy, you don’t *have* to type out every “um” and “ahh” you speak in your video. But a summary, enough that everybody is able to understand the purpose of what you’re saying at least, is essential.

That’s all for this month…

There’s more I could mention but I don’t want this post to feel as much of an information avalanche as May’s! So I’ll have to save that protest-folk for next month…

Check back before then for a varied mash of fashion and over-thinking posts (I share one every Monday),

See you soon,

Sakara.

P.S. One more of Becky’s drawings because it’s just so tranquil:

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