I found this charming blogging challenge in Tarukirja blog. It’s pretty simple. You go through the alphabet and answer the following questions by naming women whose first or last name begins with the letter in question. (There is no time limit with this challenge which is very good indeed.)

  1. Who is your favourite female author?
  2. There is other culture besides literature. Who is your favourite woman in culture other than literature?
  3. Two questions, you can answer both or just one. A) The woman you would like to get to know better? B) Who is your absolute favourite and would like to bring to attention?

I’ll begin with the letter A.

1. Margaret Atwood. She is such a versatile writer. She could write pretty much anything and I would read it.

2. Alice Pike Barney. She was an American painter. Her work is so impressive and I would say even magical.

APB

Alice Pike Barney: Young Woman in Black Hat (1927)  From: Wikipedia Commons

3. A) Astrud Gilberto. She is a Brazilian singer. So far I’ve listened to repeatedly her version of The Shadow of Your Smile. But there is probably a lot more amazing music by Astrud and I have to listen to it asap.

Lola Bensky

07.01.2015

I immediately wanted to read Lily Brett’s novel Lola Bensky when I saw the cover. And read the book jacket that mentions the words “London music scene”, “1967” and “rock stars”. The novel is all that but also much more. It is a work of fiction but very autobiographical at that, the author did in fact work as a rock journalist in Australia in the 60s and she did interview many rock legends.

Lola Bensky is an Australian 19-year-old music journalist who is the daughter of Holocaust survivors. Lola has heard many gruesome stories of the horrors of Auschwitz. These stories Lola recollects in her thoughts and sometimes even shares them with her interviewees. Lola meets and interviews for example Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. And even Paul Jones and The Bee Gees are mentioned. The passage about Paul Jones is brief but it made my day! Lola recounts her interview with Mr. Jones whom she finds very confident and direct in a good way, without false modesty.

The themes of confidence, modesty and self-esteem are very crucial in the novel. Lola Bensky, who is quite content to be a rock journalist, doesn’t know how to enjoy life or to appreciate herself. She feels fat and rather than living the life of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll like so many others in music business, she spends her time working and dieting (or planning her cockamamy diets consisting of boiled eggs and watermelon). To Lola’s mother Renia, excess weight is something suspicious, as only the traitors in death camp were allowed enough food to eat, others suffered from severe malnutrition. The Holocaust is Lola’s trauma through her parents, Renia and Edek, even though Lola herself was born after the war and didn’t experience it firsthand. The badly traumatized survivors didn’t know how deal with the fact that they survived while so many others died. To Renia her survival is a constant source of antagonizing guilt which lives on in her daughter. So, The Holocaust continues to be a collective trauma also for the next generation. Everywhere Lola goes she reflects her own Jewish roots to other Jews. How to make peace with a past so dreadful? How to live and go on knowing that humanity is capable of inflicting such horrors?

The novel also brings up gender issues. As Lola talks with Janis Joplin and later Mama Cass, they both reveal the difficulties of working in a very male dominated rock music business especially as women who are not considered to be sexually attractive or beautiful in the traditional sense. However, Lola finds both Mama Cass and Janis Joplin to be happy and content with their lives. Many of the beautiful and thin celebrities Lola meets seem to be more unhappy and troubled despite their perfect appearances.

All in all, Lola Bensky is a novel about making peace with your past and finding self-worth as a woman. And stories about some great rock music personalities whose depictions might be true. Or not.

Lily Brett’s interview in The Sydney Morning Herald. 

Magic Is Afoot

11.07.2013

Native American singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie performed in Helsinki at the Savoy. Finnish folk singer Hector introduced Buffy and anticipated that we were about to experience a magical evening. Indeed! Buffy Sainte-Marie is a legend and I can’t believe my luck that I got to see her perform live. This lady is so talented and smart! She talks about the rights of indigenous peoples and also environmental issues. And she has a singing voice like no other. She had a band with her but I liked it best when she just sang and played her guitar without the band backing. Beautiful! Universal Soldier, Little Wheel Spin and Spin, I’m Gonna Be a Country Girl Again and Cripple Creek were among my favourites. Thank you Buffy!

Buffy Sainte-Marie and her band dancing

Buffy Sainte-Marie and her band dancing

Superstar

07.03.2011

The Ark began their farewell tour at Tavastia, in Helsinki March 3rd 2011. After this year The Ark is no more. And no one knows what the frontman Ola Salo will do next. I hope he doesn’t abandon music and show business for good. I mean this man needs to be on stage! He has got the charisma size of stadium and he really knows how please the audience. The showmanship is just amazing. And the music is fantastic. Love him. Love the music. ❤ ❤ ❤

Ola with wings (photo by grezilda)

Ola Salo (photo by grezilda)

The Ark performing (photo by grezilda)

Robin’s Reign

07.02.2011

Robin Gibb is touring Scandinavia this spring and summer. He’s coming to Stockholm June 4th. And I’m so gonna be there!!  I’ve been a huge fan of the brothers Gibb for ten years now and it’s about time I get to see one them perform live. ❤ ❤ ❤

 

TRB

29.08.2009

Thanks to a friend I found Tom Robinson Band. First I was doubtful whether I would like the music, I mean punk music has never been my passion. But it turns out that I really don’t know anything about punk. This is a band that sings “Glad to Be Gay”, how could it not be great? I’ve been listening to TRB on Spotify every night this week and still going strong <3. Some people think that politics shouldn’t be mixed up with popular music. I mean, think about this annoying Bono character, suffering from Jesus syndrome. It’s not pretty. But not everybody does it the Bono way. Politics and popular music can go together perfectly, like in the case of Tom Robinson Band, promoting gay rights and working against racism.