Songs of 2015 (or Travel)

We all remember the good ol’ days with c-cassettes and how you’d have to tape your favorite songs when you heard it from the radio, then just rewind back and forth to find what you wanted to listen to…or when we bought cds with cool leaflets and in some lucky cases the song lyrics. After discmans came the tiny mp3 players that only played songs on shuffle, then the iPod with it’s funky look and freedom to (not to) choose shuffle play. Nowadays the only people who listen to vinyl are hipsters, true music lovers or maybe old people too?

Short story long, after using different internet playlist/radio sites and apps, when I got a deal for free Spotify premium for 6 months a year ago, I took it and haven’t looked back since. I reckon paying 10€ a month for unlimited music and offline playlists (travel tip!) is totally worth it. Since leaving home almost a year ago, I’ve created a library of music that reminds me vividly of certain good times and places. Spotify allows me to find great new tunes and add them to my lists, so I don’t get too bored with what I already have. Sometimes I shazam a tune (like Cranes by monkey Safari that I heard in H&m), I have a friend recommend me something (such as Coastal Love by Honne), or then I hear a tune with someone and listen to it on repeat for a week (Kavinsky ft. The Weeknd – Odd Look is a premium example of this).

I have no Finnish music on my Spotify playlists except for a travel song my brother gave me, titled Afrikan Tähti (Star of Africa). Throughout this past year I have been very much into Ben Howard and Alt-J. I have happy memories listening to mumford&Sons, and a month ago I really really related to Glorious by Foxes. At the moment I am trying to not get bored of Losers by The Weeknd, which would be expected since I’ve probably listened to it close to hundred times this past 2 weeks.

You could of course follow me on Spotify to see what I am hearing (username: nyyhkypaperi), but in case you just want to have few new tunes, here is a list of songs I have found dancy/comforting/relaxing/touching/misc this past year. I would love to get more recommendations for new tunes! The following is in chronologic order, definitely not best to last. If you’re going to hunt down just a few, go for the bolded ones.

Quindon Tarver – Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)
Bliss n Eso – I Feel Free
Angus&Julia Stone – Grizzly Bear
Hermitude – Speak of the Devil
Alt-J – Bloodflow, Bloodflow pt II, Fitzpleasure, Taro, Hunger of the Pine, Left Hand Free
Hozier – Take me to Church
Ben Howard – Keep Your Head Up, Conrad, Black Flies, Oats In The Water
Vance Joy – Riptide, Georgia
Peking Duk – High
Robin Schultz – Sund Goes Down
Jamie XX – Loud Places
major Laser – Lean On
Kite String Tangle – Given the Chance
Jarryd James – Do You Remember
Jason Derulo – Want You to Want me (got to have guilty pleasures!)
mumford&sons – Believe
Of monsters and men – I of the Storm
Daughter – medicine
Susie Suh – Here With me
Fink – Looking too Closely
Chet Faker – 1989
Safia – Listen to Soul, Listen to Blues
Foxes – Glorious
The Weeknd – I Can’t Feel my Face, Losers, The Hills
Kavinsky ft. The Weeknd – Odd Look
The Antlers – Kettering

Kidnap Kid – Like You Used To
SBTRKT – New Dorp, New York

Can’t wait for the rest of the year’s tunes!

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Dating Sober

Although alcohol has never been a problem to me, I quit drinking altogether about six weeks ago, mainly for 3 reasons: health, money and dating. In Australia (too) it seems like the word ‘first date’ is synonymous to ‘going out for drinks’. By eliminating the possibility of meeting someone over a frosty, or in my case a glass or two of wine, you can pretty easily cut out the people who are meeting you just in the hopes of getting in your pants as soon as possible. Also, I like doing stuff, and new experiences is a way better way to spend time with someone anyways.

Since quitting, I certainly haven’t stop meeting people and become a hermit. I compiled a list of non-alcoholic dates with a friend, and have done a solid job going through the different possibilities.

Ice skating. There is a proper ice skating hall in melbourne, just under the giant ferris wheel. Rent skates for 26 dollars, and either make a fool of yourself or show off your skills.

Studying American English. Audio classes for proper American pronunciation are a fun way of spending time or driving around.

Brunch. Yumm. Even better if you take two dishes to share. And of course coffee.

meditation. Grounding 20 minutes or however long you want to keep it up.

Night drive to the beach. Take in the stunning views of the city after a nice drive. Night time driving is the best! Unless the driver is too tired and forgets that it’s a left-sided traffic.

Drive-in movies and food truck festival. Your average movie experience upgraded!

Chilling out listening to music. Good if the music listened is not only Drake, interesting if it’s French rap. At best you’ll get some new tunes to your Spotify (like Kavinsky, The Weeknd – Odd Look <3)

I don't know how long I'll continue this experiment of mine, perhaps few more weeks. I do believe wine in moderation is good for you, and I don't think I can endure the upcoming picnic season without it.

(No pictures due to not taking any on any of the dates and because I still have the crappy computer that now manages only the basic. Apologies.)

Looking for Flow

The post title has many meanings. I have spent this week in Helsinki, working as a volunteer for Flow Festival, the biggest(?) urban festival in Finland.

I have visited the festival in 2008, and since I got the opportunity and had nothing better to do, I decided to spend 3 days in the kitchen and catering area for the few hundred workers, preparing around 300 sandwiches for each meal, serving meals, making sure no one is left without coffee and that everyone’s blood sugars don’t drop too much (I wish there was a cool video about that!). As a return for my contribution, I was given a 3 day ticket to the festival and a super cool t-shirt. Today is D-day, when the weekend commences (though the opening gig of The Knife was already on Wednesday).

 

Art getting done
Art getting done

Flow Festival is known as the (worst) Hipster gathering of this country, and I have to admit that I am looking forward to seeing what kind of uber-cool show-offs I can spot. What comes to the line-up…well, I’m not too well educated about the performers. I am looking forward to see Alicia Keys, Of Monsters and Men, Grimes, and Kraftwerk, but that’s about it (other performers include Public Enemy, Kendrick Lamar and Cat Power). Luckily there is more than music; art, design and most importantly, not your typical festival grub but delicious food from quality restaurants! The hardest part is to choose from all the different options. We’ll see what the weekend brings (hopefully not rain)!

 

Suvilahti getting constructed, not your typical festival environment
Suvilahti getting constructed, not your typical festival environment

 

Besides being indoors making coffee and slapping ham on bread, I’ve gone for a walk with my cousin and saw his new puppy, met with a friend and sampled some raw treats in a random hair event, got my wisdom tooth pulled out (I do have a picture of that, but I’ll spare you), and walked around town. Who knows, maybe this will be my city some day sooner or later.

In Helsinki, you can't get more touristic than this
In Helsinki, you can’t get more touristic than this
Meet Sylvi. Smile guaranteed.
Meet Sylvi. Smile guaranteed

Go with the Flow!

Sing it like you mean it

In addition to sushi, one simply must do karaoke in Japan. In Finland karaoke is highly popular, sung in pubs where everyone has to listen to the often very drunk, and very poorly skilled singers. In Japan, the promised land of karaoke, you gather your friends and go to a private room, where you can sing for a certain period of time – for extra price the drinks are included. Food and snacks can also be ordered for more satisfying experience.

Beppu may not have nightclubs, but there are several karaoke bars where you can shake that tambourine and pretend you’re the Black Eyes Peas. On the last weekend before school start, bunch of exchange students and few Japanese buddies gathered in a karaoke room in Beppu Tower for a few hours of singing and drinking drinks that were ordered mostly by pointing from the menu.

Eh sexy lady – Gangnam style!

In addition to Gangnam style (two Korean-savvy girls singing, many Scandinavians dancing), on the playlist were hits like I Will Survive, This Love from Maroon Five, some Coldplay, and many others. For next time, I need to make a list of the songs I want to sing – oh yes, there will be a next time. For 1600 yen you can sing for 2 hours, drink as much as you can, and apparently there is some kind of transportation from AP house as well. I wonder how much karaoke costs in bigger cities?

Countdown

The hours are finally closing in. I’ve received confirmation emails from British Airways, my wallet is fat with dollars (no coins, weird!), and I am almost ready to zip my bag closed.

There is still few things left – I have to sleep one night before take off. I won’t even bother putting on an alarm, since I will probably wake up at sunrise, anyways. Not that I would need to, my flight to Chicago doesn’t leave from Helsinki until 2 pm.

Today I said goodbye to my friends. It was a sunny day, we had peas, sat in the park – just like summer should be.

I am no exception to clichès, I just couldn’t resist. Here it goes, New York here I come!