Courtney Love was one of my earliest style icons. I was a huge Hole fan, and very much part of the Grunge and Riot Grrrl scene during its heyday. A lover of costume and vintage clothing, it’s easy to see why Love’s aesthique really appealed and resonated with me back then.
I still remember the thrill of finding similar vintage baby doll dresses as worn in the “Live Through This” years when I was a 90’s teenager visiting the UK. Portabello Road, Camden and the sadly long gone Kensington Market in London were absolute treasure troves to dress my restless suburban self.
Such finds now can be harder (and more expensive) to come by, so it was an absolute treat when Courtney Love’s Collection with Nasty Gal launched last January. With its mix of baby dolls, satin slips and crystal tiara’s its no surprise it sold out so quickly.
So I’m super excited to see that Love is soon launching a second collection with Nasty Gal on November 3rd.
While there are still nods to the iconic baby doll dress, Vogue says it best when these describe this collection as a “transhistorical reimagining“. It’s still feels like 90’s Love, but there’s an evolution with its rich velvets, hand beading and “a kind of Jim Morrison pirate blouse,” as Courtney calls it.
From the collection previews I’ve seen so far, the vibe is total Rock N Roll Witchery which I’m loving.
While I may have been running around at 14 looking like a black haired mini Courtney Love in baby doll dresses, plastic barrettes and ripped tights, I counted L7 among my favourite bands.
There was something about them to my teenage self that seemed intoxicatingly dangerous compared to other girl groups. They were strong, fierce women and unrepentant of this. I got the sense that if they wanted to, they could really do some damage.
As a young woman having grown up surrounded by saccharine pop ballads and glossy Seventeen and YM mags extolling the virtues of lip gloss and L.A. Looks gel, the Riot Grrrl movement was like finally being able to breathe after having my head held underwater for so long. Breaking the surface, gasping for that breathe of air you need so badly that it feels like your lungs are being stabbed from the inside/out.
There’s been a resurgence and interest as of late in the Riot Grrrl scene, and I think a lot of this actually stems from the success of The Punk Singer doc on Bikini Kill front woman Kathleen Hanna. It’s kinda appropriate that the charge should come again it seems from Hanna’s direction, given she was very much a pioneer and voice for movement. A new generation are being introduced to Riot Grrrl, and an older generation being reminded of it.
So yes, L7.
There’s been speculation over the past few months as to whether they’d reunite after having been on an indefinite hiatus since 2001. A social campaign has been growing after the following request went out on their Facebook page back in December:
Here’s the situation…
They say to raise a child it takes a village, well to get interest from promoters for L7 to do reunion shows it’s going to take an ARMY. An army of you all. No joke.
Here’s what we need…
We need your continued enthusiasm, your spreading the word by “Sharing” our posts and getting your friends and enemies to “Like” our page.
Well, looks like it worked because news hit today that the original line up of L7 are reuniting with a further string of shows to be announced tomorrow.
AND, for doc loving geeks like myself, a Kickstarter Campaign has just launched in support of their upcoming doc “L7: Pretend We’re Dead“.
This is definitely a Kickstarter to back. For pledging $3,000 or more you and a friend will have a SEANCE WITH L7 to conjure the spirit of Harry Houdini at the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood? Uhm!!!?@#&#*(% HELL YEAH.
I am so ridiculously excited that these guys are back together and I’ll finally have the opportunity to see them live.
In the meantime, here’s a little vintage 90’s to tide us all over till then:
This year I’m trying to really focus on achieving my goals, and in order to do that, I need to be more organized.
I’ve played with loads of different apps in the past meant to help you plan but haven’t found one yet that really works well for me.
As much as I love tech, there’s something to be said about the tactile contact when you put pen to paper.
A trick I used to employ when memorizing Shakespeare and scripts in general was to write lines out over and over again from memory, until I had them down perfectly. And a bit superstitiously, I would always put the sheets of paper under my pillow before going to sleep too, as if the words would further sink into my mind as I slumbered. Oh actors.
So, if the process of physically writing things down helped me to learn lines, why not to organize my life and remember to do’s better?
I’ve picked up a planner again for the first time in years, really since High School.
And how the hell was High School 20 years ago? This just in. I’m old. Nostalgia hits hard sometimes and I decided to fish out my old High School planners from storage for a kick.
Before I became a Princess of Darkness – my tongue by the way is firmly planted in my cheek when I write this – I was very much a 90’s alternative grunge kid. Manic Panic hair dye, thrift shopping, Doc Martens, mixtapes, zines and $2 all-ages shows were my life. All this clearly reflected in my High School planners.
I used to nerdily get excited every August to pick up my timetable and planner in advance to the first day of class and start decking them out. Some years my guy friends would grace the cover with an accompanying story. Whatever happened my way was inevitably glued in there. Concert tickets, movie stubs, rehearsal schedules, photo booth pics and fan girl collages of Courtney Love, Bikini Kill, L7 and any other Riot Grrrl images I could get my hands on.
It’s interesting to see the evolution of ones style and how quickly my planners start to goth out once Grade 11 kicked in. They’re almost like mini time capsules of those years, an unthinking diary of life events. Friends would often write and draw in them, creating a collective scrapbook. I’m glad I’ve kept them still as a memory of a pretty awesome, carefree time in my life.
And yes, my parents totally let me paint my door purple with Hole lyrics, overlaid with a poster of the band. The door remained like that for YEARS after. Maybe my folks just liked exiting their bedroom every morning to be greeted by Courtney Love’s mug. ~And the sky was made of amethyst~
I’m enjoying my rediscovered love for planners and noticing how it’s helping already. Here’s to letting your younger self teach you a lesson sometimes.
Happy Canada Day! To celebrate (and because I’m totally feeling like Johnny Nostalgia today) here’s an 8tracks mix of 90’s alternative Canadian music inspired from zine days and all ages shows of yore. Featuring Sloan, Jale, Eric’s Trip, Moist, Thrush Hermit, Cub and a ton more.
While packing for a Summer away I inevitably got distracted. At first it was geeking out on Bloglovin’, but then when boxes of half forgotten treasures were cracked open and aired for the first time in years after being in storage, all was lost for any packing efforts. What I rediscovered in those boxes was a trove of cassettes, gig tees, mixed tapes, old photographs and zines.
Furnacefest, Ottawa, Canada. July 2nd, 1994
It’s been almost 20 years since I went to my first concert – a festival in a parking lot in Ottawa called “Furnacefest” (not to be confused with the one held in Alabama in the 00’s). Created by Ottawa band Furnace Face with the intent to showcase local and national bands while getting the chance to headline their own festival, it was a pretty fantastic first concert experience. Continue Reading
Sometimes random browsing through endless crates of records yields the best results.
While I was in NYC a few weeks ago for the Blogcademy, I found myself at night with a few hours to cram in some brief shopping between the intensive classes each day. Three things I really wanted to try and do while in city were:
Despite fighting the tail end of a wicked flu I was happily able to cross all three things off my list.
My record shopping haul was fantastic, even more so given I’d only budgeted $100 to spend on vinyl.
Any record fiend will know exactly how difficult it is to stick to a budget like this when in New York. I managed somehow and came away with some fantastic finds (although I did have to do the record in each hand humming and hawing over which to put back dance at several points).
The most exciting record I found this trip was also the biggest surprise given I didn’t even know it had been reissued on vinyl. That LP was “Tales of the Brave” by Ida.
It was one of those moments flipping through crates where I stopped dead in my tracks after passing the album. Slowly looking around the store to see if anyone there realized what I had just found. Look back to the record, jaw drop, lift slowly from the crate, hold in hand, stare. And finally breathe again.
Ya, I know, I need to get out more.
Browsing through general crates can be pretty aimless but there have been several times in the past I’ve stumbled onto something awesome which would have been missed otherwise. Part of the thrill in searching through record shops is finding those hidden, and unexpected gems. When I was younger and used to thrift for my wardrobe, I’d experience this then too, stumbling over a beautiful, (and forgotten) vintage velvet coat for $5.00 was the best thing in the world.
As much as I’m a huge supporter and fan of online shopping, nothing can beat that tangible, physical experience in a record store or thrift shop and the excitement of finding something you prize.
So a little background on this album and I –
Growing up in the suburbs of Ottawa was boring. My saving grace as a teenager was music and theatre. The summer going into grade 9 I’d started hanging out with an older group of kids I met when rehearsing for a play. They were an amazing group to be hanging around and introduced me to the city’s blossoming All Ages music scene. The early 90’s was a great time to be interested in music with so many independent venues opening up, super cheap gigs, and loads of small alternative bands touring and playing All Ages Shows.
One of the first shows I went to was on a hot Summer day in August, incredibly humid and sticky. The show was held at a tiny, tiny venue called 5 Arlington, which I remember as a gutted out house that was home to a punk collective that would regularly organize shows and events in the space.
And Ida weren’t even the headliners that day, but a band called Tsunami I think, and another band called Girl Afraid were also on the bill.
I have memories of half finished purple popsicles littering the hot asphalt behind 5 Arlington, sitting on the pavement between sets. When Ida started to play, everyone crammed into that hot little house, the room lit only by the natural daylight streaming in, everyone listening in rapt attention as Ida played their hearts out.
To this day, that concert easily remains as one of my all time favourite shows. It was just one of those perfect, beautiful moments that can be too rare in life.
I snapped up one of the Ida CDs brought with them as merch, and for the next year listened to it obsessively in only the way a 14 year old can. It was part of the soundtrack to an incredible year of my life.
To come across that album again well over 15 years later, on my own in a record shop in Greenwich Village was super happymaking to say the least. A little private present from the cosmos.
I held it tightly as I went to cash out, still looking around to see if anyone else had clocked what I had just found. Of course they hadn’t, but that didn’t matter.
A flood of memories in an instant. And as if it were possible, I think it sounds even better on vinyl, but of course I’m biased in my love for the medium.