Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Anna Calvi and The Cambridge English Tripos

It's been pretty quiet on here recently, mainly because I'm about to take my final year English exams at Cambridge University.

So I've been pretty busy with revision. However, I did make it to an Anna Calvi gig:

I like Anna Calvi a lot. She can sing, she can shred, she's a woman in music without making an issue out of it, and she's got a great sound -- heavy on the darkness and melodrama without being indulgent or glib. Also, she probably hasn't written her best songs yet. I'll be really interested to see where she goes next. It's nice to see a woman with a lot of genuine technical talent and a love of her instrument doing well; even in the British "indie" scene, which likes to think of itself as liberal-minded [but actually may be more conservative than the mainstream - that's another story] women musicians are too often perceived as a light option, are outright overlooked, or are seen as successful only off the back of their male collaborators and label marketing budget (Florence, Lily etc). Which is why, when Anna Calvi coaxed slinky licks, sweeping chords, and gasping runs out of her Telecaster, I couldn't help but smile. She can really play -- she leaves no room for questions of authenticity. she's there, and she's doing it, bringing a sensuality and nuance to her guitar playing that stands her apart from a lot of guitarists, both male and female.

Anyway, back to some revision. Here's a reading list, so you can have your own Cambridge English Tripos at home:

Richard Ford - Rock Springs
Ernest Hemingway - The Nick Adams Stories
Isak Dinesen - Winter's Tales
William Shakespeare - Hamlet, Othello, Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth
Sophocles - Antigone, Oedipus Rex
Aeschylus - The Oresteia
Walt Whitman - Leaves of Grass
Eric Mottram - Blood on The Nash Ambassador
D.H. Lawrence - Collected Short Stories
Ted Hughes - Birthday Letters
Ibsen - John Gabriel Borkman

Good luck, exams start May 26th.