Placebo blues – Ramblings of a modern druidess

What exactly is Placebo blues? Well, it certainly doesn’t involve Placebo making a blues album (now that would be something!) and I’m not talking about some fake blues either.

No. Lately I’ve been in a bit of a slump when it comes to my favourite band. I’ve always liked Placebo’s music, but it wasn’t until Battle for the Sun that they changed my life. Their lyircs provided me with so much inspiration, I wrote an entire book. Then came Loud Like Love and I was just ecstatic. My second book had enough fuel to go on, though I’m still in the process of writing that one. It’s still Placebo, but instead of just embracing the dark, they now also embraced the light. It made me happy.
Then Steve Forrest left the band. At first, after the initial shock, I thought it wouldn’t be so bad. And to be expected, really, when you think about it. Steve is young, talented. It was only a matter of time he spread his wings and took off on his own. By the way, his new Planes album Hotfoot, is absolutely awesome! A real must have.
But I can’t help but wonder if it’s a coincidence that my book took form only after the release of Battle of the Sun or if it had something to do with the energy, those three combined, created. Brian and Stefan seemed…. happier. I’m sure there were vexations and the urge to stuff each other behind the wallpaper, but in general… Yes, they seemed happy.
So my Placebo blues comes from a feeling of uncertainty. Uncertainty about how the new album is going to sound. Uncertainty whether or not they’re going to perform in The Netherlands (so far a big no) and a slightly bad taste in my mouth about the break-up. They’re being very professional about it. All members, Steve included and the management. Not a peep and only well wishes for Steve’s solo career. But I’m not an idiot. The UK tour was just around the corner and it would have been the perfect moment to say his goodbyes, symbolically hand over the drum sticks to the new drummer and have a smashing farewell party in London. It did not go like this. So something happened. Something not right. And it is not my place, nor should it be my concern, to make presumptions about what happened. But it leaves me feeling blue, just a bit.
Funnily enough I think Steve is going to make it just fine. Planes is a great band with a solid sound. I do wonder, however, if Stefan and Brian will continue on for long. Stefan is busy with his own projects. Brian released a lyric book and was quite clear about a few songs on Loud Like Love being his own, before putting them through the Placebo roller-coaster. So things are shifting. What it will hold for the future? I can only guess.
I hope to hear many, many more songs. Brian is still and will always be my muze. His lyrics will be there forever. But Placebo during the Battle for the Sun and Loud Like Love era? That was just pure light, full-colour, the hills are alive with the sounds of Placebo. I wonder if they will still have that. I hope so. They need of bit of Light. And their own personal sunshine has left the building.

Ramblings of a modern druidess – Brian…

I neglect to retrieve my mail. It happens. Quite often actually. So it wasn’t until today, on a Sunday no less, that I discovered the long awaited book had arrived. Selected, by Brian Molko aka my muse.

First surprise was the size, I thought it would be bigger, but it’s the same size as my other little poetry books and it oozes the same vibe. I like it. Granted, after a first quick glance I was a bit disappointed to discover it’s just the lyrics, except for the introduction, which is just lovely. No explanations what the lyrics are about, why it is special to him or when/where it was written.

But then I realized, that is not fair of me. Not fair at all. Placebo rarely publishes full lyrics. Of course there are many fan sites who have taken up this task with a passionate and fanatic gleam in their eyes, but even they get it wrong. And quite regularly, if my muse is to be believed. So he’s setting the record straight. And without the aid of the music, the words come through more clearly, they are stripped naked, as is he, for all the world to see. It must have been quite a nerve-wracking experience to actually go through with this.

Maybe you’ll think me mad as a snake, but I already started to make it my own by adding notes and words of my own, highlighting some parts, words that give me new ideas for my book and reading lyrics of songs I never really liked. Suddenly they have an entirely new meaning. How refreshing!

There was an option to have it signed. I did not take it. Don’t get me wrong, if you ordered a signed copy, more power to you, but it just didn’t appeal to me. I did sign my own book for him, as well as for Stefan and Steve, but that was different. Their music inspired The Elemental, so naturally they deserved to have a personalized copy.

If our paths cross and the moment is right, I might ask him to sign it. But if it’s not in the cards, it’s not. For now, I’m perfectly content to snuggle up next to the fire, with my coffee in one hand, Selected in the other. Thank you Bee, for giving the perfect Yule gift xxx

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Ramblings of a modern druidess

Today I decided to answer one question that has been asked quite a few times and can’t be answered with just a few words. So especially for Susan from California, Carlos from Brazil, Petra and Kimberley from the Netherlands and Meg and Caroline from England (god, I hope I didn’t forget anyone. If so, my humble apologies!), today the answer to the question:

“How did Placebo become the inspiration for The Elemental and what do they mean to you?”

Well, as some of you may have found out already through my website www.the-elemental.co.uk it began at Pinkpop 2009. Placebo were headlining and the weather was lovely. When they began to play, the sky started to turn a pinkish purple, it was really pretty. Brian said the next song came to him in a dream, while they were on a tourbus. I think his exact words were “I bullshit you not” ๐Ÿ˜‰ And they started to play Come Undone. The beginning has an almost dreamlike quality and looking to the sky, images floated before my eyes and I was in another world for a couple of minutes. I don’t think I heard a single word Brian sang of that song. That came later.

I think, looking back, those were the first seeds of The Elemental. The images were of a group of friends based in London. Years later I dreamed the same images and that moment at Pinkpop came rushing back to me. That’s when I decided to change my life and become a writer. As I started to write the outlines of The Elemental, I listened to Battle for the Sun. I did that for weeks and weeks, driving my family and friends, not to mention our dog, completely insane. I swear, whenever Miss Ginger hears Placebo, she raises her head, gives a big sigh and looks at me accusingly. I think she likes them secretly though, because whenever I have a live performance on, she wants to watch it as well.

Anyway, that’s how they became my great motivator and inspiration for things in the book. Not just the lyrics, but Battle for the Sun has a great mood-changing vibe to it, musically. Which created great scenes in the book.

The final editing was done when Loud Like Love was just released (which I love, by the way, I don’t care what the critics say) and that’s how Scene of the Crime got a special mention at the end of the book. I actually rewrote one of the last scenes because of that song.

As for the what do they mean to me part. I think it’s fair to say, a lot. To me, they are The Healer, The Anchor and The Sun. You figure out who is who ๐Ÿ˜‰ I see them, maybe Brian in particular through his lyrics, as a sort of muse, who inspire me to write books, so that’s pretty important.

I used to work in the music industry and while I loved many things about that world, it happened just a bit too often that a band I liked, were, well… complete arses, to be frank. That didn’t matter much professionally, but I did notice me liking a band, has a lot to do with how they present themselves to the world as well. And once I had worked with them, I stopped buying their music. I just couldn’t listen to it anymore without thinking ‘you’re a complete diva’ or ‘what an arrogant arse’. It spoiled my listening experience, so I just stopped listening to them.

So that’s why I’m a bit wary of actually getting to know Placebo. Real life is always different and I’m realistic enough to realize Brian most of all, isn’t actually the epitomy of an easy-going, sociable person. So I think it’s safer to admire their qualities from a distance, if you will. That way I won’t be let down and they can remain my source of inspiration. In short, they are too important for that.

Otherwise there might not be a book two and three and we can’t have that, now can we? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Well, I hope this answer was to your satisfaction. Looking forward to answer your questions on Valentine’s Day. You can tweet them to me or comment here on my blog. You can also post them on my facebook page. Be sure to mention your name and the country you live in, so I get it right and thanks for all the support so far. Love you guys!

Until next week peeps!

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Ramblings of a modern druidess.

No blog this week, but an open letter. So here goes…

Dear miss Whitney,

I’ve read your comments about the ‘dreaded curtain’ in the current Placebo tour Loud Like Love.

You’ve travelled a long way to see them (by the way, did you miss them in New York?) and you want to have a heartfelt experience. I get that. Plane tickets, hotels and the concert itself takes up a lot of money and you’re having second thoughts if it’s going to be worth it.

But you’re travelling to see them, so you must like them very much, why bother otherwise, right? Do you really thinks it’s fair to attack one of the nicest people, someone you probably respect and have now hurt with your words? Even if the band isn’t happy with the curtain themselves, they’ve only just begun. They’re still adjusting and let’s face it, they also invested in this tour. Should they just give up after a few gigs? And then what? An empty stage? Spend more time and money on different visuals? Perhaps cancel a few gigs so they can do that? A part of me would be kind of morbidly fascinated to see that scenario come into being, just to see what would happen. But for the record, let’s not find out.

I’ve only seen it through a screen so far (pun intended), so I can’t really say anything about it. But I trust their judgement. This is a professional band with a professional tour. They don’t just decide things on a whim, so someone has thought about this. And perhaps it turns out to be less than satisfying. Everybody makes mistakes. I’m sure they’ll adjust.

In the end, it’s all about the music. Personally, I don’t care if they talk a lot, say nothing at all or even when there are technical difficulties. These things happen. I do care about one thing. That the band are enjoying themselves on stage. Because if they’re having a good time, I’m having a good time.

You and me, as fans, should direct our energy to make sure they keep enjoying what they do. It’s for our own benefit, you know. You don’t want them to stop, now do you? ๐Ÿ™‚

Steve Forrest is like the Sun itself, it always amazes me how fast he recharges. But try and remember he’s only human and can be hurt as well. Do you want to be responsible to see the Sun go down? No, I didn’t think so. Neither do I.

So give him a big virtual hug and have a great time at your Placebo concert. I know I will.

Love and Light,

Lisa

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Ramblings of a modern druidess

So I finally got word back from BMG, they handle Placebo’s catalogue. I’m afraid my bylines are going out the window, because they charge ยฃ100,- per quote, VAT not included. There are ten chapters in my book, you do the math.

So unless my dear publisher will say ‘not a problem, if it’s so important to you, we’ll pick up the tab’ (one can dream right), I’m going to have to scratch them.

It will be a sad moment, because it really adds to the feel of the book. I don’t blame Placebo, they don’t even know my request excists. And I don’t blame BMG either, they’re just following rules.
But I had hoped they would make an exception. Of course, one always hopes.

So here’s hoping my book will be a huge succes and I can print a second edition, with quotes, the way it was intended ๐Ÿ™‚

Until next week peeps! Stay warm!

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