Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Gothic Makeup and the Mainstream

It's pretty plain to see that Goth makeup at other aesthetics have infiltrated the mainstream. Winter, which it is way down here in Australia, is typically when the darker colours show their faces. This is a good thing because it means that Goth overall is becoming more accepted and that means less hassle for us. It can also be a bad thing because there's always the terrifying notion that we're percieved as just following whatever mainstream trend that's popular at the moment instead of doing our own thing. But it does make buying clothes, makeup and jewellery easier!

Makeup is something I'm particularlly interested in. My YouTube account is subscribed to heaps of makeup related channels.
One of the most important things I've learnt while watching makeup videos is that you really don't need to be watching videos that are specifically Goth, or other dark aesthetic, in order to be learning something. Often, mundane makeup techniques can be applied to Goth makeup with some colour and intensity variation. Everything related to makeup and brush care applies to us as well, and is something that shouldn't be ignored. =)

Makeup channels that are run my non-Goths that I believe are worth checking out are Michael James, Illamasqua, Michelle Phan (Yes, her. Her technique is good, ok.) and Secret Life Of a Bio Nerd.
All of these channels have done at least one makeup tutorial or related video that I believe could work well as Goth makeup, and show very good makeup application. There's plenty that is of no interest to me, but it's not a problem to simply ignore that content and focus on the stuff that is important, and DON'T complain/ whinge or whatever about their content. It's their choice to post whatever they choose.

There are plently of dark, Goth or Goth friendly makeup video makers on YouTube. Many of them, frankly are rubbish but there are a few diamonds in the rough. My personal choices are Helena Is Red (many of her videos are in Spanish, but they're in pretty good quality so you can see the techniques well and some even have English subtitles), Adora BatBrat naturally, Audfaced who does many FANTASTIC horror SFX makeup and Fille de Porcelaine who is a beautiful Loltia (who has the same name as me!).

Anyway, I'm going to leave you all with two really awesome videos from Audfaced. Enjoy!

xxx Lilly

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Best Coffee

I love my coffee. Nowadays it seems that everyone is buying these fancy, glitzy stainless steel electric coffee makers that you see in coffee shops. I don't have one of those for two reasons. The first being that they're expensive and I simply cannot afford one on my student budget (of zero in and lots out) and because, well.... I like my on- the- fire one. So, I'm going to be writing about this type.
The type that sits on gas fire and slowly makes the coffee.
I like to think that I'm pretty good at making this sort of coffee, and I have learnt a few tricks that make it really the best.

1. Read any/all of the instructions that come with the pot. I'm pretty sure that my current pot didn't come with any, but if there is then it's best if you follow it rather than guess.

2. Keep everything hot. Pour a little boiling water into each mug that you're going to use. (Don't use tea cups- they'll cool down too quickly)This warms the cup so when hot liquid is poured in it won't cool as much. Oh, and don't waste time pouring the coffee.

3. Learn you proportions properly. The 'ideal' cup of coffee varies from person to person so the exact amount of water and coffee in the pot is subjective to preferences. Generally, fill the water up fully (There may be a mark, bolt or some indicator) and add the coffee to your liking. If water fills the metal coffee holding part (I don't know if there are real names for each of the parts. There may be...) then there's too much water. For more people, you'll need more coffee.
Also it's good to establish the proper amount of milk for each person. Again this is largely a personal opinion, but I find that half a cup of milk is good for one person coupled with half a cup of strong coffee. Milky AND strong!

4. Take it slow. Keep the gas on a cool as possible. The coffee will take considerably longer to be ready but there's less chance of it burning and the coffee grains will have had more time to infuse. By the way, when you hear that whisteling sound, turn off the gas. That is the sound of air, not coffee, running through the pot and greatly affects the flavour (it can even burn) and almost no more coffee will run through.

5. Understand the temperatures and times. I've breifly mentioned this earlier, but you want the coffee to be as hot as possible. It's easy to let a cup of coffee cool to the right temperature, but it won't heat up at all. I find that on my microwave, 1 minute per half cup of milk in a microwave safe glass jug (enough for one person) works well to get good, steaming hot milk, but it depends on the sort of microwave. Also, keep the hot freshly brewed coffee in the coffee pot. The metal of the pot will stay nice and hot and keep the coffee hot.

6. Whisk the milk. I've seen fancy milk whiskers that are battery operated, but I find that a good whisk is far more effective.

The sort shown is the best. I've tried using other types of whisks and it just doesn't work. If the jug is small you can hold the whisk between you palms and run them back and fourth (as if you're cold) and that works a treat. If the jug is bigger then whisk as if you're beating eggs. Quite a bit of force is required to get a nice, dense froth. Full cream milk is best for frothing. Low fat or fat free milk just doesn't work as well. All the bubbles pop. I believe it's better to have less cups of coffee made with full cream milk that more cups made with low fat milk. Quality over quantity, I say. Pour the hot coffee into the pre heated cups and then top with hot milk, spooning on the foam. Add sugar if you desire, but remember that I would be rolling my eyes at you as you do. XD

You would have noticed that I've been repeating myselfa lot, saying 'It's mainly personal taste'. It's true that for this sort of coffee making there are no exact formulas or recipes to work from. Instead, just spend time experimenting to work out the best proportions, don't burn yourself, and enjoy.

xxx Lilly

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Voltaire and Cellos

I have been plagued with a rather nasty case of tonsillitis, a head cold and something that has made me throw up and am just on the tail end of it all, so really haven't been able to do anything much except shiver under my doona for the last three days. I did see Pirates of the Caribbean IV last night and The Art of The Brick earlier this afternoon so I haven't entirely missed out, but I'm not looking forward to that massive pile of year 12 holiday homework that's waiting for me when I am 100%. I'm going to be adding to this post in short chunks so it seems so it may take a while. I must watch Donnie Darko again with my mum sometime soon, too...

Oh yeah, everyone should go and head over to Voltaire's website now and listen to the sneak peek of one of his new songs on his new album. I have to say I'm very excited by what I hear. Drums are by Brian Viglione of The Dresden Dolls, Cello is by Melora from Rasputina, the bassist is David J. from Bauhaus and the horns are from the Red Hook Ramblers for goodness sake! All are great musicians and from that short little excerpt it sounds HOT! And probably not the sort of music you'd show your mother XD

Oh and I recently purchased the game Alice: Madness Returns for PC. Unfortunately it has to run on my sister's laptop as every other one isn't powerful enough to run it properly. I wrote about the game earlier in the year and you can read that here. The score is just amazing and the art is fantastic. That in itself made the game a favourite for me and I haven't even finished it yet.

This is my favourite piece from the soundtrack so far. I just love those lush low cellos. I used to play cello but I stopped and let my flute playing develop more. It's one of my favourite instruments.

Me playing a friends cello when I was 16

That's all sorry guys. I'll write a proper post when I have time. Maybe a photo one of the Lego thing. Being sick sucks, and I just have so much homework to do. Oh well, only like, 10 weeks of school EVER!!!

xxx Lilly

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Me as a feminist

Sorry for the totaly silence of late. I have been reading your posts, but haven't been able to write a scrap of a post until now. The reason has been, apart from the usual year 12 mumbo jumbo, on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week I had the Mid Year concert, which is an annual concert at my school. This one was pretty big for me because I had a solo in our Symphony orchestra (the flute solo in Prokofiev's Montagues and Capulets! see the video) where there's just me playing and the violas playing pretty gilssandos over an octave and some pretty tuned percussion. Pretty nerve racking, but I felt I did well. Also, I was made leader of the woodwind section in the symphony orchestra which was pretty cool. I was also asked to conduct the school string orchestra which, naturally I agreed to. Who wouldn't turn down a fantastic chance like that? Only two year twelves get seleced to do the conducting (One for the string orchestra and one for the 7 and 8 strings) so that was pretty awesome, not to mention scary! I was really freaking out even though both pieces were in two and there weren't really and difficult tempo or dynamic changes. (2/2 and 2/4. It's so strange how a time signiture with less pulses gets more tiring. By the end of it my arm was killing, despite the lack of movement. I think it's that lack of momentum.=D) as well as being in the flute ensemble and in choir. Wow I'm so busy nowadays, but it's music really is my life.

The solo that I played begins at 3:09. This, obviously isn't our recording but it's very similar.
Even before we were performing this, it has been a true favourite of mine. There are so many emotions captured within this piece.

So this has been something that has been kicking around in my brain for the past few years. For a long time I've hung around with many feminist adults and knew that I too agreed with  many things, but... well I never exactly fitted in with that awful 'feminist' stereotype. (Does anyone?) You know the one, A thin, small boobed youngish adult who smokes cigarettes, covers skin and does add in the ocassional 'comment' to a largely male dominated conversation. The awful thing is I do know some people who do fit this description. Then there's the whole bra burning thing...
More specifially I did many things that were potentially looked down on by other hard core feminists. For example, I shave my legs and underams to silky smooth perfection. I wear lots of thick makeup. I pluck my eyebrows. I dye my hair unnaturally. I wear short or potentially 'sexy' clothing i.e fishnets, lace, short skirts and am all too happy to show some boob or thigh in the right outfit. And Hell, no one would EVER see me without a bra on. I'm not as lucky as some who can get away with not wearing one. All of these things are often seen as ways to please some high standard set by the Devil knows who in order to please men and seem more feminine. So... what makes it different for me? Is it even different for me?
I am naturally a pretty 'girly' person. I mean, I love clothes, makeup and dressing up. I like my beauty products and my perfumes. I actually enjoy shopping (on the right day of course). Conversely I also many things that are decidedly not girly- I love my Sci Fi, Horror, Fantasy and general spookiness. I'm a massive Simpsons and Star Wars nerd.

So, for many years I was in this grey area when it came to what I believed in. I knew my morals and values, but I knew that I was unintentionally against many of the things that were 'typical'. Then, once I moved to the beautiful Melbourne that I call home and had decent access to the internet that my veiw was expanded. Musicians, in particular, stood out to me probably because, I'm assuming, I am a musician.
Women such as Amanda Palmer and Emilie Autumn resonate the most with me. Sure, Amanda Palmer doesn't shave her underams, but she does shave her eyebrows and wears lots of makeup. (Did you know that she has many beautiful freckles?)


She also prances around on stage wearing only a bra on top. That's pretty fucking bad ass, if you ask me.

Similarly, Emilie Autumn claims that she is a feminist but has recieved some slag from girls because of some of there more... ahem... provocative photos that have been takern.  I personally disagree with those people for the same reasons that E.A said somewhere... at some stage. Anyway her exact response is now lost to me (and after a good while searching the internet, I really can't find it) but it was along the lines of "I dress this way because I want to. It's not about pleasing anyone else"(I honsetly cannot remember)

 I found this intersting little snippet from the site the F Bomb
"What´s interesting about Emilie Autumn from a feminist perspective is also the way she utilizes her sexuality. Several of the Bloody Crumpets have backgrounds in burlesque and art modeling and Emilie and her Crumpets are often dressed in elaborate yet scanty costumes. But the way they interact with each other is playful and within the context of being subversive, ie girl-on-girl kissing where you get the feeling that the girls in question actually *gasp* like it beyond just titillating the audience. Whatever project Emilie is tackling, you always get the feeling that she is the one in control. You´re just along for the ride."
And hell yes that is exactly what she does, and boy she does it well.

Learning more about women such as these two, plus things like Riot Grrl movement and the like gave me a hell of a lot more to think about. I mean, I am essentially a punk who wears black and lots of makeup (The word Goth may get brought up at some stage soon). The difference between my makeup and other girls is that it's dark, heavy and accentuating. I'm not trying to hide anymore because, finally after 16 years I became comfortable with who I was. I knew that makeup was part of me. I don't care who else see's it becuase I don't wear it for them. This naturally permeates through almost everything else in life, from clothes to music to movies to toys. I do it because I like it. Similarly, I then knew that I would never be a size ten, due to the shape of my skeleton. I'm not fat, but didn't fit that 'skinny pretty girl' thing either. Yet, I am still able to dress up and have fun because I know that I do look good even if it may be a bit 'risque'. I'm awfully average height wise as well, but dressing up with makeup and interesting clothes helps me stand out from the crowd, in the best way possible.

The thing that really got me was the whole shaving of the legs. Why do I do it? I know why I initially did it. It was for a dance concert and I felt so incredibly self concious that I knew I couldn't bear my legs it that state. I was about 12 then, and I've matured and I know that during my early teenage years I had no self confidence what so ever. But things have changed now. I still shaved though, partly out of habit for sure, but I think there's something more than that. I have a boyfriend of nearly two years and he has said that he doesn't care about it. I believe him and am not trying to impress any other men.

I knew that I was shaving because it still made me feel more... empowered. I did it because it makes ME feel good. I do it because I like it. I am not swayed by whatever modern fashions are currently bombarding the pop culture of today, I do my own thing and, thankfully, so do pretty much all of my blog readers.

xxx Lilly