From the Tiger's Mouth

Track of the Week: Foals – Give it all

‘Moon/Sun’

~

Look to the Moon

I’ll Howl for You

Into the Blue

Where it all came True

(For You)

~

It feels a bit funny thinking back to the start of 2015, when we found ourselves outside Fat Tank Studios. If there’s one thing I know for certain, it was that it was bastard cold.

Over the course of that weekend (and several others), we came away with a number of tracks, but in hindsight I’m shocked we didn’t think of releasing Moon/Sun as a Double-A side sooner.

We wrote ‘Moon/Sun’ a long-long time ago. However I’m happy we waited to record them, I don’t think we could have ever given them the justice they deserved until now.*

In regards to the track’s themselves, I remember writing the lyrics whilst on holiday with a collection of uni-mates after graduation.

It was paradise – I was surrounded by the people I loved, soaked in sun with my future in the palm of my hand.

Yet, at the same time I couldn’t brush off the niggling feeling of what some would call “real” life rushing towards me: Moving back to the city, struggling to see those closest, the 9-5, tube strikes, lunch-breaks, delays, the inevitable humdrum of it all.

These things terrified me (and often still do).

~

Went to the lake

& you ran away

Dove into the Blue

& I fell from You

And you’d say

~

“Bring it back into the Sun”

~

Looked to the Moon

& I fell for you

Dove into the Sea

and you fell with me

and you’d scream 

~

“Bring it back into the Sun”

~

When myself, Charlie and Max sat down all those years ago and wrote these tracks, we were all uncertain of what was next, especially when it came to Bengal Lancers. We were terrified we wouldn’t continue.

Luckily that wasn’t the case.

I guess that is what’s really at the heart of ‘Moon/Sun’ – that feeling of leaping into the great unknown and hoping for the best. In the end it’s all you can really do.

H x

 *This is largely down to the guidance and beautiful production quality provided by Max Perryment, which I can safely say the three of us are eternally grateful for. I’m certain you’d be listening to complete shite otherwise. 

To Build a Home…

There are many things that have happened in the brief 24 year stint I’ve spent on this big blue rock hurtling through space. Many of them expected – education, work, waking up with a hangover worse than death, sharting oneself – these are all commonplace in the life of Modern man.

However, finding oneself suspended 200m in the middle of Nicaraguan jungle surrounded by your best mates wearing a polka-dot dress was most certainly not one of them.

You see; when I left the UK six months ago I wasn’t myself. Those, apparently, expected commonplace parts of modern-day life had gotten me down – the monotonous morning commute, the endless meetings in an unfulfilling job. Everything had started to take on colour not much dissimilar to Beige.

Simply put, I wasn’t what you’d call happy. I took this out on the people around me without even realising what I was doing and did a lot of damage to both myself and those closest.

Now, before you click the close tab page on your browser, please note this isn’t a sob-story akin to that of an X-factor contestant.

You see, as we got closer to heading off, I realised that our trip would lay perfect in tandem with visiting my old Pals, Jon and Oscar who had somehow managed to achieve the thing that people only dream of – owning a bloody hostel!

Not any hostel though. Through the tireless work of the staff and everyone involved in it’s restoration, Treehouse Nicaragua (or ‘Poste Rojo’ as it was formally known) has become something out of Neverland.

Situated slap bang in the middle of the Nicaraguan Jungle, aka – nowhere, seems quite strange. In-fact if you were none the wiser, you’d probably think you’d gotten lost along the way when you first climb out of shuttle into a sea of green.

But then you look up and everything changes.

We’d been bumming around for almost a month and a half in our crash course of Central before we arrived at the Treehouse. During that time, I’d done some amazing things, met some amazing people and had an all round unbelievable time in some fantastic places.

Yet the week I spent in the Nicaraguan jungle stands out and when I think back on it, the reason was so obvious:

The folks at Treehouse Nicaragua have done more than managing to build a hostel. They’ve built a home.

Whether it’s the delicious communal meals, the outrageous parties, the collective hangovers or the heavy inclination towards fancy-dress, there really is something special about that place.

Travel seems to hyper-intensify the relationships with those around you. Two people can go from being absolute strangers to knowing the intimate details of one and another’s bowel movements in a matter of minutes; it’s something to do with the lack of social barriers that we take for common-place in modern life. You sometimes forget that other people are just that: people with their own lives, issues, aspirations and expectations.

This feeling of companionship has never been more true than at the Tree-house. During my stay I met some truly remarkable people, formed new friendships and intensified old ones. By getting lost in the jungle I managed to find the one thing I’d been missing: Absolute, complete Happiness.

Even now, as I find myself back in the big-smog, sending out CV’s left right and centre and wondering what my next steps are I only need to put on our ‘Jungle Anthem’ to put a smile on my face and know that everything will work out in the end. Because I’m already planning my next trip back there.

Here’s a little tip: When life gives you lemons, climb a tree. Put on a silly costume and have a beer. I’m sure you’ll come down smiling.

Top 10 tips for surviving a Music Festival

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As we swing into another British Summer, droves of lash-hungry angst ridden teens are gearing up to tear Europe a new one:

Festival season – a time to get drunk, listen to your favourite bands and lose all bowel control. As an experienced veteran of all the above, I felt it essential to write this list for those out there travelling into the unknown for the very first time.  

In the magical world of the Festival, social norms steadily begin to be forgotten. Words like ‘alcoholism’ and ‘unclean’ become a thing of the past. Here are ten personally tried and tested* ways to further distance yourself from society and become truly legendary. 

*sadly

  1. Obey a strict diet 

Your body is a temple and should be treated as such. Often there must be a cleansing to appease the Gods.

So comes the Kebab – commonly known as “natures laxative.” Fibre has nothing on this bad boy.

There is method in my madness: Whilst filling yourself with every intoxicant under the sun, not only will this stable diet ensure the fast removal of all poison from the body, you’ll also be shedding those pounds in no time. Result!

  1. Spirits – the breakfast of champions:

And what better to accompany your delicious morning shi…. breakfast?

Gin.

In this new habitat alcohol is now a valid food source. Feast and be plentiful.

Accompany with a side of whiskey and a couple of rounds of Top Off Slap Off to ensure a successful start to the day.

  1. Do not bring clothes

Speedos do everything. Jumpers are for girls. Who needs pockets when you have gin?

  1. Do not bring suntan lotion

The sun is weak. You are strong.

You’ve gone red? It’ll bronze out, Science.

Peeling? Rubbish! that skin wasn’t wanted anyway, and with speedos on you won’t even need to think about tan lines.

You will be a GOD.  

  1. Hydration is the key to success

The elixir of life isn’t water. It’s Gin. It’s looks the same and does a lot more for you.

Drink Gin. You will soon be able to taste colours and lose your sense of smell.

Bask in your glory.  

  1. The world is your playground

Within the graceful Valhalla of the campsite, only a man’s word is law. However his law may be incredibly wrong.

Apparently there is a universal sign for ‘Who are you and why are you sleeping in my tent?’ – it involves a lot of vigorous hand gestures and pent up aggression, culminating in an eventual tug of war.
If you are not granted victory, leave all valuables in the tent as an offering – You didn’t want those Ray Bans anyway.

  1. Embrace culture

You’re in a different country, why not start a fun new habit? Like smoking 30 industrial strength cigarettes a day?

The horrible pictures aren’t on the side of the boxes here and you’re allowed to do it inside. Why, if anything it’s just an attempt to immerse one further into one’s surroundings. Rejecting them would be Unsociable. Rude, even.

  1. Don’t see any bands

Who the fuck goes to festivals to listen to music?

Drink more gin and stop your crying.

YOU ARE WEAK.

  1. and If you do – don’t remember them

You have Youtube to relive those memories when your back home attempting to piece your soul back together and find a job to fuel your next bender.

Now, if you adhere to all of the above, only then will you achieve what can be called the full immersive festival “experience”:

You open your eyes. Its dark, the smell of death pervades the air, is this hell?

Has it finally happened? did that one last kebab make you shit out a lung?

No. MUCH WORSE.

  1. Fall asleep in the portaloo. 

In 40 degree heat. Naked.

In this circumstance you begin to realise that deprecation and defecation are two sides of the shitty coin.

So that’s that! go out, frolic in the sunlight and have a grand old time. I contemplated putting some pictures up but you’ve all seen them and I’m sure it’ll be posted at some point again this year anyway.

Finally remember to never wrap up! 

Update 2: Santa Barbara – People, Politics, Paradise.

Morning all! or should I say, good evening? This 8 hours behind malarky is still messing with my head. Either way, I hope you’re having a splendid time wherever you are and whoever you’re with. Unless you’re not. Then you should rectify your situation and seek better company and conversation immediately.

It’s rather hard to convey the ludicrous nature of everything that has happened over the last ten days. Whether it be storming around the famous Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, discussing Gucci and Prada whilst severely dehydrated (pronounced GUKKI DARLING if you were lucky enough to receive Jamie’s Snapchats), sauntering around beaches or sampling local delicacies (also known as in-and-out), we’ve done our very best to immerse ourselves into American Culture.

For instance, it turns out I absolutely love Basketball, despite my inability to throw/jump/compete.

We eventually made our way to Santa Barbara. Safe to say I still don’t like 4:30am wake-ups in America, no matter how messed up my body clock is.

Nor do I like Greyhound.

Whilst on par with our good friends across the pond, National Express, I still can’t turn my head more than 80 degrees without a surge of pain shooting down my back.

It’s either that or I’m much older than I care admitting.

Anywho, where was I? My mind isn’t quite what it used to be.

Ah yes, Santa Barbara. We arrived with the intention of spending a single day here. It’s now a week and I’m finding it difficult to remember why we should leave. Despite the early morning start, we were graciously welcomed by one of Jamie’s longterm Amigos, Dillon, from a time since past.

What followed was an incredible breakfast, a hike across one of the most beautiful mountain-scapes I’ve ever laid eyes upon and equally one of the most terrifying descents down paths that only a lunatic would consider. Thank god for Crummie, always looking to spice up the situation.

We returned to our hosts Mansion House. Yes. You read that correctly. I said Mansion House. 

!!!

Dillon, managed to stumble upon possibly one of the coolest student rooms available – situated within a beautiful old converted barn, owned by two fantastically delightful Hippies with the biggest hearts in the world. They’ve given us a room and freedom to explore the grounds.

I’ve spent the past two days tinkering on one of Dillon’s guitars sat by the pool side, writing feverishly away and practicing my tapping technique. Ben Howard eat your heart out. I’ve also spotted a wee old beaten battered guitar in a thrift shop on the high-street that has my name on it.

Yet it isn’t the sites, the food or the nonstop pop-culture references made real that leads me to writing this little update.

It’s the people. 

I’ve started to remember one of the true beauties of traveling: Conversation.

Those little interactions with people who have lived a life so very different from your own. The unbelievable ability for two total strangers to strike up conversation, learn from each other and form everlasting bonds that go beyond borders. Much like that of Jamie and Dillon.

5 years seems like 5 seconds when you’re friends.

In LA, Jamie’s Cousin, Oli D, welcomed me like family. We were shown some of the best spots in Hollywood and I can’t thank him enough for being so kind, helpful and downright awesome to both myself and Jamie. The same has followed us in Santa Barbara. Tonight I am going to repay Dillon’s generosity by handing him a giant glass boot full of IPA and carrying him onto a landshark.

Sorry for going all serious and emotional there: The generosity and kindness of these people we may not have met personally or at all makes me all mushy inside. It might not help that I’ve got the new Mumford & Sons album on in the background. Snake Eyes is an absolute tune.

So what’s next? We head to San Diego at some point. It’s then a case of working out how to successfully cross the border of Mexico and head to another paradise to meet some more wonderful people along the way.

As for you, get off your computer. Go out there and make some friends.

H x

Travel Update 1: Fast-times in LAX

A whiskey in hand, Harry stepped out of the limo alongside his partner in crime. Where they headed, they weren’t really sure. It didn’t really matter, they had a heap of booze and the world at their sleeves…

Well, that was how it played out in my head anyway. I awoke dazed and confused after our first really big night out in LA much the same as usual – due to the horrendous thundering of the gentleman asleep in the bunk next to me. ‘Snorlax’ as we have affectionately dubbed him, has become a regular feature in both mine and Jamie’s lives over the past week. As such, he embodies everything negative and foul with this world. Waking up at intervals spreading between 1am and 9am have become ritual in the small ecosystem within our dorm. Snorlax – he speaks to no man, but makes bloody certain you know he’s asleep.

As such, this brief update will probably appear sporadic and confusing, but that sums up LA for you; Lights, cameras, action. In the short-time we’ve done much – seeing the stars, hiking up to the Hollywood sign, eating Japanese burgers with branded buns. Even the Limo situation above actually happened, albeit much less glamorous as we stumbled around LA after several litres of free Canadian-branded whiskey.

Safe to say, In true “Sullivan” style, I successfully lost my phone that evening. Do not mix an empty stomach with free alcohol and an over-the-top mode of transport.

If anything, it should be considered a record and I’m having far too much fun to reflect on my stupidity at this moment in time. I did however, have several hours to do so the day after it happened. Oh boy, did I chastise myself good and proper. After the in-and-out burger and drunken trip to Griffith Observatory that followed. Getting lost, whist half-cut after Birthday breakfast beers, on top of a mountain is not nearly as fun as I expected it be.

Nor is walking for three and half hours to find that Malibu consists of one homeless man applying lipstick on a highway and Taco-Bell. If there is one piece of advice I can provide on my trip so far, it is this: Do Not Eat Taco-Bell

With a consistency like sand and the nutritional value of a bag of farts, I highly recommend you spend your days drinking the moisture gathered off of rocks rather than feast on the Chicken Burrito Supreme.

Sadly, this post cannot really capture the memories that we’ve made so far – we’ve had some fantastic food, been to some of the coolest bars in the world and met some absolute legends. If anything it’s acting as evidence that I’m still alive to my Mother and Father. I’ll be sure to expand to it when I get a chance, but there’s a free BBQ, Beer and we need to plan how the hell we’re getting to Santa Barbara.

Till then,

All the best,

H x

We Ride at Dawn…

20090_10155595006540621_8112252114173669599_nJust a quick update before I head off to the land of nod.

We fly. Tomorrow.

I am yet to complete packing. I’ve only just purchased phone insurance after several members of the family (and some strangers) reminded me of my track record regarding the loss of electronic devices/clothing/etc and stated it would be reckless to behave otherwise. My mind now jumps back to having a rather crafty Belgium who stole my phone and accosted my mother, stating that I had been arrested in Budapest for pooping myself.

Boy was that a fun hangover. 

Rather than double-check my itinerary or make a mental note of any remaining tasks that are needed to be done I have retreated here. I am in that current state of excitement/sheer-unadultarated-terror that comes before any long trip away from home.

That is not to say that tonight has not been without success – I managed to successfully break into an iPhone 3gs using a micro-Sim. I now feel comparable to a new-age James Bond. Tomorrow I shall have a Martini after boarding.

Well. I would, if it was not that we were flying the worlds cheapest flight known to man.

We don’t even have food. Or Telly’s.  Given the rate we’ve paid I’m not even sure if we’ll have seats, let alone entertainment. However, given that I will be trapped in a small confined metal space for close to 12 hours, I’m pretty certain that I’ll very rapidly lose my mind and develop a fiction comparable to the opening scene in ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’

The proposed alternative is the purchase of some industrial strength antihistamines and a few drabs of whiskey. However, this could also lead to a similar result as described above, and although I can imagine a stark-naked man strolling into customs wearing nothing but a smile yelling that he has now seen the face of ZOD probably won’t go down too grandly with American Boarder Patrol.

Wish me Luck.

Travel Update 1

Tonight Jamie and I had our first night of planning towards our vacation across USA and Central America. The night was spent in a heated debate equal to, if not greater than, the one at hand tomorrow across our fair nation.

After four hours of intense discussion, several steps were made towards fleshing out an itinerary.  – It was decided that we will be staying in the Banana Bungalow, WEST HOLLYWOOD, rather than the Banana Bungalow, HOLLYWOOD on our first night in LA. We have asked about reserving a room but nothing is set in stone.

Tonight has been considered an all-round great success. Only 50 more nights to plan…

H x