simplicity theme

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It’s been 10 years since we first started taking the Hobbits to Isengard. I mean, it’s been way longer - the Hobbits could have fucking walked there, back again, managed to get served several times at the downstairs bar in Doggett’s and got a Southeastern train service all the way to Charing Cross since Tolkien put pen to page. But (and believe me, this is deeply unusual for me) let’s put J R R aside in this.

Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy is kind of… well, both too faithful (total lack of critical interrogation of Tolkien’s absolutely awful concepts around race, gender, etc.) and not faithful enough in that it appeared to miss all the points your correspondent’s teenage self managed to find in the series. Specifically, where Lord of the Rings is an obsessively detailed but ultimately quite modest and traumatised epic, a huge amount of which is two small, starving creatures crawling around in mud having moral dilemmas. The Jackson films take themselves as seriously and grandly as the books came to be and as I suspect their author probably never did.

Taking the Hobbits to Isengard, on the other hand, is a pure and perfect work and I will hear no ill spoken of it else ye never receive a pint in a round bought by me again. 

It takes as its base the Hovis-theme-ripping-off music from The Shire - the small-worlded part of the films, before any grandeur is truly injected into the bloated beastie that is the trilogy. The Hobbiton theme is supposed to be homely, reassuring, quaint - like anything that succeeds at that, it sounds fucking amazing played on an airhorn.

The simplicity of the Shire’s theme is what allows it to so naturally accept the kitchen-sink style auditory ornamentation that is ‘a donk’. A classic staple of rave, it needs no introduction even in a world as apparently dislocated from two WKDs and a honk on some poppers as the miruvor-quaffing pipeweed fiends we see here.

As a lyrical piece, Taking The Hobbits is discursive - like many of the very best pieces of pop. One only has to consider the sweet, sweet tension of Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain or Brandy and Monica’s iconic The Boy Is Mine to recognise that dialogous pop is, when it works, a particularly sublime genre.

It doesn’t matter that the lines are, ostensibly, orphaned from their original place in the script - from the eponymous ejaculation to Gollum’s hissed What did u say??? they’re all perfectly addressing each other in the sort of gloriously confused cacophony usually reserved for a misunderstanding-based brawl outside a kebab shop at 3am. 

I remember the first time I heard Taking The Hobbits To Isengard. It was quite a momentous occasion because I still had dial up, so it took roughly the length of a decent pop song to load and it was very difficult to tell if it was deliberate or a bandwidth-related glitch remix for at least 30 torturously disrupted seconds. I’d imagined it would be a fairly quick joke - most internet video based things were, at the time, but no; a fully fledged song. That just kept going. 

The initial air horns! These are funny, yes because we remember them as the Shire theme, which isn’t even the music for this bit. The stuttering sample of the original line! Which sustains itself as Sheffield Dave-style shout out far better than it should, given it’s old seriousface Elf ears himself yelling off a horse. 

(In retrospect, should have equated that with Sheffield Dave earlier)

Then there’s …polka bit. Few pop songs manage to maintain a polka interlude - Bohemian Rhapsody springs to mind but Taking the Hobbits To Isengard manages to repeatedly insert it without losing coherency around its original rave premise. If you don’t think ‘Tell me where is Gandalf, for I much desire to speak with him’ delivered over a little eurodance handbag bit is not both extremely funny and excellent pop, I can’t help you. 

Taking The Hobbits To Isengard would score reasonably at Eurovision. Not because Eurovision is actually the home of comedy trash but because if France (and it would probably have to be France in order for the Elven analogues to take themselves seriously enough) scooted in on an artpop platform and wanged loads of fucking airhorns round the stadium it would be entirely in keeping with European sensibilities of solemnly considering the totally whimsical due to our inherent reservedness about experiencing joy.

(The slightly older and wiser part of me has to question the repeated use of Gollum’s ‘stupid, fat, Hobbits’ which makes sense in the context of what he is but isn’t inherently funny, unlike a context-dislocated, bass-intoned ‘A Balrog of Morgoth’)

The great thing about Taking The Hobbits To Isengard is it actually gets funnier the more it goes on. Like Star Trekkin it not only sets out to commit to a fairly one-note premise but to hammer that note until it falls out through the piano and becomes a transcendent free agent, cascading through the strings. 

It takes a premise; that the Lord of the Rings films, in their overblown format, are very, very silly and runs with it extremely, deadly seriously. This is the core of not all but a fairly substantial chunk of really good pop, as well as an excellent manual for life. All things are here - a manic sense of imminent implosion, troubling past associated with racist ideologies, handcarts, hell, what did u say???

Very seriously; Taking The Hobbits To Isengard is a superb piece of fan work and it has substantially enriched my life to listen to it on loop for the past 45 minutes whilst watching a parliamentary debate on mute. Creators of this piece: thank.

The Domestic Garden Witch: Gardening Without Plants!

So maybe you’re a college witch with limited space and money, limited to the one window in your dorm. Or, maybe you’re a witch without extensive backyard space who wants to start up a magical garden. Perhaps you’re a kitchen witch who wants the freshest herbs right at her fingertips.

For many witches, having a garden seems to be a bit of a no-brainer. After all, plants and magic go hand-in-hand. Plus, when thinking of a witch, it’s hard not to think of a cottage in the woods with a little vegetable garden out front. Unfortunately for the majority of us, our cottage in the woods is a tiny flat, and our garden out front is a windowsill with limited space.

This is when it comes time to embrace your craftiness and bring your garden indoors! Not only does it place your garden in a convenient location, it also allows you to freshen the air, recycle what would otherwise harm the earth, and embrace your witchy green thumb!

Sand and Meditation

Something that often does not cross an individual’s mind when they hear the word “garden” is the thought of a garden without plants, especially where witches are concerned. After all, witches are sometimes known for the sheer amount of herbs and plants they collect (hell, my boyfriend sometimes criticizes the quantity of herbs I have - not my practice, mind you, just the fact that I have over thirty varieties of herbs in large quantities in my witchy drawers). But gardens take all sorts of shapes and sizes, including that of the zen garden, Japanese rock garden, or meditation garden.

Unlike planted gardens, these are minimalist creations designed to help induce meditative thought and relaxation through the use of flowing patterns and stone placement which often are likened to mountains or islands rising up from the sea. They are generally designed as large features which are raked into different patterns each day, but are easily adaptable for the small amount of room our domestic garden witch might have!

Creating Your Garden

As with any indoor garden, perhaps the first thing to look into is the type of container in which you’d like to keep it. In this case, a dish that is wider than it is tall is recommended. Choose either rounded shapes or rectangular shaped dishes that are shallow yet deep enough to hold sand.

Fill this dish with sand - white is traditional, though colored sands can be found in local craft stores or dollar stores - until it is about half full. Select visually appealing stones and set them on the sand.

With a utensil, trace ripples into the sand - flowing lines reminiscent of water are traditional.

If you feel that you want a bit of plant life, small air plants are definitely helpful. Remember to design your garden based on simplicity. Use natural themes and variations in your design to provide an aesthetic that you find appealing.

Tools of the Rock Garden

Typically when you think of a desktop zen garden, you might envision one of the little kits that you can get as a novelty gift at Barnes and Noble. In these kits, there is of course a couple of little rakes - one for smoothing out the sand and one for providing the patterns.

We’re witches on a budget, though, so let’s take a different approach - one similar to what’s pictured above. While it is completely reasonable to use a fork or a pen to make the patterns, you can take bamboo skewers or chopsticks and turn them into rakes using wire. Using these, you can smooth out the sand and rake patterns into it each day or as often as the whim takes you.

How Can I Witch This?

Unlike all of the gardens I’ve written about thus far, this is a garden whose only maintenance depends upon what you need from a meditative standpoint. Its design is not only decorative, but spiritually functional. If you’re a witch who is still fairly closeted and can’t have an altar, gardens such as these make for excellent substitutions, as they can form a sort of sacred space in which you can meditate and focus your intent.

If you’re a crystal witch, these sand gardens are a dream come true! Instead of placing stones, arrange your grids in the sand and use the rake or skewer to draw patterns in the sand to help focus the energy of the stones in your grid!

Draw sigils in the sand based on your intent and either wipe them away with the rake, or incorporate those sigils into the design of the ripples!

Sands come in various colors and grades. Play around with options for your sand! For cleansing, use a fine black sand. For empowerment, use a fiery orange or red. For healing, use white or light blue! The possibilities are near endless!

Of course, I can’t leave out my fellow kitchen witches! Salt is a key feature of the kitchen witch’s lifestyle. So much so, in fact, that in some circles it is believed that it is bad luck to run out of salt. For this reason, you can replace the sand with salt! This has a couple of benefits: first, it’s inexpensive. Second, it acts as a constant cleanser - much like a quartz cluster or a rod of selenite. When the salt has become to crusty to rake into appealing patterns, it has done its work! Dispose of the old salt and replace it with a new batch! (Do not pour the salt outside! This is harmful to the environment! Instead, find a safer way to dispose of the salt - I usually use the salt to clean out my mortar and pestle, then dissolve it in the sink to drain away).

If you use salt in place of sand, you can take the crystal grid concept a step further! Place the crystals in your “salt garden” and rake as you would if it were sand. This provides a way to cleanse your crystals in a way that is also visually appealing!

Consider different ways to make this plant-less garden a magical addition to the dorm or coffee table!

And may your harvests always be bountiful!
Blessed Be! )O(

『11.05.17』
Though November’s theme is simplicity, I still have this photo left to post~ I tried to journal on my bujo and it was nice :3
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「Quick tip: Declutter your desk every now and then. You won’t realize how much stuff you actually don’t need anymore until you see them.」

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WIP. Haven’t done much fashion stuff in a while. Who better to model than my Most Glorious Trinity of Mutant PerfeXtion? (Sorry). I’m not so keen with accessories, so simplicity was the theme. However, free punches from all if I ever attempt a crotchet top again… But new hairs wooo!