From Desk Till Dawn

My mainly music & nerd bird blog

Archive for December 2012

2012 Was…

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I do not have a decisive enough personality to make definitive lists so just off the top of my head this year…

Has been soundtracked by albums from Crybaby, The Maccabees, Friends, Wild Nothing, Mystery Jets, Mary Epworth, Beach House, Zulu Winter, Kindness, How To Dress Well, Hot Chip, Sharon Van Etten, Sleigh Bells, Polica, Toy, The Futureheads, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Grimes, Grizzly Bear, David Byrne & St. Vincent, Jessie Ware, Bat for Lashes and Perfume Genius. I wasn’t blown away by Alt-J (someone had to not be).

I can count the amount of times I went to the cinema on one hand but adored all the films. The Hobbit, Avengers Assemble, Moonrise Kingdom. Most of all I loved Beasts of the Southern Wild and Searching for Sugar Man.

It seems to be a year where I’ve mainly read David Sedaris. However, Anna Richardson’s Little Gods would be my book of the year. Stunning debut novel. After reading Virginia Woolf, A Room Of Ones Own I am determined to work my way through the rest of her books next year.

The exhibitions this year have been the strongest since I’ve lived in London. From Charles Dickens writing desk at the London Museum to Grayson Perry at The British Museum.

It’s been a year where I finally got to see Mystery Jets live, and at the Royal Festival Hall with someone who’s support has been unwavering this year. There’s been Gigs where I’ve been with my parents and created cherished memories, gigs of sitting in Hoxton basements and leaning over Heaven’s balcony. Drunk gigs, sober gigs, gigs that have moved me to tears or where I’ve come away with aching feet from dancing so much.

Above all these things it’s mainly been all about London 2012 for me. I hope I am forever changed by the Olympics and Paralympics. It made me kinder, motivated, deliriously happy and proud to be British. Actually, proud to just be a human being. This Public Enemy song will forever serve as a reminder.

It’s been a year of pesky Tinnitus, goodbyes and job changes. It’s been a year where friendships have sprang out of the unlikeliest of places and where I will never underestimate the kindness of strangers. At times you have overwhelmed me with your support and general brilliance (I know some of you read this blog, most of you will never even know you made a difference).

Of course there’s plenty of things I didn’t get round to in 2012. Like swimming round all of London Lido’s, having tea with Ian Hislop, learning how to ride a bike or shaking Robert Jay QC by the hand.

It’s been a year where I’ve decided bravery is one of the most important qualities you can possess. A year of remembering I can breathe underwater.

2012. In equal measures I’m glad to see it gone and reluctant to let it go.

Here’s to 2013. Happy New Year.

NB: Huge thanks to Pete at Flush The Fashion for putting up with my contributions for another year. To Pub Diaries for letting me waffle on in a Q&A. The ever energetic and tireless Dan Thompson for printing my pop up shop piece. To Darren Hayman for letting me talk about my love of swimming and to The Guardian for printing my ‘Six Songs Of Me‘. To Tim for having me on Resonance Radio. And to everyone who reads this. Cheers.

final collage

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A Christmas Ten

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You can play this mixtape on YouTube or Spotify. A very Merry Christmas and here’s to a perfect New Year.

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Sunday Swoon. December 16th

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1. John Grant has confirmed a new album Pale Green Ghosts will be released 11th March 2013 and has released a track of the same name this week. A touch of Wild Beasts about it, at least to my ears.

2. I swear on all that is good on this green earth that Bone Daddies cured my hangover by the time I got to the bottom of my bowl of Ramen, served up over a loud soundtrack with a diet coke. I had the Tantanmen, the chilli giving a massive kick to the rich and hearty bone broth. I’m not sure if it was The Rolling Stones blaring out or the food itself but I left with the hangover kicked to the kerb.

3. Easily in my top 50 tracks this year How To Dress Well has released an official video to & It Was U this week in conjunction with Urban Outfitters. A Spiritual gathering waiting for their leader to glide in on a Segway drapes in dandelion yellow. The only negative being I’d have liked for Tom Krell to have been riding it.

4. Two girl crushes, St. Vincent and Alexis Krauss, join my original girl crush Cyndi Lauper (dating back to The Goonies release date when I’d have been eight years old) on stage to perform Girls Just Want To Have Fun. Yes it’s an amateur video but that’s the beauty of the internet. We get to see these little moments happen. Oh yeah, and Rosie O’Donnell is on drums.

5. Although I’m not a huge fan of this particular track I adore this video. Winona Ryder reunited with director Tim Burton on Brighton Beach. I’m off to watch Edward Scissorhands.

The Letter ‘W’ Mixtape.

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The Letter W Mixtape whittled down to 10 without too much thought because I seem to have found myself in a situation where I have to work my socks off and I think I’ve gone into shock over it.

My cousin was telling me about a friend who is a drummer the other day with the surname Moon. He is fanatical about The Who and when his firstborn arrived he was delighted it was boy, a chance to call him Keith Moon. His partner refused. They didn’t stay together, although I doubt the cause of the separation was the missed opportunity to raise Moon the loon Part Deux.

You can play my letter W mixtape on Spotify or YouTube

  1. The Waitresses – I Know What Boys Like
  2. Womack & Womack – Teardrops
  3. Wade Ray – Idaho Red
  4. The Who – I Can See For Miles
  5. Warren Zevon – Werewolves Of London
  6. The White Stripes – Hotel Yorba
  7. Wild Beasts – All The King’s Men
  8. Willy Mason – Oxygen
  9. Wye Oak – Civillian
  10. Warpaint – Undertow

 

Sunday Swoon. December 9th

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All about the tunes…

1. Darwin Deez has returned this week with a track of his forthcoming album The Editorial Me. His videos always somehow strike a beautiful balance between humour and forlorn reality, his video for DNA always inducing a heartfelt sigh from me at the very end. A joyous, bizarre and uplifting Glastonbury highlight in 2011. Can’t wait to see him again in February.

2. Scott Walker has come out of his somewhat reclusive life to release Bish Bosch this week. Irrespective of how accessible some of his albums may be (I had a gloriously bizarre night at the Barbican celebrating his albums Tilt and Drift) he is a rare musical genius. Listen alone with open ears… it made me feel strange, in a way that only Scott Walker can.

3. This somehow escaped me last week. Veronica Falls with Teenage. A sort of upbeat song about giving up, I adore it and they should be in every music lovers record collection.

4. As if Darwin Deez cheering my life wasn’t enough Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds also made a return this week to keep me firmly grounded with We Know Who U R. How this man manages to make dark and menacing sound like the most inviting place in the world I’ll never fathom.

5. No new track to play you but just old-fashioned excitement that Phoenix are set to release a new album in April 2013 as reported by Pitchfork this week. Strangely I had been playing Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix pretty much on repeat this week. Some cosmic sign was telling me they would be back.

Crunchers and Bangers

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I recently started a new job and yesterday was asked to write a bio about myself and provide a photo to send out to the company. I wish I could have just sent…

“I have recently arrived from a company where I spent nearly all my time alone in an office listening to 6 Music. I know already it will be a shock to the system sitting in such a large open plan office again. For example the bloke that constantly crunches mints is already making me tense and I had to restrain myself from launching a stapler at the head of the man who types as if he’s trying to break through boulders (typing that loudly doesn’t make anyone think you’re working hard by the way, you’re probably playing Track and Field). Don’t chew loudly or speak with your mouth full and we will get on fine and dandy (and I’m looking directly at you bumper bag of Ready Salted as I type this, you’re treading a thin line).

If you see a full fat coke on my desk in all likelihood I am hungover. Do not approach me until midday.

I can be bribed with sweets.

I will go above and beyond the call of duty if asked politely. Manners are a virtue dear colleagues, and they cost nothing.

I may have exaggerated my excel skills during the interview process so perhaps steer clear of that.

Oh for the love of God… STOP banging the keyboard like that. I can’t concentrate on this blog.”

Portrait by Craig Donaghy

Portrait by Craig Donaghy

Written by Anon PA

December 5, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Sunday Swoon. December 2nd

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Not a peep of a Christmas song despite the fact it’s December, I shan’t punish you all yet…

1. The partnership of Hot Chip and Peter Serafinowicz continue their artistic relationship as he directs a third music video for them. Don’t Deny Your Heart was released this week. Spot the controversial refused handshake at the start of the Football match and try and work out where it will go from there.

2. Anyone sauntering past a book shop recently would have spotted The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared by Jonas Joasson as it seems to be in every window I pass by. Lovable characters from one unique imagination. Highly recommended read, would make a good stocking filler for a book-worm.

3. Finally got to see Mystery Jets live this week. Five albums in and somehow they’ve always alluded me but it was worth the wait to see them headline the Royal Festival Hall. Beautiful set taking us to sunrise through to a full moon, birds fluttering across the desert scene of their Radlands. Appearances from a gospel choir and Laura Marling to name a few. I was still grinning two days later from this gig.

5. Apart from Mystery Jets the song I’ve had most on repeat this week is Local Natives with this beautiful track Breakers. I’ve added them to my Glastonbury wish list.