Archive for February 2013
The amount of time it’s taken me to get round to the final letter of this self-imposed alphabet playlist challenge is living proof that I have found myself in a job where I have a severe, and saddening, lack of time to fart around on the internet. Oh to be a grown up.
But finally it is here. The letter Z. From Zoe to Zola Jesus, and Zulu Winter to ZZ Top. It has been a pleasure trotting through the alphabet musically for you all. I hope you’ve enjoyed at least some of the tunes.
Now onto the next mixtape challenge… coming soon.
- Zulu Winter – Silver Tongue
- Zebra – Right Here, Right Now
- The Zutons – You Will You Won’t
- ZZ Top – Gimme All Your Lovin’
- The Zombies – She’s Not There
- Zola Jesus – Night
- Zoe – Sunshine On A Rainy Day
- Zero 7 – Destiny
1. The extremely generous 6 Music put on another set of free gigs at Maida Vale Studios and I was lucky enough to be front row with Jo for Richard Hawley on Valentines day (unlucky with camera’s picking up geeky side profile whoops and clapping shots). I loved the acerbic wit and cynicism from Hawley as much as I enjoyed watching him perform. All his albums hold a special place in my heart and it was perfect to finally see him live in such an intimate setting. Photo’s from the session on my Flickr.
2. Everyone I know adored Silver Linings Playbook, so like the book snob I am I decided to read the original book by Matthew Quick first. It’s a beautiful read, full of charming flaws and beautiful intimate moments. I would highly recommend it. I watched the film shortly after finishing it. The credits should read “really loosely based on the book”. Even small but significant moments in the book were eradicated or changed for no reason I could grasp (like a song choice which has important narrative attached to it for example). I would advise anyone to read the original and ditch the film.
3. After stumbling into the John Peel tent during Glastonbury 2011 and being hypnotised by Darwin Deez live I have been itching to see him again. He was in my top 5 at Glastonbury that year, a unique performer. Last week at Heaven (to a remarkably young audience, or I’m getting terribly old) he immediately transported me back to a very happy place. Who doesn’t love insane but tightly choreographed dance routines littered through their gig!
4. Vic Reeves has an art exhibition at The Strand Gallery called Hot Valve Leak: Visual Ramblings of Vic Reeves. And it is a ramble. At times bonkers and at other times classic seaside scenes. It shows there is more depth to him than what we grew up with on TV. The exhibition is free and worth a visit for inspiration and giggles.
5. On the day Foals third album Holy Fire was released I was lucky enough to be wedged in front of the tiny stage at Rough Trade East with friends to watch them perform live. The new songs sound gigantic live, like no room can contain them. It was also beautiful to hear Spanish Sahara at the end of the set. Adore this band deeply, and My Number has to rival any song as an “it’s over” anthem.
As I was about to leave the house the other day Fleetwood Mac’s Man of the World came on the radio just as my hand hovered to turn my DAB off. It’s one of those songs that will always stop me in my tracks, the regret croaking out of Peter Green in an act of a heartfelt confession.
I have the added built-in feature of the crackle and static of listening to it as if it was on Vinyl, or an old wireless radio not quite tuned in, because I have Tinnitus. I don’t mean to romanticise it, making it sounds as if a medical condition that strikes 1 in 10 gives a vintage sound to your world because it doesn’t. It’s funny, typing out the words ‘medical condition’ because I think of it as more of an annoyance, something to suffer and endure. Ultimately something I have been learning to live with since November 2011.
Since contracting Tinnitus I’ve had frustrating experiences from GP’s. When I finally got to see an ENT (Ears, Nose and Throat) Doctor I patiently tried different forms of medication. From tipping my head back to administer a salt spray twice a day to getting down on all fours like a dog and pouring a solution that was uncomfortable and felt like it was eroding the skin inside my nose. The gentle, but firm, smack of a tuning fork over my head is a stark reminder that I should have known better. Actually I had never given much thought to looking after my hearing in the same way I’d floss regularly or go to the opticians.
I dread the quiet of night. Working and living in London I have the constant distraction of noise to help drown out the ever changing noises in my brain. The rattle of the tube carriages and the building site currently outside my office window mean I can sometimes tune out of it during the day. It’s hard to describe how the sounds I hear shifts sides, changes tone and pitch. That I’m convinced alcohol heightens it but can’t know for certain, that some days are better than others. On the terrible and unbearable nights I sleep little, in the morning I am bleary eyed, exhausted and prone to make mistakes (from grammatical errors to not paying enough attention when crossing the road). When the sound suddenly changes I have to ask others around me if they can hear a strange buzzing, I’m sometimes thrown by what’s in my brain and what’s reality. This inability to communicate something only I can hear is frustrating and, how I wish I meant this literally, I sometimes end up suffering in silence.
Next time that song comes on the radio, the one that stops you in your tracks because it brings a long-lost lover to memory, reminds you of a cherished friend long gone, makes you sigh, skip, cry or smile with every facial muscle, pause for a moment. Think what life would be like with that melody, specific lyric, cowbell or the plink of piano keys ruined by a constant sound cutting across it. Or how the lack of sleep or stress will affect your life, and perhaps your relationships. If I’ve scared you then that was my intention. If you are in a band, DJ, just love standing by the speakers in venues or you’re one of those annoying types on public transport that listens to your music so everyone else can hear please think about your ears for a moment. It’s my one life regret.
NB: I started writing this post last year. A recent article by Eddy Temple-Morris for Huffington Post and the fact that it’s Tinnitus Awareness Week made me revisit this with a determination to tell it like it is. You can read his article here
1. Another new track from Suede. It Starts And Ends With You makes me even more hopeful that Bloodsports will be an album harking back to one of my best bands on form. A reunion that gets my blessing. A rare thing.
2. This may be a betrayal to the fishing town I grew up in but the Mussel Men fed me the most amazing Mussels I have ever tasted in my entire life. A day later and I’m still thinking about them. They popped up at Brew 4 Two in Hackney this weekend to serve Mussels, Frites and Prosecco. I highly recommend stalking them via twitter or their website to make sure you book up.
3. I have just finished Capital by John Lanchester. One of those chunky books you find yourself flying through but can’t put your finger on why you’re itching to find out the ending. The characters are at times selfish, spoilt and self-absorbed but I found myself wanting to find out their fate in the tale of Pepys Road.
4. Album of the week goes to Local Natives with Hummingbird. Beautifully emotive, a mature progression from their debut offering and perfect for the evenings as it slowly gets lighter. Listen to it if you like Grizzly Bear during the Blue Hour.
5. Hauser & Wirth present Bruce Nauman’s mindfuck. Definitely worth visiting if you are passing through central London and don’t suffer from Epilepsy (his art works contain constant neon strobing). I love light installations and the main piece really is hypnotising.