Friday 30 December 2022

Force for good



James and I stayed up into the wee small hours on my birthday talking about all sorts of stuff - road trips, foreign train travel, football, politics, beer and, of course, music. His recent Best of '22 roundup had been gratefully received only a few days earlier and was therefore a good convo starting point (and prompted many subsequent rabbit holes to fall down). I'll post a link to it below.

I sometimes forget that when James was growing up at Medd Towers just how many hundreds/thousands of hours he must have spent listening to his OM's record collection; it was kind of inevitable, therefore, that much of what was played in his formative years  at the dinner table/in the car/on holiday would eventually trickle down and shape his own taste and, by inference, his future record collection. 

One album that used to live in whatever car I was driving at the time was Adrian Belew's Salad Days. It came out in 1999 so James would only be nine when he first heard it and I reckon he knew every song on it within a handful of weeks. Fast forward to 2022 and Belew can be found five or six songs into James' playlist joining forces with Todd Rundgren on Runt's Space Force album that came out a couple of months ago. Rundgren has collaborated with some other big hitters including Sparks, Thomas Dolby, the Lemon Twigs, and Weezer's Rivers Cuomo, to name but a few, and produced one of his most coherent albums in a long time. 'Puzzle' with the aforementioned Belew kickstarts the record and reminds me of something Andy Partridge and XTC may have cooked up in a parallel musical universe. 

Todd Rundgren with Adrian Belew - Puzzle (2022)


Here's the link

Tuesday 27 December 2022

Hail fellow well met


I hope you all had a good Christmas; ours was quiet, but that's how I like it these days. As I type this, Boxing Day's embers are all but ashes in the grate and December 27th (the most unremarkable day betwixt Christmas and New Year) is practically upon us. My festive playlist is, therefore, about to expire and go into hibernation for another year; so goodbye Medieval Baebes, Burl Ives, Dean Martin, Bugge Wesseltoft, Nick Lowe et al and with them all their time sensitive musical offerings. See you next December.

However, one album that inexplicably only comes out at Christmas isn't even a Christmas album at all: Mark Knopfler's Sailing to Philadelphia generally makes its way to Medd Towers around the second week of December and two weeks later, never outstaying its welcome, Knopfler is offering to shake my hand and bid us farewell - with the (guaranteed) promise of 'Doing it all again next year.' A hail fellow well met if ever there was one.

As I say, in its 13 song track list there's neither a sleigh bell or a hoof on the roof in sight. Yet its place at the high table of festive musical accompaniment is assured every year.  No questions asked. And since James left home some 15 years ago he too affords it the exact same level of Christmas importance as tinsel and a tree; one of us generally texts the other around the 12th/13th of the month with the call sign 'It's time' and an image of the album cover. 

Every track is a gem. From the barnstorming opening chords of  'What it Is', to the closing bars of its finale 'One More Matinee' the quality never lets up for a second. This one does it for me every time: when Glenn Tilbrook's vocal part comes in at 4:09, I tell you, I'm gone.

Mark Knopfler - Silvertown Blues (2000)



Thursday 22 December 2022

2022 Gigs Redux

Curse of Lono (with Bo Lucas)

Remember when we couldn't go to the pub? Or go to gigs? Or even leave the house? Christ, what desperate times they were. I try not to think about those dark days; I'm sure if I was to trawl thru my back issues I'd find plenty of Covid and LD references. (But you know what, I'll save that particular trip down memory lane for when I really
am in my dotage.)

Throughout that wretched period I remember saying, often, to myself (and probably on here too) that as soon as this nightmare was all over I'd make up for lost time. I knew that pubs and venues alike had struggled to keep their heads above water - with no money in their tills for the  best part of two years it needed everyone to get back out there and, basically, drink like a Viking. Whilst at the same time going to see every band that was playing in their town. As it turned out, I certainly did try to flash the cash in as many pubs as I possibly could and also pulled in a fair few gigs; I was doing my bit for the economy. Still am. And not just in my town. As well as Nottingham I also did my bit for the tourist industry and saw bands as far afield as Hull, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and Totnes. That's right, a rock and roll gazetteer.

If you've been dipping in and out of this blog during the last 12 months you would have seen that I flagged many of these up. Curse of Lono in a little upstairs room above a pub in Sheffield; Crowded House in a Manchester amphitheatre; The Unthanks at Nottingham's beautifully appointed  Albert Hall; The Slackers at Leeds Brudenell; Stuart Pearce supporting the Nightingales at The Bodega in town; John Power at the same venue a few weeks later; The Hanging Stars at The Running Horse. And, of course, Ian Prowse and Amsterdam all over the country! I talked a lot about how Ian's Does This Train Stop on Merseyside? moves me to tears every time he plays it  as do a couple of newer songs on his last album One Hand on the Starry Plough. He's probably one of our greatest songwriters that relatively few people know. I really hope that changes.

And before you ask, no, I'm not going to rank these gigs. They were all special. And they all moved me in ways I can't begin to describe. If you read my Crowded House piece for instance then you'd know. So I've been blessed this year for gigs. And blessed by the people I went to some of these gigs with; you know who you are...

I'll sign off with Lucas & King. They supported Curse of Lono and were absolutely mesmerising. We were spoiled that night - Bo Lucas is also part of Curse of Lono's touring band.

Lucas & King - Dancing to no Music (2022)



Saturday 17 December 2022

Scandalous

Pauline Boty with her Scandal '63; the year it was last seen

Pauline Boty was a co-founder of the British Pop Art movement in the 1960s and its only recognised female member. A peer of Peter Blake she starred with him in Ken Russell's acclaimed 1962 film Pop Goes the Easel*  highlighting the Pop Art pioneers of the day. Unlike Blake, however, her trajectory was both short-lived and deeply sad.


In June 1965 Boty fell pregnant and during a pre-natal exam was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour; she refused an abortion and chemotherapy. She died 1 July 1966 aged just 28. After her passing her work was stored away on her brother's farm where it remained for the best part of 30 years - before it was 'rediscovered' in the 1990s: some of her paintings (tho' not the elusive Scandal '63** - pictured top) formed part of a major exhibition and a solo retrospective. Her rebellious art was a shot in the arm to the prevailing feminist movement and it's nothing short of scandalous that her name is not better known today.


Pauline Boty (1938-1966)


* Here's a great clip to wet your whistle.
** A Guardian piece from 2013 about Boty's lost art and speculation as to where Scandal '63 now resides.

Saturday 10 December 2022

Knock, knock!

It's York, December 2022. Our Jorvik pub crawl has not long begun. ''Look out for the purple door with the fox knocker,'' I said to our friends as we were seeking out a hostelry I remembered going in a couple of years ago; though I couldn't recollect the name of it I knew it was down a narrow alleyway and just before it, on the right hand side, was a heavily glossed bright purple door with a fabulous fox knocker on it. (I later went on to use the image on a friend's playlist.) 


And so my latest photography craze began. I say began; it was only a few days later whilst I was on my regular lunchtime walk when I espied another fox (I now have a brace) that I realised I would now subconsciously be looking out for these brass bad boys wherever I happen to find myself.  In true Shaw Taylor style I'll be keeping 'em peeled.


...

Feel free to contribute any foxy sightings you may stumble upon in your part of the world. I'd like to think they live hidden in plain sight and have been watching us all for sometime now...

Monday 5 December 2022

It's a wrap

2022. Where did it go? Blink and you miss it; only seems like five minutes ago since I was planning my American adventure. Now it's December and I can only dream about California. (However, my Amtrak photobook is beginning to take shape.)

Spotify have just wrapped up my year, as they normally do, and informed that I've clocked up nearly 40,000 minutes of listening in '22 and have heard just shy of 4,000 songs. Below are the Match of the Day highlights...

It probably won't surprise you to learn that of the Top 5 most listened to artists I've been to see three of them live this year; and in the case of Ian Prowse I'll be clocking him for the 4th time this year when he visits The Resue Rooms on Thursday. He's very kindly put us on the gezzy - we've spoken to him after all three previous shows this year (Hull, Manchester & Totnes) and he is such a nice guy. Ian mans his own merch stand and the Medds always have a drink with him and invariably make a purchase!

I really hope I can apply the handbrake to 2023 before it runs away with me but I very much doubt I'll be able to. I've got so much I want to cram in next year it's untrue. But I'm jumping the gun, I know; slowly slowly catchy monkey. 

Sunday 27 November 2022

I close my eyes and I see you next to me


I went to see John Power on Friday night at The Bodega. It was a very intimate gig; he spoke warmly and candidly about how Lee Mavers mentored him when he was in the La's and showed him how to write songs. Since the last time I saw John (in 1995 when Cast played at Trent Uni) I appear to have grown old (when did that happen?) and he's ended up writing one of the finest songs ever to have come out of this country in the last 30 years. 

John Power - Mariner (live, 2009)


The Bodega is one of my favourite venues in Nottingham. It only holds a couple of hundred people and lends itself to photographing bands and artists. As well as capturing them 'head on' it's got a little rail at the side next to the steps where the bands walk on stage; perfect for leaning on and getting some backlit shots from behind...


Friday 25 November 2022

Been waiting for the bus all day

I'd love to think that in a parallel universe there's another me, a nerdier version of me, if you will, who is passionate about stamps; but only stamps with buses on them. This version of me, let's call him John Medd 2.0, is continually visiting stamp fairs all over the world - tracking down every postage stamp from every country ever to bear the image of a humble bus.

I think I'd get on with him. We'd probably bump into each other at the airport, or in some European city square while I was photographing a laundromat and he was, I don't know, on his way to some far-flung philatelic convention. I like him already; we should meet up for a drink sometime.  

ZZ Top - Waiting for the Bus (1973)



Tuesday 22 November 2022

Bus times


Whatever happened to the Partridge Family bus? The one painted in the style of Dutch abstract Piet Mondrian; it probably won't surprise you that there are as many websites dedicated solely to this mystery as there are stars in the solar system. However, long story short, the 1955 Chevrolet 6800 purchased by the TV company in 1970 (from a school district in Orange County, California) for the show's pilot, finally met its maker in 1987. (There are witnesses who saw it in the scrapyard).


So, if you've seen one after then, rest assured you're looking at a copy. A bit like the Mondrian hanging in my office.


Piet Mondrian (1872-1944)

Saturday 19 November 2022

That's Living, alright

Apologies for my absence; it was something of an enforced hiatus brought about by gremlins in the works. My Mac is currently very poorly (thoughts and prayers etc.) and is out of commission until James does his laying on of hands thing and (hopefully) brings it back from the dead - Lazarus style. In the meantime, I'm bringing any foreseeable new content to you c/o a rather handsome reconditioned laptop I picked up in Sherwood this morning - which is a million times faster than the Mac currently and is a dream to work with.

Before I was so rudely interrupted, and before my old machine went loco, I was halfway through writing about the lovely Jacqui Abbott. It was also before I'd been to see Living, the new Bill Nighy film. I'll try and pick up where I left off...  

...

It was Jacqui Abbott's birthday on Thursday. A belated Happy Birthday, Jacqui, from all at Medd Towers. 

I was watching the recent Word in Your Ear podcast earlier and in it Jacqui talks really movingly and affectionately about how she met Paul Heaton and ultimately joined the Beautiful South; as well as the huge part her family played - and continue to play - in her musical life. Fast forward to 19:55 and see just how nervous her dad was before her first 'warm up' gig in Middlesborough in 1993. You can see in this interview with Mark Ellen & David Hepworth how grounded this northern lass is and is so not a diva.

Paul Heaton is a consummate songwriter. His barbed lyrics come wrapped in a tune and a melody so at odds, often, with the words that he's able to sing about stuff you wouldn't normally hear on national daytime radio. Don't Marry Her (Fuck Me) being one that springs to mind. It's not very often, therefore, that you see him tackle someone else's songs. Especially not a middle of the road, lighters aloft, soft rock anthem. That said, Heaton and Abbott play this particular Russ Ballard penned power ballad in a rather gentler fashion and, no, Ritchie Blackmore does not come out from behind the curtain to play the solo.

Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott - Since You've Been Gone (2022)


...

I went to Nottingham's Broadway Cinema last Sunday and saw a film that should clean up at any and indeed all upcoming awards. Best film, best screenplay, best actor, best support: Living, Kazuo Ishiguro, Bill Nighy, Aimee Lou Wood. There, I've called it. Lemme know what you think.

Living (2022)



Wednesday 9 November 2022

Owl Wednesday


I've said it before and I'll say it again. Brevity is everything. This beautiful ditty by Monster Rally clocks in at a little under two minutes and is pure pop perfection. It's the opposite of Monday Long Song; which I love btw - I often contribute myself - but sometimes less is more. I think this bookends yesterday's offering by Jon Kennedy perfectly. I like that; Jon from Manchester and Ted Feighan (Ted is Monster Rally) from Cleveland, Ohio. I wonder if they've met?

Monster Rally - Sister Owls (2019)

Tuesday 8 November 2022

#ImmaculateVibes


If ever a track could be paired with the hashtag Immaculate Vibes I doubt you'd find a more exact match than this. Jon Kennedy was 'discovered' by acclaimed Manchester DJ and tea connoisseur Mr. Scuff and, between them, in a sizzling Stockport studio, they sculpted this absolute nailed on, made to measure, slice of soul funk finery. 

Wrap your ears around it and it's like being transported to some mythical higher ground - carried aloft by nothing more than air. If this track doesn't appear on the next playlist I put together for you then you have every right to withdraw your friendship from me and/or feed me to the wolves.

Jon Kennedy - Funk Boutique (2013)



Saturday 5 November 2022

It's years since you've been there

Found!

Both Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn announced this week they have recorded a new Everything but the Girl album and that it'll be coming out in the Spring. In a week that's been far from brilliant this really is a tonic for the troops. (Their last album came out in 1999, can you believe?). And I really hope I'm not putting the cart before the horse, but talk of some 2023 live dates surely can't be far away...

Everything but the Girl - Missing (1995) 


Monday 31 October 2022

It's a family affair


My love of the Partridge Family is, if truth be known, shared only by a handful of my good friends; tho' even they are probably just indulging me. But, that's OK. I'm a big boy. It's hardly love me love my dog; even I can acknowledge that when it comes down to it the Partridge Family weren't real. Well, yes they were real in the sense that the Monkees were real, but they weren't a real family. David Cassidy wasn't Keith Partridge and Shirley Jones wasn't Keith's mum. Wait, hang on a minute, she kinda was. OK, you know what I mean.

But today's show and tell really is real. The Cowsills were a real family. Brothers. Sisters (well, sister singular). And mother. All singing in the same band. I'm reading all about them now. It's a hellava story, mark my words. I won't tell you how it ends, read it yourself. I will, however, share this with you. And, as you're watching the clip below, tell me, in your mind's eye, you don't see Danny Bonaduce behind that drum kit.

The Cowsills - The Rain, the Park & Other Things (1967)


Sunday 30 October 2022

Local beat sensations

Stuart Pearce, Bodega Nottingham. Photo ©John Medd
East Midlands beat combo, Stuart Pearce, have just released their new single. BBC Radio Nottingham gave 'Beat Sensation' a spin last week and already this post-punk delicacy is becoming something of an ear-worm. Unfortunately, at the time of writing this, it only exists in the digital world - through all the usual digital streaming platforms (until such time as thy can get an indie label interested or find a benevolent benefactor who can help kickstart a vinyl pressing). In the meantime they're hoping that the likes of you and me can throw a couple of quid in their Bandcamp bucket and help spread the word...

 

I've seen them live a few times now and they really are mustard. On Tuesday night they supported Bis (remember them?) at The Bodega in town (photo top). The gig saw the return of Adam, their guitarist, back after a brief illness; the footage below, however, is from a recent Ukraine fundraiser gig at The Canal House with the Number One Son (far left) depping on guitar. 
 

Sunday 23 October 2022

When Barry Met Johnny


I've never done a school reunion in my life. It's not my thing. What happened in the 70s says in the 70s; or words to that effect. However - there's always a however - when two school friends find themselves following each other on Twitter and one of them says 'You fancy meeting up sometime?' then that's different. Of course it is. Barry and I go way back. As way back as 1972 if both of our (fading) memories are anything to go by. But we hadn't seen each other since Christmas Eve 1982. And save for a solitary phone call in 1991 when one of us heard the other on national radio, that's pretty much been it communication wise. Until, as I said, Twitter Reunited. 
Our first stab at this back in August didn't end well: I'd been on the Birmingham train a mere 15 minutes when a frantic text alerted me to the fact that Barry (or Baz as I - and nobody else - call him) would not be meeting me at New Street after all - he was in Emergency Ward 10 (well, A&E) attending to a real life emergency.
When I got home I posted Baz the gift I'd been planning on giving to him in person. A copy of Stevie Wonder's He's Misstra Know it All c/w with an inscription we both knew by heart; an in-joke that had stood the test of time and, like any in-joke, meaningless to anyone outside our circle. Oh, and I put it in this bag.
A couple of days later I received a beautiful reply. (It began 'Dear Johnny...' - he's the only person I know still calls me Johnny - if it'd been a letter I'd have pressed it and kept it in a secret drawer. That's bromance for ya. 


So yesterday the planets aligned and as you can see from the photo at the top (taken yesterday morning), we met up in Nottingham and had a brilliant breakfast and catch-up at the Warsaw Diner - the best breakfast in Nottingham. Don't just take my word - Baz is something of a  hospitality guru and he gave it a double thumbs up. High praise indeed.
So how did we compress 40 years into three hours? Quite easily, actually. What did we talk about? Everything. Did we laugh? Of course. Did we promise to do it again in another 40 years? Definitely. (But ahead of what would be, let's face it, a miraculous 2062 event, we're already lining up a couple of gigs for a future hook up a wee bit bit before that. Cheers, Baz!

...

Baz told me about John 'Hair on Fire' Wilson who sadly passed recently (the first of our Class of '77 to go). Rest easy, John.

Friday 21 October 2022

Is there a Doctor in the house?


I can honestly say that from the moment Doctor Who first made its way into the Medd family's living room on a Saturday evening I was genuinely excited as fuck and, at the same time, scared shitless. Daleks. Cibermen. Silurians. And as if those three weren't enough to mess with a young boy's head I also had this lot to contend with: shop mannequins...

The Autons Activate (1974)



Just finding this two minute clip and posting it to the blog has brought back so many childhood nightmares. Is it any wonder I went prematurely grey?
...

I'm not sure if Alan Parsons was a big fan of our favourite timelord. But judging by the video below (despite knowing the song for nearly 40 years, I only discovered the accompanying film earlier this evening), I'm guessing he too was taken with those lifelike monsters hiding in plain sight in our town centre shop windows up and down the land.

The Alan Parsons Project - Prime Time (1984)



Thursday 20 October 2022

Weren't Born a Man



Some of my earliest memories of David Bowie songs are versions by other people. He would often give them away to friends like Mott the Hoople ('All the Young Dudes') and Peter Noone ('Oh! You Pretty Thing'); I've always preferred Simon Turner's interpretation of 'The Prettist Star' over the original. Still not sure about Lulu tho'.
Bowie was a huge fan of Andy Warhol but had never met the daddy of Pop Art when he penned his three minute homage to him. When he finally did play it to him he hated it. I love it. I also love his former girlfriend's versh too. And she got Mick Ronson to play guitar on it. Born Richenda Antoinette de Winterstein Gillespie she'd known the artist formerly known as David Jones since they were teenagers. Probably explains why she handles the song with such care. 

 Dana Gillespie - Andy Warhol (1973)



Sunday 16 October 2022

Gardiner's Question Time

The Boris Gardiner Happening c.1973

Name - Boris Gardiner

Born - 13 January 1943; Kingston, Jamaica

1st Big Hit - Elizabethan Reggae (1970)

Best Known For - I Wanna Wake Up With You (1987)

Not a lot of people know - As a renowned bass player he was an in demand  session musician recording and touring with Lee Scratch Perry and the Upsetters, the Heptones and a ton more.

Reason for featuring on the blog today - Pete Paphides played this on his Soho Radio show last Monday evening...

Boris Gardiner - Love Dub (1975)

Thursday 13 October 2022

Just when I think I'm winning


I'm digging deep into the Japan back catalogue at the moment; I first latched onto them when thy were very loud, very louche and, yes, very glam. Hailing from Catford in south London they quickly jettisoned their guitar heavy sound and the glam tag that came with it. Growing up in double quick time they soon transmogrified into one of the UK's most original electronic bands. Always innovative, always great to look at, they could have been massive. But they were never destined to grow old (quite literally In Mick Karn's case*) - blink and you miss 'em. Androgynous front man (well, they all were really) David Sylvian pulled the plug not long after Ghosts became a top 5 hit. This etherial masterpiece could have been the beginning of something special but they didn't stick around long enough to find out.

This single used to wrong-foot me then; forty years later it still wrong-foots me. I can't think of any other record that sounds remotely like it. 

Japan - Ghosts (1982)


* I must mention that their heroic bass player doesn't feature on Ghosts. To make up for this travesty here are some of Mick Karn's best bass bits. God love him.


Mick Karn (1958-2011)

Saturday 8 October 2022

Architecture. And affordable art


When art and architecture collide - today's 500 words are brought to you in association with Nick Coupland and Thomas Cecil Howitt.

Nick is a contemporary artist working in pen & ink and specialises in post modern architecture; often concrete; often brutal. I've been a fan of his work for a long time and, a couple of Christmases ago I gifted my daughter-in-law (hugely into architecture) a signed copy of his beautiful book - Modernist Lines, Brutalist Shapes - which had a number of his drawings of English (many in Hull and Manchester), European, Asian and American buildings & structures; from Preston Bus Station to the Nakogin Capsule Tower in Tokyo.

Nick's work is nothing short of amazing. His attention to detail is forensic. How he can replicate the smallest of windows, the most ornate corbel, in such microscopic detail is amazing. And also a little bit scary; he must go to the same optician as Superman. He recently posted on Twitter that for the modest sum of £20 (including postage) he would draw any building of your choice on a  6'' x 6'' card, so you could own a true Nick Coupland original. I didn't need to think twice: for the last couple of years I have photographed the former Home Brewery Building in Daybrook, Nottingham countless times*. From every angle. In all weathers. Day. And night. Like my bloody tree, it's become an obsession.







So I asked Nick if he could work his magic on this beautiful building dating back to 1938 and designed by acclaimed local architect Thomas Cecil Howitt. (An architectural practice bearing his name still operates in the city to this day.) He could and he did. It landed on the doormat yesterday. To say I'm chuffed would be an understatement. I absolutely love it. 

Please do check out both the artist from Hull and the architect from Nottingham (links at the top of the page). Who knows, you might want to ask Nick to draw a building designed by a renowned architect from your area. Or your house. Or even your local pub. Speaking of which:

* I won't lie to you. There's a good reason I photograph this building more than any other: it's directly opposite my favourite pub - The Abdication - which I'm sure I've mentioned once or twice round here before. Cheers!


Thank you to Nick. And thank you to Mr. Howitt (1889-1968), without whom...


Monday 3 October 2022

Don't Let the Sunlight Fool Ya

It was so good to be back in Leeds on Saturday with James, I can't begin to tell you. We were there to see the mighty Slackers at the Brudenell Social Club. I remember taking a teenage James to see them many moons ago when he was still living at home. Though I've seen them countless times, that visit to The Rig in Nottingham was the Number One Son's only live encounter with them. Nearly 20 years later and the band are still as razor sharp as ever; nobody does New York ska/bluebeat/reggae/dub/soul quite like this Manhattan sextet. Fact.







...

The Slackers - Don't Let the Sunlight Fool Ya (2022)



Friday 30 September 2022

Goated


I'd say there are two main drivers behind Are We There Yet? My love of music, one. And secondly my passion for the English language. So, here you go, a few tunes and a brand new word (well, new to me).

I did a playlist for a friend who was going on holiday to Cornwall this week. Not really knowing the sort of stuff she listens to I trusted to luck and went for a mixed bag; listening back to it now it's probably a tad downbeat. However, I needn't have worried. 


And I have no idea which two songs she'd heard; Short of playing a musical version of Wordle with her, I'll ask her next week when she gets back.

Tuesday 27 September 2022

Blurred


I had a good excuse for missing the opening night of Ian Prowse and Amsterdam's 2022 tour in Nottingham. I was in America. But I did catch them half way round; at the Adelphi in Hull. That was the night I lost it when Ian sang Does This Train Stop on Merseyside. It's what I do.


And then on Saturday we caught the train to Manchester and pulled in the last night: Gullivers in Manchester was ramming. It was also very hot. A small venue above a pub is my favourite environment to watch bands; always has been. If you've ever read my 50 odd gigs piece I wrote back in 2014, there's a fair smattering of pub gigs on there, dotted around the country, hither and thither. Which reminds me, I really must update that list.


Another small venue Ian's playing in a couple of weeks (solo, not with the band) is The Barrel House in Totnes. Ask me if I've got tickets. Of course I have! And, as you can see from the poster at the top of the page, Ian has already announced his Spring dates for '23; yep, I'm currently eyeing up Leeds and Sheffield. If any of these dates are near where you live (or even if they're not) I strongly urge you to blag a ticket. You won't regret it. 


Saturday 24 September 2022

See you 'round the clubs



The way George pronounces care and beware ("take kurr, bewurr") is so enchanting I can't stop smiling every time I hear this. I've written countless times on this blog why young George was, and will always be, the fabbest of the Fabs. And when you watch Get Back and see how frantically John and Paul try and bring him back into the fold after his beautifully choreographed, but short-lived,
flounce you realise how much more they needed him than he needed them. 

George Harrison - Beware of Darkness (Demo) (1969)

 

Thursday 22 September 2022

SM2

I was on business in Worthing yesterday; Brighton's scruffy little brother. My meeting finished earlier than I thought so I rang my cousin Suzie who lives up the road in Hove and invited myself round for a cuppa; we'd not seen each other since before Covid so it was great to catch-up. She still smiles when I call her Suzie; she was always Suzie when we were kids, but now she's a grown up and everyone calls her Susan. Except me. Oh, and we had lemon drizzle cake too.

...

Today's blog post was brought to you by a sixty-one year old man. Normal service will be resumed, I promise.

Wednesday 14 September 2022

Brought to you by the letter D

I could be wrong - it wouldn't be the first time - but in all the years I've been writing about music and popular culture* (and certainly in the last dozen or so I've been curating this blog) I've used many superlatives and adjectives when waxing lyrical about artists and their work, but I don't think I've ever reached for the D word to describe anyone or anyone's music. Until now, that is. 

GusGus** are an Icelandic electronic combo with an impressive eleven studio albums under their belt. This is taken from their tenth, Lies are More Flexible. And, yes, in my humble opinion, it is divine.  

GusGus - Fuel (2018)

...


* Or stuff, as I generally tell people who ask what I write about.

** From a 1974 German film Fear Eats the Soul, in which a female character cooks couscous and calls it gusgus.

Sunday 11 September 2022

High and lonesome


An impromptu night at the legendary Running Horse in Nottingham last night to catch the monthly residency of one of our city's finest bands - The Most Ugly Child. The last time I was down the Runner I saw them play a very stripped down acoustic set (I think there was only three of them on stage for that one), but last night they were five strong and were really able to let rip.







With a perfectly honed set of alt country* originals and covers (they're huge fans of Townes Van Zandt) the band controlled the setlist and tempo of the evening perfectly; ending, as I guess it always does, with the audience unable to keep seated. Roll on October...

The Most Ugly Child - Paper, Linen, Copper, Lace (2016) 
[Track 4, it's my fave]


* They call their music high and lonesome Americana for the soul; who am I to disagree?