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Showing posts from December, 2017

My Songs of the Year

Music has had a good year.  That's usually what happens in times of unrest.  I've been energised by a whole host of songs released this year, which may or may not be down to various political uncertainties. Unlike last year - when Angel Olsen's magnificent 'MY WOMAN' came along at the beginning of September and stole all the gravity - this year has felt a lot more equal.  Many songs this year have strutted up and slowly charmed the socks off me - nothing quite like Angel Olsen's 'Sister' did last year, but rather there were several very strong contenders for my song of the year.  
If we're talking about my most frequently-played track, Spotify tells me that Julie Byrne's 'Sleepwalker' wins.  When I first heard the start of it, I was convinced it was a Laura Marling song;  the finger picking at the beginning is really reminiscent of the Marling guitar style.  The confidence of that introduction had me sold even before a single word was sun…

The Christmas Turkey

It will happen like this.   Christmas will come as it does every year and it will play out exactly like or something like or nothing at all like it did the year before or the year before that.  Preparations, arrangements, lists will be made.  Who will drive who, who will go where, who will get what.  Bags and bags and bags of stuff will be bought and wrapped because we are all good consumers and if we're not then we should be thank you very much god save the queen etc.  Everyone will buy their dead turkeys in good time, big fat dead turkeys who had a good life I'm sure, look it's smiling, lovely healthy free range turkey had a good life probably did loads of cool turkey stuff gobble gobble gobble.  Friends and neighbours will be invited in, hey Mrs Jones come and have a look at my christmas turkey I've called him boris not becker but johnson ha ha isn't that funny naming the turkey after boris johnson oh god it's actually happening anyway they will both stand …

On the Importance of Poetry – Part One

The year is 1994.  I am eight years old and I watch as Dad removes a videotape from its red and white rental case.  “Right then, Sonny Jim,” he says, wagging the cassette at me for emphasis.  “The first swear word I hear and you’re up to bed." 
We had rented 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' from Movie Mart, our local video shop, and I was triumphant of my place on the settee.  The film was a 15 certificate and I knew I was pushing my luck by at least seven years by being there.  As a fan of the action and war genre, Dad was surprisingly tolerant of my watching scenes of violence.  Even obscenity within these types of films was largely overlooked.  At the time, my three favourites were ‘Labyrinth’, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' and - thanks to Dad - 'Terminator 2: Judgment Day'.  So the rules were suspended for films containing guns, explosions and cybernetic organisms, but there was something about swear words within the context of a rom-com that just didn’t sit w…