London has to be one of, if not the, greatest capital cities in the world. I wanted to see Les Miserables (again) and have dinner in China Town (again). Nothing wrong with agains. If things are good then life can be a long series of agains. Why not? Anyway, I’ve photographed London before. Many times. More agains. In fact a previous photo ended up as the cover of the Eleventh Hour Initiative’s debut album. It’s always nice to try and see the city with fresh eyes. However, with such iconic buildings in every direction it’s difficult to get past the likes of Big Ben and Westminster Bridge. So I didn’t. Here’s London.
If there’s one thing that’s great about Dublin, it’s being surrounded by music; buskers and folk bands. Yes it’s all a bit tourist-y but it makes a change from the music scene that is currently dying elsewhere. The talent on display in the pubs of Temple Bar is incredible. It almost makes you want to pick up an acoustic guitar and dance in the sawdust… and sup a pint of Guinness.
Here’s a selection of photographs I took at Cheddar Gorge. I’m a big fan of the cheese and it was great to see hulking slabs of the stuff being ‘matured’ deep within the caves. I’m finding that the jazz of GoGo Penguin accompanies these photos real nice.
One of my most popular songs, even after all these years, concerns a man who wanted eternal youth. But, of course, nothing comes for free. Have a listen for yourself.
In another episode right out of an old diary, I bumped into the singer of one of my old bands last week. He’s still rocking, I never doubted it for a second, and his current band is called ‘Secrets & Lies’. Mighty fine punk rock. Google them!
Malta’s just a tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean. So many churches. I think there are something like two churches per person. A lot of churches! Really enjoyed my time there. Took along a new camera and tried to capture the atmosphere. Listened to a few albums on the headphones while lazing in the sun. ‘The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking’ by Roger Waters and ‘2112’ by Rush. I’m not sure why Malta brought about the need for concept albums, but I’m not complaining. I see that Water’s Hitch Hiking album has received poor reviews over the years. Well, I gotta say that I thought it was great. Seems I’m outta step with popular opinion… yet again. Also loved 2112. I’m not a Rush fan but it appears I’m ripe for conversion. Anyways, here are the snapshots of one of the most history-steeped lands in the world. Why not press play on the track below and browse the photos. I’ve chosen a song called ‘Action Hero’ as I believe it compliments the scenery perfectly!
I thought I’d write a little piece about some of my favourite music of the year… but I gotta say, this post:
pretty much encapsulates everything I wanted to say, bar some of his music choices (which I haven’t heard!).
I spent 2012 listening to CDs and vinyl… but even then, only a limited amount. 2013 was my year of Napster. I still listen to my vinyl but this has definitely been my year of streaming. My year of 100101100101s (that’s ones and zeros – music as data). I have speakers all over the house wirelessly sucking on those binary jewels. I haven’t listened to so much music in years. Yes, I don’t own any of it – I’m just ‘renting’ – but listening to anything is better than listening to nothing. Isn’t it? Hmmmm. So, in a much less professional manner than Kent Green, I’ll list some of the music that made my 2013. (In no particular order… although I’ll label them 1-10 anyway)
10) Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds I think my most listened to album of 2013 was Jeff Wayne’s ‘War of the Worlds’. The original ’70s version. Fantastic album. Should be required listening by everyone. All of the time. It’s like a lesson in music. And relax. What? Doesn’t count as a 2013 album? No shit Sherlock.
9) Babyshambles – Sequel to the Prequel Look, I’m not the biggest fan of Pete Doherty. I’m really not. But credit where credit’s due. Great album.
8) Paul McCartney – New Yeah, he’s old. Yeah, he should just stop. His voice is shot yadda yadda. How about we give our greatest living songwriter some respect?
7) Arctic Monkeys – AM I liked this album. It was pretty good. Not sure about the quiff and the accent – you’re from bloody Sheffield!!! But a good album is a good album.
6) Katy Perry – PRISM Gave it a listen. Loved it. Not rock? Who cares. Class stuff. End of.
5) Haim – Days Are Gone This band caught me by surprise. It appears the rest of the world were already aware of them due to their previous existence as some kind of children’s TV band. Anyway, I saw them on Jools Holland and thought ‘They’re okay – perhaps the bass player could tone down the facial stuff?’ …. but even that’s grown on me. Great album in the old school tradition. Outstanding, pumping production. Thumbs up.
4) Peal Jam – Lightning Bolt I loved ‘Ten’. I liked ‘Vs’. I tolerated ‘Vitalogy’. Then Peal Jam became completely irrelevant to me. So it was with a damp, shaking hand that I clicked play on ‘Lightning Bolt’. I shouldn’t have worried. Rather than being confronted by Father Stone (Father Ted reference there) I was presented with a really kicking rock album. I absolutely was not expecting that. I’ll always big up the older generation. The kids could learn something!!!
3) Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus A great heaving album. A looping, shape-shifting monster of an album. Say no more.
2) Suede – Bloodsports I reviewed this album earlier in the year. As comeback albums go, this is majestic. Love it.
1) Steven Wilson – The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories) Simply the best album of the year. If you haven’t heard it yet then put it at the top of your list of things to do in 2014. The most eclectic, intricate, heartfelt album in yonks.
0) Black Sabbath – 13 Can I have a zero? This album ruled the world… and rightly so. 13 blasted from the speakers around my house and filled the air with doom. What more can any of us ask for? Another one for the old guys! Youth of today… you’ve got to up your act!!!
And there you go. A pretty mainstream collection of albums it may be. But that’s how the cookie crumbles. If I’d listened to more albums the list may have been different. There are some more obscure albums that could have made the top ten (eleven), but, hey, they didn’t. That’s life! And a shout out to 30 Seconds to Mars for a fantastic gig and some great albums that I am now catching up on. Perhaps LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS should be in my chart? Hmmm. Yep. Why not? Make it twelve. In any case, I think music had a good 2013.