Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I'm almost completely better now. Although I may relapse, as it's so cold today I keep having to go and touch the radiator to check that the heating hasn't packed in. It hasn't. It's just bloody cold. The hot water I put in the bird bath this morning has iced over. There's a freezing fog wrapping itself around the rooftops, reducing my world view to a couple of streets, making me even gladder that this evening's plans don't involve The Outside. Instead I will stay in, finish this year's jigsaw and make some lists...

It seems to be a truth universally acknowledged on the Internets that this year hasn't been a great one for albums, or for 'new' music in general. If this is true it's just as well, as I spent most of 2008 catching up on The National and Okkervil River* not leaving a great deal of space in my head for 'new' stuff. Except for lovely, lovely Fleet Foxes who seem to have stumbled, fully formed, from their parents' basements straight onto my playlist.

Top Three Singles (I tried to go for a top five, but who knows what a 'single' is anymore? and who even cares!)
Time To Pretend - MGMT
I Will Possess Your Heart - Death Cab For Cutie
I Kissed A Girl - Katy Perry

Top Five Albums
Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
Seldom Seen Kid - Elbow
Seventh Tree - Goldfrapp
Blame Winter - Cranes and Crows
Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend

Top Five Gigs
The National - Leeds, Metropolitan University
Fleet Foxes - Manchester .... either the Roadhouse or the Academy ... both were excellent
Rachel Unthank & the Winterset - Lancaster, Yorkshire House
Okkervil River - Manchester Academy
Eels - Manchester, Bridgewater Hall

Official 'Owners' Of 2008: Elbow

The 'I really feel as though I should like this, but somehow its appeal has largely passed me by' phenomenon of 2008: Bon Iver.

An end of year scramble around the music blogs leads me to believe I should've spent time listening to Ra Ra Riot, Lykke Li and Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin.

I suppose that's what 2009 is for?

Happy New Year!

(*or watching The Wire)

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

I was hoping it was delirium. Or hallucination brought about by taking extra strength Beechams powders and Anadin with Red Bull. But no:

here we go again!

So, the dilemma is, do I want another manager I can respect or would I prefer one I can't stand so when it gets worse I don't care about them getting blamed? Whoever it is, getting shut of Lucas, Telfer and Michalik would be a good start.

On top of that, I'm currently missing my second pre-Christmas party. It's not fair, there are plenty of people out there who hate Christmas and have no intention of enjoying themselves. If they're going to be having such a crap time anyway why couldn't they be having the damn germs instead of me?

The Opposite Of Hallelujah - Jens Lekman

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

When you reach the stage where you want to kill someone and their crime is being asleep when you're not, it's probably time to get up for a bit.

Four In The Morning - Faron Young


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

17.41 On Time
I found myself standing on the pavement outside Boots at five past nine this morning, along with three or four other people. We checked the sign on the door. We looked at our watches. We looked at the ground. We checked the sign again. It still said 'Open 09:00'. A couple of people exchanged "What's going on?" "I don't know" grunts. Then A Pensioner arrived. Without even checking the opening times or glancing at her watch she proceeded to rattle the door handle vigorously, presumably inwardly cursing the rest of us for our feeble-mindedness.

After a several seconds the door was pushed open a fraction, and an assistant apologetically peered out and explained that, as the pharmacist hadn't yet arrived, it was illegal for them to open and we were in for at least another ten minute wait.

I shuffled back to the office and 'borrowed' a lem-sip from Leanne instead.

I haven't got one of those colds where your nose drips and your throat is sore and your ears hurt. I can't have - after all I only just had that other bug and I never get ill. Ever. Especially not with A Christmas Do, A Leaving Do and a Closing Ceremony to attend over the next few days.

I've got to be fit to go - I've bought a shiny top and some new jeans, and I'm not really a shiny top person at the best of times.

Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

17.41 On Time
On the one hand ThesaurusBoy is back.
On the other TheBoyWhoCriedWolf has gone off again.

It's like Jock and Jinny at our place.

Today Has Been OK - Emilana Torrini
Always Crashing In The Same Car - David Bowie
Electro-Shock Blues - Eels


8.38 On Time
After class last night our teacher shared some yogi tea with us. She'd brewed it specially as a treat, and was keen for us all to share.

As she poured it from the flask she extolled its virtues and listed some of the ingredients: cardamon and cinnamon and cloves. If someone asked me to name, off the top of my head, my three least favourite spices cardamon and cinnamon and cloves would be first on the team sheet. So, when she handed me the cup, it would be fair to say my smile was lacking sincerity. Then she revealed, oh double joy, that it came served with soya milk. For years now I've taken my tea black. I can drink milk only if it comes as a mixer with vodka & Kahlua. And that has to be proper milk that's been through a cow.

Nevertheless, because she is such a nice, decent person, and because the others were so fulsome in their praise, and because I didn't want to be the party pooper; I sipped it while it was hot, eyes watering slightly, searching for a polite way to say: "don't make me drink it! it smells like pot pourri and looks like baby sick" while trying not to gag.

This Mess We're In - PJ Harvey & Thom Yorke
Ne Me Quitte Pas - Regina Spektor
This Side Of The Blue - Joanna Newsom
Talk Show Host - Radiohead


Monday, December 15, 2008

17.41 On Time
Crisis? What Crisis?

Just Like Christmas - Low
Last Snowstorm Of The Year - Jose Gonzales
The Cold Swedish Winter - Jens Lekman


" can you say that I'm too old?"

8.38 On Time
My favourite shoes ever were the bright blue Clarks I had in 1980.

Earlier this year Clarks decided to revive the style and rebrand them 'iconic' or some such. Unfortunately, this time the range didn't include bright blue.

According to Tim, red shoes are an acknowledged sign of madness. Less of a sign of madness than red trousers apparently, but madness none the less. I don't care. They are, officially, the most comfortable shoes I ever owned.

One day I'll have to break it to him that I have owned a pair of red trousers too. 1980 was a strange year. Let the record show that I have no nostalgic yearning for those trousers.

Although to be able to fit into them again would be nice.

(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes - Elvis Costello


Thursday, December 11, 2008

17.18 Two Minutes Late
Last night: Glasvegas at 53 Degrees

“Hello - we’re ‘Denizens of Chocolate’”
(at least that’s what I thought he said).
The name wasn’t on the drum, but then I don’t suppose it would have fitted.
It's 20 minutes of Prog-a-Billy then:
“Thank you. We’ve been ‘Dennis Hopper’s Chops’
(at least that’s what I thought he said).

White Lies do have their name on the drum, which is a step in the right direction.
They do no nonsense, pseudo-sinister pop songs and sound as though they own a Killers album or two.
‘White Lies’ is a rubbish name for a band though. They should change it before it’s too late: ‘Denizens of Chocolate’ is going spare.

Glasvegas have managed to piss me off before they even get to the stage.

Everything is ready for them by 9:45. The towels are out, the water bottles are out, every guitar has been tuned, then re-tuned. By 10:00 the crowd is teetering beyond anticipation and tipping into impatience but, presumably because they only have 40 minutes of material, the band still don’t deign to appear for another 15 minutes.

When they do appear they have the rock star poses, they have the lights; they most definitely have the sound. They’re giving us the stadium show, minus the stadium. Did I mention, they are loud? If you only go to one gig this year that can’t be spoiled by chattering fuck wits, it will be Glasvegas.

They’re no twilight sad though.

i'm taking the train home – the twilight sad
Daddy’s Gone – Glasvegas
Some Candy Talking – Jesus & Mary Chain
You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet Baby – The Smiths


8:19 Ten Minutes Late
Tuesday night: Rachel Unthank & the Winterset at the Yorkshire House.

A lovely evening.
Clog dancing and reminiscence and harmony and dialect.
More like a private party than a gig:
A total absence of fuck wits and a short walk home.

The Bairns – Rachel Unthank & the Winterset


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

"...Listen to me and I will tell you the story of Noggin the Nog"

"In the lands of the North, where the Black Rocks stand guard against the cold sea, in the dark night that is very long the Men of the Northlands sit by their great log fires and they tell a tale..."

Noggin the Nog was my favourite.


Monday, December 08, 2008

17.18 Five Minutes Late

Seems I can be trusted with a secret after all.
I’m so glad I managed to keep a lid on

Secret Meeting - The National
Secret Someones - Laura Veirs
Secrets - The Cure
Secret Smile - Semisonic


8.29 On Time
At the end of last week I was feeling a bit 'under the weather' so I lay feebly on the settee beneath a blanket for a day or two. My previous 'feeling poorly' lowness indicator has been watching 'Murder She Wrote' but now I have plumbed new depths. On Thursday I flicked away from a programme that seemed to be about giving pensioners money to spend at a car boot sale and saw my first ever episode of Hollyoakes.

I'm much better now.

Northern Lights - Renaissance
The Carnival Is Over - The Seekers
It's Getting Better - Mama Cass
Who Loves You - The Four Seasons


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

"...who needs love when there's Southern Comfort"

...and it's produced by Ben Folds you say?

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17.18 On Time
This morning we had a trip out to
St Helens’ premier tourist attraction.
There was some very nice shortbread and, despite the dryness of the subject matter, the seminar was not that dull. Unfortunately, we were told something in absolute, strictest confidence which I must not, on pain of death, repeat or reveal.

At first I was terrified:

What if I talk in my sleep? What if I have half a glass of Pinot Grigio between now and December 8th and it just slips out?? What if I fall into the hands of 'the other side' and they torture me for information??? (I've watched enough '24' to know they'll kill me whether I tell them or not, but still can't work out if this means I might as well tell them straight away or that I should hold out for as long as possible)

I deliberately don't get paid enough to handle this level of responsibility.

Luckily, several hours have now passed and I've long since forgotten what it is I'm not supposed to say.

Ooops. 'Low Battery'


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