Filed under: family, life, politics, Rants, stories | Tags: 2010, 2011, 60 watt, Arcade fire, Band of joy, Belle and Sebastian, best books 2010, best music 2010, best of 2010, best theatre 2010, canon 450D, Cee Lo Green, Courage of others, david peace, Edinburgh, electronic music, fct, german music, Hibees, Hibs, I am Kloot, iPad, John Grant, john hughes, krautrock, lyceum, lyceum theatre, madmen, Midlake, Nick Clegg, nmp, pailgap, queen of denmark, red riding, red riding quadrilogy, Robert Plant, Rumer, Scotland, St Columba's hospice, stv, the apprentice, the red riding books, The suburbs, tories, tory idiots, usability lab
Not a bad vintage actually.
Work wise I was run off my feet once again and almost literally in December which proved to be extraordinarily challenging due to the shitness of the weather and the fact that I was researching all over the country. It was a real struggle, very stressful indeed.
Some great clients which include STV, Ampersand, Corporation Pop, 60 Watt, nmp and LA Media from last year. But added a few too including Gill’s Cruise Centre, Paligap, and The Usability Lab.
My golf stank pretty much from start to finish and I had a poor Arran and a poor St Andrews. However one highlight was an Eagle 3 on the par 5 second in the club championships first round. I won that but went out in round two. However Forty years of failing to Eagle were finally over. (Tom got about 6 last year alone).
Musically it was a big return to form after very poor shows in both 2008 and 2009.
I’ve already posted my tracks of the year elsewhere which will give you an idea of my top ten albums, but for the record, these are they…
I’m New Here by Gil Scott Heron
Band of Joy by Robert Plant
The Courage of Others by Midlake
Queen of Denmark by John Grant
The Suburbs by The Arcade Fire
Sky at Night by I am Kloot
Elektonische Music Experiment – German Rock and Electronic Music 1972 – 1983
Write About Love by Belle and Sebastian
The Lady Killer by Cee Lo Green
Seasons of my Soul by Rumer
My blog had a record year, just, with 340,000 hits, up 45,000 on last year and beating 2008 by only 1,000. As a result I hit the million mark last week and raised over £1,000 for St Columba’s Hospice in the process. Thanks to all who contributed.
I did two music quizzes (one in Edinburgh and one in Manchester) for NABS and these raised £3,500
The Hibees were a farce from year start to end and our Scottish cup hopes look less plausible than for a very long time. Looks like we’ll be going at least 110 years before winning it again.
Theatre again played a big part in my year.
My role as a director of The Lyceum developed and I thought Mark Thomson had a vintage year. Every show was a hit in some form or other and the highlights for me were The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Confessions of a Justified Sinner, The Price and The Importance of Being Earnest.
FCT had another good year, my first at the helm and I’d like to thank the fab committee for their support. Two great shows in Just So and Guys and Dolls and another ENDA award. Annie’s next but no decision yet on the festival. Our away day in October was deemed a great success.
Amy started at Uni and is working hard as she has done all year at Dakota. She bought a virtually new car herself ( a Toyota Yaris) and I was really proud of her for being so focussed to be able to do this. Ria is working hard at school and did really well in her standard grades. Tom isn’t and didn’t.
Tom’s golf continued to improve and his handicap went from 11 to 7.
Sadly Jeana’s blossoming work at Suntrap came to an end when the funding was pulled. She was devastated and I suspect still is.
We holidayed in California and it was a tram smash of a holiday from start to finish, summed up by this video…
In books I didn’t read much. I am enjoying Freedom by Jonathon Franzen but the best of the year was the Red Riding Quadrilogy by David Peace.
And my movie of the year? Well, I saw over 20 movies at the flicks this year and a lot of real quality. But I plump for The Social Network. A Prophet was great as was Monsters and The Road, but David Fincher surpassed himself with an amazing script by Aoron Sorkin.
TV show of the year? No Question. Mad Men (we’re playing catch up and only nearing end of season two but it’s fabulous).
In reality TV The Apprentice continues to kick ass.
Digital gizmo of the year? My iPad… but also my Canon 450 D. An up and down year on the camera front but happy with my lot and looking for a Canon 5D Mk 1 and a new 28mm prime lens to move on a level in 2011.
Idiot of the Year? Won hands down by Nick Clegg. Only cos he sold his soul to the devil. But he was run close by those fools that lead our government. You know who they are. Tony Blair continued to make a right fucking dick of himself and the legacy of Kenny Macaskill is not away yet with Magrahi in the rudest of health.
Sadly I lost a number of friends during the year; Myles, Kathy and Jim, I’ll miss you all. God bless and love to all of your families.
Wife of the year? Jeana Gorman. 21st year running. How can she bear it?
Put it this way. I couldn’t live with me. Still.
And so to 2011.
Hibees win the Scottish Cup. (That’s just stupid. Ed.)
Tom gets down to a 4 handicap.
I win something, anything, at Golf.
The kids do well at school and uni.
I am healthy throughout. (And lose rather a lot of weight.)
Both Cath and Jean stay healthy too
The credit crunch doesn’t get worse again.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, music | Tags: Anais Mitchell, Ardace fire, best music 2010, best of, best of 2010, Cee Lo Green, Corinne Bailey Rae, Crystal castles, Ded Kennedies, E.M.A.K, Fyfe Dangerfield, gibberish best of 2010, Gil Scott-Heron, Glee, hot chip, I am Kloot, John Grant, mark gorman best of 2010, Midlake, paolo nutini, Robert Plant, Rumer, sleigh bells, top tracks 2010, travey thorn, Villagers
It’s been an epic musical year.
The best for longer than I can remember.
We’ve had great dance (Crystal Castles, Hot Chip)
We’ve had great folk (Villagers, Midlake, Anais Mitchell)
Great indie (Arcade Fire, Sleigh Bells, I am Kloot)
Great pop (Cee Lo Green, Glee, Paolo Nutini – well that’s a hangover from 2009 that’s just grown and grown on me, Rumer and Fyfe Dangerfield)
Great rock (Arcade Fire, Robert Plant)
Great balladry (Corrine Bailey Rae, Rumer, Tracey Thorn, Gil Scott Heron, I am Kloot again, John Grant)
And then there’s been a few oldies that have crept through into my particular headspace (Dead Kennedies, E.M.A.K)
Here is the full top 20 listing…
I am producing my usual year end CD (since 2004)
I think this is the best yet. Certainly the greatest strength in depth.
If you want a copy let me know.
Filed under: music | Tags: barry mailow, bella vista, elton john, folk rock, gay, gay music, gay singer, John Grant, Midlake, queen, queen of denmark, queens, soft rock, us indy, Van occupanther
Midlake are greedy bastards. Not satisfied with making perhaps the album of the year (The Comfort of others) they have colluded with bandless stablemate John Grant to make eh, perhaps, the album of the year. So expect to see Midlake feature heavily in the year end lists.
This is a very Midlake album. It has their arrangements, touches and noodles for a start. It strays back into Van Occupanther territory in that it explores 70′s soft rock influence (Barry Manilow, Elton John) as opposed to 70′s folk which caught their ear in The Comfort of Others.
But this is not a Midlake album. It is most assuredly John Grant’s. Stridently gay in its copy and occasionally whimsical, it packs a meaty punch.
I was blown away on first listening and then it got better. The gayness of it is very evident. But it’s what makes the album, because it gives him lyrical richness. He combines a mix of ‘fuck you’ attitude and humour. I have to say the only downsides of the album is when he overindulges in the humour and when Midlake over-noodle on the keyboards.
It’s a thing of very great beauty. If you like Anthony and the Johnsons but hated his voice this might be more to your liking, Because it’s outrageously mellow.
For fans of Midlake this is required listening. (In fact I will hazard a guess that some of you who saw Comfort of Others as a retrograde step will find this re-engaging you.)
This is a great record in anyone’s language. If it sells 5,000 copies in the UK I’ll be amazed. Please be one of them?
On Metacritic’s review page the Marmiteness of this album is clear to see with reviews ranging from 3/10 to 10/10. I am firmly in the latter camp. This album is utterly stunning and beautiful. A real grower and although it lacks the jaw dropping stand out songs of Van Occupanther (esp Roscoe) it , as a whole, holds together perfectly. Be warned, it is a different sound to Van Occupanther.; it feels like a folky trip to the 70′s. That is no bad thing. Trust me.
Filed under: Arts, life, music | Tags: Alicia Keyes, Ben Folds, best music of the decade, best music of the noughties, best of 2000 - 2009, best of the decade, best of the noughties, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, CornershopJay-Z, elbow, graham Coxon, James Yorkson, Johnny cash, Jose Gonzales, melody gardot, Midlake, Richard Hawley, Sufjan Stevens, The arcade fire, The Hold Steady, tinariwen
I struggled to do this I have to confess. It was a real killer to get it down to size. So much to leave out. My long list was 71 songs. Anyway, here it is (if you can read it)…
But I persevered and ended up with this. My absolute favourite songs of the noughties. Again, I will send you a copy if you want it.
What surprised me when I finally got it down to size was how few female singer songwriters made it to the final list.