My best of the year is out. If you want it let me know.

Just for the record this is the picture on the cover, which Ria hates but is the summation of the best bit of the year’s musical highlight.

And anyway, me and Jeana love it.

It’s Ria exhausted as the sun goes down before Kool and the Gang at the last gig in Glastonbury 2011.

It includes not one, but two, Tom Waits songs.

It includes my nephew’s take on Adele.

Five famale singer songwriters and three male.

One jazz song,

One dub.

Lots of Indie.

Two blues

And one sound track.

Let me know if you want it.


The Edinburgh Gang Show 2011

I should be more of an expert on this than I am given that my Dad and my Uncle Chris were in the first ever Edinburgh Gang Show in 1960 and that it has spawned many a youth theatre and dance school in the city including FCT, Manor School of Ballet and LY.  Probably the late Edinburgh Youth Theatre too.

My dad, back in the day.

And one of my old pals, Andy Johnston has been directing it for nine years.  But year after year it has clashed with my holidays and I’ve missed it; until today.

Let’s start where it finished.

I left the King’s Theatre unable to speak so profoundly moving was the overall experience and the tradition of the finale.

Stunning, simple, life affirming.

On the Crest of a Wave was rendered so perfectly that it was as if my dad was there on the stage.

Very, very moving indeed.

But that’s a personal point of view.  What if one just turned up for an evening’s entertainment?  Well, I’ll tell you what, nobody would leave The Kings feeling short changed.

This is variety theatre at its best.

Take That, Queen, Paulo Nuttini, KT Tunstall; all were expertly given the treatment.

The segue from Les Miserables was jaw dropping in its ambition and delivery.

But one of the showstoppers was a ten year old boy closing act one with a solo performance of Biffy Clyro’s Many of Horror that took your breath away.

But that’s not all.

For the first time in Gang Show history the show opened with all 200 (yes you read that correctly) cast members on stage and singing in unison.

Andy Johnstone’s sketches were universally good, often laugh out loud hilarious.  My favourite line being from an old Scots sketch in which a wee laddie playing Bonnie Prince Charlie asks another character “who are you?” to be answered resolutely.  “I’m fine thanks.”

This was a joyous, life affirmimng three hours of entertainment that will sustain me all through the winter.


First top albums of the year list…

OK.  So Rough Trade, who provided this list, are hardly fans of Top Of The Pops but even I am freaked out by the obscurity of this list.

Yes I’ve listened to the Josh T Pearson album and of course I have the PJ Harvey, Metronomy and Anna Calvi records which are all very good, but WTF?

Of the rest the only others I have even heard of are Beirut, Bon Iver, Lykke Li, Gillian Welch and ema.

I’m seriously worried about my slipping off the cutting edge.

Before you know it I’ll be putting Adele trascks on my best of the year (coming soon).

Oh shit.  I have!


Quite simply, this makes me proud to work in advertising.

John Lewis has moved rapidly (just like M &S) from the ranks of advertising naysayers into amongst the greatest proponents of the craft.

This new Chrisrtmas outing is no exception with a sucker punch to die for.

use of The Smiths song, reinterpreted by Slow Moving Millie works to great effect and although carrying a few cliches and some slightly naff acting by the wee lad it is, nevertheless, a little bundle of Christmas joy.