The seven day music challenge.

My pal, Peter Flockhart, challenged me to find seven songs that would sum up my musical taste, but I got a little carried away.  Thought you might like to see them all in the one place as we reach day 30.  They are in no particular order and, surprisingly, only one artist appears twice.  Tom Waits.

Day 30

Day 29

Day 28

Day 27

Day 26

Day 25

Day 24

Day 23

Day 22

Day 21

Day 20

Day 19

Day 18

Day 17

Day 16

Day 15

Day 14

Day 13


Day 11

Day 10

Day 9

Day 8

Day 7

Day 6

Day 5

Day 4

Day 3

Day 2

Day 1

Skyfall review

To begin with I must state that I am NOT a Bond fan.  But I have an open mind and of all the Bond movies I’ve seen in my time (many) I have to say that I thought Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale was probably my favourite.  I chose not to see Quantum of Solace; a movie with a name as ridiculous as that had to be hiding something and it seems my gut feel was right given its poor reviews.  But Skyfall seemed different.  Certainly the advance reviews have been excellent and so I turned up on opening weekend willing to be impressed.

I was.

This is, by some margin, the finest Bond film I’ve ever seen.  Although it has its faults (it’s a little too long) it scores points in nearly every department; the acting is universally excellent, The plot and script suitably overblown but flecked with humour and humanity throughout.  Outrageous chases and set pieces (the rooftop motorbike chase just about winning price for most audacious chase scene I’ve ever seen).

But it’s what lies at the soul of this film (and it really does have a soul) is the cast.  In particular we see the cloth lifted on what motivates Bond, his back story and in  particular his upbringing.  It’s this that starts to flesh out his (and more unexpectedly Javier Bardem’s) relationship with M who although as feisty as ever actually develops into quite a sympathetic and interesting subplot.

The film is excellently directed (by Sam Mendes!) with a theme (yes a Bond movie with a “theme”) about age and the battle between tradition and modernity running through it like a stick of rock (occasionally clunkily so).  This allows the production team to have great fun with old Bond gadgetry (and music) alongside the very latest in technology – an obfuscated living data network being at its centrepiece which allows a new and ridiculously young looking (he’s actually 32) Q to be introduced in the shape of Ben Wishaw (Perfume).

But its Daniel Craig’s complete mastery of Bond as a character that is setting the movie industry into overdrive and not surprisingly.  In the movie, in tune with the theme of age and aging, he’s almost not fit for purpose having “taken one for the team” possibly once too often.  He’s on the verge of breakdown at the movie’s outset and takes the requisite, and to be expected, barrage of beatings as it unfolds, emerging at its denoument just about in one piece and ready for action with whatever lies in store in the next instalment.  It’s an interesting dimension and works well with Judi Dench’s excellent central performance as M.

Craig is the complete Bond.  Rugged, handsome, athletic, suave but with more steel than any since Connery and, to my mind, he’s a better actor than Mishter Cool himself.

As the face of not one but two major film franchises (The Girl with…) he’s solid gold and, for my money, worth every penny of it.

I also like Adele’s theme music.

Adele. The phenomenon.

A year to the day since its release (24 Jan 2011) Adele’s 21 returned the number one spot on the US album charts.  It’s pretty much never been out of the top ten in the intervening 104 weeks and 16 of them have been in that coveted top spot.She’s had 19 weeks at the top in the UK.

It’s a remarkable achievement for a singer who has, in that period, become nothing short of a national treasure.

OK, I know a lot of us are sick to death of her, but not me.  I think it’s fully deserving of the 3.84 million units it has shifted in the UK (17m worldwide) especially as it has been without the help of Simon Cowell and on an independent label; XL records.

mercury prize

I love the Mercury Prize.

It’s the only music awards with utter credibility.  The only one where PJ Harvey and Anna Calvi can be ranked joint favourites ahead of Adele and all three have equal creative status and regard.

But the best record, for me, this year has been the beautiful King Creosote and Jon Hopkins record.  I’ve said this before and I shared moments from it with you.  Here’s another.  Please enjoy it.

It’s an ambient piece – the intro to the album – it has a really beautiful soul to it.  It’s a field recording from a tea shop in Anstruther or Pittenweem.

Meanwhile I have invested in these Chuckle Brothers to the tune of Five English pounds at 14 to 1.

Because a principle is not a principle unless it might cost you money.

The Brits

Funnily enough, The Brits was good tonight.

OK, so some/most of the music wasn’t great.

I like that big Tiny Tempah song, “Pass Out” (I suppose) but everything else he does bores me to tears.

But 17 million YouTube hits is kind of impressive

Mostly what was good about the Brits tonight was that it genuinely was a celebration of music.

Adele was wonderful, as were Arcade Fire; Cee lo Green was cool as…

Mumford and Sons nearly pulled off one of the most amazing acapella performances ever (but Adele beat them to it and she was better).

James Cordon, mostly, didn’t try to be too funny.

All in all a good show.

What’s more, Arcade Fire won best international; album to follow up their top billing at The Grammy’s on Sunday night and now we (Me , Jeana, Ria and a n other) are going to see them at Edinburgh Castle Esplanade on 1st September.

Surely the world’s best band at the moment. Equivalent, whether you like them or not, to Radiohead, U2, REM, Bruce and The E Street Band, The Clash and Bowie in each of their days?

We are blessed.