Previous month:
October 2013
Next month:
December 2013

992 But You Did Not Know: Pick Of The Year 1992

Yes, I know you're not supposed to do this sort of thing with a scanner, but I'm lazy, okay?This is more or less where we came in. At the start of 2013, the Pick Of The Year compilations documented on this site covered the years 1993-2012. Over the past twelve months or so, I've been extending that list to cover the early cassette collections I made between 1982 and 1989, as well as pulling together three CDs worth of music from scratch for 1990 to 1992. With this final compilation, I now have a record of my favourite tracks for each year between 1982 and 2012.

So, what do I remember of 1992? Well, after the quiet period of the previous year, it looks like I was starting to get back into the live music scene, seeing everything from Mike Harding in Manchester to Prince at Earl's Court. (Plus Carter USM twice, which seems excessive by any standards.) As with 1990 and 1991, this compilation was made 20 years after the fact, and it surprises me that one track on here runs for over seventeen minutes. If there were any other shorter, better songs that could have taken its place, I would have included them: as there don't seem to be any obvious candidates, I can only assume that it wasn't that great a year for recorded music. God knows what I would have done if I'd had three hours of tape to fill like in the old days.

Anyway, you've sat through ten years of historical self-indulgence: so strap yourself in for one last one.

Continue reading "992 But You Did Not Know: Pick Of The Year 1992" »

BrewDogging #11: Leeds

Not actually an image from BrewDog Leeds itself, but a bit of street art on display just down the road from it. Is it just me, or is this ACTUAL NIGHTMARE FUEL?[Previously: Bristol, Camden, Newcastle, Birmingham, Shoreditch, Aberdeen, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stockholm]

Lots of things are fifty years old this year: Doctor Who, the Traverse Theatre, the hole in the front of JFK's head. As the more observant of you may have noticed, I joined that august group a couple of months ago, and celebrated by going out to Stockholm in the company of The Belated Birthday Girl. One reason for doing that was because we have an ongoing 2013 project to visit all twelve BrewDog bars currently open, and the Stockholm branch was number ten on our list.

Earlier this month, The Belated Birthday Girl also turned fifty. To celebrate that landmark, we went to the number eleven bar on our list, which was in Leeds. Even the most ardent supporter of the county of Yorkshire might suggest that she got the shitty end of the stick there. But they'd be wrong. Honestly. 

Continue reading "BrewDogging #11: Leeds" »

You Would Die For Flintlock: Pick Of The Year 1991

"Flintlock were a 1970s pop group from Essex, England. Its members were Derek Pascoe (vocals/saxophone), Mike Holoway (drums/percussion), Jamie Stone (bass/vocals), John Summerton (guitar/vocals) and Bill Rice (keyboards). The group began under the name The Young Revivals, but after two years changed their name to Flintlock. They came to national attention in the mid 1970s through regular appearances on the British children's television programmes, You Must Be Joking and Pauline's Quirkes, hosted by the actress, Pauline Quirke. Flintlock also appeared on programmes such as Blue Peter, Magpie, and Top of the Pops. They also hosted their own programme, Fanfare. Holoway also became known as an actor in the children's cult TV drama programme, The Tomorrow People, in which Flintlock made a guest appearance in the Series 5 story, The Heart of Sogguth. Flintlock had one Top 30 hit single in the UK Singles Chart, 'Dawn', in the summer of 1976. A one-off reunion concert took place in 2007."Here's an embarrassing thing. You'll recall that in my earlier discussion of POTY 1990 - the first in a sequence of three CDs, compiled two decades after the years in question - I spent most of the intro oversharing about how much shagging I was doing. (Let's just say that one of the tracks on POTY 1991 is effectively a breakup song, and leave it at that.)

But I completely forgot to mention the other big change in my life that year - after spending all my life either in the family home or in flatshares, 1990 was the year I finally put the money down on a place of my own. (And, of course, have continued putting my money down ever since.) Looking through my diary, I'm wondering if becoming a homeowner made me keener to stay in than go out - I probably went to no more than half a dozen or so gigs in 1991, most of which were headlined by people on this very compilation.

As with the previous one, this CD was thrown together over the space of one evening in 2011, just going for gut reactions on what was floating my boat twenty years ago. (I subsequently went back and made one change, to include a track that I'd initially forgotten about.) I can't guarantee that this is a completely accurate depiction of my favourite songs of 1991, but it's the best you're going to get here.

Continue reading "You Would Die For Flintlock: Pick Of The Year 1991" »

Simian Substitute Site For November 2013: Monkey With A Mustache Entertainment

Monkey With A Mustache EntertainmentMONTH END PROCESSING FOR OCTOBER 2013

Movies: Fast-cut POV shots of snowboarders, Groove Armada at full volume on the soundtrack, freeze-frames of the key players with handwritten captions: for its first few minutes, The Crash Reel feels like every other extreme sports movie you've only ever watched the first few minutes of. And then suddenly, snowboarder Kevin Pearce flies off a steep incline, falls on his head and doesn't get up. What follows is the gripping story of Pearce's slow recovery from serious brain trauma, as told by Lucy Walker, frequently applauded here as one of the best storytellers in the documentary form. There are several strands to the tale - the painstaking process of Pearce's healing, the questions his accident raises about the safety of the sport, the impact on his family when he announces that he wants to get back on the board again. Walker handles all of these strands with the minimum of sentimentality, while still getting an astonishing emotional punch out of Pearce's story. You probably missed The Crash Reel's microscopic UK cinema run, but the good news is that it's showing on Sky Atlantic TV at 9pm on Tuesday November 5th. It's better than any fireworks.

Telly: A couple of years ago, in the middle of the Nordic Noir boom, BBC Four showed The Bridge: a rather fine Swedish/Danish cop show about a murder investigation spanning the two countries, and the culture clashes that arose from it. Inevitably, other pairs of feuding countries have been keen to blag the remake rights. The recent American version moved its crime scene to the US border with Mexico: and now we have The Tunnel, which features British and French cops butting heads on Sky Atlantic. (Yeah, them again, sorry.) Whereas the Scandi original felt like a perfect balance between the Danish and Swedish viewpoints, The Tunnel feels a little more skewed towards the Brits, simply because Stephen Dillane's character can't say more than two lines in French before demanding everyone around him speaks English. But Clémence Poésy's Gallic detachment is a fine substitute for Saga Noren's Swedish iciness, a handy national stereotype behind which to explore both women's don't-mention-the-A-word approach to policing. It's fascinating to see that the basic premise of The Bridge can support so many international variations: the sidebar at the bottom of this Guardian piece has a few good suggestions for future ones, but misses out my own idea of Newcastle and Gateshead cops feuding across both sides of the Tyne Bridge. Maybe Viz could work on that one. 

Travel: I'm never quite sure how to categorise general events that happen in London, so the Travel section will just have to do. The weekend before this year's London Film Festival, we prepared ourselves by going to two shorter festivals of very different types. Japan Matsuri has been running for a few years now: after establishing itself in Spitalfields and then nearly collapsing after a disastrous move to the South Bank, it's now firmly settled in Trafalgar Square. Once a year, it's the focus for a huge showcase of Japanese culture - musical performances, martial arts displays, lots and lots of street food, and much more. Of the musical performances, Fuyuki Enokido's rock 'n' roll koto was the biggest surprise, but the coolest one had to be guitarist Tomoyasu Hotei collaborating with Joji Hirota's taiko drummers on the former's best-known tune. By comparison, VegFest was a more sedate affair: an indoor celebration of the vegan lifestyle at Olympia. Again, plenty of food on offer, and some decent entertainment (especially from Andrew O'Neill and Lucy Porter's standup sets). But there's a certain dull worthiness about the whole enterprise, which can be summed up in one simple observation: there were about 85 stalls on the day selling vegan cupcakes, but not a single one that would sell you a cup of something hot to drink with them, caffeinated or otherwise. If you're trying to convince people that veganism isn't about unnecessary suffering, maybe you could start with that next year.

Continue reading "Simian Substitute Site For November 2013: Monkey With A Mustache Entertainment" »