Tag Archives: Glastonbury

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens

Are you what you love? Am I?

If so, somewhere in the following wonderful things is a little box with a keyhole shaped like my soul!

Some lovely songs I enjoyed a dalliance with in 2010:

I loved The Writer by Ellie Goulding, it had a big heart and wasn’t afraid to throw it out there. Either Side Of The World by Crowded House, One Life Stand by Hot Chip and Stylo by Gorillaz were stupendous and sexy. The Bike Song by Mark Ronson and the Business International was possibly a pop highlight, definitely the number one singalong for me.

The albums I took to my heart started with Plastic Beach by Gorillaz. The aforementioned Stylo was adored by me all year but the album has an ambition and grandeur that it pulls off completely with help from the bold and beautiful from varied corners of the music world whilst containing a bewildering number of classic pop songs – Superfast Jellyfish, Broken, On Melancholy Hill, Some Kind Of Nature, Rhinestone Eyes, To Binge and my fave, Empire Ants. I enjoyed the Bon Iver album, ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’ and I discovered I Am Kloot, their eponymous album being an almighty joy. Also loved Angles by Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip. Mark Ronson’s Record Collection appeared to contain much in common with mine and the 80s revival never sounded so good. Another album with a wealth of pop classics.

But three albums towered above all others for me this year. I finally caught up with The End of History by Fionn Regan as it was donated to me by a very generous and beautiful benefactor and became a soundtrack for my autumn and is truly special for me. The Bees released their 4th album, Every Step’s A Yes. I felt it should perhaps be subtitled, Essence Of Bees as it distills everything that is wonderful about this amazing band. It is my favourite of their albums and opens up in me a beautiful reverie. Not quite as much as my favourite album of the year though. High Violet by The National walks a tightrope between uplifting and heartbreaking almost constantly and I played it every day for about three months and still love it now and I become a little helpless if it catches me in the right (or wrong) mood.

There were three gigs that hit the right note for me this year. Crowded House made me cry, The Bees made us love life and the Pet Shop Boys at Glastonbury were a revelation.

A televisual gem I caught up with this year was the Flight Of The Conchords – Carol Brown, Hurt Feelings, Sugalumps, Brahbrah, ‘he’s gonna wake up in a smoothie’, ‘baguette, haw haw, haw’ – classic! On a darker note, Red Riding and Any Human Heart were amazing but not quite as amazing as Accused.

And as for films, it was a thrill, and an education, to see Metropolis on the big screen, Toy Story 3 hardly needs any introduction (not a dry eye in the Glastonbury house!), The Town was wonderful and Inception became my favourite film of the year…once I’d seen it twice!

Happy New Ones everybody.


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Glastonbury, that’s the one for me…

Wacky Permaculture Man

I went, I saw, I square danced, I shook hands with my favourite actor.

I love Glastonbury, I love the freedom, the five days of not driving, or sitting at a computer. I love music in the air – everywhere. I love the fact that at the end of it all there are over 100,000 versions of a music festival as everyone has their own timetable and version of events and experiences. And after watching him interviewed by Johnny Walker, I love Michael Eavis, the idealistic romantic who is the central God of the farm.

Rolf was on form, Miike Snow were groovy and enigmatic, Gorillaz got there in the end thanks to enough groovy tunes and guest appearances to warrant their headlining slot, despite a lot of uncertainty throughout. I went to see Mumford & Sons and yet all I heard was the crowd screaming and singing every word. Hey guys, they’re good, but they’re not the second coming, you know, I’d like to have heard at least a couple of words they sang or spoke. Unmoved I’m afraid, but I was in a vast minority. Imogen Heap was clever, a kind of prodigy, with more gadgets than you can shake a stick at, but left me wanting more emotion than cleverness. I Am Kloot were electrifying with the tender, broken songs they delivered, but I unfortunately enjoyed little of it as I was mesmerised by aforementioned favourite actor standing 10 yards away from me throughout the gig. Managed to miss The Bees twice which I was disappointed about. Toy Story 3 was magnificent but then what do you expect from PIXAR? And Stevie Wonder is pure solid gold genius, even if he didn’t play my favourite song. He possesses a lovely silly sense of humour and love for just about everyone.

There were three acts this year who were my personal high points.

I saw Ray Davies deliver a wonderful performance on the BBC’s Electric Proms and hoped for the same. What I got surpassed it by miles. He played the odd lesser known song but got enough Kinks hits in to please the crowd greatly. Perhaps not a natural showman as such, he earned my eternal respect by dedicating a monumentally moving portion of his set to the Kinks’ bass player, Pete Quaife, who had apparently passed away a few days earlier, and was fighting the obvious emotion of it all throughout. It was lovely to hear Lola, Waterloo Sunset, Dedicated Follower Of Fashion and Sunny Afternoon on a (very) sunny afternoon, but the inclusion of a beautifully tender Days with a massive choir was possibly the high point of the festival for me.

I saw Turin Brakes when I was at Glasto in 2003 on the Pyramid Stage and was not really taken at all. I’ve realised since that being on the wrong stage at Glasto can mess it all up for you. Well, on the other hand, being on the right stage can make it a triumph. And this was. Armed with two acoustic guitars, a double bass player and an occasional drum machine (who they honoured as a long-standing band member), Olly and Gale delivered a sparkly set of all the songs you’d want to hear along with beautiful harmonies and guitar solos – Emergency 72, Underdog, Feeling Oblivion, Painkiller, Future Boy as well as Chris Isaac’s Wicked Game and Billie Jean. I got a shock when I heard Fishing For A Dream as I had to learn it to sing at a wedding last year and never really knew it as their song. The chaps were humble, mildly shocked at the reaction which was extremely devoted and affectionate and absolutely fucking brilliant throughout.

I was really torn as to who to see Saturday night. Pet Shop Boys were the favourites, being a band whose music I grew up following. A quick interview in the paper can do wonders to sway your decision and I’m glad I went with them. They were the band of the weekend for me. They had cubes, lots of them, even cubes on their heads when they first arrived. They had dancers, films, narrative dance during the wonderful Jealousy and a bewildering number of hits. The only two I didn’t get were Rent and Home And Dry which is probably too obscure for them to play. But I did get a fantastically choreographed show, a ‘cameo’ from Dusty Springfield, about 8 Neil Tennant costume changes, Chris doing a ten second MC Hammer dance and forever destroying his grumpiest man in pop persona and (you ready? Deep breath…) Left To My Own Devices, Heart, NYC Boy, Jealousy, West End Girls, Always On My Mind, It’s A Sin, Being Boring (my favourite), Two Divided By Zero, What Have I Done To Deserve This?, Suburbia, Go West, Domino Dancing, Viva La Vida and more. By the end I was grinning stupidly at the wonderful flamboyance of it all and at the chance to enjoy a truly great pop band! How many hits? 😛

Staff dance routine at the Hurly Burly

I could do it all again. The guy selling Yeo Valley yoghurts who reminded me that I Am Kloot were playing, the guy selling the Guardian who stopped talking to me when I bigged up Rolf Harris, the beautiful people in the Permaculture area including the wacky old guy trying get reviews of their chilli chocolate cake off everyone (see photo above), the girl working at the Pasta & Pizza counter who got me to do a dance before she would give me the pasta and had a seriously cute smile, me putting garlic mayonnaise in my tea at Tea & Toast by accident coz I thought it was milk and the staff generously replacing my cuppa, the line-dancing/hoe down with my work friends, the staff at the wonderful Hurly Burly dancing on the counter and walkway together to You Make My Dreams by Hall & Oates at about 1am on the Sunday night/Monday morning (see second photo).

And the now legendary Mum Amnesty which we didn’t quite succeed at, but at least we made it to Sunday, successfully getting the crowd around us singing our song of the weekend (I Just Called To Say I Love You by Stevie) after his set and breaking into hilarious laughter when Stevie did it himself and again when Michael Eavis lent his very English accent to Happy Birthday at the end of the set (“there’s only one Stevie Wonder”), Mother Hubbard and her monkey wrench (thanks Snoop), zinc, dirty feet, naked old woman, hideous toilets, blistering sunshine, have I missed anything?

Love it love it love it!!!

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“what are you prepared to do…?”

We have irons in the fire, fire in our bellies, lead in our pencils, rolling stones with no moss, no shoes on the level crossing, red suits and black ties, we don’t care if Monday’s blue, Bonio at Glasto, horn rimmed spectacles, DM at O2 (£5 more and you can have a glass of champagne with your boat ride!!), Sally Sparrow for an Oscar and a partridge in a pear tree.

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Some Great Reward

Favourite stuff of 2009! Bit late, everyone else has done it already and I’m getting bored of all the best of the decade lists but wanted to enthuse about all my favourite stuff, the films and music that gave me a zing:

I discovered a wonderful album by Santogold which has a scent of all the stuff I love about the early 80s. An album by Matt Costa called Songs We Sing which, although seemingly simple, is melodically triumphant. I realised Daybreaker is my favourite Beth Orton album (and Paris Train one of my favourite songs by her) and discovered a band called Metric whose song Sick Muse is one of my most played tunes this year. I realised my favourite thing Eddie Vedder has ever been near is his soundtrack to the film Into The Wild which is as beautiful on its own as it is accompanying Sean Penn’s amazing film. I found Hope & Social by accident at Glastonbury and loved their album Architect Of This Church and in particular the songs Sunlight Hold Me and especially, my favourite song of the year Looking For Answers – a heartfelt moment of reflection bathed in a freestyling crowd of a choir that lifts a great acoustic song into the realms of something truly sublime and has the kind of lyrical genius that any songwriter would kill for.

But for me the album of the year belonged to Foot Of The Mountain by A-Ha. It’s an album full of the most bewildering amount of really strong, really well written songs. Each song original and kind of classic pop and classic A-Ha simultaneously, without resting on past glories, and the production – pristene, bright, awe-inspiring!

As for films, J. J. Abrams made Star Trek sing again. I loved Chris Pine’s moment with big hands and especially Karl Urban’s amazing similarity to DeForest Kelly’s Bones McCoy in a fantastic, thrilling and enjoyable action epic! Where The Wild Things Are seemed messy in script but was more than made up for by the absolutely stunning Wild Things themselves. Jim Henson’s Workshop excelling again as only they can. Avatar and District 9 both thrilling in different ways. (500) Days Of Summer was touching, involving, hilarious, quotable, original, magnificently acted and surprisingly hopeful throughout. Possibly the best film of the year, if it wasn’t for the fantastic Moon – https://coostickshq.wordpress.com/2009/07/26/moon/

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Hope and Social Gig/Smartie Overdose

So I went to somewhere near Leeds to see a band who I may have mentioned before called Hope and Social. I went to see them a) because they were one of the (if not THE) best bands I saw at Glastonbury this year and b) because it was my birthday and I wanted to do something a bit different. I left at 12.45 and drove for, ahem, a while to get there. It was an amazing place to see a gig. The Crypt (a real one) is absolutely beautiful, holds a real couple of corpses in it and was tonight decorated with fairy lights, hand prints, and statues of cows which I still don’t quite understand! 🙂

The gig was…out of this world! The album, Architect Of This Church is great, but there’s something about them live. I wondered when I arrived just what the hell I was doing driving so far in one day but when they started playing (and when they got to a powerful, extended Sunlight Hold Me) I realised. They all have a great rapport on stage, Simon is a charismatic front man with a great and generous sense of humour and they sound incredible as do the brass section. I got to do a little bit of a kazoo solo (not as good as Simon’s nephew though) which was nice.

My favourite part of the evening was Looking For Answers. It’s one of my favourite songs of all time and I could possibly admit that I went just to hear that. The rest of the album sounded marvellous tonight but that song….

Rich and Simon stood on the speakers away from the mics and just sang and we did the choir bit and it was f***ing magic. I could feel the air tingling! Wish I could have heard it twice – once to sing along and once to listen to everyone else.

Then had a quick chat with a fellow kazoo soloist and with Simon and drove 250 miles home (ouch!) Strange journey back – cranes in shadow, a Duel moment with a blinged lorry, Subterraneans by Bowie whilst driving past Kidlington (everyone should try it once) – and the sound of Hope and Social, Four Day Hombre, A-Ha, Kraftwerk, Gemma Hayes and more!

So what have we learnt?

Well, more than one Hope and Social fan (other than me) likes Threadless T-shirts (and they were both rather attractive); Leeds is a long way away from where I live (though not in the grand scheme of the universe); never eat a Southern Fried Chicken sandwich straight after a giant bag of Smarties at 2am; if you drive for 5 hours through the night, your consciousness will feel the way a smudged HB pencil scribble looks on a page; Simon H&S is one of the loveliest people I’ve met in a long time; Hope and Social HAVE to be seen live!

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