Tag Archives: I Am Kloot

The X Factory

I’ve watched a couple of episodes of this season’s X Factor. I really don’t know how to follow that sentence, haha.

I was in a bookshop, one of those temporary bargain ones full of all the books you don’t need and probably don’t want either. There was an X Factor book in there, one of the ‘my story’ books for the winner. I was talking to my friend about this and saying that I had a problem with it. He agreed saying it was just another way of making money out of the brand. But I had to explain that that wasn’t what had annoyed me. It was the fact that a book had been made at all. I know there are lots of books out there that are probably not that deep or meaningful but the physical object that is a book is, for me at least, a very important thing. A sacred thing. For a start, it has no technology. It’s made of paper. I know that’s an obvious thing to say but take a look at our lives. At any point of the day, at work, in the pub, at home, someone will be on their laptop, iPad, phone. They’ll be texting or shopping or blogging. People have started reading books on a tablet or computer and that’s cool if you want but to have this tangible thing that will perish in the rain, or get dog-eared in your bag is more individual, more beautiful to look at and more precious. The book is old fashioned and has thrived. If you lend it to someone, you don’t email it to them, you place the actual thing in their hand and it has had your fingerprints on it. That’s an amazing thing. So when I saw ‘The X Factor – My Story’ it wasn’t just that it was fleecing people out of a few quid, it was also an insult to one of the most loaded objects of our times.

I wrote another X Factory email a while ago:


And in the spirit of that post, here are some bands you may not have heard of, but should investigate instead of watching the X Factor:


School Of Seven Bells



Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.






I Am Kloot



Jean Michel Jarre



The National



The Imagined Village



Martyn Joseph



Kings Of Convenience







Will Young



Gary Barlow



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John Barry, I Am Kloot, D-Songs

Very sorry to hear of John Barry passing away. One of the greatest composers ever and here’s a link to one of my favourite pieces by him:


It’s a strange thought for me when someone creative dies. But creativity is, I guess, a pursuit that people gravitate to for some degree of longevity after they die, among other things, and when I listen to John Barry’s music, I feel more alive, and it also makes me feel as though he is very much alive too. His music will undoubtedly be adored for many years to come.

Saw I Am Kloot in Bournemouth tonight and they were absolutely mesmerising. Johnny Bramwell really convinces with every note he sings, all the more amazing since he was swigging from a can before he even picked up his guitar. I knew something was going on when I saw them at Glastonbury but Christopher Eccleston saw to it that I couldn’t concentrate on that one (through no fault of his own I might add). I can’t imagine I’ll enjoy a gig more this year.

D-S0ngs is moving nicely, might be on the home straight this weekend. But one song is really fighting me!

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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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15 Steps

Someone or sometwo were putting up 15 albums on the Book of Face that had affected them in some way. I always like a list (being a man, or English, or both) so here’s 15 albums that have touched or affected me:

Dare! – The Human League

High Violet – The National

Disintegration – The Cure

In Rainbows – Radiohead

Absent Friends – The Divine Comedy

Standing In The Light – Level 42

Santogold – Santogold

I Am Kloot – I Am Kloot

Transatlanticism – Death Cab For Cutie

The End Of History – Fionn Regan

Construction Time Again – Depeche Mode

Aerial – Kate Bush

Dark Side Of The Moon – Pink Floyd

The Bends – Radiohead

Organisation – Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark

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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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