We’ve been quiet recently. At least, that’s how it must seem. We haven’t released any new music, we haven’t played any gigs, and we haven’t done anything all that social-media-friendly.
Life has been anything but quiet. The past few months have been a wonderful period of variety, intensity and often insanity. And it all feeds back in the bit you might be interested in - the music.
There’s a pattern in music at the moment. Fixated on scavenging some success within a current trend, many bands or artists are simply rehashing or recreating something already out there. The problem is that by the time a trend is doing well, it’...
I wouldn’t normally use a medium like this to comment on terrorist attacks. I wouldn’t normally comment at all. The reaction of someone like me is meaningless next to the pain and horror felt by the families and friends of anyone affected. Their voices mean so much more than mine, and I can do nothing but show sorrow and support.
But the attack in Manchester yesterday shook me, as it did with Kier, for different reasons to the deaths around the world reported in the news every day. They don’t mean any more, or any less, than lives in Syria, Turkey or Westminster. They just feel so much closer.
One night last week I was walking along City Road on the phone when something bumped into my shoulder, so I turned to see two people with helmets on, on a moped.
First instinct was that they were cutting across the wide pavement to skip the lights (people do worse to avoid London traffic), but then I noticed that they had a hold of the phone in my hand. It wasn’t until it was dragged out of my hand and they’d driven away that I yelled out, and a few seconds to figure out I’d just been robbed.
Picture me as the guy in the brown coat in this video, with look of “wait… what?!” on his face:
This weekend, Kier told me he’d followed my recommendation and started reading one of my favourite Iain M Banks books, Excession. I always love it when people take my advice on books and films. I like sharing the things that make me happy and it gives me a chance to talk about it with them when they’re finished.
But this is a little different. I’m more excited about this than usual because it gives me a chance to nerd-out over something I’ve been obsessed with since I was a kid. You see, most of the characters in Excession aren’t people, or even aliens, but hyper-intelligent machines called “Minds”. Or, in simple terms,...
I was born here, in Holloway, and I grew up at the end of the Northern Line in Barnet (as in “This train terminates at High…”). Since I left home, I’ve stayed in Camden, Kings Cross and Cannon Street, but mostly in Shoreditch. When I was studying in Bristol, I’d be back here once every few weeks for the weekend, or to play midweek gigs (always on a Wednesday for some reason). So except for seven months in Asia, I can safely say I’ve lived here almost all my life.
I love London. I’m struck weekly, if not daily, with new things that s...
I love music videos. When I was fourteen, after years of begging, we got Sky. From then on, I’d got back from school every day laden with snacks and settle myself in front of the TV to spend a few hours flicking through the music channels. MTV had stopped playing any music long ago, just Cribs and My Super Sweet Sixteen, so I’d start at MTV2 (alternative) and flick through every genre, every era, until I got to Channel U (grime). Then, I’d go back to MTV2 and repeat until dinner.
Thinking back, it’s probably why I like such a wide range of music. I’d have got the soul, Motown and rock from my p...
On Saturday night, I went to a Fleetwood Mac themed club night. It was incredible. I danced my face off. But I don’t want to talk to you about my dancing. Nobody would. I want to talk to you about Fleetwood Mac. One album specifically. An album that had its 40th birthday this month.
That album is Rumours.
On first listen, on a purely musical perspective, knowing nothing about the album’s background, the songs are wonderful. Those harmonies on Second Hand News, the hypnotic lull of Dreams, the power of Go Your Own Way, the delicacy of Songbird, the damn RIFF from The Chain. It’s just everything you want, and need, in an al...
Friday was the first time I played guitar on stage in more than four years. I’d forgotten that guitar was my first love, until we kicked into the first riff of Let it Out and I remembered everything.
I’ve recorded guitar, and I’ve played keyboard on stage, but it’s not the same. With keyboards, or a piano. You move around the instrument, and any physicality in the way you play is all about pouring yourself into the thing. But it’s fixed, it doesn’t play you back.
Guitar is different. It moves with you. You dance with a guitar, and I’m a terrible dancer. Joan Jett said “My guitar is not a thing. It is an extension of mysel...
I’m a sucker for anything melancholy but uplifting, miserable but inspiring, nostalgic but optimistic. It’s why I love disco. Take a listen to the lyrics of Young Hearts Run Free and tell me that’s not a depressing message hidden behind a dance masterpiece.
Anyway. This weekend, a few things made me feel that odd combination.
Saturday - A Woman’s Place is in the Resistance
If you weren’t distracted by Berlin Fashion Week or the Australian Open, you may have heard about the inauguration of a new president this week.
Yes, that’s right!
Gambia has a new president!
Oh right. The other one. The more dangerous one. The one...
We’re meeting at an odd moment, at the start of what will be a very interesting year, so you’ll have to excuse me for being a little more abstract than normal. These blogs will mostly consist of me gushing about films, or stories that starting with “today, I was on the tube…”
This one is a little different. I’ll assume you’re more than twelve days old. So, like me, you probably know that 2016 was pretty terrible. I won’t go on about it. You could say that this year is going to be just as bad, and you’d have a pretty strong argument.
One of the big things that hung over last year was the relentless celeb...