Friday, 30 December 2016

The wrong New Year resolutions



It’s the end of the year, and blog posts are infecting the internet with words like “mindset”: the answer, apparently, to being healthier, richer and more successful next year. I gave up New Year’s resolutions years ago so I’m shrugging off the advice as nothing more than an excuse for a bit of buzzword bingo.
But there are some things I can’t shrug off.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

2016. So much to answer for.

Poster: "Lost. All hope. Last seen some time before 2016."

A Facebook meme just turned up on a friend’s post: “Guess who’s still alive in 2016? Keith f****ing Richards.” I fought the temptation to comment: “There are still four days left.”

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Book review: The Rise The Fall and The Rise


Book cover.
I like reading memoirs by musicians – especially by women musicians, because those stories are only just starting to be told. But Brix Smith Start’s book, The Rise The Fall and The Rise, isn’t really a rock’n’roll memoir: it’s a very long autobiography with a bit of rock’n’roll in it.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

In praise of “WTF” records

Record sleeve for "Warm Leatherette" by The Normal.

I like having friends younger than me, particularly when it comes to the music round in the pub quiz. And because it gives me a different perspective.

But sometimes it makes me feel old, like when they turn out to have heard of Mott the Hoople because their parents had the albums.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

People’s history of pop

Like many people my age, I often watch the music documentaries on BBC4 on a Friday night. Sometimes I enjoy these programmes. Sometimes I hate myself a bit for succumbing to cheap nostalgia. More often, I hate the presenters or the talking heads who half the time Weren’t There and most of the time are men. One of my friends even calls it “middleagedwhiteblokenight”.

The People’s History of Pop is a bit different. Not enough different, but a bit is a start. Because it’s not about presenters (although there always is a celebrity presenter) or about talking heads, but about fans.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Age Does Not Matter. Or does it?

Apparently it was International Day of Older Persons last Saturday. No-one told me. Maybe I’m not “older” enough.

In the UK, it coincided with a conference/festival thing put on by Age of No Retirement, aimed at challenging the stereotypes around ageing. It sparked off some interesting conversations.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

The depression form


Have you ever filled in the depression form? It’s the one you have to do before anyone will help you with emotional problems on the NHS.

Something happened earlier this year that made me unbearably unhappy. And before anyone would help, I had to tick boxes to prove I was depressed.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Book review: The Importance of Music to Girls

There are a lot of books about music written by men. You might have noticed. There aren’t very many written by women.

There have been a few memoirs lately by women musicians, like Viv Albertine’s excellent Clothes Music Boys, and they’ve been good. But not much by women non-musicians.

But why shouldn’t we be allowed something to say, as well? After all, the BBC series The People’s History of Pop is so much better than the usual dull documentaries. Because there are more women’s voices. And because it’s about fans, not “experts”: it’s personal.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Does the internet influence how you find music?

I love too much already.

Someone (a lot younger than me) asked me today: Has the internet had an effect on the range of music that you seek out?

I had to say no. Not because the internet hasn’t had a huge impact on the way we all relate to music. But because I don’t really seek out music any more.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Back in the gallery with my bullshit detector



I’ve never been quite sure about this 40 years of punk “celebration” that’s going on. All a bit too establishment for me. And I know some of the London stuff has been controversial.

I was in Bristol yesterday and it turned out they are doing a punk season at the Arnolfini arts centre. They say they are, anyway.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Fingers in the sparkle jar: a rant or a review


I’ve been reading Fingers in the Sparkle Jar, Chris Packham’s remarkable memoir. It’s a hard book to review so maybe I won’t. But I will have a rant.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

January is the cruellest month (Hymn for the Dudes)


When it’s New Year’s Eve, everyone says “Thank goodness that year is over”. I didn’t say that this time round, because 2015 was an OK year for me. But it’s gone downhill ever since.

I started January discovering I couldn’t afford to move house, and ended the month accidentally falling out with one of the people I love the most. That’s on top of the normal seasonal angst.

I have a note at the bottom of my Christmas card list. It says “You will be depressed on 27th December. Do something nice.”  I love Christmas, but when it’s over I start thinking too much, and reading articles like this one.

And then there was January 2016, and the Grim Reaper got the wrong list.

Monday, 11 January 2016

We could be heroes


A week ago, I’d have said I wasn’t a David Bowie fan. I loved a lot of his records, dismissed some of them, felt a bit proud about walking out of a Tin Machine gig.

Today, I just want to say “Fuck”. And be with people who understand. (Which means, going on Facebook.)