Thursday, December 28, 2006

Part of the reason that updates to this site were shall we say, limited during December, was that I had been asked to write some reviews for a website in America.Previously I've sent a couple of pieces into The Global Cafe myspace site, and when I sent them my list of albums of the year (see below) they wrote to say that they were compiling a top 50 for their newly revamped website, and could I write a short piece on ten of the records which appeared on both of our lists. It was quite an interesting thing for me to think about the phrasing and structure of those pieces and was good fun to do. When their website is updated I'll put a link here so that you can see how badly I misunderstood your favourite album of the year.

It's actually been a very quiet period for us musically of late. We did go to see Fuzz Against Junk on December 23rd as our friend Steve is the drummer in the band and it was his birthday that day. They played with Crippled Black Phoenix, who seemed to have a little less light and shade then when we saw them previously. There are rumours that Fuzz Against Junk may be involved in an upcoming live show in conjunction with the 6music show "The Freakzone", which would be great for them.

On the music buying front, Orynthia gave me a copy of the solo album from Jarvis Cocker which I'm enjoying. I picked up a copy of the debut album from former Imperial Music main man RLF, he now records under the name Bass Clef and the record is called "A smile is a cure which straightens most things" and it's really rather wonderful. If I'd heard it earlier in December it would certainly made it into my chart, in fact it was listed as the tenth best dance album of last year by those hipsters at The Sun! The record itself is reminiscent of the work of people like The Sabres Of Paradise and Mad Professor, heavy on the bass with fascinating aural soundscapes it's well worth investigating.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

So that's almost it for 2006, we've had a nice time over the Xmas period. On Xmas Eve over recent years we've spent my birthday visiting some of the newer attractions in Bristol, this year was looking a little tricky as many places closed due to the fact that it was falling on a Sunday. Eventually Orynthia had a stroke of genius and realised that one of the older attractions would be open, so for the first time in years, we took the walk across The Downs to visit Bristol Zoo.

As luck would have it several friends were having a knockabout game of football on The Downs, so we could pause briefly to watching exerting themselves before continuing our journey. Many things have changed since we were last in The Zoo, the majority of the large animals have gone, so no more Elephants, Polar Bears, Camels, Giraffes and the like. Luckily they still have lots of entertaining creatures with plenty of Monkey choices to keep us amused.

The last time (and only previous joint visit) we went to the Zoo has stayed in our memory, thanks to a fantastic lack of customer service from the old cafeteria. I can't remember the exact scenario but it went something like this. The menu had the usual array of food that was available in 1980's Bristol, very much in the "chips with everything mould" So you could have sausage, egg and chips or bacon, egg and chips amongst other splendid choices. However, I asked if I could have sausage, egg and bacon. They obviously had all these ingredients just a case of working a cost I assumed. So it was rather odd to be told that I could not have that as it was not a choice on the menu card. It was a classic example of the English approach to food and service.

Things have moved on a little since then, but to remind myself of the good old days, we went for fish and chips with the obvious choice of drink - mulled wine, all very nice too. As darkness started to fall, we continued our journey and I particularly enjoyed watching the Seals playing around, the Red Panda and some amazing birds.After that we took a lovely walk through Clifton in order catch up with some friends, before heading home at around 10pm.

Christmas day was spent with various family and friends in several houses, before returning home with Orynthia's mother and brother who were both spending the night with us. I obviously slept well, as it 11:15 on Boxing Day morning before I awoke from my slumbers. Then Orynthia dropped me down to the Nova Scotia, so I could catch up the Ashton Gate faithful before our 2-2 draw. Following the game a few old friends and associated children came over to our place for tea, cakes and cheese, some how several bottles of wine were consumed as well. Because many of our friends have moved around it was the first time that some of them had seen each other in years, it was nice to be a catalyst and watch some (very) old friendships being renewed.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Records of the year?


1. TOM WAITS – Orphans
2. HOT CHIP – The Warning
3. CAMERA OBSCURA – Let’s Get Out Of This County
4. SUFJAN STEVENS – The Avalanche
5. M. WARD – Post
6. ABSENTEE – Schmotime
7. THE DECEMBERISTS – The Crane Wife
8. BELLE & SEBASTIAN – The Life Pursuit
10. MICAH P HINSON – Micah P Hinson And The Opera Circuit

11. Math And Physics Club – Math And Physics Club
12. Yo La Tengo –I’m Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass
13. Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan – Ballad Of The Broken Seas
14. The Essex Green – Cannibal Sea
15. The Flaming Lips – At War With The Mystics
16. The Strokes – First Impressions Of Earth
17. Joanna Newsome – Ys
18. Sparklehorse – Dreamt For Years In The Belly of A Mountain
19. Tilly & The Wall – Bottoms of Barrels
20. The Dears – Gang Of Losers
21. Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am……
22. Joe Volk – Derwnt Waters Sound
23. Various – The Kids At The Club: An Indiepop Compilation
24. Jim Noir – Tower Of Love
25. The Divine Comedy – Victory For The Comic Muse
26. Francois & The Atlas Mountains – The People To Forget
27. Sol Seppy – The Bells Of 1 2
28. Thom Yorke – The Eraser
29. Little Name – How To Swim And Live
30. Rose Melberg – Cast Away The Clouds
31. Peter, Bjorn & John – Writer’s Block
32. Amy Millan – Honey From the Tombs
33. Sondre Lerche & The Faces Down Quartet – Duper Sessions
34. Various – Stones Throw; Ten Years
35. Tapes ‘n Tapes – The loon
36. Louis Slipperz – Bareback Instrumentals
37. Lambchop – Damaged
38. Cut Chemist – The Audience’s Listening
39. The Concretes – In Colour
40. Electric President – Electric President