Thursday, 31 December 2009

Day thirty one: don't smell his flower, your majesty

I hope he turns up
In a shonky car, driven
By a bunch of clowns

Inspiration for day 31

There is a first ever honour for a circus ringmaster, with 73-year-old
Norman Barrett of Zippo's Circus becoming an MBE.

"This is a real boost for circus and in my view gives the art form the
recognition it truly deserves and, sadly in modern times, so rarely
gets," he said.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Day thirty: a lull

I'm sorry, I've got
Nothing much to write about
Today. Smile, Andy!

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Day 29: tribute to Scott Walker

It's raining today
And I'm about to forget
The train window girl

That wonderful day
We met. She smiles through the smoke
From my cigarette

Monday, 28 December 2009

Day twenty eight: regrets

I should know by now
Not to sing a Beach Boys song
At karaoke

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Day twenty seven: Christmas duty

It's always nice to
See the relatives, but I'm
Ready to sleep now

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Day 26: correction

Not a haiku, but I actually might have a bit of the old hair of the
dog. Just thought I'd keep you informed.

Day twenty six: on Boxing Day

Cold roast potatoes;
Turkey and stuffing sarnies;
No hair of the dog.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Day twenty five: full o' booze

Oh shit, I forgot
About a haiku today.
Merry Christmas all!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Day twenty four: I wasn't expecting that

Last night I saw my
Childhood sweetheart. Turns out she's
A lesbian now.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Day twenty three: no more presents to buy

Starting the wrapping.
I don't want anything back,
Except a nice day.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Day twenty two: this is the worst trip I've ever been on

Carpets of white dung;
Snow causes travel chaos!
I want to be home.

Monday, 21 December 2009

By the way

I didn't appreciate quite how regularly I blasphemed until I spent the
weekend with my religious father. I lost count of the amount of times
I stopped myself from saying "Jesus Christ!" by changing it to "Jeeez-".

Then again, he just did a massive fart in the bathroom, so he's no

Day twenty one: band names from the weekend at my Dad's

Dad's massive loofah;
A photograph from Brazil;
Too many cheeses.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Day twenty: the Tories

They reckon they'll win.
Inevitable? Sadly
I think that it is.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Day nineteen: on the climate deal

It's okay, but it's
Not good enough. Call yourselves
Leaders? Grow a pair.

Albums of the decade - the complete rundown

1 Nick Cave - No More Shall We Part
2 Smog - A River Ain't Too Much To Love
3 Joanna Newsom - Ys
4 The Kingsbury Manx - The Fast Rise and Fall of the South
5 Panda Bear - Person Pitch
6 Radiohead - Kid A
7 Delgados - Hate
8 King Creosote - Rocket DIY
9 Sufjan Stevens - Greetings From Michigan
10 Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam
11 James Yorkston - Just Beyond the River
12 Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - How I Long To Feel That Summer In My Heart
13 White Stripes - White Blood Cells
14 Alasdair Roberts - Spoils
15 Stephen Malkmus - Real Emotional Trash
16 Mogwai - the Hawk is Howling
17 Mount Eerie - Lost Wisdom
18 Spiritualized - Let it Come Down
19 Super Furry Animals - Mwng
20 Low - Things We Lost in the Fire
21 Beck - Sea Change
22 Bonnie Prince Billy - Master and Everyone
23 Shins - Chutes Too Narrow
24 PG Six - The Well of Memory
25 PJ Harvey - Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea
26 Air - 10000Hz Legend
27 Stereolab - Sound Dust
28 Arcade Fire - Funeral
29 Spoon - Kill The Moonlight
30 Edan - Beauty and the Beat
31 Beirut - Gulag Orkestar
32 Telepathe - Dance Mother

Friday, 18 December 2009

My albums of the decade: 8-1

So here it is...I'm not going to gush about any of these, just post the songs which sum up why I love them so much.

8. King Creosote - Rocket DIY

Though I can't for this, as youtube seems sadly devoid of songs from this wonderful album. King Creosote is amazing, he can take you through every emotion in the space of one song. And that voice! Plus he's a lovely fella to boot. The song to look for most from this is The Someone Else. It's simply stunning.

7. Delgados - Hate

6. Radiohead - Kid A

5. Panda Bear - Person Pitch

4. The Kingsbury Manx - The Fast Rise and Fall of the South

3. Joanna Newsom - Ys

2. Smog - A River Ain't Too Much To Love

1. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - No More Shall We Part

So there you have it. I wasn't necessarily expecting that to be number one (I thought it'd be Smog or Joanna Newsom) but as soon as I thought about it and listened to it again it was unmoveable.

Day eighteen: brr

Inspired by The Marble Index by Nico:

Frozen warnings close
To mine, close to the frozen,
Snowy borderline.

My albums of the decade: 16-9

Oooh, it's getting closer. I appreciate that this endeavour is of interest to few, but I'm enjoying it anyway!

16. Mogwai - The Hawk is Howling

While other Mogwai albums this decade contained the odd song that was an absolute belter, I think this is their most coherent album since 'Young Team'. The highs are breathtaking and exhilarating, and there aren't any lows.

Scotland's Shame

15. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Real Emotional Trash

Much as I love Pavement, I'm a little bit disappointed that they're reforming now, given that this is pretty much my favourite album as a whole that Stephen Malkmus has done. There's so much power to it, so many hooks, and his guitar playing is better than ever. It's full of moments that make you want to punch the air. Also, recruiting Janet Weiss on drums was a masterstroke.

14. Alasdair Roberts - Spoils

There were a number of Ali Roberts albums that could have made it on to this list, but I thought I'd go with his most recent, simply because it's his most complete album to date. I really can't wait to see how his future albums develop.

13. The White Stripes - White Blood Cells

Not much you can say about this that hasn't been said, but it still sounds fucking amazing today.

12. Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - How I Long To Feel That Summer in My Heart

A beautiful, beautiful album. Gorkys' songwriting had been maturing for a few albums prior to this (not that that's always a good thing), but this saw a real peak, and Euros Childs' voice never sounded so sweet.

How I Long

11. James Yorkston & The Athletes - Just Beyond The River

James Yorkston is one of my favourite songwriters in the world. If I were any good at writing songs (and I do try), I'd want them to sound like his.

Surf Song

10. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam

Earlier in the year I thought that the latest AC album, Merriweather Post Pavilion, might usurp this as my favourite, but I kept coming back to Strawberry Jam. Like the Malkmus album, it's just full of hooks and punch the air moments, yet still with that sense of wonder you always get with them. It's their best album.

9. Sufjan Stevens - Greetings From Michigan...

Ah, lovely Sufjan. While the 50 States idea was probably an ill advised project to embark on, this is worth all the trouble. He's an incredible songwriter and musician, with a voice that just makes you want to cry. If he doesn't make any more albums (which he has hinted at) he has left us with some works of absolute beauty. Such as...


Thursday, 17 December 2009

Day seventeen: grumble

Didn't get the job;
Did get a hangover, as
A consolation

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Day sixteen: comedy octopus

How can you watch this and not hear that discordant kind of toy jazz music, the like of which soundtracked 1970's Belgian kids shows.

Plinky Plonky Wizz
Honk honk PARP fumbo loola
Goes the octopus

My albums of the decade: 24-17

24. P.G. Six - The Well of Memory

Not the best known, this one, but it's one of the most affecting records I've ever heard. British folk revival-influenced US mountain music, with a strong drone-psych thread...but better than that probably sounds. P.G. Six (aka Pat Gubler) also provided one of my gigs of the decade too, that this clip was taken from:

23. The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow

Sure, it's fairly straightforward American indie music, but it's rarely done quite as perfectly as this

22. Bonnie Prince Billy - Master and Everyone

Will Oldham is The Don, and this is one of the greatest albums in the entire American songbook. That's three albums in a row where I've mention America.

21. Beck - Sea Change

While subsequent albums have been pretty good I'd say that this was Beck's last great album. Full of pathos and beauty, and ideal for wallowing to.

20. Low - Things We Lost in the Fire

Even though it would be quite easy to regard Low as making miserable music, I find it strangely spiritual, and therefore uplifting. I'm not religious, so music and nature are the closest I get to spirituality. That looks less profound written down.

19. Super Furry Animals - Mwng

There were other contenders (Phantom Power particularly), but SFA have never sounded so carefree as they do on this album. The melodies are among their most beautiful. Sometimes I wish I could understand what they were singing about on it, but in a way I'm kind of glad I can't.

18. Spiritualized - Let it Come Down

While Ladies and Gentlemen... will no doubt go down as Jason Pierce's magnum opus, I regard Let It Come Down as having his strongest collection of songs, bar none.

17. Mt Eerie - Lost Wisdom

An album born of pain and solitude, as delicate and ephemeral as ash in the wind

More to follow tomorrow!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

My albums of the decade: 32-25

Yes, I'm counting down my favourite 32 albums of the decade, kicking off today with numbers 32-25. What I'm going to do is show a youtube clip every so often, just to break it up a bit and to provide a bit of entertainment!

Ok, here we go...

32. Telepathe - Dance Mother

A contender straight in from this year, one of the most interesting, vital albums I've heard all year. They're cool and they know it, but I kind of like that about them...

Devil's Trident

31. Beirut - Gulag Orkestar

Still sounds absolutely beautiful. I don't know if he'll ever do anything better.

30. Edan - Beauty and the Beat

How this guy isn't a superstar I don't know. It's a rap album, yet so much more than just that. It's psychedelic, it's heavy, it's funky, with rhymes as sharp as a tack. A massive album.

Rock & Roll (feat. MC Dagha)

29. Spoon - Kill The Moonlight

In terms of consistency Spoon are one of the bands of the decade - any of their albums could have made this list, but it's difficult to top this one.

28. The Arcade Fire - Funeral

I wasn't going to include this, as you couldn't move for the Arcade Fire a few years ago and I got a bit tired of them...but then I listened to it again. It is a masterpiece.

27. Stereolab - Sound Dust

Their last album with poor lovely Mary Hanson and, in my opinion, their best.

Captain Easychord

26. Air - 10,000Hz Legend

After the massive success of Moon Safari this was their response: proggy, difficult in parts, but the more you listened to it the more it rewards you. Still sounds exciting today.

25. PJ Harvey - Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea

The album where everything came together. It's breathtaking.

Day fifteen: the waiting game

So you've had a job interview. You think it went well but then you don't hear anything for a couple of days when you know they wanted to make a quick decision. So you think about calling them, but will that look like you're hassling them about it, or will that demonstrate the enthusiasm that they're looking for, thereby helping your chances? To summarise:

Will I scupper my
Chances by calling them, or
By not calling them?

Monday, 14 December 2009

Day fourteen: from a train window

I wrote this earlier after I did that thing where you're sitting on a train in a station, alongside another train, and then the other one starts to move away, and then you realise to your terror that everything else except your train is also moving. And then finally you realise that it's actually your train that's moving. And you feel like a bit of a wally.

The passing trains don't
Know who's on which one, or which
Way they're both heading

Day thirteen: whimsy

I don't really know what this one was all about...

I asked you where I
Stood, and this is what you said.
You said "somewhere else"

Day twelve: foggy head

I was at 10 years of ATP this weekend. I can't really remember writing this...

There's a place for the
Psychedelic stoner rock:
It's at ATP

Day eleven: doggy train

I wrote this one on a train from London to Taunton, when on going to the buffet car had to step over a massive alsatian laying across the aisle. I love dogs, but I was a bit wary having to step over that big bastard.

Please don't bite my feet,
And do you want a biscuit
From the buffet car?

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Day ten: sax and violence

Jazz fans, eh. ""The gentleman said this was not jazz and that he wanted his money back," said the festival director, Ricardo Checa." But just look at the name of the group in question!

Larry Ochs Sax and
Drumming Core: if that ain't jazz

I don't know what is

I love this poster:

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Day nine: oi Goodwin, lend us a tenner

It would be nice to
See some remorse, but I'm not
Holding my breath. Twats.

If in doubt (or a syllable short), add a swear word.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Day eight: it's strawberry blonde

The prospect of commercial space flight is all very exciting really, and the craft itself looks fantastic. I would like to have a go on it myself, if I had a spare £121,000 knocking about. I don't know if the done thing is to knock Richard Branson, but I don't mind him at all. He's worked really hard, and now he's spending his money on the kind of things that lots of people would in his position, given the chance. However...

Branson: decent guy,

But that ginger goatee has
Really got to go

Disclaimer: if I grow a beard it invariably goes al
l ginger too, so I FEEL HIS PAIN.

Monday, 7 December 2009

CSNY - Down By The River

I know they're not cool, but I don't care. I bloody love this:

ps. I do like modern music too.

Day seven: four feet in the grave

Not my most sophisticated effort today, but this story made me laugh (not literally). It reminded me of a nature programme I saw once where there was an extended tortoise sex scene. It proved quite uncomfortable viewing; the male tortoise (let's call him Victor Meldrew) walked around the female, headbutting her shell, then spent an age trying to get on top of her, then when he did made this strange throat-clearing sound while the female looked completely bored. It's funny how life often imitates life.

I once saw a show
About tortoises shagging.
It was disgusting

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Day six: on a moonlight shadow

While I'm not exactly an eco-warrier, I can't help but have more sympathy with those who are, the more guff you hear from climate change-sceptics. Are these people insane? We have to act now.

The created is

Destroying its creator.
Just like in the films

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Day five: only bleeding, I am

Which is all very good, but Bob Dylan's voice reinvention over his last few albums is reminiscent of something else...

I love Bob Dylan,
But he sounds like a muppet
Or yoda these days

Speaking of these days:

Friday, 4 December 2009

Day four: Poor show, Corus

Sadly this is the company I currently work for (though not for very much longer, if I've got anything to do with it)

Seventeen hundred
People won't be having a
Merry Christmas now

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Day three: Jagger

So Mick Jagger still
Wears a mullet at his age.
I hope he goes bald

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Day two: Doctor Sexy

I just read this:

Which made me think about this:

Which made me write this:

Hey Doc, would you like
To check my pulse? It's beating
Nice and hard for you

Not all of my posts will be frivolous. But sometimes frivolity is better than fake sincerity.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

It's a Mogwai evening

Day one

So I signed up to and while I would love to do a genuinely creative thing like write a song every day or do something that will increase my well being like go for a run every day I'm sorry to say that I don't think I have the willpower to see it through. But I wanted to do something, so I've decided to write a haiku every day. I guess they will invariably be topical, and hopefully when the hundred days is up there will be a satisfying flow to them. I'm not going to type a big preamble before each one, but might do stuff like post youtube links to certain songs and stuff alongside them some days, or post a link to whatever inspired that day's haiku. Okay, here we go...HAIKU NUMBER ONE!

Don't buy eggs from those
Foreign folk. They smell and we
Distrust them deeply

Classic Daily Express idiocy: