Concentrating on my EP – Let’s Build An Airport this year meant I didn’t write as much as last year, or demo to as high a standard as I’d like, but here’s the 5 tracks I wrote that I’m most proud of this year
1) Fingernails 2) One More Hour With You (Generic Christmas Song) 3) Hard To Love 4) Count Me Out 5) Cheese On Toast
A work colleague told me about a disastrous date she had and challenged me to write a song about it. Would like to revisit this demo and add more drums and synths. I wonder if the members of Europe are busy?
Like us they were tempted to doubt and deny
An Indie Rock Lament
My God, my God
Why have you forsaken me?
So far from saving me
So far from the sound of my cry
My God, My God
Don’t you hear when I pray to you?
Wasting my breath just to
Call out for help day and night?
Our Father’s trusted you, Israel’s Praise And never regretted the choice that they made So we will trust in you too Like us they were tested, like us they were tried Like us they were tempted to doubt and deny But still they trusted in you And we will trust in you too Israel’s Praise
You murdered love with cheese on toast
A soft rock murder ballad. Handle love Caerphilly.
It ain’t a pizza without bread of some description
It ain’t a pizza if it doesn’t have cheese
And it ain’t a pizza, of course without tomato paste, puree or sauce
And two out of three may be good enough for Meatloaf
But it’s not good enough for me. Can’t you see?
Cheese on toast What we’re looking at is cheese on toast And there’s no way to disguise it With candles on the table and soft rock on the radio Cheese on toast Welsh rabbit if you want to boast Whichever way you slice it Love’s gone to waste for want of tomato paste This is such a cheesy evening, our romance is toast
It’s still a pizza if it doesn’t have anchovies
Still makes the grade without some pineapple chunks
But it’s not Italian cuisine without a thin red line between bread and cheese
And I don’t want to fight but slapping own-brand cheddar
On top of some Mother’s Pride just ain’t right
Cheese on toast What you’re giving me is cheese on toast And there’s no way you can hide it With candles on the table and soft rock on the radio Cheese on toast Now love has given up the ghost And there’s no way we can fight it Love’s gone to waste for want of tomato paste And I think I should be leaving…
There’s no way to express the pain I feel
Without some blazing guitar
And a gratuitous change of key
Cheese on toast You murdered love with cheese on toast No matter how much you deny it The proof is on the table, stack the pots while I get my coat Cheese on toast Exhibit A is cheese on toast And any court would try it There’s no trace of paste. I rest my case Find another lover to deceive with your cheese Your cheese on toast
This worn out year is almost through
A true life Christmas ballad
The gifts are wrapped, the tree looks great
Some Yuletide crap on an old mix tape
Let’s light the fire and warm our feet
As our children will themselves to sleep
The scent of pine, the manger scene
A glass of wine, Die Hard on TV
This worn out year is almost through
But can I spend one more hour with you?
Things go unsaid Life gets in the way And I forget What I need to say
It’s five a.m. How can you sleep
Now that our bed has become a trampoline?
And childish hearts they want what’s new
But I just want one more hour with you
I need some tea, you want some toast
I need to pee but what I need the most
Is just the time to show you how
I love you more than ever now
My love is old, my love is true
Let me spend one more hour with you
1) Sodajerker On Songwriting 2) Boston Legal 3) First Tuesday Songwriting Group 4) LeftLion 5) Brown Betty’s Sloppy Joe 6) WTF with Marc Maron 7) London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony 8) Noisetrade 9) Beastie Boys live video 10) Being named one of the ‘top 100 must follow’ on Twitter 11) Redmen TV 12) Mark Nelson 13) The Hillsborough Independent Panel Report 14) Bear Makes Ninja live 15) Banksy 16) Prof John Wyatt sermon 17) Filmsack 18) Nottingham Music Breakthrough 19) Billy Bragg’s John Peel Lecture 20) Mermaids video 21) Luis Suarez’s celebration 22) Annie’s Burger Shack 23) Nusic 24) Rob’s Record Mart 25) Pistol Allen’s drum fill
In March I started a ‘bring and share’ monthly meeting for songwriters in my home and it’s made me write more and write better. And my wife cooks amazing food! If you’re a Notts songwriter why don’t you join us? First Tuesday Songwriting Group Facebook Page
4) LeftLion Newspaper
For many years a lone voice in the wilderness preaching the riches of Notts artistic diversity with passion and humour, the UK is finally starting to take note. LeftLion
5) Brown Betty’s Sloppy Joe
The jewel in the crown of this Notts family run hole in the wall deli/restaurant. Props to Mark Graham and the award winning Oli Hrubiak for clueing me in. Brown Bettys
6) WTF with Marc Maron podcast
Marc’s interview with Weird Al was my introduction to his brutal style of comedic self analysis and has had a real effect on me as I seek to be more emotionally honest in my songwriting. Very sweary as you might expect. Listen www.wtfpod.com
7) London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony
It would have been so easy to celebrate all of Britain’s achievements in an upbeat US style ‘we are the world’ way that goes against everything British culture is. So for Danny Boyle to create a mashup of art and industry that made fun of the things we are all so proud of in a self-effacing and seamless (not to mention just plain bonkers) way was the artistic triumph of the year. Buy it London 2012 Olympic Games [DVD]
8) Noisetrade website
The Derek Webbsite has introduced me to so many great artists (Josh Garrels and Fiction Family stand out) and, just as importantly, ensured I didn’t have to spend money on other artists to find out I didn’t like them. noisetrade.com
9) Beastie Boys live in Glasgow 1999
RIP MCA. At least watch the 5 minutes or so starting from 2:30 and appreciate the energy, humour and passion these guys brought to the stage.
10) CD Baby naming me one of the top 100 ‘must follow’ music resources on Twitter
A wellspring of scouse humour and stoic positive support for Liverpool Football Club. So refreshing to hear opinion and commentary from people who understand that we’re called ‘supporters’ for a reason. Watch The Redmen TV and We Are The Redmen
12) Mark Nelson – producer of Let’s Build An Airport
Professionally recording an EP had been a dream of mine for a few years, but Mark actually made it happen, and did a great job of shepherding my rusty brain through the process. Look out of the release on Amazon/iTunes/CD Baby next year. Mark on twitter
13) The Hillsborough Independent Panel Report – Justice For The 96
Growing up in the Thatcher era & having experienced abuse by the police first hand it was an incredible day when we finally heard the present Tory Prime minister apologise for 23 years of lies and coverups over the Hillsborough disaster. As many said, we finally have truth, now for justice. People should go to jail.
14) Bear Makes Ninja live at Stealth vs Rescue Rooms 18 Aug 2012
Only went to see a friend’s band supporting and planned to leave before the headliners. So glad I stayed. Some groups can play, some put on a good show, others have great material. Few can do all three AND boast two great lead vocalists. Bear Makes Ninja
The artist, or artists, know as Banksy not only produce amazing visual modern art across multiple discipline but his/her/their philosophy of art as a subversive act is one of the most well thought out example of how to make things in a post-copyright age. (And yes, I did mean post-copyright). www.banksy.co.uk
16) Prof John Wyatt at Grace Church, Nottingham 18 Mar 2012
More than any other words spoken in church this year (with the possible exception of “Hey Matt do you want to go for a curry?”) Prof Wyatt’s sunday morning sermon recounting how God helped him through a mental breakdown was a ray of light in a year where not a lot of other things made much sense. Download the message here.
17) Filmsack podcast
Having listened to almost all of the 150 episodes of the show that plumbs the depths of (mainly) 80’s (mainly) bad films, I can say it’s still going strong and as hilarious as ever. Without this show I never would have seen Bubba Ho-Tep, They Live, From Dusk Till Dawn & Stripes. (But I don’t necessarily hold that against them). www.filmsack.com
Billy spoke eloquently about his own DIY rise to fame and how the government’s educational policies are pushing the arts out of the state schools ensuring the charts will be dominated by the privileged privately educated. And he bigged up the Nottingham music scene! Download hereWatch here
20) Mermaids – Flight Of The Conchords
How many times can you say the word mermaid and get a laugh?
21) Luis Suarez’s Everton celebration
The context was Everton Manager David Moyes singling Suarez as a cheat and a diver in a pre-match conference. So when Suarez scored this happened…
The fact that Everton’s captain was later booked for diving only made the moment sweeter.
22) Annie’s Burger Shack
Annie moving to the Navigation Inn two doors down from Grace Church is surely God’s way of telling me to eat more gourmet burgers. The most fun you can have in a bun. Annie’s Facebook Page
Along with the mighty Left Lion no one has done more to promote Notts music that Mark Del and his merry crew. www.nusic.org.uk
24) Rob’s Record Mart
The recent attempt to spruce up Rob’s domain and repaint the whole of Nocturne Alley in preschool friendly colours has fallen on deaf eyeballs and merely resulted in some nicer looking boarded-up shops. But dig into the mountains of vinyl upon vinyl and you might still find a rare Beatles album, a cheap region 1 DVD or the bones of a missing Northern Soul DJ. Words. Pictures.
25) Pistol Allen’s drum fill on What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted
Nothing sums up victory over a lifetime of adversity and anonymity like a pensioner hitting the skins in memory of all his fallen colleagues (3:23 on this video). Buy it Standing in the Shadows of Motown
Just back from a screening of The Hobbit – here’s my top 10
1) The Guard 2) Avengers Assemble 3) Hope Springs 4) In The Loop 5) Brick 6) Seven Psychopaths 7) The Hobbit 8) Standing In The Shadows Of Motown 9) Dead Man’s Shoes 10) Koyaanisqatsi
1) The Guard
In Bruges writer/director Martin McDonagh’s brother, writer/director John Michael McDonagh, proves that a genius for dark comedy and a penchant for Brendan Gleeson runs in the family. Stellar performances from Gleeson and child actor Mícheál Óg Lane.
2) Avengers Assemble
Transcended the comic book genre with a gift for humour and characterisation in a large ensemble (Mark Ruffalo and Tom Hiddleston steal the show) that many serious films couldn’t manage.
3) Hope Springs
I watched this in the cinema and found some scenes hard to hear over the sound of collective buttocks clenching. Hilarious, heartbreaking, life (and love) affirming. I’d pay money to watch Tommy Lee Jones paint a fence.
4) In The Loop
Peter Capaldi plays the most gloriously angry man ever portrayed on screen in the sweariest political comedy imaginable.
Rian Johnson’s film-noir/college drama mashup is a love/hate proposition, but to me totally fulfilled it’s promise in a way The Brothers Bloom and Looper never did.
6) Seven Psychopaths
Martin McDonagh put my favourite mentalists Tom Waits, Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken together in a labyrinthine plot and let them try to out crazy each other. A subtle comedy full of graphic violence that would repay repeat views.
7) The Hobbit
Peter Jackson+Tolkien+Weta+Martin Freeman+Andy ‘Mr Mocap’ Serkis should = box office gold. But there were a few worries, so… it’s not isn’t too long, too padded out or too childish. Also (in 24fps 3D) it doesn’t look cheap, too real or too bright. In fact, it looks like ‘tradition’ 3D always does. Dark, motion blurry, and you only notice the 3D when it looks like a children’s pop up book. I’m looking forward to seeing this excellent film in a format that really does it justice. On DVD. A good first film that can legitimately say “I go to my sequels, in whose mighty company I will not now be ashamed”
8) Standing In The Shadows Of Motown
This documentary about the Funk Brothers is a heartbreaking testament to the enduring power of a band that were bigger than The Beatles and yet remained anonymous. I cry every time I hear Pistol Allen’s drum fill on What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted.
9) Dead Man’s Shoes
Nottingham director Shane Meadows, powerful low budget revenge drama with a twist in the tail. Occasionally let down when the improvised skeleton shows through.
A bewildering collision of sound and music portraying modern life out of balance is and a great way to experience the music of Phillip Glass.
Boston Legal (seasons 3 and 4) Dara Ó Briain Live At The Theatre Royal
and three films that could easy exchange titles and be none the worse
1) It’s So Easy (And Other Lies) – Duff McKagan 2) Rebel Without a Crew – Robert Rodriguez 3) Soul Survivor – Phillip Yancey 4) Dracula – Bram Stoker 5) Everything I’m Cracked Up to Be – Jen Trynin 6) Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney – Howard Sounes 7) Here, There and Everywhere – Geoff Emerick (with Howard Massey) 8) Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell – Susanna Clarke 9) Reach for the Sky: Story of Douglas Bader – Paul Brickhill 10) The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler