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Music. Albums. (Mostly).
1) AM – Arctic Monkeys A long awaited return to form for one of my all time favourite bands
2) Silver Birches – Injured Birds Beautifully recorded distinctly British folk, created right here in Nottingham. Like Oscar Wilde being introduced to Howling Wolf at a party.
3) FAWM 2014 Demos – Liz Frencham Unless you took part in February Album Writing Month you might not get to hear these songs for another year at least. But I did, cos I know people. Australian Jazz vocalist/double bassist Liz Frencham to be precise. I also really enjoyed getting to know the music of FAWMers Woody Muller, Expendable Friend and Hamilton Poolhall this year too. (FAWM links will only be live till Jan 2015. You can hear more of Liz’s music here and here)
4) Blood Money – Tom Waits Songs from the play Woyzeck including God’s Away On Business
5) A Creation Liturgy – Gungor Virtuoso praise and worship. Who’d have thunk such a thing existed? Sufjan Stevens’ slightly more normal brother.
6) Hypnotize – System Of A Down Daron is the best rock guitar arranger since Jimmy Page
7) Celestial EP – Field Studies Stunning vocals and dreamscape guitars. Another awesome Nottingham band.
8) His Best Chess 50th Anniversary Collection – Howling Wolf The voice! The guitar!
9) At Folsom Prison – Johnny Cash One of JC’s strings is a quarter tone flat for about 3 songs and he does a couple of tunes off his comedy album. And it’s still awesome. Check out Johnny and June’s duet on Jackson.
10) Glassworks – Philip Glass PG’s most accessible album.
My Top 10 Books fell neatly into 2 halves
1) The Jaws Log: Expanded Edition (Newmarket Insider Filmbooks) written by one of the script guys (also an extra) and bound in a weird shark skin feel cover
2) Tom Waits on Tom Waits: Interviews and Encounters Hilarious, thought provoking and pure poetry. See my many blog posts here
3) Hotel California: Singer-songwriters and Cocaine Cowboys in the L.A. Canyons 1967-1976 A book about the music industry where nearly everyone is a bad person
4) Monkey Business: The Lives and Legends of the Marx Brothers I’m a lifelong fan but I learnt a whole bunch of new stuff
5) The Defeat Of The Spanish Armada Gripping
1) American Gods Epic. The Stand with superheroes.
2) Suttree Probably McCarthy’s warmest, most humane book and everyone doesn’t die.
3) World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War Almost nothing like the film. Which is good.
4) Hamlet (Wordsworth Classics) Yep. I went full ReBard. Deal with it Melon Farmers…
5) Red Riding Nineteen Eighty (Red Riding Quartet) Boy are these books dark. Three down one to go…
Not really in any clear order…
1) Temple Grandin – watch this film!
2) The Lego Movie
4) Penguins Of Madagascar
6) Inglourious Basterds
8) Mr Turner
10) Seven Samurai
Also enjoyed Sightseers, The Lives Of Others, Rush, Primer, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians Of The Galaxy and Rewatching The Fisher King and A Hard Day’s Night. TV-wise I loved Sonic Highways, An Adventure In Space And Time, Queen: Days Of Our Lives, Firefly and Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.