Showing posts from March, 2020

Mix Tape

At my work leaving do last Summer, I fell into conversation about music with two friends and colleagues. The beer had been flowing and I was cracking on about rock music again. I was waxing lyrical about the variety and depth and bombast and subtlety and light and shade and emotion and power of heavy metal in particular.  Jenny and Naomi looked at me blankly. They were steadfastly unconvinced. This was clearly not how they saw the genre.  I said would come up with a playlist that would demonstrate the evolution of hard rock and heavy metal; and highlight the sweeping variety and complexity of the best of the movement. It’s only taken me 9 months and a worldwide pandemic. And they will almost certainly have forgotten that conversation. But I've been on a mission. Here at last is  a post about the origins and growth of hard rock and heavy metal as it matters to me. An  electronic mix tape of 29 tracks. Forgive me a nerdy note, before we go further. For definitional purpos

Thanet innit?

“Oh, this will be a good year”, said Mrs A. 1970? I doubted it. Paul Gambaccini was bigging up the likes of Pickettywitch and Judy Collins in a post-Beatles, pre-Glam edition of Pick of the Pops. A dead zone for music. A Dark Age akin to the Romans leaving Britain. A void filled by drivel like Brotherhood of Man and Peter, Paul and Mary until we were saved by the 1066 watershed of T Rex and Slade. (I offer you the Ladybird guide to both popular music and medieval history...)   Picketywitch in their pomp Radio 2’s long running chart retrospective was filling the car with pap as we headed to the coast for some fresh air. Mrs A knew every word of every song, whilst I was bleating on about the shallow quality and inane content. Even Elvis let me down. I’d never heard ‘Don’t Cry Daddy’ before, but what a cast iron crock of indigestible sentimental soup that is. The chorus saw me with my head in my hands: ‘Daddy, you've still got me and little Tommy/And together we'll fi

Back in the saddle

Nuca, our Romanian mongrel with a hair-trigger nose that detects grilled sausages at 200 paces, is sniffing Spring in the air. She’s been careering around the garden with unhinged, mad-March enthusiasm and tucking in to new shoots of grass like they are gourmet treats. I smell the changing mood too; and I’m sharing something of her wild passion. Not sure it’s the weather though… Cheltenham is nearly here. Festival preview nights are all the rage up and down the land right now. They have become an established part of the build-up: well-oiled panel pundits spouting dubiously informed views and rumours in front of eager, equally lubricated punters, before moving on to the next venue on the next night. Entertainment is the name of the game rather than cast-iron info. The skill is in winnowing the odd grain of valuable wheat from the wind-blown chaff. The Barley Mow festival pack had its own preview evening on Monday. Our level of inebriation would rival your regular ‘professional