Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Caressing Bolsterers Witnessing the Brandish,

The arrival of students to the town fills me with dread. I’m old, cynical and beleaguered. I pity their naivety as they gather in the streets on the first day of Fresher’s Week and call to each other, ‘How are you finding it so far, dude?’ The answer this time was ‘Amazing.’, but this was not a sunny day. I had run out to purchase some Lucozade to ensure that I finished the day standing. They were bounding around with posters, no doubt of the trendiest bands of the day: Kings of Leon, Snow Patrol, Arctic Monkeys etc and this somehow saddened me because amongst the poster-wielding maniacs, a true musical talent walked, or at least someone who looked very much like them. There walked someone whose music I admire and have bought and he hasn’t attracted a second thought from this rambunctious crowd. I don’t believe in pestering famous people, I’ve never approached one. An autograph or a photo is probably not all that life-enhancing, but an enlightening discussion over a coffee is probably out of the question.

Minor appointments distort the day and I lose focus. I lost a day to spending a minute with the dentist. Such occurrences perhaps justify the hilarious entrepreneurial project that was Craig and David’s Sandwich Shop and Backstreet Dentistry. It’d save time, so too would midnight dentistry, check-ups whilst you sleep, go on Dragon’s Den.

I find myself in a position of having to replace myself and it’s not easy. The situation is awkward because I’m not an expert in what I do; I try, I improvise, I’m patient, I accept, I believe, I interpret. It’s difficult to try to force my ways upon someone else and I don’t really want to because I envisage my successor improving my techniques and results. I believe my successor will achieve but building confidence is slow; I’m limited to ‘Can you set up and I’ll be along in a while?’, hopefully, we’ll move on from this stage soon and I can return to serving in an advisory capacity.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Flippant Malcontents Regretting Expurgation,

The great and the good of the music industry were once again assembled in tense anticipation of the announcement of The Bellyaches Music Prize 2009. This year’s event was held aboard the North Carr Lightship in Victoria Harbour, Dundee and, as ever, hosted by the genial Bryan Burnett.

This year’s field was very strong, 2009 has proved an exceptionally good year for music and the judges had a difficult task choosing a winner.

Secret Soundz Vol. 1 by The Pictish Trail: After years of being part of Fence Records and a member of King Creosote’s backing band, The Pictish Trail finally released an album. The album mixes two influences; beautiful Fence Collective folk and Hot Chip-inspired electronica. The album is epitomised by the wonderful track I Don't Know Where to Begin.

When the Haar Rolls In by James Yorkston: This album is dreamy, cosy and a perfect defence against the credit crunch. Isolate yourself, press play, ponder James’ anecdotes and relax with his melodies, forget that Woolworths has closed down.

My Maudlin Career by Camera Obscura: Camera Obscura are consistently brilliant, they can create poignant melancholy ballads as well as jaunty pop numbers. My Maudlin Career is wonderfully composed to provide the most fitting ambiences to Tracyanne Campbell’s lyrics and voice.

Prevention by De Rosa: Sadly, De Rosa split up a few months after the release of Prevention, a musical study in existentialism combining the folk and electronica genres to perfection.

Checkmate Savage by The Phantom Band: Heavy, powerful but catchy, Checkmate Savage is another example of Chemikal Underground’s run of form in 2009.

God Help the Girl: Stuart Murdoch gathered around a huge collective of wonderful singers and musicians to put together this soundtrack to a yet-to-be made filum. The range of talented vocalists add variety to superbly composed tracks, it’s Belle & Sebastian but with a few extra goodies tagged on.

Deaths and Entrances by My Latest Novel: The long-awaited follow-up to Wolves draws upon works of cultural and social significance to inspire its listeners to come together and understand. My Latest Novel majestically make harmonies of four vastly different vocal work, these are accompanied by their layered guitars, keys, percussion and violins to create a startlingly beautiful sound.

Until the Earth Begins to Part by Broken Records: Energetic and wistful, this mini-orchestra from Embra do it all using traditional instruments and by putting in a shift.

Reservoir by Fanfarlo: Smart orchestral indie-pop is their trade, Reservoir is their product. Fanfarlo offer a positive, pragmatic approach to life that naysayers would do well to listen to.
Waxing Gibbous by Malcolm Middleton: Music’s funniest star doesn’t disappoint with more modest brilliance; of course, he’s not going to let people down if he’s helped out by Pictish Trail, King Creosote, Jenny Reeve and other talented people. He’s this generation’s bookkeeper.
Into the Ruin by Drever, McCusker and Woomble: Woomble brings his soft Embra indie vocals, Kris Drever has a harder, more traditional folk style that is very much Orkney and McCusker’s fiddle is like a vocal itself. Everyone will have their own favourite song from Into the Ruin, it’s folk, it’s pop, it’s accomplished.

Lord Cut-Glass: Alun Woodward’s first solo release under the guise of Lord Cut-Glass is playful but poignant, with the aid of a nine-piece orchestra, he charms and surprises his listeners at each corner on this journey through the streets of time.
Bryan Burnett invited stand-in weather presenter Jean Johansson onto the deck to present the prize, the Bellyaches trophy and a set of commemorative porkpie hats, as unenthusiastically as ever to My Latest Novel for Deaths and Entrances. The drummer was sent up to collect the award whilst the rest of the band browser Twitter using their cell phones back in their area. The evening was drawn to an abrupt close after a loud splash was heard, a bunch of local youths had rolled the unfortunate Bryan Burnett's Toyota Prius into the harbour. In desperate fear of being replaced by Pat Nevin, Bryan then plunged into the water to desperately retrieve his list of theme ideas for the Get It On show.

Drenching Wraiths of the East,

Weather apocalypse arrived. The hook of a very wet depression positioned itself right over the the east coast of Fife and deposited its load unrelentlessly for two days. It was said the average month's rainfall fell in a day. The north east of the country experienced the worst of the weather with flooding forcing many homes to be evacuated.
In the Kingdom of Fife, many roads were closed and some were barely passable. I opted out of the main road to work, a bus route, as I suspected that the debris washed onto the road might have rendered the road tricky but in fact, the road had been closed north of Upper Largo. The route I chosed was treacherous, I found myself sliding down a hill uncontrolled at once stage. Later on, one of the many fords had caused the traffic to stand to grind to a halt, people got out to have a look. One car had taken on too much water and was broken down, a van helped to tow it of the main road and the other cars passed but the water was passed the bottom of the door. Most driving was done in the middle of the roads, and cars frequently stopped to give way to each other at every fjord except one rebellious lady who decided to drive at me in a Mr Bean-stylee with horns-a-tooting.
All this chaos unfolded as Batty ran off on holiday, it's a weather conspiracy.
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