Something old, Something new, Something borrowed and Something blue.

(yes, camera phone – no, not by choice) 65 days of static @Leeds cockpit 2009

So as I’m currently going through lots of editing of images at the moment (took over 600 over a 10 day period), I thought I’d go back to my first love and the spring-board for many things in my life; music journalism.

So the idea to do this blog post came from some place but I can’t for the life of me remember where, so if you did come up with something like this I’m sooo sorry. The idea is to write about 4 records/lp’s/cd’s what ever that have influenced you in some way under the banner of old, new, borrowed and blue thus confirming your marriage to music!

So here we go…

OLD

For this I discounted anything in my CD collection, yes I have old albums re-released on CD but I wanted to describe not only the sound but something that is on that amazing format: vinyl, something that goes beyond sound and is an atmosphere in it’s own right.  And so it falls to my original 1973 Virgin records released(virgin records first record in fact) Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells.

This album was ground breaking in so many ways, progressive and rock in nature before anyone had coined the phase ‘progressive rock’ it went to number 1 in basically every country that had record players.  Making Mike a millionaire at the age of 21, the fame of TB hit him hard and he became a recluse living how he described a near medieval life in his massive house refusing to talk to most people for 3 years. His inability to handle his own fame came as a shock to most but didn’t take away from the album’s brilliance and the world accepted his masterpiece that took him 3 solid years to compose. TB became one of the all time best ever albums also opened the doors for so many acts to walk through.

When I personally think of this record I just think of the mind behind it, a man who came up with the whole concept of a ground-breaking album, then played every instrument on it and then sung it! The man is a genius and is sadly now underrated by many as ‘too progressive’ and they turn their nose up at him.  I don’t, I listen and love.

NEW

Quite the opposite to the above and I bring my trusted Ipod in to tell the tale, so I click on top the top 25 most played songs, it tells a tale that people who know my musical taste will already know, one band populates the list more than most, the mighty 65daysofstatic. A band that influence me most days, they are just so good, it is a privilege to know their work, to have met them once, to have held a monitor in place for them, to have moved my groin to avoid Joe from the band hitting it with his guitar. So my choice for new record is 65daysofstatic 4th album but first on hassle records – We Were Exploding Anyway.

This record 65 take it to a new level, I have to be honest when I heard a few tracks I was a bit, “oh dear it has gone too far to the electronic side of their genre”. But then I saw them play the album as part of Live@Leeds festival, and then it all made sense for me. The double layered drums the immense amount of layers and sheer power of the music produced moved them in my eyes from the band I had found to the band that everyone deserves to know. This album is just plain brilliant no other words can describe it for me, and played live it is simply breath taking.

BORROWED

The album for borrowed is Jimmy Eat World’s Clarity. An album that holds a lot of my favourite songs, it was a mini disc (remember them?) from a live show at Nottingham, Rock City broadcast on Radio 1. I listened to that disc on repeat for weeks and months. That live performance was laced with passion, emotion, heart, and it had point references for me at that time. As I have grown the songs have grown with me and I’ve come to find new meaning in them, I guess as I have grown and experienced pain, experienced love, experienced loss all subjects covered in this album, the songs have described these feelings in more depth than I could ever put to them.

The stand out track for me is For Me This is Heaven and not only because the drum beat plays in a different time signature than the melodies which in my 6th form years seemed like magic, but because it is one of the greatest love songs ever written. It is just an amazingly crafted song and one that well forever speak to me. But like many albums I have a great fondness each song on this album is ‘single worthy’ it could stand alone and be great, the glory comes when JEW came out this masterpiece in modern rock in 1999 years before the ‘kids’ got into ’emo’.

So why don’t I own it? Well my good friend has always owned it and having lived with him for awhile I just played it when I wanted, but now I have borrowed it and put it on my i-tunes forever.

BLUE

And finally on to blue, it’s rare to find a whole album that is blue but being that sort of boy I have a fair few contenders, rather than going for a perfectly crafted mainstream record that everyone reading this (all 3 of you) will think “oh yea that one” I have gone for a little known album. This album is sonically amazing, I have only met a few people who have this record and all agree it is a work of art. My blue album goes to to The Cinematic Underground – Annasthesia. This album is described as a film within a CD for a very good reason, when you listen to the album it narrates a story to you of a man on the verge of losing his girl and the confusion, mis-direction and hopelessness of missing her with the drama and closeness to trying to find her.

The album features sounds or randomness which will randomly become jazz influenced beats layered with speech that can’t be made out, you do feel like your transported into another world or in a dream. One of these little interludes I managed to create once with a few baked bean tins while working at asda, but that doesn’t take away from the all round brilliance of this record. And live… my goodness it gets better, the lead singer is in character the whole time and they play the album from track 1 to the end so they tell the story live, it is just plain inspiring, you get drawn in to their world and although it is a blue and largely sad one it is still a great place to be taken.

And so ends this blog post, hope you enjoyed it – I enjoyed writing it and don’t worry the pictures will be back soon I’m currently working on a dear friend’s wedding and I’m about half way through, so pretty dress’s and cake is but a post away, thanks for reading.

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Greenbelt, best festival ever?

Greenbelt 2009

Not my image - taken from GB press pack

So ever since I turned my back on Leeds Festival (2005) I have been attending a great little festival down south called Greenbelt. The reason I turned my back on Leeds Festival is because it got to a point where I spending upwards of £120 on seeing only a few bands that I really wanted to see. It was during this ‘I’m not paying this!’ period that my 3 best mates that I was in band with at the time scored the honour and chance to play Greenbelt festival. I was just blown away that I would be playing a festival to people that may not know who we were. So with the promise of a smallish stage and VIP passes we set off.

At the time I wasn’t Christian, I had thought about God but wasn’t really communicating with him nor would I consider myself Christian; quite the opposite I considered myself lost. I had gone to uni and had my final year of a philosophy degree to go. I had plan to come to some sort of consensus after my final year having absorbed as many different ideas as possible to aid my choice.

So as we arrived we signed in and received our passes while rubbing shoulders with bands we respected greatly such as Cinematic Underground. My first experience of Greenebelt was the great car queue which as it was Thursday as we arrived on trade/ artist load-in day it was rather minor but if your normal and arrive at like 3pm on Friday you might be in for a wait, which might seem like a nightmare however in my experience you always nearly know someone in the queue. In fact I don’t think I have ever had a year where I didn’t know someone in the queue, and if you don’t you have a nice view of the hills around the racecourse.

So as the festival progressed my top 5 things came to light…

1. The loos
They are kept in great shape to say they are subjected to 4 days of punishment. Although normal festival rules apply, do anything major either in the morning or in the first two days of the festival. Also over the years you find secret loos put in places no one thinks of looking, I have my current favourite which I won’t be putting on here for fear of the masses (tens) of people that read this going to GB and making a mess in my secret loos. A previous favioute has been the 3rd floor loos in the racecourse building.

2. Performance Cafe
GB has this great place the performance cafe, from people you will never see again to artist about to break into the mainstream the performance cafe is special thing. Hosted by charities the cafe plays host to some amazing lo-fi performances. I’ve seen Duke Special play with minimal instruments, and loads of other artists that are just great to watch and kill some time drinking a cheap hot drink.

3. It’s not just music
Now I’m aware most major festivals have a comedy tent but I think only Glastonbury can rival GB to the ammount of different things you can do. So as well as a mainstage, there is also a large indoor stage (some times), and small indoor stage. Outside of that there is performing arts, art installations, comedy, serious talks about important issues, films and because it is a Christian centred festival there is also worship. Now seriously you just can’t get bored, for me it’s impossible there is just so much to do, see and expierence.

4. You can bring your kids
Not something I have had to do yet but GB has activities over the whole day for both children and youth so if you have a little one and need a festival with activities that will keep there minds working…Bang GB has it sorted.

5.  The greatest atmosphere at any festival I have ever been at…
Sure I’ve been to quite a lot of gigs and festivals in my time (festivals since 98 …oh yea) and not one festival has ever had the same inpact on me. When I’m at Greenebelt I feel like anything can happen, people do ammazing things and there is so much left to to do in the world but Greeneblt makes it feel like there has been great progress yet so much left to achieve.

As these 5 things came to light something else was stirring inside me during my first GB. In 2005 I had the greatest honour of playing this festival  as I said above and just before we were due to play to thousands of people my band handed me a blue bag, in that blue bag was a bible inscribed with my fellow bands mates favourite verses. It was then that I thought I’d give this God fella a chance in my life and I have never looked back since.

Because of this Greenbelt well always be a special festival for me but I urge you to check out it, if not this year then next year.
I’ll be taking pictures so expect some coolish photographs on here sometime in September.

God’s Peace.