As the curtains close on 2018

As we wind up for 2018, it’s always a good time to look back before we look forward.     There has been so much going on this year, personally, professionally and just generally.   We’ve had a new little daughter; Nina Siena, who is a ball of pure innocent love that has the most perfect little face.    I enjoyed being off for a month when she was born (as it coincided with the World Cup and also with a freak heatwave here in Glasgow that was unheard of previously).

Some of the less important stuff.

MUSIC

  • Erland Cooper
  • Flohio
  • Shame
  • Puma Blue
  • Little Simz
  • Oscar Jerome
  • Phoebe Bridgers
  • Skinny Pelembe
  • Angelo De Augustine
  • Sunflower Bean
  • Moses Sumney
  • Slowthai
  • Mahalia
  • Tom Misch
  • Tune of the Year – Pick Up by  DJ Koze / Tints by Anderson. Paak

Gig of the Year – Slowthai / Kojey Radical @ The Great Escape

Album of the Year – Sum of all your Parts by Fatherson or Songs of Praise by Shame. 

TELEVISION

  • Marvellous Miss Maisel
  • Love
  • End of the F**king World
  • Peaky Blinders
  • Game of Thrones
  • The Kominsky Method
  • The Bridge
  • The Missing
  • Little White Lies
  • Atlanta
  • American Crime Story – Gianni Versace
  • Killing Eve
  • BodyGuard
  • The Deuce

BOOKS

  • Benjamin Myers – Gallows Pole
  • Boy at the Door  – Alex Dahl
  • His Bloody Project – Graeme Macrae Burnet
  • Timbuktoo – Tim Burgess
  • Iron Ambition – Mike Tyson

We also made a trip to Venice which was a Christmas present for Joan, it was such a nice trip we decided to go back this January coming.  With Nina.

Some of the not so good stuff include, Brexit and Family / Friends Funerals.

 

 

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Festival Season is Over. . .

Thats the festival season over for another year for me.   I was quite late in getting to festivals, mainly because I was normally more interested in going on holiday around the summer months and so missed out on them.    Over the last few years I’ve been lucky enough to be able to visit some of Scotland’s best offerings as part of my job in music.

I’ve came to know Belladrum quite well – The Tartan Heart Festival in the glorious highlands of Scotland.   A nice family vibe with plenty to see and do, a real feast for the senses all around with some great bands through the years.    We’ve also been lucky enough to be able to give some live opportunities to some of the young artists we work with on the music project.

We’ve also become regular visitors to The Great Escape in Brighton, another wonderful festival that is actually overwhelming with the amount of talent and bands on offer everyday, I’ve saw some incredible bands and music industry panels at this festival.   An absolute gem.

This year I managed to secure some tickets to take the family (Joan, Amélie, Leo, Nina and Myself) to Electric Fields in Drumlanrig Castle Estate down in Dumfries.   This felt like a much smaller affair but with some excellent acts and a real cool family vibe and we met some absolutely lovely folks there enjoying the festivities.   I hope to go back next year.

What have you been listening to?

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Since buying a DAB radio to replace using my iPhone as an alarm clock next to our bed, and placing a Cambridge Audio Air 100 in our dining room, where we spend a lot of time, I’ve been listening to more and more quality radio programmes and even listening to more music at home.

I’ve always been someone who is constantly on the look out for new music, I get excited about interesting finds in music, almost to the point of obsession, but a healthy one.   I often get snowed under, particularly on a Friday, when most albums seem to come out, and with the constant, and instant access through streaming services, its become so easy to hear new music, although sometimes more difficult to listen.   At any given point, I have around 30 – 40 albums that I want to devote a couple of hours to sift through and decide one way or another, which pile folder it goes in. 

So, I’ve decided i’m going to make a monthly playlist of things that i’ve enjoyed listening to and I’d like to pass on.   How many of your friends ask you, “What have you been listening to?”  I get asked it all the time, and often I’m stuck for an answer because i listen to so much.   This month I’ve put the playlist out through a fantastic service called Soundsgood and if you’re interested, have a listen, you may hear someone you’ve never heard, or you may hear something you’d forgotten about.

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Sneaking Out The Back Door

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Well I never been good at goodbyes
I’m gonna sneak out the back door
Nobody can say that I didn’t try
Gonna sneak out the back door
Let it ride, let the whole thing slide
Drift far from the shore
Don’t wanna be missed
Didn’t even exist
I’m gonna sneak out
Sneak out the back door

And when my life is over
I’m gonna sneak out the back door
Before the mood turns sober
I’m gonna sneak out the back door
Hadn’t much of a “Midas Touch”
No luck to be sure
Would you give my regards to the people in charge
While I sneak out
Sneak out the back door

A perfect goodbye to an old family friend.   Everyone has that family friend that you can call your ‘uncle’ or ‘aunt’ even though they are not related by blood, they are always there, and always great fun to be around.   This was Jim, he was uncle Jim and Aunt Marilyn (and Bob, Mitzi, Jura and Jess – the four legged friends).

The memories I have of my younger days of being up in Aviemore will always be a part of me until the day I sneak out the back door.   We often stayed with them in Glenmore in the summer as children and young adults, we watched movies with them, we went walks with the dogs, we travelled throughout the highlands, we enjoyed the holiday photographs on the large projector, we were captivated by the long conversations about live and recorded music.

Only recently after having Amélie and Leo I saw a different side to Jim, I saw a more fatherly side to him that I had never noticed with the dogs.   He was caring and held my children with so much love.   Perhaps he knew he wouldn’t be around for ever, and so had to take these times as precious as we all should remember to.    I’m so glad my children were able to meet with Jim, Amélie was so sad at the funeral, she was very fond of him and “He made her laugh”.   She’ll miss him dearly as will we all.

I am glad and honoured to have known Jim, the gigs I attended with him were always excellent and they always remained the best gig he had ever been to, until the next one.

We were lucky enough to catch many gigs throughout Celtic Connections as well Oh Susanna, Neal Casal, Josh Rouse, Hazy Malaze, Slaid Cleaves, Tom Russell, Ravi Coltrane, and many many more. . .  So, now its time to say Goodbye to an old friend, I’ll always take his memory to gigs he would’ve been at, and I’ll always cherish the times we shared.

See ye up the road ya rascal mccaskill!

Books Books Books

This year I made a few resolutions, many involving books, and particularly music books.

I managed to enjoy;

Cowboys and Indies  – 5/5

Creation Stories – 5/5

How Music got Free  – 5/5

Appetite for Self Destruction – 4/5

Do Not Sell at Any Price  – 4/5

The Death and Life of the Music Industry – 5/5

The Dark Net – 5/5

Simply Thrilled: Postcard Records – 2/5

Electric Shock: From Gramophone to iPhone  – 2/5