My book is soon to be reissued, with a small number of updates, a new cover and a brand new title.
Further details are available here.
Marsh Towers features reviews of books, shows and events together with sundry musings
Project 30 hit the ground running at the start of 2021 with four new events.
It doesn't make sense to blame the year.
Other people can be blamed for tardy and inappropriate actions and we can be blamed for not always giving our best - but blaming a year makes no sense at all.
The world does not reboot on 1 January. We are not in a television show.
Revisiting some of my earlier blog posts on the strange circumstances in which we find ourselves charts the almost unbelievable developments of the last 10 months.
From the enormity of the situation becoming apparent, back in March, through the infested waters of May swiftly followed by highlighting the shame of my generation and then coming up to date with the notion that all people either create or destroy - yes, it all makes for a startling narrative.
We all know people who haven't made it through the emergency. Some have been taken by the virus and others in ways almost certainly related to the situation. Some were take by their own hand; others by illnesses exacerbated by the dark and depressing times in which we live.
It is hard to see a way through the lies and incompetence and it is pointless to dwell on who did or didn't do as they should have done. Suffice to say, washing hands to the tune of Happy Birthday was extremely unlikely to ever be an effective frontline defence against an artificially enhanced virus which was always going to bring the world to its knees for at least two years.
The emergence of new spikes and virus mutations were always extremely predictable. People are angry, bored, lonely and confused. Of course a significant number of them will break the rules, either occasionally or regularly.
It will take some time for the long-term effects of the virus to be known and the side effects of the bewildering array of vaccines which have all somehow appeared simultaneously will also take time to manifest themselves.
Forget the blame game; it is far too easy. Let's go inward.
The lives of every person have been changed. Physically, mentally, emotionally; so much has changed. Who can claim to have changed for the better? Who has not aged more in the last few months than during any other comparable time span?
The stronger of the people amongst us have a responsibility to help anyone who is struggling, for so many reasons; not least of which is the certainty that the roles can be reversed at any time. Who can make the clown laugh?
Personally, the last few months have presented to me the challenge of navigating the steepest learning curve since I started working for myself, back in 1988. The challenges have been different this time and certain aspects of my life have changed beyond recognition.
Some friends have drifted away; others have become much closer. Events, dreams and desires are all seen from a new perspective. When the darkness descends I endure a tidal wave of emotions and it seems every wasted opportunity and every mistake I ever made are all etched more deeply in my mind. Keep busy; keep creative.
Very few things will ever return to how they were and that will take a lot of getting used to. In fact, the world as we know has had it and my advice is to await the opportunity to squeeze as much fun out of life as you possibly can, before it is too late.
To bring this mini-series of posts full circle, I will say again: We are all valuable and fragile in equal measure.
Where do we go from here?
This has obviously been a very difficult year, with the arts suffering very badly.
Musical experiences have been few and far between. When it comes to new releases, these are the five I have listened to the most.
Jah Wobble remained very active during 2020, putting out lockdown tracks with impressive regularity. He (together with the Invaders of the Heart) was one of the very few people I saw 'live' this year. The timing turned out to be extremely fortunate.
Jah put his new material out on two strictly limited CDs (just 100 of each). I have even more admiration for his work now than ever before.
The 11th Mike Closs Memorial Tournament continued the long-running series of events in fine style.
I didn't want to miss a year in the roll of honour of this series, which meant an enforced switch to an online event. This did have some advantages, especially regarding the people I could invite who would not normally be able to attend.
Indeed, thanks to the very welcome participation of Kineke Mulder, it was our first international tournament of the series.
For 2011, I wanted:
A fun celebratory event, continuing the series I set up to honour my late friend, Mike Closs.A welcome distraction from the strange events of 2020.
|Mr Hardy sporting Manchester's |
finest jumper since Bert Trautmann
|Mike had a little helper!|
|A relaxed and ready Nevil|
|Dave Edmunds in full festive mode|
|Royce is all ears - and other usual openings|
|Kevin is clearly ready for the Caro-Kann|
|Peter and jumper, with matching beards|
|Richard almost stole the show - his lights up!|
It can be a difficult task to nominate the best gigs of the year.
Last year, despite being to more gigs than ever before, the choice was made easy by the four Stray Cats concerts.
For 2020, I can easily fit the best gigs into my top 10 and, unfortunately, there is still room to spare. I can even post my annual 'Best of the Year' selection early, safe in the knowledge that there will be no more gigs between now and 2021.
I enjoyed every gig I attended in 2020 but early in March the shows suddenly came to and end. I had a large of amount of new gigs lined up. Some are still hoping to go ahead on rescheduled dates; others have gone for good.
Well, these were definitely the top eight shows of 2020 and I loved every minute of each one.
They are presented chronologically and the links situated beneath each image will take you to the Marsh Towers reviews for each one.
Just looking at these photographs and revisiting my reviews brings back the excitement and joy live music brings to my life. My heart rate increases; my feet start to move and I want to sing...
Oh well; maybe next year.
|Judy Collins at The Sage|
|She Drew the Gun at the Georgian Theatre|
|Jah Wobble and the Invaders of the Heart at The Cluny|
|The Sound of the Sirens at The Cluny 2|
|She at the Georgian Theatre|
Ultimate Bowie at the Georgian Theatre
|Gabrielle Aplin at the Wylam Brewery|
|Clannad at The Sage|