Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Thank you, James Brown

Friday, December 29th, 2006

In the grand scheme of things, it’s infinitesimal but thinking of James Brown will always make me smile and remind me of sleepless nights.  My eldest was unwell as an infant.  She spent her early weeks in SCBU, was consistently underweight due to rarely keeping a feed down and spent most nights in a fractious mood, screaming or crying.  For a long, long time, the one single thing that would settle her down was being held and ‘dancing’ with me to the sound of the James Brown band.  Not only was I grateful for the relief this brought but also the chance it gave me to get close and bond like few first time fathers do.

Obituary of James Brown

Lost your keys, guys?

Sunday, December 10th, 2006

As a former bit part actor, I have the utmost sympathy for those for whom an on-the-job mistake mean public humiliation, albeit temporary. However, I’ll not deny that I enjoy the guilty delights that Schadenfreude offers. Russell Davies recently pointed out an excellent post on the blog of Alex Ross, the music critic of the New York Times. It highlights a great page full of trumpet fluffs, the Infamous Portsmouth Symphonia and an organist playing Handel’s Messiah who just has to be heard to be believed. Enjoy, guiltily or otherwise.

Snow Patrol to play our backyard

Saturday, December 9th, 2006

In what will be their debut New Zealand gig, indie-darlings turned mainstream stadium-fillers Snow Patrol, surfing the success of their Eyes Open album down under, will play Auckland in February next year. Tickets went on sale here in NZ earlier today and, given their rapid sell outs in Oz, I scooped a pair up before they disappeared. The gig is good news on several levels in this house.Firstly, the concert is a few weeks after my birthday so it’ll a nice treat to banish the post-birthday blues. This inevitable melancholia will undoubtedly be further compounded by the fact that, between now and then, we will have hosted by two lots of relatives and a friend and her daughter and I’ll be ready for a rare night out.Secondly, the venue is the Trust Stadium, which is just a 15 minute drive from our house. This will mean a quick drive to the neighbouring shopping area to park up, and grab a bite to eat before a leisurely walk to the stadium. After the gig, a leisurely walk back passed the post-gig jams to the car and a 15 minute drive home.

However, the last reason is the best. Over the last year or so, the younger of my teenagers has moved from the mainstream poppy preoccupations of the average pre-teen towards more rock and indie, fuelled by the more edgy, bleep-worthy of Auckland’s FM stations. On the quiet, and while her mother rails against the DJ’s language and the playlists’ lyrics, this has pleased me no end for it is nice to have at least one musical ally in the house. As Snow Patrol’s output to date resides not only on my iPod but now on hers too, it is fitting that it was she who told me about the gig. It only seems right
that she is the one who gets the other ticket and goes to her first ever gig.

I can’t remember who I saw at my first gig but I can recall the anticipation, buzz and excitement that preceded going to a concert as a teenager and I saw it all in her face when I called her over to look at the email confirmation on my iBook. More than that, I am shamelessly flattered that she’d even be seen at a gig with her Dad. I suspect that the thought hasn’t crossed her mind yet and I’ll be having to swear that I won’t dance or sing along when the time arrives.

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Wednesday, December 6th, 2006
bnug cassette
Despite the present day whirl of digital downloads, MP3s, iPods and streaming, I still have great memories of late night session making and mixing my own tapes, treasuring those that have survived twenty years or more of play. Hours spent agonising over track orders, perfecting fade outs, carefully inking one-off cassette covers and scrawling extensive explanatory sleeve notes. More often than not, the tape was destined for the (then newly introduced) Walkman of a girlfriend or the second-hand ‘music centre’ of a mate. All this came flooding back when I found the Cassette generator at The Generator Blog.