Category Archives: Music

Next Saturday: our prog-rock band at the Mitcheldean Festival

The wretched summer of 2016 has not offered us much good news. But for me at least, that’s about to change. Next Saturday (16th July) is the 2016 Mitcheldean Folk Festival, and our prog-rock back Crooked End will be closing the show from 8:30 till 9pm.

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Crooked End playing at the 2014 festival. Left to right: Fiona (flute, keyboards), Mike (guitar), Dan (drums), Mario (bass).

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Desert island albums #4: The Beatles — Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

Sergeant Pepper or Revolver? Revolver or Sergeant Pepper? It’s so tempting just to say “both”, but I’ve only allowed myself ten slots in the Desert Island Albums series, and it would seem unfair to give 20% of all the space to a single band. [Previously: Joni Mitchell’s Hejira, Rainbow’s Rising and Blue Öyster Cult’s Fire of Unknown Origin.]

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I’ve been vacillating between these to albums (with an occasional thought for Abbey Road) for some time. Now, with the death of George Martin, I’m pushed into actually writing this piece, and as it happens the dial is currently in the Pepper region. Continue reading

Desert island albums #3: Blue Öyster Cult — Fire of Unknown Origin (1981)

In this very occasional series, I am writing about the ten albums that I would take with me to a desert island. The idea is based on the long running BBC Radio series Desert Island Discs, of course; but I am giving myself entire albums rather than individual tracks, and I am having ten of them instead of the regulation eight. Hey, it’s my series, I can do what I want. [Previously: Joni Mitchell’s Hejira, and Rainbow’s Rising.]

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The inauspicious beginning of my musical career

My sister Lindsey (that’s her at the bottom of the photo, enjoying experiencing my performance) recently found this old photo, taken in our back garden when I was about three years old. So that would be 1972, the year of Fragile, Machine Head, For the Roses and Paul Simon’s first solo album.

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Crossfire, More Like a Teacake Vicar and Mike & Andy (1988)

Like a phoenix from the flames …

Did Anne Heap of Frogs really break up, as I said last time? Or did they merely sack me? You’d think I’d be able to tell the difference between these two scenarios, but ten months after the second AHOF gig, this happened:

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Anne Heap of Frogs (1987-1988)

A flagrant festival of nostalgia today — my apologies to the 6,999,996 of you were were not members of the short-lived heavy metal band Anne Heap of Frogs in Bishop’s Stortford in the late 1980s. This post is for me, Andy, Richard and Eddie (and maybe our mums).

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The ticket you see above is from the first Anne Heap of Frogs concert, played on the evening of Saturday 26 September 1987, at the URC Church Hall in Water Lane, Bishop’s Stortford. Astonishing to think that was 28 years ago.

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Which Joni Mitchell album do JoniMitchell.com members think is best?

The excellent JoniMitchell.com website allows members to score Mitchell’s albums and songs. There is a page listing all songs by rating, but no analogous page that I can find with the album ranks. Being curious to see what the members’ wisdom-of-crowds had to say, I scraped the current scores off the 19 pages for her 19 studio albums, with the following results:

score year album
9.67 1971 Blue
9.67 1976 Hejira
9.61 1972 For the Roses
9.56 1974 Court and Spark
9.50 1975 The Hissing of Summer Lawns
9.29 1970 Ladies of the Canyon
9.12 1968 Song to a Seagull
8.99 1991 Night Ride Home
8.92 1994 Turbulent Indigo
8.83 1977 Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter
8.78 1969 Clouds
8.56 2002 Travelogue
8.29 2000 Both Sides Now
8.04 2007 Shine
8.01 1979 Mingus
7.70 1988 Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm
7.60 1982 Wild Things Run Fast
7.49 1998 Taming the Tiger
7.39 1985 Dog Eat Dog

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