Category Archives: Music

What I’ve been listening to in 2015

Here is my now-traditional top-ten list of the albums I’ve listened to the most in the previous calendar year. (See this list of previous entries.) Also in accordance with tradition, it’s ridiculously late.

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I listen much more to whole albums than to individual tracks, so each year I pick the ten albums that I listened to the most (not counting compilations), as recorded on the two computers where I listen to most of my music. (So these counts don’t include listening in the car or on my phone.) I limit the selection to no more than one album per artist, and skip albums that have featured in previous years. Then from each of those ten objectively selected albums, I subjectively pick one song that I feel is representative.

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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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