2011 Listomania: Herman’s Year in Review Ad Nauseum

Although for me 2011 was a festival-free year in which I never left the country, I did visit the Lakes twice for brief breaks (my ankle and pant elastic respectively). The first was for my ladyfriend’s sister’s 30th birthday which you can read about here* whereby every notable media event in music and film dating from 1981 (her birth year) was exhumed and genetically reanimated back to life.

Oddly enough 2011 began very near to somewhere I wouldn’t get to visit for another 7 months (which isn’t actually that odd at all) – Highgate cemetery stuffed with dead communists who all contributed deeply to the sociological &/or political consciousness of their era. Oh yeah and Jeremy Beadle.

Dictionary Mourner

So in true Philystyle here are some more meaningless lists of last year out of force of habit (refer to 2010 review blog entry). Thus in no particular order:

 

Top 5 Gigs/Live Music (Not including local/unsigned talent naturally)

John Shuttleworth @ Birmingham City Hall – Well out his comfort zone of South Yorkshire’s rolling heathland with Balti’s & Concrete but still hilarious.

The Abyssinians @ Leamington Assembly Rooms – Summoned the vibe of Holy Mount Zion with their angelic harmonious rich tones akin to a spiritual bath

Hayseed Dixie @ Leamington Assembly Rooms – Kept up the whole hillbilly pretence for 2 hours betwixt staggering banjo soloing & swigs of local Slaughterhouse brew. Filmed their vid ‘Alien Abduction Probe’ at the venue.

Image courtesy of Ray Spence

Ugly Duckling @ Nottingham Bodega Social Club – Full review can be clocked here*. Still bringin’ the party flavours & freshest old skool samples!

Ruins Alone @ Nottingham Chameleon Café – A single unassuming middle aged Japanese man unleashing a cacophony of utter chaos with drums & laptop via “convoluted rhythms, barked out operatic Zeuhl hymns and triggered samples” (Rammel Club flyer)

A Play on Both Your Houses (Less theatre than usual daaarling)

The Lieutenant of Inishmaan @ Leamington Loft Theatre – Genuinely black as a pint of Guinness in a coal shed humour that packs powerful farcical bite.

The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui @ Nottingham Playhouse – Wanting to see a performance of this for some time ever since learning of Leonard Rossiter’s performances of Arturo as the chilling lead. Set at the height of Chicago’s bootlegging trade amidst rife corruption under a mafia-endorsed mayor, Brechtian’s epic & thinly-veiled satirical allegory hits on evil unchallenged. Each scene uses prologues & projector signs to compare events surrounding Hitler’s ascension to power in a highly effective manner despite the melodramatic cartoon gangster stylisation.

Best Worst Films (All of which I first saw this year)

None of these were actually released this year but my life is richer & my laughter coarser for having seen them thanks to those lovely boys at Nottingham Cult Cinema Club Kneel Before Zod (KBZ). Best documentary actually from this year would be Sound It Out about Teeside’s last independent record store run with a whole lotta love – beautifully shot.

1. Samurai Cop – “What does Kitana mean?” “It means Japanese sword”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTd2BZggats

2. The Room – You know the script (or lack thereof) by now Leeesa A-hut-hut

3. Hercules in New York (Original undubbed)

For Arnie’s extra thespian delivery of course

4. Elves – So, so, so many questions that plague me still. One 4 foot randy elf.

Better try to be scared (and scarred) by the cover cause that's the worst you're gonna get

5. Society – Directorial debut from Producer of Re-animator & erm Honey I Shrunk the Kids. You won’t be the only one laughing your ass off i.e. Epic pay-off

 

Beer Festivals (Oh don’t make me choose)

Mansfield Road Holy Gr-ale Beer Trail – Size isn’t everything when the little guy can still offer 100 Beers & Ciders between the 8 pubs with a ‘very-nearly’ piano sing-along & lock-in for afters. Although the free bottle incentive for buying a pint in each had all been given away which almost made us feel that what we achieved was of no real lasting value…almost. Mates, ale & an unguarded piano I ask you?

Robin Hood Beerfest @ Nottingham Castle – Gets bigger, closer & nearer every year & every year they break the record for most cask ales then some Queen of Clubs pipes up ‘Just a Carling cheers’. Read my ‘ahem’ somewhat sidetracked review of my CAMRA volunteering experience here*.

Warwick University Beerfest (Guess where?) – A campus on the outskirts of Coventry near an airport for plum-cheeked piss-teethed toffos rejected from Oxbridge? Doesn’t sound much but then you learn it’s the largest of its kind entirely ran & staffed by students nationally so fair play Jolly Hockeysticks!

 

Houseparties (My categorical obsession is getting desperate)

Bassmonster Dave’s Cottaging Party – Don’t worry there was no actual cottaging as there was only one bathroom with no lock & a very low beam. As a housewarming Moscow Mules were served up with homemade ginger beer. Much later after many missing scenes unspeakable acts occurred. That is all.

Mike’s 90s Youth Club Rave Up – complete with full Panda Pops/Popping candy range courtesy of Macro (surely the only place still selling this stuff?)

Ma & Pa’s Surprise 60th – Aaaah yes the impromptu speech & playing of Happy Birthday (royalties paid). Never again will I take that risk – sos mum. Somewhere in rural Essex a man named Ken Thompson holds the evidence. As we’d just had a huge pub lunch my stomach was dancing to our playlist.

Mike’s Other Party: Seaford B-day BBQ Bash – Reet good knees up this one. Proper summer ales, rays & frisby/cricket games with 100 BBQ Hits comp!

See ya next year, by which I mean this year, by which I mean 2012 you mothers!

Just stay calm & carry on convulsing

*Subclause: All here links are false. You’ll just have to hit up older posts ya lazy gets.

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New Year’s Eve Playlist 2011/2 (for those we missed)

A Happy New Year’s Eve’s Eve’s Eve to all o the. As a reasonable open-minded man in his mid to late 20s (quiet you!) I listen to & experience a vast assortment of musical tastes and genre-hopping radio stations/events/gigs. With that in mind I have prepared a rough playlist for NYE 2011/12 which attempts to meet as many expectations as any one houseparty can comprising folk of mostly a similar demographic (whilst ignoring Britpop/Indie & Dance bollix wherever possible).

Being far from an exact science I would as ever appreciate any feedback or glaring omissions relating to my sometimes very linear-minded pursuit of pleasurable compiling. This list also includes the 12 lamented souls who departed us this year from my previous musical obituary.

Surefire Party Opener

Prince & The NPG – Jam of the Year (Woah! Everybody’s actually here, my own party hasn’t failed)

The trio of obligatory despair (get ‘em outta tha way)

U2 – New Year’s Day

Abba – Happy New Year

John & Yoko – (Just Like) Starting Over

Get the Party Started for realsies

Harry Webb aka Cliff Richard aka Satan My Master – Wired for Sound (All speaker sizes welcome)

Cat Empire – Get The Party Started (cause Pink can go suck her mother’s dick)

Cheryl Lynn – Got to be Real (from Carlito’s Way soundtrack as is…)

Sylvia Robinson – Pillowtalk (perhaps a little saucy for pre-watershed)

Prince – 1999/Housequake (Shut up already, DAMN!)

Cool smoke machine guys...either that or peas for lunch

Heavy D (RIP) & The Boyz – The Overweight Lover’s In The House (probably the bathroom)

Young MC – Bust A Move (“Standin’ on the wall like you was a poindexter”)

Dobie Gray (RIP) – Out on the Floor (“I’m gonna get my kicks…”)

Mayer Hawthorne – Your Easy Lovin’ Ain’t Pleasin’ Nothin? (Dat’s a whole lotta g’s missin’)

Toddla T – Badman Flu (“Temperature! TEMPERATURE!” Samples Lyn Collins’ excellent Think About It)

SBTRKT – Wildfire (From one of the best dance records of the year)

Chic – Everybody Dance (Bernard Edwards cuts some rug & Nile Rogers reprasentz)

Pleasure – Joyous (12″ for the full 6 1/2 minute sultry stringed guitar climax)

Candi Staton – Young Hearts Run Free (Gay/liberation/Post-apartheid power anthem that just can’t be ignored)

"My mind must be free to learn all I can about me" - Something tells me maybe you already are sister

Kool & The Gang – Celebration/Jungle Boogie (Former: relevant. Latter: too funky)

James Brown – Sex Machine (cause someone always feels like being a…)

Eddie Murphy – Party All The Time

Rick James (Biiitch) – Give It To Me Baby (Disturbingly intimidating producer of Eddie Murphy in the previous vid)

Stevie Wonder – We Can Work It Out (Most soulful Beatles cover ever. End of)

Fats Domino – Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except For Me & My Monkey

Lionel Ritchie – All Night Long (So many words for party: Samba Fiesta Jambo Jambo)

Captain Beefheart – Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles (from The Big Lebowski)

Howlin’ Wolf – Moanin at Midnight (wedged somewhere betwixt Maiden & Priest)

Bill Tapia – I Wanna Learn To Speak Hawaiian (oh but he could with his fingers)

Cod rock/metal pre-erection section

Passing Stones – Start Me Up (preferably with video link-up)

Warrant – Cherry Pie (dedicated to Jani Lane)

Tucky Buzzard – Time Will Be Your Doctor (Lost Classic according to erm Classic Rock)

Iron Maiden – 2 Minutes to Midnight (Self-explanatory)

Europe – Final Countdown (Guitar solo climax right on the ‘stroke’ of midnight)

Judas Priest – Living After Midnight (See Maiden 2 cuts above)

Kiss – Rock & Roll All Night (cue tongue-waggling contest)

Dead Kennedys – Too Drunk to Fu*k (Don’t worry kids, that was probably how you were made)

Somewhere down the barrel i.e. until the wee hours (does the playlist still have principles?)

Faithless – Insomnia (I can’t get no sleep & it’s not just the cheap speed dammit)

Grace Jones – Slave 2 the Rhythm (Never stop the action – Keep it up)

Only Grace can make flossing for spinach look chic

Cool Down aka Vocal Acrobatics & Dodgy Duets

Bert Jansch & John Renbourn – Goodbye Pork Pie Hat (Charles Mingus Jnr. cover)

John Barry Orchestra – Born Free (then somebody caught me)

Love Unlimited Orchestra – Love’s Theme (for that schmaltzy smoochin’)

Hint: His Iceberg is in his bedroom but WHATTA moan!

The Impressions – Fool For You

Ben E. King – Stand By Me (written by Jerry Leiber RIP & Mike Stoller)

Sam Cooke – You Gotta Move (or anything from 63’s Night Beat album)

Otis Redding – Shout Bamalama (because we said so)

Ashford & Simpson – Reunited (and so begins the triple threat of wailing unisex duets)

Cher & Meatloaf – Dead Ringer For Love

Release the Hounds (Relevant & often nostalgic bleary-eyed body-swaying bawlers)

Urban Voodoo Machine – Goodbye to Another Year (thank you Guardian music for hippin’ me 2 get wit dis)

Tom Waits – New Year’s Eve (from his latest LP Bad as Me ends with Auld Lang Syne)

Die Roten Rosen/Dropkick Murphys/UK Subs/Insert favourite band’s live NYE bootleg here – Auld Lang Syne (cover)

Trembling Bells & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – New Year’s Eve’s The Loneliest Night of the Year (Warning: Good Houseclearer)

Sarah Brightman & Andrea Bocelli – Time to Say Goodbye

Alt Themes/Options (Play the Wildcard);

Captain Beefheart Tribute – socially very alienating & divisive between fans & other

Norwegian Death Metal – as with Beefheart with additional problems of misanthropy)

Major Lazer Daggering Dance-off back before Beyonce completely misunderstood

"I knew I never shoulda let Major Lazer be cultural ambassador"

OR Classic Detroit Techno up in this biiiiitch? OR even all four until people start passing out.

OR We could just leave this thread here eh? Me thinks it would probably be safest.

Word up y’alls next year

PEACE 2K 2 tha + ’12 (or for readers over 25 ‘do be good’ – i was never an original badbwoy)

12 Great Losses for Music in 2011: in case y’all never paid homage

To those we have lost this calendar year I thought I should pay tribute to a special 12 by preparing a recently deceased list by means of a communal obituary (as Megadeth would say Rust In Peace). All my lists have been in 12s recently – it started out as a festive trend as in days of Christmas but it’s coming to be the only denomination I recognise.

So much talent was cruelly stolen from us in 2011 that it almost makes me want to reject the Gregorian civil calendar & revert to the formerly acknowledged Julian; after all what’s 11 minutes between consecutive western interpretations of time passages? Exactly.

Hubert Sumlin (Howlin Wolf’s snarling guitarist as heard on such guttural abrasive classics as Spoonful, Killing Floor & Little Red Rooster which gave The Stones their first number 1)

Captain Beefheart (What is there left to say about this reclusive genius freeform poet turned painter out in the Mojave Desert that hasn’t been lovingly documented elsewhere? He was apparently striving to sound like Sam Cooke but resembled more the man in brackets above. Utterly unique)

Sylvia Robinson (Owner of Sugar Hill Records, had hit with Pillow Talk from Carlito’s Way soundtrack which contains an unnecessary & unsettling amount of salicious groaning noises)

With street styley B-Girl & B-ees nest hair back in her heyday

Dobie Gray (Overlooked soul singer whose hits included Drift Away, Loving Arms & The ‘In’ Crowd)

Nick Ashford (Ashford & Simpson fame, Motown hits like Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Reach Out & Touch Somebody’s Hand, Solid as Iraq if you’re Dubya and the excellent Reunited which Faith No More opened with at Download 2009)

Heavy D (With his Boyz he helped fuse New Jack Swing with reggae to help shape 90s rap – died devastatingly young)

He ain't about dental maintenance but lyrical sustenance

Jani Lane (of 80s hair metal band Warrant whose hits included Cherry Pie & Heaven)

Jerry Lieber (of immortal Lieber & Stoller songwriting fame who launched the popular musical Smokey Joe’s Café based on their songs)

John Barry/Roger Williams (Autumn Leaves & Born Free composer best sung by Ronnie Barker in Porridge as well as a proficient & diversive popular instrumentalist. Barry died last January aged 77 after composing some of the most iconic film soundtracks spanning over four decades including 12 James Bond films (most of the best), Midnight Cowboy, Dances with Wolves & Out of Africa. Typical work ethic for a Yorkshire lad.)

Bert Jansch (Scottish folk singer/guitarist of a recently reformed Pentangle who headlined Green Man festival in 2008 & contemporary & collaborator to the equally mighty Jon Renbourn)

Bill Tapia (Ukulele-wielding centurion who released 1st cd aged 96! Other than being the oldest living performer he also performed with Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong & Hawaiian legends like King Bennie Nawahi)

"It's a gay hawaiian wedding? Hey that's great"

Kim Jong Il/Colonel Gaddafi/Osama Bin Laden etc.

Eeerm yeah most dictator’s contributions to music may look shaky on the surface but opposition & political upheaval are major motivating factors toward song writing as well as musical protest wouldn’t you say? If I wasn’t quite so lazy or Western-orientated in the music I obsess over then I could probably find some artistic examples…

"No I love you man, that's a human rights atrocity against BASS!"

Another year & decade are here, 13 days too late: HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The first sounds I heard stirring from a restless sleep this New Year’s morn were that of an 8 year old multiracial boy outfoxing imminent defeat playing Microsoft chess. No sooner had I heard those familiar digitalised trumpet motifs than I realised this was a challenge from Ye Gods of the oldest game in the civilised world to achieve more than I had the previous year against & in spite of everyone’s expectations…especially Microsoft. Or maybe just to win once on amateur setting against that almost inhumane (if I didn’t know better) supremely computerised robo-chess bastard. Either way, by waking up in my own kecks & establishing my surroundings the year was off to a promising start…

One New Year a mate informed me that his evening had resembled an existential seminar whereby his French Architect Brother-in-law casually commented drearily on the stroke of midnight that ‘time is merely a man-made concept and should therefore be treated as entirely redundant’. Sartre would be proud.

Looking back over the year of 2000 plus 10 in my ‘Peak District Appointments Calender’ for £3.49 (working out at less than a penny per day) the only appointments I remember having to keep were for that lump on my lovesack that turned out to be an old minstrel trapped amidst sofa cushions and then betwixt my own skin-molded saddle cushion and inner thigh.

Last year’s main highlights included:

  • Watching Cannibal Corpse perform their ode to romantic longing amidst the throes of lust with ‘I Cum Blood’ in the Sunday afternoon sun whilst a human pyramid toppled before me
  • Helping to construct and lime render a strawbale tandoor building at the AMC Gardens which in turn led to meeting Prince Charlie & his ears (they waited outside like big flappy bodyguards)
  • Grappling with macabre method acting whilst working the Lace Market Theatre audience of the Samuel Smith bar for Sweeney Todd
  • Biting into a succulent Egremont Russett apple fresh from the trees of Ecoworks orchard in St Ann’s Allotments casting a gaze overlooking the city

There must be more than just these four but the rest are taking longer to form in the recesses of my annual memorium shifting in-between the holy temple of devotion to my longest suffering hobby: doing sweet diddly squat a.k.a naff ‘awl mate. Its not that i’m unaware of time’s passing (you can’t view a human construct like time as wasted) merely that more of it should be put to more productive use but relaxin all cool is good for so long until you realise that someone else saw you acting the reflective fool for an extended period & has now mistaken you for a stonerthink monghead.

My Best Gigs of the Year

  1. Twisted Sister @ Bloodstock – Deedee calling mother nature the ‘C’ word from rural Derbyshire)
  2. Melt Banana @ Mock (my) Pity – Yasuko daring us to follow their band to somewhere called ‘Colchester’
  3. Armando Ianucci & Peter Capaldi @ Broadway – I’ve got my big plate!
  4. Quantic & His Combo Barbaro @ Rescue Rooms – 100% Columbian.
  5. Cosmic Funky Nuts – Where did these guys come from???

My Worst Gigs of the Year

  1. Boney M @ Nottingham Square – with one original brummie backing dancer!
  2. Cosmic Funky Nuts (Put ‘em back in, they ain’t done yet)
  3. Grace Jones, Cheap Trick, Stewart Lee, The Pogues & Bad Manners (although just sober enough to have seen them before), Dr Feelgood, Soweto Kinch, 65 Days of Static, ATP & erm The Ladyboys of Bangkok (In the words of Alan Partridge “I don’t find them attractive it’s just confusing”) & all the others I missed through monetary skinflintery or chronic traveller’s juju

My Top 5 Cinematic Filems of the Year

  1. Lost Boys – Lorino’s 23rd B-day Scream Room Stake Out (Paul’s leather pipe cleaners won best supporting role)
  2. Street Trash – It’s Saturday Night on Halloween, what else ya gonna watch?
  3. Metropolis – Fully restored & still the great mediator rules supreme
  4. Toy Story 3 – Spanish Buzz is like Antonio Banderas on crack flamenco
  5. Human Centipede – The lovebird directors surnames are even Six: just perfect. The disturbed & sick puppies