moments of happiness in a crazy world

It’s 5 weeks since I’ve last wrote, in that time I’ve been busy with the writing school and I also got caught up in a new job at a primary school where I’m learning lots of fun things such as writing my name in Egyptian symbols, and played some songs on the recorder. Life as a 7 year old is fun, but at 38 it can still be fun but things get a bit tougher.

I still admire Jeremy Corbyn enormously, but it’s easy to feel disillusioned by the Labour party, all the in-fighting and I’m feeling confused as to why JC surrounds himself by people who don’t seem to have a clue. I guess it’s all inexperience, but it’s a shame because every time I listen to Jeremy Corbyn or read one of his speeches I’m always feeling inspired and excited. Transferring that into the political bubble isn’t that easy though.

What happened in Paris is heart breaking, and there’s been enough media coverage there’s little else to add to it. Targeting a rock concert was particularly stupid of them, and killing random people including Muslims and children isn’t going to win them any new recruits. I don’t know what kind of idiot thought bringing such slaughter to Paris was going to help their cause, because there’s nothing noble about the barbaric slaughter of innocent people. If it means anything, I’m against military intervention right now. We need allies in the Middle East to help us to sort out this mess, doing it ourselves is just going to create more trouble in the long run. This isn’t Nazi Germany we’re dealing with, despite what IS claims, it’s not a country but a set of ideas. Our whole foreign policy needs a major re-think and a complete change in strategy.

I thought Benjamin Clementine has a great album, and I’m glad he won the Mercury Music Prize. He’s a young man with an old soul, and it was touching when he dedicated his award to the victims of Paris.

 

As original and fresh as Clementine is, my personal favourite of the nominations was Soak. Here’s one of her most atmospheric songs, with a ace video too.

 

I’m reading the entire Diary of a Wimpy Kid books with my son. There’s a new out too that looks just as fun that he’s desperate to get for Christmas. If you’ve never read one, you should!  These books are brilliant, and it’s so nice to share them and laugh along with my little boy. Perfect for bedtime reading in a crazy world.

Goodnight.

the eternal dreamer

It’s been a hectic week for music (sales) as I’m still digesting over NME’s top 500 albums of all time, the death of Lou Reed, and the Mercury music prize. Let’s gloss over those quickly before getting onto something far more interesting. Ok, so NME had a fun list some cool things on it, but the smiths “the queen is dead” at number one is, of course, wrong, I’d put it in top 20 maybe even top 10 but no, 1? Maybe it just reminds me of bad times skipping school at 16 and following the train tracks looking for adventure I never found with a copy of the Morrissey and Marr biography I carried around with me along with “The Catcher in the Rye.” Umm, moving on…Lou Reed whose life has been written about elegantly and passionately by people like the Guardian and the Independent (and celebrated on Absolute Radio) there’s little else to say except it’s sad, but not really a surprise considering the amount of abuse his body took. Somehow crazy Iggy Pop and David Bowie are still  alive (and releasing cool records too). Finally Mercury Music prize. It’s a big thing here, mostly because it allows record shops like HMV and the immoral Amazon to sell a load of cd’s and downloads. For some strange reason James Blake won. I have no idea why.

So now I can finally get onto Mark. Who? Mark Kozelek who is only markkozthe greatest musician of our time! So he didn’t feature in NME’s list, but somehow that’s a good thing too. I saw him earlier this week play in a lovely old church in Brighton, which was an odd setting for someone who is kind of vulgar, but I don’t want to go there I want to talk about his music.

I’ve said for a while now I could throw away all my record collection and never listen to the radio again as long as I could keep my Mark Kozelek records. There’s something so haunting, so lonely and sad about those songs that if I’m a bit vulnerable and it’s late at night and I’m on my own I’m likely to get carried away and find tears rolling down my cheeks. It’s an astonishing mix of heartfelt beatnik soothing poetry and a lullaby gentle guitar sound that can take you breath away, make you stop whatever you’re doing and close your eyes and indulge in the sad world of Mark Kozelek.

He’s 46, as he reminded us the other night, but he’s still hung up on girls, he’s still looking for meaning, and he’s broken. Tuesday night proved that more than anything else, he’s a broken and lost spirit. He’s suffering from attachment issues, but that makes him even more special, even more brilliant, and certainly makes his music all the better. I guess I’m saying unlike James Blake, unlike Morrissey, even unlike Lou Reed, he’s a poet. There’s not many of those around now.

Live he’s brilliant too. Everybody always gets upset and disappointed when they see he isn’t the sensitive Nick Drake type though. Here’s what the BBC wrote a couple of years ago about a concert “The manner in which he (Mark Kozelek) goes about it is extremely disappointing… it only serves to emphasise the gulf between a stunning songwriting talent and an apparently indifferent personality.”  That kind of stuff is always said and it always gets on my nerves. Where does it say to write romantic songs you’ve got to be a super soft cry baby too fragile for the world?

Anyway, im super tired so….You can take any song and it would be brilliant. But here’s an old one…It’s a good place to start as any for those of you who’ve yet to discover his genius.