just my kind of hope

Had a crazy day, a whole range of emotions and feelings thrown in today. Some edited highlights included hanging out with the jet setter since 6am, trying to fix stereo cable that was chewed off by little ol’ Pluto the hamster. Finishing off a brilliant political spy thriller by John Le Carre, drinking coffee. Driving around counting the circus posters, and getting all sad reading the Daily Mail (don’t ask) and watching part of a football match I don’t understand. Trains to Germany. Flights to Spain. Our Children French film. Intensity. Fragments of a day I can’t keep.

But that’s not why you’re here. You’re here to listen to this super rad song by the always inspiring, always brilliant Kathleen Hanna. It’s a little love song to her husband, and it might just melt your heart. I’m putting it up because of course it’s cooooool, but also because Ms Hanna is suffering a relapse from the Lyme Disease that crippled le tigre a few years ago, and she’s had to cancel her European tour. I spent a blissful childhood in a kind of wild forest, I was always out – hours every day – running around and exploring the forest with my dogs, and ticks were part of life but I never thought a tick bite could really destroy your life. I hope she’s better soon.

“The punk singer” a documentary about Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, Kathleen Hanna is out on dvd on 23 June, and I’ve already reserved my copy.

Talking of “rock” dvds, I saw Mark Kozelek’s the other day rich which was full of subtle, beautiful, intoxicating sadness and hopeful daydreams of lost memories and the passing of time. Perfect for days like these.



Kentucky surfers

This is such a “nice” early summer video. Yeah I know at journalism school they tell you never to use the word “nice”, but I’ve always broken the rules and, y’know that’s the best word to describe this tranquil video. So here is the new Bille Joe and Norah Jones video “Kentucky” from their amazing collection of songs by the Everly brothers, which has been on my tape deck in my car almost non stop since January.

Ok I know there is no beach in Kentucky, this looks more like California to me, but it fits perfectly to the sweet sweet sounds of BJ and NJ that it’s impossible not to feel happy and carefree (and free) when watching this video of surfers hanging around. Doesn’t it make you want to turn facebook off and enjoy the great outdoors?

matt pryor

Only a few of us were there last night, somehow it didn’t matter. 20 people in Tunbridge Wells is about as good as it gets around here, it sure aint Northampton, MA, you know? Anyway we saw Matt Pryor, the get up kids guy (!) It was really a lot of fun. Anyway this rather sweet song he played is still in my head today, so now it can be in yours too.

Single of 2013

I’m in Germany now for Christmas and New Year.

It was back in March on a rainy evening drive to the airport to pick up my parents-in-law when I first heard this song, the first original material by the strypes. I was simply knocked out by the fast beat and hazy screaming geetars! It’s all you want from a single, short, upbeat, and just about as cool as you can get in twenty thirteen. Funny though, if this year has all been about the guys from the old days returning (david bowie, rod stewart, elton john, rolling yawning stones), it takes a bunch of teenagers from Ireland to show them how it’s done!

Play it loud.

Next week – album of the year.

Music Video of 2013

So, from someone fairly obscure in the EP of the year to probably the biggest, at least most well known, singer of the past 50 years or so. This “interactive video” is fun and different, and although I was tempted by the uber-cool futuristic Broken Bells and I love all those flashy post modern David Bowie videos in the end I thought I’d give my little award to please all the Bob Cats out there. Click on the link and flick through all the channels and see what you can find.


Next week – Single of the year.

EP of the year

Over the next 4 weeks I’m going to be a little self-indulgent and post my personal highlights of the year. Today it’s the EP of the year, next weekend the video of the year, then the single of the year and finally the big one – album of the year.

There’s something different. I am determined to avoid the usual things though, and instead celebrate some of the more unknown things and so hopefully sprinkle a little radness to brighten your christmas.

So, in that spirit we’re starting with this short gem download only EP by Ant. He was the drummer of indie pop band hefner back in the 90’s, but now he lives in Sweden and occasionally releases some particularly fine things singing about the simple joys and heartaches of life. This year he put out  an instrumental EP “only pipe dreams in the pipeline  recorded only with acoustic folk instruments, he calls it “the soundtrack to the end of another cold winter”, and it’s really quite delightful and here’s a video from it to enjoy over a hot chocolate and dreams of a Swedish forest life….

JD Salinger mystery man

Funny, but for a “writer” (even an occasional one) I use to hate books at school. We had to read Thomas Hardy and all that stuff that just bored me senseless. One day, age 15, my brother threw a copy of “catcher in the Rye” into my room and said I should read it because the guy in it is like me. It sounded crazy, and thank God he was wrong, but after I read JD Salinger my life was never the same again. I had no idea literature could be so exciting, so transforming and so powerful. The way it could haunt your dreams, make you think about life and question your place in it After I read “catcher in the rye” I went straight onto “on the road” and never looked back.

Unlike Kerouac who laid his life open for all to see, Salinger was secretive. Nobody knew anything about him. When he died a couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to write a piece about him for a little book magazine here in England, but I still didn’t know much about him and nobody seemed to know anything.

So now there is this film and book tie-in, take a look at the little clip. It looks awesome.

Kathleen Hanna for president

I was reading in the Sunday newspaper about Hilary Clinton’s chances of running for US presidency in 2016, and as cool as that sounds, I’m more excited about the new Julie Ruin due out this autumn.

In a world where so many musicians who have interesting lives, inspired people, did crazy things, and just had that effortless cool streak running through them are now pushing 70 it’s good to celebrate the sheer radness of Kathleen Hanna. She of Bikini kill, she of Le tigre, and now Julie Ruin. The punk rock feminist married, yes married because whoever said feminists can’t get married surely deny romance and love, to Mike D of the beastie boys, and she’s still standing up for freedom and women’s rights. Her live shows are always full on fun, and the new album Run Fast will be out 3 September. The video is from the new album, and in my world this, and not daft punk, should be the dancefloor soundtrack of the summer! Oh yes, Kathleen Hanna for president.

Mark Kozelek & Desertshore

Mark Kozelek is probably the interesting and most prolific songwriter around at the moment (in April he released the sublime “Perils from the sea” with Jimmy Lavalle).
Coming out at the end of summer – 20th August – is his next work, made with a little help from Desertshore, it’s simply titled Mark Kozelek & Desertshore which if this video is anything to go by could be a contender for record of the year! You may need tissues or a broken heart to fully appreciate it though.