Category

MUSIC

Category

Here is a truly brilliant song.

With a truly brilliant video.

Please go here to watch and listen.

I’d predict you will want to watch this more than once.

The music becomes more ever more beautiful at around 2:10.

And the video ever more harrowing shortly after.

So do please be prepared for that.

Creativity

This is what happens when creativity is not questioned.

And doesn’t look for pointers for what to do from what went before.

One person’s vision.

Raw.

Zero 7 wrote a song that, I think, is about how the passing of time changes us.

As we get older we’re supposed to have learned lessons.

So that we are more sensible.

Less susceptible to being hurt.

More stable.

Less confused.

More able to see people for who they really are.

Not me.

The Space Between – Zero 7.

Link below at www.50odd.co.uk.

Now that you’re older
Taking the time to look
Back over your shoulder
On the days confusion took
Now that you’re wiser
Surely you’ve learned to read it
You should know
No surface shines brighter
Than the light that burns beneath it
Never so sure
We always take more
Though we still don’t know what it’s for
Now that I’ve seen you
Stripped to the very core
I know that I need you
Less than I did before

All my life I have thought of The Beatles as the greatest band ever.

I still do.

I’ve seen, and have been personally affected by, the rise of Oasis.

Both Oasis albums meant something to me.

‘Definitely Maybe’ helped me to see that brilliance could come from anywhere, in a moment.

I took a ‘Morning Glory’ CD on a boys holiday and listened to it almost every waking minute.

U2’s albums have punctuated my life too.

Particularly ‘The Joshua Tree’ and ‘The Unforgettable Fire’.

I see these music-makers as geniuses.

Godlike.

Global influencers.

Perfect.

In fact, what’s the point of even making music when there is such perfection around?

What’s the point when there are these people that know just what to do and get things just right – first time – whilst normal people like me just do what’s in front of them… fucking up most things and coming up with the occasional gem as part of the journey?

Seeds.

The video below makes me smile.

It’s The Beatles messing things up.

And not giving a toss.

Because they’re in love with what they’re doing.

Loving their time creating.

Loving their mistakes.

No one is judging.

Everyone is laughing.

And between the mess, you can hear the perfect seeds.

Some grow into perfect songs.

Others don’t.

But all seeds, I’d argue, are perfect seeds.

 

George Michael can, I think, cover anyone’s music.

But no one can cover his.

Rufus Wainright wrote ‘Going to a Place’ in 2007 about the Bush government.

Rufus was disillusioned with so much about America back then.

Older.

As I get older, I see cycles.

I see world cycles.

And I am recognising my own cycles.

World cycles are quite scary.

Not because things repeat.

I get that.

But because we don’t really seem to learn from the last cycle.

In fact bad things today that mirror similar things from yesterday – are very often worse.

Think.

Some people think that the best way to stop people shooting each other is to give more people guns.

Some people think that the best way to bond people together is to shut people out.

My Own Cycles.

With regards to my own cycles, I learn from everything I do.

However my big worry is that by the time I mature enough to recognise my own repeating dumb stupidity and mistakes, I will die.

Cycles.

I should listen to them more closely.

America.

America was stupid 10 years ago.

And it is even more stupid now.

Here is George Michael singing Rufus Wainwrights tune, 11 years after it was written about a different America.

Sadly, that different America – is pretty much the same as today’s America.

I’m going to a town that has already been burnt down
I’m going to a place that has already been disgraced
I’m gonna see some folks who have already been let down
I’m so tired of America
I’m gonna make it up for all of The Sunday Times
I’m gonna make it up for all of the nursery rhymes
They never really seem to want to tell the truth
I’m so tired of you, America
Making my own way home
Ain’t gonna be alone
I’ve got a life to lead, America
I’ve got a life to lead
Tell me, do you really think you go to hell for having loved?
Tell me, enough of thinking everything that you’ve done is good
I really need to know, after soaking the body of Jesus Christ in blood
I’m so tired of America
I really need to know
I may just never see you again, or might as well
You took advantage of a world that loved you well
I’m going to a town that has already been burnt down
I’m so tired of you, America

The last live act I saw was George Michael.

It was his Symphonica tour in (I think) 2012.

It was the most perfect live performance I’ve ever seen.

He opened with a song that I’d heard before, ‘Through’ – but it didn’t resonate with me until I heard it live.

It was sublime.

And I am privileged to have seen and heard him.

Here are the lyrics.

And a link to the live performance, opening the show, is below.

Is that enough?
I think it’s over
See, everything has changed
And all this hatred may just make me strong enough
To walk away
They may chase me to the ends of the earth
But I’ve got you babe
And they may strip me of the things that I’ve worked for
But I’ve had my say
So hear me now
I’ve enough of these chains
I know they’re of my making
No one else to blame for where I stand today
I’ve no memory of truth
But suddenly the audience is so cruel
So God, hey God you know why I’m through
Through
I guess it’s tough, I guess I’m older
And everything must change
But all this cruelty and money instead of love
People, have we no shame?
They may chase me to the ends of the earth
But I’ve got you babe
And they may take away the things that I’ve worked for
But you’ll pull me through
It’s so clear to me now
I’ve enough of these chains
Life is there for the taking
What kind of fool would remain in this cheap gilded cage
I’ve no memory of truth
But suddenly the audience is so cruel
Oh God, I’m sorry
I think I’m through
I think I’m through
I think I’m, I know I’m

I used to drum in a band in Derby when I was in my teens.

I had a few lessons. I was OK.

I played live a few times and liked being in a band.

That’s why I started to play the drums, by the way. Because I wanted to be in a band.

My confidence wouldn’t let me play any other instrument at that time though.

I had to be at the back.

Newcastle.

I came to Newcastle to study and I still wanted to be in a band. And like everyone else arriving at the same time, I had the opportunity to reinvent myself. So I could have done it in any way I liked.

But there was a lot going on. New people, new city, new influences. So much to experience and do.

I wanted to get back into music but it didn’t happen until I left Polytechnic three years later.

If I am honest, it was because I integrated at Polytechnic quite well (I tried hard to fit in; I wanted to belong) and being in a band would have been too risky.

I’d have been judged.

Work. 

But in a world of work, after I’d left studying, everything shifted.

Work was steady. A bit dull. So I was ready to go again. I had room to create.

This time as a singer.

Frontman.

Oddly, I didn’t want to be a frontman. I just wanted to see what it was like to be a frontman. I wanted to see what it felt like.

I could sing. A bit. And as history has proven that that’s enough for Chris Martin, I was right to have a go.

And I was OK!

Much better than a lot of the kids around at the time.

I enjoyed it. For a bit.

I didn’t push things.

But I enjoyed the view.

Business. 

I had jobs through my twenties.

At thirty I started my first proper business.

I was now the frontman in business. And that’s never changed since.

2019.

I am writing this because in 2019 I am going to explore more what being a frontman in business really means.

I personify Always Wear Red. In the same way that a singer personifies their band.

But am I enigmatic enough?

Cool enough?

Memorable enough?

Brave enough?

Am I playing the role properly for this creative thing that I have built?

Not as well as I should, is the answer.

Frontmen and women have ‘something about them’.

Next year I am going to explore what my ‘something’ is.

I just hope I am more Paul Hewson than Darius Campbell.

Is it just me, or is this the first year that the John Lewis advert has flared brightly then just kinda died?

I’ve not really thought much about it at all.

Have you?

The John Lewis gals and guys will be around a table already pondering the 2019 advert of course.

Budgets tend to be between £5 million and £10 million from memory. Plus media spend of tens of millions more (paying for the spaces to put the advert).

So they have quite a bit to think about.

Tired. 

But maybe we’re just a bit tired of these annual spend-fests?

I think they’re just a bit crass now.

Self indulgent.

Thoughtless.

There this year just because they were there last year.

And I don’t just think I am saying this because I worked in advertising… I just think we all know what advertising is now.

And it’s not that nice really.

It’s boring.

It’s just getting us to buy things.

And so much of it is lazy and regurgitated.

Are brands actually trying to make us love them? To help us to understand why they are different and better? To build relationships with us? To look for win:wins?

Or just trying to dazzle us for a few seconds with me-too messaging.

I think it’s the latter.

Please, please, please. 

Anyhow, in my own self-indulgent moment, here is the music from the 2011 John Lewis advert.

The last advert I actually liked.

It didn’t help me to understand why John Lewis should be my store of choice.

But it did remind me that Morrissey is a genius.

Laura Pergolizzi (born March 18, 1981) is an American singer and songwriter who performs under the stage name LP.

She has released four albums and one EP.

She has written songs for Cher, Rihanna, Leona Lewis and Christina Aguilera.

Shortlist.

I am currently working on a short list of people that influence how I work, design, create and ‘am’.

LP is one of them.

Because she is so untypical of anyone and anything.

I see her as a pure, creative force. Just being who she is. And her music is really brilliant.

Please watch and listen to this live performance.

What do you think?

Flag Day was the first single released by The Housemartins. One of my favourite bands.

It was released in 1985 when I was 17 and it reached number 124 in the charts.

33 years ago.

It’s a beautiful song.

And a sad song.

Because the theme – who has all the money – hasn’t changed for the better.

It’s changed for the worse.

Have a listen.

Too many Florence Nightingales
Not enough Robin Hoods
Too many halos not enough heroes
Coming up with the goods
So you though you’d like to change the world
Decided to stage a jumble sale
For the poor, for the poor
It’s a waste of time if you know what they mean
Try shaking a box in front of the Queen
‘Cause her purse is fat and bursting at the seams
It’s a waste of time if you know what they mean
Too many hands in too many pockets
Not enough hands on hearts
Too many ready to call it a day
Before the day starts
So you thought you’d like to see them healed
Got blue Peter to stage an appeal
For the poor, for the poor
It’s a waste of time if you know what they mean
Try shaking a box in front of the Queen
‘Cause her purse is fat and bursting at the seams
It’s a waste of time if you know what they mean
Flag Day, Flag Day, Flag Day
IMAGE: Housemartins – WOMAD July 1986. Photo by Martin Whitehead.
Video at www.50odd.co.uk.

 

I’ve been watching and listening to Sia’s ‘Chandelier’ over and over and over recently. 

It was released 4 years ago in 2014. But it’s only this year that I listened to it properly and watched the official video.

Over and over and over.

Perfection.

It’s such a strong melody and structure.

The production is brilliant.

The drumming is interesting and diverse and clever.

Sia’s voice is mesmerising. The perfection and the imperfection.

The dancer in the official video, an 11 year old Maddie mixes up clumsy (apparent) improvisation with  beautifully graceful and skilful moves.

The lyrical story is about the excesses of drinking and drug taking – and the loneliness and desperation this can bring.

The live performances are just as lovely because they mirror the video and allow us to explore precision and imprecision and how important it is to have both in order to make this song special.

And then there’s the weirdness of Sia not facing the camera as she sings and Maddie, aged 11, wearing a full body nude suit.

Perfectly imperfect. 

I don’t like things that are too polished and fixed and predictable.

I find that quite boring.

I like unpredictable, adventurous and exciting things with character and story and meaning. I get hungry for this kind of thing and these kinds of people.

I hope it rubs off.

And that I can create something amazing in 15 minutes of my life some day.*

I’ll keep trying.

*It took Sia 4 minutes to pick the chords and the melody, and 15 minutes to write the lyrics.