As we enter a new year, we ask our friends and collaborators to look back on the past twelve months and share their significant moments. Today we hear from CBTR HQ’s very own Jeff:
2017: Another year of power, corruption and lies. Crooks and clowns at the controls.
What did I do about it? I looked it in the eye and I read it in books…
“It’s a funeral. It’s a wake. It’s a thieves’ conference” (John Le Carre, A Legacy of Spies)
“Shield oneself from all that is banal and brutal” (Natalie Leger, Suite For Barbara Loden)
and rave on.
I’m blessed to be in a position where I don’t call my work a job or my job work.
Code of living: avoid the squares. Keep an eye open for the fellow travellers…and rave on.
A lot of wonderful things have happened at Heavenly this year and I’m loath to single one out…but I’m gonna:
Gwenno made a record in the Cornish language and it blew my mind (out 2 March, Heavenly Recordings). This a record is for those who like their music to be bold, brave, articulate, vital, artistic, super sexy and pop. Axelrod/Broadcast/Brenda Wootton.
Gwen, her family, Danny Mitchell and I spent a long memorable weekend in west Cornwall in the name of research and reconnaissance. Visited Kurt & Caroline Jackson in St. Just. Drank in The Sloop. Hung with Amanda and Mike.
Gwenno played in Falmouth on 2 December. Stephen ‘Spoonful’ Parker promoted the show, Carey Davies mixed the sound. A Port Eliot reunion.
Talking of which…muddy but enjoyable. The highlights many. The 2018 programme almost complete. Watch this space as they say.
The Good Life Experience was where it all came together this year. A band of true believers and a strong supporting cast. Frank Cottrell Boyce is one very lovely man. The Glass Aisle have got something unique going on. Michael Head is well and happy and it shows.
Wendy and I: A spring Saturday in East London: Michael Head, solo, Lion Coffee & Records, Clapton then the 242 bus to Hoxton Hall for a Bill Callahan show. Upper deck business all the way.
Karl Sounds of the Universe playing Majesty by Chronixx in the Crow’s Nest, Glastonbury.
Raf ‘Stop Lying’ Rundell playing Let Love Flow On by Sonya Spence at The Social Christmas Market.
Single of the Year: Baxter Dury – Miami. Also a tremendous live show at Koko, London, November. Very happy to be a part of this.
Other live shows of note (what I can remember at least)
Bitchin Bajas and Will Oldham, Café Oto
Sea Change Festival, Totnes
Nick Lowe, Port Eliot
Jeb Loy Nichols and band, Port Eliot
Exhibitionism: Natural Selection / Paolozzi at The Whitechapel / that Elton John photography show at Tate Modern / Soul of a Nation at Tate Modern / Wim Wenders polaroids and Roger Mayne retrospective at The Photographers Gallery.
Film: Baby Driver
TV: quality: The Detectorists / Godless / The Vietnam War.
TV gutted: The Deuce. David Simon, Richard Price and George P. Pelecanos. The show finished its run two months ago and how the hell it managed to be so boring is still bugging the crap out of me.
Radio: Verity Sharp at home with Robert Wyatt for BBC R3 Late Junction. Truth and beauty.
Loss to literature: Sam Shepard (November 5, 1943 – July 27, 2017): not only was he given a nickname by Patti Smith, she even called him a “rock n roll Jesus with a cowboy mouth”. The lucky fucker.
As it happens Sam Shepard first made an impact on me not as a writer, but as an actor when I saw him in Terence Malick’s Days of Heaven back in 1978 (Savoy Cinema, Derby Road, Nottingham). A great film. He also steals the show in the impeccable The Right Stuff (Philip Kaufman, 1983).
The books of his I reached for were Motel Chronicles and the Bruce Weber photo book. I’m always moved by how Sam and Jessica Lange look/are so in love in those photos. Jeb Loy Nichols mentioned a Sam novel I’d missed from 2017 called One Inside — that’s one for me to go and find.
Loss to my family: Mike French. My sister’s husband. A Trent angler of note. Mike very kindly bequeathed me two very special centre-pin reels hand engineered by fellow Beeston boy Cliff Adcock. What Mike could do with those reels and a pocketful of wasp grubs was pure art. We will miss you, the chub will not.
Thanks for the tip offs: Vinyl Factory newsletters/website, Literary Hub, The Blue Moment. The end of year ‘lists’ from the Aquarium Drunkard blog and soon come Mojo editor John Mulvey filled in far more gaps than I realised existed.
I love books and I love records. Here is a list of books and records that I loved this year, deep breath…
The Autobiography Of Gucci Mane: A Story Of Rap And Rebirth
The Sarah Book by Scott Maclanahan
Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001–20113 by Lizzy Goodman
Suite For Barbara Loden by Nathalie Léger
Kumukanda by Kayo Chingonyi
Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile by Adelle Stripe
The Gallows Pole by Ben Myers
Report To The Commissioner by James Mills
Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor
This Is Memorial Device by David Keenan
All Involved by Ryan Gattis
Grant & I by Robert Forster
Sex & Rage by Eve Babitz
Estuary by Rachel Lichtenstein
Dodgers by Bill Beverly
Stranger, Baby by Emily Berry
RECORDS (excluding Heavenly releases)
World Spirituality Classics 1: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda
Jamie Branch – Fly or Die
Hand Habits – especially the 7”
Hatchie – Sure
English Weather – Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs compilation
Golden Teacher – No Luscious Life
Doing Our Thing – More Soul From Jamdown (Various artists)
Childhood – California Light (Dubwood re –edit)
Paul Weller – The Ballad of Jimmy McCabe (from the soundtrack to Jawbone)
Red Axes – The Beach Goths
Kelley Stoltz – Empty Kicks
Crown Ruler Sound (Various artists)
Chronixx – Majesty
Jeb Loy Nichols – Til The Teardrops Fall
Julie Byrne – Not Even Happiness
Mattiel – self titled LP
Sweet as Broken Dates – Lost Somali Tapes From The Horn Of Africa (Various artists)
Michael Head and The Red Elastic Band – Josephine
Hamad Kalkaba – and the golden sounds 1974 – 1975
Satoshi & Makoto – CZ5000: Sounds & Sequences
Tim Buckley – Venice Mating Call
The Harry South Bigband Songbook (Various artists) (listen on Spotify)
Kendrick Lamar – Damn
Jackie Shane – Any Other Way
Al Chem – Weird Fiction
Saz I’so – At Least Wave Your Handkerchief At Me
Nabihah Iqbal – Weighing of the Heart
Outro Tempo: electronic and contemporary music from Brazil, 1978-1992 (various artists)
Bill Brewster – Tribal Rites compilation
Luka Productions – Fasokan
Tradition – Captain Ganja and the Space Patrol (trust me on this)
Scoring a copy of John Hammond’s version of I Wish I Would on Red Bird 7”
Habibi Funk 007: An eclectic selection of music from the Arab world
Christy Ogbah – Advice
Hookworms – Negative Space
Moses Boyd – Rye Lane Shuffle
Amor – Amnesia
Illustrated Emily Berry poem by Chris Riddell.
Sam and Patti by David Gahr, 1971