In part one of our review of 2010, we looked back on the year and had a good old moan, in part 2 we ask our music loving chums the age old question ‘How was it for you?’
I Speak Because I Can’ was my album of the year. I just feel alternately astonished by its level-headed wisdom and stirred by the sheer strength of its emotion. I particularly love the title track as well as Blackberry Stone and Goodbye, England. Her voice, especially in its stillest, coolest form, just twists my insides up. I’ve seen her play live several times this year — from a tiny album-launch performance in an East London house to a moonlit show at Glastonbury, and every single time she has awed me.: ‘
Port Eliot Festival : I drove to Port Eliot, which took one hundred years, and then almost as soon as we arrived at the festival had to go on stage to sing with The John Moore Rock n Roll featuring the Loose Moorelles. It was the rainiest night in the world, and I would like to sincerely thank our poor sodden crowd for attending. We enjoyed it very much. There are few festivals so calm and so beautiful.
“Nadine” By The John Moore Rock n Roll Trio ft The Loose Moorelles.
Edward & Mr Kingfisher : Sir John Moore’s adventures in musical ventriloquism have been one of my greatest joys of the year. Their interpretations of Melting Pot and The Bed are petrifying and hysterical in equal measure. On my birthday, they recorded a very touching version of Tell Laura I Love Her. I cannot tell you how delighted I was. I share a birthday with my fellow Loose Moorelle, Miss Cecilia Fage, and at our birthday gathering Moore serenaded us with a live performance of Cecilia and Tell Laura I Love Her. Sadly, Edward and Mr Kingfisher were not allowed out that night, owing to the curfew.
Leaving My Job : I joined the Guardian in 2000, straight out of university, and spent ten very happy years there, writing about everything from Iggy Pop to eyeshadow. This year I decided to leave my staff job to concentrate on writing other things as well as journalism — and to spend more quality time with my cat. Working from home is lovely. I can spend my days constantly covered in cat hair, listening to music as loud as I like, and no one bats an eyelid.
Falling in Love With Europe Again : I used to be quite besotted with the idea of France and Italy when I was a teenager, but in my twenties, I fell madly in love with America. Although my love for America is unwavering, this year I fell for the charms of Europe again — I spent some time in Rome and Florence and the Tuscan countryside, as well as Southern France, and it felt oddly like coming home.
Green Man Festival: I love Green Man. It’s the perfect size and so incredibly beautiful. This year much of the weekend was balmy with this sweet, warm rain, and it smelled so rich and earthy. And of course, the music was incredible — Marling, Emily Barker, and the wonderful Tallest Man on Earth. I took part in a couple of events in the lit tent, too, including one which combined music and words… it was pretty special.
The Morville Hours: This was not published in 2010, but this was when I read it. It’s Katherine Swift’s account of restoring a garden in Shropshire, which is a very plain way of describing it, because it is more than that of course. It’s the sort of book that makes you love where you’re from, its landscape and its rhythms, and Swift’s prose is pure music. If you have not read it, I recommend you do so.
Caneles : These are a kind of French pastry, with a tender little custardy centre. The best ones are the miniature ones. I ate them for the first time on a crisp, sunny day this Autumn, at a market in La Reole. They were caramelly and burnt at the edges and all sweet and squidgy in the centre. Never has anything tasted so perfect.
Meeting Von Pip at Glastonbury : Andy Von Pip and I spent half of Glastonbury trying to meet up for an ale. A combination of mobile phone problems and the demands of work meant that we didn’t actually run into one another till the final day — by which time we were both derangedly tired, totally sweltering and entirely monosyllabic. Amusingly, we had been camping about two steps from one another for the entire festival. Anyway, it was lovely to finally meet.
Lowlights : I am a fundamentally optimistic person, so there are fewer lowlights than highlights. But when I mean it, I really mean it.
Tory Scum : Several months into this government, my main thought is simply how long it is going to take to clear up the mess they make. They are loathsome, ignorant and immoral fuckwits. On the plus side, I hope that a new generation might become politicised, that we become a nation of marchers, and that we hear some darned fine protest music.
Forests : Anyone who knows me will tell you how much I love nature. You will doubtless laugh, but standing in a forest, or a field, moves me so much I genuinely want to cry. It’s like hearing the perfect song. So you can begin to imagine how angry I am about the government’s plans to sell off all of the Forestry Commission’s estate. That’s 635,000 acres of English woodland. The effect it will have on our landscape, on the habitat of so much of our wildlife, and, in a funny old way, on our national psyche, is just horrifying. I fucking hate this government with a fiery passion.
Snow: I’m not very good at being cold. As soon as we get to October I pretty much can’t feel my fingers or my toes, and I live in fear of February. This year, Winter seems to have been colder than last year, and we have had so much snow. I appreciate it’s very pretty, but oh god I am freezing. Roll on Spring.
2010 was a massive year for me and my family- I can’t possibly sum up the highs and lows in a few short sentences, though some of the lows were life-changing enough to be highs in hindsight. Musical lows though: My three week flirtation with X-Factor and how swiftly all the zeal was forgotten the day after the final Musical high: recording our album this November and singing with Ash
RITZY BRYAN: The Joy Formidable :
Our personal highlights this year included playing with Paul McCartney & Manic Street Preachers at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, eating skyr and buying woolly jumpers at Airwaves Festival, Iceland & seeing Californian sea-lions and dolphins on our tour of the West Coast. Speaking generally 2010’s lowlights included the devastating Haiti Earthquake, the death and destruction caused by the BP oil spill , the election and worse still the aftermath that beckons.
Highlights: Young people became politicised again after years of silence and preoccupation with material things. They marched! It was a shame there was violence but on the plus side, they realised they can make important changes. I hope it works! Maybe next election they will all vote?
Lowlights: The film ‘Avatar’ came out and people actually thought it was good and not just an east London warehouse party.
SARAH MCINTOSH ( The Good Natured):
2010 has been a great year for The Good Natured! I have written a lot of our best songs this year and we have played some amazing gigs. Our favourites have been Club NME at Koko, supporting Kesha at Shepherds Bush and playing Latitude festival! Other highlights would have to be travelling to Stockholm to write, and of course releasing our two singles, ‘Your Body Is A Machine’ and ‘Be My Animal’. It was also an honour to be picked for the Kitsune Maison 9 compilation. It was amazing to record our session at Maida Vale this year too, and have our session picked by Huw Stephens as one of the best of 2010! All in all, a good year. Bring on 2011!
‘Prisoner’ By The Good Natured.
MILES HUNT (The Wonderstuff):
2010 was another great year for me. Erica & I were kept busy playing acoustic shows & The Wonder Stuff did a short tour celebrating the 21st Anniversary of our second album ‘HUP’, as well as a few UK festivals.
I think my proudest achievement of the year was producing Dirty Ray’s album, ‘Big World For A Little Man’. I’ve been a fan of Ray’s music since the mid-1980’s so to work with him was a real thrill. As an artist, he has just got greater & greater over the years. Also discovering that we worked well together was wonderful, you just never know about these things until you actually get into it. A great privilege to work with him.
I also spent a great deal of time recording & mixing artists for the second ‘Shared’ album, which will be released in early 2011. Favourite gigs that I did would be too numerous to mention, but seeing Seasick Steve when we played at Cambridge Folk Festival was definitely a highlight.
Low points would be losing our favourite pub here in Shropshire, The Horseshoe Inn. Like so many other pubs, suffering in the current economic climate, it just became too much for Mo & Bob Macauley to keep the place going. So many good times spent there, playing, seeing other artists & just hanging out. It was the birthplace of ‘Shared’ & will be sadly missed by many people.
It was another piss poor year for new records, other than Gil Scott Heron’s “I’m New Here” I can’t think of another album that got repeated plays at our house. Erica & I didn’t even manage to get one out ourselves this year, we must all try harder in 2011!
‘Old Man In Young Mans Shoes’ By Dirty Ray
OLIVER DOGWOOD ( Cheambeat Communications ):
Listen we all know the Tories are pillocks of the highest order. You only have to listen to George Osborne to know that, but you should direct some of your bile in the direction of Clegg and co. Especially Clegg. What does he do? He poodles after Cameron, says yes to everything and gloats at his brand of bollockless power. When we knew the Lib Dems were never going to have power they could promise the earth and sneer at the big two because they knew that they were safe behind their unelectable barrier. But here we are, circumstances force us to ponder their gormless faces as ‘coalition partners’ and what do they do? Do an about face on everything and become quasi Tories. No, Clegg, Cable and the rest of them deserve a frying pan in the face.
Enough of them except one thing – Students. Now I always imagined students to be scarf wearing beatniks who would only protest if you stopped them watching ‘Countdown’ or threatened to confiscate their lentils. But they have restored my faith. Keep it going. Bring this lot down.
Musically it’s been an unremarkable year with the odd exception. I like the monkeying around by Gorillaz but I can’t understand how in this day and age, we allow ‘fish men’ to be in bands. JLS have a man with possibly the biggest eyes in known history. They sit, either side of his head and afford him 360 degree vision. Get your thyroids checked Marine Boy!
The song that made me cry most often at 4 in the morning was ‘Zebulon’ by Rufus Wainwright. A new album that I became really obsessed by was Perfume Genius’ ‘Learning’ and an old record I didn’t stop listening to was Laura Nyro’s ‘New York Tenderberry’. The nicest vegans I met this year were No Age on a strangely serendipitous trip through California where my lowlight of the year also occurred via an unfortunate encounter with the American health system because of a dodgy kidney… My favourite gig I played this year was flying back to the UK and playing Summer Sundae severely jetlagged fired by rocket fuel and fear. Remix of the year has to be ‘Wonderful Life’ by HURTS (the Arthur Baker remix) which was what turned me on to the band in the first place and led to me covering their song ‘Better Than Love.’
The most beautiful films I saw this year included ‘A Single Man’ (breathtakingly beautiful debut by Tom Ford), Nowhere Boy (more boy eye candy….) & Greenberg (which was brilliantly funny). My websites of the year are Jezebel (for guilt-free lady writings) & http://bookshelfporn.com/ (for the pulpy eye-candy). And lastly, my essay of the year (a little bit of homework) is ‘Death is Not The End’ (about the wonderful dear departed author David Foster Wallace) (http://www.thepointmag.com/archive/death-is-not-the-end/)
2010 has been a bizarre year for us with three new houses, one marriage and a constantly breaking van. Mickey can fix anything with a can of ether though so all is good. On the musical side of things we’ve played a lot of surprisingly enjoyable gigs like Y-Not Festival and one with a silent-then-loud-but-always-perfectly-responsive crowd in Norwich. We got to travel to Europe playing music which was a lot of fun; and hearing Isles on the radio through our own steam was lovely.
JOHNNY COLA (Johnny Cola & The A Grades) :
When you joined us at the start of 2010, our guitarist Mauro had absconded to South America on a “fact-finding mission” and we’d just recruited the thoroughly awesome Jez Leather as his replacement. A heavily delayed 7″ single, ‘Out Of Focus,’ came out late in January. Although mysteriously A-listed on an Essex commercial radio station, it failed to propel us into the realms of mega-stardom we felt we so richly deserved. We did, however, get to go and do an acoustic session at said radio station (Phoenix FM) in March, much to the bemusement of the shoppers of Brentwood.
Following the dismal right-wing coup of early May, Mauro flew back to rejoin us, swelling our numbers to five and heralding a thoroughly beefed-up sound. When times are tough, your strength is in numbers. With this in mind, we roped in a bunch of extras for the video of our next single, ‘The Party’s Over,’ to spectacularly drunken and surreal effect. After the single, we were finally ready to unleash our long-awaited debut album, ‘In Debt.’ The album launch at Feeling Gloomy (also featuring our friends The Melting Ice Caps, Rebekah Delgado and Simon Morgan) was a great success and the glowing reviews started to, if not pour in, then definitely appear in a healthy trickle from all corners of the web.
It was a pity therefore that our original rhythm section chose that moment to quit. Still, as a great philosopher once said, I’d rather jack than Fleetwood Mac. Come Daydream Nation in late November, and a hastily assembled replacement lineup, including Tommi from the wonderful Yeah And She Has Red Lips Too and bassist Simon Drowner, took to the stage with a certain degree of trepidation. We needn’t have worried, as the universal reaction was how much better the new band sounded live. We finished the year with our now traditional Christmas song – this one a new track called ‘All I Want For Christmas Is An Action Man’ – and a gig at a St Mungo’s homeless shelter.
As for next year, the current plan involves a European tour and getting tattoos. We’ll report back at the end of 2011.
So there you have it, 2010 in a nutshell, a year which saw Machiavellian scheming of the highest order. A year in which attacking and dismembering the public sector became the blood sport of choice for the rich and over privileged. Indeed this very morning on the final day of the year, David Cameron was warned ” we have to see it through. A lot of the heavy lifting will happen in 2011.” Good luck and best wishes to everybody in 2011 because with this joker on the loose we surely will need it. . .