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Music

Komla - pic by Lorenzo Guerrieri http://www.lorenzoguerrieri.com/

Komla – pic by Lorenzo Guerrieri http://www.lorenzoguerrieri.com/

There is not enough music in my life. But here’s my personal top ten lis of live gigs of 2012 – in no particular order, except for number one.

10. Komla – In a Soho basement. Never seen, heard nor heard of them a week ago. Very good – mellow, charismatic, smooth – a bit Eagle Eye Cherry (which is a good thing). The band website is here. (They were supporting the relaunch of the charity Art Saves Lives.)

Aletia Upstairs9. Aletia Upstairs – This Cape Town, South Africa singer song writer and I shared a radio studio. I was plugging an excellent book, The Obituarist, by, ahem, me – available to download from Amazon here or Smashwords for non-kindles here. She arrived expecting to play some CDs, but rose magnificently to the unexpected  challenge of playing live instead. I’m listening to one of her CDs as I type. South Africa can be very annoying in the same way Swiss people are – irritatingly and seemingly effortlessly multilingual. Aletia sings in various languages. (You can see her and hear the radio show – and me – by following this link.)

8. Tom Williams and the Boat – Another intimate performance. Just Tom and Anthony (lovely riff) Vicary rehearsing for a live radio show I produced. It was almost as though I’d arranged the whole thing just so that I could have a gig all to myself. But I’d never be so devious, would I?

7. Adam Beattie and the Consultants – Again, another complete surprise. Very good, including a song dedicated to and about his late grandfather, who died aged 100. (Or so the songs say anyway.) See it here.

6. Africa Express – Baloji, Paul McCartney, Baaba Maal, Damon Albarn, Fatoumata Diawara, Noisettes, Rokia Traore, Seye, Spoek Mathambo, Thandiswa, Tony Allen – breathtaking array of African musicians and some Brits playing behind Kings Cross railway station in London. Assembling and moving this crew must be the musical achievement of the year. You can get a flavour here.

Tsivi Sharett - pic by Ottavia Castellina

Tsivi Sharett – pic by Ottavia Castellina

5. Nights at the Bonnington Cafe – cheap food, priceless music. Pretty much everyone there is a performer except me Continue reading

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Filed under D - Loose Bloggers Consortium, Music

Care Giving

Lesley Joseph (right), with her hosts Pat and Malcolm in the BBC’s When I’m 65 season on ageing.

If you’re looking for unsung heroes, look no fourther than care givers.

Though you may find them hard to spot, because as well as unsung – they’re often unappreciated, unsupported, unpaid, unhealthy themselves, quite likely unhappy – and unable to get out much. Such is the burden of responsibility and sheer physical exhaustion involved in looking after someone else.

According to Carers UK, there are an estimated 1.3 million people aged 65 and over who are the primary (perhaps only?) carer for someone else. So as well as the self-sacrificing goodness involved, they’re also saving the state (i.e. the rest of us) a lot of cash.

So it’s good when someone pays attention to them, or even better, lends a hand.

Whether it’s a care worker paid for out of those pesky taxes, a neighbour or – in this case – actress Lesley Joseph, who played Dorien in the TV series Birds of a Feather.

Sure it was for a TV show – part of the BBC’s When I’m 65 season – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be sincere and helpful – nor that she doesn’t personally have her own insight. She has a 100-year-old Mum of her own after all.

Birds of a Feather – back in the day: Linda Robson, Lesley Joseph & Pauline Quirke

I met Lesley when Continue reading

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Let’s make a movie together! (Guess what? It’s a musical. No zombies.)

You, me and Harvey Weinstein. We can be film producers. It’ll be great.

We’ll leave the boring old blockbusters to Harve. You and me – we’ll concentrate on something smaller and perfectly formed like this emerging jewel called God Help The Girl.

It’s the brainchild of Stuart Murdoch of the Scottish band Belle and Sebastian. (Some of you may remember the children’s TV programme of almost the same name. The band got a kicking from Jack Black in High Fidelity, but then again, he was going mad for Katrina and the Waves.) 

So Stuart has got together with a proper Hollywood producer called Barry Mendel (Sixth Sense, Bridesmaids, etc) to make a film of a summer of music and love in Glasgow based round an album of songs.  The hero is a girl being treated for annorexia, who discovers a talent for writing songs and teams up with a brother and sister she meets while on the bunk from her treatment centre.

The video gives a look behind the scenes – and the singers. Aaah…

They’ve got songs, locations, a plot, a script and actors (I think). All they need is a wee bit of backing. US$100,000 to be precise.

Which is where we come in. The producers. Also known as – the funders. Or as I like to think of it – executive producers.

The film is being funded through a crowdsourcing website. It works like this: You describe your creative project on the site – in this case, www.kickstarter.com and set a cash target. Thousands of people donate a wee bit of money. If you reach your target, you get the cash to spend on the project. If you don’t make it, the money is returned to the donors.

But why would any sane person donate?

  1. Loveliness.
  2. Taste.
  3. A desire to see the film made.
  4. To maintain the image of an eccentric billionaire.
  5. Incentives. Aha! Now we’re getting somewhere… (after  this song)

The beautiful voices belong to Continue reading

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