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7 years, 500 Posts, 750 followers, 1000 comments, 750,000 visitors….

March 13, 2017 Leave a comment

When I started this blog as something to keep me occupied until I found another job after our life affirming round the world trip, I could never have realised just how important it would become to me.

This post is my 500th since April 2010. In the intervening seven years of writing about all kinds of weird and wonderful things, my site has been visited more than three quarters of a million times and well over 1000 people have taken the time to respond to my ideas. I’ve met some really wonderful people from all over the country, people I now consider to be good friends and who I would never have met if I hadn’t picked up my digital pen…

Through writing this blog, I’ve also learnt so much, researching sometimes tangential subject areas to better assess what it is I’m trying to say. I’ve also been lucky enough to have had my work published in “proper” hard copy magazines which, along with requests to use my drawings and ideas for research projects and in other articles, has given me immense satisfaction.

All of which is really quite remarkable and very humbling. Although my post rate has fallen over the last few years and my target of five posts a month has been well and truly missed many times, the need to write about things that interest me is always there and whether anyone reads my words or not, has never really been the point anyway.

So a huge thank you to everyone who has taken the time to visit, comment, share and like. It’s all very much appreciated.

Not sure where the UK will be in another seven years time, still dealing with the monumentally stupid decision to leave the EU I suspect, and I can’t even begin to think about how old I’ll be then. But I think I can be confident in saying that the arts, architecture, music and culture in general will all still be going strong, creating pleasure, annoyance and confusion in equal measure as they always have done.

So presumably there will still be lots for me to write about in 2024, not least of which will be the Olympics, que some gratuitous graphics and shameless Olympic related JoeBlogs post links, link 2, link 3). I hope you can join me along the way…

PS.… I’ve just realised that if you divide the 500 posts across the 84 months that make up 7 years, the average per month is very nearly 6 posts… So I am still on target, which is nice…

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Facebook Challenge: 7 tracks, 7 days, 7 nominations: A snapshot of my friends’ musical histories

December 13, 2015 Leave a comment

You may have heard about it, you may very well have participated, but over the last week/ 10 days or so, my friends and I have have been trawling through our memories in a quest to choose a track a day for seven days explaining why it is important and then nominating someone else to carry on the challenge…

I think it’s fair to say that we were all initially rather skeptical. None of us are really Facebook challenge type people, but we were each nominated by someone we knew and respected, and more to the point, it was all about music, and if there’s one thing boys can’t resist, it’s making lists of tunes to share and compare.. On reflection it’s all been really very enjoyable, and I for one am a little bit saddened now it’s done. I think Danny even called it cathartic in one of his posts…

As for the lists, Darren did his chronologically, Danny thought of a track that would appeal to or remind him of, his next nominee, Ralph is sticking to 135bpm+ Electro, Dermot chose some live performances from TV shows, Matt chose guitar based tracks (obvs), Ewa & Kieth seem to be just sticking to Pearl Jam (obvs again) and Sarah F has only just started, so her approach is not clear yet, but The Fall is a strong opener…

The link above is to my list on Spotify. I tried to capture a taste of each of the sounds and styles that have meant the most to me over the years: new wave, techno, electronica, drum and bass and yes, inevitably there’s a prog rock track in there… But it was difficult, and looking at the list now, I can’t believe whose not there, Underworld, Kraftwerk, Fila Brazillia, Soundgarden, Peace Division, Yello, LCD Soundsystem, The The… etc. etc. ad infinitum…

I’ve also made a playlist of my friends tracks. This is not exhaustive as not all the tunes chosen are available on Spotify. It’s also a work in progress and will need updating as the challenge progresses. But as a snapshot of what makes my closest friends tick, I think it’s wonderful. I didn’t know some of the tracks, I was this close to choosing one or two of them for my own list, and there are a couple that I wouldn’t have chosen in a million years…

But that’s not important. These records all mean something to the person that searched Youtube for the video, and as thankfully no one chose Coldplay, I’m very happy to share them all on my blog. As a random selection, they make for very eclectic and interesting listening.. (although if you’re of a nervous disposition, approach the Converge track with caution, cheers Matt…)

A Name Check in ArchDaily: Manchester Modernist Magazine…

October 8, 2014 Leave a comment

543433dbc07a8049f5000127_review-the-modernist-12-departed_modernist_12_departed_cover_lge-1-530x748ArchDaily have just published an article praising the ever excellent Manchester Modernist, a quarterly architecture and design magazine that has been good enough to publish a number of my submissions over the last couple of years.

I won’t go on about it too much, blowing my own trumpet so to speak, but to say I’m well chuffed would be something of an understatement, especially as I get a name check and they describe my piece on Post War Crematoria as “uplifting”…

The full article can be found here and you can get to the Manchester Modernist pages to buy a copy of the magazine here

Better still, why not subscribe and get several copies and a stylish metal badge? Use this link for full details via the crowd funding page at IndieGoGo.

(and yes I know I originally said it was in Dezeen, but I got all excited and didn’t read the banner properly…)

The Odd Couple… (There’s hope for us all)

September 23, 2014 1 comment

Jaz and BoyI was sent this photo via Facebook yesterday (cheers Doug). You may have seen it yourself, but I’ve been thinking about the implications of it all day…

Two middle aged men taking a happy selfie. Whats so remarkable about that? And who are they anyway?

On the right you might just recognise the great Jaz Coleman, scary doomonger and front man from one of my all time favorite bands, Killing Joke.

And his new best mate? Well it’s none other than…. Boy George.

Age does strange and not always welcome things to people, but this most excellent image fills me with hope. If the passing of time has resulted in these two seemingly disparate characters becoming friends, then surely anything is possible…

An Understandable Reaction…

September 9, 2014 1 comment

I don’t normally bother forwarding this kind of internet meme thing, but this made me laugh out loud first time I saw it, and I’m still chuckling now 20 minutes later…

I can think of a thousand other tunes that would benefit from this kind of direct action…

 

Lazy Post No. 20: Google Chromecast & The BBC Post-War Architecture Collection…

August 7, 2014 Leave a comment

imagesWe bought a Google Chromecast recently which means we can now spend even more time staring at the idiotbox…

Slow off the mark as usual (as I’m sure my younger, more tech savvy friends would agree) it’s actually been something of a revelation in the few days we’ve been using it, once you get over the “do we really need more things to watch/ surely we watch too much TV already” conundrum… No more sitting in uncomfy chairs at the dining table, trying to make out images by changing the angle of the laptop screen…

Chromecast plugs into the back of the TV and then, via an app downloaded onto our Nexus 7, you choose what you want to watch and “cast” it over to the TV with a simple touch of the symbol on screen. 21st Century magic in full effect, and all for £30…

And yes the internet is built on seemingly endless hours of pointless crap, but if you’re selective and look hard enough, there’s untold gold out there beyond the cats, fail compilation’s and celebrity tittle tattle… And moreover, watching the videos on a big TV makes it seem less like time wasting somehow… Hmmm

Anyway, my current favorite sources are this random collection of videos on YouTube, and the BBC’s wondrous Post-War Architecture Collection on iPlayer, which you can get to by clicking the screen grab below…

iplayer screen grab

Kruder & Dorfmeister: DJ Kicks

July 15, 2014 Leave a comment

Oh happy day! Not only is that spawn of Satan, Gove finally on his way to oblivion, but I’ve just found out that one of my all time favourite DJ compilations (and believe me, I’ve got hundreds of the things) has made its way up onto Spotify, so a big thank you to K7 Records for that, you’ve made my day…

Like all DJ compilations, Kruder & Dorfmeister’s DJ Kicks undeniably represents a sound very much of its time, an Austrian concoction often described as dub or down tempo or even lazy beats. But for me the stand out tunes are the faster drum and bass ones that lift this collection way above the competition…

Beautifully sequenced and effortlessly mixed (the pick up in tempo from track 2 to track 3, or the rolling kick drum at the start of track 6 will always bring a huge smile to my face) this record sends me straight back to the mid/ late 90’s when me and Dan were to be found down at Stealth in Hoxton or wandering around strange fields at one of the early Big Chill Festivals

All I need now is for Cold Cut’s 70 Minutes of Musical Madness, Darren Emerson’s Uruguay/ Global Underground and Terry Francis’s Architecture so appear, and I will never complain about Spotify’s new black skin again..

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