“It’s all part of my Autumn Almanac…”

Autumn has officially arrived, and with it comes another season of having this glorious slice of perfectly-formed pop genius permenantly stuck in my head. Deliciously British and very distinctly Kinkish, you can immediately hear how the influence of this song and this band are still an integral part of modern music. Open all the windows to the Autumn sunshine and crank the volume high….

And Ziggy Played Guitar: Farewell David Bowie

Bowie album coversFrankly, I’m in shock. It’s been a horrible year or so for music fans, with so many greats leaving us – but this was so unexpected, especially as a brand new David Bowie album, Blackstar, was only released a couple of days ago. Now it seems like that the album was his way of saying goodbye, a last gift for his fans.

As an 80s kid, I was always drawn to Bowie’s striking appearance and the music he was making at the time (plus there was Labyrinth, and the lovely intro he did for The Snowman). But it wasn’t until I was older that I began to explore his 70s output, and it immediately struck a chord with me. Here was a man whose music and image told people like me that it didn’t matter that we felt like freaks and weirdos, that we felt different to the rest of the world – in fact, it was a good thing and we should nurture and treasure our differences, our weirdness. He was uncompromisingly himself (whoever that was at any given time) and we should be too.

And that was a message I, and so many others, needed to hear.

For all the immediate, visual theatricality of Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane and all the rest, Bowie was real, and that’s why he had such an impact. If it had only been the front, the image, I doubt he would have become as iconic as he did. Instead, he had the image, AND the passion, the commitment and oh! so very much the music. And it’s the music which secures his immortality, beyond question or debate. So, it is with his music that I pay tribute today.

Continue reading “And Ziggy Played Guitar: Farewell David Bowie”

Happy 6th Birthday, Another Kind Of Mind!

Another Kind Of Mind is six today (please feel free to send champagne and cake).

Thank you to everyone who had read, commented, liked, shared and generally been puzzled by the nonsense I’ve written about over the last six years – you’re all absolutely fabulous, and, as I say every year (because it’s true), I couldn’t do this damn thing without you!

Watch out for some birthday guest posts from some very cool people coming up over the Bank Holiday weekend, including an extremely exciting exclusive….

And while you’re waiting for that….. you dancin’?

RIP MCA: Still Fighting for his Right

I was really saddened to hear today that Adam Yauch, better known as MCA of the Beastie Boys, has lost his fight with cancer. I’ve long been a fan, and I’m old enough to remember the exhilarating rush of the bratty, adolescent, punky white-boy hip hop on their controversial 1986 debut album Licensed To Ill – all the boys in my class at school secretly coveted the VW badge chains the Beasties wore in their videos!

Most critics saw the early Beasties as a bit of a joke, but after the release of their astonishing and hugely influential second album Paul’s Boutique in 1989, a fair few of those critics were forced to eat their words.

And since then, the Beasties haven’t stopped creating amazing, era-defining music – I DJ’d for a while at uni in the mid 1990s, and vividly recall the chaotic dancefloor reaction every time I dropped ‘Sabotage’, the massive lead-off single from the 1994 album Ill Communication

And it wasn’t just the music. MCA, who was a practicing Buddhist, and the other Beasties took a principled and cultured approach to what they did, involving themselves in activism for social justice causes as well as creative projects including film production and distribution.

After a life like that, it is sad to think that a man who inspired so many, who produced some of the most memorable and groundbreaking music of the last 25 years, and who tried to live his life as he believed to be right should die at the stupidly young age of 47, leaving his wife and daughter behind.

He fought for his right to party – and inspired several generations in the process. That’s a pretty cool legacy.

RIP MCA – you will not be forgotten.