“Another year over, a new one just begun”
Here’s my summary of my own personal 2014.
Some of my favourite moments weren’t about me but my daughter. Seeing her achieve great things (not “great” in the grand scheme of things but great on a smaller scale) made up for a year dominated by a lack of work and a lack of money. I may have missed out some things but I’ll add them as they come to me.
Working as Project Manager with John Reed of Cherry Red Records on the One Thousand Violins compilation CD “Halcyon Days: The Complete Recordings 1985-1987”
Appearing on Fifteen to One (three shows)
Contributing to the Fife Free Press’s FP 100 guide to Fife’s all-time Top 100 bands
The Popguns returning to the studio and a new Popguns t-shirt and badges
Interviewing the wonderful Earl Okin and seeing him perform at a house concert in Leith
Going to Yorkshire with the girls for the opening stage of the Tour de France
Being TeenCanteen’s road manager for their GoNorth Festival appearance
Daughter making an appearance on stage during a Fringe show.
Daughter passing her Level 1 piano exam
Daughter being a winner in a local art competition and having her painting (of East End Park) on show in the local Wetherspoon’s hotel and appearing in the local press
Getting a job, albeit on a temporary contract
Joining the Dunfermline FC Football Fans in Training (FFIT) programme to try to lose weight and improve my general fitness
Seeing Felicity score her first goal for Bayside.
Meeting Simon Napier-Bell
Finally get a job, albeit temporary, and making some wonderful new friends there
Work and health, or a lack of them, dominated 2014. No job, or sign of one, and no unemployment benefit of any kind to ease the pain made for a long year. I genuinely believed that my working days were over and I was on the employment scrap heap. I am, however, finishing the year in gainful employment and I hope that having survived two culls of temporary staff I can do enough to extend the uncertainty into 2015. As much as I’m perfectly happy in my own company I have enjoyed the week day badinage of my new work colleagues, both temporary and permanent. My dream of a paid job in radio has gone and I have accepted that.
Badly spraining my ankle again in January (second time in 3 months)
Not getting on Pointless, The Chase or an audition for Tipping Point
More back problems (March/April)
No job or benefits (for 15 months)
The demise of Jacques Caramac and the Sweet Generation before I got a chance to see them live
Scotland not gaining independence
Leaving K107FM – sadly left with no choice.
Having gained employment it was heartbreaking when so many of my new work colleagues were let go.
Due to the amount of time I spent preparing radio shows I didn’t have much time to read, this is despite being out of work for most of the year. With no home for my radio show on the horizon for 2015 I hope to remedy this situation. The books on this list were all bought or given to me at some point this year or last Christmas. I have read some of them but the others sit piled high beside the bed. I WILL get round to them. I promise.
“Creation Stories” by Alan McGee (thanks Andrea)
“Bedsit Disco Queen: How I Grew Up and Tried to Be a Pop Star” by Tracey Thorn
“Autobiography” by Morrissey
“How Music Works” by David Byrne
“Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop” by Bob Stanley
“There’s Only One Sauzee: When Le God Grace Easter Road” by Ted Brack
“Simply Thrilled Honey: The Preposterous Story of Postcard Records” by Simon Goddard
“Songs In The Key of Fife” by Vic Galloway (thanks Gaz, Catriona and Chowk)
“Stone Free” by Andrew Loog-Oldham
“Ta-ra-ra-Boom-de-ay: The Beginning of the Music Business” by Simon Napier-Bell
I tend not to visit the cinema much these days. The price of tickets and the feral behaviour of people put me off a long time ago. People can’t seem to sit for two hours without stuffing their faces with overpriced crap or check their electronic device of choice every ten minutes or indeed both. Having a young daughter also means that much of the fare I’m expected to watch features talking animals, animation or both. I’ve never been one for catching the latest blockbuster – I’m usually ten years behind – so the few films I have enjoyed are usually on TV, particularly documentaries.
The Muppets Most Wanted (cinema)
Alpha Papa (TV)
Those Glory Glory Days (TV) – daughter loved this
The Thin Blue Line (Netflix)
Indie Game (Netflix)
MUSIC ENJOYED – COMPILATIONS
Much of the music I’ve been buying or adding to wish lists has been to furnish my radio show, hence the large number of compilations. I particularly enjoyed the Keep Lookin’/Looking Good sets, which were the follow-up to the original Looking Back box set.
Looking Good – 75 Femme Mod Soul Nuggets (RPM)
Tres Chic! More French Girl Singers of the 1960s (Ace)
Book a Trip 2: More Pop Psych Sounds of Capitol Records (Now Sounds)
Round The Gum Tree: The British Bubblegum Explosion (?)
Bouffants, Beehives and Backcombing (Rock History)
The Beatles – On Air: Live at the BBC Volume 2 (Apple)
One Thousand Violins – Halcyon Days: The Complete Recordings 1985-1987 (Cherry Red)
Piccadilly Sunshine Volume 17 (Past and Present)
Mojo – Small Faces and Friends (Mojo)
Crispian St Peters – The Pied Piper: The Complete Recordings 1965-1974 (RPM)
The Cookies – Chains: The Dimension Links 1962-1964 (RPM)
The Scorpions – Hello Josephine (RPM)
Kiki Dee – I’m Kiki Dee: The Fontana Years (RPM)
Hello Everyone: Popsike Sparks from Denmark Street 1968-1970 (RPM)
Scared To Get Happy: A Story of Indie Pop 1980-1989 (Cherry Red)
The Association – The Association [Expanded version] (RPM)
Keep Lookin’ – 80 More Mod, Soul & Freakbeat Nuggets (RPM)
Daniel Wylie – The High Cost of Happiness
MUSIC ENJOYED – SINGLES/DOWNLOADS
I much prefer a physical format in my grubby hands but there were a number of great download-only tunes I bought this year. Having said that, Honey by TeenCanteen was my favourite tune of the year and that came out on a cassette, albeit a beautifully packaged one.
TeenCanteen – Honey (SWALK)
Tuff Love – Junk EP (Lost Map)
Attic Lights – Orbison (Elefant)
Lenzie Moss – Let’s Take The Day Off (Newtown)
TeenCanteen – You’re So Mine/Vagabond (Neu! Reekie!)
Be Like Pablo – Julianne/The Post-It Song (Stray Cat)
BMX Bandits – My Girl Midge (Elefant)
Emma Kullander – Unveiled EP (Barne Society)
NEW MUSIC ENJOYED – ALBUMS
Some old favourites – Roddy Frame, The Orchids, The Popguns – returned with wonderful new albums this year which was most gratifying. I’m looking forward to TeenCanteen’s album due for release in 2015.
Jacques Caramac and the Sweet Generation – The Highs and Lows of Jacques Caramac and the Sweet Generation (Everyday Life Recordings)
Randolph’s Leap – Clumsy Knot (Lost Map)
Withered Hand – New Gods (Fortuna Pop)
Roy Moller – One Domino (Stereogram)
mylittlebrother – If We Never Came Down (Self-released)
Roddy Frame – Forty Days of Rain (AED)
Morrissey – World Peace is None of Your Business (Harvest)
The Orchids – Beatitude#9 (Acuarela)
The Popguns – Pop Fiction (Matinee)
The New Mendicants – Into the Lime (XPT)
Alvvays – Alvvays (Transgressive)
Last year’s record-breaking* gig frenzy it was always going to be difficult to top it and so it proved. A need to tighten my financial belt, particularly in light of my inability to bring in any money meant I had to be very selective about who I saw live. (*According to my Gigs spreadsheet)
Kid Canaveral/Malcolm Middleton/Randolph’s Leap (Stereo, Glasgow)
Earl Okin (House Concert, Leith)
A Band Called Quinn – “Making Time (remix)”
The Wedding Present – The Greenside Hotel, Leslie
TeenCanteen (Hootananny, Inverness during goNORTH festival)
TeenCanteen/The Just Joans (Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh – single launch)
Be Like Pablo/Wonder Villains (Electric Circus, Edinburgh)
“Tubespotting” with Geoff Thomson (Electric Circus, Edinburgh)
“Always Be Rolling” with James Cook (Bar 50, Edinburgh)
“Adventures on Air” with James Cook (The Counting House, Edinburgh)
The Silver Birches/Clipper (The Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh)
The Orchids/Bodyheat (The Glad Café, Glasgow)
BEST MUSIC RADIO SHOW
Despite the diet of dross served up by most commercial stations and some uninspiring programming in parts of the BBC, there are still some great radio shows out there and here are my favourites, which I tune into regularly.
Sound of the Sixties (Radio 2)
Art School Dancing (K107FM)
Alan’s Midweek Madhouse (Radio Saltire)
45 Forever (K107FM)
John Cavanagh’s Soundwave (Radio Six International)
Fraser Thomson (YOUR Radio/XFM Scotland)
Jim Gellatly (XFM Scotland)
Steve Stanley’s The Now Sound (LuxuriaMusic.com)
Andrew Sandoval’s Come To The Sunshine (LuxuriaMusic.com)
Forgotten 80s (Absolute 80s)
I’ve split the shows I’ve enjoyed this year into sub-genres. Anyone who knows me will vouch for my love of all things trivial and quiz-related. Here are the shows, off the top of my head, that I recall enjoying in 2014. Some may have been watched on catch-up from the end of 2013. I’ll add any others that grab my attention during the festive season.
Quiz/Game Shows: Pointless (BBC1), University Challenge (BBC2), Only Connect (BBC4), Who Dares Wins (BBC1), Tipping Point (ITV), Mastermind (BBC2), The Chase (ITV), Two Tribes (BBC2).
Children: Katie Morag (CBBC), Hacker Time (CBBC), Our School (CBBC).
Drama: Ripper Street (BBC1), Mad Men (Sky Atlantic), Boardwalk Empire (Sky Atlantic), The Newsroom (Sky), House of Cards (US, Netflix), Columbo (repeats on various channels), Top of the Lake (BBC2), Peaky Blinders (BBC2), Death Comes to Pemberley (BBC1), The Booth at the End (Netflix), Orange is the New Black (Netflix), Breaking Bad (Netflix), Line of Duty (BBC2), Fargo (Channel 4), Suits (Netflix), The Bridge (Netflix)
Reality: The Great British Bake-Off (BBC2), Gogglebox (Channel 4), Fried Chicken Shop (Channel 4).
Factual: Speed with Guy Martin (Channel 4).
Comedy: Lilyhammer (Netflix), Yonderland (Sky 1), VEEP (Sky Atlantic), Psychobitches (Sky Arts), Big Bang Theory (E4), Mike and Molly (Comedy Central), Silicon Valley (Sky Atlantic).
Sport: Tour de France (Eurosport), Mosconi Cup (Sky Sports).
Critic: Andrew Collins: Telly Addict (Weekly TV review on Guardian website)
Simon Napier-Bell (Edinburgh Book Festival)
Ian Rankin (Record Store Day)
Simon Goddard (Record Store Day and Simply Thrilled book launch)
Malcolm Ross (Simply Thrilled book launch)
Johnny Nelson (Harrogate Fan Park during Tour de France)
Dynamo and Andrew Collins (Edinburgh Filmhouse)
Susan Calman and Ramon Rangamathan (Flick at Edinburgh Fringe)
Arthur Smith (Edinburgh)
Earl Okin (House Concert, Leith)
HEROES OF THE YEAR
Ally’s lust for life in the face of a terminal illness has been an inspiration. Fraser and Andrea continue to do great things in radio and, in Andrea’s case, TV too. The Orchids and The Popguns proved on record, on stage and in person why I still love them so much.
One Thousand Violins
My only successful game show application turned into three appearances, albeit not as successfully as I’d’ve liked. I’m not sure what we have to do to get on Pointless having had two had two unsuccessful auditions.
Fifteen to One x 3 (Remedy Productions, Channel 4)
Also applied for The Chase, Pointless (with Kirsty), The Link (with Mark) and Perfection
Not the most fruitful of years when it came to competition wins but again this was down to the amount of time spent preparing radio shows. Starting with the Advent comps I’m slowing getting back into it, with three wins under my belt in December already. Long may it continue in the new year. My daughter has chipped in with a few wins too.
12 Penfold Blackheart golf balls
£20 (took a few months but I got it!)
Horrible Histories “Scary Special” DVD (Flick)
Josef K – “The Only Fun in Town” badge
The Beatles – On Air: Live at the BBC Volume 2 CD
You Me at Six “Cavalier Youth” CD
Soxtrot Funky Socks (K)
Hue and Cry – Remote: Major to Minor (3-CD, DVD and book)
Josef K badge
The Beatles Home Furnishings (stool, 2 prints, mouse mat, 2 mugs, key ring)
Family Pass for Chessington World of Adventures (F)
Beach Boys Promo CD
Match Attax Starter Pack
Elliot Minor 7” Picture Disc (Radio West Fife)
Horrible Histories – Series 1 DVD
Cobra BioCell Stand Bag (Golf)
Two badges (Tom Morton’s quiz)
Dog Friendship Collar with a matching bracelet and lead
A set of gardening tools
We’ve always loved board games in our house and have about 80+. However over the last two years we’ve expanded our gaming horizons. Our favourites this year have been as follows:
Ticket to Ride (USA and Europe, including expansions for both)
LabyrinthSettlers of Catan
Who Knows Where?
MOANS OF THE YEAR
I’m not going to bother with any moans this year because, quite frankly, there are too many. Most probably involve drivers, Tesco, employment agencies and people who insist on using gigs as a soundtrack to their own (probably dull) conversations but I’ll let it go. Sort of.
I’ve no idea what 2015 will bring (who does?) I’d settle for some sort of contentment, a regular wage and a happy family. I don’t think it’s too much to ask, is it?