Wednesday, December 19, 2007


2007 has been a strange year on a personal level - lots of highs and a few lingering lows. Rather than dwell on all that, here are some reflections on the year's favourite things that I personally enjoyed, and for the same reason wouldn't necessarily recommend.

The concert in Prato (Italy) seems like ages ago now - it was one of those trips where everything seems to fall into place at just the right moment in your life, and I mean that in more ways than one. Playing in Edinburgh for the first time ever was really fun too, much more than I had any right to expect.

This is pathetic, what the fuck am I doing talking about restaurants? It's desperation. Even worse, I can't even remember its name, but the place in Kitakyushu where we had the fish was a true heaven of the gustatory senses.

A goodly harvest this year, and that despite doggedly sitting through some turkeys of anthological magnitude. I loved A Bridge To Terabithia and The Notebook (but both of these only for the discerning fan of the romantic genre), Saw IV (expect the same tedious verdict from me next October), The Bridge (months on, still haunted), Sherrybaby (Cassavetes reborn), Loose Change - Final Cut (definitive work now that David Ray Griffin is on board - cue some abuse from the anti-'conspiracy theory' brigade), and lastly, The Boss Of It All (another LVT classic).

A year of consolidation. At one stage books were arriving so frequently from Amazon that I could barely keep up, and it's been rewarding to have the chance to fill in some of the gaps I still had in the classics, as with certain works by Thomas Hardy, Shakespeare, and Dostoevsky. Notable mentions too for Pirandello's plays and the final part of Stanislavski's great trilogy.

Mostly a diet of African origin percussion music at loud volume (big thanks to Brian Conniffe for providing much of that rare material) - all part of an unconscious learning process whereby through repeated listening I'm hoping for a big osmotic jackpot pay-off, and in fact that's happening already. In between times, lots of Magma, Albert Ayler, Coltrane, or else exploring Mezzo's more obscure offerings. Truth is, I'm shamefully out of the loop as far as popular music is concerned, and my nomination of year's best to Christian Scott's album Anthem is clear testament to that.

A few contemporary exhibitions were OK, yet nothing as moving as the Angkor Wat exhibition in Bonn earlier in the year, and it's another reminder of how important opportunities to travel are for seeing the good stuff.

The magical August night of the meteor shower. No contest.


Scary Alice said...

ooooh exciting, exciting, waiting for more :)

j-pcaron said...

Would you care to name a few of those African records? I´m very interested to konw more about it. Thank you.

SYpHA_69 said...

I think my only problem with "Saw 4" was I wasn't really that crazy about the acting... and other than Jigsaw himself, it was kind of hard for me to care about any of the other characters, who are barely fleshed out at all. In fact, a few of them I had trouble figuring out who was who because a few of them looked alike, though maybe that was some kind of disorientation effect the producers were going for. I really do think they should end the series eventually because it's getting a little silly. I think the funniest review I read was the one from UGO that said "Saw IV almost makes you believe there are hundreds of rooms out there at this very minute with puppets, tricycles, and audio tapes just waiting for the next game."

brian said...

you are most welcome william, it's always a pleasure to introduce these , sadly rare, gems to those who appreciate it.

to j-pcaron, the two recordings which i recommend most highly are "drums of death: ghana funeral field recording" and the LP "ceremonie vaudou en haiti". completely mesmerizing, trancendant and invigorating. also very good are the cd collections "east africa witchcraft and ritual music" and "akom: the art of possession". for the arabic / sufi strain of african rhythmic music i highly recommend "apocalypse across the sky" by the master musicians of jajouka (avoid all other recordings) and "dances and trances: sufi music and berber rites from morocco.

Richo said...

And I thought yr dates in Poland proved to be fun, despite the myriad problems...! (Only joshing, as 'they' say...)

William Bennett said...

Poland was genuinely a major highlight, Richo, can't wait to come back again - and I do hope you've been boning up on your band names and their associated rhetoric...