Lucy Kruger TRANSIT TAPES

  New Dave Grohl Book

  Edge Of Paradise New LP

  St. Vincent LP & New Single

  Hampton Court Palace Fest 2021

  SHIT FLOATS

  Moby Celebrates with REPRISE

  Rob Zombie New Releases

  AMY WINEHOUSE AT THE BBC

  Joe Bonamassa Live!

  Rodrigo Y Gabriela Interview

  Arial East Tries Harder

  Amy Macdonald Rescheduled Gig

  Discover Miriam Stockley

  Ariel Posen New LP

  Young Knives Are Back!

  Montreux Jazz Festival 2021

  Music & Brexit

  Ani DiFranco New LP +

  Discover David Ford

  Happy New Year?

  All Things Must Pass 50th

  My Best Albums for 2020

  Joe Bonamassa Guitar Man

  Is The USA Nightmare Over?

  Download Back in 2021!

  On Barbra Streisand

  Roger Waters Us + Them Review

  Skunk Anansie 2021 Tour

  Metallica’s S&M2 Review

  The State We’re In…

  Welcome Back! But To What?

  What Have We Done?

  A RISK TOO FAR

  Photojournalism Hero

  Samantha Fish Live

  Gill Landry Live in Chester

  Noah Gundersen Live

  David Gilmour’s Interview

  Snow Patrol Live in Manchester

  New Model Army Live

  Shakespears Sister Live

  Lamb Live in Manchester

  The Struts Live

  Sting & Shaggy Live

  Ana Popovic, Lynne Jackaman Live

  David Gray Live in Liverpool

  The Slow Readers Club Live

  Karine Polwart Trio Live

  Benjamin Folke Thomas Live

  Chilly Gonzales Live

  Gomez Live in Manchester

  John Lennon Interview

  My 100 Favourite Albums

  Ray LaMontagne Live

  Satriani’s G3 Live

  Jim White Live in Manchester

  Tori Amos Live

  Bush & RavenEye Live

  Laura Marling Live

  Martha Wainwright Live

  Jimmy Eat World Live

  Roger Waters on Amused To Death


Happy New Year?

2021-1

I’ve been around a while but 2020 was the most difficult and controversial year, for me, ever. In musical journalism terms it’s almost been a total disaster. During this pandemic period coverage of live music has withered on the vine with little clue as to when live performances will recommence. Fortunately my TV channel of the year has provided some comfort. Sky Arts suddenly appeared on Freeview and has blown others out of the water with its excellent and comprehensive arts coverage, with live performances from across the musical spectrum. In 2021 it will continue to be my main TV focus. With online streaming and hard copy sales, music releases have continued although it hasn’t been a vintage release year by any stretch of the imagination. That said, my favourite releases of the year were both spectacular live performances from Roger Waters and Metallica.

roger-1

Trump has come and, thankfully, gone with the prospect of jail-time a real possibility. But, the Republican party will begin to regret their failure to impeach Trump. While it is often said that Trump generated 70 million votes I wonder how many actually voted for their party rather than the man. I suspect that the vast majority were loyal party followers, however, what is worrying is the growth and visibility of  far-right extremists Trump has encouraged during his rule.

armed-1

The UK is now comprehensively out of the EU which is a destination I still fail to understand. Why did we do it? What are the financial and social implications of the departure? And how did we come to be ruled by this incompetent and corrupt government and leadership? It beggars belief that we actually voted for these people in such numbers with the result that we now are ruled by, effectively, an autocracy.

win-1

During the pandemic, the UK has suffered one of the worst records of death and infection rates in the world and mainly due to the criminally inept actions of this present government. Complacency, inaction and delay have dominated government strategy and policies with catastrophic results. The incredible work of scientists and health professionals has partially mitigated the incompetence, but with even more infectious Covid variants appearing the prospect of ‘normal life’ returning is still a distant reality.

business-1

On the international front, man’s inhumanity to man dominates in many parts of the world with examples like Russia’s bombing of civilians and hospitals in Syria continuing unabated and unpunished. The move to the extreme political right is another pandemic that prospers without sanction and has even touched UK shores. Climate change is now the major issue but we still behave as usual without modifying our behaviour. Will we never learn?

syria-11

During this period and beyond social media has proved to be both friend and enemy. Our addiction to this, games, booze and talentless celebrity have taken us away from the reality of the world and life, with my particular concern for the country’s youth. With the costs of education, housing and general living rising exponentially, the young have a hard road ahead of them that politicians have ignored. UK poverty is increasing, even for those in work. Millions more are relying on food banks and social security for basic sustenance. The picture is bleak and getting bleaker. When hope diminishes, life and aspiration die. The UK picture is a dismal one with policing, justice system, health service, social services and care, housing, and the economy in melt-down after years of under-funding and poor political management. In truth, the decline started well before Covid and the people responsible rather than being punished are raking in money by the truckload - Osborne and Cameron just two prime examples.

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