Wednesday, 14 December 2016


Blah, blah, blah, annus horribilis, blah, blah, blah, Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, blah, blah, blah, if you're interested in my humble opinion, blah blah, blah, will do better with my blog next year.  Happy Christmas and a better 2017.
NB Tracks are in no particular order

Saturday, 13 August 2016


Like many of my Facebook chums I was stunned and saddened by the results of the EU vote when they were announced on Friday. My first reaction on hearing the results was that, apart from the fact that the older generation are buggering up the future for younger people in this country, we are now in a dangerous political vacuum. We're in a situation where the next Prime Minister could well be Boris Johnson supported by his new BFF, Nigel Farage. We have no credible opposition from either Labour or the Liberal Democrats, and the far right are rubbing their hands with glee that, at last, we're going to deal with the 'immigrants' and 'muslims'. And we could be in a situation by the end of the year where PM Boris Johnson is congratulating Donald Trump on becoming the next president of the US. For me, Friday was a bad day, we had just stepped through the looking glass.

One of life's valuable lessons is to stay off social media when emotions are high or when you've had a drink. So I thought I'd step back for a couple of days. Having seen the reaction from a lot of friends and family that supported staying in the EU I am encouraged that there are many who feel as angry as me. I also feel much more positive. This was a great democratic turnout for the UK and, whilst I feel strongly that people should have to take an IQ test before they can register to vote ('insert winking face emoji here'), the British people have spoken. So, let's see what happens over the coming months and years.

I am positive about the future, but I'm also positive that I'm going to do what I can to make sure this country doesn't turn into the little-England that Nigel Farage, the bigots and the small-minded want it to be. And I feel positive, because know that there are a lot of good people who feel the same way.

Monday, 20 June 2016


I am voting to stay in the European Union. At the start of the campaign I couldn’t articulate why I felt so strongly that we should stay in the EU. I’ve read a lot of good stuff on both sides of the debate and kept a few interesting cuttings from the internet. I've surprised myself by agreeing with speeches by Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron (he's the leader of the Liberal Democrats, apparently). As the campaign has progressed, though, I’ve recognised that I’m voting Remain because I think it reflects what kind of nation we are.

I cannot vote on the same side as Farage, Galloway, Gove, Duncan Smith and Hoey, the politicians I hate most in this country. If I was being kind I would say that they are a bit weird. Even the most hardened anti-EU campaigner must admit that the Vote Leave leaders are a bit weird. I know the pro-EU team have Corbyn and Osborne, but they are the equivalent of Grimsby Town FC compared to the Barcelona of weirdness that is the Vote Leave leadership. But if they were just weird, it wouldn't be a problem. Farage and Galloway are dangerous bigots who each have a diametrically different vision of the world and what Britain should look like, and I'm not sure either of these Britains are ones where I want to live. The journalist Marina Hyde wrote an article on Nigel Farage last week for the Guardian, shortly after he had launched that odious poster and shortly after Jo Cox had been shot dead. One paragraph hit the nail on the head:

"There are many people I respect and admire voting leave – there are people in my family voting leave. I understand their reasons. But they must stomach the reality that a vote for leave will be taken by Farage and countless others as a vote for him, a vote for his posters, a vote for his ideas, a vote for his quiet malice, a vote for his smallness in the face of vast horrors. Is it worth it?"

Then there's Boris. Everyone loves Boris, don't they? Certainly the Vote Leave campaign love Boris, because the weirdos have been told to keep their heads down during large parts of this campaign for fear of frightening the horses. I liked Boris, he was always good value and, at the start of the EU campaign, I could easily see him leading the Tories into the next election. However, it became clear from the early stages of the campaign that this referendum was as much about buffing up Boris's CV as it was about getting out of the EU. His media-orchestrated 'will he, won't he' decision gave a pointer to what was to come. Subsequently, his contradictory views on EU (two articles in the Telegraph; one 'we should stay in', another 'we should leave'; pro-Europe quotes in his Churchill book) together with a borderline racist comment on why President Obama wants the UK to stay in the EU have undermined any political credibility he had in my eyes. This referendum seems to have developed into a referendum on the future of the Conservative party, and, unfortunately, also a referendum on immigration.

It saddens me that when the Vote Leave campaign focuses on immigration their poll ratings go up. It saddens me, because it reminds me that there is a xenophobia in certain parts of this country, where the word 'immigrant' is spat out like a bad taste. In my view, immigration into the UK over the past 60 years has been a good thing. We are a better country for the cultural diversity that immigration has brought us. We are also a more tolerant country, prepared to look outward beyond the White Cliffs of Dover rather than focus inwards on our own problems. Prepared to welcome people who make a valuable contribution to our society. Prepared to accept people who are in dire need of help, often as the result of what our country has done to theirs. And it is my view that we should be an outward-looking rather than an insular nation that is at the heart of why I’m voting Remain.

I will be very disappointed if we vote to leave the EU, but I suspect that, if we do, then there is a long way to go before it actually happens. More than anything, however, I will be disappointed because it will signpost that we are becoming a nation more focused on ourselves rather than others. One of the internet clippings I saved was a shared post from one of my Facebook chums and it sums up nicely how I feel:

"If the leave campaign was about how Britain could contribute more to the world if it left the EU then I'd be interested. But it's not. It's about how Britain can give less and take more from the world - and how it can keep the rest of the world out. Come on Britain, we're better than that.”

Thursday, 24 December 2015


So another year is almost over. And to celebrate a frenetic year on the "You can't make a soufflé..." blog (next year I promise), I've pulled together the music that has given me the greatest pleasure in 2015.

The list is in no particular order. There's something old (Andrew WK, The Saints), something new (New Order, Django Django), something borrowed (Seinabo Sey, from the always-excellent Daddy or Chips' 2015 selection) and something blue (Tom Waits, Randy Newman).

The whole list could have been made up from Sufjan Stevens' Carrie and Lowell, which is a really lovely album, but I've limited myself to just two tracks, as well as two from Father John Misty and Public Sevice Broadcasting, another two highlights. And there's David Bowie, doing what only David Bowie does.

The list is on Spotify. Alternatively, you can click on each track to see or hear it through YouTube.

Party Hard - Andrew WK
This Perfect Day - The Saints
I Love It (featuring Charli XCX) - Icona Pop
Tutti Frutti - New Order
Bored In The USA - Father John Misty
Younger - Seinabo Sey
Feeling Good Is Good Enough - Matthew E. White
Martha - Tom Waits
Eugene - Sufjan Stevens
The Other Side - Public Service Broadcasting
Shut 'Em Up - The Prodigy (featuring Public Enemy)
Who Are You? - Spring King
First Light - Django Django
Curse Curse - James
Queen and Wonder - Federico Albanese
For - C. Duncan
Should Have Known Better - Sufjan Stevens
Texas Girl At The Funeral Of Her Father - Randy Newman
Go! - Public Service Broadcasting
Chateau Lobby #4 (In C For Two Virgins) - Father John Misty
An Ocean In Between The Waves - The War On Drugs
Blackstar - David Bowie

Thursday, 1 January 2015


I always find the New Year a time for reassessment of my priorities. This year I have only two New Year's resolutions. Firstly, I'm going to update this blog more frequently. Secondly, this year will be a year of change in my life. I know I could be happier, so a few things have to change.

Happy New Year.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014


I've been a bit quiet on the old blog this year, but I move into 2015 with a renewed enthusiasm for sharing my deepest, darkest thoughts with the few friends I have left.

To get me started, I thought you might be interested in the music that has been floating my boat in 2014. For me, this year has not been a great one for new music (mind you, I think I've been saying that every year since Elton John was heterosexual), but there are three clear themes in my list below. There's plenty of Röyksopp, because they released two of my favourite albums of the year, plenty of tracks from Erased Tapes, because they're a fantastic label, and plenty of piano music because I've started to learn to play the piano in 2014. I'm also conscious that there's a definite quiet and reflective feel to many tracks, but, hey, that's the kind of guy I am.

I couldn't decide on 10 or 20, so this is my Top 14 for 2014. There's a mix of new and old and they're not in any particular order (the Naughty Boy track is probably my favourite). If you're interested there's a Spotify playlist over here (minus Lubomyr Melnyk).