Monthly Archives: November 2009

Live or not?

Now playing: Circulatory System – The Frozen Lake / The Symmetry
via FoxyTunes

It’s been a decision I’ve pondered about for a few years, the acceptance or not of live albums on the year’s best. The reason I don’t ever seem to be able to make a decision is due to the two arguments, both as strong as the other: the first is that the album can’t really be seen to be new because the live tracks are from previous albums. However, they are new in that they are intepretations of older songs (almost like covers).

A couple of years ago I went to see the Eels perform in Manchester on their With Strings tour and was totally blown away by what Mr. E had done to those songs. I bought the CD immediately and then popped two of the songs from the album on my best songs compilation from that year.

I’ve made the decision this year, with Coldplay (or Don’t play as they are affectionately known) and Tom Waits (God) waiting in the wings, I’ve decided not to consider live albums for selection. I just feel that the argument for them not being new is valid, especially when some of them contain material from years back.

So now you know I bet you’ll all sleep better tonight.


Five days and counting

Now playing: Editors: The Boxer
via FoxyTunes

It’ll be advent Sunday in a few days (big time for me) and after that, this Tuesday coming (1st December) the whole Album of the Year show gets started again, with the culling of all the albums I’ve listened to since 1st December last year, which received a grade of 6 or below. So far I have listened to 99 albums, although there is still five days left for anything I’ve missed (recommendations please?).

My listening has been much more sporadic this year, due to a certain workload taking over and the fact that I will be celebrating my 40th Birthday next year, with my Top 40 songs of all time. This has meant a lot of listening to music from many years and has not been mainly confined to the current year’s music, as is the norm.

I’m looking forward to getting stuck into this, especially as I have just received 15 of those 119 and need to get some listening done today (and have wired my computer up to the standard speakers and the stereo in the other room for maximum effect)!

You ready?


Tough decision on new books

It was a decision I had to make, one that was hard in the making but one that I have to stick to. I have made a promise to myself not to buy any new books until December 2010 for two very important reasons: the first is due to the work I’ve been doing in the flat over the week in packing, organising and moving around 400 books or so up into our attic storage space in an attempt to get the flat back to looking like a home, rather than a storage warehouse. The second choice is a simple case of economy.

I know this is going to kill me, especially when thinking about the chat I had with Michael Stone the other week about buying stuff by friends and contacts, partly out of interest, partly out of support. I have always been big on the argument that as an indie press publisher I can’t complain about people not buying our books if I’m not buying other people’s and I have made a point of buying books by a lot of the people I have worked with.

However, this means I can actually start reading some of those I bought and that can’t be all bad can it? 😉

I decided to put a little list together so you can see what is on my list over the next few weeks/months. I may add to this a little later but these are the ones I’m going to start with:

Fourtold: Michael Stone
Lowside of the Road – A Life of Tom Waits: Barney Hoskyns
Innocent When You Dream – Tom Waits – The Collected Interviews: Mac Montandon (ed.)
Beneath the Surface: Simon Strantzas (only a couple left to read – an excellent collection)
Creeping in Reptile Flesh: Robert Hood
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror: Stephen Jones (ed.)
Collected Works: Nick Wallace (ed.) (I’m in this!)
The Manhattan Project: Jake Packard (promised to read and review it and am halfway through it – not enjoying it at all)
Fantastic Wonder Stories: Russell B. Farr (ed.) (About two thirds into this)
Troy: Simon Brown
Bull Running For Girls: Allyson Bird
Crosstown Traffic: Stuart Coupe, Julie Ogden & Robert Hood (eds.)
Hanteringen av odöda: John Ajvide Lindqvist
Year’s Best Australian SF & Fantasy – Volume Two: Bill Congreve & Michelle Marquardt (eds.) (Think I’ve read most of this)

I’m sure whilst organising the last of the books I’ll find more but for now that’s my list.

And yes, I found the other pile just a few moments ago… 😉

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: Susanna Clarke
The Lions of Al-Rassan: Guy Gavriel Kay
The Priestess and the Slave: Jenny Blackford
Bound for Evil: Tom English (ed.)
Svavelvinter: Erik Granström