2015

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Bit of a strange year for me. I think, a quiet-ish one. For my own benefit, once more…

Books

I bought a Kindle. As I may have mentioned previously, I seemed to have stopped reading. For the last few years I’ve been hauling unfinished books around with me for a good year or so. I always enjoyed the times I did sit down to read them, they just weren’t very often.

First thing was first, finish the hardback I had been humphing about with me. Which was fantastic. It’s weird, I wasn’t not enjoying it just not motivated, or too bust listeningto podcasts and checking social media. I almost don’t want to name the book, as it was given to me as a birthday gift, when it came out. Which a quick check tells me was six years ago now. But, The Way Home by George Pelecanos is worth recommending. It’s as tough, as touching and as downright exciting as you’d expect from the co-creator of The Wire. I will be reading more of his stuff.

The rest of the reading has been lagely me submerging myself in the good-old trashy thriller or police procedural. About the only recent stuff would have been the new Brookmyres. Read the first Stuart MacBride Cold Granite and looking forward to more (and visitng Aberdeen again – despite him capturing it’s icy miserableness bang on). Read all the Cal Innes books. Mainly down to having picked up the first when it was free years ago, and now having the means to do so. Enjoyed it and felt obligated to buy the rest. (Take note all producers.)

Next year, I’ll do some serious literature. But, I’m back reading!

Film

Movies this year seemed to be predominantly about women. From them kicking-ass in the two best blockbusters (Fury Road and The Force Awakens) to the dreamy Bechdel-busting worlds of The Falling and Duke of Burgandy. The big comedies were Trainwreck (which I didn’t see) and Sisters (which I did, and liked a lot). Then in the last month or so we got Carol. Which is a brilliant piece of film-making. But, for me, it lacks the emotional resonance of the staggering Brooklyn and wonderful Grandma
I could list half a dozen films with strong femal leads that I wanted to but failed to catch. Of course , the fact this is pass-remarkable is only an indication that this is still very much far from the norm. 

There were others. The Oscar fair being particularly good. (Birdman, Whiplash, Foxcatcher.) A couple of brilliantly acted indies; Missippi Grind and 99 Homes. I’m not sure Slow West is worth honourable mention. But, I do keep recommending it to folk. 

While I didn’t see anywhere bar the usual amount of animation (Inside Out and Minions of course), I have to say that I think my favourite film of the year was Shaun The Sheep. It made me happy. 

Music

So, as usual, tons of great shows. Mostly the usual suspects. The trip to Muddy Roots obviously stands out. But, best show must be finally seeing The Julie Ruin. Such a powerful, positive night. 

Continuing on the vague riot feel vibe, my favourite new bands were Slum of Legs and the amazing Big Joanie. Looking forward to more shows and recordings in 2016. 

The album I listened to the most was Coward’s Path by Mishkah Shubaly. Managed to catch him a couple of times. Bought some of his ‘singles’ for the Kindle. Looking forward to him coming back this year. 

I WILL listen to more new music in 2016. (And, this time I mean it.)

Beer

Brewdog seemed to get back on their game this year. The second Born To Die IPA nearly convinced me. Their nitro milk stout WILL win prizes when it becomes official next year. But, most of all, with Abstrakt 19. Complex but balanced. So much going on. Proper grown up beer. 

The where-the -fuck-did-that-come-from staring-at-the -glass- and-giggling award goes to Buxton and Wilderness‘ inspired (the only inspired offering this year) collaboration for The Rainbow Project a smoked orange saison Deep Rainbow Valley. Genius 

And, I don’t like saisons. 

Travel

Iceland
Kentucky and Tennessee

Written by Tony Kiernan

31 December 2015 at 7:19 pm

Big Joanie/Dirtygirl/Junk – The Montague Arms (16 December 2015)

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Brilliant night of angry DIY punkers. Very much looking forward to what Big Joanie do in 2016.

Written by Tony Kiernan

17 December 2015 at 12:25 pm

Posted in Gigs, London, Music

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The Go! Team – Oslo (15 December 2015)

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So, my second time at Oslo for a gig. And, hopefully, my last. On my previous visit the wonderful Murder By Death were bludgeoned into a sludgy approximation of Mumford and bloody Sons. Sarah Balliet might as well have gone out siteseeing that that night for all we could hear her. There was a trumpet involved at one point. Well, we could see there was a lboke playing one on stage.

But, every venue has an off night.

Or two, it seems. The Go! Team sound like they have been genrously packed in cotton wool, then drenched in mud, and locked in a box. Next door. It’s horrible. Which is a shame becasue they obviously play a blinder.

Written by Tony Kiernan

16 December 2015 at 10:18 am

Posted in Gigs, London, Music

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Sisters

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This made me laugh quite a lot. Too long, though

Written by Tony Kiernan

14 December 2015 at 10:44 pm

Posted in Film

Hector

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Very human.

There are a few character/plot points that I’m not too sure about. But, I’m not going to raise them here as I realise I don’t really know enough about the issues involved. Which I guess is a case of job-done.

Can we have more Gina McKee in everything, please?

Written by Tony Kiernan

14 December 2015 at 10:20 pm

Posted in Film

Grandma

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79 minutes!! And, one of the best films I’ve seen all year. Take note everyone else.

Written by Tony Kiernan

14 December 2015 at 10:10 pm

Posted in Film

Robert Forster – Bush Hall (7 December 2015)

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Charming evening of songs from my second favourite Go-Betweens frontman

Written by Tony Kiernan

08 December 2015 at 10:11 am

Posted in Gigs, London, Music

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