That was the month that was January 2021

  1. The Catholic school by Edoardo Albinati
  2. At Night All Blood Is Black by David Diop
  3. A luminous Republic by Andres Barba
  4. Shipwrecks by Akira Yoshimura
  5. Robinson by Aram Pachyan
  6. Holiday Heart by Margarita Garcia Robayo
  7. Schoolgirl by Osamu Dazai
  8. 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
  9. Kokoschka doll by Alfonso Cruz
  10. The last days of Ellis Island by  Gaëlle Joss
  11. 30th April 1945 by Alexander Kluge
  12. The sand child by Tahar Ben Jelloun
  13. With an unopened umbrella in the pouring rain by Ludovic Bruckstein

Well, I managed 13 reviews this month, and from 12 countries unfortunately there were no new countries,  no new publishers, but it’s been a while since I reviewed a book from Virago. The journey this month starts with the epic Italian story of a school and some killing then we went to the trenches and some African troops. A small child tells the tales of his medieval Japanese fishing village.  Then some strange children appear in the jungle. Then Modern Armenia is highlighted in a collection of short stories. Then we had the tale of a couple’s American dream falling apart. A day in the life of a pre-war Japan. Then the letters between a New Yorker and an old English bookseller. A series of vignettes take us to wartime Germany and the aftermath. The last week on Ellis Island sees the last guard reflecting on his time on the Island. The day Hitler shot himself is seen in 360 degrees from every angle. Then a girl is forced to grow up a boy to save the family money and lastly we see Sighet in Romania with tales of the Jews that lived there.

Book of the month

We have two winners here –

Firstly the tales of Sighet so touch me in this collection of short stories from a writer that has luckily been saved from oblivion and brought to us thanks to his son’s efforts to get his father’s voice heard.

Then 30th April 1945 is just so rich the multiple layer Kluge forms with his vignettes around the day Hitler shot himself. Kluge is a writer that likes to take a wide angle on his fiction the bigger picture.

Non-book related items

With us in Lockdown I haven’t brought a lot of records this month but spent most time listen back to old Uncut and Mojo cd I have got both these magazines for well twenty years so I have a lot of their CDs and have spent a couple of hours reading and listening to them most afternoons off work. Especially their Americana CDs. I am now on the last of my three nights tonight for this month at work.

Next month

I have already read a couple of books read ready so we shall be in Iceland and with a chess master to start with this month’s reading I hope to add a couple of Arab works this month. Then I will see where I wander knowing me it has been a while since I read a book from a new country so I think that may need to add somewhere new next month what are your plans for the coming month?

Winstonsdad top albums of the year

I spent this year buying more vinyl than other years a lot of the record store day records and a lot off either the record fair or monthly record fair so it was a mix of old and new but I have chosen 8 new albums from the last year and two reissues. They may be all fall under the rock indie umbrella.

SO in no particular order

1 . Tom Sanders – Only Magic a member of the various bands over recent years this came out late last year and got a lot of airplay on the Marc Riley show subtle acoustic songs haunting at times.

2. Porridge Radio Every Bad – I was reminded of riot girl and early punk bands with female singers with this band something unique ion the singers voice and almost a child-like wonder to the sings.

3 Robert Forester Danger in the past – One of the two reissues on the list this was his debut solo album from thirty years ago in fact last year his last release made the list. This features Nick cave backing band as the band. I missed this years ago which was a shame he is a singer I really love.

4. Pale Saints – The comfort of Madness – I think I mentioned this as an album when I was young I loved so when the reissue of this shoegazing classic came out on vinyl I had to get it the bonus of a Japanese only release issued for the first time in the UK it made a bonus year for this under known band from the shoegazing era.

5. Bob Dylan – Rough and rowdy ways – Well this is album … from a singer that has been around for over fifty years how can he still make great songs well the track Murder Most foul an epic song about JFK is maybe his best song since blood on tracks era Dylan.

6 Fontaines DC  –  A hero’S Death another band that feature last year this was their second album a bit more polished but still full of punk joy and Irish wit at times this is a band that could be huge or if they take it carefully the best regard band if recent times.

7. Destroyer  – Have We Met – Well when Dan Bejar said he had watched Wim Wenders films when making this album I had to get it a mix of indie and jazz like his other albums it is uniquely him a voice rich and dark at times.

8. BC Camplight – Shortly after takeoff another one I found via Marc Riley he has been around for a number of years this is his latest album the last of a trilogy of records he has made in recent years.

9. Bill Calahan – Gold – The former smog lead singer is another singer I came late to maybe ten years ago but this album is him at his best bittersweet songs Especially the track I pick here a story of a lost son.

10. Nick Cave – Idiot Prayer – simply stunning this solo reworking of his songs one of two records near the end of the year from him the other the litanies he wrote for a Belgium composer sung by various singers.

That is what I choose today it may change the been so many great reissues like the vinyl version of Cale/Reed’s songs for drella, the lockdown songs coming from Jeffrey lewis that Marc Riley had played. What have been your favorite records of 2020 what was you lockdown companions?

 

 

M Train by Patti Smith

M Train by Patti Smith

American Memoir

Source – personal copy

A change today I’ve been down a bit so when I read a bit about this book by the singer poet Patti Smith a week or so a go I went head and ordered it. I’ve listened to her music over the years and had seen that she had published a number of books that had been well received in the music magazines I read. But it was just a fancy for a change in my reading and it was a welcome surprise how much I enjoyed it. It follows Patti in recent years after the death of her husband Fred smith from MC5 it is also littered with her own polaroids.

Cafe ino didn’t exist back then. I would sit by a low window in Caffee Dante that looked out into the corner of a small alley, reading Mrabet’s The Beach cafe. A young fish-seller named Driss meets a reclusive, uncongenial codger who has a so called cafe with only one table and one chair on a rocky stretch of shore near Tangier. The slow-moving atomshere surrounding the cafe so captivated me that I desired nothing more thn to dwell withinit. Like Driss, I dreamed of opening a place of my own. I thought aboutit so much I could enterit : the cafe Nerval, a small haven where poets and travelers might find the simplicity of asylum.

Her she dreams of various cafes she has visited and read about.

The book opens and Patti drinks a black coffee at her favorite cafe where she is shocked when Zak her favorite waiter and maker of coffee is due to leave and open a beach cafe this reminds her of the beach cafe she read about in a book translated by Paul Bowles, we find out how she meet Bowles in Tangiers as she spoke in a conference about Beat writers she was friends with Wiliam Boroughs since her early twenties. This is a wonderful reflection on a reader and her love of books from Beat writer Jean genet whose grave she visits then takes a visit to Berlin and her love of Bulgakov on her last visit a sideline about various angels made me smile as it mentions that ode to Berlin wings of desire. Then another trip is Japan and Murakami a writer she said like Bolano and Bulgakov she got fully drawn into. Then she mentions the master of Japanese cinema Ozu and Akira Kurosawa via one of the few filmmakers to work with them both. Then a visit to Zak  Beach cafe a meeting with an old friend this is a warm book tinged with the memories she had with Fred as she revisits places for the first time alone.

MY BERLIN HOTEL was in a renovated Bauhaus structure in the Mitte district of former East Berlin. It had everything I needed and was in close proximity to the Pasternak cafe, which I discoverd on a walk during a previous visit , at the hieght of an obsession with Mikhail Bulgakov’s The master and the Margarita. I dropped my bags in my room  and went directly to the cafe. The proprietress greeted me warmly and I sat at the same table beneath the photograph of Bulgakov. As I was taken by pPasternak’s old wolrd charms. The faded blue walls were dressed in photographsof beloved Russian Poets Anna Akhmatova and Vladmir Mayakovsky.

Another city, another cafe this time Berlin.

A change but when you read smiths taste in books it is very much a reader I would share a lot in common and it also has influenced Smith writing style there is a touch of Sebald here for me it is full of her own experiences around the world as she visits various graves and thinks of Fred there is a sense of her love of books and life but also the sense of her own mortality which really touched me. Then there is smiths love of Itv 3 as a fellow crime drama fan I so agree wh=ith the way she just falls into watching them. Smith has a great chance to do all this as she is well Patti Smith a true one-off and has the chance to go place and see things that we don’t so it is a glance into a world that is unique. I loved her polaroids as well they speak so much from Bolanos chair to Frida Khalo crutches. Have you read any of Smiths other books

winstons music

It has been a while since I did a post about what I am listening to at Winston’s towers. A big thanks to the guys that suggested the Orville peck album after my records of the year. First of is a female lead punk, the post-punk band I caught this a couple of times on BBC six music I usually capture a bit of Marc Riley’s show his shows last year brought me a lot of new music. Anyway, the band called Porridge radio the four members of the band were all involved in bands in and around Brighton this is the lead single from there second album sweet it has a hint of something and I just can’t put my finger on it at the mo. But it is a great mix of slow then fast music with a singer with an engaging voice and clever line in lyrics.

 

Then I went back with the release of the 30th anniversary of the Pale saints Debut Album. Which I have brought on a double vinyl rerelease of the Leeds based shoegazing group they were never big stars but for me, this album was on I played and played as I an 18-year-old and staying in the East Neuk of fife at my gran’s on my walkman as I had the original album on tape I was always and still am a fan of Vaughn Oliver’s artwork for $ad like Factory’s peter Savile made 4ad records stand out. He sadly passed away earlier this year. This is a wonderful mix of a sonic wall of guitars and those mumbling shoegazing vocals. still haunting and evokes memories of a summer many years ago which is what some of the best music does, isn’t it.

Then another lead single from a forthcoming album and it is off to Destroyers new album I have been a fan of this Candian group for a few years now they have a unique singer in Dan Bejar and this has again a stream of consciousness set of lyrics he said were evoked by Korean horror films80’s movies like Pretty in pink and the five-hour version of Until the end of the world (Wim Wender woefully underrated world road movie) I have yet see this version I have the three version. Crimson tide is a song that just draws you in like a lot of his music.

Lastly another bit of nostalgia I love our flea market I think I have mentioned the books I get from there but there is a couple of record stall selling vinyl which I have been looking and getting some records to fill a number of gaps I had in the past well as I can afford when I see 40 or 50 pounds for some lps I think it isn’t worth it so it is smaller leftfield choice I pick this week was the third album from the Irish band Microdisney I was always a fan of The main singer Cathal Coughlan second band Fatima Mansions well I decided it was time to listen to his first band again I did have the tapes of a couple of other albums by them in the day on tape but I have long since got rid of most if not all my tapes there is a same political conviction behind the lyrics. One of the greatly missed bands of the eighties.

What new and old has been on your stereo or phone this new year? What reissues have you brought recently?

 

 

 

Bye Bye Mark E

It must have been kismet years ago when as a young teen I discovered John Peel on the radio many an hour listening to him lead me many ways in my music taste but the biggest of them and the longest lasting was The fall a band of the ever-changing group of musicians backing up the brilliant Mark E Smith. The band named after a translated novel would happen to be one of my favourite bands. From the NME interview with Nick Cave, Shane MacGowan and Mark talking about the world and their music. Peel doing something that seemed unheard of at the time playing a full album over two nights when Shiftwork came out a high point for the band really. Over the years I have bought or listen on spotify to the latest records from the Band even the complete peel sessions when it first came out with the 24 sessions he record with Peel more than anyone. So when the sad news hit us that Mark has passed tonight leaves the world a little poorer in a world of people trying to get by we need a few more mark as the voice of the disfranchised, the non-iphones smart phone people, the football fans, the northerners, the man in the pub because there won’t be another Mark and that is sad.

 

My top ten albums 2017

I’m at work the today and tomorrow so I wrote this as a short post about my albums of the years

There is a Spotify playlist Here in no order are the ten Albums

  1. Goths by The mountain goats- I have been a fan of this band for about 15 years since there album on 4ad. A quirky album here remembering the goth bands of the eighties this track is about the sisters of mercy lead singer going back to his hometown.
  2. A crow looked at me by Mount eerie – A new band to me I was touched as this is a lament to his late wife and has some of the most touching lyrics I have ever heard.
  3. Pure comedy by Father John Misty – This album has been one of my all time favourites especially this 13 minute dig at the music industry and moving to la to be in a band. He may be a bit outspoken in real life but I liked this album a lot.
  4. Salutations – Conor Oberst – another favourite the former Bright eyes singer came back with the songs from the album ruminations with a band this time, both albums show how these songs can be fragile and full on at the same time.
  5. I tell a fly Benjamin Clementine – a mad second album about migration aliens and just surreal lyrics the man with the most distinctive voice of recent years made a personal rather than a commercial second album and it is utterly brilliant.
  6. New facts emerge – The Fall I always been a fan, thanks to my early years listening to John Peel. Mark E Smith carries on making great records after nearly forty years in the business.
  7. Together at last by Jeff Tweedy – He revisits some of his old songs it is more than twenty years since I brought Being there his second Wilco album. Great see him putting an acoustic turn on his songs.
  8. Hitchhiker- Neil Young – done in one night in 1976. He then sat on it until this year. Neil’s voice is at his best soul searching and tender in places.
  9. Mount the air by The Unthanks – I have been a fan for a while, but when the track Magpie was used on The detectorist, I had downloaded this album again The magpie is a real earworm.
  10. At Saint Thomas the Apostle Harlem – Diamanda Galas I been a fan of her since my college years her voice is disturbing and eerie. This was her first album in ten years this and a new studio album.

I suppose the only theme is these aren’t happy songs, but more ones that make you think.

 

Sunday Trio two old favourites and New country

As ever time has caught up with me tonight and I hadn’t time for a review so its back to old sunday trio and three music treats from this week

First up is Mark Kozelek sing Onward which he sang on the soundtrack to youth , i was busy listening to him this week where in his album with Jesu last year he talks about make the song for the film and flying over to europe to perform it for the film .Yes it is getting a bit often I mention Mark but he is one of the best singers around .

I read an interview some on had tweet this week with Tanita Tikaram and I decide to download her debut album Ancient heart on spotify there was a beauty to her voice in that debut album a naive style that she never quite captures after but its been nice revisiting the past .Now after two oldies a new artist .

Now is Aaron Lee Tasjan a great country singer twisting traditional country sound with a new twist on it his latest album is very good .

Sunday trio a finn, a dive and some rag and bone

Well this week sees two old favourites back –

First up is the first track from the new Album from Craig Finn from his fourth solo album he is also the leader singer of the Hold steady . His solo stuff is more searching than his groups out put almost like him playing with genre he is a natural storyteller a modern Springsteen.

Then I have Simon from insidebooks to thank for this it is the return of shoegazing great Slowdive with ride also reforming last year a revival of shoegazing scene is on its way I think .Maybe if My bloody valentine can take less than 22 year between albums we could have a scene come back!

I usually hate chart music but I saw this guy on Jools over the new year and his voice has echoes of classic blues and this song is one that just is a classic earworm I tell you once you hear it, you have it in that ear all day.

Sunday Trio Old favourites some new

 

NI haven’t done a music post for a while . Well spotify give you a list of your hundred most played song so here I start with a trio of videos from that list .

 

Now I am a later comer to Fleetwood Mac later stuff , I was a fan of the Peter Green era piece but wasn’t till I heard this early last year and this one song really got in my head hence being in the top 100 .

Float on is a cover by one of my all time favourite singers Mark Kozelek of one of my favourite band Modest Mouse and their hit Float on .

From one new to me to classic to a song I have listen to maybe a thousand times over the years Hothouse flowers Debut album People is such a vibrant record still now 29 years on and this is my favourite song on that album one which has been on my players since I had them.

What was on you list for the year ?

Bowies 20 most played 21st cebtury tracks and my favourite track of recent times

giphy

“Hi Stu

In honour of David Bowie’s life, PPL, the music licencing company, have pulled together data on his most played tracks of the 21st Century.”

I got this email earlier from the people at PPL and decide to share the list I wouldn’t usually but I am a huge bowie fan and was gutted by todays news.

Most Played David Bowie Tracks of the 21st Century

Aggregated using exclusive UK airplay data from music licensing company PPL

 

To commemorate the life and works of David Bowie (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016), music licensing company PPL has released an official chart of the Most Played David Bowie Tracks of the 21st Century.

 

Aggregated using PPL’s exclusive UK airplay data, the chart collates those Bowie tracks which have been played in public and broadcast on TV and radio since the year 2000.

 

Let’s Dance, David Bowie’s 1983 release, produced by Nile Rogers, tops the chart. Timeless classics also features in the top twenty  PPL Most Played David Bowie Tracks of the 21st Century chart include, Under Pressure (Bowie’s hit duet with British rock band Queen) at number two, and Starman (the inaugural story of persona Ziggy Stardust), at number three.

 

David Bowie’s top 20 most played tracks span three decades of recordings with the earliest, Space Oddity, released in 1969, appearing in the chart at number seven, and Absolute Beginners, released in 1986, at number 19.

Over the course of the 21st Century, David Bowie received over 360 million seconds of radio and TV airplay in the UK.

 

PPL Most Played David Bowie Tracks of the 21st Century:

 

1. Let’s Dance, David Bowie

2. Under Pressure, David Bowie and Queen

3. Starman, David Bowie

4. Ashes to Ashes, David Bowie

5. Rebel Rebel, David Bowie

6. Space Oddity, David Bowie

7. Life on Mars?, David Bowie

8. Changes, David Bowie

9. The Jean Genie, David Bowie

10. China Girl, David Bowie

11. Heroes, David Bowie

12. Modern Love, David Bowie

13. Young Americans, David Bowie

14. Golden Years, David Bowie

15. Sound and Vision, David Bowie

16. Fashion, David Bowie

17. Sorrow, David Bowie

18. Dancing in the Street, David Bowie and Mick Jagger

19. Absolute Beginners, David Bowie

20. Ziggy Stardust, David Bowie

 

To find out more about PPL visit: www.ppluk.com

The list is much as you would expect I for one can sing every song by heart virtually from the list. But as promised, my favourite track of recent years was title track to the “The next day album ” .Have you a favourite on the list or not

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