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Made in Shoreditch

I also contribute a weekly column to Made in Shoreditch magazine called 'Old East End/New East End', where I look at the relationship between the East End of old and new, looking at the changes and the stalwarts in landscape, residents and culture, focussing on one street or district each week. You can find it here.

5 of the Best: Victory

Sunday, 23 October 2011

With today's fantastic result for my beloved QPR against our superstar arch-rivals Chelsea (1-0 to the R's, in case you don't know) in mind, here's 5 of the Best to do with sweet, sweet victory.

Gregory Isaacs - The Winner: Syncopation - check, easy vibe - check, super-smooth vocals - check. It's definitely Isaacs then (the first two are emblematic of any given reggae track to be honest). On what is nearly the first anniversary of 'Cool Ruler's' death (Isaac's sadly left us on 25 October last year) it feels necessary to include this and place it at the top.

Abba - The Winner Takes it All: Most may not have me down as an Abba fan, but I am. There, I said it. Now let's move on. The melodies in this song (and countless others in their repetoire) are astonishingly catchy. Though it's about a break-up (generally not seen as something to cheer about) its title says it all for me today.

 PJ Harvey - Victory: Wonderful, stripped-back garage/alt rock. All the necessary ingredients are there: basic, slow-yet-somehow-frenetic bass line, sloganistic chorus, distorted guitars. Why it's straight out of the Stooges/MC5 songbook. Great song.

Patti Smith Group - Till Victory: Talking of a lady who likes a bit of garage rock... This, however, has a far bigger feeling of grandeur than the aforementioned Harvey track. Smith's vocals are, as usual, utterly enthralling and the Baba O' Reilly-ness of it all highlights the amazing contrasts which can appear from song to song with Patti Smith's back catalogue. Compare this with Rock and Roll Nigga, for instance, and you'll know what I mean. Also, that first burst of guitar does remind me of This is the One by the now-reformed Stone Roses. I wonder if they had this in mind when writing that...

David Bowie - Win: Just a lovely, calming sonic experience from Young Americans. That trebly, chorusy guitar, Bowie's equally chorus-affected vocal, those soulful backing vocals of "It ain't over, no", it all just makes one tingle a bit. There are very few people in his bracket.

Vinyl Sales Up - But, is this a Good Thing?

Friday, 21 October 2011

According to Music Week, vinyl album sales are "up 40% year-on-year". So, people care about buying records again. Good, hey? Arguably not. Vynil is a crap material, to put it bluntly. It is not of any use to us in terms of keeping the planet going and the production methods used to create vinyl are extremely harmful. See here for a great explanation on just how ridiculous our need for stuff is and how harmful all of our PVC possessions are. There is a big consensus in the music industry towards keeping independent record stores alive and while I can see the merits in terms of keeping businesses localised and what not, I really think we can forsake records and have independent stores totally online. Let's face it the rent's cheaper. If we are to move on from piles of plastic Western waste in the Caribbean and Africa, these are the types of steps we have to take. Just an observation.