Friday 16 April 2021

I'm Not Your Man/ Marika Hackman (2017): Albums of my Life: an A-Z

 ...finding Marika Hackman on Google Music (as it was then) on my phone and apathetically browsing through the new releases thinking: 'I wonder what the kids today are listening to at the moment...' I'm not even that old, but that's the way it had gotten! I saw the cover of Any Human Friend, her latest release at the time (so Summer, 2019), and that album cover grabbed my attention immediately. There was something uncanny about it. Then later I realised that it had been inspired by a photographer called Rineke Dijkstra whose work has always fascinated me. Subconsciously, I must have sensed that this would be something cerebrally worthwhile listening to, something off the beaten track perhaps. It took me a year before I was hooked. A month or so of liking and then loving one song, 'Come Undone'; then more months of walking and digesting and finding that Marika was speaking to me in a way that no female artist had done for some time (and certainly not quite in the same way!) Any Human Friend is an album, for me, about coming to terms with yourself and allowing yourself to accept taboos about the human condition, specifically those attached to being a woman.

The album before this, 'I'm Not Your Man', also explores issues to do with gender and sexuality. I can remember falling in love (again piece by piece, deliciously drip-fed) with this wonderful creation. The track that got me addicted was 'My Lover Cindy' which deserves some focus later in this post.

Saturday 10 April 2021

Hedonism/ Bellowhead (2010): Albums of my Life: an A-Z

 ...happier times before this pandemic. Times when we weren't faced with restrictions and would think nothing of travelling across the country or being part of a crowd of people. Some of the most joyous pre-Covid moments were seeing live music, something I never did enough of as a youngster and sought to rectify some years ago. I guess part of why I didn't see as much live music in my 20s was due to my taste being more R n B based and not having the means to see the artists I loved live. As my interests broadened, my desire to seek out live music grew.

Seeing Bellowhead at Wickham Festival in 2014 and then in Poole in 2015 gives me a yearning to return to life where these sorts of opportunities were taken for granted. Wickham, where they headlined, was marvellous-- there's something about being in amongst a crowd of middle-aged folkies that feels like home! There's a real connection with the music and a lack of inhibition that emanates from such crowds. In contrast, the gig at Poole's Lighthouse was a sit down affair, but despite the enforced seating, the crowd were up on their feet before long, leaping and frolicking, shaking the living daylights out of the rather flimsy auditorium seating.