Solid Gold Classics from Radio Abahachi: Gladiators!

It’s been ages and ages since I did a podcast; mainly due to sheer lack of time (which is why I continue to be somewhat missing in action more generally), which means that my more professional blogging – in the sense that it relates to the day job, rather than anyone showing any sign of paying me for it – has had to take preference if I’m able to do anything at all. But the great advantage of a classically-themed music podcast is that it kills two birds with one stone; just a shame that I picked on a theme this time around that turned out to have relatively few relevant songs – or at least that I could think of; very happy to hear of suggestions in the comments…

Download this episode (right click and save)

I’ve been having problems with technology, and in particular Dropbox; unable to get into my old account, unable to persuade a new account to play music via WordPress, so I’ve had to resort to Podbean. Hope this isn’t going to inconvenience anyone. I also have a request, or rather a desperate plea: does anyone happen to have copies of old Radio Abahachi podcasts that you could send me, and in particular the two previous Solid Gold Classics podcasts? I used to have everything on a USB stick as well as on my hard drive; didn’t get round to transferring files to new computer – and now can’t find the USB stick. The previous episode (on Sirens) is definitely still on Dropbox, as I’m able to play it – I just can’t get at it. If someone can send me files, or offer any helpful advice, I’d be pathetically grateful…

Twilight of the Donds…

living deadThere aren’t so many of us any more. We don’t know how much time we’ve got. We’re not quite the only ones left; occasional contact from people like Swawilg or Panthersan shows that there are other isolated groups across the globe, probably holed up in similar places to us – defensible position, source of fresh water, good view across the surrounding countryside, but not too obvious. But it’s a while since we’ve heard from Nilpferd or Maki, Ravi or Deano. The lights are gradually going out… And we know that, sooner or later, they’ll be coming for us too, and we won’t be able to hold them off.

For the last six weeks, or however long it’s been, we’ve been too caught up in day to day events, first dealing with the sheer shock of the world falling to pieces, then desperately scrambling for any means of survival; no time or energy to think about anything else. But things have been quiet recently – a pause in the relentless hostilities, enough for some people to start feeling just a little bit of hope that we might make it through, and even for us pessimists to conclude that we could afford to let down our guard slightly and try to relax. “It’s time,” said Darcey’sDad. AliM and Barbryn, who’d kept the Spill ticking over even in the darkest days, agreed. The Prof, who had all the data, muttered something about Zeno’s tortoise and that so long as the ceremony was always taking place tomorrow and never today, RR could never actually come to an end – but TinCanMan and SOWC sat on his head until he agreed. Ladies, gentlemen and the terrifying zombie hordes of the Guardian management, we present: the Spill Awards 2015. Continue reading

Film of the Year Take Two

At the risk of making it appear that there are no rules whatsoever to the Spill Awards, but merely my random whims crossed with the inability of the technology to hinder vote-rigging on a spectacular scale, I’ve decided to introduce an additional poll for Film of the Year 2015 With Added Star Wars, as it’s clear from comments that – while technically ineligible because it appeared after nominations closed – it would be a bit daft to leave it out. Feel free to vote all over again, and I’ll either ignore the previous film poll or use it to massage the results…


Spill Awards 2015: Vote Vote Vote!

Nominations have been scrutinised and analysed, heads have been scratched, bribes have been quietly accepted, and so here we have the shortlists for the various Spill Awards 2015, as varied and eclectic as ever. Please vote for your favourites: one vote each for hero, villain, event, film and TV series, and three votes for album. Voting closes on 31st December at midnight, and the award ceremony will take place some time on the evening of Saturday 2nd January.

Books of the Year 2015

Sending in his nominations for this year’s Spill Awards (voting to open shortly, folks, so watch this space), GF asked why we didn’t have a category for books. Simple answer: it’s difficult enough to put together shortlists for the other stuff, although we’ve all lived through the same year and more or less kept up with current films, television shows and records. Books are arguably even more personal – and probably very few of us are so keen that we buy hardback editions the moment they’re published, so it wouldn’t even be ‘favourite books published in 2015)’ but ‘favourite books I happened to read in 2015’, and the chances of *any* overlap at all become even smaller.

So, attempting to produce a shortlist for a vote seems pretty pointless. But what we can do, and have done in the past, is have a post like this, where anyone who wants to can talk about what you’ve been reading this year, what you’d recommend to the rest of us – and maybe even the stuff you read and absolutely hated… Continue reading

Spill Awards 2015: nominations open

It’s that time of year again, and in the spirit of that ‘Fill Facebook With Music’ whotsit, let’s fight back against the tides of darkness, war, crisis, inequality, environmental crisis, sexism, incompetent and corrupt governments, incompetent and malevolent bosses, celeriac foam and nasturtium puree, Alan Sugar and Simon Cowell and Katie Hopkins, the great Peter Andre judging scandal… I’m sure this was going somewhere… Yes! It’s time for this year’s Spill Awards, in which as ever we demonstrate the cavernous gulf between what we thought was great this year and the recommendations of all those other so-called taste-makers and media hipsters, through the exciting process of working out whether there are any records that more than one of us has listened to.

How this works: this is the nomination stage, where you all send me your suggestions for what should be on the shortlist, as follows:

(1) The categories are, as ever: Album of the Year, Film of the Year, TV Show of the Year, Event of the Year, Hero of the Year. I’m tempted to retire Villain of the Year on the grounds of (i) trivialising real villainy and (ii) too much choice, but am open to a write-in campaign. Suggestions for other awards always welcome.

(2) You can, and indeed should, make as many different nominations as you wish, within reason. If you just suggest one album, the chances of putting together a shortlist of records that more than one person has suggested is reduced quite dramatically.

(3) Don’t post suggestions here, but rather send them all to me at abahachi(at), by Wednesday 16th December.

Once nominations have closed, I’ll compile the shortlists and put up a new post where you can vote for your favourites, which will then inform the actual award ceremony, some time at the end of the month.

I’ll Be Frank

sinatraSinatra. Whenever I thought of him – which was not often, until a few months ago – he appeared as a symbol of cultural and moral decadence, the essence of a Las Vegas that was the essence of a particular smug, moneyed ghastliness; smooth self-satisfaction with an edge of thuggishness and an all-pervasive atmosphere of sexism and casual racism; showbiz in the worst possible sense. More prosaically, when I was growing up he seemed like the dark heart of Radio 2 in the days when Radio 2 was the antithesis of everything exciting and wonderful about pop and rock and soul; something like Big Band Special felt quite harmless, albeit laughable, in its wish to pretend that the 1960s had never happened, whereas Sinatra was reactionary nostalgia weaponised. The dinner suits, the cocktails, the notion of suave, the eau de Playboy (even less appealing when adopted by the likes of Robbie Williams). Bloody My Way – the Sid Vicious deconstruction felt, to my father as much as to me, not only brilliant but necessary. Yes, I did like Guys and Dolls, but for Damon Runyon and the songs, more or less despite Sinatra; I would at the most grudgingly admit that he played a sleazy lowlife pretty well, and feel that Miss Adelaide would be better off with more or less anyone else… Continue reading