Yes, it’s a slightly naff hashtag, but the sentiment is perfect: in these dark times, we need to try to find comfort and relief where we can, to fortify ourselves for the struggle ahead. One of my #tinyjoys this week is the fact that my aubergine and Pimiento de Padron seeds are germinating – there’s always a period of nervous uncertainty, as peppers and related species take so long to sprout (and I’m still waiting for any sign of life from the habaneros). The other is the discovery of someone in Finland who improvises Lego sculptures to jazz albums; see @AjuArchIdiot on Twitter, but also this quixotic project to get Lego to produce an actual kit of the ECM studio, complete with Pat Metheny Group…

The Great British Spill Awards!

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the glorious land of green fields, quaint little towns dappled in the evening sunlight, and chocolate-box cottages full of cottage industry making innovative jams and the like, that is post-Brexit Britain. Make Britain Great Again? Quite unnecessary; we’ve always been Great, one just has to wipe away some of the accumulated grime that’s been blown in from foreign places to see it. But making the Spill Awards Great Again, when so many of you good people have shown a dangerous tendency in the past to side with the Enemies of the People – that’s a plan we can all get behind! So, as the fog machines get to work in the Channel and the tea urn chunters in the corner, pull up a folding wooden chair and don’t get too comfortable. Continue reading

Spill Awards!

I’m never sure whether to call this the Spill Awards 2016, since they all relate to last year, or 2017 ‘cos that’s the year we’re now in. Either way, the votes have been counted and I’ve got my act together, and I’m delighted to announce that the award ceremony will be going out live this coming Friday, from 20:00 GMT – apologies to anyone for whom this will be massively inconvenient, but twas ever thus. All welcome. Dress: traditional and yet forward-looking. Cash bar.

The Spill Awards 2016: Vote Vote Vote!

Nominations have been received, complex algorithms have been applied, unfortunate links to Neo-Nazi fake news sites have been removed and the final shortlists for this year’s awards can now be published. Voting will continue until Christmas Day; you have one vote for each category except for Album of the Year where you have three, in the vague hope that we’ll get a clear result. Suggestions for special additional awards in individual categories can be sent to abahachi(at)hotmail.co.uk. Date and venue for the award ceremony itself to be announced in due course, depending on whether we can find the door to a magical Trump-free kingdom in time, or just have to hunker down in a nuclear bunker somewhere in the Scottish Highlands…

Spill Awards 2016 – Nominations open

We’re still here! At the end of last year, it seriously looked as if RR would be no more, and so the mood at the traditional end-of-year awards was distinctly downbeat. But we have survived, and the optimistic among us might claim that we’re stronger than ever, with a whole load of new people joining in each week, even if they haven’t for the most part made it across to the Spill. And I have a new job, so am less personally miserable than I have been over the last couple of years. So, let’s party!*

This is Stage One of an increasingly complex and laborious process designed to maximise the expression of the Voice Of The People; no, it never works very well, and numerous people end up throwing their vote away because they haven’t paid enough attention to what’s really going on – but anything’s better than leaving it in the hands of those arrogant liberal ‘experts’. Anyway, if the result is unclear we can call on a team of practised Russian hackers to manufacture a few more votes for suitable candidates. Continue reading

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