This time of year tends to be a dessert in the Prog world. Let us not be Summer Soldiers as it were this year guys. There are numerous projects about to be released and we as fans/aficionado’s/devotees etc etc are eagerly awaiting the various spoils. The musical calendar in certain quarters of the art is predictable to the trained eye/ear of which mine is becoming finely tuned. My concern on a personal level is that at certain times of the year i am faced with a drought of new materiel to review and sometimes play on my show for ARFM Rock Radio. Sure, i am sent many promo invites, though so many of them fall into the Prog metal category of which i am not fully appreciative of preferring more traditional forms of the music which ever form that may take. However, some of the bands are so good that i feel compelled to give them a whirl and rightly so. Mainstream radio seems to have all but forgotten the importance of new talent and giving new bands and artists a voice. I of course discount the likes of pandemic outlets such as X-Factor and The Voice who shall we say cater for a large section of the population extolling as they do on many occasions a karaoke form of talent. Not for me alas, I am sticking to what i love best!
February got me to my 59th birthday and sees me hanging on to my fifties with white knuckles. Yet with my head firmly swimming in the Topographic Ocean having earlier in life received a lot of Brain Salad Surgery resulting in massive bouts of Moonmadness. I now suffer to a certain degree of locked in syndrome. Yes indeed the engine seems OK, though the body work and transmission are well passed their best. My thought processes too are in a state of flux. As i get a little older i am beginning to see things, appreciate and dislike things in a different way. I appreciate talent in all quarters of life, appreciate what i have and those around me and even some of their opinions. I despise very little, though the one thing i am struggling with at the moment is greed. Having worked in the public sector for much of my working life with some amazing people i have become despondent with a small minority of the same people with whom i now work with in the private sector and totally lost faith in them. I simply can’t bring myself to believe that they are the same folks i have worked with for over thirty years. Their quest for wealth affects them in such away that they lose site of right and wrong, care and care less! Even to the point of abuse for customers and colleagues alike. This is of course reflected in a larger scale in what is going on in our country. Obscenely rich people living like kings whilst those on the the bread line attend food banks. Of course such a long cold grey winter and a nasty dose of flu doesn’t help to lighten the mood. After all, as Pink Floyd once informed us “there is no dark side of the moon, as a matter of fact it’s all dark”.
Worry not, i am climbing down from my soap box now. I share my views and feelings with you as i believe that during the slack period of appropriate new music i have been listening to some of my favourite albums with a different and perhaps a more Victor Meldrew attitude, though nowhere near that of Last Of The Summer Wine as that would have me considering a on way ticket to Zurich. Nostalgia aside, and hey, there’s no harm in that, i have been interpreting their lyrical content with my current state of mind and view of the world from my point of view and on some occasions simply the view from my window. As a consequence i will be playing some old, new and a little more recent music that reflect this on my show. It has been of great concern to me of late that i may be morphing in to a form which i have always despised, those broadcasters who live in the past. However, in my defence i enjoy giving new bands a voice more than ever and celebrating what i personally perceive to be great music, composing and songwriting which sometimes exceed my original mandate for which i offer no explanation or apology. Let us not forget that music chronicles your life. The good and the not so good sometimes and along with maturity comes the ability to look further into the music and get even more out of it. At a time when funding to the arts and public services are at crisis point there has never been a more important time to fully appreciate live events and the rich legacy we have been left by those departed and those struggling to enrich us with something new. Anyway, must dash i have medication to take and a Snow Goose to feed.
Why not listen in to my next show where i will be playing a few pieces that reflect the above rant. All in a light hearted way of course? Tune into ARFM Rock Radio, Sunday February 25th at 2pm till 4pm. Go on, yer know yer wonna!