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LTW newsletter 65

Like our long lost pagan brethren and their distinct ancestors, probably stretching back into generations of cold and damp humans and near humans huddled around smouldering fires, we close in on the wild celebrations of the shortest day and wave meekly at spring somewhere out there on the horizon.

We may now call this Xmas and, perhaps in the most bizarre bricolage of them all, somehow conflate a Middle Eastern profit called Jesus with pine trees, baubles and a chubby bearded man in a red suit and grey beard into one whole partially wholesome hoe down.

At the end of the day, which will also be the shortest day next week Christmas is a bacchanalian celebration of the somewhere on the horizon glimmers of spring and the twitching of life after the long dark march to the equinox. Even if we somehow also have it 4 days late on the 25th!

Music is deeply embedded in all of this and at one time would have been ribald mystical chants and clanking animal bone percussion and flutes (we need to hear this!) and the past few months have also been full of the stuff - the autumn is always the busiest gig month and there has been plenty of live action, new books and albums to write about and sadly a clutch of bad news as we inevitably lose a few more of our fellow musical warriors to the cruel passage of time.

We were alerted to a new book on Reni from the Stone Roses whose oddly patchwork career seemed to combine being at the centre of the action when the band ruled the roost 30 years ago and somehow as far away from it as you can possibly get. Like many super talented people, he always seemed disinterested in the flimsy vagrancies of being toppermost of the poppermost letting his talent speak for him.

And did it speak loudly!

Many still argue that he was the greatest drummer they ever saw - somehow combining a power with a swing and an outrageous rhythmic capability. Oddly so little has been written about him but a new book seeks to re-address this anomaly. (Opens in a new window)

At one time, the Stone Roses were the hottest band in the country - hitting the golden streak after a few years of underground graft. The same could be said of Dublin based outfit Lankum who are very much the band of 2023. Their new take on Irish folk and the left-field combine to make a brilliant music that is captivating and immersive and their gigs are something that is very special as we reported here. (Opens in a new window)

We were sorry to hear of the death of long time John Lydon manager John ‘Rambo’ Stevens. The pair had known each other since pre Pistols teenage fury  days and had been a tight-knit unit ever since. Many people who go to PiL gigs will know of Rambo as the intense figure standing to the stage of the stage repelling anyone who dares to clamber on the hallowed ground. (Opens in a new window)

We were also saddened to hear of the death of John Hyatt - the former singer from The Three Johns who finally succumbed to the cancer that he had battled to valiantly for a decade. In his later years, John was always a positive and inspiring figure and had dedicated himself to his art with a series of brilliant paintings that would seem to appear almost daily on the internet. Many will also remember those great shows and records with The Three Johns - one of the most loved of the British underground bands of the eighties and certainly a band that should have broken through if they could have been arsed with such frippery. (Opens in a new window)

It was also a shock to lose the great Benjamin Zephaniah who was one of those positive and heartwarming spirits who took what some people would perceive as radical ideas and make them feel warm and natural. He was a force of nature and a beautiful human being whose down-to-earth genius touched the hearts and souls of millions, as the reaction to his death showed. We interviewed Benjamin a few times and he was as endearing and inspiring as you would expect. (Opens in a new window)

The Queen of Pop, Madonna may have had a bumpy few years with injury and illness but she was on Amazonian form. Martin Matthews headed to London for Madonna’s penultimate European show and experienced a spectacular celebration of a groundbreaking 40-year career as she brought the stadium down with a perfect show of what still works as modern pop.  Our reviewer was thrilled by the material girl who was still doing the cosmic dance in her sixties - which we embrace as a victory. (Opens in a new window)

On his only UK date of the year; with Life from the Outside World, electronic pioneer Jeff Mills, the Wizard, the Man Who Wanted Stars, shows to Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall he has seen those worlds with the Hallé Orchestra beside him to prove so by Ryan Walker. (Opens in a new window)

As the year closes, we all tend to look back and try and make sense of the year that has just rushed by. One great snapshot of this is the lists that we make. While not totally scientific, they serve as a handy reminder of what we have just surged past and also as a reminder list of things we may have missed. After much deliberation and lots of work, we applied our arcane Byzantine and complex chemical formulae to our Albums Of The Year (Opens in a new window)

And whilst on high after working out the process also applied it to our photos of the year that had been on our site. (Opens in a new window)

And also our books of the year! (Opens in a new window)


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