My Musical Highlights of the Year
My Musical Highlights of the Year Gerry Hassan Bella Caledonia, 17 December 2021 This year in music does seem to have been incredibly long, with what I was grooving to at the start of the year seems eons ago. Part due to COVID and the lack of live music, and part it being a year of two halves - one in Glasgow, one in Kirkcudbright – with the resulting upheaval of moving a lifetime’s worth of music. Without further ado, here are my best new albums of the year, best reissues and older albums that I have turned to for
The Beatles, ‘Get Back’ and the Britain of 1969 and the Present
The Beatles, ‘Get Back’ and the Britain of 1969 and the Present Gerry Hassan Scottish Review, 1 December 2021 The Beatles still fascinate, mesmerise and speak to us – a timeless phenomenon from post-war British society and another age and world. Peter Jackson’s opus ‘The Beatles: Get Back’ - released last week on Disney+, an eight-hour extravaganza of the band in three parts – shows their work and different personalities up close in an unprecedented fly in the wall film that drew from 56 hours of footage and 150 hours of audio tape. The result is spell-binding and transfixing, inviting
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Looking back on the Scotland of 1979 and past visions of the future
Looking back on the Scotland of 1979 and past visions of the future Gerry Hassan Scottish Review, 24 August 2021 Last week I was speaking to a close friend about some of the big things in life - family, childhood, growing up, parents – and the impact all these have on who you become and how you remember and interpret the past. I recalled a photo of myself aged 15 in my home in Edzell Court, Ardler, Dundee (see above) which I had used to illustrate an article in the past year. Sitting on my bedroom floor, I was happy
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Jeremy Corbyn, Tony Blair and Keir Starmer and when was Britain’s Golden Age?
Jeremy Corbyn, Tony Blair and Keir Starmer and when was Britain’s Golden Age? Gerry Hassan Scottish Review, April 8th 2020 Every society has a golden age – often mythical, but with some relationship to events and reality. In Britain, this is often continually referenced as World War Two, ‘the Blitz spirit’ and Dunkirk – all much in evidence in recent weeks in the face of coronavirus. Other stories are available but get less coverage and mileage. One is that of ‘the swinging sixties’ and the Beatles; another is the idea (floated by the New Economics Foundation) that 1976 was the
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The Beatles, the Sixties and what happens to music after the virus?
The Beatles, the Sixties and what happens to music after the virus? Gerry Hassan Sunday National, April 5th 2020 Next Thursday one of the landmark anniversaries of popular music and culture occurs: the 50th anniversary of the public break-up of the Beatles when Paul McCartney broke the unexpected news. The dreams and hopes of a huge swathe of young people and generation who had grown up with the Beatles as the world around them dramatically changed would never be the same again. Leaving aside that the Beatles had to all intents already broken up before McCartney’s announcement, but not made
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Gerry’s Favourite Music of the Decade
Gerry’s Favourite Music of the Decade Gerry Hassan January 3rd 2020 My countdown of the grooves I was listening to over the past decade. First, this is my chart so the criterion is mine alone! It is dominated by new things from the last ten years, but includes compilations, reissues and even a few albums from previous decades. Second, nearly as important as what is in a looking back exercise such as this is what is missing. Thus, even though this is a fairly eclectic list it consciously has no Beyonce, Kayne West (his early promise degenerating into celebrity Trump
Cultural Highlights of the Decade
Cultural Highlights of the Decade Gerry Hassan Sunday National, December 29th 2019 MUSIC Elza Soares, The Woman at the End of the World/A Mulher do Fim do Mundo, Mais Um Discos 2016. Brazilian music - from bossa nova to Tropicalia and present sounds – has always been a passion of mine. Elza Soares is a Brazilian national treasure and inspiration who was born in poverty in one of Rio’s favelas. She has had huge commercial success and now in her 80s a couple of years ago decided to make a contemporary album. This is no nostalgic act or even Rick
My Favourite Books of 2019
My Favourite Books of 2019 Gerry Hassan December 22nd 2019 This is a list of my favourite books of the year. It is the fifth year in a row I have done this – and undertaken separate book and music lists – the latter coming in the next day. It is a totally subjective and idiosyncratic list: made up things I have read, come across, been involved in or inspired by and which have stopped me and made me think. The biggest reason I do these lists is for my own enjoyment: looking back and reflecting on reading and listening,
Who postponed the future? Why the power of nostalgia can hurt us all
Who postponed the future? Why the power of nostalgia can hurt us all Gerry Hassan Scottish Review, April 30th 2019 Last week I attended a talk about one of the seminal bands of late 1970s Britain - Joy Division - where the author and cultural commentator Jon Savage discussed at an event run by Monorail, a wonderful independent record shop in the centre of Glasgow, the band, their music, originality and enduring influence. It was a mesmerising talk about the power of music, importance of place and of Britain - both in the late 1970s and now. In one observation,
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The Future has been Postponed: Making Sense of the Age of Nostalgia
The Future has been Postponed: Making Sense of the Age of Nostalgia Gerry Hassan Scottish Review, May 9th 2018 Nostalgia is everywhere. The past seems all around us – alive, noisy, ever-present, and more relevant and dynamic than the voices of today and the concerns of tomorrow. Take a couple of examples. The British Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn seems to define its moral compass through a host of reference points from its past - from Keir Hardie to 1945. Then there is the regressive radicalism and conservatism of Brexit. And less seriously, there is how popular culture increasingly re-presents
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