MY YEAR IN MUSIC 2016December 16th 2016 2016 will be certainly be remembered as a year and for more important things than music. But it was also a year of musical genius and of great losses – which words are not adequate to describe. Without further to do my musical highs: MY BEST ALBUMS
David Bowie – Black Star
A magnificent goodbye. Bowie’s best album since the early 1980s. Not easy listening and with added pathos.
Nino Katamadze and Insight – Yellow
A Georgian Goldfrapp – only more melodic without losing the experimental
What do we do with lives and dreams after shopping?Gerry HassanThe Scotsman, January 19th 2012 Another tottering titan fell this week with HMV going into administration. It is the latest in a long line of retail closures: Jessops, Blockbusters, Comet, JJB Sports. This is part of a powerful challenge to the high street, to Britain’s sense of itself and its town centres, and in the case of HMV, the music industry, coming after the closure of Virgin, Zavvi and Tower Records. These stories are usually imbued with a golden sense of nostalgia, people fondly remembering their youth and
A Short List of Things I Love About Living in Modern ScotlandGerry HassanAugust 26th 2010 Years ago – inspired by the ending of ‘Manhattan’ the film – I wrote a list of over twenty things that made feel glad to be alive. Woody at the end of the film – feeling down in the dumps – cites a load of things that make life worth living; I cant remember if like me he cited Frank’s voice, but I feel he did in spirit, and can still recall him mentioning Louis Armstrong and other jazz references. That list got
It’s More than a Ball Game: Scottish Football and CultureGerry HassanFebruary 14th 2010 The state and importance of Scottish football both fascinates and repels large parts of Scotland – but there can be little doubt that the condition of the game and how we see it throws light on Scottish culture and society. In the last week, I have watched Motherwell v Rangers and Aberdeen v Celtic live on TV, and went to the St. Johnstone v Dundee United cup tie. Taking all three of these together gives a number of pointers about the health of the game.
Against all the Odds: The World of the Small Scottish Football TeamGerry HassanFebruary 11th 2010 It is week three and sadly the final week of Jonathan Meades strange, fascinating and somewhat magical series on Scotland, ‘Off Kilter’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00mwqvq/Jonathan_Meades_Off_Kilter_Episode_3/ This week his theme is the inviting subject of ‘The Football Pool Towns’, addressing small towns, hopes and Scotland through the world of football. This short series has illustrated how it is possible to tell stories of Scotland, and address supposedly familiar subjects in new, imaginative ways. In so doing it has exposed the chasm of aspiration at the
It’s Good to have Gil Back!Gerry HassanFebruary 8th 2010I come from a broken home She had more then the five senses She knew more then books could teach And raised everyone she touched just a little bit higher And all around her there was a natural senseGil Scott-Heron, ‘On Coming From a Broken Home (Part One)’ Today sees the release of Gil Scott Heron’s new album, ‘I’m New Here’, his first release in sixteen years, and only his second collection in twenty-eight years (1). And boy does it feel that
Football Creep and the Dumbing Down of MediaGerry HassanFebruary 6th 2010 It has been an historic day across a range of huge political issues: the resolution of the Northern Ireland impasse between Sinn Fein and the DUP, the public shame of criminal charges against MPs and a peer, BAE Systems paying back millions after the kickbacks it paid for contracts, and of course, John Terry standing down as England captain. On a day I spent the afternoon interviewing fellow blogger Tom Harris, Labour MP for Cathcart, in the Queen’s Park FC boardroom, I know that football matters. The
The Glorious World of Scottish Football CommentaryGerry HassanFebruary 1st 2010 I am still recovering from the amazing experience of being at Rugby Park and the crazy world of last Saturday’s Kilmarnock v. Dundee United match. A gorgeous Scots winter day for a start; it has taken me thirty years of football-watching to see a 4-4 draw and honestly it could have been much higher. United were 3-1 up after 35 minutes and looked like they would score a barrowload, and then when Killie fought back, aided by United kamikaze defending, and went 4-3 ahead in the
Scotland as a Magical, Foreign Land:Jonathan Meades Off-Kilter Guide to ScotlandGerry HassanJanuary 28th 2010 I have just watched the first part of Jonathan Meades three part series on Scotland on BBC Two, late Wednesday night, 11.20-12.20 available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00ml5wx/Jonathan_Meades_Off_Kilter_Episode_1/, and was astounded by the sheer brilliance and aplomb of it on every level. Here was an hour-long programme about Aberdeen and its architecture. An hour-long programme about Aberdeen which was compelling, challenging, deeply serious and yet with a rich undertow of humour. An hour about Aberdeen with no Aberdonians, no talking heads, no stupid vox
The Nation of Imagination: The Slow Birth of Creative ScotlandGerry HassanThe Scotsman, January 28th 2010 Tomorrow a long run Scottish soap opera reaches a new stage. I am not talking about BBC’s ‘River City’, but the appointment of the chief executive of Creative Scotland, the new quango bringing together the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen. It has been a long and painful birth. Creative Scotland was like many things not originally an SNP idea, instead stemming from Scottish Labour with its genesis a concept coming from UK New Labour thinking. Many pinpoint long gone Culture Minister Mike