My albums of 2021

All the albums I bought or acquired in 2021

My annual review of what I’ve most enjoyed listening to during the last 12 months, and my albums of the year.

  1. Mordred—The Dark Parade
  2. Sel Balamir—Swell (EP)
  3. Amplifier—Bonus EP (2004) / Glory Electricity (Sunset Version)
  4. Steven Wilson—The Future Bites
  5. Jerry Cantrell—Brighten
  6. Graeme Lamb—Winter Passing
  7. Gojira—Fortitude
  8. Mastodon—Hushed and Grim
  9. Charlie Benante—Silver Linings
  10. Sepultura—SepulQuarta

Honourable mentions:

  • Aporia—Internal Conflict
  • Exodus—Persona Non Grata
  • Iron Maiden—Senjutsu
Continue reading My albums of 2021

Do you have any sausages?

Illustration from Skip Hire UK

Back in 2006, I was living and working in London. I moved in to a flat in Camberwell with my friend Jonny, whom I had met in the National Youth Choir of Great Britain. Jonny was the organist at a church on Vauxhall Bridge Road and inevitably I tagged along and made that my church too.

One summer’s evening as we were walking back from church, we passed the Camberwell Evangelical Church. There was an evening service on as we could hear singing even if we couldn’t clearly see through the windows.

It seemed clear to us that they were doing some renovations as there was a yellow skip outside on the road, stacked high with debris. The skip was also on fire.

Continue reading Do you have any sausages?

NYCGB Alumni Christmas song

This has been the year for lockdown choirs and following the success of the National Youth Choir alumni’s Shenandoah project in June, we geared up in the autumn to produce something in time for Christmas.

Arranged by Louise Clare Marshall (whom many will have watched bringing in the new year last night on Jools Holland’s Annual Hootenanny), we held sectional rehearsals on Zoom in early November and videos were submitted during the final week of November, leaving about one month for our team of technicians to edit and mix the audio and video.

The video launched on Christmas Eve and, remarkably, we were featured at the end of the BBC News broadcasts that evening!

I’m so proud of what we have achieved. It’s not the same as standing in the same space and making music together but I’ll take it over nothing.

Thank you to all who were involved. To Louise, the section leaders, everyone who got involved, our wonderful team of audio and video engineers, and the rest of the NYCGB Alumni Champions Committee—some of my dearest friends in all the world.

Enjoy! And see if you can spot me on the video.

“Did you see the Bears game last night?”

Me and my friend DC in Berkeley, California on the NYC World Tour 1992

It’s 1992, the National Youth Choir of Great Britain are about five weeks into an eight week world tour and we’ve just arrived in Brisbane, on Australia’s east coast.

For most of the tour—don’t ask what happened in Sydney—we were relying on home-stay accommodation with local choirs and churches, mostly. The drill was the same whenever we rolled into a new city: drop off at a church or school, meet our hosts and then head back to theirs to settle in.

My best mate Danny and I were billeted together for the entire tour, so off we headed to our new host’s house in the outskirts of Brisbane.

Continue reading “Did you see the Bears game last night?”

NYCGB releases Spem in Alium (Tallis)

NYCGB, my second favourite choir* in all the world, has just released Spem in Alium by Thomas Tallis, conducted by Ben Parry.

As the email I received from NYCGB HQ this morning says,

Yes, Spem in Alium is that famous choral piece in forty parts, a Tudor titanic that still dwarfs most other English choral music half a millennium after its composition. But the truly remarkable thing about Thomas Tallis’s huge motet is that it manages to be intimate and personal, the full texture growing from and yielding to smaller-scale cameos. All the little details and the gradual shifts – and the climactic power – shine out from this new recording by the National Youth Choir, captured in the ideal acoustic of Tonbridge School Chapel.

If you are into early music, check it out, a blissful piece of choral music sung by a first class choir with that crystal clear NYCGB sound.

It is available (only £0.99) on:

  • My favourite choir is clearly the NYCGB alumni choir! 😉