A few days ago some of the people I follow on Twitter mentioned this project called Harkive. It was a project to allow as many people around the world to record the method of how they listened to music during one day – 9th July 2013. I thought it was an interesting idea and decided to participate so this is my musical journal for yesterday. It didn’t turn out as I intended at the start of the day.

8:30 am. Getting my son changed for school he asks to hear his favourite song of the moment – “Jai Ho” by AR Rahman and Pussycat Dolls. I find it on Rdio on a Marathon playlist and we dance around his bedroom as I plaster him in sun tan lotion.

11:00am. Scanning through my Twitter timeline I notice Norman Blake mention that he is playing Bristol tonight with Joe Pernice. After a bit of Googling I find details and sort out a ticket. Not what I expected to be doing on a Tuesday evening.

12:30pm. The next music I listen to is around lunchtime. I’m scanning through “New Releases” on Rdio on my phone and see a series of albums called “Computer Music” by Giorgio Tosi. I know nothing about this but give it a go. I have Initial misgivings caused by a slight lack of patience on my behalf but eventually I warm to this music – I may have to do some research here but given time these pieces really made a mark on me. Like a more avant-garde early 80s Tangerine Dream without the drum machines. Good background music as I tidy the house. Inobtrusive but interesting enough. The last piece I listen to – “Atlantis” – is a beautiful driftscape of chords and atmosphere. Definitely have to look further into that.

Early afternoon – open all the windows, let some air into the house while I spring clean the bedroom and play “Honey bee” by Moose. I’ll be writing about this later hopefully so won’t say too much here. Also getting a spin on my ipod are the “Bejoulais” EP by Butterfly Child and “Dog eat dog” by Adam and the Ants as I kill a few ants who have decided to make a camp somewhere in our front room. A quick walk to pick up my son from school is soundtracked by “Blight” by The Millenium, chosen from the ipod for being summery.

6:30pm – our son wants more music, this time streamed from my wife’s phone on Youtube so he can see the videos – “Jai Ho” again and “The Hardest Ever” by Will.i.am and J.Lo and M.Jag. Around 7pm I head off to Bristol with my ipod on shuffle. The songs played are:

“Whirlpool vision of shame” – Felt
“Philly” – Fluke
“Otherside” – The Apple
“Control freaks” – The Cloud Minders
“Blight” – The Millenium
“I will bring you this and that” – Blossom Toes
“Tangram 1” – Tangerine Dream

However I only play around five minutes of this as I miss a turning for a car park and end up in Clifton (it happens every time, you’d think I would learn) and need to concentrate to get back to the car park.

So into the Colston Hall – and may I say how lovely the Hall is, it’s been refurbished over the last few years and is now a fantastic venue inside and out. The support act is already playing – a Scot with an acoustic guitar and some rather nice songs. I think he trades under the name Blue Rose Code but I could be wrong. During the interval, the music played is:

“Black sands” – Bonobo
“You make no bones” – Alfie (thanks to Shazam for identifying the first two songs, I had no trouble with the rest.)
“State trooper” – Bruce Springsteen
“Ohio” – CSNY
“Wasn’t born to follow” – Byrds
“The wind cries Mary” – Jimi Hendrix Experience

Then Norman and Joe amble onstage and settle down with two acoustic guitars and a glockenspiel for a relaxed evening of music. They explain how their band The New Mendicants came about – they both moved to Canada after marrying Canadians – and how some of the new songs were planned for a Nick Hornby film but they were rejected. Shame. The songs flow back and forth between Norman and Joe, they harmonise on each other’s songs, the audience is respectful and you could hear a pin drop, it’s a lovely evening of two musicians having a huge amount of respect for each other’s talent and just having a blast playing some songs. Highlights for me – Norman playing “Did I say” which is a rare thing these days, Joe’s impassioned “Bum Leg”, lots of lovely new songs, an unexpected Zombies cover…the namecheck for Australian kiddies band The Wiggles, the little cheer for the Scud Mountain Boys, all in all an absolute pleasure of an evening. The set list goes like this:

Follow you down (new song – JP)/
Butchers tale (Zombies – JP)
Dark and lonely (new – NB)
Amazing glow (JP)
It’s all in my mind (NB)
Sarasoda (JP)
She’s gone (new song – JP)
You was me (a new Jonny song – NB)
There goes the sun (JP)
I don’t want control of you (NB)
Not the loving kind (JP)
Did I say (NB)
Bum Leg (JP)
Crunolla breakdown (JP)
Everything flows (NB)

The journey back home was interesting. Earlier this year a friend and I travelled to Bristol for another gig and his satnav took us back ‘the scenic route’ along the River Avon, under the Clifton Suspension Bridge and back to the M5. Amazingly so did my satnav yesterday. Soundtrack again provided by ipod on shuffle, and some damn fine driving music too.

“Tangram 1” – Tangerine Dream
“Evening gown” – The Left Banke
“Dolly” – The Sugargliders
“Paper sun” – Traffic
“Mr Farmer” – The Seeds
“Stay” – The Blue Nile
“Love in the city” – The Turtles
“Kopter” – Toy

So I arrived home around 11:30 and watched a bit of “The Wanted Life” with my wife so heard a horrible ‘acoustic’ version of their “All time low” to end the evening. And that was the 9th July.

Normal service shall be resumed shortly. More ramblings about the past and music I expect. I’ll probably be winding down this blog over the summer – family commitments during the school holidays make it hard to find the time to write – but hopefully I’ll be back in September. But before then, there’s a few more things I’ll write about.

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