STATE OF THE ART

Perhaps it is a good idea to reflect a bit on 2011, before we head full force into the abyss that is 2012. I’m sure you’re all aware that in 2012 the world will come to an end, which, taking everything into consideration, is perhaps not such a bad idea after all.

Musically 2011 was a very fine year. Even though Beequeen didn’t play live as much as I would have wanted, the Lux in Wonderland performance in May 2011 with Use of Ashes and Legendary Pink Dots, turned out to be a very special evening indeed. October saw the release of the Port Out Starboard Home CD by Beequeen, which I am well pleased with. October also saw a brief tour of Russia (taking in Moscow, St Petersburg and Yaroslavl), with shows by Beequeen and Wander, which to me was the musical highlight of the year for which I thank everyone involved!

2011 brought me a few records I’d been after for ages: a copy of Psychopathia Sexualis by Whitehouse, an original tape copy of Chemical Playschool volume 1 by the Legendary Pink Dots (hand made in an edition of 25 copies in 1981), an original tape copy of the Led Zeppelin tape by the Deep Freeze Mice, an original pressing of Nurse With Wound’s first album Chance Meeting, a copy of All That I Am by Kit Ream from the 70s and a few others. There were also amazing and rare Japanese records by the likes of Mari Sono, Itoh Kiyoko, Mari Atsumi, Tachida Uchida and two utterly beautiful 10 inch albums by Matsuo Kazuko, which brought me lots of audio joy. Not to mention some other rare Japanese pressings I got in 2011; the first album by Paul McCartney on gorgeous red vinyl, the first album by Lou Reed, a Japanese promo copy of his Metal Machine Music 2LP and, on the verge of the new year, an original 1968 red vinyl Japanese press of the Beatles’ White Album and an original 1966 red vinyl Japanese press of Revolver.

Musical discovery of the year to me was the album God Help The Girl. Released in 2009, it had eluded me until some months ago when I bought a copy cheap because I liked the cover. The album is basically the work of Belle and Sebastian’s vocalist/guitarist Stuart Murdoch. Working here with guest musicians and vocalists like Celia Garcia,  Brittany Stallings and especially Catherine Ireton (whose voice knocked me backwards), Murdoch created a wonderfully intimate, funny, intelligent and gorgeous album. God Help The Girl: remember the name, buy the album!

I was able to buy a few personal items (sunglasses and two bracelets) from the legacy of Rozz Williams, who has always fascinated me as a person as well as a musician.

Beam ends records and tapes released Back To Life The Deep Freeze Mice; a single by Bat Cigarette and At Home At Last; a tape by Freiband. Wander released a tour 3 inch CDR on Moll and Zo Volhardend De Dagen, a track under my own name for the Achteradem project by Frank Anthony van Alphen, was finally released on CDR. Both a Beequeen and a very nice Wander track were released on the compilation cassette “The Many Names of Frans de Waard” by, you guessed it, Frans de Waard.

In 2011 I finally met Alan Jenkins of the Deep Freeze Mice in person. I have known Alan for a long time, but we were finally able to shake hands at the VRIL performance in Nijmegen. Coincidentally, our meeting was close to the publication date of the feature I wrote on the Mice for Record Collector magazine. Speaking of reading: this year I read quite a few books. Most impressive were Tennessee Williams’ Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Colin MacInnes’ Absolute Beginners and After Dark and 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. The last two books were very intense but beautiful reading; I finished 1Q84 on the last day of the year. I’m sure there must be some significance in that…

When it comes to movies I quite enjoyed Get Low, The Artist, Black Swan, Midnight In Paris and, first and foremost, The King’s Speech. I readily admit I enjoyed the final part of Harry Potter and Pirates Of The Caribbean as well.

For some reason I did not visit a lot of live performances in 2011, though I very much enjoyed seeing the B Movie Orchestra play live in September.

Personally speaking 2011 has been a fine year as well. Miranda and I are keeping very well, enjoying life, dancing Argentinean tango and each other. Only the Mayans know what the New Year will bring us, but allow me to wish you all – for as long as it lasts – a very happy one!

This website had nearly 3000 unique visitors in 2011… wow – thanks!

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