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Please watch this video.

It’s amazing. She is amazing.

Adele – Someone Like You

I heard that you’re settled down
That you found a girl
And you’re married now

I heard that your dreams came true
I guess she gave you things
I didn’t give to you

Old friend why are you so shy
Ain’t like you to hold back
Or hide from the light

I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited
But I couldn’t stay away I couldn’t fight it
I had hoped you’d see my face and that you’d be reminded
That for me it isn’t over

Nevermind, I’ll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you too
Don’t forget me I beg
I’ll remember you say
Sometimes it lasts in love
But sometimes it hurts instead
Sometimes it lasts in love
But sometimes it hurts instead

You know how the time flies
Only yesterday was the time of our lives
We were born and raised in a summer haze
Bound by the surprise of our glory days

I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited
But I couldn’t stay away I couldn’t fight it
I had hoped you’d see my face and that you’d be reminded
That for me it isn’t over

Nevermind, I’ll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you too
Don’t forget me I beg
I’ll remember you say
Sometimes it lasts in love
But sometimes it hurts instead

Nothing compares
No worries or cares
Regrets and mistakes
They’re memories made
Who would have known
How bittersweet
This would taste

Nevermind, I’ll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you too
Don’t forget me I beg
I’ll remember you say
Sometimes it lasts in love
But sometimes it hurts instead

Nevermind, I’ll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you too
Don’t forget me I beg
I’ll remember you say
Sometimes it lasts in love
But sometimes it hurts instead
Sometimes it lasts in love
But sometimes it hurts instead

What can I say? I love Adele. I always have. Her debut album, 19, blew me away. Her second album, 21, is doing the same. This song floors me. Her voice floors me.

Adele’s performace of this song at The Brit awards was phenomenal. James Cordon (the host) said it perfectly – who needs fancy pyrotechnics and backing dancers when you have a voice and a talent like Adele.

On a more personal note I also love Adele because her album was number one the week my niece, Natalie, was born and I bought a copy of the album to give to her when she grows up. Natalie is turning three next Monday (WOW!) and Adele’s newest album is number one this year. I can see my “time capsule” for Natalie getting another addition.

Please watch the video. It’s amazing.

xo
A

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my favourite 10 albums of 2010

I’m sure you all figured it was coming – my countdown of which albums I liked most from 2010! (I can hear you all cheering in the background!)

I started with a list of 13 and I really thought it was going to be quite difficult to narrow it down to only 10 albums. Then, when I started doing some research, I found out that my numbers 9 and 10 were actually released in 2009! Now with a list of only 11 it was easy peasy pie.

Please find below, in reverse order, the list of my favourite albums from 2010. Everyone should listen to them immediately.

10. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
9. The Rifles – The Great Escape
8. The Boy Who Trapped the Sun – Fireplace
7. The Courteeners – Falcon
6. Tired Pony – The Place We Ran From
5. General Fiasco – Buildings
4. Two Door Cinema Club – Tourist History
3. The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang
2. Kings of Leon – Come Around Sundown
1. Frightened Rabbit – The Winter of Mixed Drinks

Other albums I listened to far too often in 2010 that were released in previous years (but that I only discovered in 2010) include:

The Gaslight Anthem – Sink or Swim & The ’59 Sound
Frightened Rabbit – The Midnight Organ Fight
The XX – XX
Band of Skulls – Baby, Darling, Doll Face, Honey

Opinions, please, but only if you agree with me! 🙂

xo
A

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a momentous event

Well, folks, I’m coming up on a milestone in my life. Some people count calories, some keep track of which Natural Wonders of the World they’ve seen (2), but I keep track of concerts.

Ever since the first concert I went to (12th March 1996, Red Hot Chili Peppers / Toadies at Gund Arena) I’ve kept track of every live show I’ve ever been to.

The momentous event is that tonight, December 31st 2010 will be my 300th gig. That’s right. THREE HUNDRED. So, to celebrate this, and in true OCD fashion, I would like to share a few facts relating to my illustrious career as a live music junkie.

concert tickets....concert tickets

The gold medal for band I’ve seen the most belongs to OK Go with a grand total of 50. Coming in second is Idlewild at 40 shows (40th tonight).

The most gigs I’ve been to in one year is 49 in 2005 (including 11 in October alone), and the least was in 2009 when I only saw three live shows (albeit very good ones).

The most popular month for gigs is statistically April with 41 total, and the least popular is June with only 12.

The most popular day of the (any) month is a tie between the 20th and the 21st at 16 gigs each.

I have ever only been to one gig on my birthday which was Idlewild at the Liquid Room in Edinburgh in 2007.

The farthest distance I have ever been from home is 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis, MN (OK Go 8th June 2002) at a total distance of 737 miles door to door. This is not, however, the longest single trip I’ve taken because the show in MN was sandwiched between two others (Chicago and Milwaukee).

The most one-way miles clocked up is a whopping 596 miles in one day which was the drive back to Cleveland on Easter Sunday 2003 from an Idlewild gig in Montreal, Canada. Including the drive from Cleveland to Toronto (to see Idlewild) to Montreal and back you have a complete round-trip of 1,234 miles.

My weekend at T in the Park in 2006 represents the most bands I’ve seen at one “gig” with 25 over three days.

The most I have ever paid for a ticket in to a single gig is probably Pearl Jam in 1996, but you’d have to ask my Mom how much it was exactly, because she bought my ticket for me at the door (and then stood outside for the whole concert waiting for me).

Some places I would never have seen were it not for the gigs I went to there include Bristol, UK, Coney Island, and Urbana, IL.

Some of the best memories:

Driving around New York City endlessly trying to find the hostel we’d booked into (Alison and I, Placebo/Idlewild May 2001) – finding someone to ask directions from who told me I wouldn’t need to worry about my car being stolen in that neighbourhood, but I would need to worry about the engine being stolen out of my car. We stayed at the Holiday Inn on Broadway instead, with secure, underground parking.

Arriving late to Cambridge, UK, (Alison & I, Placebo, October 2000) after a delayed train only to realise we’d missed the whole concert. Trying desperately to find somewhere to stay the night (Cambridge is HELL. Seriously. But with more bicycles…) and ending up at the most overpriced guest house either of us have ever stayed in.

The Monkees in Columbus with Alison & Sarah, March 2001. Peter Tork thinks we’re great.

OK Go at the Fireside Bowl in March 2002. Best venue, ever. Honestly, the place was an absolute mess. I was worried the ceiling was going to collapse.

Morrissey and The Libertines with Sarah at the Brixton Academy in November 2002. Because it was amazing.

Muse in Columbus with Alison, Sarah and Kristina in April 2005. It was a very small venue. They had their speakers set to “Glastonbury”. I was reduced to chewing up an old receipt from my bag and stuffing it into my ears to prevent them actually bleeding. The bass line altered my heartbeat. Very good but VERY loud.

The first time we saw Idlewild. They opened for Placebo at St Andrew’s Hall in Detroit, Michigan. We were a bit of a crowd, Alison, Sarah, Jeremy, Ryan and myself. One of the best nights of my life, hands down.

What can I say? I could go on and on. Do I remember every one of the 300 shows? (Well, 299 until after tonight!) Yes, I do. Maybe because I’ve written them all down to remind myself I was there in the first place. I love live music, I always have. I was hooked from the get-go and I’ve not slowed down yet.

I have met some folks I will always remember and some I will always love. I have made friends, lost friends, fallen in and out of love with bands, listened to some albums so much that the sound of them will forever be imprinted on my soul, and my quest to follow music over the miles has instilled in me a great love of the open road.

I do understand that I am very lucky. I can’t imagine any better hobby to have. I can’t imagine anything I’d rather have spent all those hours, miles and dollars on. 300 gigs in 14 years? Yes, I am certainly very lucky.

Tonight, the last night of 2010, my 40th Idlewild gig and my 300th ever gig, is going to be a amazing night. It can’t not be.

Here’s to the next 300!

xo
A

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my favourite christmas carols

Keep Calm and Carol On - Craftily Ever After

It is not a secret that I love Christmas carols. In fact, those I live/work with would probably protest that I like them a little too much. Be that as it may, I thought I would take a moment to list my absolute favourites. For no other reason than to give me something to post about, which is tough at the moment because I am so busy that I have nothing to actually talk about!

My very favourite religious Christmas song is “Oh, Holy Night”. There are many ways this song can be sung however I happen to appreciate a candlelit church at midnight on Christmas Eve. Perhaps tied with “Silent Night”.

My favourite traditional Christmas carol is “Good King Wenceslas”. This must be sung with gusto and fervour. The best version is by The Cleveland Orchestra, although if you are willing to channel the spirit of Bean Bunny from The Muppet Christmas Carol then be my guest (at about 3:45 on this video).

My favourite religious popular culture Christmas song is “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”, which will forever remind me of Mickey Rooney in the film of the same name. Fabulous.

My favourite non-religious popular culture Christmas song is “Fairytale of New York” by the Pogues  I probably hear this song  upwards of 100 times a season, but it still gives me goose bumps. If you have never heard it before then go and listen right away. Be warned, though, it’s not safe for work!

The saddest Christmas song of all time is “Christmas Shoes”. I think I may only have heard it once, but much like Marley’s ghost, it haunts me to the core. Whose idea was it to write such an awful, depressing song for Christmas? Sheesh!

My favourite comedic Christmas song is “A Christmas Carol” by Tom Lehrer. “It doesn’t matter how sincere it is, nor how heart-felt the spirit, sentiment will not endear it, what’s important is The PRICE!”

My favourite parody is “The Twelve Pains of Christmas” by Bob Rivers  – “One light goes out they ALL go out!!!” Cracks me up.

And, of course, I would be crazy to end a post about Christmas songs without mentioning my love of “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” (The Irish Rovers, please) and, the most annoying Christmas song that somehow doesn’t annoy me, “I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas”.

So, let’s have it, then. Which songs get you humming along? Which tunes get your toes tapping? Is there a carol that causes you to lunge for the radio to switch stations the second it comes on? Do you feel your holiday season is incomplete without listening to any one particular song?

Here’s wishing you a melodious holiday season!

xo
A

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dear joel

Take all your chances while you can
You never know when they’ll pass you by.
~ “Chances”

Dear Joel (& Athlete),

Regarding our conversation outside the ABC in Glasgow last night

You may remember me as the American in the red jacket, or perhaps as the girl with the unmistakable air of lunacy about her. I can assure you that I am, most of the time, actually pretty sane. I am also, on occasion, able to form complete sentences and even string them together into what could be considered a conversation. I apologise, I don’t know what got into me – I think it may have been early stages of frostbite!

The point of all of this is that yes, I did wait in the snow and bitter cold for 1 ½ hours last night just for the opportunity to tell you my story. The way I figure, I’ve been waiting for over 4 years; a few extremely cold minutes weren’t going to stop me in the end. So, considering the wait and my determination you think I could have told you the story I’ve been wanting to tell. I fear I failed here, but I did try. I am very glad I waited to speak to you. I am very glad that I met you. You are as kind as I hoped; not to mention humble. The story, though, the story was lacking. To make up for that, this is how it should have gone:

In May of 2005 my friend and I made the 5-hour trip across from Cleveland to Chicago to see you play live. The finer details of the evening are mostly lost, having been eclipsed by what happened after, but I do remember that you were bang on form and I was very glad we’d come.

Sometime during your set (and I don’t know why, which makes the story even more compelling, perhaps the lack of a why is the real moral…) and completely out of the blue I was overcome with a need to call my grandmother. Something in your voice or in the lyrics to the songs… Whatever it was, whatever the why, the songs you were playing compelled me to action. Which song was it? I can’t say. Maybe “Wires”, although I like to think my subconscious mind is a little less obvious. My most likely guess is “Chances”. Either way, after you finished your set, off I went to the lobby to call my grandmother. The contents of our (quite lengthy) conversation are mostly personal, but we said we loved each other and to take care and, most importantly, we ended with goodbye.

Just come back for one day
‘Cause there’s so much I never got to say
Just come back for one day
So I can remember your face
~ “Lay Your Head”

This conversation would turn out to be the last time I ever spoke to my grandmother. Without you it never would have happened. There may not be many things in life I am certain of, but this is one of them. Who knows why? If I hadn’t been at your show, if I hadn’t been really listening to you guys that night, then I wouldn’t have had that last conversation.

All of this is a round about way of saying thank you. Really and truly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. My grandmother was one of the most important people in my life and thanks to you, although I didn’t know it at the time, we got to say goodbye.

I’ve been racing the clock and I’ve run out of steam;
I am ready for my final symphony.
Oh, my body is weak, but my soul is still strong;
I am ready to rest in your arms.

And the rain beat down on the rooftops:
But there was no sound, there was no sound.
And all my friends and family carried me,
They carried me home, carried me home.
~ “Black Swan Song”

I’d also like to express my thanks to you for the comfort your songs provided me with over the crazy days that followed. Music means different things to different people at different times in their lives. What I needed that horrible May in 2005, was Tourist. I used that album to effectively drown out the worst of the grief and focus instead on memories, something I fear I would have been unable to do without your songs.

So, there you have it. My thank you. I hope you enjoyed the show last night in Glasgow. I can’t decide which I enjoyed most: your conversation with the fan who travelled THROUGH BIG SNOW TO SEE YAS or the part where the audience wouldn’t stop singing long enough to let you sing your own songs. It was an excellent set. It was the sixth time I’ve seen you live and every time gets better. So, thank you for that as well.

Thank you for stopping to talk to me. I really did enjoy our chat last night even though I bolloxed my story. Thanks for the hug, too, I hope you didn’t catch my frostbite! I’m looking forward to the next time you come to Glasgow, maybe by that time I’ll have mastered the art of conversation. Or maybe even just “hello”.

Very Sincerely,
Allison

p.s. I’m sorry there’s no photos of the others – they were all blurry and indecipherable, so I didn’t post them. I did take loads, though…

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I fretted and fretted about which song to feature this week. Was I going to do another one by Two Door Cinema Club in honour of their (very good) concert last week? What about something by the Barenaked Ladies in anticipation of the gig we’re going to on Friday at the Academy? I could not decide. Then something happened which made both artists slip completely from my mind. What could this be? you ask, what remarkable event could possibly have occurred to throw me off my path?

Well, OK Go have released a new video, of course!

OK Go

Yes, I know, another post about them. Yes, I know, another link to another of their videos. But, really, can you blame me? The answer is NO, no you can’t. Why not? Because they are wonderful guys who make fantastic music and ridiculously, ridiculously awesome videos, that’s why!

So, happy Tunesday. And to the boys; well done.

The song: White Knuckles

The band: OK Go

We all know I can’t say enough good things about these guys. It’s true, I love them. Although I did promise myself years ago that I wouldn’t turn into one of those fans that’s just a nodding, smiling face who repeats “Oh, yeah, it was great…” over and over again no matter what, and I am proud to say I have remained true to this promise. To prove it; I have a very vivid memory of Tim’s reaction when I told him I thought the new album was “a grower”! But I also can say that I really do think everything they’ve released has been great. Beyond great in a lot of cases, actually. So when they released a new video yesterday I approached it with some trepidation afraid they would fall short of their extremely high mark (even though I had four very emphatic assurances that it is the best one yet). I am happy to report they did not.

This video is great (smile, nod, nod), not only is it highly entertaining, it’s already viral AND it promotes animal rescue efforts. Honestly, what more could you expect four guys to do in 3 minutes and 36 seconds?

It may not have the immediate mind status = blown that their video for “This Too Shall Pass” has, but it did make me want to a) buy their album [again], b) shop in IKEA and c) adopt [quite] a few dogs.

So – if you are not already one of the million (plus) people who has viewed the video since it’s release yesterday, do yourself a favour and go watch it now. Then buy their album(s). Then head directly out to your nearest animal shelter and adopt a dog or two, provided you are able to love and take care of them properly. Allergic to dogs? Animal shelters have all sorts of pets – go on down and see if they have something you like. Provided you can take care of them properly. (disclaimer!)

And most importantly go and see these guys perform live; it may just change your life. It certainly changed mine. Oh, and while you’re there – say hello from me.

White Knuckles by OK Go

You’ll never get that taste, out of your mouth
You’ll never get the paw prints, out of the hen house now
And you can’t go back, same way you came
Round all the pieces up, but they just don’t fit the same

White knuckles
Maybe it’s not so bad
So let your hair down now

White knuckles
Yeah maybe it’s not so bad
Aww go ahead and let it down

So come and let it all out, let it bleed
Did you get what you want? Did you get what you need?
Behind the lines, behind the walls
Tell me what’s the bet you made, was it that bad after all?

White knuckles
Yeah maybe it’s not so bad
So let your hair down now

White knuckles
Aww maybe it’s not so bad
Just let it all come down now

So just have fun, it’s far enough
Everybody needs to sleep at night, everybody needs a crutch
But couldn’t good, be good enough?
Cause nothin’ ever doesn’t change but nothin’ changes much

Yeah, maybe it’s not so bad
So let your hair down now
White knuckles

Aww maybe it’s not so bad
Just let it all come down now

Yeah maybe it’s not so bad
Just let your hair come down now

Oh maybe it’s not so bad
Just let it all come down

Congratulations on another scorcher, boys, you’ve done very well. One of my favourite tracks on Of the Blue Colour of the Sky and another video that makes me wish I lived in the future and could receive YouTube transmissions directly to my retinas (sorry, am I taking it a bit too far?).

xo
A

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no internet

I think this might be what a drought feels like.

The internet at our house is broken. The internet on my phone is unreliable. The internet at my work is inaccessible. 

Therefore I am without internet.

Strangely I am enjoying it a little. (a very, very little)

If I did have the internet I would be researching U.S. Route 66. Just a side note.

I would also be posting a link-rich post about this week’s choice for Tunesday.  As it stands, however, I am simply going to give you the artist and song title. You all have internet (or you wouldn’t be here) so you’ll have to look it up for yourself.

Think of it as me sending you on an adventure…NO, a QUEST.

Yes, I am sending you on a QUEST. From my mobile phone’s unreliable internet connection. Because I love you all that much.

This week’s Tunesday: Old Old Fashioned by Frightened Rabbit. 

Once you listen to it my choice will be quite obvious!  Enjoy your QUEST!!

xo
A

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