The Badger’s Top 8 Of 2015
It’s December again, and the world is just as fucked as ever. Possibly slightly more, possibly slightly less. I guess it’s easy to lose track of these things without an ordered list to tell you what to think. Having been precariously perched on the 2015 bar stool for quite some time now, we’ll soon be staring down the menacing barrel of 2016. So how best to celebrate yet another successful orbit around the Sun?
We thought about publishing an objectively correct ranking of the year’s best records. But sadly we couldn’t get hold of any doof doof scientists to determine what the metrics should be. Instead, we’ve fallen back on our Top 8 Whatevers. You know the score – our trusted team of R$N scribes pitch in with lists of music they’ve enjoyed, petty grievances they want to air, obscure interests they want to highlight. Basically whatever’s on their mind. Let’s do this. Here's The Badger's Top 8 of 2015…
POACHER TURNED GAMEKEEPER
Or gamekeeper turned poacher. I used to only employ them but I have now joined the ranks of them. Kind of.
Starting DJing with my Brother has been a revelation. I never expected to enjoy it as I was always convinced that people would be cruel about my selections. Sometimes they are, like the time a girl asked me, "Are you going to play anything happy today?" (This after I had been playing an hour of Reggae!) But then it's also been a nice surprise to see people enjoying a bit of Suicide poolside at Pikes On Sundays.
I read most of the books that came out after his death as soon as they hit the streets. I was one of those people who grew up listening to him and were deeply moved on hearing of his death. I then forget just how important he had been to the musical landscape of Britain and beyond.
My mate Dave bought me a book recently – Good Night And Good Riddance – as way of thank you for being a friend (nice chap Dave) and it's basically an analysis of his shows from inception to his last, outlining sessions, who he favoured and the inner workings of his mind according to the author David Cavanagh who must have spent years going over his old shows and track listings and what not. A true labour of love that had me trawling the inter web looking for said Peel Sessions.
Peel was the kind of fellow to inspire the anal amongst us to collect. I have my own dusty haul as evidence but thankfully in this modern day and age collecting Peel can be done digitally. And lucky for us one particular kind soul has uploaded a veritable treasure trove of Peel. Close to 600 Peel Sessions to be exact.
Happy listening HERE.
PIKES HOTEL AT IBIZA ROCKS HOUSE
Keeping it real on Ibiza is not easy at the moment and the lack of Balearic spirit is very evident at the moment. In fact outside of Pikes it's pretty much invisible. The guys at Pikes live the dream and are happy to share their intimate space with you if you fit the bill. Pop up parties aplenty through the summer season and they even managed to pull in Harvey for his well publicised summer residency. Iconic poolside fun for the (slightly) older generation of Rock "N" Rollers seven days & nights a week.
CROATIA IS NOT THE NEW IBIZA
I had read that Croatia was the new Ibiza and this saddened me. I went to Croatia and it's not. It's fuck all like Ibiza. It's lazy journalists being lazy.
I'm sure there are more "touristy" parts to the country like the Isle of Pag that could well be, well, touristy, but why paint the whole country with this broad brush stroke? Laziness is all I can think. The Croatia that I have experienced this past two summers has been nothing short of fabulous. Almost quaint, with a welcome naivety in the locals I've not witnessed, well, ever before at a holiday destination. Lot's of great festivals going on in Tisno this year. Take your pick, there's something for everyone. Attention to detail is key to the promotions on board and the musical programming rivals the worlds best festivals. In a unique boutique setting.
Nothing beats an afternoon spent with cash in your pocket browsing round a good record shop and whenever I get the chance that's where you'll find me. Living on Ibiza offers me few opportunities to do this unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) and Bandcamp's the best next thing. It's better in fact as all the money goes to the artist. I know I'm probably preaching to the faithful here and that I'm a really late adopter but hey, whatever.
Plenty websites out there happy to point you in the direction of "this months best Bandcamp finds" but luckily me and the guys that run the show have a very similar taste and I find their weekly radio show to be most informative. Of course listening in and following a few suggested links inevitably leads me down the proverbial rabbit hole of discovery and I can spend full days listening to the latest black grindcore deathmetal doom merchants from Cambodia quite happily. And often that's enough, my urge to splurge is sated and no money has passed hands and I still have room to move about the house without knocking over piles of gloomy music I'm not likely to ever listen to again.
Eight or nine years ago when we first moved into our new home a friend bought us – after asking me what I'd like – a slow cooker as a housewarming present. It then sat gathering dust in a cupboard in the kitchen narrowly missing being thrown out on a few occasions since. It's not that I had had a momentary lapse in reason in asking for something I never had intention of using it's just it never seemed like a good occasion to make gallons and gallons of slow cooked stew. How foolish I was.
I recently dug it out of the dark corner it had somehow slipped into and blew off the dust, threw some gnarly looking beef and bits and bods I'd found knocking about the place, carrots, onions, bit of bacon and some red wine and left it on for the next six hours. And fuck me of it didn't create the best thing I've eaten in years! It's amazing. It can cook anything better than anybody else can. And I do consider myself to be fairly good in the kitchen department. If you like your meat falling off the bones, if you like your curry of the dry meat variety, if you like soup with the depth (in flavour) of the deepest ocean, slow cookers are for you.
It's always going to be in any list of my favourite things and the choices and places to listen to it are far too numerous to ever list comprehensively so let's just say music. It's been another great year to listen to newly discovered music, it's been another great year to listen to old favourites. I've met some new people who have turned me on to their favourite music and I in turn have done the same to others. I've been to some great shows in some fine venues and I've heard great things in places I was not expecting to. That's the thing, it's omnipresent if you are prepared to have open ears and be a little adventurous.
Most of the ones I've met this year have been pretty cool and I'm starting to feel like I like them again. Had a few years back there where I really doubted it but things have been looking up. So, more of the same next year please. Smile, be nice to each other, say hello to strangers from time to time, get out more, say yes more than no and enjoy the year ahead of you.