Happy New Year, everyone
Back after a ten-day holiday at home/s on the Mainland, and back to the routine of work tomorrow.
Around the tail end of '13 I had more time to read (but only read, alas) some social media and in that time was surprised to read how rough last year had been on some of my friends - the number of times I saw iterations of the phrase "good riddance to a crap year" was... arresting.
For myself 2013 was just another year - altogether survivable, and mostly harmless. If anything it was an unproductive year, and that's not a good thing for most of us. I think as a species we have an innate urge to create in some form; even those who profess to not have an artistic bone in their body still follow some existential will to do something, maybe out of fear of doing nothing.
"The act of creation saves us from despair" goes a line in the song below, from an album I'm more than a little embarrassed to admit I didn't know had even been released until the end of year music overviews (it's not alone - the Chills released a single, 'Molten Gold' to coincide with Martin Phillipps' 50th birthday this year - whoosh over my head it went, but check it out - it's lovely). I'll return to Manic Street Preachers' Rewind the Film very soon, but for now here's the opening track This Sullen Welsh Heart, equal parts hope and despair, and a gorgeous and moving version it is. Taken from an intimate live performance on Later With Jools Holland it retains the studio version's guest talent of Lucy Rose and in its stripped-back sound is very indicative of the album in all. I picked the album (and Postcards From a Young Man, along with Wilco's Hotel Yankee Foxtrot) up on sale at the Warehouse in Timaru (a store whose sales have never let me down!) and am really looking forward to getting to know it better.
After this, some rewinding of my own with holiday-inspired entries, and some much-overdue painting updates. And to all of my splendid readers and friends out there, here's to a much more creative, enjoyable and prosperous year ahead...