Departure lounge ramblings on music, places, climate change and stuff outdoors

The Festive Fifteen 2017

Herewith markontour’s annual homage to John Peel – a round-up of the best songs released in the last twelve months, or at least the best that I have manage to hear at gigs, in record shops and, most frequently, on headphones at 35,000 feet. Available on YouTube and Spotify. Enjoy!

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The Fabulous Barr Brothers

Markontour had never heard of the Barr Brothers before their extraordinary gig at the Music Hall of Williamsburg last night. Now I’m sitting in La Guardia airport, mapping the intersections of my 2018 travel itinerary and their world tour.

A birthday postcard from Freemans

I was feeling a little homesick the other night. It was my Dad’s 75th birthday and the family were celebrating back home, while I was across the Atlantic in New York. Worse. But then, in Freemans, I met four friendly Australian artists on a gallery tour of the USA. Every night they gather to create beautiful postcards from the day’s ticket stubs, subway maps and restaurant menus to send back home. And so, while it will be arriving closer to Xmas than 30 November, my wonderful father now has a bespoke three-quarter-centenary card winging its way back to beer town. Happy Birthday Dad!

A hat restored

Thanks to the wonderful woman at Worth & Worth hatters, New York City, who restored my favourite pork-pie hat to full glory, after it was defiled by an airport security machine at Heathrow!

The John Bramwell approach

Last time markontour had the pleasure of catching John Bramwell at the Union Chapel he’d lost his front teeth and was singing with a lisp. A year later and our hero has his dentures back, although the set-list still seems to have been scrawled on the back of an envelope in the pub a few minutes before coming on stage and there are numerous pauses while he delves deep to remember which of three guitars is needed for which song. Apparently. It is hard to tell where the show stops and the real-life semi-functioning alcoholic musical savant begins. Nevermind, it’s a wonderfully entertaining night for us lucky audience members and Bramwell himself seems like the happiest person in the congregation.

Wolf Alice & a new vocabulary

Markontour is getting used to being in the older quartile of any given concert audience, but on the Overground to Ally Pally to see Wolf Alice last Friday I realised that most of the other gig-goers were still at school. In between discussing their university choices and what time they needed to be home, a mock argument broke out about who had bagged the most impressive selfie with a celebrity. A lad who had an Instagram account laden with images of himself sharing a beer with Theo from the nights headline act appeared to be top dog, until a girl casually mentioned that she had gained a hug from Jeremy Corbyn. Silence ensued for a second, followed by a chorus of “wow!” and general agreement that nothing could beat that.

Happy Happy Coma

After the disappointment of watching Wales lose to the All Blacks in a game of rugby that was enthralling despite the result, I needed to write something positive about the motherland while I wait for Ms Markontour to meet me at the Slaughtered Lamb for a bit of Saturday night indie-folk. So, six days late, here follows a homage to Euros Childs and his idiosyncratic gig last week at Hoxton’s Seabright Arms.