This year’s Festive Fifteen, my annual round-up of the best new songs I have had the pleasure of hearing this year, is the product of a multitude of influences. I discovered three of the artists at the wonderful Green Man Festival in Wales. Five tracks reached my ears courtesy of the ever-wonderful BBC Radio 6 (6 Music if you must). Only three were record shop recommendations, probably the smallest total in my decade of Festive Fifteens, and a sure sign that I am not spending enough time in those educational establishments. But that is balanced by the fact that I have enjoyed live shows by more than half of the featured artists – a very healthy state of affairs.
I had a litter picker for my birthday – the grabber thing that means you don’t have to bend down to pick things up. It’s not a sign of premature ageing (I’m still in my late youth, you know), but Ms Markontour had noted the rising frequency with which I come through the front door grumbling about all the mess in our street and decided to provide me with the means to do something about it. Today I tried it out for the first time and now Bakers Avenue is going to win Britain’s Cleanest Street!