The Food Of Love

I’ve not had any time to write a blog in a little while despite having a lot of thoughts about things. That is, things I feel I should impose on anyone who really has nothing better to do with their time than read my occasional blogs, rather than just things. I’ve had lots of thoughts on things very few have any need or interest to know about. A large portion of today has already been spent just musing on how to eat a stupidly massive wheel of brie we have in the fridge. For any of you who are concerned or engaged by this sort of chat, I’ve decided the answer is: all at once.

So rather than try and backtrack on all the serious things that bothered me in the past month or so, the general injustices of the world I naively assumed that a few words from me might contribute to the situation or anything actually life changing, here instead is a blog on music. I’ve finally got a few days over this Christmas period to do absolutely nothing and aside from recovering from eating a wheel of cheese, I’m going to enjoy listening to a lot of music I’ve either missed or not had enough time for this year. Currently as I type this I’m listening to Olof Arnalds gently beautiful  ‘Olof Sings’ EP should you wish to join in.

I’ve met people who say they ‘aren’t into music’ a few times in my life. I have learned over years to understand and respect various differences in opinion over religion, politics, how to eat a big wheel of brie, but this is my empathetic stumbling block. I cannot fathom not being a music person. I can understand not liking types of music or certain acts. I’ve grown out of saying I dislike entire genres after learning that there is always someone who will play that type of music in a way that makes it brilliant. Someone who’ll bring something new. I insisted as a young teenager that country music was awful and then was politely introduced to Jonny Cash and felt like an idiot. This year alone I’ve had so many moments where a piece of music, a track I love or one I’ve just been introduced to, has left me elated. There have been so many excited conversations when someone has told me about music they might think I’d like. I’ve always been fairly susceptible to getting sucked into a moment and feeling emotional about it. There have been a few theatre shows here and there that left me in tears (in a good way) and the very very occasional comedy show (pretty much only ones by Daniel Kitson), but for some reason music is the one makes me feel more overwhelmed than most. (Currently listening to Nina Simone’s ‘Don’t Smoke In Bed’ which is somehow heart wrenchingly sad, yet empowering in it’s story.)

I’ve got no idea why. I assume it’s partly because I’m musically inept aside from being able to sing a bit. I managed the ’12 Bar Blues’ on the guitar at music school then promptly got stuck, and I’m not sure anyone’s ever played a recorder so wrongly to the extent that nearby cats made noise pollution complaints. Therefore when I hear someone being brilliant at music it’s completely beyond my comprehension of how they’ve done that. I’m rarely star struck when meeting famous comedians or actors anymore. Not because I lack respect for them, but because I can, in some way, understand what they do. On the rare occasion I’ve been in the vicinity of a musician I admire I’m usually unable to say hello on account of being too busy quaking in the corner in awe. (I’m now listening to Samaris, another Icelandic band. Keep up. I’m on an Icelandic tip at the mo.)

I remember reading a theory once that everyone has a ‘certain resonance’ and that when music is on that same resonance it immediately connects with you in some way. I couldn’t possibly begin to understand if that holds any truth but it may explain why children can hear higher notes than adults and therefore put up with some of the awful pop shit they listen to. I can’t say what it is that makes me like a track. Sometimes its a lyric, sometimes it’s the break, sometimes the moment a violin comes in and sweeps you off your feet, and sometimes its hearing other people around you sing it in sheer joy and the huge room becomes one unit of happy people.

Over the past couple of years I realised that comedy was the culprit for my diminishing visits to live music gigs and so I’ve been making an effort to go to more. I saw Damon Albarn treat the Royal Albert Hall ‘like a big pub’ and grinned from ear to ear as the entire room sang ‘Tender’ with him and Graham Coxon. I was blown away by Kate Tempest in the small Village Underground venue, and applauded as she told the crowd we had to ‘Battle your greed, cultivate your empathy’ before launching into verse. I saw Jungle on a rooftop of a car park on a lovely sunny evening, the Divine Comedy in a tent in Westport, proudly saw my brother and his band launch his new EP, and Elbow made me cry, again, at the O2. One of my favourites was watching a singer called Nick Hakim, in the Social in London, to audience of about 40 people, cause a silence you could have heard a pin drop in. The hairs on everyone’s necks went up as his sang. When me and L left, we were unable to say anything to each other for a while, just taking in how amazing it was. (I’ve now been reminded of Nick Hakim’s songs and have to listen to ‘Cold’ from his first EP).

About a month ago I was meant to be writing so found instead, a lengthy way to procrastinate, and I tried to list every live music gig I’d ever seen. I don’t think I’ve managed them all, but it brought back a lot of memories of some performances I feel very lucky to have seen. I’ve popped the list below this blog so you only have to read it if you want to. But if you do, and you were at any of those shows, please share any memories you might have of them in the comments. There’s few things that can bring back as vivid memories as a song. They say that stand-up comedians often wish they were rock stars. I’m not sure that’s true but I do find that I often wish I could work out how to comedy in a way that affects people as much as a favourite song might. I’m not sure that’s ever possible. Until then I guess I’ll just have to be very pleased with the wealth of music there is out there and how fortunate I am to be a ‘music person’. (I’m now listening to D’Angelo’s new album on repeat. I think it might help the brie go down).

If you fancy some alternative Xmas music, here’s a small list I made:




In reverse order:

All The Gigs I’ve Ever Seen (Except For Some I’ve Forgotten)


The Last Skeptik + Dream McClean, Jehst & Femme – Birthdays, Nov 27th

Damon Albarn + De La Soul, Brian Eno, Kano & Graham Coxon. Support Songhoy Blues – Royal Albert Hall, Nov 15th

Kate Tempest + Rag N Bone Man – Village Underground, Nov 11th

Gregory Porter + Laura Mvula – Roundhouse, Sept 17th

Eric Whitacre + Hans Zimmer – Roundhouse, Sept 17th

The Last Skeptik – Jazz Café, Sept 12th

Nick Hakim – The Social, Sept 9th

Robert Plant / Luke Sital Singh – Roundhouse, Sept 8th

Jonnie Common – Henry’s Cellar Bar, Aug 16th

Jungle – Franks, Peckham, 14th July

Bryan Adams – Westport 29th June

Sinead O Conner – Westport 29th June

Divine Comedy – Westport, 28th June

Goldie & The Royal Heritage Orchestra – RFH, 21st June

Elbow – O2, 16th April

Jimi Goodwin – O2, 16th April

Shlomo – RFH, 30th March

Femme/ Corin – Shoreditch House, 12th March




Tunng – Heaven, 8th October

Atoms For Peace – Roundhouse, 25th July

Van Morrison – Cornbury Festival, 7th July

Sam Carter – Purcell Room, 22nd March

Cocos Lovers – Purcell Room, 22nd March

Sigur Ros – Brixton Academy, 7th March

Of Monsters And Men – Shepherds Bush Empire, 6th March




Michael Kiwanuka – RFH, 5th December

Tom Odell – RFH, 5th December

Hudson Taylor – RFH, 5th December

Radiohead – The O2, 8th October

Cheek Mountain Thief – Purcell Room, 11 Sept

Stevie Wonder – Bestival, 7th – 9th September

Sigur Ros – Bestival, 7th – 9th September

The 2 Bears – Bestival, 7th – 9th September

Gary Numan – Bestival 7th – 9th September

Michael Kiwanuk – Bestival, 7th – 9th September

Little Dragon – Bestival, 7th – 9th September

Prince Fatty – Bestival, 7th – 9th September

Mary Epworth – Bestival, 7th – 9th September

Tony Allen & The Niaja Centric Orchestra ( feat Damon Albarn + Neneh Cherry) – Royal Opera House, 31st Aug

Blur – Hyde Park, 12th Aug

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – Wilderness, 11th August

Rizzle Kicks – Camp Bestival, 17th – 19th July

Adam Ant – Camp Bestival, 17th – 19th July

Earth, Wind and Fire – Camp Bestival, 17th – 19th July

Kool and the Gang – Camp Bestival, 17th – 19th July

Kid Koala – Trafalgar Square, 1st July





DJ Shadow – The Forum, 9th Dec

Sam Duckworth – Borderline, 17th Oct

Pendulum – Bestival, 8th – 11th Sept

Mogwai – Bestival, 8th – 11th Sept

Graham Coxon – Bestival, 8th – 11th Sept

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis – Bestival, 8th – 11th Sept

Beardyman – Bestival, 8th – 11th Sept

The Cure – Bestival, 8th – 11th Sept

Bjork – Bestival, 8th – 11th Sept

James Blake – Bestival, 8th – 11th Sept

Kelis – Bestival, 8th – 11th Sept

Daughter – Bestival, 8th – 11th Sept

The National – Edinburgh Corn Exchange, 23rd Aug

Goodnight Lenin – Lounge On The Farm, 9th July

Elbow – Glastonbury, 24th – 26th June

Pendulum – Glastonbury, 24th – 26th June

Wu Tang Clan – Glastonbury, 24th – 26th June

Jessie J – Glastonbury, 24th – 26th June

Big Boi – Glastonbury, 24th – 26th June

DJ Shadow – Glastonbury, 24th – 26th June

Warpaint – Glastonbury, 24th – 26th June

Radiohead – Glastonbury, 24th – 26th June

Caribou – Glastonbury, 24th – 26th June

Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry – Glastonbury, 24th – 26th June

Bonobo – Koko, 26th April

Kid Koala – Koko, 12th March

DJ Vadim’s The Electric – Koko, 12th March

Polar Bear – Koko, 12th March





Gorillaz – The O2, 14th Nov

Public Enemy – The O2, 14th Nov

Marina & The Diamonds – The Forum, 9th Nov

Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly – Electric Ballroom, 13th Oct

Dizzee Rascal – Bestival 10th – 12th Sept

Hot Chip – Bestival 10th – 12th Sept

The Flaming Lips – Bestival 10th – 12th Sept

The Prodigy – Bestival 10th – 12th Sept

Gil Scott Heron – Bestival 10th – 12th Sept

Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip – Bestival 10th – 12th Sept

Mumford and Sons – Bestival 10th – 12th Sept

Chase and Status – Bestival 10th – 12th Sept

Marc Almond – Bestival 10th – 12th Sept

The XX – Bestival 10th – 12th Sept

Jonsi – Bestival 10th – 12th Sept

Fat Freddy’s Drop – Bestival 10th – 12th Sept

Beardyman – Bestival 10th – 12th Sept

Janelle Monae – Bestival 10th – 12th Sept

Vanilla Ice – Bestival 10th – 12th Sept

Glen Matlock – Bestival 10th – 12th Sept

The Correspondants – Bestival 10th – 12th Sept

Roxy Music – Bestival 10th – 12th Sept

Tricky – Bestival 10th – 12th Sept

Phil Selway – Bestival 10th – 12th Sept

Madness – Camp Bestival 31st July – 2nd Aug

The Human League – Camp Bestival 31st July – 2nd Aug

Lee Scratch Perry – Camp Bestival 31st July – 2nd Aug

Nextmen – Camp Bestival 31st July – 2nd Aug

Mr Scruff – Camp Bestival 31st July – 2nd Aug

The Fall – Camp Bestival 31st July – 2nd Aug

Funkadelic – Camp Bestival 31st July – 2nd Aug

Gold Panda – Camp Bestival 31st July – 2nd Aug

Billy Bragg – Camp Bestival 31st July – 2nd Aug

The Apples – Camp Bestival 31st July – 2nd Aug

Pete and The Pirates – Camp Bestival 31st July – 2nd Aug

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – Camp Bestival 31st July – 2nd Aug

Cuban Brothers – Camp Bestival 31st July – 2nd Aug

Martha And The Vandellas – Lounge On The Farm, 10th July

LCD Soundsystem – Wireless Festival, 2nd – 4th July

DJ Shadow – Wireless Festival, 2nd – 4th July

Missy Elliot – Wireless Festival, 2nd – 4th July

Jamie Lidell – Wireless Festival, 2nd – 4th July

Snoop Dogg – Wireless Festival, 2nd – 4th July

Blondie – Rockness, 12th June

Leftfield – Rockness, 12th June

Alabama 3 – Rockness, 12th June

Maccabees – Rockness, 12th June

Ian Brown – Rockness, 12th June

Soulwax – Rockness, 12th June

Annie Mac – Rockness, 12th June

Rage Against The Machine – Finsbury Park, 6th June

Roots Manuva – Finsbury Park, 6th June

Gallows – Finsbury Park, 6th June

Gogol Bordello – Finsbury Park, 6th June






Lily Allen – Bestival, 11th -13th Sept

Beardyman – Bestival, 11th -13th Sept

Bat For Lashes – Bestival, 11th -13th Sept

DJ Yoda – Bestival, 11th -13th Sept

Florance And The Machine – Bestival, 11th -13th Sept

Fleet Foxes – Bestival, 11th -13th Sept

Seasick Steve – Bestival, 11th -13th Sept

The Beat – Bestival, 11th -13th Sept

La Roux – Bestival, 11th -13th Sept

Annie Nightingale – Bestival, 11th -13th Sept

Massive Attack – Bestival, 11th -13th Sept

Soulwax – Bestival, 11th -13th Sept

Blur – Hyde Park, 3rd July

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Shepherds Bush Empire, 25th April



Africa Express – Koko, 22nd Oct

Roni Size Reprazent – Bestival, 6th – 8th Sept

George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic – Bestival, 6th – 8th Sept

Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly – Bestival, 6th – 8th Sept

Sebastian Tellier – Bestival, 6th – 8th Sept

Laurent Garnier – Bestival, 6th – 8th Sept

Coldcut – Bestival, 6th – 8th Sept

DJ Yoda – Bestival, 6th – 8th Sept

Amy Winehouse – Bestival, 6th – 8th Sept

Hot Chip – Bestival, 6th – 8th Sept

Annie Mac – Bestival, 6th – 8th Sept

Kitty, Daisy and Lewis – Bestival, 6th – 8th Sept

REM – Twickenham Stadium, 30th Aug

Editors – Twickenham Stadium, 30th Aug

Guillemots – Twickenham Stadium, 30th Aug

Erykah Badu – Brixton Academy, 24th July

Joanna Newsom – Somerset House, 20th July

Chuck Berry – Camp Bestival, 18th – 20th July

DJ Krust – Camp Bestival, 18th – 20th July

Florence and The Machine – Camp Bestival, 18th – 20th July

The Flaming Lips – Camp Bestival, 18th – 20th July

Billy Bragg – Camp Bestival, 18th – 20th July

King Creosote – Camp Bestival, 18th – 20th July

Kate Nash – Camp Bestival, 18th – 20th July

Emiliana Torrini – Camp Bestival, 18th – 20th July

Radiohead – Victoria Park, 25th June

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – Jazz Café, 18th April




GZA – Koko, 9th Dec

Joanna Newsom – Royal Albert Hall, 28 Sept

Roy Harper/ The Moore Brothers – Royal Albert Hall, 28 Sept

The Chemical Brothers – Bestival, 7th – 9th Sept

Mr Scruff – Bestival, 7th – 9th Sept

Giles Peterson – Bestival, 7th – 9th Sept

The Beastie Boys – Bestival, 7th – 9th Sept

Soul II Soul Soundsystem – Bestival, 7th – 9th Sept

Billy Bragg – Bestival, 7th – 9th Sept

Candie Payne – Bestival, 7th – 9th Sept

Colcut – Bestival, 7th – 9th Sept

Luke Vibert – Bestival, 7th – 9th Sept

The Orb – Bestival, 7th – 9th Sept

The Gossip – Bestival, 7th – 9th Sept

Dub Pistols – Bestival, 7th – 9th Sept

The Shins – Edinburgh Corn Exchange, 23rd Aug

Kanye West – Edinburgh Corn Exchange, 20th Aug

The Good, The Bad & The Queen – Tower Of London, 9th July

Daft Punk – Wireless Festival ,16th June

LCD Soundsystem – Wireless Festival ,16th June

CSS – Wireless Festival ,16th June

Faithless – Wireless Festival ,15th June

Mark Ronson – Wireless Festival ,15th June

Kelis – Wireless Festival ,15th June

The Cat Empire – Wireless Festival ,15th June

Cinematic Orchestra – Barbican, 6th May 2007

Homelife – Barbican, 6th May 2007




Madlib & Peanut Butter Wolf – Koko, 5th Oct

Radiohead – Meadowbank Stadium, Edinburgh 22nd Aug

Beck – Meadowbank Stadium, Edinburgh 22nd Aug

Breakestra – Jazz Café, 9th March






John Legend – Brixton Academy, 2nd Sept

Ed Harcourt & Gita Langley – The Social, ?





Turin Brakes – Somerset House, 5th August

Gang Starr – The Astoria, 18th June

Ugly Duckling – Jazz Café, 15th March

Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Jazz Café, 24th Feb

Damien Rice – Brixton Academy, 21st Feb






Kid Koala – Lock 17, 17 Nov

Beth Gibbons & Rustin Man – Somerset House, 12th July

Sparklehorse – Somerset House, 12th July

The Chemical Brothers – Homeland, 24th May

Plump DJs – Homeland, 24th May

Krust & Die Present ‘I Kamanchi’ – Homeland, 24th May

DJ Marky – Homeland, 24th May

DJ Hype – Homeland, 24th May

MC Tali – Homeland, 24th May

Grandmaster Flash – Homeland, 24th May

DJ Food – Homeland, 24th May

2manyDJs – Homeland, 24th May

De La Soul – Homeland, 24th May

Junior Senior – Homeland, 24th May

Audio Bullys – Homeland, 24th May

Slam – Homeland, 24th May

Radiohead – Belfast Waterfront, 19th May

FourTet – Belfast Waterfront, 19th May





DJ Shadow – ICA, 30th Aug

Jewel – Royal Albert Hall, 28th May

DJ Shadow – London Astoria, 20th May

Massive Attack – Brixton Academy, 18th April

Doug E Fresh – Dedbeat Weekender, 22nd – 24th Feb

DJ Noize – Dedbeat Weekender, 22nd – 24th Feb

The Herbaliser – Dedbeat Weekender, 22nd – 24th Feb

Souls Of Mischief – Dedbeat Weekender, 22nd – 24th Feb

DJ Craze – Dedbeat Weekender, 22nd – 24th Feb

4Hero – Dedbeat Weekender, 22nd – 24th Feb

People Under The Stairs – Dedbeat Weekender, 22nd – 24th Feb

Poets Of Rhythm – Dedbeat Weekender, 22nd – 24th Feb

Edan – Dedbeat Weekender, 22nd – 24th Feb

The Heavies feat Killa Kela, Plus One, Rodney P, Jungle Drummer – Dedbeat Weekender, 22nd – 24th Feb

Aim – Dedbeat Weekender, 22nd – 24th Feb

TY + DJ Biznizz – Dedbeat Weekender, 22nd – 24th Feb

Quantic – Dedbeat Weekender, 22nd – 24th Feb

Phi Life Cypher – Dedbeat Weekender, 22nd – 24th Feb

Def Tex – Dedbeat Weekender, 22nd – 24th Feb

The New Mastersounds – Dedbeat Weekender, 22nd – 24th Feb

DJ Yoda – Dedbeat Weekender, 22nd – 24th Feb

Andrew Weatherall – Dedbeat Weekender, 22nd – 24th Feb

Radioactive Man – Dedbeat Weekender, 22nd – 24th Feb

Luke Vibert – Dedbeat Weekender, 22nd – 24th Feb

Richard D James aka Aphex Twin – Dedbeat Weekender, 22nd – 24th Feb





DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist: Product Placement – 28 Oct 2001

Mark B and Blade – The Mean Fiddler, 24th Jan

Phi Life Cypher – The Mean Fiddler, 24th Jan

Mixologists – The Mean Fiddler, 24th Jan




Roni Size Reprezent – Shepherds Bush Empire, 16th Oct

MJ Cole – Shepherds Bush Empire, 16th Oct

No Doubt – London Hanover Grand, 28th Feb