Nearing the end of 2013, perhaps the most manic twelve months of my life so far, my thoughts naturally turn to winding down my affairs, bidding the old year adieu and settling into my happy hearth for the usual Rover Biscuit Assortment and familial arguments regarding how ridiculously out-of-date the questions in our ancestral copy of Trivial Pursuits are (thus giving our elders distinct advantage). Unfortunately, however, RADIO DOES NOT SLEEP, so I shall basically be at the coal face right the way through into January; and any suggestions of egg nog, tasteless knitwear and chesnuts roasting on an open hostess trolley must be dismissed as mere romantic untruths. In fact, such is the intensity of my current work-rate that I probably won’t even have to scrape any frost off the grindstone before returning to it, as there will have been precious little time for any grind-frost to have accumulated.
But I’m not complaining. Well, obviously I am complaining a little bit, but I wouldn’t want you to think that this has in any way affected my natural sense of festival. In fact, I’d like to share one last little treat with you before we all find ourselves staring into the cold, harsh dawn of 2014. To whit, I finally got around to uploading my recent DJ set in support of the mighty Public Service Broadcasting and their triumphant courduroy-and-balloon-splattered sold-out homecoming extravaganza at The Forum in Kentish Town last month. It’s been hanging around the Foggy archives for a few weeks now, but what with more pressing matters such as the preparation of a technically demanding and logistically ambitious performance at major arts venue (complete with malfunctioning tape machines) to be dealt with first, it rather got swept under the rug. Well, that rug has now been firmly shaken down. Don’t get me wrong, those affable PSB fellows Willgoose and Wrigglesworth did as magnificent a job as ever, but I think most reasonable people would agree that it was the warm-up DJ that everyone had really come to see and the results of that momentous night can now become my Christmas gift to the world:
And it’s not just me getting into the festive spirit either. The greatest band on earth, shouty London funksters Chips For The Poor have just released a Christmas single entitled Rinsell The Tin-Cell, which is available completely for free here. Obviously I don’t have to tell you it’s up to their usual completely awesome standard. Get downloading!
That’s probably enough festivity to be getting on with. All fake-humility aside, it really has been the most incredible year, crammed full of weird and wonderful highlights. I’m aware that tradition dictates I should attempt some 2013 retrospective, but frankly we’d be here all night. Let’s just say that whether crouched in a flooded basement in Belgradea or on top of a cliff in Northumbria listening to foghorns; or at the bottom of the ocean trying to create the realistic howling of a shoal of imprisoned fish (thanks Radio4!), it’s been a year of fascinating sounds aplenty. My thanks goes out as it always does to my amazing collection of friends, colleagues, comrades, fellow diggers, odd-balls and obsessives for the support and encouragement you’ve shown along the way. I consider myself very lucky to know so many dedicated and passionate individuals and I’d like to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I can’t wait to show you some of the exciting things I’ve got planned for 2014!
In the meantime, does anyone know what colour running shoes somebody called Zola Budd apparently wears? It’s for a yellow wedgie, if you’ll pardon the expression…
Now that we’ve had a full week to let the dust settle, Howlround would like to say a huge thank you to all of our friends who came down to Kings Place on Sunday 8th December to watch us quite literally play the building. It was great to finally bring to fruition a project several months in the making, and the feedback and support we received have been hugely encouraging. Particular thanks must go to our official photographer Lisa Hack, who took all of these amazing pictures and asked for nothing more than a pint of shandy and a pat on the back. She received both.
Highlights of the performance itself will doubtless appear on these pages once we’ve had a chance to go through it all properly and pull out our favourite moments. In the meantime, here’s an extract from one of our demos we put together beforehand in preparation, this one made entirely from a single recording of a Kings Place door handle. Altered rather drastically during the final performance, it’s presented here for your delectation, in it’s original unmolested form; along with a significantly accelerated version of our specially prepared stage visuals:
There’s plenty more where that came from, I can assure you. Our thanks once again to promoter, Esther Ainsworth, lovely sound engineer Carina and my own dear Father, Mr. The Fog Snr, who was severely reprimanded by the ushers for his attempts to smuggle bottles of sparkling water onto the stage. Let this be a lesson to us all.
With our ushers, sparkling water and radiophonic old-world charm, Howlround is fast becoming a decidedly classy and distinctive affair. By the time of our next performance at Cafe Oto in January we’re even hoping to have acquired a butler. Fingers crossed…