happenings

When I was a student not many acts came to Belfast, so we went to see lots of those who did-   Suzanne Vega, Echo and the Bunnymen, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, Depeche Mode. Ultravox, when I was still at school. (Those sentences are like like a time capsule, aren’t they?) So, I’m regularly surprised by how much goes on in Belfast these days. If I had energy and money, I could be out a lot. Last week was the book festival and this week it’s the Open House Festival and ChilliFest. Lots happening.

What that means for me is that I didn’t get to see Caitlin Rose or Laura Marling or other interesting sounding acts listed in the programme (but I will be investigating further). I certainly won’t be at the Fleet Foxes/ Villagers gig, no matter how I enjoy them. £38 per person to stand outside. I’m not hardy enough for that, Spurs Fan only tolerates them and we’d need to pay a babysitter. Nope, not going to happen.

After trawling through the programme, I pottered into the living room and realised that Spurs Fan had discovered the Sky Arts channel. Not only had he become aware of its existence, he was actually, purposefully, watching it. There’s no football on to occupy him I know, but still, what could it be?

Ah, Cerys. A wonderful reminder that we may not get to live music as much as we would like, but when we do it can be wonderful. Cerys Matthews played in Belfast in February, as part of yet another festival, and she was great. The gig was in a church, so the acoustics and atmosphere were fabulous. There was no bar; instead there was coffee and caramel squares. Not only did we have seats, we had a ledge/ prayerbook rest to balance the refreshments on. Enormously civilised. She sang well known Catatonia songs, traditional Welsh songs and some of her solo material. She had us all singing a round. Afterwards, in a traditional division of labour round here, I bought CDs and Spurs Fan got her autograph.

A balance is what’s required- an odd night out, some creative TV programming (lots of Glastonbury this weekend) and concert dvds. Then I can spend 3 hours watching Leonard Cohen from the comfort of the sofa while Spurs Fan works out his fantasy football team for next season.

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When I was writing this I was struck by the difference between the 80s pop and what I’m liking now- and then I remembered that even way back then I was listening to Laughing Len and to Bruce, so there is some degree of continuity. I didn’t just get to 30 and cast away all childish things..

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