Back in July, this nice chap approached me after a Smoke Fairies show in Chichester and said "you play to serve the song not your own ego". I'm guessing I'd be fired if I started acting like I was in Towers of London but I do hope that sentiment is at least slightly accurate. In the autumn Smoke Fairies released a double album entitled Ghosts which is effectively a rarities and B-sides record, if you're a details person there's some more stuff about it here. Thankfully they decided to tour the album and what a wonderful little tour it was. The tour video is well worth a look, it was created entirely from stills taken by Ani (the excellent drummer in support band Rasputina - great sharing a stage with them )
I cant say much about the brand new Smoke Fairies album other than it is finished, a new producer was involved, it sounds amazing and I'm all excited about it. The big reveal will be soon.
Other 2013 gig highlights include a couple of shows with performance art/ theatre troupe Tangled Feet - Rammstein would have approved of the ludicrously great pyrotechnics involved in this show, this photo albeit impressive doesn't quite capture the magnitude, that ball at the top for example, at one point it spins whilst fireworks spurt out and a lady is inside doing a hand stand. I'm somewhere in the middle of all that scaffolding with my viola.
I also had the pleasure of playing the Royal Festival Hall again, not once but twice with Viv Albertine in support of Siouxsie's Meltdown show (Siouxsie even played Kaleidoscope in full so it was like a Don't Look Back show but curated by Yoko instead of ATP) It's a magnificent place to play though, it makes The Forum look like a dustbin. Viv has written an autobiography which is out this year, I haven't read it yet but I'm going to recommend it anyway 'cos she has enough witty anecdotes to feed every Best Man's speech forever and a day so it's bound to be a blast. You can pre-order it here if you wish.
I've also put on some shows myself mainly with the fine folk at music webzine SoundsXP, most notably Kelley Deal's new(ish) project R.Ring. Laura J Martin is headlining our next show which takes place at the Sebright Arms on 16th January and it should be a great show. Advance tickets are available here. We'll also be doing one of those legendary
Other people I've performed and recorded with in 2013 include Matthew and the Atlas, Napoleon IIIrd, Fuzzy Lights, CA Smith, Fryars, Charles Watson and Fyfe Dangerfield and the loquaciously named Until the Bird of the Soul Takes Flight from the Cage of the Body... most if not all have some very tasty albums to look forward to in 2014.
Also to look forward to in 2014 is the new album by Left With Pictures and rather excitingly we managed to get Richard Formby in the producer's chair. It'll be released on Organ Grinder records later in the year. We might even see a new album by The Monroe Transfer on Organ Grinder this year if the beast ever gets finished; in the meantime you might like to check out head Transfer Nick's other activities, he's a very busy chap.
Turns out that 2013 was actually 1973.
...and I liked bananas.
Here's to 2014 being a goodun for all.