Wednesday, 31 December 2014

My End of Year List of Amazing Things 2014

Ed Sheeran - X.
 photo edsherran.jpeg
 This could be the best record of the last five years. It really is something truly exceptional. ‘Thinking out loud’ and ‘shirtsleeves’ are most played songs of the year. 

The Script - No Sound without Silence.  
 photo The_Script_-_No_Sound_Without_Silence_artwork.jpg
Truth be told this album will never be #3, but I do love some of it. It has moments of genius like ‘Flares’ and ‘Without Those Songs’. These boys do make me smile.

Scott McEwan from The Candle Thieves.
 photo scott.png
 Scott is literally the kindest and most humble person I know. It's been an honour to get to know him a little better at gigs this year. He’s an amazing talent.

Condems. They fuck up our world and get away with it. Nuff said.
 photo cameron-liar.jpg
Honourable mention to Nigel Farage. Racism and idiocy has no place in today’s Britain. He really is the modern day Hitler and that is scary. Please don’t vote for someone with no policies.

To get to the U.S. of A. 
 photo a16a697d-1e20-4a9c-ad7a-dc62c373e29d.png
So Darren Hayes' one man show didn't happen but I still dream of the US and A.

Sam Brookes - Kairos. 
 photo kairos.jpg
So many emotional songs. ‘On the mend’, ‘Breaking Blue’, ‘Crazy world and you’ and ‘This is the Place’. It’s made me question what I’m doing here, it’s made me search my soul for answers, and it’s also made my heart sing. Sam is such a talent.

Glock of ‘The Candle Thieves’ and ‘Sharks and Bears’ fame. 
 photo c35b94b1-ecc4-4162-8307-cc135ee6da42.jpg
T-shirt, blazer, Jeans. Love that smart casual. 

Ed Sheeran - Thinking Out Loud.
The most amazing video with attention to detail. It's the way all the little things add up, like when he spins her around on the floor to be face-to-face. And the way Ed uses her leg as a guitar. It’s such a beautiful video for a beautiful song. 

I know it's 2000 and late but ‘Dirty Sexy Money’.
 photo p185540_b_h3_aa.jpg
 I can't believe they cancelled it after only 2 series. It was sooooo good. And even after all these years I’m still in love with Peter Krause from Six Feet Under. 

Rocket Racoon from Guardians of the Galaxy.
 photo c46a9291-87cf-4b2e-a460-4b13aa1a68f3.jpg
Bradley Cooper makes my Life.

Matt Healy - The 1975. 
 photo 5c2f22b3-7964-48af-ac44-89422d30c4b5.jpg
I love this band, this man, and all of his demons. I just hope he can overcome his demons and the band have a great future and another album and tour. 

The protests in Russia at the Olympics against Putin's anti gay laws.
 photo 8a193a57-f5f0-48ea-a8e1-8f5e4b6a6d2b.jpg

The same thing every year when I write this blog, Homophobia.
 photo 20131214_gdm947_0.png

Robbie Williams. Robbie just IS an icon. 
 photo rob.jpg

15. BEST GIG of 2014
The killers – Liverpool o2 Academy. 
 photo 2abb7b7a-581b-4bc2-a345-dbe7df109b16.jpg
Such a dream come true. I’ve longed to see Brandon play the ‘Vince’ character for two years. It was everything I hoped it would be. And the set list was incredible. UNDER THE GUN!

 photo year2014.jpg

A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera – Say Something.
This song has so many memories attached to it. It makes me smile. Makes me happy. Makes me sad. My most played single of 2014 and also my favourite.

18. BEST EP OF 2014
Sharks and Bears - What Doesn’t  Break You,  Makes You Strong
 photo 2f31d9bd-1363-42c5-9945-5dc06efd7b82.jpg
It’s been a year of change. I’m happier now than I ever thought possible but at the start of the year when I was going to see Sharks and Bears play gigs with these songs still little seedlings, it was a revelation. ‘Blind man in the Dark’ which eventually became ‘Let It All Go (Up In Smoke)’ literally was my life. It stirred my broken soul and made me feel again. I’d let my ex back into my life, convinced a second chance would work, but he just hurt me all over again and then one day walked out without a trace. It didn’t seem like it then, but that was the start of something. I chose to be happy. I chose to move on. And I’ve got some great friends around me who supported me. I love you, you know who you are.

Saint Raymond. 
 photo 30e5bae7-debc-4c6b-838e-624a95e77212.png
I seen him at Splendour Festival and then supporting Ed Sheeran. One song struck a chord with me, ‘I Want You’. I love it so much. I need to check this guy out more.

“Should I be on my way? Eliminate the games we play.
Should I be on my way back home?
Should I be on my way? You’re leading me astray.
Should I be on my way back home?
I want you to know that I want you, you know that..”

 photo 12bed809-a93c-4de7-a863-1cb0fc21577e.jpg
Such a beautiful and magical film. I saw it twice in the cinema and it was the film of choice for my birthday. Good memories. Its animation is so amazing and other-worldly.

Gotta be ‘The Candle Thieves’.
 photo social.jpg
The social jet lag EP, and the few gigs I’ve seen the thieves do this year are some of my favourite moments.

Being relatively ok in my own skin. It feels good.

Happiness sneaks in a door you did not think was open

John Legend - All of Me
A Great Big World Feat. Christina Aguilera - Say Something
Rita Ora - I Will Never Let You Down
Tiesto - Red Lights

You can charge your iPhone twice as quick on airplane mode

Maroon 5 in Birmingham and london – singing for my life.
Newton Faulkner’s tour. Meeting Olivia and now I cant see her never being a part of my life. Getting into Sam Brookes as well.
The candle thieves comeback in Stamford. Amazing.
Mcbusted. Teen dream realised. Not quite the same without Charlie though.
An amazing birthday weekend in Bristol with Loulou and friends.
Winning tickets to the script at itunes festival
Ed Sheeran and Bryan adams at Nottingham arena. Great gigs.
The Paddington bear trail in london in aid of the NSPCC. I loved that so much.
And one final amazing gig: sam brookes at bath chapel arts centre. A great roadtrip with olive and an amazing gig.

Robin Williams Death. It made the world brave and raised awareness for depression. So very important.
Flight MH370 going missing. So sad and puzzling. I hope one day the lost souls are found.
Flight MH17 being shot down. I hope one day we get the truth.

The Script's Tour.
The future of Sharks and Bears, and The Candle Thieves.
The Shaun in the City Trail and Bristol Balloon Fiesta.
U2 at the O2!

Here’s to 2015.

“I did it all
I owned every second
That this world could give
I saw so many places
The things that I did
Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived”

Saturday, 11 October 2014

World Mental Health Day 10 October 2014

Today is world mental health day. Thank you jade for bringing it my attention and encouraging me to speak up.

Those closest to me know the battles I've faced for the last decade and more. Depression is a real thing. There were many nights lost in a blur of tears and many days were I felt completely alone in a roomful of my friends. I'm not anti-social, I'm just struggling. There were many times when I had to hit rock bottom to rise again. The darkness becomes so familiar it almost becomes a comfort.

It's not your fault you suffer. I used to feel so guilty for feeling so sad when other people had much more wrong with them, like terminal illnesses. You can't just 'snap out of it' or 'cheer up'. How I wish that was true. Please please talk to someone. Reach out, scream, yell. The person who steps up might not be the person you thought would.

It wasn't until I was much happier and a dear friend was suffering that I realised just how hard it is to be a friend to someone with depression. You feel so helpless because all you can do is listen and encourage them to see their worth, the pain they feel inside is something only they themselves can address. You can't teach someone how to be happy, they have experience for themselves how to work through it. But I know for certain my friends are heroes for sticking by me. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.

There are distractions available. ESCAPISM is key. It's not a negative thing if you treat it with the respect is deserves. There are video games to play, there is cinema to go and see, be it Hollywood or art house, there are walks on nature trails, trains to get, places to go, friends to see, gigs to watch, an iPod with a song for every feeling... And failing all that, there is a sunrise and sunset everyday to stare into and realise how beautiful the world is and how lucky you are.

The darkness no longer consumes me. I barely recognise the person I was before but I know how easy it is to slip back into the darkness.

I've been really blessed this year to have such a good run of happiness. Actually happy days, Laughing days. If there is one thing I've learnt this year it's that peace has to come from within. Because as Darren Hayes once sang "The monster you were running from, is the monster in you"

You can and will be happy again. Even if it doesn't seem like it now. It might not be tomorrow, this week, or next month but it will come around again. I will always be a tortured soul prone to depression but you can fight it. Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind.

"There is hope in the darkness, you know you're gonna make it" - Savage Garden.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

The Killers - Liverpool O2 Academy - A REAL fairytale - 15.8.14

The Killers were absolutely amazing on Friday night.  I have no words for what I witnessed. I never ever in a million years thought it was possible to get lucky enough to witness Branson do a show as his naughty alter- ego Vince. Or see some of the 'Vince' songs live.
I came out of the gig absolutely soaked through in sweat. Mine, the guy in front of me's dripping off him every time he was jumping, and dripping off the ceiling. Sexy lol.  My feet hurt like hell, my head was mush but I was so happy I could have cried. I feel so very very lucky to have been there with just 1200 people. Last summer we were doing Wembley stadium and 90,000.
I'd seen people posting that they there were doing the 'vince' songs in Soundcheck. I was so very excited but almost didn't dare to dream we'd get a Vince show.
The killers walked out to The Beatles - All You Need Is Love and launched into 'Under the Gun'. I screamed for my life. I was literally shaking as those first words came out of Brandon's mouth. "She's got her halo and wings hidden under his eyes"... it was an absolute dream come true. The crowd went wild and I knew this show was gonna blow to roof off.

Then it was onto one of my top 3 killers songs, spaceman. "THE SPACEMAN SAYS EVERYBODY LOOK DOWN, IT'S ALL IN YOUR MIND". I jumped up and down like my life depended on it. I love this song so much.

 photo P1800757.jpg
 photo P1800758.jpg
 photo P1800759.jpg
Then one of my favourite songs off the last record, 'The way it was' and I was immediately reminded of the moment I bonded with it at Liverpool arena almost 2 years ago.  I couldn't see much because there was a guy that was about 7ft in front of me but at some point I noticed Brandon has taken off the biker jacket and was in fact wearing the Vince t-shirt. I thought it just said battle born under there. I've never been so excited.


 photo P1800764.jpg
 photo P1800771.jpg
 photo P1800772.jpg
 photo P1800773.jpg
 photo P1800779.jpg
Then Brandon said "can you believe our baby is 10 years old" and launched into my favourite killers song 'Smile like You Mean it'. That song and that synthesiser were the reason I was stood there on Friday night. It was a summer 9 years ago that I bought Hot Fuss and this band stole my heart.

 photo P1800780.jpg
 photo P1800782.jpg
 photo P1800781.jpg
 photo P1800789.jpg
 photo P1800790.jpg
Then miss atomic bomb. I screamed. I love this song so much. I felt my heart suddenly thumping out my chest. The red lights lit up the room and it was amazing. "YOU’RE GONNA MISS ME WHEN YOU’RE GONE". Yes, yes I am.

 photo P1800815.jpg
 photo P1800821.jpg
 photo P1800823.jpg
Then human. Another of my top 3 killers songs. I love this song so much. It makes me feel so alive. I sang like my life depends on it, sorry if you were within ear shot ;)

 photo P1800854.jpg
 photo P1800851.jpg
 photo P1800863.jpg
 photo P1800886.jpg
 photo P1800897.jpg
 photo P1800898.jpg
There was no reprieve from the high energy. Shot at the night. I finally got to see this song live. It was amazing.
As the bolt sparkled red and white the energy continued with Somebody Told Me. I'd jumped up and down that much I thought I was gonna die. I reached into my bag and grabbed a hair bobble to get my hair out the way, I was melting. Never mind, carry on jumping! Brandon was leaning on the bolt, asking the crowd for more, whilst I suspect trying to grab a breath himself.

 photo P1800901.jpg
 photo P1800912.jpg
 photo P1800926.jpg
 photo P1800929.jpg
 photo P1800927.jpg
 photo P1800930.jpg
 photo P1800932.jpg
 photo P1800938.jpg
 photo P1800944.jpg
Then Brandon asked if we minded a cover and he should let us pick from the options, then asked if 'bad moon rising' was ok. Sure it is ;) great cover.

 photo P1800947.jpg
 photo P1800949.jpg
 photo P1800953.jpg
 photo P1800954.jpg
 photo P1800955.jpg
 photo P1800957.jpg
 photo P1800958.jpg
 photo P1800959.jpg
 photo P1800960.jpg
Then it was time for 'For Reasons Unknown'. Another of my ultimate fave killers songs. Brandon and that guitar are just so sexy. The crowd started doing the calling out to Brandon before he started it. Then he called out and we called back 110% louder. It was amazing.

 photo P1800966.jpg
 photo P1800964.jpg
 photo P1800982.jpg
Then a favourite of my friend Hils, 'From Here on Out'. This was never a fave of mine but I love it live and how happy it makes Brandon. "What's up you scousers? I hope you brought your dancing shoes, it's a Friday night, I brought mine" Dave and mark done their solos and then Brandon went over to Ronnie and held the cup up to his mouth so he could drink whilst drumming his ass off  for his solo. Brandon grinned and said "Ronnie needed some sugar". He's so naughty. I love it. I couldn't see much during the song but for a few seconds I could, and it was Brandon doing the pole dance up and down the mic stand. Never been so grateful that was the few seconds I could see. At the end Brandon said we could do better than that and went round again for one last verse. Then the place really got going. “HEY FROM HERE ON OUT”!

 photo P1810003.jpg
 photo P1810008.jpg
 photo P1810006.jpg
 photo P1810013.jpg
 photo P1810014.jpg
 photo P1810019.jpg
 photo P1810020.jpg
 photo P1810026.jpg
 photo P1810037.jpg
 photo P1810056.jpg
 photo P1810084.jpg
 photo P1810105.jpg
 photo P1810109.jpg
 photo P1810130.jpg
 photo P1810166.jpg
 photo P1810191.jpg
 photo P1810202.jpg
 photo P1810205.jpg
 photo P1810213.jpg
 photo P1810210.jpg
 photo P1810221.jpg
Then they almost floored me with A Dustland Fairytale. That piano intro makes me emotional every time. "This could be the best crowd we've ever played to. Thank you. We should just stop playing stadiums and arenas and just play venues like this". It was a beautiful version of this song, 1200 people singing along and an ending was especially beautiful.

Then another of my fave songs. "Read my mind". It's that vibe it has. It kills me. I love it so so much.

 photo P1810259.jpg
 photo P1810264.jpg
 photo P1810267.jpg
 photo P1810268.jpg
 photo P1810269.jpg
 photo P1810271.jpg
Then runaways. I adore the conviction Brandon sings this song with. And then I noticed those biceps. Covered in sweat and looking beautiful. 
"SHOW ME YOUR HANDS!" 1200 head their hands up, surrendered to the music. It was beautiful.

 photo P1810286.jpg
 photo P1810287.jpg
 photo P1810291.jpg
 photo P1810288.jpg
 photo P1810312.jpg
 photo P1810316.jpg
 photo P1810319.jpg
 photo P1810320.jpg
 photo P1810340.jpg
 photo P1810338.jpg
 photo P1810339.jpg
 photo P1810352.jpg
 photo P1810359.jpg
 photo P1810354.jpg
Then Brandon done a little speech about how he was working in the Gold Coast hotel and it catered to the country and western and rockabilly types and he met Dave in 2001. He said before cell phones he used to call Dave and leave answer phone messages because he was into glamorous rock and roll. Everyone screamed and screamed. Brandon said they weren't gonna play it, he shouldn't have worded it like that and carried on the story. This answer phone message that was spoken word "You know you gotta help me out" then Ronnie, mark and Dave got their hands on it. As Brandon spoke the words the crowd sang back before launching into all these things. It was amazing. 


 photo P1810366.jpg
 photo P1810372.jpg
 photo P1810374.jpg
 photo P1810380.jpg
 photo P1810376.jpg
 photo P1810393.jpg
 photo P1810396.jpg
 photo P1810402.jpg
 photo P1810407.jpg
Then the encore. Were they gonna do on top like the other night? We'll see now. As Brandon walked over to the synthesiser I knew what it meant. This certainly wasn't gonna be when we were young. OMFG!! It really was ON TOP. "Remember Rio and get down, Like some other DJ, it's another town". I haven't seen this song live in many years, I was so happy.
Then when it couldn't get any better, 'this is your life'. 1200 waving their arms from side to side with Brandon. It was so beautiful. I was transported back to that night at Nottingham arena on the day and age tour when it looked so beautiful that night too.
"Wait for something better, No one behind you, Watching your shadows. You gotta be stronger than the story, Don't let it blind you.."

 photo P1810413.jpg
 photo P1810433.jpg
 photo P1810416.jpg
 photo P1810453.jpg
 photo P1810449.jpg
 photo P1810456.jpg
 photo P1810457.jpg
 photo P1810460.jpg
 photo P1810461.jpg
 photo P1810481.jpg
 photo P1810479.jpg
 photo P1810472.jpg
'We got two more left'... Then when we were young. It will always remind me of that first gig in Newcastle arena on the sam's town tour.  "THE DEVIL'S WATER IT AINT SO SWEET, YOU DON'T HAVE TO DRINK RIGHT NOW"

 photo P1810491.jpg
 photo P1810493.jpg
 photo P1810495.jpg
 photo P1810498.jpg
 photo P1810503.jpg
 photo P1810504.jpg
 photo P1810506.jpg
 photo P1810510.jpg
 photo P1810511.jpg
 photo P1810512.jpg
 photo P1810514.jpg
 photo P1810515.jpg
 photo P1810516.jpg
Mr Brightside. What a perfect ending. I jumped up and down like my life depended on it. I never wanted it to ever end. 

 photo P1810523.jpg
 photo P1810533.jpg
 photo P1810565.jpg
 photo P1810576.jpg
 photo P1810584.jpg
 photo P1810608.jpg
 photo P1810612.jpg
Then Ronnie walked up to the mic stand as the band left the stage and said:
"you might not be ready for this stuff,
But your kids are gonna love it". Ronnie I love you.

I was dead afterwards but I loved that show so much. I didn't even have words. I walked quietly to the train station with Hils. Unable to process what I just seen, and I felt really emotional. I'm so bloody lucky to have been there. To have witnessed that, and shared it with Hils. I'm just sad Kelly wasn't there, we missed you! Xx
1. Under the gun
2. Spaceman
3. The way it was
4. Smile like you mean it
5. Miss atomic bomb
6. Human
7. Shot at the Night
8. Somebody Told Me
9. Bad moon rising (Cover)
10. For Reasons Unknown
11. From Here on Out
12. A Dustland Fairytale
13. Read My Mind
14. Runaways
15. All These Things That I've Done (with speech)
16. On Top
17. This Is Your Life
18. When You Were Young
19. Mr Brightside