In the festive tradition of polls, surveys and what have you that all the best magazines and websites carry at this time of the year, you'll have to settle for some things I liked in 2003 and some things I didn't..
1 Gigolo Aunts - Pacific Ocean Blues
Technically a 2002 release but criminally only available on import until this year.
This is the masterpiece the band has been threatening.
It often takes a band a long time to find their sound and hone it into something worthwhile and the Gigolo Aunts have certainly taken their time!
This album is packed full of quality song writing, melodies and hooks.
Probably only known to UK audiences through the theme tune to BBC2's 'Game On', anybody who loves pop music should love this.
2 Jesse Malin - The Fine Art Of Self Destruction
Forget the eNeMEy led 'emperors new clothes' approach of championing New York bands like The Strokes and their mediocre friends; Jesse Malin is so New York it hurts. Malin spent years playing in, quite frankly, woeful punk bands, before striking out on his own. Recorded in a week with a great band with shades of Springsteen and Young at their best, this oozes rock 'n' roll out of your speakers.
3 Ryan Adams - Love Is Hell Parts 1 & 2
Take your pick, both parts are fantastic, just ignore the album pushed his record company, 'Rock and Roll'. Rejected by his record company for being 'too dark' these records are destined to outlive the woeful officially sanctioned release. It's lazy to dismiss his records as 'country'; these are quality tunes that just happen to have the odd steel guitar on!
4 Joe Strummer - Streetcore
Even without the rose tinted glasses on, this is a great album. Without doubt the best material Strummer had since when at his peak with 'London Calling'. Like all his best work this album has so many different styles and sounds. If a Joe Strummer and Johnny Cash duet doesn't move then frankly, you have no heart.
Review of 2003 ccontinued By Nick Quantrill
1 The Rolling Stones - Manchester Evening Arena
Ticket - £35
Booking Fee - £5
Programme - £15
Speeding fine on the M62 - £60
Seeing the finest rock 'n' roll band ever. Period. - Priceless
Yes, yes, I've heard it all before, even from myself, it's sad. Paying top dollar to see a load of pensioners who have barely produced a worthwhile note of music in nigh on thirty years is questionable. I say see, in the cheap seats you could see some figures somewhere over the horizon. This was rock 'n' roll history all the way.
2 Jesse Malin - Leeds Cockpit
Fantastic stuff. See review above. Loud, energetic and exciting to watch. What more could you ask for? A top bloke to boot, only too willing to mingle in the bar after the gig chatting to people.
3 Cosmic Rough Riders - Hull Adelphi
It seems quite rare nowadays that Hull sees a band pull into the city as part of a toilet circuit tour of the country. Maybe record companies are signing less and less bands, I don't know, but it was better to see a band on their way up in the charts in the city, rather than a band on the way down.
Some things I didn't like..
1 The Darkness
Do me a favour! This isn't cool, ironic or even any good. It's just woeful cock-rock played by a load of chancers with one eye on making a few quid before becoming a warm up act for the next Status Quo tour! Do not tolerate these bell-ends any longer!
2 George W. Bush
Need I say anymore?
Reviews, Books - "A Child Called 'It'" by Dave Pelzer By Darren Sant
By Darren Sant
What can I say about this book? Anyone that knows me well would perhaps describe me as a "sentimental bugger". I am therefore surprised that I did not cry buckets of tears after every page of this book. A Child Called 'It' is the first in a trilogy of books. The books are the memoirs of Dave Pelzer. This first book covers Dave's life from ages 4 to 12.
Reviews, Books - "Cradle Song" by Robert Edric
By Nick Quantrill
Being a bit of sucker for crime fiction, and more pertinently, hard-boiled private investigator stories, I picked up this book purely on the basis it fulfilled the above criteria and is set in Hull.
Upon further investigation it turns out this is the first part of a trilogy set on the mean streets of Hull by Booker Prize nominated Robert Edric.
Reviews, Books - "A Drink With Shane MacGowan" by Victoria Mary Clarke and Shane MacGowan
By Nickolas Boldock
Shane MacGowan may just be a medical miracle. He is, of course, a chronic alcoholic, whose love affair with drink will likely never cease until he is six feet below. His consumption of other inebriants is now the stuff of legend. His hedonistic exploits are usually the first thing to come to mind at the mention of his name; the first subject covered in any interview; the introduction to any article (even this one). Forget that though.
Reviews, Books - A Friend of the Family by Lisa Jewell
By Darren Sant
This book is a tale of the trials and tribulations of three brothers. The brothers are suffering from differing problems and there lives are not at present on the right track. Jewell's novels are accurately described as pop fiction but don't let that put you off. The characters are believably written and there is a high degree of what I can only call emotional depth to them.
Adapted by John Godber, Hull Truck Theatre 09/10/03
By E.M.X. Creek
I went to this production with some apprehension. I am not a huge Brontė fan, and in addition had some doubts as to how well Wuthering Heights would adapt for our modest location. I am happy to say that the result was remarkably good.
Music Reviews - A Champion Night - Welly Club 16th January By Cilla and Greg
One cold night in January (actually it was bloody freezing) my mate Greg and I went along to the Welly for a night with Champion Sound, the Reggae and Dancehall magicians who are currently gracing the Hull night club scene with their individual and blistering repertoire.
We arrived early - about 10.15 and the club had a cold feel.
There was a steady trickle of people arriving and after an hour or so, so the music began to build ..
Music Reviews - Pave - Promotional CD by Nick Quantrill
It's often said that bands use the opportunity of recording as a means of 'capturing the live sound.' What a load of cack! It's an opportunity to sound better than you do live!
Due to the pressures of working far faster than a signed band would be expected to, and in lower quality studios, the recording process must be incredibly difficult for your average Hull band.
Music Reviews - The Landau's - Sweet But True (single/ DAGALOST Records) By Steve Rudd
Hull's something of a hotbed for cool indie-rock bands, and The Landau's - along with Still Life - are one of the freshest bands forging ahead within such a musical genre.
An exclusively laddish quartet, this is the young band's first major release, and has been recorded at the city's famous Fairview Studios.
The production qualities are fantastic,
Music Reviews - Pave - Linnet and Lark 05 February 2004 by Nick Quantrill
2004 hasn't been the greatest years so far. It kicked off more than adequately in the Old Town Square of Prague but went rapidly down hill from there.
Returning home I battled unsuccessfully against tonsillitis for a couple of weeks before slipping on the ice and breaking two fingers! Almost recovered, I decided to unleash myself upon Hull once again.
The return of 'The Sesh' at Linnet and Lark seemed as good any place...