Some year, hey? Nobody really saw it coming back in January, but here’s how it panned out in our world.
End of year reviews are odd things.
We’ve done them for a while in one form or another. Whether looking back at gigs or photos, or memories. We usually hit on the good bits, because most people don’t want to wade through the shite stuff. After all there’s another year of shite stuff still to come.
And 2020 was a year that had few, if any, peers. At least in the life and times of many of us.
We’ve done a personal Top 10 list of music releases in another post. There were some great gigs, too, but doing a top 10 gig thing would be tricky. We’ll try and mix them into the story.
We did a trawl back through our 2020 photos to see how the mood changed. So, here’s the journey. Gigs, no gigs, cooking, depression, beer deliveries and well …
But, just before we get to the exciting bit, we’d like to thank everyone who has played a part in this venture. We started in early July, just archiving bits we’d written elsewhere, but the site soon took off in a way we hadn’t really anticipated. There needs to be a massive hat tip to the various PR, promoters, bands and individuals who have helped us on this journey. And, of course, anyone who has passed by to read what we do. You people are the reason we do this and make it all worth while.
It’s a diary of sorts. A meander back through the strangest of years.
We take at least one photo every day. It’s a habit and a rhythm. We’ve been doing it for ages.
So, let’s start at the beginning.
We started off 2020 pretty much the same way a lot of other people did. By having breakfast for lunch. We raced up and down the M6 for a bit for a few days.
This was the first gig of the year for us. Strange Bones at Phase One. It didn’t exactly ease us gently back into the groove. With supports from Dead Naked Hippies and Gen and the Degenerates it was a full on punk hit.
And, then it was another punch to the stomach the next night as Godeater blasted metal into the Jacaranda basement. Not usually our thing, but it was a cracker of a gig. Loved the support from Chiasamata too.
It shall always stick in our minds as “The Brexit Gig“. On the night the UK finally and catastrophically crashed out of the EU, Lonesaw gave us the perfect soundtrack to the carnage in the Kazimier Stockroom. Later to be released as a live EP this was a special gig and saw the band back on superb form after a bit of a hiatus. It’s a metaphor and we would do well to pay heed. But, obviously, we didn’t.
Fatoumata Diawara at Leaf. She could easily have played a much bigger room and there was little space to get around for photos. Having seen her at Africa Oye many years ago, it was great to have another go in Liverpool.
We managed to get up to Scotland for a few days. Just as well we weren’t planning on going anywhere else.
We added to the collection in the spice cupboard. Big Cock Ranch is good on steak.
That night in Birmingham when we asked for a bottle of Maison Rouge and the waiter said: “Do you mean the house red?“
Who now remembers this was a leap year? PC World played at Q U A RR Y in the dark. It was an ace gig, but we gave up trying to get photos after about 2 minutes.
We’ve always loved Comic Con. Just a gathering of geeks and nerds having fun. A safe space to express yourself. This year was no different and a delight to wander round drinking in the atmosphere.
The day we realised this shit was getting heavy. Only, at that stage we hadn’t quite realised just how bad it was going to get.
There was a weird feeling in the air. Yorkston Thorne Khan at The Phil Music Room was a good enough gig, but it wasn’t spectacular. And all of us there seemed to know this was the beginning of a change. There were no more gigs for us, after that one, for ages. And, then there was only the one. So 2020 can go and fuck right off. Right now.
We were encouraged to stay at home, so, we started doing a lot of cooking.
And more cooking.
We amused ourselves by ordering things we didn’t need. It broke the days into reasonably manageable chunks. Although we had no idea what day it was. And we’re only about two weeks in.
And then streamed gigs became a thing. We dig Hands Off Gretel, though.
There were days when we tried to pretend it wasn’t happening, but if the truth be told, this was really a sticking plaster. The weather was good and we were heading for a glorious summer, but inside we were not handling this very well.
We’d heard there was a load of wild garlic growing down near the river. It made for an absolutely wicked risotto. Yup, we’re concentrating on food these days.
The chippy around the corner had been closed for a month or so. We were giddy with excitement when we spotted this notice stuck on the shutters. Yeah, more food talk.
We were getting seriously down, apathetic and had very little motivation to do anything much. We tried to fight it and did what lots of others were doing. We started to clear out the kitchen cupboards.
We were all becoming Zoom Gurus by now. This one was with Lonesaw. Lisa said she was missing hitting things. It was good to see faces.
We cleared out some more cupboards. We found four tins of anchovies we didn’t know we had. We’re not arsed about the best before dates – they’re fine. One of these days we’ll get around to using them.
We mucked out another cupboard. Kylie wasn’t really interested in helping.
Same day beer delivery had now become a thing. We abused it to an unsettling degree.
And, then my Dad died.
And my emotions went absolutely fucking bananas. I am incredibly grateful for the support and general love that came from messages, texts and phone calls. They helped immensely. You know who you are and I love you all.
I went to see my Mum. I don’t know if it was allowed – probably not, but quite frankly I didn’t care. The funeral would be a few days off, but we’d decided Dad’s ashes would go here – in the Clitheroe Woodland Burial Ground.
As it happened, a lockdown funeral was not such a bad thing. We didn’t need to deal with lots of people telling us what a nice bloke he was. We know that bit.
We had a wake in the garden. It was fine.
A coincidence of timing that actually lifted my mood. A print from the superbly talented Megan Chapman arrived in the post this morning. We’ve known her for ages virtually although never met face to face. It doesn’t matter.
This is a perfect description of a shitstorm. It’s difficult to think of a better image for the time.
The rules had been relaxed and we were allowed to meet outside. We took advantage and had a regrettable vodka incident in Sefton Park. Then compounded it all by dialling out for pizza.
Thus far, we’d been pretty good at playing by the rules, but there was some kind of release required, Little did we know it would be courtesy of Papa Johns. They were decent pizzas, though.
It was a long walk home.
We’d ordered this a while back. Thankfully our sense of taste was holding up as we worked our way through the box. It wasn’t tricky.
A reminder that alcohol and Amazon don’t play nice together.
Could have been worse, though.
Pretty much the only new skill we learned in lockdown was how to poach an egg. But we now claim to be an expert egg poacher.
With no particular reason not to, we decided we’d paint our nails. After all, why not? Our Mum thought it was weird. But she’s seen more weird.
A friend wanted a photo shoot. It was fun to get out and things appeared to be getting back to some kind of normal …
Kylie and I even went to the pub.
And a trip to Mowgli in Leeds to do some interior shots was a welcome diversion.
And then we got to go to a gig. We’ll take it. Texas Bob Juarez at Hobo Kiosk. We had a text to say the gig was a sell out, but we could go and perch on a stool by the bar. No brainer, really. It was an ace night.
Tokyo Taboo’s new single dropped on the doormat.
Kylie and I headed for the Scottish hills for a few days. We were still mostly working remotely and Zoom meant it didn’t really matter where we were.
While Kylie and I were away in Scotland a radiator at home bust its contents all over the bedroom and soaked the kitchen below. Getting an emergency plumber to come and sort it out at 1am in the morning was an interesting exercise.
We were still allowed to eat out, albeit with a 10pm curfew. So we did.
It was now apparent there was a second lockdown on its way. We had a bit of a blow out Sunday lunch in town and messed about walking around the Contrast Mural Fest. You take what there is. It was good day.
The dehumidifiers arrived to dry out the kitchen. Their constant hum and the need to empty the reservoirs every day was to become our new normal for weeks.
We’re still food obsessed. We can recommend hot dogs with peri peri mayo and jalapeño peppers.
We’re easily amused by now. Brewdog thought Aldi was ripping off its Punk IPA branding, so they retaliated in the best way possible. And peace broke out.
We’re fully back into lockdown 2.0. We were probably not on essential business when we went to see a man about a dog. Never seen Mathew Street so empty.
Despite the lockdown and the fact we’re now capable of working our way around any number of video conferencing platforms, some clown thought we were needed in Manchester. Crazy Pedro’s (no relation) agreed.
We should probably park our cynicism. We were tested. We’re not sure what it means. We were negative.
More messing about with cooking and a slow cooked beef brisket kept us occupied for a few hours while we took the dog for a walk. The Monzama Del Fuego sauce was a bit more fuego than we’d thought. We pushed on through. It was good. Can recommend mushroom ketchup as well.
Although, the kitchen’s still a mess. The contractors had said it would easily be sorted before Christmas.
Our first Christmas card. We approve. In spades. It speaks to our cynic side.
Kylie decides she wants to help with the cooking. The lack of opposable thumbs makes this a bit of an academic exercise, but we can’t help applauding her endeavour.
There’s some sort of respite and we’re allowed out. We don’t venture far, this place is a massive 2 minutes walk from our house. Their spicy chicken wings are worth the trip. Yeah, we’re still food obsessed. We have been for years anyway. 2020 just heightens the fact.
We will assume this needs no further explanation.
Oh, this was fun. The day we got to get involved with the shooting of a music video. Bobhowla doing a brutal and honest video shoot around Liverpool for their single to be released early next year. We’ve seen the rough edit and it kicks ass. We messed around shooting stills. Not sure this was what the band was expecting, but we kinda liked it. So, ya!
From Here All The World’s Futures.
Nathan Coley’s piece on Mann Island for the Biennial.
It seems as good a place to bow out as any. There are, of course a few days left, but we can’t really think there will be much more to say.
We hope you have a good one, and thanks again for the support, the shares and the likes. It’s why we do this.
The kitchen is still a mess, though.