2014 IN PICTURES – NOVEMBER

November began for me with a road trip to Lurgan, to Mourneview Park, to see Linfield take on Glenavon in what could be described as an eventful game.

The following week, it was back to Windsor Park, for the home game against Dungannon Swifts.

The week after that, it was Windsor Park again, for the visit or Glentoran.

Back on the road the week after, to Warrenpoint, to see Linfield do their standard go behind but win it late thing they do up there.

It wasn’t all Linfield though, on the final weekend of the month, I headed to Manchester for a short break, where I got loads of Street Art photos, went to two football matches and two concerts.

That, was my November.

Glenavon v Linfield

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

Linfield v Glentoran

Warrenpoint Town v Linfield

Manchester

Manchester Photo Album

Accrington Stanley v Exeter Stanley

Accrington Stanley v Exeter City Photo Album

Manchester Street Art

Manchester Street Art Photo Album 1

Manchester Street Art Photo Album 2

Salford Quays Street Art Photo Album

Manchester United v Hull City

Manchester United v Hull City Photo Album

Ting Tings Live At The Deaf Institute

Ting Tings Live At The Deaf Institute Photo Album

Erasure – Live At Manchester Apollo

Erasure – Live At Manchester Apollo Photo Album

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THE SOUND OF 2014 : 26-50

26. Lorde – Team
27. Chvrches – Recover
28. Weird Al Yankovic – Word Crimes
29. Ella Henderson – Ghost
30. Manic Street Preachers ft Nina Hoss – Europa Geht Durch Mich
31. Sia – Chandelier
32. Black Keys – Fever
33. Johnny Marr – Easy Money
34. Sophie Ellis-Bextor – True Faith
35. Wonder Villains – Golden Five
36. U2 – Invisible
37. Chvrches – Dead Air
38. U2 – The Miracle Of Joey Ramone
39. Jake Bugg – Messed Up Kids
40. Manic Street Preachers – Walk Me To The Bridge
41. Ting Tings – Wrong Club
42. The Pierces – Kings
43. The Pretty Reckless – Heaven Knows
44. Kasabian – Eez-Eh
45. Pollaponk – No Prejudice
46. Alexi Lalas – Rio
47. George Ezra – Cassy O
48. Take That – These Days
49. Cher Lloyd – Sirens
50. Labrinth – Let It Be

TING TINGS – LIVE AT THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER 29.11.2014

The chart positions might not be as high as they were in 2008, but Ting Tings still know a thing or two about making music you can dance to. At the end of November, they played a home gig (well, it was for Mancunian Katie White) in Manchester’s Deaf Institute.

If you’re curious about the name of the venue, it was originally a Deaf Institute before being abandoned, then turned into a pub/live music venue.

Ting Tings arrived on stage, with Jules De Martino played the opening riffs to Wrong Club, which they played, before merging into fellow new release Do It Again.

Between each song, De Martino teased the audience by drumming the intro to Shut Up And Let Me Go. Eventually, the third song would be Shut Up And Let Me Go.

Well, it would be eventually, as techincal difficulties saw them leave the stage for a few minutes. The support band (Ted Zed, who were actually very good) also had technical difficulties during their set.

Once the technical difficulties were overcome, it was back with the show, with Shut Up And Let Me Go being played, third time lucky. Poor Jules must have been in danger of getting RSI, constantly drumming that intro.

It was brilliantly chaotic, and chaotically brilliant, with the crowd clapping along, and dancing in unison, as well as shouting the “HEY!!!” where appropriate during Shut Up And Let Me Go.

More of their hits were played, such as Great DJ and their only chart topper, That’s Not My Name, currently being used in a soft drink commerical. It seems quite apt, as the Ting Tings specialise in fizzy pop.

Photo Album

MANCHESTER

Last weekend, I headed to Manchester for a short break. I’d been to the city many times, to go to Old Trafford, but rarely explored it. The only previous time I got the chance was four and a half years ago, in April 2010.

I usually travel to Old Trafford by bus the day before, and only get a brief visit to the City Centre on the day of the game before heading back home the next day.

In June, I decided I would pick a match and make a weekend of it. The problem was, with no European football this season, there was always the risk that I could choose a game, only for it to be moved to a Monday night. So, I chose a Saturday game leading into a midweek fixture list (Hull) and booked a trip from Friday to Monday.

Upon arrival, I got the tram at the new station at the airport. I had to stop off and get a connecting tram to get to my hotel. I would have had to do the same if I was staying in the City Centre. One of the stops on the route, Trafford Bar, is handy for Old Trafford if you’re flying in and out on the same day. In future, i’d probably get the train to Picadilly and travel from there.

My hotel, was at Salford Quays and easy to get to, served by two tram stops. I know the area reasonably well, and it is close to Old Trafford, my main destination of the weekend. Walking past the stadium en route to the Old Trafford tram station (I’d purposely chose to do so, just to have a look at the ground), there was still a lot of activity, with tourists visiting the ground, and unofficial stalls looking to capitalise on their visit.

Getting the tram into the City Centre, the first thing I did was the first thing I do everytime I visit the City Centre – visit Empire Exchange.

It’s a “Retro Junk Store”, but as the saying goes, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure, and there’ll always be something in there you want to buy.

From there, I headed to Affleck’s, an independent indoor market space i’d previously visited in 2012. I got sidetracked while there of the mosaics outside, of various landmarks such as both of the city’s football teams, Coronation Street and Factory Records.

I also spotted some Street Art, and then found some more, then found myself getting lost and photographing more Street Art. I love Street Art, but i’d never really got anything photoworthy in Manchester. That was soon rectified.

The Northern Quarter was a part of the city i’d never really ventured to, much to my loss. Lot’s of fantastic independent stores and Street Art, which I enjoyed visiting, and hope to do so the next time i’m in Manchester.

After a walk to check out the Christmas Market at Arndale, I was soon on a bus, to Accrington, to take in some football, Accrington Stanley v Exeter City, before heading back to Salford Quays, with two more busy days to come.

I got up relatively early on the Saturday morning, so I could have a stroll around the City Centre before the match, which kicked-off at 3pm.

Again, I decided to walk to the Old Trafford tram stop, deliberately, just to walk past the stadium. It was quire eerie and surreal to see Sir Matt Busby Way so quiet and peaceful (bar a few street cleaners and stalls) on a matchday.

When I booked the trip in June, Hull City were still in European competition, and i’d hoped they’d get to the group stages of the UEFA Cup so the match would be a Sunday, freeing me up to spend more time in the City Centre and/or going to another game in the Greater Manchester/Lancashire area. However, it was not to be.

I got a tram to the City Centre, having a look around Arndale and Arndale Market, as well as seeing some of the street performers and catching up on some of the Street Art I missed on the Friday (It was coming up to 4pm when I was taking photos, and there’s wasn’t a lot of natural daylight to work with)

It wasn’t just Arndale I went to, I also had a venture around Printworks, the Christmas Markets around there, as well as a visit to the National Football Museum. As I only visit Manchester every 6-7 months (my last visit was 8 months ago, and I didn’t get a chance to visit the National Football Museum), visiting there doesn’t become stale due to the turnover of exhibitions. I took the opportunity to purchase a retro Red/White/Black bar scarf i’d been trying to get for a while.

At around Noon, I got the tram back to Old Trafford to have a look at Red Star Sports and the unofficial stalls, before dropping off my City Centre purchases in the hotel room, before a bite to eat, then into the ground.

The match itself, my first seeing Van Gaal’s United in the flesh, was a routine win, though it wasn’t perfect, due to injuries to Di Maria and Rooney.

Back to the hotel room for a quick change, then out for a quick bite to eat, I headed to the University Area, got hopelessly lost, before finding The Deaf Institute, a bar on the site of an abandoned Deaf Institute (hence the name) to see The Ting Tings.

It was a rather good gig, when you ignore them walking off three songs in due to technical difficulties.

(They did come back on once the problems were fixed)

I allowed myself a bit of a lie-in on Sunday morning, before heading for a stroll along Salfrod Quays, photographing some Street Art i’d spotted from afar over the previous two days from the tram.

The end of that trail, saw me at Cornbrook tram stop, so I got a tram from there to Market Street, having a browse at the Christmas Markets, somehow getting lost in these markets (especially the German market) and ending up in Deansgate.

With a bit of time to spare, I headed to Moston to have a look at FC United’s proposed new stadium, Broadhurst Park, which is at a very advanced stage.

I’ve always been meaning to go to an FC United game, but whenever i’ve actually been in Manchester for a whole weekend, they’ve been away. Even this weekend, with “Big United” playing at 3pm on a Saturday, FC were away.

Hopefully, when the stadium is up and running, i’ll get a chance to visit for a match.

From there, it was back to the hotel, then out for a bite to eat, before heading to Manchester Apollo for Erasure. I’d tried to get tickets for their Belfast gig earlier in the month, but they were sold out. I couldn’t believe my luck when I checked the concert listings and they were playing when I was there, so it more than made up for missing out on the Belfast gig.

In fact, it was a brilliant weekend for gigs in the city, with Erasure, Human League, Ting tings, Imelda May, The Beat and Paloma Faith all playing between Friday and Sunday.

Erasure, were fantastic. The bus back to Picadilly turned into a party bus with revellers singing from Erasure’s back catalogue.

Unfortunately, trams to Eccles (which was the route to my hotel) finish early on a Friday night. If the gig venue was in a more central location, I could have made it. Unfortunately, I had to walk from Trafford Bar to Salford Quays back to the hotel, when I couldn’t have been bothered walking any more.

I had a bit of a lie-in on the Monday morning, before a bit of breakfast, then checking out. The 3pm flight home didn’t allow me much of an opportunity to see the city on the Monday.

With that, my Manchester break was over, I found myself wishing i’d stayed over a few more days for the Stoke game.

Photo Album

Broadhurst Park Photo Album

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 28.11.2014

1. McBusted – Air Guitar
2. Becky Hill – Losing
3. Alexa Goddard – So There
4. Erasure – Always
5. Ting Tings – Shut Up And Let Me Go

This Sunday, is St Andrew’s Day. Do, how about a chart? How about two charts? One for all things Andrew, and one for all things Scottish.

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS WITH A MEMBER CALLED ANDREW

1. Wham! – Freedom
2. Wax – Bridge To Your Heart
3. Roachford – Cuddly Toy
4. Andrew WK – Party Hard
5. Andrew Cole – Outstandin

FIVE SONGS BY SCOTTISH ACTS

1. Biffy Clyro – The Captain
2. Chvrches – Recover
3. Prides – Messiah
4. Strawberry Switchblade – Since Yesterday
5. Bay City Rollers – I Only Wanna Be With You

Last week, was International Men’s Day. Being the big sexist that I am, I forgot about it. So here, is a chart to commemorate it.

FIVE SONGS ABOUT MEN

1. Mansun – Electric Man
2. Michael Jackson – Man In The Mirror
3. REM – Man On the Moon
4. David Bowie – The Man Who Sold The World
5. The Verve – Lucky Man

FIVE SONGS WITH MEN’S NAMES IN THE TITLE

1. Oasis – Little James
2. Paul Simon – You Can Call Me Al
3. Bat For Lashes – Daniel
4. Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Geno
5. Fine Young Cannibals – Johnny Come Home

Last week, on X-Factor, was Elton John v Whitney Houston, that well known rivalry. They’re not even trying any more.

FIVE SONGS BY ELTON JOHN

1. I’m Still Standing
2. Made In England
3. I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues
4. Step Into Christmas
5. Kiss The Bride

FIVE SONGS BY WHITNEY HOUSTON

1. Your Love Is My Love
2. I Wanna Dance With Somebody
3. How Will I Know?
4. I’m Your Baby Tonight
5. If I Told You That (ft George Michael)

2014 : THE HALF-TERM HALF CENTURY

Well, we’re now officially halfway through the year, it’s time to look back at some of the best songs of the year.

At the end of the year, I do a Top 100, but as it’s the halfway point, here’s the Top 50 Songs Of 2014 So Far.

1. Vance Joy – Riptide
2. Beck – Blue Moon
3. Wonder Villains – Marshall
4. Ella Henderson – Ghost
5. One Republic – Love Runs Out
6. Jimi Goodwin – Oh! Whiskey
7. Lea Michele – Cannonball
8. Lorde – Team
9. James – Moving On
10. Fiona O’Kane – I Can’t Help Myself
11. Courteeners – Summer
12. Ellie Goulding – Goodness Gracious
13. Pollaponk – No Prejudice
14. Embrace – Follow You Home
15. The Vamps ft Demi Lovato – Somebody To You
16. Kasabian – Eez-Eh
17. Chvrches – Recover
18. Tove Lo – Habits
19. Florrie – Seashells
20. Coldplay – Magic
21. U2 – Invisible
22. Nina Nesbitt – Peroxide
23. Grouplove – Ways To Go
24. Broken Bells – Holding On For Life
25. Merrymouth – I Am The Resurrection
26. The Pierces – Kings
27. Alicia Keys ft Kendrick Lamar – It’s On Again
28. Foxes – Let Go For Tonight
29. Manic Street Preachers – Walk Me To The Bridge
30. Sia – Chandelier
31. The Pretty Reckless – Heaven Knows
32. Bombay Bicycle Club – Feel
33. Kaiser Chiefs – Coming Home
34. Ed Sheeran – Sing
35. The Horrors – So Now You Now
36. Alexi Lalas – Rio
37. Cher Lloyd – Sirens
38. Bastille – Bad Blood
39. Paloma Faith – Can’t Rely On You
40. Nick Mulvey – Cucurucu
41. Thiago Thome – Brazil Brazil
42. Foster The People – Best Friend
43. Foxes – Holding On To Heaven
44. Luke Sital-Singh – Greatest Lovers
45. American Authors – Best Day Of My Life
46 Tiesto ft Matthew Koma – Wasted
47. Ting Tings – Wrong Club
48. Tinie Tempah – 5 Minutes
49. Katy B – Crying For No Reason
50. DJ Cassidy ft Jessie J and Robin Thicke – Calling All Hearts

THE SOUND OF 2011 : 41-60

41. Sara Bareilles – Uncharted
42. Saw Doctors ft Petula Clark – Downtown
43. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – If I Had A Gun
44. The Feeling – A Hundred Sinners
45. James Cleaver Quartet – Buck Rodgers
46. Jedward – Lipstick
47. Katy Perry – Extraterrestrial
48. Birdy – Skinny Love
49. Wonder Villains – Zola
50. Coldplay – Paradise
51. The Pierces – Kissing You Goodbye
52. Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Monarchy Of Roses
53. Ting Tings – Hang It Up
54. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – AKA Broken Arrow
55. Kasabien – Days Are Forgotten
56. Lemmy – Ace Of Spades (Acoustic)
57. Scala and Kolacny Brothers – Solsbury Hill
58. Lady Gaga – Born This Way
59. Bruno Mars – Grenade
60. Two Door Cinema Club – What You Want

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 28.10.2011

1. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – AKA …. What A Life
2. Florence and the Machine – Shake It Out
3. Ting Tings – Hang It Up
4. Manic Street Preachers – This Is The Day
5. The Pierces – Kissing You Goodbye

And now, the traditional chart based on the previous week’s theme in X-Factor.

Last week was the always comical “Rock Week”, where the performers dress and sing based on how marketing men view Rock music.

It was quite apt that the first performer should cover Lenny Kravitz, the most fake poser in Rock music.

Anyway, he’s five rock songs for you to enjoy. One of these songs might be a pisstake, but it has Rock in the title, which is good enough for me.

FIVE ROCK SONGS

1. Falco – Rock Me Amadeus
2. Biffy Clyro – The Captain
3. Led Zeppelin – Kashmir
4. Queen – Innuendo
5. Status Quo – Down Down

THE SOUND OF (THREE-QUARTERS OF) 2010

As regular readers of this blog in it’s various incarnations will know, I like my music.

Since I started up a blog (On Bebo, in 2006) I used to list the five songs I was enjoying most that week, and then, in July, post my Top 50 of the year, and then a Top 100 in December (Usually drip fed, 20 or 25 songs at a time)

Since moving my regular blogging activity to WordPress, I have continued by having a Top 50 in July (I don’t actually do a Top 5 each week anymore) and will have a Top 100 in time for Christmas (I haven’t decided wether to dripfeed in 20 or 25 at a time)

As with tradition, they will be posted on Thursday nights. I don’t know how Thursday night became my blogging night, it just did.

So, just thought i’d share some songs i’m loving at the moment.

I know for a fact that when I had my blog on Bebo, people read it and sourced out the songs as usually within a few days of posting, they would have the video as their flashbox.

So, you can thank me in advance for introducing you to some new songs.

Ellie Goulding – The Writer

Amazing song by an amazing singer. The only one of her singles this year which comes close to matching the brilliance of her (criminally low charting) debut, ‘Under The Sheets

One Night Only – Say You Don’t Want It

Ignore the fact that Emma Watson is guesting in the video, THIS, is an amazing tune, by a band I loved back in 2008 when they released their debut single ‘Just For Tonight

A fastpaced footstomper you could just listen to on a constant loop, it makes me wish I could pick up a guitar, and write a song this good.

OMD – If You Want It

I’ve already blogged about how much I love OMD, and when you wait 14 years to release new material, it had better be worth the wait. This is, despite the fact, or perhaps because of, it sounds like ‘Wake Up‘ by Arcade Fire.

Not quite forgiven, but Andy McCusky is slightly redeemed for being the brains behind Atomic Kitten.

The Klaxons – Echoes

The Klaxons are fucking amazing. Nothing else to add really. Unlike OMD, only a 3 year wait. Worth it.

Ting Tings – Hands

You know what you get with the Ting Tings, usually songs you can dance, jog or do whatever you want to.

Silhouette – Volume Destroyed

Big shout out for a local singer with an amazing song that sounds brilliant on 1st, 2nd or 1,000th listen.

Marina and the Diamonds – Shampain

Words cannot express how much I love Marina after hearing her debut single ‘Hollywood

Saw her live at Mandela Hall this year, and she was amazing.

She’s doing a concert at the Nerve Centre next month. If you’re in the area, I suggest you go and see for yourself.

I’m in Manchester that weekend, but if I wasn’t i’d be making arrangements to be a ‘Derry Diamond’ for the night.

This song, with nods towards ‘Magic‘ by Ladyhawke and ‘Love Is A Stranger‘ by Eurythmics is the best of her releases this year.