Finally Made Some Money From Songwriting..
You can check out the video here. The sound quality isn't as good as I would like, but it's streaming video, so it is as good as can be expected.
John McDermott's blog
Labels: Irish Blog Awards
It is cold in
”It’s 41 degrees*!” announced an older gentleman, as he noisily entered the coffee shop. “Winter has arrived!” he declared happily. I recognized him. I think he lives at the top of my street and is always wearing a trilby. Almost four years here, and I still don’t know everyone on the street.
“It’s 41 degrees,” I muttered to Thomas, a work colleague and sometime surf buddy as he hauled his board onto the roof rack. He shrugged. “It’ll warm up when the sun comes up. At this time of year the water is the same temperature all day anyhow.” I shuddered; up to yesterday, it had been almost a year since I braved the chilly NorCal breakers where even in the summer you need a wetsuit. Thomas was wearing a tee shirt. Only on the coldest days have I ever seen him in anything heavier. His tanned face betrays how regularly he surfs, though given how early he hits the beach, it was hard to understand how he got so brown. Dawn Patrol, he calls it. He often hits Lindamar beach in
The car dips down the steep hill on Highway One just above
The parking lot is almost full. Everyone is getting in a surf before the gluttony that is Thanksgiving. We quickly change, shivering despite the bright sunshine. A quick stretch and it’s into the water. I paddle into the first wave as it breaks, sending freezing water rushing over me and straight down the back of my wetsuit. Ok, I’m awake now. The white water isn’t that heavy, so after a few duck dives, I find myself on the outside. It’s a gorgeous morning, I gaze back briefly at the beach and the surrounding mountains, the sun seems warm after the cold paddle out, and I spend a few minutes resting and soaking up the warmth, listening to the cackle of a few seagulls arguing nearby. A seal breaks water, and swims curiously past. You can feel the surfers tense up. Seals are cute, but they are also shark food, and we are in the middle of what is delightfully known as “The Red Triangle" (aka a Great White breeding ground).
Quickly, I catch a small ripping wave, a short few thrilling seconds, but enough to give a boost to my confidence. I had surfed yesterday for the first time in a year, and didn’t catch anything, I was rusty, my timing a half second off. I kept having to yield to another surfer on every wave I went for (basic surfing etiquette, when more than one persons goes for a wave, the first one up, nearest the wave’s breaking shoulder, owns it).
The waves aren’t big, hip high, with a shoulder high swell hitting every so often. However, they are breaking steeply on the sandbars and I have a long board, so it is going to be hard to catch the bigger ones. Suddenly, I’m further outside, with a sizable swell rolling toward me, and I’m alone, no competition. I turn towards the beach and paddle hard. The swell catches me just as it hits the sandbar and jacks up into a steep wave. Too late, I realize, it may drop out from underneath me, sending me free falling, head over arse, into the maw of the wave before it crashes, pummeling me into the ocean floor. But, I am committed at this stage, and as it catches me, I jump into a squatting position, grab the outside of my board to stabilize it, and turn hard right. My timing is perfect and I am right on the breaking shoulder. I straighten up and dash down the wave, while other surfers paddle furiously, both to get out of my way, and to avoid a hammering. I bottom turn in the shadow of a wall of water and swoop back up the wave face; hitting the lip before turning back down. Pushing my weight onto my front foot, I make the next section, and turn sharply left rushing towards the beach. It seems like an eternity, but for the next few seconds, I am caught perfectly in the curl of the wave, weightless, walking on water, even watching the sun glint off the emerald water and soaking the hillsides in an early morning glow. A few more short turns and the energy that probably started with wind thousands of miles away in the open ocean peters out, and I am left standing in the white water, exhilarated. I haven’t caught a wave that big in a long time. “Woo hoo” yells a neoprene hooded surfer nearby. “Dude, that was steep. I was sure you were going to get creamed, well done!” This is unusual. Surfers are a taciturn bunch, concentrating on incoming swells, adjusting position to catch a wave, or to avoid a pounding or a collision with some beginner, all of which doesn’t leave time for much conversation.
I paddle back out, and pull up beside Thomas. “Killer wave”, he says. “Biggest of the day, and no one fighting you for it. Nice Thanksgiving present!”
My arms are pleasantly tired as I drive home, and my mind is clear and relaxed. I am looking forward to the day’s festivities. We have a large group of friends coming over, and I need to get home to do some cooking. “Daddy, did you catch any waves?” my eldest shouts, as I open the door. “Oh yes I did,” I declare.
* 5 Degrees Centigrade
These are in no particular order, and not necessarily released on 2007. The only criteria are that I listened to, and enjoyed them, for the first time last year.
Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank.
I bought this, and didn’t really listen to it for a while, despite Johnny Marr being involved. When I finally took the time absorb it, it was well worth the effort. I’ve been a fan of the band since The Moon and Antartica. They show a Beatles like glee in using the recording studio, and those super catchy jangly guitar hooks, nicely balance the more arty side of the band. I can’t really say that Johnny Marr changed their sound much, but this is a great album, gorgeously recorded.
Built To Spill – You In Reverse
Dough Martsch and his band can’t put a foot wrong in my world. On this album, the band sounds they sat in the room together and played as a group. There’s a lovely live feel to the recording. BTS have inherited Television’s, (Marquee Moon is a top 10 of all time album to me), arty angular catchy guitar rock mantle. The music feels painted with guitar tone and texture as colors.
Bruce Springsteen – Magic
Warrants a mention for the songs, “Radio Nowhere”, and “Girls In Their Summer Clothes” alone. “Radio Nowhere” is the first song in a long time that I have repeatedly listened to several times in a row. Also, the Boss who will never be mistaken for a Paul McCartney when it comes to catchy melodies, seems to have found a few hummable tunes here. Unfortunately this is also one of the worst mixes I have heard in a while, the album is muddy and over compressed. On headphones not such a bad thing, but on my home system the flaws are very apparent.
Louis Stewart – Overdrive
Louis Stewart, as far as I can tell, is
LCD Sound System - Sound Of Silver
I bought this because so many critics raved about it. Although I like electronic music, I haven’t a large collection. What I loved about his was that it was song based. It references 80’s bands like the Human League, New Order, even Talking Heads but is it’s own thing. One of the best albums on this list,
Given that this has topped every critics end of year poll, there is nothing I can really add, except that Radiohead rediscovered melodies, and discovered a playfulness that they never really had before. Some of the songs sound like the Go Team, who my kids love, that says a lot about the direction Radiohead took on this album.
Another Be-bop jazzer, this is an old album from the early 90’s. I had arranged a solo guitar version of the old Jazz chestnut “Autumn Leaves” for a friend’s wedding, upon hearing it my guitar teacher mentioned it sounded
Robert Plant and Alison Kraus – Raising Sand.
This has deservedly received a lot of attention. Two great singers on an inspired collaboration. Robert Plant proves yet again that he is one of the greatest vocalists in the history of modern music while Alison Krauss’s harmonies blend clearly and perfectly without ever taking second place. T-Bone Burnett’s production is subtle and ghostly, an autumnal soundscape perfectly suited to these songs of longing and desire.
Tinariwen – Aman Iman: Water Is Life
I blogged about this earlier in the year. Tuarag rebels with guitars. Joyous and Hypnotic. Nothing like any of the other albums on the list.
Grinderman – Grinderman
Not as good as Funeral but still very good. Best concert of the year also.