2011 in Retrospect

Looking back over the year, I've had quite a good one. Scanning over last year's 2011 resolutions - basically the same list every bloody year - I've ticked a few of them off in the last 12 months. Here are some of the bits and bobs I've done this year (some good, some not so good): Spent a week in Barcelona in a hostel, getting sun burnt and wasted. Went to 3 music festivals - Primavera in Spain, ATP: Nightmare Before Xmas (at Butlins!) and Secret Garden Party - which I actually went to on my own (for bonus points). Primavera Sound Part 1: Videos Secret Garden Party 2011 Roundup I saw Bob Dylan and The Cranberries at The Feis. I went to see Chas & Dave's farewell gig (the gig was so successful, the bastards promptly reformed the following month): http://tomfogarty.com/blog/chas-n-dave-gig I got a new job - web developer for a digital agency: Whitewater. 3 rounds of interviews and 2 tests, quite proud of that one. I then won the "Cockup of The Month" award at work - one month after starting. I started writing for a music rag - Penny Black Music. Check out my reviews/interviews here. I had some attractive couch-surfers from Sweden and America stay at my flat - and I didn't even attempt to shag or molest them or anything. I got a couple of tattoos done (well, 9 to be exact). One of them was done by Chad Koeplinger. Russian Criminal Owl Tattoo I saw Grinderman before they announced they were splitting. I went into a bookie's and placed a bet on a horse. BETCHA! I went to see Joana and The Wolf (on several occasions), and went completely spastic at Koko. Joana and The Wolf - Koko Gig I designed a few new freelance websites. I saw Big Trouble in Little China and The Evil Dead trilogy at the cinema (yes, I think that's something worth mentioning). I did a hell of a lot of "trolling". I grew a moustache and raised some money for Movember. I jumped into a freezing lake to save a drowning child and then resuscitated him (ok, this one is a lie - but the list was getting quite thin). And that's about it. My favourite new films of the year were Troll Hunter and Hobo With a Shotgun. And finally, here are some pictures of me getting drunk at the work summer party - included for no other reason than it was a fun day:

Russian Criminal Owl Tattoo

Not blogged in ages, been really busy. If you follow this Blog, you'll know that a few weeks ago I went to Primavera Sound, and was quite excited about it. To mark the occasion I decided to get a tattoo while I was there. Trouble was, I couldn't find a tattoo shop. I came home un-inked. Luckily, I was booked in to get a new tattoo with Liam Sparkes a week later, back in London. So I guess this is my Primavera tattoo. Funnily enough, while I was getting it done, Liam told me he was at the festival too - and he did get a tattoo done while out there. His was done by Jondix. So this is it (proving once again that I cannot pose for photos). It's a Russian criminal tattoo, taken from the cover of The Russian Criminal Encyclopaedia Vol. III. It represents "a murderer". I already have Russian tattoos of a cat and a spider - which represent "a thief". If you ask me to explain why I chose these - I can't, really. Not to normal people anyway. For me, tattooing is about irony: choosing to get a tattoo is all about being brave and being stupid. You can't really justify it too much. If you do, you're just being pretentious. Go with the flow. And everyone ends up with the tattoo they really deserve... Incidentally, the Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia Vol. II sells for silly money on Amazon now that it's out of print. I want a copy.

Primavera 2011 – The Final Word

This will be my last mention of the festival (for this year at least). But I'm the kind of person who thinks if something's worth saying once, it's worth saying a thousand times. Been back a week now and I'm still buzzing from it. Although at the same time, it also feels like it happened long ago. There are some good, professional (i.e better than me) reviews of the event over at Pitchfork. I feel quite happy that my visit to Barcelona coincided with unemployment riots, mass death by cucumbers, and some football team called Manchester United playing against the city's team. There's a few pictures of me looking bewildered, surprised and angry over on my Picasa account here. Once last point of interest: I spent the majority of the festival going "commando", in part because it was very hot and I wanted to swim, but mainly just for the cheap thrills. You won't catch me in Barcelona with my pants on. I decided to opt out of underwear on the first night. I got back to the hostel in the early hours to find my "roomies" already asleep. I stumbled around drunkenly for a bit, before deciding it was far too humid to sleep in any kind of clothing. I whipped my pants of, got half way up the ladder to my bunk, before realising just how drunk I was. I stood there, gripping the rungs - swaying about - and generally being noisy. If my co-traveller, Chris, had chosen that moment to wake up - he would have been treated to a great close-up of my willy flapping about. Anyone else in the room would have seen my white arse wiggling about instead.

Primavera Sound 2011 – Part 2 (Words)

So, Primavera Sound 2011 - what an amazing experience. I mean like a life-changing experience. Well, maybe. I guess time will tell. It was actually an amazing week all round. On the Monday night - the day before flying out - I met a very special person from America. She likes to keep a low profile on the internet, but she knows who she is. Barcelona itself was very cool - 2 days before the festival I met some of the best people in the hostel - we drank lots of Sangria, and did karaoke (something I always said I'd never do). I even listened to an impromptu acoustic rendition of Vanilla Ice's Ice Ice Baby at 3am in a girl's bedroom. The beach was great too, although I managed to burn my feet so badly on the first day that they swelled up like balloons. Swell (pun intended). I was lucky enough to spend the 3 days of the festival with a truly smashing girl called Jude who I met at the hostel. My favourite moment of the whole holiday was dancing with her at 5:30 in the morning - drugged up on pills - to a band called Battles. It was really hot but it was also raining slightly. Brilliant. The Flaming Lips and Of Montreal put on visually stunning sets. And Grinderman and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion rocked hard. Grinderman playing Get It On was my favourite song of the festival - at one point Nick Cave yanks Warren Ellis on the floor while he's playing the maracas (look it up on YouTube). I almost expected the very intense Nick Cave to scream in his face "GET UP, FOOL". But he didn't. Pissed Jeans ended their set by shouting "We hate everything. We hate you guys. FUCK OFF. WE HATE YOU ALL". Which I thought was nice. Pulp and PJ Harvey also played brilliant sets. On one of the days I spent ages trying to find a backstreet tattoo shop, so I could mark the occasion with some ink. Couldn't find a shop though. Coincidentally, one of the bands - Male Bonding - turned to out to be fronted by a friend of my tattooist, Liam Sparkes. Small world. During PJ Harvey's set I rubbed my tired eyes, but inadvertently rubbed sun tan lotion in to them. This made me cry like a bitch for about an hour and I ended up with swollen eyes like piss-holes in the sand. And it probably looked like I was crying because the music was so beautiful or something (which is even worse). On my last day, we had to check out at 10:30 and I didn't get a chance to charge my phone in time - meaning that I couldn't say goodbye to Jude. So she probably thinks I'm a bastard now. I went to bed at around 7am each morning, then got up around 9:30 for breakfast. Felt like a spasticated zombie by the end of it all. Here are the bands I saw: Of Montreal Grinderman The Flaming Lips P.I.L Interpol Girl Talk Big Boi Islet Caribou Pulp The National Battles Wolf People Shellac Male Bonding Fleet Foxes PJ Harvey DJ Shadow Jon Spencer Blues Explosion Pissed Jeans The Black Angels Kode9 And The Space Ape There were more but I've forgotten. Missed Suicide play though.

Primavera Sound 2011 – Part 1 (Videos)

Just got back from Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona. I had an awesome time and met lots of great people. I'm too tired today to write about it properly tonight, so I'll do that tomorrow. For now, here some videos of my favourite bands (not my videos, grabbed from YouTube). I've tried to put them in order of preference. Battles are top because of the situation and experience (once in a lifetime-type thing), but everyone needs to see Grinderman before they die. I was lucky enough to see all of these with an amazing gal called Jude. The video above is Grinderman performing Get It On. Further videos can be found below: Battles PJ Harvey Jon Spencer Blues Explosion Flaming Lips Pulp Of Montreal