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31.12.20   >   End of Year Review 2020

Where do you even begin? Deep breath, here goes...

It was the best of years, it was the worst of years. No, hang on, that sounds a bit familiar, I think maybe some other hack has beaten me to that one. I suspect some of you already know what I’m getting at but I might as well be orderly and start at the beginning.

January. Good lord, it seems so long ago now doesn’t it? Sweet, innocent, much-maligned January. We all began with 2020 vision, hopeful of many things and suspecting nothing. Most of us were concerned with nothing more than trite hashtag fashions like ‘veganuary’ and whether we could cling on to our new year’s resolutions for more than a week. Yet, beneath our unsuspecting noses, global trouble was brewing, and it was brewing very fast! In the mean time, Katie was in Tbilisi recording tracks for her new album. All seemed well with the world...

February. Normality was still more or less upon us, but ill winds were blowing. Mid-month we were dismayed to hear that television presenter and former Strictly winner, Caroline Flack, had taken her own life. Press hounding and social media trolling had become too much for her. Social media can be such a wonderful thing but until humanity as a whole can eradicate hate and intolerance it will also be a breeding ground for the worst people as well as the best. Those of us that continue to dream of a world filled with peace and love may not live long enough to see it come to pass but we must carry on the fight to achieve it till our dying breath, and trust that those following behind us will pick up the baton. Love will prevail in the end. But if we needed cheering up, Katie, as usual, obliged when she took part in a concert at the London Palladium to celebrate the 50th anniversary of “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. She blew everyone away with “59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)”, “So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright”, and quite possibly the most beautiful version of “Scarborough Fair” you will ever hear. She still has no idea just how good she is.

March. Here we go then. It started innocently enough and seemed to be going rather well by mid-month. Katie announced she had written a song called “No Better Magic” for Lisa Batiashvili’s album “City Lights”. It was a joyous announcement for us out of the blue. A less joyous announcement was that we would all have to go into lockdown. The news had been increasingly focussing on Covid-19 in the days and weeks before but it had always seemed like Somebody Else’s Problem. Suddenly it was a problem for all of us. Out of nowhere, the world was about to change.

April. We were all in shock at how quickly our lives had been turned upside down. We were self-isolating, washing our hands until we had no fingerprints left and rummaging around at the back of the store cupboard for anything still edible as panic-buying had stripped the supermarket shelves more effectively than locusts. One of the abiding images of the time will be that of people pushing supermarket trollies piled high above their heads with toilet rolls. To this day I have no idea why. For those of us living alone, self-isolation didn’t feel greatly different but for families and social animals it was already apparent it would be a challenging time. Yet already there were signs that the British ‘wartime spirit’ would come to the fore and unite us all in a time of need. We were beginning to pull together. Katie, yet again, gave us a boost we all needed when “No Better Magic” was unleashed. It was aptly titled, because for some of us there is no better magic than Katie’s voice. A video for the song was released featuring photos from Instagram. Somehow, yours truly made the cut. Blink and you’ll miss it. I advise you to blink. Mind you, Katie wasn’t the only one doing her bit to boost morale. Across the pond, his Royal Bobness, despite being busy practising how to spell ‘octagenarian’, calmly threw us a bone in the form of a 17-minute epic, “Murder Most Foul”. In fact, it wasn’t so much a bone as an entire cow. Those who thought his sixteen and a half minute “Highlands” would never be exceeded clearly made the mistake of underestimating the peerless Mr Dylan. Back in Katieland, our Queen hadn’t finished treating us either. She appeared on Instagram Live and treated us, along with her brother Zurab, to beautiful acoustic performances of “No Better Magic” and “Maybe I Dreamt It”. A sign of things to come—just a couple of weeks later she gave us a ‘mini-concert’ live from her home as part of a wider event called “LCKDWN”. With all live music events on hold, it was a real oasis in the desert and fans drank from it with gratitude and glee.

May. By this point most of us were struggling. If there was ever any ’novelty’ value in lockdown it had long since worn off. For many, the highlight of the day had become seeing Boris Johnson or one of his sidekicks trudge up to the podium at Downing Street to deliver a daily update of doom. And Professor Chris Whitty, as one of his trusted advisers, had already become something of a national treasure with his trademark expression that makes a bloodhound look like a Cheshire cat. It is no surprise that by Christmas people would be unwrapping mugs with his picture on it and the caption “next slide please…”. Katie was still keeping our heads above water, playing her heart out from her sofa with another ‘mini-gig’ for “The Takeover Festival”. I’m not sure how we’d have got through this year without her. Bob Dylan continued to help too, with the release of a storming new album “Rough And Rowdy Ways”, proving you are never too old to make good music.

June. The spirit of unity throughout the country was as heartwarming as the daily stats on covid were chilling. Every Thursday evening at 8pm people were opening their front doors and ‘clapping for carers’. It resulted in neighbours you had never even seen becoming friends. A new sense of community was developing all over the country. And yet again, Katie stepped up to the plate and gave us a home video performance of “Scarborough Fair” for ‘Artists4NHS’ that was so magical I almost stopped breathing. A few days later she began teasing us with photos which would have us all pondering and guessing. They would turn out to be stills from the videos for Album No. 8, but that was something we still knew nothing about. Just before midsummer’s day, AllAboutKatie hit something of a landmark with the 1000th post on Craggie’s Blog. Hardly seems possible. How time flies! Towards the end of the month, Katie gave us another cracking performance from home for The Wildlife Trust’s Big Wild Weekend Music Night, and she also gave us a breathtaking livestream concert in aid of Red Cross Georgia. But the real blockbuster news came right at the end of the month when “A Love Like That” was released. The 30th was a day to remember. “Album No. 8” was announced at long last. A day we had been waiting so long for. We’d had a taster more than two years earlier with “Maybe I Dreamt It” but finally we were getting new songs to pick us up just when we needed them. Fans gathered together on Katie’s YouTube channel to watch the premiere of “A Love Like That” and you could palpably feel their jaws dropping in unison. Back on the 4th March I suggested that Katie could write a Bond theme. Within ten seconds of this track I knew she had proven me right. It would have been a better Bond theme than any we have heard in the last 30 years. That it isn’t is not our loss. We already had goosebumps and knew that the new album was going to be something very special, though the release date of October 16th seemed such a very long way off.

July. We were being allowed out of lockdown at last, but it certainly didn’t feel anything like normality had resumed. People were beginning to wear masks and shops had long queues as social distancing became the new buzzword. Everyone was trying to work out how to judge what kind of distance 2 metres is. Walking along the street left you thinking you’d had a deodorant malfunction as oncomers quickly crossed to the other side ahead of you. We were entering the age of wariness and mistrust, a time when everywhere you went you were viewed as a potential leper. But spirits were soaring within the Katie community as she released another new song and video, “Airtime”. Already we could feel something very special was unfolding before our eyes.

August. We were flagging. It felt like we were winning the battle against covid, yet casualties were still mounting and life was nothing like normal. Mask wearing was becoming compulsory. A year ago, people seeing me put one on before entering a shop might think I was about to rob the place. One benefit for those of us that don’t happen to have the looks of Clooney is that masks do at least level the pulchritude playing field. Meanwhile, Katie was engaging with her fans like never before with live Instagram “interviews” she labelled “extreme fan engagement”. This basically involved her video-calling fans then looking slightly bemused as they freaked out; presumably bemused because they’d requested the chat in the first place so probably shouldn’t have been that surprised. Mind you, having spoken to her face-to-face myself I know just how knee-melting an experience it is. She has a lovely way of putting people at ease, though her claims to be ‘just a normal person’ deserve an Oscar for ‘most brazen, bare-faced lie on a live social media broadcast’. It’s akin to Lewis Hamilton saying something like “I’m a bloke that drives.” Naturally, for those on the receiving end of Katie’s interrogation it was a case of year made. And she continued to give the rest of us a lift with another breathtaking single from AN8—“Leaving The Mountain”. Talk about being on a roll!

September. A cruel, bittersweet month. It started well with the release of the video for “Leaving The Mountain” but less than a week later we were devastated by the news that Katie’s 2020 Tour was being cancelled. It came as no real surprise to anyone but nonetheless, the extinguishing of the only light we could see at the end of this long tunnel was a crushing disappointment, not just for fans but for Katie herself. She immediately tried to lift our spirits with another song, “Your Longing Has Gone”. It helped, of course, but we were all feeling like our hope had gone, never mind longing. Katie at least managed to sneak in a couple of live performances in Poland, a nice birthday present for her, but live music was already searching for ways to reinvent itself for a changed world. On a personal note, I completed my goal of walking 3.66 million steps in 2020, with more than a quarter of the year to spare. It seemed folly back in January on freezing, wet days but it just goes to show if you are determined and prepared to do the hard work then persistence eventually pays off and you can achieve anything.

October. There aren’t many years when you can say “October to the rescue”, but this was definitely one of them. We were on our knees, desperate for something to lift our spirits as the chill of winter began to prod at our bones whilst the grim realisation that covid was going nowhere fast set in. The 16th finally saw the release of Album No. 8. The lazy naming of the album was the only uninspiring thing about it—musically, it was staggering. An absolute masterpiece from first note to last. The regular release of singles had prepared us for it to be something special but even so I can’t honestly believe anyone expected every track to be quite so incredible. The icing on the cake was that Katie wrote all the lyrics—something I’ve prayed for since I can’t remember. They are, of course, magnificent. She has provided us with ten exhibits of evidence in the case that she is one of the great singer-songwriters of our era. AN8 was *so* what we needed, exactly when we needed it. If the fight against covid had become a marathon, Katie had just given us our second wind.

November. The fight against the virus was going badly again. There was another lockdown, and we were soon all in tiers. Life was certainly more bearable for Katie’s fans as she embarked on a whirlwind of tv and radio appearances promoting AN8 and treating us to acoustic performances left, right and centre. And there was another joyous video for us to saviour, for, well, “Joy”. It was also announced that Katie would be doing a livestream concert in early December from the Rivoli Ballroom. Not how most of us envisaged seeing her at the start of the year but definitely better than nothing!

December. Not a great start to the month as Katie and her fans were dealt another blow when the Rivoli gig had to be put back because an outside-broadcast van couldn’t park at the venue. It was a deeply frustrating twist we could all have done without. Katie went ahead and recorded the concert but the fans had to wait another two weeks before they could see it. It was such a beautiful show, just tinged with the sadness of thinking about how incredible it would have felt to experience it live as she performed. But if 2020 has taught us anything it is how to take disappointment on the chin and be grateful for anything good that comes our way. The Rivoli concert lifted our spirits again but covid was determined to have the last laugh of this difficult year and days later it was announced that Christmas had been, if not actually cancelled, severely crippled. It was to be a Christmas like no other. More than ever before it was just about spending some precious time with loved ones, where possible, and reflecting on this unprecedented year and how the world may well have been changed forever. As the year draws to a close we have cause for hope and optimism in 2021. A vaccine is already being rolled out, and by next summer most of us will have had it and be immune from the wretched virus. Yet you wonder if ’normality’ will ever be returned to. Mask-wearing may persist for some time after it is no longer compulsory. This experience has forced everyone to re-evaluate their lives and many of us have made changes that may have become permanent. The world has felt like a computer ‘hanging’ and we’ve had to turn it off and turn it on again. It should work like it did before but we may have lost a lot of files that can never be replaced. And it reminds us that there is no backup planet; if this one stops working that’s an end to everything. In 2021, we all need to be more mindful, caring and loving both for each other and for all living things that share the planet with us. It needs to be a year of healing and renewed hope for a brighter future. And, fingers crossed, by this time next year many fans will have experienced the joy of seeing Katie perform live once again. Be safe, be hopeful, revel in the healing power of music, and above all, be happy in 2021!


27.12.20   >   Playlist: Dinner Jazz with Katie Melua

A couple of nights ago, Katie played guest DJ on Jazz FM for a two-hour 'Dinner Jazz' slot. And she treated us to a beautifully curated selection of music for a perfect chilled Christmas Eve. Wine, candles, DJ Katie and suddenly the world doesn't seem such a bad place. It left me so chilled there were icicles on my beard. "At Last" and "Moon River" are two of my favourite songs ever, and I also have a soft spot for “The Nearness Of You”. That was balanced by a few standards, both jazz and Christmas, and a few tracks I hadn’t heard before, as well as an enchanting little concoction called “Maybe I Dreamt It”, though I didn’t catch who the singer was of that one….

Also in there was “What A Wonderful World”, the original and second-best version by the inimitable Louis Armstrong. Yes, second best—there has been one better version but I’m not naming names and I’m sure Katie couldn’t possibly comment.

Since it was broadcast on Christmas Eve, some of you may have missed it. You may be able to find it if you poke around in the Jazz FM archives but if you you can live without Katie’s dulcet tones in between the records then what’s wrong with you and just want to hear her music selection then Supercraggie to the rescue! I’ve recreated the playlist on Spotify just for you. (Okay, that’s a lie. It’s for me too.) Give it a try, it’s a super selection (though admittedly with a Christmas flavour, so you may want to favourite it for next Christmas!)

Dinner Jazz with Katie Melua

  1. The Christmas Song (Nat King Cole)
  2. She Was Too Good To Me (Chet Baker)
  3. Blues In Green (Miles Davis)
  4. Night And Day (Diana Krall)
  5. Moon River (Melody Gardot)
  6. Naima (George Benson)
  7. Away In A Manger (Dave Brubeck)
  8. Peace (Norah Jones)
  9. At Last (Joni Mitchell)
  10. Paranoid Android (Brad Mehldau)
  11. Maybe I Dreamt It (Katie Melua)
  12. Smile (Gregory Porter)
  13. Little Girl Blue (Nina Simone)
  14. Have Thine Own Way Lord (Brian Blade and The Fellowship Band)
  15. Dolphin Dance (Herbie Hancock)
  16. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Ella Fitzgerald)
  17. Que Reste T-il De Nos Amours? (Françoise Hardy & Alain Bashung)
  18. When Sunny Gets Blue (McCoy Tyner)
  19. What A Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong)
  20. The Nearness Of You (Nancy Wilson)
  21. Saturday Sun (Nick Drake)
  22. Christmas Caught Me Crying (Jamie Cullum)

Play on:

spotify

26.12.20   >   On Approval

Everyone wants to be liked. Humans seem to have a genetically inbuilt need for approval. It is deep-rooted in our psyche. We are social animals, pack animals, and it is a primal urge within us to be accepted by others of our kind. We fear being outcast, alone and unneeded, and we endeavour to do whatever it takes to please others, be accepted by them, and cement our position within the fold. All of this behaviour is understandable in the context of prehistoric humans, where mere survival dictated the necessity for grouping; safety in numbers was the key. Looking out for each other, protecting each other, working together to find food—life was hard and being part of a community was a natural way to make things easier for all. Going it alone back then was not a great option if you wanted to survive.

Fast forward to the 21st century, the digital age, and you would think we might have evolved into more autonomous beings, perfectly equipped to go it alone. After all, we can get just about anything we need delivered to us at the click of a button online. We can also interact with other people online, anywhere in the world. There's no longer any reason to be accepted as part of the local pack for now we can be part of the global pack. Therein, perhaps, lies the problem. It is no longer enough to welcomed within our own little community—nowadays we feel pressure to be accepted within the ultimate pack, the whole of humanity. Because the internet gives us access to everyone in the world we have come to feel as though we need everyone in the world to like us in order to validate our membership into this global club.

As is usually the case, amongst the first to recognise human needs and behaviour are marketing people. And you can quickly see how the tech giants are all fully switched on to this. Look at all the major players: Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, and so on. What do you notice they have in common? They are all taking advantage of our need to be liked. Everywhere you go on the internet you are confronted with it—approval ratings, feedback requests, 'likes' and 'followers'. How much of our day is now spent engaging with such things? The answer is probably more than you realise. We are becoming obsessed with these concepts. If we are buying or selling something we become paranoid about ratings and reviews. Doesn't matter if you are in the market for a pencil or a Porsche, an app or an amphibious landing vehicle, whatever it is you won't be able to get through the transaction without being begged for ratings and reviews. You can buy a bog-standard toilet brush (sorry) on Amazon and in the days following you will get emails pleading with you to rate it and write a review about it. It is bordering on insanity.

Social media does basically the same thing but it is far more sinister for in effect we are being asked to rate and review each other. Oh, that innocent little heart symbol, how it consumes us! It was such a good idea to give people a way to share their photos and thoughts with the world, ah but they had to go and spoil it didn't they? Likes and comments. Two jovial, friendly little words that are quietly taking over our minds and ruling our lives. It is no longer enough to simply share a lovely thought or photo with everyone—now we need feedback. We need to see how many likes it gets, how many comments it receives. If the response exceeds our expectations we are filled with childish excitement; if it fails to meet them then we are crushed. We become fixated on the feedback. We can be disappointed that a photo we were particularly proud of gets few likes, then elated when we put out a pic of our sleeping cat and it wins the internet. What does that say about us? About all of us? Why are we even playing this game? It is madness, and living for the tally of those little hearts is a dead end if you are searching for the road to happiness. But what can we do? The 'like' culture has already become engrained in us. It isn't simply going to go away; it is here to stay. Well, I have an answer for you, a little advice.

I call it 'pre-approval'. In effect, it is 'self-liking' but that's not a term I particularly want to promote. Pre-approval is a simple idea—before you post anything stop for a moment and try to see it through the eyes of your intended audience. If you are happy with it then mentally give yourself a like, and then post it. If you can't give yourself a like then hold back on posting. If you are true to yourself and follow this idea strictly then you can have confidence that you are happy with whatever you post. And if it meets your own approval then that is all the approval you need. Once you have posted it then you need to let go of expectations. You have no control over the approval of others so don't give it any consideration. If you were happy with your post then you have done a good thing in sharing it but move on and get your mind back to things that are within your control. If you are curious later on to see how your post was received then fine, take a look, but don't allow the figures to consume you. It really isn't that important. Whether hit or miss, just move on to your next thing. You really don't need approval from the rest of the world. You just need to focus on gaining approval from the only person you have control of—yourself.


25.12.20   >   Craggie's Christmas Message

If we can learn one thing from Covid-19 it is that we can never take life for granted. Our health, our freedom, our way of life—there is so much that has formed the basis of our entire lives that we never stop to give it a second thought. How lucky we are to be able to experience life at all, let alone in the relative comfort most people enjoy. Even those that would consider themselves poor usually have a dry and warm place to stay, food on the table and a life free from predators. Of all the species on the planet, humans are the most priviliged and yet we are the only ones that are dissatisfied with our lives and complain. On a freezing winter’s morning look at the robin sitting on that branch merrily singing away. He accepts his life for what it is and makes the best of it. He doesn’t gaze longingly into our warm kitchen and wish he could have a bite of our bacon butty. To put it bluntly, humans are spoiled. Look at the room around you: the gadgets, the pictures, the ornaments, the furniture… everything is a wonder. Even your coffee mug—someone has dug the clay from the ground, designed it, fashioned it and decorated it. Time, skill and love have gone into making it just to make your life a little easier when having a drink. Everything you see has required time, energy, thought and work to produce. Just imagine all the hours of effort from so many different people that have gone into producing what you see in the room around you. There is much to be grateful for!

Some people may be forced to spend this Christmas away from loved ones. You shouldn’t feel sorry for yourself—just remember that there are thousands of people who spend every Christmas alone. Instead, you should reflect with happy memories on all the good Christmasses you’ve had in the past. And you should strengthen your resolve that you will make the most of those that are still to come. As Joni sang, “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”—this year feels for many like they have lost Christmas but it is a perfect opportunity to re-evaluate our lives and consider what are the most important things to us. In recent years too many people have been living to work instead of working to live. Family is so important yet so easily taken for granted. It is all too common to find them annoying and wish you could distance yourself from them. Yet you miss them when they are gone. It is easy to believe they wil always be there. I remember a time when there were a hundred presents under the family Christmas tree. Now there are none. And the change seems to have happened in the blink of an eye. As my parents suffered ill-health in their final years I began to treat every Christmas as if it might be our last together, aware that that day would come. It paid off—our last few Christmasses together were amazing and I’m so glad I chose to put them before work and my colleagues and friends in London. I would urge that advice for anyone—make the most of every Christmas, even this one, for you never know what life may hold in store for the year ahead. I seem to repeat my mantra like a broken record but I refuse to apologise for it: live for now, not for tomorrow.

Finally, I want to say a massive, heartfelt thank-you to Katie. In this most challenging of years when we’ve all felt desperate and down, she has given us the most amazing gift in Album No. 8. and I don’t think she can ever truly know just how much it has helped so many people in their time of need. It was the best present of all.


24.12.20   >   Lyric Card: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

23.12.20   >   Christmas Katie Conundrum

Unscramble the letters to reveal the title of a seasonal Katie track.

*conundrum*

 30 

 


22.12.20   >   Katie Bite: Voices In The Night

Voices In The Night

21.12.20   >   Album No. 8 Word Search

It's nearly Christmas and you're bound to have a bit of time on you hands so why not chill out for a bit with a glass of port and a fiendish Craggie puzzle? Somewhere in this jumbled grid of letters all 10 tracks from "Album No 8" are hiding from you. Can you find them all? They could be across, down or even sneakily diagonal.
If you can't remember all 10 tracks from the album then you must live with the guilt, but hit the "clues" button to show them. If you need putting out of your misery then click 'reveal all' to expose those hidden tracks.
If you want to print it out to play just click on the puzzle to open it in a separate window and hit CMD-P (Mac) or CTRL-P (Windows).

word search

20.12.20   >   Merry Christmas

christmas card

Christmas is a difficult time of year for many but in this unprecedented year it is a challenge for most. Rise to that challenge. Whatever your circumstances, make the most of it and greet it with joy and gratitude. And why not start planning for how you are going to knock Christmas out of the park next year? Stay well, stay safe, stay positive—good times are on the horizon waving at us.


19.12.20   >   Playlist: Relive the Rivoli

Katie's sensational livestream concert at the Rivoli Ballroom was a groundbreaking event for her and her fans, and such a colossal lift for everyone in the darkest year many of us have known. We can only hope this amazing show is released on DVD at some point, but for now you can relive the show in your mind by playing the set list, and here it is. Click the link to find it ready made for you on Spotify.

Relive the Rivoli

  1. A Love Like That
  2. English Manner
  3. Joy
  4. The Closest Thing To Crazy
  5. Belfast
  6. Leaving The Mountain
  7. Maybe I Dreamt It
  8. Voices In The Night
  9. Nine Million Bicycles
  10. Your Longing Is Gone
  11. Heading Home
  12. Wonderful Life
  13. Airtime
  14. Remind Me To Forget

Play on:

spotify

18.12.20   >   Review: Katie's Livestream from the Rivoli Ballroom

rivoli gig

17th December 2020. Remember the date, for it is a special landmark in Katie’s illustrious career. Her first online livestream concert, filmed at the Rivoli Ballroom in Brockley, London, was streamed to eager fans across Europe. It was Katie’s only opportunity to perform the songs from her new album live this year following the cancellation of her 45-date tour in the autumn. For Katie and fans alike there was a great deal of trepidation about how this would work in reality. Would their be atmosphere without an audience? Would there be technical hitches with the delivery? Now, at last, we have the answers.

The streaming began on Katie’s YouTube channel at 8pm. For those experiencing their first livestream it was a tense time, wondering if their email link would arrive in time, and work, and whether their broadband would be able to handle the streaming, and so on. That tension all slipped away in moments when Katie stepped up to the mic, dazzling in a gold silk dress, and began singing “A Love Like That”. Her mesmeric performing ability drew you in immediately and it almost felt like you were actually there at the venue. A massive sigh of relief all round—this was clearly going to work.

The resplendent Rivoli, sumptuously lit in red, was oozing atmosphere. Joe Yoshida may have looked like he was playing drums in a photographer’s dark room but Katie was shimmering in the spotlight like a golden queen, an effect enhanced from certain angles by the sparkly chandelier appearing to rest on her head like an extravagant crown. A beautiful rendition of “English Manner” was next and we were already lost in the moment with her.

Then came the first reality check: several seconds of ghostly silence as Katie waited patiently in silence at the mic as Zurab changed guitars for the next track. At a normal gig, of course, this kind of time would have been filled with rapturous applause. It will take time to get used to that, but eventually it will just become accepted. As Joe clicked his drumsticks together to count in the next song, the sound echoed around the hall—another thing we’ll probably get used to. “Joy” was next up, appropriately, because we were already consumed with it.

Whilst there are obvious drawbacks to not being at a concert in person, it has to be said there are also advantages to this livestreaming alternative. For one thing, the use of multiple cameras gives you views you could never get if you were there in the room, even with front row seats. Panning, zooming, close-ups of Katie and the band, are all bonuses. Another benefit is that Katie could effectively have a second stage, and this was taken advantage of as she walked to the centre of the dance floor and turned back towards the band, so we could only see her, and she then picked up her guitar and delivered a lovely acoustic version of “Closest Thing To Crazy”. Then Zurab joined her on ’Stage 2’ for another old favourite “Belfast”. Nina Harries was next to join in the fun with the concert-within-a-concert as she slipped in alongside Katie and Zurab for “Leaving The Mountain”, rather like the video they made of the song. Finally, the little acoustic session was ended with Katie performing solo again, this time singing “Maybe I Dreamt It”. Her guitar playing on this track was some of the best I have ever seen from her and it was a delight to see her play so confidently—it is worth pointing out that in many of her performances from home during lockdown she has let Zurab accompany her for that song, which he could easily have done here too, so well done Katie for going alone. It was brilliant.

In a normal concert there might have been an interval at this point; clearly that wouldn’t really work with a livestream. Instead, Katie quietly disappeared backstage as the band treated as to a couple of minutes of instrumental jam, featuring some gorgeous playing by Zurab. Katie reappeared in a stunning dark green velvet dress and we were treated to “Voices In The Night”, a song that seems tailor-made for the late-night vibe of the Rivoli.

Another fan favourite followed: “Nine Million Bicycles”. Katie can still make these early hits sound fresh, and it helps when you’ve got Zurab sounding like Hank Marvin on the guitar. It’s incredible how already every track on Album No. 8 feels like an old friend, and “Your Longing Is Gone” was the next one for us to welcome. Then the band slipped away, apart from Tim Harries who shuffled to his left to take over the piano. Katie joined him on stage and the pair gave us a simply breathtaking rendition of “Heading Home”. This is a song that I already know will be with me for the rest of my life.

Katie left the band to have another jam, which those with a musical ear may have noticed had a “Wonderful Life” vibe, giving a clue as to which song was coming next. Perhaps more of a surprise was seeing Katie reappear in dress number 3, a classy cream outfit. Another flawless performance, followed by another gig tradition as she proceeded to introduce the band members one by one. Then the concert was wound down with fabulous performances of the remaining two songs from Album No. 8: “Airtime” and finally, “Remind Me To Forget”.

The old saying goes “leave ‘em wanting more” and that’s exactly what Katie did after a show lasting just over an hour. It went by so quick, always an indicator of having a wonderful time. That it was a triumph will come as little surprise to fans, who already knew what an accomplished and immaculate performer she is. As for the band, Katie has surrounded herself with an exceptionally talented group of musicians who just get tighter and tighter the more you see them. She will say she is lucky to have them, which she is, but equally of course they are lucky to play with one of the best singer-songwriters of our generation. It is a joyous match.

What have we learned from this exciting event? I think it is clear that there is definitely a place for streaming concerts even after the pandemic becomes a distant memory. Of course, nothing can really beat the thrill and immediacy of live concerts and the energy a crowd generates for each other and for the performers. But I would hope artists might seriously consider adding a livestream event to every tour. For one thing, it gives an opportunity for people to see an artist live who might not, for whatever reason, be able to attend a conventional gig. It also allows someone who might have been hidden away at the back of the theatre with a view obstructed by some hulk in the row in front to relive the show with a far more agreeable view! Only time will tell if that is a realistic path to go down. Would having a livestream event affect ticket sales for the tour itself? Who knows. Someone needs to guinea-pig the idea but I have a feeling such a combo-tour would do very well. It’s even possible that livestream events may become more popular than traditional gigs in future as a climate-change conscious generation realises the massive carbon-footprint gains of streaming. But that’s all for the future. Back in the here and now we are left to bask in the indulgent glow of a ground-breaking show that will long stay in our memories. And can I just say that if this Rivoli performance were never to be seen again it would be tantamount to a crime against humanity! What do we want?A DVD OF THE SHOW”. When do we want it? AS SOON AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE”. Let’s just hope I shouted that loudly enough...


17.12.20   >   It’s Finally Here! Gig of the Year! Rivoli airs Tonight!

rivoli gig

The ridiculously ravishing Rivoli, redolent of retro revelries, resplendent in red, revealing rhyme and rhythm to rejoice in and repel rapacious revellers by religiously replenishing reduced rates of reflection and realigning reiki rejuvenation resulting in rapture reminiscent of rapid resuscitation. Which is another way of saying it’s a nice place.

Right, a reminder that the Ravioli, I mean Rivoli… oh dear, I can’t get R’s out of my head (probably because I don’t know my R’s from my elbow)… anyway, the most important event of 2020 is finally being beamed to us this evening. Actually, not sure that’s entirely accurate—probably more a case of flickering light down fibre optic cables—but the end result is the same, i.e. you get to see Katie performing her incredible new songs at long last. I can’t begin to contemplate the idea that you haven’t yet purchased your ticket but there’s still time. This is hands down the best music event of 2020, and heaven knows we’re desperate for some cheer so get the goodies in and start counting down the minutes. I’ll see you on the other side...


16.12.20   >   Katie Conundrum No 9 - Rivoli Special!

Unscramble the letters to reveal the title of a Katie track.

*conundrum*

 30 

 


15.12.20   >   On Joy and Gratitude

Joy and gratitude are best friends, and they belong together. Joy without gratitude can seem selfish and indulgent. Gratitude without joy can seem insincere. If you feel gratitude without joy you won’t be happy. If you feel joy without gratitude you won’t be happy. The two need to be in balance. Joy without gratitude will be short-lived. Gratitude without joy will feel empty. Happiness comes from keeping them together.

It is easy to confuse joy with happiness but they are different. Joy is like happiness turned up to 11. Happiness is a serene emotion, a general feeling of well-being and contentment. It is a sustainable state; it is possible to be happy most of the time if you choose to be. Joy is like applying the afterburners; you get an exhilarating burst of intense happiness that makes you glad to be alive, but it is short-lived. You couldn’t live your life in a state of permanent joy—it would be too overwhelming for your senses and besides, people would probably think you were a nutter. More than that, if joy were the normal state then it would soon become mundane. Think of your favourite chocolates—what a treat it is whenever you get them. But imagine if all you ever had to eat was those chocolates, three meals a day, every day. I know many of you will be saying “bring it on”, to which I reply with a challenge: go ahead, try it. See how long they remain your favourite chocolates. Treats are so because they are infrequent. They give us something to look forward to and reward us for all the trials and tribulations we put up with in everyday life. They are special simply because we cannot have them all the time. And joy is a treat.

Gratitude is the humble voice of reason that stands beside joy and keeps her grounded. She graciously allows joy to consume you for a while but she’ll patiently wait her turn and then quietly help you back down to earth and remind you to be thankful. It is gratitude that allows you to fully appreciate joy for without it you may simply see joy as something you deserve and are entitled to. Once you get into that mindset, the power of joy diminishes. Gratitude is the quiet, unsung hero that lays the foundation on which joy is built. Once you learn to feel gratitude for everything you have, everything you have will give you more joy. Like Yin and Yang, Joy and Gratitude fit together to create harmony in your mind, and it is the circle they create together that will bring you long-term happiness.

14.12.20   >   Is Katie About to Break America?

amazon movers & shakers chart

It’s looking like she might! After her appearance on the Saturday Sessions for CBS last weekend there was suddenly a lot of interest and love being flung her way from across the pond. One chap said “wonderful new artist.” 😂
I’ve got news for you, USA: this party is already in full swing and has been for some time!! But you’re more than welcome to join. And if you’re reading this then you’ve already found the best place to find out all about the best singer on the planet. Feel free to poke around and have a rummage through the archives.

As Katie’s post above shows, there has been a strong reaction on Amazon.com to ‘discovering’ this amazing ‘new’ talent. Let’s just hope she doesn’t forget about little old us when she becomes the next Global Superstar! (Don’t worry. She won’t!)

13.12.20   >   Katie Bite: Heading Home

Heading Home

12.12.20   >   Katie Performs from Rivoli for CBS Saturday Sessions

live at the Rivoli Ballroom

These songs from the Rivoli Ballroom gig are outrageously spectacularly incandescently magnificent. And the good news is, if you like these there is still plenty of time to grab a ticket for the full livestream event on December 17th!

A Love Like That > A Love Like That (via CBS Saturday Sessions)

Voices In The Night > Voices In The Night (via CBS Saturday Sessions)

Your Longing Is Gone > Your Longing Is Gone (via CBS Saturday Sessions)


12.12.20   >   Don't Feed The Trolls

Social media is such an incredible development in human history. It has brought people together from all corners of the world and allowed them to connect in a way that science fiction certainly never saw coming. You can become lifelong friends with people that, just a few years ago, you almost certainly would not have met at any time in your life. Even if you live alone in the middle of nowhere, if you can connect to the internet you can connect to other human beings anywhere on the planet. What a beautiful thing!

But… oh come on, you knew there was a but coming didn’t you? The fact that social media is there for everyone is a double-edged sword. Whilst (hopefully) the majority of people want to use it to spread love and friendship with others there are always some that see it as a golden opportunity to spread hate and malice, with hurtful comments and harmful pictures. Yes, trolls. These disturbed, poisonous creatures hide away in their dark holes spewing out venom wherever and whenever they can. They cause untold pain and distress to innocent, normal people that are just living their lives and trying to connect with like-minded souls. Trolls will target anyone, not just people they know. As long as they can get their fix of upsetting someone that is all they care about; they have zero regard for the consequences of their vitriol.

The problem is how to deal with trolls. Social media is gradually getting better at finding ways of providing some protection, but it is often too little too late. Tools like blocking and reporting provide self-help but they are like sticking plasters on cuts when you’d rather avoid being cut in the first place. Yes, you can report and block an offensive message and have it removed but it can’t be removed from your mind so easily. Sadly, there is no obvious solution to preventing the messages in the first place. Shutting down a troll account is merely mole-whacking; they’ll simply set up a new one and go again. And do we really want to go down the road of having out messages vetted and policed by some nefarious all-seeing A.I. that can play God with what we can and can’t show or say? We value our freedom of speech highly so how could we possibly tolerate having it restricted by a machine? How can a computer ever distinguish between a genuinely hurtful comment and a bit of cheeky banter between two old friends?

As with many problems in society, the solution may not lie in technology but rather in education. Why do trolls behave the way they do? How can we raise our children in a way that prevents this kind of behaviour? If we understand what is making people spread hate we can begin to take measures to ensure that need simply never develops in them. A societal change of course, is no trivial matter and even if we identified solutions today they could take a whole generation to become engrained. Which is isn’t much comfort to you here and now if someone is being horrible to you online.

Let’s look at some practical advice on dealing with trolls then. The most important rule, the Golden Rule, is * Do Not Respond *. There is nothing you can say that is going to hurt them back. The nastier you get the more they’ll laugh. You’ll be playing into their hands. The one thing they crave more than anything is the attention. They are desperate to elicit a response from their victim. They don’t care what it is—if you reply, they have won. And once they know they can get at you they’ll keep doing it. Your words are fuel to their fire. Starve them. Do not feed the trolls. They loathe being ignored and if they can’t get a response from you they’ll soon turn their attention to another target. However, having resisted the urge to fight back, it does not necessarily mean you should do nothing at all. Don’t make any knee-jerk reactions. Take a moment, calm yourself, and then think rationally about what you feel. Is it really a vile, abusive or malicious comment or is it just ill-informed or ill-judged? If you are clear that there is deliberate malice intended then you should have no hesitation in blocking the sender and reporting the message as offensive. Most social media platforms have ways in place for you to do these things. This will usually result in the offending message being taken down. Sometimes, that may not be enough for you. For example, if you have been threatened harm then you should take a screenshot of the message and you may consider informing the police. It is horrible that an article like this even needs to be written but that is how the world is today. One last piece of advice I would give you is this: try to be thick-skinned. Don’t allow words to hurt you. It is your choice whether or not you are upset by them. You have the power to say to yourself “these words mean nothing to me, they cannot hurt me”. And it is true. You can decide to be upset or you can decide you are not going to be upset. Always take the positive action. Don’t allow anyone to upset you. You are in control of how you feel. So feel good. And get back to interacting with the good people out there.


11.12.20   >   AYMHM 11: Time (The Revelator)

Another album you may have missed... (see them all HERE)

I don’t know about Revelator, more of a revelation when I stumbled across this album nearly 20 years ago. This was one of those rare albums that blew my mind and changed how I thought about music and in particular ‘genres’ of it. Quite why music artists must be pigeon-holed into a category is a mystery to me but Gillian Welch was lazily shoved into the ‘Country’ hole in the same misguided manner that saw Enya classed as ‘New Age’. But like Enya, Gillian is in a category of her own. There may be hints of country in her music but there are also hints of bluegrass, Appalachian, folk and rock. Yeah, pick the bones out of that. Despite the American musical styles, her delivery struck a chord with me as reminiscent of English folk. The songs are low tempo, stripped-back, almost plaintive in their delivery. The lyrics are interesting and reward repeated listenings whilst the songs also grow on you in your subconscious. It is intelligent, understated yet finely-crafted music performed by someone that clearly cares about her music. (Remind you of anyone else?) If anyone is still struggling to scratch out that country label then track 10 should settle things—the beautiful and positively Dylanesque “I Dream A Highway” clocks in at almost fifteen minutes long. Try line-dancing to that.

time the revelator

Time (The Revelator)

Gillian Welch

Listen to Time (The Revelator) on Spotify via the link below:

Play on:

spotify

10.12.20   >   Katie in Action: York 2018

Katie in York

09.12.20   >   Give, Not Take

Three simple little words. But it is a mantra that has the power to change your life and bring you untold happiness. One of the troubles with the world today, and there are many, is that people want stuff. They don’t want to wait for it, they don’t want to earn it, and they believe they are entitled to it. They want it right now. They think they need it. They think it will bring them the happiness they crave. Therefore they get stuff. Then they are dismayed to find the happiness it brings them is fleeting, so they decide they need more stuff. And so on, in an endless cycle of misery that can last a lifetime. Material possessions do not bring happiness. They are a sticking plaster on a wound that will never heal. You are born into the world with nothing and you will leave the same way so why do you think having ’things’ during your life is so important? You never actually own anything anyway. Everything you think is yours is only borrowed—both you and your precious item are fleeting and finite and your atoms will return to the stars in time.

One of the most repugnant phrases in the English language is “what’s in it for me?” In a world ruled by and obsessed with money you are generally considered something of a lunatic if you do something for nothing. Everyone seems to be constantly on the the take; be it money, favours, love or whatever, they are always looking for what they can gain themselves. And if they can get more than they are asked to give they are highly pleased with themselves, oblivious to the fact that their soul dies a little more with each selfish transaction.

Christmas, of course, if the ultimate example of this behaviour. People ‘drop hints’ of things they would like to receive or even make out lists of things they want! I’ve always found this bizarre. For as long as I can remember, when asked what I wanted for Christmas or a birthday I’ve simply shrugged and said ’nothing’. Not because I’m any kind of saint but because I discovered as a young boy that real happiness lies in giving rather than taking. I must have been 5 or 6 when I wrote a note to my mother apologising because I couldn’t buy her anything for her birthday because I had no money and instead I made her a card and drew pictures and wrote little poems. Rather than telling me directly, she wrote me a little letter back saying she would always prefer having things made with thought and love instead of just bought from a shop. Naturally, later on when I did have money I always bought her nice things but I never forgot her message. After she died, I didn’t find much evidence of all the fancy gifts I’d bought her in later life but I did find that note in a box of her treasured things along with a stupid clay fish I’d made her at school.

Once you can master the art of giving without wishing for anything in return you will find something magical starts to happen. You will become happier! And the good news is, the more you give the happier you will become. Next time you find yourself thinking, for example, “ooh, I really want that new phone” just stop and ask yourself why? Has the one you already have stopped working? Has it suddenly become rubbish because a newer model exists? Of course not. Get out of the ’new stuff’ mindset and instead think about something you can do to make someone else happy. Even if you have no money you can still be generous and kind by giving your love and your time. If you see someone struggling, be the one to help them. If someone seems lonely then talk to them. Be creative in finding ways to give. If you do have a little spare cash one of my favourite ideas is to go to a bookshop and find a book that has really inspired you in the past and just tuck a banknote in between the pages. I know I’m not going to change the world—the “what’s in it for me” crowd are unlikely to take heed of any of this is. But that, sadly, is their loss. The joy and happiness of a recipient of your kindness will make you far happier than any other gift you could wish for. If the entire concept seems alien to you then just begin with small steps. Go on social media and leave a lovely comment on someone’s post. See how surprised and grateful they are. See how good that makes you feel. Isn’t that better than leaving some hateful, vitriolic comment that ruins their day and does nothing to help you out of your own pit of misery.

If you have taken anything positive from this post then please do me a favour: go and do something nice for someone today that you hadn’t been planning to do 5 minutes ago.


08.12.20   >   Seven Second Challenge 20

Bit of a tricky little minx for you this time. Could it be a seasonal one?
Press the play button and guess the song. Click "Show Me The Answer" when you think you know it or if you're stumped.

Seven second challenge: intro 20


07.12.20   >   Katie Bite: Joy

Joy

06.12.20   >   Driifting apart...

I feel so badly for Katie at the moment. After spending four years crafting an album of breathtaking beauty and flawless musicality it should have had concert arenas all over Europe bouncing and bursting with celebrating fans. Instead, we got COVID and cancellations. Being unable to perform those exquisite songs, all of them dripping with the golden nectar of her own lyrics, must have been heartbreaking as not a single concert from the 45 scheduled survived.

That would all have been bad enough, but then the highly anticipated “consolation” gig, the livestream from the Rivoli Ballroom had to be postponed late in the day because of a “technical issue”, those being Katie’s diplomatic words to describe what was actually “un fuckup Royale”, if you’ll pardon my French. I mean, you would think anyone whose job it was to arrange live satellite-broadcast events would have
“[ ] suitable location for outside broadcast vehicle” somewhere near the top of the to-do list.

Fans following Katie on social media were almost unanimously understanding and supportive despite their disappointment that the event would no longer be live (“as live” is not a thing—it is a binary condition; something is either live or recorded. So, when fans see the show it will be “recorded live” as opposed to “live”. If you are not sure of the difference, ask any football fan who recorded a match and is trying to avoid finding out the score.) The concert will still be an amazing must-see for fans but it will lose that strangely intangible ingredient that you get when witnessing something in the moment, as it happens. Some won’t be that bothered, but I have seen others that consider it a deal-breaker—which I think is a bit extreme, rather like cutting off your nose to spite your face. For Katie herself, it was another gut-punch setback. In terms of recording, you could say that it wouldn’t have been much different for her because there weren’t any fans inside the Rivoli Ballroom anyway but it is hard to imagine how it couldn’t have been on her mind as she performed that fans weren’t seeing her in real time. She’s way too professional a performer for you to be able to tell that of course, but, if you’ll permit me another football analogy, I think she played on despite carrying an injury. When she finally does get to play these songs in front of an audience, hopefully next year some time, that lucky first audience is going to get blown away by the pent up frustration that will be channelled into pure performance energy. Wherever that happens to be I’m fairly certain I won’t be there so I’m pretty jealous of that crowd but I have no doubt they’ll give Katie the reception and feedback she deserves.

Talking of deserving feedback, it was inevitable I guess that Katie would get some flak on Twitter about the late postponement of Rivoli. She’s an easy target, sitting right on the front line as opposed to those actually responsible for the issues who remain hidden away either in ivory towers or artificially lit offices. There were two monumental cockups in all of this. The first, as mentioned earlier, was the planning mistake regarding the satellite van, and the second was the failure of informing those who had purchased tickets that the event wouldn’t actually be taking place on the 4th. The former is down to Driift, the livestream event company borne of ATC Management, the very company that manages Katie. Unfortunate does not really cover it; it is a monumental PR disaster for the fledgling event broadcaster to let down one of ATC’s brightest stars so badly. To add insult to injury, they don’t even appear to be getting behind her in appeasing the disgruntled ticket holders. They should be grovelling at her feet for letting her down like that. The second issue, also criminal, was more down to the ticket companies, Ticketmaster and Universe. Those that tweeted Katie about not being informed were clearly not actual fans because had they been they would have been following Katie’s account and hence would have seen her message days before about the concert postponement. But the ticket companies failed to release immediate emails to ticketholders about the cancellation, leading to a situation where many people were actually plonking themselves down on the sofa with a bucket of popcorn and bag of jelly babies and getting ready to log on and watch the show. Had it not been for Katie’s own social media posts I myself would have spent Friday afternoon driving around Lincolnshire with mounting anticipation for the evening. That is a disgraceful handling of the affair by the ticket companies. Many people were left disappointed enough just by the postponement but the manner in which they were notified at the last minute, many of them only after frantically trying to contact the ticket providers, is simply not good enough. Some people have prior commitments for the new date and won’t be able to attend so having to fight to get a refund and missing out on the show when it does happen is going to leave a bad taste in the mouth for a lot of people. And it is Katie’s reputation that bears the brunt of the damage despite her being utterly faultless in the whole debacle; I’d even go so far as to say she’s a victim just like her fans. All I would say to Katie is it’s done, move on. Her core fans only dig in behind her more resolutely when she has setbacks, and it is worth pointing out that her fanbase has grown in recent months, particularly in terms of Instagram followers, whilst Album No. 8 has been universally well received. I think we are all ready to kick 2020 into touch and look forward to a far brighter 2021. Well, after Katie has blown us all away on the 17th that is….

05.12.20   >   Lyric Card: Bridge Over Troubled Water

NOTE: Regarding lyrics in general on AAK. I try *so* hard to make sure the lyrics on this site match what Katie actually sings. I'm prepared to put my money where my mouth is and declare this site to be the most accurate resource for her song lyrics in the world (and that includes her own web site!) But oh, does she ever like to keep me on my toes! I'll be the first to hold my hands up and admit that they are not yet perfect in every case but I'm getting there, and at least I care enough to try. Why is it so tricky to get them right? Well, I'm glad you asked that, even if I did have to ask it on your behalf. It's because dear Katie isn't averse to fiddling with a verse. Her astonishing skills at song interpretation means she sings what she feels is right, which is not always identical to the official lyrics. Obviously, this happens most with her covers but sometimes she even sings her own lyrics differently to what you see printed in the CD booklet. This is merely an observation and in no way a criticism; in fact, I love that she does it. But it can give me a headache when I come to make these lyric cards! "Bridge Over Troubled Water" is a case in point. In her studio recording of the song she omits the entire second verse but takes a line from it and swaps it into the first verse! This makes the song around three minutes long. If you listen to her live performance of it on the In Winter Special Edition CD you'll find she sings the full version, as in the 5-minute original. Personally, I prefer the live version, but my take on these lyric cards is that they should always be based on a studio recording if there is one. Hence, you get the cut-down version here because it is just how she sings it on Ultimate Collection. I imagine most of you couldn't give a monkey's loyalty card about any of this but for those of you that like to dive onto social media and say "ooh, you got a word wrong you idiot" I hope you will take note of this note and listen carefully to what Katie sings before jumping on me. If you then find I really have got something wrong then I deserve to be jumped on so jump away.

Bridge Over Troubled Water

04.12.20   >   Track Notes 113: Diamonds Are Forever

Album:  

Writers:

John Barry & Don Black

Length:

3:34

Notes:

Katie sings an actual James Bond theme. Who'd have thunk it? I mean, anyone that has heard the original (has anyone not?) will know that Shirley Bassey absolutely wrestles the song to the ground and kicks seven shades of sherbet out of it, leaving it on its knees begging for mercy. Which was about right for a Bond theme, but it is hardly the vocal style of Ms Melua is it? If she was ever going to tackle one I'd have thought it might have been something like "We Have All The Time In The World". Yet, here we are. And though I would never have bet on Katie covering this, one thing I also would never bet against is her reinventing any song and making it her own. And guess what? Oops, she did it again! (And if she ever covers that I'll start to question whether my whole life is just a dream.) This is a beautiful reworking of the song. I think Katie has said she performed it at a friend's funeral a few years ago. I saw her perform it on a TV special about James Bond music with lyricist Don Black a few years ago—which may be how Katie met Don and got talking about the collaboration for In Winter.

YouTube:

Is there a video for this? You may wonder. Oh boy, you bet your sweet sister's sweaty socks there is and it is quite unreasonably wonderful: Diamonds Are Forever (live)

Lyrics:

Diamonds Are Forever 

03.12.20   >   Spotify 'Song of the Year' stats announced

spotify my top song

Well, I did stream the living hell out of it, that’s for sure. “A Love Like That” was number two. It is worth pointing out though that those two songs were the first releases from AN8, and it is also only songs I’ve streamed on Spotify. All 10 from AN8 are in my Top 100 of 2020 but most of the rest are ambient tracks from the likes of Eno, Carbon Based Lifeforms and Solar Fields—I mostly listen to Spotify whilst writing and have ambient background music on. So what this doesn’t tell you is that when I received the vinyl and digital downloads of AN8 I played that album until its gonads were groaning. Therefore, if you ask me, and I notice none of you have, then I might tell you that my top song of 2020 was probably “Heading Home”. As for Top Album, well that was never in doubt from the moment I heard about it—that’s right, “Daniel O’Donnell”…. oh, come on, I’ze joshin wid ya! Since AN8 was on a shortlist of 1 it was never going to lose that. Honorary mentions for sure to Polly Scattergood, Bruce Springsteen and the incomparable Sir Bobness of Dylan, all with corkers this year, and even a commendation to Taylor Swift, but Album No. 8 has been the absolute saviour of a dreadful year. Yet again, Katie was there when I needed her. Which is why this web site exists.

02.12.20   >   BREAKING: Rivoli date revised...

Gutting news coming out of Camp Katie this morning. The Rivoli Concert will no longer be live. This is such a shame, but they can’t park a satellite can at the venue! Doh! Well, it’s early days for this type of concert but that’s not a mistake I think will be made again...

UK and Europe fans will now get to see a broadcast of the show on Thursday 17th December. Not sure why that date was chosen instead of keeping that Friday feeling but it is what it is. I really hope nothing else goes wrong for Katie, who hasn’t had the best of luck performing these incredible new songs to her fans. The show will still be wonderful, have no doubts, but it will inevitably lose that edge that live performances have. For Katie, she’ll be performing knowing that no one is seeing it with her and for the fans they’ll watch it knowing that they are not sharing a moment with her and she’ll be miles away doing something else. It is such a strange thing of human psyche that watching something “as live” never has the same buzz about it. In a way, it is like living in the past rather than in the moment. We just have to make the best of it. So, scratch the 4th from your diaries (make a date with a Netflix boxset or something) and whatever you had pencilled in for the 17th, well, boot it unceremoniously out of the window to make room for the revised Rivoli Concert.

If you haven't yet booked your ticket you can do so here: * HERE *

revised rivoli date

02.12.20   >   Crossword No. 5

Now look, have I ever let you down before? (Don’t answer that.) So far I’ve given you a shiny new crossword puzzle to celebrate every single released from Album No. 8. And, joy of joys, here is number 5 for you in honour of Joy. En-joy!
(By the way, if a clue sounds like nonsense then it is probably an anagram. Hope that helps!)

If you want to print it out to fill in just click on the puzzle to open it in a separate window and hit CMD-P (Mac) or CTRL-P (Windows).

crossword puzzle 5

Across

2. Not just kindness and laughter...
6. Only UK female with more consecutive top 10 albums than Katie
7. Producer of Album No. 8
9. Car driven by Katie in "Your Longing Is Gone" video
12. These need a good clean before rolling
13. Katie's new global publisher
14. English vampire fashions
16. A truly global song?
18. TV show Katie appeared on at 15
19. 'cos it's not my fault!
20. Stranglers classic the colour of Katie's eyes


Down

1. Elvis classic covered by Katie
3. More gifted mentor
4. Robbie Williams collaborator who co-wrote with Katie
5. Georgian director of "Your Longing Is Gone" video
8. Tree fit for a King?
10. Former South African President Katie met in 2005
11. For tea be wet
15. Red wolf crept
17. Katie's age at release of "Call Off The Search"


01.12.20   >   Seven Second Challenge 19

Press the play button and guess the song.
Click "Show Me The Answer" when you think you know it or if you're stumped.

Seven second challenge: intro 19





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