Thursday, 31 December 2020

My highlights of 2020 (yes really)

 No one will be sorry to see the back of 2020. It is the year where I've seen the least live music, watched the least football, played the least football,  played the least music with my band, seen the least of my friends. I've seen one of my best friends lose their beloved 19 year old daughter. I've lost my favourite and last auntie. What good could come out of such a year? Strangely enough, I've done some of the work I am proudest of. 

The year started with a short film about the decline of Edgware. Whilst it is a grim subject and perhaps something that sort of sums up 2020 as a year, it has received a magnificent response, with over 4,000 people viewing it. It has made an impression on people, which as a video maker is something I strive for. I am indebted to Mark Amies who did the hard lifting here. Mark is a wonderful chap. Yesterday he published an update on his own blog. Please read this.

In early March I made another video that I was really pleased with. This was a video celebrating the opening of a mural which marks the association of Cricklewood with Handley Page aircraft manufacturers. This is the sort of film I love making, hyper local and celebrating events that seem to pass the mainstream media by. I thoroughly enjoyed making this. It is just a shame that with lockdown, so few people see the mural. It is my intention to do a film which will properly do the story of Handley Page justice in the new year. I had been inspired by the people I met at the opening, but sadly lockdown scuppered that. 

In June, I wrote and released the only new piece of music of 2020 from the False Dots. Sadly for us, Allan our singer has been unable to rehearse or record, due to his circumstances. The Black Lives matters movement inspired me to write a song and I was lucky that I was able to enlist Charlie Honderick from The Hamptons to stand in for Allan. This piece of music had to be made. I am especially happy with the video. This was made in lockdown. I used a stack of paper cuttings from my archive and I think it really captures the moment. As an artist, I've always believed that we cannot remain silent in the face of injustice. I seek inspiration from the likes of Marvin Gaye, Desmond Dekker, The Clash and Stiff Little Fingers, who make great music that has a powerful message. Please watch this. The comments of the Daily Mail about Lewis Hamilton receiving a gong show that this work if far from done.

My final piece of work was the video I made for the Sacred Heart Choir in Mill Hill. Fr Eugene and Clare Shah, who runs the choir, asked me about the feasability of making a video to be shown at Xmas masses as there was no prospect of live music.  I discussed it with Clare and we decided that the way to get the best result was to record a backing track in the studio and then get the choir to socially distanced sing along to it in the church, blending the amazing acoustics of the church with the clarity of the studio recording. As for the video, I shot footage of the performance. The choir did four takes and I managed to blend these. I also shot footage of the various aspects of the Church which I thought were inspiring and appropriate.  Initially I also intended to use footage from the studio, but I felt this made it look a pop video and lacked spirituality. I ended up spending the night editing it. I was pleased with the final cut. The Church also posted it on Facebook, here are a couple of the many positive comments "How lovely. So special! Thanks you."  "

❤️ beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Merry Christmas all ❤️"

These positive comments make the effort worthwhile. 

I did actually get to see a couple of rather good gigs early in the year. The Boys at The 100 club at their annual punk festival was great, as was seeing Judy Collins at the Union Chapel, a proper legend. 

In early December, before we went into tier 3, I thoroughly enjoyed spending a day on the Midland Pullman, a new luxury train, which is an Intercity 125 painted and decorated in the style of the old British Rail Midland Pullman service from St Pancras to Manchester. It was great to get out and see some of the country, even if it was damp and wet!

On the football front, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Manchester City beat Aston Villa in the League cup final in March, that does seem like a different world!

And I've really enjoyed watching Hadley FC progress to the 4th round of the FA vase this season. I've always loved Non League football, through Edgware Town, Barnet Fc and now Hadley. It is a joy, I hope that I can get back to the terraces there sometime sooner rather than later

We managed two short breaks. A few days at the seaside at West Wittering. I'd been there as a kid with my Dad and have always wanted to return. It didn't disappoint

We also had a very nice break in Madeira

It is always good to remind yourself that there is always good and bad in any situation. 

So there you go, it wasn't all bad. But I do hope and pray that 2021 will be a damn sight better! 

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