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by Andrew Vaughan


“When I was forty-seven
It was a very bad year
It was a very bad year for rock music
Of independent means
Soul Music stagnated
As James Brown went to heaven
When I was forty-seven”


As Francis Albert Sinatra might have sang


They say they are the boring things that make life interesting. Music, Film, television, art, sport, clothes and books – the things that get you through life in these humdrum towns and heaven knows I’ve been miserable last year.


It was the year that Indie rock mutated into boy bands with guitars and teenagers dressed up in Ramones’ tee shirts and implausibly skinny jeans. “What’s your favourite track on Rocket to Russia?” we asked some dim-witted Daddy’s girls one Friday night in Camden Town. Oh how we laughed, us bald-headed punks. If it wasn’t The Fratellis and The Kooks coming at you straight outta stage school it was Snow fucking Patrol or one of the million bedsit-dwelling clones. Or worse still Freddie Mercury and The Killers. Throw in James Morrison and Paolo Nutini whilst despairing that Liam Frost and Stephen Fretwell are ignored by the masses and it adds up to a dispiriting year in the popular rock world.


It took the first album from the New York Dolls in 30 years to show them all how it should be done. Their albumOne Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This’ was a raucous joy. Somebody that had been listening to the Dolls, plus The Faces and The Stones was Primal Scream and their ‘Riot City Blues’ album was a “reet good party album” as they sometimes say around here. Other than that it took a gobby Jewish girl in Amy Winehouse and her ‘Back in Black’ album to put a bit of soul into 2006. Whilst Bob Dylan astounded everyone with ‘Modern Times’. Single wise there was Gnarls’ ‘Crazy’ that still sounds terrific a million listens later and ‘Left, Right and Centre’ by Lord Large Featuring Dean Parrish induced spins and backflips around the tap rooms of Wigan.


Film enthralled me so much that I only made it to the cinema once and that was to watch Pan’s Labyrinth. Unfortunately FACT’s bizarre scheduling meant that it wasn’t showing as it was the eighth Thursday after Rosh Hashanhah (or summat) but was on the following day - and I still haven’t seen it.


The smaller screen was dominated by Jade Goody and her world. Fortunately I do not reside in there. A few documentaries, Clockwork Orange on FILM4, some American bits and bobs and hours sat staring at “Gorgeous Georgie” Thompson on SKY Sports News as I failed to take in (despite being told every 10 minutes) that Ade Akinbiyi had rejoined Burnley.


Which brings us to the year in sport: summed up nicely by the fact that Zara Phillips won the BBC Sports Personality of the year! But if I must: the national teams (or the English anyhow) failed miserably in football, two codes of rugby and cricket. Meanwhile my own team joined 16 other teams in trying to finish fourth from bottom of the Premiership whilst I missed some away games because, for the first time in 39 years, I couldn’t afford the price of a ticket. Hey but “live the dream” and all that.


I also spent a year pottering in and out of any number of Art galleries in pursuit of some exhilarating modern art and as normal was rewarded with the good, the bad and the ugly. Ron Mueck’s sculptures stayed with me and if they turn up in your town then make sure you give them a viewing.


They say you can lose yourself in a book and when you see twats like Jeremy Clarkson and Gordon Ramsey selling 100’s of thousands of books you need to! My favourite two books of the year were both loosely about football. The sleeper hit of the year was David Peace’s extraordinary ‘The Damned United’. 44 days in the life of Brian Clough and a whole lot more. Magnificent! The other tremendous read was Robert Brady’s book on FC United, ‘An Undividable Glow’. The purists will say it needs an editor but fuck them it’s a booming, rambling love story that at it’s heart has football. And proper football at that!


Not the greatest of years: In fact one of (if not) the worst I can remember. Hopefully 2007 can be one of those years – ’68, 77, 87….. Oh you know the score. So here’s hoping. A good north-western band leading the way, clubs that matter, art that shocks, disturbs and excites, television that isn’t sponsored by the Carphone Warehouse, films that YOU want to see rather than the missus and books that you can’t put down. I’m not holding my breath


Ps if you want to know this contributor when he wasn’t a miserable middle-aged cynic but a fresh-faced punk rocker then check out PUNK:FOOTBALL (pub. Mudhuts Media August 2007)  






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