056/2024 – Disagreeing with Frank Turner.

Screenshot of Frank Turner message on Facebook: Start your weekend by getting into an argument about an arbitrary list! This was actually lots of fun to do: Thanks Punk Rock Theory
He’s spoiling for a fight here… 😉

The online zine Punk Rock Theory asked Frank to rank his first ten albums and he shared the link with fighting words. I’m kidding, obviously – as is he – but I thought it was an interesting read. Especially as my list looks quite different. Obviously this comes down to Frank looking at those albums from the creator’s point of view and I from the listener’s one. And my list may look a bit different as soon as next week or so. It’ll always be a bit of a moment thing, I guess.

Anyway, here is mine – only of the nine so far released albums, obviously. And man, this was hard. I even decided to sleep on it. Yes, I know I’m paying too much attention to this. So what?

#09: Sleep Is For The Week (2007)
Back in my old review I already stated that it’s my least favourite of his albums. It’s got 2 or 3 bangers, e.g. “Once We Were Anarchists” which I always love to hear at a gig, but I’m rather indifferent about a lot of the other songs. My review from 2018.

#08 Poetry of the Deed (2009)
It’s quite similar with this album. Some I’ve learned to love, some I like, some I don’t care about all that much. My review from 2017.

#07 No Man’s Land (2019)
I would have loved to give extra points for the concept and idea and I absolutely applaud that he tried out a variety of genres / styles for this album. Unfortunately some of them just don’t land with me. It still contains some great songs like “Jinny Bingham’s Ghost”, “I Believed You William Blake”, “Graveyard of the Outcast Dead”. My review from 2019.

#06 England Keep My Bones (2011)
Another album with some great songs (all of them have some, it’s Frank after all), but this also feels well rounded in a way without a real miss. And of course it has “I Still Believe”, the song that started it all for me. My review from 2017.

#05 Love, Ire & Song (2008)
This would have to be in the top 5 for “Reasons Not To Be An Idiot” alone. Because back in 2013, when I first heard of Frank and started listening to his back catalogue this was one of the first songs that I felt “spoke” to me. I could relate to it so much and I was in awe of this songwriter who found the words to express what I couldn’t, But the rest of the album is great as well. My review from 2018.

#04 FTHC (2021)
Frank placed this on 4th as well, so that’s something we have in common. I like/love most of it and I mostly like the musical direction he’s taking here. Just not a major fan of the more hardcore-like stuff like “My Bad”. My review from 2021.

#03 Tapedeck Heart (2013)
This was the album which Frank toured with, when I started listening to his music and going to shows so this is sort of personal. Some of the songs are still staples in the setlist and I love that. My review from 2018.

#02 Be More Kind (2018)
I’ve got so much love for this one. I actually enjoy the more electronic vibe of it a lot and it’s got some of my favourite songs on it. Some he doesn’t play live all that often much to my dismay. “Brave Face” for instance. My review from 2018.

#01 Positive Songs For Negative People (2015)
I was a bit surprised that this ended up as my number 1. For now at least. But it’s got so many great songs and works well as an album all in all. For the record: “Mittens” is a great song and that’s a hill I’m willing to die on. My review from 2015.

051/2024 – “Good Jump, Charlie. Have You Been Practicing?”

Photo of the jump during the final applause of the Operation Mincemeat cast
They’ve clearly been practicing…

Well, I have with my camera’s setting and finally after all this time I’ve managed to get a good jump shot at the final applause. With the full original cast even, Yay! One thing to check of my bucket-list. Kidding. Or not.

Operation Mincemeat – A New Musical” for the 2nd time on this trip was almost as much fun as on Saturday. Not as much went wrong this time 😉 But seriously, it always makes me happy to see it and to be able to chat with the cast a bit after at the stage door. I know, I know, I’ve banged on about that one line from it, but there is so much truth in it. For me anyway.

“The world’s a mess, Charlie. Small flashes of joys, that’s all any of us can hope for”

Ewen Montagu, Operation Mincemeat – A New Musical

It all turned even more relevant, when I walked back to the station after the show and for some reason my thoughts all of a sudden started doing that annoying tailspin down the well of negativity. I have some ideas why, but that’s something I will need to work through offline. Pen and paper and all that. Which I will start doing tonight for a bit in the hopes that my mind will be quiet enough afterwards to fall asleep. Practicing not jumping, but selfcare, which is more important to me at the moment anyway…

An uncapped fountain pen on an empty page of a dotted page in a journal
Pick up that pen and paper…

050/2024 – Quick Update From London

Photo of Westminster London by night. On the right the House of Parliament on the right the London Eye in pink light. Westminster bridge and more of central London in the centre. Clouds in the sky
Westminster by night

I thought I’d post a quick update before I head out for the day to visit the National History Museum incl. the Wildlife Photography of the Year exhibition and then later today to my 2nd musical of this trip: “Hamilton”.

So far everything went well or nothing went really wrong, which for a worrier like me is basically the same thing. But in all earnest: I’m startled / surprised / impressed about how I handle all the tiny things that don’t go 100% as planned. A few years ago every tiny mishap came with the chance of me tail-spinning into negative thoughts, but this time – so far – I managed to take the necessary step back. I re-assess. I adjust my plans, which are mostly vague during the day anyway and just get on with my day. Progress!

Mishaps include

  • technical problems somewhere north of Wimbledon which meant: No trains coming or going. Took the bus the South Wimbledon and hopped on the Northern Line.
  • a camera who somehow seemed to have stopped working after I removed the SD card to transfer the photos to me tablet. Nothing I can do about that here and now, so I don’t need to spend my time worrying about it. Good thing I’ve got a smaller camera as well.
  • a lost USB C charger cable and a replacement (bought from Morrison’s first thing this morning) that charges really really slow. I might need to buy another faster one somewhere today.

The first thing on the list of things I came to London for – seeing “Operation Mincemeat” on Saturday – was brilliant. Again! As it is! I was treated to the the full original cast, which hasn’t happened the two times I was here last summer. So that was fun. I managed to hand over my little present and letter to one of the cast – David – at the stage door, which was good. And I had a quick chat with cast member Jak, who always is the sweetest at stage door.

Jak was the one who caused the biggest stage mishap I recall ever seeing on this show, when he mixed up a cue and came on stage too early. Realized it half-way through the door and retreated. The cast on stage at that moment reacted amazingly, carried on as nothing had happened but ad-libbed to our delight. A few moments later with Jak finally on stage, Zoe entered in her part as Colonel Bevan with the line “You’ve made a stupid mistake” directed at Monty sitting at the table. But while she said it she basically glared at Jak which set the audience off again. Such fun!

Just as the last time I was here to see the show in August, where I saw all sorts of “connections” to it at the Postal Museum I had visited that day, this time around I once again stumbled across something. While I was just strolling through the surrounding park on my way to check out the Tibetan Peace Garden, I saw the banner for the “Spies, Lies and Deception” exhibition at the Imperial War Museum. Which isn’t a museum I’d usually visit, I think. But of course I wondered, if Operation Mincemeat might feature in it. Did I go in to check? Of course I did.

Photo of an oar, photos of Ewen Montague, Jean Leslie and some parts of the mincemeat deception
Operation Mincemeat section of the Spies, Lies and Deception exhibition at the IWM

From there I took the bus across the river, because my legs were already a bit tired from all the walking I had done on that day and the day before, which included the 193 steps (down) at Covent Gardens tube station after the show, because I hadn’t remembered that there are so many! I had a bite to eat in a Pret and then walked to and across the river for some photography.

I think I’m quite happy with the few photos I took that evening, especially as I hadn’t read up about the best settings for night photography before and operated mostly on memory. I will need to check the photos on my big monitor at home though.

(In the spirit of full disclosure: the annoying bitchy worrier voice in my head urges me to include mentioning the things that could be considered “not have gone well that night”, but I stubbornly fought against her! Go me!)