Last Friday of the Month, December 2023

Welcome to the inaugural Last Friday of the Month post. Think of it as like a monthly email newsletter, except without the email.

The aim is to post on, you guessed it, the last Friday of each month, and ramble on a bit about the month in music, at least from my perspective. I’ll be finding my feet with the format for a little while, so be kind.

As if on purpose, this first one coincides with the end of the year. And it has been an interesting year. Well, I started the Three Hundred Songs project, at least. I bought a mandolin too—a man can do some crazy things when he’s sober.

On which note, yes, I quit drinking. That means that the Three Hundred Beers project has slowed to a halt. I need more writing practice if I’m to pull off any of the more ambitious projects I have in the works (of which more another time), so here we are.

Anyway, as for December, let’s see how that panned out:

Out and About

In December I was lucky enough to see live, and in some cases meet:

Not a bad haul. Sam & Jamie—both of The Lost Boys—were a real highlight. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a banjo be made to sound as close to being a real musical instrument as in Jamie’s hands. So buy his book!

Those all rather nicely rounded out a year in which I saw, among many others: Jesca Hoop, Miranda Sex Garden, Martin and Eliza Carthy together, Stereo MCs, Otway & Barrett, plus Gong and Ozric Tentacles on the same bill…I could go on.

Of course, the vast majority of my live music exposure is thanks to Colchester Arts Centre, where I get to hang out a few times a week with some great people.

Around the Web/Media

Over on YouTube, I’ve been enjoying Matt Williamson’s Pop Goes the Sixties channel. Sure, it’s probably one for the middle-aged music nerds among you, but I really like Matt’s style: understated yet hugely knowledgeable and well-researched. Mind you, as a Brit, I’m flattered yet bewildered by Matt’s inexplicable obsession with The Beatles. Perhaps start with his epic The Beach Boys History, or perhaps his withering takedown of the all-but irrelevant Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I say “withering”, but Matt raises some subtle points in their defence too.

Alongside presenting the country show on Radio Scotland [listen on BBC Sounds], Deacon Blue’s Ricky Ross has a great blog. Yep, that’s an actual, old-fashioned blog, made of real sentences. Which is quite rare these days. Ricky brings insight and common sense to music commentary, and is always worth reading.

During December, friend of Threehundredsongs (well, we once met her) Zoë Wren and her Trio premiered Live at Westlake Studio and it was rather lovely:

From a songwriting point of view, Tom McRae’s The Seven Truths of Songwriting over on TED is very interesting (and contains three songs). See what you think, or whether you agree:


Taking inspiration from Chris Cleverley‘s very good value mailing list, each month I’ll put together a brief playlist of music I’ve been enjoying thoughout the month. Here’s the first one. As ever, enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *