That One Album

I think most people have a few albums that they've listened to more than any other, that seem to go with every mood. They don't have to be Dark Side of the Moon or whatever you happen to think the pinnacle of musical whatever is, they're just that one thing.

Mine came out around my eighteenth birthday. I remember hearing one track from it on Mike Harding's Radio 2 folk show - I'd just discovered that I liked folk music, so I listened every week with a notepad and pen - and then I went out and bought it and listened to it myself all summer. The album is Poor Man's Heaven by Seth Lakeman - not objectively his best, or even his most interesting, but it's my favourite. It's a decade old this year, and I've probably listened to it over a hundred times. It reminds me of live music in my early twenties, of festivals, of buses and trains and libraries and hotel rooms and anywhere I've been where I want something solid and familiar. There's not a song on it I won't listen to five times in a row, given the opportunity.

You probably have an album like that of your own. I hope you do. It's a nice thing to have.

62. *Seth Lakeman, Poor Man's Heaven (album, 2008)
63. NOW: Jenny Saville, Sara Barker, Christine Borland, Robin Rhode, Markus Schinwald, Catherine Street (exhibition, Scottish Gallery of Modern Art)
64. ARTIST ROOMS: Music from the Balconies – Ed Ruscha and Los Angeles (exhibition, Scottish Gallery of Modern Art)
65. *Seth Lakeman, Word of Mouth (album, 2014)
66. Public Service Broadcasting (gig, Usher Hall)
67. Hanneke Cassel, Dot the Dragon's Eyes (album, 2013)
68. *Robbie Williams, Swing When You're Winning (album, 2001)

I'm never sure how I feel about modern art - whenever I go and see it, I always find myself underwhelmed and feeling like I'm not Doing Art Right, then I come away from it with two dozen new ideas and all sorts of thoughts about what I've just seen. It's something about that combination of slowly walking through a (usually) quiet, clean space, with particular thought-triggers every so often - it reminds me a bit of landscape gardens where the idea is you walk through them, see various views and plants and statues and what have you, and it sort-of-kind-of is intended to guide you along a train of thought.

I went around the Gallery of Modern Art by myself, which I think is the best way to do it, or at least it's the way that suits me the best. I wonder what everyone else sees, what they're thinking about. I know next to nothing about the theory or the pedagogy around modern art. A brief look round the corner reaffirmed that my favourite Francis Bacon is still the sixteenth century philosopher. (Obviously.)

PSB over the weekend as excellent as ever, although apparently I have turned into The Person Who Sits On The Balcony At Gigs. Am I getting more boring, or was I just boring from the start? Either way: people who do interesting things with their tech at live events. I can't get enough of it.