Living with…Elbow…for a week

A pint of Build a Rocket, please

Elbow are cool.

Not only for their music, of which more below.  But, they also have the distinction of bring involved in and having a real ale named after their latest album.  And one with a conscience – part of the profits going to the East Africa Crisis.

It’s a very English thing, bit like Elbow, really and would make an ideal accompaniment to any of their records.  Grittily clever with an urbane feel – exactly what they’d order.


A glass of your ‘Chateau Madge’, please

Elbow join the set of celebrities who already have/ endorse their own drinks.  Five years ago Madonna released her ‘Confessions’ range of wines following on from other classic celebs such as Neil Diamond and the Stones.

Only one problem with that really.  Very few of the people who buy the wine then go on to drink it.

Pointless.  Not cool.

A bottle of Hells Bells…chilled please

Well not totally pointless and some could be cool.  I quite like the inclusion of the Aussie rockers AC/DC on that list of endorsements.  If only so that I can order a bottle of Highway to Hell Cabernet Sauvignon and Hells Bells Sauvignon blanc.  Or a Back In Black Shiraz and You Shook Me All Night Long Moscato.

And you’d have to drink it really, wouldn’t you?


A cool glass of  Vida Novas?

Which surely brings us to the ultimate coolness, which must be not only to have your own brand but to also grow it and make it.  So surely that must be cool?  Which it would be for most celebs unless you’re Cliff Richard.

And sorry, Cliff, I agree that it’s grossly unfair that no radio station every plays your music anymore.  And it’s grossly unfair that your wine may be truly excellent (and the reviews are generally favourable) but the same applies to your wine.  And again sorry Cliff, but it ain’t cool.

The cool kids will always ask for a You Shook Me All Night Long Moscato, won’t they?


Build a rocket, boys (2011)

Elbow are one of those groups that you always want to be there, but you ignore them.  A northern band producing intelligent music – nothing new in that – it’s always comfortable to have one there because it helps us Brits to have a superiority complex.

And then they brought out The Seldom Seen Kid in 2008, and flipping heck, the songs were intelligent, catchy and lots of people bought them.  The Coen brothers featured their music in a film (Grounds for Divorce in Burn after Reading) and Elbow produced that really uplifting song with strings and a choir that we all started singing(see video below).  They weren’t supposed to do that – we had to pay attention to them.

Guy Garvey and his younger brother Ricky

They don’t look like pop or rock stars.  Lead singer, Guy Garvey could be Ricky Gervais’s older brother, and sounds like Peter Gabriel’s twin.  They don’t prance about a lot.  I haven’t found any scandals.  They seem quite normal.  And they come from Bury.

Which is why their latest Build a rocket, boys is just amazing.  It takes them back to their past- kids messing about on street corners, leaving home and moving in with the first girlfriend.  It’s terribly normal and at the same time amazing.  The music is understated while being grand – they bring in the 50-strong Halle Choir but then underpin it all with the subtlest sounds and melodies.  Sounds and melodies that crept around and accosted me later in the day when I was least expecting it.

This is for me the best album I’ve heard for 2011. It grew on me through the week and will slip back on to the CD player fairly regularly in the coming weeks. I’m not going to single out a track – they’re all brilliant.


Having said that, the video of the week is from The Seldom Seen Kid and is their addictive hit One Day Like This.  It also wins the award for the best video ever made featuring a man having a good time with a road sign.

All together now –

Throw those curtains wide!
One day like this a year’d you see me right
Throw those curtains wide!
One day like this a year’d we’ll sing it right

Twotes of the week

@BBCSoundEffects: Plop-plop-blub-blub-blip-blip-blip-blip-blip. Crack. Splosh

@sixthformpoet: Grammar nazis are notoriously anti-semantic.

@disneywords: Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again? –Pooh

@CllrTim: Phrases you don’t want to hear yourself saying when cleaning up the aftermath of schoolrun;”I REALLY hope THAT is Nutella..”