It's time for a break, an adventure. Time to trek up a mountain and feel tiny and insignificant. Time to lay under the stars and watch the sun set and rise. The everyday beautiful things that we take for granted because we're eyes down, focused on career, money and the next big opportunity. Time to refresh the brain and get some fresh perspective.
Band Aid reinforces negative stereotypes of Africa and Africans. It reflects a colonial mindset that is so deeply entrenched in Western culture that we aren't even aware it exists. The sight of a bunch of rich pop stars parading themselves as paragons of virtue and heroes is crass and eminently offensive. While it may allow them to wallow in self congratulation and positive PR, it is paternalism of the most grievous kind.... Ultimately, it is not Africa that needs to be saved, it is us. Only when we are saved from the greed and paternalism that distorts our understanding will Africa and the rest of the developing world finally begin to emerge from under the iron heel of Western hegemony.
John discovered that his first album had an incipient following in 2002 when a journalist, Mark Luffman, emailed him from Australia after finding the LP in a car-boot sale. "He raved about it. No one had ever said such nice things," says John. "It was considered a complete failure by my record company and management - they saw it as an experience best forgotten".
In the week that Alfie Boe's new album Serenata is released I caught up with James Morgan, conductor and producer (with Juliette Pochin) of Serenata for this exclusive interview.
Youth MP for Hackney, Ife Grillo, agrees with Cookie that Hip Hop artists can and should do more. He said:
"They have a duty and one way they can do it is through their music, through their messages, through their campaigns and really being the ambassadors that they should be to young people".
I proudly present 'The Music Snob Guide for Compiling Your 2014 Christmas Playlist'. Come in Boney M, Shakin Stevens, and Mel and Kim, your time is up! Here are my top 10 essentials...
Hailing from London E3, Jessica Agombar has rid any notion of Grime being entirely by males. Having rolled deep (pun intended) with Dizzee Rascal and Ruff Sqwad, this young lady has entered the Grime arena to add a fresh approach to the genre she grew up on. Here, he tells us more about her jouney so far.
Vancouver's Billy The Kid (real name Billy Pettinger) lies somewhere between the street tough song writing of Loretta Lynn and the raw Grrl power of Kathleen Hanna, and her latest effort, Horseshoes & Hand grenades, is the perfect synthesis of American roots and punk scene spirit.
Let's face it the vast majority of people turn a darker shade of Scrooge once they come into contact with Christmas music at any point before December. As a consequence those of the opposite disposition, namely Christmas music aficionados, play a dangerous game.
Musicians (people playing instruments), are not used much at all anymore on pop recordings or on the songs that were presented on the trending music page of SoundCloud meaning the music now comes from machines, usually with vocals over the top. Again, everyone using the same machines.
Across the last decade or so, Nordic music, via a dedicated export agency named Nomex, has stormed the UK, and has perhaps developed into a scene or music sub-culture all of its own.
Supertramp are not quite in Floyd or Zep's rock icon's league, but for a while they certainly had a lot more successful singles circa 1979 than the latter two bands.
I've previously featured young singer Josh Savage. Josh bears all the hallmarks of a future star, from a captivating voice to real songwriting talent. In the era of the male vocalist, I wanted to pick his brains for advice for other musicians on their way up.
Thirty years - digest that for a moment. If you're shrugging and asking "What's to digest?", you're probably under 30 and have never known a world without Madonna - you don't know how different life was for young women before she became a lightning rod for debate on Western female sexuality, and changed the way women view sex, love and ambition.
Not to say they were that bad at the Forum in July, far from it; they were astonishing then, but now they had a meaner, more purposeful edge.
Is it me, or are we in the Western World, becoming the New Narcissists? I'm not referring to some 80s pop movement here, and by 'we' I mean me, and all the me's who see our smartphones as our BFF's and think nothing of bringing our tawdry private lives into public places.