Tentative plans for 2018

Have I fallen out of love with blogging? A quick look at the sparse, sporadic Sonic Breakfast updates in 2017 might well indicate that to be the case. To my shame, the regular ‘Sonic Breakfast Top Ten Of The Year’ feature didn’t even feature between Christmas and the New Year. 

In truth, I have perhaps lost a bit of that fire. It might come back or it might take another form but at the moment the thought of scanning through the ever-growing mountain of E-mails from PR companies and bands desperate to be introduced as the next big thing holds less allure than once it did. 

There’s such a quantity of great art out there that doesn’t see the light of day; so much great music that gets released to the slightest of fanfare; so many great films that are left in the editing suite to decay and rot. It all becomes a bit overwhelming. Whilst friends did end of year lists documenting their 100 favourite albums of 2017, I simply wallowed in the corner feeling fraudulent for barely listening to a dozen albums from start to finish in that twelve months. 

 A couple things are happening in my life that regular Sonic Breakfast readers might care to know about. 

(1) After 12 years in the day job, I’m taking redundancy at the end of March. I see this as a positive thing though it’s only natural that stepping out of a comfort zone also brings accompanying fears. My plan is to head to Spain. Sarah has a villa over there. I want to give myself the headspace to write words every day. With a view looking out towards real mountains, the ever-growing mountain of E-mails will surely seem less daunting to deal with.

(2) I’ll be renting my house out – or at least making use of the services of AirBNB. Close friends who’ve seen my house will know that there’s a fair bit of largely cosmetic redecorating work to get through if I’m going to achieve the Spanish dream in April.

(3) The day job workload shows little sign of abating. I’ll be kept busy before I go. Appalling at saying ‘no’ to things, I’ll also still be writing comedy festival reviews for the Mercury during February and knocking together the occasional piece for the fine Leicester listings magazine, Great Central. This all takes time. 

(4) I’ve been developing a love for ‘random’ word generation games. I’ve been managing that overwhelming pile of E-mails by not managing them and finding other ways to unearth great music and film. The internet has some great, little tools for generating random words. I’ve been using those words with which to search Spotify or IMDB movie databases. I’ve been forcing myself to expand my horizons; to listen to the music that a random combination of words entered into search tools might spew back; to watch the awful TV movie if that’s what the search results demand. Somewhat amazingly, employing such randomness rarely fails to delight and always seem to inform. Even when the art isn’t entirely to my taste, I’m taken down new and exciting avenues of thought. I’m discovering new things in a way that feels comfortable and pressure-free. I plan to keep playing around with such practice.

Yesterday, to my general surprise, I received a press invite to the incredible Eurosonic Norderslag festival. It takes place each year in January in Groningen, Netherlands and I was lucky enough to head out last year to review it for eFestivals. (My review can be read here). It’s happening next week which gives very little time to plan but after a bit of frantic arranging it does look like I’ll be heading out again. Despite all that I’ve said elsewhere in this post, I’m genuinely excited about the new acts I’ll get to spot. 

And tomorrow on Sonic Breakfast, I’ll make use of random word generation in order to introduce one of the bands on the ESNS bill. For now, feel free to take a look at this. 


L.A. Salami – The News Cafe – ESNS Groningen

It’s been a long and exciting day. I write this as the wind outside howls around the dark and wet streets of Groningen. But I’m ok – AirBNB has worked wonderfully and I have a fab room in the heart of this fine city. 

Regular readers of Sonic Breakfast will know why I’m in the Netherlands. I’m reviewing Eurosonic Noorderslag for eFestivals. The plane from Southend touched down just after 5 and since then it has been all systems go. In the space of a few hours this evening, I’ve seen much that a fuller review will warrant but for now I’ll pick a shorter tale.

I clocked the band on the train from Liverpool Street. I needed a wee and so walked up and down the aisles to try and find a toilet. These shuttles don’t seem to have them but I did walk through a carriage that was laden with trendy looking musicians carrying boxes of equipment. “They must be on their way to Groningen“, I thought to myself.

(Click on page 2 to find out which band it was)

ESNS 2017 – Let’s Eat Grandma

We return to my itinerary for Eurosonic in Groningen next week, randomly chosen by Facebook friends. With Let’s Eat Grandma, they were already a name on my shortlist before Laura Horton, Chief Executive at Leicester’s Centre For Integrated Living, former Labour councillor in the Tory stronghold of Melton and all round lovely person decided to add the request ‘L7’ to my wall. 


Aside from having one of the most entertaining band names across the whole festival (arguably the delightfully named Cocaine Piss are more of a draw), Let’s Eat Grandma crossed my radar last year when I saw the young duo’s mysterious, kooky and highly captivating turn on ‘Later With Jools Holland’. There was enough weirdness and off-kilter creativity on display to warrant another look.

 (Click on page 2 for five more Sonic Breakfast reasons why I’ll be at the Stadsschouwburg at 8PM next Friday evening)


ESNS 2017 – Glints – Dread

Randomly picking my itinerary at Eurosonic Noorderslag seemed like a good idea at the time. Check back on this post (here) for an explanation of how I asked Facebook friends to pick the must-see acts in Groningen this year. 

Steve Parker is a wonderful acoustic singer-songwriter based here in Leicester. A couple of years ago, I featured this lovely man on Sonic Breakfast (here). He was the second person on my wall to come up with a combination of letter and number. “G8”, he typed, possibly referencing the assembly of world powers. 

Steve had picked Glints , otherworldly hip-hop from Belgium. Steve is a tolerant sort when it comes to music so I’ve no doubt he’ll approve.

(Click on page 2 to find out more about Glints)

ESNS 2017 – First Hate – Holiday

I’ll be heading to Groningen in the Netherlands in less than two weeks. Knowing this, I probably should have taken it a bit easier over Christmas.

Eurosonic Noorderslag has been a festival I’ve wanted to do for some time now. There’s something particularly attractive about the idea. Whilst others are finding ways to get fit and limit their expanding waistlines, I’ll be partying with festival bookers, up and coming bands and writers just like me in Holland. 

This is apparently where the festival industry goes to do their summer deals. I’ll be doing my utmost to unearth the best rumours for eFestivals. 

But, I’ll be honest. The scale of it all feels a tad overwhelming. 350 bands or so promoting their wares over a few days during which I’ll have to get my bearings in a strange city. It could be carnage if I had no plan. 

And I have one (of sorts).

(Click on page 2 to read that plan)