Only joking! It's times like this I am reminded of the extremes of unfairness in the UK not to mention the merits of Britain becoming a republic. I just don't buy this what the royal family do for the UK economy thing and as for life expectancy it is my guess that the immediate royal family can expect to live around the 100 mark whilst the average for the best area in Middlesbrough (Nunthorpe) was (assume still is) 82. I won't even go the headline grabbing statistic that if you live in Middlehaven you will do well to get past 64 or 65.
Would like to think that if somebody in Middlesbrough turned up at casualty at James Cook they might get this treatment even if they were 90 but who knows (Mark?). Then again I don't suppose there are many 90 year old's around Teesside to test it.
On a serious note though the local Teesside music scene has had an outstanding year. Possibly the best I can remember. The Chapman Family and The Young Rebel Set experience success on the national stage and I'm buggered if I know why Cattle and Cane haven't.
The quality of The Kids Are Solid Gold shows has continued to be astonishingly (really) high and Rikki Doolan has relentlessly put on (mostly) quality shows at Dr Browns (every Thursday and Sunday) and The Crown (first Saturday every month). He's also bravely, or more likely, recklessly took his roadshow out to the estates of East Middlesbrough to the "you're a foreigner" type pubs such as The Fountain in Ormesby and The Park End. Thankfully Gary R and I lived to tell the tale of the night at the Park End. Rikki even put Gary on a few times. Looking forward to the album.
Hail Rikki Doolan, long may his magic touch continue.
Also must mention to Rock Garden Reunion people. Steve Harland's shows have been well attended and he's been prolific in his pursuit of keeping the interest going on f*c****k. Special thanks for putting on my old friend Richard's post punk band, Drop.
Amongst my favourite local bands this year have been The High Horses, Ginogs County and Rikki and The Porters.
I finally got The Chapman Family up to and including Intro. Sadly they weren't so impressive at Stockton Riveside Festival and their new line-up show at the Georgian Theatre in November but if they do nothing else from now on in at least they did Anxiety. Hail!
Dressed Like Wolves and By Toutatis were impressive - looking forward to seeing much more of them in the new year and I'm hopefully going to see Pellethead next week. All hail!
Dressed Like Wolves
But in a very tight race I'm going to give my local band of the year award to old-timers Shrug. Some of their vast recorded work doesn't always do them justice but this year they were immense live, both supporting John Otway at the Georgian Theatre (photo below) in October and at the history of Shrug exhibition (great in itself) just last week.
Unsurprisingly I also think their latest ep is about as swish as anything they've ever done.
Almost last word for 2 great films I enthused about this year, the universally aclaimed Sound It Out and the (so far) not so recognized Cement Factory.
Finally, bringing it right up date - here's a vid I took of Vin Garbutt from The Normanby last Tuesday. It's an oldie but more relevant today than ever.
Merry Christmas everybody.