‘Sierra Road’ by Paul J. Rush (CC BY 2.0)

Just for a bit of idle procrastination, I’ve been looking back at online forums over the centuries. It’s really made me realise how much we depend on them. Think about it. If you have any complex problem, that requires consulting with an expert, all you need to do is to log in to one of these almost magical places, and some kind, constructive expert will be able to give you not just the information that you need, but also the encouragement you need to really make the most out of that information.

Unsurprisingly, web forums have been at the heart of some of humanity’s greatest discoveries.

For example*:

(* Warning: contains all the swearing. All of it.) Continue reading

You might recognise the fresh face on the video snapshot above as Laura Theis, whose album I produced. Well, one of her many other bands, Robot Swans, is releasing a new album this month (for Facebookers the launch is here).

It’s called The Tyranny of Robot Swans, and it looks like this: Continue reading

Folk Weekend Oxford

It’s okay, it’s really simple…

It’s all just been a horrible, horrible mistake…

I’d been trying to back out of doing things (gigs, MC-ing, etc.) for Folk Weekend Oxford… really so I could actually go and see it! I always just walk around worrying about whether I can remember all the words, and haven’t really relaxed and enjoyed it as a festival yet.

Anyway, I was very surprised and immensely flattered to be asked to take over the Artistic Director role from Jenny of Seahorse Promotions (who has moved out of the county). And a bit worried, frankly, as chatting with Jenny and the organiser Cat made me realise how much is going on that I just hadn’t been aware of. I feel I have a steep learning curve ahead of me. Continue reading

I had the great pleasure to be MC-ing the main stage on Saturday night at this year’s Folk Weekend Oxford festival, and the first act were one of my favourite local acts: Small & Gold.

Which meant I got to say the same spiel that I’m about to write here. If you were at that gig, well, it improves with repetition. Probably. Continue reading

dangerdanger_boxI can’t, in all conscience, recommend the album Screw It! by Danger Danger. It is dreadful.

I mean it. It’s absolutely dreadful. Not shocking. Not sick. Just dreadful.

But… yet… somehow…

Okay, it’s like this.

You know how some albums just get you when you’re young and vulnerable?  I was 14, and my family was going on holiday to the United States, which I was very excited about. All the more so as my brother and I were going to be able to spend some time (again, I can’t remember – it might have been a week, it might have been 2 years) at a summer camp. For guitarists.

Continue reading

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After what feels like years (and is actually years, specifically two of them) I’ve finally organised the James Bell Central newsletter.

This is basically a monthly roundup of all the new music and events and articles.

Could I tempt you to sign the mailing list?  Ah go on, you will you will you will you will…