We asked some of our favourite artists/ musicians/ writers to tell us about their year. You can see Ben’s thoughts below…
An extraordinary year in many ways. How did it affect you specifically?
2020 has been the worst year of my life to be honest. Pandemic aside, my wife, Arabella, was diagnosed with terminal cancer in July. We don’t know how much time she has — this far she has been responding well to treatment, but it’s going to be a long battle.
Where did music fit in during 2020? Does it seem important?
Music is and will always be important to me. It’s a lifesaver.
What albums resonated this year? Can be old or new.
Some newer albums include: the latest from Sons of Southern Ulster (highly recommended to fans of Whipping Boy and A House); Singapore Sling; Twin Tribes (American goths who remind me of 17 Seconds/Faith era Cure); Ringo Deathstarr; Split Moon (trippy LA band in the vein of early Verve); Reverends (Atlanta psych/space rockers) and Portland’s Rick Bain and The Genius Position (first album in 20 years – recommended if you like early Dandy Warhols). I also dig the Menswe@r box set, especially the previously unreleased Hay Tiempo album from 1998 (has a Byrds meets Britpop vibe that I find very soothing).
As for older albums, for much of the year I was on a HUGE Velvet Underground kick, especially the third self-titled album and Loaded.
If you had to pick one album to sum up this year, what would it be?
Stooges ‘Raw Power’.
How have you got through the last 7 or 8 months?
As cliched as it might sound, one day at a time. As difficult as things are, I’m learning to appreciate what really counts in life: love and creating art.
Are you working on any interesting projects?
The difficult fourth novel. The last instalment of my trilogy came out in 2018 and after many stops and starts, I’ve got something outlined that I’m really happy with. Like my other books, it’s music centric, though less so.
Any hopes for next year?
For Arabella to kick cancer and for the pandemic to end so we can see concerts again!