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Old 12-29-2013, 12:23 PM   #241 (permalink)
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The amount of time and energy you waste when you do these things is unbelievable. And that is a compliment.
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Old 12-29-2013, 12:38 PM   #242 (permalink)
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Default Update for week ending December 29 2013 --- the big one!

Unsurprisingly, as most of us are suffering from turkey and/or beer overload, there's not been much happening in the journals section over the past week --- even I've taken a break for Christmas! But I would be remiss if I did not mention a few new journals that only started up in the last few days, and the return of an old favourite.

Firstly, James is back! Yes, all of us who missed him can breathe easily as he's not only returned to us but has his own new journal starting up as he tries to take on the task of http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...ove-stuff.html. His journal only began today so we'll wait till there are a few more entries before we tell you anything about it, but it looks like it'll be worth waiting for.

The Taxman cometh! No, no! Don't burn the books or try to shift your ill-gotten gains to that offshore bank account you've been holding in readiness for just such a day! I'm not talking about THE Taxman, but the guy from Finland who has been here a little while now and has decided to start up his own journal. Rather oddly named http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...iet-grave.html, along with William The Bloody's journal and at least two Caves here, it's giving the section a very macabre, gothic feel! Read what he has to say about Queen, Springsteen, Dylan and more.

Finally, the grandaddy of them all is back! Yes, that uncle you only see once a year but who always eyes you as if you're some sort of alien and smells of beer and other odd things you don't want to think about, Urban has returned and is trying to out-Couch Potato me with http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...who-thing.html, in which he plans to review every Doctor Who episode ever shown, with some already flagged exceptions. NERRRD!! I mean, hermano! Check it out: even if you're not into Who you'll be amused at his take on the episodes. He never fails to do less than entertain.

And that's it for this week, and it's just as well because this is just barely the start of the show, and we have a whole lot to get through. So much in fact that this is going to have to be split into three or four posts! Yeah, that's what I've been doing while I took a break from my journals. Others would relax and let the turkey and ham go down, or pull stupid Christmas crackers with their family, or even sit back and watch the awful Christmas telly. Me, I've been a-workin'.

And so, without further ado, I present to you

Disclaimer: Much as I would have liked to, I could not include every entry from every journal, so I've gone for the more interesting ones in the more interesting journals. And if your journal consisted of mostly or only videos with not much in the way of originality I haven't included those. I want to show the breadth and depth of creative writing and inspiration that has made this section the lively, vibrant, intriguing place it has become. So if your journal is not featured here, maybe you should think about working on it next year so that it stands a little more out from the crowd. Just a thought...

So then, on with the show!

This past year has certainly been a busy and productive one for Members Journals, with some great new journals being started up, old ones coming back to life (BACK, you zombie! BACK!) and others just upping their game and really going for it. Oh, and mine of course. I like to think that the general upsurge in interest in the section has to do in some small part with my creating the Journals Update thread, which originally began life as a footnote in the “What's happening on MB”? Thread in August of last year, and then eight months later secured for itself a separate home in the coverted “Editor's Pick”, of all places, since when it's taken on something of a life of its own.

Of course, there's no way I'm claiming credit for all of these wonderful journals springing up: that's entirely down to their authors making the effort. But I think some of them at least were encouraged to start a journal by reading the thread, so yay me! Anyway, in a totally unoriginal and yet first-time move here, I'm going to take a look back over what's been happening in the world of journals over the past year, noting the good parts, perhaps touchng on some not so good, and generally giving credit where credit is due.

Although I've compiled quite a list of entries from just about every journal going back to about the fourth page, I won't of course be mentioning every entry in every journal, or indeed every journal, but will try to give you a flavour of what has been happening in each member's journal, how often they updated, noting any milestones (good or bad) along the way and hopefully showing you just why those who have won awards have deserved them. I'll also be using this as perhaps a gentle reminder to those who started a journal and never went much further with it that maybe they might think about picking it up again in the New Year, and of course I'll be shamelessly promoting and advertising my many journals too.

So let's get started. As ever, we're going alphabetically but rather obviously we're also going chronologically. So the way I'm approaching this is to talk about all journals that were started, restarted or updated in January, then on to February and so on. I'll try not to make it too long-winded, and if I leave anyone out I hope you understand. I will of course be concentrating as ever mostly on the journals that have the most work put into them on a regular basis, though this does not mean that any who have only a few updates will be ignored. We'll try to find a nice balance.

JANUARY

Often a slow time for journals, or anything, as people shake off the fugue of the Christmas and New Year break and return to work, trying to get back to normal and realise that the credit card bills will be dropping through the door any day now. Not a time anybody concentrates on their journal, and yet this year we had a bumper crop. Here are the journals that started us off in 2013.

Anteater was still running his smooth jazz journal, although he was soon to move on to greater things. Before he did though, he used January as a time to introduce us all to the “delights” of one Paul Hardcastle. Hmm. Meanwhile, lurking in the background was an event of such cataclysmic majesty that it fair caused the earth to shake with its impending arrival, and strong men ran and screamed like little girls as it approached. But enough about my third journal! The Batlord also had his first on the way. Seriously, The Batcave had only opened the previous month but we had no idea what sort of greatness was coming down the line! He led us in quietly and slowly in January though, we poor fools unaware of what was to explode across the system the following month. For now we had glimpses of his greatness (Batty, do I really have to read this? Shut up and keep reading? You still have the photographs? I see your point. Okay then...) in entries like “Tad will kill you and steal your drugs” (I still don't know who or what Tad is, not that it matters), a review of Suffocation's “Human waste” album and the author went head-to-head with his rival, incandescent with rage when he found that someone was using his name...

Meanwhile, The Big3 hit us with one of his infrequent but always entertaining entries in “Screaming at the moon”, talking about the “5 factors of metal subgenres” --- with diagrams! Big Ears continued to “Rabbit on” about Hawkwind's “In the hall of the mountain grill” and educate us about one of their famous album cover artists, Barney Bubbles, while Gavin B quietly and unobtrusively opened the door to his “Warehouse of songs”, which was for a time to become one of the premier journals here, but which sadly ran its course all too soon. He kicked off with a great opening offer: Gang of Four, The Kinks and Julie London, all for the price of a mouse click! Sure where would you get it?

Another member who updates far too seldom but whose writing is always welcomed and looked forward to is Janszoon, who began his third journal “A night in the life of the Invisible Man” late last year. Here he graced us with one incredible entry concentrating, musically, on Harry Belafonte, but it was and is always the amazing prose he writes that keeps bringing us back to this journal. What else would you expect from the man who won, and rightly, the 2012 award for “25 albums you must hear...”? Ki's original journal would only have four more months to run at this point, but he would be back with something bigger and far better. In January though he was getting deep into the Beach Boys --- musically I mean of course: that would just be sick otherwise! One journal I would soon miss (maybe he'll come back some day) was Mankycaant's “Killuminati, Arab money and a semester abroad”, and here he presented his “Worst albums of 2012” with some interesting choices!

As for me? Well after spending the tail-end of 2012 catching up on the last albums released that year that I could, I took a break and looked at mostly albums from the eighties as 2013 began, and also in “The Playlist of Life” we had another trip into The Meat Grinder, where I laughingly tried to find a metal album I could review, and tackled Floyd's classic “Dark side of the moon” as well as opening up two new sections in “The Albatross” and “ShutupShutupShutup!” Over at “Bitesize” there was the usual non-eclectic selection of albums to be mini-reviewed, including the likes of Bonfire, Sabbath, Porcupine Tree and Antimatter. But the big news (for me anyway) was the launch of my third journal, one which would break the mould and pull completely away from music, concentrating ONLY on television and cinema. Yes, January saw the launch of the Couch Potato, with the first three series to be reviewed, Babylon 5, Red Dwarf and Supernatural.

Another journal that was shaking the foundations of course (and still is) hit January full pelt as Unknown Soldier finished off his look at 1972 in "Pounding Decibels" with “In the shadow of Sabbath”, an interesting feature on bands which were influenced by the masters of heavy metal, and then on into 1973 with reviews of albums from Montrose, Led Zeppelin, Grand Funk Railroad and Nazareth. Urban Hatemonger is another who updates sporadically, but again it's always worth the wait. In January he had “Reviews for people with ADHD” which was a hoot, and also asked us members to pick an album for him to review, out of four presented. Something he later completely did not do. Oh, Urban! And keeping the best till last, Vanilla gave us an update to start 2013 with recommendations for Kimbra and Strawpeople.

FEBRUARY
As the second month opened, Anteater bade farewell (perhaps) to his Smooth Jazz journal with entries on Kyoto Jazz Massive and Special EFX while the world was truly shaken by the arrival at the Batcave of the first of some major epics by The Batlord, as “The Lay of Sigurd Remixed” got going. Epic is the only word to describe it. His Batness also found time to pen “An edumucation for you dumb cunts” (sic) and Big Ears reviweed Pain of Salvation's “Remedy Lane”, while Engine began his first (so far as I can see) journal with the semi-autobiographical and completely unputdownable “An Equivocal flail”, which would sadly only run for a few short months. But while it did it was rivetting reading.

Gavin's warehouse was doing brisk business with the likes of Heather Nova, Strypes, The Noisettes, Richard Thompson, The Go-Betweens, Jolie Holland and a look at the then-upcoming new album from My Bloody Valentine, which when it hit had everyone wetting themselves over how great it was. Didn't see it myself, when I eventually got to listen to it, of which more later. We were treated to something of a rarity --- two updates from Jansz in as many months! --- as he waxed eloquent as ever, using Robotobibok as his musical backdrop to the tale of the insubstantial one, while Ki was getting ready to wrap up his journal with a look at HIM in the series he called “Flashback”, and Manky had a rant at the prevalence of social media in our lives. Great writing as ever.

I decided to resurrect “Flying/Crashing solo”, which hadn't been seen since 2011, and brought back "The 200-word Album Review" with a look at Maiden's classic “Seventh son of a seventh son”, while also descending into the depths again for another of my”Albums from Hell”, this time looking at the Pet Shop Boys. A new series began too, “Great moments in history set to music”, with the story of the Spartans at Thermopylae. In The Couch Potato we continued with our three series as already started, while also introducing three new ones in Spooks (which began that month), Irish crime drama Love/Hate and Rik Mayall's hilariously cutting “The New Statesman”. Series Link moved to its new home, while on “Bitesize” I looked at, among others, Dante Fox, Buckethead, Lacuna Coil and Texas.

Speaking of Texas, Unknown Soldier was heading down there to review ZZ's “Tres Hombres” as well as albums from Budgie, Sabbath, BOC (which was his pick for album of that year) and a live album from Uriah Heep, leaving us to end the month with more ADHD album reviews from Urban.

MARCH
Anteater fired off his final jazz-infused volley with a look at Jean-Luc Ponty before moving on to bigger and better things, while the Batlord brought The Lay of Sigurd Remixed to a powerful conclusion in the Batcave but also decided to kick in with a new journal, called “The Batlord listens to random **** and talks about it”. The first things he listened to were bands involved in the No-Wave movement, then a look at Proto punk and finally, as you might expect and very predictably ... Country. No, I'm not joking! Go check it out for yourself. And no, he wasn't being ironic...

Big Ears reviewed three albums, including one of my favourites from It Bites, while Engine continued An Equivocal Flail and Ki had more Flashbacks with I set my friends on fire and Green Day, among others. Pedestrian showed us some of her excellent artwork in “Crosswalking", while Plankton's “Chum Bucket” told the heartwarming story of how he found his long-lost father, and we all shed a tear. I was “Feeling mortal” with the latest album from Country crooner Kris Kristofferson, checking out the latest from Nick Cave while also recalling more Great Moments in History with a look at the 1916 Easter Rising, and finally getting the long-promised “Guitar Man” underway, with a detailed profile of the late, lamented Rory Gallagher.

The Couch Potato was growing, with four series now running, and they were joined by two others as well as my very first film review, “Dust devil”. “Bitesize” had the usual clutch of mini-reviews, while Unknown Soldier pounded in 1973 with albums from the Pink Fairies and Iggy Pop, the second part of “In the shadow of Sabbath” and then pounded on to 1974, starting with UFO, BTO and Aerosmith, with Double Headers from Kiss, Purple and Nazareth. He was a busy man that month! Urban revealed his deep love for Charlie Brooker, and didn't care who knew it, and also slagged off the cover for the new Bowie album, creating his own, while Vanilla introduced us to her new favourite, Iggy Azalea, and Bailter Space.

APRIL
This was a HUGE month for both updates and new journals! Again, I don't know if the fact that this thread officially began in its own home and things heated up so much here was just coincidence, but if so it was a happy one! In fact, the period April – September 2013 would be seen as the most productive and busy the journal world has ever seen, with more and more people getting involved. Anteater dropped out of sight to complete the finishing touches to a new journal that would blow everything else he had done up to now out of the water, while Antonio slipped into the “A” slot, coming in with some songs he was diggin' as well as the “Awesome soundtrack” of Metroid Prime. With two journals now on the go, The Batlord did not slow down one bit, with the Batcave seeing coverage of Mayhem and Arcturus, looking at early Electric Wizard music and telling us why General Hospital is “as metal as ****”. Oh, and he also gave us some more edumucation. In his other journal he worked the Country out of his system and moved on to The Pixies and The Jesus Lizard. More like it!

Big Ears reviewed Budgie's “Bandolier” and began an ambitious attempt to explain what exactly Prog Rock is (not a word, Batlord!) starting off with Atomic Rooster. Sadly this series would not last, but it's definitely worth reading what he wrote if this interests you. One of our favourite mods, Burning Down began her “Musical journey” in her journal, detailing how she came to love playing music, Ki brought his current journal to an end with entries on Darkwater, Bring me the Horizon and a final Flashback to Daft Punk, but he would return, more powerful than you could possibly imagine, next month, and become one of the mainstays of the section for the rest of the year.Manky looked at the Snoop Lion album, Pedestrian displayed more of her stunning artwork while The Phantastasio showed us she has talents of her own as she began serialising her novel in her journal. Plankton began a musical journey of his own, describing how he came to learn guitar and the various influences on him, and Powerstars started up his journal, with a review of Bonj Jovi's latest, “What about now”. April was a good year for people whose name began with P, and PsychedubDude also opened his --- unfortunately rather short-lived --- journal with his top five hilariously bad music videos and his favourite game characters.

April was a busy month for Screen13, who decided to open up not one, but two journals together. And these were not ones where ninety percent of the work was in one and the other had a few videos! These were proper journals. “Ghost mall music” was to become a real success for a while, and he opened this with Madness, The Firm and the OST to “Times Square”, while his other journal, “Screen13's rare single and album of the day” looked like it could really go places. But enough of people whose name begins with P! Let's look at one whose name starts with a T, and April was a busy month for me too. With Guitar Man in full swing I also started a new series, “Rolling the dice”, in which I literally took a chance on an album, and had time too to review Bowie's latest classic and start up “Triple Box Set” with Virgin Steele, not to mention reviewing one of the most important albums of the year, Plankton's “Krill”.

With now six series running in the Couch Potato I decided that was enough and ... oh no wait, I didn't! Adding in an introduction to my favourite TV programme ever, “The Onedin Line”, which would debut next month, there was only time for two entries in “Bitesize”, with Nina Nesbitt and Spanish heavy metal band Saratoga. With specials on Queen and Hawkwind, and albums from BOC, Bad Company and Budgie (“In for the kill” was his album of that year, and no I don't know if the alliteration was intentional) US charged into 1975. with Deep Purple and Rainbow, Montrose and Sabbath. And finally Zero, my fellow Irishman, made an appearance with a review of The Chemical Brothers' “Dig your own hole” as well as some techy stuff he had been working on.
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Old 12-29-2013, 02:08 PM   #243 (permalink)
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Always looking forward to reading this, the update is one of the highlights of the weekend. By the way, you havent forgotten about me, have you?
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Old 12-29-2013, 03:34 PM   #244 (permalink)
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MAY
Another busy, busy month, as Antonio got us off to a good start with a review of Tyler the Creator's “Wolf” and Chance the Rapper's “Acid rap”, the Batlord had some more words of wisdom for us in our continuing edumucation (sic), as well as an album from Death, why he was sad and some words on Dave Mustaine. In his other journal he was looking at Lou Reed, Sonics and Judas Priest, all fine and good until he fell over and dropped into popland with Britney, Madonna, Kesha and Kylie! Oh Batlord! What happened to you? Maybe the strain of opening a third journal, in which he spoke about the music in the novel “High Fidelity” as he read the book, just made him snap! Bob was coaxed out of hiding for a short while and gave us reviews of The Means and Unsane, and Gavin B reopened the warehouse with slots on The National, Neneh Cherry and The School among others, while also beginning the Atlantic Records Story as well as The Stax Records Story! Wow! It was obvious why he had been absent for a few months!

Janszoon was back with a welcome update to “A night in the life of the Invisible Man”, while Ki triumphantly opened his new, improved journal and hit us with albums from Zanith, Agalloch, Pendulum and Asia in his “15 albums I like” slot, started asking if Radiohead and Daft Punk were “Worth the hype?” threw in some game music and also tried to crossover his journal and Lil's for a short time, but for whatever reason that never quite worked out. Great start though and it was obvious this would be one to watch! Pedestrian tried out her script for a comedy pilot on us, Plankton spoke about Rush as an influence, and Powerstars reviewed a whole lot of albums, including ones from Queen, Paul mcCartney and Richie Sambora. Screen13 looked at the movie “Mondo Bizarro”, and I hit a milestone in achieving one hundred thousand views! Celebrating this I started a new section called “Two sides of the same coin”, looked at the career of Nelson Mandela (RIP) in “Great moments in history”, Rolled the Dice again and continued tracing the life of Rory Gallagher in Guitar Man.

The Onedin Line, as promised, began its run in The Couch Potato, while season one of both Red Dwarf and Love/Hate came to an end, but were flagged to be replaced by Frasier and House of Cards. My second movie, “Dark Star”, got a review, while there was quite some work done in “Bitesize”, with albums from among others, God Is An Astronaut and Tank. Alice Cooper's “Welcome to my nightmare” won the plaudits as US's album of the year for '75, and he also had live albums from Kiss, Grand Funk Railroad and BOC, as well as a lot of other stuff. Urban paid tribute to Cliff Richard! No, it's not a joke! He also decided to look at NME's list of top albums, right at the very end of the month. Vanilla told us about The Pretty Reckless and Zero recommended Three Albums for Walking in the Rain, while also running a special on Ethereal Wave.

JUNE
Another incredibly busy month as we reached the halfway point in the year. Antonio had a spotlight on the Butthole Surfers, but the big news was in the Batcave, where The Batlord's new epic, “The Return of the Kings of Metal”, was to keep us entertained for several months. He also had Hitler review an album, which was hilarious. The random **** he listened to this month included more the type of fare we expect, with Slayer, REM, Exorder and Helloween, as well as metal demos and some more punk. His third journal, however, couldn't take the strain and imploded, this being the last month he updated “High Fidelity”. He had reached page 43. Big Ears was back, with reviews of Ambrosia's self-titled debut and the classic Genesis album “Selling England by the pound”, while The Big 3 made something of a rare appearance and bitched about “When good bands go shittty”.

DJChameleon began his journal “A glimpse inside the mind of a chameleon”, and Duga came back from the dead to talk about Savage Garden, the Offspring and Garbage. Engine wrote the last (so far) chapter in An Equivocal Flail, maybe someday he'll get back to it? Gavin's warehouse, on the other hand, was looking nothing like closing down, with entries on Chicks on Speed, The decline of Western civilisation, the novel Stone free and The Motown story. He also began a new series called “Lost albums” with people like Johnny Thunders, Young Marble Giants and Paul Butterfield Blues Band featured. Pedestrian put a lot of work into “Crosswalking” this month, with the hilarious sequel to “I'm not Drew”, a new series called “Dirty laundry” and a review of the new album from The Knife, while Powerstars reviewed a bunch of albums, including Bowie's new one and Nirvana's classic “Nevermind”, as well as looking at a movie about Kurt Cobain and introducing the concept of “The Song Overthinker”.

Screen13 had a lot happening in “Ghost mall music”, with the Comsat Angels, an introduction to soemone called Crazy Louie and the OSTs to Quadrophenia and Roadie. And more. For me, there was a return for “Crimes against Music” and the almost-forgotten-but-not-quite series on the NWOBHM, with Girlschool, Diamond Head and Sweet Savage. House of Cards and Frasier both began in the Couch Potato, and I reviewed the movie “The odd couple”, while also throwing together some nonsense about ugly spaceships. “Bitesize” had the usual batch of reviews and I began yet another journal, “Classic albums I have never heard”. It did what it said on the tin, and saw a lot of action in its first month, with eleven albums reviewed, including ZZ's “Tres hombres”, Human League's “Dare” and that one from MBV... 1976 began in “Pounding decibels” and US plunged right in with BOC, Ian Gillan, Judas Priest and Double Headers on Kiss and Lizzy.

Urban lost interest in the NME thing and began instead looking at (he said) all the “Now that's what I call shit sorry music” albums, which was very entertaining, but he failed to fulfill his promise to do them all. Made a good stab at it though. Vanilla rediscovered her love for Judas Priest with “Painkiller”, and YorkeDaddy began reviewing albums he had hated in his younger days, to see if his opinion had changed with age and experience. Finally, Zero talked about Strawberry Switchblade and AFI.

JULY
Ah, summer! You'd think people would be out enjoying the sun, wouldn't you? Well, unless they lived in Ireland, of course! But no, another bumper month for journals. Surely it couldn't last? Well no it didn't, but while it did we sure enjoyed it. Anteater proudly brought his new baby in for us all to see, and in his new improved journal we began to hear the detailed history of Crimson Glory, while Antonio ranted about people who wouldn't listen to the music of someone known or considered to be an “asshole” (his words), and Lateralus very cleverly changed her name to Astronomer in order to be near the top of the pecking order alphabetically, with an entry on video game music and a question about how technology is affecting the way musicians work. The Batlord didn't care about technology, fighting goblins and trolls back in a medieval land reminiscent of Lord of the Rings as The Return of the Kings of Metal stomped on joyfully through the pages of the Batcave, while he was also listening to Protector and Death Angel in his other journal, Ah, synchronicity!

DJChameleon's journal got going properly, with the story of Fo' Sho' Radio and a feature which would inform much of his journal over the next few months, Razor's Edge. His first look at this was comprised of Letlive and Mayday. Engine began a short but personal journal detailing his attempts to cutback on his drinking, and we applauded and supported him for his efforts, while Gavin had more Lost Albums, the No-Wave story and a review of a Camera Obscura album before he purposely put his journal on hold. Junkyard Donner, previously known to us as Wolverinewolfweiselpiegeon, came back with “Ego tripping”, and had a lot to say about themes, including "Bikes, Beer and brownies, Prolific Nutts, Someone tell me how to stop this, She was into S&M and bible study, If I'm sinking and laughing at something", and more. She also had a clever little short story and began a review of the Lucius EP.

Ki continued his new journal with another “Worth the hype?” this time on Zep, continued his 15 albums spot and reviewed Tesseract's “Altered state”, Mojo and Mondo Bungle both came back out of the wilderness, the former with a look at local music in Newcastle and the evolution of the Manic Street Preachers, the latter with Shpongle and a spotlight on Mike Patton, Pedestrian gave us some lovely poetry and Plankton continued his guitarist's journey with influences from Iron Maiden. Powesrtars introduced us to Music Forum Flame Wars, had another Song Overthinker and reviewed some more albums, while Screen13 opened up the Singles and Albums Club with Bowie, Big Country and Elvis Costello among others.

Big things happened at the Playlist, with the announcement of Metal Week, three new series beginning and a review of William Shatner's “Has been”, which surprised me. At the Couch Potato both Supernatural and Babylon 5 came to the end of their first season run, ending the reign of the three series which had begun this journal way back in January. Spooks, House of Cards and The New Statesman continued, while it was announced Futurama would soon join them. I discovered an unknown gem and an unknown turd in “Bitesize” and reviewed seven more albums in “Classic albums”, working up to the one I had been baited about for too long now, Slayer's “Reign in blood”. The vultures were circling... and one of those vultures was Unknown Solider, grinning as he dared me to listen to the damn thing. Over at Pounding Decibels he was listening himself to live albums from Zep and Riot, getting aggressive in rock, and featuring a Double Header from Legs Diamond.

Urban ran a very funny rant about lazy posters, which was spot on, and also showed us a great moment in rock history, sort of, with the Moby Game. YorkeDaddy finished up his journal and then moved on to a much more important one, in which he allowed us to follow him and his band partner as they crafted their album, “Frownland”. A thoroughly absorbing read and, as it would turn out, a stupendous album. Zero had more tech news for us, writing about the media player he had designed.

AUGUST
Another busy month, though you could see a definite fall off as certain journals failed to be updated, and not too many new ones were started. Nevertheless, there was a decent level of activity, with Anteater continuing his history of Crimson Glory and also adding in a review of the movie “Tough guys don't dance”, Astronomer reviewed a Karnivool gig and surprisingly there was little to be heard from the Batlord, though over in the Batcave he was writing what would so far appear to be the final episodes in “The Return of the Kings of Metal”: hasn't properly finished yet though. Batty? Batty! We're waiting! What happens next? Big Ears also seemed to have called it a day, with one final review, Big3 spoke enthusiastically about Clutch, and Blackdragon123 started up his Black Sabbath journal, though limited as it was it more or less ended that same month. Very interesting though.

DJ was rockin' though, with no less than five Razors Edges, and Junkyard Donner had a lot to say too, with her top five driving songs, top five makeout songs and more on Lucius, while Ki really got into his stride with his new journal, with a special on Nick Drake, a new section called Heartbreak, more of his 15 albums and asking if Smashing Pumpkins were “Worth the Hype”? Mondo Bungle was the latest one to start a second journal, while in his first he had a spotlight on John Zorn and finished off his top ten listening experiences. His new journal would focus on the benefits and/or drawbacks of drugs, and endeavour to explain the difference between them. Or something.

Plankton's musical journey continued with Metallica a big influence, and over at the Playlist there were two new series in The Hook and Trollheart's Room 101, “Get the Culture Bug” returned with more classical music after more than a year, and Metal Week became Metal Month, as I prepared to spend four whole weeks dedicated to that most heavy of music. At the Couch Potato Futurama began its run and I published my review on the movie “Downfall”, which Unknown Soldier was very effusive about! We now had only three series running, so French horror/drama “Les Revenants”, which had impressed me, became the first series featured that was still running on the TV at the time. Three albums only reviewed in “Bitesize” but in “Classic Albums” I finally bit the bullet and listened to “Reign in blood”. The world failed to end.

Unknown Soldier was looking at Aerosmith, UFO, AC/DC, live albums from Kiss and Rainbow, and “Bad reputation” by Lizzy was his album pick for 1977. Oh yeah, and he also featured “Bat out of Hell”. Urban went for “100 singles, 100 memories”, which lasted for one entry, with Tom Jones, Suede and the Stones, while YorkeDaddy was well into the process of recording the album, releasing tracks and letting us peek at the cover. The album was then released and he waxed disappointed about sales, but got some advice from members as to how to market.

SEPTEMBER
As summer turned to autumn, journal writers began dropping away like flies, as if we were all migrating to sunnier climes, but some of us remained, and the month was kicked off in fine style by Anteater with some “life lessons”, a review of the movie “Meet the Feebles” and music from Geinoh Yamishirogumi (that had to be copied and pasted!) and The Omega Experiment, but nothing at all from The Batlord or DJ, leaving Ki to step up and keep things moving with a review of “Hail to the king” by Avenged Sevenfold, his “hit and Miss” list, a special on Dream Theater, more 15 albums and a head-to-head between two Sigur Ros albums, among other entries. Mondo Bungle wrote what so far has been the last entry in his new journal, ditto fpr PsychedubDude, and I reviewed YorkeDaddy's new album, was very very impressed with it, also ran a special on Dan Fogelberg and had some more laughs at the expense of the Eurovision.

House of Cards ended its first run over at the Couch Potato but Babylon 5 season two began, as did season one of “Les Revenants”. Two albums only reviewed in “Bitesize” as I prepared for Metal Month, and one only in “Classic albums”, at Powerstars's request, Nirvana's “Nevermind”. I didn't. Unknown Soldier had part two of his specials on Queen and Hawkwind and then plunged on into 1978 with Gillan, Nazareth and the Scorpions among others, and his album of the year was Ace Frehley's solo self-titled.

OCTOBER
Even less happening. Anteater remembered Queensryche's "Promised land" , the Batcave remained closed and Batty was descending into Dark Carnival Hell with a look at the Juggalo phenomenon, reviewing the likes of Twiztid and of course Insane Clown Posse. We worried for his sanity, and his reputation but he had to work through this. Meanwhile two new journals opened, one from Briks called “The Poseur Cave”, which must have irked His Batness slightly (!) and the other from Engine, who came back with a journal on heavy music called, well, “Heavy music”, and looked at Siege and the concept of heavy metal hippies.

We were sad, shocked and enraged to hear the treatment Junkyard Donner had to go through, bravely revealed and dealt with in her journal, one of the most harrowing and courageous entries ever committed to screen, and Ki charged on with one of his biggest updates to date. Reviews of Trivium's new album, Don McLean's classic “American Pie”, more game music, more 15 albums, were Nirvana “Worth the hype” and a review of Tool in concert, And that's only the half of it! Powerstars reviewed the Foo's “Wasting light” and decided he had no ideas of his own so would steal mine(!) while I was distracted with Metal Month, which was progressing nicely, wrecking my ears and endangering my sanity at times, but it was great fun, and I think it was well received. At the Couch Potato Spooks and The New Statesman came to an end while Supernatural came back with season two and I spoke about including another current show that had impressed me.

There was one album in “Bitesize”, the excellent “The dream harbour” by Willowglass, and I opened a fifth journal, my “Psychic reviews”, with Heather Maloney being the first one to test my powers. They failed utterly, as expected. Charging ever closer to the eighties, Unknown Soldier looked at UFO, Lizzy, Scorpions, Van Halen and a whole host more, and we moved into winter.

NOVEMBER
Saw something of an upsurge, perhaps engendered in part by my constant nagging in this thread, but at any rate Anteater reminded us how great Seal was or is, Batty continued his descent into the world of the Juggalo with Blaze Ya Dead Homie, Anybody Killa, Dark Lotus and a lot more, plus more ICP and Twiztid, and wrote about his year as a quasi-Juggalo. Briks opened up his new journal properly by facing “Master of reality” off against “Paranoid” and matching “The queen is dead” with “Meat is murder”, while also praising Black Sabbath and looking at Helloween's classic “Keeper of the Seven Keys”, and some Modest Mouse. Buttheaad aka 216 began his own journal, which would prove to be highly entertaining, with much discussion about the “pussification of America”, including what he thought of bullying, gun control and Doctor Phil. And some music! DJ returned with a bang, hitting us with six new Razors Edges, and Engine continued to explore the phenomenon of heavy metal hippies, while also remembering with a tear in his eye one of his favourite bands.

Ki kept going at full tilt, with more of his 15 albums, more game music, a special on Elliot Smith and were AC/DC “Worth the hype” while Powerstars looked at Bon Jovi's “Have a nice day” and introduced his idea for “The 12 Days of Alternative” to lead up to Christmas. There wasn't too much happening over at the Playlist after the exertions of Metal Month, with a new Pet Hates, two new sections and in the Couch Potato season two of Red Dwarf made an appearance, reuniting the three series that had started the journal off. Futurama;s first season came to an end, and “Bitesize” saw me taking a look at Steve Earle's latest. Unknown Soldier had 1979 in his sights, and leaped into it with features on Aerosmith, Rainbow, Gillan, Van Halen and more, with his album of the year being Motorhead's “Bomber”.
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Old 12-29-2013, 03:56 PM   #245 (permalink)
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Old 12-29-2013, 04:37 PM   #246 (permalink)
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DECEMBER
And so we come full circle, to this month, where Briks took a look at Danzig, Engine got into Heavy Doom and Gavin B returned with a brand new journal, educating us all on the St Louis blues sound, Scott Joplin and Mack the Knife, among others.Janszoon hit us with one more episode in the life of the Invisible Man before the year drew to a close, and Ki, after his exertions over the past few months, took a well-earned break. Powerstars ran through his 12 Days of Alternative and Surell returned with a quite amazing and in-depth look at the work of Stanley Kubrick on “The Shining”.

There was a Christmas mood at my journals, whether you liked it or not, though Mister Burns popped in to try to spoil the mood and cancel Christmas with his Scrooge-like ways, and we wished you all a Metal little Christmas, with, well, metal Christmas songs! There was also time to squeeze in a review of Rod Stewart;s new album, run another triple boxset on, of all people, Gary Numan (!) and start a new section in which I revisited some of my childhood memories. Oh yeah, and we fought the Battle of Britain to music, sort of.

Even more Christmassy at the Couch Potato, and after last year's “25 of the worst Christmas albums ever” we went to the movies and looked at 25 awful Christmas films. We also had an invasion by Burns here, as he tried to tell you there was nothing good on the telly over the festive period. Well, buddy, turns out he was flat ... right. Mostly. But I tried to show that there were decent programmes repeated most if not every year with “Christmas on the Couch with Trollheart”. Mayday began its short run and we also had the Battle of the Classic Christs, where we pitched the two famous biblical movies against each other to see who came out on top. And we reviewed the classic movie “The Seventh Seal”, before closing up the journals for a Christmas break.

No such break for Unknown Soldier, who proudly presented his top album of the decade in Scorpions' “Lovedrive”, as well as albums from Triumph, Judas Priest and UFO.


So that's 2013 in a few short entries. It's obvious the journal section has been revitalised over the past year or so, and we all hope it keeps going, and gets even better. I'll be doing my part to make that happen: will you?

Yes, you. There in the third row, eating the hoagy. I'm talkin' to you! Ah, fergit it!


So it's time for the moment you've all been waiting for. This is just my way of saying thanks to all of those who have given their time, talent and energy to make journals here, and in recognition of your tireless devotion I present to you ... sound effects please --- We can't afford sound effects. Okay then, drum roll --- we can't stretch to a drum. Hmmm. Well then, make a lot of noise for



First up we have the award for Best Title. The nominees are:-
Butthead for “Therapy is for ***s”
The Batlord for “The Batcave, where the Batlord sits on his Bat-throne plotting his Bat-schemes”
William the Bloody for “Straight outta the coffin!”
Big Ears for “Rabbiting on”
and
DJ for “A glimpse inside the mind of a chameleon”

and the winner is ....

Big Ears! Congratulations man, your award will be on the way to you shortly. Well done!

Next up we have the award for Most Informative Journal. The nominees in this category are
Gavin B for “Gavin B's Warehosue of songs”
Screen13 for “Ghost mall music”
Unknown Soldier for “Pounding Decibels”
Big Ears for “Rabbiting on”
and
Mondo Bungle for “Entering infinity”

and the award goes to ...

Unknown Soldier! And quite right too! Watch your PM box man.

Next we have Most Improved Journal. This is, not surprisingly, an award given to a journal author whose journal seemed like perhaps it was not going to amount to much but proved us all wrong. The nominees are as follows:

Butthead for “Therapy is for ****s”
The Batlord for “The Batcave”
The Batlord for “The Batlord listens to random ****”

and the winner is Butthead! Well done, applause applause! What do you mean, he's been banned? Well that's just great. I guess I'll just hold his award for him till he's allowed back.

Moving on to the award for the Most Intelligent Writing, and let me just first drop in this disclaimer: if you don't win or were not nominated for this category, it doesn't mean your journal isn't intelligently written, just that these impressed me more. The nominees are:

Janszoon for “A night in the life of the Invisible Man”
The Batlord for “The Batcave”
Screen13 for “Ghost mall music”
Gavin B for “Gavin B's Warehouse of songs”
Anteater for “The Anthill 2.0”
Big Ears for “Rabbiting on”
Junkyard Donner for “Ego tripping”
Gavin B for “The art of songcraft”
The Big3 for “Screaming at the moon”

and the winner is ... Janszoon! Could there be any doubt? Better uncheck that “no Pms” thing man so I can send you your award!

This next one is for the “Most Commented Upon”. It's an interesting award, as it doesn't necessarily mean the journal is brilliant (though often they are) but that it has managed to spark interest and engender conversation and debate the most. The nominees are:

Butthead for “Therapy is for ****s”
The Batlord for “The Batcave”
Unknown Soldier for “Pounding Decibels”
Urban for “Urban's Doctor Who thing” (a late, late nomination but very worthy)
Junkyard Donner for “Ego tripping”

and the winner is ... Butthead again! That's two awards I have to carry home on the bus now! Sheesh!

And so we come to the Most Humourous Journal. Self-explanatory, and there aren't to be fair many nominees. They are:

The Batlord for “The Batcave”
Butthead for “Therapy is for ****s”
The Batlord for “The Batlord listens to random ****”
Urban for “Urban's journal of stuff”

and the winner, to nobody's surprise, the Batlord for “The Batcave!”

The award for Longest Running Journal speaks for itself. Only those whose journals have been going at least two years are eligible for this. Also, the journal must be relatively regularly updated to qualify. Nominees are:

Urban for “Urban's journal of stuff”
Lateralus (now Astronomer) for “Lateralus's musical meanderings”
Bulldog for “The Doghouse V. II”
The Big3 for “Screaming at the moon”
Mojo for “Mojo PIN presents”
Janszoon for “25 albums you must hear...”

and the winner is ... Urban, for “Urban's journal of stuff!”

Now we come to the award for Newest or Youngest Journal. There have been many journals started this year, but some have fallen away to nothing and others have gone to to semi-greatness. It is of course these latter we are concentrating on in this category. The nominees are:

Butthead for “Therapy is for ***s”
Briks for “The Poseur Cave”
William the Bloody for “Straight outta the coffin!”
Engine for “Heavy music” (I know he's been here for yonks, but this is for the youngest journal, not member, and his only began recently...)
Anteater for “The Anthill 2.0”
DJ for “A glimpse inside the mind of a chameleon”
Gavin B for “The art of songcraft”
Powerstars for "Powerstar's thought-filled barf of musicalness"

and the winner is ... William The Bloody for “Straight outta the coffin!”

Taking us to the award for Most Personal or Intimate Journal. This is awarded to someone who puts a lot of their own personal experience into their writing, and tells us something about themselves, perhaps letting down barriers that we usually keep raised. The nominees are:

Plankton for “The chum bucket”
Junkyard Donner for “Ego tripping”
YorkeDaddy for “Diluted: creating the next indie pop masterpiece”
Mondo Bungle for “Entering infinity”
Engine for “Entering Las Vegas”

and the winner is ... Junkyard Donner for “Ego tripping”! One of the most touching, emotional, soul-baring and frankly amazing journals I've read here. I do not say that lightly.

Getting close to the end now. We have just two more awards to go. This is for the Biggest Workaholic, and there's only one nominee. The award goes to Ki, for his tireless work in running “I'm here today, expect it to stay on”. No contest: even I don't do that much updating. Well, I do, but I'm not eligible. Must talk to myself about that...

Anyway that leaves us with just one award to be presented, and in the best tradition of the Academy Awards I would like to present Urban Hatemonger with the Music Banter Members Journals Lifetime Achievement Award, for all his work and all the contributions he has made, not only to this section but to the forum as a whole. Well done Urban!

And that's it for this first year of the Annual Journey Awards. Anyone who won an award can expect to see it shortly arriving in their inbox. If you'd rather it emailed let me know (I know some people have shut up their inboxes to Pms) Anyone who was nominated will get a rosette, which they can display on their journal if they like. Hey look: you can enlarge it to poster size and hang it from your roof if you want. It's your award. But I'd think those who won would want to crow about it, eh, Batlord? What do you mean, you're already having a special display stand made?

To those of you who weren't nominated, my apologies but not everyone can be. The ones who were just tended to stand out to me for one reason or another, or really shone in their category, like The Batlord in the Humourous category. If you want to be nominated next year, my advice is make your journal stand out. Make it more interesting. Anyone can review albums or put up YouTubes. Do something inspired with your journal, and maybe you too will be thanking the Academy (well, me) as flashbulbs go off (we can't afford cameras) and reporters press forward to hear your words of wisdom (nor press).

Finally, some words of encouragement for those of you whose journals didn't quite work out. I've seen a lot of new journals start here and some of them have seemed really promising, but then dropped away to nothing. Now I know people have their priorities --- kids, partners, work, social life, a thousand other things --- and scribbling down your thoughts on a regular basis on some forum hardly ranks high among those priorities. But if you started a journal, unless it was on a dare or with a "me too!" attitude, then it meant something to you and you had something to say.

So why not think about giving it another shot? Remember, the rules governing journals are so fluid they're almost non-existent. Nobody says you have to update once a week, once a month, or even once every six months. You do how much or how little you like, when you like. Nobody is going to ask why you haven't updated this week/month if you haven't. There should be no real pressure, outside of what you put on yourself, if any. Journal writing can be fun and very rewarding, but of course many people think they can do it and then realise they haven't time, can't think of enough to write, or just lose interest. That's fine if you do, but personally I'd love to see that tree walking through neofolk, I'd like to hear what happens in the Phantastasio's novel, and I'd love to hear more from Kayleigh, so maybe think about it? If you really have decided not to pursue the idea that's of course your right, but if you're looking for an excuse to get back into it, or a reason, try this:

I am perhaps the only person who will and does read every single journal here. Whether it's on rap, jazz, freestyle, punk, Norwegian noseflute music of the 1800s, I don't care. New or old, I read them all. So you're guaranteed to have at least one reader. Also, as long as you put an entry up you'll get mentioned in this thread, and others will know about your journal and maybe check it out. Just something to consider. Maybe.


So all that's left now is to clean up this mess ... HEY! Where are you all going? Surely you're going to help me....? Huh! Typical! I go to all this trouble, but once they have their award they're away faster than a Dragonforce guitar solo! I just don't know why I bother, I really don't...

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL! See you in January!
Till then, as ever,
Toodles!
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Old 12-29-2013, 07:14 PM   #247 (permalink)
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Always looking forward to reading this, the update is one of the highlights of the weekend. By the way, you havent forgotten about me, have you?
Thank you. That really makes all this work worth it, and I mean that.
And no, I haven't: in fact if you look, you've been nominated for an award...

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Non sequitur! Error! Error! Please update software! Critical update required!

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The amount of time and energy you waste when you do these things is unbelievable. And that is a compliment.
I only have a problem with the bolded word there...
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Old 12-29-2013, 07:44 PM   #248 (permalink)
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I really appreciate the mentions, TH.
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Old 12-29-2013, 07:45 PM   #249 (permalink)
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Damn TH, thanks for the award, though I don't do it to get awards, I do it for my fun, but the thought is always nice
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Old 12-29-2013, 09:01 PM   #250 (permalink)
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Great mentions all around and congrats to the winners. I always give my all to whatever I decide to review about, so I've always had a thorough admiration for you Trollheart: I've never seen anyone put as much effort and passion into writing about albums, artists, movies, TV, etc. that you do. Hell, you even give the stuff you dislike or aren't into an extensive level of attention when it comes to detail...and that's something we could all learn from I warrant.

Excellent frogging work ol' chum, and a premature Happy New Year.
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