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These are a Few of my Favourite Things … from 2011 | Victoria Birch

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Bjork by Celeste Potter

Bjork – Biophillia

I could spend an entire year nerding on about this. Literary essays, educational lectures, city residencies, art, brand spanking new hybrid instruments. Apparently it was a multi-media event, a horrible term that implies advertising’s putrid, dead soul. Biophillia was much more than that.

Moon uses four separate harps to represent the Luna cycle. The accompanying app spools lit discs around the female pelvis, providing a connection between menstruation and the global rhythms that keep us all on an even keel. The rest of the Biophillia is similarly constructed, exploring the triumvirate of human life, the natural world and technology.

So what if parts of the music are hard to love, or the visuals difficult to decipher. Spiritual enlightenment is supposed to be a bit tougher to attain than online groceries. Biophillia utilises technology as a holy book to reconnect us with our Pagan roots. How many albums this year can lay claim to re-booting an entire religious movement? Exactly.

Caitlin Moran – How To Be A Woman

Not tenuous at all actually – particularly when much of the discussion at CB revolves around women and their place in the music and wider world. No intellectual missive designed to gather academic dust, How To Be A Woman is an every person book that treats you like the super-smart, lady-loving dude you are. It also made me laugh so hard I thought I was going to be sick.

Cults – Cults

Puberty saw me engage in furtive late night sessions with my dad’s glorious cassette library. One minute I was listening to the Dumbo soundtrack, the next I was raiding the white drawer in the garage for any grown-up music I could get my hands on. I consumed everything with a voracious appetite and blissful absence of preconception. Bowie, The Delfonics, Otis Redding, Neil Diamond, Queen, The Chiffons, Martha And The Vandellas, Johnny Cash – all wolfed down with the fervour of a starving dog.

Dad still likes his music but long ago slumped into the mid-road rut of Snow Patrol, Coldplay et al. This year I started sending him things he might like, fully expecting him to give good grace but resign each and every one of them to the shed. He didn’t and has loved Cults, Warpaint (who he actually thought he got to first), tUnE-yArDs, PJ Harvey and Maria And The Gay (he was chuffed at the little handwritten thank-you note he got from the ‘band’).

I’ve been so excited to reignite his interest in music – it is absolutely my favourite thing about 2011, hearing dad bright and excited about Go Outside rather than resigned and glassy eyed at Chasing fucking Cars. I’ve asked him if he’ll review something next year – I think it’ll be interesting. [Good idea – Ed]

So that’s my good and bad bit (s) from this year. Sorry to end with mawkish sentimentality – what the hell, tis’ the season for it.

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