1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die

1001 Albums crop

So, I’ve done it – in just over 10 months I’ve managed to work my way through the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die and I have now listened to all 1001 albums. The full list is below. It started when Graeme, my brother-in-law, was given the book for Christmas 2016 and I said I’d like to join in listening. Graeme began by texting me randomly generated numbers and we would both listen and report back. After a while he found his listening going in a different direction so I decided to keep going taking one album from the start of the book and one from the end to work towards meeting up somewhere in the middle. By then I needed to listen to 18 albums a week to complete the 1001 by Christmas 2017.

The list begins with Frank Sinatra: In the Wee Small Hours in 1955 and ends with David Bowie: Blackstar in 2016. By upping my listening to 25 albums per week I finished on 31 October with Simple Minds: New Gold Dream from 1982.

So, what, if anything have I learned from this audio marathon?

(1) Me and Kanye West have very little in common and having listened to three of his albums I fully expect to never hear another one again. The same goes for Ghostface Killah, the Wu Tang Clan and most of their peers. Run DMC, Public Enemy and NWA still feel more grounded and with a stronger political message. Yes, I’m mixing genres here, but maybe that’s the downside of taking on so much music so quickly.

(2) Jazz – I just don’t get it. Noodling around a note but never getting to the point. It feels so utterly self-indulgent and intensely irritating. However, I shall probably listen to Miles Davis: In a Silent Way and Frank Zappa: Hot Rats again.

(3) Guitar solos – talking of self-indulgence, what is it with guitar solos? Onanistic meanderings, they ruin half-decent songs. Totally pointless, they add nothing and spoil much.

(4) Heavy metal at its best is just a beat away from the glories of post punk Sub Pop. The sharpest grunge has drunk deeply from the metal. Black Sabbath: Paranoid was a joy to dive into, Mötorhead: Ace of Spades was limp and repetitive in comparison, although the live album No Sleep ’Til Hammersmith was fun, as was Megadeth Rust in Peace, while Metallica: Metallica was a good ‘un. Moving up a notch, Napalm Death were just as I remembered them and still not quite where I want to be.

(5) The hardest albums to listen to were Tina Turner: Private Dancer – I had to have two goes at that, I found her voice so excruciating (but reading the lyrics of the title song was sobering) and Elbow: The Seldom Seen Kid nearly defeated me. Indeed, much of the lad rock – Oasis, Supergrass, Super Furry Animals, Jamiroquai, et al was completely alien to me. Oh, and Crowded House: Woodface – mediocre faux indie MOR.

(6) Some positive prejudices were confirmed: the genius of Joy Division’s beautiful elegies to masculine ennui, the overarching power of an on form Neil Young, the subtle theology of Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave, the perfect anti-pop of the Velvets and Raw Power era Iggy, the scuzzy poetry of the Jesus and Mary Chain and Mudhoney, the utter gorgeousness of Sonic Youth’s infernal reinventions, the stunning force of Sleater-Kinney, this list could go on.

(7) World music in its multifarious forms was almost always a joy to hear. So much to explore in this direction – from Baba Maal to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Many ideas for music in liturgy were found in this quarter.

(8) Surprise finds: Turbonegro: Apocalypse Dudes (Scandi punk viscera – potent despite the almost constant guitar soloing); Janelle Monáe: The ArchAndroid (witty, intelligent, conceptual, big and bold genre twisting); The Monks: Black Monk Time (out MC5ing the MC5, proof of punk’s sixties roots, sharp, short distinctive and raging); The Dictators: Go Girl Crazy! (pre-Ramones punk, funny and furious).

(9) Artists I should have listened to more of a long time ago: Pavement, X, Go-Go Girls, Fiona Apple, My Bloody Valentine, Einstürzende Neubauten (Kollaps was an absolutely wonderful find during the last week of otherwise prosaic listening), Kraftwerk (other than a live set I’d never sat down and listened to a whole album), David Bowie (I had avoided him as too mainstream, and certainly the nine albums included were very mixed, but each one had some cracking tracks), Violent Femmes (their eponymous album was a raw, adolescent, wistful corker).

(10) Surprise likes: Brian Eno’s ambient work (not as twiddly-twee as I was expecting and good for writing sermons to); Taylor Swift (well-constructed, thoughtful pop); Pink Floyd: The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (perhaps because I had to write a funeral sermon based around this album I listened to it many times and examined the lyrics more carefully, but it struck a chord – unlike their other albums).

(11) Omissions: reggae gets short shrift, what was included was fine but very centre stage – no Toots and the Maytals or Junior Murvin, no U-Roy or Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. Tears for Fears: The Hurting is a far more vital album than Songs from the Big Chair (which always reminds me of Ronnie Corbett), Nirvana: Bleach is their best album and should have been included alongside the rest, Hole: Celebrity Skin is sellout trash compared with the filthy fury of Pretty on the Inside, M.I.A. is represented by Kala which is a tame and unexacting when compared with her debut Arular, but well, of course, everyone is going to have their cherished favourites who haven’t made the cut. In my case it is Michael Gira – he only gets a namecheck as co-producer of Devendra Barnhart: Rejoicing in the Hands – when Swans are incredible influential on the underground art rock scene and The Seer is, for me, one of the greatest, most powerful and most intelligent albums of all time.

(12) The Blues: the greatest omission, mainly because of the 1950s start date which precludes much of the best and most influential music. Yes, there is Muddy Waters: Hard Again, an outstanding album, but other than that it is John Lee Hooker: The Healer, live Muddy Waters and B.B. King before the white guys take over – John Mayall, Eric Clapton, the best bits of Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones and The White Stripes. So, no Son House (Death Letter would most certainly be on my own 1001 list), Robert Johnson, Howling Wolf, Leadbelly, Elmore James and company. Billie Holiday makes it, but only when she is past her prime.

All in all I’m glad I went for this challenge – it has filled in many gaps and helped pull my musical knowledge together – but I don’t think I’ll be doing it again. Time now to pick up on some of the new music I’ve missed from 2017, listen to some old favourites, revisit some of the albums on this list that have resonated with me, refresh my acquaintance with some bands that had dropped out of my consciousness, but still sound great (Sister Sledge, Adam and the Ants, Elvis Costello) and get to a few gigs.

And now, the list – what albums do you think are missing?

Abba: Arrival
Abba: The Visitors
ABC: The Lexicon of Love
AC/DC: Back in Black
AC/DC: Highway to Hell
Ackles, David: American Gothic
Adam and the Ants: Kings of the Wild Frontier
Adamson, Barry: Moss Side Story
Adamson, Barry: Oedipus Schmedipus
Adams, Ryan: Gold
Adams, Ryan: Heartbreaker
Adele: 25
Adverts: Crossing the Red Sea with the Adverts
Aerosmith: Pump
Aerosmith: Rocks
Aerosmith: Toys in the Attic
Afghan Whigs: Gentlemen
A-ha: Hunting High and Low
Air: Moon Safari
Air: The Virgin Suicides
Alice Cooper: Billion Dollar Babies
Alice Cooper: School’s Out
Alice in Chains: Dirt
Allman Brothers Band: At Fillmore East
American Music Club: California
Amos, Tori: Little Earthquakes
Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion
Anthrax: Among the Living
Aphex Twin: Selected Ambient Works 85-92
Apple, Fiona: Tidal
Arcade Fire: Funeral
Arctic Monkeys: Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not
Armatrading, Joan: Joan Armatrading
Arrested Development: 3 Years, 5 Months and 2Days in the Life of…
Ash: 1977
Associates: Sulk
Auteurs: New Wave
Avalanches: Since I Left You
B-52s: The B-52s
Bad Brains: I Against I
Bad Company: Bad Company
Badu, Erykah: Mama’s Gun
Baez, Joan: Joan Baez
Baker, Anita: Rapture
Bambaataa, Afrika, And the Soul Sonic Force: Planet Rock – The Album
Band: The Band:
Band: Music from Big Pink
Barnhart, Devendra: Rejoicing in the Hands
Barrett, Syd: The Madcap Laughs
Basement Jaxx: Remedy
Basie, Count: The Atomic Mr Basie
Bauhaus: Mask
Beach Boys: The Beach Boys Today!
Beach Boys: Pet Sounds
Beach Boys: Surf’s Up
Beach House: Teen Dream
Beastie Boys: Ill Communication
Beastie Boys: Licensed to Ill
Beastie Boys: Paul’s Boutique
Beatles: Abbey Road
Beatles: The Beatles (a.k.a. The White Album)
Beatles: A Hard Day’s Night
Beatles: Revolver
Beatles: Rubber Soul
Beatles: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Beatles: With the Beatles
Beau Brummels: Triangle
Beck: Odelay
Beck: Truth
Bee Gees: Odessa
Bee Gees: Trafalgar
Belle and Sebastian: If You’re Feeling Sinister
Belle and Sebastian: “Tigermilk”
Ben, Jorge: Africa/Brasil
Beyoncé: Beyoncé
Big Black: Atomizer
Big Brother and the HoldingCompany: Cheap Thrills
Big Star: No 1 Record
Big Star: Third/Sister Lovers
Birthday Party: Junkyard
Björk: Debut
Björk: Vespertine
Björk: Vulnicura
Black Crowes: Shake Your Money Maker
Black Flag: Damaged
Black, Frank: Teenager of the Year
Black Keys: Brothers
Black Sabbath: Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath: Black Sabbath Vol 4
Black Sabbath: Paranoid
Blondie: Parallel Lines
Blood, Sweat and Tears: Blood, Sweat and Tears
Blue Cheer: Vincebus Eruptum
Blue Nile: A Walk Across the Rooftops
Blues Breakers: Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton
Blur: Blur
Blur: Modern Life is Rubbish
Blur: Parklife
Boards of Canada: Music has the Right to Children
Bon Jovi: Slippery When Wet
Bonnie ‘Prince Billy’: I See a Darkness
Booker T and the MGs: Green Onions
Boo Radleys: Giant Steps
Boston: Boston
Bowie, David: Aladdin Sane
Bowie, David: Blackstar
Bowie, David: ‘Heroes’
Bowie, David: Hunky Dory
Bowie, David: Low
Bowie, David: The Next Day
Bowie, David: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Bowie, David: Station to Station
Bowie, David: Young Americans
Bragg, Billy: Talking to the Taxman about Poetry
Bragg, Billy, and Wilco: Mermaid Avenue
Brel, Jacques: Olympia 64
Brown, James: Live at the Apollo
Brubeck, Dave, Quartet: Time Out
Buckley, Jeff: Grace
Buckley, Tim: Goodbye and Hello
Buckley, Tim: Greetings from LA
Buckley, Tim: Happy Sad
Buena Vista Social Club: Buena Vista Social Club
Buffalo, Grant Lee: Fuzzy
Buffalo Springfield: Buffalo Springfield Again
Bukem, LTJ: Logical Progression
Burke, Solomon: Rock’n’Soul
Burman, RD: Shalimar/College Girl
Burning Spear: Marcus Garvey
Burton, Gary: The New Tango
Bush, Kate: The Dreaming
Bush, Kate: Hounds of Love
Bush, Kate: The Sensual World
Butthole Surfers: Locust Abortion Technician
Buzzcocks: Another Music in a Different Kitchen
Byrd, Charlie: Jazz Samba
Byrds: Fifth Dimension
Byrds: Mr Tambourine Man
Byrds: The Notorious Byrd Brothers
Byrds: Sweetheart of the Rodeo
Byrds: Younger than Yesterday
Cale, John: Paris 1919
Can: Future Days
Can: Tago Mago
Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band: Safe as Milk
Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band: Trout Mask Replica
Cardigans: First Band on the Moon
Carey, Mariah: Butterfly
Carpenters: Close to You
Cars: The Cars
Cash, Johnny: At Folsom Prison
Cash, Johnny: Johnny Cash at San Quentin
Cave, Nick, and the Badseeds: Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus
Cave, Nick, and the Badseeds: The Boatman’s Call
Cave, Nick, and the Badseeds: Henry’s Dream
Cave, Nick, and the Badseeds: Murder Ballads
Chao, Manu: Clandestino
Chapman, Tracy: Tracy Chapman
Charlatans: Tellin’ Stories
Charles, Ray: The Genius of Ray Charles
Charles, Ray: Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music
Chaurasia, Hariprasad: Call of the Valley
Cheap Trick: At Budokan
Chemical Brothers: Dig Your Own Hole
Chemical Brothers: Exit Planet Dust
Cherry, Neneh: Raw Like Sushi
Chic: C’est Chic
Chic: Risqué
Chicago: Chicago Transit Authority
Chvrches: The Bones of What You Believe
Circle Jerks: Group Sex
Clapton, Eric: 461 Ocean Boulevard
Clapton, Eric: John Mayall’s Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton
Clark, Gene: No Other
Clark, Gene: White Light
Clash: The Clash
Clash: London Calling
Cocteau Twins: Heaven or Las Vegas
Cocteau Twins: Treasure
Cohen, Leonard: I’m Your Man
Cohen, Leonard: Songs From a Room
Cohen, Leonard: Songs of Love and Hate
Cohen, Leonard: The Songs of Leonard Cohen
Coldcut: What’s That Noise?
Coldplay: Parachutes
Coldplay: A Rush of Blood to the Head
Cole, Lloyd and the Commotions: Rattlesnakes
Colón, Willie and Bládes, Rueben: Siembra
Coltrane, John: A Love Supreme
Common: Be
Common: Like Water for Chocolate
Cooder, Ry: Taking Timbuktu
Cooke, Sam: Live at the Harlem Square Club
Cope, Julian: Peggy Suicide
Cornershop: When I was Born for the 7th Time
Costello, Elvis: Brutal Youth
Costello, Elvis: My Aim is True
Costello, Elvis: This Year’s Model
Costello, Elvis, and the Attractions: Armed Forces
Costello, Elvis, and the Attractions: Blood and Chocolate
Costello, Elvis, and the Attractions: Imperial Bedroom
Country Joe and the Fish: Electric Music for the Mind and Body
Cowboy Junkies: The Trinity Session
Cramps: Songs the Lord Taught Us
Cream: Disraeli Gears
Creedence Clearwater Revival: Bayou Country
Creedence Clearwater Revival: Cosmos’s Factory
Creedence Clearwater Revival: Green River
Crickets: The ‘Chirping’ Crickets
Crosby, David: If I Could Only Remember My Name
Crosby, Stills and Nash: Crosby, Stills and Nash
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young: Déjà Vu
Crowded House: Woodface
Crow, Sheryl: Tuesday Night Music Club
Crusaders: Street Life
Cult: Electric
Culture Club: Colour By Numbers
Cure: Disintegration
Cure: Pornography
Cure: Seventeen Seconds
Cypress Hill: Cypress Hill
Czukay, Holger: Movies
Daft Punk: Homework
Damned: Machine Gun Etiquette
D’Angelo: Brown Sugar
D’Arby, Terence Trent: Introducing the Hardline According To…
Davis, Miles: Birth of the Cool
Davis, Miles: Bitches Brew
Davis, Miles: In a Silent Way
Davis, Miles: Kind of Blue
Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables
Death in Vegas: The Contino Sessions
Deee-Lite: World Clique
Deep Purple: In Rock
Deep Purple: Machine Head
Deep Purple: Made in Japan
Deerhnuter: Halycon Digest
Def Leppard: Hysteria
Def Leppard: Pyromania
De La Soul: 3 Feet High and Rising
Depeche Mode: Music for the Masses
Depeche Mode: Violator
Derek and the Dominos: Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
Devo: Q: Are We Not Men? A: We are Devo!
Dexy’s Midnight Runners: Don’t Stand Me Down
Dexy’s Midnight Runners: Searching for the Young Soul Rebels
Dexy’s Midnight Runners: Too-Rye-Ay
Dictators: Go Girl Crazy!
Digital Underground: Sex Packets
Dionsaur Jr: Bug
Dinosaur Jr: You’re Living All Over Me
Dion: Born to be With You
Dire Straits: Brothers in Arms
Dire Straits: Dire Straits
Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy: Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury
Divine Comedy: Casanova
Divine Comedy: A Short Album about Love
Dizzee Rascal: Boy in Da Corner
Django Django: Django Django
DJ Shadow: Entroducing…
Domino, Fats: This is Fats
Donovan: Sunshine Superman
Doors: The Doors
Doors: LA Woman
Doors: Morrison Hotel
Doves: Last Broadcast
Doves: Lost Souls
Drake, Nick: Bryter Layter
Drake, Nick: Five Leaves Left
Drake, Nick: Pink Moon
Dr Dre: The Chronic
Drive-by Truckers: Southern Rock Opera
Drive Like Jehu: Yank Crime
Dr John, The Night Tripper: Gris-Gris
Dr Octagon: Dr Octagonecologyst
Duran Duran: Rio
Dury, Ian: New Boots and Panties!
Dylan, Bob: Blonde on Blonde
Dylan, Bob: Blood on the Tracks
Dylan, Bob: Bringing it all Back Home
Dylan, Bob: The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan
Dylan, Bob: Highway 61 Revisited
Dylan, Bob: Live 1966
Dylan, Bob: Time Out of Mind
Eagles: Eagles
Eagles: Hotel California
Earle, Steve: Guitar Town
Earth, Wind, And Fire: That’s the Way of the World
Echo and the Bunnymen: Crocodiles
Echo and the Bunnymen: Ocean Rain
Echo and the Bunnymen: Porcupine
Eels: Beautiful Freak
808 State: 808:90
Einstürzende Neubauten: Kollaps
Elastica: Elastica
Elbow: The Seldom Seen Kid
Electric Light Orchestra: Out of the Blue
Electric Prunes: I had too much to Dream (Last Night)
Ellington, Duke: Ellington at Newport 1956
Elliott, Ramblin’ Jack: Jack Takes the Floor
Elliott, Missy: Supa Dupa Fly
Elliott, Missy: Under Construction
Ely, Joe: Honky Tonk Masquerade
Emerson, Lake, & Palmer: Pictures at an Exhibition
Emerson, Lake, & Palmer: Tarkus
Eminem: The Marshall Mathers LP
Eminem: The Slim Shady LP
Eno, Brian: Ambient 1: Music for Airports
Eno, Brian: Another Green World
Eno, Brian: Before and After Science
Eno, Brian: Here Come the Warm Jets
Eno, Brian, and Byrne, David: My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
Eurythmics: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
Evans, Bill: Sunday at the Village Vanguard
Everly Brothers: A Date With the Everly Brothers
Everything But the Girl: Idlewild
Everything But the Girl: Walking Wounded
Faces: A Nod is as Good as a Wink.. To a Blind Horse
Fagen, Donald: The Nightfly
Fairport Convention: Liege and Lief
Fairport Convention: Unhalfbricking
Faithfull, Marianne: Broken English
Faith No More: The Real Thing
Fall: Live at the Witch Trials
Fall: The Infotainment Scan
Fall: This Nation’s Saving Grace
Fatboy Slim: Better Living Through Chemistry
Fatboy Slim: You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby
Faust: Faust IV
Fiasco, Lupe: Food and Liquor
Firehose: Fromohio
Fishbone: Truth and Soul
Fitzgerald, Ella: Sings the Gershwin Song Book
FKA Twigs: LP1
Flamin’ Groovies: Teenage Head
Flaming Lips: The Soft Bulletin
Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes
Fleetwood Mac: Rumours
Fleetwood Mac: Tusk
Flying Burrito Brothers: The Gilded Palace of Sin
Foo Fighters: Foo Fighters
Frampton, Peter: Frampton Comes Alive!
Frankie Goes to Hollywood: Welcome to the Pleasuredome
Franklin, Aretha: Aretha: Lady of Soul
Franklin, Aretha: I Never Loved a Man the Way I Loved You
Franz Ferdinand: Franz Ferdinand
Fugazi: Repeater
Fugees: The Score
Funkadelic: Maggot Brain
Fun Lovin’ Criminals: Come Find Yourself
Gabriel, Peter: Peter Gabriel (I)
Gabriel, Peter: Peter Gabriel (III)
Gabriel, Peter: So
Gainsbourg, Serge: Histoire De Melody Nelson
Gang of Four: Entertainment!
Gang Starr: Step in the Arena
Garbage: Garbage
Gaye, Marvin: Here, My Dear
Gaye, Marvin: Let’s Get it On
Gaye, Marvin: What’s Going On?
Genesis: The Lamb Lies down on Broadway
Genesis: Selling England by the Pound
Genius/GZA: Liquid Swords
Germs: (G)
Getz, Stan: Getz/Gilberto
Getz, Stan: Jazz Samba
Ghostface Killah: Fishscale
Gilberto, Astrud: Beach Samba
Gilberto, Bebel: Tanto Tempo
Gilberto, João: Getz/Gilberto
Girls Against Boys: Venus Luxure No. 1 Baby
Go-Betweens: 16 Lovers Lane
Go-Gos: Beauty and the Beat
Goldfrapp: Felt Mountain
Goldie: Timeless
Gotan Project: La Revancha Del Tango
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five: The Message
Grant, John: Queen of Denmark
Grateful Dead: American Beauty
Grateful Dead: Live/Dead
Gray, David: White Ladder
Green, Al: Let’s Stay Together
Green, Cee-Lo: Cee-Lo Green…Is the Soul Machine
Green Day: American Idiot
Green Day: Dookie
Griffith, Nanci: The Last of the True Believers
Guided By Voices: Alien Lanes
Gun Club: Fire of Love
Guns’N’Roses: Appetite for Destruction
Haggard, Merle: I’m a Lonesome Fugitive
Haircut One Hundred: Pelican West
Hancock, Herbie: Headhunters
Hanoi Rocks: Back to Mystery City
Happy Mondays: Bummed
Happy Mondays: Pills’N’Thrills and Bellyaches
Harris, Emmylou: Pieces of the Sky
Harris, Emmylou: Red Dirt Girl
Harris, Emmylou: Trio
Harrison, George: All Things Must Pass
Harvey, P.J.: Dry
Harvey, P.J.: Let England Shake
Harvey, P.J.: Rid of Me
Harvey, P.J.: Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea
Hawkwind: Space Ritual
Hawley, Richard: Coles Corner
Hayes, Isaac: Hot Buttered Soul
Hayes, Isaac: Shaft
Heaven 17: Penthouse and Pavement
Hendrix, Jimi, Experience: Are You Experienced
Hendrix, Jimi, Experience: Axis: Bold as Love
Hendrix, Jimi, Experience: Electric Ladyland
Hill, Lauryn: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Hole: Celebrity Skin
Hole: Live Through This
Holiday, Billie: Lady in Satin
Holmes, David: Let’s Get Killed
Hooker, John Lee: The Healer
Hot Chip: In Our Heads
Human League: Dare
Hüsker Dü: Warehouse: Songs and Stories
Ibrahim, Abdullah: Water From An Ancient Well
Ice Cube: AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted
Ice Cube: The Predator
Ice-T: OG Original Gangster
Incredible String Band: The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter
Incubus: Make Yourself
Iron Butterfly: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Iron Maiden: Iron Maiden
Iron Maiden: The Number of the Beast
Isley Brothers: 3+3
Jackson, Brian: Winter in America
Jackson, Janet: Rhythm Nation
Jackson, Michael: Bad
Jackson, Michael: Off the Wall
Jackson, Michael: Thriller
Jamiroquai: Emergency on Planet Earth
Jam: All Mod Cons
Jam: Sound Effects
Jane’s Addiction: Nothing’s Shocking
Jane’s Addiction: Ritual De Lo Habitual
Jansch, Bert: Bert Jansch
Japan: Quiet Life
Jarre, Jean Michel: Oxygene
Jarrett, Keith: The Köln Concert
Jay-Z: The Blueprint
Jefferson Airplane: Surrealistic Pillow
Jennings, Waylon: Honky Tonk Heroes
Jeru the Damaja: The Sun Rises in the East
Jesus and Mary Chain: Darklands
Jesus and Mary Chain: Psychocandy
Jethro Tull: Aqualung
Jobim, Antonio Carlos: Francis Albert Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim
Joel, Billy: The Stranger
John, Elton: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
John, Elton: Madman Across the Water
Jones, George: The Grand Tour
Jones, Norah: Come Away with Me
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion: Now I Got Worry
Joplin, Janis: Pearl
Joy Division: Closer
Joy Division: Unknown Pleasures
Judas Priest: British Steel
Jungle Brothers: Done By the Forces of Nature
Jurassic 5: Power in Numbers
Justice: Cross
Kabra, Brijbushan: Call of the Valley
Khaled: Kenza
Khna, Nusrat Fatah Ali, and Party: Devotional Songs
Kid Rock: Devil Without a Cause
Killing Joke: Killing Joke
King, B.B.: Live at the Regal
King, Carole: Tapestry
King Crimson: In the Court of the Crimson King
King Crimson: Larks’ Tongues in Aspic
Kinks: Arthur – Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire
Kinks: Face to Face
Kinks: The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society
Kinks: Something Else
Kiss: Destroyer
KLF: The White Room
Korn: Follow the Leader
Kraftwerk: Autobahn
Kraftwerk: The Man-Machine
Kraftwerk: Trans-European Express
Krause, Dagmar: Tank Battles
Kravitz, Lenny: Let Love Rule
Kuti, Fela, and the Afrika ’70: Zombie
Kuti, Femi: Femi Kuti
Ladd, Mike: Welcome to the Afterfuture
Ladysmith Black Mambazo: Shaka Zulu
Lahiri, Bappi: Shalimar/College Girl
Laibach: Opus Dei
Lamar, Kendrick: good kid, m.A.A.d. city
Lambchop: Nixon
Lang, K.D.: Ingénue
Lang, K.D.: Shadowland
La’s: The La’s
Lauper, Cyndi: She’s So Unusual
LCD Soundsystem: Sound of Silver
Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin II
Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin III
Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin IV
Led Zeppelin: Physical Graffiti
Leftfield: Leftism
Maal, Baaba: Djam Leelii
Maal, Baaba: Lam Toro
McCartney, Paul: McCartney
McCartney, Paul and Wings: Band on the Run
Machito: Kenya
McLaren, Malcolm: Duck Rock
McLean, Don: American Pie
Madness: The Rise and Fall
Madonna: Like a Prayer
Madonna: Ray of Light
Magazine: Real Life
Magnetic Fields: 69 Love Songs
Makeba, Miriam: Miriam Makeba
Mamas and Papas: If you can Believe your Eyes and Ears
Manic Street Preachers: Everything Must Go
Manic Street Preachers: The Holy Bible
Mann, Aimee: “Whatever”
Marilyn Manson: Antichrist Superstar
Marley, Bob, And the Wailers: Catch A Fire
Marley, Bob, And the Wailers: Exodus
Marley, Bob, And the Wailers: Natty Dread
Mars Volta: De-loused in the Comatorium
Martyn, John: One World
Martyn, John: Solid Air
Masekela, Hugh: Home is Where the Music is
Massive Attack: Blue Lines
Massive Attack: Protection
Maxwell: Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite
Mayall, John: Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton
Mayfield, Curtis: Superfly
Mayfield, Curtis: There’s No Place Like America Today
MC5: Kick Out the Jams
Mc Solaar: Qui Sème Le Vent Récolte Le Tempo
Meat Loaf: Bat out of Hell
Meat Puppets: Meat Puppets II
Megadeath: Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?
Megadeath: Rust in Peace
Mekons: Fear and Whiskey
Mercury Rev: Deserter’s Songs
Metallica: …And Justice for All
Metallica: Master of Puppets
Metallica: Metallica
Metallica: S&M
Method Man: Tical
M.I.A.: Kala
Michael, George: Faith
Michael, George: Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1
Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band: Bongo Rock
Mingus, Charles: The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady
Ministry: Psalm 69
Minor Threat: Out of Step
Minutemen: Double Nickels on the Dime
Mitchell, Joni: Blue
Mitchell, Joni: Court and Spark
Mitchell, Joni: Hejira
Mitchell, Joni: The Hissing of Summer Lawns
Moby: Play
Moby Grape: Moby Grape
Modern Lovers: Modern Lovers
Monáe, Janelle: The ArchAndroid
Monkees: Headquarters
Monks: Black Monk Time
Monk, Thelonious: Brilliant Corners
Morrissette, Alanis: Jagged Little Pill
Morrison, Van: Astral Weeks
Morrsion, Van: It’s Too Late to Stop Now
Morrison, Van: Moondance
Morrissey: Vauxhall and I
Morrissey: “Viva Hate”
Morrissey: “Your Arsenal”
Mothers of Invention: Freak Out!
Mothers of Invention: We’re Only in it for the Money
Motörhead: Ace of Spades
Motörhead: No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith
Mott the Hoople: Mott
Mudhoney: Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge
Mudhoney: Superfuzz Bigmuff
My Bloody Valentine: Isn’t Anything
My Bloody Valentine: Loveless
My Bloody Valentine: m b v
Mylo: Destroy Rock & Roll
Napalm Death: Scum
Nas: Illmatic
Nascimento, Milton, and Lo Borges: Club Da Esquina
N’Dour, Youssou: Immigrés
Neil, Fred: Fred Neil
Nelson, Willie: Red Headed Stranger
Nelson, Willie: Stardust
Neu!: Neu!
Newman, Randy: Good Old Boys
Newman, Randy: Sail Away
New Order: Low-Life
New Order: Technique
Newsom, Joanna: Ys
New York Dolls: New York Dolls
Nico: Chelsea Girl
Nico: The Velvet Underground and Nico
Nightmares on Wax: Smokers Delight
Nilsson, Harry: Nilsson Schmilsson
Nine Inch Nails: The Downward Spiral
Nirvana: In Utero
Nirvana: MTV Unplugged in New York
Nirvana: Nevermind
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: Will the Circle be Unbroken?
Notorious B.I.G.: Ready to Die
Numan, Gary: The Pleasure Principle
N.W.A.: Straight Outta Compton
Nyro, Laura: Eli and the Thirteenth Confession
Oasis: Definitely Maybe
Oasis: (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?
Ocean, Frank: Channel Orange
O’Connor, Sinéad: I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got
Offspring: Smash
Oldfield, Mike: Tubular Bells
Olomidé, Koffi: Haut De Gamme – Kaweit, Rive Gauche
Only Ones: The Only Ones
Orange Juice: Rip It Up
Orbital: Orbital II
Orbital: Snivilisation
Orbit, William: Strange Cargo II
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Architecture and Morality
Orton, Beth: Central Reservation
Os Mutantes: Os Mutantes
Otis, Shuggie: Inspiration Information
Outkast: Speakerboxx/The Love Below
Outkast: Stankonia
Owens, Buck, and His Buckeroos: I’ve Got a Tiger By the Tail
Pantera: Vulgar Display of Power
Parliament: Mothership Connection
Parsons, Gram: Grievous Angel
Parton, Dolly: Coat of Many Colors
Parton, Dolly: Trio
Pavement: Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
Pavement: Slanted and Enchanted
Pearl Jam: Ten
Penguin Café Orchestra: Music from the Penguin Café
Pentangle: Basket of Light
Pere Ubu: Dub Housing
Pere Ubu: The Modern Dance
Pet Shop Boys: Actually
Pet Shop Boys: Behaviour
Pet Shop Boys: Very
Petty, Tom, and the Heartbreakers: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Phair, Liz: Exile in Guyville
Pharcyde: Bizarre Ride II the Pharside
Piazzolla, Astor: The New Tango
Pink Floyd: The Dark Side of the Moon
Pink Floyd: The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Pink Floyd: The Wall
Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here
Pixies: Bossanova
Pixies: Doolittle
Pixies: Surfer Rosa
Pogues: If I Should Fall From Grace With God
Pogues: Rum, Sodomy, And The Lash
Police: Reggatta De Blanc
Police: Synchronicity
Pop, Iggy: The Idiot
Pop, Iggy: Lust for Life
Portishead: Dummy
Portishead: Third
Prefab Sprout: Steve McQueen
Presley, Elvis: Elvis is Back!
Presley, Elvis: Elvis Presley
Presley, Elvis: From Elvis in Memphis
Pretenders: Pretenders
Pretty Things: S.F. Sorrow
Price, Ray: Night Life
Prima, Louis: The Wildest!
Primal Scream: Screamadelica
Primal Scream: Vanishing Point
Prince: 1999
Prince: Sign O’The Times
Prince and the Revolution: Purple Rain
Prine, John: John Prine
Prodigy: The Fat of the Land
Prodigy: Music for the Jilted Generation
Psychedelic Furs: Talk, Talk, Talk
Public Enemy: Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Back
Public Enemy: Fear of a Black Planet
Public Enemy: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Public Image Ltd: Metal Box
Public Image Ltd: Public Image
Puente, Tito, and His Orchestra: Dance Mania, Vol 1
Pulp: Different Class
Pulp: This is Hardcore
Q-Tip: The Renaissance
Quaye, Finlay: Maverick a Strike
Queen: A Night at the Opera
Queen: Queen II
Queen: Sheer Heart Attack
Queen Latifah: All Hail the Queen
Queens of the Stone Age: Queens of the Stone Age
Quicksilver Messenger Service: Happy Trails
Radiohead: The Bends
Radiohead: In Rainbows
Radiohead: Kid A
Radiohead: OK Computer
Raekwon: Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
Rage Against the Machine: Rage Against the Machine
Raitt, Bonnie: Nick of Time
Ramones: Ramones
Ransome-Kuti, Fela And The Africa ’70 With Ginger Baker: Live!
Redding, Otis: Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Blood Sugar Sex Magik
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Californication
Reed, Lou: Berlin
Reed, Lou: Transformer
Elis, Regina: Vento De Maio
R.E.M.: Automatic For The People
R.E.M.: Document
R.E.M.: Green
R.E.M.: Murmur
Replacements: Let It Be
Reprazent: New Forms
Residents: Duck Stab/Buster and Glen
Revere, Paul, And The Raiders: Midnight Ride
Ride: Nowhere
Robbins, Marty: Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs
Rocket From the Crypt: Scream, Dracuala, Scream!
Rolling Stones: Aftermath
Rolling Stones: Beggars Banquet
Rolling Stones: Exile On Main St
Rolling Stones: Let It Bleed
Rolling Stones: The Rolling Stones
Rolling Stones: Sticky Fingers
Ronstadt, Linda: Trio
Roots: Phrenelogy
Rowland, Kevin, And Dexy’s Midnight Runners: Too-Rye-Ay
Roxy Music: Country Life
Roxy Music: For Your Pleasure
Roxy Music: Roxy Music
Röyskopp: Melody A.M.
Rundgren, Todd: Something/Anything?
Rundgren, Todd: A Wizard, A True Star
Run-DMC: Raising Hell
Run-DMC: Run-DMC
Rush: Moving Pictures
Rush: 2112
Rythmes Digitales, Les: Darkdancer
Sabres of Paradise: Haunted Dancehall
Sabu: Palo Congo
Sade: Diamond Life
Saint Etienne: Foxbase Alpha
Saints: Eternally Yours
Santana: Abraxas
Sawhney, Nitin: Beyond Skin
Scott-Heron, Gil: Winter in America
Screaming Trees: Dust
Scritti Politti: Cupid and Psyche 85
Sebadoh: Bubble and Scrape
Seck, Mansour: Djam Leelii
Sensational Alex Harvey Band: Next…
Sepultura: Arise
Sepultura: Roots
Sex Pistols: Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols
Shack: H.M.S Fable
Shamen: En-Tact
Shankar, Ananda: Ananda Shankar
Shankar, Ravi: The Sounds Of India
Sharma, Shivkumar: Call Of The Valley
Sigur Rós: Ágætis Byrjun
Silver Jews: Bright Flight
Simon And Garfunkel: Bookends
Simon And Garfunkel: Bridge Over Troubled Water
Simon And Garfunkel: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme
Simone, Nina: Wild Is The Wind
Simon, Paul: Graceland
Simon, Paul: Hearts And Bones
Simon, Paul: Paul Simon
Simple Minds: New Gold Dream (81/82/83/84)
Simply Red: Picture Book
Sinatra, Frank: Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim
Sinatra, Frank: In The Wee Small Hours
Sinatra, Frank: Songs for Swingin’ Lovers!
Singh, Talvin: OK
Siouxsie And The Banshees: Juju
Siouxsie And The Banshees: The Scream
Sister Sledge: We Are Family
Sisters Of Mercy: Floodland
Size, Roni: New Forms
Slade: Slayed?
Slayer: Reign In Blood
Sleater-Kinney: Dig Me Out
Sleater-Kinney: No Cities To Love
Slint: Spiderland
Slipknot: Slipknot
Slits: Cut
Sly And The Family Stone: Strand!
Sly And The Family Stone: There’s A Riot Going On
Small Faces: Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake
Smashing Pumpkins: Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness
Smashing Pumpkins: Siamese Dream
Smith, Eliott: Either/Or
Smith, Eliott: Figure 8
Smith, Jimmy: Back At The Chicken Shack
Smith, Patti: Horses
Smiths: Meat Is Murder
Smiths: The Queen Is Dead
Smiths: Strangeways, Here We Come
Snoop Doggy Dogg: Doggystyle
Soft Boys: Underwater Moonlight
Soft Cell: Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret
Soft Machine: Third
Songhoy Blues: Music In Exile
Sonics: Here Are The Sonics
Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation
Sonic Youth: Dirty
Sonic Youth: Evol
Sonic Youth: Goo
Sonic Youth: Sister
Soul II Soul: Club Classics Vol. One
Soundgarden: Superunknown
Spacemen 3: Playing With Fire
Sparks: Kimono My House
Specials: More Specials
Specials: Specials
Spector, Phil: A Christmas Gift For You
Spence, Alexander: Oar
Spirit: Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
Spiritualized: Ladies And Gentlemen, We Are Floating In Space
Spiritualized: Lazer Guided Melodies
Springfield, Dusty: Dusty In Memphis
Springfield, Dusty: A Girl Called Dusty
Springsteen, Bruce: Born In The USA
Springsteen, Bruce: Born To Run
Springsteen, Bruce: Darkness On The Edge Of Town
Springsteen, Bruce: Nebraska
Springsteen, Bruce: The Rising
Steely Dan: Aja
Steely Dan: Can’t Buy A Thrill
Steely Dan: Countdown To Ecstasy
Steely Dan: Pretzel Logic
Stereolab: Emperor Tomato Ketchup
Stereo MCs: Connected
Stevens, Cat: Tea For The Tillerman
Stevens, Sufjan: Illinois
Stewart, Rod: Every Picture Tells A Story
Stewart, Rod: Gasoline Alley
Stills, Stephen: Manassas
Stills, Stephen: Stephen Stills
Stone Roses: The Stone Roses
Stooges: Fun House
Stooges: Raw Power
Stooges: The Stooges
Stanglers: Rattus Norvegicus
Streets: A Grand Don’t Come For Free
Strokes: Is This It?
Style Council: Café Bleu
Suba: Säo Paulo Confessions
Suede: Dog Man Star
Suede: Suede
Sugar: Copper Blue
Sugarcubes: Life’s Too Short
Suicide: Suicide
Super Furry Animals: Rings Around The World
Super Furry Animals: Fuzzy Logic
Supergrass: In It For The Money
Supergrass: I Should Coco
Supertramp: Crime Of The Century
Swift, Taylor: 1989
System Of A Down: System Of A Down
Talking Heads: Fear Of Music
Talking Heads: More Songs About Buildings And Food
Talking Heads: Remain In Light
Talking Heads: Talking Heads: 77
Talk Talk: The Colour Of Spring
Tangerine Dream: Phaedra
Taylor, James: Sweet Baby James
Teardrop Explodes: Kilimanjaro
Tears For Fears: Songs From The Big Chair
Teenage Fan Club: Bandwagonesque
Television: Marquee Moon
Temptations: All Directions
Temptations: Cloud Nine
10cc: Street Music
The The: Infected
The The: Soul Mining
Thin Lizzy: Live And Dangerous
13th Floor Elevators: The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators
Thompson, Richard And Linda: I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight
Throbbing Gristle: D.O.A. Third And Final Report
Throwing Muses: Throwing Muses
Le Tigre: Le Tigre
TLC: CrazySexyCool
Tom Tom Club: Tom Tom Club
Tortoise: Millions Now Living Will Never Die
Tosh, Peter: Legalize It
Touré, Ali Farka: Taking Timbuktu
Touré, Ali Farka: Savane
Traffic: John Barleycorn Must Die
Traffic: Traffic
Travis: The Man Who
T. Rex: Electric Warrior
T. Rex: The Slider
Tribe Called Quest: The Low End Theory
Tribe Called Quest: People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm
Tricky: Maxinquaye
Triffids: Calenture
Turbonegro: Apocalypse Dudes
Turner, Tina: Private Dancer
TV On The Radio: Dear Science
2Pac: Me Against The World
U2: Achtung Baby
U2: All That You Can’t Leave
U2: The Joshua Tree
U2: War
UB40: Signing Off
Undertones: Hypnotised
Undertones: The Undertones
Underworld: Second Toughest In The Infants
United States of America: The United States of America
Van Halen: 1984
Van Halen: Van Halen
Vaughan, Sarah: Sarah Vaughan At Mister Kelly’s
Vega, Suzanne: Suzanne Vega
Veloso, Caetano: Caetano Veloso
Velvet Underground: The Velvet Underground
Velvet Underground: The Velvet Underground And Nico
Velvet Underground: White Light/White Heat
Venom: Black Metal
Verve: Northern Soul
Verve: Urban Hymns
Violent Femmes: Violent Femmes
Wainwright, Rufus: Want Two
Waits, Tom: Bone Machine
Waits, Tom: Heartattack And Vine
Waits, Tom: Nighthawks At The Diner
Waits, Tom: Rain Dogs
Waits, Tom: Swordfishtrombones
Walker, Scott: Scott 2
Walker, Scott: Scott 4
War: The World Is A Ghetto
War On Drugs: Last In The Dream
Waterboys: Fisherman’s Blues
Waters, Muddy: Hard Again
Waters, Muddy: Muddy Waters At Newport
Weather Report: Heavy Weather
Welch, Gillian: Time (The Revelator)
Weller, Paul: Wild Wood
West, Kanye: The College Dropout
West, Kanye: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
West, Kanye: Yeezus
White, Jack: Blunderbuss
White Denim: D
White Stripes: Elephant
White Stripes: White Blood Cells
Who: Live At Leeds
Who: My Generation
Who: Tommy
Who: Who’s Next
Who: The Who Sell Out
Wilco: Being There
Wilco: Mermaid Avenue
Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Wild Beasts: Two Dancers
Williams, Lucinda: Car Wheels On A Gravel Road
Williams, Robbie: Life Thru A Lens
Wilson, Dennis: Pacific Ocean Blue
Winehouse, Amy: Back To Black
Winwood, Steve: Arc Of A Diver
Wire: Pink Flag
Wobble, Jah, And The Invaders Of The Heart: Rising Above Bedlam
Womack, Bobby: The Poet
Wonder, Stevie: Fulfillingness’ First Finale
Wonder, Stevie: Innervisions
Wonder, Stevie: Song In The Key Of Life
Wonder, Stevie: Talking Book
Wu-Tang Clan: Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
Wyatt, Robert: Rock Bottom
Wyatt, Robert: Shleep
X: Wild Gift
X-Ray Spex: Germ Free Adolescents
XTC: Apple Venus Volume 1
XTC: Skylarking
xx: xx
Yardbirds: The Yardbirds
Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Fever To Tell
Yeah Yeah Yeahs: It’s Blitz
Yes: Close To The Edge
Yes: Fragile
Yes: The Yes Album
Yoakam, Dwight: Buenas Noches From A Lonely Room
Youngbloods: Elephant Mountain
Young Gods: L’Eau Rouge
Young, Neil: After The Gold Rush
Young, Neil: Harvest
Young, Neil: On The Beach
Young, Neil: Tonight’s The Night
Young, Neil, With Crazy Horse: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Young, Neil, With Crazy Horse: Ragged Glory
Young, Neil, With Crazy Horse: Rust Never Sleeps
Young Rascals: Groovin’
Zappa, Frank: Hot Rats
Zombies: Odessey And Oracle
Zorn, John: Spy Vs Spy – The Music Of Ornette Coleman
ZZ Top: Eliminator
ZZ Top: Tres Hombres

I’m sure I shall write more about this list!


October Poem

Schwitters Das Arbeiterbild

The Worker Picture

Moon meshes merz  mapping,
taking twisted trash and swiftly squeezed sentences
to cull a word unseasoned and pin it,
bauble-like upon a broken junction of jalopy boards.
To curve and circle the snapped stake,
or box a brittle batten into lunatic shape,
solemn and shifting,
this is a pendulum nailed down,
un-striking time between the wars.

Colour clips the warping wood with
night shades, while phrases tear and float
– insert your advert here –
across a splintering surface stuck
with pins and holes, relics of useful forms
and markers of new making.

Das Arbeiterbild/The Worker Picture
Kurt Schwitters, 1919

September Poem

Lundquist The Wave

The Wave

Scattered sheen, light paled to mist with blue
edging discretely through the merest thought of grey.
Ochre slides across the lid of perception
and there is a bulging bustle, pastel strewn,
but rising, rising, rising on a neap.
Sunlight is the chalk blush on stirring waters
that bud upwards, yearning, slapping
the tang of cobalt into the pellucid thinning,
air salted with ice crowns cresting flecks
as the breaker’s smack echoes the eager crack
of a white egg’s eastering.

Vågen/ The Wave
Evert Lundquist, 1942-43


August Poem

Oppenheim Ma gouvernante

My Nurse

You trust me to come to heel,
but by my art I have never toed the line.
What you see are plates of meat,
what I offer are stilettos –
which one of us will be the first
to get the point?

Do not feel bound to salivate
over the cuneiform cryptography
of my neat dish.
It is not my soul you see presented
like rare beef swags
but your own covetous stare.

I have come to heal
the rusty gluttony of your heart
that runs like co-mingled juices
pricked from pink roasted poultry –
at my table I elect who tastes my fare,
who might come to the feast.

Ma gouvernante/ My Nurse
Meret Oppenheim, 1936

July Poem

Marzella Kirchner


Are you looking at me?
What do you see?
Lipstick, kohl, they slash
and burn my too pink flesh
into the canvas of your eyes.

Stiffly the white ribbons in my hair,
flag no naked surrender,
even while I cage my modesty
behind lank arms yet to feather into elegance.
For I am not yours,
not suckling meat, not a party favour;
neither a bud  nor a buddy.

You shall not cross the line –
I will it so,
even as my fresh skin quivers from
the cold flicker of your connoisseur’s gaze.
Turn away your cloudy eyes,
with their mucky, mustard reflection,
for it is my time to stretch and grow
beyond the acid angles of this too tight frame,
to possess the world your ochre-tainted fingers
are too slow to grasp.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 1909-10

June Poem

Kandinsky Improvisation No 2

Improvisation No 2. Funeral March

The shouting is over, is over, is over,
the procession moves on,
pace printed by a donkey’s prancing,
reins taut as the rider approaches.
Beginning or ending?
The saints are seated, opening the mystery
of death’s darker chambers –
places where no colour shines.

Megalith, or Bauhaus,
up-lit in either a sodium glare,
or the fading flare of Hors’ descent.
A rider approaches, ahead by a neck.
Beginning or ending?
The saints have won their race,
and take my place at the sundown,
seeping into cerulean shadows with indigo bones.

Improvisation Nr 2, Trauermarsch/ Improvisation No 2, Funeral March
Wassily Kandinsky, purchased 1933

May Poem

Picasso la source


The Spring

The river ponders gravely with a circling weight,
neutral greys shuffling folder-buff shadowing
across too solid flesh, pending animation,
persona waiting ritual formulation,
an empty vessel paused, before breath’s hallowing
pumps up calcified lungs, cold blood to activate.

Shoulder strap slipped astray exposing modest breast,
her mannequin expression unmans interest.

Dispassionate naiad, source of the river’s spate,
urn impartially upturned in solemn pouring,
flowing torpidly with such careless cunctation,
heedless of her waters’ final destination,
whether it gives or takes life on its journeying,
coursing gravely onwards forever circling fate.

La source/The Spring

Pablo Picasso, 1921