Saturday, 8 June 2013

Year One

The coaching pathway is at times a risky business. Clubs have a preference for ex-pros who have fast-tracked qualifications which take them weeks, but it would take me years to even be considered for some courses, let alone take them. Should they start at grass roots? It wouldn't do them any harm. What they do not realise is that youth coaching provides the most rewarding time you can have as a coach, far greater than any trophy or pay check. It is also the biggest learning curve. You have to make mistakes in order to learn; it's the same for the kids. You have to accept that you're becoming a part of their world and you have to adjust to them. Rapport is vital. Something as simple as 'Well Done' means everything. 

I coach 'Football Fun' for 4-6 year olds, have learned a whole new ball game at 9 a side for the U11s and earned my first ever league silverware with the U12s. I have gained plenty of praise in my first year of coaching, although I am adamant that I don't do anything, or at least as much as I could. Despite this, myself and my long term suffering soccer dad have been awarded the 'Gary Stevenson Celebration Award for Outstanding Contribution to Reeves Rangers Football Club' for the 2012/13 season. I'm humbled. To achieve this in my first year of coaching concretes my future ambitions, overall capping an extremely enjoyable 10 years at Reeves Rangers FC as both a player and a coach.

Next season, the 'Football Fun' students will graduate to U7s. The U11s will fold, but I can take what I have learned and assist the new U11s who will be starting 9 a side for the first time. The U13s will be back for more silverware too. With multiple coaching courses on the way, I also have the opportunity to become a resident GK coach for the club. Exciting days ahead.

Onwards - The best is yet to come

Monday, 13 May 2013

RAM

Well that was unexpected.

A cool west coast vibe strings through Random Access Memories, heavy on session musicians topped with light electro clicks and pulses. It glides elegantly; its hooks and melodies keep your mind entranced with the occasional contributor softly guiding you through this particular story. High quality production as always, it dazzles and sparkles with glitter and groove. A wash of orchestral euphoria surrounds you, only to place you in a sea of digital jazz. It ends in triumph! The crescendo of Contact ascends uncontrollably to a climax, leaving you adrift on a cloud of reminiscence of an era before you were born. 

I feel sadness. Daft Punk have said themselves they have gone full circle, back to Disco, because EDM sounds like shite now. With their signature on the cover, it feels like they're saying goodbye, one last hurrah before they hang up their masks for good. And you know what? I'm ok with this. Maybe they're right. Maybe it is time for music to move on. We'll find new genres we haven't heard of before, made by artists who could scarcely peak the crest of Parisian electro house. Perhaps they will tour - perhaps they will record an Alive 2017 - perhaps they haven't cast themselves in to the shadows just yet - who knows.

To Thomas and Guy-Man, I thank you, for taking me around the world - one more time.



Status: Vinyl

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Pre - RAM

Sit Down. Shut Up. Listen.

Daft Punk are back.

This is a big deal. I mean a BIG deal. A REALLY BIG DEAL. Not just for me and my fellow Electro heads - but for the music industry - let me explain:

1997 - Homeworkhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0mtZapDH_Y - A brilliant debut. They defined not just their own identity, but dance / club music as a whole. I have never listened to an album since that has taken me to so many different places, from the clubs of Paris to the streets of New York. The quality of the production set the bar for years to come, but their unique sound hasn't been matched since. This was only a taster for what was to come ...

2001 - Discoveryhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJr2SVFTI1o - Every act has their masterpiece; Daft Punk's is their second LP, and has by far the best opening 4 tracks of any dance album - One More Time, Aerodynamic, Digital Love and Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger. The bands most creative record to date will always be in my personal music hall of fame and is highly regarded by many critics as a truly outstanding showcase of the French duo's talents ...

2005 - Human After Allhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wh6Vh0xL0uI - Despite some people claiming this album to be nothing more than a contractual obligation, I believe a darker, much rockier Daft Punk emerged here. Sounding fantastic 2 years later at Alive 2007, this is an album for the digital era, highlighting our over dependence on technology, with the ability to poke fun at itself with an ironic title, considering the record is the most manufactured they have ever made. It went on to influence acts such as Justice and many others like them. This album is not to be taken lightly ...

...

...

Silence. There was no album on 09/09/09 as predicted, but, solace at last ...

2010 - Tron:Legacy Soundtrack - Great film, and a mighty fine return to the studio. With the assistance of an orchestra, this further showcased Daft Punk's ability to diversify and innovate their sound ...

But this wasn't an LP. This wasn't their story. It was Disney's ...

...

...

Spring 2013 - Random Access Memories - Daft Punk sign to Columbia Records - this ain't no hoax this time. It's eight years since a proper studio album from the duo. They didn't have to make an album. They had no contract to oblige to. They chose to come back for the fun of it, because they enjoy being bad ass futuristic disco robots. They have worked on it for 3 years and have a whole host of collaborators and dance icons involved. 13 Tracks and 74 minutes later, they have an album as long and probably as intricate as Homework, with 70's and 80's influences similar to Discovery . Too much EDM is manufactured nowadays to sound robotic - possibly a response to Human After All - but RAM is said to bring soul back to dance music - this could well be their finest ever record!


Whatever you think of Daft Punk, let me tell you - This new record will innovate their distinct sound even more, tell us where dance music is heading and influence many more bands in the coming years.

Random Access Memories is released 20th May (UK)

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