Album of 2013

In an effort to get back into writing about things after a hiatus, I said that I was going to write an Album of the Year post for the first time in five years or so. My first real blog post in 18 months and an excuse to finally utilise the WordPress pages that I have on my web space that currently sit as pieces of nostalgia for me to look through.

In previous years, I have often written a long first entry where I summarise my opinions on every album I deem worthy of listing, before posting a few days later my top 10 or so records. I know how long-winded this was (with the benefit of hindsight) so I have changed the format for this entry. I will countdown my top 10, but outside of my #1 pick this year, I don’t really have a set order, so I am going to post my nine favourites in alphabetical order, with my favourite album at the very bottom. In between, I’ll cover the albums that just missed the cut, the albums I wasn’t really fond of, and the records I am most looking forward to hearing in 2014. Advance warning: if you are expecting me to pick from one genre exclusively, you will be disappointed. A lot of fantastic stuff was released this year from artists across my musical palette and I will attempt to give as many of them credit as possible.

One thing does remain from previous years – my criteria. Must be released in the 2013 calendar year. No reissues. No remixes. No live albums. No compilations.

Continue reading Album of 2013

Life After Near Death

Alex Zanardi
Alex Zanardi celebrates victory in the Men’s road time trial H4 at the 2012 Summer Paralympics.

Life is awfully unfair and cruel at the best of times.

Alex Zanardi had a middling Formula One career, one which his supreme talent did not deserve. His first Formula One stint consisted of short-term drives for Jordan and Lotus, but a terrible crash at Spa in 1993 kept him out of the rest of the season. When he returned in 1994, Lotus’s original Formula One team fell apart, and he was without a drive.

So he tried ChampCar/CART. Against the advice of his chief engineer, Chip Ganassi signed up Zanardi. Finally, Zanardi had a car that matched his immense talent. Proof of this…The Pass. Credited with resurgeing the popularity of performing do-nuts after a race victory, Zanardi won two championships before deciding to return to Formula One.

However, like his earlier Formula One drive, a Williams team that was moving out of an incredible period of success, did not offer a car befitting of the man. After one season, the Formula One dream was over again. Ironically, Mo Nunn – who told Chip Ganassi not to sign up Zanardi – would sign him up for his own team in 2000.

In a race in Lausitzring, Germany, in September 2001, life reminded us how unfair it is. Leading the race, Zanardi’s drive ended in a horrific crash. His life was in great danger as he lost more than three-quarters of his blood volume. Instead of his name joining the terrible list of motor racing tragedies, Zanardi would lose both his legs and not lose his life.

Embarking on a rehabilitation program, Alex dreamed of racing again. After testing a specially modified car, Zanardi would enter the World Touring Car series in 2005. Nearly four years after his near-fatal accident, Zanardi would win a WTCC race. Despite his competitive open-wheel racing career being over, Zanardi tested a BMW Sauber F1 car in 2006.

Alex left the WTCC in 2009 after taking up handbiking. After taking fourth place in the New York City marathon’s handbiking division in 2007 (after only four weeks of training), Zanardi made the 2012 Summer Games in London his goal. Victories in the Venice and Rome marathons were followed by the elusive win in New York.

Incredibly, it would be a circuit he would have raced at in his past – Brands Hatch – that Zanardi would face his greatest test. And he conquered it. Alex won gold. Despite all the adversity he had faced, Alex will once again stand at the top of a podium. And he will continue to inspire many in the process.

Farewell, Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

I’ve always insisted that one man does not a team make, but it is difficult to put into perspective that one man can make a huge difference.

As the head of Apple, Steve Jobs was part of a team that revolutionised the way we live. Were it not for the Macintosh, would computers look and behave the way they do today? NeXT provided the first platform for the World Wide Web and this incredible world we live in. The iPod, the iMac and the iPhone have revolutionised their own industries and have been total game changers.

Jobs was also responsible for buying out the animated division of Lucasfilm in 1986 from George Lucas and helped them change direction. That division was spun off into a business called Pixar Animation Studios. When Pixar was bought out by Disney in 2006, he became Disney’s largest shareholder.

Thanks for everything Steve. If one man can change the world, then I guess we all can.

My thoughts go out to Steve’s wife Laurene, his children, his colleagues and friends.



Ten years today, on a crisp New York morning, people went to work on what was a normal Tuesday in September.

Unfortunately, they would never return home.

Unforgettable images still occupy the minds of all those who witnessed them.

The world became united in grief and mourning.

So many innocent lives were taken and so many innocent bystanders had their world changed by the horrific deeds on that day.

The sadness of that day is one that I hope, we will never see once more.

Regardless of your disposition surrounding the events before, on, or after 9/11/2001, choose today to reflect on those who lost their lives in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania.

I hope to have said nothing new. However, I just wanted to say it myself.

Never ever, forget.

(Photo credit:

Welcome to the Dope Sheet

If you have followed my previous blogs, Almost Honest and Degrees of Sanity, you will find this quite a departure from them.

Decided to go back to blogging and concentrate on articles regarding sports, pop culture and such. The launch of Bill Simmons’s new website, Grantland, is the biggest influence and I suggest anyone interested in that kind of writing check it out.

I have a new entries that I have planned out and hopefully when I eventually launch the mothership (the long-awaited in a few weeks, it will all make sense.

Until then, enjoy the ride.